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Silent Sunday


I can’t believe we are in the home stretch to 2013. 2012 has passed way too fast for my liking. Looking back through the photos which have documented this year, I haven’t been baking or blogging about baking nearly enough.

And though this has been a recurring sentiment, I’m getting back in the proverbial (blogging) saddle. Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. There’s going to be a whole lot of baking, eating, sharing and best of all a big trip to the motherland.

Stay with me, dear readers… but in the meantime, here’s a taste of what went on in the downtime:

Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sponge in honor of the Diamond Jubilee. Recipe from Primrose Bakery Baking Book, although I used fresh strawberries in place of jam and Earl Grey/Lemon whipping cream. This was my first go at the traditional British cake. I was happy with the way it turned out and will most likely bake it again when tradition calls.


My baking book of the year is definitely ‘Baked In America‘ – maybe it’s because I’m American, but mostly because this is one AMAZING baking book. Recipes from this book are featured many times throughout the blog in 2012 and will continue to be featured in the future. One day I’ll finally make it to Chiswick to Outsider Tart and hopefully meet my baking heroes – the two Davids.

The brownies above are called Hepburns (Kate, rather than Audrey) and probably the best brownie recipe around. They make ideal treats for any occasion – school fetes, birthdays or general parties.

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake brownies

Brownie tower

These Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Brownies were made especially for my mother in law’s un-birthday party. As her party food was served buffet-style, I wanted to make a special desserty treat that attendees could eat as little or as much as they like. So these brownies were cut into 1.5 in squares and served on cake stands mixed with the Hepburns featured above.

Orange polenta cake

Another series of books which have inspired breakfasts, dinners and baking alike are the Leon books. The Orange Polenta Cake is from Leon – Baking & Puddings, book three, as featured in the ‘Teatime’ section. This cake is an ideal accompaniment to Earl Grey tea and also gluten-free!

Trish's Two Cents

Martin has been working on building a set of speakers over at his dad’s house. I like to take a baked treat when we go over. One weekend in September, Trish’s Two-Cents from Baked In America caught my eye and I had to give it a go. This is the best ‘pound-cake’ type cake I have ever had. It is definitely going to be in regular rotation for when cakes are called for.

Pumpkin pie

And last, but not least, in the baking recap is Pumpkin Pie. This is a recipe traditionally served at Thanksgiving, in fact was featured in my Thanksgiving blog post from 2011, but I am not celebrating Thanksgiving this year so it was moved to Bonfire Night. While this recipe is from the back of a Libbys can, it is home-made with love and reminds me of autumnal days past.

Watch this space for Christmas treats to come soon…

Popovers have been a family tradition since I can remember.  We had them with every Christmas dinner served with roast beef and all the trimmings. The original recipe comes from a Betty Crocker’s Cookbook circa 1970’s and has been adapted to suit different ovens/timings/egg quantity over the years. The tried and tested recipe below has been used over and over yielding some of the biggest popovers you’ve ever seen.

Betty Crocker cookbook

Even though the calendar says it’s August, it feels like late October. We’re having a ‘Smonday Roast’ as it just feels appropriate to make warm, comfortable food. Popovers are just that – warm and comfortable. The memories associated with popovers bring a smile to my face every time.  I’m introducing mini G to the wonders of the popover for the first time today. I can’t wait for him to try them.


Getting ready for Christmas 2003

So, here goes… my first attempt at popovers since living in this house.

Bals, now Whiteman, family popover recipe

Yields 6 popovers (double the recipe for 12, etc)

3 eggs

8 oz milk

1 cup (110g) plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp vegetable or rapeseed oil

For best results, use a mixing bowl with a pouring spout.

Break the eggs into the bowl and whisk gently, add milk, flour, salt and oil and continue whisking until smooth.  Do not use a blender or mixer. This is best done by hand.

popover ingredients

Add flour to eggs

Mix with Whisk

smooth batter

Chill batter for 1 hour minimum.  You can make this a day ahead, even, and chill overnight.

Heat oven to 425˚F/220˚C.

Lightly grease the cups of a popover pan (pictured) or a deep muffin pan, pour  1/2 tbsp oil in each ‘cup’, just enough to cover the bottom about 1cm.  Place pan in the oven to heat oil through.  Remove from oven and pour the chilled batter into each ‘cup’ 1/2  full.

Popover pan

oil in pan

fill half way

Bake at 425˚F/220˚C for 20 min for fan assisted ovens/25 minutes for electric ovens, then lower the temperature to 350˚F/175˚C and continue baking for 10-12 minutes longer.

Remove from oven and then remove from pan immediately.

Finished popovers

Eat with your favourite roast meat or on their own. Be careful, they are irresistible so you might not have any left for dinner!

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