Wednesday, 27 February 2013


When I was at primary school, or 'in juniors' as we called it, the meals were all very traditional. Roast chicken, meat pie and mash, boiled ham and peas pudding (never really took to this), lots of cabbage and all puddings came with custard.

There was one exception to this however.  On the very odd occasion the school cook would lose all sense of propriety, throw caution to the wind and serve us up the gastronomic banquet  of Spam Fritters, Chips and Beans!  Of course, news of this veritable feast would spread through the school playground like wildfire causing a stampede to be first in line.

There were two possible puddings accompany this meal of the gods, both of which in my humble opinion were in fact the true highlight.  Both of them include ice-cream which to this day features in my   still not complete 'Top 10 Foods I could not live without' - Ice Cream.

The first was a portion of ice cream served floating like a utopia island in a bowl of hot chocolate custard, I know, you want that right now don't you?  The second was a large chocolate cereal biscuit with a portion of ice cream on the side.  The ice cream was inevitably squished onto the top of the biscuit then snuck out into the playground and used to taunt the kids that hadn't made it into the dinner hall yet.

Since leaving school I often thought of that biscuit but it was only a couple of years ago that I realised that what made it different from the humble crispy cake and far more superior was in fact Sugar Puffs. Now here is the recipe in all it's glory to share.  Whilst you read the recipe I shall go and get the ice cream for squishing.


175g Milk Chocolate
50g Butter
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
125g Sugar Puffs

In a large pan slowly melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup together.  Once they have melted add the sugar puffs and stir, making sure all the cereal is well coated.

Tip the mixture onto a large piece of baking parchment and use it to form a fat sausage.  Roll it up and twist the ends to keep it all compacted together.

Put the sausage in the fridge and leave to set over night before slicing into biscuits.

Delicious with or without the squished ice cream

Sunday, 10 February 2013


Whilst sorting out all my various cake tins and assorted related paraphernalia I came across a madeleine tin that I forgot I had.  So off course I thought I should give it a go to make sure it still works!  I had also been trying to come up with a recipe to use left over marzipan from christmas to inspiration struck resulting in these dainty little almond goodies.

The almond flavour obviously comes from the marzipan which also gives them a bit of chew in the middle and a crunch on the outside.  You should get about 15 from this recipe.

I have used a freestanding mixer for this but an electric hand held one will do the job, don't try this with a hand whisk, you'll be there all night.  Silicone madeleine trays are good but do dust them with flour before you fill them as the marzipan can get sticky.

Prepare your tin by brushing it with melted butter and dusting with flour.  Heat the oven to 200C.

In a free standing mixer, whisk 2 Eggs with 40g Sugar till it becomes thick and fluffy and doubles in size.  While this is happening, melt 80g Butter and leave to cool.  When the eggs and sugar are ready, sieve in 80g Plain Flour then gently fold it in with a metal spoon.  Now slowly add the butter a little at a time and fold it in with the metal spoon.  Lastly fold in 80g Grated Marzipan.

Spoon the mixture into the shells to just below the top and bake for 10 minutes till they look golden.  Cool them in the tin for 10 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. Once cool, dust with icing sugar.

We love these still warm but they should last for a couple of days in a tin - if you can resist x

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


It's that time of year again and love it or hate it, you can't avoid it, not even hear I'm afraid.  I aways think it's the thought that counts more than anything.  The time, thought and effort put in is what everyone really loves and appreciates.  Having said that, these are all very simple, not very time consuming and will be loved by men and women alike.

Chocolate Salami has to have been my biggest seller at my local Farmers Market just before christmas with the majority of people buying them for men.  This is basically tiffin with the addition of nuts and possibly fruit.  It is formed into a sausage shape then dusted with icing sugar and when sliced looks just like a salami, hence the name.

