Macaron Testing I [Chocolate & Coconut]: Hopefully For Sale

So I mentioned in one of my recent posts that I soon be attempting to sell my macarons as party treats and wedding favours. I have a long list of macaron flavours and colours which need to be trialed over the next couple of months, along with finding a good way of packaging them. Let the testing commence!

I decided to start by testing two flavours, raspberry and chocolate & coconut. The latter surprised me by how simple it is to make, and how full of coconut flavour it is. This one’s definitely a winner :)

These macaroons were made and packaged as a sample to the owner of a local cafe who occasionally buys celebration cakes from Rose Apple Bakery. Maybe he’ll like them enough to stock some in his cafe….

For this packaging I made a simple cardboard sleeve and then secured it inside a normal cellophane bag. I have scoured the internet high and low for macaron packaging solutions, but have come up with nothing. Can anyone out there help?

Sunny Food: A Spanish Tortilla

It’s just been one of those days where I wanted to curl up in bed and sleep forever….not step out into the perpetually pouring, sideways rain and go to work. This miserable weather calls for another cheerful Spanish recipe, which you must try. Not only is it delicious, but it will definitely brighten up your day. Enjoy!


300g Desiree postaoes
1 onion
100g chorizo
6 large eggs
1/2 bunch parsley
50ml olive oil
Salt and pepper to season


  1. Peel the onion and chop into thin slices. Peel the potatoes and cut into thin rounds.
  2. Dice the chorizo and roughly chop the parsley.
  3. Heat 30ml of olive oil in a frying pan. When it starts to smoke, add the potatoes, onions and chorizo. When completely coated in oil, reduce to a low heat, add a couple of pinches of salt and pepper and cover the pan to cook until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk with a fork, add the chopped parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper (you won’t need too much salt at this stage as the chorizo is quite salty already).
  5. When the chorizo, potatoes and onions are cooked, transfer them into the bowl with the whisked eggs.
  6. Put 10ml of olive oil into the frying pan on a medium heat, then pour the egg, chorizo, potatoes, onion and parsley into the pan.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for 20minutes or until there is no uncooked egg on the surface of the tortilla.
  8. Use a palette knife to loosen the edge of the tortilla and carefully flip the tortilla onto a plate.
  9. Put the remaining olive oil into the pan on a medium heat and return the tortilla back to the pan to fully cook the other side and to set the egg. This will take about 6 minutes.
  10. Cut into wedges and serve hot or cold with mixed salad leaves and a dollop of aioli.

Blueberry-ish Macarons :p

I am very conscious of this blog’s impending macaron overload, I will stop soon….promise. It’s just that I’m so excited that they will soon be having their first public outing (at a vintage tea party that my mum and I are catering).

I still have a lot of experimentation and testing to do (successes and failures will be duly documented), but once I have decided on flavours and costings, my macarons will be available to buy from the Almost Always Hungry blog and the soon-to-be-online Rose Apple Bakery website to order for parties and also as wedding favours.

These blueberry-ish macarons are one such experiment. The colour is a bit psychedelic for my taste and doesn’t really compliment the colour of the filling (which reminds me of olive tapenade) and I say “blueberry-ish” because they only tasted very slightly of blueberry.

I know blueberries have quite a subtle flavour, but if anyone has a recipe for a blueberry filling bursting with blueberry flavour I would love to try it out!

Lemon and White Chocolate Macarons

For the 6 months I have been suffering from an obsession with macarons. And particularly an obsession with getting the perfect macarons. In my last post I had to cunningly (or perhaps not so cunningly :p) disguise the fact that the macaron shells were not perfectly smooth, but this time I was delighted that there was no need.


350g icing sugar
250g ground almonds
215g egg whites
150g caster sugar
Half teaspoon gel food colouring of your choice

Preheat the oven to 160c.

