• Category Archives Desserts
  • Vanilla Pannacotta with roasted Rhubarb and Strawberries

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    Always wanted to try making a pannacotta but after watching Masterchef it was one scary dessert to try! but I cracked it and wow! Simple, elegant and tasty…perfect way to finish a meal. Especially when you love vanilla as much as we do!

    70 ml whole milk
    2 vanilla pods
    zest of 1 lemon
    380 ml double cream
    1 1/2 leaves of gelatine soaked
    70 g icing sugar
    200 g rhubarb
    2 T caster sugar

    Heat the milk, vanilla pods (split and seeds removed), vanilla seeds, lemon zest and half the cream into a saucepan and simmer gently for about 10 minutes…let it reduce by about a third. Turn off the heat and add the soaked gelatine and stir til the gelatine is dissolved. Let it cool for a bit and then pop into the fridge…check on it and stir it now an then and when it coats the back of a spoon like custard then it’s ready. Whip the remaining cream with the icing sugar…hint here…sift the icing sugar it will make the cream smoother. Then take the vanilla pods out and mix the two together. Pop into 4 serving moulds and refridgerate for at least an hour…longer is fine.

    While the pannacotta is hopefully setting….cut the rhubarb up into pieces about 2″ long…if your strawberries are quite big then cut them in half and pop them on a tray sprinkle with caster sugar and roast until lightly browned…I had our oven at about 190c and it took around 10 min. If you’re feeling fancy you can follow Jamie Olivers lead and take some champagne or prosecco grate a little fresh ginger and sprinkle cinnamon in it and heat gently then pour over the fruit and let sit for about 30 minutes.

    Pop the pannacotta out of the molds and decorate with the fruit and gently pour the champagne around…..mmmmmmmmmmmmmm yummy!



  • Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

    So here is the first berry from our, first ever, crop of strawberries! So the idea of recipes using strawberries came to mind :) So here’s a really tasty light recipe that I made with my mini helper in Canada for her mummy….Daddy got the Guinness Brownies so Mummy got the cupcakes!

    2014-06-10 10.00.13

    As you can see baking with a 3 year old requires military precision and lots of patience! (On her part…she was desperate to put the sprinkles on!)

    2014-05-13 11.24.092014-05-17 18.18.37



  • Chocolate Mousse Cake

    2014-04-10 13.53.01

    Not surprisingly this cake takes some doing…it requires a few different tasks…but trust me…it’s worth it!!! We’ve watched quite a few of the series Anna Olson Bakes and seen this cake made a couple of times and thought…man we really need to make that…sooooooo…here it is!

    And of course this is adapted from an Anna Olson recipe.

    Round One:

    Make the cake!

    1/2 c boiling water
    50 g plain chocolate chopped
    1/4 c butter, cut into pieces
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 t vanilla extract
    1 1/4 c plain flour
    1 t baking powder
    3/4 t baking soda
    1/4 t salt
    1/2 c hot, strong brewed coffee

    Preheat the oven to 160c
    .
    Prepare the 8″ pans by lining with parchment and dust with flour.

    Get that water boiling and put the chopped chocolate into a bowl and pop the butter in as well and then pour that boiling water over the chopped chocolate and butter and put to one side.

    Whip the egg, sugar and vanilla until it doubles…takes a couple of minutes but whip away!

    Then fold in the chocolate mixture by hand, don’t be tempted to use the mixer as it will whip out all the air that you’ve whipped in!

    Sift the remaining dry ingredients over the batter and then fold in and then stir in the hot coffee…and pour yourself a cup too to enjoy!

    Split evenly between two pans, pop in the oven for about 25 minutes…I’d check after 20! As per usual it’s done when a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely…now you’ll only be using one so you can freeze the other one of just nibble away!

    Round Two:

    Make the mousse:

    3 c double cream
    300g plain chocolate chopped
    3 egg yolks
    1/2 c sugar
    1/3 c water

    Whip up 1 1/2 c of the cream and chill….not you…the cream!

    Heat the other 1 1/2 c of cream to just below simmering and pour it over the chopped chocolate…leave for a minute, stir, and pop to one side.

    Now…this is the technical part…whip the egg yolk on high speed. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan…boil until it reaches 250c on a jam thermometer….be patient as this takes a while!

    Start whipping the egg yolks on medium in a stand mixer…now slowly and carefully pour the hot sugar down the side of the bowl to stop splashing and then whip on high until it cools to just above body temp. It should have doubled in volume.

