Salted mocha Opera cake

Multiple layers of liqueur-kissed almond sponge cake, salted mocha buttercream and chocolate ganache: very much a cake for when a special treat is needed. And with elements that can all be made in advance, this becomes a matter of gentle assembly rather than frantically using a whole day or so in the kitchen! Continue reading “Salted mocha Opera cake”

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Black treacle and Guinness bread

A simple and full-flavoured bread that is perfect with some salted butter, perhaps with seafood (it goes particularly well with crab) or as part of a Ploughman’s platter.  Continue reading “Black treacle and Guinness bread”

Layered pork pithivier pie

This hearty pie, packed with layers of tender herby pork, apples, caramelised onions and mustardy-sausagement is excellent served either hot or cold. Continue reading “Layered pork pithivier pie”

Quick lemon cheesecake fruit tarts

Something of a cheat of a recipe, using handy shortcuts, these gorgeous tarts can be made up very speedily and with total ease, yet they taste as good as any of the high-end tarts you can buy for a small fortune!

Continue reading “Quick lemon cheesecake fruit tarts”

Crumpets and pikelets: cheese & onion flavour

Savoury crumpets and pikelets are particularly wonderful things to eat when toasted and buttered – whether or not you then want to dress them up further with cream cheese or a poached egg or any manner of adornments. Continue reading “Crumpets and pikelets: cheese & onion flavour”

Blackberry and apple crumble

This is very much a return to basics with the modest crumble, arguably one of the best and easiest comfort foods there is. Whether eaten with ice cream or hot custard, a crumble takes moments to prepare, will bake quite happily without attention and is a joyous way to end any meal.
Continue reading “Blackberry and apple crumble”

Chocolate and cherry pastries

 

Kirsch-soaked Morello cherries and dark chocolate encased in a crisp, buttery croissant pastry – what is not to love? Continue reading “Chocolate and cherry pastries”

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”

Sourdough croissants

While I make croissants using commercial yeast fairly often and sourdough bread frequently, I am fairly new to making sourdough croissants. But boy have I been missing out: not only is the flavour even better than using commercial yeast, you get even crispier croissants that truly shatter as you break into them. Continue reading “Sourdough croissants”

Neapolitan gateau

This is a cake version of my partner’s favourite ice cream from childhood: a Neapolitan (or Harlequin), an ice cream block with layers of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream.

Continue reading “Neapolitan gateau”

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”

Home-made Mascarpone cheese

Using just two ingredients, Mascarpone cheese is so simple to make and tastes better than commercial Mascarpone. And it only costs about one third of the price compared to buying it.

Continue reading “Home-made Mascarpone cheese”

Pistachio and lemon macarons

When it comes to macarons, I have a penchant for fruity ones: the sharpness of a punchy filling with the sweetness of the shell hits the spot for me every time.

Continue reading “Pistachio and lemon macarons”

“Death by chocolate” drip cake

 

Moist chocolate sponge, white chocolate & vanilla buttercream and dark chocolate ganache combine to give a somewhat naughty chocolate cake: but then a chocolate cake that is not naughty is rarely worth having!

Continue reading ““Death by chocolate” drip cake”

Chocolate & orange bi-coloured viennoiserie

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Bi-coloured croissants and the like have been doing the rounds for a few years and has been on my “to make” list for some time, especially as they can look striking. In essence, you have a croissant dough with a second, coloured dough running through it.

Continue reading “Chocolate & orange bi-coloured viennoiserie”

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)”

Blackcurrant and mint fondant fancies

Blackcurrant and mint make a truly wonderful combination, and used together here you have a particularly vibrant and refreshing cake. Continue reading “Blackcurrant and mint fondant fancies”

Easy chocolate & ginger viennoiserie

If you have ever been daunted by pastry, particularly for croissants and the like, these rich chocolate and ginger pastries are actually quite easy to make. Certainly compared to making croissant dough the traditional way. Continue reading “Easy chocolate & ginger viennoiserie”

Cappuccino chocolates

There is always something intensely satisfying about making chocolates, not least because you can have whatever flavours, fillings and adornments you want – and at a fraction of the cost from those you buy from the artisan chocolate shops. Continue reading “Cappuccino chocolates”

Lemon sherbet cruffins (quirky viennoiserie!)

 

This is my take on cruffins: rich, buttery croissant pastries baked in muffin tins. For this batch I have gone for a tangy lemon filling, dusted with a lemon sherbet-esque caster sugar. For added zing, I have topped these cruffins with lemon icing and a few dried raspberry pieces. Continue reading “Lemon sherbet cruffins (quirky viennoiserie!)”

Tomato and basil English muffins

This my savoury twist on classic English breakfast muffins: these are wonderful toasted and liberally buttered: the butter has to be liberal, and low-fat spreads and the like do not do justice to these muffins! Continue reading “Tomato and basil English muffins”

Chocolate and orange surprise cake!

Ok, the surprise might not be up there with the denoument of a great murder mystery story, but this cake always evokes “oohs” and “ahhs” when cut into.  Granted, you might not have fallen off your chair with this reveal, but I can live with that! Continue reading “Chocolate and orange surprise cake!”

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”

Quick & very easy pear chutney

Made in about 20 minutes, this simple and delicious chutney is a terrific complement for all manner of savoury dishes: quiche, cold meats, cheese…… Continue reading “Quick & very easy pear chutney”

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”

The effect of different oven temperatures in baking

While baking is one of the most rewarding aspects of cookery, it can, nonetheless, be frustrating – especially when things do not work. Now things not working can occur when trying out a new recipe for the first time, error with the techniques or even when baking a reliable favourite that has never yet failed……..and then it does! Continue reading “The effect of different oven temperatures in baking”

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”

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”

Re-visiting croissants & climbing back on the baking horse!

This post is a somewhat cathartic reflection on dusting oneself down following a knock-back and “getting back on the horse”. Continue reading “Re-visiting croissants & climbing back on the baking horse!”

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”

Pork, apple & apricot pie: a left-overs feast!

This thrifty pie, made with a simple mustard-flavoured hot watercrust pastry, is packed with pork, stuffing, juicy apricots, sharp apple, a few pickled vegetables and roasted onions: left-overs from a roast dinner and store-cupboard ingredients. Continue reading “Pork, apple & apricot pie: a left-overs feast!”

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”

Cake of Christmas Present!

While I sometimes love going “all out” when it comes to decorating cakes, when it comes to Christmas cakes, I tend to go for the simplest of approaches. Continue reading “Cake of Christmas Present!”

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”

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”

Sfogliatella pastries with a honey, orange & pistachio filling

This is my first attempt at these rather challenging Italian pastries – pastries I had never heard of until I tried one very recently and was immediately smitten. It goes without saying that I had to have a go at making these. Continue reading “Sfogliatella pastries with a honey, orange & pistachio filling”

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”

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!”

Lemon, strawberry & Prosecco cake

Although I made this particular cake 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”