Evolution Bakery: Le macaron parisien

14 Aug

I set the bakery elves a challenge…make delicious French macaroons.  Delicate, deceptively complicated, decadent…

For a first attempt I was fairly happy.  A smooth, crack-free shell and a passable macaroon “foot”.  The button-to-filling ratio was a little off…the elves were a bit miserly with the filling.  Unfortunately they lost their crispy shell after a few hours and went a bit soft.

We’ll post a recipe (or instruction manual) when we’ve had a few more attempts.  Those pictured are “Rose and Cardamom” and “Almond and Dark Chocolate” and were based on a 1:1.3:1.6:0.8 blancs d’œufs:amandes en poudre:sucre glace:sucre semoule.

We incorporated techniques such as:

  • processing and sieving the almonds a few times
  • drying almonds in the oven
  • using aged eggs
  • resting for an hour to set the shell
  • two ovens, two temperatures
  • stacked heavy trays

Hardly Ladurée but in the case of “le macaron parisien”, failure still tastes fucking divine!

As I’m stretching the elves I have been overseeing proceedings carefully.

If anyone would like a batch, get in contact.  We are going to be perfecting the recipe over the coming weeks and the boys are already approaching their macaroon maximum.


Rather pervert than plebeian.

12 Aug

It’s amusing what people get worked up over when it comes to the opinions of others…

I’m distinctive enough that it’s obvious I’m a pedigree cat…I would be mortified if someone thought otherwise.  Sometimes my beautiful fluffiness poses a problem;  When I am in need of a day in the cat spa, I am prone to the occasional “Poo Berry”…another mortifying experience, especially if we have company over.

If I had to chose I would rather be caught with a collection of faecal ornaments than be labelled a “common street mog”.

I was sat in a waiting room the other day and I was getting a little bored.  The room was empty, no one to people-watch or make up an imaginary life for;  No box of toys, no multi-coloured, mutilated abacus…not even a magazine.  The only thing in the room that could serve as a distraction was a copy of The Sun (damn you white iphone 4, my patience is wearing thin).  So I had a browse…

A quite respectable looking lady came into the room.  She looked around for a seat, she noticed me sitting there, her eyes fell to my paper and she gave me a look of disgust!  The old whore! Judging me on my reading material!  Did she not see there was nothing else to read?  How dare she look down on me as a “tabloid twat” she doesn’t know me!

Quietly seething, I returned to reading whatever “article” I had been perusing…It was then I noticed that the opposite page had a giant picture of a young lady exposing her generously proportioned bosoms.  I was quietly relieved!  She didn’t judge me as a low-brow ignoramus, she thought I was a pervert!  I then realised I had been fidgeting on my chair as my cowboy themed undergarments have an annoying seam that results in regular adjustments to seating position being made.  In the eyes of the woman, she had walked in on a young man looking at breasts and squirming on his seat…no wonder she was offended.

It had never occurred to me before that I must mentally rank aspects people judge me by.  Think I’m a pervert quietly pleasuring myself over a woman of easy virtue in a newspaper? I have no problem with that…Think I’m reading and enjoying The Sun out of choice?  I feel a strong urge to stand up and explain the situation.

I don’t think Mykie has realised she was probably thinking both…I wonder what ranks top of the judgement list?

Evolution Bakery: The Malteser Pleaser

10 Aug

Who doesn’t like cake? Who doesn’t like chocolates? Who doesn’t like a secret ingredient?

As our name suggests, here at Evolution Bakery we tinker with things and change things over time.  These were inspired by a recipe I came across whilst blog surfing (if you can call something that requires “a box of chocolate cake mix” a recipe).

We took the basic idea but developed a decent muffin-based cake to compliment the malty decadence of the icing.

The Malteser Pleaser (makes 12)


  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Horlicks Powder
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 50g Melted Butter (cooled)
  • 225ml Whole Milk
  • 3tsp Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 100g Quality Milk Chocolate smashed up into small morsels (we used Menier Swiss Milk)
  • SECRET INGREDIENT: 160g Jack Daniels Fudge (chopped into little cubes)

So simple as it’s a muffin based cake. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.  Mix the milk, egg and butter together (make sure the butter isn’t so hot it cooks the egg). Put the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir in the wet mixture.  Fold in the chocolate and fudge pieces.  Divide between 12 muffin cases and pop in the oven for around 20 minutes until golden in colour, firm and springy when poked.


