Saturday, 23 December 2017

Zimtsterne – German Cinammon Stars


Just back from an amazing holiday to Hong Kong and China – they really have taken to Christmas there but it’s just not the same. They have spectacular trees and light displays, and I’ve never heard so many “modern” remixes of Christmas songs. Fabulous but not quite Christmas.

But if you want to look to a country that can really do Christmas, look no further than Germany. This is a traditional German Christmas cookie – they are a big fan of cooking huge batches of cookies in the weeks leading up to Christmas. A nation after my own heart. That means that these stay fresh for up to a month! Another bonus – no gluten or dairy! The cookies are bound with whipped egg white instead of (the more traditional) dairy.

I had a lot of fun making these cookies, they are perfect for a Christmas snack – or to give as presents!

Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies

Friday, 1 December 2017

Gluten (and Dairy!) Free Chocolate Torte

Looking for something sweet in the run up to Christmas that can be eaten by everyone at the table?

My best friend and one of my uncles both eat gluten and dairy free. And because of that, I can see just how difficult this can be! I (obviously) am all about the cooking and baking, but eliminating flour and butter and milk can be a tough task.

Ground almonds are a fabulous substitute for flour in cakes and brownies, and I use them in this way often. They really shine in this cake, because it is supposed to be moist and not overly spongy. This is dark and decadent and you wouldn’t even know it was lacking any “usual” ingredients.

It is also incredibly easy to make! And I have it on good authority from my uncle that it is a very good cake (he hadn't had a big slice of chocolate cake in a while!)

I couldn’t help myself so I topped it with a little glitter. Some melted dark chocolate, thinned with coconut oil, and dripping down the sides would make an incredible glaze topping.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Malteser Squares

I'm literally drooling.

This is classic weekend treat food. Gearing up to Christmas, there's always bags of Maltesers around, and this is my favourite way to eat them.

Also, who doesn't love a simple traybake? This is everything you could ever wants in life - it's chocolate on chocolate, with bits of chocolate stuffed inside. It's crunchy and sweet and just lovely. There's basically no cooking involved apart from melting stuff, so it's also great to make with kids.

So many mini-bags of maltesers went into this delicious traybake. A few went in my mouth..

And, remember, it's practically Christmas, so this ridiculous sugar-fest is completely appropriate for the season. It's incredibly rich, so I honestly would make the slices quite small. And that's coming from me, a complete sugar-addict. WORTH IT.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Greek Feast! Individual Spanakopita, Aioli, Honey Sesame Baked Feta

Greek food is awesome. I have always found the Greeks to be like a Mediterranean version of the Irish. The Greeks and Irish are both family orientated, with a matriarchal society, and use food as love. But the Greeks are more tanned than us. And their cuisine is superior.

There is a seriously amazing Greek restaurant nearby which is a family affair - dad and mum cook, sons hold the floor. It's my favourite restaurant and if I'm not there, chances are I want to be there. 

And then last weekend, my Greek friend made some amazing Greek food for dinner which I completely PIGGED OUT at. Everything was delicious (how had I never had moussaka before?!) but I was completely enamoured with the individual spinach pies (spanakopita). I had to make them. I bothered him for a week for the recipe. And as soon as I had it in my grubby hands, I made them. Winner.

Then, as I was feeling pretty Greek, I baked the leftover feta (warmed sweet and nutty cheese? Hello!) and whipped up some aioli.

The aioli was pretty easy to make, and much better than my last, disastrous, effort at making mayonnaise. 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Bakewell Crumble Muffins

On a cold wintery Sunday, these are just the ticket.

I am particularly proud of these bad boys. I was feeling in the mood for something a little almond-y, a little sweet, a little fruity.. And well hello here is something to tick all the boxes.

Crumble is the best invention. It’s amazing with custard, but that’s not an “on the go” snack. This is my version of a portable crumble with a bakewell twist and I’m rather pleased with myself for having concocted it.

Yummy surprise jammy centre!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Sweet & Spooky Gingerbread Skulls

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

I re-use this gingerbread recipe every couple of weeks. It’s delicious, and it is so easy to work with. Just a dream come true in biscuit form. So I am using it here with just a few flavour tweaks.

I wasn't really going for "spooky"

You don’t have to use skull cutters. If you are more of a free-hand person, then you could cut out circles and then ice those without the “guidelines.” And even if you use cutters which come with cut out indents, you aren’t forced to copy those shapes, you can always get creative and add your own patterns over the top.

I have a slight obsession with holiday baking. And there is something hugely therapeutic about icing buns in an intricate and ridiculously detailed manner. This is how I spend my Sunday evenings and it’s so much fun. Edible hobbies are the best kind.

Monday, 23 October 2017

"Jaffa Cake" Cake

Orange treat box - Jaffa cake cake AND chocolate orange brownies!

What is a girl to do when she has oranges needing used up? Make some cakes! It’s so obvious!

Historically, I haven’t been a fan of Jaffa cakes . But it’s getting wintery and nothing beats a chocolate and orange combination on an autumn evening. Plus, everyone knows that chocolate oranges are one of the unofficial chocolates of Christmas, so these flavours fit right in.

This is one of my favourite kinds of cakes to make, it’s super easy, the topping is sweet and tangy, and the chocolate piping is actually a lot of fun to do.

Makes one delicious cake, divides into 36 little bite size squares