Bread baking challenge final week & summary – Cornflake encrusted French toast with sautéed bananas

French toast from US of BreadI’ve come to the end of my bread baking challenge, hooray! (Sort of…) 8 weeks ago I challenged myself to bake a bread a week from Adrienne Kane’s new bread book United States of Bread (that I was lucky enough to illustrate the cover & interior illustrations for.) Each week I shared a new bread I baked and a few illustrations from each of the 8 chapters in the book. You can see all the baking posts here.Ingredients for French toastThe final week of the challenge was to bake a bread from the last chapter of the book ‘dried bread.’ I’m not going to lie I did cheat a bit on this one as I didn’t have time to bake a new bread. The dried bread chapter is really great as it focuses on using up the bread when it’s a few days old or a bit past it’s best so it would’ve been good to work on this recipe at the end of a loaf. Instead because I was busy this week I bought a loaf of challah from the bakers and I used this as the bread part of the recipe.Challah bread for toastI chose to make the cornflake encrusted French toast with sautéed bananas and I made it on the weekend for my family. I got up quite early as I had a busy day of drawing and set to making the bread. In hindsight I think this bread might’ve been better as more of a brunch as it was very filling. It was really delicious though!Bananas & syrupCornflake encrusted toastSauteed bananasNext time I make this bread (…and I’m sure they’ll be a next time) I’d cook the bread in the pan for a bit longer as I don’t think it was quite as crispy as it should be and it was still a little eggy, which was nice but I think for my taste I like a bit more of a crunch. The cornflakes were a lovely coating.French toast with bananasEating French toastBelow is the illustration I created for the recipe. It was fun adding a bit of texture and colouring to this piece. My french toast (in real life) looks a lot more rustic, it’s not easy slicing challah neatly :)Cornflake encrusted French toastHere are the 8 breads I made throughout this challenge, ummm delicious. I think I would have to say my favourite bread out of the 8 would definitely be the rye & raisin sourdough. It took the most patience in terms of the nurturing of the sourdough starter but it was so worth it. I loved the crispy, chewy middle with a slight sour taste but sweet too from the raisins. My second favourite bread would be a draw between the challah and the bagels, they were both so fun to make and I made them with my sister and friend so that made them all the more enjoyable to bake.   
Breads I've bakedThis challenge has taught me that when I set myself a goal I try my best to achieve it and it works best when there’s a time factor too and a deadline in mind. I think it was really good knowing I had 8 breads to bake in 8 weeks and I had to bake one a week to stay on target. I’m going to try and use this rule of breaking down goals with other projects. I also learnt that I love baking so I’ve definitely made a new hobby out of doing this challenge. If you’ve ever stopped by to have a look at the photo’s or to see what Ive been baking thanks for looking! As much as I’m a little bias as I illustrated the book I really love United States of Bread and it’s become my bread baking bible. The recipes are easy to understand, simple to follow and as you can see above produce yummy results. As someone who had never baked bread before this book has opened my eyes to a whole new bread filled world. It’s also made me even less keen on shop bought bread (I’ve never really been a big fan of supermarket loaves anyway – I hate the smell of the bread in the plastic it smells so chemically) So I would definitely love to bake more bread in the future.

Thanks again to Adrienne for letting me illustrate her wonderful book and for sharing all her mouth watering bread recipes!

xxSignature

Bread baking challenge week seven – Flatbreads & fry breads

Cheese StrawsThis week as the title suggests is week seven of my bread baking challenge and I decided to make cheese straws from the flatbreads & fry breads chapter of United States of Bread. I have a vague recollection of making cheese straws many moons ago but I’m pretty sure it consisted of buying pastry and adding cheese. Not exactly a comprehensive lesson in cheese straw baking. There’s lots of nice recipes in this chapter of the book and I’ve added the wholewheat crackers and New York flatbreads to my ever growing list of breads I’d like to bake once I’ve finished my baking challenge – one bread to go!) Below is the illustration for white crackers.White crackersMaking cheese strawsThe good thing about this recipe was I had all the ingredients at home so it would be prefect for an impromptu spot of baking. For some reason I used my blender instead of a food processor without thinking…I think I was having a moment! It worked fine though and served it’s purpose.Butter Flour Cutting pastryCheese strawsThese definitely felt like a treat (probably because of all the butter & cheese!) So we nibbled them with cups of tea, a tasty comforting snack, perfect for the cold English weather we’ve been having.Eating cheese straws Read more

