… there are days when blogging can become something of a chore… thankfully those days are rare… and then there are days when being a food blogger is an absolute joy and you realise that all the hard work has paid off. I am very fortunate that recently I was asked by smeg to become an ambassador for their brand. This has meant I have spent the most glorious day eating divine food cooked for me by the lovely Tom Kerridge at his smeg test kitchen in the village of Marlow, home of his michelin starred restaurant The Hand and Flowers and beautiful pub The Coach. Tom and his team use the brilliant smeg equipment, including steam ovens and ceramic hobs to trial their new dishes before they go into the real kitchens. It was fascinating to learn that all the equipment in the test kitchen are regular home appliances which kind of gets you thinking that all those wonderful, seemingly complex dishes are in fact cooked in equipment available to us all… no scary water baths or steam injected bread-makers here. The food and whole day was exceptional and of all the things I was most impressed with was the lemon meringue pie, meringue made in a very stylish smeg stand mixer. I was impressed that the machine must have been beating those eggs for at least 15 minutes on full speed and it barely heated up… and yes, those eggs made the most incredible meringue i’ve ever tasted, so when the good people at smeg offered to send me one for a full review I really couldn’t refuse.
The smeg stand mixer is beautiful. It comes in 7 different colours and of course I had to choose the mint green as it matches my kitchen so beautifully… in fact I actually took the time to rearrange shelf space to make way for the beauty as I just know it’s going to be there for a long time. The mixer is part of the new smeg small appliances range which includes toasters, kettles and blenders which are all designed with a 50’s aesthetic which suits our kitchen perfectly. Whilst it looks very pretty the stand mixer is actually a robust beast, weighing in at close to 2 kilo’s but with its powerful 800W motor and die-cast aluminium body you can understand the need for its stylish heft. The stainless steel bowl takes a whopping 4.8 litres and it has 10 speeds with what’s known as a planetary paddle action. It comes with a flat mixing paddle, a dough hook and a whisking paddle as standard but has an accessory port for a pasta machine which I may have to treat myself to. It’s not cheap but at just under £300 it comes somewhere between the Kenwood KMix and the KitchenAid Artisan which both have that cool retro 50’s thing going on which we all love…
… over the weekend I managed to use all three attachments – just to give it all a suitable road test you understand and I made a stunning pizza dough using the dough hook as well as a fluffy whipped chocolate ganache, recipes for which will be shared later in the week.
I’ve never owned a stand mixer and have always wanted one. My mum has had her Kenwood mixer since the 70’s and she swears by it for cakes and pastry but I’ve heard very mixed reviews about both the Kenwood and the KitchenAid so I was alway torn, plus there’s only so much available space in the kitchen, so I knew it had to be special… i’m so glad I waited for this beauty and I’m so excited about all the recipes and meals that i’ll make with my new kitchen appliance… i’m one very happy bunny…
whipped banana cake
there are banana cakes and then there are banana cakes and this is a divine cake… banana cakes more traditionally come in a loaf tin but I loved the idea that it could be served as a regular round cake, plus my new toy whipped those babies into the smoothest softest fluff imaginable and the cake was all the better for it… I was going to make a fancy icing but in fact, on seeing the cake come out of the oven I felt it would be fine, if not perfect without it and in fact everyone who tried a slice agreed it needed nothing but a second slice. But don’t worry, there will be plenty of fancy cakes to come now that I have my new kitchen baby.
this recipe is enough for 2 cake, one for now and one for the freezer…
4 overripe bananas
200g granulated sugar
3 large free-range eggs, beaten
200g self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
eat and of course, enjoy!