Friday, 30 December 2016

Spiced Bundt Cake (plus Cupcakes!)

My belated Christmas gift to you.. This cake. This is a truly perfect cake. You know gingerbread men? Imagine them soft and moist and in cake form. Doesn’t that sound like something you need to have in your life right now?

I may have mentioned it before, but I love cakes. And I’ve never made a bundt cake before, but my boyfriend managed to find me a few cool tins at the house he grew up in in Sweden, and I was happy to take them!

This cake actually worked surprisingly well, the hardest part of a bundt cake is extricating the delicious (and soft, and fragile) cake from the tin. It took me a few scary moments with a plastic knife to get it out, but a well-greased pan in preparation really does do wonders.

I had intended to make just a cake, but I ended up with a LOT of mixture and a rather small tin, so I got about a dozen cupcakes out of it too. I baked them until golden, which took about 20-25 minutes. And for icing those, I just whipped up a simple buttercream icing, added a load of cinnamon to it, then piped and embellished in a festive theme. YUM.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Chocolate Covered Marzipan

Christmas is just around the corner (and I love it, I love Christmas so much that I once wrote a song called “Hurry Up Christmas”) and it’s time to get your Christmas prep on.

Marzipan is a really Christmassy thing to me, and I use it quite a lot in my festive baking, like the absolutely delicious apple and marzipan pie, and the classic Stollen. I never really thought that 
marzipan would be easy to make, I didn’t even know if it was possible to make in a home kitchen.

And then GBBO had a marzipan task. Challenge accepted, Berry.

And it turns out it’s pretty easy, and it’s nice to work with. I’ll be making my own marzipan exclusively from now on. This is a win!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Ham and Lentil Slow Cooker Soup

All right, we are doubling DOWN on Christmas cooking now. We're knee deep in the season, people.

For me, Christmas is about eating with family and friends. I have a really awesome family. We meet up all the time when I’m home and have a great time together. They’re also full of good ideas that I can pass off as my own.

This soup is a prime example. My aunt makes the best soup. She is the queen of soup. One day she came to my nanny’s house with her massive 15L soup pot full of lentil soup and put it on the stove. When it was ready to be served, she went into it with a massive fork and pulled out a large joint of ham.

That’s right, she cooked the ham right there in the soup.

Absolute genius.

And I’ve shamelessly stolen the idea and made it into a slow cooker meal, something I can put on in the morning and then all of a sudden at dinner time a wonderful meal appears. I don't add any salt because the stock and gammon are salty enough, but a little bit of pepper works wonders.

Perfect dinner. My boyfriend doesn't think soup is enough of a meal for dinner, so he gets a grilled cheese with his.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Spiced Caramel Squares (and How to Make Caramel!)

It's a Christmas miracle!

This is a really momentus moment. Like, super exciting for me.


This is a big step for me. I’m ecstatic. And of course, the idea came from my cooking inspiration, my nanny.  As a kid, I’d remember looking though her cupboards, always searching for one thing – a can with its label removed (boiled off). And when I found that, the question I’d ask would always be the same- “...nanny, can we make banoffee?”

So, what my brilliant nanny does to make her caramel for banoffee is boiling tins of condensed milk. Basically, plop a few tins of condensed milk in a pan, and pour over enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 2.5-3 hours. The longer you boil it, the darker and thicker it will be. The only thing to be careful of is not letting the tins boil dry – because then they will explode and there will be a huge mess. I was a bit paranoid the first time, so I was checking the tins every 15 minutes and topping the water up every 30 minutes or so, so that all the parts of the tins were constantly submerged. I’m renting, I cannot deal with caramel on the windows.

Once you’ve cooked for the allotted time, remove the tins from the water and allow to cool completely before using. I cooked 3 at a time because that’s the most that would fit in my pot- plenty to be getting on with! The cans should last for a few months, but really take a day of prep by the time you cook and cool, so just get them cooked whenever you have a spare few hours. These are an absolute cupboard staple for me now.

Bubbling away

And of course I had to try some caramel on a recipe that basically had my name written all over it. 

