Pomegranate & Hibiscus Jelly

Soft jelly made with pomegranate juice, flavoured with hibiscus flowers and cinnamon.

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I made this jelly to have as a dessert after a curry, so I wanted something light and fruity! I got this recipe from my Sweet Sicily cookbook by Alessandra Damone. Her recipe uses watermelon and jasmine flowers, but I couldn’t get hold of these, so I decided to use pomegranate and hibiscus instead!

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This jelly was really really easy to make, and it had a lovely exotic flavour which finished off our meal wonderfully. Using cornflour and gelatine also gave this a lovely soft set which I find much nicer than if you just use gelatine! I used one sachet of powdered gelatine which is enough to set one pint of liquid, so you could use an equivalent amount of leaf gelatine instead.

They look very impressive once you have added the decoration as well, so they would be a great dessert to impress your friends with!

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Variations: You could probably use any fruit and floral/ spicy favours you wanted in this jelly. I think Rose and raspberry would taste lovely.

Ingredients: Serves Two

  • 500ml good quality pomegranate juice
  • 1tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
  • 40g corn flour
  • 7g  powdered gelatine (enough to set 1 pint)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 200g sugar
  • chopped pistachios, chocolate chips and cinnamon for decoration.

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To Make:

Dissolve the cornflour in 2 tbsp of the Pomegranate juice.

In a large pan combine the remaining pomegranate juice, hibiscus flowers cinnamon stick and sugar. Cook over a low heat until it reaches almost boiling point.

Stir in the cornflour mixture and gelatine, and continue to heat, constantly stiring until the mixture thickens slightly and the gelatine is completely dissolved.

strain into individual ramekins or wine glasses, making sure all the hibiscus flowers and cinnamon stick are removed.

Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Once set remove from the fridge and decorate with ground cinnamon, chopped pistachios and chocolate chips.

Serve and enjoy!

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Chocolate and Hazelnut Speckled Egg Cake

Hazelnut cake, sandwiched together with chocolate and hazelnut spread, coated in white chocolate ganache.

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Easter has coincided with my boyfriends birthday this year, so I decided to make him an Easter themed birthday cake!

I had a browse around on Pinterest and I found these amazing tutorials for making a speckled egg cake, and I think they look fantastic so I decided to try and make one myself.

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My cake is hazelnut and chocolate flavour, so I have made a hazelnut cake, sandwiched together with chocolate hazelnut spread. I used a white chocolate ganache for the icing so that I would be able to colour it for the speckled egg effect.

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The speckled egg icing actually really easy and fun! You just ice as normal and then splatter the cake with a cocoa powder paint to give the speckly effect, the kitchen was a bit of a mess though!

I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#112 this week, hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Natalie @ Kitchen, Uncorked and Hilda @ Along The Grapevine. Happy Friday and Happy Easter everyone!

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Variations: you could use any flavours you want in this cake!

Ingredients: Serves 12-14

The Cake:

  • 300g butter
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 200g chopped hazelnuts
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 150g chocolate hazelnut spread

The Icing:

  • 600g white chocolate
  • 200ml double cream
  • blue gel food colouring
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • chocolate eggs

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To Make:

Grease and line three 23cm cake tins, preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream together the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Fold in the eggs one at a time followed by the chopped hazelnuts and flour.

Spoon into the prepared tins and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the white chocolate ganache, melt together the chocolate and cream in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate has fully melted, then stir in the food colouring until it reaches the desired shade of blue.

Cover with clingfilm so that the top of the ganache is toughing the film. Leave to cool to body temperature for a few hours.

whisk the ganache for a few minutes with a hand-held electric mixer until light and creamy. Cover with clingfilm again and leave to reach room temperature.

Place one of the sponges on an icing turntable. Pipe a ring of ganache around the edge of the sponge, then fill the middle with a few tbsp of chocolate hazelnut spread.  -repeat with the next two sponges.

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Cover the outside of the cake with a thick layer of ganache. then use a scraper to straighten out all the edges.

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Smooth out the ganache by warming up a metal spatula in hot water and then using this to smooth out and unwanted lumps and bumps.

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Once you are happy with the finish of your ganache you can move on to the speckle decoration!

Mix the cocoa powder with a few tbsp of water until it forms a loose pain like consistency.

Use a clean paintbrush and dip in in your chocolate paint. tap off the excess and then hold the paintbrush with one hand and tap with your fingers to make flecks of pain scatter off the brush – practice on some greaseproof paper before you get to work on the cake!

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Use the chocolate paint to decorate the top and sides of the cake until you are happy with the speckley effect.

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Finally decorate with some chocolate eggs and the cake is ready to serve!

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Scandinavian Cinnamon Rolls

Sweet dough twists flavoured with cinnamon and topped with crunchy pearl sugar.

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I LOVE cinnamon rolls, they are one of my absolute favourite breads.  I’ve made them at home before but I have aways made the american version which are much sweeter and stickier.

I had some scandinavian style cinnamon rolls from a cafe in London before christmas and I absolutely loved them, so I decided to try and make some for myself! I used a mixture of a few different recipes for these.

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The main difference I noticed between american and scandinavian cinnamon rolls was how the filling was added. In american cinnamon roll,s the sugar and cinnamon are mixed with the melted sugar and then spread onto the bread, so you end up with quite a thick gloopy covering of sugar, whereas the scaninavian rolls all had the melted butter brushed on and the sugar sprinkled over later, so it had a bit of a less intense filling!

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I also decided to shape these differently, so I had a look online and found this really pretty method for making twisted knot cinnamon rolls.

I really enjoyed these, and I much preferred them to the recipe I usually use so I will definitely be making them again!

Variations: You can use ground cardamom in the filling for a different flavour!

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday 111, hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Naina @ Spice in the City and Julianna @ Foodie On Board.

Happy Friday everyone!

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Ingredients: Makes 12 Rolls

  • 500g strong white bread four
  • 10g yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 250 warm milk
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1-2tbsp water
  • pearl sugar

 

To Make:

Combine the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, milk, eggs in a large bowl and mix until it forms a rough ball of dough.

Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl and leave and prove for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Combine the sugar and flour

Turn out onto a floured work surface and roll out into a large rectangle about 1cm thick.

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Brush all over with the melted butter, making sure the mixture reaches right to the edges.

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Scatter over the cinnamon sugar mixture and spread up to the edges.

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Fold into thirds, and cut into 12 strips

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Take each strip and stretch and twist into a long spiral. Wrap the strip twice around your fingers and tuck the ends into the bottom forming a knot.

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Place on a greased baking tray and cover with clingfilm. Leave to prove again for an hour until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C

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Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Mix together the icing sugar and water until the mixture forms a loose glaze-like consistency. Brush the glaze over the rolls, and scatter over some pearl sugar.

Serve and enjoy!

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Coconut, Cardamom and Pistachio Ladoo

Sticky balls of coconut and condensed milk, flavoured with cardamom and saffron, rolled in pistachios.

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This is my first ever attempt at making an indian dessert at home. I got the recipe from Rick Steins India, which is my favourite cookbook at the moment!
I’ve never been a big fan of indian desserts when Ive had them before, but all the other recipes in Rick’s book are so good, I thought it might be worth trying a dessert recipe!

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And actually these are really delicious! They are just sweet enough, and the cardamom and saffron give it a lovely fragrant flavour. They were the perfect finish to am indian meal.

Variations: You could swap some of the desiccated coconut for ground almonds if your not a big coconut lover! I think these would be lovely drizzled with a little bit of dark chocolate too.

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Ingredients: Makes 18-20 Ladoo

  • 200g sweetened condensed milk
  • 200g desiccated coconut
  • 8 cardamom pods, seeds removed and finely ground
  • small pinch of saffron, soaked in 3-4 tbsp of warm milk

To coat:

  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 25 pistachios – finely chopped

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To Make:

Combine the desiccated coconut,  condensed milk, cardamom and saffron milk in a large pan.

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Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes very sticky, but is coming away from the sides.

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Leave to cool until it is cold enough the handle.  Mix the coating ingredients together and pour onto a small plate.

Wet your hands and take tablespoon sized lumps of the mixture and mould them into a ball. Roll each ball in the coating and transfer to another plate or tray.

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Chill the ladoo in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

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Blackcurrant Macarons

Deliciously sweet macarons filled with fresh cream and tangy blackcurrant jam.

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After my success at mastering the macaron a few weeks ago, I was eager to try out my new skills with exciting new flavours!

