sweet

Rose Labneh with Sumac Baked Figs

I know I’m getting a few months ahead of myself by posting a fig recipe (usually they come into season around late July), but when I saw some particularly plump, dark looking figs in my local fresh produce shop, I couldn’t help but cook them up with some delicious accompaniments. You could recreate this super simple recipe using any seasonal fruit- rhubarb, greengage or peach would work particularly well.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 400ml Greek yoghurt
  • 3tbsp runny honey
  • 2tsp rose water
  • 10-12 ripe figs
  • 1-2tsp sumac
  • Few sprigs thyme
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds only
  • 75g almonds

Method

  1. Place the yoghurt, 1tbsp of the honey and the rose water in a bowl. Mix together then transfer to a muslin cloth and tie up the corners. Sit this in a sieve over a bowl for at least 24 hours (refrigerated).
  2. After 24 hours the liquid will have drained from the yoghurt, leaving you with a thick, smooth labneh.
  3. Once the labneh is ready, prepare the other elements of your dessert. Preheat the oven to 200c and line a high sided baking tray with greaseproof paper. Slice the figs into either halves or quarters (depending on your visual preference!) and spread out on the tray (cut side up). Drizzle with the remaining 2tbsp honey and sprinkle over the sumac. Roughly break the thyme into the tray too.
  4. Roast the figs for 20-25 minutes until very tender and sticky. While the figs are cooking, toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until lightly coloured, then roughly chop.
  5. To serve, spread a generous spoonful of the labneh onto your dessert plates and arrange some fig pieces on top. Sprinkle over the almonds and pomegranate seeds and lastly, garnish with some thyme, if you like.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Date and Ginger Pudding with Maple Sauce

This indulgent ginger and date pudding is made for those miserable winter evenings where you just want to curl up and watch a film with a bowl of something warm, comforting and nostalgic…

Ingredients:

  • 225g butter
  • 225g soft dark brown sugar
  • 70g black treacle
  • 165g golden syrup
  • 200g pitted dates
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 100ml milk
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2tbsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 2 eggs
  • For the sauce: 100g dark brown sugar, 75g butter, 50ml maple syrup, 50g golden syrup, 75ml double cream, pinch sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease a pudding dish (or chosen vessel) with butter.
  2. Roughly chop the dates and place in a small bowl, then pour over the boiling water. While the dates are soaking, melt the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup in a large saucepan. Once melted, add the soaked dates and water. Stir together.
  3. Now gradually pour in the milk. Stir together until well combined. Set aside.
  4. Sift the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and break in the eggs. Briefly mix the eggs to break up then gradually add the melted ingredients from the saucepan. Stir together with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth, lump-free batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake for 40-50 minutes (or until a skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs attached when inserted).
  6. While the pudding is cooking, make the butterscotch sauce. To do this simply place the sugar, butter and syrups in a small saucepan and melt together until gently bubbling, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream and salt.
  7. Serve the pudding warm with a generous helping of sauce and vanilla ice cream.

treacke

Gluten Free Chocolate & Almond Cake

This chocolate cake is rich, moist, easy to make and even gluten free! I’ve used ground almonds where I would usually reach for flour and olive oil instead of butter to create a fudgy texture and it really works. Try it yourself (you could even omit the topping to make it dairy free too!)…

DSCN9445

For this cake you will need: 175ml boiling water, 2tsp instant coffee granules, 80g cocoa powder, 225g ground almonds, 1tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1tsp salt, 300g golden caster sugar, 5 eggs, 225ml olive oil

And for the topping (which is optional- you could just dust with icing sugar or cocoa powder), you will need: 100g dark bittersweet chocolate, 100ml double cream, some white chocolate and a sprinkling of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180c and grease a 20cm cake tin with butter. Place a disc of baking paper in the bottom and grease over that too.

Combine the almonds,bicarbonate of soda and salt in a small bowl.

Mix together the cocoa, coffee and boiling water in a jug and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and sugar until pale and thick. Add the cocoa mix and continue whisking until you have a fairly liquid cake batter with no streaks.

Add the almond mixture down the side of the bowl and fold in gently.

Pour into the prepped tin and bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.

DSCN9436

While the cake is baking, make the topping (a simple ganache). Place the cream and chocolate in a bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water (ensuring the water doesn’t touch the bowl).

Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and remove from the heat. Leave to cool.

When the cake is cooked leave in the tin for 5 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, spread the ganache over the top then sprinkle with white chocolate scratchings and sea salt.

DSCN9440

Enjoy!

Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate Cookies

Cookies are among my favourite things to eat, and they’re SO easy to make. My dark chocolate variety spiked with Cornish sea salt are a grown up alternative to the classic milk chocolate chip cookie and they have quickly become a firm favourite in my house…

To make the cookie dough you will need (makes 12 large cookies): 225g unsalted butter, 125g caster sugar, 175g dark brown soft sugar, 2 eggs, 1tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2tsp cornish sea salt, 300g plain flour, 400g dark chocolate

For the chocolate finish you will need: 200g dark chocolate, sprinkling of cornish sea salt

Chop the chocolate into smallish pieces.

Cream together your butter and sugars with an electric whisk (or stand mixer) until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat between each addition. To prevent curdling, add a little of the flour after each egg too.

Add the remaining flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda and whisk again until a thick dough has formed and all the ingredients are incorporated.

Add the chopped chocolate and mix well with a wooden spoon to evenly disperse.

Roll the dough into a sausage shape about 10cm in diameter and wrap in clingfilm. Chill for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 180c and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper (you will need to batch cook these cookies as they spread).

Take your firmed cookie dough from the fridge and chop into discs (around 2cm thick). Place three on the baking sheets at a time and bake for 12-15 minutes until they have a cracked appearance but are still soft in the middle (this means your cookies will be chewy!).

Repeat with the remaining cookie dough and once baked leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the finish, melt 200g dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Set aside and leave to cool slightly.

Once slightly cooled dip your cookies in the chocolate (over about 1/3 of the surface) and sprinkle with sea salt.

Leave to set (if you can!) and enjoy!

 

Easter Layer Cake

This carrot cake with a hint of zesty freshness is ideal for Easter events; it’s a real crowd pleaser and people always ask for the recipe, so here it is!

CARROT CAKE

For the sponge you will need: 400g grated carrot, 3tbsp finely chopped stem ginger, zest 1 lemon, zest 1 orange, 4 eggs, 2tsp vanilla, pinch salt, 400ml vegetable oil, 150g light brown soft sugar, 100ml buttermilk, 300g caster sugar, 550g plain flour, 3tsp baking powder, 2tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2tsp cinnamon, 2tsp ginger

Preheat the oven to 180c (fan) and line three 18cm cake tins with baking paper.
Whisk the carrot, ginger, zests, eggs, vanilla, salt, vegetable oil, light brown sugar and buttermilk in a large jug, until smooth.
Sift the caster sugar, plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour the wet egg mixture in.
Gently stir until the dry and the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined. Be sure to scrape any run away ingredients down the sides of the bowl and fully incorporate them into the mixture too.
Divide the cake mix evenly into the prepared tins. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Do not open the oven until at least 30 minutes have passed.
Leave to sit in their tins for 10 minutes once baked then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the cream cheese frosting, you will need: 700g icing sugar, 250g cream cheese, 85g butter, a few drops milk

Mix the icing sugar together with the butter with a hand held electric whisk until a powdery breadcrumb-like consistency is achieved.
Now gradually add the cream cheese and mix like mad until it is thick but spreadable. If you like, add the zest of one lemon for a fresh twist.
Add a little milk to alter the consistency if it’s too stiff.
Spread some cream cheese frosting on the first sponge then pop the second on top. Repeat this process and you will be left with a three layer cake sandwiched with frosting. For a professional finish, cover the entire cake with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Use a wet palette knife to smooth the icing down. Now your cake is ready for the decoration.

CARROT CAKE 2

For the additional decoration, you will need: 200g caster sugar, 100g chopped walnuts, few hazelnuts

To achieve the neat line of chopped walnuts, wrap some baking parchment neatly around your cake, leaving 2 inches spare at the bottom. With the palm of your hand, press the walnuts into the cream cheese frosting around the circumference of the base. Remove the baking paper and use a palette knife to create vertical lines all around the remaining cream cheese covered area.

For the spirals, place the caster sugar in a deep bottom pan over a medium heat. Do NOT be tempted to stir it, just wait for it to melt and turn a golden amber colour. Don’t leave it for any longer than this or it will quickly burn. Remove from the heat and leave for a few minutes until the consistency is sticky and slightly thick. Once this consistency is achieved, lightly oil a wooden spoon handle and, with a fork, gather up some of the caramel to mould around it- this should form a spiral shape. Leave for a few moments to harden then remove from the spoon carefully and place around the edges of the cake (as in the above photograph).
If the caramel hardens too much just return to the heat briefly to soften again.
Dip the hazelnuts in any left over caramel and pile in the centre of the cake.
If you don’t feel like attempting the sugar work, just scatter nuts over the top or buy some carrot shaped cake toppers!

Enjoy!

Easy Peasy Chocolate Fudge Cake

Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics, so I decided it was about time I shared my tried and tested chocolate cake recipe. Simple but delicious, this chocolatey treat is a guaranteed crowd pleaser and can be jazzed up for parties or left plain for a tea time treat- go on, give it a try!

DSCN7647

 

For the fudgey sponge, you will need: 350g plain flour, 1tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tsp baking powder, 400g caster sugar, 80g cocoa powder, pinch salt, 1tsp espresso powder, 3 eggs, 160ml vegetable oil, 250ml milk, 100g dark chocolate, 150ml boiling water

Grease and line two small cake tins. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan).

Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, caster sugar, cocoa powder, salt and espresso powder.

In a jug, whisk the eggs,vegetable oil and milk. Pour into the dry mixture and combine thoroughly.

Take the dark chocolate and melt in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool for a few minutes then fold into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients.

Add the boiling water a splash at a time, mixing carefully until thoroughly combined.

