Monthly Archives: July 2017

Sensationally Sinful No Churn Coffee and Kahlua Ice Cream

Having experimented with three ice cream flavours last week, I went back and quadrupled the recipe for this one – seriously it falls under the heading of ‘stratospherically stupendous and sinfully good!’ I’m not joking – it’s also REALLY addictive (I can practically hear it whispering from the freezer, ‘have some more, you know you want to!’ Moving on to the practicalities, it’s also so easy and quick to make and the result is luscious, decadent, silky smooth and tantalisingly tempting! Make it once and you’ll be hooked!!!

What you need…

600ml double cream

397g (1 tin) condensed milk

4 espresso coffees/200ml VERY strong coffee (cold)

2 tablespoons camp coffee

4 tablespoons Kahlua/coffee liqueur

What to do….

Use an electric hand held whisk to beat the double cream to form soft peaks. Pour in the condensed milk and use a balloon whisk to gently fold it in so that it is evenly incorporated.

Pour in the cold espresso, Camp coffee and Kahlua and stir to incorporate. Pour into a plastic container, pop the lid on and stick it in the freezer.

Wait at least 6 hours. Go to your freezer armed with a sundae spoon and check them out. Invite husband and anyone else to do the same, proclaiming which one you prefer whilst continuing to taste-test. If there’s any left, serve in cones, bowls, casual or posh. Mostly, enjoy!

Tip…

Once frozen, it takes about 10-15 minutes to reach the consistency whereby you can easily scoop it out.

Inspired by…

Mary Berry is responsible for the base no-churn ice cream. The coffee flavouring combination is a thing of beauty that woke me up at 3am one morning whilst I mulled over the ratios!!!

How easy…

Ridiculously which is worrying – I think a tub of this will be a permanent resident in our freezer!

 

Coffee & Kahlua Aff

Coffee and Kahlua Affogato

 

Simply dollop some of your coffee and kahlua ice ream into the bottom of a pretty glass and top up with a single, cold espresso (or hot if you want the whole lot to mix together to create some kind of a rather wicked cocktail!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon with Sorrel and Vermouth Sauce

This is a simple dish but the flavour of the sauce is absolutely incredible – on first tasting my words were, “ Oh wow, I wish I’d made more!’ I love salmon and I’m always looking for different ways of preparing it: this is going to be a regular – such a treat!

Serves 2

What you need…

1 x baking tray, covered in foil

200g salmon fillet, cut into 2cm-thick slices

1 shallot, chopped finely

75ml vermouth

75ml dry white wine

150ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

50g sorrel leaves, sliced finely

Your favourite salad leaves (I like a mix of iceberg, basil, rocket and chicory)

House dressing (see below)

For the house dressing

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons runny honey

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

150ml rapeseed oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon basil leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon thyme leaves, finely chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First, knock up the fabulous salad dressing: place the egg yolk in a bowl with the mustard, honey and cider vinegar. Use an electric handheld whisk to beat together. Then, gradually add the oil, whisking the whole time, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste, whisk to thoroughly incorporate and then pour into a screw top jar and pop in the fridge until needed.

When you’re about ready to eat, pop your salmon slices on the foil and set aside.

Heat a medium saucepan until hot and then tip in the shallot, vermouth and white wine, cooking for about 5 minutes until reduced by half. Add the cream and cook for 2-3 minutes until reduced and thickened.

Meanwhile, pop your salmon under the grill for 3 minutes, until just cooked through. Chuck all your salad leaves into a serving bowl.

Season the sauce to taste and then stir in the sorrel leaves. Divide the sauce between 2 plates and then place salmon slices on the top.

Drizzle some house dressing over the salad leaves and toss to thoroughly coat. Serve salad alongside the fabulous salmon and sauce. Absolutely fabulous!

Tips…

The only finicky element to this recipe is the preparation of the delightful salad dressing so I prepared mine in advance and chucked it all in a screw top jar to be kept in the fridge. The quantity made is double what is required so the remainder can be used for another salad – the dressing will keep in the fridge for a few days.

