Baking

Strawberry and cream cookie cakes

Sweet and buttery strawberry cream cookie cakes

Ah, strawberries and cream. I have been experimenting with capturing these flavours in cake form. I wanted initially to make cookies. But these are more cake-like in texture. Plenty of body, dense, rich and tall. Also creamy and not crumbly like a biscuit. They are a doddle to make, and look super pretty on a dainty afternoon tea plate.

I think I might have to stop buying cream cheese for a while now…

Sweet and buttery strawberry cream cookie cakes

Strawberry and cream cookie cakes

  • Servings: 10
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Ingredients

  • 250g cream cheese
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup sliced strawberries (I used frozen)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
  2. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla, the egg, the flour and baking powder and beat until it forms a smooth dough. Add more flour if it is sticky.
  4. Use your hands to shape balls using approx. ¼ cup of dough for each one. Place onto the baking tray and flatten with your palm. Use your finger to create an indent in the middle of each cake.
  5. Place a slice of strawberry on top of each cake in the indent.
  6. Cook in the oven for 25 mins. Cool on a wire rack before eating!

Rice cooker apricot rice pudding

An easy creamy rice cooker apricot rice pudding

Ah rice pudding; another dessert that I fell in love with last year while pregnant. It fits the ‘cold and creamy’ bill exactly, if served cold. But I’d never made it from scratch before now, and I don’t know why because it is very simple to make and infinitely less expensive!

An easy creamy rice cooker apricot rice pudding

I wanted to create a recipe that even a lazy cook would want to attempt. Whenever we cook rice to accompany our dinner, we always use our rice cooker. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to ‘put some rice on’. No need to tend to it after that, it is done and will be waiting for us when we are ready!

So I decided that wouldn’t it be cool to ‘put some apricot rice pudding on’ and have dessert smashed before I even began dinner? This recipe is definitely for people who want a luxurious dessert, but only have a few moments to put something together. It is also great for an easy dessert when entertaining too, because it is so easy to scale up or down, whatever the occasion.

An easy creamy rice cooker apricot rice pudding

The apricots become jammy and the whole thing is so creamy and filling. It can be eaten warm, straight out for the rice cooker after dinner, or can be chilled and eaten cold, which is my favourite. What is your favourite way to eat rice pudding?

An easy creamy rice cooker apricot rice pudding

Rice cooker apricot rice pudding

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup diced dried apricots
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Greek yoghurt or cream, to serve

Directions

  1. Place rice, milk, sugar, apricots and cinnamon in rice cooker and stir. Cook the rice in the cooker.
  2. Once finished, stir through yoghurt or cream to add creaminess. This is equally delicious warm or cold.

Baked risoni with corn, tomatoes and zucchini

A baked cheesy risoni dish with spring time vegetables

If I could eat pasta for dinner every day, I would do just that! I blogged about a slow-cooked zucchini pasta bake here and homemade ravioli here.

I decided to try something different with my sauce for this recipe, and it is so easy! Simply stir the sauce ingredients together straight in the baking tray, before adding the pasta and vegetables. I have chosen veggies that are in season and readily available, but you could use whatever you fancy or have in your kitchen.

Baking the risoni in the eggy sauce gives it a rather pudding-like texture with a pleasing crunchy topping. A lovely dish full of springtime flavours!

A baked cheesy risoni dish with spring time vegetables

Baked risoni with corn, tomatoes and zucchini

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 tomatoes, halved
  • 1 zucchini, shaved into thin slices
  • 500g dry risoni
  • 1 egg
  • 500g creamed cottage cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 15g grated parmesan
  • Fresh basil, to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.
  2. Heat a griddle pan and chargrill the corn, tomatoes (face down) and zucchini for 5-10 minutes until softened.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the risoni in salted boiling water according to packet instructions.
  4. Grease a deep roasting tray and break the egg into it. Add the cottage cheese and mix well. Add cooked risoni and vegetables and stir to mix well.
  5. Top with a layer of finely grated parmesan and bake for 20 -25 mins until golden and crusty on top. Sprinkle a few leaves of fresh basil on top to serve.

