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Bah-Humbug Cupcakes for the launch of “It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol”

December 6, 2014

Home Sweet Home Bakealong 7/100

Humbug Cupcake from Hummingbird bakery

Bah Humbug to Christmas?

Our house is partly named after a band. Blame Mr B, though I did get the sign made so you could safely argue that I was complicit. Anyway, they don’t exist anymore, but out of their ashes rose another band called The Retrospective Soundtrack Players. They use films and books to inspire their albums – so far Cool Hand Luke and Catcher in the Rye have had the RSP treatment. Last Monday they released their latest album “It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol”. It comes on RED VINYL. Amazing.

Christmassy Vinyl

I think you should listen to them album or come and see them live – we’re going tomorrow and there’s a chance Mr B might even be helping them out with some vocals at another date. If that happens they’ll get my undying love, as I never get to hear him sing these days and I miss getting to be the girl who got to marry the boy from the band. Anyway, I digress.

In the end no man is poor who as friends with cake

Th latest in the Home Sweet Home Bakealong challenge is Mint Humbug Cupcakes. It occurred to me that these are rather apt for this time of year and for A Christmas Carol,  hence the diatribe above. So here they are – Bah-Humbug Cupcakes.

Mint Humbug Cupcakes
From Home Sweet Home by The Hummingbird Bakery

Makes 12-16

For the Sponge
70g unsalted butter
210g plain flour
250g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
210ml whole milk
1/2 tsp peppermint essence (I used Nielsen Massey as it’s a nicer flavour)
2 large eggs
50g tinned caramel

For the icing
500g icing sugar
160g softened unsalted butter
50ml whole milk (I think I used about 70ml in the end)
1/4 tsp peppermint essence
20g tinned caramel (I used about 40g)
6 mint humbug sweets, chopped (optional decoration)

Rough instructions
As with all other Hummingbird cupcake recipes you don’t cream the sugar and butter. I love this way of making the cakes. I think it makes for a denser cake but that’s not necessarily bad and it’s so much less hassle! So….
Mix dry ingredients and butter until breadcrumby.
Mix the wet ingredients and add in stages.
pour in cake cases and bake at 170 for 20-25 min. NOTE: mine took 30mins at 160 in a fan oven.

For the icing
Mix sugar and butter, then milk and mint. Add caramel last.

On another note…. chopping humbugs sounds a lot easier than it is. I think I’ll be finding minty shard in my kitchen for a long time.

Join Beckie and me in our Epic 200 part bakealong. Next week it’s a big one – Banana Boston Cream Cake


I’m also adding this to Cook Blog Share

Home Sweet Home Bakealong 6: Parmesan Shortbreads (Christmas present idea)

December 2, 2014

These would be great wrapped up and given with some chutney as a Christmas present. I think they took 20mins max to make from start to finish. If you like Ritz biscuits you’ll like them. They’re pretty flavoursome.

Cheese biscuits in all manner of shapes

Wait…we’re missing something…excuses for missed ingredients or general slap-dashery. Yup, this week I did it by the book. Try not to fall off you chairs.

Hummingbird Bakery Parmesan cheese biscuits


Parmesan Shortbreads
from Home Sweet Home by The Hummingbird Bakery

Makes 20-30

125g plain flour
125g parmesan or similar, finely grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg yolk

Mix dry ingredients. Blitz with butter. Cool dough then roll and bake for 10mins at 180c

Next week: Bah-humbug cupcakes for A Christmas Carol-esque bake

Join Beckie and me in our Epic 200 part bakealong.


See other bakes from this week at Cook Blog Share

Foodie Penpals November: Glorious Goodies from Gill

November 27, 2014

It’s the final Foodie Penpal swap of the year as it always takes a break for December. Once again, my sender was new to the scheme. There seem to be a lot of newbies recently – hurrah! Even more excitingly my parcel came from another Gillian – yes I wasn’t christened “pigling” (well, I wasn’t christened at all but you can ask me about that if you’re interested) and there’s surprisingly few of us Gillians out there. Anyway, G-licious as she calls herself sent a storming first parcel. She had taken into account everything I’d said in my email to her and wrote a little not to explain each one as well as giving me a branded bag (she’s a photographer – see below).

Portlebay Popcorn – Mr B’s favourite flavour too. We’ve been hunting down this flavour and once bought the entire stock of a shop just in case we couldn’t find it again.

Spelt and ginger thins by Patchwork- I had mentioned that I have a lot of half used jams and chutneys so Gill sent me these to have them with. They are REALLY good.

Christmas chocolate...because.

Moffats Meadows Herb mix by Uncle Roys because it had a cute jar (I agree) but also it’s got flowers herbs and seeds. Interesting.

Porridge Seed and Honey bar by Your Piece – basically a flapjack with extra seeds. DO you hear me complaining? Definitely not.

Gillian has her own very unique type of photography. Much more interesting than your average portraits. Check her out here.

Sadly I missed the deadline to join the Great Food Blogger Cookie swap this year but I’m hoping to join a different one instead.

You can see what everyone else got here

The Lean Green Bean

More about Foodie Penpals

Started by The Lean Green Bean, Foodie penpals is a way for food bloggers and blog readers to get to know each other, via a lovely parcel in the mail every month. This is Rock Salt has brought it to the UK and Europe. Here’s the rough outline of how it works:

Home Sweet Home Bakealong 5: Raspberry Jelly Roll

November 25, 2014

Except it’s not. Raspberry Jelly Roll that is. It’s more of a Toffee slump. For the real thing go and see what Beckie made.

The recipe specifies a decorative dusting of icing sugar. If yours looks like mine then, to be honest, nothing is going to make it look pretty. Instead I adorned mine with a little sign that said “it tastes a lot better than it looks”. Given that the whole lot got eaten, I think the Euston Church morning congregation agreed. Well, either that or they were hungry and they didn’t want to brave the rain.

Here’s my excuses this week….the cat sat on my baking…no? Ok here’s the real excuse:

I realised that I didn’t have any normal flour due to a flour-mite purge  (ewww – where do they come from?!) so I had to resort to gluten free flour which I’d had stored elsewhere. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as we always provide a gluten free option at church. I knew that GF flour gives a more crumbly bake so I added a little Xanthan gum. I also only had 3 eggs so I 3/4rd the recipe. My first mistake was thinking that because of the reduction in volume I could used a much smaller tin. This meant that the sponge rose too much and was too thick for a good roll. Don’t be deceived by swiss roll batter – you only need a very thin layer. Mistake no.2 was being too paranoid about overbaking the sponge and it being hard to roll. As soon as it started to brown I took it out as instructed and rolled it up hot in its teatowel. It looked a bit soft at this point but not too bad. However when I came to unroll and fill the sponge it was very sticky in the middle. I managed to spread the toffee and re-roll but had to put the whole lot back in the oven to dry out a bit. Having chatted to Beckie we’re convinced the sponge needs about 10mins more than the recipe states. All that noted though, I’d say it’s a good recipe, works well with gluten free flour and I’d make it again. I need to banish the Jelly-roll-jitters!

Raspberry Jelly Roll
from Home Sweet Home by the Hummingbird Bakery

4 eggs, separated
180g caster sugar
1tbsp vanilla extract
120g plain flour (I used Doves Farm gluten free plain flower mix + 1tsp xantham gum)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
160g raspberry jam (I used Aldi Toffee spread which is VERY good)

Rough instructions:
Whisk egg whites
Whisk yolks, sugar and vanilla then add flour, bp and salt.
Combine with whites.
Rollup while still warm in an icing sugar dusted teatowel.
Leave for a bit then unroll, fill and re-roll.

Next week: Parmesan shortbreads.

Join Beckie and me in our Epic 200 part bakealong.


See other bakes from this week at Cook Blog Share

Home Sweet Home Bakealong 4: Chocolate Custard Squares

November 21, 2014

I thought that the base:lid:filling ratio was a little awry on this recipe.

I seemed to have fairly modest amount of base mixture so I put it in a relatively small tray. Then when I came to add the custard filling there was loads. After that it seemed that there was not enough chocolate to cover it. So, I melted some more. I *may* have over melted a bit so it doesn’t look as lovely and glossy as it should. Also I didn’t have any suitable baileys or kahlua or other alcohol. I considered using cherry brandy (don’t ask) but thought my testers might not appreciate it so I used milk instead. However, Beckie didn’t have the ratio problem so maybe my scales were wonky?

Still, they went down very well with Mr B and with my Bible study group. I would argue that you could up the custard poweder in the middle to make it more custardy. I think the title of the recipe is misleading as there’s a real taste of coconut and almond to these, which is no bad thing but could catch eaters unawares.

Chocolate (coconut and almond) Custard Squares

from Home Sweet Home by the Hummingbird Bakery

100g amaretti biscuits
60g unsalted cashews 
40g cocoa powder (don’t bother sifting – it’s not worth the time if you mix well)
100g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
80g desiccated coconut
2 large eggs

Custard middle
200g unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons custard powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
4 tablespoons whole milk
Chocolate lid
150g dark chocolate  –  as dark as you can bear
25g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons Kahlua (I used 3 tbsp milk)

Method is along the lines of…blitz all the dry base mixture, add the wet, mix and bake at 170 for 15mins). Cool.

Make buttercream but with custard powder added in. Top the base and leave overnight.

Melt chocolate and butter, add booze and cover.

Jelly Roll is next…which is swiss roll in normal non-Hummingbird language!




Fusion Asian BBQ Chicken: a blog-swap with WorldFoods Sauces

November 17, 2014

This is exciting! Today I have a trans-atlantic blog-swap for you. I have posted a Thai Fusion Fish and Chips (think coconut tempura and mushy aubergines) recipe over on Liza’s blog and in return she brings you a welcome memory of warmer days with her BBQ Chicken recipe. As you’ll see, her blog is a delight not just for the tastebuds but for the eyes as well….I feel slightly ashamed to sully it with my dodgy photos but delighted that I get her fantastic looking food for this site. So, promise me you’ll go and see her site, but don’t abandon this ramshackle corner of food-blogger land!


