Profiteroles: Ferrero Rocher inspired

Chocolate and Hazelnut Profiteroles

Chocolate and Hazelnut Profiteroles

This is round two of the profiteroles adventure after the success of yesterday’s mid week dessert of profiteroles I wanted to try a new flavour.

Rooting around the cupboards I found a jar of Nutella and thought about my favourite chocolates- Ferrero Rocher!

Just by combining a couple of table spoons of the naughty hazelnut chocolate spread with the whipped cream and toasting a handful of hazelnuts, the standard profiterole was transformed into a double chocolate heavenly dessert…

Chocolate and Hazelnut Profiteroles

Chocolate and Hazelnut Profiteroles

Profiteroles with Pistachio Sprinkles: mid week treat after a difficult day…

 

Profiteroles with Pistachio Sprinkles

Profiteroles with Pistachio Sprinkles

Today was a difficult day at work. Meetings back to back and all were pretty hard going! The thing I enjoy about my job is the variety that the day can bring. However it can sometimes be a little difficult to switch off and go home…

By the time I left the office at 7pm the only thought getting me through the traffic jam was the thought of the big pile of profiteroles that I could treat myself too. I think they refer to people like me as ’emotional eaters’! 🙂

Luckily I had these choux balls in the freezer from the Black Sesame Mousse Cake and the chocolate ganache left over from the Ultimate Chocolate Cake made a few days ago. The pistachios were toasted and crushed for a previous cake too! The only addition was some fresh whipped double cream with a touch of icing sugar to sweeten it up.

 

Profiteroles with Pistachio Sprinkles

Profiteroles with Pistachio Sprinkles

I reheated the choux pastry straight from frozen in the oven for five minutes then left out to cool on a rack. With the oven turned off I put the bowl of ganache in the cooling oven melt down into a sauce. Whipped cream was then piped into the balls of crisp pastry before drizzling with the ganache then sprinkled with nuts. All in all this took 10 minutes to put together and 3 minutes to eat!

And if this wasn’t the perfect end to a challenging day, there is still enough of all the ingredients to have another round of profiteroles tomorrow night! 🙂

Not bad for using up left overs…

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake!

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Chocolate cake is usually a reliable crowd pleaser, although I do know a few people who have allergies to chocolate and caffeine so this cake is definitely not for them! I can’t say that chocolate cake is my all time favourite, I often find it far too sweet and a bit too rich! But given the choice of eating a piece of chocolate cake or no cake at all, I’d take what is on offer! 🙂

I made this cake for my brother-in-law’s birthday this weekend. It was actually a second attempt as the first attempt went terribly wrong, but I’m not exactly sure why! It was very flat and However, my brother-in-law and nephew being big chocolate cake fans managed to polish off the ‘trial cake’ within a day anyway…

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I grew up eating ‘Black Forest Gateaux’ for birthday cakes. This cake ended up being very similar in flavour. I’m not sure if this decision was subconsciously or whether it was a happy ‘coincidence’ but it was well received by all anyway!

The recipe is for The Ultimate Chocolate Cake and judging by the current 864 ratings on the BBC Good Food website, its a popular and reliable recipe to go with. It’s also a very basic easy to follow recipe so a good one to fall back on when you are short on time and need something fairly quick. It’s very similar to a brownie recipe and results in a dense cake with a slight crunch on the outside.

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream, Raspberries and Cherry Compote in the middle

This is the second time I’ve made this cake, the first time was for a colleague’s birthday in the office a few months ago. It went down very well then too but I found it far too rich and sweet so this time I attempted to lighten it up by adding fresh cream and the tartness of fresh berries to try and cur through the rich dark chocolate. This was achieved to a certain extent, but I don’t think I went far enough. Feedback from the family was that more cream was needed, so I will definitely remember this for next time! The fruit was a welcomed addition and again I would add a lot more next time…

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

I have a confession to make with this cake… The nice little pile of raspberries that were delicately placed in the middle of the cake didn’t stay there for long. When packing into the cake carrier, I found the cake was too high and the lid did not fit, so I ate all the raspberries off the top to make it fit! It only occurred to me later on that I could have put the extra raspberries into a container to add them later on, but by then it was already too late! 🙂

Previous baking adventures: cakes, tarts, cookies and muffins etc.

Cookie monster cupcakes

Cookie monster cupcakes

Compared to some experienced bloggers, I am still fairly new to the food blogging world. However my love of baking and taking photos of the results started long ago! I usually take pictures of my cakes and bakes with my camera phone then post pictures on Facebook (hence the poor quality of my photos!). I was looking through all these photos and found things I had long forgotten I’d baked!

I’ve decided to collate the ones I could find pictures of, some have turned out well and some not so well but it shows a range of what I like to bake.

I went through a phase of making cupcakes for a while, so they feature heavily and my attempts at macarons have been a little questionable. Some bakers like to use the same recipes over and over again, perfecting it to their tastes. I’m not one of these bakers! I like to go by cooking books and flick through the lovely pictures then I get my recipes on line where people have commented on how to improve recipes.

These bakes have been for a variety of events spanning around 5 years! Usually for birthdays, as gifts, for charity fundraisers or afternoon tea parties. Each picture brings back memories of the occasion it was baked for and I can even remember what they tasted like!

Maybe one day I will find the time to collate all these recipes into my own personal cook book so that I can go back to them when needed, as often I can’t find the recipes again!

