Blackberry and apple friands

Mini almond sponge cakes, with the rich flavour of browned butter and the wonderful bedfellows brought by the blackberry and the apple, these friands are a seriously delicious treat. There is something even more special using blackberries picked from the hedgerows and apples straight from the tree! Continue reading “Blackberry and apple friands”

Quick and easy spiced rhubarb & white chocolate ripple ice cream

This is a very simple and speedy (in terms of preparation) white chocolate ice cream, with a spiced rhubarb ripple running through it.

I use stem ginger for that wonderful heat it brings, as well as a little star anise for a spicy aniseed punch. Continue reading “Quick and easy spiced rhubarb & white chocolate ripple ice cream”

Focaccia bicolore

This two-coloured flavoured focaccia is the result of an idea that came to me after making the bicoloured croissants a while ago. The result is a plain focaccia dough mixed with a tomato and red onion focaccia dough. After all, why not have focaccia with different and clearly defined flavours within? Continue reading “Focaccia bicolore”

Orange and pistachio madeleines

Sweet, buttery and melt-in-the-mouth, madeleines are a treat for any occasion. I have gone for madeleines that are flavoured with ground pistachios and orange zest.

Continue reading “Orange and pistachio madeleines”

Salted caramel pistachio brittle

This very easy pistachio caramel is not only a great sweet to eat as it is, it so versatile for adorning all manner of cakes and sweet desserts: you just snap off pieces, put them in place and away you go.

Continue reading “Salted caramel pistachio brittle”

Panzanella: arguably one of the finest salads in the world!

Great food does not need to be at all complicated or time-consuming. Sometimes the combination of humble ingredients can become something quite majestic.

Continue reading “Panzanella: arguably one of the finest salads in the world!”

Gorgonzola, pear & walnut cheesecake (savoury)

Whilst a sweet cheesecake can be a thing of great joy, a savoury one is often even more special for me. The flavours of Gorgonzola, pears and walnuts make a great match at any time and here the sweet juicyness of the pears with the sharp kick of balsamic vinegar work well with the rich tangyness of the cheesecake. Continue reading “Gorgonzola, pear & walnut cheesecake (savoury)”

Spiced crunchy chickpeas

This is a seriously great snack and is particularly ideal to eat on its own, with drinks or to add to salads in place of croutons. These chickpeas are ridiculously moreish: I can eat a whole batch of these quite happily! Continue reading “Spiced crunchy chickpeas”

Sourdough baguettes

Shatteringly crisp baguettes, full of flavour and with wonderfully open crumb structure: surely the epitome of baking simplicity! Don’t get me wrong, I love throwing in goodies such as olives, roasted garlic, fresh herbs and the like in with doughs, but the refreshing lack of embellishments here absolutely hit the spot. Continue reading “Sourdough baguettes”

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”

20-minute sourdough flatbreads

These flatbreads are so easy, so quick and so good with whatever dip or cheese is to hand. You can make a batch within about 20 minutes, including the baking, even going at a fairly sedate pace. Continue reading “20-minute sourdough flatbreads”

Crispy gingerbread cake bites

If you ever have left-over cake (“why would I?”, you might ask!), or have cake that is starting to go stale, these very easy bites will use up the cake for a delicious sweet treat. Continue reading “Crispy gingerbread cake bites”

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”

Whole ham with chilli, marmalade and rum glaze

I adore glazed hams, not just around Christmas and the New Year, but at any time of the year. Continue reading “Whole ham with chilli, marmalade and rum glaze”

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”

Christmas cake bites

This is just a simple variation on a Christmas cake, going for individual bites of cake rather than making a large cake. Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s puddinis (such a fabulous name!), which use left-over Christmas pudding, these instead use some of the Christmas cake mixture I made for this year’s Christmas cake – ok, I made a little extra mixture but why not? Continue reading “Christmas cake bites”

Smoked salted honeycomb

This is my take on honeycomb, playing up to my absolute love of salted caramel by incorporating a little smoked sea salt – an ingredient that is now readily available in supermarkets here in the UK. But made with standard sea salt, and you still have a marvellous sweet treat. Continue reading “Smoked salted honeycomb”

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”

Herby sausage rolls

A good sausage roll should bring a smile to one’s face and have a very moreish quality: one should never be enough! A far cry from those mass-produced affairs you can buy from high street chain bakeries that are full of pink, squeaky “meat”!  Continue reading “Herby sausage rolls”

Tarte tatin

After a very inspiring run of many years, bringing so many food bloggers together, the Secret Recipe Club is sadly coming to an end. Continue reading “Tarte tatin”

Ginger & tamarind sticky toffee pudding

Arguably the ultimate in comfort puddings, this is my take on a sticky toffee pudding: it has the warming kick of spice from ginger and cinnamon, and what I think is a delightfully sour undertone from tamarind that is a subtle counter-balance to the sweetness of the pudding. Continue reading “Ginger & tamarind sticky toffee pudding”

Types of olive oil, Jamie’s Italian & my recipe for smoked mozzarella focaccia!

