Bristol Pudding Society  @ Bristol Spirit

I’ve been a wee bit quiet on here of late. Mostly due to starting my new job in March which is taking up all of my time during the day. I’m not complaining about that AT ALL, my old job had me sitting around doing nothing for a lot of my time. Despite people assuming that would be a dream come true, it was dull.

Apart from starting a new job and basically being a boss at it, I also started a Pudding Society . I’d seen them mentioned in the past, there’s a hotel that runs one that myself and a friend wanted to go to, but without a car and a bag full of cash, it quickly became one of those “one-day” things. I lamented the lack of pudding dedicated evening in Bristol on Twitter and was told to do it myself. So I did.


Luckily a good friend owns a lovely bar called Bristol Spirit with a brand new kitchen and gorgeous seating area. I floated the idea past her and she was game for a challenge. Location sorted I just needed a menu and some customers.

pud club 1

I decided to go down the “homely Sunday Lunch” pudding route as I am a home cook, not a chef. Bristol Pudding Society  is not the place to go to if you want a twiddly sugar work encasing a delicate something or other, I want this to be somewhere you eat to excess and don’t mind I have the serving aptitude of a dinner lady.

pud club 4.1


I completed my first “service” on Sunday and it went brilliantly. It couldn’t have gone better and everyone left feeling stuffed and a wee bit drunk in some cases after pairing their courses with Bristol Spirit’s fine cocktails.

pud club 5

Sam and I have agreed to make this a regular thing and I am now a resident pop-up, words I never thought I would say. I am finally starting something that’s my very own that people actually want to come to!

pud club 3

If you would like tickets, head over to my website and click the link. At the time of writing, we still have space for 9th July and 6th August. Magic!

I also had a lot of people ask me how to make the Beetroot Ketchup, obviously, they need to read my blog more often!

Massive thank you to friends that let me use their pics for my promotion, I forgot to take any.


Soughdough Hot Cross Buns, I make the mistakes so you don’t have to. 

As there is nothing more dull than relentless positivity, I thought I’d share with you a recent failure of mine. Of course, like most of my failures the dreaded sourdough was involved, but this time I was at least prepared for the experiment to go a bit wrong.

I’ve been nailing traditional white, sourdough loaves recently with weekly practice and,  with it being Easter I thought I’d set myself a challenge.  I would eschew the traditional use of fast action yeast and play the long game.

My first clue that this might be a bit of a nightmare was a lack of clear and concise instructions by anyone I knew or had heard of. I messaged Duncan from Thoughtful Bread and asked him for guidance on ratios of starter to flour. He’d never tried it before but gave his best guess and I went on my merry way. I Googled around, found one recipe here that most people used a base and tweaked so it seemed like a good start.

I thought I’d start the first 12hr prove using wholemeal bread flour… Because I’d forgotten to go and buy more white flour. You can see why this may have started off poorly. After mixing the starter with milk and flour it was left overnight to do it’s thing. Next morning I had something that looked like it had grown, so far so good. I mixed with my 2 year old Christmas mincemeat, more flour and butter and left to rise again.

It didn’t seem to be doing much, I wacked it in the Kitchen Aid to knead as the dough was so wet, I was warned by the recipe it would be so soldiered on. I was then instructed to “form” the dough balls. I did my best but the structural integrity of the buns had been compromised, no amount of adding flour was helping. I left them to rise but noted they seemed to just be getting wider.

Coming back to them they were resembling more hockey pucks than fluffy buns but I persevered, diligently adding my crosses as tradition dictates and bunging them in the oven.

Well after half an hour at 210 as instructed I had gooey, flat discs. After another 15 minutes I had burnt, gooey, flat discs. Brilliant.

I glazed them anyway in case, miraculously it made a difference (it didn’t) and took a deep sigh. When cutting them open,  they were still wet but I tried a piece and actually, taste wise, not bad. The boozy fruit and the tangy dough worked well together, it’s just a shame overall they ended up… Well… Crap.

You live and learn!

