Category Sweet Treats

Rum Roasted Pineapple, Coconut Ice Cream, Mint Sugar

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‘m not a dessert person or a sweet tooth, unless it comes to ice cream. And this so happens to be my favourite ice cream recipe! Don’t get me wrong I love making desserts. Planning them, creating them and being able to execute a beautiful creation but I usually never eat them. So with guests for supper this weekend, a fuss free dessert was required. With a fatty hearty main on the cards, a fresh and citrus cleansing after was the perfect match. You can take more time over this as I mention below (see notes) by adding some grated coconut to the ice cream, grilling the pineapple towards the end, caramelising with a blow torch or wonderfully charring on the barbeque but fuss free was the aim here.

I made the ice cream in 5 minutes at breakfast and it was ready and set by dinner time and is just as impressive as a classic recipe. The pineapple is sweet and deliciously roasted and with a depth of flavour from the rum that makes this more than a fruit salad finish to a meal. Sometimes the simple ones are the best and this is no doubt a powerful but humble choice.

Serves 6 

Pineapple

  • 1 large pineapple
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 6 tsp butter

Coconut Ice Cream

  • 400ml full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • Zest 1 lime
  • 1 fresh coconut, grated/ 150g toasted desiccated coconut (optional)

Mint sugar

  • Bunch mint leaves picked
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  1. Start on the ice cream. If you’re after a super fast recipe, simply combine the condensed milk, coconut milk and lime zest, whisk to combine then place in a tupperware in the freezer (untouched) for at least 8 hours. For added flavour though you can add in the grated flesh of one fresh coconut or the desiccated coconut but if you’ve ever tried to grate a fresh coconut you’ll know it takes some commitment…
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C.. Warm the rum gently in a pan and then add the sugar and the seeds of the vanilla pod. Stir to combine.
  3. Top and tail the pineapple and remove the rind. Cut in half lengthways and then cut each half into thirds. Remove the hard centre segment and then place the slices in a large bowl.
  4. Spoon over the rum mixture and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  5. Line a baking tray and spoon the marinading pineapple onto the tray evenly with any of the leftover rum marinade. Place a tsp of butter on top of each and roast for about 30 minutes until tender. You can stick them under the grill for the final few minutes to char them slightly if you like but again, the aim here is fuss free!Jess - Pineapple
  6. Once ready remove from the oven and set aside. Bash the sugar and mint in a pestle and mortar until crushed and vibrant green
  7. Top each slice of pineapple with a little mint sugar and serve warm alongside a creamy scoop of your coconut ice cream

 

NOTE: There are certainly ways to ‘glam’ this up. Grill the pineapple once cooked for a caramelised effect, scorch with a blowtorch for the same effect or beautifully grilled on the barbecue. Add the fresh coconut to the ice cream as mentioned or make a lovely heard of sesame praline (melt caster sugar until golden, add sesame seeds and turn out onto an oiled sheet of parchment). Shortbread would also never go unwanted here.
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Coffee Drizzle Cake with Hazelnut Mascarpone

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f you are, like me, an appreciator of all things coffee in flavour then this cake is certainly one to test out on a cold Sunday afternoon for a crowd that need pleasing. And more specifically a mother! (Happy Mother’s Day!) I’ll admit I’m no coffee nerd but even those that can pour a perfect patterned topped latte will love you for this moist sponge cake. I think many people these days are intimidated by baking with a preconcieved idea that it is difficult due to the eleborate disguise of the 21st century decoration, intricate piping and macaroon topped bakes. However like most cakes, the baking bit is extremely easy! Mix and combine. How you choose to refine your decoration is up to you. I don’t seem to have a natural knack for it sadly and my piping skills are far from successful on most attempts so this weekend I abandoned the fancy piping bag in place of the palate knife and went for a more welcomed rustic and homemade visual. It won’t win any show stopper rounds thats for sure but its all about the taste and texture…

This cake is based on a Delia classic. The sponge and syrup recipe have been taken from her ‘How to Cook – Book One’ with just a few adaptations in the ‘forage in the pantry’ style.