I struggled to find sorrel in supermarkets, but it’s dead easy to grow in the garden and has a lovely, unique fresh, slightly lemony flavour that’s great raw in salads.

Inspired by…

James Martin

How easy…

Once the salad dressing was sorted, dead easy and dead quick…and fabulously delicious!

Princess Birthday Cake

Well, this was waaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone but I do like a challenge! Made for granddaughter, Georgia’s 3rd birthday, my first princess cake didn’t turn out too badly (although I was striving for a more refined look). The sponge was gorgeous (bit like the granddaughter) and the assembly and decorating job wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be given the fantastic stuff that you can now buy ready-prepared. But….working with icing is definitely not a natural gift for me

Serves 12 – 16

What you need…

1 x Barbie-styled doll (supermarkets sell cheap alternatives to the original)

1 x cake board

1 x deep, 15cm-round cake tin, liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

1 x 1 litre ovenproof glass pudding bowl, liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

1 x baking tray

1 x 6cm round cookie cutter

1 x icing bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle

500g unsalted butter, softened

500g caster sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

¼ teaspoon salt

10 large, happy eggs, lightly beaten

170g plain flour

200g full-fat Greek yogurt

500g self-raising flour

for the butter cream and decoration

250g unsalted butter, softened

500g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

Pink food colouring

400g white ready-to-roll (fondant) icing sugar

500g pink read-to-roll (fondant) icing sugar

A fanciful collection of readymade flowers, cake decorations and glitter sprays!

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 160˚c/310˚f / gas 3.

If you have a tabletop mixer, that would be ideal; otherwise use a handheld electric whisk to beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until pale and fluffy. Gradually pour in the eggs, whisking the whole time and making sure that each addition is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. (Add a little plain flour if it looks like the mixture might curdle).

Still whisking, add the yogurt. Mix the flours together and then tip them in, whisking until incorporated. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bowl, filling them both almost to the top. Pop them both onto the baking tray and then into your oven for 1 hour and 40 – 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out the clean and the sponges are golden.

Words of warning: the sponges rise massively over the top of the two dishes – don’t panic (as I did) – they’re supposed to!

Cool the cakes in their containers completely.

Meanwhile, make the butter icing by using a handheld electric whisk to beat the butter until really soft and then gradually whisking in all the icing. About half way through adding the icing, add a drop of food coloring – a little goes a long way. Add more nearer the end until you achieve shade you are looking for.

Back to the cakes: whilst still in their containers, trim the tops of the cakes level. Turn them out onto a board. Slice the pudding basin sponge into 3 layers. Slice the 15cm sponge into 2 layers.

Check your cookie cutter is big enough to go past the dolls hips and if so, use it to cut out a hole in the centre of each sponge slice.

Place 1 layer of the 15cm sponge onto your cake board and spread a little butter cream over the top. Add the other layer and again spread with the butter cream. Repeat with the three pudding basin layers, starting with the largest layer and ending with the smallest. Slather the whole sponge ‘skirt’ as it now is with butter cream, reserving a couple of large spoonfuls to use as ‘glue’ later.

Lightly dust your work surface with sifted icing sugar. Take 300g of the white fondant icing and roll out into a long strip, about 8cms wide. Attach to the bottom of the sponge skirt, pushing gently into the butter cream and leaving a ‘hem’ to spread out a little onto the board. Press a spoon right the way around the ‘hem’ to give a frilled effect (I did not master this!!!)

Roll out the pink icing to a 36cm circle. If like me, your circle isn’t very neat or accurate, use a large plate or round server as a template to cut around. Use your cookie cutter to cut a hole in the middle and then gently drape the ‘skirt’ over the cake (I folded mine in half to lift it from the work surface to the cake). This was the hardest bit for me – draping and arranging whilst trying to stop the fondant cracking or breaking. However, don’t worry if it does start doing that – you can use your decorative bits to hide pretty much anything!

Take the doll and tightly wrap her legs in cling film before inserting her into the cake. Make sure she’s standing up straight!

Use the left over white fondant icing to create a semi circle big enough to fit around the dolls waist and drop down over the cake skirt. Cut in whatever fashion you like and then ‘fit’ to the cake, using a little butter icing for glue if necessary.

Then, decorate to your heart’s content. I put the remaining butter cream in an icing bag with the star nozzle to create frills and swags and a waistband to hide tears in the fondant and clumsy joins; sticking flowers, silver balls and hearts wherever I fancied. I had also found a fabulous edible silver lustre spray that gave the pink dress a gently sparkly shimmer – very princessy! You can do as little or as much as you like here.

When complete, present your masterpiece to one very excited birthday princess and then….enjoy the spoils!

Princess cake 2 w

Inspired by…

BBC Good Food

How easy…

I struggle with icing and pretty cake decorating but I know it comes easier to other people. I spent a good chunk of the day, on and off, creating this and wouldn’t be in a hurry to do another one soon but hey, if you have the time and the patience, the recipient’s little face makes it worth the effort.

A Trio of Easy-Peasy, No-Churn Luscious Ice Creams

Where to start with this one! All three ice creams were made on a whim this week when it was absolutely scorching outside. The base recipe is that of Mary Berry’s Honeycomb Ice Cream (we all know what it’s supposed to be called but I get in trouble for that). Anyway, so I took 1 huge tub of double cream and whisked it up, then folded in the splendid but absurdly naughty condensed milk, divided the mixture into bowls and stirred in the distinct flavourings of choice (as we couldn’t agree on a single favourite). Whopped them into the freezer for 6 hours and that was it– job done – delicious, delectable ice cream – the strawberry is fresh, exquisite and just shouts ‘English summer’, the rum and raisin is definitely an ‘after dinner’ number and boy, can you taste the rum and finally, the coffee and Kahlua – the favourite of the three – luscious, decadent, silky smooth and almost alluring in its temptation! Hmmm, which one(s) will you try…?

What you need…

(N.B. this recipe makes double the strawberry ice cream to the quantities of the other 2 flavours)

600ml double cream

397g (1 tin) condensed milk

for Cindy’s strawberry ice cream

100g strawberries

for John’s rum and raisin ice cream

A large handful raisins

2 tablespoons rum

for Connagh’s coffee and Kahlua ice cream

1 espresso coffee/50ml VERY strong coffee

½ tablespoon camp coffee

1 tablespoon Kahlua/coffee liqueur

What to do….

Use an electric hand held whisk to beat the double cream to form soft peaks. Pour in the condensed milk and use a balloon whisk to gently fold it in so that it is evenly incorporated.

Spoon ¼ of the cream mix into a smaller second bowl and then another ¼ of the mixture into a third bowl.

Pop the strawberries into your food processor and whizz until they are slightly mushy with little chunks in. Toss them into the large bowl and gently stir to incorporate. Pour into a plastic container, pop the lid on and stick it in the freezer.

Into bowl 2, tip the rum and raisins and stir to incorporate. Pour into a plastic container, pop the lid on and stick it in the freezer.

Into bowl 3, pour the cold espresso, Camp coffee and Kahlua and stir to incorporate. Pour into a plastic container, pop the lid on and stick it in the freezer.

Wait at least 6 hours. Go to your freezer armed with a sundae spoon and check them out. Invite husband and anyone else to do the same, proclaiming which one you prefer whilst continuing to taste-test. If there’s any left, serve in cones, bowls, casual or posh. Mostly, enjoy!

Inspired by…

Originally, by granddaughter, Georgia, who needed a little help when she was enjoying a local West Sussex strawberry ice cream. So taken was I with the unique gorgeousness of the authentic strawberry flavour that I determined to emulate it with my own recipe. The base recipe is Mary Berry’s; the flavourings are related to the cravings of individual family members! Sooooo happy!!!

How easy…

Ridiculously! This could become yet another naughty little addiction!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

soooo, just wandered out to the garage where we have two (yes two) American fridge freezers that accommodate the food mountain created by this ‘ere blog. Armed with a sundae spoon, I delved into three new tupperware pots that were filled with yesterday’s experiments: fresh strawberry ice cream, coffee & kahlua ice cream and rum & raisin ice cream. WOW!!!! completely blown away with the success of these no-churn, spectacularly simple ice creams and am concocting other flavours….will blog these first three tomorrow, which will, of course, require further tasting before my fingers hit the keyboard….xx

Limoncello Drizzle Cake

One of my favourite cakes to quickly whizz up is lemon drizzle cake so when I saw this recipe I did wonder if it was perhaps mucking about with something that was already perfect but…I was wrong: the inclusion of the limoncello syrup makes this cake even more luscious, moist and generally gorgeous. Also, the inclusion of alcohol precludes sharing with all but the most grown up of kids!!!! Try it – so simple, so delicious!

Serves 8 – 10 or just John and I!

What you need…

1 x 2 litre loaf tin, buttered and lined with baking parchment

200g unsalted butter, softened

200g caster sugar

4 large, happy eggs, beaten

150g ground almonds

50g plain flour

4 tablespoons limoncello liqueur

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon baking powder

for the syrup

Juice of 2 lemons (those used for the zest in sponge above)

50g granulated sugar

60ml limoncello liqueur

for the crunchy topping

Juice of 1 lemon

60g granulated sugar

What to do…

Heat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Tip the butter and caster sugar into your food processor and whizz until pale and creamy. Whilst still whizzing, gradually add the eggs, ensuring that each addition is thoroughly incorporated before adding any more.

Remove the mixing blade from your food processor and then tip in the almonds, flour, limoncello, lemon zest and baking powder, using a balloon whisk to gently fold in to the egg mixture.

Pour the mixture into your loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the syrup ingredients gently in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Use your skewer again to poke holes all over the surface of the cake and then slowly pour over the syrup, watching is soak in and knowing how lovely this cake is going to be!.

For the crunchy topping, mix together the remaining lemon juice and sugar and spoon evenly over the top. Leave the cake to cool in the tin (well, you’re supposed to but I couldn’t wait that long and had the first piece warm – delightful!) Turn out and cut into nice fat slices. Devour. Have another slice. Repeat.

 A little about limoncello…

A lovely, sweet Italian lemon liqueur that I really took to last year when we stayed on the Amalfi Coast and it regularly appeared at the end of our meals as a little ‘thank you’ for our custom. To serve in small chilled glasses straight from the freezer is quite heavenly…and one glass is never enough!

 Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

 How easy…

A bit of whizzing and a little stirring: very easy and the returns are many times greater than the effort!

 

Spicy Baked Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Aaaaah, such a treat and oh so simple with the added bonus that they are really satisfying to make! The meatballs are gently spiced so that your tastebuds get a lovely hit but aren’t overpowered and the tomato sauce is just really easy and a perfect foil for those lovely meaty balls! Absolutely perfect as a midweek family supper…time and time again! Will definitely be a favourite in our house.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x large baking tray, lined with tin foil

500g beef mince

1 large onion, finely chopped

50g panko bread crumbs

A large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon dried crushed chillis

Sea salt and black pepper

To serve, pasta of your choice (I prefer gluten-free spaghetti)

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200˚c / 200˚f /gas6.

Take a large, roomy mixing bowl and tip in the beef, onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, garlic salt, chilli and egg. Mix until thoroughly and evenly combined and then – my favourite bit – scoop out small amounts of mixture and roll it between your hands to create a ball somewhere between the size of a walnut and golf ball – your choice! This bit is most satisfying – no idea why… Repeat until you’ve run out of mixture and then place the meatballs on your baking tray in a single layer, drizzle with the oil and pop in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make your simple but perfect sauce. Into a medium saucepan, tip in the tinned tomatoes, caster sugar and crushed chillis. Season with salt and pepper, stir and leave over a moderate heat for 15 minutes.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and tip into the pan with the tomato mixture. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To cook the pasta, follow the instructions on the packet – I heated my salted water as soon as the meatballs went into their sauce. By the time the water came to the boil and then the pasta cooked, it was about the 25 minutes that the meatballs were nestling in their tomato sauce.

Whilst all this is going on, pour a glass of wine (red in my case) and carefully remove the foil from the baking tray – screw up and discard, returning your clean baking tray to the cupboard without any cleaning – a small joy but it makes me happy!

