Watermelon Sorbet

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I absolutely love this watermelon sorbet, which is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe.    There are only 4 ingredients (frozen watermelon chunks, lime juice, mint and ginger preserve) which results in a wonderfully refreshing summer dessert.  And it takes minutes to whizz up in a food processor!

You should be able to buy the ginger preserve in the supermarket.  Happy summer : )

Watermelon Sorbet (serves 8)

1 small – medium watermelon

Small handful of mint leaves

2 tbsp of ginger preserve

Juice of 2 limes

Cut off the watermelon rind and chop the flesh (seeds and all) in to chunks.  Freeze for at least 8 hours.

When ready to make, remove the watermelon chunks and blitz in a food processor with the mint leaves, ginger preserve and lime juice until a sorbet consistency .  Do this in batches if you need to, as if you overload the food processor it will take ages!  Garnish each serving with a sprig of mint.

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Orange and Raisin Soda Bread

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My 5 year old son and I love Nadia Hussain – former Bake Off Winner and all round loveable mum – so we made the delicious, slightly sweet soda bread from her World Book Day book Bake Me A Story.   The great thing about soda bread is that you don’t have to knead it, it is just a matter of mixing the ingredients and patting the dough in to a rough ball.  It was easy and we all loved it with a spread of butter! We replaced the dried blueberries with raisins as we had them at home already.

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My son tends to help a little then run off, then help a little more and run off, before declaring he is tired.  Which is fine, because every second helping out counts.  He helped tipping in and mixing the ingredients, cutting a cross in the loaf before baking, and tapping on the bottom of the loaf to check it was cooked (it should make a hollow sound).

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Here is the recipe!

Orange and Raisin Soda Bread (makes one loaf)

400g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

50g caster sugar

2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil

100g raisins/dried cranberries/dried blueberries

Grated zest of 2 oranges

1 large egg

185ml buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk you can easily make it by mixing milk with lemon juice – mostly milk topped up with lemon juice to 185ml – it might curdle and that’s fine)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 6.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, oil, raisins and orange zest until combined.  Separately beat the egg with the buttermilk then pour in to the bowl with the other ingredients, and mix with a spatula.  Gently bring the dough together to form a ball, but don’t overwork it (you may need to use your hands at the end).

Place the dough on the lined tray and make two deep cuts in the top in a cross shape, nearly all the way through.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the loaf is golden and sounds hollow when taped on the base.

Leave to cool then enjoy with butter!  Should last 2-3 days and can be toasted.

 

 

Caramelised Apple Cake

 

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This Caramelised Apple Cake is my second favourite cake.  I have made it a few times now, so I am confident that it is delicious, moist and hard to get wrong!  To get the caramelised effect you sprinkle sugar on the bottom of a cake tin, top with sliced apples and then the cake mixture. It’s a lovely touch and looks super pretty.  We all love it!

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Allow about 15 minutes to prepare the cake and 50 minutes to bake it.  And make sure you have greaseproof paper.  Serve with ice cream.  And tea!

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Caramelised Apple Cake (serves 12)

5 medium apples

Juice of ½ a lemon

275g (9oz) light brown sugar

5 medium eggs

100g (3½oz) butter, melted

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

215g (7½oz) plain flour

¾ tsp baking powder

100g (3½oz) ground almonds

 

Preheat oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease a cake tin and line the base and sides with nonstick baking/greaseproof paper.  Peel, halve and core the apples and slice (as in the above picture). Sprinkle with the lemon juice and 50g (2oz) of the sugar and set aside.

Scatter a further 50g (2oz) of sugar over the base of the tin. Cover with a layer of apple slices, overlapping them slightly so they sit in concentric circles.

Beat the eggs, melted butter, remaining sugar, salt and vanilla extract together until combined. Add the flour and baking powder, followed by the ground almonds. Add the remaining apple slices (chopped smaller if you like), including any liquid, and fold together quickly. Pour into the tin and bake for 50 minutes, until the cake has risen and is golden brown. (At around 30 minutes into the baking time, check the cake. If the top is golden brown by that point, cover with a layer of foil for the remainder of the baking time.)

Carefully turn out onto a serving plate so that the base is uppermost.  Eat!!

Recipe from Tesco

Spiced Bread Pudding

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I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried bread pudding, but I absolutely love it, as does my 7 year old son!   Apparently in the 11th Century it was known as ‘poor mans pudding’ but don’t let that put you off – it is basically a delicious, springy cake made from chopped bread, cinnamon and nutmeg.  It is finished off with a lovely crunchy sprinkle of brown sugar.  Oh, and since it contains wholemeal bread it also happens to be high in fibre.

I always choose bread pudding when I visit Gregg’s bakery, but didn’t realise how easy it would be to make it at home!   Thank you to my sister-in-law’s mum for sharing the recipe from Sinless Snacks cookbook (which I have slightly adapted).

Bread pudding (makes around 12-14 slices)

300g wholemeal bread, cut in to 1 inch slices

300ml semi-skimmed milk

1 egg, beaten

75g butter/margarine

150g raisins

110g brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamom

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees/gas mark 5.  Grease a cake or sandwich tin.

Place the chopped bread and milk in a large bowl and mix together well, helping the milk get absorbed.  Leave for at least 5 minutes, then add all the remaining ingredients, except for 1 tbsp of the sugar.  Stir well and press the mixture in to the cake or sandwich tin.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown (don’t worry if it feels springy).  Remove from the oven, leave to cool, then turn out and cut in to slices.

 

Tiramisu (Pure Italian Indulgence)

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Tiramisu is an outrageously gorgeous and creamy Italian dessert, traditionally made using eggs, mascarpone cheese and biscuits soaked in coffee (and sometimes alcohol too).  This is my boyfriend’s colleague, Amandine Gutierrez’s, recipe.  She made it for everyone at work and he hasn’t stopped talking about it!  He has a seriously sweet tooth so you know if he particularly likes something then it is going to be an indulgent treat.

Although the recipe looks a bit intimidating it is actually pretty straightforward to make, particularly if you use an electric whisk for the egg.  Allow at least 6 hours for the Tiramisu to set in the fridge before you delve in!

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Tiramisu (impossible to say how many it serves – 4 greedy people/more less greedy people)

3 eggs

50g granulated sugar

250g mascarpone cheese

Pinch of salt

Coffee (instant is fine)

Cocoa powder

Pack of Lotus Biscoff biscuits (or sponge finger biscuits)

Prepare 3 espresso-sized cups of coffee and pour it in to a dish where you will dip the biscuits.  Let it cool while you prepare everything else.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks in two different bowls.  In the bowl with the egg yolks, add the sugar and mix well.  Add the mascarpone cheese, little by little and keep on whisking until it is smooth.  Try to remove any lumps by whisking energetically.

In the bowl with the egg whites, add a pinch of salt and beat them by hand or with an electric whisk until they are firm (you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the whites falling – normally takes a few minutes).  Add the beaten egg whites very slowly (bit by bit) to your egg yolk mixture, mixing slowly with a spatula, so you don’t break the beaten egg whites.

Once the mixture is smooth, it’s time to dip your biscuits in to the coffee.  Dip each side fairly quickly so they soak up with coffee without falling apart and make a first layer of biscuits in the bottom of the container you will use to make the Tiramisu (there will be two layers in total).  Pour over a little more coffee if it needs it, so the biscuits are well soaked but not swimming in coffee, and there is enough coffee left for the second layer of biscuits.  Once done add 1/2 the eggs mixture on top, then do another layer of coffee dipped biscuits.  Finish with a final layer of the eggs mixture.  Finish it all off by carefully shaking a little cocoa powder over it all using a sieve.

Put the Tiramisu in the fridge for atleast 6 hours to set, or until the next day.  Eat!

 

Pumpkin Pie With The Kids!

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Pumpkin Pie is a wonderful Halloween comfort pudding.  It is also really quick and easy to prepare thanks to cans of pumpkin puree now being available in the UK (and pre-made pastry cases!).  Alternatively you could make pumpkin puree yourself by chopping and boiling the flesh for about 20 minutes or until tender, then draining and mashing it/blitzing it in a food processor.

My 5 year old pudding-loving son poured the ingredients in to a bowl, mixed them together and carefully spooned the filling in to the pastry.

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My pastry case was on the small-side so I had some pumpkin filling leftover, which I spooned in to 4 recycled ramekins and baked as individual pumpkin desserts (a slightly healthier option!)

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Another thing to note – according to the lid of the pumpkin puree it also makes a great substitute for eggs, butter or oil in many recipes.  Interesting.

Happy Halloween!  And thank you to the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, which this recipe is based on.

Pumpkin Pie (makes 10 slices)

1 large sweet pastry case

1 egg

425g can of pumpkin puree

235ml evaporated milk

220g caster sugar

1/4 tsp ground cloves (if you don’t have this don’t worry – it’s not essential!)

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tbsp plain flour

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees/gas mark 3.

Put the egg, pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, caster sugar, ground cloves, salt, cinnamon, ginger and flour in a large bowl and mix until everything is combined and there are no lumps.

Pour the mixture in to the pie crust.  If there is any mixture left you can pour it in to ramekins or small ovenproof containers to make little crustless puddings.

Bake the pie in the oven for 35-50 minutes, or until the filling is setting (it might not completely set until it has been taken out of the oven and cooled for about 1 hour).

Serve with cream or ice cream!

 

Affogato – a ridiculously simple yet sophisticated dessert

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Affogato is a sophisticated and grown up Italian dessert that also happens to be ridiculously simple and quick.  Affogato, meaning ‘drowned’, is just vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over it.  I topped mine with toasted almonds to give it extra flavour and texture, and it was gorgeous.

You need to eat the affogato straight away before the espresso melts the ice cream.  To slightly delay the melting you can scoop the ice cream in to a shallow glass or cup and put it in the freezer for a few hours before adding the espresso.  Genius!

If you can’t make ‘proper’ espressos at home, just dissolve a tbsp of instant coffee in a little hot water instead.

Affogato (serves 1)

2 scoops vanilla ice cream, in a shallow glass/cup (freeze the ice cream in the cup for a few hours to get it all really cold)

1 shot of espresso (make this with instant coffee as above if you need to)

A sprinkle of toasted, flaked almonds (to toast them yourself dry fry them in a pan for 30-60 seconds, until lightly browned, shaking regularly)

Make the espresso.  Take the ice cream in it’s glass out of the freezer and pour over the espresso so it covers just half the ice cream.  Quickly sprinkle over the warm toasted almonds.  Eat instantly!