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!


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

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

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

Bread baking challenge week four – cinnamon rolls

Recipe readingThis week marks the halfway point for my little bread baking challenge. It also marks the sweet rolls chapter ummmm… This was probably my favourite chapter to illustrate in the book because I got to draw cinnamon rolls, sticky buns & cinnamon raisin swirl bread. I definitely want to try and make all three of these recipes (& more!) but I’m sticking to my one bread from each chapter for now. US of Bread sweet rollsCinnamon rollsBelow is the chapter opener. I could imagine this page as a scratch & sniff… imagine the aromas of zesty orange, sweet vanilla, creamy chocolate and spicy cinnamon…Sweet Rolls US of BreadI was really excited about making the cinnamon rolls. There’s a little local cafe near us called cinnamon square where I’ve visited a handful of times, they do delicious (and huge!) cinnamon rolls.
Making glazeThe cinnamon rolls were probably the simplest bread I’ve made from the book so far. I made them on a Saturday morning and they were ready later in the afternoon.Baked cinnamon rolls

cooked cinnamon rollsThe only thing I would’ve have done differently is probably sifted the icing sugar for the glaze as it was a tiny bit lumpy, it didn’t affect the taste though. The orange zest was amazing in the glaze.
Galzed cinnamon rollsChristophe & I decided to taste test (but of course!) one each and I left a few aside for mum, dad and Avie, the rest I’ve frozen in pairs so we can defrost them when we want a sweet treat. I love that cinnamon rolls are a very indulgent sweet treat for the odd occasion and not a regular dessert.
Sticky bunsHere are the illustrations for the sticky buns and the cinnamon raisin swirl bread. I can’t wait to try these!Cinnamon raisin swirl breadNext up is the ‘Quickbreads,’ chapter. I haven’t decided 100% what I’m going to make from this one as there are a few tempting choices. I’m sure you’ll find out next week :)



Healthy & happy – Beetroot & mint houmous recipe

Beetroot houmous livelovedraw.comToday is the first post from Healthy & happy eating with B and we’re bringing you a yummy recipe for beetroot & mint houmous.You will need To make this recipe you will need:-

  • 200g cooked beetroot
  • 400g tin chickpeas
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 small lemon zest & juice
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Beetroot & mint houmousInstructions: Drain the juice from the tin of chickpeas and the juice from the beetroot (if using vacuum pack.) Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor a hand held one works great!Brooke eating houmousServe in a bowl topped with sunflower and pumpkin seeds for some crunch and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. Eat with colourful veggies, crackers or simply add to your favourite salads.Eating houmousEating beetroot houmousIt’s a great snack for watching movies and having people round as you can all dig in.Me & Brooke making houmousWhilst we were working on this recipe Brooke reminded me I use to have hair the colour of beetroot! See below for evidence… It also resembles a mushroom ;) This photo was taken 12 years ago and it just goes to show, some things never change. We both still love food!! …Although hopefully I don’t chew with my mouth open anymore!Brooke and IHope you liked our first simple recipe. I’m not the biggest fan of beetroot but I love houmous and this recipe was a really nice alternative to classic houmous and it tastes awesome with a green salad. It’s a good way to sneak some beetroot into your meals if (like me) you don’t normally eat it. One of your 5-a-day Beetroot contains potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid, carbohydrates, protein,antioxidants and soluble fibre. A pretty convincing reason to try this recipe, no?


Signature with Brooke

Bread baking challenge week three – bagels

BagelsThese last few weekends have been spent working on my bread baking challenge and last Saturday was no exception! The third chapter in the book is centred around ‘rolls’ and I chose to make bagels. My lovely friend Toobie came over and we baked (and ate) them together. Up until this challenge I hadn’t really done much baking, just the odd cake here and there but I’m really starting to love it. I love baking with someone it’s such a fun thing to do on a dreary day and it’s nice to share the rewards with someone else.Toobie kneadingI must admit I felt a bit intimidated initially after reading through the recipe and the process of making the bagels but once we’d started we discovered it was simpler than anticipated. Something I love about ‘United States of Bread’ is the thorough instructions.  Bagel-bakingThe bagel forming part was really fun! Our major flaw (and I probably shouldn’t be telling you this…) is during the time we were letting the dough rise we went and sat down to have a coffee and a catch up and give Elsie a cuddle. Oops, big mistake. When we went bake to our bagel baking after washing our hands we kept finding little hairs only to realise we hadn’t brushed down our clothes and boy, that dog can moult! This week I learnt: don’t play with pets in between baking.
Making bagelsMaking bagels has probably been the funnest bread to make so far as the step by step making was really satisfying. I loved boiling the bagels in honey and water (they felt like real bagels after this!) and then Toobie sprinkled them with poppy seeds. We had a great production line going on!
Poppy seeds & bagelsHere’s the illustration of the chapter opener from the book…Us of Bread Rolls chapter…A photo of us about to devour the still slightly warm bagels. Ummm yum. Me & Toob bakingAnd of course one more (if a lightly blurry) photo of our finished products. Bagels from roll chapterOh so fun! And talking of fun I literally can’t wait for this weeks bread. It’s from chapter four – sweet rolls and breads. Cinnamon Rolls! If these turn out well I think the biggest challenge will be to not eat them all. I’ll be upping the exercise just in case :) Pop back if you’d like to see my attempt!

Thanks for reading and happy weekend to you!





Healthy & happy eating with B

BrookeGood morning! Today I’m so pleased to share a new series I’m working on with my friend Brooke Lightley. In between my bread baking challenge I’ve still been on my quest to get healthy by making changes to my diet and increasing my exercise. I’m working with my friend Brooke on a series of posts focused on healthy eating. Brooke is a professional chef and has been working in the food industry for 10 years. We’ve decided to combine our joint love of food and new passion for healthy living and team together. Over the upcoming months Brooke will be sharing her foodie knowledge and chef skills with me in the kitchen. Together we will be cooking clean-living inspired dishes and sharing a recipe each week from our creative adventures here on the blog. We’ll be cooking simple, quick and easy recipes that fit in with busy lifestyles. Below are some of Brooke’s previous (beautiful) dishes and a little story about her adventures with food.Brooke's foodLindsey and I are old school friends, so it’s great to be doing this project about things we love and are passionate about! My earliest memories of food would have to be of my grandma, visiting her home in Wales. An old Granny teapot on her kitchen top filled with homemade lemon and ginger squash, date and walnut loaf, Christmas cakes in august! Proper spagetti Bolognese not like I’d seen from a jar. Seeing the happiness her food brought to people!Brooke researching recipes

I finished school and went straight to catering college where I completed my NVQ level 1, 2 & 3. College was good fun but I needed a chef job as my tutor had said to me “are you still working at the knicker shop? you need to get a job in the kitchen otherwise you’ll never know if you wanna be a real chef.” So I got a job in a pub and soon realized that microwaving was not cooking, I changed jobs and starting working with fresh produce, working at the Rose & crown with two talented young chefs. I worked my way up the ranks of kitchens and am now currently Sous chef at The Old Orchard.Brooke in the kitchen

Over the years, being surrounded by such lovely food has crept up on my waistline, and with the Daunting age of 30 approaching and never worn a size 12 , it’s about time I did. In March this year I joined an exercise class and re-educated myself and began building a healthier relationship with food. Since then exercise has become routine, bad habits with food have gone and I’ve never been happier! I’m nearer to that size 12 than I’ve ever been. Brooke-writing

I’m really looking forward to getting Lindsey in the kitchen and doing some cooking and creating some wonderful dishes. It’s also a great opportunity for me to work with Lindsey as I hope to start my own blog in the near future. 

I hope you enjoy these posts, I can’t wait to learn new things from Brooke and get cooking some fresh and healthy meals. Our first food post will be coming soon so keep your eyes out!

xxSignature with Brooke

Bread baking challenge week two – Sourdough

Us of Bread Sourdough chapterToday I’m back with my second bread attempt from Adrienne Kane’s United States of Bread book and a few new illustrations from the Sourdough bread chapter (above is the chapter opener.) The biggest thing I’ve learnt this week is the patience(!) involved in baking bread.Sourdough starterLast Saturday (when Avie & I baked challah) I also began my first sourdough starter by mixing together one tablespoon of flour and one tablespoon of non-chlorinated water. For 7 days I set my alarm and each day I discarded half the mixture and added in another tablespoon of flour and water. In the book Adrienne talks about how sourdough starters can be decades old and are sometimes gifted from a grandparent or a friend. I found this fascinating! On the 7th day I had to make a sourdough sponge (using a tablespoon of the starter) which was to be left for 24 hours. Once ready it was time to begin following the recipe for my desired bread. I chose the dark rye, raisin and walnut sourdough, yum.Sourdough-rye-raisin-walnut-loaf

Considering this was my first time making sourdough bread (and only my 2nd bread attempt ever!) I think it turned out pretty well! The outside had a firm crust and the inside was soft. I loved the combination of the raisins and walnuts, sweet and crunchy! I’d definitely try making sourdough again as the taste and texture is something quite special, I think it’s worth the effort and time spent nurturing the starter before the baking.Sourdough fresh out the oven…Here’s out it turned out!Rye & raisin sourdoughThe next chapter in the book is ‘rolls,’ and I’m planning on baking bagels! I’m very excited about these but again feeling nervous! I think this is why this challenge is good because I’m such a novice and really have no clue. There’s only one way to learn though!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading.