Thursday, 27 September 2012

Patisserie and Confiserie course Lesson 2: cakes

Hello all,

I am writing today while everything is fresh in my mind.

In the lesson today we had Victoria Sponge, Madeira Cake, Madeleines, Lemon drizzle cake and fruit cakes.

We had to make a Victoria sponge from scratch without any help from machines. It was an incredibly hard work to do, beating that cake by hand, it sure replaces a good workout at the gym!

The atmosphere in the class is very good, everyone works hard at it, there is a lot of cooperation and very little competition and I hope it will keep because too many cooks can spoil the broth. If people start to go funny and competitive it will spoil the cooperative spirit we have got so far.

I enjoy those lessons immensely and the teacher is extremely competent and courteous.

Here are the pictures we have today:

Hard at work with the pastry

Our beautiful Victoria sponge 4 hands made

 South Devon College Pastry Kitchen

Maggie and I

 Our Victoria sponge baked

Victoria sponges and madeira cakes

Our Victoria Sponge

Our teacher David Galpin hard at work

Fruit cakes

Madeleines and Madeira cakes

My colleague Paige hard at work 

Cakes, cakes and more cakes

 The class working at Madeleines

Cutting cherries in half

Decorating Madeleines

 Look at these beauties....yummy!

Fruit cakes

Victoria sponge filled in with jam and cream

Stuffing ourselves with madeleines

Well, this was the end of our lovely class. We had a try on the madeleines and fruit cakes and It was superb, the best ever butter icing I have ever tasted.

Please keep posted to learn more about our pastry classes.

See you soon,


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Roasted Apple and squash soup, Light and Spicy Kedgeree and Welsh cakes, whipped cream and fresh fruit

Hello friends

Yesterday I cooked a 3-course meal for 2 friends, John and Mike to help the charity in Romania.

The starter and main course were spicy (very hot indeed!). The first course was a butternut squash and apple soup. I put 2 whole red chilies and, even if all the men thought it was ok, it was quite spicy, I could just eat it. I started roasting everything in the oven, the butternut squash, apple, onions, garlic and chilli then blended all with vegetable stock and spices. I advise the less adventurous to start with half a chilli. If you can bear spicy food, 2 chillies are ok.

The main course was a Haddock Kedgeree and even though it was supposed to be a dish for breakfast, it suited dinner very well. It was even spicier than the first one and again, I suggest if you are not used to hot food, start with half a chilli, I bet it is plenty. The kedgeree is a quite heavy dish for breakfast in my opinion.

You can find a good Kedgeree recipe at Jamie's site but I will publish it here to cut time, you can find it at the end of this article.

For dessert I made some welsh cakes and served them with whipped cream and fresh fruit, very nice indeed.

Here are last evening's pictures:

Welsh cakes baking


Spices for kedgeree all chopped up


Ey voila le final result of the Apple and squash soup!

John and Mike

John Mike and David

Kedgeree served up

John and Mike, slightly more red after all those spices!

It is very good I only had men as they would never say it was too hot for them, real blokes don't admit they can't handle hot food!!!

I forgot to say I am back to cooking in the AGA and I love it! It is so practical to have it ready for when you want it!

Monday I did another seared peppered steak, for my husband and I. I think it is definitely his favourite.

So far I have cooked 22 recipes including the apple sauce. A lot of recipes still to come, keep posted!

See you soon


kedgeree© David Loftus



This is a traditional British breakfast from colonial India and it’s a lovely little dish, with a nice balance of spicy and smoky flavours. It makes a tasty lunch or supper too – so get stuck in!

Boil the eggs for 10 minutes, then hold under cold running water. Put the fish and bay leaves in a shallow pan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from pan and leave to cool. Remove the skin from fish, flake into chunks and set aside.

Cook the rice in salted water for about 10 minutes and drain. Refresh in cold water, drain again, and leave in the fridge until needed. Melt the butterghee in a pan over a low heat. Add the ginger, onion and garlic. Soften for about 5 minutes, then add the curry powder and mustard seeds. Cook for a further few minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and lemon juice.

