Hannah Drake

Recipes

The Great British Drake Off: Lavender Week

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

Last October, we decided to have our first Great British Drake Off. You can read all about Treacle Week, where I won, and where the idea came from before we dive into our latest challenge. We had so much fun doing it the first time that we decided to do it every quarter with a different main ingredient. The first quarter this year was Red Velvet Week, where Luke won and my bake was an epic failure anyway, in honour of Valentine’s Day. (You can find the recipes for Luke’s ginger cake and my molasses cookies on Treacle Week and the recipes for Luke’s red velvet cinnamon rolls and my red velvet cake on Red Velvet Week.)

THE CHALLENGE

It’s Lavender week at the Drake household and each baker will need to prepare a signature lavender bake. The bakers will attempt to create a biscuit or cookie with a show-stopping lavender flavour, complemented by other unique flavours.

THE BAKERS

Luke is a professional construction site manager who has dabbled in baking. He insisted he has baked every type of dessert you can think of. Most people say he’s good at anything he does. Luke can eat a whole batch of chocolate chip cookie dough in one sitting, but he’ll probably regret it later. His favourite thing favourite treat to eat is whatever his wife has just baked. He had no problem wishing aloud that he had brownies for dessert on a random week night. He lives in Birmingham with his wife.

Hannah is an amateur baker who dabbles in construction. She has been baking for as long as she can remember. Hannah once had an order-based bakery from her own kitchen called Bananas that specialised in cupcakes, quick breads, and cookies. She once ate an entire banana cream pie on a dare from her cousin, but insists it was mostly pudding so it wasn’t that impressive. Her favourite thing to bake and eat is chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. She feels chocolate frosting is actual garbage and fiercely believes nothing pairs better than vanilla frosting on chocolate cake. She lives in Birmingham with her husband.

LUKE’S BAKE

Lemon Lavender Shortbread from The Beach House Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp.culinary lavender

  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • pure cane sugar for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, sift together flour and salt. Set aside.

Place 1 Tbsp. of the granulated sugar, lavender, and lemon zest in a mortar and grind lightly with the pestle.

Place lavender mixture in large bowl with remaining sugar and butter. Cream together until smooth. Add vanilla. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture until it forms a dough. Shape into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes (I used a 1 3/4 inch cutter) and place on prepared sheet. Sprinkle with some pure cane sugar, then place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Can be store in an airtight container for 5 days.

HANNAH’S BAKE

Salted White Chocolate Lavender Cookies from Spache the Spatula

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp cornstarch

  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 tsp lavender

  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 6 Tbsp vegetable shortening

  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

  • 6 oz. white chocolate chunks (about 1 and 1/2 cups)

  • sea salt, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a food processor, process the sugar and lavender for about 10-20 seconds until the lavender is chopped into pretty tiny pieces, and sugar starts billowing like smoke up pout of the top of the processor.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening, and lavender sugar at medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Add in the egg and egg yolk and beat for 3 more minutes until fluffy. Add in the flour mixture and the chocolate and beat on low until combined.

Using a large (3 tablespoon-sized) cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto silicone baking mat (or parchment paper)-lined baking sheets an inch or two apart. Place the tray in the freezer.

Preheat your oven to 375F (170C). When the oven has finished preheating, take the dough out of the freezer and bake for 12 minutes. It should look a little underdone when you take it out. Immediately sprinkle each cookie with a small pinch of sea salt (and extra lavender, if you want).

Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheets before moving to a wire baking rack to cool completely.

(Note: I put 6 scoops of dough in the freezer as soon as I put six in the oven so the last batch wouldn’t have been in the freezer for significantly longer than about 12 minutes.)

THE JUDGES

We took our cookies into work the next day and offered them to our coworkers on the agreement that they would tell us which one was better.

THE WINNER

After five votes, Hannah was winning unanimously, but after one judge changed his mind, it opened the flood gates for a 4-4 tie. When the final vote was cast, Hannah was declared the winner.

