It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn & I’m feeling pretty good.

What a busy few weeks it’s been! I’m sitting in my comfy armchair in my kitchen, sipping coffee, looking out the French windows & blogging. As I’m sure with many of you, sometimes it feels like I just don’t stop or know when to.

This weekend I’ve gone baking mad. I’ve managed to make 10 breakfast muffins, 6 cheesy bread rolls, beef casserole and I currently have a lemon cake baking. Phew!

One of my oldest, and closest, friends moved to Brussels just over a year ago and with our busy lives and the distance keeping in touch can be tricky. The best thing about her though is when she comes back we always make a point of getting together for brunch. Yesterday on such an occassion it was her turn to come to me. Following this (frankly the best savoury muffin recipe I have found so far) Cheddar and Bacon Muffins

I didn’t have any yogurt so I used 50ml more of milk and added 1/3 of a tin (415g) of baked beans. I also added a chopped mushroom to half of the batch too.
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The mixture. The turmeric and mustard powder gave it a lovely yellowy colour.
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The ones with mushroom in had a slice of mushroom on top to prevent my husband eating one by mistake! He HATES mushrooms.
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The finished muffins! Bec, who was very reluctant at first, had two so they must have been good!

I also finally got round to using my Paul Hollywood How to Bake book that I recieved on my last birthday.

I had found some yeast languishing in the cupboard and having the time and the inclination I decided to go for it!

The recipe I followed was for Bacon and Cheddar Loaves

Ingredients
400g strong white bread flour (plus some for dusting)
100g strong wholemeal flour (I only had wholemeal flour but it still worked)
10g salt
10g instant yeast
30g unsalted, softened butter
330ml cool water (I used a little more)

For the filling
Olive oil
8 rashers of bacon (I left this out)
150g grated cheddar

The how to
1) Tip the flours in a bowl and add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other.
2) Add the butter and 3/4 of tge water and turn with your fingers, continuing to add the water a little at a time.
3) Keep going until the mixture ‘cleans’ the inside of the bowl.
4) Tip the dough onto a floured surface and kneas for around 10 minutes until the dough feels soft and forms a smooth skin and form a ball.
5) Place it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel in a warm place for 1 hour at least until the dough has doubled in size.
6) If you’re using bacon then cook it and leave to cool.
7) Once the dough has risen, add the bacon and cheese and knead it in ensuring it is evenly distributed.
8) Line baking trays (depending on the size you make them will depend on how many you use) and form the dough. Slash the top of each loaf/roll and prove for another hour.
9) Once your dough has doubled and springs back lightly to the touch, then sprinkle with olive oil and bake for around 20 minutes.

We served ours with Covent Garden, Pulled Pork soup.
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Perfect!

Finally, this morning I was woken by our cat Susie at 6 o'clock. Unfortunately once I'm awake that's generally how I stay so at 7:08 this morning I was downstairs making lemon cake for my friend Hanny who's expecting and craving lemons.

I've had my Everyday Cakes and Cookies book from The Australian Women’s Weekly company for years and I’ve used it on and off in that time. The recipe I followed this morning was for the Double Lemon Loaf and has been amended slightly.

Ingredients
90g of chopped butter
2 lemon zests
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
260g self raising flour
Juice of 2 lemons
180ml milk
2 tablespoons of lemon curd (I used the leftover curd from my angel food cake)

The how to
1) Preheat the oven to 160°c and cream the butter and sugar together.
2) Mix the milk, zest, juice and eggs and add to the butter mixture along with the flour a bit at a time.
3) Pour half the mixture into the loaf tin, swirl with half of the lemon curd and then add the rest of the mixture and the rest of the lemon curd.
4) Bake for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
5) To decorate dust with icing sugar when the loaf comes out of the oven and I made crystalised lemon slices.
6) For the lemon slices place lemon slices (thinly cut) into boiling water for around a minute. Once softened place in cold water to cool. Bring a cup of water to the boil and stir in a cup of sugar until it is dissolved. Add the lemon slices and simmer for around an hour or until the rinds are see through. Leave to harden and then decorate.
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Hopefully it will make a very pregnant lady happy!

That’s it! I should probably go and get ready now… Happy Sunday!