Showing posts with label 6. Something Sweet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 6. Something Sweet. Show all posts

Thursday, 10 April 2014

vintage sugar rose

It's edible.  It's sweet.  It's pretty and yes, my first attempt at a sugar rose.  A little amateur I know but I have to say I do love it.  I love the subtle shades of pink and the overall vintage style but I especially loved creating it.  I attended a vintage rose workshop last night, 3 whole hours may I add, but what a therapeutic and enjoyable evening. 

Working with sugar paste is something very new to me and certainly has its challenges.  It dries really fast so you have to work quickly, which is part of the thrill I guess.  I have found a new hobby.  I can't wait to head down the flower market for some real inspiration and learn to make more.

Workshops and other cake classes are held by the lovely and very talented Lorynne Heynes of Petite Pantry.  You contact her here and for more inspiration check out her Facebook page.

Lorynne also has an online shop where you can buy all the tools required to make this rose or any other unique cake related supplies.  I'm talking clear lace embellished crystal lollies or edible icing sheets with vintage prints - AMAZING.  Definitely worth a visit...


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

fresh apple chocolate lollies

I love these little fresh apple lollies and believe anything with a dash of fruit is better than none especially when there are little people involved.
Now I can't take all the credit for these, I saw a picture in a magazine recently and thought that's exactly what I'm going to make for my daughter (nearly 2yr) as a special treat when she comes to visit me and her new sister in hospital.
I would also love to keep these up my sleeve for the next birthday party we have for her.  I think they would make beautiful snacks or even little gifts for party bags.

I love everything handmade and believe little detailed items like this go a long was in adding that extra special touch and for half the cost.
I wrapped them with cellophane and tied a bow out of raffia (two very essential items to keep in every household) making the lollies look very special.  I can't wait to see her face when she comes in.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

watermelon and feta

Something refreshing for dare I say it these slightly warmer days.  This is in essence the Greeks equivalent to British strawberries and cream.  A true staple in Greece where restaurant owners may even bring you a plate as a post-meal refresher - on the house.  It also goes down well in the afternoon when everyone wakes from their siesta about to head down to the beach.  Back in the UK I love it any place, any time.
The combination of feta and watermelon may sound strange to those who haven't tried it but trust me it works very well.  It's a sweet and salty explosion of flavours, you will never be able to eat watermelon without feta ever again.  A few sprigs of mint would also go down well with this.

You will need:
  • watermelon
  • good quality feta (preferably cows milk feta not goats milk)
1) Slice some cold watermelon and serve with slices of good quality feta.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

homemade granola + fruit compote

Friends invited us round for brunch a few weekends ago.  They whipped up this quick granola and fruit compote which was to die for, a little piece of heaven I had to ask how it was made. It sounded so simple, I  immediately got on the case.

From now on, I make sure I always have a pack of frozen berries in the freezer for whenever I need to make this delicious little number.  It's great too when you have friends come stay for the weekend.  There is something that feels quite posh about serving this to guests and leaves a lasting impression - meanwhile it's the easiest thing in the world!

Oh and it has to be served with Greek yoghurt!!!

All you need is a packet of frozen berries and mixed seeds and oats which you toast (these keep forever in jar).

Little tip:  I sometimes serve it as a dessert too with crushed biscuits on top, Ginger biscuits work well so to do Amaretti (almond) biscuits.

You will need:
For the compote:
  • 1 packet of frozen berries (any flavour, I used mixed summer berries but it also works well with plain blueberries)
  • 1 Tbs of honey
  • Juice from 1/2 an orange
For the granola:
  • Oats
  • Mixed seeds, I use pumpkin seeds, linseeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds (a packet of superfood seeds usually has them all)
1) Make the compote by putting frozen berries in a pan with honey and orange juice and simmer on low heat till it waters down and starts to thicken, not too thick as it will thicken more when it cools so should still be a little runny.  Allow the compote to cool before serving.  Keeps for a while in the fridge.
2) Toast the seeds, as much or little as you need (quantities up to you) a good mix of oats to seeds ratio is good.  Toast them under the grill for a few seconds, keeping a constant eye on them as they burn very quickly.
3) Serve over Greek yoghurt with the compote and seeds on top.