Thanks Chris for summing up the whole experience in one picture

Upside down, pineapple “your grandmother made this” cake

Yesterday I bought a pineapple to take to a barbecue. Last year i discovered that putting pineapple on the grill after you cooked up some pork belly was bloody delicious and was looking forward to repeat performance. However, by the time i got around to it the coals were cold and i wasn’t that hungry anyway so back home it came. Sat with a hangover i knew i wouldn’t use the pineapple for anything, i don’t like it in sweet and sour dishes, i wouldn’t use it on pizza and my life is too short to be making smoothies.

Of course the only option left was an upside down cake, something i could attempt to do in a hungover state (though if you are worried that you shouldn’t be drunk in charge of a knife use tinned fruit). A splash of rum will sort out your hair of the dog requirements.

You may want to practice at making the pineapple lovely and neat, i however have no flare for presentation as the pictures will tell. I joke that friends would enjoy my food even more if i blindfolded them.

You will need

butter (for greasing)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 a ripe pineabpple, sliced into rings and cored or 6 slices canned pineapple in juice (plus 3 tablespoons of the juice)
11 glace cherries (approx. 75g total weight)
100 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100 grams soft butter
100 grams caster sugar
2 large eggs
Splash of dark rum if wanted

– Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter and flour a tin (go for a pie dish or similar)
– Slice the pineapple (or fish out the rings) and put into a pain with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar. Cook and caramelise the rings and add a splash of rum if you want to.
– Once browned, place the rings in the bottom of the tin and fill the rings with the glace cherries and then pop them in the spaces in between.
– Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, butter, caster sugar and eggs into a food processor and run the motor until the batter is smooth or pop it all in a bowl and mix (i never bother with creaming the butter and sugar first etc, as far as i can tell it makes no difference and the eggs are less likely to curdle).
– Bake for 30 minutes, then ease a spatula around the edge of the tin, place a plate on top and turn it

Look at it in all its pineapply glory
Look at it in all its pineapply glory
Bringing 70's realness
Bringing 70’s realness

A very Bristol, St Patricks Day treat

As an English person i love jumping on a boozy bandwagon and St Patrick’s day has got to be the biggest one of all. I am, apparently, 1/16 Irish, barely a drop of it in me, but my partner is Northern Irish and that is good enough for me to throw together some Paddy Day themed treats to line the stomach and get the party started.

I decided on something with stout because stout and chocolate is one of the best pairings of food and drink out there, however, why on earth would i use Guinness when Bristol has some of the best breweries in the country? A wonder down Gloucester Road took me to where after a short perusal of their fine beer selection i chose the Ultimate Stout from the Bristol Beer Factory. Its beautifully dark and chocolaty and a far more interesting addition to my baking then a boring old can of Guinness (controversial maybe!).

Here are two recipies for you, one is a bit more wallet friendly as it it only uses powdered cocoa but both are fairly cheap to make if you shop frugally and have been keeping that store cupboard stocked up!!

#bristolbeerfactory stout brownie #stpatricksday

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Stout brownie with whiskey maple glaze

You will need:
For the brownie:

235ml stout
300g 75% dark chocolate, chopped
225g unsalted butter
340g sugar (I used half dark brown and half caster sugar)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

For the whiskey caramel glaze:

110g sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 shots of whiskey (about 60ml, i used a beautiful maple whiskey from Independent Spirit of Bath)
1 tablespoon Guinness reduction (from brownies)
100 icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons double cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For Brownies:
Preheat oven to 170°. Line an 8×8 baking pan with baking paper, set aside.

Bring stout to a boil in a small sauce pan; cook until reduced to about a third of its volume, the is will take about 10 minutes. Once reduced, put to one side to cool down. Make sure you keep about a tablespoon separately for the glaze.

Stir chocolate and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Make sure the water does not touch the bowl else your chocolate will separate.

Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture, then the stout from pan. Fold in flour and salt and pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake the brownies until surface begins to crack and a tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 45-60 minutes, mine took an entire hour yours may take less. Bake for 40 minutes and ten keep checking every five minutes or so.

Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Using parchment overhang, lift brownie from pan and let cool completely.

For Glaze:
Make sure you have all your ingredients ready, you may end up burning the mix.

Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a dry, heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stir until the sugar dissolves- then leave it to cook for a few minutes.

Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted into a deep amber color.

Remove from heat and carefully add the butter and whisk quickly until combined.

