Who else loves Christmas? I am one of those people who wants to start playing the Christmas music in October (I usually hold-out til mid-November!) so it suited me perfectly to test this recipe early (and a few times over!). Like candy canes in slice form, these mouthfuls are refreshingly pepperminty, with nuggets of chocolate, smooth coconut and bursts of cherry. Also a no-bake layering option with NO COOKING required! Perfect for a Christmas recipe in the southern hemisphere! Merry Christmas everyone!
Peppermint chocolate slice
For the base:
- 125g Marie biscuits, crushed
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 70g melted butter (?needs more)
For the filling:
- 2 cups coconut
- 395g sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tsp peppermint essence
- 70g glace cherries, chopped
- 70g dark chocolate chips
For the topping:
- 200g dark chocolate
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- Place the Marie biscuits with the cocoa powder in a food processor and whizz until they form a fine crumb.
- Stir through the melted butter and pour base mixture into a greased baking tray. Use a spatula to pack the base tightly and evenly across the baking tray. Refrigerate to set.
- To make the filling, combine filling ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour on top of the base layer and spread evenly. Return to the refrigerator to set.
- After 30 mins or more, melt the chocolate and the oil in a mixing bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Stir with a spatula until melted and smooth. Pour on top of the filling and spread evenly. Refrigerate until set.
Following on from my previous post about a Christmas Waldorf salad, I have been meddling in the kitchen with all things Christmas–themed. Here is my take on the classic mince pie. I seriously can’t stop eating these, and have had them in the house since mid-November when I first tried out this recipe. It seems such a shame for this baked dish to have such a short window in the year!
Christmas fruit triangles
For the pastry:
- 240g plain flour
- 160g butter, softened
- 3 tbs icing sugar
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ cup water
For the fruit mince:
- 100g sultanas
- 50g dried cranberries
- 100g mixed peel
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- Juice of half an orange
- 1 tbs milk, to brush onto the pastry
- Icing sugar, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
- Combine the flour and butter in a mixer with a dough attachment. Add the icing sugar, spices and enough water for the pastry to come together. Bring together into a ball, wrap in clingwrap and refrigerate for 20 mins.
- Combine the fruit mince ingredients excluding the milk, and whizz together in a food processor until sticky.
- Roll the pastry on a floured work surface until thin (as thin as you can without it breaking). Cut into long rectangles, and then into squares about 6cm square.
- Place approx. 1 tsp of fruit mince onto one half of the square (divide the square diagonally so that the fruit mince covers a triangle shape). Fold the pastry over and lightly press the edges together to seal.
- Place the triangles on the baking tray and crimp the edges with a fork to create a pretty pattern. Brush each triangle with a little milk.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until golden.
- Cool the pastries on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar once cooled to serve.
Trifle is a fun classic dessert that is a great make ahead option and is perfect for warm evenings. I decided to have a go at making one with a watermelon twist. I made my own watermelon jelly from fresh watermelon and was surprised by how easy it is!
A cooling, fresh and summery dessert! Enjoy!
- 200g store-bought lemon madeira cake, sliced thinly
- 1 thick slice watermelon, diced
- 100ml cream, whipped
For the custard:
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 tbs caster sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the jelly:
- 250g watermelon, diced
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp gelatine
- To make the custard: Combine milk and vanilla in a small saucepan.
- Combine egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk to dissolve sugar.
- Fill the sink with cold water, and get out a clean bowl, rubber spatula and strainer for when the custard is cooked.
- Bring the saucepan with the milk mixture to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
- Pour the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over a medium heat and stir constantly until thick. Cook for 2-4 mins. The custard will be cooked when you will be able to draw a line on the back of the spoon through the custard.
- As soon as it is ready, pour the custard through the strainer into the clean bowl. Place the bowl in the sink so that the cold water surrounds it. Stir with a rubber spatula until cold. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- To make the jelly: puree the watermelon in a food processor. Strain the juices into a saucepan and put on a low heat with the sugar and gelatine and stir until fully dissolved. Place into a cold bowl, cover with clingwrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.
- Layer thin slices of cake, then custard. Top with fresh watermelon, then whipped cream and finally scramble the jelly to make a pretty topping.
Sometimes an after dinner dessert just has to happen. You’ve had a long day, you’re exhausted, you’ve managed to get through dinner and dishes, and….you’d love to just collapse on the sofa with a delicious and decadent dessert. But who wants to be bothered making pudding after all of that??
In comes the amazing phenomenon of the mug cake. I love this concept so much. It just hits the spot when you MUST HAVE PUDDING. I had fun trialling this recipe – the first time, I went a bit crazy and didn’t add any fun ‘dessert’ ingredients, and although edible, it tasted like porridge 🙂 The second time, I forgot the flour! I have now nailed this banana and caramel mug cake and am happy to share the joys to everyone. Happy pudding-eating 🙂
Self-saucing banana caramel mug cake
- 1/4 mashed banana
- 2 tbs milk
- 2 tbs flour
- 1 tbs oats
- 1 tbs plain Greek style yoghurt
- 1 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbs Nuttelex
For the caramel sauce:
- 1 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tbs golden syrup
- 4 tbs boiling water
- Mix all of the ingredients (except the sauce ingredients) in a mug.
- For the sauce, place the sugar, golden syrup and boiling water on the top of the mixture.