Easy no bake coffee and walnut cheesecake

A creamy no bake cheesecake with a coffee flavour and walnut base

Today I am sharing an easy no bake cheesecake recipe. I have made baked cheesecakes before, and although delicious, I rarely turn to them as I consider them too much fuss. Especially when I want to whip something fancy up quickly during my baby’s nap time. I wanted an easy fuss-free no bake option.

A creamy no bake cheesecake with a coffee flavour and walnut base

A creamy no bake cheesecake with a coffee flavour and walnut base

I have made several incarnations of this coffee and walnut cheesecake below. The first attempts did not set properly, and oozed deliciously all over the plate. However, the flavours were immediately charming. I shared my trial runs with my family and as testament to the flavours, it quickly disappeared, even though we had all already eaten dessert and a birthday cake that same night. I must say, my family were fully supportive in assisting with taste testing for further trials!

I have tweaked the final recipe I’m sharing today and it now sits proudly on the plate; jiggly, creamy and delectable.

coffee_walnut_cheesecake_3

Easy no bake coffee and walnut cheesecake

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients

For the base:

  • 100g Marie biscuits
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 60g walnuts

For the filling:

  • 500g cream cheese
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 300ml heavy cream
  • 2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1 tbs gelatin powder
  • Cocoa powder, to serve

Directions

  1. Break the biscuits into a food processor and whizz until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add the walnuts and whizz briefly again to chop them coarsely.
  2. Pour into a bowl and stir through the melted butter until well combined. Press into the base of a greased springform tin until well packed and smooth. Place into the fridge to chill.
  3. Whip the cream in a mixer until soft peaks form. Put aside.
  4. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy.
  5. Meanwhile, add ½ cup of boiling water to the instant coffee in a small jug. Add the gelatin and stir until the coffee and gelatin is dissolved.
  6. Pour the coffee/gelatin mix into the cream cheese mixture and continue to beat until well combined.
  7. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Pour into the chilled base and use a spatula to evenly spread the filling over the base. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours, or preferably, overnight.
  8. When ready to serve, dust with a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Use a sieve to achieve an even, light coating.

Haloumi, olive and sun dried tomato loaf

Salty, crusty and golden haloumi bread with olives and sun dried tomatoes

As I have written about previously, I am always on the lookout for a delicious, easy, on-the-go lunch option, for example, my curry pumpkin muffins. Today I present to you another option: haloumi, olive and sun dried tomato loaf.

Salty, crusty and golden haloumi bread with olives and sun dried tomatoes

There is no kneading, no rising, nothing of the waiting nature. Simply combine the ingredients, stir through your flavour bombs, and bake. That’s the hardest part – waiting for the loaf to be ready to eat!

Salty, crusty and golden haloumi bread with olives and sun dried tomatoes

Crispy edge, dense and tasty interior. Keeps well for a few days in an airtight container. No need for any extra toppings, but you totally could cover it in avocado, or bacon, or a poached egg…you know, the usual.

This was a smash hit with my family. I hope it goes down well with you too!

Salty, crusty and golden haloumi bread with olives and sun dried tomatoes

Haloumi, olive and sun dried tomato loaf

  • Servings: approx. 8 slices
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Ingredients

  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 280ml water
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g haloumi, diced
  • ¼ cup black olives, sliced
  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a loaf tin with spray oil.
  2. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together.
  3. Whisk together the oil, water and eggs.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and bring together to form a dough.
  5. Stir through the haloumi, olives and sun dried tomatoes.
  6. Pour into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 45 mins until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Lemonade Pimm’s scones

A fluffy scone filled with the flavours of a classic Pimm's cocktail: lemonade, strawberries, cucumber, mint and of course, Pimm's!

Pimm’s – the ultimate springtime tipple. I thought I’d try my hand at a scone recipe adapted to include the flavours of an original Pimm’s cocktail. It works – and even my Nanna approves!

