Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Gingerbread ice cream

This recipe is based on one I have seen in Nigella's new cook show 'Nigellissima' and couldn't resist trying it myself. It sounded far too easy to be any good as it doesn't involve churning and I could keep the ice cream machine in the back of the cupboard for some time longer. It hardly involves prep time either and is ready after 6 hours of freezing so you can whip it up right before a dinner party if needed. You don't need to remember to defrost it before serving either as the alcohol in the recipe prevents it from becoming solid.
I have given it my own spin and changed the flavour to a Christmas version with spices and rum and a different texture by adding biscuits, similar to cookie dough ice cream.

300ml double cream 
175g condensed milk 
4 tbsp rum or spiced rum 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp ginger 
1 tsp all spice 
pinch of nutmeg 
gingerbread biscuits
Mix the cream, condensed milk, rum and spices together and whisk with a blender until soft peaks form. Mix some of the ice cream with crushed biscuits. Fill your moulds or a container with the plain ice cream until 3/4 full and top up with the version with the biscuit pieces. Freeze until serving.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Still waiting for the first snow, frost flowers and dusting off those Christmas decorations.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Pumpkin and goats cheese tartlets

I promised more pumpkin recipes so here we go. This recipe is for 4 mini tartlets but you can easily make a larger tart by doubling the quantities and baking for longer. If you find you have some roasted pumpkin left over use it up in a pumpkin and goats cheese risotto. Drizzle some pumpkin seed oil on top and you have yourself a quick and easy dinner.

short crust pastry
2 large eggs
2 tbs sour cream
100gr mild hard goats cheese
50g feta
1 shallot
100ml milk
200g pumpkin
salt and pepper
fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas 5. Peel, deseed and cut the pumpkin into wedges, then place on a baking tray. Cover with tin foil and leave in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until soft. Set aside to cool slightly and cut into small cubes. Roll out the pastry and blind bake the shells. Let cool for a bit. Combine the egg, sour cream, milk and goats cheese. Finely chop the shallot and add to the mixture with the thyme. Season with salt and pepper and pour into the pastry shells. Sprinkle with the pumpkin cubes and feta. Bake for 15 min or until set and golden.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Spider web pumpkin pie

This pie made it to a Halloween party (sorry, this post is a bit late...) but could look equally nice at a Thanksgiving dinner. You could alternate the decor to little hearts by making dots instead of circles and moving with the tooth pic outwards on one and inwards on the other side. Or do stripes and cross them to get a geometric pattern. Get creative!


sweet pastry base
500g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
2 tbs rum
knob of fresh ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
100g sugar
pinch of salt
100g cream cheese
25ml single cream
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas 5. Peel and cube the pumpkin and place on a baking tray. Cover with foil and leave in then oven for about 40 minutes or until soft. Set aside to cool slightly. Blind bake the sweet pastry and leave to cool also. Prepare the filling by processing the pumpkin cubes and the ginger. Then add the rum, spices, sugar, pinch of salt, and whisk in the cream cheese and the egg until well blended. Put 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture aside and add the cream to get a lighter shade of the pumpkin mix. Pour the darker mix into the baked pastry shell. Now spoon the lighter mix over in circles and use a bamboo skewer, tooth pick or cocktail stick moving from the centre outwards to create the spider web decoration. Bake for about an hour at 160°C until set. Rotate the cake after half an hour so it bakes evenly.

Monday, 5 November 2012


November weather but never to cold for ice cream, ... or affogato, and something that leaves me puzzled.

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Mint tea and a chin wag, lovely veggies at my local market and the right attitude.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Pea and courgette quiche

Did I already mention how hard it is to find the time these days to cook or bake? This quiche took two days to make. Not because it is so complicated, the opposite is true, but I only managed to blind bake the base when my little one needed my attention and I didn't find a chance to finish what I had started that day. Luckily it is fine to keep the baked short crust until the next day and it would freeze well too. Just prepare the filling fresh and bake when you get to it.


short crust pastry
5 eggs
300ml milk
100ml single cream
100g mature cheddar
100g smoked cheddar
1 small courgette
handful of peas
salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 160-180C/gas 4-5. Roll out the pastry and blind bake the base. Let cool for a bit. Combine the egg, single cream, milk and grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper and pour into the pastry shell. With a vegetable peeler make ribbons of the courgette and add layer over the egg mixture. Sprinkle the peas over the quiche and bake for 30-45 min or until set and slightly puffed up.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Foraging for blackberries and fall colours

Monday, 10 September 2012

Blackberry meringue cake

We went foraging this weekend for blackberries and were lucky. This is the first cake I made in our new home, our new kitchen and in a new oven. It's a gas oven and I will surely need some time to get used to and to bond with. Quite a special relationship between a baker and his/her oven, right?
And with a newborn in the house there is just no time to bake. On some days it's a struggle to find the time to cook (so blessed are frozen and canned foods these days!) and I can be lucky if it's still hot when I come to eat it. So making a cake is somewhat a luxury now that I cherish and it tasted even sweeter.