300g Plain Chocolate
125g Golden Syrup
125g Butter
300g Short Bread Biscuits
50g Pistachios/Hazelnuts/Macadamias
Icing Sugar

Chop half the biscuits into small pieces and the rest into chunks.  In a pan melt the chocolate, butter and syrup over a low heat.  When it has all melted, stir in the biscuits and nuts.

Tip the mixture into foil lined with parchment and roll into a sausage.  Seal the ends by twisting them and refrigerate till set.  Remove the wrapping and dust with icing sugar.  This gives it that aged salami look and finishes it off perfectly.  Now re-wrap in new parchment and label.

I've gone one step further with the salami and made a Valentines Pizza.  Oh my word, you can't imagine how well this went down when I was developing the recipe.  It actually worked first time but I felt I should check it a few times just to make sure, I wouldn't want to let any of you down - quality control and all that!

So basically I've used a sweet flatbread dough and topped it with more sweet stuff, you can't go wrong with that really.  This recipe will make two 10" pizzas.

150g Self Raising Flour
150g Natural Yoghurt
35g Icing Sugar

4 tbsp Strawberry Jam
80g Mini Marshmallows
50g White Chocolate
Slices of Chocolate Salami
Candy Coated Chocolate Hearts

Heat your oven to 200C.  In a freestanding mixer, combine the flour, yoghurt and icing sugar to form a dough.  It will be a little sticky so generously flour your surface and tip the dough onto it.

Divide the dough in two and form into neat balls.  Roll out each ball into a circle for your pizza base and place onto baking sheets lined with parchment.  Do this now before you put any toppings on as it's much easier to move at this stage.

Next divide the jam between the two and spread it evenly leaving a slight edge.  Put them in the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes till the bases start to cook and the jam bubbles.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the marshmallows.  Return the pizzas to the oven and bake for a further 5-6 minutes when the marshmallows will have slightly browned and the base is cooked.

Remove the pizzas from the oven and sprinkle on the grated white chocolate, top with slices of chocolate salami and chocolate hearts.

Of course cupcakes are a firm favourite with men and women alike and there are so many products out there to make your life easy.  There are a great number of lovely cupcake decorations which can be bought online from suppliers like Just Bake as well as some from your local supermarket.

Chocolate Bark is another simple, quick and easy gift that always looks impressive and can be tailored to the tastes of your special someone.  Using moulds or by spreading melted chocolate over sheets of parchment which can be broken into pieces once set, you can add sprinkles and cupcake decorations, crushed peppermint canes, nuts, dried fruits, marshmallows, popping candy, the possibilities are endless.  Mixing different types of chocolate is also very affective.

Make sure you cool your chocolate at room temperature, don't put it in the fridge whilst it's still hot or it will go white.

What ever you do, Have a lovely Valentines Day X

Saturday, 2 February 2013


I don't really enjoy making novelty cakes, I've not got the fingers or patience for  fiddley details.  My husband Sean is way better at all that sort of stuff, check out the tractor cake he made recently.

Regardless of my lack of ability in this area, I do get asked quite often for cakes with a theme.  Usually I have an idea in my head, think 'how hard can it be' then half way through construction and too late for me to back out, I'm regretting it sorely.  Like the Womble cake I tried to make for my father that ended up looking more like the Wicker Man due to the amount of cocktail sticks I had to use as scaffold to support it!

Sometimes however, my memory of previous failings lets me down and I agree.  This was one of those occasions but this time I kept it simple and hopefully have produced an effective result.

Before anything else I cut out a slight hollow which would become the sand bunker.  

The sponge cake was then spread with buttercream and covered in a pale green fondant icing.  I then brushed a little water in the dip and sprinkled on soft brown sugar for sand.

I cut out a shape in blue icing for the water then sprinkled it with a fine blue and flakey blue glitter.  The grass was piped on with buttercream with a grass nozzle.
Finishing touches were the flag pole made from a bamboo skewer coloured with a felt tip, the golf ball from a small piece of fondant icing and the piped message.
I wish they were all as straight forward as this