To begin with, make a batch of scones. These I have adapted from the classic lemonade and cream recipe that I have been making ever since my childhood. I thought this was the perfect recipe to use, as Pimm’s is made with lemonade. First key ingredient: tick. This recipe is so easy, and I have jazzed them up with some orange zest. Second ingredient: tick.

A fluffy scone filled with the flavours of a classic Pimm's cocktail: lemonade, strawberries, cucumber, mint and of course, Pimm's!A fluffy scone filled with the flavours of a classic Pimm's cocktail: lemonade, strawberries, cucumber, mint and of course, Pimm's!

Serve the scones with whipped cream that has a dash of Pimm’s mixed through (tick), strawberry jam (tick) and a slice of cucumber (tick). You may think this sounds mad, but I promise you that the freshness of the cucumber works for this sweet delight. Not an everyday treat, but leftover scones can be easily frozen for another day.

A fluffy scone filled with the flavours of a classic Pimm's cocktail: lemonade, strawberries, cucumber, mint and of course, Pimm's!

Lemonade Pimm's Scones

  • Servings: approx. 10
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Ingredients

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup lemonade
  • Zest of one orange
  • 600 ml cream
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 2 tsp Pimm’s
  • Strawberry jam, to serve
  • Cucumber, sliced, to serve
  • Fresh mint leaves, to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, lemonade, orange zest and 300ml of the cream in a mixing bowl using a metal knife. Mix as little as possible and remove onto the work surface as soon as it comes together.
  3. Lightly knead the dough with a little extra flour until the outside of the ball is not sticky. Pat down to make flat (about 3 cm tall).
  4. Dust a scone cutter in flour (so that the dough does not stick) and cut the scones. Place close to each other on the prepared tray. Continue to pull together the scraps of the dough and cut more scones until all of the dough is used.
  5. Brush the tops of the scones with milk.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden on top.
  7. Whilst the scones are cooking, whip the remainder of the cream until soft peaks form and stir through the Pimm’s.
  8. As soon as the scones are removed from the oven, take off the baking tray and wrap the scones in a teatowel.
  9. To serve, cut the scone in half, spread with strawberry jam, top with a teaspoon of cream, and a slice of cucumber and a sprig of mint.

 

Lemon cream and elderflower tarts

A tangy zesty cream tart filled with lemon and elderflower

One of my favourite desserts is a lemon tart. I love the tangy, creamy texture of the filling. Delicious! With the warmer weather approaching, I was inspired to make a dessert that captured this taste.

As a nod to my time in the UK, I’ve added a flavour that I was introduced to while I lived in Cambridge. Elderflower cordial is so fruity, so light and goes perfectly with lemon. Sure, it is a flavour combination well used (even Prince Harry had a lemon and elderflower cake for his wedding), but there is a great reason for this – nothing beats it!

A tangy zesty cream tart filled with lemon and elderflower

For these tarts, I went even creamier than a traditional lemon tart. They are individually portioned, cute and easy to share. Better for afternoon tea, or picnics that way

A tangy zesty cream tart filled with lemon and elderflower

Lemon cream and elderflower tarts

  • Servings: approx. 9
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Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 240g plain flour
  • 160g unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • Zest of a lemon

For the filling:

  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 4 tbs elderflower cordial
  • 3 tbs store-bought lemon curd
  • Sprigs of mint, to garnish

Directions

    Directions:

  1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, butter, sugar and zest in a mixer with a dough attachment. Add just enough water until the pastry comes together into a ball. Cover with clingwrap and rest in the fridge for 20 mins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a muffin tray with spray oil.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a worktop until ½ cm thick. Using a round template approx. 10cm in diameter (I used the lid of a ramekin that I had) cut out circles and line the muffin tray with them. This pastry will make 9 tart cases.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15 mins until golden.
  5. To make the filling, combine the cream, mascarpone, elderflower cordial in a mixer until thick and stiff. Stir through the lemon curd to create a marbled effect.
  6. Fill the tarts and top with a sprig of mint to garnish.