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Chocolate and Sweet Potato Cake May 15, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Foodiness.
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I thought I would publish a quick recipe for my chocolate and sweet potato torte – the single most complimented cake recipe I have ever made. The method is a little peculiar (it is adapted from the Hamlyn 200 Cakes and Bakes book), but the resultant culinary goodness is all sorts of sweet, deep, rich and spectacularly moist.


  • 7oz Self-raising flour
  • 3 150g plain chocolate bars
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 6oz butter (I used salted, rebel that I am…)
  • 6oz light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 13oz sweet potato (peeled and diced)
  • Milk


  1. Boil the potatoes until ready to mash
  2. Drain, and mash with a good hefty dash of milk (NOT skimmed)
  3. Chop up the butter and melt it into the hot mashed potato
  4. In a similar vein, break up the chocolate into little chunks and melt through, stirring until you get a mushy yet smooth red-brown mix that smells kind of horrible, yet yummy… add some vanilla essence (the posh kind) if you have any around, and I always like to add a dash of chocolate extract too)
  5. Beat the eggs, and then stir into the mix
  6. Mix sugar, bicarb and four together, along with any cocoa powder if you think the cake needs it (personal taste is a bitch)
  7. Stir the potato/chocolate mix into the flour. Really bash it all up so it is all beautifully mixed.
  8. If you want, add extras – like hazelnuts, or crystallised ginger. Go crazy!
  9. Pour into a very well greased cake tin (well worth greaseproof papering the based, this is a dense cake) and bake in a pre-heated over on around gas mark 5 for approximately 30 minutes to an hour. You are looking for it to be risen and brown, and for a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with only little bits clinging to it.
  10. Frosting time – the book recommends chocolate/crème fraiche, I prefer a sinfully rich ganache…
I don’t have any photos, because this cake always gets eaten too fast. But honestly, it is amazing!

Cupcake Decorating Mania! April 6, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Foodiness.
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Cupcake Decorating Icing Pansy

My Pansy!

Cupcake Decorating Butter Icing and Sprinkles

Love bug!

Looksee! I, creator of the ugliest (if tasty) cupcakes and cakes, have actually made something half pretty. I went along to the Sew Make Believe cupcake decoration workshop on something of a whim,  as in the past any fiddling has resulted in cakes that look like something has died on them. Tonight, if you agree, I think my attempts are passable!


Mmm Saag Aloo February 28, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Foodiness.
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For dinner tonight I wanted something healthy. In particular I fancied a delicious Saag Aloo, but I wanted a bit more substance. A quick nip to the shops stocked me up on my ingredients, and I whipped up a meal that was absolutely delicious. It looks great too, although due to the fact that I pretty much inhaled it off the plate, you are going to have to believe me on that one!

[Image borrowed from here]


Medium onion, diced
3 tbsp lentils (already cooked)
4 quartered new potatoes
Garlic, chopped
Tomato puree
Curry powder
Ground ginger

Boil the potatoes until soft in water with a tbsp of curry powder. About 3 minutes from being cooked, add the spinach.

In a pan, fry the onion and garlic in butter. When soft add a tbsp of tomato purée, a tbsp of curry power, and a teaspoon of ginger. Stir through. Add the drained spinach and potatoes, toss and stir through to incorporate all the flavours. Season to taste, and serve! Delicious!

Food Porn February 21, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Foodiness, Giveaways/Offers.
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The image does the talking. Ree Drummond, author of Pioneer Woman, is giving away complete and utter kitchen implement porn. Me wanty.

Limited Edition Floral Yellow KitchenAid


Dressember Days 22 and 24 December 24, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dressember, Fashion, Foodiness, Photos, What I Wore.
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Yes, you get a photo for the day I worked from home, but not from yesterday! The reason, or the excuse, is that I got straight in yesterday evening and proceeded to work my way manically through a gargantuan (isn’t that a nice word?! I should endeavour to use it more!) to do list the size of my right forearm. Not my left. Packed, tidied and generally exhausted, I fell into my fresh (clean!) sheets and slept like a baby until my 6AM alarm this morning.

Dressember Day 22

Day 22

Dressember Day 24 What I Wore

Day 24

 Day 22 was boring (pretty much just lounging around under fleeces, if I am brutally honest), but today was a day of travelling. You will all be glad to know that I made it down to Devon not only in one piece, but I actually arrived early. Thank you oh wonderful railway companies (and it isn’t often you will hear me say that!), you really did me proud as part of me had become resigned to the option of spending Christmas cold and alone!

Now, however, I am sat in front of a hot blazing winter fire, sipping the most spectacular Sloe Gin I have ever made. Cheers to that!

Sloe gin in front of the fire

Sloe gin in front of the fire

A Veritable Bag Of Treats October 24, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Foodiness.

I spent a lovely day today with the wonderful Lysy, baking cakes and listening to the levellers, we me wiggling my way somewhat awfully around the kitchen in time with the music. We made cupcakes, which went rather flat. In fact, when warm, the mix tasted more like a sweet chocolate batter than cake mix, which was odd but not entirely unpleasant. Anyway, the deep brown and the flatness actually worked well when it came to decorating them – providing a blank canvas that was more than  little reminiscent of the bare earth of a freshly dug grave…

This, by the way, was good thanks to the fact that, a week early, I was having fun with my new book, “A Zombie Ate My Cupcake” . The Halloween themed cakes are, quite frankly, awesome, and it is simply the best pressie I have had in ages!

The results? A rather painful vampire bite oozing raspberry flavoured blood…

Vampire Bite Cupcakes

A pain in the neck...

Vampire Bite Cupcakes

Vampires suck...

And a ghastly ghoul gliding towards you across that upturned graveyard dirt…

Wailing Ghost Cupcake


Wailing Ghost Cupcake

I'll make a ghost of him that lets me...

The best chocolate bars ever… September 29, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Foodiness, Graphic Design, Photos.
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The pictures do the talking for me…

chocolate for couples

breakfast lunch and dinner chocolate

flat pack easter egg chocolate

hear no evil see no evil speak no evil chocolate

Going for a run: Time to get fit August 16, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Foodiness, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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I went for a run yesterday. I pulled on my Reebok kit, and I headed out of the door in a blaze of enthusiasm and energy. The trigger behind this was that for so long I have been talking about getting fit, yet there I was eating chocolate and lazing in front of the TV. It was depressing to say the very least, and I am nothing if not easily depressed. Whilst feeling disappointed with my pudgy belly and complete contrast to how I used to be, I realised that the only difference between then and now was how much I exercised – and that was all it took to force me off the couch.

One day, one day, I will have those stunning legs back, and I hope that I will be slender and toned, and bursting with the kind of energy that only being truly fit can give you.

The path my run in Leamington spa took

The path I ran!

So, there is the path I ran. And walked, if I am honest. With my fitness levels, it was more walking than running, but there was still a decent amount of heart-pounding breath-taking jogging! I essentially ran along the canal in fits and starts, then up through the footpaths along the river bank, where I admit I walked! Then a stroll through the park, and back home! In total it was 3.42 miles, which is a good amount even if I walked the whole thing! In total yesterday I covered about 6 miles – good going!

And so, without further ado, so begins my getting fit. Swimming, running, and callanetics. And eating healthier, which means chopping out the ice pops and the chocolate bars… and tracking my attempts over at my getting healthy blog!

Wish me luck!

A Really Yummy Tomato Lunch May 20, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Foodiness.
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beef tomatoes, tomato lunch

I had the most wonderful night out with the SMB girls last night. It was a social, and this essentially means that we meet up at the pub and gibber away for hours on end. Despite the fact that there were lots of lovely new members we still all managed to chat pretty much non-stop the entire time we were there, covering such diverse topics as online dating and the translation of literature to film. It was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anyway, I thought today that I would share with you one of the yummiest creations I have made in the past few weeks. I didn’t get a photo of it as I ate it all far too fast for that, but believe me when I say it was ultra yummy! It was a oven-roasted beef tomato (with a twist!) served with cous cous, and I could see it becoming a major cupboard staple.

To make your own:

Cut the top off a large beef tomato, ensuring to remove any chewy green bits in the centre – I essentially chopped out the centre lump. Cut a clove of garlic into 2 or 3 pieces, and push these into the flesh fo the tomato, spacing it out evening. Pour a generous amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar into the tomato – don’t worry about it being spread out evening, it never happens! Then simply sprinkle basic, unground sea salt and lots of pepper over the top! Put in a pre-heated oven and cook until it is starting to sink onto the tray.

I served mine with cous cous, to which I had added a cheeky knob of butter and a heaped teaspoon full of pesto (plus salt and pepper of course). It was gorgeous – try it and you will see!

There is something about the sweet and delicious simplicity of tomatoes in the summer that just keeps bringing me back for more!

What I Wore | Irregular Choice Boots February 17, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Foodiness, What I Wore.
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A bit of a pixellated image today, sorry, I don’t know what happened! Never mind, it gets the point across, and you can see my gorgeous soft green and gold suede boots. I wore them with my bargain YSL blazer, which is a little oversized but such good quality. I only paid about 99p for it, however, so that means I can justify only wearing it occasionally as a boyfriend blazer!

What I wore

Also, is this much maple syrup technically too much? Ben maintains it is! Personally I could wax lyrical about the sensory pleasures of drowning myself is the delicious smoky substance, as tasting it instantly makes me feel like I am standing in the centre of a beautiful forest, with slight smell of bonfires on the air. Of course being this closely dependant upon maple syrup measn I have to limit myself to having it once or twice a year, as otherwise I will overdose and surely die!

Maple syrup drenched pancake

Maple syrup drenched pancake