25 Apr 2013

Individual Carrot Cakes

Individual Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
I can always be tempted by carrot cake, they are a great adult favourite here and a few carrot cake postings can be found on my blog.  A while back I visited a lovely coffee shop in East Dulwich, they had made a huge tray of amazing carrot cake and I would have happily taken the tray home with me. For me, great coffee and a slice of carrot cake are a match made in heaven.

Spray the tins with cake release and fill three quarters full with cake batter.
This recipe isn't too sweet, is light in texture and packed full of flavour - perfect for us.

Mini bundt tins are recommended for this recipe but I used my tin from TKMaxx and half the recommended quantity of ingredients to make six cakes.

The recipe can be found on Edd Kimber's blog - Edd is a past winner of BBC2's Great British Bake Off.

Links to other cake postings:
Passion Cake
Mini Carrot Cakes
Mini Carrot Cakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

The bundt tins recommended by Edd can be purchased from Amazon.

21 Apr 2013

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Ginger: Recipe

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce and Ice Cream
There are many variations of Sticky Toffee Pudding, and here is yet another, but this time with a ginger twist.  If dates aren't your thing, a pudding studded with stem ginger may well entice you towards making this rich and delicious pudding.

The pudding is really light in texture and the outer crust is sticky. I decided to use a toffee
sauce recipe using evaporated milk, it's more lightweight than using double cream and I promise the sauce doesn't taste of 'evap'.

A fabulous recipe by Mary Berry from her book Mary Berry's Family Sunday Lunches.

I served mine with ice cream because I like hot puddings with a dollop of cold ice cream.......
Slightly adapted recipe.

Serves: 6-8 people

You will need:  greased and base lined baking tin measuring 26cm x 19cm.

75g soft unsalted butter, 150g light brown sugar, 2 large eggs, 175g self-raising flour, 1tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tbsp black treacle, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 125ml milk, 4 bulbs stem ginger in syrup chopped finely.

1. Heat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Place the softened butter and sugar into either a food processor or mixing bowl and beat until it is light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, flour, bicarbonate of soda, treacle, vanilla extract and milk - whisk or whiz until smooth and thick.
4. Pour into the baking tin, bake for 35 - 45 minutes until cooked.
5. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, turn out onto a baking tray.
6. Cut into slices - after cooling the pudding can be frozen or to reheat place on a plate and microwave for 30-40 seconds to reheat.

60g unsalted butter, 150g demerara sugar, 1 tbsp golden syrup, 150g evaporated milk

For the sauce: 
1. Melt the butter in a small pan.
2. Add the sugar and golden syrup to the butter.
3. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
4. Pour in the evaporated milk.
5. Beat until boiling.

To Serve:
1. Reheat a slice of pudding in the microwave for 30-40 seconds on high.
2. Pour the hot sauce over the pudding.
3. If you wish, serve with either a dollop of ice cream or some fresh cream.

For more of my yummy puddings:
Syrup Sponge
Plum, Rhubarb and Apple Crumble
Vanilla Rice Pudding with Blackberries & Plums
Brioche & Butter Pudding

16 Apr 2013

Bakewell Tart: Recipe

Traditional shortcrust pastry topped with raspberry jam. An almond sponge layer topped with crunchy icing and a scattering of oven toasted flaked almonds - bliss. There are many variations of this delicious tart and this recipe gives a nod to the Bakewell Tart but I'm sure it is far removed from the secret recipe used by The Bakewell Tart Shop in Bakewell, Derbyshire.

You will need:

20/23cm loose bottom flan tin

For the pastry: 250g plain flour, 50g butter, 50g lard, 3 tablespoons chilled water

For the filling: 125g softened butter, 125g caster sugar, 3 eggs, 125g ground almonds, 3 tablespoons unsweetened raspberry jam

To decorate: 50g sifted icing sugar, 1 tablespoon water, 25g flaked almonds


1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, rub in the fat until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the water to make a dough, if it doesn’t come together add more water. Knead to make a smooth dough and wrap in clingfilm. Chill for 30 minutes.
2. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface, line the tin and dock the pastry. Take a piece of baking paper, scrunch up, place into the pastry case, and fill to the top with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes; remove the baking paper and baking beans.
3. Take a bowl and beat together the softened butter, caster sugar, the beaten eggs and ground almonds until smooth.
4. Spread the jam over the base of the cooked pastry case. Pour the cake batter over the jam to cover. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
5. Add the sifted icing sugar to a bowl and mix with water to make a thin pouring consistency and spread over the tart whilst still hot. Scatter over the flaked almonds, return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Links to previous postings:
Quick Portuguese Tarts
Apple & Pear Crumble Tart
Pear & Almond Tart with Chocolate Sauce
Blackberry & Apple Crumble Tart