NEXT ON THE GREAT BRITISH DRAKE OFF

For our summer edition, we might try making homemade bread!

How We Meal Plan + 2 Weeks of Dinner Recipes

LifeHannah DrakeComment

This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve talked about meal planning here, but it’s an ever changing process for us that we tweak as we see fit in order to best serve our needs.

I personally love meal planning because it gets me excited for the week ahead and it’s a great opportunity to talk about any upcoming plans we may have. I find that I crave the meals we have plan and it definitely helps curb cravings for ordering out or eating junk. (Don’t worry, we’re not perfect and sometimes we’ll scrap plans and order take out curry, or Chinese, or pizza or something.) We usually try at least one new recipe a week in order to expand the arsenal from which we choose and that’s been a really fun aspect of it too. Luke doesn’t enjoy meal planning as much as I do, but he’s still game for it every week.

Every Sunday morning, we sit on the couch and meal plan for the week ahead. We began following a template for the week in early 2018 so we could more easily see how often we’re eating things like rice, pasta, bread, etc. and try to eat fewer carb-heavy meals each week. This year, we’re trying to eat less meat, so we’re alternating vegetarian salads on Tuesdays and vegetarian soups on Wednesdays. We’re not great at it, but a goal of two meatless dinners a week is pretty good for us.

After we’ve planned our meals, we’ll go grocery shopping for most or all of the ingredients. (Because the UK doesn’t have as many preservatives and other stuff in the foods, produce doesn’t last quite as long as it does in the US, so we might do a smaller trip later in the week for the rest of the vegetables.) The only downside is that we organise our shopping list by recipe instead of by location in the grocery store. I need to create a template for a shopping list that groups things by location.

Our two week rotation looks like this:

WEEK ONE
Monday: fish & vegetables
Tuesday: salad
Wednesday: vegetarian soup or sandwiches
Thursday: vegetarian
Friday: Italian
Saturday: grain bowl
Sunday: Luke’s choice

WEEK TWO
Monday: meat & vegetables
Tuesday: vegetarian salad
Wednesday: soup or sandwiches
Thursday: vegetarian
Friday: courgetti (zoodles)
Saturday: Asian
Sunday: Hannah’s choice

Last summer, we decided to expand our options for Wednesday because who wants to be eating hot soup on a warm summer evening? We also included courgettie (or zoodles, for us Americans) because we found we were eating it about every other week anyway.

So what kind of foods do we cook? (And yes, I do mean we. We split the cooking about 50/50. It might even be 60/40 with the scales tipped to Luke if I’m being honest.) Here’s what a typical two-week menu looks like for us.

WEEK ONE

Salmon & Asparagus

SALMON, ASPARAGUS, & BROCCOLINI

We probably have this meal more often than anything else. The grocery store near our house as a great deal for packs of 2 salmon filets (3 for £10). It’s just too easy and too refreshing to resist. We cook the salmon at 200°C for about 20 minutes with lemon, salt, pepper, and sometimes dill. We do the vegetables on the stovetop with oil or butter, lemon, salt, and pepper. It’s great all year, but it’s also the perfect al fresco dinner in the summertime.

Chinese Spiced Duck Salad - Simply Cook

CHINESE SPICE DUCK SALAD

I’ve mentioned the meal subscription Simply Cook before. It’s different from Hello Fresh and Blue Apron in that it only sends you the flavour pots (sauces, spice mixes, etc.). It sounds lame, but we actually remake more of these recipes than what we’ve tried from Hello Fresh because the flavours are just out of this world! We always make the salad on spinach and always include the avocado. The recipe calls for “Szechuan Five Spice” and “Chinese Marinade”, but we’ve only found Chinese Five Spice and Szechuan marinade at our grocery store. It works well!

