Hello and Goodbye?

Back the the ye olde days of baking, I was always trying out new recipes and versions of favourite treats, keen to hunt down the favourites and bookmark them away forever.

Now I’ve got to the happy stage where I have a small collection of favourite recipes. Unfortunately as my baking repertoire has consolidated itself, the scope for blogging about these bakes has shrunk. Seriously, who wants to read about a victoria sponge a million times over?


So even though I’ve been baking here and there, the results haven’t appeared on the blog. The eaters ooh over and appreciatively consume the results and that’s what really matters.

Perhaps this is me saying that lick + spoon has indeed reached its natural conclusion. I’m not sure. I certainly feel that there is less scope within me for creating new posts. With life getting busier outside of work, new exciting responsibilities and a desire to not get too stuck in living my life via the internet, we shall see what the future holds, but I think it’s time for a break and a (possibly) temporary goodbye.

If I don’t pop back, muchos thanks for all sticking around and reading the blog🙂.


Cakes and Calligraphy

Happy Easter everyone!

I’ve been enjoying the last couple of days off from work,  and it has been a blissful time filled with leisurely lie-ins, lazy lunches, and plenty of retail therapy. It was so nice not to worry about all the usual holiday palaver of flights, accommodation, and struggling with directions in a strange destination, but I certainly managed to consume plenty of cake and empty my wallet shopping!


I sadly didn’t photograph all the cakes but we ate delicious sticky toffee tweener from Selfridges, sugary doughnuts from Bread Ahead, and gorgeous french patisserie from Le Patisserie des Reves.



I oohed and ahhed over beautiful cake displays, and pink flowers galore. The floral displays outside Liberty never fail to impress.


I dragged poor A along for a calligraphy class which was so interesting – now I see what I’ve been doing wrong all along, and now I’ve got all the equipment handy will be keen to continue practising!


Work hasn’t been great recently, and it’s been a real struggle getting myself to keep going every day. I’ve been thinking about ways to try and make my free time go further, and I think this break was a great way of utilising time without spending ridiculous amounts or going to a huge effort.

Duck and Waffling

I’ve been thoroughly spoilt for my birthday, with A buying me my coveted 45mm lens for the perfect blurry background. I ran around the flat taking photos of everything in excitement, how sad am I?!

My new lens had its first proper outing when we headed out to Duck and Waffle. I’ve been wanting to try their menu for years, but we just hadn’t got round to it until now. It’s a meat-heavy post so veggies look away now!

Getting to Duck and Waffle for the lunch hour rush involved dodging many a suited-and-booted city worker dressed head to toe in black or grey. We went through the wrong entrance, got redirected by a security guard, then finally found ourselves whizzing up the speedy glass lift to what felt like the top of the world.


The food and the ambience in Duck and Waffle were pretty special. It’s pricey – we paid £50 a head for a substantial meal, and two non-alcoholic drinks. For a special occasion, definitely worth it, but certainly not a weekly affair!

Crispy pig ears to start off with, smoky with paprika, and absolutely delicious.


Then juicy bacon wrapped dates followed next, with a mustardy sauce for dipping. We had some spicy n’duja and gruyere bread on the side with this.


Then came the small plates of oxtail doughnut and foie gras creme brulée. The doughnut was an interesting combination of sweet and savoury.


Cut through to reveal the interior…


The foie gras brulée looked incredible, and I really wanted to love it, but it was just too rich for me, so that one was happily polished off by A.


Finally, the famous duck and waffle, with a side of beautifully cooked broccoli. Truly the star of the show, the duck glisteningly crispy, the duck egg golden-yolked and perfectly runny. This was a dish we really consumed with glee.


Side note – nail colour is Essie’s Watermelon. My latest favourite – just loving bright colours again as we are heading towards Spring again.

So, after all that food, we really needed to walk it off, so went for a long stroll along the river, giving the tums a bit of a much needed rest, before heading down to catch the train back out of London.

