A bourbon biscuit is one of my favourite biscuits, but I had never made them before. Until now! Continue reading “My take on Bourbon biscuits – with mocha ganache & caramelised sugar”
This is a lightly spiced tart with rich, smoky cod and the subtle aniseed flavour of fennel. It is very much a comfort-eat and makes a satisfying light meal served warm or cold. Continue reading “Spiced smoked cod & fennel tart”
For me, a treacle tart is the epitome of comfort food, especially with the nights drawing in and the temperature outside dropping of an evening! Continue reading “Treacle tart with a hint of orange”
When I make a Battenberg cake I usually I go for a coffee and walnut one: my favourite cake flavours! This time, though, I’ve gone for orange and dark chocolate. Continue reading “Chocolate & Orange Battenberg Cake”
At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I would claim these to be among the best brownies you can eat. I would be be so proud to serve these to anyone….if I don’t eat them first! Continue reading “Very easy cherry & chocolate brownies”
Focaccia is up there in my top 3 breads, both to make and to eat. Characteristically bouncy, with many irregular holes in the bread itself, it tastes great and needs very little to accompany it. And it is VERY easy to make. Continue reading “An insanely simple no-knead Chorizo & Parmesan focaccia”
Returning to my savoury roots, and it seems a while since I have posted a savoury recipe, I decided to make some cheese and onion scones, using roasted onion and smoked Cheddar cheese. Continue reading “Roasted onion & smoked cheese scones (gluten-free)”
This is very much a quick, no-frills affair: utter simplicity and great flavour; what more is needed? The cake takes literally a couple of minutes to mix together, about 20 minutes baking and a few minutes to assemble the cooled sponges. Continue reading “Gluten-free Victoria Sandwich Cake”
Further to posting my version of a large Fraisier a few weeks ago, I decided to make another large one for this month’s Clandestine Cake Club – this time going for a gluten-free version. And with left over elements, I also went for mini Fraisiers. Continue reading “Mini Gluten-free Pistachio Fraisiers using left-overs!”
These crisp grissini are easy to make and have bags of flavour. I often make them using some sourdough starter that I had discarded prior to feeding the main starter, just adding more flour and water to give a dough that handles well. Continue reading “Easy fennel seed & smoked garlic sourdough grissini”
As moreish as sweet biscotti unquestionably are, savoury biscotti are in a slightly higher league for me, but then more-ish savoury food is one of my weaknesses! Continue reading “Two flavours of savoury biscotti”
I adore a well flavoured biscotti but have never been a fan of the ones you can buy in coffee shops and the like that can be little more than an expensive work-out for the jaw! Continue reading “chocolate cherry & almond biscotti”
A savoury variation of my lemongrass and ginger canelés, these are essentially pesto canelés, and are fantastic as light canapés when served warm. They have a thin exterior crust with a soft interior, bursting with flavour.
Mini pistachio shortbreads, topped them with fresh passion fruit curd and coated in white chocolate. Passionfruit and white chocolate go so well together that these are really not difficult to eat!
A gluten-free version:
I have also made these by replacing the plain flour in the recipe with gluten-free bread flour. I tend to use Dove’s plain flour.
The biscuits are very melt-in-the-mouth and, as should be the case with gluten-free bakes, you really shouldn’t be able to tell that they are gluten-free.
Other fruit curds:
For other curds (lemon, orange, strawberry, raspberry are other favourites of mine) replace the passion fruit juice with the juice of the fruit you want: puréed and strained in the case of raspberries and strawberries.
As a guideline I would use about 4 lemons or 3 oranges in the recipe below. Or 200g raspberries or strawberries. But add extra if you prefer.
Pistachio shortbreads with passionfruit & white chocolate (makes about 50 mini shortbreads)
- 140g plain flour
- 50g pistachios, ground very finely
- 95g vanilla caster sugar
- 140g unsalted butter, softened
- generous pinch of salt
- juice from 12 passion fruit
- 140g caster sugar
- 120g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 200g white chocolate
- 50g dark chocolate
Make the passionfruit curd:
(1) Strain the passionfruit juice into a jug or bowl, getting as much of the juice as you can.
(2) Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and the sugar together lightly and whisk in the passionfruit juice until everything is amalgamated.
(3) Melt the butter over a low heat in a small pan and pour in the rest of the ingredients. Keep stirring over a low heat until the mixture has thickened. Leave to cool, pour into a couple of clean jars and refrigerate until needed. It will keep for a couple of weeks.
Make the shortbread:
(4) Mix the flour, sugar, salt and pistachios in a bowl. Add the butter and rub in just until it comes together to form a soft ball. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least half an hour.
(5) Roll out the dough to about the thickness of a pound coin: it is easiest rolling it out between two sheets of baking parchment. Cut out small circles of dough using a cutter and transfer to baking sheets lined with baking parchment. Prick each with a fork and chill while you preheat the oven to 160C(fan).