A year of illustrations for Waitrose Kitchen

Sketches for Waitrose KitchenStack of WKFor the past year I’ve been lucky enough to work with the lovely team at Waitrose Kitchen illustrating each month one of their regular features Love life ‘Feel good food.’ In each issue they share three healthy recipes and I got to illustrate mini versions of the ingredients the dishes are made of.Waitrose kitchenAbove is a selection of some of the illustrations I’ve created for them over the last 12 months. Working on this column each month has been really enjoyable. I’d be given a list of the ingredients required, a mock up PDF of the page layout and a mood board of colours or colour swatch of the current issue to incorporate into the illustrations. I adore Waitrose Kitchen magazine, it’s so well put together and their attention to detail on design decisions within the mag is noticeable. They use a fair amount of illustration which is great, one of my old Kingston tutors (Jake Abrams) illustrates a column each week in the weekend supplement.SpreadsHaving this regular job for the past year has felt like a bit of a luxury. I’ve never had a regular monthly illustration job before so it’s been great to work on and nice to keep up with each month.Fennel,mussels, cauliflower&puy

Here are a few larger illustrations. I love drawing more unusual foods that lend themselves to add pattern to like mussels, cauliflower, broccoli.   Coconut milk, peas,smoked mackerelThank you to the team at Waitrose Kitchen for allowing my little pencil marks some space each month in their wonderful mag.

xx

Signature

Healthy & happy – Pea, mint & broccoli frittata

Pea,mint&brocolli frittataThe thing I love most about this recipe is all the green! I love the saying ‘eat a rainbow,’ it’s a nice prompt to remember your five a day – if you need a little extra help this print from Skunkboy blog is really nice and you can download a copy to print out and keep it pinned for that extra motivation. Here’s a new recipe for a delicious frittata that Brooke and I made. It’s so simple to make and great for breakfast, lunch or cut up into wedges for a healthy on-the-go snack.You will needHere’s what you will need:

  • 1 small head of broccoli cut into florets
  • 2 handfuls frozen peas
  • 8 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped mint
  • Salt & pepper
  • Coconut oil for frying

Cooking brocolliIn a non stick frying pan heat a little coconut oil and fry the broccoli, garlic and onion. Fry for 4 minutes until the onions are soft. EggsNow add the peas, the beaten eggs and mint. Salt & pepper to taste. Mix well and on a low heat cook for five minutes. Place the frying pan under a hot grill and finish cooking the top of the frittata until golden with colour and the egg is cooked through. Serve warm or cold with your favourite salad. If you want to add a seasonal twist serve with a kale or watercress salad with some sliced pears to make the most of autumn produce. The fritatta will keep in the fridge for up to four days.Pea&brocolli frittataEating frittata

Pea,mint & brocolli frittataIf you liked this recipe you might like to check out our previous one for healthy & happy Beetroot & mint houmousEating greenBrooke also has a new Facebook page called Cooking Lightley where she’s sharing her latest recipes, inspiration and positivity about healthy living and happy eating. Check out her instagram too! :)Pea&brocolli frittata with tomatoesI hope you liked the recipe, let us know if you decide to make it!

xxSignature with Brooke

Bread baking challenge week six – Cornbread

Us of Bread Cornbread chapterHello! Happy Friday! It’s that time of week for my usual bread baking challenge update. I’ve had a busy week this week working on finishing up a few deadlines including one for a project involving 3 spreads for Super Yacht life magazine (where I got to indulge in my love of drawing architecture,) a book cover for a Brazilian publishers, a lovely private commission, colouring the interior illustrations for the Running Press book I’ve been working on and preparing for an exciting meeting next Tuesday to discuss a Christmas window project I’ll be involved with in December. It’s been a busy week! I worked last weekend through to this week so I’m looking forward to having a bit of time off over the weekend. In summary (and a sort of excuse..tut tut) baking bread wasn’t really on the top of my list this week. Not wanting to miss a (self imposed) deadline, I got a couple of extra ingredients for this week’s bread and decided to have an evening baking session last night.Cornbread Read more