  • 200g Soft Butter
  • 50g Horlicks Powder
  • 20g Cocoa Powder
  • 50g Icing Sugar

Just beat the lot together.  It should be smooth, thick and creamy, and taste like a Malteser cloud…so delicious…you should have more than enough to ice the cakes so dig in, indulge, fuck the arc of shame.

When the cakes are cool pipe a big swirl of icing (if you have any left) onto each one.  Sprinkle with cruched Maltesers and pop a whole one on top.

These are the culinary equivalent of hot, dirty sex;  Naughty, sticky, surprising, wildly enjoyable and fuelled by JD.  The cake is not too sweet so balances the super saccharine of the icing well.  The sticky nuggets of Jack Daniels fudge add a grown-up element to an otherwise enjoyably juvenile treat.

I’m pleased with the bakery elves for now.  I think I’ll let them out of their cages for a day or two to visit their children.  Don’t judge me, they signed the contract.

Five go up a Mountain: A tale of danger and drama

8 Aug

Reinforcing stereotypes and supporting preconceptions.

5 Aug

The classic stereotype of a pretty, Persian cat is a big, lazy, narcissistic lump that sleeps all day…Irritating, but I’m probably the rule rather than the exception.  Stereotypes exist for a reason; Does it bother you?  Do you embrace playing the role people expect of you?

In a similar vein, I’m not a dog fan.  I’m sure there are nice dogs about but, every time I encounter one it acts like a slobbering fool…my experiences have only served to reinforce my preconceived notions…

On my way to work I often pass a Tesco in what is considered an undesirable neighbourhood.  My loathing of Tesco aside, I’ll pop in for some chewing gum or a Coke Zero.  I postulated months ago that the only people who shop here are ne’er-do-wells, dullards and miscreants…

Exhibit A: The Nicotine Bride

Standing in the kiosk queue with my Trident Soft (tropical twist) in hand…a woman in a wedding dress ran in.  “Excuse me love, can I nip in front of you?  I’m in a rush.” I obliged out of shock more than courtesy.  She proceeded to buy 20 “Marley Light” then ran out.  It was like Cinderella but less glass slipper and more smokers cough.  I was desperate to follow her to see if she had pulled up in a ribbon covered wedding car…or if she’d whip a lighter from her garter.

Exhibit B: Mr Observation Obfuscation

Walking into Tesco with my umbrella up as it was most definitely precipitating.  One trolley collector man said to another “I think it might rain”.  I’m generally too lazy to raise a brolly unless absolutely necessary…it was certainly raining.  Carol Kirkwood and Derek Acorah should watch their backs; we all know what happened to Cristal Connors when Nomi got a taste of the big time.

Exhibit C: Mr “Dinglehopper”

I stopped off with the boss for a beverage in Tesco Costa.  There was a man in a business suit that must have been taught table manners by the little mermaid.  After stirring twelve sugars into his cappaccino using his fork (then licking it)…he proceeded to SCRATCH HIS HEAD WITH IT! He then used the same fork to not only eat his lunch, but also pilfer a chip from his colleagues plate!  I’m sure we’ve all slurped the last bit of bisque from the bowl in the privacy of our own homes, but at a business engagement in a public place?  It’s not really the time to act like a chimp with a pointy stick.

I realise I’m judging these people on snapshots of their lives.  They may be wonderful, interesting people (except Dinglehopper he is beyond redemption).  Classic confirmation bias, I do enjoy the smug sense of “I am so right about this place”.

So, I fully admit I am guilty of subscribing to local stereotypes but what about more well known stereotypes? What if I’m the person feeding into them?

I never got into the Glee thing at all and I turned down free tickets to SATC 2 but, like a stereotypical flaming homo I love, love, love the Gaga and Kylie’s Aphrodite album is glued into my car stereo.  I also sport a slightly fay hair do and subscribe to the school of guy-liner.  If anyone saw me driving (badly as my mandatory attendance to my 5th driver awareness course indicates) I’m sure I would be adding weight to the typical homosexual stereotype of a glittery, camp queen.

Here lies my problem, I dislike stereotyping and like everyone, I don’t like the idea of being pigeon holed; but I’ll still judge others if they support my preconceptions.  I have no defence, I’m just a big hypocrite.  But what else can you judge random strangers on?  It’s not like I could crash the nicotine brides big day and ask her what her life goals are.  Is being aware of your own twattery any better that just being a twat?