Take 4 large pasta bowls and heap in the pasta before topping with these luscious meatballs and their luscious sauce – so lovely and comforting – a top up of that glass of red wine doesn’t go amiss either – cheers!

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Easy, relaxing and you can clear up and sip wine whilst it’s doing its cooking thing!

 

 

 

 

Almond, Strawberry and Rhubarb Cake

A deliciously moist little summer cake perfect for a lazy afternoon in the garden. The strawberries and rhubarb in combination with the hint of ground almonds create a wonderful little tryst of flavours. Served with crème fraiche or sweetened yogurt completes this summery treat and it would surely go well with a cold glass of fizz or pudding wine. Pull up a deck chair and relax!!!!

Serves 10 – 12

What you need…

1 x 20cm round spring form tin, liberally buttered and lined with baking parchment

175g unsalted butter, softened

175g golden caster sugar

2 large happy eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

175g self-raising flour

A pinch of salt

50g ground almonds

4 tablespoons natural yogurt

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

100g rhubarb, chunkily sliced

150g strawberries, hulled and halved

2 tablespoons raspberry jam

1 tablespoon boiling water from the kettle

A sprinkling of flaked almonds

A sifting of icing sugar

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Tip the butter and sugar into your food processor and whizz until pale and creamy. Whilst still whizzing, gradually pour in the eggs and vanilla extract. Tip in the flour, salt and ground almonds and briefly whizz to fully incorporate.

Remove the mixing blade from the processor and pour in the yogurt, lemon zest and juice, using a balloon whisk to gently but thoroughly fold in until smooth. Spoon into the tin and level the surface with a spatula. Arrange the fruit on top, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil and pop back into the oven to bake for a further 15 minutes until cooked through and golden.

Cool for 15 minutes in the tin and then gently remove the tin sides and bottom as well as the baking parchment (I left the bottom piece on for fear of breaking the cake, just taking off the side bits) and cool on a wire rack.

Once cool, use a little balloon whisk to mix together the jam and hot water before drizzling it over the cake. Then sprinkle over the toasted almonds and sift over the icing sugar. This lovely, moist little summer cake is ready to be indulged in!

Serving suggestion…

Crème fraiche if you have it. I didn’t but mixed a little pre-made sugar syrup (a staple in our house, mainly for Maddie’s cocktails) with left over natural yogurt – bloody lovely!

Inspired by…

Woman and Home magazine

How easy…

Really quite effortless

Rather Yummy Carrot and Walnut Cake

Delicious, moist cake with the lovely, creamy filling and topping acting as the perfect foil for the dark, gently spiced sponge. Luscious (especially given that we doubled the amount of filling and topping!) Also, one of John’s favourites, hence this year it was his birthday cake! Happy days!

Serves 10 – 12

What you need…

2 x 20cm round sandwich tins, liberally buttered and lined with baking parchment

250ml sunflower oil

4 happy eggs

225g dark muscovado sugar

200g carrots, grated

300g self-raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

75g walnuts, chopped, plus 8 halves to decorate

for the filling and topping

100g butter, softened

50g icing sugar

500g full-fat cream cheese

A few drops of vanilla extract

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Tip the oil, eggs and sugar into a large mixing bowl and use a handheld electric whisk to beat until the mixture is well combined, lighter and noticeably thickened. Rinse off your whisks – you’ll need them again in a little while. Use a balloon whisk to gently fold in the carrot; then stir in the flour, baking powder, mixed spice, ginger and chopped walnuts until evenly blended.

Spoon the mixture evenly between the sandwich tins and pop the cakes into the oven to bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown, risen, and shrinking away from the sides of the tins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, put the butter, icing sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract into a bowl and use your electric whisk again to beat together until smooth and thoroughly blended.

Spread half the icing on one cake, sit the other cake on top and spread the remaining icing on top, making a swirly pattern for appearances’ sake. Decorate the top of the cake with the halved walnuts. That’s it! Dead easy and rather lovely for an afternoon tea or indeed any other time!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Very, very easy. A great one to quickly knock up!