Sunday, 27 November 2016

BBC Good Food Show Winter 2016

It's been a foodie filled month for me with The Cake & Bake Show a couple of weeks ago and then this weekend I headed to Birmingham for the BBC Good Food Show Winter. This place is foodie paradise with stalls filled with every type of food and drink you can think of, thankfully the show lasts for three days so you are rich with time to explore every inch and every food sample! There's also lots of celebrity chef demos with the likes of Mary Berry, The Hairy Bikers and Michael Roux Jr. to name a few. I spent a Saturday there with my friend Sophie and this is what we got up to...

We got straight onto the gin when we arrived and Edinburgh Gin is a brand I'm familiar with as I've purchased their Raspberry Liquor for my boyfriend before so I wanted Sophie to try their wares as she is a gin lover. She was certainly impressed and left with a bottle of their Christmas Gin.

Next we spotted Seeds of Change's stand where they were giving out sample pots of their spinach pasta with tomato and basil sauce, it was really yummy and they gave me some vouchers to get money off my next purchase of their organic food. I also got a couple of packets of basil seeds from them which I am looking forward to growing!

Bahlsen make my favourite biscuits - Choco Leibniz - but I didn't know about all of the other products they make such as Lebkuchen, the classic German Christmas biscuits which I'm also a huge fan of.

We must've walked past the Jazz Apples stand at least three times and couldn't resist grabbing a slice of juicy crisp apple each time. On our final visit we finally bought some apples!

One of the great things about the BBC Good Food Show is all of the show bargains on offer. For example Wyke Farms were selling 4 different blocks of cheese along with a block of butter, and either the mug or the bag pictured, for only £10! Such a bargain considering one block of cheese is around £3 in the supermarket.

I love sweet potato crisps but I've only ever seen salted ones in the shops, so I was excited to see that Glen of Antrim have created mutiple flavours including the irish whiskey and salt & vinegar flavours pictured. They also had cheese & onion and chilli.

I tried some Salted Caramel Vodka from I Heart Vodka and it was deliciously sweet. Certainly one for any fellow sweet tooths out there!

Frobishers had some delicious cordials which they've just recently added to their range. I tried the Sloe & Raspberry and the Lemon & Mint and really enjoyed them both. They are available in Waitrose.

We went to watched Mary Berry do a Q&A on the Lakeland Good Food Stage. She was interviewed all about her Christmas food plans and she revealed that she is going to do a TV programme next year where she goes to stately homes around the country to look behind the scenes and meet the families that live there, I can't wait to watch it!

Mary Berry has a new range of kitchenware which is absolutely gorgeous, I love the pastel colours and grey details. This is definitely going on my Christmas list!

We headed to the Super Theatre to watch Paul Hollywood do a demo of a dessert called kransekage, which is a tower of marzipan rings sandwiched together with chocolate. He was chatty and open with the audience about The Great British Bake Off and his other plans for TV shows next year.

An audience member got up on stage wearing this apron and the camera man wore one too! It was very funny but Paul was not impressed!

This was the final product!

The Renshaw Academy were also on site at the show holding classes to teach you how to work with sugarpaste and maybe even make a masterpiece like this one day!

I adore maple syrup and I grabbed two bottles of Pure Maple which is absolutely delicious as well as being completely pure and not mixed with anything else like some other maple syrups are.

We watched Lisa Faulkner, who is an actress that won Celebrity Masterchef in 2010, she made a strawberry milkshake cake and her latest book focuses on family recipes.

We ended the day watching John Whaite, the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2012, demo two recipes from his new book - Perfect Plates In 5 Ingredients. He made a Sweet Potato, Gruyere & Pecan Gratin and a Orange Self Saucing Pudding. Both recipes looked delicious and John really entertained the crowd, everyone was in fits of laughter including myself! We had a great day at The BBC Good Food Show and I'm already looking forward to next year! In the meantime there are the summer shows, check out the BBC Good Food Show website for dates and tickets.

I'm linking this post up with Brilliant Blog Posts hosted by Honest Mum.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Chestnut Yule Log

I'm looking forward to Christmas more than usual this year as it is looking quite likely that I'll be celebrating it in our very own home! I've been renting since I left my parents at 18 and more years later than I'd like to count, I'm finally buying my own home with my boyfriend. I can't wait to put the Christmas tree up, make the place our own and most of all get baking in our new kitchen! All going well, we will be in there in 2 weeks time, keep your fingers crossed for us!

