There’s a new Marks and Spencer’s Food shop recently opened up in Hong Kong. Oh my lord, it’s amazing.
As every expat knows, its the food from home that you find yourself missing the most. When anyone comes back from a stint back home, questions will always enviably turn to exactly what they ate. Bonus points for roast lamb, fish and chips and proper Cadburys chocolate. As much as we all love heading out for char siu fan, steaming baskets of dim sum, or epic plates of fried rice, food from home takes on a mythical, magical status. Linked with the people and memories of home, it becomes deeply entrenched in our hearts.
That, and we’re all basically just fatties who love to eat!
Marks and Spencer food halls go a long way to reducing this food longing. Walking in is like walking briefly back into the UK. I could have spent an awful lot of money in there, and I had to force myself not to buy half the shop.
It took, for example, a large amount of will power not to purchase a huge Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. It cost about $90, getting on for 10 pounds, and contained about a weeks worth of calories. It looked incredible though, I’ve never seen one like that in Hong Kong. It was more like I was in my local butchers back home than 8000 miles away in Asia. The bakery section is tantalising, freshly baked breads, pastries and cakes, the smell wafting out in the shop, dragging you in nose first. Then there’s the entire shelves dedicated to biscuits and cookies, very hard to say no to.
Of course there’s one little treat I can’t leave any Marks and Spencers without; Percy Pigs. Who doesn’t love a Percy Pig?
I’m calling these fairy cakes because they remind me more of the simple fairy cakes I first learnt to bake, than fashionable, trendy cupcakes. Their light, fruity and sweet, with the flavour coming from a little pot of fruity yoghurt. I’ve used raspberry, but strawberry would work well too.
They’re topped with a simple vanilla buttercream, and finished off with a Percy Pig.
If you’ve got any little people in your life you want to start baking, this could be the recipe to get them started. The buttercream doesn’t need piping, a smear with a knife would be lovely too. If you are making them for children, you could reduce the sugar and butter by using a small teaspoon full of a simple water icing to secure your Percy. The recipe also doubles well, just add the eggs one by one, mixing in with a little flour each time.
Percy Pig Fairy Cakes
for the cakes
60g caster sugar
1 large egg
60g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100g raspberry or strawberry yoghurt
for the buttercream
150g butter, softened
150g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Percy Pig sweets, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ 350F and line a cupcake tin with 6 paper cases.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg, along with a tablespoon of flour.
Fold in the remaining flour and the baking powder, followed by the yoghurt.
Divide evenly between the cupcake cases.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until risen and golden.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Once cooled, make the buttercream. Beat the butter until smooth, then beat in the sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract.
Pipe or spread onto your cupcakes. Top with a Percy Pig sweet.