It is a satisfying feeling to have your personal ideas validated even if you realise you are probably remembering things selectively.  On that note, I’m off to bitch about slobbery canines and groom myself.

Comedy of errors

2 Aug

I try to avoid publishing personal stories with no real point to them…who really cares after all?  I’ve made an exception for the events of Sunday which I think are worthy of a few lines…

So, it was my aunt and uncles 25th wedding anniversary and next week will be my parents 30th wedding anniversary.  My lovely auntie Cath decided to surprise them all with a big family meal, about thirty people or so, with both couples thinking they were going for an intimate meal for no real reason with just my auntie Cath.

Master Plan=Get to Chinese restaurant in Liverpool before my parents ready for the big surprise.

Task=Pick up younger sister from parents house without parents knowing about 30 minutes before they leave.

Sounds simple enough, but we didn’t account for my fathers need to be early for everything.  Little sister text to say “circle the road! they are leaving right now”. We passed my parents as they exited their junction…we ducked…did they see us?

Modified Plan=Get sister in car then somehow overtake parents to arrive before them for the big surprise.

This seemed to be going well, we drove fast there was no sign of them…until…we realised they were the car in front of us turning into the restaurant resulting in more ducking whist driving.  Somehow they didn’t notice us; as as they turned left into the car park we turned right, we zoomed to the bottom and parked…phew!

Little sister screamed, we all ducked, parents had circled the car park and were now parking facing our car just one car over…the jig was up!  After a couple of minutes of hysterical giggling and hiding on the floor of the car we gave up and the surprise was ruined.

I know what you are thinking, so what? Not a great story…

My aunt Cath had ordered cakes for both couples to be presented at the end of the meal.  She ordered them from a lovely Chinese bakery called Wong Wong’s…

Wong Wong got it wrong wrong…

Accompanied by birthday music and a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday To You”!

Music, singing, even a big sparkly candle…Sunday was spent at what amounted to my parents joint 30th birthday party.  Very surreal when their offspring are 28, 26 and 22!

Silver lining=Mother was very happy as she received this cake less than six months ago…

So that is the tale of Sundays surprising surprise that never was.

Evolution Bakery: 241 Darkness and Light.

30 Jul

Here at the bakery we waste not and we want not…we actually want plenty but that’s not the point right now.

We were making some peanut and dark chocolate biscuits and as the recipe called for only egg yolk, we were left with spare whites…perfect for rustling up a batch of mini angel cakes.

Both recipes are terribly easy…

Peanut and Dark Chocolate Biscuits

  • 100g soft butter
  • 160g plain flour
  • 160g peanut butter (crunchy and wholenut if you can find it…Waitrose does it)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • tsp baking powder
  • bar of dark chocolate (80% cocoa)

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.  Place everything into a mixing bowl apart from the chocolate and mix with a good, sturdy wooden spoon into a smooth dough (do not eat yet…you will have no biscuits at the end…it is so very delicious at this stage).  Roll into 16 small balls and place on a baking tray.  Smash the chocolate into little shards and press one into each dough ball.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  They will still be soft but golden, leave to cool and harden.

They lack the austerity and ostentation I usually enjoy in a biscuit but it’s hard to be refined shovelling these delectable, crumbly delights in your food hole…grab your Slanket, sit on the sofa and munch away.

Mini Angel Cakes

  • 2 egg whites (left over from the biscuits above)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 25g SR flour
  • few drops of almond essence
  • few drops of rose water

Keep the oven on 180°C from the biscuits.  Whisk the egg whites until foamy, whisk in everything else except for the flour until you get a smooth, glossy mixture that doesn’t feel gritty between your fingers.  Fold in the flour gently to preserve the air trapped in the white, meringue cloud.  Plop the mixture into 4 muffin cases in a muffin tray.  Bake on a low shelf for about 25 minutes.  Leave to cool then disrobe the cakes from their cases, cut in half and fill with sweetened cream cheese and blueberry jam.

You only get 4 of these light as air morsels, perfect for afternoon tea with a cup of Darjeeling and a better use for egg whites than coating the inside of the Brabantia.

There you go, two super simple recipes for the price of one…One dark, dirty and indulgent; one light, sweet and prissy…Marvellous!