Coffee and walnut chocolates

My favourite flavours for a cake, but in a chocolate! Ok, these are purely for eating without shame just as they are, but they would make a fabulous adornment for a cake. Continue reading “Coffee and walnut chocolates”

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Smoked mackerel pastry rolls

This is a recipe I am very proud of: I had some smoked mackerel pâté to use up and had that “I wonder if this will work…” moment. Luckily, it does work and it is now one of my go-to dishes for buffets and the like. Continue reading “Smoked mackerel pastry rolls”

Char-grilled courgette salad

This is a very simple salad with bags of flavour that is a great way to use courgettes, which are very much in season here in the UK at the moment. Continue reading “Char-grilled courgette salad”

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”

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”

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”

Cheese, olive & tomato sourdough

This is much a “use up the left-overs” bread, using up some spiced olives (the ones normally found in the chiller cabinet at the supermarket) and the end of a block of mature Cheddar. I added some chopped sun-dried tomatoes for that wonderfully intense umami flavour you get: sun-dried tomatoes are one of my must-have store cupboard ingredients! Continue reading “Cheese, olive & tomato sourdough”

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”

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”

Spiced & minted fruit salad with raspberry sorbet

This is a very quick and easy dessert to accompany a barbeque, with all components that can be made well ahead. Ok, this is not a bake but it is nonetheless a joyful dish in its own right: simple, full of flavour and very refreshing. Continue reading “Spiced & minted fruit salad with raspberry sorbet”

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”

Simple ginger & lemon iced biscuits

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

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!”

Creating a basic recipe index for a food blog

After over two years of blogging my recipes, I have finally got round to doing a full recipe index: something I have been meaning to do for ages! Continue reading “Creating a basic recipe index for a food blog”

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”

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”

Sun-dried Tomato & cheese scones

This is another savoury twist on the wonderful sweet scones that are traditionally served with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Continue reading “Sun-dried Tomato & cheese scones”

The simplest, quickest sourdough flatbreads in about 20 minutes!

When you feed a sourdough starter, you discard some of the starter so that you can top the remaining starter with more water and flour: that way you get a fairly constant volume of starter rather than having litres of it in many containers all over the place! Continue reading “The simplest, quickest sourdough flatbreads in about 20 minutes!”

Raspberry cascade cake

With baking I am a firm believer that simplicity, done well, can often give the best results. And while I occasionally go for over-the-top-looking creation with cakes, for me it really is flavour that is has to be at the heart of the cake: after all, once a cake has been cut into and has lost some of the visual appeal, you want the flavour to carry on the joy. Continue reading “Raspberry cascade cake”

Savoury macarons: smoked salmon & horseradish

These savoury macarons are my bite-sized version of that treat the list of one of my top food pleasures: smoked salmon on sliced brioche with a thin spreading of caper butter. Continue reading “Savoury macarons: smoked salmon & horseradish”

Earl Grey scones

I love scones so much: with a little clotted cream and jam or home-made fruit curd they are divine. Earl Grey tea scones are one of my favourites and make a perfect accompanyiment to any cream tea – or simply eaten in the garden on a warm day with a pot of tea! Continue reading “Earl Grey scones”

Spiced smoked haddock scones

Try to imagine me screaming from the rooftops that you absolutely must try this recipe: I am so proud of it and I really do think they need making and devouring. Continue reading “Spiced smoked haddock scones”

Lemon drizzle cake

While it is always a joy to making more elaborate cakes for friends and family, I love the total simplicity of a drizzle cake: no fuss, tangy, very moreish and so perfect with a cup of tea!  And a slice of it eaten on a dreary day instantly evokes summer days for me! Continue reading “Lemon drizzle cake”

Apple & cinnamon kouign-Amann pastries

This is a variation on the Kouign-Amann (roughly pronounced “queen ah-marn”) I posted ages ago. This time I went for apple and cinnamon flavour which works so well with the caramelised sugar, giving a kind of tarte tatin – but a touch more indulgent! Continue reading “Apple & cinnamon kouign-Amann pastries”

Spiced smoked cod & fennel tart

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”

Pimms macarons with Pimms ganache & minted cucumber jelly

A challenging but rewarding bake, this is a taste of summer in each mouthful: these macarons are sandwiched together with a Pimms ganache and small pieces of a sweetened cucumber and mint jelly: you really can’t have Pimms without the cucumber! Continue reading “Pimms macarons with Pimms ganache & minted cucumber jelly”

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”

Bread & butter pickles: spicy, sweet cucumbers

Preserves are terrific partners for good bakes, and these sweet, spiced and crunchy cucumbers are very easy and quick to make. Essentially these sliced cucumbers are bathing happily in a sweetened and spiced vinegar. Continue reading “Bread & butter pickles: spicy, sweet cucumbers”

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”

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””

Bread: tips & ideas for the novice home baker and upwards!

This post, focusing on bread making, is part of my Baking tips page, along with tips for macarons, croissants, cake decorating ideas and pastry.

Continue reading “Bread: tips & ideas for the novice home baker and upwards!”

Mango and lime “egg cup” desserts

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”

Tips for making & decorating cakes

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”

The quickest & easiest croissants: 20-minute lamination!

A batch of croissants, made traditionally, 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 the traditional 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!”

Kouign-Amann pastries: shortcut method

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”

Traditional scones

Scones are fabulous on their own on a sunny day with a pot of tea, or can brighten up the drearist day with ease, but they are, of course, an important component of Afternoon Tea whether sweet or savoury.
Continue reading “Traditional scones”

Vegan raspberry macarons

I need little excuse to make macarons, but this time I was asked if I could make some for a friend who was investigating more of a vegan lifestyle and wanted to be convinced that she could still enjoy indulgent things: which of course she could…and should! Continue reading “Vegan raspberry macarons”

Simple caraway & cumin flatbreads with baba ghanoush

These simple flatbreads are wonderful with a full-on dip to dunk into with gusto. My dip of choice here is baba ghanoush, a wonderfully smoky aubergine dip. Continue reading “Simple caraway & cumin flatbreads with baba ghanoush”

St Émilion au Chocolat

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”

Crab Canapés

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”

The very best sausage rolls……..

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……..”

Nut-free Macarons

While I often vary the nuts I use for my macarons, I had never made a macaron that was totally nut-free. As I was to give my students a baking lesson in macarons, being a nut-free school this could have posed something of a challenge…but I thrive on a culinary challenge! Continue reading “Nut-free Macarons”

Pain de Campagne

A gorgeous bread, with real flavour, this is a few notches above the supermarket artisinal breads – and it can be made for a fraction of the cost. Great just as it is with butter and jam but wonderful toasted for breakfast. The simplest of life’s pleasures! Continue reading “Pain de Campagne”

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”

Making Sourdough bread

A sourdough loaf really is a thing of great beauty: chewy, crusty, an open crumb with layers of flavour that is much more than even the joyous standard home-made bread. Heavenly! And perhaps there is also something of a fingers up at those ridiculously expensive sourdoughs that can be bought…… Continue reading “Making Sourdough bread”

The joys of Afternoon Tea

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”

Croissants

A croissant is one of the greatest things both to bake and to eat. A crisp outer shell that rains flakes as you bite into it, revealing an open honeycombed interior structure with a buttery flavour and a lovely, almost nutty aroma. A joy!  Continue reading “Croissants”