- Cook in the microwave on high for 4 mins.
- Spoon upside down into a dessert bowl. Serve with a spoonful of extra yoghurt.
I have had a lot of yummy treats in the house recently, due to several big family occasions and much testing for new recipes! So, to counteract all of the temptation, rather than not cook any sweet treats at all, I thought I’d have a go at making brownies without all of the butter and sugar as per usual.
I would not go to as far as to say that these are healthy, but perhaps offer a less decadent choice! They sure don’t taste less decadent though! Super rich, with a fudgey texture and very very chocolatey.
These took me approximately 10 mins to make, and because they bake so quickly too, they’re the perfect recipe to have up your sleeve for last minute guest baking.
Oat and apple chocolate brownies
- 100g rolled oats
- ½ cup plain flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 375g apple sauce
- 1 egg
- 75g dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil and line with baking paper.
- Mix together the oats, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and brown sugar. Add the apple sauce and egg and mix to combine.
- Pour half of the mixture into the baking tray and spread to evenly cover the base.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips all over the mixture and cover with the remaining brownie mixture.
- Bake for 15-20 mins. Do not be alarmed if the centre is gooey – the chocolate chips will have melted which is intended!
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!
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.
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?
Rice cooker apricot rice pudding
- 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
- Place rice, milk, sugar, apricots and cinnamon in rice cooker and stir. Cook the rice in the cooker.
- Once finished, stir through yoghurt or cream to add creaminess. This is equally delicious warm or cold.
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.
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.
Easy no bake coffee and walnut cheesecake
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Whip the cream in a mixer until soft peaks form. Put aside.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy.
- 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.
- Pour the coffee/gelatin mix into the cream cheese mixture and continue to beat until well combined.
- 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.
- When ready to serve, dust with a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Use a sieve to achieve an even, light coating.
I grew up in Australia, and as such, I am a natural ambassador for Milo. I am in love with the stuff. While I was pregnant, I enjoyed a hot cup of Milo as an alternative to a coffee.
As an adult, I think I have become more health-smart with my Milo to milk ratios. I know many a child who has filled a glass with the powder, and added a splash of milk to create a crunchy, malty paste. Hmmm description sounds far less appealing than the cheeky treat!
I actually was inspired to make this mousse after using a similar flavour combination for my porridge regularly this winter. Sprinkle a few frozen raspberries and a couple of teaspoons of Milo into your oats – it is delish! And so is this glammed up version of my fave childhood drink!
Raspberry and Milo chocolate mousse
- 120g dark chocolate chips
- 120ml cream
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 tbs Milo
- 1 tbs caster sugar
- ½ cup raspberries (I used defrosted frozen)
- Melt the chocolate and cream gently in a small mixing bowl, by placing in the microwave for 30 seconds, and stirring to encourage the rest of the chocolate to melt. Zap for another 30 seconds if needed.
- Once smooth, whisk the egg yolks and Milo into the chocolate mixture while still hot. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk the egg whites, adding the sugar, until stiff.
- Once the chocolate mixture is cool, fold through the egg whites, taking care to lose as little air as possible. Stir through the raspberries.
- Pour the mousse into serving glasses and set in the fridge for 4 hours, or ideally overnight.
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!
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
Lemon cream and elderflower tarts
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
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a muffin tray with spray oil.
- 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.
- Bake in the oven for 15 mins until golden.
- 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.
- Fill the tarts and top with a sprig of mint to garnish.
I unfortunately do not have the space for a kitchen garden right now. One day, I would love to be able to grow my own vegetables to cook with. However, I am lucky that my dad has begun to dabble in edible gardening of late and I am occasionally gifted some of the overflow.
This is how I ended up with a bag of cumquats and no idea how to cook them!
Please don’t make this recipe without an action plan for devouring it. Because you could be presented with the problem my husband and I faced when I had finished baking this creation: once you’ve had one powerful punch of a mouthful, you can’t stop. It’s really dangerous.
It’s so tangy and sweet at the same time. Sticky, too. If you’re left with a bag of cumquats off your garden tree, I would highly recommend using them to make this recipe. They’ll be gone in no time!
- 360g fresh cumquats
- 180g caster sugar
- 180g unsalted butter
- 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
- Preheat oven to 180° Celsius. Grease an ovenproof frying pan with spray oil (or springform tin if you don’t have a frying pan that you can put into the oven. If using a tin, line the outside of the tin with foil).
- Slice the cumquats into rounds (about 4 slices per cumquat, depending on size) and deseed.
- Place sugar and 45ml water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a low heat. Melt without stirring and bring to a simmer, shaking the saucepan occasionally so the sugar doesn’t catch.
- Add the fruit and cover, and simmer for 5 mins.
- Remove the fruit from the saucepan with a slotted spoon. Bring the syrup to a boil for 5 mins. Shake the pan occasionally.
- Add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon constantly, still on a high heat, for 10 mins until the syrup thickens.
- Arrange the cumquats on the base of your frying pan / springform tin artfully to provide an even layer. It looks best if you place cut side down.
- Pour over the sauce.
- Cover with a sheet of puff pastry. Tuck in the edges neatly. Cut several holes in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape.
- Bake in the oven for 30 mins until pastry is golden and puffed. Once removed, flip the tart onto a serving tray so that the cumquats are presented on the top of the tart. Serve with vanilla ice cream.