Cheddar biscuits

These tasty morsels were made with Irish Cheddar to take to my friend’s St Patrick Day party.


100g finely grated cheddar cheese
150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting when rolling out the pastry
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp paprika
75g Butter, cubed
2 free range egg yolks

1. Add the dry ingredients, including the cheese, to a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter in, using your fingers until the mixture is a sandy texture.

2. Add the egg yolks and mix in well to form a dough. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 200°C and prepare 2 large baking trays. I usually use a silicone liner.

4. Roll out the dough, you need to get it quite thin as these will rise a little when baked. Aim for 2-3mm. Cut out small shapes using a cookie cutter and place on the baking tray. Bake for 7-9 minutes until golden. Allow to cool.


Holy mole – Mexican Sauce

This Mexican sauce recipe is loosely based on mole poblano, but this is a store cupboard version that’s quick and easy.


1 onion, finely chopped
1 chilli, preferably a dried chipotle chilli that was been reconstituted in hot water and finely chopped, but I’ve also made this with a finely chopped fresh red chilli.
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, 1 tbsp for the sauce, 1 tbsp for garnish
1 tbsp chopped almonds (I use flaked almonds and chop them into small pieces using a mezzaluna. I would use ground almonds if that was what I had in the cupboards)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp tomato purée (you could alternatively use 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped, but I don’t always have fresh tomatoes in the house)
1 tbsp peanut butter
25g plain chocolate
350ml vegetable stock

(An authentic mole poblano would also have a handful of raisins in, add them if you want, but I prefer this without.)

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions, garlic and chillis gently until soft.

2. Add the sesame seeds, almonds, ground cinnamon, cloves and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well.

3. Add the tomato purée, stock, peanut butter and chocolate and stir well. Cook at a simmer for 10 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, I would usually throw in a selection of vegetables and legumes to cook.

If you would prefer to make a more traditional mole poblano sauce, there are recipes on the BBC website that you could adapt.

Chocolate Caramel Cake

This started out life as a Mint Chocolate Cake from the Jamie Oliver magazine. I had such a lot of complements for my version of that cake, that I wanted to adapt it for my friend’s birthday cake, by trying a different flavour combination.



175ml vegetable oil
425g caster sugar
3 large free range eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
375g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
500ml milk


300g caramel sauce from a jar or tin
250g butter, softened
500g icing sugar
At least 1 tbsp milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a line three 20cm round cake tins.

2. Mix together the oil and sugar using an electric mixer. Mix for at least one minute, until smooth.

3. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk for a further 3 minutes until the mixture is pale.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and Bicarbonate of soda. Mix the dry ingredients into the oil and sugar, along with the milk. Be careful as the mixture is quite sloppy – I’ve found it has a tendency to slosh out of the bowl!

5. Once the mixture is well combined, divide between the 3 cake tins. Bake in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes. Test to see if 5he Cake is ready by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean, then it’s cooked. Allow the cakes to cool.

6. To make the icing, in an electric mixer thoroughly mix 200g caramel sauce and the butter until completely smooth. Add a splash of milk and half the icing sugar and mix together for 3 minutes. Continue to add the icing sugar as needed until you get the right spreadable consistency. If you add too much icing sugar, you can add a splash more milk.

7. Construct the cake by sandwiching the layers of cake together using a dollop of the remaining caramel and a generous amount of the icing. Use the remaining icing to cover the top and sides in your desired style. I also added some Caramac, cake crumbs and some crushed Werther’s Originals as extra decoration.


Here’s a picture of the mint chocolate version.

Pink Pickled onions

03CE1C23-76CE-4A3C-9C25-14A7A67C344CI often contemplate having a go at making jam, chutney or curd, but keep getting put off. In my head it feels like something really challenging and a bit scary. I stumbled across a recipe for making your own pickled onions and that somehow felt like a sensible first step towards more demanding recipes that require the filling of jars!

This recipe is really flexible, you could vary the type of onion used and the type of vinegar used.

Pretty in Pink Pickled Onion (makes one 400g sized jar)

1 large red onion, finely sliced into half moons
300ml apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pink peppercorns

1. Sterilise the jar by washing it in the dishwasher; you have to time this right so the onions are ready to fill it when the dishwasher finishes, so the jar is still hot.

