Monthly Archives: October 2018

Halloween Black Forest Cupcakes

There’s absolutely no reason why Halloween treats should be restricted to children and these delicious little cakes with their naughty Kirsch-infused cherry filling within the dark chocolate sponge are quite magical. The fiendish dollop of sweet cream on the top completes the wicked trickery! Enjoy!

Makes 12

What you need…

1 x 12-hole muffin tin, lined with paper cases

180g unsalted butter, softened

180g caster sugar

3 large, happy eggs, beaten

130g self-raising flour

50g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

for the filling and topping

450g frozen black cherries

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 star anise

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Kirsch/cherry brandy

300ml double cream

2 teaspoons icing sugar

10g dark chocolate, shaved or grated (or one broken up Flake bar!)

What to do…

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

Into your food processor tip the butter and sugar and then whizz until pale and fluffy. Gradually pour in the beaten egg, making sure that each addition is fully incorporated before you add any more. Tip in the flour and cocoa, whizz to combine; add the vanilla bean paste and whizz again.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, turn to the filling. Tip the cherries into a pan over a moderate heat and add the lemon juice, caster sugar, star anise and water. Bubble gently for 15 minutes, until starting to turn gorgeously jammy. Stir in the Kirsch and set aside to cool.

Once everything is cool, scoop out a teaspoon or so of the middle of each sponge, popping the retrieved and superfluous sponge into your mouth just to check for quality! Fill the remaining holes up with the cherry compote.

Whip the cream with the icing sugar until peaks form and then pipe or slather the cream over the top of each cake. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings and serve – deliciously wicked!!!!

Tip…

The frozen cherries usually come in 350g bags so there are loads left over. My vote is either to stir them into a natural yogurt with maybe a little honey or….the favourite: tip them into a sterilised jar and pour Kirsch over them – let them gather flavours in there for a couple of weeks (in the fridge) before serving with ice-cream – delicious!

Inspired by…

Waitrose and Partners Food

How easy…

Childs play – does take a little time though, just whilst the sponges and filling cool down.

Delia’s Classic Christmas Cake

If you’re planning on making your own Christmas cake this year, then don’t leave it much longer: the cake – which is so easy to make and simply gorgeous – needs feeding (with brandy) every 10 days or so between now-ish and the main event in December. Moist, laden with fruit and festive flavour, this recipe – another one inspired by Delia Smith – is fabulous and again, the smell as it’s cooking is heaven-scent! Enjoy!

What to do…

For the full recipe, type ‘Christmas Cake’ into the search box in the top right hand corner of my home page

Makin’ Mincemeat!

Once you’ve tried homemade mincemeat, you won’t buy the shop versions again – I promise! Made last week, this recipe takes a bit of prep the night before you want to cook it and then you have to be in the house for the 3 hours that it nestles in the oven but…oh what a joy: the whole house is just filled with aroma of Christmas – festively fabulous!

Anyway, get your jars sterilised and make this gorgeous Christmas treat, a recipe that is courtesy of Delia Smith.

For the full recipe, just type ‘mincemeat’ into the search box in the top of the home page and Delia’s recipe of festive deliciousness will appear! Enjoy!

mincemeat uses w

Miso-Marinated Cod with Stir-Fry

A great mid-week family supper that is super-quick to make and has stunning Umami-ish flavours – tangy, tantalising and tasty; it’s gently spicy rather than powerfully hot and so good that I’ve had it three times in two weeks!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking tray, lined with foil

4 x bamboo skewers

650g skinless cod/haddock fillets, cut into cubes

4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

4cm ginger, peeled and sliced thinly

1 teaspoon dried, crushed chillis

2 x 300g packs of your favourite vegetable stir-fry

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

2 tablespoon hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

Sea salt and black pepper

Lime wedges, to serve (optional)

for the marinade

2 tablespoon miso paste

4 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons mirin

4 tablespoons light soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

What to do…

First to the marinade: combine all the ingredients in a bowl, season with a little black pepper. Add the fish, then cover and chill for anything between 15 minutes and overnight (I did an hour).

Preheat your oven to 200˚c / 400˚f / gas 6.

Thread the fish onto skewers, then arrange on your baking tray.

Drizzle a tablespoon of the remaining marinade over each skewer and pop into the oven until cooked though (10minutes) turning half way through cooking.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the spring onions, ginger and chilli and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Tip in the vegetables, hoisin and sweet chilli sauces and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes, or until just tender. Serve with the fish skewers and extra lime wedges for squeezing over. Absolutely delightful and prepared in minutes!

Inspired by…

Tesco.com

How easy…

Ridiculously!

Blackberry and Blueberry ‘No-Bake’ Cheesecake

Serves 10 -12

An absolute ‘wow’ of a decadent dessert that could take central stage at any dinner as well as a cheeky family lunch! A crispy, rich ‘Oreo’ base is perfect to underpin the light, fluffy and fabulously fruity flavour of the ‘mousse’ that is the mainstay of this delicious cheesecake; and all topped with a glossy, slightly tart yet sweet jelly that is bursting with the Autumnal flavours that are blackberries. Just yummy!

What you need…

1 x deep, 20cm round cake tin, liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

60g butter, melted

250g Oreo biscuits

200g blueberries

350g blackberries

150g caster sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, separated

100ml water

400g full-fat cream cheese

250g mascarpone

300ml double cream

3 sheets fine-leaf gelatine

to decorate

Blueberries and blackberries, (optional)

What to do…

Whizz the Oreo biscuits in your food processor until quite fine crumbs. Pour in the melted butter and whizz to evenly combine. Tip into your cake tin, spread evenly over the bottom and then use the back of a spoon to press firmly into place. Chill.

Meanwhile, heat the berries, 25g of the sugar, all of the lemon juice and the water in a saucepan until bubbling. Bubble gently for around 15 minutes or until the blackberries are super mushy.

Push the fruit mixture through a sieve, using the back of a spoon to press down hard, extracting as much juice as possible. Either discard the purée or cover it and chill it to make mini blackberry and apple pies or spread on toast (like I did!) Back to the recipe: cover and cool the berry juice.

When you’re ready to assemble, tip the cream cheese, mascarpone, double cream, remaining sugar and all of the lemon zest into a large bowl and use an electric handheld whisk to beat until really stiff. Pour in 150ml of the berry juice (reserving the rest) and whisk again to incorporate. Plop the ‘mousse’ onto the base and spread evenly and level. Pop into the fridge and chill for 1 hour.

To the jelly: soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 275ml berry juice until hot (if you’re a bit short on the juice, just top it up with a little water). Remove from the heat, squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves and add to the juice. Stir to dissolve. Cool for 15 minutes and then pour over the ‘mousse’. Carefully, pop your cheesecake back into the fridge for at least 6 hours, but ideally overnight.

To serve, gently release your cheesecake from its tin confines and peel away the parchment paper. Transfer to a pretty serving plate and decorate with blueberries and blackberries. Cut into wedges of gorgeousness and simply savour every delicious mouthful. Go for a second piece!

Tip…

Pick your blackberries, wash them, dry on kitchen towel and then freeze in bags – no need to lay them out flat on trays

Inspired by…

Good Housekeeping

How easy…

It takes time but you can do it in stages and go off and do other things whilst the different elements chill and cool. Other than that, it’s dead easy to make, requires no baking and is sensational. Also, you have to make it the day before you want it, which I love.