Tiramisu

Ingredients:

  1. 3 small cups of strong black coffee, preferably espresso, cooled ( I used 2 nespresso pods)
  2. 3 tbsp caster sugar.
  3. 6 tbsp Amaretto liqueur (could be substituted for masala wine).
  4. 2 eggs, separated.
  5. 150ml custard.
  6. 250g/8¾oz mascarpone cheese.
  7. 250ml/8¾ fl oz whipped cream.
  8. 3 flake chocolate bars, to dust between layers (I used 3 bars because I wanted a rustic finish but you could use less or sprinkle cocoa instead, for a more subtle finish).
  9. 100g milk chocolate
  10. 2 packs of Savoiardi (sponge lady finger biscuits- I usually make two layers and normally nibble a couple while prepping).

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Instructions for the chef:

Place the coffee in a bowl, add three tablespoons of the Amaretto and put into the fridge to cool.

In a mixing bowl beat together just the egg yolks (save the whites separately for later) and sugar for about three minutes until it looks thicker and pale.

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Add into the mixing bowl, the mascarpone and mix well. Fold in the whipped cream gently with a metal spoon.

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In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (from experience this is quite painful without an electric whisk but if without an electric helper its worth the whipping for the end result). Fold the egg whites quickly but gently into the creamy mixture.

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Add the remaining liqueur to the creamy mixture, taking care not to loose the volume.

Dip three or four biscuits into the coffee& Amaretto mixture for about three seconds on each side and shake of the excess. Then create the first layer of ladyfingers across the bottom of your dessert dish (another way to serve for a dinner party is to make individual desserts in jam jars or martini glasses).

Grate milk chocolate and add a dust a decent layer across the top of the ladyfingers.

Tiramisu5Spread some of the cream mixture over the chocolatey biscuits. Repeat this process again to make the second layer, using up the biscuits, grated chocolate and finishing with a cream layer then more flake chocolate.

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Tiramisu9Refrigerate for about three hours or until firm. The longer it is left, the more the flavours will develop.

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When it was all gone “I tira-missed- you!!” Until next time!!

LLM

xx

 

Veggie Chilli

I was really pleased with how this turned out… I had it for dinner and then packed it for lunch too the next day. I combined a couple recipes to find the nicest combination.

Ingredients:

  • x3 small/medium sweet potatoes
  • x1 teaspoon cayenne pepper , plus extra for sprinkling
  • x1 teaspoon ground cumin , plus extra for sprinkling
  • x1 teaspoon ground cinnamon , plus extra for sprinkling
  • splash of olive oil
  • x1 red onion
  • x1 red pepper
  • x1 yellow pepper
  • x2 cloves of garlic
  • (you could add x1 bunch of fresh coriander but I hate the stuff!!)
  • sprinkle of chilli flakes
  • 2 x 400 g tinned beans, such as kidney, chickpea, pinto, cannellini
  • 2 x 400 g tins of quality plum tomatoes
  • x1 or x2 cup/s black beans (these have to be pre-soaked and boiled- I tend to boil for ten minutes and simmer for 40 before adding to the chilli) alternatively – stick a tin of black beans instead (the packets of dried beans are often cheaper but a bit more fiddly).

 

Instructions for the chef:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas 6.
  2. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into bite-sized chunks, then place onto a baking tray.
    • Sprinkle with a pinch each of cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, sea salt (I used pink Himalayan salt- my mum bought it for me as a stocking filler and I am obsessed with it but it is a bit more expensive than normal sea salt so either is fine) and black pepper, drizzle with oil and coat.
    • Roast for 40 minutes, or until golden and tender.
  3. Peel and roughly chop the red onion.
  4. Halve, deseed and roughly chop the peppers, then peel and finely chop the garlic.
    • If you choose to add the coriander leaves (finely chopped)
  5. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat, add the onion, peppers and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the coriander stalks, chilli and spices, and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
  7. Drain and add the beans. Tip in the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a spoon, then stir well.
  8. Bring to the boil, then reduce to medium-low and leave for half an hour on a low-ish heat, or until thickened and reduced – keep an eye on it, and add a splashes of water to loosen, if needed.
  9. Stir the roasted sweet potatoes through the chilli, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

Serving suggestion: Sliced avocado, sour cream and some tortilla chips!

From experience: It is even better the next day and there is plenty left over for a few pack lunches or to make for a small dinner party (to bulk it out you could serve with fragrant rice or nachos- maybe a side of tequila!! then it would be mex-cellent!!)

LLM

xx

 

 

 

Bakewell Tart 

Instructions for the Chef:

Start by making the pastry

  • Mix 175g plain flour with 75g chilled small cubes of butter. I mixed the two ingredients together with my hands until it began to look similar to breadcrumbs. Next add 3tbsp water and combine to make the mixture into one doughy ball.
  • Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the ball to your desired thickness, ensuring the pastry will adequately line your chosen flan tin. Then, place this mixture into the fridge for 30mins.

While your pastry is cooling, turn on the oven.

  • Bake pastry blind for 15mins
  • Remove foil and baking beans and bake for 5-8mins until light golden and dry.

To make the filling:

  • Melt 125g of butter into a saucepan. Once this is a yellow liquid remove it from the heat, add 125g caster sugar ( I always use golden caster sugar), add 125g ground almonds and one beaten egg (optional to add a splash of almond or vanilla essence). Put filling mixture aside.
  • Add a generous amount of raspberry jam to the pastry (once cooled).
  • Top with filling.
  • Sprinkle the top with flaked almonds

Bake for 35minutes or until the flaked almonds turn a golden brown (you can always cover with foil if they are turning brown and continue to cook).

ps. Optional: Add some icing sugar and water together to combine into a icing and drizzle over the tart in a rough and ready zig zag effect.

LLM

xx

 

Not-so-naughty brownies 

Ingredients:

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 50g cocoa
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 100ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 3 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 250g sweet potato (grated)
  • 1 large very ripe banana (approximately125g/4½oz peeled weight), mashed with a fork

Pour slowly into the flour mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to form a thick batter. Pour into the prepared tin.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is risen and just firm to the touch.

Serve warm or leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares. I packaged mine up as I had baked them for my cousin. If you can resist they stay fresh for up to 3 days in a sealed container.

Just so no one is confused- these are a healthy substitute but by no means taste as good as an actual chocolate brownie!! My favourite find recently has been Lisa’s in notting hill and they do a mean brownie… see below to drool over a proper brownie!


LLM

xx

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake

This dessert calls for a bit of pre-planning as it takes about 2-3 hours to set. (Who knew you could chill or bake cheesecake? It will probably become increasingly apparent this was my first attempt at making cheesecake).

Instructions for the chef:

  1. Grease/ line the base of a spring-form cake tin.
  2. Crush 200g digestives (could experiment and use gingernuts or a similar crunchy biscuit for the crumbly base). To do this, I used a freezer bag to try and contain the inevitably messy crumbs.
  3. Melt 50g of butter and all this to the biscuit crumbs, then press mixture into the tin, to form the bottom base.
  4. Stir 400g of soft creamy cheese,  150g caster sugar and 1tsp lemon zest (as I took my inspo from a Philadelphia cookbook I used full fat philly – no new year calorie counters were welcome at this dinner party) (recurrent theme of this dish was I only loosely stuck to the recipe and also added a whole lemon’s zest- whyyy not!). Mix together until creamy and smooth.
  5. Heat a pan of water on the hob until boiling then reduce the temperature and place a glass bowl over the top (ensure water and the bottom of bowl are not touching).
  6. Into the glass bowl, add a sachet (11g) of gelatine to 50ml of water and then add 200g of your favourite white chocolate (no contest- Milkybar!), stir mixture until smooth.
  7. Take bowl of the heat.
  8. Fold 200ml whipping cream into the creamy philly, sugar and lemon mixture, add the melted white chocolate and gelatine. Then ass 150g frozen raspberries (do not defrost!)
  9. Pour the filling into the cake tin over the top of the prepared biscuit base.
  10. Refrigerate and let your cheese cake set for 2-3hours.
  11. To decorate, add fresh raspberries (and crushed malteasers for an extra treat), sparkler is optional.

Some action photos: (say…CHEESE!)

ingredients

making-cheesecake

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LLM

xx

Hummingbird Cake

I searched high and low for a simple hummingbird cake recipe and although this is in American cups it seemed to turn out ok (I bought a set of bright pink measuring cups which served me well). The recipe was from a woman called Barbara Knight from Pinterest and it now comes tried/tested and it was very tasty! 

Until this year I had not heard of Hummingbird cake but a friend introduced us and now the pair of us are good friends! So it was only fair that I try my hand at creating one for her birthday – we did share, promise!! 

Recipe is photographed below and my step by step photos follow.


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LLM

xx

 

Mince Pies

I wanted to share a Christmas cheat recipe with you all. The end result is some seriously cutesy pies!

For a really easy peasy Christmas party cheat, grab some ready made shortcrust pastry, mincmeat and a small bottle of Baileys.

Equipment required
Rolling Pin
Pastry Brush
12 Hole Tart Tin
Cookie Cutter
7.5cm/3″ cutter

Instructions for the cheating chef:

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Have a 12 bun tin ready and take the pastry out of the packaging 10-15 minutes before you are ready to use it (keep it at room temperature).

Roll out the pastry and using a 7.5cm/3″ cutter cut out 12 discs and line the base of the tin. Cut out 12 smaller stars with another cutter for the lids and set aside. 

Fill each case with 2 teaspoons of mincemeat, lightly moisten undersides of pastry lids with water and use to top tarts, pressing gently at edges to seal.

Make a hole in the top of each pie with the tip of a sharp knife (to allow any steam to escape), brush with water, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. 

Sprinkle with a little more sugar; allow to stand in the tin for 2-3 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack.
Then… ENJOY !!

N.B. Couldn’t resist one of my favourite festive jokes…

Q. Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?

A. Mince spies

LLM

xx

cutters-mptin-mpbowl-mixture-mpstuffing-mppre-bake-mpmince-pies

LLM

xx

Chocolate Cake

I want to lick the screen this cake was so good.

Ingredients:

  • 175g  self-raising flour
  • 2tbsp cocoa
  • 1tbsp bicarbonate soda
  • 150g caster sugar
  • x2 eggs
  • 2tbsp golden syrup
  • 150ml semi-skimmed milk

For the topping:

  • Double cream
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Chocolate and sugar stars for decoration

Instructions for the chef:

Pre-heat the oven to 180’C. Grease the Cake tin. Sieve the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate soda into a large bowl. Mix together and make a well in the middle of the ingredients. Add the eggs, milk and syrup. Beat it all together using an electric hand whisk until the mixture looks smooth. Spoon into a cake tin (heart shape optional). Cook for 30minutes or until risen and the cake is firm to touch. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

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While the cake is cooling, make the ganache topping. Break the chocolate into small pieces and pour on top the double cream. Place this into a bowl and put on top of boiling water (do not let the boiling water touch the bowl). Stir and then let the ganache cool.

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When the cake cools spoon on the ganache and then decorate with chocolate stars (or chosen topping).

Lessons learnt:

Next time I will try spooning the mixture into two cake tins and add then sandwich the cakes together.

I took this cake to a friend’s house warming and it went down a treat! It would also work well for a birthday cake.

LLM

xx

Cauliflower Pizza Base

A lazy girl’s cauliflower pizza base recipe.

IMG_7347Ingredients:

  1.  Frozen or fresh cauliflower (one head)
  2. 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (I used a combo of cheddar and mozzerrella)
  3. 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  4. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (I used mixed herbs)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  7. Pizza Sauce (I love the M&S Margherita sauce)
  8. Toppings of your choice

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Directions for the chef:

Preheat the oven to 180’C- 200’C. Line the pizza tray with baking parchment and put the cauliflower into boil (until soft but not soggy).

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Drain it immediately after its cooked. I then dry fried it for 2-3 minutes. To soak up the excess water. Next, fold a couple pieces of kitchen towel up and rest the cauliflower here until cool. Once cool return to the saucepan. Then add eggs, cheese, herbs and salt. Mix together. Spread it evenly on to a pizza tray. Cook the mixture for 20-25 minutes. Add the pizza base sauce, desired toppings and bake an additional 10 minutes or until toppings look cooked and the crust has turned a golden brown.
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My chosen toppings: Salami, sun dried tomatoes, cheddar, grilled courgettes and peppers. Over the top of the vegetables I dribbled some basil pesto.

Overall results: If you forget that this is supposed to taste like a pizza (Dominos it aint!!). It was very tasty and quite cheesy. I think next time I will make a thinner base and maybe split the mixture between two smaller pizzas. The middle was a bit flimsy and I would have preferred a more robust base. I added a bit more seasoning than the recipe above too for added flavour. There are still a few tweaks to be made but it does not take long and makes a nice change to try something different.

LLM

xx

Easy squeasy Lemonaid

When life hands you lemons, find someone with tequila and salt.

But failing that this also works….
When life gives you lemons… make lemonade (always an expression I never really understood but seems particularly apt today).

This is a very easy crowd pleaser to add some zestiness to any BBQ or summer occasion.

n.b. You will need a food processor.

Only three ingredients are needed:

  1. ICE ICE BABY (as much as possible)
  2. x3 or 4 Lemons  (size dependent)
  3. 140g Sugar – I love this light muscavado but caster sugar will work as a substitute

Instructions for the chef:

Wash the lemons and then roughly chop into chunks. Add into the food processor. IMG_7186

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Add the sugar into the food processor. Fill with Ice.

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Sieve the mixture from the food processor into a jug.

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Serve on top of extra ice.

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Enjoy!!

LLM

xx