eat

Gooseberry and Elderflower Layer Cake

Layers of zesty elderflower sponge sandwiched together with tart gooseberry compote and lightly whipped elderflower cream make up this delicious nod to the British countryside. Bake it for a special mid-summer occasion or round off a Sunday lunch with a generous slice.

Ingredients:

  • 275g soft butter
  • 275g caster sugar
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 5 eggs
  • 275g self raising flour
  • 3-4tbsp elderflower cordial

For the gooseberry compote:

  • 500g fresh (or frozen and defrosted) gooseberries
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50ml water

For the elderflower cream:

  • 600ml double cream
  • 4-5tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 1-2tbsp icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and line two 8 inch cake tins.
  2. Place the butter, sugar and zest in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment) and cream together until light, pale and fluffy.
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition to ensure they are fully incorporated. Now tip in the elderflower cordial and briefly mix once more to distribute it evenly through the batter.
  4. Sift over the flour and fold in with a large metal spoon. Split the mixture between the two prepared tins and level out. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
    While the cakes are baking, make the gooseberry compote. Put the gooseberries, sugar and water in a saucepan and gently heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruits are soft and a loose compote has formed (10-15 minutes).
  5. When the cakes are ready, leave to cool completely in the tins. While they cool, make the elderflower cream. To do this simply whisk together the cream, cordial and sugar until soft peaks form.
  6. Once all your elements are cool, assemble the cake. Spread a generous layer of compote and several dollops of elderflower cream between each sponge, then finish with a few sprigs of elderflower for a simple, effortless summer pudding.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Gold Splatter Cake

This bake is just my go to chocolate cake (My Favourite Chocolate Cake) but I thought I’d share the photos as I went a bit rogue with the decoration. I wanted to do something a bit different from my go to chocolate shards/praline/freeze dried fruit, so rooted around my baking stuff and uncovered some long forgotten metallic spray and edible gold gel. I covered the base cake in a layer of glossy dark chocolate ganache (made by pouring 100ml hot cream over 150g chopped dark chocolate, stirring together then cooling), allowed it to set a little then flicked and sprayed it gold; I really like the minimal result and think it could be a great effect for a tiered celebration cake.

chocolate

chocolate-2

chocolate-3

Be sure to send me photos if you try it out!

Cinnamon, Fig and Pecan Cheesecake

This bake pairs perfectly with a strong coffee and would round up a cosy dinner party really well; the cinnamon spiced filling studded with ripe figs and the nutty pecan base make a nice change from your regular vanilla cheesecake and definitely bring Autumnal vibes to the table.

figvhh

Ingredients:
Base
200g pecans
300g digestives
150g butter

Filling
4 eggs
125g caster sugar
600g ricotta cheese
150g mascarpone cheese
45g plain flour
1tsp cinnamon
5 figs

Extras
more figs, honey, mint

fig2

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Blitz together the pecans and digestives in a food processor. Add the melted butter and blitz again until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Tip into a 12inch spring form tin (with a lined bottom) and pat down over the base and up the sides. Chill for 15 minutes.
  3. Bake the base for 10 minutes then set aside to cool completely. Turn the oven down to 160c.
    In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and caster sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the ricotta, mascarpone, flour and cinnamon and whisk again until combined.
  4. Pile the filling on top of the pecan base. Slice the figs in half and arrange, flesh side up, on top of the cheesecake.
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes (there should be a slight wobble in the middle). Leave to cool completely before removing it from the tin.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of honey and some toasted pecans.

fig

Enjoy!

Savse Smoothies: Mango Chicken Thai Style Salad

I’ve recently arranged an exciting collaborative series with Savse Smoothies which will involve me incorporating their drinks into my recipes! I will be posting a recipe every couple of weeks and hope to show that whilst their products are really delicious on their own, they can also be used in lots of tasty dishes, both savoury and sweet.

Savse, if you aren’t aware of the brand, specialise in healthy smoothies made up of raw, fresh fruit and vegetables. They sell a core range of five ‘Super’ smoothies (red, orange, purple, blue and green) and make many more specialised drinks. It might come as a surprise looking at my incredibly indulgent bakes, but I eat very healthily and really enjoy cooking with fresh ingredients so this opportunity is really exciting (and a bit of a challenge!).

The first recipe I’ve come up with is inspired by the mango and carrot flavours in the Super Orange smoothie (part of the Savse core range). The street style salad is really fresh and marinating the chicken in the smoothie gives it a sweetness which cuts through the classic Thai flavours of chilli, ginger and coriander I’ve used. I’d recommend making this in bulk on a Sunday night and then portioning it up for no fuss weekday lunches!

chicken-2

Ingredients (Serves 4): 

  • For the chicken: 4 chicken breasts, 2/3 bottle Savse Super Orange smoothie, 3cm piece ginger (grated), salt and pepper, oil for pan frying
  • For the salad: 4 grated carrots, 2 large handfuls bean sprouts, 2 thinly sliced red peppers, 1 thinly sliced red onion, large bunch coriander (chopped), small bunch parsley (chopped), 200g roughly chopped cashews, 1-2 red chillies (sliced), bunch spring onions (sliced)
  • For the dressing: remaining 1/3 Savse Super Orange smoothie, 3tbsp white wine vinegar, 2tbsp soy sauce, 1tbsp honey, juice 1 lime, 2 cloves garlic (crushed)

chicken-3

Method:

  1. Slice the chicken breasts into three large pieces and place in a shallow tray. Season with salt and pepper, pour over the smoothie and add the grated ginger. Cover and marinade for a minimum of 2 hours.
  2. For the salad, toss together the carrot, bean sprouts, red pepper, red onion, coriander, parsley, cashews, chillies and spring onions. Set aside.
  3. For the dressing, whisk together the remaining smoothie, vinegar, soy, honey and lime juice.
  4. Heat some oil (olive oil, rape seed or coconut oil is good) in a frying pan, drain excess liquid from the chicken then fry quickly over a high heat until you achieve some golden colouring and the meat is cooked through.
  5. Dress the salad until thoroughly coated then pile onto a plate. Add the chicken and pour over any juices. Garnish with more cashews, coriander and chilli slices.

chicken-1

Willie’s Cacao: Cherry and Chocolate Choux Doughnuts

The final recipe in my chocolate experimentation series pairs Willie’s Cacao sweet Peruvian Chulucana with a homemade cherry and brandy compote, chocolate cream and crisp golden choux pastry- perfect for an afternoon tea or an evening treat. This chocolate has fruity sweet flavours so would also work well with raspberries, blackberries and dried fruit.

CHOUX USE 2

INGREDIENTS

For the choux pastry: 3 eggs, 85g butter, 220ml water, 105g plain flour, pinch salt

For the cherry compote: double handful fresh cherries (chopped and de-stoned), 75g caster sugar, 2tbsp brandy

For the chocolate cream filling: 300ml double cream, 2tbsp cocoa powder, 2tbsp icing sugar

For the topping: 200g Peruvian Chulucana chocolate (or a good quality 70% dark chocolate), 50g good quality white chocolate

CHOUX 1

METHOD

Start with the cherry filling. Place the cherries in a saucepan along with the caster sugar and brandy. Heat slowly for 10-15 minutes, or until the cherries release their juices and start thickening up to form a compote. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200c (fan). Very lightly grease a baking tray with butter.
Now make your choux pastry. Sieve the flour and salt three times to ensure no lumps are left, then pour it into the centre of a piece of greaseproof paper, ready for the next step.

Place the butter and water in a saucepan and gently heat until the butter has melted. Do not let it boil during this stage or the water will evaporate too rapidly. Once melted, increase the temperature and bring to a rolling boil. Add the plain flour in one go and remove from the heat- now vigorously mix with a wooden spoon until it is well combined, shiny and comes away from the sides of the pan. Spoon this mixture into a bowl and leave to cool to body temperature.

