Hurrah for Autumn! It is easily my favourite season, no contest. You can keep your sweaty Summer days that make my fringe stick to my forehead thanks. Spring days where I always manage to under or overdress thus resulting in either being hot and bothered or freezing and bitter, nah, not for me. Winter is just cold and bleak plus it’s just so far away from the next Autumn! Give me crisp mornings where I want to set my alarm 10 minutes earlier just to give me snuggle time, crunchy leaves and the long-awaited emergence of my coat wardrobe (I have a weak spot for vintage coats. Last year, I had 5 different ones on rotation. A girl can never have too many coats. Fact.). The food is also far superior, so long salads, see you next year! It’s pumpkin season. I feel this chunky bright orange monstrosity is often just viewed as a Halloween accessory to be carved out and cast aside yet the flesh is so delicious. It is naturally quite sweet, the same as a butternut squash for those who haven’t chowed down on one before (they are from the same family of vegetables. A pumpkin is basically a giant squash.) and lends itself perfectly to baking.
I have found myself with an awful lot of unexpected extra time on my hands recently. You move to London and think to yourself PARTY TIME! I’m going to be a socialite, out for post work drinkies every evening, shimmying from the latest cool rooftop bar to the next uber cool cocktail bar in Dalston. It will be amazing. I will be rubbing shoulders with Alexa Chung and Nick Grimshaw no doubt! I quickly realised this would not be the case. Not when buying two drinks will set you back over a tenner (or in one particular public house which will remain nameless, I was charged £16 for two vodka sodas. £16!!!!!!!!!! That was my entire food budget for the week gone). And everyone works crazy hours. And so my unexpected extra time has been spent being creative, I’ve thrown myself back into this blogging lark, I’ve had the sewing machine out (I made my housemate Eilis a laundry bag out of some unused 1970’s pillowcases for her birthday. I know, I know, just too cool…) and took my camera out and about. I love to have a feeling of purpose with my spare time, it doesn’t feel like a wasted afternoon when I have some amazing photos or a patchwork quilt to show for it. So actually, Alexa and Nick, you can keep your latest pop up bar, I’ve got a hot date with the sewing machine.
Sometimes, I have oodles of ideas spinning around in my mind for cakes. And then other days, meh, not so much. I was struggling a bit this week after spending the past couple of weeks lost in a blur of market stall planning. What shall I bake? What price should I charge? Will anyone buy my cakes? What font should I use on my banners? (For new readers, I will be launching my first market stall in Ascot on 18th October!) I think I have a good list of cakes I am going to bake, a nice selection of vegan and gluten free with one or two ‘normal’ cakes, perhaps a couple of cookie options too. Whilst making the shortlist of possible bakes, I revisited some old recipes from this blog and rediscovered these delightful gluten free pistachio and carrot cupcakes! I posted them over a year ago and since then my photography skills have come on in leaps and bounds. Since I was lacking in ideas, I though I would try them again but with way better photographs and wow, they did not disappoint! So much so, they made it onto my final list for market day!
Hey y’all! I’m baaaack! I’ve had a bit of a mental couple of weeks so unfortunately, the baking has had to take a back seat. Sad face. For my fourth year, I headed off for the wild green fields of Glastonbury. I spent almost a week washing using baby wipes, going to sleep with the bass vibrating the floor from a giant fire breathing mechanical spider from the field next door and waking up every morning to the sound of someone doing a sound check. It is such a magical place but also incredibly hard work, you need another week off when you get back just to recover! I watched Pharell, Lionel, Years and Years (AMAZING) and Paul Weller to name just a few. There is something there for everybody and would recommend it to almost anyone. I recently decided to move down south as well which coincided gloriously with Glasto as the day I returned from Somerset, I had to start packing my life into boxes! Eugh. So last weekend I trundled my stuff all the way to the bottom of the M40 to start again as a Southerner. The most exciting part of all is that my new pad has a brand spanking new double oven *swoon*.
These little lovelies I made for a garden party I went to today, my brothers girlfriends parents threw a Summer (the sun made a brief appearance..) BBQ and I obviously couldn’t turn up empty handed. I spent hours making a brown sugar custard tart with roasted strawberries. Being a smart arse I didn’t bother to read the recipe and rather too late realised the pastry had to rest for 4 hours, then roll, then rest again for 2 hours, then blind bake for 40 minutes (at this point I went to bed, I needed resting as well as the pastry), allow to cool completely, make the custard, back in the oven for 40 minutes…. Phew! It tasted ahmazing but anything which involved 13 egg yolks and 700ml of double cream would do I guess. I also whipped up a simple white chocolate and raspberry sponge and these gluten free courgette and coconut cupcakes.
It is 8.30pm on a Friday night and I am already tucked up in bed as I type. Yes, I know it is just not cool but work this week has been so full on that I am exhausted, pooped, absolutely shattered! It has been super exciting week with Le Creuset, me and my team set up new concessions in London plus had a big meeting with John Lewis in their buying offices (which were so amazing, decorated with their old 1950’s adverts, so so stylish). I have some more store set ups next week and then, the day I have been waiting for, the Le Creuset cookery course! I get paid to spend the day cooking and baking with the most amazing cook wear and I will be posting all about it on here, obvs. As much as I have loved the past few weeks, I have been so busy and away from home so much that I have hardly been able to bake (boo). The longer I go without baking, the longer the list of my ‘must bake’ gets! Sometimes I will be out and get inspired at a local café of new ingredient combination or I will see a great Instagram picture of a new decorating idea and feel a buzz of excitement and the feeling of ‘OMG-must-get-home-right-now-to-bake-before-I-forget-this-life-changing-idea’. Due to this I often end up baking mid-week aswell as a couple of weekend bakes but not so much any more. I guess you might like to know what is next on my must bake list? Well, as much I would like to tell you, I’d rather you come back next week to find out!
Woooooah! Parsnip? In a cake? Are you for real? Yes, I am totes real. Don’t chicken out on baking this one, it is a taste revelation and you will never look at a parsnip in the same way again. Whilst plotting blog bakes for the past couple of weeks, I noticed that I naturally gravitate towards the same flavours all the time. I’m a sucker for my favourite white chocolate, walnuts, raspberries, vanilla and coconut, regular readers of the blog will know that I have used these in a lot of recipes on here and the last thing I want to become is predictable, yawn. So here I am, thinking outside the box, pushing more cake boundaries and living life on the edge of a cake tin. There is def something smugly satisfying aswell about producing something that tastes lush from something that really shouldn’t, just like last weeks bake of beetroot chocolate cake (http://www.hollylovescake.com/2014/08/beetroot-chocolate-cake-with-vanilla-cream-cheese-icing/) or my courgette and lemon cake (http://www.hollylovescake.com/2014/04/courgette-lemon-and-poppy-seed-cake/). Using vegetables makes a cake super moist and creates a much closer crumb, this is not a light, airy cake. No fluffyness here! Just lush, squidgy, spiced delightfulness.