Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Tag Archives: baking

The Great Roath Bake Off 2013- Well Done Wayne!

Following last years success, organiser Wayne Courtney can be very proud that this year’s Great Roath Bake Off kicked last years backside!

Cakes- judgesWith fellow judges, I chomped my way through almost 100 entries. I have never eaten so much cake! The standard of entries were high but the winning cake stood out above the rest.

cakes- caramel

Lisa Watts’ Chocolate Salted Caramel Crunch cake was my favourite by far. I clocked it before the judging began because it looked so delicious and it tasted even better than it looked. It scored very highly on all four of our judging criteria- taste, presentation, quality of bake and texture.

The savoury category was a welcome break from all the sugar and the winner was Bill Ward with his Pork Pie. Pork Pies don’t usually float my boat but this one was packed full of well seasoned meat and light and crispy pastry and was a clear winner for me.

cakes- pie

There was also a Professional Bake category won by Nato & Co Portuguese with their Portuguese Tarts and a Children’s category won by Molly Spivey with her White chocolate, pomegranate and raspberry cake.

All in all a great day and I am honoured to have been asked to judge. Roll on next years event!

cakes- cakes

The Great Roath Bake Off 2013!

It’s that time of year again. The time of year I get to eat masses of cakes at Roath’s favourite food event; The Great Roath Bake Off!

Following the success of last year’s bake off at The Coffee House on Wellfield Road, organiser Wayne Courtney has plans to make this year’s event even bigger and better than last year. This time it will be held at St Andrew’s Church Hall and as well as the bake off there will be live music, refreshments and craft stalls.

I was a judge last year and I am very pleased to be invited back this year along with some familiar faces from last year and some new faces included BBC weather lady Sue Charles!

There are three categories this year:

Best Cake
Best Bake: Bread/Pie/Other
Best Bake/Cake Under 16′s

Entrants should bring their cake or bake to the venue by 1pm on the day, and you won’t need to fill in an entry form in advance. Entry is £3 per bake. A panel of expert judges (yes, that’s right, experts!…ish) will decide the winners of The Great Roath Bake Off 2013.

The Bake Off takes place on Saturday 6th April and is open to everyone. It’s such a fun day so bring your cakes and bakes down or just come along for an entertaining day out!

The event is in aid of MacMillan and St Andrew’s Church fund. If you’d like to donate a raffle prize, please get in touch.

bake off

CUPCAKE WEEK: TUESDAY- An Interview With The Lady Behind Baked By Mel

As part of cupcake week, I thought it would be interesting to interview the passionate cake baking supreme that is Melanie Constantinou, the lady behind Baked By Mel.

I first met Mel when we got together for tea so I could review some of her cakes and I found her passion and excitement for baking inspiring. So, a few weeks ago, we met for yet more tea and cake and this time I took my pad and pen. Here’s what she had to say.

How long have you been baking? 

Along time for fun but a year ago last February, I went self-employed and started Baked By Mel.

What made you set up your cake business?

I have two young children and I wanted to work around them to avoid all the issues with childcare. I knew it had to be home based and I love cake! There are cakes everywhere at the moment and I was aware of the revival of grow your own and make your own so it seemed like a perfect fit.

What sparked your interest in baking?

My Mum is very enthusiastic about food. My Dad is Greek so the food we ate when I was young was really interesting and unusual. We’d have things like stuffed vine leaves, macaroni pie, all made from scratch. My Greek Nan used to make yogurt in the bathroom so I learnt a lot.

Food is really important in my background. My Grandad owned a butchers on Brick Lane in London and my Mum ran a small fruit and veg stall next door. When she met my Dad who is Greek, his Mum taught my Mum how to cook. My parents now run two cafes in Southend so food has always been an important part of my life.

What sets your cakes apart from others?

I’ve been wondering this. Apparently they look polished! They are simple but I like things to be symmetrical and made with care. I genuinely love my cakes! They look so lovely when I look through the oven door and see them all cooking together and when I ice them I get all excited! When I deliver them to people and they are pleased it’s so exciting and I get a really warm buzz, it’s great!

Call me strange but I think that love and passion can get into food. When I see my boys eating something I’ve made I get all maternal. I feel like I’m doing my job properly.

So I guess what I’m saying is, what sets my cakes apart is ‘me’. That’s how I feel anyway. I am the biggest secret ingredient! All my love and passion goes into everything I bake and I think that’s important. Oh, that and music. I always play music while I’m baking, it’s good for the cakes!

What is your greatest creation?

Last Christmas, I asked my partner what he wanted for desert on Christmas day. I thought he’d say cheesecake but no, he wanted Dutch apple pie, just like his Mum makes. Well this worried me, I would have to compete with fond memories!

