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Posts tagged ‘photography’

Fairtrade chocolate tiffin

October 4, 2012



The best thing about the little chill in the air? Chocolate takes a lot longer to melt so I get to make and scoff one of my all-time favourites without getting my fingers quite so sticky.

The chocolate tiffin. This week I had the pleasure of opening a beautiful tote bag of Fairtrade baking goodies send out as part of their brilliant Big Fair Bake Campaign. A bounty of nuts, dried fruits and dark chocolates made me immediately think of tiffin.

This is such a simple no-bake recipe that really does taste like it has taken time. You can make it as budget or as expensive as you like, with the fruits and nuts you use dictating the overall taste. In February I blogged the basic recipe but here I packed in brazils, almonds and hazelnuts for the nuts, sultanas and apricots for the fruit and broke-up homemade shortbread for the biscuit. Plus a handful of Maltesers – the chocolate melts but the honeycomb remains whole.

The result is a perfectly decadent  blend of rich chewy crunchiness that warms up your insides, more so when you know you are supporting global trade that is proper, right and fair.



Oat & raisin cookies

September 24, 2012




What a miserable, windy rainy day. Kind of day you want to hibernate, watch old films, drink many cups of tea and dunk biscuits until the outlook is not so bleak.

I accidentally made these chewy cookies when I went to boil the kettle. Needs must. They were to be the Oat, ginger & date recipe I wrote about in June and by the looks of it, on a very similar day. Just no ginger and date this time, I went with 100g raisins and 50g chopped hazelnuts.

The end result: a stack of equally comforting golden biscuits to eat and eat until it is less grey.

Orange & lemon cake

August 24, 2012




Oranges and lemons. Fruits I normally like squeezed in my glass, rather than additions to a bake, especially when the recipe calls for the whole fruit, peel, pith and all. That said, the simplicity of the Claudia Roden orange cake recipe (first published in 1963), cited in the excellent The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, intrigued me. Just five ingredients in Claudia’s cake with no fat nor gluten in sight, the kind of recipe you’d look and think something must have been left out.

The fruit is boiled for two hours prior so the peel looses its bitterness and the juices become sweeter, the whole fruit is then pulped and added to the mix, then baked for an hour. The result is – I don’t say this very often – fantastic. A really light, fresh slice of cake that really does melt in your mouth.

I added a lemon to the stewing oranges to up the more zesty flavours. I want to give some other nuts a try like hazelnuts and different fruits  –  like cherries or even plums might be worth a go.

As it is, this is definitely, my new favourite.



Lemon poppyseed cake

July 30, 2012


Now, if you were an Olympic athlete who had been hard at it all day, what cake would you want to reward yourself with?

I think I would go for this.

Very M-word, light yet dense, with a slightly crunchy texture and a citrus summer flavour, it has a little bit of everything.

This one is the best recipe I have come across from Dan Lepard as it feels fresher and more zesty than the traditional, dressed up, lemon drizzle sponges. Like a carrot cake, nearly half the fat is sunflower oil with the lemon-sugar syrup soaked through the cake once it is baked rather than having a heavier buttery frosting sitting on top.

Even nicer with a spoonful of marscapone and a raspberry or two on the side. Definitely a champion of cakes, best with a cuppa whilst sitting back to enjoy the gymnastics.



Banoffee pie

July 13, 2012


banoffee pie

I will tell you something for nothing, banoffee pie is…hold on: “Any dieters/calorie counters please look away…now!”

Banoffee is full fat. It goes off the scales; the arrow just bounces to ‘phat’.

Its ladled, oozing with sugars, butters and lashings of cream. All so so bad for you yet oh, so so good. I have to say this is one of the most delicious puddings I have ever whipped up and if you are feel tempted to indulge yourself with something decadently delicious, why not go all the way?