Sponge and Icing

  • 1 1/2 tbsp coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 75g walnuts
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 175g softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 8 tbsp sieved icing sugar
  • Handful of chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • Optional – 1 tbsp Frangelico/Amaretto
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder

Syrup

  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 55ml boiling water
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease and line two cake tins (18cm/20cm wide. No bigger than 20cm)
  2. Toast the walnuts in a dry pan or hot oven for a few minutes until fragrant then set aside. Once cool, chop roughly.
  3. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor.
  4. Add the butter, sugar and eggs and mix until smooth and shiny. Add the coffee and combine well.
  5. Finally fold in the chopped walnuts then divide the mixture into the two tins, spreadably evenly and flattening out the tops.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Meanwhile make the syrup. Combine the sugar and coffee in a jug before adding the boiling water. Stir continuously and thoroughly until he sugar has dissolved fully. Set aside until needed.
  8. Next make the icing. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl before beating in the mascarpone cheese. Add the liquor of choice if using and beat until smooth. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts, leaving some for scattering over the top. Taste and add more icing sugar if you like it a little sweeter.
  9. Once the cakes are cooked remove from the oven and prick all over with a cocktail stick or similar.
  10. Pour the syrup over both cakes until evenly absorbed. I find this is best done a spoonful at a time to avoid overflow.
  11. Leave to cool completely.
  12. When cool, remove from the tins and turn out onto a wire rack. For the base you’ll need the most even and flat looking cake. You may need to slice off the rounded top in order to get this but this little syrupy slice is an ideal tester!
  13. Place this onto a plate or cake stand and spoon over half the mascarpone smoothing out with a palate knife.
  14. Top with the second cake and the rest of the mascarpone.
  15. Scatter with any remaining nuts and a sprinkling of cocoa powder

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Matcha Latte Afagatto

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remember the first time I had a hand warming bowl of fresh matcha tea. I was on an energy high for the entire day! As someone who doesn’t drink caffeinated coffee its a great alternative energy kick full of caffeine and packed full of antioxidants. I realise that unlike me many won’t have the same apprecaitetion for the bitter flavours of green tea or my favourite 90% dark chocolate. However if you can appreciate the flavour, health benefits and vivid colour of matcha tea then forget your Starbucks ”skinny-soy-hold the cream- add the sweetener and cinnamon sprinkle grande latte (with – correctly written name)…breathe….and get to your local health food shop or teapigs supplier and go make your own! That said, more and more independent cafes are offering this healthy alternative so it is far more accessible for an easy take out than it used to be. It can be made using sweetened milk such as sweetened almond (my personal favourite) of hazelnut to just take off that bitter edge.

For those still curious, matcha tea is essentially organic green tea leaves that have been ground to a fine powder and concentrated into this vibrant ‘gold’ dust. As I say, I like to use a sweeter milk but after a recent lightbulb moment of inspiration I wondered if the after dinner coffee and chocolate pairing could be ‘matched’ (excuse the pun) with an alternative? So, I thought, why not pair super sweet white chocolate with this bitter green and warming tea topped with some camp rose petals?

Think of it as an alternative coffee-free afagatto for your more hipster dinner party guests.

The body is a temple. But only once a month….

 

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NOTE: To get the aerated effect, the best thing to use here if you don’t have a green tea whisk is a milk frother (see here). You can also use a hand blender.

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hilst I always use unsweetened versions of dairy free milks such as almond and soy, I find the sweetened ones work better here as an alternative to adding maple syrup or honey. However feel free to use the unsweetened versions, especially for the afagatto where the bitterness is a lovely contrast to the sweet ice cream.

Matcha latte for 1 

  • 1/2 tsp match tea powder
  • 200ml milk of choice (almond, coconut, dairy, rice milk, hazelnut etc)
  1. Sieve the powder into a mug so its doesn’t end up lumpy
  2. Warm the milk in a pan until just coming to the simmer and then remove from the heat
  3. Using a whisk or frother add a few tablespoons of the hot milk to the powder and whisk well to combine.
  4. Once combined add the rest of the milk and use the whisk or frother to aerate.