Caramel squares are my second favourite thing to get in a bakery back home (first is peppermint squares) and when I saw a recipe with a delicately spiced base it was love at first sight. There isn’t much more to say except these taste amazing and you’re welcome and let's get this festive season of baking underway with a bang!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sausage Cassoulet

Winter is well and truly here, and I don’t know about you all, but I need some pure comfort food. I’m talking meat, I’m talking root vegetables and I’m talking one-pot so you don’t have much cleaning to face afterwards, when you’re all full and cosy.

Well hello, cassoulet.

This is a cosy winter stew if ever I saw one. Except, it’s better than a stew (not a huge stew fan, sorry Ireland). It’s flavourful and colourful and warming and filling and only a little stodgy, in that good way that you need sometimes when you’ve come in from the rain and Christmas shopping and you’re all cold and hungry and in need of rejuvenation.

I basically threw in whatever veggies I had, and it made one really simple and delicious meal. For an authentic French experience (this dish has its origins there, after all) serve with a hunk of baguette.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Coconut Flour (Gluten-Free) Pancakes!

I’m determined to get through this box of coconut flour! It's a frosty Sunday morning, and I know what I'm having for lunch (breakfast, since I woke up late?)..

The box of coconut flour came with a recipe on the back for pancakes,but it was a bit too “clean” for me – I smother my pancakes in sugar or Nutella, as a rule, so I’m just not about to make them with coconut oil and agave nectar. Coconut flour is a little tricky to work with given that it is just so good at soaking up liquid, so I used the box’s proportions of wet to dry, but subbed in my own preferred ingredients.

These are a lot denser than my preferred pancakes, they’re not fluffy, but not wet like a crepe either. The coconut flour adds a wonderful nutty flavour that really sets off the finished product. I was trying to be “good” (HAH!) so I didn’t have it with Nutella, but I can only imagine it would taste like some kind of Bounty Bar dream if you liberally coated it in Nutella. Next time!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Apple Cinnamon Scones

My mouth is watering

I'm posting this now so you can make them for your Sunday morning breakfast. I'm feeling rather poorly and rather sorry for myself, so I thought I'd share the ultimate comfort food.

Scones are something I’ve always found difficult to make. Which is terrible, because they are delicious, and most delicious when you eat them freshly warm from the oven. I’ve tried for years to make the perfect scones. My mum makes great ones, but I’ve never been able to mimic them using her recipe. I’ve had issues with every recipe I’ve tried, even Mary Berry’s (sacrilege!), even the Guardian’s “How to make the perfect..”

So, in order to get to the root of my problem, I had to look at where I was going wrong. The main issue was that they were just too sticky and I was unable to lift them from the floured surface to the baking tray. Now, scone dough is meant to be sticky. So you can’t just fix it by bunging a load more flour into the mix.

Then I discovered a method called “chaffing,” where you coat the dough in flour, and fold it, turning it 90 degrees as you do so. Do it quickly and don’t overwork it. Paul Hollywood has an excellent video demonstration.

This has transformed my scone life! I’m still on the lookout to get a bit more volume into the scones, but it’s not a bad place to start from! I’ve whipped up some apple cinnamon ones, but the choices are endless now. Plain scones, cheese scones, nutty scones.. The possibilities are endless to beef up this classic scone recipe. There’s no stopping me now:

So, like the day after making the apple scones, I made a double batch, half plain, a quarter apricot and a quarter coconut and white chocolate. The coconut ones in particular were incredible

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Butterbean, Pasta and Pesto Salad

What are Mondays for, if not starting off with good intentions?

I’m not a big salad fan, but I do like butterbeans, pesto and pasta a great deal. So I decided to whip something up that would be a bit more interesting (and better for me) than a ham sandwich lunch.

This is really simple to make, and can easily be made out of leftover pasta if you happen to have made too much (which always, constantly happens to me). I am using my homemade pesto, but feel free to use any that you like. It takes 2 seconds to whip up, makes about 4 portions, and makes meal prep reeeeeally easy.

Feel free to play around with the flavours, or leave out the pepperoni to keep veggie. Speaking of veggies, I have a fairly limited repertoire of ones I actually like, so I’m happy with what I’ve put in, but feel free to go wild and add tomatoes or carrots or whatever you crazy salad-lovers fancy.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Tomato and Sweet Potato Soup

Winter is here! The nights are dark and the weather is absolutely BALTIC. My duffel coat feels like it is permanently attached to my body, and I don’t leave the house without thick socks.

This is firmly soup weather.

And it's good timing, as I've just realised that I haven't posted anything savoury to the blog since August. That's a little embarrassing.. but I love sugar!!

I do enjoy soup, but for me to look forward to making and eating it, it has to be absolutely delicious. Otherwise it can feel a little like a runner up dinner. Luckily, this soup is really delish, and uses up a lot of my cupboard/fridge staples. It’s thick and creamy and full of nutritious veggies, a perfect wholesome dinner for those days when you go out for breakfast and then manage to have a massive slice of cake and a mocha as well. 

Everything in moderation!

The chorizo on top is a nice little smoky treat, but feel free to skip it if you’re feeling veggie, or add something else like diced scallions or buttery sweetcorn.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Orange and Ginger "Raw-eos"

Well, I had a box of medjool dates left over from my last “raw” cooking kick, so I thought I’d try something that I’ve been thinking about for a little while. While these don’t taste anything like Oreos, they look a bit like them and they’re kind of delicious in their own way. I’m a sugar addict, I’m not going to go all “clean” on you guys and say how these taste even better than the real thing. They don’t, BUT they’re actually pretty damn delicious, and sweetly flavourful.

The biscuit-y bit is actually really similar to those Nakd bars – the only one I like (choc orange). I think the little addition of bits of ginger chocolate gives it a real pop and works well with the orange. I’m a fan.

Raw cooking is something which I’m just dipping my toes into, and adjusting to my own tastes. Feel free to play around with the flavours, or just leave the ginger choc/zest out entirely. The other great thing about these is that you don’t need the filling, you could easily roll them a bit thicker (like an inch) and just eat them as-is. Versatile and yummy!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Spooky Cookies

I am having SO MUCH FUN.

I love Hallowe’en. Everyone should love Hallowe’en. It’s spooky and fun and has some of the BEST songs. If you’ve never listened to Werewolf Bar Mitzvah then stop what you’re doing and watch it on Youtube. You won’t be sorry. I’ll wait.

Right, back to the matter in hand. Delicious biscuits! I tried a new recipe for the “sugar cookie” biscuit base upon which my pumpkins rest. And I re-used the best gingerbread recipe in the world and repurposed them for the season – as scary skeletons! The cookies are lovely and soft which is how I like them, but feel free to cook for slightly longer and roll out slightly thinner if you prefer a thinner biscuit. Also, feel free to make the skeletons with the plain biscuit recipe below, I just had a hankering for gingerbread too (greedy)!

I’m gonna hold my hands up. I’m not the best decorator. I get impatient and I’m not a good at drawing and really I’d rather just have the foodstuff in my mouth. But I tried really hard. I asked my honest-to-a-fault boyfriend if they looked like a 4 year old made them and he said, “no, they’re way better than that. ..Like a 12 year old maybe.”


Anyway. This is the most fun I’ve had in the kitchen in ages. I’ve eaten 4 cookies and I feel sick and accomplished. Come, join me.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Banoffee Cupcakes

I like to think that my blog reflects the current trends in my eating habits, I post what I’m making for dinner, and what sweet treats I bring in for work and for me things tend to go in themes. For example, I recently had a go at low carb, raw type cooking. I still do that, but not having been in the kitchen for ages, I stored up lots of recipes that I was dying to try, and they don’t fall into the healthy category. And with that in mind..

Banoffee is basically the best dessert in the world.

I don’t think any sane person would disagree with that. My only problem with it is the whipped cream. I hate cream. When I order it in a restaurant, I scrape the cream off (to my willing boyfriend’s plate!) and when I make it at home, I make a non-cream one for myself.

A quick note about caramel – I find it really difficult to make. So this is from a jar. It’s a great shame of mine (if you’re keeping count, I buy ready made mashed potato and ready made caramel, but NEVER ready made custard) but I’ve had to ditch tons of otherwise great bakes due to failed caramel, and I won’t have it happen again!

So, this is you basic banoffee flavours in cupcake form, you’ve got banana fairy cakes smothered in caramel buttercream and dotted with dark choc chips and tiny fudge pieces. The cupcakes are light and delicate with a lovely banana sweetness, and the buttercream is rich and creamy and basically amazing. I had like a tbsp. left over and just ate it directly from the piping bag. Unless that makes me sound gross, then I totally didn’t.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Mint Oreo Tiffin

I’ve been AWOL from my blog (and all the fun things in my life) due to studying and generally being dull and miserable.

