Barefoot in London

Month: November, 2013

Barefoot in Berlin

Alas this week has been a bit of a crazy one – for a girl who hasn’t found a job yet I seem to find an awful lot to do! – and I haven’t posted half the recipes I meant to, however, I am currently sat in Heathrow clutching my flat white and due to fly off to Berlin soon! I’m so excited to visit the Christmas markets and have a gander around again (I love love love that city). Upon my return on Sunday evening I shall have oodles to post and, undoubtedly, millions of photos to share but until then…tschüss!


Super chunky guacamole!

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Now. I am about to make a fairly bold claim and admit that, whilst I love most food and flavours (particularly spicy stuff), Mexican is possibly my favourite cuisine of all time. It’s spicy, fresh and creamy; packed with colours, texture and a myriad of flavours. It’s so bold and each dish seems to be filled with depth and oodles of different tastes to tickle the palette. Also, as avid lime, avocado and cheese fan there really wasn’t any doubt that Mexican would be for me. One staple of a Mexican themed meal, in my humble opinion, has to be freshly made, super chunky guacamole. It’s like a salad and garnish all in one and just livens up your plate. It also helps to add a certain coolness to the spices (unless like me you like to pop chilli peppers in the mix…).

This is my ridiculously easy guacamole recipe that’ll do beautifully for about four people. Remember; you want to use lovely ripe avocados so they’re nice and easy to work with!


2 avocados

2 tomatoes

1 sweet pointed pepper

½ red onion

2 green chilli peppers (optional!)

The juice of half a lime and half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Spoon the flesh out of the avocados and, using a fork or potato masher, begin to mush up the avocado – not too much though, you still want some lovely chunks in the mix.

  2. Squeeze the lemon and lime juice onto the avocado.

  3. De-seed the tomatoes and peppers and, along with the onion, dice up into nice smallish pieces and stir into the avocado.

  4. Season to taste and enjoy!

The Barefoot Baker does Budgeting…

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Images belong to me and were taken in Borough Market, London.

Now, for my latest post for Britain Does Vintage I thought a little about student cooking and how to make food go a little further for less. This means recipes where a little goes a long way and can feed numerous people or dishes that enable you to freeze leftovers to create another one or two meals for yourself. It isn’t always easy to make something from scratch every night but that doesn’t mean we want to have to reach for the microwaves meals either, so it’s always handy to have some tupperware filled with a tasty treat in the freezer.So next time you make too much chilli, or pasta, don’t chuck it away. Save it. You never know when, after a long day, it might be just what you need.

Furthermore cooking great meals doesn’t have to cost a lot either if you’re smart about your ingredients. Verity, a friend of mine and fellow blogger, runs a fantastic blog full of delicious looking dinners that definitely could not be accused of trying to break anyone’s bank account. So, if you’re cooking on a budget be sure to give Easy Peasy Student Cooking a gander!

What are your great money, or time, saving tips for in the kitchen?

Luscious Limoncello Tray Cake

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I love lemon drizzle cake – I mean, who in their right mind doesn’t? It’s tangy and zesty and scrummy, however, this is a somewhat more grown-up (read: boozy) version of the well loved classic. Limoncello is a beautifully lemony Italian liqueur and is often served after dinner. We have a gorgeous bottle of Crema di Limoncello and it’s a less sharp, creamier (well, duh) version and, as we had an Italian inspired dinner the other evening, I decided it’d go perfectly in a cake for after our dinner.

Now, you can bake in this in any tin you fancy but I wanted quite a thin cake (I sometimes think it looks more desserty than just having a large wedge of cake), also if you wanted a tangier cake you could use regular limoncello and not the creamy version we have! You know, whatever does it for you.


200g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

200g caster sugar

200g unsalted butter

The zest from half a lemon

Juice from half a lemon


60 ml limoncello

3 tbsp icing sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 and grease a 12” rectangular tray.

  2. Cream together the zest, butter and sugar.

  3. Add in the sifted flour, baking powder, eggs and juice and mix until the batter has all combined.

  4. Pop into a tray and slide into the oven for 15-18 minutes – or until you can stick a skewer into the sponge and it comes out clean. Careful if you’re doing quite a thin sponge as there can be just a minute in-between perfectly cooked and slightly crispy!

  5. Mix your icing sugar into the limoncello and when your cake comes out of the oven, and when it’s still warm, take a fork and prick holes into the top. Then proceed to drizzle your limoncello glaze all over it until it’s coated. Leave to cool and serve with a lovely dollop of whipped cream (take 3 tbsp of icing sugar and mix with double cream then whisk until nice and firm!). Powder everything with a little icing sugar and serve. Horrendously simple, gorgeous tasting lemon cake with a kick.

G&TEA: Earl Grey Tea Infused Gin (and a cheeky g&t recipe to boot)

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Well, if you know me, or have read previous posts you’ll know that I am a little bit of a gin fiend. I mean I don’t knock it back neat or anything but a cheeky g&t or gin based cocktail will always go down well with me and about a year or two ago (who on earth really remembers exactly when these things happen?) I discovered gin infused with earl grey tea. I love the lemony notes in earl grey and have used it a few times in baking but today I decided I wanted to be able to make my own citrus-y cocktails with some beautiful, almost floral tasting gin.

So, and this is embarrassingly basic, this is how you make your own batch of earl grey gin…

250ml of decent gin (I used Sipsmith because I discovered it this summer and fell in love…a gorgeous little London distillery)

4 Earl Grey teabags (I used Twinnings because that’s what I drink!)

  1. Pour your gin into a glass and pop in your teabags.
  2. Give the mixture a swirl and leave it at room temperature for 2/3 hours.
  3. Strain the gin into another bottle and enjoy!

A gorgeous way to serve:

Pour 50 ml of your earl grey tea gin and the juice from a quarter of a lemon over ice and top up with tonic water. A beautiful twist on the regular gin and tonic.

Perfect Hangover Cure: Tasty Tomato and Chicken Risotto!

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…Or, a culinary ode to one of my best friends, Jozef, who is currently meandering around India. Risotto would be one of those dishes that seemed to occur in Queens Road on hungover Saturday evenings when we were all feeling slightly delicate from the night before. It’s comfort food; tasty, filling and packed with carbs. It’s also one of those dishes you can make a huge batch of and feed several bellies with very little effort.

I have to say risotto was one of those things I was always slightly terrified of cooking; there are seemingly so many horror stories about the many ways it can go wrong. However, touch wood, I have to say I’ve never struggled with this dish. It just requires your time and patience. It isn’t a meal you can leave to bubble away by itself, you have to keep a beady eye on it and make sure it doesn’t burn or dry out. For me this isn’t too much of a hardship as I love spending an hour or two in the kitchen winding down and taking my time with whatever it is I’m concocting!

This recipe was for three of us but we have lots left over in Tupperware for lunch tomorrow so you could definitely feed four or five folk around the dinner table.


3 chicken breasts

300g Arborio rice

1 litre of chicken stock

3 cloves of garlic

A generous glug of white wine

1 brown onion

1 red pepper

A handful of fresh basil

1 tsp oregano

4 tbsp tomato puree

200g cherry tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper


  1. Dice your onions and finely chop your garlic and put aside.
  2. Cut your chicken up into nice chunks and pop into a pan with a glug of olive oil; fry until the meat is sealed then fish out the pieces of poultry and pop into a bowl. Into the pan now tip the onions and fry slowly until they’re translucent and soft then add your garlic and stir, ensuring your garlic doesn’t burn and turn dark brown and bitter. Pour in your white wine just to deglaze the pan and pick up all those lovely flavours.
  3. Empty your rice into the pan stirring lots to coat it all in the oil and onion and garlicy goodness. When the rice starts to turn a little translucent pop in the puree and mix in well.
  4. Add 500ml of stock into the pan.
  5. Chop your tomatoes and pepper, shred a couple of leaves of basil, and add into the pan. Be frequently stirring your risotto. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
  6. Pop your chicken back in the pan.
  7. Over the next half an hour slowly add the remainder of the stock and allow to simmer and cook until your rice is sticky and still a little al dente.
  8. Finely chop a few basil leaves and top before serving!

And a jar of spiced pickled pears!

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This afternoon my entire house smelt of Christmas; rich and spicy and fruity. By the request of my mama I made some spiced pickled pears that could be scurried away for a month or so and whipped out just before Christmas actually arrives. These make fantastic presents for other people or taste wonderful with cold cuts of meat on Boxing Day – particularly turkey, pork or gamey meats. I was heavily inspired by the wonderful Delia’s recipe however, naturally, I had to have a play around with it too.

This recipe made two jars of pears.


8 small, hard pears

1 lemon

1 tsp juniper berries

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 cinnamon stick

250ml Cider vinegar

250ml white wine vinegar

200g light brown sugar

150g dark brown sugar


  1. Pop all the ingredients except the pears and lemon into a sauce pan and pop on a low heat. Stir once in a while just to get the flavours going and sugar dissolving.
  2. Whilst everything in the pan is simmering away begin peeling your pears; leave the stalks in but slice into halves. Then cut up half of your lemon into thin slices and squeeze the juice out of the other half into the pan with the other ingredients.
  3. Once everything in the pan begins to boil, and the sugar has dissolved, pop in your pears and lemon and allow it to simmer and bubble away for 20/25 minutes until the pears are turning a little translucent and soft. Whilst the pears are happily cooking fill your jars with hot water to heat the glass before you put the hot fruit in there (obviously empty this water out before putting anything else in…).
  4. Fill your jars with the pears and lemons.
  5. Turn up the heat on the juice and let it boil for a couple of minutes before straining through a sieve (to get rid of all those clonky herbs and spices) and pour the rest into the jars.
  6. Leave to rest somewhere cold and dark for a month or so and enjoy! They’ll keep for up to six months.

Indecently Easy Milk Chocolate Cake


Now, as I mentioned in a previous post this week, I was spoilt rotten at the NEC cake exhibition and was gifted with a beautiful new food mixer (I have fallen in love with it completely now; how did I cope without a dough hook before?! I know, I know, lazy mare…). So, to say thank you, I thought I’d use my mixer for the very first time on a beautifully moist, chocolatey cake to say thank you. This is a ridiculously simple recipe and perfect for whipping up a sweet treat in a hurry. One of those no muss or fuss and fanciness bakes just a cake like you’d find at your gran’s house or in your local tea room (we all have those…right?)…

It isn’t a dark and decadent chocolate cake, it’s quite sweet. If that isn’t your bag – it isn’t really mine – then use a 70% (or more) chocolate in the batter instead of milk.

Also, I chose to top mine with a handful of roughly chopped hazelnuts, you don’t have to but I quite like to inject a different flavour and texture to break this up a bit. Honeycomb, chocolate buttons or walnuts would work just as well in my humble opinion…such a maverick over here.


200g plain flour, sifted

200g light brown sugar

200g unsalted butter

2 medium free range eggs

3 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g milk chocolate, melted

Butter Icing

200g icing sugar

90g unsalted butter

3 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp milk

1/2  tsp vanilla extract


1.    Preheat your oven to 190 and grease two 9″ cake pans.

2.    Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla.

3.    Beat your eggs and add into the bowl with the butter and sugar. Pop in flour, baking powder and cocoa.

4.    Start melting your chocolate in a bowl over a pan over boiling water.

5.    Combine melted chocolate to the batter and distribute evenly between the two pans.

6.    Bake for 18/22 minutes, until the skewer comes out clean.

7.    Leave to cool and begin preparing your butter icing.

8.    Combine together the butter and vanilla, add in the icing sugar, cocoa and milk until you get a nice chocolatey icing. This doesn’t make oodles of icing sugar but because of the use of milk chocolate in the cake, the sponge itself is more sweet the rich and not a lot of icing is needed! Roughly chop a handful of hazelnuts and haphazardly (or neatly, whatever floats your boat) decorate and enjoy!

