Last year I fell in love with baking again. Not sure what triggered it! Maybe it was moving in with D and having more personal space to roam around in the kitchen without the constant fuss from a parent or sibling. Maybe it was gaining a bit more free time after finishing my PhD. Whatever it was I become hooked again.
Lockdown has provided me with even more time to bake which is one positive of this crisis (if there are any). Really the only limit has been how fast D and I can consume all the goodies! At the moment I am probably baking around once a week. So let me update you on my #lockdownbaking
Lockdown bake #1 - The lockdown classic - Banana bread
Feels like everyone has baked at least one banana bread loaf during lockdown. This was banana bread with a twist, an additional pecan crumb topping. In classic lockdown style this was prompted by some really sad looking bananas, while the topping was inspired by an incredible muffin from Gail's bakery.
I followed this banana bread recipe: https://www.alattefood.com/coffee-cake-banana-bread/ and altered the crumb topping to include pecans. The banana bread was lovely but more moist than I prefer but I wanted to use all the bananas I had so definitely added way too many.
Verdict: This was good but not the best banana bread I have ever made. The topping was hard and cracked off in places but got better with time as it softened. I would make it again but it needs work. Next time I will stick with my go to banana bread recipe and work on the crumb topping.
My go to banana bread recipe: https://fortheloveofcooking.net/2011/02/banana-banana-bread.html
Lockdown bake #2: Apple crumble with ice cream
One evening I had an urge for apple crumble and we had some eating apples in the flat. I searched online for a recipe for a crumble using standard apples and found a simple recipe: https://www.abelandcole.co.uk/recipes/simple-apple-crumble-for-two
Verdict: Overall I liked the simplicity of this bake and the fact that I did not need to buy anything new which is ideal during lockdown. However, for me I adore a super buttery and thick crumble layer which this did not have. But proud of my first ever crumble.
Lockdown bake #3 - Easter coconut macaroon nests
I found this recipe flicking through the April issue of Tesco magazine. Although, I routinely pick up this magazine while shopping I have never actually made anything from it before. However, this recipe stood out to me instantly as I love macaroons but I have barely eaten them in years. The recipe was so simple. Desiccated coconut, condensed milk, egg whites, milk chocolate and some mini eggs for decoration was all that was required.
All you have to do is combine the desiccated coconut and condensed milk together, then fold in egg whites, mould into the nests before baking for around 25 mins. Allow to nests to cool then decorate away. It was easy enough apart from whisking the egg whites into stiff peaks which took ages because I only have a hand whisk. I really need to get an electric whisk pronto!
Verdict: This is probably one of my favourite lockdown bakes! Hence this was not the only time I have made coconut macaroons during lockdown.
Lockdown bake #4 - Easter cheesecake
This was another beauty from the April Tesco magazine. I don't like chocolate cheesecake normally, it is not cheesy enough but I wanted to tackle this recipe and D was interested. Bourbon biscuit base, chocolate middle layer and a creamy top layer - lovely! This was my showstopper and I feel like Mary Berry would be proud.
Verdict: This was indulgent and a great easter treat. Especially, enjoyable on a long Easter bank holiday weekend when your stuck indoors all day. It was not work to get through this. It was actually work to try not to eat it all on one day. I love cheesecake! and now possibly chocolate cheesecake!
Lockdown bake #5 - Chocolate brownies
Sometimes bakes are inspired by a specific recipe but other times it is simply because you want to use a new bit of baking kit. This bake was prompted by the latter. I recently purchased a 13x9 inch traybake tin from amazon and needed a recipe to take it on a spin. I decided brownies were the winner because who does not love brownies. Most online recipes ask for a 8x8 inch tin, but I finally found one for my new shiny traybake tin.
This recipe made 16 large brownies, which is really too many for 2 people so my plan was to share them with our upstairs neighbours. Well that was the plan however my neighbours can be loud and annoying, and they really were terrible that day so I decided they did not deserve brownies. Really passive aggressive but what else can you do during lockdown but withhold brownies that no one knew were coming.
Verdict: 16 large brownies is a lot of brownies for 2 people but not when they taste this great. These were fudgy delights! I am so proud of these brownies that once lockdown is done I am definitely making these for the people at work. I have ideas of adding fruits, like cranberries to recreate Boston brownies, or adding nuts such as pistachios or walnuts, or anything else exciting I can throw into them. Make these brownies now! You will not regret it.
Lockdown bake #6 - Pork, sage and caramelised onion sausage rolls
I don't really do savoury bakes but I really felt like making sausage rolls. This was a quick recipe that did not require making my own pastry and used packaged sausage so not exactly rocket science but I felt so fancy glazing my own homemade sausage rolls. I substituted the fresh sage for dried and it worked a treat. The hardest part of this bake was entirely down to lockdown conditions, which meant the only puff pastry I could find in Tesco was lighter puff pastry which I now know is incredibly hard to unroll. In my opinion somethings don't need to be low fat and puff pastry is one of those things.
Verdict: They were super tasty. They were supposed to be a snack but they became dinner as D and I consumed so many with mustard and piccalilli. Lush! A success - only 1 exploded!
Lockdown bake #7 - Coconut macaroons again!
They were too tasty and needed to be repeated. This time I made balls rather than nests, and dipped the bases in milk chocolate and then lined with tops with a Mrs Crumble macaroon like chocolate design.
Verdict: Make these macaroons!
Lockdown bake #8 - Layered Marmalade cake
I have a whole blog post dedicated to this beauty! Coming soon.
Verdict: Make again soon!
I have so many bakes I want to make. I have my mind on a lavender cake which requires a serious levelling up of skills for me and amazon to restock basically everything I need for it. I also want to have a go at a rainbow cake at some point but before these more complex bakes I imagine there will be multiple simple lovely bakes ahead.
Stay tuned for that.