home made cakes for special days and elevenses

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Brentford Food Market

Recently we have becme regular visitors to the Chiswick Farmers Market, mainly because the kids love the big fat meaty burgers they sell. My kids are burger snobs and will only eat top quality meat in their buns, which is no bad thing as far as I'm concerned. Chiswick is not far away but it's not exactly down the road, and the market seems to have the same stalls each week. Keen to try something new, we were delighted to hear that Brentford was going to be welcoming the return of its food market. Brentford is only a couple of miles away from us, and can easily be reached by bicycle, along the Grand Union Canal.

According to the website, Brentford market was first established in 1306, but has not been running for some years now. Just two weeks ago it began again, giving local producers a chance to rent affordable pitches from which to sell their wares, and local residents a place to gather to share quality food and drink. We cycled down there last Sunday to see what we could find for lunch. With a vegetarian, two fussy kids and a very hungry man amongst us, I wasn't sure we would all be satisfied, but was pleased to be proven wrong.

Brentford plays host to many of the lovely stalls seen at Chiswick and other West London markets and events, such as Thee Olive Tree and Marsh Farm meats. Also available to buy and take home were fresh fish and seafood from Poisson in Northfields Avenue, cheese from Norbiton Fine Cheeses and some lovely bread from Ruben's Bakehouse in Twickenham. However the main difference for me was the presence of several street food traders and a central area for people to sit and eat. This was great as it encouraged visitors to stay and enjoy the market rather than just making their purchases and moving on.

Amongst the traders last week were The Bowler, selling his huge handmade meatballs and Dosa Deli with their vegetarian paneer dosas.

The crepe stall was proving to be very popular, for both sweet crepes and savoury galettes. Unfortunately I didn't get the trader's name but it was a fabulous stall.

After a quick look around we all made our choices and sat down to enjoy our lunch. Evie went for meatballs and pasta, Noah and Pete chose ham and cheese galettes and I went for a paneer dosa. I was hoping to check out some local cake producers whilst I was there, but aside from the well known Maids of Honour, there were no cakes available. Cintra & Cake, a baker from Isleworth, did have a stall but had sold out very early. I guess the cakes must have been good! We were all pleasantly full after our lunch but managed to share a couple of crepes for pudding instead of cake. The Cheeky Monkey, filled with banana, chocolate sauce and broken biscuits, was particularly delicious.


All in all, our visit to Brentford Market was thoroughly enjoyable. I will definitely be back as a customer and maybe even to sell my cakes, if ever there is a space to fill. I know a couple of cheeky monkeys who will be keen to return as well.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sarah and Duck Cupcakes

Sarah and Duck is another new kids' TV program that has passed me by. My two consider themselves far too grown up to watch CBeebies now, which means I have to do my own research when someone books a character cake for a little one's birthday. These cupcakes were for Sofia, who was celebrating her 2nd birthday. Happy birthday Sofia!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Coffee, Almond and Blackcurrant Cake

This is my take on a simple coffee sponge cake. I have swapped the traditional walnuts for ground almonds, and added a layer of blackcurrant jam alongside the coffee buttercream. Almonds and coffee are a great pairing, and the ground almonds help to give this cake a lovely moist texture. The blackcurrant jam gives an extra, fruity flavour and adds a bit of colour to the cake as well.

Photograph by Sharron Gibson

This is one of the recipes I wrote for the Good Food Channel website. You can click here to see the recipe in full.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Oreo Cupcakes

These chocolate cupcakes are a big hit with kids and grown ups alike. Baked with half an Oreo in the bottom of the cupcake case and decorated with another miniature version on top, these are perfect for fans of the popular cookie. The cream cheese frosting is made a bit more special by stirring through some smashed up Oreo crumbs.

Photograph by Sharron Gibson

I developed this recipe, along with five more, for the Good Food Channel website. The recipes were then baked by my good friend Katie of Feeding Boys and a Firefighter, for a photo shoot that took place in her kitchen. I went along to watch for a while, and it was great fun seeing all the action. I am very excited to see my recipes on the web site, and will be posting more of Sharron's lovely photos in due course.

In the meantime, click here to get the Oreo cupcake recipe.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A Ben and Holly Birthday Cake

I have just realised that I didn't publish a single blog post during April. I think that is my first month without posting anything since I started two years ago. I have some exciting posts coming up soon as I have been busy writing recipes, but for now I will leave you with a picture of my latest birthday cake, featuring Ben Elf, Princess Holly and their pet ladybird, Gaston. As well as the cake I made lots of cupcakes featuring some of the characters' faces. These were a bit fiddly, but fun to do. Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom is a lovely kids' programme with some entertaining characters and storylines. It's a shame that my two have moved on to slightly less charming things!