Monthly Archives: September 2010

Busy as a Bee

Hello everyone! I am really sorry but I am crazy busy at work at the moment and have no time to write any blog posts. I have lots to tell you about and recipes to share but no time to do it.  I have talked at a conference in London this week, started a teaching in Higher Education course and am going on a field trip to the Forest of Dean this weekend.

I am hoping my normal blogging schedule will resume next week, however until then, I hope you all have a lovely weekend and I will see you all again as soon as I can.

Happy Cooking! :-)


National Cupcake Week 2010

As this week is National Cupcake Week (13th-19th September), I thought I would take the opportunity to show you some of the cupcakes I have made recently. I have not had much time for baking so I have only made two lots of cupcakes for family gatherings and celebrations.

The ones above are Aston Villa Football Club Cupcakes for my godson Joshua’s 8th Birthday. I brought some claret food colouring off ebay and with my official football colour monitor, Stuart made the cupcakes. Stuart is also a Villa fan so he took much more interest in these cupcakes than any other I have made.

These sunshine yellow cupcakes were made for my Nan’s Birthday BBQ in July. I was inspired to decorate yellow with flying saucer toppers after attending the Cirencester Cupcakes decorating class. I have loved flying saucers since I was a child and I like the texture change they give against the soft cupcake. The others were decorated with blue glitter sprinkles. I used a vanilla cupcake base and vanilla buttercream icing for these and the Aston Villa ones. I believe that with cupcakes simple is best.

What cupcakes have you been making? Have you done anything special for National Cupcake Week? What is your favourite way to decorate cupcakes?

Happy Cooking! :-)


Garlic and Basil Focaccia

Hello everyone. I know it has been a while but I am finally back with a recipe. Truth be told, I have not been cooking that much recently as we have had two holidays in the space of about 6 weeks and I have been really busy with work in between. I will be doing posts about my holiday foodie experiences soon, however, I thought that today I would tell you one of my absolute favourite recipes; Garlic and Rosemary (or basil, if you cannot get rosemary, like I couldn’t) Focaccia.

Garlic and Basil Focaccia

Recipe adapted from River Cottage Handbook no.3: Bread by by Daniel Stevens)


  • 500g strong white bread flour, and more for kneading
  • 1 7g packet dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoon of sea salt (I use rosemary sea salt, available from Tesco)
  • 325ml warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Small handful of rosemary/basil, finely chopped
  • more extra virgin olive oil for topping


  1. Put the flour, yeast, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, warm water and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and mix with your hands until you have a ball of dough.
  2. Flour a surface and put the dough on it and knead it for 10 minutes or so until the dough is smooth and silky and bounces back when pressed lightly.
  3. Lightly cover the dough with olive oil and put in a clean bowl, in a plastic bag for a couple of hours to allow dough to rise.
  4. Grease a baking tray with olive oil and set aside. Meanwhile, bash up the garlic with 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a pestle and mortar, add the dried rosemary and fresh herbs and enough olive oil to cover the garlic. Mix together and set aside.
  5. Get the dough out of the bowl and knock back using your fist and place it on the greased baking tray. Stretch the dough to fit or nearly fit the baking tray and leave it to rise again for another 30 minutes in the plastic bag.
  6. Preheat the oven to as hot as it will be go. Take the dough out of the plastic bag and spoon over the olive oil and garlic mixture. Spread it out all over the bread.
  7. Put the bread in oven. After 10 minutes, turn the temperature down to 200 degrees C and cook for another 10 minutes.
  8. Once golden brown, take out the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. Cut into chunks and serve warm with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or with a chilli con carne.

I really hope that this is one recipe that you will all try. I know you will love it and shop brought garlic bread, will never taste the same again. It takes time but its worth it.

See you all again soon

Happy Cooking! :-)

PS: Don’t forget the Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up on Sunday 19th September. The information about is here. Please email if you can attend :-)


Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up: Sunday 19th September

I am the creator of the Midlands Food Bloggers group. You can find us on Facebook and the UK Food Bloggers Association. We are going to have our second meet up of 2010 on Sunday 19th September at the Urban Coffee Company in Birmingham at 1pm.  If you are a Midlands based food blogger, Midlands food producer or just generally interested in Midlands food, why not come along and meet some like minded people for coffee, cake and lots of chatting. Please email if you can attend, have any questions or would like to know more about our group.

Look forward to seeing you all there!

Happy Cooking! :-)

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