I recently received the first issue of Baking Heaven, which is a monthly magazine subcription from It is packed full of sweet and savoury recipes and it certainly lives up to it's name! When I flicked through the magazine to decide what to make I was immediately drawn to this Yule Log. With it's combination of salted caramel, chocolate and chestnuts it sounded like festive perfection. It is taken from Gizzi Erskine's new book Season's Eatings and is something a bit different from the traditional Yule Log.

I started by greasing a lining a lipped baking tray, the recipe recommends using a 33x23cm tin, but as mine was larger I increased the sponge recipe by a third to make up for this. I'll only put the ingredients for the recipe as stated though.

I whisked up 3 large free-range eggs with 75g caster sugar in my food mixer for 8 minutes until it had trebled in size.

I sieved out 50g plain flour and 25g cocoa powder into a bowl and then folded it into the egg mixture.

I poured the batter into the tin and tipped it to spread the mixture out into each corner.

I baked it on 190C/170C Fan/Gas Mark 3 for 12 minutes. I immediately tipped it out onto another sheet of baking paper and rolled it up, rolling the fresh sheet of baking paper with it. The recipe didn't suggest to do this, but having made many swiss rolls in the past, I thought this was the best thing to do and I do recommend it. I left it to cool fully

I then made the chocolate icing by putting 150ml double cream, 30g butter and 150g dark chocolate in a pan and gently heating it until it all melted together. I then put it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling I started by making a caramel, I put 100g caster sugar into a frying pan and left it without stirring it until it was golden and bubbling.

I added 80g butter, 50ml double cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 3/4 tsp salt and quickly mixed them in.

I then poured the caramel into a bowl, added 180g chestnuts (the recipe said 200g but the pack I got in the shops was 180g) and whizzed it up into a smooth paste using a hand blender. Let it cool to room temperature.

I whipped up 150ml double cream with 3 tbsp icing sugar, then folded it into the cooled caramel and chestnut mixture.

I unrolled the sponger and spread the caramel filling all over it evenly.

I rolled the sponge back up carefully.

I took the icing out of the fridge and spread it all over the roll. I did it quite roughly as the roll was meant to look like a log.

I bashed up 1 flake bar and sprinkled it all over the wet icing. I put it back in the fridge to set.

I finished the Yule Log by adding some redcurrants and dusting it with icing sugar. I've never actually eaten redcurrants before, they look very pretty and taste very inoffensive, however they are quite full of seeds despite their small size. You can choose to decorate the roll with anything you like, I suggest a sprig of holly, edible gold glitter or a liberal dusting of icing sugar!

This was the perfect taster of Christmas treats to come, the filling had a salty caramel flavour, the sponge was light and soft, and the dark chocolate icing was melt in the mouth divine. I really enjoyed every bite!

I'm linking this recipe up with We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.

And with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

And Cook Blog Share hosted by Sneaky Veg.

And Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too.

NB. I have received the subscription to Baking Heaven free of charge, all opinions are my own.

print recipe

Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Chestnut Yule Log
  • 3 Eggs
  • 175g Caster sugar
  • 50g Plain flour
  • 25g Cocoa powder
  • 110g Butter
  • 150g Dark chocolate
  • 350ml Double cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 200g Chestnuts
  • 3 tbsp + more for dusting Icing sugar
  • 1 Cadburys Flake Bar
  • 3 sprigs of Redcurrants
Grease and line a lipped 33x23cm baking trayWhisk up the eggs with 75g of the caster sugar in an electric food mixer for 8 minutes until it has trebled in sizeSieve the plain flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and then fold it into the egg mixturePoured the batter into the lined tray and tip it to spread the mixture out into each cornerBake it on 190C/170C Fan/Gas Mark 3 for 12 minutes. Immediately tip it out onto a clean sheet of baking paper and roll it up, rolling the clean sheet of baking paper with it. Leave it to cool fullyMake the chocolate icing by putting 150ml of the double cream, 30g of the butter and dark chocolate in a pan and gently heating it until it all melts together. Put it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutesFor the filling start by making a caramel. Put 100g of the caster sugar into a frying pan and leave it without stirring until it is golden and bubblingThen add 80g of the butter, 50ml of the double cream, the vanilla extract and the salt and quickly mix them in using a whiskPour the caramel into a bowl, added the chestnuts and whiz it up into a smooth paste using a hand blender. Let it cool to room temperatureWhip up 150ml of the double cream with the icing sugar, then folded it into the cooled caramel and chestnut mixtureUnroll the sponger and spread the caramel filling all over it evenly, then roll the sponge back up carefullyTake the chocolate icing out of the fridge and spread it all over the roll. You want this to be quite rough as the roll is meant to look like a logBash up 1 flake bar and sprinkled it all over the wet icing. Put it back in the fridge to setFinish the Yule Log by adding some redcurrants and dusting it with icing sugar

Sunday, 13 November 2016

The Cake & Bake Show 2016

I recently went to The Cake & Bake Show in association with Argos at Event City in Manchester. It's the show's second year at Event City, and also it's second year of extending it's run from 3 to 4 days. Last year after a change in event organisers, the show was much smaller and I was a bit disappointed with it. I was very glad to see they have upped their game this year! The place was packed with exhibitors, demo stages and gorgeous cake displays.