    Check the temperature of that chocolate mixture to make sure it’s about the same temperature as the egg yolk mixture.

    Fold the two together…then let it cool for about 15 minutes.

    Fold in the whipped cream in two separate additions.

    Round Three:

    Assembly:

    Get a 9″ inch springform pan…I lined it with cling film to make it easier to remove and pour half the mousse into the bottom.

    Very carefully…slice the layer of cake in half and place half into the mousse.

    Pour the remaining mousse into the pan and then put the remaining half of cake on top and gently press it down so it’s level with the top.

    Carefully wrap the whole pan in cling film and pop it in the freezer for at least 4 hours…I was patient…unbelievable I know….and left it overnight.

    Round Four:

    Chocolate Glaze:

    1/2 c water
    1c sugar
    1/2 c double cream
    1/2 c cocoa
    1 1/2 T gelatine powder

    Bring the water, sugar and cream to a boil.

    Once it’s boiling whisk in the cocoa.

    Simmer for about 4-5 minutes.

    Soften the gelatine with 1/4 c water and whisk into the cocoa mixture until it’s dissolved and let cool to room temp and then chill for at least 3 hours….patience is needed again!

    Final Round!!!

    Glazing:

    Remove the cake from the freezer and remove from the tin. Helpful hint….use a hairdryer to gently heat the edges and pop the outside ring off.

    Place the cake on a cooling rack with a baking tray underneath.

    Warm the glaze slightly and slowly pour the glaze over the top and spread gently with a spatula.

    Chill for an hour and then take it off the tray and place carefully onto your presentation plate….and finally…..serve it!

    Enjoy…it goes really well with a chilled glass of Prosecco!



  • Ginger and Pear Bundt Cake

    2014-03-05 21.05.29

    So I finally bought a bundt pan, wanted one for years and considering the baking I’ve done over the years it’s truly surprising I have never owned one. Next task…decide what to make in it…and it couldn’t be anything plain. I had some pears in the fruit bowl that needed using up and we have a serious love for ginger in our house so when I found the recipe for a pear and ginger bundt cake it had to be done.

    This is done in two parts first make the caramelised pears.

    4 pears cored and sliced fairly thinly
    100g butter
    125g dark brown sugar
    2 balls of stem ginger sliced
    1 t cinnamon
    1T syrup from the stem ginger

    Preheat the oven to 160c.

    Get a heavy frypan and melt the sugar and butter in the pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced pears and stem ginger to the melted butter and sugar, sprinkle the cinnamon over the mix and stir to mix. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes and take off the heat and set to one side.

    Now to make the cake batter.

    300 g plain flour
    1t baking powder
    125g butter
    100 g dark brown sugar
    25 g demerara sugar
    380 g black treacle
    250 ml buttermilk
    2 T ground ginger
    3 large eggs
    2 balls of stem ginger sliced
    2 T syrup from the stem ginger
    1 t cinnamon
    1 T all spice
    1/4 t nutmeg

    Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Get a stand mixer and cream the butter and sugar until light fluffy and pale. Turn the mixer off and pour in the treacle and mix together. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the buttermilk and beat them as well. Add the dry ingredients bit by bit to the mixer so you don’t end up with mix everywhere. When the mix is all together add the stem ginger and syrup and mix again.

    Grease the bundt pan heavily! Using a slotted spoon take the pears out of the frypan and layer them around the bottom of the bundt pan. Arrange them as best you can so they look nice when the cake is turned out. Then carefully pour in the batter trying not to disturb your masterpiece of pear arranging. Level the batter and put into the oven for about an hour. Let cool for a bit and then place a plate over the pan and tip it over. Now right now you’ll have a lovely sugary, buttery, gingerly syrup in the frypan with nothing to do…we tipped some double cream in and whisked it up to make the most decadent sauce! How much double cream you use is up to you…you can make it as creamy as you like…it’s all personal!

    Adapted from a pinterest pin from A little bit of heaven on a plate.



  • Creme Brulee

    2014-02-23 19.00.35

    So I know it sounds like a poncy dessert…but it’s so nice and creamy with a crunchy sweet top! It’s luscious in every bite. It takes a bit of time but it’s so smooth it’s worth it…and you get to use a blow torch :)

    Asssemble your ingredients…I made ours the day before and put the topping on the following day.

    1 3/4 c double cream
    1 vanilla pod
    4 large egg yolks
    1/4 c sugar
    pinch of sea salt

    Now I have a proper rack to make this in but you can improvise with a deep baking pan and 4 ramekins…and some asbestos fingers…or rubber tipped tongs.

    Heat the oven to 140 c and get your kettle filled and boil that baby up ready…make a cuppa to drink while your at it!

    Get a small saucepan and pour the cream in and scrape all those lovely little seeds out of the vanilla pod then chuck the whole pod in as well and heat to a simmer. There needs to be steam just rising but don’t let it bubble….or get over 165 c.

    In a separate bowl mix the egg yolks,sugar and sprinkle of salt together ready…when the milk gets to temp slowly pour it into the mixed eggs slowly beating very carefully making sure you don’t get much air into it.

    Now strain it into a pouring jug…it keeps out any shitty little bits and makes it waaaay easier to get into the ramekins without making a mess.

    Put your ramekins into the pan and pour in the boiled water until it gets about 3/4 of the way up the side. Pour the custard mix into the ramekins making sure they are all even…you don’t want anyone bitching that they got a different size!

    Now very carefully put the tray into the oven…don’t let any water get into the ramekins. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top.
    Bake for about 40 minutes…it’s really going to be a test and test again jobby. If the custard wobbles instead of ripples it’s done. If it ripples like Homer’s belly it’s not ready. If it’s not ready then pop back in again and check in 5 minutes. Don’t let them get brown on the top or they’ll definitely be overdone.

    When they have the right jiggle take them out and let them cool on the side til they can be wrapped in cling film and bunged in the refrigerator. Preferably overnight. When ready to serve sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar on top as evenly as possible and right to the edges….get out your trusty blowtorch and melt that sugar as evenly as possible…set each one to the side when done and tell everyone they have to keep their mitt’s off til everyone’s is done…or do them slightly ahead of time. This will form a lovely crunchy top that truly compliments the creamy thick custard underneath!



  • Cheeky Chocolate Syrup

    Now this syrup is dark and rich and rather moorish! It added a great level to the I Love Cake like a fat kid loves cake….cake…but it would be divine poured over some good quality Vanilla ice cream…mmmmmmm…throw some roasted salted peanuts on top and I’m in love!

    200g of GOOD quality dark chocolate at least 70% Cocoa…even you don’t love dark chocolate it’s not too dark…honest!
    4 T unsweetened cocoa…good quality of course
    2/3 c Golden Syrup…for our North American readers you can use corn syrup if you can’t find golden syrup
    2/3 c double cream
    2/3 cup superfine icing suger or sift it well so you don’t have lumps
    1t Vanilla Extract
    Good pinch of sea salt

    Now break up the chocolate into a heatproof bowl, put the cocoa powder in and melt over simmering water. Don’t let the water touch the bowl.

    Once it has melted and all mixed together into a lovely rich pool of darkness, take it off the heat and stir in the syrup then the cream then the icing sugar and lastly the vanilla and salt. Keep in a glass jar until ready to use. You’ll eat it before it goes off but it keeps a couple of days!



  • I Love You More than a fat kid loves cake…cake!

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    As previously stated…don’t get all pc on me over the name…it just fits and it’s not slagging off anyone who is fat, or chubby, or portly, or slightly overweight, or obese, or children….the list goes on and on…it’s a term of endearment? well kinda. It just seems to fit. I was a chubby kid who loved cake and as stated before I’m no skinny minnie and I still love cake! And what a cake this one is….it’s a months calorie intake in one slice! but what the hell…it’s Valentines :)

    This is another one that’s a 4 act play!

    Act One….deep dark chocolate brownies!

    Now as it was for Valentines I decided to break out my heart shaped springform pan. Such a romantic! You can use your favorite brownie recipe or you can be lazy and use a box…sacriledge I know…mix. I had a box of the Ghirardelli Brownie mix that most American’s will know and love, but most of our UK fans won’t know it. Ghirardelli is chocolate made in San Francisco and they sell the Ghirardelli Brownie mix in Costco….or if you aren’t anywhere near the US or a Costco you can pay a ridiculous price for it on Amazon! Or just buy something from you local grocery store.

    Make 2 batches of brownie in whatever shape you fancy….let cool and freeze!

