Chez Luce

Kitchen adventures on Wandsworth Common

Daring Bakers Challenge September 2010: Get Creative September 27, 2010

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Recipe: Iced Sugar Cookies






The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.


September, for me, has been a month of firsts. First day working for the NHS, first time on a hospital roof, first time in intensive care, first time visiting a prison (all in the name of healthcare may I add!), … and so on and so forth until… first time making sugar cookies, first time researching flooding and decorating techniques, and first time icing cookies with royal icing.





Practice Makes Perfect August 29, 2010

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Having offered to make a wedding cake for my friends Ruby and Lee (congratulations on the engagement!), I am in full-on research and planning mode. This means making practice cakes. Lots of practice cakes.


So here is my first attempt, a lemon syrup-soaked sponge, with lemon curd buttercream, fondant icing, and tiny jasmine flowers, which I made for my parents’ silver wedding anniversary. The design is from Mich Turner’s ‘Couture Wedding Cakes’ and I think it turned out beautifully. I had to go against all my clumsy impulses to make the smooth white fondant as flawless as possible, and the painstaking piping and sticking of the sugar flowers was certainly a challenge, but overall I was really pleased with my first proper cake!


The plan for the wedding is to make three tiers, potentially blocked with fresh flowers, so I had a small arrangement of white, green and silver made for this cake to see how it would look.


I wish I had taken a picture of the cake after it had been cut, the pale buttercream and lemon cake looked really lovely together, and you will just have to take my word that had a really delicious lemony flavour!


I wonder what I am going to try for my next practice… Anyone need a single tier iced cake??




Daring Bakers Challenge August 2010: Nutty and toasty meets cool and creamy… August 27, 2010

Recipe: Petits Fours






The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.


So, another month, another new dessert to try with the Daring Bakers. When given the coice of a baked alaska or petits fours, i knew straight away that it had to be the mini sweets! I love the petits fours at fancy restaurants, and jumped at the chance to make some of my own!


I decided to make individual sized brown butter pound cakes, rather than one large cake. This helped me to control the cooking so each cake was evenly browned, and the edges were nice and sharp. I absolutely loved the cake and it was so easy to make. I am in love with pretty much anything with brown butter as an ingredient, and the nutty flavour of the butter was really prominent in these little cakes. I am now coming upwith all sorts of uses for this recipe, it is definitely a keeper!





Afternoon Tea June 4, 2010

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Recipe: Madeleines



Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m a hoarder.


I go to cookware shops. A Lot. I obsessively browse the internet for deals on cake tins, cookery gadgets and things that would look pretty in photos.


This is what led me to purchase a mini madeleine pan, despite never having tasted a madeleine in my life and so not knowing if I actually liked them. That was, until, we visited Texture. Texture is a beautiful restaurant in London where Agnar Sverrisson serves amazing flavours in an exciting way. If you go there, make sure you try the crispy fish skin, it’s yummy! Anyway… where was I… Oh yeah the madeleines! When we received our petits fours at the end of the mammoth tasting menu, the star of the show was undoutably a pistachio madeleine, buttery and still warm from the oven. I remembered that I had the pan gathering dust on a precariously stacked shelf at home, and immediately planned to make some of my own.


I decided to go with a more traditional recipe, and I was certainly not disappointed. I followed the recipe to the letter and could not have been more pleased with the results!




Daring Bakers Challenge May 2010: Piece Montée May 27, 2010

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Recipe: Croquembouche



The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.


Cheese Party May 11, 2010

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Recipe: Slow-roasted Tomato and Gruyère Tart



There is scarcely anything more comforting, in my opinion, than a great big quiche with crispy pastry and a super-cheesy filling. This tart, however, with its slow roasted tomatoes and black olives, lets me pretend i’m actualy a grown up while stuffing my face with cheese goo. It’s a winner all round…


Green is Good! April 29, 2010

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Recipe: Green Pancakes with lime butter


Waiting for post to be delivered is so infuriating, don’t you think?


After scraping together the funds to treat myself to a new cookbook, this time the much-awaited Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, I happily placed my order online. It was only then I realised that I don’t want to wait 3-5 business days! I want to start cooking now!


In the meantime, I am being placated by the extract of the book published in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago, which includes some beautiful looking recipes. The one that caught my eye the most was a brunch recipe (yes, i’m a sucker for anything remotely brunch-y…) of light tender pancakes flavoured with fresh spinach, spring onion, chilli and a zingy and aromatic lime butter. What’s not to like?


Served with grilled halloumi and wild rocket, this dish really surpassed my (high) expectations and I am even more hungry for my parcel to come!