Recipe: Mashed Potato and Cinnamon Spudcakes.

Taterly Delicious

Taterly moreish

You read it right, Ogglers: today I’m baking with Mashed Potato.

And you know what? The results are ruddy delicious: not heavy or starchy, but firm – with a gorgeous bite.

Indeed, this is more of a textural thing – you can’t really taste the Tater.

What you will taste, however, is sweet, delicious Cinnamon by the bucketload. And it will BLOW YOUR MIND.

So then. Got some Potato? Fancy something a bit different?

Then what are you waiting for?


Mashed Potato and Cinnamon Spudcakes (makes approx 18)


  • 260g sugar
  • 200g softened butter/margarine
  • 180g finely mashed (or puréed) potato
  • 260g self raising flour (or 260g plain flour with 2½ tsp baking powder)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • PLUS 350g of your chosen icing


  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan assisted) or gas mark 4, and lay your cupcake cases out on however many baking trays you need
  2. Cream sugar, syrup, fat and potato with a wooden spoon (easier to do if the potato’s still warm, though it doesn’t really matter either way)
  3. Add the eggs and beat thoroughly
  4. Fold in the flour and cinnamon, keeping things light and airy
  5. When all the ingredients are fully incorporated, pour the mix into your cupcake cases (to about ¾ full)
  6. Lick the bowl (the batter is AWESOME) – and try not to get salmonella
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you prick them with a knife and it comes out clean they’re ready to come out
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack
  9. In the meantime, prepare whatever icing you see fit (I used a simple vanilla buttercream, but would also recommend something of the cream cheese variety – such as the white chocolate frosting in my favourite Chocolate Berry Cake)
  10. Smear it all over the tops of your cupcakes (but not until they’ve cooled right down)
  11. Gorge (and then gorge some more)

Happy Hogging!

P-H x

Review: The Thorntons Chocolate Afternoon Tea.

Thorntons Chocolate Tea

Nicey (but pricey)

Chocolate Week 2013 is almost upon us – so what better way to kick things off than by sneaking a peek at the Thorntons Chocolate Afternoon Tea?

Inspired by the flavours of several new Thorntons offerings – and on sale for a limited time – it certainly isn’t your average menu (unless your local tea room always sells Salmon and Cocoa Sandwiches).

At £33 per person, however (£41 with Champagne), it also isn’t the cheapest of ways to chow down.

So what do you get for your money?

Well, there’s a comfortable seat in the opulent Park Lane Hotel, a harpist strumming pop songs in the corner, a plate of ornate-looking savouries (filled mainly with meat and fish), plus fine Loose Leaf Tea poured from silver pots.

The main event – the Scones and handcrafted Desserts – are also extremely stylish, with Chocolate running through the whole affair.

I enjoyed gobbling up the three Scones (Plain, Chocolate, and Chocolate Chip), which were fresh and still warm, albeit quite small.

The Raspberry and Chocolate Jam went down a treat as well – though I can’t say I could taste the Choc in the Lemon and White Chocolate Curd.

The Desserts looked both immaculate and enticing. However, sharing each one between two proved to be very messy, and meant that the final mouthfuls were rather too miniature for my liking.

In general, I found myself craving more.

More of the Passion Fruit Mousse, with its solid White Chocolate flower.

More of the silky Coconut Mousse (a luxurious lovechild of Teacake and Bounty).

I especially wanted more of the Raspberry Cheesecake Bombe: the gorgeous round pink Chocolate shell, which was filled with a Raspberry froth.

But, alas, it was not to be.

Instead, at the end of the Tea, my blood sugar quota was filled with a taster of three new Thorntons Truffles – plus an edible Chocolate name tag to take home.

The verdict then?

Undoubtedly sleek, a definite treat, but, at times, far too petite.

Rated: The Oreo Cookie Cookie.

Oreo Cookie Cookie

Context, people. Context

What? This is it. The big one. The game changer.

From here on in, I know exactly how to deal with disappointing Biscuits.

Answer? Bake them into another, tastier Biscuit.

Take the Oreo Cookie – one of my least favourite snacks (as you regular Ogglers know).