Thai Pumpkin Soup - Ayla Rianne

THAI PUMPKIN SOUP

We first tried this in the autumn and were seriously impressed. It’s so easy to make and we almost have all of the ingredients on hand. It would be really nice with some bread, but again, we’re trying to cut back on how much bread we have throughout the week.

BBQ Chickpea & Cauliflower Tacos - She Likes Food

BBQ CHICKPEA & CAULIFLOWER TACOS

This is easily one of our favourite options for vegetarian nights. We follow the recipe closely, but switch the jalapenos for avocado. Using a head of cauliflower and a tin of chickpeas makes a ton of food for us, so after 2 tacos each (they’re so filling), we have plenty for leftovers. Also, this is the slaw recipe I always use now.

Cacio e pepe

CACIO E PEPE

We were first introduced to cacio e pepe from Chrissy Tiegen in her Cravings cookbook. Her lemony arugula (rocket) version is heavenly. But when we took our cooking class in Rome, it totally changed the game. We learned that fettuccine alfredo is not a thing in Italy. Cacio e pepe (meaning cheese and pepper) is the real deal and a typical Roman dish. It’s so simple to make. All you need is noodles, butter or oil, pecorino cheese, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Cook your noodles as usual, saving some of the pasta water. Heat butter or oil in a pan. Add a ladle of the pasta water, add the cooked noodles, add the cheese and black pepper. Cook sauce down until it’s creamy. (It should only take a couple of minutes.) I haven’t made Chrissy’s version since we learned how to make it in Rome, but I would love to combine the two so her version is a bit cheesier.

Buddha Bowls

BUDDHA BOWLS

We used to have Buddha bowls a lot more frequently, but the truth is they can kind of be a big undertaking. However, the beauty is they can be whatever you want! We typically do it with quinoa or couscous, roasted chickpeas (love the crunch!), roasted veggies, spinach, avocado, and a poached egg. We’ve never added sauce because of the egg but I’m definitely curious about tahini dressing.

Creamy Chicken & Buttermilk Dumplings - How Sweet Eats

CREAMY CHICKEN & BUTTERMILK DUMPLINGS

Maybe this would be more of a treat on a Wednesday where the other days are a little lighter on the carbs and dairy, but as I’m writing this post, I’m craving this soup something fierce! I promise you it will be the best chicken and dumplings you’v ever had. (Sorry, Mom!)

WEEK TWO

Masala Lamb Chops - Simply Cook

MASALA LAMB CHOPS

It was another hit from Simply Cook and has become one of our go-to recipes when we host people for dinner. It’s easy to make and it always impresses our guests. We do the salad on spinach and always include the coriander. We haven’t been able to find the spice blend that came in the box, so we just go without it. It’s still delicious and flavourful.

Loaded Greek Salad - Halfbaked Harvest

LOADED GREEK SALAD

Halfbaked Harvest has quickly become one of my favourite food bloggers. All of the recipes I’ve tried, I’ve loved and this salad is no different. We first tried it in January while we were on a cleanse diet of sorts, so we decided not to add quinoa. It’s a lot of work to prep all the veggies, but it’s worth it. It’s actually become one of our go-to work lunches too because the recipe definitely makes six servings. Believe me. Don’t try to do four. It’s too much salad.

Hot Sausage & Pepper Soup - Ruled

SAUSAGE AND PEPPER SOUP

The original recipe is called “hot”, but we’ve adjusted it to not be so spicy. We don’t use the jalapenos or as much chili powder. There’s still a bit of a kick though. Or at least enough of a kick for me. It’s pretty easy to just toss in the slow cooker and will warm you right up on a chilly evening.

Veggie Burgers

VEGGIE BURGERS

We love Linda McCartney’s veggie burgers. They’re seriously delish. When we’re trying to be good, we’ll cook some portobello mushrooms to use as buns too. It’s insanely messy, but insanely good. We might have it with slaw, corn on the cob, or a salad depending on the season.

Pesto Courgetti

PESTO COURGETTI

Or zoodles for us Americans. Like I mentioned above, we found that we were eating courgetti about every other week anyway, so we decided to add it to balance out our pasta nights on the opposite weeks. We usually keep it simple with pesto and sausage, but we recently started making our own pesto. It’s easy. Blend 50g basil, 50g pine nuts, and 1 garlic clove in a food processor for two servings.

Motomaki Roll

MOTOMAKI BOWLS

Motomaki is one of my favourite restaurants in Boulder, but there’s nothing like it around here. It’s essentially Chipotle, but for sushi. You can get big rolls (wrapped in seaweed, not tortillas, don’t worry) or bowls. I always get the shrimp tempura and add sushi salmon and we’ve tried to recreate it a couple of times. We can get frozen shrimp tempura at the grocery store and now our store has a sushi bar that has salmon & tuna sashimi. You need rice, tempura asparagus (we make our own), slaw mix, cucumber, and mashed avocado. Add the shrimp tempura, diced salmon, and finely chopped tuna. Top with sriracha aioli and soy sauce.

Roast Chicken & Root Vegetables for 2 - Chef Cory Vitiello

ROAST CHICKEN & ROOT VEGETABLES

We tried this for the first time in January and it was easily one of the top five dinners we’ve ever made. Allegedly this is the dinner Meghan Markle cooked the night Prince Harry proposed, but the recipe is actually from her ex-boyfriend who is a chef in Canada. Who knows. What I know is that this is hands down the best chicken I’ve ever had. The first time we made it, we didn’t allow for enough time for the chicken to brine all 12 hours; we only did about 4. For the vegetables, we included a parsnip, a couple more potatoes than it calls for, and used a shallot instead of pearl onions because we couldn’t find any. We had left over veggies, so I probably wouldn’t use that many potatoes again.

Photos from the source recipes or of similar meals found via Google.

The Great British Drake Off: Red Velvet Week

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

In October, we decided to have our first Great British Drake Off. You can read all about Treacle Week and where the idea came from before we dive into our latest challenge. We had so much fun doing it the first time that we decided to do it every quarter with a different main ingredient.

Last time, we both baked with treacle, but it was unofficially ginger week. The only mistake we made was not baking the same type of dessert. Luke made a cake and I made cookies, which didn’t make for fair judging since most people prefer one over the other.

I won in the end, but our judges admitted they prefer cookies over cake. I honestly couldn’t believe it! Luke’s cake was so good. (You can find the recipe for Luke’s cake and my cookies on Treacle Week.)

THE CHALLENGE

It’s Red Velvet week at the Drake household and each baker will need to prepare a signature red velvet bake. The bakers will attempt to create a smooth and silky cake that perfectly captures the rich flavour in a traditional red velvet cake.

THE BAKERS

Luke is a professional construction site manager who has dabbled in baking. He insisted he has baked every type of dessert you can think of. Most people say he’s good at anything he does. Luke can eat a whole batch of chocolate chip cookie dough in one sitting, but he’ll probably regret it later. His favourite thing favourite treat to eat is whatever his wife has just baked. He had no problem wishing aloud that he had brownies for dessert on a random week night. He lives in Birmingham with his wife.

Hannah is an amateur baker who dabbles in construction. She has been baking for as long as she can remember. Hannah once had an order-based bakery from her own kitchen called Bananas that specialised in cupcakes, quick breads, and cookies. She once ate an entire banana cream pie on a dare from her cousin, but insists it was mostly pudding so it wasn’t that impressive. Her favourite thing to bake and eat is chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. She feels chocolate frosting is actual garbage and fiercely believes nothing pairs better than vanilla frosting on chocolate cake. She lives in Birmingham with her husband.

