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Cover: A dish for all seasons

Desserts

16Oct 12

Raspberry Mousse

Raspberry MousseWho doesn’t love a cool chocolate or fruit mousse for dessert? Well, now that raspberries are in season (traditionally throughout July and August), what better dessert to make with those freshly picked, or freshly bought, pink, furry, juicy fruits than a delicious raspberry mousse? It makes a real summertime treat for adults and kids alike.

Everyone in my family loves it, and we can never get enough! The best thing about it is that it can be made all year round because frozen raspberries make for an equally great mousse.

Fun fact: I found out the other day that almost all the raspberries sold in the UK are grown in Scotland, and that their production forms an important part of the Scottish economy, particularly in the Tayside area where raspberry farmers earn about £12m a year!

I’d always thought mousses were hard to make, but it’s actually not that difficult, especially if you have an electric whisk! You just need to be very careful and slow when folding in the whipped cream and beaten egg whites so as not to deflate the mixture, and it should be a success! (Also have a go at this white chocolate mousse.)

Raspberry Mousse
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
A delicious mousse made from freshly picked raspberries
Ingredients
  • 300g raspberries
  • 250ml double cream
  • 80g white sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 gelatine leaves
  • A few raspberries for garnish
Instructions
  1. Blend the raspberries in a blender to make a smooth purée.
  2. Add 60g of sugar to the purée and mix in.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons of double cream to the purée and place over a low heat, without allowing to boil.
  4. At the same time, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for about 5 minutes to soften them.
  5. Remove the purée from the heat and leave to cool down.
  6. While the purée is still warm, mix in the gelatine leaves until totally dissolved, then leave mixture to cool.
  7. Whisk the rest of the double cream until soft peaks form. Add the raspberry purée little by little, folding it into the whipped cream slowly, letting air into the mixture.
  8. Beat the egg whites. When peaks start to form, slowly add the rest of the sugar while whisking, until stiff peaks form.
  9. Carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the mixture, as before, to complete the raspberry mousse.
  10. Spoon the mousse into individual glasses, cups or bowls and leave to set in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours.
  11. Garnish each bowl with some fresh raspberries before serving.

 

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25Jul 12

Gooseberry and Almond Cupcakes

Gooseberry and Almond CupcakesI remember warm summers when I was a little girl, helping my grandmother make jams, cakes and pies with the gooseberries from her garden. I used to love their tangy taste, but was oblivious to the fact that they are a good source of fibre and vitamins A and C! (Also try these lemon blueberry muffins.)

We don’t have gooseberries in our garden, unfortunately. But when I saw them in a farm shop the other day, they brought back such nice memories that I had to buy some. They are in the peak of their season right now (June and July), so they may even be sweet enough to be eaten raw. However, I’ve baked some gooseberry and almond cupcakes, based on my grandmother’s “cherry financiers” recipe, changing some of the ingredients. I was quite chuffed with how they turned out actually!

Gooseberry and Almond Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24-30 cupcakes
 
Gooseberry and almond cupcakes made with fresh British gooseberries, tangy summer fruits that are in the peak of their season in June and July.
Ingredients
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 250g butter
  • 200g fresh gooseberries, washed and quartered
  • 165g powdered or icing sugar
  • 120g powered almonds
  • 5 egg whites
Instructions
  1. Mix together the sugar, flour and powdered almonds in a bowl.
  2. Soften the butter on a low heat and add to the mixture, stirring until smooth.
  3. Beat the egg whites until fluffy peaks form and then fold carefully into the mixture.
  4. Add the quartered gooseberries and mix in.
  5. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and bake in a preheated oven (180º) for about 20-25 mins or until golden and well risen.
  6. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.
  7. Sprinkle each cupcake with a little icing sugar before serving.

 

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12Jul 12

Kiwi Fruit Smoothies Collection

Kiwi smoothieTime to raise a glass to your health!