    Act 2….getting saucy

    I made the 2 sauces that I used but you can be lazy and use store bought chocolate sauce and caramel sauce. Now it is a kind of ice cream cake in the way that it is frozen but once thawed it keeps in the fridge for a couple of days and doesn’t become a great big puddle of goo! The peanut butter “ice cream” mix is made as follows!

    300 g plain full fat cream cheese
    1/4 cup milk
    1 cup double cream
    1/2 c caster sugar
    1 c peanut butter

    Whip all this loveliness up in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Don’t eat too much of this because you need it for filling but it’s is light and creamy and oh so good!

    Act 3….coming together

    Take your springform pan and line it with parchment. Make sure the sides are smooth and slip in one layer of frozen brownie. Lovingly pour equal amounts of chocolate sauce and caramel sauce and then sprinkle some salted peanuts over. I used about 2 oz of dry roasted salted peanuts. You can get creative here and put whatever type of nuts you like, but to me, nothing like salted peanuts! Then spread gently half of the peanut butter mixture. Then the next layer is the next frozen brownie…push down gently and repeat the chocolate and caramel and peanuts.Then the rest of the peanut butter mix and smootht the top. Then back in the freezer!

    Final Act….topping it all off!

    Take the cake out of the freezer and remove the pan and parchment and put the cake on whatever plate you are planning on serving it on. Pour a generous amount of both the chocolate and the caramel sauce over the top letting it drip lovingly down the sides and pool along the edges :) Then for the finishing touch I chopped up 3 Snickers bars into small chunks and sprinkled them over the top…..and voila! Sugar coma on a plate!

    We had some of this on Saturday night and we both have a sweet tooth…but it was so sweet that he went and got a bag of crisps (potato chips)to eat to counteract the sweetness!

    Adapted from a recipe by Life Love and Sugar



  • Rockin Rhubarb and Ginger Meringue

    2014-02-02 18.10.31

    This is a three parter…meringue making…filling making….putting the whole thing together!

    Meringue:
    4 large eggs separated…room temperature is best
    1 cup caster sugar
    Pinch of salt

    Heat up the oven to 180c. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment…if you want to get fancy then you can draw a circle on the parchment.
    Beat the egg whites to within an inch of their life! or until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar slowly and keep beating until stiff….mix in the pinch of salt.
    Spread the meringue so you have 2 circles the same size. Bake for 5 minutes and then drop the temp to 130c and bake for about an hour…it need to be golden and crisp. Cool completely. This can be prepped up to a week in advance and kept in an airtight container. I made mine the day before.

    Filling:
    700 g Rhubarb…cut into inch long pieces
    1/2 c sugar
    3 tbsp crystalized ginger…chop into tiny pieces.
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1 piece of stem ginger and a couple of tbsp of the stem ginger syrup
    2 tbsp if rhubarb and ginger jam
    1 c double cream

    Take the rhubarb, ginger(all of the kinds), sugar and throw in a couple of tbsp water…cook for about 20 minutes until tender…let cool. Whip up the If too liquid the drain it off….whip up the double cream and fold in the rhubarb and the jam.

    Final stage:
    Now…a lesson I learned…do not assemble in advance! i put it together in advance and put it in the fridge to keep the cream cold….so when we went to cut it…not pretty….looked liked a dogs dinner but man it tasted good!



  • Take Me to the Movies Choux Buns

    2014-01-26 18.19.32

    These are a little tricky and rather time consuming so not the best choice when you want to make something for a quick sugar fix!
    I started them by making some of it the day before and assembling the next day. I’ll break it down into 4 parts and you can make them individually then for the grande finale put them all together.

    Act 1

    The base….every story needs a solid beginning and you can’t get much better than salted caramel…ooey, gooey and golden!

    The cast:
    150g granulated sugar
    125ml double cream
    15g unsalted butter
    1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

    To make the salted caramel, get a big heavy bottom pot. Pour in the sugar and spread evenly, heat gently until all the sugar crystals have melted and you have a lovely golden liquid. Try not to mess with the sugar while it’s melting…it’ll be hard but only stir gently and occasionally with a wooden spoon to keep the sugar melting evenly. Now the next part will happen quite quickly and if you aren’t careful it can burn so damn fast and burnt caramel is awful! When the sugar has turned and lovely amber gold colour take it off the heat and pour in the double cream. It will bubble voraciously and this is why we use a LARGE pan. Stir until smooth and creamy. Add the butter and salt and mix completely. Set aside to cool…and don’t stick your finger in it to taste it…it;ll burn and hurt like hell!