A Delicious Duo of Squidgy Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

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It’s creeping up towards mid-November and Christmas seems to have arrived in a big way; the infamous John Lewis advert (which I actually thought was going to end with the bear eating the hare…) is all over the television, horrendous amounts of tinsel, baubles and lights are being sold in shops and my mind is turning towards Christmassy snacks and flavour combinations.

Now, I have to admit, I am not the biggest fan of Christmas cake or Christmas pudding or mince pies. I enjoy making them but not really eating them. So, my alternatives are generally cinnamon, chocolate, peppermint, hazelnut, orange and cranberry flavoured treats! And, well, Christmas is about celebration, merriment and fun and I think you should be able to eat whatever the heck you fancy! So these are my chocolate and hazelnut and cinnamon and cranberry cookies that are just perfect for popping in Christmas hampers or enjoying with your afternoon coffee (is there anything better than wrapping up warm with a hot drink and a tasty treat and sitting in the garden, the cold air nipping at your nose?).

I can’t decide which of these two are my favourites – although, naturally, the chocolate and hazelnut seemed to disappear very quickly! What are your favourite Christmas flavour combinations?


Chocolate and Hazelnut

120g butter

1 free range egg

120g soft brown sugar

55g caster sugar

220g plain flour, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp cocoa powder

50g roughly chopped hazelnuts

Cranberry and Cinnamon

120g butter

1 free range egg

120g soft brown sugar

55g caster sugar

240g plain flour, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp cinnamon

65g chopped dried cranberries


  1. Preheat your oven to 175 and line a large flat tray with greaseproof paper.

  2. Cream together the butter, egg and vanilla. It may try to curdle a little but don’t fret.

  3. Stir in all the other ingredients until you get a nice sticky, dough-like consistency.

  4. Separate the dough, roll into balls and place on baking tray about three centimetres apart. Bake for 9/10 minutes.

  5. When they come out allow them to cool for a little while as they’ll still be gooey and a little fragile straight out of the oven! If you have to cook them in two batches just slide the greaseproof paper off the tray with the cookies still on and line again to cook another lot! They are divine still a little warm and squidgy!

Cheeky visit to Cake International at the NEC!

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So many incredibly inspiring creative cakes!

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Gorgeous vintage crockery (although we resisted not going too mad here, our house is already crammed full of vintage pots, plates and teacups!).

The last thing I wanted to do today after three hours sleep and a hefty night out of gin and dancing was fall into the car and travel to the NEC in Birmingham, even if it was for a cake exhibition. However, it was one of those beautifully perfect Sunday mornings, where the air was clear and cold, the sky ridiculously blue and the winter sunshine was gloriously bright. And, once we were on our way I was incredibly glad I hadn’t languished in my bed all morning feeling sorry for myself.

The entire exhibition hall was filled with people milling about, clamouring to look at the stalls; stalls which were filled with baking ingredients, cooking supplies, pastry cutters, sugar pastes, flavourings, pots and pans, cupcake cases, demonstrations on how to create fondant Santa clauses and millions of different coloured lustre dusts! There were also several gorgeous stalls filled with vintage teacups, plates, aprons and beautiful milk bottles (I was very restrained and only got one!).

I was spoilt rotten today and treated to lots of goodies; The Great British Book of Baking, three “Foodie Flavours” (peppermint, violet and rose!), cute mini square Christmassy cake cases, a stunning little glass milk bottle, heart shaped cookie cutters and the most beautiful cream and stainless steel food mixer! I feel like an incredibly lucky girl today.

I’m so excited to use all my new bits and bobs and cannot wait to return to the NEC next month for the Good Food Show!!

How did you spend your Sunday?

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Looking hungover and working the hobo hat.

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