Eton Mess Cheesecake

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If you’re a fan of being British it truly is a weekend to celebrate: the start of the Euro 2016 football championships with England, Wales and Northern Ireland all being represented (let’s not dwell on England’s result too much) and the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations this weekend with Trooping the Colour yesterday and The Patron’s Lunch today. It’s a weekend to feel proud of all that’s good about our country. Yesterday we were off to a barbecue with some of my husband’s friends to watch the England game. Of course I offered to make a dessert and opted for this Eton Mess cheesecake. I first found this recipe when I was looking for recipe for an Eton Mess sponge cake which I made back in April when it was the Queen’s proper birthday for our school tea party.
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Raspberry millefeuilles

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I am a HUGE fan of The Great British Bake Off. Back in the summer I saw on Twitter that the production company behind the spin off, An Extra Slice, were looking for keen bakers to be members of the audience. I quickly sent off an email, not expecting to hear anything back, but soon received a reply asking me to come and watch the show. After eventually finding a date a could do, I didn’t think much more about it until I had an email last week telling me it was patisserie week. My first thought was ‘Aaaaaahhh I know nothing about patisserie!’ After having a look through some recipe books and trawling the Internet I decided upon millefeuilles.
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Frozen raspberry and honeycomb pie

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I saw this recipe in this month’s BBC Good Food magazine and thought it looked interesting. Today we had some of our good friends round for a barbecue and decided this would make a good dessert. Unfortunately, the weather decided it was not going to agree and we had to make a mad dash inside when it started raining. This was a shame as this dessert would be much more suited to warm, sunny, al fresco dining rather than sitting in a lounge with the rain beating at the windows!
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Chocolate raspberry brownies

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Summer is well and truly here and with that comes lots of delicious summer fruit. We have recently been visiting our local greengrocers and stocking up on lots of reasonably priced fruit. This week’s bargain were two punnets of raspberries for £1. I’d been thinking of making this recipe this weekend and so after spotting the raspberries my mind was made up! I made these brownies a couple of years ago. This is a BBC Good Food recipe.
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Red berry meringue roulade

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Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there! My Dad came to stay with us this weekend and I was determined to redeem myself after last year’s disastrous rhubarb cheesecake. After the lovely weather this week I decided something summery was needed. I did consider making a pavlova but then decided on a roulade. This was a brave choice as my Dad is a big fan of my mother-in-law, Dot’s roulades that she makes and I was wasn’t sure I could compete. Luckily today was a success and hopefully any memories of last years disaster have been banished (it’s just a shame the weather didn’t match the summery-ness of the roulade!)
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Mixed Berry Plaited Pie

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I will start today’s post with a confession. I am a hoarder. I find it difficult to throw things away. In the process of moving I have had to address this (well I like to think I have addressed it!) Whilst packing I have had to sort through many food magazines. At various points over the last few years I have had subscriptions to Delicious, Good Food and Olive and had kept them all. My husband was not going to let me pack up and move boxes of magazines but I didn’t want to throw them away. The solution to my reluctance to throw these away – to rip out all the recipes I liked the look of or thought I might like to make one day in the future. I now have a lever arch folder fit to burst with recipes. It was when I was ripping and filing that I spotted this recipe. I am a bit obsessed with blackberry recipes at the moment and this not only contained blackberries but also looked pretty impressive.

This is an Olive recipe that you can find on the BBC Good Food website here. It is a cross between a pie (it has a pastry base and pastry twists on top) and a cake. It is very easy to prepare as you make both the base and filling in a food processor (I didn’t even bother washing it out!)
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White chocolate and raspberry melting cake

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This cake was meant to be an entry for a John Whaite Book Club competition (and also dessert for a gathering with some of my teacher friends) but as you will discover if you read on, it ended up in no fit state to be photographed…

There were many lessons I learnt when making this cake…
1) Always use the correct size cake tins – if it says 20cm it means 20cm! Sadly I don’t own any 20cm tins. I own 18.5cm tins and 23cm tins. I opted for the 23cm tins thinking this would be better but sadly not! I ended up with large almost flat sponges.
2) Check your self-raising flour is in date Mine was best before June which I think may have contributed towards my flat sponges.
3) If it says the ganache filling will take a long time to thicken it means it will take a long time to thicken.
4) If your judgement is telling you not to try to assemble the cake don’t do it! I thought about taking the sponges and ganache separately and assembling it when needed but stupidly thought it would be ok. It wasn’t – the ganache wasn’t thick enough and spilled out everywhere. The cake started to slip and slide around in my car and due to some unexpected breaking ended up in pieces. It was essentially a cake jigsaw puzzle that I had to arrange into something resembling a cake when I arrived at my friends house. Luckily I have some lovely friends who said it still looked delicious :-)

I wasn’t going to post this but actually it was a big hit and when it was sliced into pieces it didn’t actually look too bad (if you looked at it in a creative way!) and a blog post was requested by my friends. Sadly I only had my phone with me so the pictures of the end result aren’t great. If you are brave enough to attempt this (and not as silly as me and don’t make the same mistakes I did) you can find the recipe here on John Whaite’s Facebook page.
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Chocolate brownie meringue cake

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Today was a special day. You might have seen ‘The Big Reunion’ on the TV (lots of pop bands from the late nineties and early noughties reuniting) – well today was the proper big reunion. It is ten years this summer since I and my very special friends graduated from university. In honour of this special occasion we had a get together to reminisce, laugh over photos (what were we wearing?!?) and partake in a game of petanque. I of course offered to make dessert. I’d had my eye on this recipe for a while and recently had a similar cake at ‘The Tenth Hole Tea Rooms’ in Southsea (they are legendary in Hampshire for their amazing cakes!) so decided now was the time. I am now a little bit obsessed with the idea of making meringue cakes and have my eye on a Nigella Lawson lemon meringue cake, a BBC Good Food blackberry and almond meringue cake and a mocha meringue cake I have found on a blog. Oh the possibilities!

As you will see from the photos I have yet again failed in my attempts to make a meringue that does not crack! I am obviously just doomed. However despite appearances the cake went down well. It is a Miranda Gore-Brown recipe from the Great British Bake Off. You can find it on lots of different websites but I used the version from the BBC website that you can find here. It is very tricky to slice and serve and does not look pretty but makes up for it in taste. The combination of meringue and brownie works well and the raspberry cream adds some freshness. There was a debate over the hazelnuts in the meringue but the end decision was that they add texture. The recipe is meant to use two 23cm sandwich tins which I don’t possess so I used springform tins instead which still works.
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Having a cracking time – Nigella’s Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova

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We had our friends Emma and John over for Sunday lunch today so it was time to try a new dessert. The lovely Emma is pregnant so that meant cheesecake was out. I am a bit scared of tarts (pastry – eek!) so decided that following the success of my previous pavlova it was time to try a different pavlova. I have been wanting to try Nigella’s cappuccino pavlova that featured in her Nigellissima Christmas special last year (you can find the recipe on the BBC website here or on her website here) but decided that as the sun was shining maybe something a little bit more summery/spring-like was required. After a bit of research I found Nigella’s recipe for chocolate raspberry pavlova and decided that this was the recipe to try. It’s from her Forever Summer book and can be found on her website here.

Ingredients:

For the chocolate meringue base:
6 large egg whites
300 grams caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (sieved)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
50 grams dark chocolate (finely chopped)

For the raspberry and cream topping:
500 ml double cream
500 grams raspberries
3 tablespoons dark chocolate (coarsely grated)

Method: 
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Using a plate (or ruler) draw a fat circle (approximately 23cm in diameter) onto the paper ready for the meringue,
2) Using an electric whisk or free-standing mixer beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form (Now here I ran into trouble – my egg whites just didn’t do what I wanted them to do. I had separated the eggs, wiped and washed the bowl but sadly my confidence evaporated as I was left with a foamy blob rather than satiny peaks! I can only think some rogue egg yolk had sneaked its way in. I persevered anyway but think my meringue suffered.)
3) Beat in the caster sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa, vinegar and the chopped chocolate and carefully fold in.

4) Mould on to a baking sheet in a fat circle to fit the 23cm circle drawn on the baking parchment. Smooth the sides and top. (As my meringue wasn’t quite right this was quite tricky. This was what mine looked like before it went in the oven.)

5) Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150C/ gas mark 2 and cook for about 1 – 1 1/4 hours. When it’s ready it should look crisp round the edges and on the sides and be dry on top. When you prod the centre it should feel slightly squidgy. Turn off the oven, leave the door slightly open and leave the meringue to cool completely. As you can see I had some serious cracking issues. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong but I have had this problem twice now – it was cracking during the cooking rather than afterwards. I thought that it might fall apart completely but luckily it held together. If anyone can shed any light on why I am such major cracking issues I’d be very grateful!

6) When you’re ready to serve, invert it onto a large plate (ideally flat-bottomed). Whisk the cream until thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate over the top and sprinkle over.
7) Enjoy! It is delicious and was a big hit. The meringue is chewy and the cream and raspberries are the perfect topping. I would definitely recommend and make this again.

Happy baking,

Dil :-)