What I've been cooking #9: Dining in by Alison Roman

I first found out about Alison Roman through my fellow cookbook addict Hannah. Alison has been called the 'American Nigella' and has food columns for Bon Appetite and NY Times online. She's well known for her viral recipes which go berserk on Instagram. The famous stew and cookies are just two of them. Her first cookbook Dining In is very much geared towards home cooks who want something simple yet delicious to rustle up in the kitchen. Over the last few months I've found the book a joy to use and its fast become one of my favourites. Some of the veggie sides have taken a hell of a lot longer than expected and we have had to have them separately to the main course. I think the timing may be a little off. I find this sometimes when a cook is translated from its American origins into a book for a British audience. But 90% of everything I have cooked has been utterly delicious. The viral cookies I mentioned above were absolutely delicious and by far the best cookie recipe I have ever made. Dining in will be a book I'll continue to use in high rotation in the future and I can't wait for her second book Nothing Fancy to be released.


Cocoa banana bread
I think banana bread is a cake I make the most. I always have blackened bananas in the house dying out to be recreating into a delicious moreish cake. I usually add chocolate chips for my sweet tooth but this was the first time that I added coco powder. In return you get such a deep, rich, dense cake that really hits the spot. The sprinkled sugar on top is a game changer and something I'm always going to do to every banana bread recipe in the future.


Salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread
Ah the viral cookies! Cookies are something I struggle with, I always tend to overcook them. These are frozen for two hours which makes them easy to cut into rounds. They're rolled in sugar to give them a tasty crunch. A sprinkle of sea salt on the top before cookie is what really makes them special. They are more like a shortbread rather than a cookie. I don't think I'll ever use any other chocolate chunk cookie recipe again!


Honey yogurt pound cake with raspberries
I only had a quarter of the raspberries needed to make then but needed to use them up so YOLO! It would have been so much better with the right amount of raspberries but it was pretty delicious regardless. I love cakes with yogurt, they always taste so light. The honest added a lovely sweet addition.

Vinegar roasted beetroot with spring onion and yogurt
This recipe was a bit a disaster. I'm not sure if I didn't cut the beetroot into small enough chunks but it look nearly three hours to cook! I was doing the recipe for dinner guests and ended having to do emergency peas because the chicken was already done. We had the beetroot the next day cold. It was really good but the effort it took it make it wasn't really worth it.


Crispy smashed potatoes with fried onion and parsley
I LOVED these. They could have done with being cooked for a bit longer to crisp up more but I was getting impatient with dinner. There's just something about fried onions with potatoes that sings to me. Such a great combination. I would definitely make these again.

Blistered green beans with creamy tahini and fresh hot sauce
No picture of these because I've cheated a bit and not actually cooked these. My boyfriend cooked them instead but I did taste test them! I don't think I've ever eaten as much yogurt as I have when I'm cooking recipes from this book. Alison loves yogurt! Yogurt and tahini is such an addictive combination and I could eat it every day. The nuttiness of the tahini and freshness of then Greek yogurt is perfection. I think this veggie dish was a bit of a faff so one to save for the weekend I think.


Baked eggs with crushed chickpeas, chorizo and breadcrumbs
There's a running joke about chickpeas on our house. My boyfriend isn't much of a fan but I still always try to feed them to him, to try and change his mind. I've been looking for the perfect recipe to convert him and this is it! He absolutely loved it and said he preferred to the traditional shakshuka we normally have. The chorizo was the star of this dish and went perfectly with the slightly crispy chickpeas. I can't wait to make this again!

Steamed artichokes with salted garlic butter
This was a complete and utter disaster. I don't know if it was me or the recipe but it all went terribly wrong. I got some artichokes in my Abel & Cole box and was pretty excited as I'd never cooked them before. Well it was completely ruined and we ended up throwing them away! They just never steamed. I keep adding more and more water but yet nothing was happening. I think they were on then hob for around 2.5 hours. Won't be attempting to steam artichokes again any time soon!


Spicy, garlicky white beans
I cooked these to go along some left over BBQ meat we had in the fridge following an afternoon hosting. I wanted something I could easily put together in my hangover state and didn't have to leave the house for ingredients. This ticked every box! For something so simple it was great. It hardly took any time at all and is a great option for a non-carby side to meat.
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#52recipes: 11-16


If you want to keep up with my recipe challenge on Instagram, check out my highlights where I've been posting everything I've been trying. I'd love to know what you've been cooking recently for some inspiration! You can see that from what I'm posting about, just how obsessed I am with Diana Henry's cookbook Simple. It is such an incredible book and I've loved everything I've made. It's definitely become my go-to book in the kitchen.