Pics from Scarlett’s birthday & a view from the Shard

ScarlettLast week was Scarlett’s birthday and we decided to go for a little day out in London. We didn’t really have a plan of where to go but I bought us both tickets to visit a view from the Shard later in the afternoon. We decided to head to Borough Market first as Scarlett had never been. Armed with a glass of prosecco each we wandered around the stalls trying to decide what to buy for lunch. All the food looked so amazing it took us awhile to choose!Food from Borough MarketEventually we settled on sharing a grilled cheese sandwich and bought a peanut butter blondie and a slice of treacle tart for later. The grilled cheese sandwich was definitely a good choice. ummmm…Mustards at Brough Market Paddington bearAfter nibbling lots of food samples we began to make our way to the Tate but on our way got sidetracked by the London tombs attraction. We purchased tickets waited a few minutes and then our tour began! For some reason we seemed to be singled out to be scared the most and the tour guides made us stand at the back the whole time. It was silly but so fun and there was lots of jumping and screaming going on. Everyone needs a good scream once in awhile!
View form the ShardI had booked our tickets to go up the shard for 4:30pm as I thought it would be nice to watch the sunset over London. The change from light to dark was so quick. I would definitely recommend going around this time as we got the benefit of seeing all of London’s most iconic buildings in the light and then seeing the beauty of London twinkling under a sheet of blackness. It was so beautiful, inspiring and made me want to draw! I loved seeing all the little squares and rectangles of light from the windows. I’m currently working on a project where I’m drawing lots of buildings so it was the perfect time for a dose of architecture inspiration.  London at dusk London view from The ShardWhen we got to the Shard we were told about the loo with a view and that we had to take a selfie in it, so of course we did just that! Loo with a viewIt was a lovely day filled with laughs, screams, the best company, London, food & bubbly. Happy birthday to my bestest bud :)

xxSignature

Bread baking challenge week five – Bishop’s bread

Quickbreads chapterThis week’s chapter from my bread baking challenge focuses on Quickbreads. It couldn’t have come at a better time as this week I’ve been busy with lots of fun drawing projects so it’s nice to have a quicker bread option to make. I chose to make Bishop’s bread. The author Adrienne recommends having it with hot tea or coffee which is perfect for now as the weather is starting to get chilly. Above is the chapter opener – it was fun mixing in some of the more realistic looking illustrations like the bacon & sweet potato with the more stylised packaging drawings like the jam and maple syrup. The illustrations all started as pencil line drawings that I added colour to in photoshop.Illustrations from quickbreads chapterI had my first bread mishap with this one – I didn’t really have a big enough loaf pan but yet I still tried to fill all the mixture into it instead of baking two smaller versions. I was also trying to work on some roughs for a project and reply to emails, this was an example of multi tasking gone wrong! When I started seeing the mixture slowly creeping down the sides of the pan I quickly tried to rectify it by pouring some of the mixture out. It was a bit of a mess! But, oh my! The mixture tasted amazing! The combination of brown sugar, toasted almonds, tart cherries and bittersweet chocolate was incredible!Almonds Read more

