Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Pastry Edit

Lets talk pastry. 

Deliciously crisp and buttery and encasing hidden wonders, pastry is one of my all time favourites. Living in York pretty much means I have unlimited access to an inordinate amount of very good pork pies and whilst they aren't exactly healthy, once in a while I have to give in. The pork/jelly ratio is a subject close to my heart, but that's a discussion for another time.

Pastry is often viewed as one of the trickier things to master in the kitchen, however with a bit of know how and practise, it can become a very rewarding part of your baking repertoire

After doing some personal research into the best pastry recipes on the Internet, I decided it was only right and decent to share my results with you guys! 

Gourmet Dough - Hot Water Crust Pastry (great step by step photos!)

Delia Online - Shortcrust Pastry

BBC Good Food - Choux Pastry (great how to video)

Happy Baking!


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Breakfast Series: Peanut Cacao Porridge

Coffee is an important extra!
For many years, breakfast used to be my worst meal. I either gorged on sugar laden cereals which always left me craving more, or I completely skipped the whole event and went to school/work hungry and irritable. 

In an effort to get myself ready for the day I have been trying to up my breakfast game to include foods which keep my full and aren't full of empty calories.

As the autumn draws in, porridge seems like an obvious choice. It's cheap, full of fibre and can be prepared in a variety of ways with an array of toppings to choose from! I personally buy plain porridge oats, as usually the flavoured kind (golden syrup etc.) are just as packed full of sugar as many cereals.

This porridge combination is extremely simple, I use almond milk to make the porridge, then top with a teaspoon of peanut butter (I'm a crunchy kind of girl) and sprinkle over some cacao nibs for even more texture.

So watch out for lots of breakfast posts to come! As always, I'd love to hear from you guys if you have any great breakfast recipes.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Healthy Autumn Recipe Ideas

I'm really not one for following strict diets, my life is far too chaotic and I find that if I know I can't have something, I instantly want to gorge on it until absolutely stuffed. (Self denial has never been a strong point of mine!)

This summer has been pretty carb laden for me, because lets face it, you can't go to Paris and not come back with a little bit of a brioche belly! Whilst I remain deeply in love with anything freshly baked, bread and other bakery items have always left me feeling physically bloated and emotionally deflated, especially once the euphoria of the first few bites wears off.

So now as autumn approaches, I'm looking to get back into my healthy food zone. This is a pretty magical place where you still eat decent amounts, the focus just shifts to eating whole foods which nourish rather than processed foods which create cravings.

I thought I would share with you a couple of my current staple healthy meal ideas, both of which are packed full of veg and protein! 

Breakfast Stuffed Peppers

These guys are perfect for breakfast as the protein rich egg keeps you full and satisfied.

Simply cut the top off a pepper, remove the bundle of seeds (keep the lid.) You can then stuff them with pretty much whatever you please - I went for kale at the bottom, followed by an egg which was then topped with a few chunks of goats cheese. Pop the lid back on, drizzle with oil, then bake in a 180c oven for 20 minutes until the egg has set.

Aubergine Pizza

This is more of a main meal kind of deal. Cut an aubergine in half and drizzle with oil, bake for 40 minutes at 150c. Take the aubergines out the oven and squeeze on some tomato paste and top with sliced mozzarella, put everything back in the oven for another 10 minutes. I served mine with a side of roasted veg whilst desperately wishing that I had remembered to add the anchovies in the cupboard to my pizza!

I hope you guys have enjoyed this post! I would be interested to know if people would like some more healthy autumn recipes on here? It gives me the excuse to try out new things!


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Recipe: GF Avocado Brownie Bites

Cooking with vegetables seems to be a big thing at the moment, with recipes ranging from carrot truffles to beetroot chocolate cake.

I'm a big fan of anything homemade which introduces more veg to my diet, especially as I'm trying to really cut down on processed food.

I'm a big fan of having a bit of an afternoon treat with my coffee, so I wanted to create some little brownie bites which I could feel slightly less guilty about.

Avocados are a great substitute for butter and oil in recipes, as they full of monounsaturated fat. I also substituted ground almonds for flour, as they add extra protein to the bites!

Ingredients -Makes 16 small bites

2 small or 1 large ripe Avocados

2 tbsp Sweet Freedom Choc Shot (This can be replaced by 1 extra tbsp of coca powder and honey respectively)

25g Ground Almonds

1 large Free Range Egg

1 tbsp Cocoa Powder - Use raw cacao powder if you have it!

1 tbsp honey - add more or less according to preferred sweetness


1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease or line a 16 cupcake pan (I used coconut oil)

2. Mash the flesh of your avocados with a fork until they are almost a guacamole -esque texture.

3. Add the Choc Shot and honey and mix, then add in the egg.

4. Add in the ground almonds and cocoa powder slowly until everything is evenly mixed

5. Place 2 tsp of the mixture in each section of the muffin pan then bake for 15 minutes.

The muffin bites will keep for up to 3 days in a sealed container!

Does anyone else have any good recipes for baking with veg? I would love to try some more out so please tweet them to me @audacityoffood or link in the comments!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Interview: The Pig and Pastry, York

Bishopthorpe road in York is arguably having one of it's best ever years. The Tour de France, which passed along the road at great speed, attracted thousands of visitors and created the perfect opportunity to host a massive street party.

There is a vibrant and active community, comprised of residents and the independant businesses which line the street.

I am lucky to live just down the river from Bishy Road and love visiting for the unique shops, bars and cafes. 

I have a specially affinity for The Pig and Pastry, especially after a having a particularly wonderful breakfast there once which cured a particularly spectacular hangover. That's why I was thrilled that Steve, the owner, let me interview him and discover a bit more about the cafe and it's approach to providing one of York's hippest streets with much needed coffee, cake and more.

The Pig and Pastry sits nestled between a well stocked greengrocers and an independent opticians. It has both cosy indoor and outdoor seating and it popular with locals and tourists alike! If you're after a larger plate, I advise getting there before 3pm, as lunchtimes are busy and the food is very popular. The vibe inside is very friendly and chatty and the staff, along with being extremely pleasant, make a very decent cappuccino.

Menu items range from hot and cold drinks along with cakes and other treats. If you're after something a bit more substantial, there is quite a plethora to choose from. The menu is subject to change, however whilst I was there you could choose from a range of sandwiches and salads, pancakes, soups, Eggs Florentine and even cheeks and mash (I'm praying this will be there on my next visit!)

Prices are slightly above average, but I always think you pay for what you get and the food here is flavoursome, well prepared and locally sourced where possible.

Click below to hear my interview with Steve.

The blog Steve mentions, The National Baking Society, can be found here

We enjoyed a Blueberry and Lemon Cake - perfectly moist and wonderfully flavoured!

Other treats were on offer!

Drinks selection, including ice cream milkshakes!!

Good coffee is on offer, which is one of the main things I look out for!

Americano and Cappuccino

Find The Pig and Pastry on Twitter and Facebook

Friday, 22 August 2014

A little bit of a life insight

I am writing this sat in the extremely glamorous Wetherspoons in Berwick Upon Tweed (free Wifi!!)

Life has been pretty manic the last few weeks, I have been travelling all over the country, including stints in Warwickshire, Manchester and now the Scottish border. Last month also included a wonderful trip to Paris, needless to say my wanderlust has been somewhat sated of late!

I thought I would give you a short pictorial insight into my life over the past few weeks, including some culinary highlights!

Caterpillars destroying the garden!

Travelling about Yorkshire often includes stumbling across ruins like these at

Sublime stained Glass at Sainte-Chapelle from my July trip to Paris

My bean harvest, a very modest crop but extremely tasty!

Pretty decadent cake in The Pig and Pastry (watch out for my interview with them coming soon)

Impromptu Dinner Party with an Ottolenghi marinated mozzarella starter

Amazing coffee at Fig + Sparrow in Manchester

Long may the travels continue!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

How to make the perfect Cafetiere

With a little know how, great coffee can be surprisingly easy. Here is a basic guide to getting consistently excellent results from your cafetiere, but don’t be afraid to use it as a jumping off point into further experimentation!

For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of working with coffee is exploring different flavours, timings and preparation methods. While espresso machines produce fantastic results, these coffees work just as well in a cafetiere.

An important first step is to pre heat your cafetiere for one minute using boiling water. Discard the water and add your coffee of choice, allowing 10g (approximately 1 dessertspoon) of ground coffee per cup. It’s important not to burn your coffee with boiling water, so allow your kettle to stand for a minute before use.

Slowly pour the water over the grounds and stir gently with a (preferably wooden) spoon so that the coffee oils “bloom” to the surface. Place the lid on the beaker and leave to stand for four minutes then gently plunge the coffee and serve immediately (top tip: for extra indulgence serve with double cream).

I would also advise on spending a bit more money on a caf to get something firm and durable. Here are some of my top picks!

1. Clean lines and design led - Sophie Conran for Portmeirion Cafetiere, £47, John Lewis

2. Cute and durable - Stainless Steel Heart Cafetière, £19.50, Marks and Spencer 

3. Great for on the move - Zyliss Cafetiere Hot Mug, £8.52, Amazon

4. Dishwasher safe - Bodum Brazil black French press coffee make, £29, House of Fraser

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