BAKE WITH A LEGEND // VIRTUAL BAKING CLASS

BAKE WITH A LEGEND!

… That’s exactly what we did, and you can too!
Bake With a Legend is a fantastic company who allow the public to try their baking skills alongside former Bake Off contestants. What they offer is bespoke baking classes, both classes in person (pre Covid, they hope to resume these January 2021), & virtual classes. The virtual classes obviously can be attended from the comfort of your own home, whilst the classes/workshops are held in 2 locations, London & Manchester.

You can be a baker of absolutely any level to join in, as you’ll have guidance throughout, and you’ll be in the right hands clearly, as these legends have made it to tv, & have all the tips & tricks up their sleeves to help along the way, perfect if you’re an amateur (like we were, & still are).

Our particular class was with Howard Middleton & the ‘bake’ which we were making was Black Forest Chocolate Eclairs. They sounded delicious, everyone else’s looked delicious, but honestly, ours came out absolutely awful, to the point where it took 3 attempts of making the choux pastry & it was still a bit of a let down – we think we will probably swerve making any choux pastry in future! This was absolutely nothing to do with the class (it couldn’t have been as everyone else’s came out spot on), we put it down to how well we beat our mix. Trial & error!

The class itself was very useful. We had Howard there baking along with us, so any problems, or any questions, we were able to fire straight at him, & we had Josh (founder of Bake With a Legend) there to run the class, & make sure everyone knew where they were, & give everyone a chance to catch up if they’d fallen behind. Prior to the class, we were given a list of ingredients which were easy enough to source, we were also given a recipe to follow (this was really helpful to have to hand if you got sort of lost anywhere along the way & just sort of check we were in the right place without causing a disturbance) & we were given the Zoom login to attend the class. Everything was made really clear & really simplified, so a great way of learning. 

It was a little bit chaotic, but when isn’t it when baking? This was more because we got a little bit panicky when our mix wasn’t coming together as well as the others’ in the class, but Howard was there to reassure us we were doing okay!

We enjoyed the class, we found it extremely helpful to have the guidance & advice from a baking legend & it was lovely seeing everyone’s end results! We certainly won’t be applying for Bake Off any time soon however, we’ve learnt that choux pastry (although we can’t quite crack it) isn’t as daunting as you may think to make, takes few ingredients & it can be done. WE WILL GET THERE!

This is definitely an experience to get involved with if you’re an avid baker, or even if you just want to try something new. There are a whole range of classes available, & all can be booked online at bakewithalegend.com.

A huge thank you to all involved – Howard for helping us along the way, Josh for putting this altogether & Cait at Full Volume PR for giving us the chance to get involved! [GIFTED]

LAURA’S CAKERY // TREAT BOX REVIEW

Click here to visit Laura’s page.

A couple of weekends back I received what I could only describe as the most SCRUMPTIOUS of deliveries. The very lovely Laura of @laurascakery very kindly dropped off a ‘treat box’ to me after a busy day at a farmer’s market. 
The box was made up of 4 different treats, all very traditional, but with such modern twists. Up on offer, there was…
– Jammie Dodger Rocky Road
– Freddo Cookie Dough Slice
– Millionaires Rice Krispy Treat
– Cornflake Brownie
As you can tell just by their names, they’re a bit of an edgier take on the classics. 
Every single thing was spot on – from their presentation, down to the last yummy crumbs, they just hit the spottttt! My favourite of them all was definitely the Jammie Dodger Rocky Road, the taste of this was just INCREDIBLE! I was also convinced that I could taste party rings in this but it turns out it was in fact iced gems! I loved this one the most simply because it looked MEGA, I can only imagine just how good this looks when it’s freshly made & ready to be sliced up! & also, it was soooo YUMMY! I love anything with white chocolate, & this was a fantastic way of mixing up the typical rocky road, it also meant that the treat wasn’t too sickly either, as white chocolate (I find) is nowhere near as rich as milk, in fact I probably could’ve worked my way through about 4 slices!!
The Freddo Cookie Dough slice was by far the cutest looking of all the treats (just look at his lil’ face!) The chocolate on this was indulgent & thick, & the Freddo DEFO too cute to cut through! (… I had to cut this one up because the cookie dough was very rich, & there was no way I was getting through a slice of this all by myself!) In hindsight, I think I should’ve maybe warmed this up to get the full cookie dough effect, nevertheless it was still delish! This one I know has also been a hit/is very popular as many of you replied to my story saying how adorable this looks.
The Millionaires Rice Krispie Treat… I LOVED the idea of this. Millionaires shortbread is amazing, don’t get me wrong but sometimes it can be slightly too much/too rich, so what a way to break it up, using Rice Krispies. You defo get the snap, crackle & POP with this, oozing with marshmallowy goodness. I would 100% recommend giving this a try, (not as rich = you can eat more!!) 
Aaand finallyyyyy… the Cornflake Brownie! This one was a straight up banger! I love a cornflake cake as it is, & I would’ve been more than happy just munching through the cornflake part on its own, but there was a decadent layer of chocolate brownie base & it was PHENOMENAL! The brownie was made just right, not too squidgy but not too tough, & just completed the treat perfectly!
All of the treats were an absolute delight to sample & I cannot wait to try out Laura’s other goodies!! (check her page/highlights just to see what other creations she’s come up with – you’ll be impressed, trust me!)
A huge thank you to @laurascakery – cannot wait to see what you’ll come up with next! [GIFTED]

CHEESECAKE CREATIONS // PRODUCT REVIEW

During lockdown, we were very lucky to receive some delicious cheesecakes from the lovely lady that is Heather. Heather very kindly put together a trio of cheesecakes for us, which comprised up of the following flavours;
– Mint Aero
This was the lightest of the trio, the cheesecake had a lovely zing to it & wasn’t overwhelming with minty-ness. This was also gorgeously decorated – a real eye-catching piece with the bright green colouring.
– Millionaires Shortbread
This was I would say probably the richest in taste, & was the household favourite. Again, gorgeously decorated! Simple, but looked absolutely stunning.
– Fudge Brownie
This one was my personal favourite, as it was rich but wasn’t too sickly – fudge is one of my favourite things! I also really liked that this sort of had the overload-vibe, the type which you don’t want to cut into & fall apart!

The cheesecakes were very rich & intense – we shared 3 small cheesecakes between 4 people, & there truly was more than enough. A little really did go a long way. That being said, this is good in that you get value for money, also with little to no waste at all. If you’re a bigger eater, the cheesecakes are also available full size. I would hands down buy these over shop-bought cheesecakes any day. The flavours offered a lot more depth, & were much more fresher-tasting. I would go as far as to say they are by far the best sweet treat we’ve tried to date (& there has been a lot through this pandemic!)

Not only did the cheesecakes taste amazing, but the detail & presentation was outstanding, the cheesecakes were showpieces in themselves! They’re definitely the sort of thing you don’t want to stick a knife in & ruin.

A huge factor too that made a difference was that not only were the cheesecakes beautiful as well as scrumptious, but Heather also provided fab customer service – there was clear communication throughout, which I think is highly important & really goes a long way. Heather was very clear, & kept us updated on what was going on throughout the process, from getting in contact, discussing flavours, making the cheesecakes & delivering, as well as after!

I’ve been following Heather’s page for a while now, keeping an eye on what she’s been making, & there are some amazing looking bits on there – my favourite now being the savoury cheesecakes – if you are a cheese lover (like me) then that is something you need in your life!

Thank you so much to Heather for allowing us to try these gorgeous desserts – we enjoyed each & every crumb!

NIGEL SMITH // COOKALONG REVIEW

During lockdown, local chef Nigel Smith reached out to us & got us involved with a spectacular cookalong which he put on via social media. As a private hire chef, & the world at a standstill, Nigel took it upon himself to provide the cookalong experience during lockdown, to help all of us stuck at home find something useful & exciting to do. What Nigel offered was a real insight & an introduction to the world of cooking from scratch, which was a lot easier than first anticipated.

Each week, there was a different menu that was released a few days before the cookalong itself along with a list of ingredients which would be required – you could either source these ingredients yourself, or for a small cost, Nigel would put together a bag of the ingredients for you, all weighed & ready to go. We were lucky enough to receive a bag of ingredients, so all we had to do was take part & cook – pretty straightforward!

On the menu of which we joined in with, there was a theme of ‘Movie Night’ & on the menu itself there was;
– Tandoori chicken pizza to be served with mint raita
– Spicy potato wedges
– Chicken bites
– Toffee popcorn

Each dish was prepared separately, & Nigel carefully explained each step. Naturally, a few of us cooking along fell off the wagon a bit but this wasn’t a problem as Nigel was there to ask questions to via Instagram live!

The whole thing was absolutely chaotic, especially if you’ve never sort of prepared anything from scratch before. You’d be dashing around trying to find utensils or new plates all the time! But it really was fun & a great way of learning as a beginner. It was also a really good way of introducing yourself to dishes you perhaps wouldn’t usually opt for.

Hopefully in the future we never experience another lockdown quite like we did over the summer, but should you ever choose to participate in a cookalong, be prepared for a very messy kitchen – perhaps rope someone in to tidy as you’re going along or you will end up with a hell of a lot of washing up to do!

We really did enjoy taking part, & we were really quite surprised at just how easy it is to make things from scratch – it certainly inspired us to cook more, as we then started making things weekly. Of all of the things made, we enjoyed the pizza the most – it had a slight twist as the base was more of a naan base, & it was gorgeous! The wedges were also so simple to do, & beat a bag of frozen ones any day, we now always make these ourselves. The chicken for us didn’t quite go to plan, as we mixed some ingredients up along the way but hey! First time for everything. The popcorn & toffee sauce were stupidly simple to make, & also so satisfying, & of course, so tasty.

A huge thank you to Nigel for getting in touch with us & introducing himself, & what he does with us!

[GIFTED]

GIN & TONIC LOAF // RECIPE

Thank you to Baking with Ames (@bakingwithames) for the following content

Dairy free gin and tonic loaf 

What you’ll need: 
For the loaf For the syrup
200g dairy free butter 125g caster sugar 
200g caster sugar 125ml tonic water
4 eggs, beaten 2 tbsp gin
200g self-raising flour Icing sugar
½ tsp baking powder
The zest of 1 lime
100ml (3 fl oz) gin

How to make: 
– Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Line base and sides of a 900g  (2lb) loaf tin with baking parchment, or insert a premade loaf tin case. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until pale in colour and fluffy. 
– In a separate bowl / mug beat the eggs together, and gradually add to the butter and sugar mix. 
– Now, fold in the flour, baking powder and lime zest. Make sure everything is fully mixed in and add the gin. Spoon into your loaf tin and bake for around 45 minutes – you may need longer so always check with a skewer to check it’s cooked through. Your skewer should come out clean when its cooked. 
– While your loaf is cooking start making the sugar syrup. Heat the caster sugar and tonic water in a small pan, until the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, boil the syrup for 2 minutes. 
– Spoon 3tbsp of the syrup into a small bowl and mix in 2tbsp of the gin – this will be used to soak your cake. Remove the pan of remaining syrup off the heat and let it cool. 
– When your cake is cooked, poke holes into the top with a skewer and drizzle the syrup/gin mixture. Once you’ve done this, take the cake out of the loaf tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. 
– Meanwhile, when the sugar syrup has cooled mix in some icing sugar until you have a glossy white mixture perfect for drizzling over the top of your cooled loaf. 
– When the loaf is cool drizzle your icing and leave to set before serving.

AMELIA’S BAKES // POSTAL BROWNIE REVIEW

Back in October last year, I had the absolute delight of sampling an absolutely gorgeous bake from @ameliasbakes_ ! The first thing that stood out for me was how well presented Amelia’s package was. I was surprised to open the package to a really prettily decorated bake, with a lovely bow & some chocolates! I thought this was such a lovely touch & makes me more inclined to order in future (especially if looking for a gift).
On to the bake! I was fortunate enough to sample a brownie bake topped with cookie dough 🍪 AMAZING! Sickly but amazing. You would only need to have a tiny piece at a time, which means more bake for your money! The brownie bake was also enjoyed by a couple of friends of mine, who cheekily asked for more, so Amelia must be doing something right 🙈.
Overall I would recommend Amelia’s Bakes, brilliant for a treat for yourself but also one to consider if you’re stuck for a gift idea.
Thank you to Amelia so much for sharing with us.

#AD #GIFTED