Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Seven Links Challenge

Every sunday morning i like to go through the list of blogs i enjoy following. Its my version of reading the sunday newspaper. Except that instead of catching up on current affairs, I'm reading about food and stories of what each blogger has been up to that week.

So it was really nice to discover that i have been invited by the  talented and lovely Caroline over at Sweetcarolinescooking to participate in the Seven Links Challenge. This involves sharing seven different categories of my past posts. 

Within the challenge i also need to list five other food bloggers to pass the challenge on to. This again is another tough one. Since starting With Milk and Flour, i have come across so many amazing blogs. Here are five from my long list of favourite food blogs that i would like to pass the challenge on to:


Now for food bloggers such as Caroline, who have many wonderful recipes on their blog, the challenge will have been in narrowing down which posts to choose. My challenge is fitting in the small number of posts i have from the blog into the categories.

Here it goes:

The Most Beautiful Post: I'm rarely completely satisfied with the way my food looks or my photos of them. However, in terms of lighting, composition, the colours and materials i used, i pick the Peanut butter and chocolate-chip cookies post

The Most Popular: The post on Food Films has generated the most hits, but surprisingly the least comments.

The Most Controversial Post: I'm way to conservative to be controversial. Here I'm going to mention the Salmon and broccoli bake as it was my first savoury dish, as opposed to sweet, which was made involving the use of milk and flour. 

The Most Helpful Post: I've yet to post anything that is particularly helpful other than to make people feel hungry. However, if you ever wake up feeling in need of cheering up, these Chocolate Chip Pancakes will definitely do the job.

The Most Surprisingly Successful Post: I was really surprised at how well received the Strawberry Meringue Layer Cake was, as it didnt turn out to be as visually pleasing as i would have liked. Everyone who ate this commented, several times, on how much they loved it. Which goes to show, looks arent everything. 

The Most Under Rated Post: This Lime Coconut Semifreddo didnt get much of a look in, though that might of been partly down to the uninspired photo. Make this for anyone who loves lime and coconut, its delicious.

The Most Proud of Post: These Orange Custard Cream Cupcakes were my first attempt at making cupcakes with a custard centre. Having been involved in afew custard splitting situations, I was so happy when they turned out well without problems. I was also pleased to be able to capture, in the photos, the sunshine inducing attributes of the cupcakes on that rainy dreary day.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Strawberry Meringue Layer Cake

Every year, towards the end of August i get a familiar feeling of change and with it a mild anxiety. With the weather being so good at the moment, the change is almost imperceptible. But with the nights drawing in alittle sooner and children being prepared for their return to school, to me it spells the ending of another Summer. 

This anxiety is most certainly a trace of feeling left over from my school days. It was the lack of routine that came with the holiday breaks that i revelled in. Having never been a morning person, I always remember resenting having to wake up early in the morning for school 5 days a week. 

For me the new term has already started. I returned to work after over a week off to find a new batch of doctors in the hospital i work in and that same yearning for a lie in.

It was therefore fitting that, in an attempt to retain the spirit of Summer, I made Nigella Lawsons Strawberry Meringue Layer Cake for our family games night.

This is a lovely cake. Every folkful is a taste of Summer. The meringue in the cake gives it a light and delicate texture. The balance of cream and strawberries with the meringue instantly transports me back to the days of the start of the school holidays, where long days, trips away and plenty of sunshine lay ahead.

My sister Mel took the above photo with her Iphone 4, i'm liking the retro feel of it.

Recipe - Strawberry Meringue Layer Cake from the book Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson

  • 125g plain flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g very soft unsalted butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tblspns milk
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 375ml double cream (I added 2 tablespoons of sugar as sometimes strawberries aren’t as sweet as you want them to be)
  • 250g strawberries
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line, butter and flour two 22cm springform tins.|
2. Weigh out the flour, cornflour and baking powder into a bowl.
3. Cream the butter and 100g of the caster sugar in another bowl until light and fluffy.
Separate the eggs and beat the yolks into the butter and sugar, saving the whites to whisk later. Gently fold in the weighed-out dry ingredients, add the vanilla, then sir in the milk to thin the batter. Divide the mixture between the two prepared springform tins.
4. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add the remaining 200g caster sugar. Spread a layer of meringue on top of the sponge batter in each tin and sprinkle the almonds evenly over.
5. Bake for 30-35 mins, by which time the top of the almond-scattered meringues will be a dark gold. (I turned down the temperate to 180C as my oven is fan forced and the top was a little too cooked so perhaps turning it down even further would be better)


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut butter cookies immediately transport me back to my childhood. They were the first things i ever baked in primary school. I can still remember the heady smell of peanut butter and the small sense of pride i felt as the freshly baked cookies came out of the oven. 

