Pina colada fondant fancies

These miniature cakes are my homage to the classic pina colada – my favourite cocktail. Seriously, I never tire of this cocktail! Continue reading “Pina colada fondant fancies”

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Blueberry and raspberry macarons

Raspberries are one of my favourite fruits and I need little excuse to use these in sweet bakes: fresh, dried, curd…..any or all work for me! I was rather late to the blueberry party, though: only really taking to their sweet-acidic flavour in the past year or so, but now I adore them. Continue reading “Blueberry and raspberry macarons”

Easy beetroot, goats’ cheese & walnut tart

This is a very simple tart that is great eaten either hot or cold and is, for me, tart that can be enjoyed at any time of the year, although it is one of my “go to” summer bakes. It can be assembled in minutes so that is is merely a matter of baking the tart. Continue reading “Easy beetroot, goats’ cheese & walnut tart”

Orange and passionfruit fondant fancies

A shop-bought fondant fancy is very much a guilty pleasure of mine, but they are fun to make. And of course when making them you can go for whatever flavour you want, going for flavours that are not sold in the shops! Continue reading “Orange and passionfruit fondant fancies”

Salted caramel shortbreads

This is my take on Millionaire’s Shortbread, but slightly jazzed up: a real excuse for indulgence – but is an excuse ever needed? Continue reading “Salted caramel shortbreads”

Rhubarb & ginger Battenberg cake

The power of baking in evoking happy memories of childhood is one of the many reasons baking is such an addiction for me; a Battenberg cake never fails to transport me back to being a child again, when slices of Battenberg were handed out as a real teatime treat. Continue reading “Rhubarb & ginger Battenberg cake”

Spiced lime & poppy seed bundt drizzle cake

This very easy cake has bags of flavour. In my view, a bundt cake, as indeed any cake, should not be at all apathetic – no matter how ornate it looks: it absolutely needs to have the “wow” factor in the flavour, too. Continue reading “Spiced lime & poppy seed bundt drizzle cake”

Cashew nut & cocoa nib snaps

These biscuits, which are a cross between brandy snaps and florentines, are incredibly easy and quick to make, with a batch made and ready to eat in under 30 minutes. Continue reading “Cashew nut & cocoa nib snaps”

Pea and ham filo bites

This is a such a simple bake, and is ideal using left-over ham at Christmas and bits and bobs lurking around: frozen peas, a dollop of chutney and mustard…… Continue reading “Pea and ham filo bites”

No-fuss sticky gingerbread cake

This is an incredibly simple gingerbread cake with a mixture that is made up in seconds: it is very moist, with jewels of stem ginger throughout and the underlying heat of spice from the ground ginger. The icing has a ginger kick with a nice lime zing to it – two flavours that are made for each other. Continue reading “No-fuss sticky gingerbread cake”

Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries

These are very quick and easy treats: small sweet pastries that are crisp, buttery and wonderfully sticky: quite fabulous served with coffee or tea! Continue reading “Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries”

Luxury orange shortbread mince pies with a macaroon topping

I usually prefer to make mince pies using shortbread dough rather than pastry: it makes them more special than a standard pastry mince pie and it is really no harder to make. Besides, Christmas would not be Christmas without shortbread! And whenever I have made these mince pies, they have gone very quickly. Continue reading “Luxury orange shortbread mince pies with a macaroon topping”

Lemon, strawberry & Prosecco cake

Although I made this particular cake as my gift for a colleague’s wedding, I have made smaller one-tier versions of this cake, without much in the way of elaborate decorations, on many an occasion. A case of when simplicity absolutely reigns! Continue reading “Lemon, strawberry & Prosecco cake”

Spiced chocolate and orange bundt cake

This easy, no fuss cake is deeply chocolatey (such a good thing!), with the sharp citrus kick of candied orange and a warming hint of spice. Continue reading “Spiced chocolate and orange bundt cake”

Lemon & thyme drizzle layer cake

This very refreshing cake pushes it way into dessert territory with its creamy filling. And that is no bad thing! Continue reading “Lemon & thyme drizzle layer cake”

Mocha walnut pavlova

I have not made a pavlova for a few years, but it is always lovely to re-visit an occasional bake such as this. Continue reading “Mocha walnut pavlova”

Pimms cocktail jaffa cakes

Very much an adult jaffa cake, this version of jaffa cakes uses Pimms as the base for the jelly, along with fresh orange juice, a hint of mint, a touch of lemon and just enough sugar to sweeten it without taking away from the flavour of the Pimms and the fruit. A real taste of summer! Continue reading “Pimms cocktail jaffa cakes”