Quarter the eggs. Add the fish and rice to a pan and gently heat through. Add the eggs, most of the coriander and the chilli and stir gently. Place in a warm serving dish. Mix the rest of the coriander into the yoghurt and serve with the kedgeree.

serves: 6


• 2 large free-range or organic eggs
• 680g undyed smoked haddock fillets, pinboned
• 2 fresh bay leaves
• 170g long grain or basmati rice
• sea salt
• 110 pure butterghee
• a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
• 1 medium onion or 1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
• 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 heaped tablespoons curry powder
• 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
• 2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
• juice of 2 lemons
• 2 good handfuls of fresh coriander, leaves picked and chopped
• 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
• a small pot of natural yoghurt

Jamie Oliver's Wonderful Welsh Cakes

‘I love serving these warm as they are or filled with a spoonful of cream and a few berries.’ 


For the Welsh cakes
• 500g self-raising flour,
plus extra for dusting
• 75g caster sugar,
plus extra to serve
• 1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice • 250g cold, unsalted butter
• a pinch of sea salt
• 150g mixed raisins and sultanas • 1 large free-range egg
• a couple of splashes of milk
For the filling
• 300ml double cream
• 1 heaped tablespoon caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
• 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
• 400g fresh berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries
• 1 lemon

  1. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and mixed spice.
  2. Cut up the butter and add to the bowl with a pinch of salt. Use your hands to rub it all together until you get a fine breadcrumb consistency.
  3. Toss in the dried fruit, then make a well in the centre of the mixture and crack in the egg.
  4. Add a splash of milk and use a fork to beat and mix in the egg.
  5. Once combined, use your clean hands to pat and bring the mixture together until you have a dough. It should be fairly short, so don’t work it too much.
  6. Put a large heavy-bottomed non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. While it’s heating up, dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out until it’s about 1cm thick.
  7. Use a 5cm pastry cutter to cut out as many rounds as you can. Scrunch the remaining scraps of dough together, then roll out and cut out a few more.
  8. To test the temperature, cook one Welsh cake in the pan for a few minutes to act as a thermometer. If the surface is blonde, turn the heat up a little; if it’s black, turn the heat down – leave for a few minutes for the heat to correct itself, then try again.
  9. When you’ve got a golden cake after 4 minutes on each side, you’re in a really good place and you can cook the rest in batches. It’s all about control.
  10. As soon as they come off the pan, put them on a wire rack to cool and sprinkle them with caster sugar. You can serve them just like this, as they are. Or, if you want to do what I’ve done, gently cut each cake in half while turning so you get a top and a bottom.
  11. Whipthecream,sugarandvanillapastetogetheruntilyouhavesoftpeaks.
  12. Puttheberriesintoabowl,slicingupanybigones,andtossthemwiththe juice of 1 lemon and a sprinkling of sugar.
  13. Openthecakesup,andaddalittledollopofcreamandafewberriesto each one.
Jamie's Great Britain is published by Michael Joseph/Penguin 

Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

  • Yield Makes 8 cups
    Serves 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • Dash ground cloves
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 fresh chilli chopped
  • 1 tart apple, peeled, quartered, and chopped
  • 4 cups chopped butternut squash
  • Coarse salt and pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots, apple, squash, and 3 cups of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil; cover partially and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. Working in batches, puree until smooth in a blender. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

RECIPES 23, 24, 25

Monday, 24 September 2012

Myriads of Cupcakes

Hello you all

I hope you are all well.

Today it is Monday and I am feeling better after a really 'feeling down' weekend. Just feeling purposeless, I still feel lost and  keep doing things to help me find a purpose in life but I don't know at all where I am going.

I must admit I often follow Facebook, one of the world's recent diseases. Some people totally reject Facebook, others are addict to it. I think Facebook is a very useful tool to find long lost friends and in my case, to see what is happening in my friend's lives across the world. I find it very dangerous that we live in a very agreeing world, nobody seems to debate, question or even verify the source of all the pearls of wisdom that are often published. I often caught many mistakes but am scared to tell as now everyone feels attacked if we try to discuss any of their ideas. We have the idea that Jewish people are always quarrelling but it is a way of thinking. They give more importance to the argument than to the conclusion, because arguing makes you think! Thinking is a little bit short in the world nowadays as to think you need to learn how to think. One good friend of mine said: 'At first they taught us how to think, then they taught us what to think and now they teach us not to think'. Sad times. To learn how to think we need to refer to those who once thought, as Greek philosophers or philosophers of all time. If you have the time to rear Aristotle, you will find that you need little else to understand human kind nowadays because if there is something that remains unchangeable throughout the centuries is human nature. I find it really funny when people criticise conservative people. I do admire people that think they can change the world but I do not believe we can change the world without changing human nature and all attempts to do that have miserably failed. Some men are greedy, racists, liars, cheats and they will always try to take advantage on the kind hearted well intentioned people. Nothing wrong about dreaming of a better world but we need to acknowledge the task is hard and some things will take too long to change. I also think some changes are for the better and others for the worse. Sometimes I think after changes upon changes we are more or less the same, as says the song.

You are probably asking yourself what does it have to do with cupcakes? Well, I cook when I get frustrated with the world. Building and decorating cupcake towers is one of the most rewarding bad day thing you could possibly cook. You make the batter, you pour it  into little decorated cases, they make all sorts of decorated cases: hearts, starts, rainbows, you name it. After that you see the little cupcakes grow, you take immense pleasure in decorating them with butter icing, whipped cream, sugar icing, you can put colours on them, you can pipe the icing out and finally, you can throw lots of different sprinkles. While you do all of that, your brain can wonder wherever it wants to go. This is the magic of cooking.

These are some of the cupcakes I baked recently, with or without help.

Have a peek!


My niece Juliana 20th Birthday Cupcakes - Butter icing and sprinkles

Christmas 2010 cupcakes - Chocolate and butter icing

Manuella 2nd Birhday Cupcakes 2012 (helped by Juliana and Mariana)
Chocolate and sugar icing

My sister Anamaria Birthday July 2012 (chocolate and whipped cream)

Last batch with sugar icing

Cupcake recipes:

Chocolate cup cakes

Recipe by: xmusic_loverx

Saved by 179 cook(s)
 Ready in 1 hour 15 mins
Picture by: xmusic_loverx
A lovely cup cake recipe for all of the family. It makes delicious cupcakes that smell and look delicious!!!


  • 2 x 12 bun trays
  • 24 x cupcake cases
  • 1 x big bowl

  • 250g softened butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 5 or 6 tablespoons milk

Preparation method

Prep: 1 hour |Cook: 15 mins
1.Wash your hands and tie back your hair. Preheat the oven to 200 C / gas 6. Put the paper cases in the bun trays and leave to one side.
2.In a bowl mix together butter and sugar until it is smooth and creamy. Gradually add the eggs until they are all beaten in. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla. Then gradually add the flour until all of the flour is gone. Add the milk gradually until it makes a smooth paste.
3.Gradually put the cake mixture into the bun cases. Make the bun cases half-full.
4.Now add the cake trays to the oven with the bun cases filled with the cake mixture. Leave the cup cakes in the oven for 15- 20 minutes.
5.You can tell they are ready once they are a light brown or if you stick a knife or fork into one of the cup cake and none of the cake mixture sticks to the knife or folk. Or you can tap one of your fingers onto one of the cakes and if it bounces back then it means it is done.
6.Once the cakes are done take them out of the oven and place the trays on a wire rack to cool completely before icing with your favourite icing recipe.

Vanilla cupcakes


110g/4oz butter or margarine, softened at room temperature 110g/4oz caster sugar
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

110g/4oz self-raising flour 1-2 tbsp milk
For the buttercream icing
140g/5oz butter, softened 280g/10oz icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
a few drops food colouring

Preparation method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon, adding a little milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until they are half full.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
  5. For the buttercream icing, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
  6. Then add the remaining icing sugar with one tablespoon of the milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  7. Add the food colouring and mix until well combined.
  8. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe the icing using a spiralling motio onto the cup cakes in a large swirl.
These easy vanilla cupcakes are so simple to make. Decorate with a swirl of delicious buttercream frosting. 

Happy Baking!!!