Lifestyle Recipes · July 2, 2020

Simple Bakes from Brilliant Women: My Favourite Go To Recipes

 

At the start of lockdown I had grand baking ambitions. This time would be used to flourish in the kitchen. I’d become the Julie Powell of lower east London (ahem). When the rain pattered down outside, I’d slip into my orange lit kitchen, with the windows steaming up and turn to a dog-eared cookbook and whip up something just because. Maybe I’d listen to some jazz or something too. Who knows.

But whether it was a bouncy warm-from-the-oven focaccia, a feather light genoise sponge (I’m not sure which of you were that ambitious, but I salute you) or just having a supply chain of frozen cookies constantly on rotation, that if Ben’s ever went out of business, you’d be there waiting in the wings- I was ready. Until I wasn’t.

Okay I’ve done a little baking. I’ve made cookies, a couple of cakes and obviously banana loaves (this is #lockdown2020 guys what did you expect?) But I almost felt like I was starting to enjoy the idea of it more than the reality. When I was tired, sluggish or uninspired, the expectation-Liv would bake, but the reality would rather watch Mamma Mia and moodily let her stomach grumble. I didn’t want to do something because I felt I had to, but more recently I’ve leaned into it more- because I’ve been peckish, inspired or just hankering of a little solitary time in the kitchen; where a Spotify playlist and a promise of sponge has satisfied that craving.

And with that I’ve discovered some new go-to recipes too. I’ve started to find the women I love coming back to again and again- a little like the Delia’s, Mary’s and Nigella’s my mum and nan always turned to (which I still do; sometimes you gotta stick it to the classics)- but some new faces (to me) and some brilliantly creative cooks and their recipes that I think you should add to your baking repertoire too…

(I must add a very important disclaimer that all of these women do cookies, extremely well. I could just do a post about all of their cookie recipes, but that’s a different post in itself).

Ravneet Gill for all things pastry (and cookies)…

Okay so this lady knows her pastry. Having discovered Ravneet through her Insta-famous cookie recipe (see! Cookies!), I then discovered how blinking talented she was with pastry- something I struggle with endlessly. Being a pastry chef at the brilliant Puff London, there is nothing she doesn’t know about a choux, flaky, short crust and everything in-between. Her book, The Pastry Chef’s Guide came out this year and is a total haven for everything from tarts, loafs, puddings and getting that glaze right. She’s the ultimate woman to hold your hand through those tricky recipes, and her book is nothing short of a gem.

Ghenet’s chocolate chip cookies and lemon drizzle loaf…

She may be a pal, but I promise there’s no bias when it came to adding Ghenet’s brilliant bakes into the mix. Having baked her lemon drizzle loaf (which I stand by saying is one of my favourite and easy-to-follow recipes) and sampled her chocolate chip cookies and coffee cake fresh from her kitchen- Ghenet knows what she’s talking about with a good cosy home-bake. Her recipes are simple, delicious and completely failsafe- and always ones I turn to when I fancy something sweet but perhaps feel overwhelmed by the stack of books in front of me (although I’m certain one day hers will be in that stack, watch this space)…

 

Anna’s thick & gooey milk chocolate & hazelnut cookies…

After Banana Bread ™ in lockdown, came Anna’s thick and gooey chocolate and hazelnut cookies– a recipe more popular than Iceland’s Eurovision song entry and one you won’t get sick off after baking one too many times. These cookies are unreal. Levain meets Ben’s meets everything good about a cookie. Make some, eat them warm and save some in your freezer for a lazy day- you’ll thank yourself, I promise. They are incredible.

Benjamina Ebuehi’s cherry and pistachio cake…

I am a huge fan of a squidgy sponge (especially one with a chewy edge, mmm), and this pistachio-cherry number (as seen above) from Benjamina is a go to when you want something that looks impressive, tastes delicious and doesn’t take hours either. Her book, The New Way To Cake is a total guide to exceptional flavour in bakes- with gorgeously simple cakes in creative combinations that’ll have you wondering ‘why didn’t I try this together sooner?!’ Check out her blog for additional recipe goodness too.

 

Clare Ptak’s scones and sponges…

I am the biggest Violet bakery fan. Whenever I’m far enough East, I’ll always stop by for a tea and one of Clare’s signature cakes- be it her Rye brownies, macaroons or scones. When it comes to home baking from her cookbook, I love her scones, cinnamon buns and sponges for a show-stopping birthday offering. I also love her cookies, but what’s new there?

Frances Quinn’s bourbon brownies…

Could I ever include a baking post without Frances’ bourbon brownies (or anything she does for that matter)? The most superior biscuit (don’t @ me) combined with one of the best brownie recipes there is never lets me down (it’s in her book, in case you were wondering), and can be customised in so many ways, that even if you’re missing a couple of ingredients, it’ll do the leg work for you- deeeelicious!

The Mother Cooker’s meringue’s…

If you’re after sophisticated and seasonal puddings, Gem has got your back. Whether that’s a cosy crumble or floaty meringue in the height of summer- I’m constantly referencing her delicious desserts for ideas in how to make the finale of dinner time that little bit sweeter, and she never disappoints.

x




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