Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Sticky Honey and Blackberry Cake

This burnished and bejewelled cake reminds me of autumn - the amber hue of the honey and the inky purple juices of the blackberries seem to signal that the most cosy of seasons is almost upon us. I managed to get hold of some locally produced honey from Bea's Bees Wildflower Honey for this cake and would recommend that you try to source some locally produced honey for yours. 

Sticky Honey and Blackberry Cake
(recipe via BBC Good Food)

175g unsalted butter, softened
175g light brown sugar
2 tbsp. runny honey
3 medium eggs
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 handful of blackberries drizzled with 1 tsp honey

For the syrup
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp. runny honey

Preheat oven to 180 Centigrade/gas mark 4/ 356 Fahrenheit.
  1. Grease and line a 23 cm spring form tin.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, along with a spoonful of the flour to prevent curdling. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that everything is incorporated. 
  5. Beat in the remaining flour, gradually, to ensure that no lumps form. 
  6. Spread half of the mixture into the cake tin.  
  7. Drizzle a teaspoon of honey over the blackberries and scatter half of them on top of the cake batter.
  8. Spread the remaining cake batter over and top with the last of the blackberries.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and cover with foil. Return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until the cake is springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. 
  10. Prick surface of the cake with a skewer, and mix together the lemon juice and honey for the syrup. Drizzle over the surface of the cake and leave until completely cool, before removing from the tin. 

  • You can replace some of the weight of the sugar with an equal weight of honey. If you do decide to do this, you may not need the drizzle syrup - use your judgement once the cake is baked. 
  • Replace the blackberries with cherries/blueberries/raspberries. Depending on the amount you use, you may need to adjust the baking times to suit. 
  • Add cream cheese frosting to the top if desired.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

In search of the ultimate cookie

I have been in pursuit of cookie perfection for a long time. I was tantalisingly close in my previous post here - I even stated boldly (and rather prematurely) that I had found the ultimate cookie. Yet, it was slightly lacking in aesthetics. I still kept one eye on the horizon for the knockout cookie - a killer combo of crisp and chew with a choc-chip /cookie ratio that nailed it visually.

It occurred to me though, that my idea of the ultimate cookie, could be different to yours. So, I thought I would conduct a bit of cookie market research - I decided to bake two very different types of cookie, and ask willing volunteers to vote for their favourite by using the hashtag #CookieA or #CookieB on my twitter feed.

Cookie A is a traditional 'Maryland' style cookie  - chunky, packed full of choc-chips, rustic in appearance, with a crunchy edge and a slightly chewy centre.

Cookie B is more of a modern 'coffee shop' sort of cookie - large, flat and very chewy, flecked with shards of dark chocolate rather than the traditional choc-chips.

So, which one did people seem to favour?

It was a landslide victory for Cookie A! Feedback focused on the sweet/salty balance achieved in this cookie and the rustic appearance, which people tended to associate with the archetypal cookie. People also preferred the more is more approach to the amount of choc-chips that were swirled into the mix.

Cookie B converts gravitated towards the crunch/chew balance addressed in this version. Despite the equal quantities of vanilla used in both cookies, Cookie B seemed to carry the vanilla flavour more obviously, which resulted in a sweeter tasting cookie. Some people were disappointed that this cookie had flecks of chocolate in the mix, rather than choc-chips. However, other testers thought that the chocolate flecks gave the cookie a more sophisticated edge.

I think that the perfect cookie lies somewhere between both recipes. My idea of cookie nirvana would be the amount of choc-chips and sweet/salty balance of Cookie A, combined with the texture of Cookie B.

So what have I learned from the experiment?

I think it's vital that I ask customers to consider what their ultimate version of a cake or baked item would be, so that I can provide them with products that match this ideal. The experiment has also highlighted that small changes to a recipe can yield dramatically different products.

Want to test Cookie A or Cookie B for yourself? Place an order for cookies with me today.

Becky BakesWell on Facebook

Becky Bakeswell x

Monday, 6 July 2015

Black Forest Gateau

My husband LOVES Black Forest Gateau and a good recipe is surprisingly hard to come by. A lot of BFG recipes are more like a chocolate cherry layer cake in form, rather than a light and squishy gateau. The best recipe I have found, is Delia Smith's original Black Forest Gateau recipe, rather than her 'Return to the Black Forest' recipe which is a roulade in form. The original recipe it is not available on line, so I have decided to share it on the blog. My husband's greed can also be your gain...

Ingredients List

6 large eggs
142g (5oz) caster sugar; 
50g (2oz) cocoa powder, sieved; 
285 ml (1/2 pint) double cream; 
1 level tbs. caster sugar; 
1 tin or jar of pitted morello cherries (700g) drained and juice reserved
50g (2 oz) plain chocolate 
3 tbs. kirsch or cherry brandy.


Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade, 356 degrees Fahrenheit or gas mark 4.
1) Grease and line two eight inch sandwich tins or three six inch sandwich tins if you would like to make a triple layer cake like mine. 
2) Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks with the sugar until pale and quite thick. 

3) Fold in the cocoa powder in two batches.

4) With a clean whisk beat the whites until stiff but not too dry. Stir a large spoonful of the whisked egg whites into the cocoa mixture to loosen it then carefully fold in the rest of the whipped whites in two batches.

5) Divide the mixture between the tins and bake on the centre shelf of your oven for 15- 20 minutes.

6) Check that the cakes are baked by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cakes. The skewer should come out clean and the cakes should be springy. Leave to cool in tins for 10 minutes and then release from the tins on to a cooling rack whilst still slightly warm.

To decorate:

1) Add the the tablespoon of caster sugar to the cream and softly whip it - it should just about hold a soft peak when the whisk is lifted from the surface, but should it still be floppy and voluptuous. 

2) Remove the baking paper from the cooled cakes. Stir together the kirsch or cherry brandy and the reserved cherry juice. Drizzle the cherry/kirsch liquid over the cakes and leave for five minutes so that the cakes soak up the liquid.

3) Layer up the cakes with the softly whipped cream and most of the drained cherries.

4) Spoon some cherries on the top in the centre of the cake and pipe some swirls of cream round the edges. Grate the chocolate over the cream on top to decorate.

Alternative: Increase the amount of cream to 568 mls (1 pint) so that you have enough cream to around the edges of the cake and press chocolate sprinkles on to the sides.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Past, Present and Future

Blog updates

Becky BakesWell has had a bit of a rebrand and the blog will be updated every Monday from this point on. So why did I take a bit of a rest from blogging? The honest answer is that for a year, I worked as a baker at a tea room. I loved my job and it felt great to be baking cake for a living. However, baking for a large portion of the week meant that I didn't always have the time or the inclination to blog what I had baked at home. Quite often I would bake something at home on the spur of the moment and I wouldn't have the camera set up to document the process, so the blog wouldn't get written. 

Another reason for my self-imposed rest from blogging was that I felt disloyal to the tea room that I worked at. It may sound strange, particularly as my managers would not have minded me blogging in the slightest, but I felt that I couldn't really put all my effort into Becky BakesWell whilst baking for someone else. 

So, why did I leave and what am I doing now? 

In the end, the financial constraints of working part-time on a standard baker's wage meant that it wasn't a viable long-term career move. I was sad to leave the kitchen behind, but my new career as a content editor means that I can combine two passions in life - writing copy and baking in my spare time. 

What does the future hold for Becky BakesWell?

I am happy to say that Becky BakesWell is going through a period of exciting development. I am now available to take orders for cakes and sweet treats, I fancy having a go at selling cakes at food markets and a website will be coming soon. I need to finish my taste test series and I would like to do some short baking films over the summer months. 

Look out for my next blog post on Monday.

Happy Baking,

Becky BakesWell. x

Sunday, 22 March 2015

I'm Baaaack!

It's a long time since I posted on here - far too long.

I didn't intend to have a break from posting on here, I just found myself instagramming photos of things I have baked and uploading photos directly to Facebook rather than creating blog posts. Once a few weeks had passed, it became harder to get back into the blogging groove. I also think that sometimes, it is difficult to consistently put time and effort into blogging without any interaction between me and the people who may come into contact with what I write. Especially when Instagram or other social media sites provide that instant connection and exposure.

So, why start blogging again?

Well, I have missed the creative outlet that a blog provides. There have also been developments at Becky BakesWell HQ - I have registered with my local council to bake for the public now, not just for friends and family. I am in the middle of deciding whether to register my business as a 'sole trader' company or  a 'ltd' company - a little bit daunting, but exciting nevertheless!