Too dry, dusty and bitter on its own, when pressed into a soft Cookie base it suddenly tastes 100% more delicious, all its faults having been muted.

This lesson was taught to me by the folks at CookieShake, Nottingham, to whom I am now eternally grateful.

The combination, you see, was revelatory, resulting in a moist and chewy Cookie with a crunchy creamy centre.

Twas textural titillation at its finest

Where? The CookieShake shop

How Much? 99p per Cookie (BARGAIN)



Just imagine how good it would be with a Custard Cream…

Rated: The Greggsnut.


The Glaze Craze Continues

What? With Doughnut-Croissant hybrids sparking a feeding frenzy in New York and dampening chins all over the world, it was only a matter of time before someone this side of the Atlantic started selling their own brand.

First major business to get onboard? The omnipresent chain of budget British bakeries, Greggs.

Now, at Greggs, they’re not called Cronuts – most likely because that label has been cannily trademarked by Dominique Ansel, the man who first brought the Cronut into being.

Instead, these balls of dough and glaze are known, somewhat inelegantly, as Greggsnuts.

Their makers describe them as ‘delicious’ and ‘fluffy’, with ‘layer upon layer of soft, light pastry’.

Again, no doubt to avoid litigation, they’re specifically aligned with Yum Yums (that other fried and flaky treat) and claim to have been inspired by the ‘craze’ of Cronuts, rather than Cronuts themselves.

Yeah, right.

Like Cronuts, they are glazed and filled, with two flavours available to buy: Summer Berry and Crème, and Caramel and Pecan.

Like Cronuts, their supply has been deliberately limited: only 13 shops are stocking them – less than one per cent of the company’s 1,671 UK outlets – and these will only sell them in September.

Unlike Cronuts, however, one bite is enough to confirm that they are not a taste sensation.

Don’t get me wrong: they’re not awful. They’re just not awfully good.

While devotees of the Cronut will wax lyrical on its freshness, flakiness and chew, the Greggsnut leaves a lot to be desired.

It is not Croissanty at all – the layers are thick and heavy, and they cloy together, sticking between the teeth.

The fillings are sparse, not gooey, and dwarved by great big pockets of air. And while the Caramel adds a certain salty silkiness (never a bad thing), neither it nor the bodiless Berry Crème pack the filthy, no-holds barred punch that I’d hoped for.

Of course this is hardly surprising. Unlike the original Cronut, these aren’t gourmet products, lovingly made in a tiny batch by a top Pastry Chef and his team.

In fact, they’re more or less what you’d expect from Greggs: sugary, bulky, cheap, and more impressive in looks than taste.

So, Ogglers: if your nearest shop isn’t supplying them, don’t be blue.

There are far more delicious things in this land – and countless better bakeries than Greggs in which to buy them

Where? Controversially available at selected London stores only (until 1 October 2013). Check the Greggs website for details

How Much? A solid £1 per ‘nut



Worth a pound? Possibly. Worth a queue? Definitely not

Rated: Bob Bob Ricard’s Rice Pudding Brûlée.

Rice Pudding Brulee

Fragrant Rice? Or flagrant lies…?

What? I don’t go to fancy joints often, Ogglers, but when I do I expect big things: concepts I can’t find in other places; flavours to blow my mind.

So when I saw ‘Rice Pudding Brûlée with Prunes and Armagnac’ on the menu of the lavish Bob Bob Ricard, I found myself rubbing my trotters with glee.

Here was something I’d never envisaged before, let alone put in my mouth – and the consequences of it could be great.

Just imagine what else might benefit from a cheeky little booster of Brûlée: Ice Cream; Yoghurt; a boring old piece of bread. All at once there was a whole new genre of desserts, just waiting to be discovered.

For the moment, however, the idea of it crowning a creamy bowl of Rice was far and away the most promising: I pictured a gooey, Vanilla pudding, sealed with a decadent Caramel crust, brought to life with a shimmer of booze and the odd rich pruney glob.

I could hardly wait to try it.

But, alas, reality refused to deliver.

What arrived was not a dish with a glowing top, or anything I could crack with the back of a spoon. In fact, the dessert that B.B.R. had created was not brûléed at all: instead it was a bowl of Rice with a lattice of hard Caramel resting lightly across the top.

