Monthly Archives: April 2013

Drunken Devonshire Pasties


These take many hours to cook, but believe me. They are worth every second!

The Graceful Cyclists

So awesome. Three types of stout went into these!

So we did make these up as we went along, but roughly the process was…

  1. Slow cook 6 lamb shanks in a mix of Amber Ale and Stout for 4 hours. We used 1x Squires Amber Ale and 1/3 of a Kilkenny at this stage. We recommend testing the mix of beers prior to adding to the shanks.
  2. Make a sour-cream based semi-short pastry, about 3-4 cups of flour worth.
  3. Remove lamb meat from shank. Add remaining Kilkenny, 6 potatoes, and 1 bottle of dark stout (Paddy’stout from Ireland). Transfer mixture to a pressure cooked for 30 minutes.
  4. Eat remaining meat off the lamb shanks in a way reminiscent of Neanderthals.
  5. Cut pastry into four lots, roll each one out and layer as per puff pastry using olive oil and spices to layers. Return to fridge.
  6. Steam carrots, swede, fennel, turnip…

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Chocolate Guinness Cake


I’m a little bit in love with Nigella and her Chocolate Guinness Cake is always a hit. It’s a bit time consuming so leave yourself a free afternoon but it smells gorgeous as you bake.

I made this for the first party I hosted in the U.S. A friend tells me she ate more than she cares to admit.

Thanks to Nigella I add whipping cream or double cream to my cream cheese icings to make it extra fluffy. It goes down very well on a decadent red velvet cupcake.

Bon Appetreth!


Red, White and Blue Marble Cupcakes with Vanilla Vodka Buttercream Icing


Today is a French friend’s 21st Birthday so I wanted to create a special birthday surprise. Considering that we’re travelling in the U.S. the theme of red, white and blue seemed all encompassing.  I adapted a Martha Stewart vanilla cake recipe and got wild with the food dye.

Vanilla Vodka found its way into my baking cupboard and seemed an appropriate way to celebrate my friend’s American coming of age.


CAKE MIXTURE – this mixture makes 20 cupcakes, halve for a smaller batch


  • Unsalted butter – 1 cup
  • All-purpose (plain) flow – 2.5 cups
  • Baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar (white/granulated/regular variety) – 1.5 cups
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons
  • Eggs – 2 large
  • Egg yolks – 3 large
  • Vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
  • Milk (I used low-fat 2% but you can use full/whole milk or even buttermilk) – 1 cup
  • Red food colouring- 1 tablespoon
  • Blue food colouring – 1 tablespoon


  1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Do whatever you need to get your tray ready.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. If absent a whisk like myself sift and use a fork to toss around.
  3. Use electric beaters to mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in eggs and yolks (in small parts or one at a time) while beating on the lowest setting.
  4. Beat in vanilla then slowly add flour mixture and milk in small alternating portions. Start and finish with flour. Beat until just combined. Warning: overzealous beating leads to tough cupcakes!
  5. Separate mixture into three different bowls of roughly equal parts. Add red food colouring to one bowl, blue to another and leave the third as is. Mix the colouring into the mixture using a fork. Sift the cocoa into the bowl of red mixture (I do this to get a deeper red rather than a pink).

The mixture should be on the less viscous side of the cake mixture spectrum. The addition of liquid food colouring will cause some changes but nothing to serious. Gel colouring is also a good option if available and can help you achieve deeper colours.

  1. Using a spoon place small amounts of each coloured batter into the cupcake cases. Once the batter is 1cm or 1/2 inch from the top of the case use a knife to swirl the colours together. Always swirl more than you think you need to.

Mixture pre-swirl


Mixture post-swirl

  1. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when touched. Insert a skewer into one and if it comes out clean then they are done.
  2. Allow to cool in tray for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack or in my case kitchen table.



  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup
  • Icing/Cane sugar – 2 cup
  • Vanilla vodka – a dash
  • Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon optional
  • M&Ms – 1 packet
  • California Central Coast Chardonnay – 1 bottle
  • Scandinavians – 2
  1. Using the electric beaters mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Spread evenly on cool cupcakes using a knife.
  3. Deliver cupcakes to Scandinavians for M&M decoration.
  4. Share wine and enjoy!

Note: this recipe is fairly light frosting for 20 cupcakes. If you’re piping or like a lot of frosting then double it for 20 cupcakes.

What about those egg whites?

Try Martha Stewart’s Whipped Frosting <>. Substitute water for vodka (a good life practice).  I originally intended to do this but accidentally threw my egg whites out in a post cake cleaning frenzy.