Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Pecan Chocolate Chip Blondies

I purchase an irrelevant (read, near invisible) quantity of flour made from ground nuts or dehydrated coconut. I also find it really difficult to substitute grainy sugar for agave syrup in recipes and come out the other end with risen and delicious goods. A few weeks ago I bought chia seeds and soaked them in almond milk overnight with a bit of sweetened coconut - in the morning I was close to throwing up.  

I’m not busting the balls of healthy eating though, a few weeks ago I posted a recipe for ice cream made of dairy free milk sweetened with a natural liquid sugar and filled with the chewy, somewhat inedible remnants of steeped cocoa nibs. When it comes to putting these ingredients in the oven so that they meld together to produce something physically and sensually similar to a brownie filled with refined sugar and cocoa butter, sorry, white chocolate, I seriously struggle. And yet, dairy ruins my bowels but coffee is dishwater without cow's milk.
Even though I cant bake with flax seed, I have an obsession with Whole Foods, which is massively inconvenient because I live in the annoying bit of London where the closest you’ll get to Whole Foods is Holland and Barrett. A few weeks ago I was taken on a tour of London’s flagship Whole Foods store in Kensington, it had three floors and the moment I walked in I could have sworn I was in a huge retail park in a remote bit of land somewhere in New England. 
After the tour I peered over their chief baker Angela’s shoulder for an hour whilst she iced cakes in that classic, slightly retro decorative way you’d find on sheet cakes that only exist in America/Australia (why?). We spoke endlessly about the pastry at Whole Foods, (whilst I was excited, she was probably cringing) and surprisingly, she tells me that their healthier alternatives are the least popular sellers in the store, apart from the chia seed pudding (god knows why). This little snippet of information stays with me until later, when my lovely tour guide and the woman I moan to about the lack of Whole Foods in my part of town, tells me how people often misinterpret the company as only selling health foods when in fact they're all about selling quality organic food. 

My point is, you don't have to be a health conscious hipster, or have diet restrictions, or be a hipster pretending to have diet restrictions, to enjoy Whole Foods. The wheat flour selection is just...just... Yes. 
So I've made these incredibly indulgent, almost-too-buttery blondies to celebrate dairy, wheat and too much sugar, even though it gives me a bad stomach because a) I'm stupid and b) the health alternatives at Whole Foods don't sell in smaller numbers for no reason (in London, that is). 
* I was not paid to write this. I approached Whole Foods myself and asked to bombard their kitchen and write about them, cos I love it.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Black Tea Velvet Cake

The car was vibrating, I was doing 40mph on an A road and there was this cake slash frosting tower sitting (rather unhygienically) on my passenger seat floor. I don’t think cars are supposed to shake at 40, but I’ll let mine off on the grounds of my horrific driving which has likely caused the thing a number of car-health related issues. Hannah from The Littlest Bakehouse and I are driving to Manchester from London in August for the Cake Hunter’s wedding (!!!), so this is my pre-warning to you both that we MAY not make it alive. 
Just a few fruit fell from the frankly pointless blueberry volcano I decided to fancifully pile the cake with. When I parked up, I quickly glued the bluebs back into place with icing, before the boyf jumped in and we made our way to Street Feast in Lewisham to celebrate his 24th day of birth. Suffice to say, he shortly followed with “Did you glue the blueberries on with icing by any chance?” (Face-palm). 
I never got to properly eat a slice of the cake, but he said it tasted pretty darn good, and we’ve been together since the exact birth of this blog - cue explanation as to why that is relevant…. Also I dipped syrupy offcuts into leftover icing ;)

We are that cringy ‘red velvet cake on Valentines’ couple. But last year, the Malteser chocolate malt cake I made on his birthday leaned to the left like a condensed leaning tower of Pisa performing a drag act. So I went with our valentine’s tradition but I cut out the food colouring, because the entire bottle, which is needed for a “proper” red velv, gives the cake a really noticeable sour tang. And regardless of the childish excitement a brilliant red cake instils in me to this day, I can no longer handle that tang.  

In with the tealeaves! The tea flavour is faint in this ‘tea velvet’, perhaps slightly masked by the cocoa powder, but we much prefer it to food colouring flavour. 

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