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Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

16 Jun

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”-William Shakespeare.

La Pomme!

This sonnet seems so apt for times of late. I was reading that in Shakespeare’s time, that their summer time was around May. Where those rough winds shake the May time flowers.

We are in the middle of June now, where is the sun? I have a feeling my flip flops won’t be worn this year.

We’ll they say ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ right? So I am baking comfort food. But more of that in a minuet.

I am rather excited by the way…on Wednesday I received my copy of Helene Dujardin’s (aka Tartelette to all you lovely bloggers) Plate to Pixel. For those of you know don’t know, Helene is an amazing food photographer, food stylist, cook, baker, blogger and author, plus a whole heap more. phew.

I started reading her blog, Tartelette about a year ago when I first started thinking about my business. Her food looked amazing, I was totally engrossed from the first click. It was a post about violet macaron’s. I still look at that picture now and crave macaron’s. The light caught beautifully on their little ‘pied’, their slight hue, reflected on the cake stand. And then I scrolled down.

Tartelette's Plate to Pixel

I spent over 2 hours that evening enjoying her blog.My eyes has a feast, and I wanted to gorge. This was the day that I really fell in love with the whole concept of ‘food’. Don’t get me wrong, I loved food before, but somehow it was just so much clearer now.

The next day I picked up my little point and snap camara and took dozens of cupcake photos.

To be honest I was rather frustrated with the results. Grainy, low light, etc etc. I blamed the camara. Poor thing, it wasn’t its fault. I was totally me. I was doing things like using the flash and auto modes. I was a nightmare. Still I went ahead and bought a new camara. In all fairness though, my P&S was a bit out of date.

I didn’t have much money, but I wasn’t going to buy something I didn’t have control over. I really wanted a dSLR, but I knew these babies where out of my price range. I asked around, read review after review online, and finally I popped into a camara shop and had a look. I knew I wanted something that had a decent macro and something with a good optical zoom was also important. The assistant showed me a Fufifilm Finepix S1900, instantly I knew it was the right camara. 18x optical zoom, manual settings, aperture and shutter speed control and 2 macro settings. It’s really just somewhere between and P&S and dSLR. All in all it was the perfect buy for me.

I started taking pictures as soon as I could. The pictures definitely looked better, the feel was there, but I really wanted to learn more. And this is where Plate to Pixel comes in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay I’ll be honest, I’ve never been much of a book reader. There I said it, out loud, kind of. It’s not that I don’t love stories, if someone could read to me I would be pleased. But I find it hard to stay on track. Dyslexic thing.

Once apon a time, my dear Grandpa, who is sadly not in this life anymore, said to me very seriously when I was VERY young “One day a book will change you’re life very fundamentally. It will change the way you think about things. It will answer you’re questions, feed you’re knowlage, and have you coming back with more questions, all at the same time” To be honest I didn’t believe a word he said. He was a publisher, and very passionate about books.

On Wednesday those words he told me all fell into place. I opened the front cover of this beautifully pictured book and read. There are only a few moments in my life that I can relate to the feeling I felt when reading this book. When I danced, and falling in love. It’s exactly the same. My heart was dancing. And all the pieces started to come together, it all made sense now.

So yesterday I decided to put into practice what I had learned briefly. It’s a big book so I didn’t get that far. Just learning the basics like, aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  But I can already see a little difference, and I suddenly started to unleash the art form behind photography, meaning drawing with the light. Isn’t that gorgeous?

I also wanted to try adapting some grain-free recipes, and because it was raining outside (no surprise there). I decided carmelized apples were a must!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see how they started looking more like 'pomme de terre'.

Time to bake. So here it is. It's naturally gluten-free, and almost guilt free. I used ground coconut and almonds as my, but I am finding it very hard to find it ground finer. If you have the answer to this, please help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Cake with Raspberry Streusel Topping

Makes 12 muffin sized cakes.