  1. Whisk the egg whites until semi whipped, add 150g caster sugar and the food colouring. Whisk until you have a stiff and glossy meringue mixture.
  2. Place the icing sugar and the almond powder in a blender. Blitz and then sieve this mixture into a bowl to ensure that you have a very fine, lump-free powder.
  3. Incorporate the dry ingredients and the food colouring into the meringue mixture. Use a spatula to cut and fold the mixture until is smooth, shiny and ribbon-like.
  4. Fill a piping bag with the macaron mix and pipe the macarons onto a lined baking tray. Leave the macarons to dry for at least 20mins at room temperature and then bake in the preheated oven for 10-15mins.
  5. Once cooled remove the shells from the baking paper and pipe filling onto half of the shells before topping with another shell.
For the lemon and white chocolate filling:
140g butter
120g icing sugar
100g melted white chocolate
A squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Cream the butter and then mix in the icing sugar.
  2. Add the white chocolate and the lemon juice to taste.
  3. Mix well.

Spanish Seafood Soup

The weather has been absolutely dismal of late. Once again British Summer Time manages to disappoint even the lowest expectations. However this does mean that we can carry on indulging in flavoursome soups to warm the stomach.

This Spanish seafood soup is a recipe which I learned through the Videojug recording I attended a few weeks ago and I have to say just looking at it has brightened up what has been a grey and dreary day.


40 small raw mussels
15 raw shrimps
230ml sherry
230ml fish stock
1 onion
1 garlic
1 celery stick
30ml olive oil
2g smoked paprika
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley
230ml milk
230ml double cream
1 lemon
Salt and pepper for seasoning


  1. Put the sherry and the fish stock into a large pot and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the mussels and the shrimps.
  2. Cook until the musses are open (this will take approximately 5 minutes). Take the mussels and shrimps out and let them cool.
  3. Simmer the stock and sherry until reduced by half.
  4. Peel and dice the inions and the garlic, then slice the celery and chop the parsley.
  5. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil until smoking and add the onions, garlic and celery. Cook until soft then pour the stock and sherry reduction into the pan and mix well.
  6. Add the milk and cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
  7. Discard the mussels that are not opened and then remove the remaining mussels from the shells and return them to the soup.
  8. Garnish with the chopped parsley, then serve with a few drops of lemon juice.

How to Make a Piping Bag from Baking Paper

Two weeks ago in my post on churros I was asked this question:

Evidently I never actually got round to making cupcakes last week, however I made a further attempt at perfecting my macaroons this morning, and so here is a tutorial for making a piping bag from baking paper.

I hope the instructions and photos are clear, it may be useful to make a note of the left and right corners and remember which one is which when you are constructing the piping bag.

You also need to make sure that you use baking paper and not greaseproof paper because you will need to secure the piping bag with sellotape later on, and it won’t still if you use greaseproof paper.

1. Start off with a squarish length of baking paper, the exact measurements aren’t too important.

2. Take the upper right hand corner and bend it towards the left until the right edge is parallel with the right edge. 

3. Curl the corner under. You will be able to see your piping bag taking shape. 4. Take the top left hand corner of the paper and fold it to the right, you may find it useful to carry on holding onto the right hand corner which should be curled inside the piping bag.5. Adjust the piping bag so that you are left with a tight point at one end. 6. Secure the edges with sellotape. 7. Snip off the end with a pair of scissors and drop the nozzle in. 8. You may need to trim it further to create a large enough gap. 9. Fill the piping bag and twist the end to push the filling out of the nozzle.

10. And now you’re ready to start piping!

Rose Apple Bakery: An Underwater Birthday Cake

If you have read the “About” page for this blog you will have seen that my parents run their own bakery which provides bespoke celebration cakes and cupcakes. Their website is currently undergoing a huge renovation and in fact the whole business will be having a complete brand relaunch in 4-5 months’ time.

Until then I’ll be posting some updates from Rose Apples Bakery and showing you some of their creations. They recently did this Octonauts cake for a joint 2 and 5 year old’s birthday party, and it is just too cute not to share!


Portuguese Egg Tarts (Pastéis de Nata)

It’s the Easter weekend. And it’s sunny this morning. :) I am at church helping to organise our yearly Easter camp which stretches over from today until Monday. It’s a lot of work, printing booklets, writing devotionals, organising camp activities but it’s a huge consolation that the camp is accompanied by copious amounts of food for every meal! :)

Easter isn’t really about chocolate eggs (although I definitely wouldn’t say no!) or bank holidays or even spending time with family, but a time to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus and to think about what implications this may have for our lives.

               Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me , though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
John 11:25-26

 Whilst my Twitter feed has been bombarded with posts about Easter eggs, chocolate, and lamb/bunny shaped iced biscuits my brother and I made Portuguese egg tarts. Egg= Easter right? :p I was skeptical as I have never made custard before (I know, shock horror) and I don’t really like working with puff pastry, home made or ready-made.

To my surprise they didn’t turn out half as bad as I expected, though I would have liked the custard to have caramelised a little more on top (this is where a blowtorch would come in handy).


Butter, for greasing
3 free-range egg yolks
125g sugar
20g cornflour
2tsp vanilla essence
175ml full fat milk
225ml double cream
300g ready rolled puff pastry
Plain flour, for dusting
Icing sugar, for dusting


1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease the wells of a 12-hole muffin tray with butter.
2. In a pan, heat the cream and milk until simmering and immediately remove from the heat. Be careful not to let it boil.
3. In a bowl, whip together the egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly mixed and lighter in colour.
4. Pour a little of the hot cream and milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Repeat once more.
5. Then pour the egg yolks back into the pan and return to the heat. Add the vanilla and the corn flour.
6. Heat the custard, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it begins to thicken. The custard is ready when it can coat the back of the spoon.

7. Roll out the puff pastry onto a clean work surface lightly dusted with flour and icing sugar. Cut the pastry in half and place one sheet on top of the other.8. Roll the pastry sheets up like a Swiss roll and cut the roll into twelve slices. 9. Lay each of the rolled pastry slices flat onto the work surface and roll out into 10cm disks using a rolling pin. 10. Press each pastry disc into the wells of the prepared muffin tray.11. Divide the cooled custard equally among the pastry cases. 12. Transfer the muffin tray to the oven and bake the tarts for 20-25mins, or until the custard has set and is a pale golden brown and the party is crisp and golden-brown. Allow to cool in the tin. 

We used this recipe from the BBC Food website, with a few alterations, mainly to the custard-making method, which I found on Youtube, courtesy of Videojug. This method seemed more fail safe as a small amount of the hot milk and cream mixture is added to the egg yolks to regulate the temperature before the whole lot is mixed together (this helps to prevent the custard from curdling). And I also cut down on the amount of cornflour as 30g seemed A LOT as I was adding it in.

Lunch for 1: Chorizo and Egg Salad

These days I more often find myself making lunch for one. I go for a driving lesson in the morning, then to the gym, and by the time I get home it’s past 1:30/2pm and the rest of the family has already eaten. So whilst on the treadmill I’ve begun deciding what I’d like for lunch, buying the ingredients for one (sometimes a bit more ‘cos running is hungry work and the bus is always late!) on the way back and serving myself a quick and tasty lunch at home.

In homage to my new lunchtime routine I’m going to try a new series of posts for those who lunch alone (#foreveralone :p); maybe you work from home (as I sorta do now), or maybe you are enjoying the peace and quiet of having the kitchen to yourself (often my sentiment!) but of course you can always increase the portions to accommodate more people. And don’t forget to let me know what you think!


60g new baby potatoes, halved
1 egg
50g chorizo, sliced
1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 slices of garlic, diced
Mixed salad leaves


  1. Cook potatoes in a pan of boiling water until soft and in another pan cook the egg until soft-boiled.
  2. Fry chorizo slices for 1-2 minutes until they begin to get crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside, reserving the oil from the chorizo in the pan.
  3. Add garlic to the pan and cook gently for 1 minute.
  4. Remove pan from the heat and mix in the sherry vinegar and parsley. Toss the potatoes and chorizo in the pan until mixed with the chorizo oil.
  5. Lay a bed of salad leaves onto a place, add the potatoes and chorizo. Shell and quarter the egg and add to the salad.
  6. Enjoy!


– You can probably see from the photos that I slightly overcooked the egg. Boiling eggs are really the bane of my life, I can never get it right. My problem is that I’m too impatient, or I forget about them. So set a timer and don’t boil them too vigorously, no matter how hungry you are!

– I would have liked a bit more oil to flavour the salad, you can probably see it looks a bit dry. Next time I would probably toss the salad in a drizzle of olive oil, or maybe fry the chorizo for a bit longer so more of the oil comes out. *not tried and tested yet though*