I would love to provide a picture of the cake as a whole with its silky, chocolate custard covering but once I removed it from the fridge to serve, it didn’t last two seconds before everyone crowded round for a slice! I made this for my little brother’s birthday. He is a massive chocolate fan and this cake certainly delivers in that respect.
For the chocolate sponges:
150ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
200g plain flour
70g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g light brown soft sugar
100ml strong coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
For the chocolate custard:
250g golden caster sugar
500ml full-fat milk
140g chocolate, 85% cocoa solids, broken into cubes
2 tsp espresso powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
Make the custard first as it needs to chill. Put all the ingredients, except the vanilla, in a large pan and bring gently to the boil, whisking all the time, until the chocolate has melted and you have a silky, thick custard. It will take 5-7 minutes from cold. Stir in the vanilla and a generous pinch of salt then scrape the custard into a wide, shallow bowl. Cover the surface with cling film, cool then chill for at least 3 hrs or until cold and set.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment – if your cake tins are quite shallow, line the sides to a depth of at least 5cm. Put flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, light brown soft sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix well. If there are any lumps in the sugar, squeeze these through your fingers to break them up.
Measure the buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a jug. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the two tins, and bake for 25-30 mins until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool.
To assemble, cover one of the cake layers with a generous helping of the custard. Add the second layer to the top of this and spoon the remaining custard on top of the cake then spread it around the top and down the sides until smooth. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up the custard again.
Chill for 2 hours, or longer if possible, before serving, and eat it cold. This cake can be made up to 2 days ahead. The cake gets fudgier and more enticing the longer you leave it. The coffee in the recipe cannot be tasted but really brings out the intense cocoa flavours in the custard and the sponge and the addition of a small pinch of salt in the custard really intensifies the chocolate even further.
Bierocks are made with a yeasted dough to form a pastry casing for a savoury filling of meat and cabbage and originating from Eastern Europe.
Ever in search of new ways with mince, this recipe also provides an interesting, tasty and cheap combination of ingredients that also provide a hand held snack that pairs perfectly with a cold beer. Winner!
500g strong white flour
1 7g sachet fast action yeast
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
100ml whole milk
100ml hot water
500g lean beef mince
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Make the bread dough:
Put the flour, yeast, egg, salt and sugar into a bowl.
Add the hot water to the milk and add gradually to the mixture until it comes together into a soft dough. You may need more liquid, depending on the moisture in the flour and egg.
Knead the mixture for ten minutes, cover and set aside to rise for an hour.
Make the filling:
Heat a non-stick saucepan over a medium high heat and crumble in the meat. No need to have any oil, even lean mince has a certain amount of fat in it which will come out as the meat cooks.
Stir the meat around until it is browned and shiny.
Add the onion and continue stirring while the onion softens.
Finally add in the cabbage and cook until the cabbage has softened – probably no more than 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the salt and pepper, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
When the dough has risen, tip out and pat down.
Divide dough into pieces weighing 75-80g.
Roll dough out into a 15cm square.
Put a large tablespoon of the cooled filling into the middle of the dough.
Add 1 teaspoon of the grated cheese, if using.
Bring the corners of the dough together and pinch along the edges to seal in the filling. What you will end up with looks like the back of an envelope.
Turn the buns over and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Dust the buns with flour and set aside to rise for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan.
Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove the buns from the oven and immediately cover the baking sheet with some tea-towels. This will trap the heat and create steam, which will soften the crust of the buns.
The rich, umami flavour of miso in this sticky Japanese-style marinade is a perfect pairing for fish.
The fish is wrapped in a foil parcel and baked in the savoury juices resulting in meltingly tender flesh with a satisfying flavour that is so easy and quick to create.
2 tbsp shiro miso
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
30g fresh ginger, grated
2 sustainable cod fillets (around 150g each)
2 spring onions, finely sliced, plus extra to garnish
Handful fresh coriander, plus extra to garnish
Steamed rice and griddled pak choi
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Mix together the miso, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger in a small bowl.
Lay each piece of cod on a piece of foil large enough to enclose it, then spoon half the miso mix on top of each. Add the spring onions and coriander, then tightly seal to make parcels.
Put the 2 parcels into a baking dish, transfer to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Divide the rice and pak choi between 2 plates. Unwrap the parcels, lift out the contents and serve the fish on top of the rice, with extra coriander and spring onions on the side. Add lime wedges for squeezing.
Originally made with chicken, lamb or beef, giovetsi is a one pan Greek dish where everything is baked together to bubbling perfection to create an aromatic and delicious meal.
The orzo is toasted in the pan before adding the liquid to give a wonderfully nutty flavour. I have used halloumi to top and sausage meat to create meatballs purely because that is what I had but as with all my recipes, feel free to substitute for whatever you prefer. You will still end up with a gorgeous dinner!
Sausage meat from 2 sausages, casing removed
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp breadcrumbs
1 pinch of rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp tomato puree
pinch of ground cinnamon and oregano
½ cup of orzo
1 ½ cups of chicken stock
Add the sausagemeat, breadbrumbs, seasoning, rosemary and half the onion in a bowl and mix well. Shape the mix into small meatballs. (I made 8).
Pre-heat the oven to 180C
In a frying pan, over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp oil and gently fry the sausage balls on all sides until browned all over. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add your onions and peppers to the pan and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until softened.
Add the Orzo and stir for a few minutes to toast the kernels.
Add the hot stock, tomato puree, cinnamon and oregano and bring to a boil while stirring. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Transfer to an oven-proof baking dish and add your meatballs.
