Sunday, 14 February 2016

Meeting Mr Bean (no, not THAT Mr Bean) at the Bakes and Cakes show

You might remember that in 2014 something amazing happened. I got to meet Mary Berry when my cookies won first prize at the BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes show in London. Lots of other amazing things have happened with my cooking adventures since then too...

I won at Kent Cooks that year which was an awesome experience as I got to cook in a proper professional kitchen.

Then last year I got to cook with Edd Kimber which was brilliant as he was really fun.

So I thought that was enough exciting things to have happened. But then when I saw that the 2015 BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes show had 'London Landmarks' as the theme for the baking competition, I had the idea of making 'The London Pie' which is a play on words about my favourite London Landmark which is The London Eye.

I had made some hot water crust Cornish pasties before and so I really wanted to do a hot water crust pastry pie as I like making hot water crust pastry. You can see the recipe for the pie I made here.

It was a really good day in London as I got to see lots of my favourite chefs like Jo Wheatley. I like making her recipes as I made her pannetone before.
 We also saw Marcus Bean who is great.
 And the lady at Bake Box showed me how to decorate a Christmas star really nicely.

This year the Bakes and Cakes show was part of the BBC Good Food show so there was lots to see and do!

Then it was time for the announcement of the winners - I really really didn't think I stood a chance because there were so many great entries. Most were cakes or biscuit buildings and mine was the only pie so I really didn't have high hopes.

I couldn't believe it when my name was called as runner up in the junior category!!!

I won a signed Paul Hollywood cookery book, a magimix icecream maker and a ticket to see the Paul Hollywood theatre session. I was secretly really pleased not to win first prize as that was to meet Paul Hollywood and I find him a bit scary on TV so I didn't want that.

When I saw him in the theatre session he actually seemed nice and he was funny too.

 He made a fougasse bread, cut it up and threw it into the audience.

 My mum managed to catch a piece for me! (it tasted good)

Overall we had a really great day out! 

The London Pie Recipe: A a warming winter lentil and vegetable pie

The Brilliant Chef is back! I was too busy to blog for a while because I was too busy at school but I wanted to write up my recipe for what I call 'The London Pie'. It is based on 'The London Eye' as that is my favourite London landmark.

I had to chop up loads of vegetables

And make a hot water crust pastry - which I really enjoy doing!

Here are all the ingredients you need:

For the pastry:
80g butter
140g lard
1 tsp table salt
600g plain flour
1 egg for egg wash
240ml water

For the filling:
1cup dried red lentils - washed thoroughly
4 potatoes
4 carrots
2 onions
groundnut oil
fresh or dried herbs - we used fresh rosemary from the garden and some dried mixed herbs.

1. Wash the red lentils in a sieve, place in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Then simmer for 15-20 minutes.

2. Wash the potatoes and peel the carrots (you can peel the potatoes too if you want to but I like them with the skins on as long as I wash them properly).

3. Dice all the vegetables - the potatoes, carrots, and onions.

4. Brown the onions on the hob in 3 tablespoons of groundnut oil. Then add the carrots and fry for 7 minutes. Then add the potatoes and fry for another 7 minutes. Finally add the lentils in. Add seasoning if you wish to and add the rosemary and dried mixed herbs. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes on the hob then remove from heat and leave to cool. Preheat the oven to 200C.

5.  To make the pastry place the water, lard, butter and salt in a pan on the hob and heat gently until the lard and butter melts.

6. Measure the flour into a large bowl, carefully pour in the water/lard mixture and mix it with a spoon until it forms a dough.

7. Knead briefly. Then take one third of it and keep to one side for the pie lid. And keep a little bit of pastry to make the other decorations.

8. Roll out the remaining pastry and lift it into a tin. I used an 8 inch cake tin. Fill the pastry with the filling. You probably won't need all the filling. I had enough leftover to make some cornish pasties too. I then rolled out and placed the pastry lid on top crimping the edges using egg wash to seal the pie properly. I made a hole in the middle to let out steam and I egg-washed over the whole top of the pie. To help make some of the pattern I needed for the London Pie, I made some fork marks from the centre to the outer edges of the pie.

9. I cooked my pie in the oven at 200C for 15 minutes. Then the temperature needs to reduce to 180C and I baked the pie for another 45 minutes. Then you need to check the pie to make sure it is not burning, and then cook for another 30 minutes.

10. Then I used the other bits of spare pastry to make the capsules of the london eye and the struts. These need to be egg washed and baked on a separate baking tray for about 15 minutes.

11. When the pie is ready remove from the oven and using more egg wash stick on the 'decorations'. This then needs to go back into the oven for another 5 minutes.

Then the pie was ready for its London adventure. My school let me have the afternoon off school to make this and then my dad had to drive it all the way to London as I had been shortlisted in the BBC Good Food bakes and cakes show!