12 Apr 2013

A Nigel Slater Recipe - A Soup of Cauliflower and Cheese

Cauliflower Cheese Soup is a firm favourite, it's filling and comforting, not the best choice for those who may be on a diet, but for the rest of us a luxurious soup.

Grain mustard is stirred through the pureed soup along with a pot of creme fraiche - Nigel likens this soup to Welsh rarebit which I'll go along with....I made some mixed grain bread and served grilled cheese on toast to go alongside.

The recipe can be taken to dinner party level by using Gruyère Cheese. For an everyday soup a mature Cheddar cheese is fine, this was my cheese of choice because I had a slab in the fridge shouting to be used.

Taken from Tender Volume I -  Nigel Slater A cook and his Vegetable Patch - page 189.

I am entering my soup into Dish of the Month challenge hosted by Janice at Farmers Girl Kitchen and Sue at A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate.

For more soup postings:
Celery, Leek & Stilton
Cauliflower Cheese Soup with Parmesan Wafers
Broccoli & Stilton Soup with Stilton Croutons
Spicy Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

8 Apr 2013

Restaurant of the Week - The Anthologist

Image courtesy of The Anthologist showing the funky interior
Posting by our London Reporter.

In Central London, it can at times be hard to pinpoint a restaurant without the pomp and price tag when all you really want is a bit of fun with comforting food.

Step up The Anthologist – a large modern restaurant and bar in London’s financial district and the perfect antidote to city life. This is a fun, quirky restaurant with an open kitchen and part of an expanding ‘chain’ which is home to The Folly in London Bridge and the Parlour Bar in Canary Wharf.

Tempura Crispy Squid with Ginger and Firecracker Sauce
To start with, we opted for the sensationally tasting Aromatic shredded crispy duck with pancakes and hoisin sauce (£7.95) as well as the Tempura Crispy Squid with ginger and firecracker sauce (£6.95). Both dishes were beautifully presented in bamboo steamers and generously proportioned.

Mascarpone and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast Wrapped
 in a Crispy Pancetta and Herb Potatoes
For mains, my dining companion opted for the Chargrilled London Pork Sausages which was accompanied with a bed of mashed potatoes and a very tasty red onion gravy – reasonably priced at £8.95 and very apt considering how cold it’s been recently. I chose the Mascarpone and mushroom stuffed chicken breast wrapped in a crispy pancetta and herb potatoes (£9.95) – lots of flavour! The menu is particularly extensive with steaks, risotto and pasta, burgers and fish dishes so there is something for everyone including the veggies!

Now at this stage, I was beginning to wonder how many other diners would be able to take the plunge into the puddings, but with such a tempting selection, you really do have to plough on however tough it feels.

So many beautiful desserts, including cheeky Knickerbocker Glory
We went for the Salted caramel and roasted plum knickerbocker glory (£7.95) – cheekily labelled on the menu as containing no calories (I don’t think so!) as well as the Mini pudding shots which consisted of chocolate brownie, white chocolate and raspberry crème brulee and a knickerbocker glory (£7.95). Indulgence is an understatement; the pudding shots were in fact big bowls and were inevitably the stars of the show (see picture). I would thoroughly recommend you try it for yourself.

With such an eclectic menu and friendly staff who care about your choices, I can’t wait to go back and devour the rest of the menu. Make sure you make a visit next time you’re in London town.


Address: 58 Gresham St City of London, EC2V 7BB

Thanks to all the great staff at The Anthologist for a great night.

6 Apr 2013

Recipe: Chilli Con Carne - Midweek Meals

We stayed home during the Easter break but escaped every day and ate out, one of our favourite places to stop before we head to Wales is Weobley in Herefordshire. The village is part of the Black and White Villages Heritage Trail, and a gem in the village is The Gables Tea Room, the food here is amazing and it has a unique warmth and cosiness from the moment you open the door, it was bitterly cold on the day we visited and everyone made a beeline to the welcoming log burner.

