I’ve been eating a lot of chocolate covered raisins recently (health god) and yesterday I had a brain wave (daydream) about throwing them into brownies alongside chocolate chips. I cooked a batch up today and they might just be my favourite variety ever; moist middle, crispy shell-like top, pockets of chewy chocolatey fruit and chunks of white chocolate- a definite winner. Try my recipe out and join the party.
250g dark chocolate
275 caster sugar
175g plain flour
large pinch salt
125g white chocolate, roughly chopped
125g chocolate covered raisins
Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a brownie tin.
Melt together the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool a little. Whisk the eggs, sugar and salt until pale and thick.
Add the melted chocolate and butter into the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Sieve over the flour and fold in then do the same with the white chocolate chunks and chocolate covered raisins.
Tip the brownie batter into a baking tin and level out. Bake for 35-40 minutes until crisp on top and fudgy in the centre.
Leave to cool in the tin then slice into squares and enjoy!
Spring has well and truly sprung here in Bucks, and the sunny weather has inspired me to make something zesty, refreshing and seasonal. This brilliant pink sorbet really hits the spot after a three course dinner or makes for a great component in a larger dessert. I’d advise preparing it a day or two ahead as it does require blitzing a couple of times (but no ice cream maker needed- result!).
250g granulated sugar
400g rhubarb, sliced into 4 inch lengths
zest and juice 3 limes
1 egg white (optional)
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rhubarb pieces and poach for 15-20 minutes until very soft.
Remove the rhubarb from the saucepan and place in a food processor along with the lime juice.
Increase the heat on the rhubarb sugar syrup and boil until it reaches ‘thread’ stage. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds; you can check it’s ready in two ways. Firstly, you could use a sugar thermometer and make sure it reads between 223 degrees and 235 degrees. Secondly, if you don’t have a thermometer just add cold water to a bowl and drop some of the syrup in- if it forms a thin thread in the water, it’s ready (I use this method).
Once you’ve reached thread stage take the syrup off the heat and cool a little, then add half to the rhubarb and lime ( too much will make the sorbet too sweet!). Blitz to a smooth puree and pass through a sieve, then add the lime zest. Pour into an ice cream tub and freeze for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally to help break up ice crystals.
After the sorbet has frozen, break it up and return to the blender. Add the egg white (if you can’t eat these or are making this for vulnerable people, just skip this) to lighten the texture and blitz again until smooth.
These bars are the perfect grab and go treat to keep you going on a hectic day- I love my rhubarb and ginger jam sandwiched between the peanut butter flapjack and nutty topping, but you could choose any marmalade or jam in your version.
75g coconut oil
175g peanut butter (or another nut butter ie. almond, cashew)
150g dark brown soft sugar
4tbsp golden syrup
300g porridge oats
Filling and topping:
200g rhubarb and ginger jam (or your favourite jam- fig or raspberry would work well)
200g flaked almonds
75g brazil nuts
100g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a brownie tray.
For the base place the coconut oil, peanut butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan. Melt together over a medium heat. Tip the oats into a large bowl and add the melted liquid. Stir together until well combined then pack down into the prepared baking tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
For the topping, heat the caster sugar and water together over a medium heat. Allow the sugar to dissolve then pour into a bowl along with all the nuts. Stir together to coat.
Now you can assemble the next layers. Spread the jam all over the flapjack base and spoon on the nuts in an even layer. Press down the top then bake for 15-20 minutes, until the nuts are golden brown.
These individual cheesecake shots are light, tasty and great for a Halloween party. Kids will love the ‘broken glass’ shards and the refreshing strawberry flavour combined with a nutty hazelnut base is guaranteed to be a hit with all ages. To create the strawberry filling and gory ‘blood’ I used the Super Red smoothie from the Savse core range. To see how you can use other varieties in the range, take a look back at my Thai chicken salad and whipped goats cheese dish- it’s surprising how versatile a fruity health drink can be!
For the base:
70g melted butter
100g digestive biscuits
For the filling:
1/2 bottle Super Red Savse smoothie
40g caster sugar
150g cream cheese
75g double cream, whipped
75g Greek yoghurt
For the topping:
1 pack clear boiled sweets/ mints
1/2 bottle Super Red Savse smoothie
1tsp natural red food colouring
Place your biscuits and hazelnuts in a food processor. Blitz until they resemble crumbs then add the melted butter. Blitz again to combine then pack a tablespoon of the crumble into the bottom of each shot glass. Chill while you make the filling.