Watch out over the next few weeks for a flurry of updates on baking projects and a re-brand of the blog!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Chewy Cookie Challenge

Dan set me a challenge last week to make the perfect chewy cookies - mainly because he is greedy and he knows that setting me a baking challenge will result in lots of goodies to eat (all in the name of research) and secondly, he thinks chewy cookies are perfect swirled into ice cream...and who am I to argue?

After asking some initial questions about the features of a perfect cookie (chewy, packed with choc chips, slightly syrupy in taste, palm of your hand sized) I set off with recipe research. I stumbled happily over this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction and was sold by the Pinterest worthy photos of cookies and her geeky attention to detail, resulting in perfect looking cookies.

I tried two of her recipes - the tweaked choc chip cookie recipe here (with Smarties for added crunch)

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

and the cake batter flavoured cookies loaded with sprinkles and choc chips - here.

Cake Batter Choc Chip Cookies with Sprinkles

I have to say that my cookies are not as photogenic as Sally's, so I think a bit of tweaking is needed here and there, but in terms of taste, they are the ULTIMATE chewy cookies - definitely worthy of being swirled into ice cream.

Hints and Tips
  • I found that the cookies do have a tendency to spread, so definitely follow Sally's tip of rolling the cookies to be taller, rather than wider (using the amount specified for each cookie, roll the amount into two balls and build one on on top of the other, to look like cookie dough snowmen).
  • I found that the cake batter cookies seem to spread far more than the standard choc chip cookies, so would maybe reduce the amount of cookie dough per cookie from 1.5 tablespoons per cookie, to 1 tablespoon per cookie. 
  • I also found that with both recipes, a maximum of 6 cookies per tray were best, to avoid cookie spreading casualties! 
  • I didn't try baking the dough from frozen, but would definitely try this next time, to aim for the most photogenic cookie.
  • My oven is quite fierce and so I found that 9 mins at 160 degrees Celsius was the right amount of time to ensure chewy centres and a pale golden hue at the edges. I found that 11 mins at this temp overcooked the cookies. Check them at 9 mins and decide from there what your perfect baked finish is.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Becky BakesWell Taste Test #2 - Cheap Flour v Posh Flour

Well, the cakes have been baked, eaten and the results are in!

For a girl who spent her childhood in the kitchen pretending to be a TV cook, making this baking film has been fun. I do have to say thanks in particular to my husband for filming the baking process in a creative way and then working hard to edit the footage to produce the three minutes of eye candy you are about to see.

I will write a separate post later to explain the reasons behind the decision we came to about the winning flour, but I want to give you all a chance to see the film without encountering spoilers.

Click on the thumbnail below to watch the film.

Watched the film? Was the result what you expected it to be? Leave any questions or comments in the comments box below.

Watch out for the results discussion soon.

Becky BakesWell x

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mother's Day Baking

In honour of my mum, this Sunday's baking session was focused on making her a delicious cake.
My mum is not a big fan of iced cakes and I was in the mood for making something honest, humble and homely - the sort of cake that you would find at a country fete. My mum loves custard and I have been mulling over ideas for a custardy take on a Victoria sponge, so today felt like the day for a bit of kitchen pottering. 

I had originally decided to use rhubarb jam to sandwich the cake halves together, but couldn't find any when I went to the supermarket. So - let's be honest here - the better option was to buy some lovely
pink forced rhubarb and stew it to create my own intense rhubarb compote.

Here's the finished cake in its custardy, sweet-sour glory. It is a tall, greedy looking cake and I'm pleased that it looks a little like a Lily Vanilli cake in style. This was unintentional, but certainly a happy occurrence!

If you're not familiar with Lily Vanilli's cakes, here's a link to her site.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Spring Creativity

It's amazing what a bit of sunshine can start! After waking up early with a cup of tea,
the morning got off to a happy start with a spot of Sunday morning baking. I had ordered
a brownie pan from ebay earlier in the week and wanted to try it out. The result?

These chocotastic beauties!

The spring sunshine also made me yearn for a more sprightly Sunday lunch than the
usual roasties and trimmings, so after a spot of cookbook browsing, I settled on Caramelised Onion and Cheese Tarte Tatin. Rather than the roast potatoes, I decided to go for crushed new potatoes with lemon, mint and feta - perfect for a lighter lunch.