Monday, 8 April 2013

pink meringues with rose cream

These pretty pink swirl meringues are adapted from my aunt's famous pavlova recipe.  Much simpler than they look, these little puppies only take 15 minutes to prepare, but need over an hour in the oven.  A simple dessert definitely on the labour side of things and wholly satisfying on the eating front...

If I was entertaining at home I would attempt to create a pudding pyramid by building them up like bricks layered with cream and fruit.  On this occasion however I took them round to friends for a semi spring picnic!

Makes 12 meringues

You will need:
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 4 heaped teaspoons cornflour
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • red food colouring
  • 1 tub of fresh double cream
  • 1 tsp rosewater

1) Beat the egg whites till very stiff (if you were to turn the bowl upside down they should not move).
2) Add the caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time.
3) Add the vinegar and vanilla essence. 
4) Spoon mixture onto a grease paper lined baking tray, and using a toothpick or teaspoon, swirl in the red food colouring.
5) Bake at 140 degrees for 1 1/4 hours.  When complete turn the oven off but leave the meringues in the oven to dry out as the oven cools.

Serving suggestion:
Beat the cream with a teaspoon of rosewater and serve with fresh strawberries and blueberries!

Monday, 4 March 2013

scones, quick and simple

All it takes is 20 minutes and you will have fresh warm scones on the table...very easy recipe!

There is not much to say about these little guys apart from the fact that they are very easy to make and taste great when they've just come out the oven.

Why not treat mum this weekend with a little tea time.

Makes 8 - 10

You'll need:
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

1) Mix all the dry ingredients together.
2) Beat the egg and oil, add to dry ingredients.
3) Add milk last.
4) Spoon into a greased muffin tray and bake in 180 degrees for 10 - 15 mins or until golden.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

strawberries and cream, Santa style

When my sister sent me a picture of little strawberry Santa's I couldn't resist making them to share with you all.  They are just so adorable and so simple. 

The original recipe, not entirely sure where it came from seemed to be a festive mailer, using cream cheese however I think these work just as well with whipped thick cream and icing sugar.

The next time you're asked to take a plate of eats rounds to friends, why not take a plate of Santa's

You'll need:
  • 1 punnet of strawberries
  • 1 tub of double cream, whipped till thick
  • a handful of linseeds
  • 3 Tbs icing sugar


1) Wash the strawberries and remove the stalks, cutting the bottom of the strawberries so they stand straight.
2) Slice the top half of the strawberry to create the hat.
3) Using a paring knife, remove the inner core of the strawberry
4) Fill the strawberry with cream and using a piping bag pipe the buttons down the front and the tip of the hat.
5) Place two linseeds for the eyes and sprinkle with icing sugar

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Camembert brulee

With only a month to go to Christmas, we're really getting in the spirit and it's all about feasts and delicious treats here. 

Let’s eat and be merry I say!

After all there is plenty of time in January to detox and I'll be bringing you lots of tasty detox recipes to try, but for now and until then it’s all about eating anything and everything, join in the festivities and indulge.

If you're thinking of serving a cheese course with your Christmas meal, then you have to try this neat and impressive little trick.  Introducing, the Camembert brulee!

It's oh so simple and the perfect finale to a great meal and best enjoyed with a glass of port. 

If you have a blow torch its best to torch it in front of your guests, alternatively the grill caramelises the sugar in exactly the same way.  Both warm the cheese leaving it all gooey on the inside with the sweet caramelised sugar on top.  It’s divine and will leave your guests wanting more

You'll need:

1 block of Camembert cheese
2 Tbs of sugar

1) Sprinkle a think layer of sugar on top of the cheese.
2) Using a blow torch, torch the sugar until it starts to melt and caramelises, careful not to take it too far as the sugar burns very quickly.

Alternatively, if you don't have a blow torch, you place the sugared cheese under a grill for a few minutes until the sugar caramelises.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Christmas baklava

Don't you hate it when you click 'publish' instead of 'save'.  Well, here it is a little premature but I think its time to start feeling all Christmassy! 

And what better way to get in the spirit than with this Christmas baklava.  Taking the same old traditional recipe and giving it a bit of sparkle - it's my take on a scrumptious mince pie. 

Made with layers of crispy filo pastry, tangy fruit mince all soaked in syrup and topped with crushed almonds!!!  What more can I say, other than it comes with a warning...this is only for the very sweet tooth. 

Try it with with cream or ice-cream.

Serves 12

You'll need:
  • 1 Pkt filo pastry
  • 200g raw almonds, crushed
  • 5ml cinnamon powder
  • 1 bottle of fruit mince
  • 250g melted butter
for the syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 50ml honey
  • 115ml lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

1) Before you start with the baklava, make the syrup so that it can cool.  Mix all ingredients for syrup in a pan and boil on slow heat for 10 minutes and leave to cool.
2) Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
3) Grease the Pyrex (I prefer to use a glass see through one so you can see when the pastry is cooked)
4) Mix the crushed nuts with cinnamon powder.
5) Cut the filo pastry sheets so they are the size of your dish.
6) Start to layer a sheet of pastry, brush with melted butter then spread some fruit mince over, then another layer of filo, brush with butter and sprinkle some of the nut mixture over.  Continue to layer, alternating between the fruit mince and nut mixture until you have reached your desired amount of layers - I did approx 8 layers in total.
7) Cut the baklava before putting it in the oven.  It can be tricky trying to get the perfect diamond shape, so it may be worth practising on a piece of paper beforehand.  Basically you slice straight vertical parallel lines, and then at an horizontal angle the other lines, to create lots of little diamonds.
8) Bake in oven for approx 30 minutes or until golden.
9) Take the baklava out of the oven and pour over the syrup immediately, its very important for the cooled syrup to be poured over the boiling baklava.
10) Leave to cool and enjoy with a cup of tea and some cream or ice-cream.

Monday, 12 November 2012

banana loaf

This banana loaf is the ultimate cure for a wet, windy Monday morning.  Comforting, easy and a great friend of a well deserved cuppa.

This recipe is a real classic, deep from within the roots of a little village in Swaziland.
Using simply a bowl and wooden spoon, no electric mixer necessary (but feel free to use one if you prefer), it comes out light and fluffy either way.  Simple!

You'll need
  • 150g margarine
  • 160g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 bananas (peeled and mashed)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
  • 275g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g walnuts (optional - I leave them out)
  • 2 Tbs milk


1) Cream the margarine and sugar in a bowl till creamy.  I simply used a wooden spoon.
2) Add the eggs, one at a time.
3) Stir in banana puree with vanilla essence.
4) Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and fold into the creamed mixture together with the milk.
5) Turn into a loaf tin and bake for 1 1/2 hours in pre-heated oven of 180 degrees

Friday, 2 November 2012

marshmallow biscuits

This is my idea of a late trick or treat post.  I don't know why but for some reason when I think of Halloween I think of marshmallows.  I didn't get a chance to make these in time for the little trick or treaters so thought I would post them here for all you to enjoy.

These cheeky little biscuits are a popular choice when camping around the fire, but why not try them at home this weekend.

You'll need:

1 Packet Marie Biscuits (or Rich Tea biscuits for those in the UK)
1 Packet Marshmallows

1) Place one marshmallow on top of one biscuit and microwave for 10 seconds
2) Place another biscuit on top and squish the sandwich closed

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

a pear a day

When a friend told me she had a pear tree I knew a chutney day was in order.  I did not expect all the other delicious goodies that came with it.  Below are three very simple and very delicious recipes with pears.

Homemade pear chutney

Chutney may be a bit daunting for some, but it's very simple to make.  As long as you don't mind your house smelling of vinegar for a few hours you'll be alright.

This is a sweet and spicy recipe adapted from delicious magazine and as the source suggests would go deliciously with your Christmas meal or any leftover ham.  Tie a ribbon around and would make a great gift.

