Praline is such a delicious flavour. When I was younger, I always thought that praline was very exclusive and would be only used in very expensive pastry shops. The ones where you see all these small miniatures in the window and drool over them, then have a heart attack over the price. It would be a real treat to have anything with praline in. To this day, I still have this regard for praline, I think it has been stamped in my brain.
Whilst I was shopping, I was very surprised to find this jar of Bonne Maman hazelnut praline caramel in a supermarket, yes a supermarket!. It was something I felt I should savour for eternity and use it with great care. Like how stupid? Bonne Maman, is well known name and is widely available in all supermarkets. Also it doesn’t cost the earth, so yeh, get a grip woman!
So the big question…what will I be making with this special jar of liquid gold?. Well I wanted to make something that I could taste the raw flavour and thought it would be better to do this without it being heated. So I thought why not a chocolate and hazelnut tart. It was simple enough and once the tart shell has cooled I will add the caramel and then add the chocolate and let it set.
I managed to save (savour) a spoonful of the praline and it tasted amazing, has a lovely rich dark caramel and nutty hazelnut taste. Bonne Maman did good and took me to that luxurious place!
I have been experimenting with GF recipes recently as my Uncle can’t eat gluten. Generally I find GF recipes really tricky to make, they generally have such a weird texture and a horrible flavour unless you use ground almonds. This cake was beautiful though, with the lovely sharp lemon, it had a fluffy texture and had a subtle almond taste. I don’t like almond extract but this can be added in for extra flavour.
I topped the cake with whipped cream and fresh sweet strawberries. This gave a lovely fresh taste and added a nice balance to the cake.
So I know most people are used to ‘White chocolate raspberry cheesecake’ butttt I and other members of my family don’t like white chocolate so I thought why not switch the white chocolate to dark chocolate.
The combination of dark chocolate with raspberry works so well. The tartness of the raspberries cuts through the richness of the chocolate but it works alongside the sweetness of the cheesecake, it’s such an amazing flavour combination. This cheesecake is super easy to make and also is quite large size, so great for entertaining (there is way too much to eat on it’s own!) It’s also nice served with some cream to cut through the richness. Also the dark chocolate instead of the white chocolate worked well, I would make this cheesecake again, and for those who are not Gluten free it’s still the same!
You know when you have one of those day, when all you want to do is chill out. It’s not that often for me, I prefer to get out and about at the weekends compared to staying at home. However, this happened to be one of them days. I was at my parent’s house and my mum and I were watching the TV and Nadiya from the bake off was on with her cookery program. She was going to make this chocolate tart made that used salted crisps as the base….I know strange, right? but as I’m strange I loved this idea!. I was so excited as I love a bit of salty and sweet, I’ve used this combination in X and X and it’s such a flavour explosion! I watched that episode such a while ago and have been meaning for such a long time to make it and things have just got in the way. Just to make you aware you do have to set the tart in the fridge, so it has to be made in advance.
The tart was really simple to make, just a bit of melted, crushing and combing, really easy to do!. It didn’t take long to bake and as she advised be careful not to overbake as well.
I did found that there was a lot of oil that seeped through, I think there was probably a lot of fat that came from the oil of the crisp and the melted butter that bind the tart together.
I wouldn’t say I could taste the saltiness of the crisp, and also I found it really rich, I could only have a small piece which is unlike me!
This cheesecake is one of those bad boys you would only bake for a special occasion and that is exactly what I did. This was for the most special person in my life, my daddy and his favourite dessert is cheesecake.
I wanted to go all out and do something on the more luxurious side, I know my dad loves cherries also anything nutty and I thought this was perfect for him 👌🏽. This recipe was surprisingly easy to make, I found the hardest thing for me about this cheesecake was taking it out the tin. I think I was breaking out in a sweat! As I have many disasters when the whole cheesecake just collapses! However by some miracle and with a lot of help this came out in one piece yay!. Back to the cheesecake, I have to say this was something that had all the combinations of flavours I love, cherries, almonds and cream cheese. Bakewell is something I really enjoy, what I don’t enjoy though is almond extract – this stuff to me is evil, it has a horrible artificial taste that I can taste straight away and ruins the whole bakewell, so yes marzipan, bakewell and stolen is out the question I just don’t eat it. This recipe did include almond extract so if that’s your thing add it in!…that stuff just doesn’t enter my kitchen.
I wanted to try something new from ‘the book of buns’ which I’ve used previously to make Tootmanik. I love this book, it has the most amazing bread recipes from around the world. So instead of being boring it makes you explore the world of bread/bun recipes. After a very indulgent December of over eating a load of chocolates and other sweet stuff I wanted to bake something savoury. A lot of recipes include a starter dough, I still need to have a go at using a starter dough recipe. This one seemed quite simple and it had cheese in yummmmmm 🧀 . Love cheese!!!