    Act 2

    The story builder…the meat and potatoes part of the story…the soft creamy unctious popcorn toffee cream filling.

    The cast:

    500ml double cream, plus a little extra to top up
    150g toffee popcorn
    1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

    Put the cream popcorn and salt into a saucepan and heat over medium until it’s bubbling. Put the lid on the pan and let sit for at least an hour to let the popcorn flavour infuse the cream. Once cool…get a sieve and pour the cream into a bowl. Take a spoon and squish all the creamy goodness out of the soggy toffee popcorn. Pour into a measuring just and make sure you top up to 500 ml. Cover with cling film and put into the fridge to keep cold until the grande finale!

    Act 3

    Scene setting…the crisp crackly crumbly topping.

    The cast:

    50g plain flour
    50g golden caster sugar
    40g unsalted butter, cold and chopped into small pieces

    Place ingredients into a bowl and rub together until it looks like breadcrumbs then squish it together to make a smooth dough. Get two sheets of baking parchment and roll out inbetween the paper until only a few millimeters thick. Place on a baking tray and put into the freezer.

    Act 4

    Wrapping it up…the light airy choux buns that will carefully envelop the players ready for the grande finale!

    The cast:

    60g unsalted butter
    1/2 tsp golden caster sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    85g plain flour
    3 medium eggs

    Turn the oven on to 180c. Get 2 small or 1 large baking tray. Take apiece fo parchment and draw 10 circles about 5 cm in diameter. I used a sharpie on the non shiny side of the paper. Turn the drawn on side down. now your pans are ready!. Take a saucepan and put eveything but the kitchen sink…I mean the flour and eggs into the saucepan over medium heat. Heat to a rolling boil and boil until the butter has melted.Take off the heat and beat in the flour until it forms a ball of dough. Gradually add the egg in in three stages beating until smooth. Set aside until it’s cool enough to put into a piping bag. When cool enough then fill the circles on the parchment. Once the circles are piped then take the topping out of the freezer and cut matching 5 cm circles out of the frozen dough. Place one of these discs on each piped circle. Place in the oven for 40 minutes and when they are lovely and golden and puffy turn the oven off and let them cool in the oven to get ready for it’s grande finale!

    The Grand Finale

    The cast:

    Salted Caramel
    Toffee Popcorn Cream
    Choux Buns
    Toffee Popcorn

    Cut the cooled choux buns in half and spoon a dollop of caramel on the bottom and spread it round. Cover the bottom with popcorn and then top with the cream filling, if you are being fancy then pipe it with a star tip…if not then just dollop it on! Place the top on and dust with icing sugar!

    Place on a plate and serve with your favorite flick!

    Adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/salted-caramel-popcorn-crumble-choux-buns



  • Luscious Lemon Chiffon Cake

    2013-10-29 13.30.53

    This is a light springy remarkably tasty cake…always goes down well and is a light dessert to accompany a heavy meal!

    12 egg yolks
    300 g caster sugar
    1/2 c. boiling water
    160 g plain flour
    30 g corn flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. vanilla
    1 tsp. lemon juice
    1/2 tsp almond extract

    Preheat oven to 170 c

    Easy peasy pan prep for this one…just put a parchment circle at the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan! No greasing!!!

    Put the egg yolks into the bowl of your stand mixer or if you fancy a work out you can use a hand mixer or god forbid mix them by hand…never done it by hand but it’s gotta take ages!

    Mix the yolks until thick and dark yellow..takes quite a while so be patient.

    Slowly add sugar until mixed in completely.

    Add the boiling water and mix for 30 seconds then add the dry ingredients slowly and steadily until fully incorporated and then mix for about 5 minutes…now you see why I say use a stand mixer!

    Pour into the pan and place in the centre of the oven and cook for about 40 minutes then check to see if it’s done as every oven is different. It should have risen quite a lot and look golden and is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

    Let cool on a wire rack…if you can find a way to cool it upside down…I know….it sounds daft but it stops a cake this light collapsing on itself… then go for it. I have balanced it on a couple of cups.

    Serve with lemon and vanilla whipped cream and a dab of lemon curd!

    To make lemon and vanilla whipeed cream just whip up some double cream and add vanilla and lemon to your taste….just add a tiny bit at a time as you can always add more but you can’t take any away!