Gluten-free orange & blackberry polenta cake: Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

I love it as a budding food writer when you get exciting recipes to try out; when it is for a great cause, I love to be involved and do my little bit.  Continue reading “Gluten-free orange & blackberry polenta cake: Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning”

Cinnamon & orange Viennese biscuits

Melt-in-the-mouth is never more the case than with Viennese biscuits or Viennese whirls or any variation on this classic biscuit. They can be served simply dusted with icing sugar, dipped in chocolate or sandwiched together with jam and a little vanilla buttercream – although they can take any flavour combination within! Continue reading “Cinnamon & orange Viennese biscuits”

Spiced lamb & pistachio rolls with spiced pastry

I am such a fan of sausage rolls; with a well-flavoured filling and light, melt-in-the-mouth pastry, they never fail to give me a feeling of total satisfaction when eating them! Continue reading “Spiced lamb & pistachio rolls with spiced pastry”

Coloured mirror glazes

(Post updated: Feb 2019). As its name suggests, a mirror glaze is a very shiny covering for a cake or dessert that is so reflective you should be able to see your face quite clearly in it. There are several recipes for mirror glazes but I make what I think is one of the simplest – and it always gives me great results. Continue reading “Coloured mirror glazes”

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Cake: chocolate cake with Earl Grey tea buttercream

This is the cake I made for the 4th birthday meeting of the Clandestine Cake Club group I attend (the fabulous Fleet, Farnham & Farnborough group), the theme for this evening being Alice in Wonderland. Continue reading “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Cake: chocolate cake with Earl Grey tea buttercream”

Simple roasted coffee shortbread – with no rolling out

Shortbread is the first thing I ever made as a young boy and I love coming back to it, either making a very traditional shortbread (what can beat that?) or a flavoured variation. Continue reading “Simple roasted coffee shortbread – with no rolling out”

Roasted coffee bean butter: a great ingredient for coffee lovers

I am so excited to share this post for roasted coffee bean butter. Coffee is one of my favourite flavours, almost beating chocolate for me. This butter, which is basically freshly ground coffee beans infused with hot butter, has a very rich, deep coffee flavour that you simply cannot get close to when using either instant coffee or even freshly brewed coffee in a bake. Continue reading “Roasted coffee bean butter: a great ingredient for coffee lovers”

Strawberry & lemon dacquoise: with a cheat’s version!

A dacquoise is a wonderful dessert in its own right. I made this one for my partner’s birthday cake as a more dessert-type feel was wanted. Continue reading “Strawberry & lemon dacquoise: with a cheat’s version!”

Earl Grey Tea cupcakes: cupcakes with attitude!

Updated: Oct 2018 (new photos)

Cupcakes need two key things to work, in my opinion: a light and nicely flavoured sponge and a very well-flavoured, not-too-sweet icing that melts in the mouth. Continue reading “Earl Grey Tea cupcakes: cupcakes with attitude!”

Quick and very easy peach Danish pastries

These are very simple and utterly delicious Danish pastries, made using a short-cut croissant dough, a dough that takes just 20-30 minutes to make, plus time for the made-up dough to chill before using. Seriously, this particular croissant dough is quite fool-proof. Continue reading “Quick and very easy peach Danish pastries”

Cocoa brownies with browned butter & walnuts

 

For my second assignment with the Secret Recipe Club, I was allocated Erin’s wonderful The Spiffy Cookie blog from which to choose a recipe. Continue reading “Cocoa brownies with browned butter & walnuts”

Simple ginger & lemon iced biscuits

Simply crisp ginger shortbreads topped with lemon royal icing! Continue reading “Simple ginger & lemon iced biscuits”

Easy ham, cheese & mustard croissant whirls

Although an unembellished home-made croissant is a truly wonderful thing to eat, savoury variations excite me hugely! Continue reading “Easy ham, cheese & mustard croissant whirls”

Passion fruit & peach tarts (lower-fat!)

Inspired by a passion fruit pannacotta I had a few months ago, these are very simple tarts that I made for a friend’s birthday: the tarts have a full-on passion fruit flavour, a kick of rum-soaked peaches and the richness of white chocolate. Continue reading “Passion fruit & peach tarts (lower-fat!)”

Chocolate & cherry brioches

This is my chocolate and cherry version of a brioche: very rich, with a buttery interior that is actually very light to eat and practically melts in the mouth. Continue reading “Chocolate & cherry brioches”

Orange & vanilla rum babas

Surely it is time for a full-on revival of these fabulous 1970s dessert trolley staples? Continue reading “Orange & vanilla rum babas”

Lemongrass custard tarts

This is my slightly spiced take on Portuguese custard tarts. They might not be traditional flavour-wise but that hardly matters –  and they certainly don’t hang around long whenever I have made them! Continue reading “Lemongrass custard tarts”

Smoked salted caramel & bitter chocolate macarons

At the risk of tumbling shamelessly into the world of the melodramatic, I would go so far as saying that these particular macarons are to die for. Continue reading “Smoked salted caramel & bitter chocolate macarons”

Hot-smoked salmon & horseradish tart (low-fat)

This is a very simple, low-fat tart using hot-smoked salmon: one of my favourite ways of eating salmon! With its rich, deep, smoky flavour a little goes a long way: about 200g of the salmon will make this tart, with generous chunks of salmon in each bite. Continue reading “Hot-smoked salmon & horseradish tart (low-fat)”

Warm crab choux bites

This is my version of a canapé I had in a restaurant ages ago. These are simple, but highly effective little savoury bites: light choux pastry, flavoured subtly with cheese and mustard, and filled with a simple fresh white crab meat sauce. Continue reading “Warm crab choux bites”

quick and easy galangal & lime cake (gluten-free)

This is a very simple and quite speedy cake that can made and iced within an hour. Continue reading “quick and easy galangal & lime cake (gluten-free)”

Spiced brioche boule

This is my spiced fruit version of a brioche: rich, well spiced with a buttery, citrussy flavour;tiny bursts of orange-soaked cranberries, apricots and raisins add sharp sweetness to the brioche. Continue reading “Spiced brioche boule”

Mini ginger Kouign-Amann

If you have never heard of, or eaten Kouign-Amann pastries before, think crisp bites of buttery, caramelised croissant…..wonderful as an occasional treat! Continue reading “Mini ginger Kouign-Amann”

Gooseberry chutney

This is my very simple recipe for gooseberry chutney that is made in about 20 minutes: a perfect partner for cheese or smoked fish.

Continue reading “Gooseberry chutney”

Hot cross buns with attitude

These are light, full-flavoured sticky buns that have had slow rises to give a far greater depth of flavour. Small pieces of dried cranberries, juicy raisins, ginger and vibrant bursts of citrus run through the sweet, spiced dough. Continue reading “Hot cross buns with attitude”

Salted mocha & walnut battenberg cake

This is a return to the classic Battenberg, a cake that is right up there in my list of top 5 cakes. Continue reading “Salted mocha & walnut battenberg cake”

Mustard & caramelised onion sausage rolls

A slight variation on one of my favourite savoury bakes, sausage rolls. See my earlier post for the main recipe: The very best sausage rolls…. Continue reading “Mustard & caramelised onion sausage rolls”

Cheese & onion sourdough crumpets

These particular crumpets arose from an idea that came to me late one night – as is often the way! Continue reading “Cheese & onion sourdough crumpets”

Oscars-themed drip cake: “death by Chocolat”

My first real “drip cake”, this was made for recent Clandestine Cake Club meeting, with the theme being a cake with a take on Oscar-winning films……. Continue reading “Oscars-themed drip cake: “death by Chocolat””

Easy sourdough crumpets

I am of the belief that a hot crumpet, slathered with butter, perhaps with some excellent quality jam, is one of life’s greatest foodie pleasures. Continue reading “Easy sourdough crumpets”

Lemon & honey Valentine shortbreads

Post updated Feb 14th 2018 (new photos)

Rich, buttery biscuits topped with a very firm royal icing are always a joy to eat. While I have made these heart-shaped with simple heart icing embellishments, these are great made into any shape for eating at any time of the year: with or without the icing! Continue reading “Lemon & honey Valentine shortbreads”

Rough-puff pastry & other laminated pastries

I have been excited by laminated pastries ever since I was a boy, watching my gran make up batches. I love the process of achieving those buttery, light layers that melt in the mouth, especially with rough-puff pastry, a much simpler cousin to puff pastry. In this post I give the recipe for a fool-proof rough-puff pastry, along with recipe ideas for using the pastry. Continue reading “Rough-puff pastry & other laminated pastries”

Chorizo & fennel sausage rolls in a spiced rough-puff pastry

Rather than go for full-on chorizo sausages encased in pastry I added some finely chopped chorizo to the sausagemeat filling that I always use for my sausage rolls. Now I love chorizo, but not in hefty quantities you would have if you just encased chorizo in pastry! Continue reading “Chorizo & fennel sausage rolls in a spiced rough-puff pastry”