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Matcha Afagatto for 4

  • 400ml (sweetened) almond milk (or soya, dairy, coconut, hazelnut….)
  • 2 tsp matcha tea powder
  • 4 scoops white chocolate ice cream
  • Optional – 2 tsp rose petals
  1. Make the matcha latte as above.
  2. Spoon the ice cream into small deep bowls
  3. Pour over the hot tea and top with rose petals

 

Jess - Matcha Latte Afagatto

Cranachan Ice Cream

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o we all know I’m partial to ice cream. However I am not a desserts kind of girl in general. That being said I honestly feel like most desserts can be bettered in ice cream version!? Take my apple crumble ice cream or my carrot cake inventions for example. So with a Burn’s night supper party on the horizon I figured it was time to plan a traditional menu. But with the thought of the a creamy glass of cranachan to polish off a tasty haggis I was having none of it. Ice cream it was.

Serve topped with your honey ‘granola’ and a neat shot of whiskey to warm the cooling ice cream.

Serves about 6

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 300ml single cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scrapped
  • Splash whiskey (optional)
  • 250g frozen or fresh strawberries/raspberries (or a mixture)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 150g oats
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 4 tbsp runny honey
  • Knob butter
  • Whiskey and extra honey to serve
  1. If using fresh strawberries, cut into quarters. Place the fruit in bowl and sprinkle with the caster sugar and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk the condensed milk, cream, whiskey and vanilla seeds in a jug and pour into a tupperware container.
  3. Fold in the fruit, place a lid on the box and freeze.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180.
  5. Mix the almonds and oats in a bowl.
  6. Melt the honey and butter and pour over the oats and combine well until thoroughly covered.
  7. Spread out on a lined baking tray in a thin layer and toast in the oven for 15minutes, turning twice duinrg cooking.
  8. Leave to cool completely and crisp up.
  9. To serve, spoon generous helpings of ice cream into a bowl, scatter with the toasted oats and drizzle over and extra honey. Serve with a neat shot of whiskey!

 

Bakewell Tart

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 love a traditionally made bakewell tart but its seems that those who don’t agree seem to have a tainted opinion founded into their childhood from thier experiences of Mr Kipling’s overly sweet and synthetic offerings. Found overdosed with grainy icing in your packed lunch that should ideally inspire and energise!? That said, on baking this tart over the weekend for my family his holy name was referenced three times without provoking! But I assure you that a homemade bake well is a good way to convince those haunted by Mr.K’s recipe and being such a traditional recipe I felt it needed a proud place on my blog archive.

I do already have a Rhubarb bake well tart recipe but this arguably this is not ‘traditional’ as is my style. And in fact this one is in my style also using some leftover homemade blackcurrant jam from the summer. But feel free to use a jam of choice here, traditional raspberry or strawberry, apricot or even marmalade!

Makes 1 tart

  • 1 pastry case (see here)
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Splash almond extract (optional)
  • 100g jam (raspberry, blackcurrant, strawberry etc)
  • Handful of flaked almonds
  • 6 tbsp icing sugar
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  1. Make the pastry case – instructions here
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together
  4. Then gradually beat in the eggs and the almond extract until the mixture is combined
  5. Gently fold in the ground almonds and flour until well combined.
  6. Spoon the jam evenly over the base of the pastry case.
  7. Cover with the almond frangipani mixture and use a palate knife or spatula to smooth out the surface until even and the jam is completely covered.
  8. Scatter over the flaked almonds
  9. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and the middle is set. Leave to cool completely.
  10. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice drop by drop being careful you don’t add to much to fast. You’re aiming for a really thick paste consistency that you can pipe.
  11. Spoon into a piping bag and snip a small end off. Pipe the icing in your desired pattern over the top.
  12. Serve with creme fraiche!

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Affogato

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ts a brand New Year. Without sounding cynical and old before my time I’ve always hated the pressure that comes with this shiny promising New Year and the new ‘you’ that will suddenly look and feel better and hopefully get a pay rise? Whilst its a great starting point for change and ambition January 1st is just another day and sadly your problems will follow you here and continue to exist in 2016 so its time to tackle and importantly embrace these!

But it is the perfect time to write down those ambitions, resolutions, plans or even bad habits with a permeant pen and a piece of real paper. I stress this because for me 2015 was filled with Macs, iPhones, technology, contactless payment, more technology, digital memories and even more technology. However with such reliance on this new digital age to hold our memories what happened to the good old paper ones that will no doubt last a lifetime, don’t need an expensive external hard drive for back up, cannot be deleted at the click of a button (I’m talking about you resolutions) and are more personal than ‘Times New Roman’. So one of my resolutions this year is to get back to using the pen and paper for recipe ideas, food styling, menus, ideas and thoughts.

Being a New Year, many use this time to kick start their diets. Whatever the diet purpose i’m sure we’ve all learnt from 2015 that the diet will probably involve less refined sugar? Which can only be a good thing? I personally don’t have a sweet tooth so you’ll rarely catch me gorging on a cake however this hasn’t always been the case. When younger I could devour bowl upon bowl of cereal, manufactured cheesecake or sweet sugary chocolate. It wasn’t until overdosing on chocolate one Christmas that I kicked off Easter lent without it. And in an unprecedented turns of events I didn’t touch the stuff for 7 years (rest assured I do now). But the point I’m getting at is that even 40 days with no sugary chocolate and very little sugar, my body began to crave it less and less to a point where I no longer needed or wanted it at all. Sugar addicts out there are probably rolling their eyes at this well used cliche but you only have to persevere to realise the truth here.

However, this be said, if you are a sugar addict and have planned on changing your diet you may not want to cut sugar out completely if you are that way inclined. Try reducing your intake bit by bit until you no longer feel the need to take sugary tea or to go back for that double helping of dessert. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about moderation within a diet. They should include sweet special delights and rewards but special they should be and for that you need an element of rarity. So in an attempt to help inspire, this little recipe will satisfy any post-dinner sugar cravings. Bitter, warm, earthy black espresso coffee poured lovingly over ice cold velvetly cinnamon ice cream. It is a perfect cleansing low sugar finish to a filling meal providing a satisfying hot and cold feel and to hit the sweet spot kindly and the stomach gently.

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‘ll admit this hardly calls for a recipe and is more an assembly but use it here for inspiration. Ice cream flavour is obviously open to taste. I have used my left over Christmas Cinnamon Ice Cream (found here). You’ll be pleased to know a sweeter ice cream works well here to balance the bitterness of the coffee.

With an ambition for 2016 to buy those ingredients I’ve ‘always wanted to try’ or try that new technique I aim to make my own match latte (authentic green tea for those unaware). Being partial to a matcha latte takeaway treat I am salivating now just thinking of the perfect combination of warm velvety, bitter and creamy green tea poured lovingly over some sweet white chocolate ice cream!

  • Ice cream of choice (I have a modest list of homemade (cheat and non-cheat) ice cream recipes in the archive
  • Hot dark coffee (espresso is traditional)
  1. Ball the ice cream into deep bowls
  2. Pour over a shot of your hot dark freshly brewed coffee

Jess - Affogato Spoon

 

Galette des rois and Cinnamon Ice Cream

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alette de rois probably combines some of my most favourite ingredients yet criminally I’ve never made it!? Puff pastry, almonds, frangipane, a cheeky splash of booze, not much else says Christmas like that for me. And not only is it a sweet comforting crowd pleaser its a festively appropriate one too….in France anyway. Traditionally eaten on Twelfth night to welcome those famous Kings around the festive season it is normally the hiding place for two figurines that when found by the lucky eaters crown them Kind and Queen for the day and the chance to make a wish. I had many wishes this year that I can’t confess its just a shame I forgot the figurines!

Eaten a little early I’ll agree but neither are we in France! Accompanied by homemade cinnamon ice cream and a warm spoonful of spiced apple compote this went down a treat. And you can barely call this cooking as it simply involves a round of shop bought pastry and a quick frangipane.

NOTE: You can spoon some of the apple jam onto the base of this pastry as an alternative to apricot jam or serve alongside as I did.

