Hello and welcome to beerandbaking.net

I am an amateur baker (emphasis on the amateur!) and sharing my adventures in the wonderful world of baked goods. Bread, cakes, tarts and pies and a few beer reviews as well. I am also experimenting with ways to make by beloved bakes at little bit healthier by reducing sugar and fat, but everything in moderation so there will be some absolute decadent recipes as well.

You can also follow me on twitter @beerandbaking

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Little Lemon Tarts

As it was my birthday this week then it also meant that I needed to bake a shed-load of treats for my colleagues. Well I could do what everyone else does and pick up a load of treats from the supermarket but where would the fun be in that. As a baker it is a present to me to spend the day in the kitchen making lots of lovely stuff. In previous years it has been all about caramel and chocolate but this year I decided to go fruity and make Rhubarb and Orange Cake, Panettone, and Lemon Tarts.

Epic Day of BakingAlthough they all disappeared rapidly the stars of the show were my lemon tarts so I thought I would post the recipe here. Using my favourite sweet ginger pastry (thanks again Ryan) and the filling is adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe. This is a very egg heavy recipe, lots of protein but also cholesterol so you may want to leave it a few days before having any more.

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Strawberry And White Chocolate Mousse Tarts

It is getting to that time of year when strawberries are in abundance and are also extremely affordable. Got to love seasonality! Whereas in midwinter it can be £3 for 200g, I managed to get 1kg for the same price. Although strawberries are a staple for the breakfast smoothies The Gorgeous One makes, with this many I get to use them for baking as well.

StrawberriesI knew I had a few tart rings of sweet pastry in the freezer to use up left over pastry so thought this would be an ideal time to use them. I know the classic strawberry tart is really a crème patissiere or crème mousseline topped with the fruit. Lovely as that is I wanted to do something a little different. Coincidently the theme for this week’s @sundaybakeclub was creativity so what better excuse to get my thinking cap on and get inventing. Thankfully this experiment tuned out a lot better than some of my other culinary inventions.

The result of my culinary inventiveness is this gorgeous strawberry and white chocolate mousse in a lovely sweet ginger shortcrust pastry, topped with a dark chocolate glaze. (Feel I should be auditioning for a Marks and Spencer advert!) The strawberry and white chocolate mousse could also be enjoyed by itself but isn’t everything better with a bit of pastry!

Strawberry & White Chocolate Mousse TartI may be taking credit for the combination but there are a list of people I must thank for the components. The pastry recipe is my go to sweet pastry and gets used a lot, so thank you Ryan Chong. The mousse recipe is adapted from goodtoknow and the chocolate glaze is from Hairy Bikers.

Makes 4 Tarts (10 Cm) or could make into a huge tart


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Sourdough starter (mis)adventures

I have been wanting to make my own sourdough for a while and it was on my New Years baking resolutions. (It was on last year as well but never got round to it.) In the bread baking circle on social media, sourdough is seen as king due to the more intense flavours and once you start you never seem to go back to baking with shop bought yeast. I also know people who have sent sourdough starters all over the world. What really prompted this attempt though was The Gorgeous One having really bad Acid Reflux after an extremely bready day followed by pasties in the evening. My thought was that sourdough might affect him less.

Sourdough Loaf

Now there are many different recipes for starters from simply flour and water, using apples or grapes, to concoctions from yoghurt. With the support of my fabulous twitter friends (@dbtsauce, @thecraftylarder, @bakerbearded, @breadstead, @keepcalmfannyon, & @wingcottage) I have gone for the simple flour and water method loosely based on thekitchn.com. Continue reading

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Bacon and Butternut Risotto

This week has been a week of culinary experimentation as I have started my own sourdough (post to follow) and for Shrove Tuesday the Gorgeous One and I had beef, pepper and onions rolled in pancakes using my pancake recipe minus the cinnamon. But the one recipe I was really proud of was Bacon and Butternut Risotto.

Bacon and Butternut RisottoI have made butternut squash risottos before however they were a little on the sweet side, which I liked as I have a huge sweet tooth but a bit too much for the savoury loving Gorgeous One. It is amazing how the addition of one ingredient can completely transform a dish. The smoky, slightly salty taste of the bacon superbly compliments the sweetness of the butternut squash.

This recipe is adapted from BBC Good Food.


Serves 2 as a main meal or 4 as a side dish. Continue reading

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Double Trouble Week – The Best Bits

Wahoo I made the best bits!

The Sunday Baking Club

We LOVED your bakes this week, and we’re looking forward to the vote on this – we think you’ll find it super tough to pick a favourite from this lovely little lot….

@autourjoanne Apricot and hazelnut cookies @autourjoanne Apricot and hazelnut cookies

@bakerbearded Nutella and peanut butter loaf @bakerbearded Nutella and peanut butter loaf

@becsj76 Champagne cupcakes with balsamic marinated strawberries @becsj76 Champagne cupcakes with balsamic marinated strawberries

@beerandbaking banana and chocolate bundt @beerandbaking banana and chocolate bundt

@cakesbynoah rhubarb and custard crumble @cakesbynoah rhubarb and custard crumble

@frenchcritter chocolate and orange brownies @frenchcritter chocolate and orange brownies

@plebdeb Raspberry and lemon dimple sponge @plebdeb Raspberry and lemon dimple sponge

@Rob_C_Allen Chocolate and orange cakes @Rob_C_Allen Chocolate and orange cakes

@thecraftylarder banana and caramel cupcakes @thecraftylarder banana and caramel cupcakes

@Neily82 Strawberries and cream cake @Neily82 Strawberries and cream cake

Over at our Bake Club HQs, @Dombelina made this absolute beauty:

@dombelina chocolate and caramel ombre cake @dombelina chocolate and caramel ombre cake

So there you have it. If you’re stuck like we are, remember you can vote more than once!

