The combination of white chocolate and limoncello together is like crack for me. Something about the sweetness, the slight tartness, the creaminess is just addictive. It’s my go to when I want to make something fancy. These little tarts are just perfection, even if I do say so myself.
The recipe is from John Whaite Bakes, which is a great book. You might remember John winning Great British Bake Off a couple of years ago, and this book is a testament to the fact that the right man won (although my money was on James Morton, who also has a fab book about bread baking). The recipes are comforting and relatively easy to make, and most of them are things that you’ll actually eat on a regular basis – no fancy, swirly cakes only fit for special occasions, just sweet and savoury goodies that will feed your heart as well as your stomach.
I usually wouldn’t make pastry myself – I’m lazy that way – but this sweet shortcrust is so simple and since it’s not something you can easily get your hands on in the shops (a simple shortcrust just won’t do) it’s worth a little bit of extra effort.
For the pastry, you’ll need:
- 1 egg
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour
- 125g salted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
For the filling, you’ll need:
- 150g white chocolate, chopped
- 60ml double cream
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 tbsp. Limoncello
1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar and vanilla for a minute until fully combined.
2. Sift the flour into the mixture and stir together using a wooden spoon. The resulting mixture should look like small crumbs.
3. Add in the cubed butter and ‘cut in’ to the mixture using a butter knife or pastry cutter. I sometimes find using a fork as well speeds the process along.
4. Once the mixture has come together into a dough, tip onto a clean chopping board and knead gently for 30 seconds. Wrap in baking paper and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. If you leave it in for much longer than that, it may need to sit out for 5 minutes before you can roll it – mine was rock solid after 5 hours in there!
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the pastry to around 4-5mm thickness. Cut out 12 circles with a 3-inch cookie cutter.
6. Grease a cupcake tray and place the pastry circles into it. Prick the bottom of each tart with a fork. Line with baking paper and fill with baking beans (or rice if you don’t have any) and bake for 12 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and take out the paper and baking beans. Bake for a further 5 minutes and then leave to cool completely.
8. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it’s just too hot to touch. It shouldn’t boil or simmer. Stir in the zest and limoncello.
9. Place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl or jug (I find a jug easier because you can pour the filling more easily). Pour the cream over the chocolate and mix until smooth.
10. Pour into the pastry cases and leave to chill in the fridge until set. Top with extra lemon zest or a sprinkle of dark chocolate if you’re feeling fancy.
Is it just me that’s kind of glad that it’s raining today? I’ve got no plans, so I’m just going to curl up under a blanket, do some knitting and watch a Harry Potter film. I’m sure I’ll be bored of the rain come October, but it’s so much harder to have a proper lazy day when the sun is shining. This week has been kind of lazy, actually – the first proper break in a hectic summer. Of course, the big news is that Great British Bake Off is back! I’m excited about it – mostly because it feels like an excuse to make/eat baked goods on the regular. I’m cheering for Martha, for sure – even if I am jealous of teenage prodigies most of the time. On that note, have you submitted your best ever baking post to the Great British Blogger Bake Off? If not, get yourself over there now and add your link before it’s too late! You don’t have to write something new and special, just show me your buns! (And cakes and brownies and bread and doughnuts. Basically, anything made of dough). Let’s spread the baking love across the Internet!
- I want to be eating out in Dubrovnik like Becs.
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- If you’re going into your third year of University, you’ll want to read these top tips – they are full of wisdom.
- I’m always intrigued by other people’s success – if you are too, you’ll want to read how Marie Forleo grew her brand to Oprah status.
- Haagen-Dazs have shared their classic vanilla ice cream recipe.
- I’m sure you’ve all seen the outrage at American Apparel’s ‘Lolita’ skirt. This article really sums up everything that needs to be said here: Why I Regret Dressing Like a Sexy Schoolgirl.
- I am proud that I have tried all but one of the Top 40 Least Tried Foods in Britain. So now I need to seek out some goose to eat. (via Rachel)
- This article makes me want to open a restaurant: 10 Leeds Buildings That Would Make Great Restaurants. If you had a restaurant, what would it be like?
- This Twitter account is probably the funniest I’ve seen all year.
- Let’s all go to San Francisco and eat all of their baked goods. Yum.
