Serious About Baking Eric Lanlard

I have to tell you about the most amazingly fun event I went to last week, Serious about Baking hosted by Currys and Cake Boy. Bloggers often get invited to PR events, and while most are vaguely interesting they tend to still be in the ‘work’ rather than ‘fun’ category. I tend to say yes if it is at all relevant to my blog (I really love being able to tell you guys about the latest and greatest things in London) or if it sounds super exciting, this is a lifestyle blog after all. When Curries invited me to their Serious about Baking master class I said yes for personal reasons, but I totally didn’t expect such a brilliant night out.

Ok so my personal baking reasons. I used to be a stress baker. Don’t roll your eyes, stress baking is a real thing. Throughout all of my school exams, essays and friend dramas when I got stressed I would bake. It’s a beautifully meditative process, with all the measuring and mixing you have to focus on the task at hand and there is no left over brain space for worry. When you bake you are also doing at least one productive thing with your day, and you get cake at the end of it.

DSC02720

I was a stress baker right up until the point that my Mum banned me from baking. Yeah, banned from baking. Essentially she came home one day during my final set of school exams and on the table were… three cakes, a batch of cupcakes, two different slices, scones, Turkish delight, Russian fudge and a tray of chocolate chip cookies cooling on the rack. From that moment I was banned from baking unless there was a specific intended recipient for the baked goods.

That was all well and good until I moved overseas and was only baking for myself (Mums rules still apply even in a different hemisphere). Apart from the occasional baking escapade for my Sister my life in London has pretty much been a baking free zone. This makes me very sad.

So the Currys invitation could not have come at a more perfect time. It was hosted by Eric Lanlard at Cake Boy where we would be trying a mashup of his baking master classes. It all got a bit fun right from the get go, with a couple of glasses of champagne served by Eric himself. Then we got down to the baking (a demo of the red velvet cake and a chocolate tart) which to be honest after the champagne was just innuendo after innuendo…

Here is a sample of the tweets that were going on when I was meant to be focusing on the red velvet cake (insert something technical here about how red velvet did not originally use food colouring, it was a chemical reaction between the baking powder
vinegar and pure coco powder that gave it a reddish tinge).

Serious About Baking Cake Serious About Baking Stick Serious About Baking Tweets Serious About Baking
Pretty soon it was time for us to try our own hand at the icing that Eric made look so easy. Turns out not so easy, but really fun. We all started off quite cocky and focused more on getting the TV chef pose right, before the room all of a sudden got quiet as we all realised it was harder than it looked and we didn’t want to disappoint Chef. I don’t know the last time I laughed that hard.

Runawaykiwi baking

The Chef Boy master class evenings are cakey tarty fun, what more could you ask of an evening then giggles, baking and delicious cakes?

Massive thanks to Eric Lanlard, Kitchen Aid and Currys for the Serious about Baking master class. It re-instated my love of baking and hyped me up on sugar for the rest of the week.

Waitrose Vanilla Ice Cream

A debate was raging on Facebook. Some friends in New Zealand had posted a link to an Ice Cream Bread recipe and everyone was wondering if it was a hoax or if it was possible. I thought the ice cream bread might actually work, it is essentially a soda bread with ice cream instead of buttermilk and with baking powder as the raising agent. My fellow social media debaters were in New Zealand and all the supermarkets were closed for the night, but thanks to the 13 hour time difference it was lunchtime in London – cue runawaykiwi running to Waitrose to pick up some ice cream.

I decided to try and make ice cream bread for one (to stop me eating an entire tub of ice cream!) so I based the proportions on the soda bread I made a while ago.

100ml vanilla cream 

1/2 cup (or 125g) of self raising flour*
Ice Cream and flour

Wait for the ice cream to have melted a bit – buy the time you get it home from the supermarket it should be melted enough. Mix the melted ice cream and flour together and squish together till it forms a ball. Divide into two and put in the mini loaf tins you had left over from your Fêted afternoon tea a few weeks ago. Bake for 25 minutes in a 180°C oven.

