01 Feb 2016

Raspberry and Almond Heart Tarts

No Comments Baking and Tarts / Pies

Frangipane and raspberry jam filled tarts with hearts on top for Valentines Day. These are quick to make and look great.

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31 Jan 2016

Red Velvet Cupcakes

No Comments Baking and Cupcakes

Red velvet cake is red due to (in addition to red food colouring) a chemical reaction between buttermilk, vinegar and cocoa. If there’s no vinegar in the recipe it’s not real red velvet, just vanilla sponge cake with food colouring. These are the genuine version and have a white chocolate cream cheese frosting. They have a slight red tinge, but the cocoa powder makes them closer to deep brown than bright red.

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24 Jan 2016

Whisky Truffles

No Comments Baking and Everything Else

Scotland has some well known desserts, but choice is fairly limited. Anything with oats or whisky is usually associated with Scotland, as are deep fried mars bars and Scotland’s version of the Eton Mess. Unlike most truffles, these are cream free. They’re held together with dried apricots and coconut oil.

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23 Jan 2016

Cranberry Orange Mini Loaves

No Comments Baking and Breads

Buttermilk quickbread (that’s bread without yeast) with cranberries, walnuts and orange zest. These have a sweet yogurt topping and grated orange zest on top.

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17 Jan 2016

Mince Pie Frangipane Tart

No Comments Baking and Tarts / Pies

Leftover mincemeat from Christmas and sick of mince pies? This tart has a frangipane topping so it’s like a cross between a Bakewell tart and mince pie.


One thing I’ve learned when making any kind of bar/slice/tart which has a filling with a layer of something else on top is that you can never have too much filling (mots recently with the Manchester Tart I made, which I should have used more jam for). A batch of 12 mince pies used around 400g of mincemeat; both of these tarts used around 300g in total but there was plenty of room for more filling. The frangipane topping is chunky enough to hold the flavour of the almonds on it’s own, so you can load the base with as much mince meat as you have.
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16 Jan 2016

Raspberry Donut Holes

No Comments Baking and Cupcakes

These were more like mini cupcakes filled with jam. Delicious, but not as donut-hole like as the last batch I made. I’ve since learned that the key to a recognizable donut taste s nutmeg. I only used a pinch as I didn’t want to over-power the raspberry jam, which may explain the lack of donut taste.

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10 Jan 2016

Lemon Meringue Scones

No Comments Baking and Everything Else

Scones are a quick win – they’re easy and quick to make, fairly difficult to get wrong and by changing the fillings and ratio of milk/cream/yogurt/buttermilk you can vary the texture for a slightly different result. These have lemon meringue chunks and crystallized ginger.

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09 Jan 2016

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

Packed with peanut butter and chocolate, these brownie squares are light and not too sweet. Brownies can be a bit hit and miss – I’ve only had them come out well maybe half of the times I’ve tried them. These took the full 35 mins and were just about done – leaving them another 5-10 mins would be fine if you prefer them drier/firmer.


I’ve become somewhat of a connoisseur of peanut butter – I eat it every day and a tub usually lasts less than a week. Unless they say otherwise, most brands contain extra sugar and some kind of stabiliser (usually oil of some sort). Using a natural peanut butter makes a massive difference in both the texture and taste. I prefer Meridian because it’s made from nothing but peanuts and salt and although it has some chunks of peanuts, it’s still runny enough to spread well.
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05 Jan 2016

Manchester Tart

No Comments Baking and Tarts / Pies

Similar to a Bakewell tart but with custard instead of frangipane topping, a Manchester tart consists of an almond shortbread crust with raspberry jam and vanilla creme patissiere, coconut and cherries. This recipe makes anough pastry and custard for the equivalent of 3 x 20cm tarts, but I made two 15cm tarts and two 10cm tarts. You can also mix the recipe up by using half of the pastry to make banana custard tarts. This is where Dr Oetker’s Banoffee Sprinkles add a nice finishing touch.

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03 Jan 2016

Italian Rainbow Cookies

No Comments Baking and Cookies

Three layers of cookie with apricot jam, cherry jam, marzipan and chocolate. These rainbow cookies have a strong marzipan flavour due to the marzipan between each layer. They take a while to make as they need to be compressed overnight then you need to set the chocolate before cutting them up. Most recipes say to mix in the grated marzipan with the dough, but I grated it instead gave the cookies a more distinct almond flavour.

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