Do what you love & love what you do…

Brew & bake






Its been a while since I last posted. To be more accurate its been a few days short of 2 months.

I’ve been busy during these two months. Not too busy to cook because I’m always cooking but I’ve just not had any time to shoot and write about any of it.

The reason for this lack of time? I’ve bought a coffee shop.

If you’ve followed my blog during 2014 you would have seen my posts about my love (& addiction) of coffee and cake so naturally the next step was to do what I love and buy my own coffee shop.

Let me be the first to say its not the biggest coffee shop in the world, it’s not even the biggest coffee shop on the street (and there’s 5 others on the same street) but what makes this coffee shop so special? it’s mine and I’m going to do what I love to do.

It would be a bold statement for me to say that my coffee shop is going to be the best on the road but this is my plan. Our coffee comes from Oxford. It’s wood roasted, fair trade & organic, our tea’s are loose leaf and produced in Cheltenham. Our cakes are not from a packet, they are made on site fresh everyday by whisking eggs, beating butter and folding in flour and our sandwiches are made fresh daily using artisan breads with chutneys from Stroud.

Unfortunately this means the time I have for Custard or Cream will be reduced but if you like what you’ve seen here follow me over on twitter at @bakeandbrewhq for all the latest news, views & recipes.




The First 50: A Look Back At My Top 10 Post So Far

IMG_0900When I had the idea of starting my blog back in April I planned to write 1 post a week, so by my calculation I worked out that I would have got to 50 posts somewhere in March 2015.

I’d given myself a target of one post a week not because I don’t have the recipes (I have 1000’s in a drawer waiting to be cooked) or the fact that I don’t get time to cook (I cook everyday. If I don’t cook at work I’m always cooking at home) but for the simple reason I just didn’t know what I was doing.

Along the way I’ve learnt a little lot (At the begin I knew nothing so I’m in a better place) so post 51 is a look back at my favourites from the first 50 posts.

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Patience Is A Virtual: Mini Doughnuts

DoughnutsQuestion: What do Homer Simpson, American Police and 95% of the rest of the population have in common?

Answer: They love doughnuts or in the case of Homer Simpson its “Mmm doughnuts“.
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In Search Of A Healthy Clean Cake: Raw Chocolate Brownies

Raw BrownieSugar is bad for you but cake is tasty and life is too short.

If you’re trying to cut out sugar and still want to eat cake you need to get creative.

Over the past few years I’ve entered on to a metaphorical (and real) tread mill. I like cake, I eat cake, I run to burn off the cake I’ve eaten, because I’ve been for a run, I can eat cake as a reward and so the cycle continues.

Unless you have been living in a cave or on the moon for the last 5 years you would have missed the breaking news from the World Health Organisation; “sugar is bad for you“.

You don’t have to be as intelligent as Einstein to have worked this out. People eating diets containing high levels of sugar are more prone to obesity and diabetes. People eating low sugar diets tend to live a healthy life. It’s as simple as that.

Science lesson over I’ll get back to the cooking. Continue reading

The Hardest, Easiest Thing I’ve Made: Fruit Leathers


Fruit LeatherI like to think I now eat a balanced diet (except for the occasional binge of crisps, cakes or chocolate but then who doesn’t). This hasn’t always been the case but since I took up running a few years ago I have tried to be a little more healthier. I’m not one for the Atkins diet because you cant beat crunchy peanut butter with a glass of milk, I couldn’t go vegan as Huvos rancheros (Spanish eggs) is a perfect dish for a hangover and trying to do the cabbage soup diet doesn’t sound like fun to me. So running it is to keep away the unwanted pounds.

On a good week (Not that I get many due to injuries) I can run up to 30 miles. Before I run or just after I like to find things that I can scoff with out too many calories. As running for an hour only burns around 200ish calories eating a bar of chocolate that contains 200+ calories kinds of defeats the object of going for a run. This is when I discovered fruit rolls or fruit leathers as I later found out they are called.

In the UK their is only 1 company that I know of that makes fruit leathers and if you are lucky the supermarkets will have them on sale at 50p (75c) a packet. After a quick bit of maths in my head I worked out water, apples, lemon and sugar would be cheaper.

After searching Google+ I found the simplest method that didn’t involve me purchasing a dehydrator and set to work. Making fruit leather in its simplest form is easy. Take your apples, peel, core them (I didn’t peel mine), chop them and then place in pan with some sugar, water & lemon juice and cook until thick. Once think strain through a sieve (this is why I didn’t peel the apples as the sieve will filter this out).

Spread your mix evenly on to a cling filmed baking tray and bake at 100ºc for about 8 hours until completely dry ( I did mine for about 3 hours at 140°c and it showed). Once cold cut and enjoy.

Would I make these again? Yes. I think you can play around with 100’s of different flavour combinations. Just don’t expect them to be ready in a few hours like I did.

625g Apple
300g Sugar
50ml Water
1 Lemon – Juiced

Use the method above otherwise. Chop and deseed your apple. Add the apples to a pan with the water and sugar, cook until apples are soft. using a potato masher (or blender) mash until thick. Add the lemon juice to taste. Sieve on to a cling film lined baking tray. Spread out evenly and put them on the lowest setting that your oven will go on to (around about 100ºc). Bake for about 8 hours until dry and set. When cold cut them.