It’s feels like such a treat so save up special occasions like this, and I would definitely recommend Duck and Waffle for occasions where you want good food, a central location, great views and don’t mind splashing out a bit more than normal. The other such place I have had my eye on for some time is the afternoon tea at Sketch, so that will probably be my next treat destination… perhaps this time again next year!

More Salted Caramel Brownies

You know when you’re just too impatient to wait for a newly baked tray of brownies to cool? So you dig into the warm tray with a spoon, scooping out the glistening chocolatey brownie itself. It’s warm, meltingly good, and what’s more, there’s a burst of sweetness from the salted caramel you swirled in earlier, and an extra flavour hit from the caramelised white chocolate chunks and cocoa nibs. Then, after you’ve lifted a spoonful of brownie from the tray, temptingly trickles out a golden rivulet of caramel which of course belongs inside your tum too.


Last time I made salted caramel brownies, I had more self-control, waiting until the batch had firmed up overnight. This time, I used a different base brownie recipe – one of my favourites – and swirled in the same additions. Of course, I just couldn’t wait, and dug in with a spoon at the earliest opportunity. Warm salted caramel brownie – what a taste sensation.


I’ve noticed that despite using the same brownie recipe, the crust turns out pretty differently depending on the oven. I have to say that this is the only bake whose results I prefer from the rickety gas oven. They emerge with a fine papery, crackly top enclosing smooth meltingly soft brownie. I used the electric oven here, and as you can see, that crackly crust is missing.


I had a look online about what makes a brownie develop a crackly top. It’s an interesting read – most hypotheses suggest that the crackly top is created by a meringue effect of eggs and sugar being beaten together. So, batters where the egg and sugar are beaten together very well – or batters where there is a very high proportion of sugar are more likely to develop the coveted crackle. The odd thing here is that the recipe and the method are the same, so I’m not sure what it is about the baking that is affecting the crust formation.

Could it be that the electric oven provides better heat coverage over the surface of the baking brownie so the crust forms more thickly? Whereas the gas oven doesn’t heat the top well thus creating the crackly film?

I guess it doesn’t matter much either way as both brownies are delicious but it is interesting to try and figure out what’s causing it the difference.

What are your thoughts on crackly tops versus non-crackly tops?


Cranberry, Pecan and Chia Seed Granola Bars

I haven’t jumped onto the healthy eating bandwagon, but that’s not to say I haven’t had a deep curiosity about the fuss associated with superfoods such as chia seeds, avocado and coconut oil. Perhaps it was when Nigella Lawson started using these ingredients in her TV show that I realised this is no longer a niche market, and has started to become much more mainstream.

So yes, last year I succumbed to temptation, and bought an enormous packet of chia seeds. Fast forward a few months later and it was still sitting in the cupboard unopened, and I was scratching my head in perplexity, wondering how on earth to use it up (I must add that the same situation occured several years ago with a giant bag of cocoa nibs, and I’m still working through them – obviously I don’t learn from my mistakes!).


After a lot of googling, I couldn’t say I was hugely inspired by most of the online recipes out there for using up chia seeds. Eventually, I decided to heavily adapt an Ottolenghi recipe to incorporate ingredients I desperately wanted to use up.

It seemed to do the trick. These aren’t exactly what I’d call healthy, but they aren’t quite as bad for you as, say, flapjacks, and taste along the same sort of spectrum. Next time I’d probably leave out the flaxseeds which had a bit of an earthy aftertaste I wasn’t hugely enamoured of.

Cranberry, Pecan and Chia Seed Granola Bars

Adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

  • 190g rolled oats
  • 30g ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 40g chia seeds
  • 40g flaxseeds
  • 60g dried cranberries
  • 40g pecans
  • 80g coconut oil, solid at room temperature
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 80g maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 140˚C and toast the pecans for around 8 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 160˚C.

Soak the dried cranberries in hot water for 10 minutes then drain with a colander.

Toss all the ingredients minus the coconut oil, sugar and syrup together in a bowl.

In a saucepan, heat together the oil, sugar and syrup until bubbling then pour over the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly together to combine, then pat down into a lined 20cm square tin. Bake for around 20 minutes, then leave to cool before slicing into squares.


Salted Caramel, White Chocolate, and Cocoa Nib Brownies

Happy Valentine’s Day y’all. Not that I’m planning on doing anything exciting, probably just an evening of curling up with sticky, gooey brownies, bemoaning the end of War and Peace.

I’ve got major War and Peace withdrawal symptoms. My Sunday evenings just won’t be the same without those stunning costumes and James Norton’s brooding silhouette. The only cure for my BBC period drama-itis will probably be the eventual return of Poldark, but in the interim, brownies instead.


For the past year, A has gotten a huge hopeful grin on his face every time I suggest baking salted caramel brownies again. Unfortunately for him, talk has never turned into actual baking of the aforementioned brownies, until now. Behold, salted caramel heaven!


These are supposed to be a homemade version of Paul A Young’s famous salted caramel brownies from his veeerrrry expensive chocolate shop. I had the pleasure of finally sampling this illustrious brownie, and boy it was good. Mightily expensive at £5.95 a brownie but I can quite honestly say it was one of the most delectable brownies to have passed my lips.

The homemade version are a bit squidgier than the official version, and I can’t quite replicate the exact chocolate flavour – probably because Paul A Young uses a particularly fancy chocolate. I used a combination of Waitrose continential, and my stash of Valrhona.  The recipe is pretty much lifted directly from Poires au Chocolat, this time I sprinkled on some white chocolate chunks before baking.

They are really rich brownies, so a small square goes a long way. They have a smooth, dense texture that with each mouthful slowly melts in the mouth, releasing an intense shot of chocolate and caramel flavour.

It’s maddeningly tricky photographing brownies (and in fact, most chocolate/brown baked goods) so they appear photogenic, but I think I just about managed to refrain from making them look like somebody scooped them up from the soil outside. I think my next bake will definitely have to be something iced and pretty! Got to get round to using my stash of flowery cupcake cases after all.

I don’t tend to bake especially for Valentine’s Day, but if you are feeling particularly romantically inclined, I’ve stuck a couple of luuurvely (haha) links underneath to dive into:

Felicity Cloake makes the perfect chocolate pots for two.

Date and rum cookies, just perfect for wooing and twoing.

If you want to get out and about, biscuit icing classes for two with the Biscuiteers.

Or if you’ve been on a January diet, and are still somehow managing to avoid all things biscuity and carb-filled, how about buying the love in your life this custard-cream cushion?🙂

The Future

The blogosphere is a funny old world. Trends come and go, and blogs are virtually unrecognisable from when I first started reading and writing, back in 2009.


I first started reading running blogs. I was training for my first race, and reading accounts of PE-hating girls turned marathon-running women was incredibly motivating and inspirational.

Then there were the baking blogs. I loved seeing creative flavour combinations, haphazard photos of those bakes that hadn’t gone quite right, and  honest accounts of what recipes worked and which ones bombed.

Nowadays, the balance has shifted. Baking has fallen out of fashion, and the health food, clean eating craze is everywhere. Those everyday blogs have stopped, or disappeared, in the wake of this newer, glossier movement.

Back then, these blogs were more or less the simple blogger/wordpress template types, with a homemade banner, and slightly blurry, out-of-focus or pixellated photos. Nowadays, blogs are like magazines – selling a lifestyle. It’s a carefully curated combination of fashion, beauty, and homewares and it’s pretty intimidating.

I do enjoy reading these blogs – just like I enjoy reading glossy women’s magazines. They’re great for an escapist read and a spot of daydreaming, but they do lack that intimacy that comes with smaller, more homely blogs. When you have thousands of readers, suddenly there’s an awful lot you don’t want to be sharing with the interwebs anymore.

I’m not really sure what’s going to happen with the future of my own, very little blog. It started out as my online space to ramble about everything and anything, then fell increasingly into the baking niche. I don’t bake anywhere near as much as I used to, and I think it might be refreshing to start writing about some different topics. So it will be interesting to see what happens!

What will you think about branching out into non-baking topics?


Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie is the most stickily delicious way to round off a tasty meal. The combination of crunchy buttery biscuit base, golden caramel, and fluffy whipped cream, topped off with chocolate is so simple, and so so moreish. Oh yes, there’s some bananas in there too!


It’s not a typical dessert for all those January healthy eating resolutions, but definitely perfect for those times when you’re feeling a bit lazy, a little sorry for yourself, and not willing to spend any longer than fifteen minutes flat assembling and eating your treat.


For such a simple recipe, there’s a surprising amount of variation in what you do in a perfect banoffee pie. Apparently the original recipe also contained coffee! I go for the most streamlined version I know possible, and it definitely works for me.


It’s not the easiest dessert to photograph, and certainly the wintry light doesn’t help, but the taste definitely makes up for it. I can’t imagine January being the favourite month of many out there, but this goes a long way to helping banish those blues! Second helpings all round.


Not long till February…and then so so close til Spring!


Banoffee Pie

  • 250g digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 1 tin carnation caramel
  • 2-3 bananas, sliced
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 Cadbury’s chocolate flake

Mix the digestive biscuit crumbs with the melted butter, and press into the base of a 23cm tart tin. Leave in the fridge for around 15 minutes until firmed. Then spread the caramel over the biscuit base, and lay over the sliced bananas. Whip the cream to soft peaks, then spread over the bananas, and sprinkle over with a crumbled flake. Return to the fridge to set for 30 minutes, then tuck in!


The Best of 2015

I think I’ve gone for a year of familiar favourites in 2015. Perhaps I didn’t quite get round to making any of the things I thought I would at the end of 2014, but it was a no less satisfying year of baking for it.

This really was the year of the Sponge Cake. I baked numerous incarnations of them, and thoroughly enjoyed each one.

jam clotted cream cake

Copious quantities of cream and fruit are excellent accompaniments.

chocolate cream raspberry cake 1

Then for something involving all the same ingredients, but a little more biscuity, these elegant (albeit enormous) viennese whirls.

viennese whirls

A’s favourite recipe of the year were these jammy crumble bars. Apparently they make excellent cycling fodder.

raspberry crumble bars 1

Lastly, who could forget the glistening glories of these salted caramel brownies? More fudge than brownie, more gooey than solid, more chocolate than cake…I wonder if these will make a repeat showing in 2016?


Here’s to a healthy, happy 2016. I can’t promise to bake and blog as much as I have in the past as sadly real life is annoyingly getting in the way, but I’ll do my best. Things to look out for? I’ve got a bag of linseeds and chia seeds that are going to be going out of date by the end of the year, so perhaps I need to get my butt into gear and use them up? Chia seed cookies? Anyone? Anyone???

No, okay.

Merry Christmas!

Hello folks!

I’ve been a bit remiss with blogging in the run up to Christmas as a dodgy oven does not a good bake maketh. So I’ve actually not had the chance to do any baking until now, with these mince pies whipped up in my parents oven.


It’s the same recipe from last year, some sweet shortcrust pastry, and a jar of mincemeat that I’ve doctored with extra cranberries, chopped apple, raisins and a shake of speculoos spices.


Unfortunately, whilst taking these photos, the dome of my cake stand, which was sitting on the sofa, fell onto the carpet and smashed into smithereens. It’s a lovely new cake stand with dome from M&S that I had been saving for that special occasion to take photos with, so really quite gutted!

At any rate, despite my longish break from baking, these mince pies turned out pretty well. I think I rolled out the pastry a little too thick for some of them, although that does mean a nice sturdy pie with a good pastry to filling ratio for those that prefer their pastry!


The mincemeat is much less sweet than normal, which I really like, and packed full of fruity flavours. Although it’s unlikely I’ll be making my own mincemeat in the future, I do like the idea of throwing in some extras to make the supermarket stuff a little more special.

Hope everybody is enjoying spending a little bit of quality time at home with friends and family, and see you in the New Year! Roll on 2016!