Luckily, I have a brief 6 week reprieve now, so I’m busting back into my kitchen! Don’t call it a comeback.

During my study sessions, I needed to keep well fed, with plenty of flavoured coffee and sugar. Which is how I came across the concept of tiffin. It’s basically minty Rocky Road with a delicious creamy oreo filling. And it’s incredible. Mint and chocolate is the best combination and nothing will ever convince me otherwise. I didn’t add mint to the chocolate part because I wanted that to stand on its own, and I wanted the minty filling to be a good contrast. However, the addition of a few scattered mint chocolate chips was actual genius, if I do say so myself. Every couple of bites you get a extra mint explosion and it’s really stellar.

Now, normally I wouldn’t advocate using such a “rare” ingredient as mint oreos, since you couldn’t get them in UK shops. BUT about three weeks ago they launched them here. Which is both exciting and awful. Exciting because they’re my favourite thing ever and I can eat a whole packet in a day. Awful because they’re my favourite thing ever and I will eat a whole packet in a day. So I was good. I I didn’t buy a random packet to munch on, but I devised a recipe to allow me to buy and use 2/3 of a packet.

Oh, but what happened to the other 1/3? Don’t worry about it.

Anyway. This is the favourite thing I’ve made recently and you should all make it if you want to enrich your lives.

Thursday, 13 October 2016


I'm (nearly!) back, everyone!

Had to take an enforced hiatus due to crazy life stresses, so not much cooking got done. But I'm back, I've got a poaching pan, and I'm ready to fill your lives with more home made deliciousness. I'm trawling my recipe books, imagination and cupboards and will have some awesome wicked cool sugary treats coming up as fast as I can bake 'em.

Later, losers!


Monday, 19 September 2016

Mint Oreos-Ish

So, my favourite, favourite, favourite things in the whole world are mint oreos. Before that, it was Mint Yoyos (sadly, discontinued). And my favourite things that I make are my mint brownies and peppermint squares.

Sensing a theme? The quickest way to my heart is pairing mint and chocolate and giving  it to me.

So, it’s quite hard to get a hold of mint oreos in the UK. Once I spent £7 on a pack from a London deli, and I regret NOTHING. And in all honesty, that is a good thing. Do you know how many packs I’d eat daily if they were readily available? Doesn’t bear thinking about. I got 2 packs for Christmas last year and I ate them ALL before New Year's and that was with strict rationing.

But, once in a while, I like to treat myself. And I looked up how to whip up a batch for myself.  These are incredibly moreish and delicious, with all the flavour of a mint oreo, if not the exact texture – these are soft rather than crunchy. They are kind of like a "whoopie pie." The best part is that you can decide how much filling you want.. Quadruple-stuff oreo anyone?  YES. For me, I will continue on my search for the perfect mint oreo recipe, but until then, these will make a very delicious mint chocolate biscuit recipe.

I could have iced them a little prettier, but I was really hungry

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Salted Caramel Brownies

So, I’ve just come back from a fortnights holiday to hot and sunny Croatia and I slightly over-indulged. I had a lot of icecream. And frozen yogurt. And alcohol.

What I’m saying is, it was amazing.

And that theme of overindulgence should continue just one more day.. Which brings me to this post.
I love brownies. I love how easy they are to make, I love how delicious they are, I love when they’re all squidgy and fudgy and nearly falling apart when you cut them. So this is the next in my long line of brownie posts.

I have a terrible confession though (which I may have made before).. I can’t make good caramel. It’s really damn difficult for me (file this under “Can’t make correctly” before fudge). So, this is one of those times when I take a shortcut and use ready-made canned caramel. Sorry. Please, make your own if you can do that. I’ll stick to my tin and keep my saucepans un-burned. Caramel continues to cause me slight difficulties here because the top of the brownies burned a bit due to the caramel bits "catching".

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Red Pepper Butterbean Dip

I have ABANDONED the blog while I'm on my holidays, I'm so sorry.

Just dropping in to post this dip, a perfectly summery thing. There is something about it which just calls to be eaten outdoors, on a table filled with yummy dips, hummus and pate. For me, that's better than dinner, the nibbles that come beforehand. Especially with an aperitiv or two!