3 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced

50g dark brown sugar

185g soft butter

100g golden castor sugar

2 eggs

185g ground almonds

100g ground coconut

Streusel Topping

15g ground almonds

60g ground coconut

20g sugar

15g butter

some good quality raspberry jam

Pre-heat oven to 150c (I have a very cheap electric oven) that runs a little higher in heat then the average.

Start by frying the apple in 5g of butter on a medium heat for around 5 minuets. Add the dark sugar and cook for a further 5 minuets. Set aside.

Make you’re streusel topping by combine almonds, coconut, sugar and butter, and work together untill you have a crumb consistency. Roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and freeze.

To make you’re cake.

cream the butter and the castor sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.

Combine almonds and coconut and fold into the butter mixture.

Stir in the carmelized apples, and bake at 150c for around 35 minuets.

After 35 minuets, take you’re muffin cakes out, spread a good helping of raspberry jam on top of each one.

Slice thin slices of the streusel topping and crumble over the top. Bake for another 20 minuets at 140c.

Either strate out the oven (be warned they are piping, I burnt my mouth a little) as a cozy pudding with custard, or surprise your loved ones by packing it in their lunch box!

Find me on Tumblr

1 Jun

Hey peeps!
You can now find me on Tumblr.
http://www.thelilacbakery.tumblr.com

New ways to follow me.

13 May

Hello lovelies.
This is just a very quick post letting you know you can now follow me at Bloglovin’
Follow my blog with bloglovin
Twitter @TheLilacBakery
And soon Facebook.

Have a happy day 🙂
x

A bit of this, a bit of that.

12 May

I’m not sure about you. But I find it almost impossible to work while listening to music. It distracts me. I get lost in the beat, so much so that the other day I found myself typing along to the rhythm of The Sea, by Morcheeba, which I think may be a skill in itself, but not very productive.

And until about 2 minutes ago I thought I had a few stable albums I could listen to without getting to lost, but I’ve proved myself wrong because I spent 5 valuable minutes singing along to

Zero 7’s Destiny. Lucky for me most of that album is instrumental, so it really is my only safe bet if I want to listen to music.

Plinking away

This time last year I was writing music you see. Plinking away on a keyboard for hours upon hours upon………….I grew up with a musician as a daddy, playing me Bob Dylan and Steely Dan at any given moment and teaching me about cross rhythm at the age of 2. So now I don’t just listen to music, I analyze it, pull it to pieces and put it together again, a frustrating game between me and my mind.

I haven’t played music in about a year, but tonight I am embarking on that and doing a little bit of sing songing with The Boy (honest to god, he makes drum playing look easy) and a good friend of ours, Ben, (a seriously good blues guitar player) this evening. So that could be interesting.

Well this was a bit of a mind spill wasn’t it?

I am going to London in a few weeks. Going to eat lots of baked goods and great food. If you can suggest anywhere to try out I would be thrilled!

Keep it real…

Aimee xx

So when is the next bank holiday?

3 May

It's a Tea Pop

What. A. Week. Few.

A very busy week it has been here at The Lilac Bakery. Baking a lot of goodies for the lovely Boscombe Tea Party. As you can see, I couldn’t resist making a batch of Tea Pops, I thought they were rather appropriately themed. Don’t you?

We also made cupcakes of all description as well as french macarons.

I do just want to say a big thank you to Lizi and Rich, who organized the event. They were fantastic and the day was just divine. And to everyone I got to chat with, and eat cake with and generally meet and say ‘Hi’, you are all fab, and I wouldn’t have been able to have such a great day without you. Thanks.

Cupcakes

If I am totally 100% honest I did almost have a little melt down on Saturday. I blame it on chocolate modeling paste. If anyone has a UK version that doesn’t require corn syrup please contact me….Please!

I was baking a birthday cake for a friend, and my plan was to cover it in chocolate roses, but the modeling paste wouldn’t form, it just kept falling apart, which drove me crazy because it didn’t happen last time. So in the end the cake was layered in chocolate ganache and sprinkles which was rather fun.

Also I might have some exciting news in the next few days, so keep you’re ears peeled…

So until next time my hunky little cake munchers!xx

Happy Easter.

24 Apr

Easter Cupcpakes


I hope all have a lovely easter sunday, full of chocolate and laughter!
Aimee x

Cherry Brandy Ganache Macarons.

23 Apr

The last few days have been manic. So much so, I haven’t even really had a chance to enjoy the beautiful, yet unusual april weather and sunshine.

Having a bit of a house re-jig moving the living room around to make room for the shinny new tv, in turn I now have space for a little table, so for the 1st time I get to sit here looking out my patio doors, rather then slumped on the sofa, laptop in hand (or on lap…) it’s the simple things, but they make all the difference for some reason.

Also getting ready for guests tomorrow as it’s Easter. I’ve never been that traditional about anything really, so there will be a mix of friends and family at mine tomorrow, I invisage enjoying the sunlight, kids searching for Easter eggs, BBQ and nibbles, and lastly but not least, cakes. And this is also why I am extra super busy, I’ve been baking.

I tell you, my kitchen, it is rather tiny, and the sun shreams through the window in the afternoon, and while that is lovely (I am not complaining sunsine), when I have my oven on the whole kitchen is around 10c hotter then the outside temperature. I came to cream my butter today to find all that remained was a sorry looking pool of buttery liquid. Hmm…

Anyways, onwards and upwards, the recipes today.

Cherry brandy Macarons with chocolate ganache.

150g Ground Almonds

150g Icing Sugar

2 Egg Whites, fresh.


2 Egg Whites, aged (left at room temperature for 24-48 hours).

150g Caster Sugar

37g Water

Food Colouring

Method

Sift the almonds and icing sugar togther in a bowl. Add the fresh egg white and mix to a paste. Set aside.

Put water and caster sugar in a sauce pan and heat to 118c, swirling the pan once and a while as to not burn the sugar.  You can add a few drops of liquid colour to the sugar syrup if you like, or if you have powdered colouring, even better, as the colour is more intense and you won’t be adding any extra moisture.

When the syrup reaches 115c start whipping the egg whites. At 118c pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the whites, keep whipping for 3-5 mins until your have a glossy but firm meringue.

Add a 3rd of the meringue to the almond paste and mix in, knocking a little air out. Fold in remaining meringue until the mixture is thick and glossy, and flows slowly, almost oozing. This should take no more then 20-30 folds as the batter will get too runny otherwise.

Fill you’re icing bag 2 3rds full and twist top the secure. I just use disposable bags as they are convenient. Snip the end of the bag, not to big, I don’t have a picture of this, but I will rememeber next time. Pipe out little circles onto baking parchment, about 1″ round.

Give them a few wraps on the counter, then leave them to dry for 15-30 mins to form thin skins. They should not stick to your finger when lightly touched.

Pop them in the oven at around 150c and bake for around 15mins, but the oven temperature and times will all depend on you’re oven, so experiment with that.

Hi there!

Once cooled, sandwich together with cherry ganache, cream, jams, buttercream or fresh fruit.

Mmm Macaron with Chocolate Ganache

Refridgerate for 24 hours, trust me when I say this is most immportant. Take them out 30mins before eating.

24 hours in the frigde, no air pockets!

Chocolate Ganache

112g Dark Chocolate

180ml of whipping cream or similar.

25g of soft butter.

Break up the chocolate and place in a bowl.

In a pan heat the cream, just under boiling. Pour over the chocolate and mix until all the chocolate has melted. Add the butter and any flavouring and mix. Refrigerate for 20mins then pipe into macaron shells.

Flavours

1tbls of cherry brandy.

Some grated lime or lemon.

Strawberries and Cream

Alternately fill macarons with fresh cream and strawberries for a light summery treat. Yum!

I hope you enjoy making them!