A fantastically easy and delicious recipe for a sticky toffee date cake here. This can be enjoyed hot or cold and keeps incredibly well for up to 5 days if you can resist it for that long. The dates turn into fudgy little nuggets in a moist caramel sponge for ultimate comfort. Great served with caramel sauce, custard, ice cream, yoghurt or even eaten on its own with a brew.
200g of dried dates, roughly chopped
275ml of boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g soft light brown sugar
150g baking margarine, room temperature
3 eggs, beaten
175g self-raising flour
A pinch of salt
Pour the boiling water over three quarters of the dates
Leave to soak for 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C conventional
Blending together the butter , sugar and the soaked dates (including the soaking water)
Add the eggs and finally stir in the self-raising flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda
Finally stir in the remaining unsoaked dates
Pour into a 30cm square cake tin lined with greaseproof paper
You can use any firm white fish for this – cod, haddock and hake all work well. Look for Dunn’s River Mild Caribbean Curry Powder in the spice aisle, or use a mild Indian curry powder instead. Such a simple dish and a welcome change from your regular curries.
4 large skinless white fish fillets
½ lemon, juiced
2 tbsp mild Caribbean curry powder
1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
ginger a small chunk, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped [omit if a wimp]
1 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks
1 tsp of thyme leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve
400g tin coconut milk
cooked rice to serve
Rub the fish with the lemon juice, 1 tsp of the curry powder and some seasoning and leave to sit while you make the sauce. Heat the oil in a shallow casserole or deep frying pan with a lid. Cook the spring onions, ginger, garlic, chilli and pepper for 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining curry powder and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Add the fish, pushing down into the sauce, then cover with a lid and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Scatter with a little fresh thyme and serve with rice.
Think of this as an Indian-curry version of stew and dumplings. Except the sauce plays a much more flavorful part than in a traditional comforting stew. The dumplings end up gooey and steaming them in the sauce means the dumplings soak up the flavors around them.
CURRY TOMATO SAUCE:
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 serrano pepper, grated
1/2 onion, grated
1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tin whole tomatoes crushed
1 cup water
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp peanut butter
1 cup chickpea flour
1 serrano chilli minced
1/2 onion grated
1/2 fresh coriander, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup yogurt [dairy or non-dairy if vegan]
1 tsp salt
1 tsp peanut butter [optional but recommended]
a pinch of baking powder
CURRY TOMATO SAUCE: Heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add coriander, mustard and cumin seeds, and cook until seeds pop, about 1 minute.
Add one serrano pepper, 1/2 the onion and curry powder and saute until softened.
Add crushed tomatoes together with juice, water, turmeric powder and ginger powder. Cook until it has thickened up, about 10 minutes.
CHICKPEA DUMPLINGS: Combine all ingredients. Form into walnut-size balls.
Add chickpea dumplings to the sauce, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.
Here’s how to make authentic-tasting Chicago deep dish pizza. Complete with the buttery crust, slightly sweet tomato sauce, and a thick layer of cheese.
Pizza Crust (makes 2):
For the pizza dough:
450g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
300ml warm water
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
Tomato Sauce for Both Pizzas:
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, grated (about 1/3 cup)1
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)
3 garlic cloves, minced
one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes1
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
Toppings for Both Pizzas:
4 cups coarsely grated smoked Scamorza cheese (or mozzarella if you can’t find it)
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
optional and what I use:handful of pepperoni or chorizo per pizza,
additional optional toppings, add enough to suit your tastes:cooked and crumbled ham, thinly sliced green peppers and/or onions, sliced mushrooms
You will need two deep dish 9×2 inch round cake pans if you are making both pizzas at the same time. You can also use 9 inch spring-form pans.
For the crust: Place salt, garlic powder, dried thyme and flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast but do not let the yeast directly contact the salt.
Pour in the water and olive oil. Mix together with your fingers.
Work the dough into a soft warm ball then slap it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl and lightly oil the dough itself so a crust does not form. Cover the bowl with foil and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
For the sauce: Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt. Once melted, add the grated onion, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Once the onion has slightly browned after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, tomatoes, and sugar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow it to simmer until it’s hearty, fragrant and thick- about 30 minutes. You’ll have about 2 and 1/2 cups of sauce at this point. If you have more than that, keep simmering until the amount has reduced. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used. You may store the sauce in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days if planning to make the pizza another day. You may freeze this sauce for up to 2 months as well.