After looking over the method it seemed that it was just like making a scone but a yeasted scone. So after all that it was a scone in the end of the day.
Not only do I love the taste of pistachios, I love the vibrant green colour as well. They really are such a unique nut, which other nut has a green colour? 🤔.
This cake was pretty simple and easy to make the only thing that took long was to un shell the pistachios! I was hoping this cake would be really fluffy and nutty but I didn’t find it that moist. Although the taste of pistachio did come through and sometimes you don’t get that.
1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Line the a loaf tin with baking paper.
2. Put pistachios in a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and add flour, baking powder, and salt, stir to combine.
3. In a large mixing bowl with a stand or handheld mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until creamy for about 2-3 minutes. Add 1 egg at the time and mix until incorporated. Add sour cream and vanilla* and stir to combine. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir just until combined.
4. Transfer to the prepared baking pan and bake for about 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick in the centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack to room temperature.
I first remember eating Gozleme in one of the London food markets over 10 years ago and absolutely loved them 😋. I just loved the thin, chewy but crispy texture of the flat bread with the fresh spinach and salty cheese.
So if you didn’t know, what are Gozleme?…
Gozleme is coined from the Turkish word ‘goz’ which translates to ‘compartment or eye’ in English is a sweet-smelling, freshly made pastry that is indigenous to Turkey. Gozleme, as it is popularly called is made from a big, circular dough that has been spread thin like a wafer. This snack is so named because it is made of pockets of dough where toppings are placed and sealed before they are cooked.
I found this amazing recipe it is so easy to follow and make. These turned out to be so delicious and I will definately be making them again. This would work well as part of mezze board. I made these a medium sized, but they can be made any size you want. They are so versatile any filling can be added.
250g - Plain flour
120ml - Lukewarm water*
1/4 cup - Plain yogurt
1tsp - Instant dry yeast
1/4tsp - Sugar
1/2tsp - Salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Olive oil for kneading
For the filling
1 - onion finely chopped
I bag - fresh spinach chopped
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1/4tsp - salt to taste
Chilli flakes (optional)
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 packet - feta cheese crumbled
For the dough
1. Place the sugar, yeast and water in a large bowl and mix well. Keep aside in a warm place for 10 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients (flour, plain yogurt and salt to the bowl. Mix well to form a dough.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth.
4. Put the dough back to the bowl, brush with olive oil, cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size in a warm place.
5. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces, form balls and roll out each ball on a lightly floured surface into a 23 cm/9 inch circle ( 2 mm thick).
6. On one side of each circle add one-two tablespoons of the mixture.
7. Fold the other half of the dough over and seal the edges.
8. Lightly grease a pan with oil and heat it over high heat. Brush each gozleme with oil and cook for 2 minutes per each side or until golden. Repeat with the remaining gozleme.
For the filling
1. In a frying pan add some olive oil and then the onions, let it soften, then add the garlic let it cook for a minute. Add the salt, pepper and chilli flakes then add the spinach. Place a lid over and let it cook until all the spinach has wilted down.
2. Once cooked, leave to cool and add the feta cheese.
*You may not need all the water as different types of flour absorb at different rates. I recommend to add water gradually.
These little creations are for the lovers of cheesecake and tiramisu and what a perfect couple they really are! I really wanted to make a creamy dessert which had a big hit of flavour. These definitely do give you that hit of flavour with added punch of alcohol. I love tiramisu and think it makes a great dessert, it’s so creamy, subtley sweet with that extra strong taste of coffee. I also love love love cheesecake to and it’s the most versatile dessert out, you can add so many different flavours and extra additions to make it taste so good.
I looked at many different recipes online and I added my own twist to the recipe I used. Also by putting the mixture in a dessert glasses it makes them look that extra bit special. I wanted to make mini layered cheesecake instead of a huge one. I still started with a digestive biscuit base then layering it with broken soaked fingers, cheesecake mix and grated chocolate. To make it even more indulgent I topped it up with cream and extra chocolate. These are all optional and you don’t have to add the ladyfingers or the grated chocolate.
Tiramisu layered cheesecake
A creamy, rich, luxrious coffee cheesecake dessert
130g - digestive biscuits
40g - unsalted butter
1 tbsp - sugar
200g - cream cheese
200g - mascarpone
200ml - double cream (extra for decorating)
57g - icing sugar
5-6 tsp - instant coffee granules (or a strong cup of coffee)
2 tsp - vanilla extract
For assembling and decorating
225ml - hot water
5-6tsp - coffee
2tbsp - sugar
3tbsp - Tia Maria
12-20 - Ladyfingers (depending on the size of your dessert pots)
50g - grated chocolate (optional)
cocoa powder for decorating
Extra whipped cream
1. Firstly grind the biscuits or bash them in a zip lock bag. In a small bowl mix together the ground digestives and melted butter to make the digestive base and set aside.
2. Dissolve the coffee granules in the hot water. Set aside
3. In a stand mixer whip 200ml double cream until it reaches stiff peaks, empty in another bowl and place in the fridge. *If using for decorating I would beat the rest of the double cream to save washing up! and place in separate bowl.
4. Meanwhile, beat together the mascarpone, cream cheese and powdered sugar with a hand mixer until smooth and there are no lumps.
5. Mix in the vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons of the coffee mix, taste at this point and add in more coffee, sugar or vanilla if desired
6. Fold in the double until incorporated don't over mix.
7. Now it's ready to assemble.
Step 1: Firstly have another bowl ready for the coffee for the ladyfingers. In there add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, coffee and Tia Maria to taste, you may need more sugar, coffee or Tia Maria. You will need a lot as the biscuits soak up a lot of the liquid.
Step 2: Place two tablespoons (as a guide) of the digestive mix at the bottom of the dessert pot and press down to make smooth.
Step 3: Break a ladyfinger in three pieces and place them to the coffee mix working quickly take it out and place in the dessert pot, squish them so it fits into place and is flat. Then layer it with the cream cheese and finally sprinkle the chocolate. Repeat the layers until it you reached the top.
Step 4: Pipe the top with whipped cream and sprinkle with extra grated chocolate
8. Set the Tiramisu Cheesecake in the fridge overnight to firm up.
This cake makes me think of Christmas in a hot country lol, 😂 mainly as the cake is covered in desiccated coconut which looks like snow and as it’s a coconut cake it always makes me think of a desert island somewhere. I know, totally odd combination right? I have been Christmas in a hot country once and really didn’t enjoy it, as much as I hate feeling cold, it just didn’t feel like Christmas at all.
I’ve always wanted to make a Raffello cake, I like the taste and textures of them and how they are crisp, light and creamy. I wanted to incorporate these into the cake. But the main feature being coconut of course, I wanted the cake to be spongy and taste of coconut through and through!
I adjusted the recipe slightly, I added malibu to make it more coconutty (and desert island theme of course 💁🏽) and slightly alcoholic. I also added coconut wafers in between the layer to recapture the taste of them Raffellos. These are all optional but I just wanted to I bring extra elements. Of course, I made cream cheese frosting, my fav and it works so much better as it’s creamy yum yum 😋 😋 😋 .
This cake was really moist and coconutty, if you love coconuts you will like this cake. I couldn’t taste the Malibu that much but I didn’t want to alter the texture and add too much Malibu as it could have made the cake too wet.
Raffello Coconut Cake
A coconut creamy, crispy Raffello cake
170g - soft unsalted butter
2 cups - plain flour
11/2 tsp - baking powder
1/2 tsp - salt
1 cup - caster sugar
1/2 tsp - vanilla extract
3 large - eggs
2 tbsp - Malibu
1 cup - canned coconut milk (reserve remaining from can)
11/2 cups - sweetened shredded coconut
Cream cheese frosting
2-23/4 cups - icing sugar
115g - soft unsalted butter
230g - cream cheese
Optional for decorating
1/2 - 1 cup - Desiccated Coconut
12 - coconut wafers
6 - Raffellos
1. Preheat oven to 175°gas/160°fan. Grease and line three 7" tins or 2 8" tins.
2. In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a stand mixer or handheld, beat together the butter for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add in the granulated sugar and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes so it's light and creamy. Add in the vanilla extract. Beat in one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. (scrap down the bowl as needed).
3. Add in the sifted flour mixture and coconut milk in three additions on low speed. Add 1/3 flour, 1/2 cup milk, 2 tbsp Malibu, 1/3 flour, 1/2 cup milk and finish with the remaining flour. Do not overmix.
4. Fold in the 11/2 cups shredded coconut. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow the cake to cool completely before decorating.
For the cream cheese frosting
1. Whisk the butter for a few mins at a high speed, add the icing sugar on a slow speed at first then once incorporated change to fast speed, make sure it's smooth and free from lumps.
2. Add the cream cheese and whip until smooth.
1. Put one layer of the cake on a cake board or plate then add a quarter of the frosting and spread around the cake. Add 4 crushed wafers, then add the next layer, repeat for the other two layers. Spread the remaining 1/4 frosting all around the cake. Then add desiccated coconut all around the cake. Then add Raffellos, best to add them when serving the cake as they tend to get dry.