Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Penny's Top Ten Tips: Autumn Activities:Part 2 With Friends

 Hello and welcome to the second part of the Autumn Activities post I did last week, however this week are ten fun things to do with other people while the weather is not at its best.

1. Dinner Party-
Inviting friends for a dinner party is a good way of chilling out while the weather is cold. Mulled wine is optional. 

2. Get Cooking-
Or if cooking is your thing then get your friends to cook a meal together for a dinner party instead. 

3. Book Club- 
Starting a book club with you friends is a good excuse to chill with a good book. Once a month, a group of us discuss a book over Skype and to have a general catch up. 

4. D and D night-
I have a secret to tell you... I love playing Dungeons and Dragons! It's my latest obsession and again its a great excuse to grab your party and go on an adventure, without even leaving your living room. (If your interested I'm a level 4 Gnome Sorcerer called Elphaba.) 
  5.Movie or Series Binge-
Watching a set of movies like the Alien franchise or binging on American Horror Story is a good way to spend time as a group. Just grab some blankets, pillows and plonk on the sofa.

6. Game Night-
Get some snacks ready, and grab that deck of Cards Against Humanity and Articulate set up for a night of laughs.   

7. Spa Evening-
Instead of having a pamper evening on your own, grab a couple of friends and have an old school sleepover style girly evening. 

8. Coffee Morning-
or tea morning if you're not a coffee lover or strapped for time. A quick catch up is nice on its own. 

9. Cake decorating-
Bake a batch of cupcakes, whip up a some various buttercreams or whipped creams, good some food safe colours and grab some edible decorations. Then simply decorate! You can all experiment with colours, different piping skills or go nuts with sprinkles.

10. Chill and Catch up-
This is kind of an obvious one, but invite your friends over, order a take-away and just catch up. This also works if you both don't want to go anywhere, just use a phone. (Pyjamas are optional.) 

Happy Baking!
Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Penny's Top Ten Tips: Autumn Activities: Part 1 On your Own

Welcome to a Top Ten Tips! This week is about fun things to do while the weather is poor. In fact as I'm writing this post, its horrid outside. Its cold, wet and windy out there. But being cooped up inside can get a little boring, so lets get down to the tips. 

(Image credit:

1. Spa evening-
Grab your face pack and chill. Having a pamper evening will recharge your batteries after a hard day at work. It's so relaxing to get your nails done, maybe have a bubble bath with a good book.  

2. Learn a new skill-
Having lots of time indoors gives you time to learn something you've always wanted to do. In my case, its French and singing as both of them don't require to go outside! 

3. Bake something!-
Well this is obvious, here's a great suggestion.

4. Hot Chocolate and read a book-
Make yourself a salted caramel hot chocolate, grab a good book (I'm reading 'The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins) and chill on the sofa.  

5. Netflix and Chill-
Pretty much what it says on the tin...

(Image credit:

6. Yoga-
This is an odd one for this list, but doing some relaxing yoga poses can help pass those cold nights in as well as improve flexibility and health in the long run. 

7. Organise a Room-
Putting aside an hour of your time to rid yourself of wanted clothes, jewellery or whatever, but having a sort out will not only clear your mind but clear extra space for Christmas presents. Old clothes can be donated to charity and jewellery can be passed onto family or friends. 

8. Listen to music-
Catching up with the radio or latest music has always been a favourite pass-time of mine. Find some new music using Spotify, Youtube or by scanning the radio. 

9. Start writing-
Whether its a novel, screenplay or a set of poems, let the weather inspire you to write something amazing.

10. Cook an incredible meal-
Starter, Main course, and Dessert for yourself and test those cooking skills. 

Happy Baking!
Bake On! Penny x

Friday, 23 October 2015

Fat Friday #43 Olive Oil Bread

I'm not sure if olive oil bread really counts as a Fat Friday, tastes amazing though. Its been very busy here in the world of Penny, so I stuck with something easy to make, if a little time consuming, but the proofing time, provided me extra time to do other bits and pieces. (I'm still gutted that my camera isn't working so sadly, no picture.) 

As I said this olive oil loaf isn't hard but is a little time consuming, with the proofing and all. It uses olive oil to knead the dough rather then lots of flour.

·500g strong white flour
·2 teaspoons sea salt flakes, crushed
·1x7g fast action yeast
·350ml lukewarm water
·3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for kneading
·100g green olives, drained
·50g manchego cheese, diced

·Baking sheet lined with baking paper
· Roasting tin

1.Mix together the flour, salt, and dried yeast in a bowl.
2.Add the water and work with your hand to make a soft looking dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
3.Turn out the dough on an oiled surface, oil your hands and knead the dough for 4 minutes. Cover the dough with clingfilm and leave to rest for 20 minutes and knead for another 4 minutes.
4.Combine the olives and cheese, then work into the dough. The dough should be soft but not sticking to your hands.
5.Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and pat out until an oval shape (1.5 cm thick and about 20cm wide). Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
6.Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven 230c/450f/ Gas Mark 8. Place the baking sheet and roasting tin into the oven. Place the dough onto baking paper.
7.Uncover the dough, dust a little flour on top to decorate, or place a doily on top and dust a little flour on top with a sieve.
8.Carefully pull the baking sheet out of the oven, and slide the dough onto the baking sheet and put into the oven.
9. Pour some cold water into the roasting tin to create a burst of steam and close the oven door fast.
10.  Bake the loaf for 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and eat the same day, warm.
Have a great weekend!
Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Cake and Bake Show Haul 2015

Well I've had fun! Stuffing my face with cake and free samples. Did any of you readers get the chance to visit the Cake and Bake Show in London this year? My friend Lucy and I are making this an annual 'thing' (You can read last years post here). I was hoping that I would do a video on it... until my camera broke.