Here's the Tarte Tatin in its glory.

There must have been a creative buzz in the air today as Dan decided to test out some
photography ideas and produced a short Spring film snippet for his project Ma Memoire Photography.

See the link below!

Ma Memoire Spring Beer

Happy Sunday,

Becky BakesWell.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The First Becky BakesWell Wedding Cake...

It has been nearly two months since the confetti was thrown and my beautiful polka dot wedding cake was baked, decorated, stacked and sliced. It is based on a design by the esteemed Peggy Porschen, chosen to compliment the polka dot silk tulle of my wedding dress.

There were four tiers, each comprising of different flavours of cake. The bottom tier was chocolate sponge, filled with chocolate ganache and Black Forest syrup. The next tier up was a vanilla Victoria Plum Sponge. The vanilla sponge was drenched with Creme Brulee syrup and filled with vanilla ganache and Victoria Plum jam. The third tier was a lemon sponge sandwiched with fragrant lemon buttercream and lemon curd. Finally, the top tier was a traditional fruit cake in honour of my Nan, as she doesn't think a wedding cake is complete without a fruit cake!

It was without doubt, the most exciting and nerve-wracking challenge I have ever set for myself. However, the moment when I finally finished the cake and I stood back, tired, drained and with more than a touch of Wedding Eve nerves, I also felt a sense of quiet pride that I've never really experienced before. For the first time, I felt I had achieved something that I had previously thought was a bit beyond my ability. I recognised too, the sense of elation that a creative person gets when you see your dreams and ideas standing before you in reality.

In my previous career as I teacher, the sense of achievement I was meant to feel on exam results day when my students had done well and passed their exams was present, but it always felt slightly hollow, as it felt a bit conceited to believe that my students' achievements were my own achievements - after all, they had taken the exams, not me. When I bake, I feel that I am at my most authentic, so it was nice to finally feel comfortable in accepting credit for my work from those most important to me.

Here's to the first Becky BakesWell wedding cake - hope there are many more to come...

Becky B x

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Diary of a Wedding Cake

After a year of indecision, deliberation and at least four cake styles that didn't quite make the cut, I have finally chosen the decorative style for my wedding cake. It has been a difficult decision mainly because I have such disparate and schizophrenic tastes in cake styles that I have found it hard to settle on a particular idea.

At one point I was considering a Winter related cake as I'm getting married close to Christmas. I also quite liked the idea of a Parisian style cake that would fit in well with our honeymoon destination. I have torn out countless picures of cakes from wedding magazines, spent hours trawling Pinterest in search of inspiration and even spent a cosy Sunday afternoon snuggled up on a window seat in a branch of Waterstones with a stack of baking books in the hope that my ideal cake would be only a page-turn away. I have been seduced by rainbow hued confetti cakes, stacked Victoria Sponge 'naked' wedding cakes and floral vintage styles. I keep returning to a particular cake style but I am also a bit scared that I do not have the experience yet to do it justice. I'm a girl who loves a challenge though, so despite some fear that I won't reach this sky-scraper standard, I'm going to have a bloody good go!

Over the next few months, I will be testing out each tier to ensure that I'm happy with the cake recipes and to experiment with freezing/defrosting the un-iced cakes to see if this could help in terms of preparation. I will also need to learn how to dowel up the cakes to ensure that the cakes are strong enough structurally to stack on top of each other. SCARY!

Watch out for more wedding cake updates soon,

Becky BakesWell x

Sunday, 7 July 2013


The BakesWell blog has been a bit quiet of late - I've been settling into my new job and I've been researching baking techniques for the last few months. I want to make cakes and sweet treats that are as near to perfect as I can make them, so I have been reading into the science behind baking. I have been learning about raising agents and how different types of flour affect the finish of baked goods. I am also trying to find the best way of baking cupcakes that are moist, light and evenly baked with flat tops. 

In my baking research, I stumbled across cake flour - a specific type of flour. I'd like to experiment with this type of flour in the next round of taste tests, so once my flour is delivered, Taste Test #2 will be announced...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Taste Test #1 Results

The results are in from Taste Test #1 - Cheap eggs v Posh eggs! Click on the video above to see the test and my findings. The result is based on 4 rounds of blind taste tests and the decision was unanimous...