Perhaps I should report them for mislabelling. As we all know, ‘brûlée’ – from the French for ‘burnt’ – is a process involving a blow torch and thick drifts of sugar. The resulting glaze is part of the pudding – not something which can be lifted and left to one side.

Such definitions are important. Otherwise, what’s to stop anyone wearing a Caramel lattice hat, then selling themselves as a ‘Brûlée’ too?

False labels and fakeness aside, the taste of the thing was also a letdown.

Essentially, it was flavourless: I could see Vanilla Pods but couldn’t taste them; my Prunes were not punchy or boozy. They barely registered. And although the Rice was pleasant and silky enough, the whole combination was sadly sub-par.

It’s not as if they don’t know how to make decent Brûlées at that place – The Man ordered a trio of them, all perfectly formed, which were worth a small round of applause.

But for flavourful Rice-based puddings, take my advice: go elsewhere, or make your own.

Where? Bob Bob Ricard is in Soho, London

How Much? £6.50 (plus a ‘discretionary’ 12.5% tip)



Misnomer alert

Gothenburg Goodies: The Punschrulle.

The fourth and final part of a Pud-Hog Sweet Series from Sweden


Grub’s up

What? It’s always nice to end a series on a high, and I can honestly say that the Punschrulle was hands down the tastiest thing I ate in Gothenburg.

It was also the smallest: a thumb-length roll of green Marzipan, with both ends dipped in Dark Chocolate.

I have to admit, at first glance it didn’t entice me, looking rather more larval than lovely (don’t you think?).

As soon as my teeth sank into it, however, I was smitten.

It was the filling which sealed the deal.



Fool that I was, I hadn’t even imagined there would be anything inside, but indeed there was – and it was DIVINE.

In the nicest suprise I’ve had all year, my teeth broke through to a secret stash of Chocolate, Cake Crumbs, finely chopped Nuts and what may well have been a snifter of Rum.

Clearly, this was no bog-standard Marzipan log: it was more like a luminous Truffle – and an awesome one at that,

It was rich; it was soft; it was pretty much velvet in edible form. And, though I tried to prolong the ecstasy of it, all too soon it was gone.

Which brings me to the Punschrulle’s one and only major drawback: it should be at least three times bigger

Where? This traditional treat can be found at various Swedish bakeries – mine was bought from the small chain of bakeries, Cederleüfs & Svenheimers

How Much? 20 kr a piece (about £2)




Gothenburg Goodies: The Salmiak Bar.

Part Three of a Pud-Hog Sweet Series from Sweden

Center Salmiac Bar

The Rolos that FORCE you to share

What? Salmiak – or Ammonium Chloride – is something you don’t often see in England (specialist shops aside). In Sweden, however, the flavour’s all over the place.

A type of salted Liquorice, it often crops up as a filling in various Chocolate Bars, and you might well assume that something so widespread would be reasonably tame. After all, if most people eat it, how weird can it be?

In a word: that s*** CRAY.

Take Center, a product made by Cloetta – a ‘leading confectionery company in the Nordic region’.

As Chocolate goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find something more intense.

Imagine a packet of Rolos on drugs: harmless soft Caramel fillings that have mutated into mouth-watering punches of salt, sweet and acid.


Ma Hog and I shared a packet between us – enraptured at first (‘It’s a taste SENSATION!’), then gradually overwhelmed by the strength of the flavour. By the time we were nearing the end, both of us found it a struggle to go on: we had found the Rolo’s antithesis.

You take the last one,’ I begged her.

‘No,’ she insisted. ‘You.’

I suppose we shouldn’t have been so surprised: we were eating Ammonium Chloride, for crying out loud; a chemical used in galvanising, found on coal dumps and volcanic vents.

I guess that explains why it felt like my taste buds were burning…

Where? You can buy Salmiak Chocolate in most supermarkets/newsagents in Sweden. Just don’t eat the whole pack alone

How Much? Our Center cost 13.9 kr (£1.40 at the time of writing)


8/10 for bite one; 6/10 from thereon in

Mouth ulcer sufferers beware

Gothenburg Goodies: The Fransk Jitterbugg.