Serves 10

Galette

  • 1 x block 500g puff pastry (I recommend you don’t use the ready rolled version – it doesn’t ‘puff’ and rise as much in my experience)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g softened unsalted butter
  • 50 g flaked almonds
  • 2 eggs, beaten and 1 extra for glazing
  • 1 tbsp/large splash cognac or dark rum
  • 1-2 tbsp apricot jam

Cinnamon Ice Cream

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 300ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (reserve the pods for using to infuse a jar of caster sugar)

Spiced Apple Compote/Jam – recipe here

  1. Start with the ice cream. Heat the single cream until just about to simmer then remove from the heat. Add the scraped seeds from the vanilla pod and whisk the cinnamon in thoroughly.
  2. Whisk in the condensed milk and leave to the mixture to cool completely.
  3. Freeze the ice cream in a tupperware container or dish. This is a non-churn ice cream but you may need to whisk after 3-4 hours when the ice cream should be nearly set but still loose to distribute any ground cinnamon that has risen to the surface. Freeze until set
  4. For the galette, cut the pastry block in half and roll out each into a square about 25cm x 25cm. Use a plate or dish around 23cm in size (approx.) and cut out two discs. Place them on a parchment lined baking tray and chill in the fridge.
  5. Meanwhile make the filling. Whisk the butter and sugar until combined, soft and fluffy in a food processor or using a hand blender.
  6. Slowly add in the beaten egg and mix until combined followed by the cognac/rum.
  7. Fold in the ground and flaked almonds until combined. Chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  8. When ready to cook remove all elements from the fridge. Spoon the apricot jam (or apple compote) onto the bottom of one of the pastry rounds leaving a 2cm border. Spoon on the frangipane, again leaving a 2cm border, slightly heaping the mixture in the centre.
  9. Brush the 2cm border with beaten egg and place the second pastry round on top.
  10. Press the edges together well to seal.
  11. Using a knife, nick little slices into the edges to seal the pastry together and create a rough pattern. Finally score the top as seen in the pictures in a wheel affect.
  12. Brush the galette with beaten egg and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.
  13. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C. After 20 minutes, brush again with beaten egg for a golden coating and then cook in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until golden and cooked through.
  14. Leave to cool slightly before dusting with icing sugar and serving alongside some creamy and festive cinnamon ice cream.

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Dorset Apple Cake

 

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here is nothing like a bit of baking on a cold, drizzly weekend to ease and nourish the soul and there is nothing like the warming spices of cinnamon and ginger combined lovingly with a spongey sweet cake and some juicy sharp seasonal apples to bake! Devoured cold with a warm brew or warm and spongy with lashings of Ambrosia, ice cream or just a trowel-ful of clotted cream you’ll fail to not be comforted by this festive tray bake. Open to additional ingredients this cake batter would be beautiful marbled with chunks of sweet marzipan or topped with some flaked almonds or toasty pecan nuts.

Adapted from Marry Berry

Makes about 18 large pieces

  • 3 large cooking apples (About 550g)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a tray bake tin (about 30cm x 23cm)
  2. Peel, core and quarter the apples. Slice each thinly and place in a bowl. Squeeze over the lemon to prevent browning.
  3. Now, using an electric hand mixer or food processor, blend the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, half the cinnamon and ginger together before adding the eggs. Beat well adding a splash of milk to loosen for a few minutes until golden, glorious and combined.
  4. Spoon half into the lined baking tray. Top with halve the apples slices scattered randomly but evening over. Sprinkle over the remaining cinnamon
  5. Spread over the remaining batter and even out with a pallet knife
  6. Top with the remaining apples slices, pushing them into the batter slightly.
  7. OPTIONAL: Top with flaked almonds or nuts or a sprinkle or crunchy demerara sugar.
  8. bake for about 40 minutes until golden, spongey and firm and just communing away from the sides of the tray.
  9. Leave to cool before cutting. Serve warm with ice cream, custard or cream or at room temperature with a nice cup of tea!

