Bake Along with Bake Off :: Creme Brulee

Until I went to Canada back in June, I'd never had creme brulee. It seemed to be a firm favourite with a lot of people and I often envied the pastry chef in my old job, wielding her blowtorch as she created the crunchy glaze on top of the dessert.

The bakers on the show seemed to make a bit of a mess of these, but I guessed without the pressure of the bake off tent upon me, I could manage to whip up a few.

Now they aren't the prettiest, I definitely should have wiped the sides a bit before I glazed them. Plus I had to use Mary's grill method, opposed to a blow torch unfortunately.

My family and I tucked into these the other night and seemed to get good reviews all round, so here's my recipe for creme brulee.


500ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g caster sugar
5 egg yolks

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/Gas mark 3.

2. Pour the cream and vanilla extract into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to simmer gently.

3. In a different bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until a pale colour.

4. Bring the cream back to boiling point, then add to the egg mixture and keep whisking until it starts to thicken.

5. Strain through a sieve and then pour into 6 ramekins.

6. Place the ramekins in a large roasting tin and fill half way up with hot water.

7. Bake for 40 minutes until just wobbly. Remove from the tin and leave to cool.

8. When ready to serve, sprinkle a little sugar over the top of each creme brulee and either caramelise with a blowtorch or under the grill.

Explore :: Toronto

I loved Toronto. The city atmosphere with an ability to walk 5 minutes down the street to the harbour and island area, definitely won me over. There's so many things to see and do, from the obvious such as the CN tower, to the less obvious like the Hockey Hall of Fame, Steam Whistle Brewery and China Town.

Not to mention, Toronto introduced me to the new man in my life, Tim, who I have to say is perfect. He's always there when I need him, sweet, efficient and basically just everything I want in a man. It's long distance, but I'm sure we can make it work.

On our penultimate day, after a bit of hassle, we managed to get to Niagara Falls. The area itself really wasn't what I was expecting. It was like Blackpool mixed with Vegas - casinos, tacky gift shops and American chain restaurants. Nevertheless, it was still a great sight to see. If I every go back again, I think I'd like to book onto one of the tour buses, so I get the chance to see Niagara-on-the-Lake and explore the vineyards too.

I was sad to say goodbye to Toronto, so was very glad to have Banff and Disneyland ahead of me on my adventure. If it wasn't for this, I don't think I'd have left. I'm already planning a trip back there as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I shall eagerly await these photos...

Bake Along with Bake Off :: Orange and Cranberry Quick Bread

I've fallen behind. It was inevitable, but I didn't think I'd be behind on week three! My excuse being that I moved flat, started a new job (with normal, sociable 9-5 hours, woohoo!) and had a mini trip to the Isle of Wight. That doesn't make much time for baking. Therefore, a quick bread was just what I needed this week. I loved the sound of Prison Paul's Cranberry and Orange Soda Bread, so I hunted down the recipe and whipped this up one evening after work. A nice welcome to Autumn just around the corner.

The recipe can be found on BBC Food.


400g Plain Flour
1tsp salt
2tsp baking power
50g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
100g cranberries
1 1/2 unwaxed oranges (zest)
1 large egg
175ml buttermilk

1. Preheat the over to 200C/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with parchment.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Using your fingers, rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the cranberries and orange zest.

3. Mix the egg and buttermilk together and stir into the dry mix. Use your hands to bring the dough together, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.

4. Place the dough on the prepared baking tray and cut a cross into the top. Bake for 35mins until golden brown.