Category Archives: Pudding and Dessert

30th Classic Car Birthday Cake

In the 10 years I’ve been with him, I’ve never known Hubs to have a proper birthday cake. He’s one of the lucky or unlucky people (depending on your viewpoint) who arrived on this earth just in time to interrupt Christmas Dinner. As this year was a significant birthday I wanted to make him a special cake. I subtly asked him many months ago as to what his dream cake was and set about making it. His brief was:

Victoria sponge and chocolate sponge with buttercream and topped with sugarpaste

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Beetle Forest Gateau

Those of you with entomophobia (fear of insects) may want to look away now. When I heard that the first Derby Clandestine Cake Club theme would be Trick or Treat I knew that last year’s Black Beetle Cakes would have to make a reappearance but in a slightly different form. The Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) has strict rules: no brownies, muffins, cookies pies or tarts and don’t even think of darkening the door with cupcakes. We’re talking big cakes that can serve 8-12 people. Derby’s first CCC was hosted by A Wannabe Foodie.

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Why Golden Syrup is so good for you – Brandy Snaps

According to the Tate & Lyle Golden Cookery Book,  circa early 1960’s, I picked up on holiday Golden Syrup is really rather good for you.

Golden Syrup isn’t just one sugar – it’s three: sucrose, glucose and fructose. So it gives you triple-sugar-energy. One reason why Golden Syrup is so good for children is that it stops them getting overtired and fretful. Give your children plenty of Golden Syrup. Give it to them often – The Golden Cookery Book Read the rest of this entry

Blackcurrant Meringue Roses

When I came across this recipe on Pinterest I was first drawn to the pretty shape then the slight oddness of the recipe. Before now I hadn’t seen jelly used in a meringue recipe. Next I had to try to decipher and anglicise the recipe. Ok I know jello is jelly in the UK but where did it go in the recipe? what type? Thankfully twitter came to the rescue and stopped me from mixing jelly cubes with hot water to make a kind of dodgy Italian meringue and use jelly crystals instead. What would the texture be like? Would it be like marshmallow because that is made from sugar, egg geletin? Turns out it was more like a stiff meringue. The jelly crystals do a great job of flavouring and colouring the meringue in one beat of a whisk. The blackcurrant jelly gives the meringue a delicate vintage pink hue. Read the rest of this entry

What shall we cook today? Chocolate Salami

As I don’t have children of my own I’m very lucky to have a couple of Little Helpers that help me road test recipes, ingredients and cookery equipment geared towards children. Back in November they helped me try some ingredients to make cupcakes. A few weeks back they came for a whole day and we road tested two cookbooks, two sets of ingredient ranges and one piece of equipment. Read the rest of this entry

Baileys Coffee Cream Pots

My love of Baileys, is well known. Not just for drinking it, but also cooking with it. My Baileys Cheesecake is one of my most requested desserts and highest google hits. Hubby’s late great-Aunt was a woman very much after my own heart as they only thing she would put in her coffee was Baileys, no matter what time of day it was. A coffee called Baileys Blitz also fueled my university days.

Last week Baileys contacted me asking if I would like to try some of their new Baileys with a Hint of Coffee plus have a go at some of their recipes created by James Martin. Me being one to rarely pass on the opportunity to try a new alcohol or dessert recipe I jumped at the chance. It came at the perfect time as I had just finished my most recently bottle of Baileys and was trying to work out which Supermarket had the best deal for a bottle of it.

Hubby doesn’t like coffee so rarely do I cook with it, even if it is one of my favourite ingredients. As I’m now on my Christmas break I took the opportunity to get up early (in reality far too early) and set about making some Baileys Coffee Cream Pots for myself as I knew it would take 6 hours to set.

After a lot of impatient waiting (and watching some quite frankly dire daytime TV) the 6 hours eventually passed, just in time to get a photo before the sunset. I have to say it was the perfect dessert for me. Creamy with a generous coffee hit. To often am I disappointed in restaurants with their coffee flavoured desserts as the coffee hit is never enough for me but this was spot on. If I could have 2 puddings on Christmas Day this would be my coffee course…now that’s an idea 2 puddings…sorry I digress.

The only very slight alteration I had to make was the fact I didn’t have any instant coffee in the house so instead used Lyons Coffee Bags that are usually reserved for our camping trips. If you would like to see the lovely James Martin make this dessert along with the accompanying shortbread click here

Baileys Coffee Cream Pots

Makes 6 ramekins

5 egg yolks
80g caster sugar
260ml milk
260ml double cream
5 tsp instant coffee granules
100ml Baileys with of hint of Coffee (or normal Baileys)

1) Preheat the oven to 150oc. Whisk together the egg yolks and 40g of the sugar.

2) Put the cream, milk, coffee and remaining sugar in a heavy based saucepan. Gently bring to the boil. When it has reached a boil take of the heat and stir in the Baileys, then add the whisked sugar & egg. Quickly stir then strain into the ramekins.

3) Place the ramekins into a deep roasting tin and pour boiling water until it is half the way up the ramekins. Bake for 25-30 until they have a slight wobble.

4) Chill for at least 6 hours before eating. Serve straight from the fridge.

Boozy Cherry & White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

This dessert has been a long time in the planning, but I struggled to find British cherries anywhere. As you know I’m passionate about British produce and where possible if it can be grown in the UK I will always try to buy British and only when it is in season. It would turn out Derbyshire or the East Midlands in general is a bit of a desert for British cherries. Searching the local markets and farm shops proved to be unhelpful as most were selling cherries from warmer climes. Morrisons eventually came to the rescue, but I was rather put out having to pay equivalent of £10 (yes £10!) per kg of British cherries whereas the Spanish cherries sitting next to them on the shelf were on offer and far cheaper. Why, why, why can’t British supermarkets support British produce for a change. Sorry rant over. If your interested in supporting the great British cherry pop along to CherryAid (thank you Beth for reminding me!).

Ever since we received a cook’s blow torch for a wedding pressie, pyromaniac Hubby has been itching for us to make crème brûlée. A while back I made a baked custard, but never a crème brûlée so this was a bit new for me. Come to think of it, before this I’ve never eaten a proper crème brûlée.

I was really pleased how they turned out and they were very, very tasty. The cherries & liqueur refreshingly cut through the creamy custard and Hubby had caramelised the sugar perfectly. The sugar had a very satisfying crunch as you put the spoon through it. Rach & Nick, if your reading this don’t be surprised if I make them for us in a couple of weekends time!

Boozy Cherry & White Chocolate Creme Brulee
Serves 2

12 cherries, halved and stoned
2 tbsp Crème de Framboise
190ml double cream
35g Green & Blacks white chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/2 vanilla pod
2 egg yolks
2 tsp golden caster sugar, plus more for topping

1) Slowly heat cream, chocolate and vanilla pod seeds. Once the chocolate has melted take off the heat and allow to infuse for 15 min. White the cream is infusing share the cherry halves between the ramekins and cover with 1 tbsp of Crème de Framboise each.

2) Preheat oven to 150oc. Beat together the egg yolks and sugar then gradually stir in the cream. Strain into a jug and pour into ramekins on top of the cherries. Some of the cherries may float.

3) Place the ramekins in a deep roasting tin and pour boiling water into the tin until the water is 1/2 the way up the ramekins. Bake for 20-25 min until custard is set and has a slight wobble in the middle. Chill for at least 5 hours.

4) Generously sprinkle the top with golden caster sugar. With either a blow torch or grill caramelise the sugar. Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating to allow the sugar to harden.

The Perfect Roast Chicken and Chocolate Mousse

This weekend has been busy with cooking. With beautiful ingredients coming into season and the spring sunshine (even if it was interspersed with hail showers!) we both found it quite inspirational.

A few months back I brought a copy of The River Cottage Meat Book. Until this weekend I hadn’t really read it properly. I though it was just going to be a book full of meat recipes, but in reality it’s an insightful book with the understanding of meat and various ways of cooking it. I’m not a huge meat eater, but found it really interesting. Thanks to this book Hubby has come over all Hugh F-W (minus the curls) and decided to have a go at curing pork. We now have a belly of pork coated in salt living in a Tupperware box under the sink. He’s then planning on smoking half of it in the chimney. After this he wants to try making chorizo.

With the duck eggs we picked up yesterday we also managed to get a beautiful local free-range chicken. With my planning quite a few chicken based dishes this week I decided it was the most economical way of buying and cooking chicken. I’ve never cooked a full chicken before, I guess I found it a bit scary. Last July I did cook a crown of chicken, it was nice, but not perfect and it knocked my confidence.

Well Hugh installed my confidence and I managed to cook a perfect, tasty, succulent roast chicken with a delicious non-greasy gravy to go with it (a serious achievement for me!) We had the chicken with garlic & herb stuffing, creamed leeks, carrots, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puds made with a duck egg. The duck egg made a really good Yorkie pud batter.

The Perfect Roast Chicken – thanks to Hugh!
for a 2.5kg chicken

2.5kg free-range chicken
100g butter, softened
handful of parsley, rosemary and thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper
100ml white wine

1) Preheat oven to 210oc. Mix butter, herbs, garlic and seasoning. Rub all over chicken. Cook for 20 min

2) Turn oven down to 180oc, baste chicken then pour wine into roasting tray (don’t pour over the chicken.) Cook for a further 50 min. The chicken is done when the juices run clear.

3) Cover in foil and allow to rest for 20 min.

My rule on Sundays is always to make a dessert, just in case the roast goes wrong (once in a blue moon it does when I’m experimenting). For the dessert I was looking for Nigellas help. When sorting the kitchen cupboards I found some dark chocolate Hubby had bought back from Italy and it needed using up. In Nigella Express she makes an egg less chocolate mousse. I have to say it turned out as a beautiful, dense, rich chocolate mousse. very much an adult chocolate mousse. I took the original recipe and divided it by 3 to give enough for just the 2 of us. It was so rich we only managed to eat half of it…not that I’m complaining as it means some for Monday! Next time rather than serving it in ramekins I may make it in shot glasses.

Chocolate Mousse
Makes 2 ramekins or 4 shot glasses

50g marshmallows, chopped into small pieces
15g unsalted butter
80g dark chocolate, broken up
20ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle
95ml double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) In a heavy saucepan gently heat marshmallows, butter, dark chocolate and hot water. Stir occasionally until everything has melted and is smooth. Remove from the heat.

2) Whip cream with vanilla extract until thick. Gently fold in chocolate until well combined. Pour into ramekins/shot glasses, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Quest for the perfect coffee

I’m known for my love of coffee, be it an ingredient in a cake or drinking it, I’m a huge fan. However I’m very fussy when it comes to coffee. For me a perfect coffee as to be so smooth I don’t need sugar to take away the bitterness.

While at Chantry on Saturday, Adrian from Azurieblue was there offering samples of his espresso. Not one to turn down a sample I gave it a go. I have to say it was one of the best coffees I have ever had. It was so smooth. Even Hubby who doesn’t usually drink coffee thought it was good.

The coffee is ground from ethically sourced Brazilian arabica beans (something that is important to me) and I found it rich, without being bitter and overpowering, with a hint of nutty chocolate. Naturally I was so impressed with the sample I bought some for myself, even better that the coffee tin matches my kitchen perfectly…I’m such a girl!

Over the last few days I’ve tried different ways of using the coffee. As an espresso, latte and mocha and each time it was delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a coffee that is so versatile.

Azorieblue are due to have a stand at the Real Food Festival in April and I seriously recommend you visit them to taste their wonderful coffee.

Malt Loaf

Today has been “come and visit the chicks” Day. The kids loved to stroke and hold them. To go with the countless cups of tea being made today I made a malt loaf. This was partially inspired by the jar of malt extract I found at the back of my baking cupboard. It only comes out when I’m making malt loaf or granola.

My memories of malt loaf go back to my school days where we used to literally fight over the slightly burnt corner piece of malt loaf that had a lovely caramelised, chewy texture. This recipe isn’t as chewy as Soreen, but the taste is very close. If you want you can soak the fruit in tea for 30 min before adding to the cake mix.

Malt Loaf

75ml/3fl strong hot tea
8 tbsp (about 200g) malt extract
175g/6oz self-raising flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
150g / 6oz mixed fruit
1 egg

1) Preheat oven to 140oc. Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment. Mix malt extract and tea, then allow to cool

2)Mix all ingredients together, including malty tea and pour into tin. Bake for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours. Stand for 10 min before slicing.

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