Kiwi fruit is readily available in the UK from January to August.  This visually stunning fruit is so good for you.  It packs a punch in vitamin C and also contains potassium, vitamin E, vitamin A and plenty of dietary fibre, amongst other nutrients.

It has an intense, and some would say sharp, flavour when scooped straight out of its furry greenish-brown skin.  I love it just like that, or mixed in with strawberries and other fruits to make a colourful fruit salad.  But today, I’m going to share a few smoothie recipes with you: kiwi and strawberry smoothie, creamy kiwi smoothie (pictured) and sherbet zest kiwi smoothie.

These smoothies will make a wonderful dessert or a healthy mid-afternoon filler.  So let’s toast your health together in celebration of the wonderful kiwi fruit! (For a different type of fruit smoothie, try this Indian lassi with cardamom and pistachios.)

 

Kiwi and Strawberry Smoothie

What you need:

  • 2 kiwis, peeled
  • 8 strawberries, topped and sliced
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut in half
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Generous splash of apple juice
  • 8 ice cubes

What to do:

  1. Pop the ice into your blender, followed by the kiwi fruit, the strawberries, banana and lime juice.  Add a generous splash of apple juice and blend for around 35-45 seconds.  Pour into chilled glasses and delight in the flavours!

5 minutes to prepare

Makes 4 servings

 

Creamy Kiwi Smoothie

What you need:

  • 4 kiwis, peeled
  • 2 tbsp good honey
  • 12 tbsp natural yoghurt

What to do:

  1. Blend the ingredients together in a blender or smoothie maker for around 35-45 seconds, pour into a glass and fill up your body with the wonderful nutrients.

5 minutes to prepare

Makes 4 servings

 

Sherbet Zest Kiwi Smoothie

And now for something a little different…

What you need:

  • 100g kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 100g lime sherbet
  • 200g peeled and diced banana
  • 200g honey dew melon, peeled, deseeded and cubed

What to do:

  1. Blend the ingredients together in a blender or smoothie maker for around 35-45 seconds, pour into a glass and enjoy the tang!

10 minutes to prepare

Makes 4 servings

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19Jun 12

Pasteli or Olympic honey and sesame bites

Pasteli or Olympic honey and sesame bitesHere is a very old and very easy recipe fit for any Olympic sportsman! The Ancient Greeks may well have made Pasteli for the participants of the original Olympic Games in 776 B.C., as these chewy and crunchy honey and sesame bites are packed full of energy, minerals and vitamins. Sesame seeds are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and B1, to name just a few, and honey is antibacterial and contains antioxidants. The health benefits of honey depend on its quality, so I always try to buy organic or raw, unprocessed honey, which contains more healthy substances (that haven’t been eliminated through so much processing) and makes this snack or dessert much more tasty and nutritious!

For extra protein, try these grilled chicken wings with a honey and lime butter sauce. They don´t have sesame seeds, but why not sprinkle some over the top for extra measure?

Pasteli or Olympic honey and sesame bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: various
 
These honey and sesame bites are packed full of energy, minerals and vitamins.
Ingredients
  • 120g toasted sesame seeds
  • 5.5 tbsp or 115ml raw honey
  • unrefined sea salt
Instructions
  1. Heat the honey in a saucepan over a medium heat until it starts to boil.
  2. Add the sesame seeds and a dash of sea salt to the honey and stir using a wooden spoon, cooking slowly and stirring continually for about 10 minutes or until the mixture boils again and caramelizes (turns golden brown), then remove from heat.
  3. Carefully pour the mixture of honey and sesame seeds onto a large piece of baking paper on a smooth surface and smooth out the mixture with a spatula, patting down to a uniform thickness.
  4. Cover the outspread mixture with another large piece of baking paper and use a rolling pin to spread out and thin the mixture some more, to about 1cm thick.
  5. Set aside until the Pasteli is cool enough to handle (but still warm) and cut into equal sized pieces.
  6. Wait until cold before serving.
  7. Uneaten Pasteli bites can be stored in an airtight container with a sheet of baking paper inbetween each layer.

 

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07Jun 12

Blood Orange Sorbet

Blood Orange SorbetBlood oranges have a beautiful, intense colour can give vibrancy to all sorts of dishes including salads, cooked meals and desserts.

Serve blood orange sorbet for pudding with a glass of champagne, or in between courses to cleanse the palette.  This one is definitely for the grown-ups as it contains orange liqueur. (If you prefer strawberry, this strawberry sorbet with moscatel is also a tasty treat!)

What you need:

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur
  • 1L blood orange juice, freshly squeezed with the pulp strained off
  • Orange zest to garnish

What to do:

  1. First you need to make a sugar syrup.  Take a large saucepan, add the sugar and pour in the water, stirring together as the sugar begins to dissolve.  Gradually bring the mixture up to the boil, stirring constantly.  Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Leave the mixture to cool completely.
  2. Take a large mixing bowl, pour in the blood orange juice, and stir in the liqueur.  Gradually add the sugar syrup to the orange and liqueur mixture, tasting as you go, until the combination is lovely and sweet.  If you prefer a more tart sorbet, you can control that by adding less of the sugar syrup.
  3. Once you’re happy with the flavour (and still hopefully have plenty of the mixture left for Mum!) transfer the syrupy sorbet into a freezer-proof container and set it in the freezer for a minimum of 5 hours.  And here comes the slightly tricky bit.  You will need to make the sorbet on a day when you’re going to be available to stir the sorbet occasionally as it sets.  Over the 5 hour period of setting, remove the sorbet once or twice an hour, stir it and put it back into the freezer.  The only way around this last phase is to churn the sorbet until it sets in an ice-cream maker before freezing it.
  4. When ready to serve your sorbet, spoon it into a pretty bowl or half of an emptied orange with an ice-cream scoop, garnish with the orange zest and serve with a glass of champagne.

20 minutes to prepare, plus cooling time, and at least 5 hours setting time.

Makes: 4-6 servings

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28May 12

Hot Apple Tart with Cream

Hot Apple TartWhy not try this wonderful hot apple tart with cream as a great pudding to celebrate any occasion – perfect as apples are in season all year round.

For more apple goodness, try these caramelised apples with real custard.

What you need:

  • Pack of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 8 eating apples, whatever you can find that is in season. Washed, peeled and cored.  4 cubed and 4 sliced into thin wedges.
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g caster sugar, plus a sprinkle for caramelising the apples at the end
  • ½ tbsp runny honey
  • Tub of double cream to serve

What to do:

  1. First make the apple filling.  Heat the butter slowly in a pan until it melts before adding the cubed apple pieces and coating them all in the butter.  Cover the pan with its lid and cook the apples over a medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Stir in the honey and cook on for a further 5 minutes.  Now stir in the sugar, and the cinnamon, puréeing the soft apple with the spoon as you do so.  Leave the puréed apple mixture overnight to cool, or if you’re in more of a hurry, you can cool it in the fridge.
  2. When you are ready to cook the tart, preheat the oven to 200ºC and line a circular, ceramic oven-proof dish with parchment paper.
  3. Roll open the puff pastry and lay it over the baking dish, pressing it gently to the sides of the dish and cutting off any excess pastry around the top edge.
  4. Spread the puréed apple into the pastry casing, using a spatula.  Leave a 1.5cm gap of uncovered pastry all around the edge.
  5. Place the apple wedges very gently over the apple purée filling, so that they are slightly overlapping, start at the outer edge and work your way into the centre in rings.
  6. Bake the tart in the oven for around 15-20 minutes, until the apples turn golden brown in colour.
  7. Remove the cooked tart from the oven, sprinkle over a little caster sugar and cinnamon, and under a very hot grill, caramelise the apples.
  8. Serve hot with a generous dollop of double cream.