I looked at some recipes and I needed a variety of apple that I couldn’t get over here so I used Granny Smith’s and the pastry was just so rich, I had no idea how I would roll it. I had a new oven that I had never used before so I wasn’t used to the settings but it turned out to be absolutely gorgeous!

The fluted edges were perfect, the apples were shiny with a brandy glaze, it looked like it should be in the window of a French Patisserie. He was delighted that I had cooked it for him and he even said it was better than his Mother’s but don’t tell her!

Where do you get your inspiration?

I look at a lot of recipes but I also base my cakes on flavours that inspire me. I might see an ingredient I like, like some nice fresh strawberries, then I think about what flavours might go with them. I look at turning large cakes into cupcakes and I like to experiment using flavours from cocktails. I’ll think of something and wonder how I’ll get it in a cake. For example, Pina Colada. I’d soak pineapple in the cake mix and I’d add coconut milk to the frosting.

Often I’ll see something like a cake wrapper or a gorgeous plate and think of flavours that would suit them. This often leads onto a whole range of things. A beautiful vintage plate might make me think of Earl Grey as a cake flavour which leads me to think of more tea related cakes I could create.

Aside from baking, what else do you like to cook?

I love baking! I love making soda bread but that’s still baking. Soup! I love making soup! It’s straight forward, nutritious and rewarding. I would NEVER have soup from a can. Once you have the basics I think it’s impossible to go wrong.

What is the best meal you’ve had recently?

It was at the Purple Poppadom in Cardiff. I had mussels to start in a coconut sauce with different naan breads. I love dipping bread in food, it reminds me of my time living in Sinai.

If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

….long pause. This is so hard! Hmmmm, it would have to be my Dad’s kebabs. They are so good! I have never tasted anything like it. He cooks it on real charcoal and infuses the meat for hours. It has to come with pitta and salad. Perfect!

Mel’s creations

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It was a pleasure to interview Mel. I totally agree, love and passion can get into food and you will definitely find them in Mel’s cakes. Have a look at her website to see what she can do.

                                                                                          

Baking Bread With The One Mile Bakery

After my recent delivery from the One Mile Bakery (see my review for more details) I was excited to be invited to the first ever bread making class run at Elisabeth’s house in Pontcanna. After the success of the deliveries and having met Elisabeth, I was certain the classes were going to be great and I wasn’t disappointed.

I arrived to some familiar faces which made the day extra fun as I was baking with fab food bloggers Nicki (Cardiffbites), Bev (Eats for Wales) and Mark (Corpulent Capers). Elisabeth welcomed us and showed her into her kitchen where she quickly busied herself making us tea.

Four bloggers ready to start baking

The day was jam-packed with lunch included and although we made a lot of different bread, it was still relaxed and we managed to get time to chat and gossip. Elisabeth is an excellent teacher and her passion for bread shone through with plenty of sniffing, prodding and an unrivaled knowledge.

The class we attended An Introduction to Baking Bread and was designed to show us the key stages of baking and to allow us to understand the different types of bread as well as the key techniques involved. We made four loaves in the time we were there. Elisabeth started off by talking us through different flours. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never paid a great deal of attention to what type of flour I use which is probably why in the past my bread has been nothing to shout about but from now on, this will be a consideration.

Elisabeth explained the benefits of spelt flour for people who have problems digesting bread (i.e. me) so when we got to choose the flour for our first loaf, I naturally went for spelt. We all used different flour but followed the same process. It was much quicker and much easier than I expected and I felt that I really learnt a lot.

We learnt how to make a well in our flour in order to add the yeast and the water and how it should look when it has been left the rest.

After 15 minutes came the kneading before resting it. Elisabeth gave us lots of tips on how we know when the dough had been kneaded enough and timings. My loaf turned out much better than I had expected and I will definitely make this easy little number again at home.

While making the first loaf, waiting for the yeast to do its magic, we had a taste test to compare some well-known supermarket bread to Elisabeth’s loaf.There was obviously no contest but having looked at the ingredients in the shop bought bread, no wonder I can’t eat bread without getting ill! Vinegar? Not to mention the E numbers.

With the first loaf ‘resting’ it was time for some of Elisabeth’s apricot bread. Even without butter this was lovely (although of course I added lashings of butter!).

The second loaf was a simple rye variety. This one was even easier as it didn’t need kneading. Rye is apparently easier to digest than a wheat loaf as it has different gluten structures. It also has a stronger flavour so works well with spices. I chose to add some cumin and ground coriander which gave it a very unusual flavour but delicious!

