Halloween Food Pinspiration

If you didn't know (where have you been?) it's Halloween tomorrow, and as it falls on a Friday you have a whole weekend to celebrate one of the most fun holidays of the year. I've been scouring Pinterest for some fun Halloween-inspired recipes so you don't have to. So why not take a crack at making some of these fabulous recipes at home to fuel your horror movie marathons - everyone does that right? It's not just me, surely... Click on the titles to go to the recipes. Enjoy!

Alien Chest-Buster Macaron



Shattered Glass Cupcakes 


Cream Cheese Brain Dip


Monster Donuts

Monster donuts

Witches Fingers

Witches Fingers

Spooky Spaghetti

spooky spaghetti

Cheese Broom Sticks

heese Broom Sticks

And Finally.....


Girl vs Food - ep. 1

I was recently introduced to the epic Man vs Food (thanks to my awesome friend Lauren) - a programme where each week, food lover Adam Richman travels the US to try out some of the biggest and best oversized restaurant specials in order to set new records and generally feel good about himself for clearing his plate, no matter how high it was piled to start off with. I know how he feels. The main problem with watching his show on a regular basis (which seems to be on every day on Dave) is that it always makes me really hungry, despite the fact that he fails a lot of the challenges set and makes himself quite ill. Mind you, I knew I wasn't quite right when I first watched Supersize Me - I'm pretty sure that was designed to put people off fast food (those that overdo it, anyway) but the first thing I did after it finished? Headed straight to McDonald's!

This Adam Richman guy sure knows his stuff and you only have to watch him for 30 seconds to see how passionate he is about food. After moving down to London and being introduced to the delights of Meat Liquor, Bodean's and the like, and then experiencing the incomparable barbecued meats of Texas, I realised that I am someone who definitely appreciates a good meal - as well as being curious when it comes to vast quanitites of food or giant portions. I don't know what it is about it, but it just fascinates me. I can trace this back to my first and only (although I'm determined that's not the end of it) attempt at making giant confectionary. Allow me to introduce my embarrassing internet debut on PIMP THAT SNACK:

Then came the Hellraiser marathon night at a friend's place, where I ordered the biggest takeaway pizza available with all the toppings (to share with my fella). Here's a picture of the beast (well, the box it came in) that is the Romino's 18 inch Special (touted as 'The biggest pizza in town!'):

We got through most of it (left around 3 slices I think), but man did I feel bad for not polishing it off.

Next up came the first, real Girl vs Food challenge. The occasion was Davo's Birthday, the place? Ciao Bella in Bloomsbury, the food?

THE CALZONE CHALLENGE - sounds pretty standard right? Davo's best mate, a regular at the restaurant dared me to order the Calzone, warning me that it would be bigger than my own head - looking at the price (which seemed very reasonable for something  that could possibly dwarf my head) I confidently ordered the tame sounding dish and didn't think any more of it...

...That was, until it arrived


My face must have been a picture - never in my life had I seen anything quite so ridiculously huge for one person to eat. I was then very aware that everyone at the table was staring at this Italian monstrosity and then at me with very distinctive 'there's no way she's going to eat all that!' looks. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I quietened down, quickly planned a strategy in my head and set to work on the beast.

I was in the Cal-zone - I hardly spoke to anyone during the course of the meal; finishing this bad boy off was going to require all of my concentration. I knew the closer I got to finishing it, the more people were talking about it until the last few forkfuls inspired cheers and claps from the table to spur me on!

So surprised was the owner of the restaurant that someone of my size could finish such a huge dish (with no help whatsoever!) that my sheer determination was rewarded with an Easter Egg - how lovely!!

Amazingly, after all that I still had room for a Panna Cotta dessert! :)

Keep an eye out for my next Girl vs Food challenge and let me know if you have any suggestions! Also, if you're near the Bloomsbury area, check out Ciao Bella, a lovely, family-run authentic Italian restaurant with great food - not all monstrously huge portions either! I'll definitely be heading back there again.