30 minutes to prepare (plus cooling time) 40 minutes to cook

Makes: 4-6 servings

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12May 12

Rhubarb and Marzipan Crumble

 

Rhubarb and Marzipan crumbleSpring is in the air! Well, perhaps not quite yet. But no matter the time of year, I enjoy the occasional treat to satisfy my sweet tooth. However, knowing that I am also eating fruits and veggies helps me justify these cravings.

Rhubarb comes into season in March and is readily available in the UK until May - so there’s still a chance to get some good rhubarb, just! Every year, as soon as I see it in the greengrocer, I pick it up so I can make a favourite of mine, rhubarb crumble.

 

 

This year I made this classic crumble pudding with a sweet surprise.  In this recipe, the natural tartness of the rhubarb contrasts really well with the almondy sweetness of the marzipan.

What you need:

  • 10 rhubarb sticks
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 110g Demerara sugar
  • 110g butter, left at room temperature for a while to soften
  • 190g flour
  • 150g Marzipan, cut into thin strips

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Chop the rhubarb into cubes, pop it on an oven tray, sprinkle over the water and caster sugar and bake it in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the rhubarb from the oven once it is cooked, and transfer it to an ovenproof dish.
  4. Create the crumble by rubbing the butter, flour and Demerara sugar together.
  5. Place the thin strips of marzipan across the top of the rhubarb before sprinkling the crumble mixture on.
  6. Bake the crumble in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the rhubarb mixture is soft and bubbling and the topping is golden brown and crispy.
  7. Serve with vanilla ice cream. (optional)
30 mins to prepare, 30 minutes to 1 hour to cook
 
Makes: 4 servings

A little more about rhubarb…

The edible part of the rhubarb plant, the stalk, is technically a vegetable, though we think of it as a fruit.

Rhubarb seems to have become a popular food in the 17th Century when cheap sugar became accessible.

Rhubarb is thought to have first been cultivated in China in 2700BC.

It is said that the Romans believed that people who ate rhubarb were barbaric in nature (possibly because of its natural bitterness) and that the name rhubarb may have been derived from the Latin word rhabarbarum meaning ‘root of the barbarians’.

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03Apr 12

Easter Hot Cross Buns Part 2

This is where we continue with the creation of the dough.  We will bake the Easter hot cross buns and decorate them with the classic piped white cross shape.  You will need to visit part 1 of this recipe for the ingredients and instructions on the first part of the dough creation.

What you need:

For the topping

  • A little vegetable oil for greasing
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup for the glaze, hot
  • Cinnamon powder for dusting

What to do:

  1. Clean and re-flour the work surface, and divide the risen dough into 12 even parts.  Roll each piece into a round, then with the palms of your hands, flatten each ball a little into a bun shape.  Re-cover the buns with the tea towel for another 10 minutes.
  2. Grease a baking tray with a little butter and move the buns to the tray.  Wrap parchment paper around the tray and buns and put it inside a large plastic bag (a clean shopping bag, for example), tying the bag tightly to seal out the air.  Once again, leave the buns in the airing cupboard for another 45 minutes to rise some more.
  3. Take a deep breath, and preheat the oven to 240ºC.
  4. Whilst the buns do their final rise, make the cross topping.  Put the plain flour into a mixing bowl and stir to a smooth paste with 2 tbsp cold water.
  5. Once the buns have risen, remove them from the bag and paper, put the cross topping into a piping bag and draw a cross shape with the mixture onto each bun.
  6. Bake the buns on the tray in the oven for 8-12 minutes, until they turn a pale golden brown.  Remove them and brush them over with hot golden syrup, then dust with cinnamon powder.  Leave them to cool on a wire rack or enjoy them fresh and warm.  You deserve it!

More than 2 hours to prepare – 10-20 minutes to cook
Makes: 12 hot cross buns

Note: For an extra twist on the classic recipe, try these cherry and walnut hot cross buns.

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03Apr 12

Easter Hot Cross Buns Part 1

Hot Cross Buns -1This is quite a time-consuming little project, making your own traditional Easter Hot Cross Buns. But believe me, if you can make the time, it’s worth it to eat them fresh from the oven; lavished with butter, or topped with a thick layer of seasonal rhubarb and ginger jam.  It’s also a great idea for something to do with the kids during the Easter holidays, if you find yourselves stuck in on a rainy day. (Try this especially kid-friendly hot cross bun recipe.)  I’ve split this recipe into 2 parts.  Visit part 2 for instructions on finalising the dough, baking and decorating.

What you need:

For the buns

  • 630g strong white flour
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g unsalted butter, use a tiny bit for greasing the baking tray
  • 90g caster sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ tsp yeast, fast-acting
  • 275ml milk, slightly warmed to tepid
  • 1 medium egg
  • 130g mixed dried fruit

What to do:

To start the process of making the dough

  1. To make the buns, sieve the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt over a large mixing bowl.  Peel the lemon with a zest peeler and leave to one side.  Add the butter to the flour, rubbing it into the mix with the tips of your fingers.  Create a well shape in the middle of the mixture. Next, add the sugar, yeast and the lemon zest.
  2. Beat the egg together with the tepid milk and add that to the well.  Mix everything together to create a soft and pliable dough.  Gently combine the dried fruit into the mixture.
  3. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and knead the dough onto it gently and lightly for about 4-6 minutes, or until the dough becomes elastic and smooth.  Shape it into a ball.
  4. Warm a plastic or ceramic mixing bowl in the microwave for a few seconds, grease it with butter, place the dough ball inside, cover it lightly with a clean tea towel, and leave it in the airing cupboard or somewhere warm to rise for one hour.
  5. On your floured work surface, knead the dough again, but roughly this time, for a few minutes – to knock-out some of the air and return it to the shape it was before you left it to rise.  Shape it back into a ball, pop it back into the bowl, cover it again and leave it for another half an hour to re-rise.

 continued in part 2

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30Mar 12

Poached Pears with a Hot White Chocolate Liqueur Sauce

Pears with chocolate sauceIf frozen berries and white chocolate make a nice pairing, I think that the combination of pears and white chocolate is pretty divine, especially when the white chocolate sauce contains a little liqueur.  What a nice way to round off a special meal!

 

March is the last month of the pear season in the UK.  You can still find lots of delicious varieties out there.  Poached pears with a hot white chocolate liqueur sauce uses Conference pears.  This fruit is one of my personal favourites.  Pears have a special kind of sweetness and when ripe, a great softness, although pears also have that distinctive slightly gritty texture to them.  Apparently, when they are picked early and ripen off the tree, that gritty texture is less prevalent.

What you need:

  • 6 conference pears, stalks in place, peeled
  • 85g Demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey, runny and clear
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • 450ml white wine
  • 255g white chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 120g butter, unsalted
  • 4-6 tbsp white chocolate liqueur

What to do:

  1. In a deep and heavy-based saucepan, add the white wine, cinnamon, vanilla essence and honey, and bring the mixture up to a gentle simmer.  Add the pears and turn the heat down to low, poaching the pears for about half an hour or until they are translucent in appearance.  Turn the pears over every now and then during poaching.
  2. Whilst the pears are cooking, you can get going with the white chocolate liqueur sauce.  Gently melt the white chocolate and the butter together in a separate pan.  When molten and combined, remove from the heat and stir in the white chocolate liqueur.
  3. Once the pears are translucent and soft, remove them from the saucepan and place them in the serving bowls, then reduce the white wine mixture to a third of its quantity.
  4. Pour some of the white wine reduction over each pear before pouring on the white chocolate sauce.

If you want to be really decadent, you can make a milk chocolate sauce as well. Take 255g of milk chocolate in small pieces and 120g of butter. As with the white chocolate sauce, stir together over a low heat until it is all molten and combined. Pour on top of the pears after the wine reduction and before the white chocolate.

Less than 30 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to 1 hour to cook

Makes: 6 puddings

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