Hey! I’m Liza, a foodie blogger from the United States, in Maryland. I live in New Windsor, which is about an hour west of Washington, D.C., and happens to be a terrific mix of rural countryside and urban sprawl. Over on (a)Musing Foodie you’ll find me writing about a variety of things including sourcing local ingredients, organic food, farming (my sister’s an urban farmer in New York City) and – of course – recipes!

Gill and I have been paired up by WORLDFOODS Asian Fusion Sauces to share not just a bit about ourselves, but also to swap recipes that showcase a traditional hometown meal…with a twist. Fun, right?

We’re smack in the middle of fall here in the States, which means changing leaves, a chill to the air, Thanksgiving preparations and football – both college and professional. And by football, I mean American football (of course), which actually has nothing to do with foots…er…feet. What can I say? It’s an American favorite for most.

One great thing about football season is the crazy amounts of food that get prepped to go along with game watching, whether you’re at home or tailgating. Namely: BBQ.

BBQ also happens to be one of our most popular American pastimes. It’s also known as barbecue, or even barbeque, depending on what part of the country you live in. And, the term “BBQ” can mean a variety of things itself. In this case, I’m referring to BBQ as the food. It’s chicken, beef or pork, either sauced or dry rubbed.

Others, however, use the term in conjunction with the device with which one grills the BBQ. Or even to describe an event to which you’re invited: “Hey, let’s go to the Smith’s for their annual BBQ celebration!”

Don’t even get me started on the types of BBQ (the food) – vinegar based, sweet, etc. A bit confusing, but it’s okay.

Let’s get back to the point at hand – BBQ! Fusion BBQ! Specifically, a BBQ using WORLDFOODS Thai Creamy Chili Kaffir Lime Cooking Sauce. YUM!

Fusion Thai BBQ Chicken


 Prep: 30 min | Cook: 50 min | Serves: 2 to 4


  • 2 split chicken halves (skin on, bone in)
  • 1 bottle Thai Creamy Chili Kaffir Lime Cooking Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and then place it in a large baking dish. Add ¾ of the bottle of sauce, making sure to coat the chicken completely. Sprinkle with parsley.Let it sit for 20 minutes while the oven preheats.


Transfer the chicken to a wire rack in a new baking dish and bake it for 40 minutes. Use the remaining sauce (not what’s left in the baking dish) to give a fresh baste, and then continue baking the chicken for 10 more minutes – or until the temperature in the meatiest part reaches 165°F and juices run clear.


 The skin should be a lovely golden brown, and the wings will be deliciously crispy! Serve the Fusion Thai BBQ Chicken with steamed rice and a fresh salad.worldfoods

Liza and I were both sent items free of charge to create these recipes. 

WORLDFOODS sauces are available worldwide, with a different selection available in each country. To find out the selection of sauces available in your country along with stockist details please visit:

Home Sweet Home Bakealong 4: Black Bottom Pie

November 16, 2014


A nice slice

Blackbottom pie. The pudding for a bruised posterior. Hmm… maybe not. Sorry, I’ve been with toddlers all day so my brain is stuck  on “surreal” setting. Here’s this week’s bake from Home Sweet Home. It tastes good.

I made it in a 7 inch loose bottom cake tin instead of a flan/pie dish. It just didn’t look like there was enough base for the pie dish. In hindsight, there might have been but I quite like this ‘high-top’ version of the pie. It’s easy to make an involves very little hands-on time. I’d recommend it. There’s a similar but more low-rent version of this here (Chocolate Marshmallow Pie).

Try Pie. Try

As you can see from the pictures the chocolate/vanilla division is not very flat. In some places you get more chocolate than others. I think this could be due to impatience and the chocolate not having set properly.

Black Bottom Pie

from the Home Sweet Home by Hummingbird Bakery

While Beckie may have accidentally bought choc-chip cookies, I discovered that Waitrose actually didn’t have any double chocolate cookies. In fact, their double chocolate cookies were normal cookies with two types of chocolate chunks. Very nice, but not what the recipe required so I nicked Beckie’s idea and added some cocoa to the crushed mixture.

200g double chocolate cookies – see above.
80g unsalted butter, melted

3 tablespoons rum – I used some whisky liqueur I had kicking around.
1 tablespoon water
2 leaves of gelatine
500ml whole milk
4 egg yolks
160g caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
170g dark chocolate – I used 100g dark and 70g of Lindt’s salted milk chocolate.

400ml double cream – I left this of. You know by now we’re not fans of whipped cream here.
3 tablespoons icing sugar – only needed if you’re doing the cream
20g dark chocolate – this should be shaved but I forgot and let Mr B eat the chocolate so I used a crumble Twirl chocolate bar instead.

Method is basically:
Crush biscuits and mix with melted butter, press into base.
Make custard mixture. Split in half and mic one half with chocolate.
Pour chocolate half on base, leave to cool then pour the plain half on top and leave to chill over night.
See Beckie’s version here. I’m looking forward to Chocolate Custard Squares next week!




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