Preheat oven to 200C degrees.
Assemble the pizzas: After the dough has risen, divide it into two halves. Keep one ball of dough in the refrigerator as you work with the first one. Roll it out on a lightly floured work surface, working it into a 12-inch circle. Using your rolling pin as a guide, place over a 9×2 inch deep dish cake pan. Using your fingers, press the dough into the cake pan. Make sure it is nice and tight fitting inside the pan. Trim any excess dough off the edges with a small knife. Repeat with 2nd dough. Brush the top edges of the dough with a little olive oil, which gives the crust a beautiful sheen. Fill each pizza with 1/2 of the cheese (about 2 cups per pizza), then your toppings which I’ve listed as optional in the recipe ingredients. On top of those optional toppings is the sauce. Pour about 1 and 1/4 cups of sauce on top of each. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
Place the cake pans on top of a large baking sheet, which will catch anything potentially spilling over the sides of the pans. Bake for 20-28 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Feel free to loosely cover the pizzas with foil after the 15 minute mark to prevent any heavy browning and uneven baking. Remove the pizzas from the oven and allow to cool in the pans placed on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, slice, serve, and enjoy.
A visit from my family and a day spent walking around nature trails and foraging saw me gathering a rather large harvest of blackberries. Here is one of the ways I put them to good and tasty use.
½ Large Bramley apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g baking margarine
2 Tbsp golden syrup
85g soft brown sugar
A pinch of salt
1 tsp each ground cinnamon and mixed spice
Place the blackberries in a small saucepan and put over a very gentle heat. Allow the berries to soften slightly and the juices to release. Remove from heat, fold through the grated apple and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line and grease a 20cm square tin.
Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a large saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the porridge oats, salt and spices.
Spoon just over half of the oat mixture into the prepared tin. Spread evenly with the back of a spoon and push the mixture into the edges and corners ensuring the mixture is level throughout the tin. Squeeze the blackberry and apple mix on the side of the saucepan to remove excess liquid then distribute evenly over the first layer of flapjack. Leave a small gap around the edges so it doesn’t ooze out during baking. Add the remaining flapjack mixture and distribute evenly, again pushing the mixture into the tin with the back of a spoon.
Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until the top of the flapjack is a rich, golden colour. Cut immediately into portions (I made 16). Allow to cool completely in the tin.
With this spell of hot weather, I just can’t eat my bananas quick enough before they go ripe so I have had to come up with lots of baking banana recipes to put them to good use. First world problems hey?
One of the moistest cakes I’ve ever eaten. Stick-to-the-back of your fork moist. I am normally not a huge icing fan but the cream cheese frosting, both sweet and tangy, takes this cake from good to greatness. This cake packs mega banana flavour. It is very buttery and cakey from creaming the butter and sugars.
This recipe makes loads of frosting. You don’t have to use it all but it is addictive. If you don’t use it all, I suppose you’ll just have to bake another cake and that’s no bad thing.
The banana cake is dense, but not heavy. The crumb is still very soft and this is down to buttermilk, the moist-maker. The cake wouldn’t be what it is without it. I rarely have buttermilk in my fridge, unless buying it for a specific baking recipe so I usually sour whole milk instead. For this recipe, you’ll need 1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk. So here’s what I do instead: measure 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar then add enough whole milk until I reach 1 and 1/2 cups. Stir it around, let it sit for a minute then pour into the batter. To keep the cake extra rich, I do recommend whole milk.
For the Cake:
3 large ripe bananas (about 1 and ½ cups mashed)
3 cups (375g) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
½ cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 and ½ cups (360ml) buttermilk, at room temperature1
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups (360g) icing sugar, plus an extra ¼ cup if needed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a 9×13 inch tin.
Make the cake: Mash the bananas with a fork. Set mashed bananas aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and beat until creamed together. Add the eggs and the vanilla and a spoonful of the flour (to stop the batter separating). Beat until combined then add in the mashed bananas. Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter will be slightly thick and a few lumps are OK.
Spread batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminium foil.
Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
Make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Add 3 cups of icing sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix together slowly to start with then beat until well combined. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of icing sugar. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. This helps sets the frosting and makes cutting easier.
Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the fridge for 5 days.