Monday, 23 March 2015

Hotel Chocolat Easter Treats & Toscakaka Cake

With Easter just around the corner, Hotel Chocolat offered to send me some of their seasonal treats to sample, which I obviously gratefully accepted - I'm only human! Hotel Chocolat never disappoint with their innovative seasonal chocolate collections, and this year is no different with their Egglet H Box providing a sophisticated and interesting alternative to your traditional Easter Egg.

Raspberry Supermilk
Salted Caramel
With fifteen little Egglets in ten different flavours ranging from a zingy Raspberry Truffle to a boozy Calvados Caramel, there really is something for everyone. My personal favourites were the Coffee Caramel (the ideal after-dinner treat) and the Speckled Praline - a smooth and moreish nutty centre sealed in caramel chocolate speckled with vanilla seeds - A-mazing. So amazing, in fact, that it has inspired the following Toscakaka recipe… 

Toscakaka is a Swedish cake with a vanilla and orange flavoured sponge and a chewy, almondy, caramely topping that oozes into the sponge when baking and gives the cake a praline-like flavour. It is really simple to make, and would make an ideal Easter centrepiece if you're feeding friends and family next weekend. Scroll down for the full recipe…

You will need…

3 eggs
150g caster sugar
Zest of 1/2 an orange
1tsp vanilla extract or paste
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
75 ml milk with a drop of lemon juice
75 g butter - melted

And for the topping…

150g toasted flaked almonds
125g soft light brown sugar
100g butter
2 tbsp whiskey

You will need to…

- Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 9 inch springform tin.

- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange zest until thick and pale.

- Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently fold into the egg mixture.

- Mix together the melted butter and milk, then fold this into the cake mixture too. 

- Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes.

- In the meantime, make the praline-like topping by combining the almonds, sugar and butter in a small saucepan.

- Bring this mixture to a rapid boil and cook for about a minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey.

- After 20 minutes, carefully take the cake out the oven and gently spoon the almond mixture on top, taking care not to disturb the partially cooked sponge.

- Return the cake to the oven to cook for another 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

- Leave to cool in the tin and serve with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar. 

Enjoy! C x

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Beetroot on Spelt Loaf

This is so simple it doesn't really warrant a 'recipe' - it was just such a delicious lunch that I felt it would be a shame not to share it on here. It also raked in a fair few likes on our Instagram page so I thought it was only fair to share the dish in full! It only takes a few minutes to throw together and - ta dah - you have yourself a colourful, fresh, healthy and tasty plateful. This would make an ideal lunch, brunch or light supper that also provides a welcome contrast to the grey January days!

For one generous portion you will need…

2 slices smoked salmon
2 slices spelt loaf or another good crusty loaf e.g. rye or sourdough 
Soft cheese (I used Philadelphia)
1/2 an avocado
1 small pre-cooked beetroot (I use the vacuum packed ones sold in most supermarkets)
Fresh dill
Black pepper
1 wedge of fresh lemon

You will need to…

- Pop your slices of crusty bread into the toaster.
- Once toasted, spread each slice with a generous layer of soft cheese.
- Top with your smoked salmon and then scatter over sliced avocado and cubed beetroot.
- Sprinkle some fresh dill and ground black pepper on top.
- Squeeze over the fresh lemon wedge and serve.

Enjoy! C x

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Mince Pie Twists

With the festive season drawing to a close, my adaptation of Gizzi Erskine's Mince Pie Straws are a novel and delicious way to use up any leftover mincemeat. These flakey puff pastry twists would make great sweet canapés or a lovely festive pud when served alongside a little crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream. With the inevitable 'New Year Detox' looming, this is your final excuse to indulge in some Christmassy baking - enjoy!

On another note - a massive thanks to those of you who voted for us as we have (miraculously) been shortlisted in the Food & Drink category for a UK Blog Award for the second year running! We're not quite sure how it happened as we totally forgot to promote it, so thank you to anyone reading for your ongoing support! 

For 24 twists you will need…

2 tbsp caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Flour - to dust
1 packet of all-butter puff pastry
200g sweet mincemeat
1 egg yolk - beaten
Icing sugar to serve

You will need to...

- Preheat your oven to 200C.

- Mix together the sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon in a small bowl.

- Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface until it is the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut the pastry in half widthways. Spread the mincemeat over one half and place the other ontop, pressing/rolling together firmly.

- Trim the edges to create a neat rectangle, then brush the top with the egg yolk. Sprinkle over the lemony, cinammony sugar. Cut the pastry into 12 strips lengthways, then cut all across the middle to create 24 straws in total. 

- Twist each strip a couple of times and place on a lined baking tray - leaving plenty of room for expansion.

 - Bake at 200C until golden brown, puffed up and crisp - this could take anywhere between 15-30 minutes.

- Serve with a generous dusting of icing sugar. 

Enjoy! C x