Most of my baking is throw it in a bowl give a quick stir and throw it in the oven. Every now and again I like to go a little bit fancier, not as fancy as those creations you see in French patisseries that are total works of art, but a bit more involved than a tray bake.
As with some of my favourite recipes this came together as the result of an accident. I was in a supermarket and meant to lift ground almonds but lifted ground hazelnuts instead. If you can’t find ground hazelnuts, just give whole hazelnuts a whiz in the food processor, just don’t go too fine with them or else the hazelnuts will start to release their natural oils which is death for a meringue. I used raspberries in this, but oranges or strawberries also go really well.
I’ll be honest, I was trying to make pretty frou frou little meringue nests. It went horribly wrong (I have a checkered past with meringue and it beat me once again. I think I need one those beautiful very expensive mixers, just saying in case anyone would like to send one to the Sunnyside Kitchen and break my meringue curse). If you are better with meringues than I am please give the little nests a try I think they would look adorable.
So I had a pile of ugly meringues, and rather than waste these I just adapted what I had and layered broken meringue, cream, chocolate and fruit to make a version of Eton mess, it tasted fabulous! This is also a fantastic gluten free dessert.
I like to think of cooking as a metaphor for life, sometimes you end up with something you didn’t want or didn’t ask for. Sometimes things don’t work out as you hoped or planned. But with a little imagination and the right attitude you can still create something great.
150 Grams Hazelnuts (ground)
7 Eggs whites
385 Grams Caster sugar (if you don’t have caster sugar, whiz ordinary granulated sugar in a food processor of a couple of seconds)
1/2 Tsp White wine vinegar
100 Grams Chocolate (use the the type you prefer and grate or scrap into curls
1 Punnet of raspberries
250 Ml Whipped Cream
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees, line two baking sheets with baking parchment, drawing on circles (if making meringue nests)
Separate your eggs and whisk the egg whites until they resemble stiff peaks, whisk in the sugar a tablespoon at time and then add the vinegar.
Gradually fold in the ground hazelnuts with a metal spoon, and then pipe or spoon onto the prepared baking trays
Bake for 25-30 mins and remove and allow cool before carefully removing from the baking parchment
When the meringue are completely cold, start to layer them up with the whipped cream, prepared fruit and grated chocolate. I use little jam jars, but these also look really good served in tall glasses. If you have any whole hazelnuts left you could also toast these in a pan and allow them to cool before topping the desserts to give some crunch
I’ve mentioned before that when I was a kid, my Mum wasn’t a great cook (I love you Mo, but we both know the truth). Dessert in my house was usually shop bought, and when I was really young one of favourites was tinned creamed rice with a big spoonful of jam.
Fast forward God knows how many years, and I taught myself how to cook. I was also lucky enough to go out into the world and try some amazing flavours. So I decided to try and experiment with some of my favourites. Coconut, ginger and lemon grass gives a new twist on this traditional dessert.
I like this chilled and served with mango or pineapple, but it’s also really good warm, and you can enjoy it with whatever fruit you prefer.
I used milk in this recipe, but you can substitute some of this with cream if want to make a really indulgent dessert. If you want to make a vegan version, swap cow’s milk for almond milk. I’ve tried both versions and they’re both delicious.
400 ml Can Coconut milk
250 Grams Pudding rice
40 Grams Sugar
500 ml Milk
1 Large stalk of lemon grass (kept whole but bruised)
1 Thumb sized piece of ginger
Cut your piece of ginger in half length ways, then smack your lemon grass with the back of a knife (or pot if you want get some frustration out). Bruising the lemongrass helps release the flavour. The ginger and lemon grass are kept big to make it easier to fish out when the rice pudding is cooked
Put all the ingredients in a pot with a lid and heat until just before the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over a low heat stirring regularly. Each type of rice is different, so cook until the rice is soft. (mine took about 30 minutes). Different rices will absorb different amounts of liquid so if you think the mix is looking too dry add a little milk/water
When the rice is cooked you can scoop out the ginger and lemon grass. The rice pudding can be served hot or cold. I like it served with fruit
Anyone who follows this blog has probably worked out that I try to make reasonably healthy recipes. However, I think there is always room for some filth in your life. A good basic brownie is hard to beat, and there are endless variations you can make. I like food with different textures, so when I saw a version of this from Yammies Noshery, I had to try to make them. Apart from the fact these taste like a little square of heaven, they’re also gluten free. So you can treat your intolerant loved ones to something other than a coconut macaroon. These are great for Halloween parties or judge because you feel like a bit of filth.
For the brownies
260 Grams White sugar
180 Mil Vegetable oil
1 Tsp Vanilla bean paste
200 Grams Cocoa powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
60 Grams Chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
For the topping
180 Gram Bag of mini marshmallows
250 Grams Chocolate
160 Grams Peanut butter
75 Grams Butter
400 Grams Rice crispies
Line a 9 x 13 inch baking tin, and preheat your oven to 180 degrees
For the brownies, add the oil and sugar together and mix until we’ll combined. Whisk in the eggs, and vanilla, then add the cocoa powder and salt and mix until combined.
Fold in the chocolate chips, and pour into your lined baking tin. Bake of 17 minutes (if you prefer a more cakey brownie leave them in the oven for another couple of minutes)
Take the brownies out of the oven and sprinkle the top with mini marshmallows, and return to the oven for another 8 minutes
The marshmallows should have melted and be looking slightly toasted around the edged
Allow to cool before adding the next topping (I didn’t wait and it was a nightmare to spread)
For the crunch topping, put the chocolate, butter, and peanut butter in a large microwave proof dish.
Microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stir, taking care that the mix doesn’t burn
When melted, add the rice crispies and mix until they are fully coated
Spread the mix over the cooled marshmallow topped brownies and allow to set before slicing into small squares (these are seriously rich, and can always have another one if you can manage it)
Does rich unctuous chocolate ganache, sitting on a crispy chewy macaroon base sound good, yep it sounded good to me too.
This recipe is super simple, and has only 5 ingredients. It’s also gluten free, so it’s perfect if you’re cooking for friends. Delicious served along ice cream as a dessert, but I enjoy it with a cup of strong coffee.
300 Grams Dessicated coconut
1/2 Tsp salt
350 ml Condensed milk
300 Grams Dark chocolate
250 ml Double cream
Combine the condensed milk, salt and coconut in a bowl and mix well
Grease a 24cm round springform cake tin
Empty the coconut mixture into the tin. With the back of a spoon, press the coconut into the of the tin and up about 4cm at the sides of the tin
Bake in an oven preheated to 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown
While the base is cooling, heat cream until just before boiling
Break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl and pour the hot cream on top. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate has totally melted
When the base is cool top with the chocolate mixture and set aside to cool completely (I couldn’t wait, but you might have more self control)
When I went to Morocco I fell in love with the taste of the orange flower water they include in sweet dishes. You can pick it up cheaply in most Asian supermarkets.
You can make this
cake without it and it will still be delicious but add a teaspoon of orange
flower water and it takes it to a whole other level. You can also put this in your bath and it
will smell fabulous.
But a final word of caution, if you are going to use it, only use a teaspoonful. Like rose water, a little bit makes things taste amazing, too much and the dish you slaved over tastes like a tart’s hand bag.
This is a brilliant
cake if you’re entertaining, as it’s flourless you’re covered if you have a
guest who’s gluten intolerant. Fancy
things up, and poach some orange segments in a little sugar and water (you
could even add some orange liqueur if you want to push the boat out). Both the cake and the poached oranges can be
made a day in advance so all you have to do is serve it up with some crème
fraiche or Greek yoghurt for a simple but effective dessert. You can also devour it on its own with a big
mug of coffee.
grams Caster sugar
grams Ground Almonds
Tsp Orange flower water (optional)
Tsp Baking powder
Put the 2 oranges into a pan with enough water to just cover them, bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 hours, I cover with a lid and check every now and again
After 2 hours, remove from the water allow to cool, chop into quarters (removing any obvious pips, and blend to a pulp using a hand blender or food processor
Pre heat the oven to 200c, and line a 20 cm cake tin with baking parchment
In a bowl combine the eggs and sugar, whisk until the they have turned pale yellow and fluffy
Stir in the baking powder, orange flower water and orange pulp before gradually folding in the ground almonds
Transfer the mix into you lined tin and bake for 50-55 minute, or until a skewer comes out cleanly with no cake mixture on it. This cake does go quite dark, but if you’re worried it’s not cooked and it’s getting too dark, then cover with some aluminium foil.
Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar
These were inspired by the great minds at Thug Kitchen, these food writers like myself, try to stay healthy and are prone to saying f*ck quite a lot. You can also use vegan dark chocolate if that’s your thing.
Gorgeous on a hot day, or my own guilty pleasure is to have them while sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee. But f*ck it, eat them how you like.
6 Lollipop sticks
100 grams Dark chocolate (you can use vegan chocolate if that’s your thing)
1 Tsp. Coconut Oil
50 grams chopped almonds (peanuts,
or hazelnuts also work really well)
Line a baking sheet or plate with grease proof paper.
Toast the nuts in a dry pan, and set to one side. (It’s worth taking the time to do this, as it really improves the flavour).
Chop the chocolate and put in a bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, and allow it to melt. You can also try melting this in the microwave, by give it blasts of 30 seconds at a time. Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the teaspoon of coconut oil.
While the chocolate is melting, peel the bananas and cut width ways. Stick the lollipop stick up the middle of the banana from the flat end.
When the chocolate is melted dip the banana in it, using a spoon to cover any bits that aren’t covered.
Sprinkle the chocolate covered bananas with the nuts, place on the grease proof paper and put in the freezer for 2 hours.
When frozen if you aren’t going to eat these immediately, but them in freezer bag.