Category Archives: Desserts

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Serves 4. Great with fresh cream or custard.

Ingredients

For the puddings

  • 125g pitted dates
  • 100ml boiling water
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 80g light or dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 60ml whole or semi-skimmed milk

For the toffee sauce

  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 80g light or dark muscovado sugar
  • 60ml single or double cream

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan
  • Grease 4 ramekins
  • Soak the dates in the boiled water for a few minutes, then drain and whizz into a paste.
  • Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the egg a bit at a time, making sure to beat it in well.
  • Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon in a bowl, then add a third to the mixture and fold it in.
  • Add half of the milk and mix it well.
  • Continue with the next third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and the final third of the dry.
  • Mix in the date paste.
  • Split the mixture between the four ramekins and bake for 20-25mins.
  • The sauce only takes 10 minutes so you can start as the puddings are almost done or let the puddings cool and use them later on.
  • Add the butter, sugar and 40ml of the cream to a pan and melt over a low heat.
  • Stir consistently for 7-10mins until all of the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is a dark toffee colour.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 20ml of cream.
  • Turn the puddings out onto a plate/bowl and spoon the toffee sauce on top.

Apple and Blackberry crumble

Serves 4-6 people

Chef’s Tip: Try my custard recipe which goes perfectly with this crumble!

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 3-4 cooking apples
  • 100-120g blackberries
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g demerera sugar (or golden caster sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the crumble:

  • 50g golden caster sugar 
  • 100g plain flour
  • 80g butter
  • Optional: 1tbsp soft brown sugar
  • Optional: 2tbsp ground almonds

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6
  • Peel and chop the apples into small cubes.
  • Put the butter and sugar in a medium/large saucepan and melt together over a medium heat until it turns into a light caramel (around 3mins).
  • Stir in the apples and cook for 3-5mins.
  • Add the blackberries and cinnamon and cook for another 3mins.
  • Cover with a lid and remove from the heat to sit for another few minutes while you make the topping.
  • Add the sugar, flour and butter to a mixing bowl. 
  • At this point you can also add the optional ingredients which I highly recommend!
  • Use your hands to combine the ingredients until they are crumbly. 
  • Sprinkle the topping over your filling and bake for 10mins or until golden and crunchy on top.

 

Perfect Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 500ml milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • Butter for frying

Method

  • Whisk all of the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth
  • Rub your frying pan with butter over a medium heat
  • Use a ladle to spoon some batter into the pan and turn the pan to spread it around
  • Flip the pancake once it’s browned underneath and skates around the pan
  • Serve with toppings of your choice

Flourless Oat Pancakes

Chef’s Tip: delicious served with warm berries/honey/yoghurt 

Ingredients

  • 100g/3½oz porridge oats (not instant)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100ml/3½fl oz oat milk, or any other sort you wish
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Method

  • Put the oats and salt in a mini blender/food processor and whizz until they resemble a crumby heavy flour.
  • Tip into a bowl and add the baking powder and cinnamon.
  • Mix up the milk, egg and vanilla in a jug.
  • Slowly add the liquid to the dry mixture, mixing as you go, until it’s all mixed in.
  • Add a tiny drop (about half a teaspoon) of oil to a large non-stick pan and use a piece of kitchen towel to wipe it across the whole surface.
  • Use a ladle to spoon the batter into small circles in your pan, no more than 4 at a time.
  • When the surface starts to bubble, use a spatula to turn them over and let them cook for another 2-3mins.

Gooey Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Makes: 16 square brownies

Ingredients

  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 185g high quality dark chocolate (I use 85%)
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 100g white OR milk chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar

Method

  • Chop the butter and dark chocolate into chunks and add to a glass bowl.
  • Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, sit the bowl on top and melt over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the bowl once it’s all melted and mixed and set aside to cool.
  • Get a shelf ready in the middle of your oven and preheat to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4
  • Line and grease a shallow 20cm square tin
  • Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, ensuring any lumps are gone.
  • Chop the white and milk chocolate into small pieces
  • Break the eggs into a bowl and add the sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy like a milkshake.
    You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture becomes really pale and about double its original volume. Another check is to turn off the mixer, lift out the beaters and wiggle them from side to side. If the mixture that runs off the beaters leaves a trail on the surface of the mixture in the bowl for a second or two, you’re there.
  • Pour the cooled melted chocolate over the eggy mousse and gently fold with a spatula. The idea is to mix the two without losing the air so do this very gently and as slow as you like.
  • Add the cocoa/flour mix and fold gently again until it’s all mixed in. Make sure you don’t over-mix it.
  • Add the chocolate chunks and stir them through evenly.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared tin and use a spatula to gently even out the top so it’s level.
  • Put in the oven and set an alarm for 25 minutes. When the time is up, open the oven, pull the shelf out a bit and gently shake the tin. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it’s not quite done, so slide it back in and bake for another 5 minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin.
  • Repeat as many times as necessary.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool completely in the tin before cutting it into squares.

Fluffy American Pancakes

This makes roughly 8-10 small pancakes

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 30g butter (melted and cooled slightly)
  • 300ml milk
  • Butter for frying

Method

  • Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl and make a well in the middle.
  • Add the eggs, butter and milk into the well.
  • Mix with a fork or a whisk until smooth
  • Heat some butter in a frying pan
  • Use a ladle to spoon small amounts into the pan one at a time
  • All you need to do is wait for the top of the pancake to blister and bubble and then flip it for around 1-2mins on the other side.

Chef’s tip: Delicious with berries, honey and yoghurt. Or for a savoury approach, butter and smoked bacon.

Honey Cake

Serves 8 with a small slice each

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 170g/6oz clear honey
  • 140g/5oz butter
  • 85g/3oz light muscovado sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 200g/7oz self raising flour
  • Water

For the icing:

  • 55g/2oz icing sugar
  • 1tbsp clear honey
  • Hot water

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 3, and butter/line an 18cm (7inch) cake tin.
  • Measure the honey, butter and sugar into a large saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Heat gently until melted.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the eggs and flour.
  • Pour into the cake tin and bake for 40-45mins (can be quicker than this depending on your oven).
  • Cool for a few minutes on a rack.
  • While the cake is still warm, make the icing by mixing the sugar and honey together with 2-3 teaspoons of hot water.
  • Trickle the icing over the cake in whatever pattern you like 🙂

 

Victoria Sandwich

You will need two cake tins (approx 20cm)

Ingredients for the Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g softened butter
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2tsp baking powder

Ingredients for buttercream filling (double the recipe if you want to cover the cake as well)

  • 75g unsalted butter at room temperature – it should be soft 
  • 170g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Drop of vanilla extract (optional)
  • Strawberry jam

Ingredients for fresh strawberries and cream filling

  • 300ml double cream
  • 3 tsp caster sugar
  • Fresh strawberries

Method

Cake

  • Heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 5
  • Grease the base and sides of your tins with butter and then line the base with baking paper.
  • Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and use an electric hand mixer to mix until smooth. You can also use a wooden spoon for this.
  • Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for about 25mins or until the cakes are golden – check them after 20mins.

Buttercream

  • First, beat the butter in a bowl for about 5 minutes until it’s really smooth and lighter in colour.
  • Add half of the icing sugar and beat again, then add the rest and keep beating until it’s all mixed.
  • Add the milk (and vanilla if using) and beat some more until it’s a smooth almost white paste.

Cream

  • Pour the cream and sugar into a mixing bowl and use a whisk or electric mixer to beat them until it thickens into a paste.
  • Slice the strawberries.

Cake assembly

  • Once the cakes have cooled down, use a bread knife or cake wire to level them out.
  • Use a piping bag or icing gun to cover the top of one cake with buttercream or cream mixture. Top that with a layer of jam or make a nice pattern with the strawberries.
  • Place the second cake on top and dust with icing sugar.

Mince Pies

Ingredients

  • 140g/5oz cold butter, diced
  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 50g/2oz ground almonds
  • 50g/2oz golden caster sugar
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-2 tsp cold water
  • 280g/10oz good quality mincemeat
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • icing sugar for dusting

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  • Rub the butter into the flour and add the almonds, caster sugar, orange rind and salt until the mixture is a bit crumbly.
  • Combine mixture with the egg yolk and 1-2 teaspoons of water until it forms soft dough, then put it into a plastic bag and chill for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 2-3mm(0.1in) and cut out about 18 rounds measuring 7.5cm(3in) with a pastry cutter.
  • Place in lightly greased patty tins and spoon the mincemeat evenly into the pies.
  • Re-roll the leftover pastry and cut out round lids, stars or other festive shapes to fit on top of the mincemeat.
  • Lightly brush the pastry tops with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes until golden.
  • Remove from oven and leave for a few minutes before removing from tins and cooling on a wire rack.
  • Dust with icing sugar.

Mango Creme Brulee

Ingredients

  • 1 large mango, pureed in a blender
  • 500ml/18fl oz double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod/1-2tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g/4oz caster sugar (plus extra for the topping)
  • 6 free-range egg yolks

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 150C/140C Fan/Gas 2.
  • Pour the cream into a saucepan.
  • Bring the cream to boiling point, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for five minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks together in a large heatproof bowl until fluffy.
  • Bring the cream back to boiling point, then pour it over the egg mixture, whisking continuously until thickened.
  • Fill the six ramekins with a layer of pureed mango on the bottom, then fill them to about two-thirds full with the mixture.
  • Place the ramekins into a large roasting tray and fill with enough hot water to come halfway up their outsides (a bain-marie).
  • Place the bain-marie onto the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the custards are just set but still a bit wobbly in the middle.
  • Remove the ramekins from the water and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • When ready to serve, sprinkle one level teaspoon of caster sugar evenly over the surface of each crème brûlée, then caramelise with a chefs’ blowtorch.