Jo, Claire and Dominique xxx

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Panini Rolls 4 Ways

I absolutely love making bread; there is something very therapeutic about kneading dough and patiently waiting for it to rise. Also it is amazing how those few ingredients (flour, water, yeast, and salt) transform into something fabulous. Once you have a dough it is so easy to add other ingredients to create a wide variety of different breads. I have made black pepper, oat, fruity, and tomato and parmesan panini rolls from the same dough to show how easy it is!

Panini Rolls 4 waysThese rolls are perfect for little sandwich rolls or slice in half and lightly toast for bruschetta. Or if you are like the Gorgeous One and I, as soon as they have cooled enough to eat but are still slightly warm slice in half and spread a good dollop of butter (or butter-like spread) and devour there and then. If freezing then put them in a plastic freezer bag as soon as they have cooled down as being fresh bread and with shallow depth they will go stale far quicker then their supermarket compatriots stuffed with preservatives.

Although I made 8 rolls it was a bit of a stretch so I would advise making 6 from the recipe below. This recipe is taken from Gino D’Acampo’s Italian Home Baking. This was the recipe book that restarted my love of baking (see my guest post on The School Cook) and has lots of lovely Italian Breads, Biscuits and Cakes with very clear instructions. I have put a link at the bottom of the post to Amazon.co.uk but if you have a Works near you then have a look as I have seen it in there cheaper.

Makes 6-8 Paninis Continue reading

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Date and Cashew (fake Caramel) Tart

Last week the @sundaybakeclub challenge was caramel. Normally I’d be all over that like a fashionista over a Prada bag. (Was going to go for a pig in muck but thought I might alienate some of my city living readers) Honestly, I would kill for a decadent salted caramel treat. But the Gorgeous One and I are trying to be good so any normal recipe involving caramel was straight out the window due to the quantities of refined sugar and butter involved.

Not wishing to give up I turned to my trusty friend Google, and in turn I was led to some new (to me) food bloggers. Hurrah, salvation at last! One common way of making a healthier caramel is to use coconut milk (The Iron You) but I’m not a big coconut fan – Bountys will only ever be eaten after all other options have been exhausted! I also found Nadia who has an amazing recipe for a Healthier Date and Cashew Caramel Chocolate Slice. I have used half the quantity of Nadia’s Caramel filling but combined it with a low fat chocolate oat pastry to make my decadent but healthier version of a caramel tart.

Date and Cashew (Fake Caramel) TartBy the time I had finished my research and planning, I’d run out of time to bake for the competition but decided to make it anyway the following weekend. The end result is sweet and rich yet also light due to absence of refined sugar. It is not sugar free as it has the naturally occurring sugars from the dates and honey but has far less calories than a normal caramel tart. Serve with a splash of single cream for a truly decadent dessert without the guilt.


(8 Servings) (12 Servings)
Calories – 373 Calories – 249
Fat – 20.2g Fat – 13.5 g
Carbs – 41.6g Carbs – 27.7g
Protein – 9.2g Protein – 6.1g

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Great bakes, great prize!

Just a quick post to say WAHOO really, my autographed copy of John Waite Bakes at Home has arrived! The delectable John Waite (winner of season 3 of GBBO) picked my Nutella Star Bread as one of the best bakes of 2014.SignedPrizeimageNutella Star Bread PR

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Banana and Honey Bundtlettes

Happy New Year to you all and I hope you had a great time with family and friends over the festive period. I know I certainly did and with the festivities came lots of gorgeous food and drink. It may be a bit of a cliché at this time of year but the other half and I are going on a bit of a health kick to start 2015 albeit with slightly different aims. The Gorgeous One is looking to shift a few pounds before our vacation in late spring, whereas I am not so much bothered by my weight but going for lean muscle growth (and reducing the keg I have for a belly). Over the last year I have already been reducing sugar in most bakes by a third and using lower fat alternatives but now I want to experiment with even healthier and protein infused bakes.

Banana and Honey BundtletteThe Gorgeous One was given a fantastic Banana Bread recipe by one of his colleagues and inspired the recipe below. This recipe could be used to make muffins or a small loaf but I have gone for bundtlettes as they look fabulous without any icing, or just a light dusting of icing sugar. I have also discovered a great app / website called My Fitness Pal which helps calculate calories, fat, sugar and protein consumption. I’m still finding my way around the app but impressed with what I’ve seen so far. The app can also be used to keep track of all food and drink intake or, as the more gym oriented prefer, macros. (This took me ages to work out as to me macros are small programs to automate tasks on the computer.)

There is hardly any fat (a small amount comes from the eggs) and no processed sugar. I have used honey as it requires less to sweeten than normal sugar. Cinnamon and honey have also been used for centuries for additional health benefits and help boost the immune system.

Makes 6 Bundtlettes or 12 Muffins

Nutrition (per Bundtlette):

  • Calories 179
  • Fat 1g
  • Carbs 30g
  • Protein 8g

Time: 10 mins prep, 25 mins bake Continue reading

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Guest Post: Christmas Panettone by Paul Roughan

Andrew (The School Cook) asked me to do a guest post on his blog and you can read it here as well.

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