Baked Plums with Feta

An ideal autumn starter for two or a light lunch for one. Bringing a mouth watering balance of both sweet and savoury to your taste buds. The crisp and bitter lettuce and the soft plums provide a really tasty contrast; a treat if you have some friends over for dinner.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 plums, halved and deseeded
  • 80g feta, crumbled with a fork
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 6-8 little gem lettuce leaves
  • Crushed black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°
  2. Place the plums on a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes or until blistered and juicy.
  3. In the meantime, take the dish of your choices and distribute the lettuce evenly on the plate.
  4. Now make the dressing by getting a small bowl. Mix the thyme, olive oil and golden syrup thoroughly and keep to one side.
  5. Remove the plums and place on the plate, scatter over the feta, drizzle over the dressing and generously crush black pepper on top.

Best served immediately.

Goji Berry & Peach Crumble

I know what you may be thinking, goji berry, really? Initially I thought I might be on something but I tell you what, don’t knock it until you try it. Peaches are one of my absolute favourite fruits, they are so delicious and juicy. The delectable addition of the goji berry is a real game changer. Not only does it bring an added texture to the crumble it also absorbs all the juices when it’s baked and becomes these little bursts of heaven with every mouthful.

Ingredients:

  • 70g Self-raising flour
  • 45g butter
  • 30g light brown sugar (for crumble)
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar (for peaches)
  • 2 tbsp dried goji berries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 peaches, sliced and cored
  • 35g crushed walnuts

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°.
  2. In a bowl, add the sliced peaches, 1 tbsp of sugar and the goji berries and mix thoroughly.
  3. Spread the goji and peach mix evenly on a baking tray.
  4. In a separate bowl add the butter, sugar, cinnamon and flour and crumble together using your fingertips. Add the walnut pieces and thoroughly crumble together.
  5. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the peaches. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until nicely golden.

Best served hot and with a drizzle of single cream.

Chocolatey Biscuit Bites

I feel like I am on a roll with the sweet things recently, which, is really so unlike me but hey, embrace it before all those savoury recipes start kicking back in. I wanted to concoct something that means using up some of the goodies that are left in your pantry. At home, not many of us really ‘fight’ for the digestive biscuits and I knew that if I left them they would just sit there until the end of time. By mixing these biscuits with just a few other components we can create a little indulgent pick me up; perfect for after dinner or a cheeky afternoon snack.

Ingredients:

  • 220g digestive biscuits
  • 200g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 165g unsalted butter
  • 20cm square sandwich baking tin
  • Walnut halves

Method:

  1. Start off by lining your baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt 100g of butter on low heat. While this is happening, use a large sandwich bag to crush the biscuits into very small pieces and dust. When this is done and the butter has melted mix together and tip into the baking tin and form your biscuit base. Leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set and firm.
  3. Put the chocolate pieces and the rest of the butter (65g) in a heatproof bowl and place above a saucepan that is filled with a small amount of water. Gently simmer and occasionally stir the chocolate mixture until smooth and silky. (Be sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl and that no water touches the chocolate as this will cause it to seize up.
  4. Once the chocolate has melted pour over the biscuit base and spread it out evenly.
  5. Take your walnut halves and distribute them however you fancy on the chocolate. Place back in the fridge and leave to firm up again for at least 1 hour. Upon serving, cut into either small squares or slices to your liking.

Enjoy!

Mini Banana & Pecan Tartlets

I’d be lying if I said that I had a sweet tooth. I’m definitely more of a savoury flavour kinda gal. Having said that, when I fancy something sweet I devour it and satisfy those delicious cravings. With this particular recipe, as they are mini they are like little treats if you just need a quick sugar fix and they take hardly any time to bake; I know right, winning recipe right here! To make my tartlets I used the rim of one of my mugs, I know, we have to work with what we’ve got but trust me it worked just as well as using a cookie cutter. Depending on the size of your cutter of choice you may need to bake your tartlets either slightly less or more than I have suggested, keep a cheeky eye on the oven so that they don’t under or over bake.

Makes 6 tartlets

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful pecans
  • 1/2 tsp golden syrup
  • Granulated sugar
  • Milk

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Using your cutter, cut out your tartlets, remove any off cuts and place on a baking tray. (Use the baking paper the pastry comes packed in.)
  3. In a bowl, mush the banana using the back of a fork, crush the pecans into small pieces. Combine in the same bowl along with the golden syrup.
  4. Scoop out (approximately) a teaspoon worth of the mixture and place into the centre of the pastry leaving a small border. Repeat on all pieces of pastry.
  5. Take a little milk and brush the borders of the pastry gently. Finally, sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top of the milk.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the borders have risen and are golden.

Best served warm with a cup of tea.

Date & Almond Drink

A combination of sweet, nutty, almost ‘caramelly’ flavours are just the way to go if you’re feeling a morning or after lunch sweet ‘pick me up’. An easy way of getting your sweet kick without having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 250ml almond milk
  • 5 pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • Cinnamon

Method

  1. In a blender add all the ingredients, including a light sprinkling of the cinnamon and blitz until smooth. Serve immediately in your favourite tumbler glass.

Honey & Rum Glazed Gammon

As we all prepare for our Christmas celebrations. For many of us, a meat dish of sorts takes centre stage at our dining tables. This roast gammon dish brings a combination of both sweet and savoury, showcasing the saltiness that this particular part of meat brings to the table and balancing that savouriness with some tangy sweetness.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 900g unsmoked gammon joint, boneless
  • 2 medium size red onions, roughly cut into chunks
  • 12 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 small carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 dried bayleaves
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp rum

For the glaze:

  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 1 tbsp honey

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4.
  2. Remove the gammon joint from its packaging and leave for at least half an hour before starting the cooking process. Use a sharp knife to score the skin.
  3. Put all the vegetables and bayleaves in a roasting tray, pour in the olive oil and fry on the stove on medium heat until lightly browned.
  4. Deglaze with 2tbsp of rum, season with pepper and cook until liquid evaporates on a low heat.
  5. Add the gammon joint, placing it in the centre of the roasting tray. Take the rum and honey glaze and brush on the skin and on the sides of the meat.
  6. Pour in the stock and then bring to a gentle boil.
  7. Move the tray into the oven and bake for half an hour. Then glaze the skin again. Do this another 2 times every 30 minutes (Total cooking time 1 hour and a half).

Best served with roast potatoes.

Rum Cake

It’s December and Christmas is just around the corner, I am SO excited and love the time leading up to the big day. This cake is so spongy, moist and delicious, just so so good. You can definitely taste the sweet rum flavours in this. If you’d like it to be a bit more boozy add a few splashes more. Fabulously served with a hot cup of tea.

Ingredients:

  • 120g self raising flour
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp baking powder

Syrup

  • 3 dessert spoons of rum (I used Captain Morgan’s spiced rum)
  • 1 tsp caster sugar.

Icing:

  • 125g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)
  • 2 dessert spoons of milk
  • 1 dessert spoon of rum
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • sprinkles (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4.
  2. In a bowl add all the ingredients. Using a hand whisk combine the cake mixture to make a batter. 
  3. Line a 9 inch circular baking tin with baking parchment and pour in the cake mixture.
  4. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Whilst in the oven make the syrup by combining the caster sugar and rum, then leave to one side. Using a knife or skewer check if the cake is cooked if the utensil comes out clean then remove from the oven.
  5. Use a toothpick to gently pierce holes at the top of the cake while it is hot. Then pour over the rum syrup, making sure it has covered all of the cake. Leave to absorb the juiciness and cool.
  6. Once the cake has cooled, flip it upside down. 
  7. In another bowl combine all the ingredients from the icing list (but the sprinkles) thoroughly. Then evenly pour and spread this over the cake. You’ll find that this is a thinner kind of icing. Then leave the sponge to absorb this sweet concoction. 
  8. When the icing has soaked in but not dried, decorate with your choice of sprinkles. I’ve gone for a more Christmassy looking cake, hence the holly and the festive colours but go to town and make that cake look cute and pretty.
  9. Finally, dust over with some icing sugar.

Enjoy 🙂

Chilli and Ginger Pork

The way the caramelised parts of the pork just screams ‘get in my belly’ with this dish. The cooking time on this bad boy is so short, there are no excuses to not give this a go. You can also switch this up with some added vegetables and spring onion if you’re more on the stir fry vibes. Additionally this goes brilliantly with some boiled rice or with a side salad.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of pork belly, cut into chunks
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 dessert spoon of soy sauce
  • 1 dessert spoon of sesame oil
  • 1tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • Lime (optional)

Method:

  1. To make the marinade, get a bowl and mix all the ingredients, excluding the pork and lime. Then add the pork and give it a thorough mix. Then leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the pork from the bowl and place in a frying pan on high heat. Leave all remaining juices in the bowl. Cook on one side for 5 minutes.
  3. Drop the heat to medium-high and flip over the meat (the cooked side will be crispy and the marinade will have caramelised). Add in any remaining juices and chilli bits from the bowl to the pan.
  4. Cook for another 5 minutes, then serve immediately with an optional splash of lime .

Best served hot.

Banana and Coconut Crumble

During the lockdown period everyone has gone to town on making banana bread. Now, don’t get me wrong, banana bread is good but I wanted to mix things up a bit and made my own little twist to a classic dessert. So here we are, another way to make use of those extra bananas; I hope you all enjoy.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 dessert spoon of coconut flakes
  • 70g self-raising flour
  • 42g butter
  • 30g light brown sugar
  • 2tsp maple syrup

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5.
  2. Roughly slice the bananas, layer and spread across a baking dish.
  3. Put the coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup in a bowl and give it a good mix.
  4. In a separate bowl put the flour and butter together and rub to make a crumble.
  5. Then add the sugar and the coconut flakes and mix together with your hands.
  6. Pour over the coconut milk mixture over the bananas.
  7. Evenly scatter the crumble over the bananas and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown.

Best served hot. Delicious on its own or with a serving of single cream or ice cream.

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My First Bundt Cake!

I’ve never really had a massive sweet tooth, I am definitely a more savoury kind of girl; as I’m sure you’ve seen from my recipes they are more focused on more ‘main meals’ rather than sweets and desserts. To be honest, I don’t think I am very good at the whole ‘baking thing’, but hey, I do actually quite enjoy it and am willing to give it a go.

I was gifted a bundt tin a while ago now and hadn’t got round to using it. Of course, during this weird lockdown time I thought I’d do some experimenting and give it a whirl. For my first bundt cake bake I was quite proud of myself, it turned out better than I thought it would. I attempted to make a spiced bundt cake that consisted of ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg-  delish, I know. There is definitely room for improvement though, I found that the spices were not as prominent as I’d’ve liked, the texture was soft but not as light (hence the icing to give it some added moisture) and the mixture rose a lot more than I thought it would; perhaps too much cake mix or baking powder. Considering the tin I have is smaller than the ‘standard’ sized bundt tins, the end result was bigger than I expected.

Now that I have given it a go I am slightly more confident to try again and to also try other bakes.

Hope you’re having a lovely friday 🙂

Carla x

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