Cranberry, orange & fennel seed biscotti

I adore a good biscotti, but have never been a fan of the (ridiculously expensive!) 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 “Cranberry, orange & fennel seed biscotti”

My take on Bourbon biscuits – with mocha ganache & caramelised sugar

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”

Fool-proof bagels

I say fool-proof, but this is a recipe I have used for many years. I also use it when teaching how to make bagels at cookery classes and am always thrilled by the excellent results from the classes.

Continue reading “Fool-proof bagels”

Very easy cherry & chocolate brownies

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”

Gluten-free Victoria Sandwich Cake

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”

Easy fennel seed & smoked garlic sourdough grissini

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”

Parmesan, basil & toasted pine nut canelés

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.

Continue reading “Parmesan, basil & toasted pine nut canelés”

Pistachio & passionfruit shortbreads

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)

Pistachio shortbread:

  • 140g plain flour
  • 50g pistachios, ground very finely
  • 95g vanilla caster sugar
  • 140g unsalted butter, softened
  • generous pinch of salt

Passionfruit curd

  • juice from 12 passion fruit
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks

To finish:

  • 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.

Assemble:

(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.

Passion fruit & raspberry swiss roll with passion fruit ganache

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”

Ciabatta with a touch of rye

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”

Piccalilli & black pudding pork pie with a cider jelly

 

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”

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””

Shortcrust pastry & fool-proof blind-baking

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”

Sun-dried tomato & basil bread

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”

Croissaladière (anchovies, olives, confit shallots on croissant dough)

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)”

Mini Victoria Sandwich Cakes

These are small-scale versions of possibly THE most classic cake. I love to serve them as part of an Afternoon Tea or just as they are, devouring them while watching television! Continue reading “Mini Victoria Sandwich Cakes”

Macaroons (as opposed to macarons!!)

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!!)”

Savoury Macarons

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”

Perfecting Baguettes

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”

Walnut & Mocha Fancies

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”

Lime & Passion Fruit Drizzle Cake

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”

Focaccia: higher hydration, no knead

This is my take on a standard focaccia, going for a higher water content than many recipes, handling the dough differently and letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight for its first prove (bulk fermentation) to really develop its flavour. Continue reading “Focaccia: higher hydration, no knead”

Simple smoked mackerel canapés

Crunchy, with a rich smoked flavour and a sharp tang, this is my simple canapé version of a wonderful mackerel starter I had in a restaurant some time ago. As the pâté and the chutney can be made in advance, these canapés take minutes to assemble and will remain crunchy for a couple of hours. Continue reading “Simple smoked mackerel canapés”

Perfecting macarons – the queen of confections

If you have ever wanted a macaron recipe for what I consider to be “as fool-proof as is possible”, I hope you find that this is the place to be! Continue reading “Perfecting macarons – the queen of confections”