(6) Bake for 8-10 minutes until between pale and light golden. Leave for a few minutes on the baking tray and then transfer carefully to a wire rack to cool.
(7) Spoon or pipe a little of the curd onto the centre of each shortbread. Dip in the white chocolate and place back on the wire rack, chocolate-side up. This can be easier if you freeze the curd-topped shortbreads for about 30 minutes first.
(8) Drizzle over some melted dark or milk chocolate.
When I make patterned Swiss Rolls and other sponges there has to be flavour in the colours and patterns. For patterns, I tend to go for simplicity: usually spots or stripes, but occasionally I go for fancy shapes or lettering across the Swiss Roll. However, stripes are certainly my most common choice. Continue reading “Passion fruit & raspberry swiss roll with passion fruit ganache”
Although I am an unashamed bread addict, I will confess that until fairly recently I have never got excited by ciabatta; I have tried many ciabatta but have never really been blown away by the flavour – and particularly with bread, I like to be blown away! Continue reading “Ciabatta with a touch of rye”
Using black pudding and piccalilli gives one of my favourite flavour combinations for a pork pie, resulting in a hearty but very easy-to-eat pie. The jelly is flavoured with cider and chicken stock which, in the absence of making a stock from pigs trotters, works so well in a pork pie. Continue reading “Piccalilli & black pudding pork pie with a cider jelly”
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””
These simple mini drizzle cakes are very light and moist, with a rich orange flavour and just a hint of cardamom. The marmaladey orange zest on top, combined with the slightly soured cream, results in what I think is a very more-ish cake. This cake is great cut small to be served as petits fours or made more substantial as a cake to be served with tea. Continue reading “Orange & cardamom drizzle cakes”
It might be easy to feel daunted when it comes to making pastry, but I hope this post will go some way towards facing any doubts you might have when it comes to shortcrust pastry. I have also included what I think is the most fool-proof way to blind-bake the pastry, giving perfectly cooked pastry and a neat finish. Continue reading “Shortcrust pastry & fool-proof blind-baking”
There are few greater pleasures than the evocative smell of bread as it bakes, followed by eating warm bread that has been spread liberally with good quality butter: simplicity at its very best!
This post is about the basic, but nonetheless majestic bread loaf, made with commercial yeast, along with simple variations. I dip into pre-ferments as a great way to add even better depth of flavour to bread and I also give recipe links for classics such as focaccia.
My detailed post on sourdough bread, focusing on making and maintaining a sourdough starter, as well as how to make an excellent sourdough loaf with variations, can be found here.
Post updated April 2017: recipe slightly tweaked and re-photographed.
I have seen this sort of sweet dessert with sponge and various goodies such as mousse inside an egg shell, although often it is served in the actual egg shell. However, I wanted the whole thing to be edible so I decided to make a light dessert in a crisp white chocolate shell. Continue reading “Mango and lime “egg cup” desserts”
Cake should be eaten without any hint of guilt whatsover. Even when wanting another slice…..
This post gives key tips for making several types of cake successfully, along with recipes for cakes and icings, troubleshooting and general ideas for decorating. I have also given the quantities needed to make a Victoria Sandwich cake for different sized tins. Continue reading “Tips for making & decorating cakes”
A batch of traditionally made croissants can take the best part of a weekend with all the resting and chilling in between the turns and at other stages.
Don’t get me wrong, making croissants this way is one of the top baking pleasures for me, but there are certainly times when effective shortcuts are called for. And this shortcut is certainly effective in that it gives excellent results and is easier to achieve than traditional croissants. Continue reading “The quickest & easiest croissants: 20-minute lamination!”
This is my easy version of this wonderful Breton pastry, Kouign-Amann, roughly pronounced “queen ah-marn” which loosely translates as buttery cake. And these are indeed buttery and flaky, with terrific caramelisation. There is also very little hands-on time when it comes to making them. Continue reading “Kouign-Amann pastries: shortcut method”
This incredibly indulgent treat is my take on a marvellous cake I ate at a patisserie on holiday ages ago and as soon as I got home I set out to try to recreate its flavours and textures. Continue reading “Coffee, pecan & salted caramel truffle torte”
I am such a bread addict and I am always playing around with flavours that excite me for breads that I make. High summer in each mouthful, this is a very full-flavoured bread that is seriously easy to eat! Continue reading “Sun-dried tomato & basil bread”
The classic Pissaladière is true celebration of the simplest of ingredients that give the most impressive of flavours. A thin bread base with a topping of slightly sweet confit shallots, salty anchovies and juicy olives (green, black, stuffed or a mixture!). It makes for the most wonderful light meal. Continue reading “Croissaladière (anchovies, olives, confit shallots on croissant dough)”
A few years ago I made what was apparently a significant social faux pas in a restaurant while being served petits fours: when I referred to what I thought were macaroons the waiter, bristling with petulant superciliousness, exclaimed “they are macarons, sir”. All done with a pronunciation that could well have been from an episode of ‘Allo, ‘Allo with an accompanying roll of the eyes! Now, I am not the tallest of people to begin with but at that point I felt positively Lilliputian! Continue reading “Macaroons (as opposed to macarons!!)”