2. Heat the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper corns in a small pan, whisking gently until the salt and suagr dissolve.

3. Carefully remove the hot jar from the dishwasher just after the cycle finishes. Pack as much onion into the jar as you can fit in. Pour the pickling liquid over the top and secure the lid on the jar.

The onions will keep for 2 – 3 weeks in the fridge.

Passion Fruit and Lime Drizzle Cake

Not the most seasonal bake when we’re in the depths of winter, but it tastes amazing! The inspiration for this one came from Baking Fanatic but I’ve adjusted the quantities of some ingredients after making it a few times, largely because the supermarket always seems to sell passion fruits in packs of three! Check out the other recipes on this blog too – you won’t regret it.

Passion fruit and lime drizzle cake


350g caster sugar
4 free range eggs, at room temperature
100ml milk
200g self-raising flour
75g melted unsalted butter
A pinch of salt
3 limes
3 passion fruit

1. Line a 2lb loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Mix together 250g of the caster sugar, the eggs, flour, butter, milk, salt and the finely grated zest from the 3 limes until well combined into a thick batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes before checking, it may need a bit longer.

3. Cut the passion fruits in half and squeeze the juice and seeds out into a sieve balanced over a bowl. You’ll want the juice and some of the seeds for the drizzle.

4. To make the drizzle, combine the remaining 100g sugar with the juice of the 3 limes and the passion fruit juice. Leave the seeds out at this stage. Mix together well. It’s fine if the sugar isn’t dissolved in the liquid.

5. While the cake is still warm, use a skewer to prick the cake and then pour the drizzle over the top. Sprinkle some (or all) of the seeds over the top. Allow the cake to cool completely before attempting to slice.

Christmas Marmalade Gin

Well another year has flown by – but what a fantastic one it’s been. We celebrated Christmas with a trip to London to see ‘Big Fish the Musical’ and go ice-skating at Somerset House. There was some tasty food and drink sampled along the way; a Creme Brûlée eclair from the Savoy Café, a Speculoos canelé, water ganache chocolates, Cassis gin and Christmas Madeira from Fortnum and Mason and Cauliflower ‘chicken wings’ when visiting Wingmans at Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park.


We had a lovely Christmas Day celebrating with family after a brisk early morning walk around Regent’s Park (with a glimpse of the chimps and camels at London Zoo).

In the run up to the festive season we amassed a large amount of gin, mainly because I was lucky enough to receive a Gin Advent Calendar from my husband. I decided to use some to have a go at making marmalade gin, which I’d seen here. My recipe used Christmas Marmalade by Mrs Bridges, which I highly recommend (although my absolute favourite is the Christmas Preserve).

Christmas Marmalade Gin

You can adapt the quantities to the amount of gin you want to make.


1. Firstly find a suitable sealable container and add your marmalade. You’ll want around 4 heaped tablespoons for each 500ml of gin you are using. (Although the original recipe also includes sugar, I figured the marmalade was already sweet, so left that out.)

2. After adding the marmalade to your jar, top up until completely full with the gin. You’ll need to leave it for at least 2 weeks to let the flavour develop. Gently tip the jar up every day or so to help the gin and marmalade mingle. When ready to drink, pour through a sieve to collect the flavoured gin. Serve with ice, tonic and orange zest to garnish.

I’m thinking the leftover marmalade needs to be used for this bread and butter pudding recipe– I’m sure Nigella would approve!

Blackberry Crumble Cake

I’m definitely not a gardener, but we do have some fruit bushes growing in our garden and this recipe is a great way of using up blackberries.


Blackberry Crumble Cake

225g butter (50g for the top and 175g for the cake)
75g plain flour
2 heaped tbsp Demerara sugar
175g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
3 large free range eggs
100g blackberries

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

2. Make the Crumble topping by dicing 50g butter and rubbing it into the plain flour and demerara sugar, until the texture is sandy.

3. In a separate bowl or mixer, combine the remaining butter with the caster sugar, self-raising flour and the eggs. When the mixture is well combined, gently stir in the blackberries. Tip the mixture into the cake tin. Top with the Crumble topping.

4. Bake in the centre of the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer entered into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

I made this as a gift, but came up with a cunning plan to make a mini loaf cake as well as the full sized one, so I could have a taster portion!