Saturday, 23 December 2017

Zimtsterne – German Cinammon Stars


Just back from an amazing holiday to Hong Kong and China – they really have taken to Christmas there but it’s just not the same. They have spectacular trees and light displays, and I’ve never heard so many “modern” remixes of Christmas songs. Fabulous but not quite Christmas.

But if you want to look to a country that can really do Christmas, look no further than Germany. This is a traditional German Christmas cookie – they are a big fan of cooking huge batches of cookies in the weeks leading up to Christmas. A nation after my own heart. That means that these stay fresh for up to a month! Another bonus – no gluten or dairy! The cookies are bound with whipped egg white instead of (the more traditional) dairy.

I had a lot of fun making these cookies, they are perfect for a Christmas snack – or to give as presents!

Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies

Friday, 1 December 2017

Gluten (and Dairy!) Free Chocolate Torte

Looking for something sweet in the run up to Christmas that can be eaten by everyone at the table?

My best friend and one of my uncles both eat gluten and dairy free. And because of that, I can see just how difficult this can be! I (obviously) am all about the cooking and baking, but eliminating flour and butter and milk can be a tough task.

Ground almonds are a fabulous substitute for flour in cakes and brownies, and I use them in this way often. They really shine in this cake, because it is supposed to be moist and not overly spongy. This is dark and decadent and you wouldn’t even know it was lacking any “usual” ingredients.

It is also incredibly easy to make! And I have it on good authority from my uncle that it is a very good cake (he hadn't had a big slice of chocolate cake in a while!)

I couldn’t help myself so I topped it with a little glitter. Some melted dark chocolate, thinned with coconut oil, and dripping down the sides would make an incredible glaze topping.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Malteser Squares

I'm literally drooling.

This is classic weekend treat food. Gearing up to Christmas, there's always bags of Maltesers around, and this is my favourite way to eat them.

Also, who doesn't love a simple traybake? This is everything you could ever wants in life - it's chocolate on chocolate, with bits of chocolate stuffed inside. It's crunchy and sweet and just lovely. There's basically no cooking involved apart from melting stuff, so it's also great to make with kids.

So many mini-bags of maltesers went into this delicious traybake. A few went in my mouth..

And, remember, it's practically Christmas, so this ridiculous sugar-fest is completely appropriate for the season. It's incredibly rich, so I honestly would make the slices quite small. And that's coming from me, a complete sugar-addict. WORTH IT.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Greek Feast! Individual Spanakopita, Aioli, Honey Sesame Baked Feta

Greek food is awesome. I have always found the Greeks to be like a Mediterranean version of the Irish. The Greeks and Irish are both family orientated, with a matriarchal society, and use food as love. But the Greeks are more tanned than us. And their cuisine is superior.

There is a seriously amazing Greek restaurant nearby which is a family affair - dad and mum cook, sons hold the floor. It's my favourite restaurant and if I'm not there, chances are I want to be there. 

And then last weekend, my Greek friend made some amazing Greek food for dinner which I completely PIGGED OUT at. Everything was delicious (how had I never had moussaka before?!) but I was completely enamoured with the individual spinach pies (spanakopita). I had to make them. I bothered him for a week for the recipe. And as soon as I had it in my grubby hands, I made them. Winner.

Then, as I was feeling pretty Greek, I baked the leftover feta (warmed sweet and nutty cheese? Hello!) and whipped up some aioli.

The aioli was pretty easy to make, and much better than my last, disastrous, effort at making mayonnaise. 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Bakewell Crumble Muffins

On a cold wintery Sunday, these are just the ticket.

I am particularly proud of these bad boys. I was feeling in the mood for something a little almond-y, a little sweet, a little fruity.. And well hello here is something to tick all the boxes.

Crumble is the best invention. It’s amazing with custard, but that’s not an “on the go” snack. This is my version of a portable crumble with a bakewell twist and I’m rather pleased with myself for having concocted it.

Yummy surprise jammy centre!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Sweet & Spooky Gingerbread Skulls

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

I re-use this gingerbread recipe every couple of weeks. It’s delicious, and it is so easy to work with. Just a dream come true in biscuit form. So I am using it here with just a few flavour tweaks.

I wasn't really going for "spooky"

You don’t have to use skull cutters. If you are more of a free-hand person, then you could cut out circles and then ice those without the “guidelines.” And even if you use cutters which come with cut out indents, you aren’t forced to copy those shapes, you can always get creative and add your own patterns over the top.

I have a slight obsession with holiday baking. And there is something hugely therapeutic about icing buns in an intricate and ridiculously detailed manner. This is how I spend my Sunday evenings and it’s so much fun. Edible hobbies are the best kind.

Monday, 23 October 2017

"Jaffa Cake" Cake

Orange treat box - Jaffa cake cake AND chocolate orange brownies!

What is a girl to do when she has oranges needing used up? Make some cakes! It’s so obvious!

Historically, I haven’t been a fan of Jaffa cakes . But it’s getting wintery and nothing beats a chocolate and orange combination on an autumn evening. Plus, everyone knows that chocolate oranges are one of the unofficial chocolates of Christmas, so these flavours fit right in.

This is one of my favourite kinds of cakes to make, it’s super easy, the topping is sweet and tangy, and the chocolate piping is actually a lot of fun to do.

Makes one delicious cake, divides into 36 little bite size squares

Sunday, 6 August 2017

French Toast

Breakfast for KINGS

Would you believe, at the ripe old age of 29, I had never made French toast?

I had some eggs, bread and milk to use up, and I was very hungry one recent Sunday morning, so I decided that my life would be incomplete without some sweet crispy cinammony bread. A very quick google for the general technique later and I was off! Isn’t the internet wonderful? And the great thing about this recipe is that it's basically made up of kitchen staples.

I think one of the highlights of my week is a lovely, lazy, carbohydrate-filled breakfast of a Sunday. And this ticks all the boxes. Starchy and sweet. And if you serve it with bacon (which is fairly mandatory, I’m led to believe) then you get some added savoury saltiness.

But don't limit yourself to this being food you can only it at breakfast. It's an all day food. Ever heard of "breakfast for dinner?" And I leave you with the immortal words of Parks and Rec:

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Thai Green Cauliflower Soup

A pile of filled tupperware makes me happy.

"The diet starts Monday.."

But the meal prep begins Sunday night!

So, we all know of my vegetable woes.  I don't like them, as a group. I particularly hate cauliflower. It's a terrible substitute for rice and for mashed potatoes. It's just not starchy carby delicious and that's ok. It is its own thing.

Cauliflower can shine on its own without being something else. My boyfriend and I were on holiday in Croatia last year and found a little place with the most delicious food. Their fish was a revelation, but in particular the soup was the best soup I've ever had. It was like a veggie Thai green curry, and the thing that surprised me the most was that it had cauliflower in it. Delicious, healthy and silky-smooth with lovely background spice. 

Blending that veg up in a soup transforms it and it becomes magic.

Gold star for cauliflower.

Sunday, 9 July 2017



It is my lovely Swedish boyfriend’s birthday today. A few months ago he casually mentioned that he really liked the traditional Swedish cake “Prinsesstårta” and how he hadn’t had one in years. You may know the cake from a Great British Bake Off technical challenge.

Not being one to shy away from a baking challenge, I decided I would have a good go at it as a birthday surprise.

I was nervous about this for a whole week  leading up to making it. And, just for an added level of technical difficulty, I decided to not practice any of this beforehand and just make it all on the day of his birthday dinner. I have never made crème pat before, I have never coloured marzipan before and I have never covered a cake in anything but buttercream or ganache before. I don’t recommend making this cake with all those firsts in one go, but luckily it worked out fine!

Instagram pic!

Tips to help get you through it:
  • Just use jam from a jar - for the small amount needed, making it from scratch feels pointless
  • Make sure to whip the cream until stiff peaks so that it holds the dome shape
  • Again, chill for a good hour in the fridge with the cream on to again help that dome stay formed
  • Youtube is a great resource for making those damn roses!
  • I’m terrible at cutting a cake into horizontal layers so I went non-traditional and used three cake tins and baked the layers separately
  • Don’t bother buying fondant for just the rose, use some of the marzipan instead
  • You could easily make the crème pat the day before, and probably the marzipan too

Amounts wise, I probably ended up with a little too much crème pat and a little too much marzipan – could probably have made a smaller second cake with the extras!

Phone photo of the inside

The cake itself was a revelation to me - perfect amount of sweetness, with a light sponge, and ridiculously ornate. Winner!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Green Soup

Healthy eating is really hard and I totally fell off the wagon big style. Like, from Christmas. It’s now summer. That’s not good. So this seems as good a time as any to try to get back on it while getting the blog back up to regular updates!

I have been trying to think of ways to get more vegetables into my diet because I am quite immature in my vegetable tastes. I will happily eat sweetcorn and peas and carrots, but I really struggle with things like aubergine and spinach and cucumber. And I just point blank refuse to eat a green shake.

But I have an ace up my sleeve. Soup! I really like soup. It’s quick to make, you can throw a whole host of veggies in it and the best part is you can hide the veggies by blitzing the whole thing up to make a smooth and creamy lunch.

I find it easiest to make changes for my lunches. Gone are the sandwiches and crackers, behold the era of soup! For this soup, I knew I wanted to have the main part be broccoli, and the rest I just kind of threw in based on what I like and what was in the cupboard.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Chicken Noodle Soup - Meal Prep with Sunday Roast Leftovers

I don’t know about anyone else, but I really like the concept of Sunday meal prep, so you have healthy and nutritious lunches set up for the rest of the week instead of relying on packaged sandwiches from the shop (which can definitely be a bit hit and miss!).

I also hate waste. I like to use everything I can and not waste food if I can. And on top of that I'm a bit lazy, so if I can get away with cooking one big dinner to serve as the basis for my meal prep then I’m all over that too.

Meal prep Sunday nights

So, this meal is perfect for me. It’s a really yummy, packed-full-of-veggies soup that is almost no effort, seeing as I am basically using all leftovers from the Sunday roast I already made. I already was chopping leeks and carrots for the dinner, so doing another one each wasn’t much more work, and the chicken was roasted for dinner and then the leftovers were shredded.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Caramel Chocolate Layer Cake

I've been saving this one for a little while now. I wanted to post it at the exact right time. And a bank holiday weekend coupled with it being my birthday weekend (yes, I'm taking the whole weekend) seems about right.

I know that I bang on about cake, but I really do love cake.

Cake is comfort. Cake is delicious. Cake is constant. You know where you’re at with a lovely slice of cake. Trends may come and go, but no one will ever be upset with being presented with a cake.

And it’s even better when it’s a four tier, ombre, chocolate caramel behemoth.

NEKKID - very trendy

Ain’t no one turning that down. There’s an entire tin of caramel in this. Don’t be scared.

One thing I love about cakes is that they are really easy to make look impressive. And this cake is absolutely kick-ass. Look at those layers! I am so proud of this. I want it for my birthday every year please. 

The inner amazingness even covers up for my somewhat questionable decoration skills. If in doubt, throw sprinkles EVERYWHERE. Solid tip right there.

Ingredients for the chocolate and vanilla cakes
  • 215g butter
  • 215g golden caster sugar
  • 175g flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp milk

Ingredients for the caramel and caramel chocolate cakes
  • 215g very soft butter
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 75g caramel
  • 175g plain flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp milk

And for the rest..
  • 275g dark chocolate
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 very generous heaped tbsp of caramel
  • The rest of the tin of caramel, to sandwich


Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare your cake tins by greasing and lining them.

For the vanilla and chocolate sponges, with an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar, and then add in the flour, almonds, baking powder and eggs and mix again.  Stir through the yogurt and vanilla sugar.

Pour half into one of the tins and set aside. Add the cocoa to the bowl with the remaining batter and mix well. Add the milk until you have a smooth dropping consistency.

Bake for 20-25 mins. Remove onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

While that’s cooking, whip up the third and fourth layer (caramel and caramel chocolate). It’s basically the exact same method, but add the caramel in with the sugars at the beginning.

Cooked and cooling!

When the sponges are cool, make the ganache. Melt the chocolate and pour it over the cream and caramel. Mix until you have a smooth mixture, and set aside for a little while until it hardens very slightly and becomes easy to spread (approx. 15-30 minutes).

When the sponges are totally cooled, spread a thin layer of caramel over the vanilla (palest) sponge, then place the caramel sponge on top of that and cover it with a thin layer of yet more caramel. Put the caramel-chocolate sponge on top of that, then another layer of caramel and top with the chocolate sponge:

Spread the chocolate ganache over the whole cake to serve, as neatly as you can and throw whatever sprinkles you’ve got at it to cover the patchy bits.

 Slice and serve to grateful loved ones: