Buckwheat Banana Nut Bread. In one hour you could make this easy and deliciously nutty banana bread, which includes flaked almonds and banana chips.
I’ve been greedy this week, having devoured quite a few test batches of my creme egg muffins, despite sending Neil off to work with a box or two. It’s ok though, because it’s coming up to Easter and we’re allowed to treat ourselves (I keep telling myself). It’s not easy being a food blogger, I’m sure I have put on weight and there’s an endless mountain of dishes to be done, but hey, I love it! I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, writing it all down and sharing it with you.
A yummy Easter treat: Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins.
Last week Neil and I went to Scotland for a couple of days to visit my Sister and Brother-in-law. It was the first time in years that we got to go over, so we were very excited to see their new house and celebrate my Brother-in-law’s special birthday. Walking around Glasgow, the streets appeared familiar yet different; new shops had opened and some places we liked are sadly now closed. This story is a bit like the Cadbury’s Creme Egg; the recipe has changed, but somehow it’s still the same old familiar egg we recognise from past Easters as kids. Back then, I had a super sweet tooth like most kids, and had quite the collection of Disney stickers stuck on my school books from trips to the Dentist!
Last week my sister and brother-in-law came over from Scotland to visit for a few days, and in honour of this, my Mum asked me to bake her a Victoria sponge cake. No fancy showstoppers will convince her that the Victoria sponge isn’t the best cake out there. I must say I’m fond of a Victoria sponge myself, especially with afternoon tea.
Fennel, which is the spice for Wednesdays…smelling of changes to come
– Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Did you ever eat Blackjacks ’til your tongue turned black when you were a kid? Tearing open that familiar wrapper, you could always smell the aniseed/liquorice flavour before tasting it. And that flavour made it nearly impossible to have just one, right? Well these days I don’t eat too many sweets, but if I want that distinct aniseed taste, then fennel is what I’d reach for. Until recently, I’d quite forgotten about this vegetable until I read 10 Wonderful Ways With Fennel on the Reader’s Digest. The orange ice cream combo was what stood out to me, with it being Summer and that (apparently). Orange and fennel is a really nice combo, as is chocolate and orange (Terry’s chocolate springs to mind). So what about chocolate, orange and fennel?
I want to live in a world where the need for pizza belittles that of war
– Jason Barnett
You only have to say ‘pizza!’ and everyone’s eyes light up. Whether savoury or sweet, it’s always going to be a crowd pleaser for all age groups. So I’m excited to blog my rather rustic looking strawberry and coconut dessert pizza. It might not look like something you’d get in a restaurant, but it sure tastes as good, at least in my humble opinion!
I knew I would have to start using it again and as the heatwave seems to have passed (we didn’t really get much of it here in N.Ireland to be honest), I wanted to bake something that you could enjoy with a nice cup of tea, and this recipe for these cherry and orange scones are perfect for just such an occasion. What better way is there to spend 10 minutes on a cold day, than indulging in a world of tart and sweet flavours, topped with clotted cream/butter and homemade jam?
- 60g dried cherries
- 3 tbsp orange liqueur
- 450g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 55g chilled butter, cubed
- 250ml milk
- Put your cherries into a bowl and add the orange liqueur. Leave to soak for a couple of hours.
- Preheat oven 200c and line baking tray with parchment paper and a little vegetable oil.
- In a large mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and orange zest. Then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre add the milk along with the cherries (drained from the liqueur). Stir in using a wooden spoon until a soft dough is formed.
- Flour your work surface and your hands. Turn out the dough on your work surface and using your hands, work quickly to flatten the dough down into 1 inch thickness.
- Using 2 1/2 inch cutter, stamp out the scones and brush the tops with a splash of milk. Place gently onto your lined baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes or until rising and golden in colour.
- Serve hot or cold with jam and clotted cream.
- Yield: 12 scones
If you haven’t noticed by now I love getting outdoors, especially now we’re getting into the better weather! A couple of weeks ago, I started experimenting with flapjacks (known as granola bars in USA or oat bars) and after a couple of batches, I’m finally happy to share the recipe! I’ve added sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and goji berries, so there’s lots of flavours in there and completely nut-free. Be warned though, if you make these they are addicting, and you may end up scoffing the lot when they come straight out of the oven!
- 150g unsalted butter
- 150g brown sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 200g rolled oats
- 60g sunflower seeds
- 60g pumpkin seeds
- 40g cranberries
- 40g goji berries
- Preheat oven to 180c (160 fan) and line a baking tray with white parchment paper.
