A more “refined” pavlova than I’m used to. Usually I would just roughly spread the meringue onto a baking sheet, bake then top with copious amounts of fruit and chantilly cream. This one involved drawing a template for the base and piping little rosettes all the way round to contain the cream. Oh and cutting up the fruits and arranging in a nice way on the pavlova. I do like the more refined look, it tastes the same so why not spruce it up a bit :)


This recipe calls for quite a bit of sugar which means that it needs to be added to the egg whites more gradually and more time needs to be taken to whisk it in properly so that the whites stiffen enough to be piped. We had to whisk the meringue in true Westking style (no machines allowed!) and several of us had problems getting the egg to stiff peaks. We just about whisked our arms off, wondering whether there had been some grease in the bowl or whether we had added our sugar too quickly… in any case Chef took pity on us and let us get the mixer out :p

Makes approx 6 portions

3 egg whites
120g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour

1) Gradually whisk the sugar into the egg whites, until stiff peaks form.

2) Gently fold in the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour.

3) Pipe into a circle onto a silicon mat or baking paper and with a star nozzle pipe small little “twists” of meringue all around the edge. Bake for 50-60mins on 150c until the outside is crisp but the inside is still soft.

4) Leave to cool then fill the centre with whipped cream and any fresh fruit you like.

Coffee Gateau Distinction


Just before Christmas we had another assessment in which we had to make a coffee gateaux with chocolate garnishes and marzipan coffee beans. It’s a delicious genoese sponge layered with coffee buttercream, all of which, might I add, was made entirely by hand, no kitchen aid allowed! Cue burning arm muscles. Well in any case the sweat makes it all taste nicer don’t you think? :p


I was very happy and surprised to learn that my efforts, by some fluke,  had earned me a distinction (one of only two so far on the course).

Forgive me now whilst I quote what our lecturer wrote on the marking sheet as this will probably be the only distinction I get!

“Excellent presentation, layering very good. Chocolate garnishing excellent and texture and flavour also good. Bit more buttercream needed on the sides, but otherwise great job!”

Purple Bread?


We were introduced to a very interesting bread in bakery this week- Cabernet grape bread. It gets its distinctive purple colour from the Cabernet grape powder which is added to the dough.


Cabernet grape powder is a by-product of the wine making process where the grape skins are dehydrated and powdered. The powder then can be mixed with flour and used to make breads and pastas. It is said that the it has a same antioxidant properties of red wine, just without the alcohol!


The grape powder  gives the bread a distinctive purple hue, and a lovely wine-y taste which goes well with a good lump of cheese. Personally I’m not a wine drinker so this isn’t my favourite kind of bread, but doesn’t  it look so pretty against the regular coloured loaves? :)

Pizza, Grissini and Pine Nut Slices


I was so excited for Italian week in our bakery class, most of all because our class is from 2pm-8pm so that night we had freshly baked pizza for dinner!

The pizza bases were made from a basic olive oil dough (500g flour, 15g fresh yeast, 20g semolina, 50g olive oil, 325g water and 10g salt), rolled out and stretched into mini pizza bases and then topped with the usual tomato sauce and mozzarella. We also added basil and olives.


We also made grissini (thin twisted breadsticks), which were absolutely delicious. They have parmesan in them which gives a lovely taste and a very slight chewy texture when they first come out of the oven.

375g flour
25g parmesan
10g fresh yeast
10g salt
200ml warm milk
50g butter

Simply blend the yeast and salt with the flour (the method can be found in Dough by Richard Bertinet).

Next mix in the parmesan and milk. Work in the bowl until the mixture is uniform in texture, then work on the table top until no longer sticking (again, the method can be found in Bertinet’s book).

Finally, rest for about 30 minutes, mould and bake.


The grissini are perfect for serving at dinner parties. They are so quick and easy to whip up (especially as they only need 30 minutes resting time) and they are absolutely delicious.

The recipes for the pizza dough an pine nut slices can also be found in Bertinet’s book, which I can thoroughly recommend if you are looking for a new bread book. I think I mentioned previously that we are learning his method of bread baking (one which does not involve pummelling and flaying the poor dough to within an inch of its life!) and it really does take the mystery and guess work out of the process. Try it, you’ll be surprised to learn that dough does not need to be beaten into submission!