Using an electric whisk, mix together the cream cheese, sugar and smoothie until well combined and non-streaky.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream to medium peaks then fold into the cream cheese along with the yoghurt. Distribute this mixture on top of the biscuit bases and smooth off. Chill for at least 2 hours (it will be a soft set cheesecake).
Preheat the oven to 200c. To make your ‘broken glass’ toppers, crush your boiled sweets and arrange in a thin layer on a baking tray lined with non stick baking paper. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the crushed sweets have melted and formed a glass sheet look. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and break up into pieces.
Now combine the remaining smoothie with the food colouring.
Once your cheesecake pots have been chilling for at least 2 hours, decorate with shards and drizzle in the blood red smoothie!
At the weekends I tend to kick back and relax by taking on extra work (woe is me) in the form of private chef jobs and custom cake orders. This weekend I was commissioned a completely bespoke three tier wedding cake. At about 2 feet tall I am quite proud of this hefty creation and, more to the point, incredibly relieved it made it through the hour long journey to the venue…
My client ordered three different delicious flavours for this particular cake; vanilla with vanilla bean buttercream, chocolate fudge with ganache and Oreo buttercream, and red velvet with a cream cheese frosting. I finished it off with a Italian meringue buttercream, pearl ribbon, fresh roses and Gypsophila flowers; simple but pretty and in keeping with the colour scheme of the wedding in question!
I hope you like the cake and if you’d like to enquire about anything similar, just drop me an email at email@example.com
Yesterday I made a custom cake to order (I do this most weekends, so any requests- throw them my way). This one in particular was for an eleven year old, so it was pretty fun to make and a bit different to the sort of thing I usually offer. I’m not posting the recipe as it’s a compilation of lots of the ideas already on here, but thought I would share some pictures.
( FYI: It’s a chocolate fudge cake with chocolate ganache filling, vanilla buttercream icing, pastel meringues, colourful chocolate shards and some homemade glittery flamingos- might add arts and crafts to the CV?!)
Hope you like the design; if you’re interested in ordering similar custom cakes or are looking for a caterer for birthdays, weddings or any other events, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’m professionally trained and am here to help…
Chocolate seems to be dominating my blog recently, so before I break from that theme to enter other territories I thought I would share my Oreo chocolate cake recipe. It’s made up of three chocolate fudge cake layers which are sandwiched between chocolate ganache, slathered in Oreo cookie frosting and topped with chocolate drips and Oreo cookies. Make it for your next special occasion and your guests will be forever grateful (if a little heavier…).
Ingredients (the quantities might sound like a lot- but this is a big old cake!):
For the cake: 400g plain flour, 450g caster sugar, 125g cocoa powder, 3tsp baking powder, 3tsp bicarbonate of soda, 4 eggs, 350ml milk, 225ml vegetable oil, large pinch salt, 300ml boiling water
For the ganache: 300g milk chocolate, 200ml double cream
For the Oreo frosting: 300g butter, 800g icing sugar, 3tbsp milk, 1 pack oreos (crushed into crumbs)
For the drips: 100g dark chocolate, 120ml double cream
Preheat the oven to 180c then grease and line three 8 inch cake tins.
Place your plain flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir briefly to combine.
In a jug, mix together the eggs, milk and oil. Make a well in the bowl of dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Whisk together until smooth, then measure out your boiling water. Add the boiling water in a few additions, carefully mixing to distribute it through the cake mix. It will be very runny, but this is what makes the cake so moist. Once smooth, pour the batter into the three cake tins and bake for 30-35 minutes. Once baked, leave to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling make the chocolate ganache. Finely chop the milk chocolate and place in a bowl. Heat the cream until nearly boiling then pour straight over the chopped chocolate and allow to melt. Stir until smooth then set aside to cool.
Now make the buttercream. Place the butter in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and whisk (using electric beaters) until pale and thick. Add the icing sugar in additions and keep beating until it becomes white, light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Now add the Oreo crumbs and milk. Whisk again to combine then adjust the consistency by adding a drop more milk if necessary. Set aside.
Make the chocolate ganache for the drips now, to allow cooling/ thickening time. This ganache should be runnier than your filling you’ve already made. As before, heat the cream and pour all over the chopped dark chocolate. Mix until smooth then set aside until it reaches a thick but still pourable consistency.
Now it’s time to assemble your cake! Layer up the chocolate sponges with milk chocolate ganache (and a little Oreo frosting too, if you like!) then coat the whole cake in a thin layer of the Oreo frosting (a crumb coating). Chill for 10 minutes, then use the remaining frosting to create a thick outer layer. Smooth down with a palette knife and cake scraper. Chill again to firm the edges, then pour the runny dark chocolate ganache over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides.