Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Elderflower pannacotta.

I love making pannacotta, it is a really great light summery pudding. I have been meaning to experiment with different flavours of pannacotta for a while. Last summer I made a rather good passion fruit one but forgot to take a photo of it so never bothered blogging about it. This months Floral inspired Tea Time Treats spurred me on to attempt an elderflower variety. This recipe worked very well but remember that it only tastes as good as the elderflower cordial so don't scrimp on it. The recipe also specifies 2oz caster sugar but I prefer my pannacotta not too sweet so I only used 1oz.

Serves 6

3 sheets of gelatine
2oz caster sugar
100ml elderflower cordial
300ml double cream 
300ml milk

Heat the milk and cream through gently but don't let boil. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Soak the gelatine in warm water for a few minutes. Take the cream mixture off the heat and stir in the gelatine until it has completely melted. Add the elderflower cordial, stir and pour into six ramekins or moulds. Place in the fridge to set for a 3-4hrs it can easily be over night if you want to get ahead.

To release from the moulds dip them into warm water for a few seconds or run a pallet knife around the edge. Serve with soft fruit.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


This recipe originally came from nigella express and in my opinion it is one of her best recipes. It make a great light meal with salad or a super easy canape. Don't bother buying fresh squid for this, it is more expensive and you should always freeze squid before cooking it as it tenderises the fish anyway. Waitrose sell it for £8 kilo

2tbsp flour
2tbsp semolina
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
300g frozen squid
vegetable oil for deep frying

Place the flour and seasoning in a sandwich bag to mix. Chop up the squid into mouthful sized pieces and add to the bag. Shake to cover the squid in the mix. Deep fry in batches in smoking oil they should not take more than a minute or so. Let them cool for a brief moment on kitchen towel this will get rid of a surface oil. Serve with mayonnaise with a small amount of raw garlic stirred in.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Rose creams.

I have been meaning to try to make Rose creams for a while now, for a multitude of different reasons. Though primarily because they are my Father's favourite chocolates. I have read a number of different recipes but was unsure as to the merits of each. Consequently I dove in the deep end and experimented. Many of the recipes contained either both or one of, rose syrup or double cream. I was skeptical of the cream as I was worried that it might make them go off quicker and the syrup because frankly I can't find anywhere not on the internet that stocks it and who actually ever gets around to making a recipe where they have to source ingredients from the internet only to ever use a couple of tables spoons out of a large bottle. I therefore based my recipe on peppermints creams which would mean that I would only need the readily available rose water. It did mean that they were marginally crumblier in texture.

2tbsp rose water
340g icing sugar
1 egg white
200g 70% dark chocolate
crystalised roses to decorate

Whip the egg to soft peaks. Stir in the sugar and rose water, knead until you have a soft dough. At this point I added a couple of drops of food colouring. Form into you desired shape and dip into the melted chocolate. Before the chocolate sets add you chosen decoration. I got about 40 or so out of this quantity of mixture. be warned it smells overly rosey before you cover in chocolate but the rose is a delicate taste and needs to be definite enough flavour not to be over powered by the dark chocolate. This recipe would work as a base for different flavoured creams just use an alternative essence.

I have linked up with this months tea time treats, the theme of which is floral recipes.

Saturday, 12 May 2012


I have been very kindly handed a Liebster award from Susan at Not just any old baking. I was awarded it a while ago and I am slightly ashamed to admit that I am only now getting around to fulfilling my end of the deal.

The origins of the Liebster Blog award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favourite or dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note. A way of introducing other bloggers to the blogs you enjoy.

So without further adue my awards go to:

Fold in the flour I have only recently discovered this blog and believe that it deserves far more recognition than it gets. I am dying to try her rose and lemon macarons I just need to track down some rose syrup.

Vanilla frost cakes I love this blog I am continuously amazed by what she manages to achieve with fondant icing.

Weekly bake off I find the premise behind this blog really inspiring, it challenges you to bake the same recipe as everyone else that week and then to compare results. It proves that no matter how good a cook you are every time you make something it will turn out slightly different every time and to have confidence in what you bake.

Cake fairy blog I must admit that I am not a huge cupcake fan the average cup cake in my opinion is a dry sponge with too much overly sweet icing. However every time I read this blog I can't help but salivate.

Emma's kitchen diary This blog is very new but I was won over on my first visit. It is already full of recipes which are just my kind of food that I can't wait to have the time pending the completion of my finals to cook.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Jubilee lemon shortbread with raspberry buttercream.

When Fleur over at Home made by Fleur announced that she was running a baking competition for the Jubilee I could not resist entering. Every cooking magazine or blog had been suggesting reams of ideas for Jubilee baking.

However they mostly seem to be cupcakes, victoria sponges with different coloured layers, iced biscuits or cakes decorated with appropriately coloured soft fruit. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with the above, but I wanted to make something a little different for the Jubilee. I have been reading lots of american food blogs recently, which have been advocating piped royal icing decorations onto sugar biscuits. There were two things which put me off making these kind of biscuits. Firstly though these look amazing but I am always worried about how good they actually taste, kids love them the more icing the better, but for adults I always feel people prefer a slightly more dignified icing to cake ratio. Secondly having been an art scholar I always end up wanting to pipe a design way beyond my piping skills. And this proved to be no exception to the rule as I chose to try to recreate the Diamond Jubilee logo.

I therefore had a cunning plan, I piped my royal icing designs onto clear plastic there by allowing me to trace my pattern rather than having to work free hand. Once they were dry I carefully pealed them off and stuck them onto of my shortbread with a thin layer of white chocolate. I was initially worried that the white chocolate would be too sweet but having conducted a taste test it actually brought out the lemon flavour in the biscuits.

To make royal icing you mix icing sugar with egg whites until you get the required consistency and then add food colouring. For large areas you need to outline the area with a thicker icing and then fill it in with a thinner consistency icing some times know as flood icing. I made these with the same consistency through out.

For the shortbread, this supposedly makes about 30 4cm circles and I got 24 squares out if it.

pinch of salt
225g butter
75g caster sugar
275g plain flour
75g semolina
1 lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 160C. Beat together the butter and caster sugar until it is light in colour and an even consistency.

Beat in the flour, salt, semolina and lemon zest, then knead with your hands to form a soft dough. Put in the fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling. It is easiest to work with when cold if you have shaped the dough into a pancake shape rather than a ball.

Roll out the shortbread dough until its about 1/2-1cm thick. Cut out as many biscuits as you can, re-rolling and re-cutting any trimmings as you go. Place on a couple of greased baking trays and bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes until they turn lightly golden.

For icing

175g softened butter
350g icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp of raspberry jam

Beat the butter and icing sugar together until thoroughly mixed. Add in remaining ingredients. If you want a stronger colour you can add food colouring at this point.

To assemble cover the biscuits in white chocolate. If you need to assemble them a while before serving I would recommend icing both sides of the biscuits as this will stop the moisture from the filling making them sad. Next pipe a layer of buttercream, fill with fruit and complete with a second biscuit with a royal icing design on the top. I made larger ones as I used them as a pudding, I also trialled small ones which I stuck onto lolly pop sticks this worked equally well.

I have entered them into Fleurs Diamond Jubilee baking competition which she is running on behalf of Appliances Online.

Thursday, 10 May 2012


I made this whilst staying with a friend in her apartment in Meribel. We decided not to eat out but instead to splash out on nice ingredients and say to hell with calorie counting. Crozet is a very traditional alpine dish, somewhat akin to macaroni. This way of cooking it creates a lighter version of a tartiflette.

This serves 2

100g crozet or smallest size whole wheat macaroni
100g reblochon cheese or a strongly flavoured soft cheese
3 pieces of bacon chopped up
handful chopped mushrooms optional

Cook the pasta until only just done. Layer the pasta, cooked bacon, mushrooms and cheese into an oven proof dish. Season. If you would like a looser sauce you can add a couple of tbsp of cream at this point. Place a layer of the cheese onto the top and put under a grill until the top is brown and the mixture is bubbling

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Chinese Spare Ribs.

I was in the butchers getting my knives sharpened when I saw these ribs. They are apparently called thick ribs and were delicious; they have a much greater meat to bone ratio than spare ribs. This recipe would work equally well though with normal spare ribs. The mixture smells like the aniseed flavour from the star anise is going to over power everything else but once they have cooked the balance  is about right.

12 pork spare ribs
100ml hoisin sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp chinese five-spice

Put the ribs into  pan of cold water and bring to the boil, simmer for 15 mins. Meanwhile, mix all the remaining ingredients together in a bowl.

Drain the ribs very well, then brush with the glaze - if barbecuing, chill, cover and keep in the fridge for later. Otherwise put them under a hot grill for 15-20 minutes, turning every so often adding any left over glaze when you do.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Marbled Bundt Cake.

I have always read bundt cake recipes some what enviously, not having a suitable cake tin I have never been able to attempt them. However this has all changed and I could resist no longer, so I  indulged myself by investing in my very own bundt tin. Having purchased said tin I immediately started looking for recipes with which to christen it. There are so many delicious bundt recipes out there that I was spoilt for choice, however I must admit that I chose this one as we already had the requisite ingredients in the cupboard.

3 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
6 tbsp water
1 ½ cups butter, melted
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
5 large eggs
½ cup milk

6 ounces chocolate
⅔ cup cream

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl add in ½ cup of sugar, cocoa and water; whisk until mixture is smooth. Beat melted butter, vanilla and sugar for about a minute.  Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition, then continue to beat for a couple of minutes.

Add the flour and milk in three stages alternating between the two. Add the cocoa mixture to two cups of the cake batter and stir. Now spoon the mixture into the tin alternating between the two mixtures.

Bake for 50-60 minutes at 175C. 

To make icing place cream in the microwave for a minute or so, then stir the chocolate into it to melt. Pour over the cake.