Archive | April, 2010

Gooey chocolate chip cookies

25 Apr

I have always been a cookie lover. My favourite ice cream ever since I can remember is cookie dough Haagen Daaz ice cream. When my dad used to bring me down to London as a child I wouldn’t leave until we had visited the Haagen Daaz cafe in Leicester Square and he had bought me two scoops of the stuff.

It’s no surprise then that when I make cookies I like eating the cookie dough just as much as the finished product. It has been my quest to make the perfect googey chocolate chip cookies after many a time making ones that snap very easily.

Best eaten warm out of the oven with a scoop of velvety vanilla ice cream scooped and just melting on top.


120g unsalter butter, softened
50g golden unrefined granulated sugar
75g unrefined light muscavado sugar
1tsp good quality vanilla essence
1 large egg, lightly beaten
160g plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g good quality dark chocolate (I like 70% Lindt), roughly chopped


1. Preheat your oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4. Place parchment paper over a large oven tray
2. Put sugars and butter into a bowl and beat until light and fluffy
3. Add the flour and bicarbonate of soda plus the roughly chopped chocolate and stir together until the mixture forms a dough
4. Transfer mixture onto the baking tray in whatever size you would like them to be. Remember to keep quite a bit of space between dollops because they will expand as they cook (I’ve made this mistake before and ended up with a giant cookie)
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes and remove from oven
6. Leave to cool (or unless you’re like me and love warm and gooey cookies, eat immediately) and transfer to a tupperware

#PizzaTuesday at Franco Manca

22 Apr

Franco Manca has long been on my radar but a visit to the Chiswick High Road branch was my first. I had tried and failed to visit the Brixton branch before I went to a gig at the academy, not realising that they close at 5pm due to being situated in Brixton Market.

Pizza is fast trending in London and I am becoming less scared of being torn to shreds when my answer to peoples question of what is my favourite meal being pizza. Of course I don’t mean Dominos or Pizza Hut but there are many fantastic authentic pizza restaurants popping up all over London.

Daniel Young, the brains behind #PizzaTuesday talks so passionately of a dish that was once thought of as the easy and, pardon my expression, chavvy choice. He referred to Pizza Express as the Starbucks of the pizza world, hugely popular but there are better and more authentic pizza establishments popping up around London. I do agree with him but i’m still drawn into Pizza Express once every couple of months – I have previously expressed my love for the new Francesco Mazzei range and I do stand by my word.

The ethos of pizza Tuesday is simple. Once or twice a month a group of around 14 people will see what London has to offer in the form of pizza. What is it?… I hear you ask. Pizza, more pizza, a few starters to share and lots of flowing wine. When asked his long term goals for #PizzaTuesday (this is the # used on Twitter), Daniel suggested the idea of the ultimate Pizza Tuesday in Naples. Wow, when can I sign up?

Giuseppe, founder of Franco Manca was on hand to show us how to fold the perfect pizza. You can see the video here. He also explained that to create the perfect Franco Manca style pizza, the oven temperature has to be between 460 – 520 degrees and the pizza will take just 50 seconds to cook! (Isn’t the oven beautiful)

We had a special tasting menu of starters and pizzas included a Neal’s Yard 4 cheese pizza, which is not on the regular menu, margarita, chorizo and vegetable. The vegetable pizza had a scattering of potatoes, which was interesting and delicious.

Pizza Tuesday gives you the chance to get together with like minded enthusiasts and you get to ask the experts any burning questions that you may have. I had a special experience at Franco Manca and I’m already itching to go back.

Franco Manca
144 Chiswick High Road
W4 1PU

Lemon and pistachio drizzle cake

7 Apr

Doesn’t everyone just love a good old lemon drizzle? I recently had a ‘special occasion’ that I had to bake for. All will be revealed in a few months but in the mean time I just really wanted to share my recpie with you. The pistachios are mostly for decoration, the green offsets the yellow sponge and looks intriguing. Many questions were asked as to what it was and some lovely comments were made.

The beauty of a lemon drizzle is the fact that the sponge will remain nice and moist for a good couple of days. I was told that my cake was delightfully zingy, fresh and moist. The compliments came from two people that I respect a great deal and I will not be forgetting them in a hurry.

Lemon and pistachio drizzle cake

For the cake
225g self raising flour
225g butter, softened
225g golden caster sugar (I like Billington’s unrefined)
4 eggs
3 lemons (grated zest)
20g finely chopped pistachio nuts (I chopped them in a food processor)

For the drizzle
100g golden caster sugar
juice of 2 lemons
50g coarsely chopped pistachio nuts

1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees
2. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy
3. Add in the eggs and stir
4. Sift in the flour and mix in with crushed pistachio nuts and lemon zest
5. Place into a lined round cake tin and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
6. Enjoy eating (the most important part!)


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