Keep reading my blog and you will find out what happened in my next blogpost.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Quick Bread two ways - #JarAmnesty with The English Provender Co.

It's Rebecca here again whilst Daniel is taking a break from the blog. Today I have a really brilliant recipe I have created, inspired by two of my favourite chutneys from The English Provender Co.

As part of the #JarAmnesty challenge with Foodies100 and English Provender, we have come up with a recipe to use up the jars of condiments that gather at the back of the fridge. Described as a 'jar forest' I'm sure it is a sight that is familiar in fridges everywhere!

I have to confess that whilst many condiments do end up sitting for months on end lost in the fridge, we don't often have that problem with English Provender products because they go so well with pretty much everything - and they get eaten quickly.

The English Provender chutney flavours are amazing and so I wanted to use my two favourites in a recipe so that they never end up stuck at the back of the fridge.

I am using Plum & Bramley Apple Chutney and Caramelised Red Onion Chutney and with one speedy quick bread dough these will be transformed into two types of satisfying and tasty quick bread:

  • Plum & Bramley Apple Chutney, Feta, Walnut and sunflower seed Quick bread
  • Caramelised Red Onion, Bacon and Cheddar Quick bread 

The great thing about quick bread is that you don't need yeast and so there is no lengthy wait for the dough to rise before cooking. Instead buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda are used as raising agents during cooking making the whole process speedy and easy. 

For the dough - 
200g wholemeal flour
300g plain flour
400ml buttermilk (or make your own using 400ml milk mixed with 40ml lemon juice and leave for 10 minutes)
1tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the Plum & Bramley Apple Chutney, Feta, Walnut and sunflower seed Quick bread you will also need:
60g feta - crumbled
30g walnuts - roughly chopped
10g sunflower seeds
75g English Provender Plum & Bramley Apple Chutney

For the Caramelised Red Onion, Bacon and Cheddar Quick bread you will also need:
60g cheddar
50g bacon / approx 2 rashers (uncooked weight with fat trimmed off)
75g English Provender Caramelised Red Onion Chutney

1. Begin by making your buttermilk if using the milk and lemon juice method. Set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper. 

3. Cut the bacon into pieces and cook on the hob - This should only take a couple of minutes. Leave to cool. Measure out the other ingredients you will need, reserving a small amount of each to keep as a 'topping'. 

4. In a large bowl mix together the wholemeal flour, plain flour, salt and bicarb. Once the buttermilk is ready also mix this in to form a dough. 
5. On a floured surface, split the dough into two pieces. Into one piece add the ingredients for the Plum & Bramley Apple Chutney, Feta, Walnut and sunflower seed Quick bread and knead lightly to incorporate the ingredients. Into the second piece of dough add the ingredients for the Caramelised Red Onion, Bacon and Cheddar Quick bread and again knead to incorporate these ingredients. Ensure you have kept a little of each ingredient separately to add just before cooking as a 'topping'. 

6. Now you have two doughs. To speed up the actual baking I then split each dough into two so I ended up with two small loaves of each flavour. If you prefer you can make one large loaf of each flavour but it will need to cook longer in the oven. 

7. Roughly shape each of the four pieces of dough into a round and cut a deep cross in each - this will help it cook properly all the way through. Sprinkle on the reserved toppings. Then bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until cooked through. 

These quick breads make a great centrepiece for a light meal as they are very satisfying in themselves. We ate them for dinner with some salad and with an extra spoonful of chutney - delicious! 

This post is an entry into the #JarAmnesty Challenge with The English Provender Co and Foodies100. Find out more here.

Recipe created by Rebecca Beesley.

Eastern Infused Porridge - Recipe by Rebecca Beesley

This is The Brilliant Chef's mum here. After an amazing couple of years, Daniel seems to want a break from cooking as he hasn't really wanted to get in the kitchen at all so far this year. 

Rather than leaving his blog laying dormant, I've been toying with the idea of it becoming our family's main 'foodie' blog as we have so many food adventures and yet our main blog, The Beesley Buzz covers a whole range of topics and not just food. 

So I thought I'd add a recipe on here and see how I feel about it and more importantly how Daniel feels about it. 

In the cold winter months porridge makes the perfect breakfast option. And I wanted to give porridge a twist with some of the persian cookery flavours that I love so much. 

This beautiful light saffron-yellow porridge is infused with Eastern spices to give it an aromatic flavour – It is a sweet porridge (not savoury) and has an indulgent feel to it, yet is healthy and delicious. I like to think of it as healthy enough for breakfast, yet tasty enough for dessert!