At some point I had to cook over the holiday and looking through a few of my Waitrose recipes found this quick chilli con carne recipe which is taken from their November 2012 magazine.  The secret ingredient is a piece of dark chocolate added at the end of the cooking time,  it really does make a difference and gives a great depth of flavour to the finished chilli.

Chilli is a great midweek meal and can be served simply with a jacket potato and a serving of rice, well that's how we like ours.

It isn't the most attractive of dishes but served in a fabulous casserole and dressed with either coriander or parsley makes a huge difference to the eye.

Adapted recipe.

Serves: 4

2 tablespoons olive oil, 500g Aberdeen Angus mincebeef, 1 chopped onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 red chilli finely chopped, 1½ tsp cumin, 1 tsp mild chilli powder, 1½ tsp dried oregano, 1 tbsp tomato puree, 400g can chopped tomatoes, 400g can organic red kidney beans (rinsed), 1 piece of dark chocolate, parsley leaves to decorate.

1. Heat a tbsp of oil in a large pan and cook half the mincebeef until brown, cook the remaining mincebeef.
2. Cook the onion, chilli and garlic in the pan with the remaining olive oil.  Cook gently until the onion has softened.
3. In a pan dry fry the cumin until the seeds release their flavour, tip into a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder.  Add the ground cumin, chilli powder, dried oregano and tomato puree to the pan containing the onion and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Return the mincebeef to the pan, add the chopped tomatoes and 250ml of water.  Bring to the boil, simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
5. Stir in the rinsed beans and the chocolate, season.

5 Apr 2013

The Green Tea Metalbox Collection - Kitchen Tins by Virojanglor

Kitchen tins are really popular at the moment and these tins from The Green Tea Collection are very stylish, on trend, chic, from France and will make a classy statement to any kitchen.

I have been sent the Round Spaghetti Box with lid, which measures 95 x 330 mm high and has a RRP of £7.50.  My spaghetti has always been stored away in a plastic bag and I must say it looks much smarter stored away in a fabulous container.

The Coffee Box has a hinged lid (which works perfectly) and is hermetically sealed to keep everything nice and fresh, it measures 121 x 77 x 195mm high, will hold a 250g pack of coffee beans or similar and has a RRP of £6.50.

They are manufactured with 100% recycled materials and can be used as storage containers to keep cupboards neater (although they look too fabulous to put away in a cupboard), or displayed on the kitchen counter top.  The tins are multifunctional and stackable too. They are extremely well made and there aren't any sharp edges to catch your fingers on.
Chic range of kitchen tins
The Metal Box range from Virojanglor is available from www.topgourmet.co.uk and independent retailers.

Thank you Pam and Top Gourmet for the wonderful kitchen tins.

3 Apr 2013

Tate & Lyle Sugars - The Tasting House: Event

Bedroom with bathtub - you can even eat the rug!
Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This

If like me you have a sweet tooth and can never quite say no to dessert, then I have the perfect sweet treat for you.

We were recently invited to London’s Soho with other foodie fanatics for a sneak preview of Tate & Lyle Sugar's pop up hotel made entirely of sugar and cake.

Hansel and Gretel would have felt at home, as guests were given permission to rip beautifully made macaroons from walls, tear into windowsills made of fudge and even eat edible books straight from the shelf. There were eight tasting rooms to explore and the idea was to consider how different sugars can add a unique twist of flavour to cooking.

As we nibbled our way around three floors, we discovered a Mediterranean-inspired bedroom (pictured above), which would have made for an interesting overnight stay. It featured 100 strikingly coloured meringues which looked just like a real rug. There was also a bath tub filled with caramel popcorn flavoured with light soft brown sugar and fabulous cake cushions adorned the bed.

Rainbow cake with a chocolate golden babies head
At the very top of the hotel was the rather excellent Mississippi-inspired room with a five foot long cake, I couldn’t help but run my finger along it for a taste. When else can you feel this naughty and get away with it?

A mountain of macaroons
The new range of Tate & Lyle Sugars
Tate & Lyle Sugars new range of golden and brown cane sugars are now available in all supermarkets.

Thanks to all at Tate and Lyle Sugar for the fun and a big thank you to Laura for the invitation.