Tuesday, 24 June 2014

BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Show launches campaign to find London’s Best Bakery 2014

The BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Show team have launched a campaign to find and crown London’s 'Best'Bakery' 2014 and are asking the public along with a panel of expert judges to choose the winner. 

Coinciding with the launch of the first BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Show, and in conjunction with BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Magazine, the show team are scouring London to find the very best bakeries. Combining public voting, mystery shopping and a panel of expert judges the show will crown one exceptional bakery as London’s best.

Katy Truss, artisan food expert, who is managing the competition on behalf of the BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Show says about the campaign…

“London is full of amazing bakeries, and with ‘real bread’ and artisan producers more popular than ever, I'm sure that with the help of London’s food lovers we’ll uncover some real gems. It’s a fabulous way of giving recognition to those going the extra mile, mindfully sourcing their ingredients, engaging with their community, and above all selling high quality bakes and cakes.”

Nominations from the general public, customers, suppliers and the bakeries themselves will be taken on the show website (www.bbcgoodfoodbakesandcakesshow.com). Public voting will then take place online, resulting in a shortlist of the 10 most popular bakeries. This shortlist will be mystery shopped by a panel of baking bloggers and visited and reviewed by experts and the show team. Judges will then agree on the final three bakeries, and the winner will be announced and presented with their trophy at the show.

Judges will include:

• Helen Barker-Benfield - BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Editor
• Tim Kinnaird – MasterChef UK Finalist and chef owner of the award winning Macarons and More
• Katy Truss - Fabulous Food Finds
• Members of the BBC Good Food editorial team
• Members of the BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Show team  

The BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Show team will also consult an advisory panel which will include experts such as Chris Young of The Real Bread Campaign.

Judging Criteria
Bakeries will be judged on the following aspects of their business:

• Customer Service
• Community Involvement and Interaction
• Quality and Range of Produce
• Location and Accessibility
• Atmosphere, Layout and Shopping Experience
• Ingredients – Quality and Sourcing Policy

Nominations can be made at www.bbcgoodfoodbakesandcakesshow.com

Monday, 23 June 2014

Tapas Revolution with Omar Allibhoy at Letihs Cookery School

If you're new to reading my blog you might not know this but, I am a HUGE fan of Spanish food.... 

When I received an email from Leiths Cookery School advertising the upcoming workshop with Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution, I grabbed a friend and booked us on to the very next course.

Since his arrival to the UK, Omar has been surprised and frustrated by the lack of Spanish restaurants compared to other notable cuisines. He also could not understand why more people were not cooking his beloved food in their homes. He decided it was up to him to do something about this and the idea of the Tapas Revolution was born. He told us how he drew a big 'T' (for Tapas) on a map of the UK and set out on his bike travelling along the 'T' to cook for people he met along the way. Now, with restaurants in Westfield, Bluewater and many more in the pipeline, Omar is destined to put Tapas on the UK map.

The Workshop

First up, Omar demonstrated a super quick and easy Blackberry cheesecake which would later be our pudding. A quick whizz in the blender, pour into the tin, drop in some blackberries and bake for an hour or so... 

Next, we made a deliciously fresh Watermelon Gazpacho. Sent off to the fridge to chill for later.

A beautiful dish of Bacalao en salsa verde (cod with peas and parsley)

One of my absolute favourite tapa... Pan con Ajo y Tomate - simply griddled slices of bread rubbed with garlic, squished tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Another favourite... Gambas al ajillo

Our delicious feast... Washed down with big glasses of Omar's special (and ever so boozy) Sangria!

I've been to cookery schools before where we do our own clearing down between each course, which is fine, but at Leiths we had a small army of helpers who were constantly clearing, washing and setting up for the next course. Apart from a couple of instances where ingredients weren't quite ready for us, the staff were extremely attentive and helpful and made the day even more enjoyable.

It was such a fabulous day, I truly enjoyed cooking from the book with the man himself!!

All recipes can be found in Omar's Tapas Revolution book which is available in good book shops and online.

Disclosure: I was not approached nor paid to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Nielsen-Massey Rose Water cupcakes

I was recently sent some sample bottles of Nielsen-Massey extracts and flavours to try. Already a fan and having used their extracts for some time, I was more than happy to create and share some delicious recipes.

Nielsen-Massey have been crafting the world's finest vanillas and flavours since 1907. Founded by Richard Massey, who later partnered with Chatfield Nielsen, Sr, the company is still a family-owned operation run by the third generation of Nielsen. Having grown up with the company and amidst the rich aroma of vanilla, they've spent their entire lives learning, studying and researching the best methods to produce pure flavours as well as how to achieve the best results in recipes and applications.
The company now possesses state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities at its headquarters in Waukegan, Illinois, USA and its plant in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. Their products are enjoyed by restaurant and bakery chefs, manufacturers of premium foods, gourmet food shops and grocers and discriminating home consumers looking to enhance their fine cooking and baking.

 Recipe for delicate Rose Water cupcakes
  • Cupcake
  • 110g/4oz butter, softened at room temperature
  • 110g/4oz caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 110g/4oz self-raising flour
  • Frosting
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 140g/5oz butter, softened
  • 280g/10oz icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • a few drops of Nielsen-Massey Rose Water
  • handful of crystallised rose petals for decoration

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and stir in the Rose Water
  3. Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon, adding a little milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until they are half full
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  5. For the frosting, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
  6. Then add the remaining icing sugar with one tablespoon of the milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  7. Add the Rose Water and mix until well combined.
  8. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe the icing using a spiralling motion onto the cup cakes in a large swirl.
  9. Add a few crystallised rose petals to the frosted cupcake
Happy baking xx