The star of the show for me was the ridiculously yummy bacon, red onion and balsamic bread. I was dying to try this when it came out of the oven and as soon as I got home, this was the one I broke into. It was delicious, even if I do say so myself!

Last of all we made a round Pain de Campagne. This was a winner in my house and looked very professional thanks to Elisabeth’s floured circular bowls and some serious slashing! This was one of my favourites and I was amazed that we could make something that looked so professional in an Introduction to Baking Bread.

The class was so much fun and the setting was lovely. I felt so relaxed baking in Elisabeth’s kitchen. It felt like we were learning from a friend rather than from a teacher. For a nosy person like me, baking in the home is the best place for something like this. Not only does it make it more personal and informal but I got to have a peek at someone elses house! What a beautiful house it is too!

I highly recommend this class and would love to try out some of the other classes on offer. There are a list of classes on the One Mile Bakery website and for the amount of time and the amount of bread I went home with, not to mention Elisabeth’s excellent teaching, I think it is value for money and a great day out.

The Great Cardiff Cake Off! Get baking for a good cause!

Calling all budding bakers, cupcake creators and scone scoffers!

On 19th May, Cardiff will be hosting it’s very own Cake Off in honour of children’s charity Ty Hafan. The competition is open to anybody and everybody with seven categories to choose from and even a professional category and a children’s category.

Get your aprons on and enter now!

If you are more into eating than baking, it promises to be a fun-filled day with cupcake decorating classes, music, tea parties and children’s activities. You can buy your ticket here.

I am especially looking forward to this event as I am a judge so make my day and bring me some cake!

See you there!

The Great Roath Bake Off!

Last weekend, I was very happy to be a judge at the extremely successful Great Roath Bake Off! After meeting organiser Wayne Courtney at an event recently, I was thrilled to be asked to be involved and it really was a fantastic event and one that I would love to be involved in again.

Leading up to the event, there was quite a lot of hype on Twitter and Facebook but I had very little idea how popular the event was going to be and how many people were going to enter so when I arrived on Saturday to endless streams of people bringing in their baking creations I was shocked!

The event was held at The Coffi House in Roath. Organiser Wayne Courtney raves about this quaint little cafe and it is often the venue of choice for other events he holds to promote independent businesses and causes in Roath. I can see why. The owners and staff were lovely and the Coffi House was perfect for this type of event as it is so laid back and the whole evening had such a wonderful friendly community feel.

I watched eagerly as the cakes and bakes continued to pour through the doors until there was nowhere left to put them. The place was packed to the point where some people just couldn’t get in! My fellow judges and I (Sarah from the Cakehouse, Matt from Roathcardiff.net, and student journalist Emma Gilbertson) took our seats and the competition began!

A selection of the cakes and bakes

We judged on three categories: Taste, Presentation and Originality. With 35 entries in total, there was a lot to eat! There was a real mixture to work through from a beautifully decorated cake resembling The Coffi House, some prawn canapes (someone misunderstood what baking is), pasties, cupcakes, a ‘penis cake’, tarts and many many cakes. Some were delicious and some not so…

The Coffi House Cake

We picked three winners with first place taking the money from the entries and the raffle. We also awarded a special prize to 6 year old Silas who impressed us with his ‘weird cake’ which was smothered in chocolate and green on the inside. Very creative!

And the winners were……..

THIRD PLACE– Stefanie Lehman – Pineapple Praline Creme Torte.

This lovely cake gave us some much needed freshness after eating so many cakes. It was beautifully sweet and moist but also fresh thanks to the pineapple.

Third place- Pineapple Praline Creme Torte

SECOND PLACE- Lisa Watts – Sticky Toffee Walnut Tart

For me this one was very close to being a winner. I liked it because it was different so it really stood out. The walnuts went beautifully with the toffee in what is traditionally more likely to be a toffee and pecan tart. Lovely!

FIRST PLACE- Kate Lloyd Hughes – Earl Grey infused Chocolate Cake

Kate’s cake was a unanimous winner. It was one of the first ones we tried but it stuck in our minds. The subtle tea went beautifully with the chocolate and the moist cake was baked very well. A lovely cake.

Wayne Courtney

All in all this was a fantastic event. Wayne Courtney certainly has a knack for this kind of thing and I hope he does it again next year. Wayne will be the first to tell you that he doesn’t cook and prefers eating out so this really wasn’t something he would usually do but he was a fantastic host and organiser. There were also some great decorations from Crafty Cakes. It was a wonderful thing to see a community come together and to have such a range of people attend. I might even enter myself next year!

Leftovers!


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