These are very light pastries with the wonderful combination of both sweet and sharp flavours. The sour cherries, having been steeped overnight in rum or Amaretto, pack a lovely punch; the fragrant sharpness of a passion fruit crème pâtissière, enriched with a little white chocolate, offers an indulgently soft filling for the crisp, buttery pastry. Continue reading “Sour cherry & white chocolate pastries”
A very simple and insanely good chocolate dessert, this is my variation of the inspirational Elizabeth David, whose books, many decades later, are never less than an joy to read. Essentially this is a top-notch chocolate mousse that is indulgent yet light textured; this might well be a retro dessert but, quite frankly, when something is this good it matters not one jot! Continue reading “St Émilion au Chocolat”
A very simple canapé: small discs of puff pastry, topped with crab meat that has been mixed with a little fresh mayonnaise, a spritz of lemon juice, some chopped chives and just a little grated Gruyère cheese. Continue reading “Crab Canapés”
This is, I think, a very special bread, with a deep savoury flavour punctuated by bursts of juicy raisins amid the crunch of walnuts. I was given tasters of this bread at a local bakery the other day and immediately fell in love with it (although I was less in love with the price!), so I couldn’t wait to try to recreate this bread at home. Continue reading “Walnut & raisin sourdough”
This hobbit house comes complete with productive garden and lake. A bountiful feast of fruit and vegetables including radishes, turnips, watermelons, cabbages, cauliflower and carrots might keep the hobbit going for a couple of meals! Continue reading “Hobbit House Cake”
I adore tarts: served warm with a good salad, perhaps with some cheese, a few pickles and some good bread they make for a satisfyingly light meal. Continue reading “Poached Salmon & Asparagus Tart”
At the risk of sounding as though I have fallen straight out of a Carry On film I will state categorically that I absolutely love a good sausage roll. One bite and everything is well with the world! Continue reading “The very best sausage rolls……..”
These full-flavoured loaves have been very much a firm favourite in our house for many years and while it is great as a non-sourdough bread, the sourdough version is seriously terrific. Of all the flavoured breads I make, this is one I make more than any other. Continue reading “Pear, walnut & Gorgonzola sourdough”
Although I often go for macarons filled with a fruit ganache, this time I’ve gone for savoury macarons. The light sweetness of the shell is a perfect foil for each of the savoury fillings I have used, with the gentle saltiness coming from the fillings creating a flavour contrast that is, quite simply, divine. Continue reading “Savoury Macarons”
If you want shatteringly crisp baguettes with depth of flavour and an open crumb, this will tick all those boxes. This is a real artisanal bread and is a joy because of its lack of fuss! Continue reading “Perfecting Baguettes”
A classic doughnut, rolled in sugar and filled with jam: a real treat. Continue reading “Jam doughnuts”
Insanely simple and quick to make, these are so addictive to eat just as they are or with a glass of wine. Continue reading “Parmesan and ham tuiles”
Juicy marinaded prawns in a coriander and sesame seed pastry make wonderful nibbles and are very easy to make. They are excellent served hot or cold. Continue reading “Thai prawn bites in a coriander & sesame seed pastry”
A crunchy exterior giving way to the lightest, most delicate pillows of cheesy indulgence, gougères make fabulous little nibbles/canapés. They are lovely just as they come, ideally served warm, but they are wonderful filled with all manner of goodies (see below). Continue reading “Gougères & other fabulous savoury choux bites”
These are not quite those wonderful fancies using fondant icing (although fondant icing does work well here) but my take using a ganache coating and a little coffee glaze for richness, an additional coffee hit and a shiny finish. Continue reading “Walnut & Mocha Fancies”
As with macarons, there is nothing butch about a cupcake, but it revels in its campery – and rightly so! They flounced onto the baking scene with great style several years ago, demanding to be noticed, and all of a sudden the shops started featuring them and everyone started making them. Continue reading “Cupcakes: a contemporary camp classic!”
A sourdough loaf is a thing of great beauty: chewy, crusty and with an open crumb with layers of flavour. Heavenly! Continue reading “Making sourdough bread”
I love the combination of limes and passion fruit: they are two of my favourite flavours for a drizzle cake, complementing each other beautifully, with each flavour able to stand up to the other. Continue reading “Lime & Passion Fruit Drizzle Cake”
A marvellous institution in itself, you do not need a reason to justify taking Afternoon Tea: wonderfully indulgent, it is one of the most pleasurable ways to spend what should be several unrushed hours, allowing gasps of excitement to escape out as both sweet and savoury goodies are presented. Continue reading “The joys of Afternoon Tea”