Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Speculaas biscuit recipe



























When I was a child my parents took me on numerous holidays to Holland. My Mum's best friend lived there and we took advantage of her extra beds to explore the Lowlands. We frolicked in the waves of Bergen Aan Zee, buried my Dad in the sand, ate chips with mayonnaise (very exotic) and when we were tired out, we traipsed up to the cafe on stilts for a hot chocolate. I always found it very exciting that not only did the hot chocolate arrive with lashings of whipped cream (and the proper stuff, not squirted from a can) but nestling on one side of the cup would be a little red plastic packet. Gingerly tearing it open, I would immediately be assailed with the overwhelming fragrance of speculaas. This ever-so-foreign mix of spices had a taste that as a child of the 70's growing up in England I just couldn't place. It was so much more than cinnamon, and not at all like the traditional gingerbread flavours that I was more used to, it was the taste of holidays.
















So when The Speculaas Spice Company asked if I would like to try their spice mix, I jumped at the chance.
I wanted to create a biscuit that would take me back to those childhood days in  Holland so I used this method to create my own molds. I made small rectangular mold with pretty detailing, just like the original biscuits of my childhood.


 Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 90g light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 4 teaspoons speculaas spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • 225g plain flour

Method:
  1. Place the sugar, syrup, spice, vanilla and salt in a pan and bring to the boil, take the pan off the heat.
  2. Add the butter and stir until melted.
  3. Dissolve the bicarb with a tablespoon of water and add it to the pan mix.
  4. Pour the mix into a bowl and add the flour.
  5. Stir together until you have formed a dough.
  6. Wrap the dough in kitchen film and chill for at least an hour.
  7. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 2mm, cut out the same rectangular shape that you used for the mold and press into the mold.
  8. Place the biscuits on a baking tray covered with baking paper and chill for half an hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 175C, bake the cookies for 10-12 mins.


You can find lots of great speculaas recipes here.

xxx

Friday, 8 August 2014

Salted caramel blondies recipe (from pin to win #2)


Some time ago, whilst bimbling around Pinterest, I happened upon this recipe. Now if you are in anyway like me, you probably pin many many sticky toffee-ish syle baked goods, and you probably do no more that just look at them salivating. I decided to be a bit more proactive with this particular recipe and make it. Since then I have made it around six or seven times, and for couple of those times I even shared the goodies with friends and family. Their reactions were initially 'mmm....mmmm....mmmmmm!', closely followed by 'where can I get the recipe?'
I have to warn you before you embark on baking these blondies yourself - they are like crack! You cannot stop eating them, so make sure you have a good crowd coming over to help you, or you may find yourself slipping in to a diabetic coma.
I have tweaked the initial recipe a little (mostly to add more caramel!) You will find that you are left with half a pot of the caramel sauce, but hey that's no tragedy right?

Recipe


To make the caramel sauce, put the water in the pan first, then add the sugar. Place the pan on a low to medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. DO NOT STIR!!! If you stir it the syrup will turn crumbly and fudgey. If you want to you can swirl the water and sugar around the pan a few times. When the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and boil rapidly until the syrup turns a darkish golden brown. Take the pan off the heat and add the cream. You may find it bubbles up a bit so be careful. If you find that the caramel is a bit lumpy then return it to the heat and stir until smooth, add the salt and stir in well. Leave the caramel to cool slightly,









Preheat the oven to 175 C. Lin a 9" square tin. Beat together the butter and the sugars. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the dough to the tin, and smooth it over with a palette knife,


Pour in enough of the caramel to cover the dough but leave a 2cm gap around the edge. Add the remaining dough, I find it helpful to add it in small spoonfuls over the surface of the caramel.


Smooth over the surface and then scatter a pinch of sea salt over the top of the dough. Bake for 30 mins until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the blondies to cool down in the tin, then place the tin in the fridge for an hour, before cutting into pieces. Eat until you pass out!


I hope that you find these blondies as delicious as I do. You can download a printable version of the recipe here.



xxx

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Styled shoots

I have been very lucky to be involved in some fabulous styled shoots recently, it's hard to have to wait to show you all the cakes I made until the shoots go live, but I can now show you these few.





First up is something a bit different for me...well to be honest when I am asked to participate in a styled shoot I always try to use it as an opportunity to create something I might never normally have the chance to. I had pinned this picture some time ago, and I kept returning to it. I really wanted to create an abstract cake with lots of colour and texture. I showed the Pin to Erica from Mr and Mrs Unique, she thought a cake in that style would be perfect for her shoot at Tunnels beach in Devon...and she was right. You can see the whole shoot here.


I made this cake for a wedding fair, it was inspired by the James Taylor song 'Shower The People You Love with Love', one of my favourite songs of all time. When Erica from Mr and Mrs Unique saw it she knew that it would be perfect for a Summery shoot she had in mind. I made some cookie favours to go with the cake. You can see the rest of the gorgeous shoot here.

Co-ordination & Styling: Erica @ Mr & Mrs Unique
Models: Becky & Edd
Table & Marquee Styling: White Button Weddings
Flowers: Basement Florist
Cake and Biscuits: Nevie-Pie Cakes
Stationery: Style & Joy
Hair & make up: Dollie Mixtures





This final cake is one I made for Sweet Magazine. I was asked by Fay Cahill (she was the guest editor) to create a cake in blush with ranunculous. I had had the idea to do a cake based on peeling wallpaper for a while and I knew that this was the perfect opportunity. If you are in Australia or New Zealand you can buy a copy of the magazine from your local newsagents or if you live further afield you can download a copy here.
Photography - Sharon Cooper

I shall be back soon with more cakey goodness!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Cakey catch up

It has been some time, I know, since I shared my recent cakes with you. So this post my have to come in two parts! Unfortunately one of the downsides from my business Nevie-Pie Cakes doing so well is that I have less and less time to blog, which is one of my absolute pleasures in life. Hopefully now that the Summer holidays are here I will get a little bit more time to keep you up to date, but I'm not making any promises!



This cake was for an art deco themed wedding with a portrait topper of the bride and groom. I had a really lovely email from the bride about her cake. 'Thank you so much for our beautiful wedding cake! It looked absolutely stunning and tasted delicious - the lemon sponge with passionfruit curd worked really well and made for a summery and unusual dessert. We almost couldn't bear to cut it but had a small army of very over-excited children egging us on! It was a real pleasure to work with you throughout the design process and your attention to detail and skill made all my ideas for the cake come to life.'


This was a dummy cake made for a monochrome themed photoshoot. you can see the whole shoot on the Bespoke Bride Blog

This cake was based on the couples wedding stationary and their flowers. It was a little bit stressful as I was on holiday the week of their wedding, but they really wanted a cake made by me. So we made lots of testers and came up with a cake that would still taste fresh two weeks after being made. I was relieved to hear after the wedding that the cake was perfect and tasted great,













































A vintage style cake, again based on the wedding flowers, ranunculus and anenomes.
xxxx