LUKE’S BAKE

Overnight Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls from Well Plated

INGREDIENTS

Cinnamon Rolls:

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons red food colouring

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 package instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Filling

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butte

Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese, softened

  • 3 tablespoons milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

DIRECTIONS

Begin the night before. If mixing by machine: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, butter, food dye, and vanilla extract. Add 2 cups flour, cocoa powder, yeast, and salt. Place buttermilk in a microwave safe measuring cup and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, until it reaches the temperature required for the yeast. (Refer to the package directions for the specific temperature—Red Star Platinum is 120 to 130 degrees F). If the buttermilk curdles when heated, simply whisk it back together. Pour the heated buttermilk into the mixing bowl and stir by hand or with the mixer’s paddle attachment until the ingredients are evenly moistened. Switch to the dough hook, then add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour. Knead dough on low speed for 6 minutes. The dough should be soft, moist, and tacky, but not excessively sticky. If dough is too wet, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until the correct texture is reached. Lightly spray a large, clean bowl with cooking spray, then transfer dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

If mixing by hand: Stir the ingredients together in the order above with a wooden spoon for several minutes, until the dough forms a wet, shaggy mass. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be very sticky and cling to the counter, but use as little flour as possible to prevent the dough from becoming tough. Once kneaded, scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise.

Prepare the filling: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. Melt butter and set aside.

Shape the rolls: Butter a 9x13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 18-inch by 12-inch rectangle, with the longest side closest to you. Brush the dough with melted butter, then sprinkle with the brown sugar-cocoa powder mixture. Starting with the long edge, roll the dough tightly into an 18-inch log. With a a sharp, serrated knife, gently saw the log into 12, 1 1/2-inch wide pieces. Arrange the buns in the prepared baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Bake the rolls: The next day 30 minutes prior to baking, remove rolls from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Place rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls until they are puffed and darken slightly and the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F, about 30 minutes. Check the rolls 20 minutes into baking—if they appear to be browning too quickly, cover the pan with aluminum foil, return the rolls to the oven, and continue baking until complete. Remove the pan from oven, uncover if necessary, and place the pan on a wire rack to cool slightly.

Make the glaze: In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Slowly mix in the sifted powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle over warm rolls and serve immediately.

HANNAH’S BAKE

Red Velvet Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction

INGREDIENTS

Red Velvet Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour (or 2 2/3 all-purpose flour + 1/3 cornstarch, sifted)

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature and separated

  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease two 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans.

Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and vinegar and beat on high for 2 minutes. (Set the egg whites aside.) Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 2-3 additions alternating with the buttermilk. Beat in your desired amount of food coloring just until combined. I use 1-2 teaspoons gel food coloring. Vigorously whisk or beat the 4 egg whites on high speed until fluffy peaks form as pictured above, about 3 minutes. Gently fold into cake batter. The batter will be silky and slightly thick.

Divide batter between cake pans. Bake for 30-32 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the cakes need a little longer as determined by wet crumbs on the toothpick, bake for longer. However, careful not to overbake as the cakes may dry out. Remove cakes from the oven and cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.

Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream/milk, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until completely combined and creamy. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin, more milk if frosting is too thick, or an extra pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.

Assemble and frost: Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard or crumble over finished cake. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread remaining frosting all over the top and sides.

Refrigerate cake for at least 30-60 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake hold its shape when cutting.

THE JUDGES

This time, the judges were Hannah and Luke themselves, who promised to judge fairly.

THE WINNER

Luke was unanimously voted the winner after Hannah’s bake was a miserable fail and never even completed. However, Luke’s cinnamon rolls has a beautiful combination of classic cinnamon roll flavour while still capturing the rich silky flavour of classic red velvet cake.

Sally’s Baking Addiction has the most fantastic recipes and I’ve never had a problem before. I have no idea where I went wrong with this recipe, but it took about 45 minutes to bake, never got a rounded top, fell apart when I tried to take it out of the pan, and the centre completely sunk. I’ll try it again someday.

NEXT ON THE GREAT BRITISH DRAKE OFF

For our spring edition, we’ll likely be trying something with lavender!