Thats right. On the one day of filming I REALLY  needed a good camera... erg. Tech. Such is life. I thought I would do a blog post on what I purchased.

Firstly, food because... food. I grabbed some Emily Apple and Banana Fruit crisps. But these are the best crisps I've ever had. They were just soft enough in texture not to be soggy but crisp enough to crunch on and not break your teeth. The flavours are true fruit flavours. Seriously, totally worth buying! 

I got a super weird gizmo. Its a peeler. BUT NOT JUST A PEELER! Its a julienne vegetable and fruit peeler with a cool attachment to make noodles from veg. Lucy was full on impressed with this, that she didn't hesitate in buying it. I was convinced to get one also and the peeler does assist me in daily cooking tasks.

I also got a new piping bag and nozzles... pretty standard. 

For my Halloween bakes this year, I got some pretty sprinkles and cupcake cases from one of my personal favourite places to shop, Scrumptious. I bought some green, purple and orange sprinkles as well as some jazzy violet sprinkles. They have a great selection of sprinkles, decorating materials and cases. I did get some adorable ghostly cupcake cases as well as some Christmasy ones (don't judge me I know its only October). 

To stuff my face with, I got marshmallows from both 'The Marshmallowist' and 'The Marshmallow Company'. From the Marshmallowist, I got strawberry and basil, blueberry and gin, lemon and coconut flavours. Now, I must be truthful, the flavours didn't really come through apart from the coconut. I haven't tried 'The Marhmallow Company' marshmallows yet but I will do and will add what I think here.

I did get some special icing sugars, like I do every year, from another one of my favourite companies: Sugar and Crumbs. I bought: 'Santa's Snowball' which tastes like white chocolate and marshmallows (yum!!), 'Christmas Punch' which tastes like mulled wine and lastly, 'Apple Crumble'... which is what you expect. They make great buttercreams, or as a substitute for caster sugar in cakes.  
Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Homemade Granola

Nothing like the a good breakfast to kick start the day! This is the first ever granola that I actually enjoy eating. This also makes a great gift to give and it take 30 minutes to prep and cook. I don't know why everyone doesn't make their own granola, its so easy! If you want to make it dairy free omit the dark chocolate or use dairy free chocolate. Making it gluten free? Use gluten free oats (yes, they do exist).

Recipe: Makes 10 servings (Recipe is from my recipe book and I didn't note down where its from so if you know please message or comment below!) 

  • 340g oats
  • 200g cherries
  • 250g Mixture of almonds, cashews, dark chocolate chips and sunflower seeds
  • 130g maple syrup 
  • 130g coconut oil
  • Baking sheet
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden Spoon
1. Preheat oven to 350f/180c/Gas Mark 4
2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
3.Spread in a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
4. Wait until the granola has completely cooled and store in an airtight jar. 
5. Or eat it all in one big go!

Bake On! Penny x

Friday, 2 October 2015

Halloween Bakes

Have you started planning your Halloween bakes yet? Check out the links below for some inspiration. 

1. Dios de los Muertos Cupcakes- Ok not really Halloween but great hit at parties.

2.Pumpkin Pecan Bars- Because pumpkin. And its October. 

3.Orange Juice Cupcakes-Juicy and bursting full of citrus flavour.

4.Pumpkin Chocolate Brownie-See number 2

5. Ginger and Treacle Cupcakes

6.Chocolate Cola Cake-Beautifully chocolaty and a little fizzy with the cola. 

7.Horror Film Gory Cupcakes- Ahh that poor sour patch kid!!

8.Gluten Free Zombie Cookies-Well we needed zombies in this list! It IS Halloween after all! 

So what will you be making for Halloween?
Bake On! Penny x

Friday, 25 September 2015

Fat Friday #42 Chocolate Banana Loaf Cake

Happy Friday everyone! This week is another fail-safe recipe that is excellent for snacking on while revising or hosting a party. Actually, what made me make this recipe was a lazy attempt to make some for a D and D party. *Thats Dungeons and Dragons to you non-players* We play with a group of friends wanting to be hero's for the evening. If you want more information on it I can pop that in the another post. 

But we're focusing on this super easy banana cake which is very more-ish and was loved by the whole group during our D and D quest for the evening.

Recipe: Makes one loaf cake (Adapted from The Primrose Bakery Cookbook by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas)

  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature (plus a little extra to grease the tin)
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 bananas, the riper the better
  • 175g of dark chocolate, chopped into thick chunks
  • Large loaf tin, greased and lined with a little butter
  • Bowl x 3
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Masher or a fork
  • Electric hand held whisk/wooden spoon
  • Wire rack 
1.Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line the loaf tin.
2.Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 
3. Add the eggs, one at a time mixing very well after each addition.
4. Mix in the vanilla extract, then the flour and baking powder. 
5.Mash up the bananas in a separate bowl and add then to the cake batter.
6.Add the chopped up dark chocolate and beat briefly.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 50 minutes or until the cake is completely cooked through. 
8.Leave in the tin to cool on a wire rack. 
9. Serve warm or cold along with a D20 dice and, if your lucky, an D10 inspiration dice!

Have a great weekend!  
Bake On! Penny x
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