At my first attempt at making macarons I realised that the gel food colouring you get in the supermarkets is not strong enough to give the shells the bright colours you need, so I treated myself to some good quality food coloring.

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I chose to make blackcurrant macarons because I love the vibrant purple colour the shells and the tangy taste of blackcurrant jam.

I was really pleased that these turned out so well, I feel like I have fully mastered to macaron now!

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#106 this week, hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Steffi @ Ginger & Bread and Andrea @ Cooking With a Wallflower.. Happy Friday everyone!

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Ingredients: Makes 16 Macarons 

  • 100g egg whites (3 eggs)
  • 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 40g granulated sugar
  • 115g ground almonds
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 drop of purple gel food colouring
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g blackcurrant jam

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To Make:

Take the eggs out of the fridge a few hours before use and leave to warm up to room temperature.

Line a baking tray with either a silicone macaron mat, or a sheet of baking paper with templates drawn on.

Place the almonds in a food processor and blitz a few times to mix into a finer powder.

Sift the ground almonds and caster sugar into a large bowl and set aside.

In a separate clean bowl, whisk up the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the caster sugar and food colouring. Whisk to form stiff glossy peaks.

Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue to mix until the mixture loosens up a little, and the batter runs off the back of the spoon ‘like lava’ or forms a ‘ribbon’ like trace when it runs back into the bowl.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a medium sized circular nozzle.

Pipe dollops of mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Pat down any peaks on the macarons with a wet finger. Tap the baking tray hard on your work surface a few times to remove and large air bubbles – you should see some small bubbles popping at the surface!

Then leave the macarons to set for 45mins-1 hour before baking – this step is very important as the macarons need to form a skin before they are baked. You can check to see if they are ready by lightly touching them, they should be tacky and not stick to your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Once ready, bake the macarons in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until they have puffed up and (hopefully!) formed feet.

Leave to cool completely before removing from the baking tray.

Whip up the double cream until it forms stiff peaks and spoon into a piping bag with a circular nozzle.

Pipe a ring of cream around the edge of one macaron shell and fill the middle with a teaspoon of black currant jam. Place another macaron shell on top and gently press together to push the filling to the edges.

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Mastering the Macaron

My adventures in trying to make the perfect macaron!

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This weekend was my one year blog-versary! I decided to mark the occasion my attempting to master a bake that has failed me before; the macaron.

I tried them about a year ago with disastrous results! They were just lumpy almond biscuits, with no foot, or shiny top, and since then I have been to scared to try again.

Last time I tried the Italian meringue method and since they were such a disaster, I decided to try the french method, which at first glance seemed much simpler, so I was hopeful for good results!

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I did a LOT of googling before I started, and read through loads of french macaron recipes. I found that most of the recipes contained the same amounts and instructions, and settled on this recipe, as it had good reviews.

My first attempt was almost right, I managed to get quite a good foot on each biscuit, and there were no cracks, so they did look quite like a proper macaron, but unfortunately the tops were very lumpy, and not shiny at all, so I knew I wasn’t quite there!

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I had another google for macaron trouble shooting, and decided that my problems were probably due to either under-mixing the batter, or not having almonds that were finely ground enough.

During the first batch, I only just mixed the almond  and sugar mixture into the egg whites because I was scared of knocking out all the air, but I soon realised that you actually need to mix the batter for  little longer until it runs off the spoon and leaves a ‘ribbon’ trace.

So, for my second batch of macarons, I gave the ground almonds an extra blitz in the food processor to get a finer grind, and I made sure I mixed the batter until it formed ‘ribbons’.

I noticed when I piped the mixture onto the macaron sheet, that it flattened out much more smoothly, and looked a lot more glossy, so I was hopeful that they would turn out better!

And I was right be be hopeful because the second batch turned out really well, with nice smooth shiny tops, and a foot! so now I know how to make proper macarons!

I will give the recipe for the chocolate and coffee macarons which worked!

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Ingredients: Makes 14 Mocha Macarons

  • 100g egg whites (3 eggs)
  • 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 40g granulated sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1tbsp espresso powder
  • 1tbsp icing sugar

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To Make:

Take the eggs out of the fridge a few hours before use and leave to warm up to room temperature.

Line a baking tray with either a silicone macaron mat, or a sheet of baking paper with templates drawn on.

Place the almonds in a food processor and blitz a few times to mix into a finer powder.

Sift the ground almonds, cocoa powder and caster sugar into a large bowl and set aside.

In a separate clean bowl, whisk up the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the caster sugar, and whisk to form stiff glossy peaks.

Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue to mix until the mixture loosens up a little, and the batter runs off the back of the spoon ‘like lava’ or forms a ‘ribbon’ like trace when it runs back into the bowl.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a medium sized circular nozzle.

Pipe dollops of mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Pat down any peaks on the macarons with a wet finger. Tap the baking tray hard on your work surface a few times to remove and large air bubbles.

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Then leave the macarons to set for 45mins-1 hour before baking – this step is very important as the macarons need to form a skin before they are baked. You can check to see if they are ready by lightly touching them, they should be tacky and not stick to your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Once ready, bake the macarons in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until they have puffed up and (hopefully!) formed feet.

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Leave to cool completely before removing from the baking tray.

Meanwhile make the filing: dissolve the espresso powder in a few tbsp of hot water. Whip up the double cream until it forms stiff peaks, then fold in the coffee mixture and 1 tbsp of icing sugar.

Spoon the filling mixture into a clean piping bad with a small circular nozzle, and pipe a circle of cream onto one macaron, place another on top, and squeeze gently to spread out the filling.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Baked Chocolate Doughnuts

Chocolate chip and vanilla doughnuts, topped with a dark chocolate ganache and chocolate sprinkles.

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One of my Christmas presents I have been itching to use is my baked doughnut kit, which came with some nice silicone moulds for making doughnuts in the oven rather than frying them!

Although I love making doughnuts the traditional way with bread dough, it does take quite a lot of time, and it’s harder to add fruit prices etc. so I really wanted to give the baked variety a go!

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I decided to start with a basic recipe as I have never baked them before, so I used this Lakeland recipe, and added milk chocolate chips and a chocolate icing.

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The doughnuts were super easy to make as the batter was a lot like a muffin mix and baking them was really really easy. They we’re really fun to ice and decorate too, so I can’t wait to try some more flavours!

I will be bringing these delicious doughnuts to Fiesta Friday #104 this week hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Mila @ milkandbunand Hilda @ Along The Grapevine. Happy Friday!

Variations: You could use white chocolate ganache instead of dark for a sweeter finish. You could also add some orange juice and zest to the doughnuts to make chocolate orange flavour.

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Ingredients: Makes 8-10 large doughnuts

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  • 175g milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 75ml double cream

 

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To Make: 

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a doughnut pan, or silicone moulds.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt  and chocolate chips in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, olive oil and vanilla extract.

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Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix to combine to a loose batter.

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Spoon into the doughnut cases until 2-3 full.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

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Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Melt the cream and chocolate together in the microwave for 30 sends at a time, until smooth and glossy.

Dip each doughnut into the ganache, smooth over and scatter over the chocolate sprinkles or hundreds and thousands.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Lemon Almandine

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I have been itching to make a tart ever since I got my new rectangular tart tin for my Birthday, and my new Pastry cookbook!

I have used a recipe for an almandine tart, but added some lemon flavourings to spice it up!

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I loved this tart, it worked so well, and tasted delicious. The pastry is lovely and crumbly, and the lemon adds a great juicy finish to the frangipane.

We just ate this as it is, but I’m sure a dollop of creme fraiche or mascarpone wouldn’t go a miss!

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I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#103 this week hosted by Angie, and co-hosted by Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love . Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: You could use a different jam in the filling, or add some fruit into he frangipane. Raspberry would work very well!

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Ingredients: Serves 6-8

The Pastry:

  • 250g butter
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 egg

 

The Filling:

  • 2-3tbsp lemon curd
  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • zest and juice of one lemon.
  • 2tbsp flaked almonds

 

To Make:

The Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a 30m rectangular tart tin.

In a large bowl combine the flour and butter. Rub together into a fine breadcrumb like consistency. Mix in the lemon zest, juice and egg until the mixture comes together into a rough ball of dough. (You can add a little extra water or lemon juice if the dough won’t come together)

Turn out onto a clean, floured work surface and form into a rectangle. Roll out into a large rectangle, around half a centimeter thick.

Line the greased tin which the pastry sheet, pushing the pasty into the crevices of the tin. Trim off the edges and prick the bottom of the pasty win a fork.

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Weigh the pastry down with baking beans or equivalent, bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the baking beans and return to the oven for another 10 minutes to brown the base of the pastry.

Remove from the oven.

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The Frangipane:

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale of fluffy. Fold in the eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon zest and juice, flour and ground almonds.

Assembling:

Spoon the lemon curd into the bottom of the blind baked pasty case, and sooth out into a thin layer.

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Top with the frangipane and smooth out, then scatter over the flaked almonds.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

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Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

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Transfer to a plate or cake stand to serve!

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Salted Caramel and Chestnut Mini Loaves

Light and fluffy loaf cakes, made with nutty chestnuts, topped with a sticky salted caramel glaze.

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The recipe for these cakes came from a new cookbook I got for christmas called Honey & Co; Food from the Middle East. I saw this recipe in the desert section and decided that I just had to make it, as the combination of chestnuts and salted caramel sounded so delicious!

These cakes were as delicious as I expected. The flavours went together beautifully, and the texture of the cakes was beautifully light, so its easy to eat quite a few cakes in one go!

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The original recipe used a large cake tin, and poured the caramel sauce over each serving, but I wanted to try out another on of my christmas presents, which was a mini loaf tin. So you could definitely do this recipe as one large cake, and just increase the cooking time to 25-30 minutes.

These cakes were really easy to make, so they would a a great desert to make for a dinner party!

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Variations: You could use a chocolate sauce instead of the salted caramel, which would probably be equally as delicious.

Ingredients: Makes 10 Mini Loaves

The Cakes:

  • 150g chestnut puree
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • caster sugar
  •  ground almonds

 

The Salted Caramel

  • sugar
  • honey
  • double cream
  • generous pinch of sea salt

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To Make:

Grease and line your cake tin(s) and preheat the oven to 180C.

Whisk together the egg yolks, chestnut puree, and sugar in a small bowl.

In a separate, clean bowl, which up the egg whites until stiff peaks from.

Fold in the egg yolk mixture to the egg whites, one heaped tbsp  at a time until fully combined. Then fold in the ground almonds.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tins until 3/4 full and level off.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Meanwhile make the salted caramel sauce.

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Combine the sugar honey and water in a small pan and cook over a medium heat, until the mixture turns a deep golden brown colour, then pour in the double cream and add the sea salt. mix to combine and leave to cool before using.

Once the cakes are cooked turn onto a wire rack to cool and top with a few tbsp of the sated caramel sauce.

Sprinkle over some more sea salt and serve!

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Brazil Nut & Toffee Stars

Crisp buttery biscuits studded with chunks of brazil nut and sticky toffee, dipped in bittersweet dark chocolate. 

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Brazil nuts are one of the foods that only seem to come out at Christmas, even though they are an absolutely delicious nut!

I wanted to make some Christmas biscuits, so I thought Brazil nuts would be a great festive flavour to include, and I decided they would go really well with toffee and dark chocolate!

These biscuits turned out really well, and they made an excellent festive treat, to get you in the mood for Christmas!

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Variations: You could leave out the toffee and add dark chocolate chunks to the biscuits instead.

Ingredients: Makes 24 biscuits

The Toffee:

  • 75g butter
  • 75g granulated sugar

The Biscuits:

  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g flour
  • 1/2 tsp butter cream
  • 75g brazil nuts, coarsely chopped.

 

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To Make:

The Toffee:

Line a baking tray with greased greaseproof paper.

Combine the butter and sugar in a small pan, and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling away and has turned a deep golden brown colour.

pour out onto the lined baking tray and smooth out into a thin layer. Leave to cool completely before smashing into tiny pieces with a toffee hammer.

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The Biscuits:

Grease a few baking trays and preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk together for a few minutes until smooth and creamy.

Slowly mix in the flour, brazil nut pieces and toffee until the mixture forms a stiff dough, and the pieces and evenly distributed.

Turn out onto a clean work surface and roll out to a thickness of about 1cm. Then use a star shaped cutter, to cut out the biscuits.

 

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Transfer to the prepared baking trays, spaced out by a few cm to give them room to grow in the oven.

Place in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack, then dip the biscuits in some melted dark chocolate if desired. Serve and enjoy!

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