Diana Henry's chicken, cauliflower and parmesan bake from Simple
The first thing I cooked from Diana Henry's Simple was this traybake. For something so simple, it was unbelievably delicious. Definitely one for a weekday meal as it's nice and quick. You simply bung everything in a roasting dish then leave it alone in the oven to cook. I'm rarely make the same thing twice but this is good enough that I'm going to add it my monthly rotation!


Ottolenghi's honey, thyme and yogurt cheese cake from Simple
Loved the combination of thyme and honey but feel it needed a bit longer in the fridge to set. I'd recommend to leave it overnight if you make it. The hobnob biscuit base was a game changer and I'm going to use it in my future cheesecakes. So much nicer than the normal digestive biscuit.


Diana Henry's spiced Turkish chicken from Simple
Another Diana recipe that I LOVED. If I'm going to cook meat at home, chicken thighs are one of my favourite pieces to cook. They taste so flavoursome and are really the best part of the chicken in my opinion. The spice blend of this dish was so delicious. I served it with my signature salt and pepper wedges along with the salsa Diana recommends.


Gouda, spring onion and spinach quiche (loosely based on a Mary Berry recipe)
Quiche is one of my favourite ways to use up veg. It's the ideal summer dish in my opinion. I base it on a Mary Berry recipe which allows for lots of chopping and changing depending on what you have on hand. I had some gouda in the fridge and I think it might have become my favourite cheese to use in a quiche. It was fab! I suppose using basically a whole block helped...



Diana Henry's Huevos Roots from Simple
Gosh I'm still so obsessed with this book and can't wait until her next one comes out. This is a dish we've made quite a few times now when we don't want to go shopping. All you need is paprika, eggs and potatoes - three staples we always have in the house at any time. It's a dish that will work well for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A true all-rounder!

Ottolenghi's whole roasted cauliflower with green Tahini sauce from Simple
I did this dish when I hosted a Sunday roast for my blogger girls. Who knew a simple green tahini sauce could be so addictive! This was absolutely delicious and the whole cauliflower was a great showpiece for the middle of the table. It's one I'm going to keep on making for when I'm entertaining.
(Picture taken from Michelle's blog)
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Four ways to budget your weekly food shop


When you're looking to save money, one of the easiest ways to cut back is on your shopping list. But cutting back doesn't mean you have to cut back on the quality of food you eat. You just have to be savvy! I've become obsessed with trying to lower the price of my food shop each week. Anyone else play that game at the checkout where you try to guess the final total? No? Just us weirdos then! We do treat ourselves to an Abel & Cole box delivered every fortnight which works out around $6.60 each week on top of our food bill. When we buy meet every so often we try to make sure to go to the local butchers to ensure it's free range. We buy cheap cuts of meat like chicken thighs but often find they're the most flavoursome. Here are my four money-saving tips that I swear by when I'm scanning the aisles of Aldi each week...

1. Shop around
It's so convenient to go to one supermarket and get all your shopping completely done in one go. But the supermarkets you visit might not always be the cheapest. We've discovered that Aldi for the bulk of our shop, Home Bargains for cleaning/washing products and specialist cuisine shops for our spices, herbs and ingredients a little out of the ordinary works out to be the cheapest for us. It can be a bit of pain having to go to three different shops but I like to think of it as a little adventure!


2. Go veggie during the week
Since January we've been trying to make a conscious decision to become 'mid-week' vegetarians. Part of it was because I'm trying to do my bit to be more sustainable and the other was because we are trying to cut down on our weekly food bill. We average on around £30 for a veggie food shop compared to around £50 for a food shop including meat. We buy a lots of pulses in the form of tinned beans and lentils to help keep our protein up. Meat is kept for the odd day at the weekend where we'll go to the butchers or a treat if we have dinner out. I haven't really found myself missing it and I'm loving how much more adventurous its making me with my cooking. It's so easy to fall into the trap of always cooking meat and veg without giving it too much thought. I'm determined to create meals where meat isn't missed and think I'm succeeding 75% of the time.

3. Meal plan
The day before we do our shop I'll go through our larder, grab my cookbooks and meal plan for the upcoming week. I tend to choose dinners for four people so I can cook enough for us to have lunch the following day. I only do five days as we always have one day where we're both out and another where we're home alone - that night it is toast of some sort. My favourite comfort food! I don't always cook the meal on the day planned but it will be cooked sometime that week. I find this stops me panic buying and spending unnecessary money. I try to only buy produce that I will use that week to minimise food waste.