I suspect the memory of those cookies as a child, has largely shaped the interest i have in baking as an adult. Now as an adult, i can appreciate the science and precision involved in baking, but still get that same feeling of joy i had as a child from creating something delicious and sweet.  

When my little sister wanted to do some baking this evening i went to How Sweet Eats recipe for Peanut and Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm so glad i discovered her blog, the beautifully shot photos always leave me wanting to try the recipes.

These cookies were quick to make and well received by our other sister. I liked the texture, a soft centre and slightly crispy outer shell. However, they werent quite peanutty enough for me and alittle too sweet. Next time i will increase the amount of peanut butter and try caster sugar instead of granulated.

Recipe for Peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies by

Yield: 18-22 cookies

2 cups all-purpose/plain flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda/baking powder
8 tablespoons/113g of salted butter, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons/85g of creamy peanut butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar - i used granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups/262g chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F/160 degrees C. Add butter and peanut butter to a microwave safe bowl, and heat in 30 second increments until melted. Let cool completely.

Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the cooled butter/peanut butter and sugars until they are combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms – it will look crumbly at first, but it will come together. I even used my hands to bring it all together. If necessary, add 1-2 teaspoons of milk, but I did not need this. Fold in chocolate chips.

Shape the dough into a ball the size of a golfball. Place on a baking sheet two inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. The centers should be soft and puffy. Careful not to over bake.

Note - These cookies tasted more peanutty and less sweet the day after baking, inspiring me to re-shoot the photos.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Big Brunch Tomato Eggs

Confession time. Everyday for the past 4 days, since turning a year older, i have been eating chocolate for breakfast. Slowly and happily, i have been working my way through the bounty of delicious confectionary given to me by thoughtful friends and family. A slab of chocolate in one hand, a cookery book in the other, i have been immersed in food heaven. I'm choosing not to mention about the week of birthday celebrations involving copious amounts of food and cake.

The downside to all this indulgence is that i have stopped exercising and have not so much as glanced at the bowl of fruit sitting in the kitchen.

Time to reign it in. Instead of a slab of chocolate, i kick started the day with a less sugar loaded meal, a plate of these Big Brunch Tomato Eggs and a pomegrante and ginger beer drink. 

Whilst i have thoroughly enjoyed all the chocolate and good food, my body was very grateful to receive a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals this morning.

Recipe - Big Brunch Tomato Eggs by Donal Skehan

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
A good handful of spinach, roughly chopped
A small handful of basil, roughly chopped
4 large free range eggs
A little grated Parmesan cheese to serve
A generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper

In a large frying pan heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic slowly for 7-10 minutes until soft but not coloured.

Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Stir through the basil and spinach until it has wilted.

With the back of a spoon make four wells in the sauce and then crack the eggs in. Make sure the wells are deep enough for the eggs to sit in, otherwise they will spread around the tomato mixture.

Cook the eggs in the sauce until the white is cooked through and the yolk is still soft. Place a lid on top to speed up the process.

Season with sea salt and black pepper and a good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

In the spirit of healthy eating, i ate these without anything to accompany them. However, these would be great with some potato waffles or toast.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Peters Yard coffee house and bakery in Edinburgh

Having studied there and is a city where some of my friends and family are located, Edinburgh in Scotland is a place where i instantly feel happy and at home. My visit there last weekend was no exception. 

The streets were filled with people out enjoying the sunny weather. As well as gearing up for The Fringe festival, the city was also host to a royal wedding.

Due to the diverse range of cafes and restaurants populating Edinburgh, my visits are a good opportunity to try somewhere new and interesting. I was delighted to discover the coffee house and Swedish bakery Peters Yard located in the Quartermile. For those of you that enjoy really good bread, cakes and pastries, a visit will leave you wishing you could eat here everyday.

This cardamon hot chocolate was lovely and aromatic, a hot chocolate for grown ups.

I was in awe of their extensive range of breads, cakes, cookies and pastries. This bun was delicious and surprisingly light, with a subtle hit of cardamon and spices.

After much deliberation, I chose the breakfast basket. With some compote, butter, cream cheese and cheddar cheese, i had lots of fun making different flavour combinations using the slices of white, rye, walnut and raisin and crisp breads which came with it. It was only out of sheer force of will power that i didnt try the mango cheesecake after the breakfast basket. 

Whilst the service was alittle disappointing, we had to remind the staff twice about our order, Peters Yard is now another item on my long list reasons to return Edinburgh.