You'll need:
  • 1 kg ripe pears
  • 150g dried prunes, chopped
  • 150g sultanas
  • 150g raisins
  • 200g shallots, finely sliced (or finely sliced red onions)
  • 2 eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 600ml cider vinegar
1) Peel and core the pears, then chop them into chunks.  I wanted a chunky chutney so roughly chopped all the ingredients, but you can do whatever suits you.
2) Place the chopped and dried fruit in a large pan together with the sugar, cinnamon and shallots.
3) Pour half the vinegar in and mix till all the sugar is dissolved.
4) Then pour the remaining vinegar in and simmer for approx. 30 minutes till it starts to thicken.  If it's still runny simmer for a further 10 -15 minutes, but remember it will thicken even more when it cools.
5) Divide warm chutney between your sterilised warm jars.  This is very important to create the vacuum needed in the jars to preserve the chutney.  See below for sterilising jars.


Sterilising jars:  Clean your jars with hot water and leave on drying rack to dry.  Preheat the oven to 140 degrees and place the clean jars in the oven to warm through, approx 15 minutes.  Remove warm jars and fill with chutney while chutney and jars are warm - this creates the vacuum and will keep for up to 6 months in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight.

Next on the agenda,

Pear Cake

This is the simplest cake I've ever come across and can be used with most fruits so long as they are not too juicy, works just as good with a tin of fruit cocktail...  In fact I think it's so simple would go as far to say its fool proof.  Try it, it's worth it.

You'll need:
  • 50g melted butter
  • 500g ripe buttery pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 75g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp apricot jam (for the glaze)
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • creme fraiche (to serve)
1) Heat oven to 180 degrees.  Grease a 20cm cake tin with butter
2) Put the prepared pears in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent them from discolouring
3) Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.  Melt the butter in the microwave and pour in the eggs mixture.  Add the flour, sugar and baking powder
4) Add the pears with their juices and pour into the cake tin.  Note: if your pears are very ripe you may need to add 3 more tablespoons of flour.
5) Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean then place on a wire rack and let cool
6) for the glaze, mix the apricot jam with a little boiling water to make a runny paste.  Then pour over the cake and dust with icing.  
10) Serve with creme fraiche or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

And finally the 'pears' de resistance...

Cinnamon poached pears in chocolate blankets

These poached pears are very simple, and very quick to do.  I always thought poached pears were slightly old fashioned but when you take into account how easy they are and how tasty they are, I think they still have it when it comes to making an impression.  Being pure fruit and a little dark chocolate coating they remain a healthier option when it comes to sweets. 

Another serving suggestion with the actual poached pears, is to thinly slice the poached pear and serve it on a cracker with blue cheese (I would happily serve that as a starter at a dinner party).

You'll need:
  • 6 ripe eating pears
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 300ml water
  • 100g dark chocolate
1) Peel the pears leaving their stalks on.  Pour lemon juice on the pears so they don't discolour.
2) Place sugar in pan with the water and bring to boil or till the sugar is dissolved
3) Place the pears in the pan with the cinnamon stick.  If necessary add more water in the pan till all the pears are covered
4) Simmer for 20 minutes or till pears are soft.
5) Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 sec on high heat (careful not to burn).  Then pour over warm pears and serve immediately.

Gluvine poached pears with double cream

Now these are very precious little things.  If you enjoy a mug of mulled wine in front of the fire, you will love these pears.  Again they are very simple to make and you could have a decadent dessert ready in 20 minutes.  You could even prepare them beforehand and just warm them up before serving, not mention drink whatever mulled wine is left in the pan...

You'll need:
  • 6 ripe pears
  • 30ml  lemon juice
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 sachet of mulled wine spice
  • half a bottle of cheap red wine
  • double cream
1) Peel the pears leaving their stalks on and pour the lemon juice over them so they don't discolour
2) Pour the wine, sugar and sachet of spice in a pan and bring to boil
3) Place the pears in the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Pears should be totally covered and start to take on a red colour.
4) Once pears are ready remove and serve warm with double cream.