“What can I do with all these courgettes Em?” said my mum as she presented me with a handful of homegrown courgette come marrows. They’re a versatile but fairly bland vegetable yet baked in a cake, the water content keeps the loaf wonderfully moist. The addition of fruit, nuts and spices gives the cake bags of flavour so you don’t need huge amounts of sugar and fat making this a relatively healthy cake too.
butter, for the tin
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
85g soft brown sugar
350g courgette, coarsely grated and strained of excess liquid if very watery
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
85g walnuts, roughly chopped
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and sugar then add the courgettes, orange zest and vanilla.
In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with a pinch of salt.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture then pour into the tin. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool then serve or freeze for up to 1 month.
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.
When university exams loom, what better way to procrastinate than with a spot of baking? While they’re in the oven you might possibly be able to fit 5 minutes of revision in for which you must be rewarded with incredible baked goods. The muffins are tender and soft yet still rich and bursting with spiced pumpkin goodness. The cinnamon sugar coating adds a nice crunch to each bite while the Biscoff filling is simply heaven. There are always retakes.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (mashed pumpkin)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Biscoff spread
Cinnamon sugar coating:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the muffins:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.
In a medium bowl whisk together the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
For the filling:
Pour 1 tablespoon of batter into each case. Top with a 1/2 teaspoon of Biscoff. Top with about another 1 teaspoon of batter.
Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the batter is set. Let cool.
For the coating:
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each muffin into the melted butter then coat in the cinnamon sugar. Serve.
The house smells incredible as these bake and there’s not much that comes close to enjoying them warm out of the oven. The buns keep for 3-4 days and if they last that long, you can microwave them for a few seconds to warm them through and it’s as if you’ve cooked a fresh batch all over again. Win!
7g active dry yeast
1 cup milk warm
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
4 cups (500g) plain flour
1/3 cup soft brown or demerara sugar, packed
3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
Cream cheese icing:
6 tbsp margarine
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. The yeast should start to froth up slightly.
Add sugar, butter, salt, egg, baking powder and flour to a mixing bowl and mix well.
Pour the milk/yeast mixture in the bowl and mix well until well incorporated.
Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 16 inches long by 12 inches wide. It should be approx 1/4 inch thick.
Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking tin with butter.
To make filling, combine the butter or margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough. Alternatively you can spread the butter first on the dough and then the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge. The roll should be about 18 inches in length. Cut the roll into 1 ½ inch slices.
Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover them with a damp towel. Let them rise again for another 30 minutes until they double in size.
Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cooking time can vary greatly! If the tops brown too quickly before the dough is cooked, cover loosely with foil to prevent burning.
While the rolls are baking make the icing by mixing all ingredients and beat well until fluffy.
When the rolls are done, spread generously with icing.
You could leave them plain at this point as the icing is very sweet and I’m not normally a fan of overly sweet thing but this icing is amazing and melts beautifully into the warm buns giving them a sweet, sticky glaze that works perfectly with the pillowy soft dough and cinnamon.
Another brilliant meatball recipe! This time it’s succulent turkey flavoured with rich spices that taste like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen for hours. Really simple to make, this is a real treat and a lovely change from regular spaghetti and meatballs (not that there’s anything wrong with those).
When life (your friend who buys way more bananas than she can possibly consume so gives you loads) gives you bananas, make a tasty breakfast! I’m pretty sure that’s how the saying goes, right? This recipe is super easy, super quick and super tasty. You might say, bananas! Fluffy pancakes are delicately flavoured with a hint of cinnamon and mashed bananas as well as slices of sweet banana for good measure. With salty, smokey bacon on the side, this is a winning breakfast.
Heat the grill to high. Arrange the bacon on a baking tray lined with foil. Cook for 5-7 mins until crisp, then turn off the grill but leave the tray inside to keep warm. In a bowl, mix the flour and baking powder with a pinch of salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the centre and add the mashed banana, egg and milk. Whisk to a smooth batter without any flour lumps.
Heat a little butter in a large frying pan. Once sizzling, ladle in small dollops of the pancake batter, leaving a little space between each, as they will spread out. Put a few slices of banana onto the surface of each pancake and cook for 2 mins over a medium heat. When you see bubbles appear between the banana slices, flip the pancakes over and cook for 1 min more, until puffed up and golden. Transfer to a plate and keep warm with the bacon while you cook the rest. Serve the pancakes with the crispy bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup.