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Lottie’s World of Cakes Down Under – Bakeries in Sydney

Hello from Australia! I have to tell you about some amazing bakeries in Sydney. It has been a little while since I last posted anything here, the reason being that I have spent the last few weeks having an amazing time travelling in Oz! So I hope you will forgive me! Russell and I flew out over Christmas, spent a couple of days in Singapore, followed by a week in Sydney (we were there for the NYE fireworks, which was amazing!). From Sydney we hired a station wagon and spent the next couple of weeks working our way up the East Coast of Australia, camping each night until we reached Cairns. It was the most amazing time and there are some truly beautiful places along the coast. I have been blogging photos of our travels on Tumblr, and there is a photo from every day on our East Coast drive. You can find the blog here at The Adventures of Russ and Lotts. For me some of the highlights of our trip were the absolutely stunning blue mountains, flying over Fraser Island and sailing around the Whitsundays but really it was all fantastic. We are now in Melbourne for several weeks where I have started my elective placements and Russell has started work but there is still plenty of time to explore in and around Melbourne and we will be updating the travel blog with photos from here as well.

I thought it would be a nice idea to blog about different cakes and bakes that we have tried while in Australia, seeing as I am currently unable to bake, so I have been collecting photos of things we have tried along the way. First stop … Sydney!

Bakeries in Sydney- Blog - Sydney Harbour

 

In Sydney I had heard about the Bourke Street Bakery and that it was a must visit for any baking fan. This was the first Sydney bakery we visited, and I can tell you there are many many bakeries in Sydney. Every corner we turned had a cake shop! When we arrived at Bourke Street Bakery (in Surry Hills) there was a queue of people out the door so I knew it must be good. We grabbed a table and ordered some coffees and pastries for breakfast. The bakery itself is tiny, the queue is on the street, it is slightly chaotic ordering inside and seating is outside. But no wonder there is a queue, the breads and pastries that you can see through the window look delicious.

Bakeries in Sydney- Blog - Bourke Street Bakery

 

 

I opted for an apricot danish, Russell for a chocolate and raspberry muffin. Both delicious, lovely flaky pastry and a lovely moist muffin. Its just a shame we didn’t get to try the bread there too, the sourdough in the window looked fantastic.

Bakeries in Sydney- Blog - Danish and Muffin

 

If you are looking for a yummy breakfast, lunch, loaf of bread of afternoon treat then I can recommend Bourke Street Bakery, as long as you don’t mind a short queue, I’m sure you will have  a hard time choosing what you want from everything on offer.

Our second bakery trip in Sydney was to a completely different bakery, it was Adriano Zumbo’s Patisserie in Balmain. Where as Bourke St Bakery sells traditional and simple breads, cakes and pastries, Adriano Zumbo’s Patisserie sells complicated creations that each look like little works of art and rows of macarons. Although the cakes here were also twice the price, but when you see how much detail has gone in to each one you can see why. We heard about Adriano Zumbo once we were in Sydney, he became famous after appearing on Masterchef Australia. His shop in Balmain is tiny, without seating but with a stunning display of cakes. Another store we came across of his was in Pyrmont, this shop is bright pink, with cakes on their own tall stands and macarons in ‘in case of emergency break glass’ boxes and pastries in mini ovens, a very fun looking shop.

Bakeries in Sydney- Blog - Adriano Zumbo

Bakeries in Syndey - Blog - Adriano Zumbo - ovens

 

 

 

We chose the eric is bananaman cake consisting of chocolate banana mousse, lemon and banana creme, flourless chocolate cake, caramelised almonds, banana milk chocolate glaze and salted chocolate. Very rich but utterly delicious and a mini masterpiece!

 

 

Bakeries in Sydney- Blog - Eric is Bananaman

If anybody has any suggestions on bakeries we should visit in Melbourne then please let me know! I think I am spoilt for choice at the moment.

Lottie xx

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Strawberry and Cream Macarons

Strawberry and Cream Macarons

Something very sad happened recently. You may remember that on 18th September I posted about my Strawberry and Cream Macarons, well don’t cry…..but they got lost! Lost in the world of cyberspace forever! However I decided that it would be such a shame to lose them forever so here it is again! I hope you enjoy it!

Strawberry and Cream Macarons

Last time I wrote this I wrote about my experience in the Paralympic Closing Ceremony on 9th September. I was a flag escort and walked out with the San Marino flag bearer. We all formed a heart shape and then a heart of fire lit up around us. After we had done our bit we joined Team GB to watch the rest of the show. It was just amazing and Coldplay were just incredible. One of the best experiences of my life. I was on such a high from the Paralympic Ceremonies that it has taken me ages to come back down to earth! Now I am gathering things together for my London 2012 scrapbook. You can read about my Paralympic Opening Ceremony experience here. I even made Paralympic Cupcakes!

Now I am back at University and life has started to get back to normal…although I am looking forward to my next time on stage now in Half a Sixpence with Epsom Light Opera Company! Not long to go! Rehearsals also make the perfect opportunity to bake cakes for people (not that I need an excuse)! Every time I watch The Great British Bake Off I want to make what they have been baking, I am building up such a list I don’t know how I will fit it all in! Don’t forget to enter your Bake Off inspired bakes into my Bake Off Challenge….deadline for the next round up is 5th October!

Now back to resurrecting my Stawberry and Cream Macarons:

Delicious Macarons presented on a table

To make macarons I use this recipe and technique from the Delicious Magazine Website. I find it works really well. You can see how to make the basic macarons here on my Cappuccino Macarons post. The recipe and technique are exactly the same for these macarons, the only difference being adding the food colouring. It is really important that you don’t overmix when you add the ground almonds, or your macarons will be like pancakes. To avoid this you need to add the colouring to the beaten egg whites before you add the almonds. Fold the colouring into the egg whites gently, until the colour is even, then add the almonds. I did the same thing for my Chocolate Orange Macarons. The colour I used was the Sugarflair Pink Paste, a little goes a long way and pastes are good because they don’t water down your mixture.

Macarons at an early stage

Perfectly bakes macarons

Once you have baked the macarons you can do the filling. I filled these with strawberry jam and buttercream.

To make the buttercream:

100g softened unsalted butter
200g sifted icing sugar (I used golden icing sugar, hence the colour of my icing)
drop of vanilla extract

Beat together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla until well combined. Add a drop of milk if you need to loosen the icing up to pipe it.

Pipe the buttercream onto half of the macarons and had a blob of jam. Sandwich the halves together. I decorated my macarons using a Sugarflair Sugar Art pen.

Piping the filling into the macarons

Beautiful macarons

And here is the heart that we formed with the flags in the Closing Ceremony:

Paralympic closing ceremony

Thank you for reading and happy baking!

Lottie xx

 

 

 

afternoon_tea

Afternoon tea

We finally got out on a bike ride today, it was rather wet, muddy and cold but good fun. With the London to Brighton only 6 weeks away now we really needed to get a bit of practise in and had had enough of the rain keeping us indoors. We stopped off along the way at one of my favourite places to have tea and cake, Fanny’s Farm Shop. It is an absolutely lovely quirky place, and they have very good cake too! I opted for a fruity slice of cake and my Dad went for a lovely light lemon cake. My brother on the other hand just went straight for a hot chocolate with marshmallows. This is Fanny’s Farm all decked out Jubilee style and my Dad and brother after conquering mega hill challenge.

I was reading the menu that they do for afternoon tea and it reminded me that I never posted the afternoon tea that I made for my Mum on Mother’s Day this year! So here are a selection of pictures of our afternoon tea! I made a lemon sponge with a heart centre, mini vanilla cupcakes, mini chocolate cupcakes, fruit scones with strawberry jam and butter, a selection of sandwiches and tea!

 

Lottie xx

eastereggs

Colourful Chocolate Eggs for Easter

Before Easter becomes a distant memory, these are marbled chocolate eggs that I made for Easter. I saw a chocolate filled egg shell in a shop and figured it surely couldn’t be that hard to make. My sister always makes lovely Easter eggs using moulds and ices names onto them, so I had to come up with something different. I came home, did a bit of research on the internet and set out to buy my eggs and chocolate. I didn’t realise just quite how much chocolate fits into a single egg shell….nearly 100g!

Step 1 in the Easter egg making is to blow out the eggs. Use a needle to puncture the top of the egg and to make a centimetre wide hole at the other end. You need to break up the yolk inside, I did this with a chopstick. Blow through the top of the egg to empty the contents of the egg into a bowl.

Once the egg shells are empty you need to wash them out so there are no remains of egg inside. Remember to be gentle with them! Once they are cleaned you need to boil them as they are going to be filled with chocolate that will be eaten and they need to be very clean. You need to sterilise them by boiling them for 10 minutes. Once that is done, leave them to dry completely.

If you are colouring the egg shells you need some food colouring, white vinegar and warm water. Put each egg into the dye for a couple of minutes. To get a marble effect add some oil to the dye liquid, or just roll the eggs around in some of the food dye paste. Leave to dry before filling with chocolate.

Melt lots and lots of chocolate for the eggs and fill a piping bag. Snip the end off the piping bag and squeeze the chocolate into the eggs until full. Allow to set completely in the fridge. I used some pink icing to seal up the open end of the eggs.

 I attempted to make a liquid yolk in some of the eggs by mixing some white chocolate with single cream to make a white chocolate cream. I filled a piping bag with the cream and squeezed the liquid into the centre of the melted chocolate. And then left it to set.

And tada, you have chocolate filled colourful egg shells (except as a trick one of mine was a hard boiled egg – my brother was unlucky enough to pick that one out!).

Hope you all had a lovely Easter!

Lottie xx

macaroon

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons, not Macarons! This is a difference that I only recently learnt. Macarons are those pretty colourful, delicate shells made from egg whites, sugar and ground almonds, filled with something like buttercream or ganache. These are a little bit tricky to make. Although I’m not sure how true the name difference is because if you search macaroons then you still get recipes for this almond variety. Macaroons (the ones that I have made) on the other hand, are these delightful things. They are simple to make and are made from egg whites, sugar and coconut.  I dipped mine in chocolate, because well, everybody loves chocolate and coconut + chocolate = perfect. They also make a perfect present for a coconut lover. I made these as a birthday present for my Dad and he loved them. I also caught my brother just smelling one, not eating it, just smelling it….apparently he loves the smell of coconut! Fair enough!

So to make these delicious little treats you will need: (recipe adapted from the coconut macaroons recipe in The Great British Bake Off Book – I quite like the addition of coconut milk in this recipe)

250g desiccated coconut
100g caster sugar
1 large egg white
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
100ml coconut milk
100g dark chocolate

This recipe makes about 12 macaroons.

Mix the coconut and sugar together (alternatively you can use sweetened shredded coconut). Beat the egg white in a mixing bowl with the vanilla essence and salt but only until it is slightly frothy. Add the coconut to this frothy mix. Add the coconut milk and mix all the ingredients together until they are well combined. Cover the bowl and leave it to stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Dip your fingers in cold water and shape a tablespoon of the mixutre into a pyramid shape. I found the best way to do this was to roll it into a ball and then flatten one side with your hand. Then shape the sides of the pyramid into a point at the top. The mixture needs to be really compact so it doesn’t fall apart so squeeze any liquid out if you need to as you are making it. If the mixture seems to wet them you can add more coconut. On the other hand if it seems too dry then add some more coconut milk, only a little at a time. Space the pyramids slightly apart on the baking sheet.

Bake the macaroons for about 30 minutes or until the peaks are golden brown. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Macaroons

 

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water and then remove from the pan.

Dip the bases of the pyramids in the melted chocolate and place on a sheet of baking paper to set. Repeat for all the coconut pyramids. To finish off the macaroons I also drizzled some melted chocolate over the macaroons. Leave the chocolate to set.

 

Chocolate dipped

drizzled with chocolate

Macaroon

Then…..enjoy the coconutty goodness!

In a box

Present

Hopefully I will be having a go at some Macarons soon….watch this space!

Enjoy!

Lottie xx (Follow me on twitter… @lotts_louise)

 

 

 

sausage

Sausage Rolls….. A guest blog post by my boyfriend!

‘I’m from a family of bakers’ is Russell’s favourite line whenever I am baking. So I put him to the test recently with one of the challenges from The Great British Bake Off. We were both avid fans of the show and when the contestants on the celebrity show made Paul Hollywood’s Sausage Rolls he was dying to make them for his lunch (and dying to write a blog post!). So this was his baking test and while I didn’t try them as I don’t eat sausages, they looked great and I think he passed the test with flying colours! What do you think?

So…..introducing my lovely baker boyfriend Russell Thompson! You can have a look at his website www.thompsonconstructionuk.com although you won’t find any recipes there!

Lottie xx

 

Hello followers of Lottie’s World of Cakes and Bakes! I am very happy to be a guest blogger, thank you to Lottie for having me as a guest on her wonderful blog. This is my first ever blog post, I hope it is ok and I hope that my sausage rolls don’t lower the tone! As Lottie said I am indeed from a family of bakers. My Grandad and Grandma ran a small bakery in Surbiton, Surrey. Running a bakery was very hard work and my Uncle John is the only one to have been brave enough to carry on the tradition. I however do like to do a little baking in my spare time (and when the kitchen is free!). So I would like to share with you my latest creation, they make a tasty lunch!

I used Paul Hollywood’s recipe to make these sausage rolls.

Sausage rolls

As I made my own pastry and this takes quite a long time, we have to start with the rough puff. For this we use:

225g plain flour
1/2tsp salt
200g cold, cubed butter
180ml chilled water
juice of half a lemon

Start by sifting the flour and salt into the bowl with the cubed butter. Mix it all around until the butter is coated. Keep the butter in lumps! (ps. this is the first time I have made pastry!)

Mix the lemon and water together and add it to the flour and butter mix. Turning the bowl cut across the contents until all of it is mixed or until the dough comes together. Don’t worry, it is supposed to be very wet.

Flour your work surface and plop your dough mixture out. Quickly shape into a rectangle about 30cm by 20cm approx with the shortest edge nearest you. Fold the bottom third up to the middle third and the top third down to cover. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 10 minutes.

Take the dough out of the fridge, plop it back onto the floured surface, roll out and repeat the process. Do this 4 times in total and on the last time leave it in the fridge for 2 hours.

Now we have a bit of time to prepare the rest of our ingredients. We will start with the onion chutney. For this I used:

2 onions, sliced
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Place all of your ingredients into a saucepan and cook gently over a low heat. Give it a stir and cook for about 20 minutes or until the onions are nice and soft.

For the sausagemeat you will need:

600g sausagemeat
1tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Add your ingredients to a bowl and season. Mix together with your bare hands. When dividing my sausagemeat I was quite particular about the division and made sure that when I divided the meat into 6 pieces they all weighed exactly the same. This is not really necessary, I’m just a perfectionist. Divide the sausagemeat into 6 roughly equal portions.

Meat

 

These are now ready for your pastry. After 2 hours remove your pastry from the fridge. Place it once more on your floured work surface and roll it out into a rectangle measuring approx 36cm by 30cm. You can now cut this into 6 even rectangles. These should measure 12cm by 15cm.

Pastry

On the short side of the rectangle place the cylinder of sausagemeat.

Place a generous helping of onion chutney on the remainder of the pastry.

Roll that bad boy up. Repeat the process for the remaining 5. Glaze each sausage roll with beaten egg and diagonally slice the tops of the sausage rolls.

These are now ready for the oven. Cook for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. If you have followed this blog or you too are lucky enough to have baker’s blood then yours should look a  little like this!

Yummy!

Thanks again Lotsy for letting me post a baker’s blog! Hope you all enjoyed it.

Russ x

plums

Plums, plums and more plums!

Every year we get an absolute bounty of plums from the tree in the garden. It’s a game of getting them before they all suddenly drop at once and become unusable. This year was no exception and my Dad presented me bowlfuls of plums to bake with. So we had plum and goats cheese tarts, plum and almond tray bake, plum crumble (of course!), sweet plum tarts and plum compote! All in one day! So here they are……

Plum and Goats Cheese Tarts (it was about time I posted something a little bit more savoury!)

Plum and Goat's Cheese Tarts

These are super easy to make. You just need:
Puff pastry (yes, I cheated and bought it ready made!)
Plums thinly sliced
Goats Cheese
Honey
Thyme
Black Pepper

Roll out the pastry and cut out circles of pastry and put them on a greased baking tray. Crumble the goats cheese and top the pastry circles with the goats cheese. Next add the slices of plums on top of the goats cheese. Drizzle each tart with a little honey, some sprigs of fresh time and a sprinkle of black pepper and pop in the oven! Easy and yummy! And to make the sweet tarts, just do the same but without the cheese, thyme and black pepper.

Plum and Almond Tray Bake

Plum and almond tray bake

6oz self raising flour
6oz light brown sugar
6oz butter or margarine
3 eggs
50g almonds
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
splash of milk
plums halved and stoned
flaked almonds

Mix the flour, sugar, butter, eggs, almonds, vanilla and milk together and pour into a greased and lined tray. Top the cake mix with with the halved plums and sprinkle with ground almonds. Pop in the oven at 180C until done. Voila, another plum recipe done!

Plum Crumble

Plum Crumble

For the plum base:
About 20 plums
150g caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Put the plums and lemon juice into a greased oven proof dish and sprinkle with sugar.

For the crumble:
6oz plain flour
2oz caster sugar
2oz light brown sugar
4oz butter
Put it all in a bowl and use your fingers to crumble it all together. The top the plums with the crumble and sprinkle with flaked almonds to make it look nice. Bake at 180C for about 40 minutes.

I think that’s enough plum recipes for now!

Lottie xx