- In a medium sized saucepan melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup. Mix with a wooden spoon until completely melted.
- Add in your oats, mix until they're completely coated and then slowly add in the rest of the ingredients, making sure all are fully mixed.
- Spoon the mixture into a lined baking tray, patting it down flat.
- Place in your oven and bake for 15-20 minutes (longer if you want it less chewy) or until the edges start to brown. If it looks like it's getting too brown pop a piece of tinfoil on top.
- Once it's baked, remove from the oven and cut out into squares whilst it's still hot. Let it cool before removing from the tray.
- Yield: 12 - 15 squares depending on how big you cut them.
If there’s ever a market in town that happens to have a stall selling fudge, then you can bet you’ll find me there. To say I’m a big fan of fudge is an understatement! I love browsing all the different flavours and taking a big mixed bag of the stuff home with me. Among my favourites are: rum and raisin; rocky road; classic vanilla; and of course, chocolate!
- 250g dark chocolate (70%)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened.
- 4 tbsp double cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 200g icing sugar
- Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
- Break the chocolate up in pieces and put it in a heatproof bowl along with the butter, double cream, vanilla extract and salt. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and keep stirring until the chocolate has completely melted and all the ingredients are well combined.
- Remove from the heat and slowly sift in the icing sugar, beating with a wooden spoon.
- Put the mixture into the loaf tin, smoothing it down and place in the fridge to chill until firm.
- Once chilled, remove from the loaf tin and using a knife slice the fudge into little squares.
- Yield: 28 pieces
It’s nearly June and strawberry season is rolling into town. I love walking down the food aisles and seeing rows and rows of fresh strawberries. The memories of warm Summer evenings relaxing outside with family, eating strawberries with freshly whipped cream…gorgeous! Here in the UK we really appreciate when the weather is great, so I’m hoping to make more memories this Summer, with these vanilla and strawberry buttercream frosting cupcakes.
I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for almost a year now! I feel like I’ve really come a long way since last May, but I’ll save that for a later date. Right now, I’m in cupcake mode. This is the first time I’ve actually blogged a cupcake recipe, which is quite unbelievable because I love them! I baked these over the bank holiday weekend and by Sunday night they were all gone – devoured by my eager testers and given the thumbs up. It’s such a buzz when people say they love one of your bakes, isn’t it? I originally tried to make the buttercream with fresh strawberry puree, but I wasn’t happy with the results at all. Take two was with my favourite strawberry jam (Mackays) and although the buttercream doesn’t look as pink as it did with the puree, it tastes a lot better!! A couple of drops of food colouring will sort that out next time around! There are little bits of jam you can see in the buttercream as well, but if this look doesn’t appeal, then simply use a smooth jam instead.
- 175g unsalted butter, softened
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 175g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- pinch of salt
- 225g icing sugar, sifted
- 3 heapful tbsp strawberry jam
- 2 tbsp double cream
- Preheat your oven to 180c and prepare a cupcake tin with 12 cases.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.
- Slowly add in the eggs - one at a time, then sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla until well combined (fold in and don't over-mix).
- Fill each of the 10 cupcake cases with the batter (about two thirds full) and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and just firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and salt together until smooth and creamy. Then slowly sift in half of the icing sugar, 1 tbsp of double cream and continue to mix. Then add the rest of the icing sugar, along with 1 tbsp of double cream and 3 heapful tbsp of strawberry jam. Mix until it is thick and creamy. Add a splash more double cream if it is too thick for your taste.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe the buttercream frosting around the cupcakes and top with a fresh strawberry.
And if you are looking for more fruity cupcake recipes, there are some great ones posted by my fellow food bloggers. Check out these amazing offerings:
Apple Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Frosting – Penne For Your Thoughts
Chocolate, Raspberry & Hazelnut Cupcakes – Jen’s Food
Blackberry and Apple Cupcakes – Tin and Thyme
I’ve been looking forward to posting this Sweet Potato and Coconut Cake recipe, as this is the first time I’ve baked with sweet potato and it tastes scrumptious! If you read my post When it all goes wrong from Monday then you’ll know that I made a cake that went disastrously wrong, and one that luckily went smoothly. This, of course, is that fortunate cake. I implore you not to judge me on my icing skills! The rustic look is in fashion…right?!
I’ll state right now for the record, that I’m a big fan of carrot cake and this is really similar; sweet, moist and light. Just perfect to have with your afternoon tea or, as it’s coming into picnic season, why not bake this to go in your hamper?