This summer has been the most decadent time of my life. We’ve eaten like kings, drunk far too much wine, stayed up too late and generally had an excellent time. And is there anything quite as decadent as afternoon tea? A little nook of time carved out in the afternoon – when work and chores are usually prevalent – just for some indulgence. There is something wonderfully quaint about the whole process. Especially when there’s prosecco involved.
Now, you’ll know that I’m not usually one for health food – especially when it comes to cake. I would always rather eat a small slice of delicious, calorific, butter-laden cake then a hundred slices of some imitation cake made with edamame beans and sadness. However, there is a happy compromise – Filmore & Union. Set up right in the middle of the picturesque Victoria Quarter to provide the people of Leeds with super juices and other such nourishment, I was surprisingly delighted by their afternoon tea – which was, relatively speaking, quite healthy.
What arrived at our table was three tiers laden with goodies – from savoury canapés on the bottom right up to sumptuous cakes on the top. Particular highlights for me were the smoked salmon canapé with a dill and lemon cream cheese on malted rye bread and the dark chocolate & raspberry brownie, which was super fudgey and delicious. As it was all gluten-free, the cake was a little crumbly, and I did miss the piles of clotted cream & jam on my blueberry scone (although honey was a nice touch that I’d not thought of before) but otherwise it was perfect for an afternoon spent nibbling and chatting.
If you pick up a store guide in the Victoria Quarter, you also get 2 for 1 on your afternoon tea (which was what persuaded us to start with!). I’m not sure how long the offer will last, so get yourself down there pronto!
Since I was showing my Uni friends my favourite parts of Leeds, it was only fitting to take them to my favourite restaurant as well. I first discovered Pinche Pinche three years ago at the Leeds Loves Food festival and I’ve been hooked ever since. Living just down the road makes it the perfect spot for date nights, special occasions and just because dinners.
They have an extensive menu – from mini portions of tacos for starters or sharing to big plates – which means it can take some time to choose! I’ll give you a hand – the lamb is excellent, and if you’re a meat eater, you will seriously regret it if you don’t have at least one lamb dish. It’s melt in your mouth and crazy delicious. I like it in their enchiladas – covered in melted cheese, with a mild green salsa. Paul prefers it in tacos with a spicier version of the salsa – although be warned if you think you’re hard enough for their spiciest version. You’re probably not. I also love their little prawn tacos to start – the mango salsa is lovely and fresh and the prawns are big and juicy. The perfect combination.
Suffice to say, we were pretty stuffed and decided to pass on pudding on this occasion. However, if you have a sweet tooth like me then the churros are the obvious choice. Who doesn’t love fried dough dipped in chocolate? No one, that’s who.
The best way to end a meal at Pinche Pinche, however, is with one of their tequilas. So many people I know don’t like tequila but when it’s served like this – for sipping, not shooting – it’s totally delicious. One is definitely enough but I can’t resist that one!
I literally cannot rave about Pinche Pinche enough – it’s excellent value for money (I don’t ever part with much more than £30 for drinks and three courses), the service is always friendly and the food is some of the best to be found in Leeds. I’m not the only one who thinks so, so be sure to book if you want to go on a Friday or Saturday!
Ready, set, bake!
If you caught last week’s post then you’ll know that I’m having a friendly little competition to celebrate the new series of the Great British Bake Off! I hope you’ve all been busy sifting, folding and icing because here it is!
To be in the running to win a Great British Bake Off cookbook of your choice, just add your link at the bottom of this post. All the information and rules can be found here, although mostly it’s just that there are no rules! You can add whatever you like to the mix, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a pro or a newbie baker. It’s all jolly good fun. The link-up will be open until midnight on Friday to give you a little bit extra time and I’ll be announcing the winner on Monday!
It would be great if you checked out your fellow contestants work and spread the baking love. If you want to tweet then I’ll be using the hashtag #GBBBO so I can keep track of everyone and make sure that I get to drool at all of your delicious bakes! Good luck!
UPDATE: I’ve now extended the entry deadline to midnight on Sunday and I’ll be announcing the winner on Tuesday! Happy Baking!
