Sparkling raspberry and rose jelly

IMG_0877 You don’t need to use fancy fizz for this dessert as the addition of the rose water impacts on the taste.

Sparkling raspberry and rose jelly (Serves 4)

1. Divide a small punnet of raspberries between 4 nice glasses, such as champagne glasses.

2. Pour 500ml of sparkling wine into a pan.  Add 2-3 drops of rose water – be cautious as it’s a very strong flavour and you don’t want it to be overpowering.

3. Sprinkle over 1 packet of Asda Vegetarian Gel. Turn the heat on under the pan and then thoroughly whisk the powder into the liquid. Heat for 3 minutes.

4. Pour the liquid into the glasses over the raspberries. Allow the jelly to set (you can do this at room temperature, they don’t need to go into the fridge).

First ever blog post – Jelly

My first ever blog post was about vegetarian jelly and vegetarian setting agents.

In honour of that post I thought I’d add a new jelly recipe. I’m just waiting for it to set – I’ve been away in Glasgow for the last few days and just got home. I’ll update this post tomorrow.


Here’s a picture of my effort at marbled jelly, made by making two brightly coloured jellies, chopping them into small chunks and encasing them in a creamy jelly.


Rather than a recipe, I’ll write a bit about what I discovered 😉

  • I used the book ‘Jelly with Bompas and Parr’ as the basis of my experiment. Their recipes all use gelatine and I need to spend more time mastering adapting them to vegetarian setting agents.
  • The flavours were cherry, lime and almond milky jelly. The flavour combination worked well and it’s one I would use again.
  • The lime jelly needed a LOT more setting agent to firm up (I was using agar flakes). My book said this was due to the acid.
  • The cherry jelly was delicious, due in no small part I’m sure to the addition of plenty of Kirsch. I would make the cherry jelly again on its own.
  • You need to make sure the milk jelly is cool enough so that when you pour it over the other two colours it won’t melt them. This will probably take longer than you think!
  • This would be a good way of using up leftover jelly.

This was definitely a learning experience, but I’m glad I challenged myself to try something different.

Marshmallows and Movies

The challenge for today’s post was to write about some of my favourite films. My list would include Strictly Ballroom, Big Fish, Edward Scissorhands, Notting Hill, Clueless, The Little Mermaid, Heathers, Forrest Gump, The Notebook, Mulan, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, Muriel’s Wedding and The Help. And when watching movies I like to have something yummy to snack on …

One of my missions when I began this blog was to master vegetarian marshmallows.  I’m still working on that aim!  In the meantime, I though I’d check out some mixes that are available, the first one being Ananda’s Vegan Marshmallows.

The box contains two sets of mixture.

I used one packet and made around 75 marshmallows.  I kept some white and used food colouring to turn some pink.Ananda's vegan marshmallows

The marshmallows were very soft and squidgy.  They improved in texture after a few days when they developed more of a crust.

So, once I had them I needed to use them to indulge in all the desserts I’d been missing out on.

I wanted to make Smores, (which are melted marshmallows, usually grilled over a fire or BBQ, squidged between two chocolate digestive biscuits – chocolate side in).  Unfortunately I found the marshmallows were too soft to stay on a skewer long enough to toast them – they just fell off.


I had similar issues when making Rocky Road, particularly as the marshmallows melted into the chocolate.

Rocky Road

Where they did come into their own was in making Marshmallow Toffee Bars, which I haven’t had since junior school.  Eating these made me very happy! I used this recipe.

Overall, I was impressed with the mixture and would purchase it again.  Based on the FAQ’s on the site, I’m going to try heating the syrup for longer and hopefully my next batch will be a little firmer.

Marshmallow Toffee Bars

Marshmallow Toffee Bar


Food from around the world (or how to use up a tin of condensed milk!)

One of the things that makes the Internet fantastic is having access to a whole bunch of recipes from around the world. It means that when I have some leftover ingredients I can use them up in an exciting way and try out some new food experiences. That is exactly what happened when I had most of a tin of condensed milk that needed using up. (I’d been making chocolate truffles – if you’ve never done this before you can make quick chocolate truffles by melting 200g chocolate and stirring in a dessertspoonful of condensed milk. Mix well until you get that truffle consistency and then roll into balls.)

A quick search on Pinterest heralded my first recipe to attempt – Brazilian lemonade. Now I have no idea why it’s referred to as lemonade, as the recipe actually uses limes! I adapted a few recipes for my own convenience when making this, particularly as I only wanted to make one serving at a time. For a more authentic recipe please feel free to check out the options on Pinterest. Here’s my quick and easy version:

Brazilian Lemonade (serves 1)


One lime
250ml water
25g sugar
1 1/2 tbsp condensed milk

  1. Begin by scrubbing the limes and getting them really clean.
  2. Measure 250ml cold water and add 25g sugar. Stir well to dissolve.
  3. Add the liquid mixture to a blender. Grate in the zest of the lime, and then cut the lime up and squeeze the juice into the blender too.
  4. Add the condensed milk and blend well until frothy. Serve over ice.

You can of course adjust the ingredients accordingly depending on how sweet you want this drink to be.

My next experimentation was with a recipe for Gooey Butter Cake. I came across this originally in the Hummingbird Bakery Life is Sweet cookbook, which describes a recipe from St Louis, Missouri, with a dough base made with yeast, topped with a sweet buttery filling. I decided to forgo the base and just make a version of the filling, baking it in a silicone cake mould. This worked really well as the silicone helped to give the mixture a ‘crust’. This is therefore another recipe of mine with no claims to authenticity! It did taste great though. It’s very sweet, so next time I make it I’ll cut it into small bite size squares to serve with coffee.

Gooey Butter ‘cake’ (Serves 6-8 small slices)


150g butter at room temperature
75ml condensed milk
75g golden syrup
1 large egg
45g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare a 20cm cake tin. I used a silicone one which I would recommend.
  2. Beat the butter using an electric mixer for 3 minutes until it is fluffy and light. Mix in the condensed milk and the golden syrup. Mix in the egg and keep the mixer going for another couple of minutes until the mixture is well combined. Add the flour, a little at a time, while the mixer is running. When the flour is completely mixed in, add the vanilla extract.
  3. Fill the prepared tin with the mixture and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden. There should still be some wobble to the cake, it will firm up as it cools down.

Mini Treacle Custard tarts

I work in a library and came across the idea for this recipe in a really old retro cookery book.  As soon as I saw it I was desperate to give it a try. I’ve adapted the original recipe and gone for mini tarts rather than a big one.  I cheated and used shop-bought pastry cases, but if you’re good at pastry feel free to make your own.

Mini treacle custard tarts

Mini treacle custard tarts (Makes 18)

One packet of mini sweet pastry cases
200g golden syrup
1/2 tsp lemon rind
1 tsp lemon juice
15g butter
30ml single cream
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Heat the golden syrup and the lemon rind gently in a pan.  Add the butter and stir until melted.  Take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Allow to cool.

3. Beat the cream and the egg together.  Whisk the cooled syrup into the cream and egg mixture until well combined.

4. Fill the pastry cases with the mixture.  Bake for 15 minutes until golden.

Mini treacle custard tart

These are lovely served fresh from the oven, but are also nice cold.

Princess of puddings

Here’s a twist on a classic dessert.  I’ve gone for a chocolate orange flavouring instead of the traditional breadcrumb and raspberry jam filling.

Princess of Puddings (Serves 6)

Chocolate Orange Queen of Puddings

568ml milk
50g unsalted butter
300g chocolate cake crumbs
4 large eggs, seperated
Grated rind of one orange
70g caster sugar
3 tbsp marmalade

1. Heat up the milk and butter in a saucepan and bring to almost boiling.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the cake crumbs.

3. Set to one side.

4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

5. Beat the egg yolks with the orange zest and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir into the cake crumbs mixture. Spoon into a large ovenproof dish. Bake for 25 minutes.

6. Allow the base to cool for 10 minutes. Thinly spread the marmalade over the base.

7. Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks. Gently fold in the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Spread the meringue over the base, swirling into peaks. Sprinkle lighlty with sugar.  Bake for 10 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.




Tres Leches cake

I’m sure it’s not just me who decides on what to bake and then spends ages ‘researching’ to find a recipe that suits me. On this occassion, I had some evaporated milk that needed using and remembered a recipe in Marian Keyes’ book Saved by Cake for Three Milk Cake. The  only problem was that the recipe called for soured cream, which I didn’t have. So I set about finding a different recipe to suit, only to find I still needed to adapt as my chosen recipe required 4 eggs and I only had 3!

I’ve only tried this adapted recipe once, so please feel free to check out my selected sources for more ‘tried and tested’ approaches. From reading lots of recipes I can recommend making sure you add your flour and milk to the egg and sugar mix by alternating flour and milk, otherwise you will get a lumpy mix or risk knocking all the air out of your egg mixture.

Tres leches/Three milk cake


3 large eggs
150g caster sugar
150g plain flour
75ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g sweetened condensed milk*
200g evaporated milk
100ml double cream

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Grease and line a 21cm square cake tin.
3. Seperate the eggs and whisk the egg whites until stiff.
4. Gradually mix in the caster sugar and then gently fold in the egg yolks, one at a time.
5. Weigh out the flour and baking powder and sift together in one bowl. In another container, mix together the milk and vanilla extract.
6. Gently combine, by alternating mixing the flour and milk into the eggs and sugar. Combine by mixing quickly and gently.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30mins.
8. While the cake is cooking, mix together the evaporated milk, condensed milk and double cream.
9. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it firmly all over with a skewer and pour over the milk mixture – don’t be alarmed, it will all soak in!

* I used Sainsbury’s own brand condensed milk, which is made in Holland, so I’m hoping is ethically sound.

Sources of inspiration
Saved by Cake by Marion Keyes – this is a lovely book, with lots of unusual flavour combinations to try.
Recipe from The Telegraph
Recipe from BBC Food