Fig and frangipane tart

Fig and frangipane tarts: using up left over figs

Almond Slices

Almond Slices: dessert for family meal

Raspberry macarons

Raspberry macarons: These won me first prize in a charity’bake off’!

Ice cream cone cupcakes

Ice cream cone cupcakes: office party

Chocolate macarons with passionfruit cream

Chocolate macarons with passion fruit cream: made for a friend’s Christmas gift

Elderflower meringue santa hats

Elderflower meringue Santa hats: part of a ‘secret Santa’ gift for a colleague

Ghostly meringue cupcakes

Ghostly meringue cupcakes: Halloween themed office party

Black Forest Cupcakes

Black Forest Cupcakes: gift when visiting a friend

Baileys chocoloate cupcakes and scones

Baileys chocoloate cupcakes and scones: part of an afternoon tea party I hosted

Eton Mess

Eton Mess: these gorgeous espresso cups were a gift for my 30th Birthday

Cardamom and hazelnut cookies

Cardamom and hazelnut cookies: afternoon tea party

Macarons with chocolate ganache and mini cupcakes with fresh raspberry

Macarons with chocolate ganache and mini cupcakes with fresh raspberry: another afternoon tea party!

Ugandan coffee and ground nut cupcakes

Ugandan coffee and ground nut cupcakes: raising funds for a friend’s charity building schools in Uganda

Cookie monster cupcakes: My nephew’s 1st Birthday party
Mini cupcakes: Coconut, Hazlenut, Blueberry

Mini cupcakes: Coconut, Hazelnut, Blueberry: experimenting for as part of a Wedding afternoon tea buffet

Melting moments: shortbread with butter cream and jam filling

Melting moments: shortbread with butter cream and jam filling: trying out two toned piping on cookies for a staff meeting

Shortbread cookies filled with jam and butter cream

Shortbread cookies filled with jam and butter cream: treats for the family

Chocolate Roulade

Chocolate Roulade: Dessert for a family meal

Nutella cupcakes with raspberry

Nutella cupcakes with raspberry: treats for colleagues

Hazelnut cupcakes with nutella frosting

Hazelnut cupcakes with nutella frosting: treats for family

Carrot and Walnut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and Lemon cupcake

Carrot and Walnut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and Lemon cupcake: Charity bake sale

Spinach and Cheese muffins

Spinach and Cheese muffins: Friend’s afternoon tea party

American style buttermilk and mixed berries muffins

American style buttermilk and mixed berries muffins: experimenting with buttermilk

Chewy chocolate chip cookies

Chewy chocolate chip cookies: Trying to make ‘Millies style’ cookies

Coconut Cake

Birthdays are the perfect excuse to eat cake, forget about the presents! As long as cake is part of the (usually week long) celebrations then I’m happy.

Growing up in a household where both parents worked in the restaurant business, there was little time for baking birthday cakes. Our staple birthday cake was a ‘Sara Lee’ frozen Black Forest Gateaux or the Strawberry version, depending on which was your favourite!

To this day my favourite cake is Black Forest Cake. It brings back those feelings of joy and happiness from childhood innocence when your birthday was that day you got your favourite foods and all the family gathered to celebrate together . Now that my mum has more time on her hands, she loves to bake. For my birthday each year, she’ll ask what cake I want. And most of the time it’s the same as it’s always been!

 

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

This week it was my foodie cousin’s birthday. We planned a couple of nights out and I offered to bake the cake. This cousin is obsessed with anything coconut. Be it in a cake, a drink, coconut macaroons… So I did a quick search for recipes and found this Coconut Cake recipe.

This recipe uses coconut in four ways; toasted dessicated coconut, coconut syrup, and a coconut custard that flavours the cream filling and butter cream topping. So I wasn’t too worried about the flavours not coming through! However I was terribly confused by the measurements as it’s an American recipe and I struggled to convert the ingredients accurately. There were quite a few parts of the recipe that required some advanced preparation too so its not a cake you can just whip up in a couple of hours, but it’ll be worth it in the end!

Last Slice of Cake

Last Slice of Cake

In the end the cake was HUGE! But was well received by all. Second helpings were had and the cake was distributed across three households. All in all, another successful birthday week!

East meets west: stem ginger and pistachio chocolate brownies

 

Stem Ginger and Chocolate Brownie with Stem Ginger Ice cream

Stem Ginger and Chocolate Brownie with Stem Ginger Ice cream

Ginger is synonymous with Chinese food and is added at the end of cooking to add freshness, or at the beginning of a slow cooked casserole to add subtle spicy undertones to the dish.

I love the taste of sweetened ginger and have been thinking about how to incorporate stem ginger into a dessert that is traditionally western in style. Obviously there is the classic British dessert, steamed ginger pudding with lashings of vanilla custard and good old gingerbread men! But I wanted something richer and, ideally, involving chocolate!

I found this recipe: http://ginandcrumpets.com/brownies-with-stem-ginger/

As I was planning on serving this as the dessert for dinner with friends, I wanted it to look a more pleasing to the eye. So thought about colour and texture. As well as loving ginger, I also love any kind of nuts, so pistachio nuts would be the perfect addition!

Then to cut through the richness of the dark chocolate, I made a pistachio ice cream based on this recipe: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/741636/nochurn-ice-cream

The brownie has a nice ginger taste, but next time I think I’ll add even more to bring out the flavour. And maybe a ginger ice cream to go with it!