Living in halls at University is a bit of a strange experience. A bunch of (mostly) 18 year olds thrown into a dormitory of sorts and expected to live together in harmony for almost a year. You’re all strangers to each other in a strange place. But you know what? Some of the best friendships of my life were forged in that environment and I know that I’m not the only one that feels that way. If you’re nervous about heading off for University in September, don’t be – there will be hard times but there will also be brilliant times. Just fake it ’till you make it confidence-wise and bring a door-stop to make your room the welcoming one. That is my best bit of pre-University advice.
All this to say that some of my University friends came to stay last weekend. It was their first time to Leeds in the three years I’ve lived here so I was keen to show them the best parts of this city. I love showing off Leeds – I feel like it belongs to me in a way so when guests compliment the bars, restaurants and parks of my hometown I feel a strange sense of pride. It was a glorious weekend – ridiculously hot and sunny but made all the better from hanging out with people that are just so much fun. People that you’ve known long enough to be comfortable with, but that you don’t get to see often enough. I feel like most of my friendships are a bit like that nowadays.
In the daytime we soaked up the rare sunshine on the rooftop of Belgrave, snacking on Dough Boys pizza (£1 a slice! Total bargain.) and drinking G&Ts. A brief pitstop at Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton before a quick outfit change and some time spent at MustardStock – where these photos were taken. A whistle stop tour of some of my favourite places – although on such a flying visit it’s hard to pack it all in. Mostly I just wanted to spend time with these fantastic people. Thanks for visiting you guys, let’s now leave it so long next time!
I don’t know about you, but sushi is kind of a mystery to me. When I eat out, I like to choose places that offer me something that I can’t make myself. If I can whip up a better version at home, I feel a bit cheated. So for me, sushi is the ultimate luxury – something that cannot be recreated in my kitchen. I have a standing sushi date with my friend Eloise where I can satisfy my cravings for all things sushi (and those delicious duck gyozas) and I occasionally venture to Wasabi at lunchtime, but otherwise I must live a sushi-less life.
I was hoping that I might write this introductory paragraph, and then turn it all around by saying that the sushi school at Yo! Sushi changed my life and now I’m whipping up sashimi and nigiri on the regular. When I ventured there with my colleagues a couple of weeks ago, that was what I was expecting. However, despite the excellent tuition, I am doomed to forever buy my sushi ready-made – I am certainly no natural at this dish!
That being said, I was super impressed with the class. The teacher explained so much about sushi, its history and the methods for making it so I learnt a lot in theory, even if not in practice! We also got to make a whole bunch of different kinds of sushi – from little cucumber makis to salmon nigiri (my favourite) and crab hand rolls.
I’d definitely recommend giving this a go if you’re into sushi – you do get some great sushi secrets (like where to pick up the best fish, how to cook the rice and how to get creative with your sushi at home) and we were stuffed by the end of it. That’s something that always surprises me about sushi – I always expect to be hungry because the pieces look so small but it’s never the case!
Don’t let my incompetence put you off – my fellow students fared much better than me; Erin made some lovely triangular maki whilst on more than one occasion was someone else’s work pronounced ‘perfect’. I was just a little overzealous with the rice, which meant rolling them up was a bit of a challenge… I did improve by the end though – I was pretty proud of my hand roll!
So, what have you all been up to this week? I have been stressing about the amount of stuff I have to do recently, which is really not a positive place to be. It’s silly really, because so much of it is self-imposed but when I get a bee in my bonnet about an idea then I want to see it through. And oh boy, do I have an idea. And a whole hive of bees. I’m not sure about that metaphor, but you get me. I am also a perfectionist, which is both a blessing and a curse as fellow over-achievers will attest to. I suspect that’s the case for a lot of bloggers – otherwise why would we pick a hobby that can sometimes be so much like work? I kind of wish that I was really into a sport or painting or something instead. But I’m not. Blogging is my jam.
However, despite all that stress I have had a pretty awesome week. Yesterday we went to Knaresborough for a bit of exploration – it’s such a quaint little place! I also enjoyed watching Lil’s cooking demonstration at the Le Creuset store in Leeds, having afternoon tea with Emma and some Tuesday night drinks with Katie & Ed, where we spent too much time marvelling over the fact that Red from Orange is the New Black is Captain Janeway. Mind. Blown. Today we’re off to Paul’s parents house for his grandparents’ anniversary party. I hope there’s cake!
