I hope your weekend is treating you well.
It has been a while since I’ve done a Five Questions post, in fact, there has only ever been one of these which was never the plan, but that is life when you are riding the wave and plans aren’t written down (amirit?!).
The ever lovely Kate from The Little Loaf blog has been someone I’ve followed since early in my own blogging days. Her talent and joy comes off the page and since connecting with her, it’s obvious that she really is just a truly wonderful person.
Between caring for her still very young son Nino, baking and having a full life she took the time to answer some questions for those people who are new to baking or want to see a new angle on baking then this interview is for you!
1. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from baking failures?
That if at first you don’t succeed, try again! When you’re experimenting with ideas, especially in baking which is such an exact science, you’re bound to make mistakes. As long as you learn from those mistakes and move forward, failure can be a positive thing. Oh and never throw away your experiments just because they don’t look perfect – often those failures will still taste pretty delicious if you scrape off the burnt bits or fill a sunken cake with cream.
2. How has baking made you eat more consciously?
We eat pretty healthily as a family – everything from scratch, no packaged sauces and meals, lots of fruit and veg. I think that baking from scratch makes you think about what goes into any given dish and strive to use the best possible ingredients. And if I want a salad for lunch followed by a big wedge of chocolate fudge cake, I can. It’s all about balance 😉
3. How do you impress those who have intolerance’s (nut and gluten)?
Friends with gluten intolerance are always impressed if you can make something they miss gluten free and delicious, so a perfect flaky pastry or a crusty loaf of bread. I’m a huge fan of nuts in baking for their rich flavour and texture so that’s harder for me, but a really wonderful ice cream would be a good bet (vegan if they can’t eat dairy!)
4. What recipe have you found is always a winner to make for guests?
Chocolate fondant puddings. They’re super simple to make and look amazingly impressive with their gooey molten centres. There’s a foolproof recipe with Amaretto in my cookbook, Homemade Memories.
5. What has travel taught you in regards to your baking?
I love taking inspiration from places I’ve visited, trying to recreate restaurant desserts at home or incoroprating new spices into my cooking. We recently visited St Lucia and the cocoa plantations which gave me a new understanding of chocolate and so many ideas to experiment with.
Kate has also provided her favorite recipe from her book Homemade Memories below.
180g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
40g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
80g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract, homemade or shop-bought
60g plain white flour
2 tbsp amaretto or other liqueur of your choice
Place a baking tray in the oven and preheat to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas mark 6. Lightly grease four small dariole moulds or ramekins – about 175ml capacity each – with butter. Cut out four small circles of baking parchment and press one into the bottom of each mould.
Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water (make sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water), or in the microwave, melting in short bursts and stirring well between each one to prevent catching or burning. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar for 2–3 minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until fully incorporated then add the vanilla and salt.
Sift over the flour and fold to combine. Gently mix in the melted chocolate, followed by the alcohol to make a smooth, thick batter.
Divide the batter evenly between your prepared moulds and give each one a gentle tap on the work surface to level the top. Remove the baking tray from the hot oven and place your puddings on it. Bake for 8–10 minutes until the puddings look slightly domed and feel firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and turn out onto individual plates, peeling off any baking parchment stuck to the tops.
Tip: For a booze-free version, omit the amaretto and reduce the flour to 30g. The unbaked batter keeps well in the fridge: add an extra 2–3 minutes to the baking time if baking from cold.