Carefully add the whiskey, stout reduction and salt (caramel will bubble and seize up). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is smooth.

Cool sauce to warm.

Add the powdered sugar and beat until thick and creamy. Gradually add milk to thin out a bit if desired.

Pour glaze over cooled brownies and let set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

When bars are completely cooled, cut into bars and serve.

#bristolbeerfactory stout cupcakes

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Stout cupcakes

You will need:

For the cupcakes:
235ml stout
225g unsalted butter
100 unsweetened cocoa powder
250 plain flour
450g sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
7 tablespoons sour cream

Combine the butter and stout in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix together with a whisk. In a bowl combine the eggs and sour cream. Beat just until combined. Add the beer mixture to the eggs and beat again, just until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean – about 20 minutes for my oven. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I didn’t make frosting for these as, well i can’t pipe to save my life so opted for an understated cocoa and icing sugar dusting. There is, of course, a ton of frosting ideas out there, should you require them.

#bristolbeerfactory stout cupcakes#stpatricksday

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Marvellous Marmalade

Holy Scooby snacks its Seville Orange season which means marmalade, marmalade, marmalade! The Seville orange isn’t too great for eating raw but boil those babies up with some sugar and you have yourself a sweet, bitter spread that isn’t just for toast and Paddington Bears sandwiches. Use it on duck, in cakes, as a glaze for veg, anything you damn well please. If you want some you need to be quick though, they are only in season from December to Feb so get your backside down to the greengrocers, and if you don’t have one, head to your local Tesco, they are selling 1K bags which are perfect for the following recipie (but keep it independent if you can, i insist!).

Been making #marmalade top one has #Chocolate in it

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You will need:

– 1.3 Kg Seville Oranges
– 2Kg granulated sugar
– Juice and pips of 2 lemons
– 6 – 8 jam jars


-Give those oranges a scrub and pop them into a large pan, with 4 pints of water. Bring them to the boil then leave them to simmer for an hour until they are soft and squidgy.

-Take them out and let them cool, keep the water in the saucepan. Whilst you are waiting, preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas and wash the jars well in warm soapy water then rinse thoroughly under running water. Leave the jars and lids to dry, upside down, in the oven. Place a few saucers in the freezer to chill (these will be used to test if the cooked marmalade has reached setting point).

-Chop each orange into quarters, scrape out the pulp and pips and put that into the saucepan and boil for around 6 minutes. Chop the peel into strips, totally up to you how thick, and put into a bowl. Strain the liquid pushing the pulp down to get as much pectin as possible out of the pulp and discard.

-Put the liquid back on the heat and add the sugar. At this point you can add around 1Tbls of black treacle if you want to make your marmalade a Dundee marmalade.

Dundee marmalade, darker than its ginger cousin

-Crank up the heat so the mixture continues on a rolling boil, skim off any of the scum that its the top and give the mixture a stir now and then so you don’t catch the peel at the bottom.

-After 15 minutes grab your plate from the freezer, take some of the liquid and pour it onto the plate. After a few seconds push your finger into the marmalade, if it wrinkles, its ready if not, keep up the cooking and test again every ten minutes or so. It can take anything up to half an hour or more but you want it to set.

-Once ready pour into your sterilised jars and seal. The marmalade will set further as it cools. DON’T TOUCH IT. Top tip, pour the marmalade into a measuring jug first then into the jars, watch out for even shred distribution.

Made too much? Give this amazing Nigella marmalade pudding a go, super easy and super tasty

#marmalade #pudding #baking

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Der Butterkuchen Ist Gut

Some of you will be pleased to know i haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth but have instead been growing and reducing my chutney empire over the Christmas period. It was wonderful running a moderately successful mini business but with a full time job, a period of heartache and my poor house-mates choking on the vinegar fumes every time they entered the living room i have decided to wind it down till maybe after the spring where i can concentrate on summery, picnic themed condiments. If you have any ideas or requests, do let me know. For the next few months i will be back on the crafting so watch this space for an updated Etsy shop.