40g Porridge Oats
300ml whole milk
Pinch saffron
A quarter tsp rosewater
1 whole star anise
Pinch ground cardamom
1 heaped tsp flaked almonds
1 heaped tsp pistachio slivers
Drizzle of honey
Rose petals to garnish


1. Place the milk in the pan on a low heat on the hob and add a pinch of saffron (you really do only need the tiniest pinch), the star anise, the rosewater and ground cardamom. Leave to infuse for around 3-4 minutes.

2. Remove the star anise and then use your Eastern infused milk to make your porridge in your usual way (I pop mine in the microwave in a large bowl for 4 minutes)

3. Serve into a bowl and sprinkle the flaked almonds, rose petals and pistachio slivers on top. Add a drizzle of honey. Be generous with the almonds and pistachios as it adds a beautiful crunch.

Variations to this would be to make the recipe using pudding rice to make a rice pudding using all these flavours. The rice would need longer to cook than porridge though. 

I think ground rice would also work well using the amounts and cooking method as described on a packet of ground rice. i.e. you only need a small amount of ground rice with plenty of milk. 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

My Colourful Pinata Cake Recipe

Junior Bake Off 2015 is on this week on CBBC and I love watching both GBBO and Junior Bake Off.

In the first episode of Junior Bake Off this year they had to make a Pinata cake for the showstopper challenge and I decided I wanted to make one too.

My little sister wanted to help me and it was a very busy evening to get it all done.

To make the cakes, I used the usual vanilla sponge recipe I use but timesed the amount by 4 to make 4 cakes. My sister cracked the eggs to put in and I think she lost count so I don't remember her using 8 so I think it had fewer eggs in than it should have but it seemed to work out ok.
How many eggs did you put in Miss T? Not sure!

480g self-raising flour
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
8 eggs
480g caster sugar
480g stork
tiny splash of milk
4 different colours of food colouring (I used red, pink, green and blue sugar flair colours)
Sweets for the middle

For the buttercream:
600g icing sugar
300g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkles to decorate

You will also need 4 cake tins that are 8 inches in size. I only had 2 that size and 1 bigger one so I re-used one of the tins after taking the cake out and I trimmed the larger cake to the right size.


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line the cake tins with baking paper.
2. This is an all-in-one cake mix so I literally mixed all the ingredients together in a mixer.
3. Then I split the mixture evenly between 4 bowls and mixed in a different colour food colouring in each.
4. Then it was time to bake them. They took about 20 minutes each to bake. I checked with a skewer to see if they were ready.
5. I made the buttercream by mixing together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract.
6. When the cakes were all cool I started to put them together. I cut out a circle from the middle of the blue and the pink layers.  First I put the green layer at the bottom which was the biggest, then buttercream, then the pink layer with the hole in, then more buttercream, then the blue cake with the hole in.
7. At this stage I filled the hole with sweets. I used smarties, revels and M&Ms.
8. Another layer of buttercream and then the red cake (no hole in this!) on top.
9. I put buttercream over the whole cake and decorated with some sprinkles. Then we had to wait until the next day to eat it because my sister had gone to bed by then.

It was such a cool, pretty, fun cake and the pinata cascade of sweets worked. My family thought it was amazing and they thought it tasted good too.

Even the crumbs looked pretty!

Badgers and Baking - My amazing day with Sky Badger and The Boy who Bakes!

Image courtesy of Sky Badger
Once upon a time in a fantasy world I met the one and only legendary Edd kimber at my school. Except it turned out not to be a fantasy. It really did happen. Here's how...

My little sister suffers from arthritis which makes me very sad. So my mum was looking up information about wheelchairs and she came across the Sky Badger website. And guess what? They had a baking competition!

You had to bake a 'free from' recipe so I invented some fruity muffins which had three types of fruit to make them sweet so they didn't need any sugar.

Then something amazing happened, we got an email from Sky Badger and my recipe won first prize! You can see my recipe and the runners up here.
Image courtesy of Sky Badger
The prize was for Edd kimber to visit my school and bake with me and my whole year group!!! It was fandabadozi!

Edd kimber was actually very fun because he kept making cooking jokes. He was really nice to all of us and if we made any little mistakes he corrected it kindly and gave us tips for next time. He also asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up and I said either a chef or an artist because I love drawing cartoon pictures.
Image courtesy of Sky Badger
We ended the day with a giant cake stall selling everything we cooked. It sold out in minutes! The money raised was split between the Sky Badger charity and the refugee crisis.

I also got to meet Naomi from sky badger and we used Baking Mad ingredients like Allinson flour and Billingtons sugar for baking with which was really kind of them.

It was a fabulous day and I couldn't have been happier.

P.S. My little sister came to buy a cake at the cake sale and she loved the cakes we made!

P.P.S My school were really cool to change all our lessons for the day so we got to do baking and baking themed stuff all day! I wish we did baking everyday!

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