Foolproof Lemon Cheesecake (no-bake)

I have only attempted this adapted recipe 3 times, but I always get lovely comments about how good it tastes! Before giving you the recipe, I'd like to own up to the fact that even though I've called it a 'foolproof' cheesecake, I made the mistake of forgetting to add the sugar (by this point, I had already added the mixture to the base). If anything, it merely shows that baking is kind enough (most of the time) to allow you to amend your mistakes.

What you'll need:

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tubs of mascarpone cheese
  • half a packet of gingernut biscuits
  • half a packet of chocolate digestive biscuits
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50g butter
Crush the biscuits in a large bowl with a rolling pin or a pestle. Melt the butter in a pan or microwave and add to the biscuits. empty mixture into the bottom of a greased round tin and pop in the freezer for a few mins to cool and set. Whisk the 2 tubs of mascarpone cheese with the icing sugar in a bowl until smooth. zest and juice the 2 lemons and add to the mixture. Mix well and spoon on top of the cheesecake base. Level off the mixture with a spatula and set in the fridge for several hours.

Just waiting for mine to set in the fridge now, but when finished it looks a lot like this:

Upside-Down Cake, Anyone?

Having only found Pineapple upside-down cake recipes online I decided to try something a bit different and combine the technique of an upside-down cake with some porridge oats, golden syrup and sultanas to make it more of a fruity flapjack/ cake hybrid. I just used my standard sponge mix recipe and spooned in my mixture of: 2 handfuls of porridge oats, 2 handfuls of sultanas, 1 knob of butter and 2 tablespoons of golden syrup (all melted down in a pan).

Here is the finished article:

Keen bakers out there, have a go and let me know what you think.

The Perfect Victoria Sponge Cake

Baking is one of my favourite pastimes, and I would love to set up my own cake shop one day. My specialties are Cheesecakes, Cupcakes, Tiramisu and Victoria Sponge Cakes.

Whether you are completely new to baking, or a culinary wizard - It is important to get the basics right for making a sponge cake, as once you've got a good recipe that suits you and you've got all your timings right, you will be able to adapt this to make a whole range of different cakes.

My best friend when baking is my Breville food mixer. I know some people are a bit snobby about using a mixer, but it was a steal at £40, and I've used it many times for everything from whipping cream, mixing bread dough and making waffle batter. Buy the Breville Food Mixer at Wilkinsons.

Onto a foolproof recipe that you can adapt to your own tastes.

For the cake mixture:

4 eggs

200g caster sugar (granulated sugar is fine to use)

200g butter or margarine (I find soft margarine makes for a lighter, fluffier cake)

200g self-raising flour

For the filling:

Strawberry or Rasberry Jam (I think it would be interesting to try it with Pineapple Jam - watch this space)

200ml Double cream (whipped)

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200c (fan-assisted) or 180/ gas mark 5
  • Line the bottom of two large cake tins with a circle of greaseproof paper (this is a quicker and more effective way to ensure your cakes don't stick, as opposed to greasing them with butter)
  • Mix the butter or margarine with the sugar in the mixer until smooth
  • Add all 4 eggs and mix again until smooth
  • Sieve the flour in slowly (with the mixer still on) from a height of 5 inches above the bowl and mix until smooth
  • Divide the mixture equally between the two tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until light brown in colour
  • Test to see if the cakes are cooked by gently inserting a sharp knife into the mixture - If it comes out clean, then it's ready
  • Leave on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes
  • Whip the double cream in the mixer (after cleaning), apply to the underside of one of the cakes (once cool), and spread a thin layer of Jam on the underside of the other cake. Pop one cake on top of the other (with the Jam and cream both on the inside) and there you have it, the perfect Victoria Sponge Cake.
Here is a photo of one I made earlier today:
Let me know if you have tried the recipe, and any other suggestions you might have for making the perfect Victoria Sponge.