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- Are you spending more time consuming than you are creating? I know I am – and I think it might be time to switch things up!
- I want to shovel this three-ingredient summertime salsa into my mouth with tortilla chips and complete abandon.
- Food for thought: I’m a lesbian marrying a man.
- More food for thought: Why are women’s publications still ridiculed? (Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot wrong with Cosmo but this is definitely an issue).
- Love this Real Talk from Kim: Why ‘If you’re not happy, change it’ is the worst piece of advice ever.
- Do you need to spend lots of money to have a successful blog? (Also, can I talk about how much I hate the term ‘mini haul’ – you bought three things, in no way is that a haul, even a mini one.)
- This is the most useful post ever: where to find alternative FREE stock photos.
In my experience, being from the Home Counties doesn’t inspire a lot of loyalty. You’ll often find people from even the most idyllic parts of our fair country decrying their hometown as, well, a bit shit. I think it’s because there’s not a lot to do when you’re growing up in the commuter belt. London sucks everything inwards, and whilst most people I know will proudly declare they love for the big city, their own home doesn’t get a lot of love.
The opposite appears to be true for Yorkshire-folk. The love and devotion that locals feel for their county is both very touching and a little baffling. It’s also something I very much want to be a part of – even if I have started saying my vowels funny from living here so long. It’s easy to see why Yorkshire inspires such loyalty – it’s an absolutely glorious place to live. If we drive fifteen minutes one way, we end up in the city centre with all the fabulous metropolitan benefits that affords. If we drive fifteen minutes the other way, we’re confronted with stunning views of rolling fields. There’s nothing quite like Yorkshire countryside – it has a ruggedness about it that we just can’t achieve in the South. It’s also true what they say – people are friendlier up North. And they know how to throw one hell of a party. If you read this blog with any frequency, you’ll also know that the food is pretty fantastic.
All of this to say that today is Yorkshire Day. Another example of that Yorkshire pride I’ve been talking about – I’m not sure there is a Kent Day. I feel more at home in Yorkshire than I ever have anywhere else, and I am excited to share in a little part of that pride – as far as I’m allowed as a born-and-bred Southerner. So I made a Yorkshire Tea Bread, adapted from Ruby Tandoh’s version but with, what else, Yorkshire Tea. Serve with a cuppa and a big slab of butter smeared on top. Cheers, Yorkshire!
- 275g mixed dried fruit
- 300ml strong Yorkshire Tea (I used three teabags)
- 60g soft dark brown sugar
- zest of a lemon
- 2 large eggs
- 275g plain flour
- 2 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- sprinkle of demerara sugar
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and grease a loaf tin.
2. Pop the fruit into a large saucepan and pour over the tea. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat, leaving to simmer for a couple of minutes.
3. Stir in the dark brown sugar and take off the heat.
4. Leave for 15-20 minutes before adding the lemon zest and eggs. Stir until combined.
5. In that time, sift together the dry ingredients (except the demerara sugar). Add to the saucepan once it’s ready.
6. Stir gently until fully combined. Pour into the prepared loaf tin.
7. Sprinkle the sugar on top (it gives a lovely crispy top) and pop into the oven for 45-50 minutes.
8. Leave to cool and then cut into slices to enjoy with your cup of Yorkshire Tea!
(photo by Lucas Lof)
Attending two weddings and shedding lots of (happy) tears.
Celebrating the birthday of my sweet friend Eloise.
Remembering to send birthday cards and presents to friends who are further away.
Running more often than usual.
Missing Le Grand Depart (but getting super exciting anyway).
Shouting ‘I am a Feminist’ at Caitlin Moran’s show.
Drinking cocktails on a Sunday with Emma & Sally.
Stuffing my face with cheese at Homage to Fromage.
Making jar salads to take to work.
Organising the Great British Blogger Bake Off
Learning to make sushi
Dreaming of running a cookbook shop (would you come?).
Hosting some of my favourite friends.
Showing them the sights of Leeds.
Feeling too hot, most of the time.
Spending my time outside, which is very unlike me.
Coveting more maxi dresses but not being able to find any to fit.
Planning a minimalist wardrobe. I want to be Un-Fancy.
Trying to like beer. I still don’t.
How about you?