Journey to “getting healthy” reaching my first goal

Me & BrookeI thought I would write a follow up post from my getting healthy post. I’ve been working towards being healthy for 10 weeks now. At the start I set a few goals and I’m really pleased that I’ve reached my first goal! Cue the funny photo above with Brooke…cheers! My intention was to get healthy – feel good, look good and have better habits. Alongside this I also needed to loose some weight but this was more in the back of mind as I knew I had to change my outlook to achieve my healthier lifestyle and for me to stick with it.
Homemade granolaMy first major goal was to get into the healthy bmi range for my height. I know some people don’t neccesarily believe in the bmi thing but I think this is more if you’re body building, have a lot of muscle etc.? I didn’t like knowing that according to the medical bmi I was considered overweight. I knew I was but when you see it in black and white and read about how it impacts your health it’s a good motivation to shed a few pounds. So I did. I’ve lost just under a stone now (12lbs) and it’s been slow and steady. It’s been in the middle of my bread baking challenge too – so I’ve learnt to flex my willpower and as I mentioned before I’ve been giving away some of the bread and freezing it too. I haven’t restricted anything in my diet. I’m not into low carb, low fat and this and that, I believe in wholesome and healthy food and treats now and again too. I’ve done diets in the past where I’ve been more restrictive and I find these don’t work for me because I wasn’t changing my outlook and seeing the bigger picture. I’d loose some weight in a more restrictive way and then once I felt good I started allowing myself some of the things I restricted and then the weight naturally crept back up.Getting-healthy-blog-postThe photo above is from 3-4 weeks ago it’s quite embarrassing but I’m also kinda proud of it. You can see the pain determination in my face. Over the last ten weeks I’ve been working on making my body stronger and fitter through exercise: Pilates twice weekly, boxing once a week, training session once a week and walking Elsie everyday. It sounds like a lot when it’s written down but it’s only 4 days out of a week and the sessions have become such a part of my routine that they give my week structure. Also because I work from home if I wasn’t to do these exercises I would literally do nothing as I sit at my desk all day.Pukka teaI’ve adapted my diet to eating less processed foods – I’ve given up diet coke! I used to drink this a lot and I know how bad it is for you so I slowly cut down and now I haven’t had a drop in a good few weeks, ha! I wouldn’t say I’ll never drink it although if I have a swig of Christophe’s now it doesn’t taste as nice as I remember and I think it’s because I’m not used to it now. I drink mostly herbal tea or hot water with lemon in the morning, occasionally my beloved black coffee but not as much. I bought a bobble water bottle which I drink from throughout the day (it makes it so much easier having a bottle always with you.) If you decide to get one don’t do what I did where I didn’t read the instructions and not wash out the filter, oops! I drunk a litre of water mixed with carbon :( I have soda water with vodka and fresh lime if I’m out and I definitely haven’t given up wine although I have cut down. I think the most important thing for me is reducing and cutting down, the classic cliche of everything in moderation is so true but can be hard to achieve. I also love my green smoothies, I made a chocolate one the other day with cocoa powder, avocado, almond milk, medjool dates vanilla & spinach it was so delicious! More of a dessert drink, but a healthy one.Healthy porridge3I’m enjoying eating fresh produce – I’ve always loved veggies and my diet mostly consists of plant based meals which is what I love eating. I’ve switched from dairy milk to almond milk and where before I often felt bloated, I hardly ever do now. Whether it’s the milk switch or just generally not eating so much rubbish I’m not sure but it’s definitely a huge improvement in comfort.

I’m really pleased that I’m now considered within the healthy weight range for my height, yay! The process on the whole hasn’t been hard, obviously the eating side is always fun, the workouts on the other hand, there has been PAIN – yesterday I ran around a park with a 3 stone heavy bag (full of bricks!) So I won’t lie and say they’re easy peasy. But hey, (another cheesy cliche alert…) No gain without pain!

xx Signature

Autumn moments

Autumn sunsetI love the photo above taken on one of our daily walks with the sun setting. I was feeling chilly in my studio so after a cup of cranberry, rose & sweet vanilla tea I decided to take Elsie for a walk to warm myself up.
Autumn woodsWe went to to the local woods, the trees, leaves and branches looked so beautiful. Looking up the trees made the most gorgeous shapes and patterns, it was so inspiring. Cozy nights in Read more

October round up & goals for November

October-roundupWow looking back on October it was mostly filled with food! Well, bread to be more specific. I became a bit of a crazy bread baking lunatic and I’m not going to lie, it was fun! My freezer is now stocked with bagels and cinnamon rolls galore. Here’s a little look back at October…It was a good month.

It marked a year of us having Elsie. That year went super fast but at the same time it kinda feels like we’ve had her forever. I couldn’t imagine her not being around. Here’s a pic of her a couple of weekends back in the kitchen whilst I was baking, what a sweetie.ElsieAll the bread baking kicked off when United States of Bread by Adrienne Kane was released mid-month and I decided to challenge myself to bake 8 loaves in 8 weeks. (It doesn’t sound like a lot, but to me – someone who has never baked bread before it feels a lot!) I’m halfway through the challenge, here’s a recap of the four loaves I’ve made so far.Breads I've baked so far...Here are the chapter opener illustrations from the book that I shared on the blog this month.Chapter openers from United States of Bread Read more