rhubarb, rosewater + cardamom custard tart

^say that 3-times fast, drunk, and I’ll bake you one of these ūüėČRhubarb, rosewater and cardamom custard tart | Tolley BakesAs with most of my baked goods, this tart started with a challenging new ingredient: Mum brought me a bottle of rosewater when she and Dad came to visit a few weekends ago, and I had no idea what to do with it. Pinterest is always a good place to start for inspiration, but most of the rosewater combinations on it involved raspberries {hello, it’s March, not gonna happen} or pistachios {woah there –¬†two unfamiliar ingredients was a step too far}. ¬†The other ingredient it was paired with was rhubarb, so that was that.

Rhubarb ready for roasting | Tolley BakesRoasted rhubarb syrup | Tolley BakesI hail from God’s Own County – i.e. Yorkshire – where we have God’s Own Rhubarb Triangle; a trio of country towns where the majority of the nation’s forced rhubarb is grown around this time of year. I was hoping to get some in the supermarket, shopping seasonally and all that, but all I could find was rhubarb from the Netherlands. Frustrating, particularly as if I’d been at home, I could have gone and got rhubarb from the garden, let alone the Triangle.

Cardamom pastry, all rolled out | Tolley BakesRoast Rhubarb | Tolley BakesBut anyway, foodie first world problems aside, the little I knew about rosewater was that it is typically used in Middle Eastern cuisine. To amp up those flavours I also used some ground cardamom in the pastry, because I have an open packet that never seems to end {see also: chai spiced rolls; cardamom + chocolate brioche rolls; cardamom + orange blondies}.  Continue reading

the sourdough diary

sourdough-loaf-24sourdough-loaf-22Grab yourself a cup of tea because this is gonna be a long one.

So I knew sourdough was not going to be a ‘knock it up in a few hours’ job. But oh. my. days. One loaf of bread basically took me a week to make.

Granted, the raw ingredients are cheap and easy to find. All you need is flour, water and salt, and to make something as satisfying as a loaf of fresh bread bread with just those ingredients is a feat in itself. It’s also worth noting that your actual ‘hands on’ time is minimal, even though the start-to-end¬†process takes so damn long.¬†sourdough-loaf-26The thing that differentiates sourdough bread from conventional bread-making is that you don’t add yeast. This isn’t to say that yeast isn’t used, but the yeast is wild i.e. you just have to make a little home for it and it moves right in of its own accord.¬† Continue reading

mint slice cupcakes

mint-slice-6mint-slice-10mint-slice-7Happy Australia Day! ūüź®

Always feels incongruous to be celebrating a day that should be full of summer sunshine, barbecues, beaches and beer with one that is frosty, dark and foggy. The heating is on and I am huddled in a blanket as I type this but I’m thinking summery thoughts!¬†mint-slice-3 Continue reading

mini pandan chiffon cakes

pandan-chiffon-cakes-7pandan-chiffon-cakes-9OK. So, the sentence above may not have made any sense to you. That’s alright. Let’s clear some of that mess of words up.

Pandan = an Indonesian version of vanilla. BUT BETTER BECAUSE IT MAKES EVERYTHING BRIGHT GREEN. Ahem. Sorry.

Chiffon cake = the lightest cake you’ve ever picked up.¬†It’s like eating a washing-up sponge, but obviously much tastier {although can’t say I’ve tried a washing-up sponge}.¬†

Mini = well, hopefully you’re alright on that one.pandan-chiffon-cakes-4 Continue reading

funfetti cookies

funfetti-cookies-1Hello and a happy New Year to you! If you’re looking for healthy-eating inspo, you ain’t gonna find it here…funfetti-cookies-4I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on Instagram a little while ago hosted by the¬†awesome¬†Crumbs & Doilies¬†cupcakery in London. They told me they would send me a tea towel, a notebook, and some vouchers. Excitement levels were pretty much through the roof, let me tell ya, because I never win things. {My only proof being that¬†I’ve been entering KitchenAid giveaways for years, with no success ūüėČ }

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the year in review

So¬†my dad asked me¬†to see if I could do a round-up of all the posts I published this year, and not being one to back down from a challenge,¬†let’s have a gander, shall we?

This year I actually took my camera outside and started my Favourite Places series, taking you round a few of my favourite haunts in Bristol: Anna Cake Couture, Boston Tea Party and Bar Chocolat.

I always like a good celebration cake, and I started the year with a knitting-themed carrot cake¬†for my then-housemate Ellen and¬†ended it with a¬†salted caramel and chocolate cake¬†for my¬†now-housemate Alex. There was also a rich, chocolate¬†Valentine’s Cake¬†which featured my first go at Italian meringue buttercream, and a Katherine Sabbath-inspired¬†watercolour drip layer cake¬†which used it too alongside an array of food colouring and lollies from the sweet shop. Continue reading