Stick marzipan and cherry buns (makes 12)
150g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
150g self raising flour
1 tsp almond extract
75g glacé cherries, washed and halved
50g marzipan, cut into 5mm cubes
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a bun tray by lining with bun cases.
2. Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, alternating with mixing in some of the flour. Once all the flour is stirred in, add the almond extract.
4. Stir in the cherries and the marzipan pieces.
5. Divide the mixture between the bun cases. Bake for 20 mins until golden and risen.
6. If you want to ice the buns, I would suggest starting with this recipe here. I made a wet style icing, but you can make something firmer and good for piping if you want by playing around with the volumes of ingredients.
My new favourite way to enjoy gin – with slimline tonic, fresh ginger and a cube of brown sugar. In this case the gin was Jawbox.
This recipe is somewhere between a soup and a stew – a stoup maybe?!
It’s very easy to make and really healthy.
Spicy Potato and Cabbage Stew (serves 4)
1 large white onion, peeled and finely chopped
Splash of olive oil or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 red chilli, deseeded and cut into very small pieces
1 heaped tsp Nigella seeds
1/2 tsp tumeric
2 heaped tsp medium curry powder
1 litre vegetable stock
800g potatoes, peeled and cut into squares
150g shredded cabbage
1. Cook the onion, garlic, chilli, Nigella seeds, turmeric and curry powder in a large saucepan with a splash of oil, until the onion has softened.
2. Stir in the vegetable stock and the potatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Add the cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes. Add seasoning if required before serving.
I think it was 2016 that I first come across the concept of the Creme Egg “Scotch Egg”. As a vegetarian, I often find myself adapting traditionally meat-based dishes into something using different ingredients, but I loved the idea of taking something savoury and making it sweet too.
I found lots of recipes online, but I wanted to do things slightly differently as I wanted to achieve a crumb coating, rather than a chocolate based coating. The steps below are less of a recipe, more construction suggestions.
Creme Egg Scotch Eggs
- I used 2 packets of mini Creme Eggs. A lot of the recipes I looked at online used full size Creme Eggs, but for me the smaller size was perfect.
- For the covering, I went for a cake pop style mixture, I crumbled 200g chocolate cake and mixed in 150g of chocolate icing. This creates a mixture that is easy to mould around the eggs. After coating the eggs I put them in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the mixture firm up.
- For the outside coating I went for a biscuit base. I crumbled 75g of shortbread biscuits, getting the crumbs as fine as I could. I melted 75g milk chocolate. I dipped each covered egg in the chocolate and rolled this in the biscuit crumb to fully coat. I would recommend using one hand to get the egg coated in chocolate and the other hand for the biscuit mixture. Let the chocolate set before serving the eggs.
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).
Sweet potato gratin (serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish)
1 large sweet potato
1 red onions
1 red chilli
250ml vegetable stock
2 heaped tsp dried thyme
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Peel the sweet potato and the onions and slice them on the thinnest setting on a mandoline. De-seed and chop the chilli as finely as you can.
3. Place a layer of sweet potato on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with a thin layer of onions and sprinkle on a little bit of crumbled feta and chilli. Continue to layer up the ingredients, finishing with a layer of sweet potato on the top, but reserving some feta.
4. Stir the dried thyme into the hot vegetable stock and pour over the gratin. You don’t want to much liquid, just enough to cook and steam the potato, so you might not need all the stock.
5. Bake for 20 minutes before adding the remaining feta and cooking for a further 5-10 minutes.
Spring is definitely on the way here in Yorkshire, but there is still a chill in the air and it’s nice to spend cosy evenings with the heating on enjoying being indoors. Here are a couple of suggestions for hearty treats.
Leek and Potato crumble (serves 2)
1 large onion
2 medium potatoes
125g plain flour
30g cheddar cheese
1 tsp paprika
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Slice the onions and leeks. Peel the potatoes and dice into small cubes.
3. Put in a pan with the milk and 25g butter. Cook over a medium heat, stirring until the butter melts. Cover and allow to cook until the veg is softened.
4. Blend 25g flour with 4tbsp cold water and stir into the veg. Cook for 3 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season as needed.
5. Meanwhile dice 50g butter and rub into 100g flour to make crumbs. Mix in the cheddar and paprika.
6. Tip the vegetable base into an ovenproof dish and top with the crumble. Cook in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the crumble is golden brown.
Hot buttered Rum (serves 2)
My Dad and his partner bought me some little bottles of Rum back from their recent Caribbean cruise and I wanted to try doing something different with them.
3tsp soft brown sugar
Orange peel (use a potato peeler to cut a few long strips of peel)
100ml Rum, spiced rum works particularly well.
2 cinnamon sticks
300ml boiling water
1. Melt the butter and sugar together in a pan with a strip of orange peel.
2. Stir in the Rum and boiling water.
3. Serve with the cinnamon stick to garnish.