Fry a few strips of halloumi in the same pan until lightly browned and top the orzo with these then bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until most of the juices have been absorbed and the top is golden brown.
You could try using different veggies and cheeses for this. I just used what I had in at the time but this could be great with leeks, spring onions, parsnips, green beans, peppers… anything. Just remember that since you want this cheesy lentil slice to set nice and firm, you’ll need to thoroughly cook any particularly wet vegetables beforehand, and cut them nice and small.
This cheesy lentil slice is super high in protein and fibre and it’s still absolutely delish. The slice can be… well, sliced. This means that as well as making a great dinner alongside some homemade chips, garlic bread, salad or whatever else tickles your fancy, it can also be packed into lunch boxes to be served cold. Gotta love a versatile recipe!
190g red lentils
1 litre chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, diced fairly small
60g frozen peas
75g rolled oats
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp each oregano and thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
70 g cheddar cheese, grated
1 large tomato, sliced
Add the red lentils, chicken stock and tomato puree to a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium heat until the red lentils are tender and any excess liquid has cooked off – around 15 minutes. You’ll need to stir regularly, especially in the last few minutes, to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the pan.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the chopped onion and carrot. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, until softened then add the peas for a couple more minutes. Set aside to cool.
When the lentils are cooked, transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and add the cooked vegetables, rolled oats, smoked paprika, herbs and a generous pinch of black pepper. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes then add about half of the grated cheese (hold some back for topping). Mix thoroughly.
Spread the lentil mixture out into a greased baking tin (mine was 9 inches squared), and smooth out the top. Add the remaining grated cheese and a few slices of tomato. Bake at 180°C for around 45 minutes, or until the lentil slice is firm and the cheese on top is golden (cover with foil if you feel the cheese is browning too quickly). Either serve immediately, or allow to cool and cut into slices.
My friends and I have wanted to make this cake for ages. It is really several cakes piled into one glorious creation. The cheesecake centre is smooth and creamy against the spiced, nut studded carrot cake that is topped with a luxurious icing and even more nuts for beautiful texture and flavour. A real celebration cake!
The frosting makes enough to cover the entire cake generously however, I only covered the top of the cake and this was more than enough as the frosting is very sweet. I used the remaining frosting for a coffee and banana pecan cake which was really nice or you could just half the recipe.
FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS:
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup muscovado sugar
1 cup sunflower oil
4 large eggs
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups grated carrots
½-1 cup chopped pecans
FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:
16oz full fat cream cheese, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¼ cup sour cream
1/3 cup whipping cream
FOR THE FROSTING:
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz full fat cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup whipping cream
4 cups icing sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:
Prepare the cheesecake layer first. This can be done early in the day, or the night before. If freezing the cheesecake, can be stored 1-2 weeks in the freezer.
Preheat oven to 160C. Using a large roasting pan, add 1 inch of hot water to the pan. Place it on the lower shelf of the oven. Allow it to preheat in the oven.
Prepare an 8-inch spring-form pan by wrapping the bottom of the pan (outside) with a double layer of foil. Line the bottom (inside) with a circle of parchment paper.
Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add in salt and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in sour cream and whipping cream, until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Pour into prepared 8-inch spring-form pan. Place pan in centre of preheated roasting pan in the oven, making sure to be careful not to spill water.
Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes. There should still be a slight wobble in the centre. Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely on counter.
When cooled, remove outside portion of the spring-form pan and place into the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight. If using within 24 hours, feel free to just refrigerate cheesecake (this is what I did).
FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS:
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs until blended. Add in flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Beat for about 2 minutes. Stir in the grated carrots and pecans. Pour into prepared cake pans.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for ten minutes then remove from pans and cool completely.
FOR THE FROSTING:
In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat with whisk attachment for 3 minutes. Add in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and heavy cream. Beat for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Fold in chopped pecans.
To assemble the cake, layer one layer of carrot cake. Add the cheesecake then top with second layer of carrot cake. Spread on the frosting on top and on the sides if you feel particularly decadent.
Store in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. ENJOY!
Okay, so I’ve posted a few scone recipes before but I think I’ve topped myself with this one. It all came about like most of my recipes, because I had particular ingredients to use up. This time it was bacon and spring onions. These scones are rough and ready but delicious and full f bacon and cheese goodness. Crunchy and knobbly on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside with savoury onion and bacon bits running throughout, these scones are sensational eaten warm from the oven with butter and ground pepper… and lots of coffee. Treat yourself!
8 rashers streaky bacon, diced
5 spring onions
150g mature cheddar, grated
340g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
85g butter, diced and chilled
135ml whole milk
1 large egg (plus extra for glazing)
2 tbsp dukkah
To make the scones preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Place the bacon into a non-stick frying pan and cook until beginning to crisp. Tip out onto a plate and allow to cool before mixing together with the spring onions and the cheese.
Place the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and mix together to combine. Add the diced butter and using a pastry blender or two knives cut in the fat until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs – some pieces should be about pea sized. Add the bacon, spring onions and cheese and mix together. In a jug whisk together the milk and the egg.
Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the liquid. Using a knife bring the mixture together. Once a shaggy dough has been formed tip out on a lightly floured work surface and bring together into a uniform dough – don’t work too much or your scones will be tough.
Pat the dough into a flat round a couple centimetres thick then use a knife to cut into 8 equal sized pieces. Place onto the prepared baking tray and brush the tops of the scones with a little egg or milk and sprinkle with the dukkah. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Best served warm on the day baked.