Caramel Shard Cookies

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I requested John Whaite’s ‘John Whaite Bakes’ as one of my Christmas presents and was lucky enough to receive it. Yesterday was a day to bake cookies and after trawling through some recipe books I remembered spotting this one and decided to give it a go. I will be honest and say I wasn’t 100% happy with how they turned out. I’m not sure what quite went wrong (although I suspect it’s either baking them for too long or making them too small in size) but they still taste ok. They are crunchy rather than chewy in texture. The recipe is supposed to make 20 however I only managed to make 17.
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Dulce & banana cake

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I received Lorraine Pascale’s ‘Fast, Fresh and Easy Food’ as a Christmas present from Mr Birdie. One of the recipes that caught my eye was this ‘Dulce & banana cake’ which is an upside down banana cake with a sticky toffee topping. I am a big fan of banana cake and had been keen to try making it. This weekend gave me the opportunity to try it out as we had a training day at work today and I thought it would make a good break time snack. It was definitely well received and kept our brains going. It works well cold as a cake or warm as a dessert with cream or ice cream. You can find the recipe here on the BBC website. You will need a 20cm square tin.
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Pork en Croute with Spicy Cabbage Stuffing

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When out doing a spot of last minute Christmas shopping with Mr Birdie we found Rachel Allen’s ‘Bake’ for a bargainous £3! I spent a lot of the Christmas holidays perusing the recipes. One of the recipes I spotted was this pork en croute recipe which I thought sounded interesting. When food shopping just before the New Year I spotted some pork fillet which was reasonably priced so snapped it up. This weekend I decided to try it out.

It is the first time I have tried anything savoury pastry based and this ambitious! I have to say I thought there was a point during the making of it that I thought it would all end up going horribly wrong but I was pleasantly surprised. As you can see from the photo above I did have a few cracks and sadly a ‘soggy bottom’ but for a first attempt I was pretty pleased. I used the flaky pastry recipe from Ruth Clemens ‘The Pink Whisk’ blog which you can find here. I found it was just the right amount of pastry with enough left over to decorate it. I served it as a Sunday roast accompanied by roast potatoes, roast carrots and parsnips and Brussels sprouts. The bonus of this recipe is that it can be prepared beforehand and can stay in the fridge for up to 24 hours or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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Blueberry and Cranberry Crumb Muffins

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Just before the New Year I bought a packet of fresh cranberries which until today had been sat in the fridge. I knew I wanted to try making some muffins with them. I thought I would probably go for cranberry and white chocolate as this is a combination of flavours I like but after some research I found the recipe for these blueberry and cranberry crumb muffins which looked interesting (and also vaguely healthy given they’re packed full of fruit!) It is an American recipe from a blog called ‘Oh Sweet Day!’ which you can find here. You’ll need cups or alternatively if you’re going to convert the measurements I find this page from Delia’s website handy. The batter is quite thick but don’t let this disconcert you! The crunchy crumble topping makes a nice contrast to the fruity, moist muffins. I made 15 muffins from this mixture.
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