I attended the show with my friend Beth and we started our day watching Benjamina demo a Pistachio, Lemon and Cardamom cake on the super theatre stage. I was really excited to see her as she is one of my favourite contestants from this year's Great British Bake Off. I loved how pretty she made all of her bakes look throughout the show and even working quickly on the demo stage she still pulled off a gorgeous bake!

Benjamina also talked about how she'd love to release a book one day - and I hope she does! She told the crowd how her and the other bakers from this year all have a Whatsapp group and they talk to each other almost every day.

And this was the gorgeous cake that she produced, the recipe for a loaf version of this cake is available on the BBC Food website. To jazz it up like she did, double the recipe, bake it in sandwich tins, and decorate with cream cheese frosting, edible flowers and edible glitter.

We went for a wander round the exhibitor stands. I was really impressed with Mr D's Pie Machine, how awesome is their stand?! It really stood out and had such a unique look.

The Sunday Girl's gorgeous retro aprons really caught my eye, plus they even do kids versions - so cute!


I couldn't miss the gigantic potato rostis and potato cakes being sold by the Piece of Cake Bakery, I'm regretting not going back to buy some of these amazing treats!


These impeccable cupcakes were on offer from Candy's Cupcakes and I thought they looked gorgeous.

The Gorgeous Ventures taught me what puff puffs are, and my waistline is not going to thank me! They are an African snack made by deep frying balls of cake dough flavoured with ginger or banana and damn are they good!

I adore Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and their stand was selling packs of 2 half pound cups for only £5! Such a bargain considering I saw them on another stall for £13. They are a limited edition for Christmas and would surely make any Reese's fan very happy on Christmas day!

I bumped into the lovely Benjamina and had to grab a photo! I was so nervous, but she was lovely and so nice. She is a fellow blogger too, check out her blog Carrot & Crumb.

We wandered over into the Ideal Home Show, which is connected to The Cake & Bake Show and you can access it with the same ticket. We grabbed some lunch from La Raclette, above is Beth's cheese smothered potatoes with gherkins.

Then we grabbed a warm apple strudel drink from this fab red bus bar. It was a mixture of Malibu, apple juice and cinnamon, and it was delicious. Christmas was in full swing at the Ideal Home Show with twinkling Christmas trees dotted all around.

Back at The Cake & Bake Show super theatre we checked out GBBO 2015 winner Nadia as she made za'tar and lemon palmiers, and coconut macarons. She was very chatty and friendly to the crowd and talked a lot about her children. She also admitted to using ready made puff pastry, which I thought was great as it really is such a time saver.

And the famous Nadia facial expressions were in full swing!

I did a bit of shopping and grabbed these cute gingerbread sprinkles, and some pump action glitter spray from The Cake Decorating Company. I discovered this glitter spray at John Whaite's Kitchen Cookery School recently and I wanted some straight away. I got it in all three colours (gold, silver and red) as it was 3 for £12!

There was a stunning display of Beatrix Potter characters made from sugarcraft to look at. It was made by The Sugar Chronicles to celebrate 150 years since Beatrix Potter was born.

It really brought back memories from my childhood of reading the books. The Tale of Benjamin Bunny was one of my favourite stories.

The characters were all stunningly recreated in sugar craft and the detail was superb, from the eyelashes on the rabbits, to the tiny woodlice and rocks in the grass around them.

I introduced Beth to Sugar & Crumbs amazing flower nozzles that create the stunning designs above so easily. We watched a demonstration and her mind was blown!

I got some fudge from The Kilted Fudge Company last year and I was back for more this year as their fudge is fantastic! Honestly the best fudge I've ever tasted.

There was some amazing competition cakes on display that we gazed in awe at. The theme was fairytales and I also saw several mermaid themed cakes.

The detail on these cakes is so beautiful!

And the day ended with watching Rosemary Schrager and sitting behind these fab four - Val, Rav, Benjamina and Louise from The Great British Bake Off. They are holding my friend Beth's baby in the above photo! I had such a fun day at the show and it was great to see it back on form after last year's hiccup. I'm looking forward to next year already!

I'm linking this post up with Brilliant Blog Posts hosted by Honest Mum.