This is a really simple but effective dip that can be whipped up in a hurry. It is a great accompaniment to Middle-Eastern style dinners, but just as good with some tortilla chips dipped into it. It’s nutty and slightly tangy, delicately spiced and an all-around good dip.

I buy a lot of butterbeans with good intentions, so my cupboard is always full of them.  I have a tendency to over-buy all kinds of beans (like 3 tins with every grocery shop) because I never check what’s in the cupboard beforehand, and I’m deathly afraid of running out of beans. If there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, come to my house. There’s beans to last us YEARS.

Touch wood, there’s no sign of zombies coming (I’ve not got red on me), so I’m always looking for ways to use them up in new and delicious ways. And this makes a nutritous and delicious dip.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Coconut Flour Brownies

The American system has come to my rescue, because my scales have run out of battery! So this recipe is in cups.

Part of this healthy eating kick is exploring a new variety of cooking. I’m not so much a fan of veggies, and I find them kind of boring. So I’m branching out into “raw” and cleaner baked goods. I spotted some coconut flour in Asda on my last shop, and I had to have it! I was a bit worried because the flour packet was teeny and expensive, but upon reading up on it, you need to use a lot less coconut flour than regular flour. That’s because it is very good at soaking up the wet parts of your recipe, so you need about a third of the amount of coconut flour that you’d normally use.

The thing that sold me was the recipe on the back of the box for pancakes! Pancakes are the ultimate breakfast food for me. Recipe coming soon.. I love pancakes so much..

This is my second time ever baking with coconut flour, so I slightly overdid the flour in this recipe because I got nervous to use too little. Therefore, I’ve adapted the final written recipe accordingly so you can get the correct fudgy texture. I went with mint chocolate (my FAVE), but if you don’t want that, just sub in plain chocolate. The coconut flour isn’t overpoweringly coconutty, so the mint doesn’t clash, but this could be awesome with coconut flour and added desiccated coconut.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Creamy Jamaican Jerk Chicken

I am incredibly impressionable. We went out for dinner to the new Caribbean restaurant recently and I immediately came home and started researching Caribbean recipes. Now, for my tastes there is a lot of fruit kicking about in their savoury recipes. This is most definitely NOT in my wheelhouse. Like pineapple on a pizza, mango in a curry is not acceptable to me.

But, I like lots of other aspects – the bbq charred aspect, coconut EVERYWHERE, rice with all kinds of stuff in it.. I’m well up for all of that. Also, a lot of this style of food was “on the bone” which is fine and delicious, but I am a creature of habit and I usually default to cooking with chicken breasts. But if you have chicken thighs around, feel free to marinade them instead!

Now, for the rice part, I know traditionally you have kidney beans in it, but I didn’t have any on hand, and I don’t really like them anyway. So I added some extra veggies, and forgot about the beans. feel free to add them if you like them, this is a very laid back style of cooking, just go with what feels right.

Thursday, 28 July 2016


I need to get more creative with brunch. I specifically didn’t say breakfast, because the only time I have enough time to cook a proper morning meal is the weekend, and on those occasions I don’t crawl out of bed at a time where the first meal could reasonably be called breakfast.

I have a newfound respect for eggs. Eggs are great. I used to scoff at those adverts a few years ago where someone would look in a nearly bare fridge, but suddenly have enough ingredients to cobble together a Spanish omelette. I used to think eggs were only really useful for baking and in a fry (and of course in the family party staple – egg and onion sarnies!), but I’ve since grown very fond of the egg.

I love them nestled in a baked avocado, and scrambled eggs on salty buttered toast is probably my favourite comfort food in the world. I saw an interesting photo the other day, that looked like a big tomatoey egg in a pan, and I was intrigued. It turns out I was quite late to the game with shakshuka, it’s been having a big moment for a while now and I want to leap on board!

It’s basically a delicately spiced, Middle-Eastern tomato based baked egg dish, traditionally eaten for breakfast. And I am in LOVE! I often find that tomatoes can be too sour and overpower a dish, but here everything complements each other and you get a deeply rich flavour which goes perfectly with eggs. Mine has a bit more egg to salsa mix than traditional, but I do love eggs. You could either double the recipe but keep the egg number the same, or just use one egg (and make it a meal for one) if you want more of the tomatoey part.