Ice cream bread dough

IT WORKED!!!

Well it worked in the sense that it resulted in something edible, but it was not as crazy or astounding as I thought it would be. The ice cream bread was essentially just a really sweet scone. But at least the novelty value was high and it was super quick to make – and I think it would be fun to try with different flavours of ice cream.

The big question still remains, if you made this with cookie dough ice cream would you get a sweet bread with cookies in it?

Ice cream bread
*if you don’t have any you can just use 1/2cup normal flour and 1/4tsp of baking powder

Bread by runawaykiwi

If you have been reading runawaykiwi for a while, you will know of my ongoing battle to try and find a bread recipe. I didn’t think I was asking for much, bread is a staple and surely couldn’t be that hard to make.

However if you have ever tried to search for a simple bread recipe online you will know that is far from the case. There are more variations then there are stars in the sky.

Thanks to the DK ‘a little course in baking‘ book, I had somewhere to start.

Many many loaves later, I present to you the definitive bread recipe. You can make it with normal plain flour, but bread flour is best (and surprisingly cheaper than normal flour).

2tsp sugar
2tsp active yeast (the kind you have to reactivate in water)
200ml warm water
500g flour (white or brown, plain or strong bread)
3/4tsp salt
1tbsp oil (I use olive oil)

Combine the sugar, yeast and water and set aside until it froths up (just a couple of minutes should do the trick). Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl, if you don’t have a sieve you can get the same effect by whisking the flour for a bit.

Add the oil and yeast mixture to the flour and then get your hands dirty. I do all the kneading in the bowl itself (pressing it from one side to the other with my knuckles and then folding it back on itself), mostly so I can watch tv while I do it. There are lots of techniques on YouTube, but just make sure you keep going until it is smooth and has a bit of a shine. I would say around 5minutes is a good bet. Cover with a tea towel and put in a warm spot for about 45minutes or until it has doubled in size (how quickly this happens depends on how warm it is so just keep checking the first time you make it).

Now for the best bit of the entire adventure – punch that sucker in the middle of its bloated belly. Then kneed it again for a little less time then before. Pop it in the loaf tin or tray that you are going to cook it in/on. Cover and pop back in the warm place for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 220C (fan bake). Put the dough in and cook for ten minutes, turn the oven down to 180C and cook for another 20 minutes. You know it is done when you tap it and it sounds hollow.

Take out of the oven and out of the tin straight away (otherwise it will get all sweaty).

And there you have it…BREAD.

I have also tried a seeded version, exactly the same as above except you also add a tablespoon each of linseed, poppyseed, sunflower seed and a handful of crumbled up walnuts.

Life mission completed.

I saw a post about home made Nutella on Pinterest (sorry I can’t find the original pin!) and it piqued my interest. From my knowledge there isn’t any thing chemically horrendous in Nutella, however I do question the amount of sugar that is in it.

More than anything, it is the flavour that I want to play with. I can eat Nutella right from the jar, but I normally prefer dark chocolate to milk. Is is possible to make a dark chocolate Nutella at home? Yes. Oh my god yes.

I used 100g of hazelnuts and lightly roasted them. After waiting for them to cool I put them in the hand blender and whizzed them until they turned into butter. I know it will seem like it is never going to be more than crumbs, but trust runawaykiwi and keep going. Soon it will be beautiful hazelnut butter.

Hazelnut butter

Melt your chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. I used 30g of 85% proof chocolate – beware only use chocolate that you like the taste of (if you like milk – use milk).

Then add the melted chocolate to the butter and whizz. It will be VERY liquid, but just throw it in the fridge for a bit and it turns into magic home-made Nutella. I.e. like Nutella except with chocolate flavour up the wazoo.

And yes, I totally put it in an old Nutella jar so NO ONE WILL KNOW.

Home-made nutella

The recipe I saw on Pinterest also added sweetened condensed milk, but I didn’t have any in the cupboard…so nope. To be honest, although it would make it more mourish, the current deep flavour is ideal.

My 100g of nuts made about this much of hazelnut goodness…

Home-made nutella