Whisk the eggs together in a jug. Once your choux mix has cooled sufficiently, start adding your egg a little at a time, mixing with an electric whisk between each addition. You might not need all the egg- just stop when you achieve a smooth and glossy dropping consistency (where the mix falls off a wooden spoon after around 6 seconds).

When your choux is ready spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Pipe doughnut shapes onto your prepared baking tray, leaving space for expansion between each. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and well risen, then turn the heat down to 170c and remove your pastry from the oven. Insert a skewer into each doughnut to allow the steam to escape then bake for a further 5-10 minutes to dry out thoroughly. Once baked the choux should have firm sides and be a deep golden brown colour. Cool on a wire rack.

CHOUX USE 3

While the choux is cooling, melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, then set aside to cool. Finally, take your cream and sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder, then whisk to soft peaks.

To assemble, slice the doughnuts in half horizontally and fill the lower half with some cherry compote followed by a ring of piped chocolate cream. Top with the other pastry half then carefully pour some melted dark chocolate over. Repeat with the other choux rings. Decorate with leftover cherries and melted or grated white chocolate, if you like.

CHOUX 4 USE

Thanks to Willie’s Cacao for sending me their delicious chocolate and thanks to you for reading my chocolate based recipes this week. If you want to find out more about the company and the bean to bar philosophy, click here.

Summer Prawn and Quinoa Salad

This salad is fresh, healthy and really flavoursome- it would make a great addition to a BBQ spread but is also satisfying enough to have as a light summer dinner. Give it a try, and if you’re not so keen on prawns why not serve it with rare steak or grilled halloumi instead?!

IMG_0440

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • For the salad: 16 whole king prawns or 2 packs of uncooked peeled prepped prawns (your choice- I like using whole prawns for the visual impact and they are nicer to cook on the BBQ but either is fine) 400g red/white quinoa mix, 1 bunch mint, 1 bunch coriander, 1 red pepper, 1 ripe mango, 2 large double handfuls spinach, 200g feta, 1 red onion, 1 red chilli, 4 cloves garlic, 4 spring onions, 2 ripe avocados
  • For the dressing: 2tbsp white wine vinegar, juice 2 limes, juice 1 lemon, 1tbsp honey, a generous sprinkling sea salt, black pepper, 3tbsp olive oil

Method:

Finely chop the mint, coriander, red chilli and spring onions. Set aside.

Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions (these can vary depending on where you buy it and the brand). Once cooked fork through then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, set your oven to 200c and roast your red pepper and garlic cloves whole for 20 minutes- there is no need to chop them up at this stage.

Cut the mango into small pieces along with the avocado. Roughly chop the spinach into strips. Dice the red onion.

Once the red pepper and garlic are cooked, slice the pepper and squeeze the garlic pulp from the skins.

Combine the dressing ingredients and mix well.

Coat the prawns in the garlic, season and make sure your BBQ (or griddle pan) is piping hot. Cook until light char lines are achieved and the flesh has turned pink (there should be no translucent areas).

To assemble:

Mix the quinoa, herbs, chilli, roast pepper, mango, spinach, avocado, spring onions and red onion in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss together. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Pile onto plates and top with the garlic prawns and a sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese.

Fool Proof Scotch Eggs

DSCN9187

I rarely post other people’s recipes on here but I was so impressed with Barney Desmazery’s  foolproof scotch egg recipe I just had to share!

With cooked ham, stuffing and herbs incorporated into the sausage meat layer, these scotch eggs are really flavoursome, and, most importantly, the yolks are left runny if you stick to the exact cooking time!

If you’d like to try these out (and I strongly recommend you do) find the recipe here.

DSCN9181

Try incorporating bacon rashers to the sausage meat and blitz until smooth to add a smoky flavour.

DSCN9170

I added paprika into the sausage meat for a spicy flavour! I would serve with salad and piccalilli (I used the chilli sweetcorn relish I made over Christmas!).

DSCN9177

Enjoy!