The long-awaited Second Part of a Pud-Hog Sweet Series from Sweden

Jitterbugg Biscuit

Think you know biscuits? Think again

What? You may well ask: Fransk Jitterbugg is hardly the commonest phrase in the Pud-Hog canon. Indeed, its weirdness is mainly what caught my attention in the first place.

Deciphering the name – which translates to ‘French Jitterbug’ – hardly solves the mystery. But what sounds like some kind of 1940s dance movement is in fact a Meringue/Butter Biscuit hybrid.

Crazy, no? But so intriguing – so apparently ingenious – I had to give it a go.

It certainly looked exciting: like it would be wonderfully chewy and moist, with a helping of crunch to boost; a feast for the teeth and the taste buds.

In fact, I soon learned it was neither.

The texture was samey and horribly dry; entirely lacking that much-needed crunch/chew contrast (and seemingly undercooked).

The taste was completely bland too; just butter and sugar with yet more sugar on top.

How dull.

Had a seam of fruit coulis been weaved in there somewhere, it may have been more of a biscuit befitting its wondrous, zany appearance.

As it was, I ate half then abandoned the rest, and ran for the nearest piece of Blueberry Pie.

Where? This disappointing specimen came from Café Kringlan, in the centre of Gothenburg’s Haga district (just down the road from those giant Hagabullen)

How Much? Around 30 kr (just under £3 in today’s money)



More likely to give you the jitters than the bug

Gothenburg Goodies: The Hagabulle.

Part One of a Pud-Hog Sweet Series from Sweden…


The Pudding that’s also a Frisbee

What? The Hagabulle is an enormous Haga-café-based Swedish-style Cinnamon Roll – a mouthful in more ways than one.

In the likely event that you don’t get the scale from the photo above, find a dinner plate, roll a tea towel into a spiral, and lay it on the top as if it’s Pastry. Even then it’ll be smaller than what I vainly attempted to eat with Ma Hog.

You can find these giant Kanelbullar (a.k.a. Cinnamon Rolls) in various parts of town – but the bad boys from Café Husaren are apparently among the best-loved.

In quantity terms, they certainly outrank anything you’ll find in Cinnabon.

In quality terms, however, I reckon there’s room for improvement.

Though the faint taste of Cardamom makes for a fragrant bite, the Hagabulle is disappointingly dry: it needs more Cinnamon goo to make the grade. Indeed, the paste was all too scanty – plainly no match for the acres of flaky bread it was holding together.

Replacing the hard sugar lumps with icing would also have done the trick – or warming it up and dunking the whole thing in coffee or tea.

As it was, with only a glass full of water to help me along, I found it a tough task indeed. As did Ma Hog.

Now, you don’t hear that very often…

Where? Café Husaren (in Gothenburg. Obvs)

How Much? 40kr (about £4 at the time of writing – pretty darn cheap for Sweden)



Fab for photos; not so fab for feeding

Rated: M&S’s Apple, Asparagus & Lemon Juice.

Lemparagapple? Anyone?

Lemparagapple? Anyone?

What? The bizarrest-sounding combo I have seen this year – and, strangely, one of the nicest.

I should explain: though a die-hard lover of vegetables, I’m not generally keen on the drinking variety (a revolting glass of Beetroot Smoothie saw to that one day in India). This creation from M&S, though, I can dig.

For starters, the colour is amazing – the kind of green you’d expect from a glass of juiced Braeburns, but would never get.

And while it doesn’t smell particularly appetising (neither on the way in or way out), I assure you the taste is quite superb.

Not one of the three main ingredients masks the others, creating an overall effect that is zingy – like sherbert – and thankfully not too sweet.

Collectively, it tastes like a whole new fruit – more citrussy than anything – and is so darn healthy it apparently counts as two of your five-a-day.

I call it the Lemparagapple.

And I suggest you try it forthwith

Where? Find this juice at an M&S Food near you

How Much? £2.39 for a 750ml bottle (or 3 for £5 if you’re really thirsty)



That’s nine of your ten-a-day. ACE