100ml vegetable oil
125g brown sugar
4 eggs
200g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 lemon (juice and zest)
pinch of salt
100g caster sugar
Preheat oven to 175-195°C. Separate the yolk and white of 3 of the 4 eggs. Mix the oil and brown sugar with a hand held blender, add the one egg and 3 yolks, salt, lemon juice and zest and beat until pale. Mix the baking powder and the flour and sift, gently adding to the mixture. Pour into a baking tin and bake for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the blackberries on top and bake for another 20 minutes and take out of the oven. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 125°C. To make the meringue whisk the 3 egg whites in a metal bowl until they start to form peaks and add the sugar. Beat some more until stiff and glossy. Now spread over the slightly cooled cake and put back in the oven to bake for another 45 minutes to an hour. The meringue topping should be golden on the outside and have a nice crunch to it.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012



 Berry colours and delicious rose water panna cotta

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Rose water and saffron ice cream

Apart from a couple of days we have not had much of a summer here in Britain this year. Lots of rain, mostly cloudy grey days and mild temperatures all round. Maybe I can persuade summer to come with this dessert. And if not then let's just pretend with flavours and colours inspired by a summer garden. I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!
The flavour combination is classic Persian: saffron, rose and pistachio. As rosewater is not to everyones taste I am a bit vague in the recipe with the quantities as I leave it up to you to find the right intensity to suit your palette. Just start with a tablespoon, mix and taste and keep adding and tasting until its right. Same goes for the saffron. Just remember that flavours get less intense when frozen to ice cream. I also didn't use that much cream but yoghurt to make it slightly lighter but cream will make it more sumptuous so feel free to adjust the quantities. The recipe is for 4-8 people depending on portion size.


For the rosewater ice cream:
350ml yoghurt
150ml single cream
3-5 tbsp sugar
rose water to taste

For the saffron ice cream:
350ml yoghurt
150ml single cream
3-5 tbsp sugar
good pinch of ground saffron

handful of crushed pistachios

For both recipes mix the yoghurt and cream with the sugar until dissolved and add your flavouring. If you have saffron strands use just a pinch and try to grind with a sugar cube or mini pestle and mortar. Chill the mixture in the fridge, then place in the ice cream maker for about 10-15 minutes or according to instructions for your machine. You will have to do two batches so factor in an extra day if you plan to serve both together. You can make one the night before, freeze and do the second batch fresh on the day/night you want to serve it.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

TURKEY: Istanbul interiors

Another post with impressions from Istanbul, this time of Topkapi palace and its beautiful blue and white tiles. Some designs combine traditional Ottoman arabesque patterns with Chinese elements.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

TURKEY: Istanbul (Street) food

If you have followed us on our trip through Asia last year you will have noticed our obsession with street food. In Istanbul we spotted lots of different vendors selling anything from freshly squeezed juice to sweets and tea and pastry. You'll maybe notice the little carts with the red and white stripy fabric first.

They are licensed to the respective borough and sell either one of the following three items or a combination:

Simit (tasty sesame bread ring) and other pastry/bread type snacks

Roasted chestnuts

Grilled corn and roasted chestnuts

There are also plenty of non-licensed carts with a variety of products and one that caught our eye was sahlep.

It's typically drunk in the colder months and goes back to the Ottoman Empire. It is creamy and based on a mix of different spices and served hot with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Another Turkish classic I need to mention is Boza Vefa and if you are in Istanbul you have to try it. The one we went to is a popular tourist attraction in it's won right: Vefa Bozacisi.

It's a cold drink made from a fermented bulgur and it is served with cinnamon and roasted chickpeas (Leblebi in Turkish, though you have to get yours from the shop over the road). It is rich in carbohydrates and vitamins.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

TURKEY: Istanbul

Time to share some holiday pictures with you. Istanbul is a great city, rich in culture and fantastic if you want to eat good hearty food. We stayed for a long weekend and managed to see all major sights without hassle due to the close proximity but you can easily stay longer and explore the only city in the world simultaneously situated on two continents - Europe and Asia.