So moving on to January it has been announced a good friend will be uprooting herself and moving to Cardiff to be with her beau. Whilst i wish them all the best of luck i will be looking forward to stealing her on weekends for brunches and wine times. To honor her leaving i Googled “German cake” (she is a German!) and came up with Butterkuchen. Sadly, the night i was supposed to go over i was struck down with a headache so she never even got the damn thing but i will be baking another next week for her to take to Wales.

This cake has been described as “very German” and “great with coffee”, its not very sweet apart from the topping which runs thorough and marbles the sponge which is as exciting to find as that vein of caramel in a pot of Ben and Jerry’s Phishfood.

This is the sort of cake you make on a quiet Friday night to enjoy on a Saturday brunch time, but you can make and eat it whenever you like, i’m not your mother!

You will need;

2 Sachets of dried, active bread yeast (if you want to use a different type feel free but you will have to look up the differences in strengths, times and weights, best to just get a packet from the supermarket)
120ml warm water
175ml milk
100g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
110g butter
500g plain flour
3 eggs
110g butter (not a misprint, you need to lots)
200g caster sugar
1tsp cinnmon

Butter a 20/30cm tin or similar and set aside. Then in a small bowl out in the water, scatter in the yeast and mix and leave on the side until it goes foamy and creamy (and smells wicked).

Put the milk, 100g sugar, salt and 110g butter into a small saucepan and heat until everything dissolves, melts and combines then leave again on the side to cool until lukewarm. Add the yeast to this and give it a little stir. If it is too hot you will murder the yeast and it won’t work. Be patient young grasshopper.

In a big mixing bowl put in the flour, eggs and yeast mixture and mix it gently until smooth and blended to perfection. Pour into your prepared cake tin and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 mins to an hour. Watch your yeasty dough grow with a sense of pride. Set your oven to 190c/Gas mark 5 to warm up.

In another bowl mix up the second lot of 110g butter, 200g sugar and cinnamon until combine and sprinkle/crumble over the top of your cake evenly. Pop it in the oven for about 30mins depending on the tin you have used (i only had a big cake tin so it took me about 50 mins, checking with a chopstick to see if it was cooked all the way through). The top should go golden and syrupy.


Not my cake sadly, lots of pictures seem to be disappearing for no good reason. I borrowed this from

Coconut and Pumpkin Loafy Loaf

Oooh Autumn you do spoil me with your gifts of apples, squashe and pumpkins, everything covered in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves it is by far the best time of year. That and it’s hat weather and i love a good hat.

I have been looking for a good recipe for pumpkin loaf for a little while, most of them end up tasting like the sort of filth you pay for in Starbucks, over sweet, over stodgy and not wholesome whatsoever. Step up Mr Simon Rimmer from Sunday Brunch fame with a fantastic take on the American obsession with sticking pumpkin in everything! In fairness, the pumpkin doesn’t bring a lot to the table apart from moistness, the flavour is all in the traditional pumpkin spicing which includes cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and sugar. If you can’t get hold of pumpkin (though in the run up to Halloween, if you can’t i can only imagine you live in a hole somewhere, congrats on getting online to read this post you hermit) you can use butternut squash for the same effect. The coconut gives it a little something else too and really helps give it a more interesting texture but you can leave it out if you want to.

Another lot of pictures missing and no Instagram upload to poach, this is Simon Rimmer’s cake from BBC Good Food

This recipe should make one loaf but i have two 1.5lb loaf tins so opted for smaller loaves but twice as many (it freezes well if you wrap it up good and proper. I topped mine with some leftover cream cheese frosting which isn’t too overpowering but have also been eating it plain with a good spread of apple butter, which is easy to make and hard to buy. Otherwise, try marmalade or chocolate spread.

You will need

600g/1lb 5oz pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
100g/3½oz unsalted butter
300g/10½oz soft light brown sugar
2 free-range eggs
500g/1lb 2oz self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp each ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg
50g/2oz desiccated coconut


Preheat the oven to 100C/210F/Gas ¼. Grease and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin.

Place the pumpkin in a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Cover with foil and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the roasting tray and set aside to cool. Blend the pumpkin in a food processor until smooth.

Increase the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and pumpkin and stir until well combined.

Stir in all the dry ingredients and place the mixture into the loaf tin. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven. Once cool remove the loaf from the tin.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon, slice