Split the mix between the two cake tins and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes until springy.

Leave the cakes in their tins to cool for ten minutes then remove and leave to return to room temperature on a wire rack.

DSCN7680

While the sponges are cooling, making the frosting with: 600g icing sugar, 125g soft butter, 6tbsp milk, 100g dark chocolate, 50g cocoa powder.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water then set aside to cool.

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl then cube in the soft butter. Add the milk. Using an electric whisk, mix together the ingredients, then add the melted chocolate and whisk again until completely smooth. If the frosting is too stiff just add some more milk until the desired spreadable consistency is achieved.

Take your sponges and cut them in half horizontally, leaving you with four layers. Frost between the layers then cover the outer edges. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings for a simple finish.

Enjoy!

 

My Chocolate Show Stopper

This chocolate cake might look a little intimidating on first inspection, but it is actually made using several very simple techniques. With my instructions you can’t go far wrong with the methods and once you’ve made it once you’ll have a go-to show stopper for Birthday gatherings and dessert spread centre pieces.

DSCN6786

So, the first component is the fudgy chocolate sponge mix. For this you’ll need:

300 plain flour, 400g caster sugar, 2tsp baking powder, 2tsp bicarbonate of soda, pinch salt, 80g cocoa powder, 3 eggs, 250ml milk, 140ml vegetable oil, 3tsp vanilla extract, 100g dark chocolate (melted), 200ml boiling water

Preheat the oven to 170c (fan) then grease and line two 18cm loose bottom cake tins.

In a large bowl, mix together the plain flour, caster sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa powder with a wooden spoon.

Put your chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a simmering pan. Meanwhile in a jug, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract.

Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and leave to cool slightly. In three additions, add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing well as you go. Once smooth, pour in the melted chocolate and combine. Last of all, slowly pour the boiling water into the bowl and gently stir until smooth (the mix will be very liquid, but this makes the cake deliciously moist and fudgy).

Split the cake mix between your two tins and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Once cooked leave to cool on a rack.

DSCN6795

While your sponges are baking, start on your striped jaconde sponge (this is made up of a decorative chocolate paste and a simple, light brown sponge mix).

For the decorative paste, combine: 60g butter, 60g icing sugar, 2 egg whites, 40g plain flour, 40g cocoa powder

Simply combine these ingredients in a small bowl. Now, here is the tricky bit.

Line a 10x12inch shallow baking tray with baking paper (ensure the baking paper is big enough to line the walls of the tray too). Cut a separate piece of baking paper to the exact size of the bottom of the tray (10×12) and place on top of the larger piece.

Take the 10x12inch rectangle of baking paper and spread your decorative paste all over it in a thin 2-3mm layer, all the way to the edges.

Now, with a chop stick (or similar tool with squared off end) draw diagonal stripes through the paste so you are left with lots of chocolate lines separated by the lines of baking parchment (this creates the stripey effect on the outer edge of the cake).

Put the rectangle with the stripes on back into the lined baking tray and place in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes while you make your jaconde sponge mix.

And for the jaconde sponge you’ll need: 2 egg whites, 5tbsp caster sugar, 40g ground almonds, 60g icing sugar, 2 whole eggs, 20g plain flour, 20g butter (melted)

Up the oven temperature to 220c (fan). Now, in a clean bowl whisk your whites until stiff peaks are formed. Slowly add your caster sugar, still whisking, until a glossy meringue mix is achieved. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk your almonds, icing sugar and whole eggs until pale and fluffy. Fold in the flour, then the meringue mix. Finally, pour the melted butter in slowly and very carefully combine. The mix should be light and airy.

Retrieve your baking tray from the fridge. Pour the jaconde sponge mix evenly over the stripes of paste, using a spatula to make sure the gap between each chocolate line is filled. Place in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until pale brown.

Once baked,turn the tray upside down onto a work surface and peel away the baking paper. You should be left with a thin rectangle of jaconde sponge with a pin stripe pattern across it. Leave to cool slightly.

DSCN6802

Finally, for the easy chocolate frosting, you’ll need: 150g softened butter, 400g icing sugar, 200ml double cream, 150g dark chocolate (melted), 4tbsp cocoa powder

Combine the butter and icing sugar, loosening with the double cream as you go along. Add the melted dark chocolate and the cocoa powder then whisk vigorously until smooth and workable.

Now, for the assemblage…

Cut your two chocolate sponges in half and layer on top of each other with a generous spreading of chocolate frosting between ( I only used three layers as I didn’t want to create a huge cake as it’s not for a special occasion!).

Cover the outside of the four layer (or three if you like) cake with frosting and smooth to the desired effect.

Now, cut your jaconde sponge into two long rectangles. Measure your cake to gage the exact dimensions you will need to cover the outside of it. I needed two 4.5x12inch shapes. Don’t worry if you cut your jaconde a little too large, you can always trim it.

Wrap the sponge rectangles around your frosted cake and press onto the sides to secure. Trim if necessary. Now, for a final flourish, pipe little stars of the remaining fudge icing all over the top and scatter with glitter.

Enjoy!