4. Stock your cupboard with tins
I love tins. In fact I can't rave about tinned food enough! It's amazing how versatile they are. And cheap! I always make sure I have tinned tomatoes, fish and different types of beans to ensure that even when the cupboards feel bare there is always something to be able to made into a meal. You can easily put off shopping for a few days if you have a well stocked cupboard.
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An honest opinion of a vegetable subscription service


I'd been interested in subscribing to a veg box since I moved it but it seemed a bit frivolous. But now after living in our house for two years, money isn't as tight as it once was so I took the plunge and signed up to see if they were really worth the money. I opted for Abel & Cole because I loved the idea of their British veg box priced at £12.50. I've been trying really hard this year to make more ethical food choices to try and help the environment. One of those is only eating vegetables that are season to help cut down on the transportation.

Consisting of six different varieties of vegetables, everything in the box is organic. It changes each week but you'll find you'll sometimes get a lot of the same things due to the fact the U.K is limited in what type of veg it can grown. That darn British weather! Sadly you can't ask for replacements like you can for the other boxes so if you don't like something that's included then that's tough. You'll find the contents of the box for the next two weeks on the website so you can decided whether you would like it delivered. In the particular week pictured we got free tofu included in the box and I added some wild garlic after being influenced on Instagram! Occasionally we will add other stuff, this week I added some bread and salted butter.


We decided to get it delivered fortnightly as £12.50 each week did seem a bit expensive and a waste of money. As there are only two of us in this house I've found this works out perfectly. I don't know if it's because its organic but it really does last a long time so we barely finish eating it before the next box gets delivered. I plan my meals around what we will receive in the box so it's so helpful to see the contents online in advance. The packaging is all recyclable, even the plastic. I love the fact you can leave the box outside, and all the other packaging if you wish, and they will collect it to reuse it again for another box.

So is it worth the money? In a short answer yes! I love having it delivered every week and the produce is always so delicious. In particular the tomatoes are incredible. They actually taste like tomatoes which is more than what you can say for the ones in the supermarket...  Having the box makes me much more adventurous with my cooking as I'm using ingredients I never would have thought to use. As we're making more of an effort to go veggie, it's making it a lot easier to get more of our daily allowance. It's so easy to bulk up dinners with potatoes but this is making sure I get my five a day. We are sometimes still buying a couple of veggies in our weekly shop but that's mostly if I'm cooking for other people than our household of two. I even don't mind that the veg is a little grubby when it arrives - Sophie a year ago would have hated this! - as this means that it really is organic. Nothing a little rinse under the tap can't sort! We've been enjoying the box for two months now and I can't imagine we'll be stopping anytime soon.
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#52 recipes: number 11-15


I feel like I'm on a roll now with my recipe challenge and really am enjoying it. I'm still not pushing myself too far out of my comfort zone but I am trying lots of different cuisines. I really want to try my hand at making different types of bread. I just need a weekend free - it's been pretty hectic of late!


Spiced cherry tomato pasta from Simple
If done well, you can't go wrong with a simple tomato pasta sauce. This was slow cooked which really helped to add to the flavours. It was really easy to do and was pure comfort food. It's one that is best to wait until British tomatoes are in season as they can sometimes taste a bit watery if not.  I'm not quite sure if this tomato sauce is 'the one' though. I'm still looking for my perfect recipe!


Mange tout and baby sweetcorn Laksa from Veggie Lean in 15
We ate a lot of laksa in Malaysia and this recipe really didn't do much for us at all. It was a really simplified recipe and I think perhaps Laksa is one that should be done right and authentically in order for it to taste amazing. There can be no shortcuts! It didn't really have much flavour and tasted quite bland. In fact I wasn't too impressed with this cookbook again and think it might be one for the charity shop.


Gorganzola, sage and walnut tagliatelle by Rachel Roddy
I'm a frequent reader of Rachel's column in the Guardian and this pasta dish is the first thing I've attempted from it. It definitely won't be the last. I used it with some spring onion tagliatelle that had been sitting in the larder from a spontaneous trip to the Aldi middle aisle. I adored the salty richness the gorgonzola added to the dish and the crunch of the walnuts. It's not a combination I would ever have thought up myself but it all worked so well together. I'd definitely try it again! But next time I'd add a bit more cheese.


Lemon and buttermilk pound cake by Diana Henry
This is the best lemon cake I've ever made. It was so moist and the lemon flavour was out of this world. Exactly how a lemon cake should be! It was really simple to make and just confirmed to me how much I love anything Diana Henry does. I think I'd happily just cook her recipes for the rest of my life.


Spiced apple cake from Simple
This smelt and tasted exactly like Christmas thanks to the cinnamon. I think this is the best Ottolenghi bake I've done so far and it' s such a crowd pleaser. Make sure you use a big cake tin as it rises a far bit. The first time it spilled all over the oven, This is a cake I can see myself making time and time again.
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Recipe: my favourite roast chicken recipe


I didn't grow up in a household where we religiously had a roast dinner every Sunday so I've always been a bit nonplus about the traditional British dinner. I always thought that roast chicken was a bit boring and not really my jam. But as I continue on my quest to become a whizz in the kitchen (very much a work in progress),  I've been trying out a few recipes and decided that I actually do really like it. It's a really simple dish to do when you have guests over and is always a crowd pleaser. I've been trying out a few different recipes and come up with a mix-matched recipe from Ottolenghi and Rukmini Iyer that I think is a corker.

Ingredients
1 large free range chicken
1/2 bunch of thyme
1 preserved lemon
1 unwaxed lemon
70g of unsalted butter
1 garlic bulb plus two cloves
200g potatoes
200g sweet potatoes
Generous sprinkle of sea salt (Maldons is my favourite)
Generous grind of black pepper
Rapeseed oil



1. Get the chicken out of the fridge and leave to rest on the side so it gets to room temperature.

2. Put the butter, preserved lemon, pepper, salt, three teaspoons of thyme leaves and two peeled garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until all mixed together.

3. Chop the potatoes into slightly bigger than bite size pieces and place in a large roasting. Pour over some rapeseed oil.

4. Cut a garlic bulb in half and nestle the bottom half within the potatoes. Peel six strips of lemon peel and scatter over. Mix it all together in the oil with your hands.

4. Place the chicken in the large baking tray on top of the potatoes with the legs facing towards you. Gently peel the skin back and start rubbing the butter mixture. Make sure to rub it on top of the legs too. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.


5. Cut the unwaxed lemon in half and put in the chicken's bum along with a few springs of thyme and the rest of the garlic cloves from the bulb.

6. Put the chicken in the oven with the legs facing the back. Cook for around two hours. I usually start checking after 90 minutes as my oven cooks rather quick.

7. Once it's cooked take it out and leave it to rest for 10-15 before carving. Serve with all your favourite trimmings!

Let me know if you make it on Twitter, I'd love to see pictures!

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Recipe: tomato, spring onion and spinach quiche


Quiche is one of those dishes that always reminds me of balmy summer evenings spent outside with a glass of wine. It's the perfect summer dish and one that I think I'm going to be making a lot this year. I came up with this vegetable combination because it was what I received in my Abel & Cole box.

Ingredients 
I pack of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
200g spinach, chopped
6 spring onions, chopped
Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
180g gouda cheese, grated
300ml double cream
Drizzle of olive oil
4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Method
1. Scatter the roasted tomatoes and spring onions on a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for around 40 minutes.

2. Liberally grease a quiche dish with butter. Roll out the ready-made shortcrust pastry and and line the dish. Use a knife to cut off the access. Don't be afraid to patch up the pastry if you accidentally tear it. Cook the pastry according to packet instructions. Once cooked, take out the oven and leave it to one side.

3. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and lightly season the water with salt. Once it is boiling, drop in the spinach, pop on the lid and turn off the heat. Leave it in there for five minutes. Drain well and squeeze out as much water as you can using a tea towel.

4. Sprinkle half the gouda in the pastry and then layer the tomatoes, spring onion and spinach on top.

5. Whisk together the rest of the cheese, eggs and cream in a large bowl.

6. Pour on top of the veg mixture already in the quiche.

7. Bake the quiche for around 25-30 minutes until a nice colour on top. Serve it warm or eat it at room temperature. It's lovely the next day too!

Let me know on Twitter if you end up making it, I'd love to see some pictures!


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What I've been cooking #7: Fresh India by Meera Sodha


I don't know how I found out about Fresh India but I'm pretty sure I found out about it from the vegetarian cookbook queen Charlotte. She loves a cookbook like me and always cooks such delicious looking meals. It's not a secret that I own a LOT of pictures but this one is in my top three. I absolutely adore it! Fresh India is probably the best Indian cookbook I've ever used and I love reading Meera's anecdotes with each recipe. It's so lovely to hear the inspiration behind everything and learn all about her family. I've adored every single recipe I've tried and know it's going to be a staple in my kitchen for many years to come. I haven't had any trouble finding any of her ingredients in the supermarket which is a plus. Here's what I have cooked so far!

P.S I can't wait to be able to start taking pictures in natural light again - these hurt my poor eyes!

Chana Saag (pictured below with the samosas)
Hands down my absolute favourite dish. I very rarely cook the same thing twice but we have this at least twice a month. It's so simple to make and tastes banging, even better the next day. It's one of those dishes that can be made entire from store cupboard essentials if you keep frozen spinach in the freezer. We like to serve it with naan breads.


Leek, pea and mint samosas
I hosted a curry night last year and decided to take on far too much as usual. One of my dishes was these samosas. I didn't cook them for long enough but the curries were ready and I didn't want them to get cold. Next time I'll be more organised. These were a bit fiddly but well worth the effort. The filling was great and tasted really fresh thanks to the mint. I'd definitely bake these again if I was doing a special dinner. They're a bit too much of a faff to do midweek for me!


Savoy cabbage, black kale and potato subji
I cooked this up one Sunday to have as lunches throughout the week. It's a great dish to have as lunches as it's really tasty to be eaten cold if you don't have a microwave. I struggled to find black kale in Aldi so just made do with normal kale. Another one that I will most definitely make again.

Aubergine and pea curry
Nearly everyone I've talked to regarding this book has recommended that I needed to cook this recipe asap. So I cooked it up for my lunches and realised just why everyone has recommended it! I love aubergine in a curry anyway so this was always going to be a winner for me. It tasted a bit like it should be used as a samosa filling - which isn't a bad thing! There's a ongoing theme going on in this book as this is yet another one I'll definitely make again.


Bengali coconut dal
This was the first ever Dal I made and I never knew it was so easy! I really enjoyed it and it made great leftovers. Something I always look for in recipes! Next time I would mash up the lentils so it isn't as chunky. Personally I prefer my days to be a bit more smooth.


Pistachio and almond cake with saffron icing
I made a mistake and poured water into the icing so it went extremely runny but it was nothing a few hours in the fridge couldn't sort out. I really loved the subtle flavours in this and it made a nice change for the standard drizzles I keep baking. It was really simple to make which makes it perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon of baking.


Bengali-in-the-cupboard egg curry
The texture was a little weird for me at first but I soon got over that and now have been converted to egg curry. I love recipes that are made up of store cupboard essentials and this one fitted the bill perfectly. I cooked the sauce one Sunday night and kept it in the fridge. It was so easy to heat up in a pan while I boiled a few eggs during the week. I love a midweek dinner that takes less than 10 minutes to throw together!
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What I've been cooking #5: The Roasting Tin


Rukmini Iyer has taken such a simple concept and made it into a masterpiece with her cookbook The Roasting Tin. Every single recipe has been created to be cooked or baked in the humble roasting tin. We are obsessed with this book in our house. My boyfriend is in charge of all the cooking during the week as he gets home from work first and he loves the fact many of the recipes have minimal prep and then they can be shoved in the oven and forgotten about whilst he watches the next episode of the Big Bang Theory. Rukmini is always really active over social media and often will chip in with some tips or if you're having problems with some recipes. I honestly couldn't recommend this book enough and it's in my top three of my collection. I have over 100 books so it's a pretty high accolade.


Coconut, Raspberry and chocolate cake
Sunday is often my day to bake so it means Monday I go into work armed with a tin of cake. This was one bake I've taken into work and it went down a treat with everyone. I loved the mixture of flavours and it all worked so well together. It came out quite gooey but I think that was my fault rather than the fault of the recipe.


Super-simple plain sponge
You can't go wrong with a sponge. I had a ready made tub of chocolate icing in the cupboard so I didn't use any of Rukmini's suggested toppings. But the sponge came out really light which is always a winner. It doesn't quite beat my Hairy Bikers favourite but it's still worth making if you have the book.


Simple roast chicken and red pepper tray bake
This is one of our favourite dishes to make for dinner and have the leftovers for lunch. It's really simple but it just works perfectly together. The chicken is always so juicy and we love to add chorizo to give it a little something extra. This is such a staple in our house and we always make it at least twice month. A big deal when we mostly only try recipes once before moving onto the next one.


Tarragon roast chicken with potatoes, onions and garlic
My parents don't always enjoy my cooking but this is one dish they always gobble up. You can't never go wrong with a roast chicken to impress parents and this one is delicious. The potatoes cooked under the chicken are perfection and so addictive. Make sure you overindulge with the butter on the skin as the crisper it is the better. I used Thyme this time which works just as well!


Goats cheese, red pepper, mushroom and pesto tray bake
This is our number one favourite recipe in the book. Sometimes I make it on a Sunday afternoon to have as lunches throughout the week. It's a pure hug in a bowl, such comfort food. There's something about pasta bakes that just cream autumn don't you think? The pesto and goats cheese taste glorious together.


Bulgur wheat with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, feta and pine nuts
This is another dish which we made for work lunches. I love meal prepping on a Sunday afternoon as it saves you from thinking about lunch for the first couple of days of the week and helps you get into a routine. Saves me from opting for a Pret! This dish is delicious both hot and cold. It's pretty filling but I think I'd add some salad leaves in the future just to trick my head into thinking I'm padding it out.


Crispy baked gnocchi with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and pine nuts
This is perfect for a cosy night in. It's so comforting and there's something about crispy gnocchi that just sings to me. Make sure you go for the gnocchi at the edge as they're the best bits! This doesn't taste quite as nice cold as it does hot so it's better to eat on the night that you make it.
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What I've been cooking #2: Mary Berry's Baking Bible

So this cookbook series didn't really go very well did it? I only reviewed one book and it was another Mary Berry one - who said I'm a creature of habit? I just find her recipes so simple and effective. I'm going to try and start this series up again as my cookbook collection has gotten out of control and soon I will have my own kitchen! I find spending a Sunday in the kitchen really relaxing and have been trying to keep that day aside each week to try and chill out after a hectic week. So without further ado, here is what I baked from Mary Berry's Baking Bible...


Madeira Cake
This is such a classic and one I can't believe that I have never baked before. The beautifully dense cake is one of my favourite afternoon treats. Loaf cakes are one of my favourite things to bake as they're just so simple. This was no exception to the rule. Just keep an eye on it as I feel like 30 minutes is a little too long to be in the oven. It cooks very quickly and I popped some tinfoil over it after 10 minutes. I'll definitely be rustling up a Madeira again.


Blueberry Muffins
Yet another classic. This American muffins are a great sweet treat for breakfast.Make sure you fill the cases up the top as they don't seem to rise as much as I think they should. It will help you get the 'muffin' look. The finished muffin is gorgeously light and perfectly tart, making it impossible to stop at just one. Another recipe I'll be making again. Can Mary Berry do any wrong?


Date and chocolate loaf
I had high expectations for this and mixed thoughts when I finally tasted it. The chocolate was a little bit non-existent but the date flavour was lovely. It tastes very similar to malt loaf and is made much better with a slick of salted butter. Everyone else raved about it so maybe it was just my fussy ways. I'm not sure I'll make this one again...


Maple syrup cake
I loved the maple syrup and orange combination of this cake. It had the perfect amount of sweetness. But I wasn't too keen on the American style frosting which was basically whipped double cream. Give me buttercream icing any day. Whilst I'm glad I tried this cake, it's not one I'm going to be adding to my regular list any time soon.


Irish soda bread
I'd never made any type of bread before having been easily intimidated. But I decided to try my hand at some soda bread as a treat for my Irish boyfriend. Despite forgetting to add the salt, I KNOW!, I added some salted butter and it actually tasted really nice. I imagine it'll taste even better when I remember to put in one of the most important ingredients. It was so, so simple to make and came out with such a gorgeous crust. I'll definitely be rustling up one of these on a regular basis.


Fruit scones
How can you go wrong with some scones? I've always made my scones from Mary Berry and they've always came out great. I alternative the type of fruit I use every time and each variation is tasty. The recipe never usually makes as many as she says it will so always double up. You can never have too many!

So my thoughts on Mary's baking bible? Like all the other Mary books I've tried, this is flawless. She just has a knack of producing really simple, traditional recipes that always come out trumps. I've yet to have a real disaster and another I haven't liked is just due to personal taste. She is always my go-to when it comes to a good classic cake. It's a great cookbook for a lazy Sunday afternoon of baking as you never have to concentrate too hard on a recipe. Another success from the Bezza! 
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