Have you watched it now? Was the result as you expected it to be? Feel free to use the comments box to ask me questions about the test or to let me know what you think.

Watch out for Test Taste #2 soon!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Taste Test #1 Cheap eggs v Posh Eggs

Eggs perform several vital roles in making a successful sponge cake, so I thought it would be perfect to start here with my first taste test. In this first test, I am focusing on how the chosen eggs affect the quality of the cake's rise, its taste, appearance and its crumb structure.  The prices of eggs have increased dramatically over the last three years and due to this, it can be tempting to cut corners and buy cheaper eggs of a lesser quality than to buy organic free range eggs.

However, I find that every time I am tempted to reach out for the economy battery hen eggs, my conscience stops me. To meet the requirements of my taste test I needed to use cheap eggs. So after some consideration, I decided to use the cheapest free range eggs I can find which are from Aldi and are priced at 99p for half a dozen. 

At the other end of the scale, Posh Birds eggs are the brand I have chosen as my premium range eggs. Retailing at £2.50 for half a dozen, these duck eggs are marketed as 'perfect for light and fluffy sponges.' The brand also touts its eco-credentials with birds that have access to better living conditions and are free to feed and roam in fields on demand.

So, will the posh eggs produce a superior quality sponge or have I been seduced by clever marketing?
Do you think there will be any noticeable differences in quality between the cakes? Feel free to make any predictions in the comments box below.

Pop back tomorrow to find out the results...

Becky BakesWell x

Monday, 11 March 2013

taste tests

I'm quite excited about the new series of posts coming up over the next few weeks - Taste Tests. It is easy for people to think that because a supermarket can produce a cake cheaply, then a baked-to-order cake should also be similar in price. However, using good quality ingredients will inevitably affect the overall cost of a cake made to order. I have decided to create what I think is the ultimate Victoria sponge cake and taste test the core ingredients over the next few weeks using economy range ingredients and premium range ingredients side-by-side to evaluate how the quality of ingredients affects the finished product. 

Watch out for the first post in the series this weekend...

Becky BakesWell x

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Baking Book

Left-hand photograph: My Nan and my Dad in the 1960s.
Right-hand photograph: I'm on the right working the highly fashionable chocolate cake face
Background recipe: Spicy Buns - watch out for it featuring on here soon...

When people ask me where my passion for baking came from, the question is always simple to answer: My Nan. My earliest memories of my Nan's house come from playing bakery in the kitchen with a tray full of magnets that I would pretend were biscuits that I had baked. There were also times where I would pretend to be a TV cook with my cousin and we would make up recipes which we wrote in The Baking Book.

As soon I was old enough to hold a wooden spoon and stir ingredients in a baking bowl, I was lifted up on to the kitchen counter and my baking days began. I would watch how my Nan would rub dots of butter into her pastry, fold the pastry into three and roll, roll, roll to create light puff pastry or she would let me stir the cake mixture in the big baking bowl and put the paper cases into the bun trays for fairy cakes.

Waiting patiently for the cakes to come out of the oven, I would often flick through the pages of the cookery books stored in the baking cupboard. My favourite has always been The Baking Book as I loved to read the familiar recipes written in my Nan's flowing and sloping handwriting.

My Nan has recently let me borrow The Baking Book and I have decided that I will bake some of the recipes contained in the book and share them with you over the course of this year as a sort of thank you to her for inspiring me to bake.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Pancake Day

Don't forget that it's pancake day this Tuesday (12th Feb)! If you're looking for a reliable and tasty pancake recipe, then look no further than the Banana and Blueberry Pancakes I posted about on the blog that I share with my friend: Cooking From Books.

Cooking From Books - Banana and Blueberry Pancakes

Although the pancakes do contain bananas, don't be alarmed if you're not such a fan of them. The bananas just lend a tender and springy texture to the pancake, rather than dominating the taste. You can also serve the pancakes with a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkling of sugar, a handful of raspberries and a dollop of creme fraiche if you fancy that instead.

Handy Hint

Another reason why this recipe is handy is that the batter improves if it's made the day before, so you can make the batter tomorrow night (Monday) and come home to quick, fuss- free pancakes on Tuesday - just give the batter a quick stir and you're ready to get flipping! I love it when a plan comes together... snarf snarf!