I always thought this was an American recipe but Wikipedia says I am wrong and it originates in East Sussex. This one was adapted from a Mary Berry recipe, where the toffee is made from scratch. You can buy cafe con leche in a tin instead if you’re really short of time. You can use ginger nut or hobnobs instead of digestives and add anything gooey or nutty you fancy drizzled or sprinkled over the top. All the more heavenly.

So, if you are want a real treat this weekend, one that’ll really put a cheeky smile on you face, start crushing those biscuits.


Pistachio ice cream with strawberries

June 29, 2012




Tennis season serves up – more rain obviously – and strawberries, sweet juicy strawberries. Love them, mostly alone though they really do go nicely with this ice cream.

This egg free base can be used with any flavours that will work with the richness of the cream. Try hazelnuts, macadamia or pecans or fruits, such as, strawberries. Crushed chocolate shards, praline or honeycomb. Or instead of infusing vanilla, try a tablespoon of freshly, coarse ground black peppercorns; my other favourite, avec strawberries.

Try David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop” for home made ice cream ideas and tips.




Stuffed mackerel

June 15, 2012


stuffed mackerel


Grilled, steamed, pan-fried, bbq’d, baked.

This little fishy can be packed with any herbs and spices you feel like, cooked in 20 mins or less, served alone or with some fresh seasonal veg.

Cheap (these were 49p each) and rich in the flavour as well as the omega oils. Versatile too – I like this ‘them apples’ post where the ‘mackerel in batter’ recipe is given a go from Hugh’s sustainable fishing campaign; encouraging a replacement to the over fished white haddock and cod we get with our chips.

This recipe of coriander, lemongrass, ginger, chilli and garlic goes well with basmati. Stuffed with garlic, mushroom, parsley and lemon is equally as good, with buttered asparagus and jersey royals. You can also fill them with cherry tomatoes, lemon garlic and thyme with a hunk of crusty bread and a green leafy salad.

Mackerel; the all-giving fish to serve up for supper!


infographic stuffed mackerel



Victoria sponge

June 1, 2012


jubliee victoria sponge

The Victoria Sponge; subtle, elegant and dignified. You can see why she favoured it for that afternoon pick me up slice. For me, when baked to perfection with the right filling, it really is the cake of all cakes.

Simple and yet so easy to get wrong – my first was solid, heavier than the crown jewels – it is worth taking time, following some sound instruction.

An original from Mrs.Beeton’s 1891 Book of Household Management sees her weighing the eggs to determine the equal weights of butter, sugar and flour with the eggs beaten, added last. This is still the way many choose to make it. Others cream softened butter with the caster sugar until light and fluffy before adding the eggs, one by one, then folding in the flour.

Mary Berry’s more modern offering opts for a soft margerine to help keep the sponge light, blending all together all at once, rather than creaming and beating separately. Personally, I prefer the sponge flavour with the buttery traditional method.

This recipe was given to me a few years ago by my friend and Jeremy Lee’s excellent head chef Lee Urch at Quo Vadis. It never fails to impress. Baked high then lowered for longer than most, the texture is incredible.

Fill it with jam, whipped cream and handfuls of berries and it really is fit for a queen.

infographic victoria sponge cake

Pistachio Cake – Gluten Free

May 26, 2012


Pistachio Cake

This is magic this is. The perfect slice for this weather. Light and fresh, with or without strawberries and cream. It is easy, takes 20 minutes to prepare so does not interfere with precious time in the sun. In fact, it only enhances it. Try taking a slab along to that picnic to enjoy with that glass of chilled prosecco.

Infographic recipe cake pistachio






Wild rice & goat’s cheese

May 16, 2012


It is Wednesday evening, you are on your way home and you are :

Ο tired       Ο hungry       Ο late          Ο lacking dollar

Ο supposed to be eating healthily

Ο all of the above

With just a handful of cherry tomatoes, wild rice, mint and goat’s cheese, I recommend following the instructions below and in 22 mins and your supper is done.

Bon appétit.

To note: add long slices of courgette to the oven tomatoes and spinach to the cooked rice if you want more green on your plate.