This is a post in collaboration with Jamie Oliver and his Jamie’s Italian restaurants, demonstrating the different types of olive oil and how to use them in cooking. I have also included my recipe for smoked mozzarella and rosemary focaccia. Continue reading “Types of olive oil, Jamie’s Italian & my recipe for smoked mozzarella focaccia!”

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”

Simple fennel breadsticks – focaccia-style

These are very easy breadsticks to make. They taste wonderful and a large batch can be made at a fraction of the cost of shop-bought breadsticks! Perfect with any dip, although I have photographed these breadsticks with baba ghanoush, that wonderfully smokey aubergine dip (recipe here). Continue reading “Simple fennel breadsticks – focaccia-style”

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

This is a recipe given to me by Macmillan to try out, ahead of this year’s Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. Continue reading “Gluten-free orange & blackberry polenta cake: Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning”

Home-made goats’ cheese

This is my first ever attempt at making cheese – a cheese that I only started to really enjoy a few years ago, but I absolutely adore it now and use it often in my baking. Continue reading “Home-made goats’ cheese”

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”

English breakfast muffins

Updated Feb 2017: new photos of the muffins

Perfect sliced, toasted and buttered, English muffins (well, “muffins” to those of us brought up in the UK!) are very simple to make and require very little attention. And as with most home-made breads, they taste so much better than any you can buy – and for a fraction of the cost. Continue reading “English breakfast muffins”

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”

Easy seeded flatbreads with sun-dried tomato hummus

Two incredibly simple things to make that go so well together: a really perfect dip to share as a snack, a starter, part of a picnic…….. Continue reading “Easy seeded flatbreads with sun-dried tomato hummus”

Earl Grey Tea cupcakes: cupcakes with attitude!

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”

Very easy anchovy, onion & garlic focaccia

Focaccia remains up there in my top breads, in terms of making and eating, and while a standard focaccia is a delight, I love experimenting with flavours. Continue reading “Very easy anchovy, onion & garlic focaccia”

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”

Easy spiced brioche pudding in a lemongrass custard

Essentially this is my take on bread and butter pudding, using a spiced brioche loaf I had left over. Continue reading “Easy spiced brioche pudding in a lemongrass custard”

Simple ginger & lemon iced biscuits

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

The simplest asparagus & chicken tart

This is a very simple tart using what is the last of this year’s allotment asparagus, the rest of some chicken breasts I had gently poached for another dish and some general left-over bits and pieces. Continue reading “The simplest asparagus & chicken tart”

Bruschetta: when simplicity reigns!

Bruschetta is one of those things that cannot fail to put a smile on my face when I eat it. Perfect as a starter, served with barbeque food or just as a light bite at any time of the day, one slice is never enough. Continue reading “Bruschetta: when simplicity reigns!”

Spiced prawn and crab spring rolls

This is my version of spring rolls, using some left-over filo pastry I had made for another dish and ingredients that I adore to eat. The rolls are very easy to make and a large batch can be made up and frozen until you want to cook them. Continue reading “Spiced prawn and crab spring rolls”

Passion fruit & peach tarts (lower-fat!)

Inspired by a passion fruit pannacotta I had a few months ago, these are very simple fragrant 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 in the background. Continue reading “Passion fruit & peach tarts (lower-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)”

The easiest & quickest smoked mackerel pâté in the world!

This is an insanely simple and almost instant smoked mackerel pâté that is seriously big on flavour – perfect spread liberally on hot toast or eaten with a baguette as part of a light snack. Continue reading “The easiest & quickest smoked mackerel pâté in the world!”

The simplest cheese, caraway & walnut biscuits

These are very simple and tasty savoury biscuits that are an ideal vehicle for a gutsy dip, eaten with a cheese and chutney, or munched on just as they are. Continue reading “The simplest cheese, caraway & walnut biscuits”

Absolute Spice: product review & recipe ideas

I love focusing on flavour in my bakes; flavour is by far the key consideration when I am baking, whether I am recreating a favourite bake or working on a new idea. And excellent quality ingredients are always my priority. Continue reading “Absolute Spice: product review & recipe ideas”

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”

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”

Quick & easy version of the “After Dark Gü-Zillionaires’ Puddings”

This is my fairly quick, but certainly very easy version of the gorgeous After Dark Gü-Zillionaires’ Puddings: chocolatey biscuit base with layers of luscious cheesecake with a hint of treacle, salted caramel and finished with a soft dark chocolate ganache. A very naughty, but once-in-a-while treat! Continue reading “Quick & easy version of the “After Dark Gü-Zillionaires’ Puddings””