Happy Pancake Day,

Becky BakesWell x

Friday, 1 February 2013

Becky BakesWell guest posts

Hey there,

Just a quick note to tell you about 2 new Becky BakesWell  guest posts!

Duck Egg Designs

Image courtesy of Duck Egg  Designs (C)

Click me to go to Duck Egg Designs.

Last Autumn, Thursday nights were spent with a cheeky biscuit (or three), a mug of hot chocolate and Kirstie's Vintage Home. I think that my fella must love me as Kirstie's weakness for a bargain at an antiques fair or her wild eyed looks when she gets near a button box do not ignite the creative spark for him as they do for me, but I love all things crafty and Allsopp related so he kindly obliges! 

If you watched Kirstie's Vintage Home, you might remember seeing Ellie Harrington in Episode 3. I remembered the episode in particular because I was really impressed by the quirky yet sophisticated vintage style achieved in Ellie's kitchen and dining room with the big reveal at the end. One particular feature inspired me and that was the roman blind with the hand stamped duck motif. 

Since the programme aired, Ellie's interior business 'Duck Egg Designs' has developed into a strong brand which has received acclaim and a strong following on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. In a funny twist of fate, Ellie gave me the amazing opportunity to write a guest post for the Duck Egg Designs blog which you can read here...

Click me to go to Duck Egg Diary guest post.

So big thanks again to Ellie for the opportunity!

Cooking From Books

The second post is on the blog that I share with a friend - Cooking From Books. After a bit of a break from posting on there, we wanted to get it up and running again, so my post for the Ploughman's Pasties that I've been talking about on Facebook and Twitter went live on there yesterday, so hop on over to check it out!

Click me to go to Cooking From Books guest post.

Ploughman's Pasties for Cooking From Books.
Image courtesty of Ma Memoire Photography (C)

As I will have more time to dedicate to Becky BakesWell and Cooking From Books from now on, watch out for some Becky BakesWell tutorials, baking films courtesy of Ma Memoire Photography, updates on wedding cake planning and a series of themed posts.

Exciting times are ahead!

Becky BakesWell

Friday, 18 January 2013

From the Bookshelf...

Before Christmas, I decided that I wanted to give the BakesWell blog a bit more variety in terms of content, so that it can be used as a resource for you beautiful people out there, instead of just a diary of my baking thoughts. With this idea in mind, I've decided that I will run a series of posts on here called 'From the Bookshelf'' which will discuss the books from my collection that I find most useful - and boy do I have a collection of cookery books!

#1 The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater

After much heavy hinting, I received a copy of this for Christmas. I already own Nigel Slater's first volume - The Kitchen Diaries which is well loved and often returned to for seasonal inspiration. On Boxing Day, cheese and crackers in hand, I decided to dive in. After about five minutes, I knew that this book will be one of the most useful books in my collection - you see it's the go-to-guide for learning about ingredients, using ingredients in seasonal way and is packed full of advice on kitchen kit. 

You can still read the book as a cookery diary, flicking to the page with the day's date to see what Nigel cooked on that day and if it tickles your fancy. However, you can also use the book in a more thoughtful way, to gain insight on how to use up leftover ingredients hanging around in the fridge. Living in a more cost-conscious way is one of my aims for this year and I have already turned to this book several times since Christmas, to find ways of using up my leftover veg without it feeling like a second best meal - the cheese and leek pie below is a perfect example of this.

However, the aspect of this book which sets it apart from most is the advice on kitchen kit. I learned from the book that Nigel advises us not to buy expensive woks, but to buy a cheap wok 'made of steel no thicker than a ten-pence piece', so that it cooks the ingredients quickly at a high heat. It is this sort of unpretentious guidance, free from the view that equipment needs to be expensive to be effective, which is so liberating. It is easy to clutter the kitchen with gadgets which are expensive, cumbersome and only perform one task, so it is useful to be reminded that the art of good cooking is the marriage of ingredients you like, cooked simply with care and attention. 

As Julia Childs once said: 

"In department stores, so much kitchen equipment is bought indiscriminately by people who just come in for men's underwear." 


This book is well worth the money invested in it as it will serve you well for many years, is a pleasure to look at in terms of the beautiful photography that graces its pages and though it's hardly pocket sized, it sits beside my bed so that I can read it with a brew and a biscuit for a bit of bedtime inspiration... Rock n' Roll eh!

Becky BakesWell x