Monday, 9 February 2015



Is there really anyone that doesn't love pancakes, if you don't, you just haven't found the right filling.  As a child it had to be golden syrup for me and to be honest it hasn't really changed that much.

On Shrove Tuesday we will only eat pancakes, I may stuff some with chilli beef and sprinkle on some crushed tortilla chips and cheese but we swiftly move on to a stack set aside for pudding.

In the past I've made this filling with banana but have decided to give apple a go this time. This is enough to make four pancakes.

Pancakes: 150g Plain Flour, 1 egg, 200ml Milk.

Measure the flour into a measuring jug and add the egg, whisk with a fork till the egg is mixed in, now add the milk a little at a time, whisking in between to form a smooth batter.

Heat a frying pan with a teaspoon of oil.  Pour enough batter in to cover the pan with a thin layer.  Cook the pancake on both sides and put to one side till needed. Cook the remaining

Filling:  4 Small Eating Apples, 80g Butter, 80g Soft Brown Sugar, 80ml Double Cream

Cut the apples into 1/4s then remove the core. Now slice each 1/4 into 4 slices.

In a large frying pan melt the butter then add the apple slices, cook the apples on both sides till they become soft and are starting to brown.  Next add the sugar and heat till it melts.  Lastly pour in the cream and stir to make a thick sticky sauce. Divide the apples and sauce between the pancakes and serve.

Remember, pancakes are not just for Shrove Tuesday!

Thursday, 29 January 2015


Marshmallows have become a very popular sweet to make at home and they're well worth the effort.  The home made version are so soft and melt in the mouth.  They're the perfect gift because everyone loves them and are so impressed at your confectionary skills.

Now it's even simpler with this kit from Sainsbury's, in fact it's so simple that I gave my 11 year old son a box to make.  We drizzled his with chocolate and sprinkled some with toasted coconut, unfortunately we scoffed the lot before I could get any photos!  I did however make more with fruit layered into them.  This worked so well because the cherries and blackberries that we used cut through the sweetness of these fluffy cubes of cloudiness which enabled us to eat more without them being too rich.

My Mother used to make a pudding called Cherry Mallow Pie which used cherry pie filling and was topped with something that had melted marshmallows added to it.  Cherry pie filling is one of my guilty pleasures, added to custard it makes my favourite toasted sandwich - yes you did read that right. And of course the greatest cake of all, black forest gateaux would not be the same, in my opinion, without it.

Anyhoo, this marshmallow kit gave me an idea and here is my very simple, mostly assemble not much cooking, Cherry Mallow Pie.  I searched high and low for cherry pie filling but couldn't get it but I did find a posh jar of cherry compote full of whole morello cherries that was the perfect substitute.

300g Bourbon Biscuits
60g Butter melted

1 x 400g Jar Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Morello Cherry Compote
Dash of Kirsch (optional)
1 Sainsbury's Marshmallow Kit

Crush the bourbon biscuits in a food processor then add the melted butter and whizz together till it clumps together.  Press the biscuit into the base and sides of a deep 25cm fluted loose bottom tin and chill to harden.  

Now follow the instructions on the marshmallow kit which has everything you need in it. It's very simple and just a matter of adding water to a sugar mix and simmering it for 10 minutes then whisking up a gelatine mixture and adding the two together.

Once this is done cover the base of your pie with the cherry compote and top with the luscious mallow.  Pop it in the fridge to set, it says 2 hours but it was ready in 1 hour then decorate with grated chocolate.

You could of course toast the top with a cooks blow torch instead of grated chocolate to finish

Monday, 15 December 2014


This bread is so simple but so impressive when finished, once you know how to get the pattern you'll be coming up with all sorts of fillings.  The loaf in the first picture has red pepper pesto and pine nuts but the first one I saw was on my friend Karen Lake's face book, she'd made a Nutella loaf for her friends at work which was apparently devoured in minutes and I'm not surprised.  

I've also made the chocolate version and another with Lotus caramelised Biscuit Spread, but really sweet or savoury most things work as long as you can spread it on.  St Agur Soft Blue cheese with walnuts sprinkled on was another great version or try it with dried cranberries for a festive variation

Once your dough has had it's first rise, divide it into two equal pieces.  Roll the first one into a 10" round and place it onto your baking sheet or stone.  Spread your choice of filling on top leaving a small edge as you would a pizza.

Roll out the second piece of dough and place on top.  Now make eight equal cuts into the dough leaving a gap in the middle.  You should now have eight triangular sections.

Finally cut each of the triangles in half.  Take two adjacent sections and twist them in opposite directions twice.  Repeat till all the sections are twisted.  Cover and leave to rise for another hour then bake as usual for 15-20 minutes at 200C

Basic Bread Recipe

500g Strong White Bread Flour
14g Dried Yeast
10g Salt
50g Olive Oil
320g Warm Water

Use a freestanding mixer to form your ingredients into a dough.  Tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 10 minutes.  Place back in the mixing bowl and cover with cling film or a shower cap.  Leave to rise for 1 hour.

Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it onto a lightly floured surface and form into your loaf.  Leave to rise again for another hour then bake for 15-20 minutes at 200C

Cheers Karen Xx