Category: Tips & Hints

The definitive guide to making perfect poached eggs

That’s right, perfect poached eggs. It’s time, I think, to pull together *dramatic movie dun-dun-DUUHNN* a definitive guide to poaching eggs, beyond the pods.

Since I started writing this blog, through its evolution from pure baking to a more rounded focus, one thing has been a constant. The typefaces have changed, my home has changed, and the URL has changed, but this one thing has, for almost three years, remained the same.

I have consistently been haunted by poach pods.

A little how-to on silicone poach pods has been my most popular post for a long time, and by a huge margin. They’re there 11 months of the year, hanging out at the top of blog stats. Tripping me up when I’m looking at actual recipes. Because, let’s face it, we can do better.

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A Guide to London’s (many, many) coffee shops

I

made the mistake a couple of months back of impulse buying a book while on a Sunday mooch around the city. I do this quite a lot, but it’s rarely a mistake (I said rarely. Looking at you, Cloud Atlas). But, having wandered into Angel after a visit to the Ray Stitch haberdashery, the lures of Waterstones and coffee were too strong and I ended up walking out with the London Coffee Guide*.

Coffee

You  know what’s in the London Coffee Guide? Recommendations, broken down by area.

You know what’s abundant on the internet for free? Recommendations, broken down by area, with loads of photos and personal notes.

As much as it kills me to admit that a book might have been made a touch redundant by the wealth of information online, it’s true in this case. So, here’s a few of my favourite ways to find out about London’s best coffee shops. Bring on the flat whites, chilled out music, and cosy nooks. Read More

Tips & Hints – Chocolate!

N

ovelty chocolate klaxon! You know those foods that are so odd, for the first 30 seconds of eating them your mouth doesn’t quite know what to do? When your tastebuds are totally confused as each bit of your tongue is hit with a new flavour? This fig & pink pepper dark chocolate is one of those, but unlike the time my oldest brother tricked me into eating wasabi Lindt, when your tongue finally settles down you’ll be reaching for another piece.

Betty & Walter have teamed up with Creighton’s, the geniuses behind bacon chocolate, to create a limited edition range of quirky chocolate bars. Check out the four new flavours here.*

Bonus link – here’s a little love letter to lunchboxes. Who doesn’t love a compartmentalised airtight box?

Tip of the Week – chopping chocolate

Keeping on theme here, there’s one super easy tip that’ll stop chunks of chocolate flying everywhere when you chop it  – it’s not just me, right?

Instead of using a straight knife, use a bread knife, particularly when cutting through large blocks. The serrated edge reduces resistance, making the cut less jerky and difficult. Keep the tip of the knife on your chopping board using your spare hand as you cut down. No more three-second-rule-floor chocolate. (Sorry. Ew.)

See also: how to rescue “seized” chocolate.

*For disclosure’s sake, I was sent this bar of chocolate, with no obligation to write about it. I also really enjoyed watching people eat it – they pulled some amazing faces.

Tips & Hints – Iced coffees and margaritas

TipoftheweekAs a natural ginger, I often find summer kind of tough – I’ve got skin that burns quicker than a slice of toast if I’m not careful, and would rather be caught in autumn drizzle than stuck in the stifling heat of midday sun bouncing off buildings. This used to mean a) browsing in supermarket frozen aisles for a long time, and b) clutching a Starbucks frappucino more frequently than anyone’s bank balance can really take.

Homemade iced coffees just weren’t the same, with the drink getting weaker with every drop of melted cube. Enter coffee ice cubes. Made with coffee stronger than what you’d actually drink, they stop your drink from losing its power. They do tend to be a little sticky – you can encourage them out of the tray by running the back of it under the tap before popping them out. Happy bank balance, happy inner thermostat.

250514_Strawberry_MargaritasPick of the Week

Now Wimbledon is over, it’s time to break away from plain old strawberries and cream. You could go with a cake, or cookies, sure, but Kathryn at London Bakes has gone a step further to make these phenomenal balsamic-roasted strawberry margaritas. Balsamic strawberries, tequila, and lime – yeah, I’m gonna need a few of these.

Image used with permission.

Tips & Hints – A black pepper pairing

SnackinsSurprisingly delicious: black pepper cream cheese & fruit

It’s a well-known fact among friends that I’m a weird eater – one of the ladies I went on holiday with was frequently openly baffled by what I ate, although considering one of those experiments was mussels and chocolate sauce, you can hardly blame her. But the juxtaposition of sweet and savoury is one of the best things about pairing foods, as proven by maple syrup and bacon.

So when it comes to snacking, of course I follow suit. Black pepper (light!) cream cheese (so far I’ve seen it in Morrisons and Sainsburys) goes wonderfully with apple and strawberries, keeping that 3pm lull interesting as well as virtuous.

If you’re feeling a little less saintly, Jane at The Hedge Combers made strawberry and black pepper muffins, too.

Tip of the Week – How to rescue “seized” chocolate

Seizing – or, to you and I, “Oh balls, the chocolate’s gone grainy” – happens when chocolate overheats or the cocoa powder in it absorbs water. You can bring it back for use in brownies or puddings by gently reheating it in a bain marie and adding 1 tsbp of vegetable oil, boiling water, or hot cream  for every 175g of chocolate. No more sadly spooning gritty Green & Blacks into your mouth before dashing to the shops again.