Jess - Dorset Apple Cake3

Swedish Cinnamon and Cardamon Buns

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ovely Stockholm. Sweden must have been the longest standing contender on my ‘must-visit’ destinations list. Without even having stepped foot in this glorious country I had already fallen in love with the culture, people, lifestyle and not to mention the food. Ah the food. Rye bread, salmon, cray fish and beetroot. Dill and cardamon and cinnamon. Dreamy matcha and cardamon lattes and high champagnes kisses. And some of the most fantastic restaurants in Europe. Stockholm’s foodie scene was therefore a must see and it certainly lived up to expectations. With only a short whistle wind tour in two days this certainly warrants another visit not only as I am still to sample the hay smoked creations of Ekstedt….thats for next time.

The beautiful water-hugged city cleared our lungs and wooed us with its romance. Exploring the old town of Gamla Stan was by far the most enjoyable delight. Lunching like kings at ‘Kryp In’ (which I highly recommend) tucked secretly down a cobbled side street in the old town before fast forwarding to the future to the Gondelen in Sodermalm which in summer has the best sun kissed terrace and high city views in town. However, with a crisp chill in the air, we enjoyed our sparkling champagne in the warmer, gorgeous and hipster-filled bar overlooking the city before gliding through the restaurant to the ‘Kitchen’ area, an informal and casual bistro like setting, where we were immersed in the action. The food was perfect and the wine….strong.

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fter the effects of the ‘strong’ wine, after a slow morning we had a day of touring the city, sadly in the persistent rain. However, warming cardamon lattes and cinnamon buns soon warmed our souls at the quaint and authentic Vetekatten in Kungsgatan. But dinner was by far the highlight of the day. New modern Nordic cuisine with excitement, imagination and most importantly, flavour. ‘The Flying Elk‘ was the perfect gastropub to warm our bodies and dry our sodden feet. An amazing menu starting with a delicate and ‘jump-up-and-down-on-your-seat’ tasty carrot and foie gras macaroon with creamed corn and cress. This I did not share. You would not have either. This was followed welcomingly with an aurora salmon salad with vanilla marinated crayfish meddled with sweet yellow carrots among a bowl of fennel, lemon verbena salad, orange and almonds. This menu was an absolute highlight. And with the Flying Elk book perched on the neighbouring window sill the entire evening, it isn’t a surprise I left with one in hand. Slight technical hurdle is the Swedish dialogue and no copy yet in English translation….but we’ll get over that.

With the sun in full power on our final day, we ventured to the island of Djurgarden, a stone throw and hop over the bridge from the old town. A beautiful island. Tree lined cycle paths hugged the river but we chose to amble in the crisp sun on foot, past the joggers, boating site-seers and keen cyclists. We rested our weary feet and an true Swedish hidden gem. Rosengard Tradgard, and organic cafe and garden centre set in following fields and orchards. We quenched our thirst with homemade teas, juices and lemonade. Organic produce and home baked spiced breads littered the shops and entertained our senses. A true delight which I can only compare to the delights of the infamous ‘Petersham Nurseries‘ in Richmond for ambiance, intention and style. Being on the island was 10 minutes escape from the city into peace. Even if it meant being dragged there on foot….

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But one of the highlights in Sweden. Cinnamon. Finally a country that appreciates this festive spice just as much as me. With cinnamon buns and fresh OJ for breakfast it was time to recreate the scene at home once back on UK soil to sooth the post holiday blues.

Makes about 15 (adapted from Jamie Oliver)

  • 7g dried yeast
  • 250ml almond milk/whole milk
  • 60ml boiling water
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Pearl sugar (optional)

Filling

  • 75g softened butter
  • 25g dark brown soft sugar
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  1. Combine the water and milk and stir in the yeast. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, salt, flour and ground cardamon.
  3. Make a well in the centre and stir in the warmed yeast mixture and the oil. Mix until combined before getting your hands in and bringing together into a dough.
  4. Tip onto a floured surface and knead the dough together until you have a smooth springy dough. This should take about 10 minutes. Oil the bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to rest and prove in a warmish place for about an hour until doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile make the filling. combine the ingredients until you have a really soft spreadable paste.
  6. Once the dough is risen, roll it out on a floured surface to a 35cm x 35cm square. Spread over the cinnamon butter filling evenly.
  7. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter and roll into a rough rectangle (20cm x 35cm)
  8. Cut the dough into 20cm long strips about 2-3cm wide. Take strip and twist it as seen below.
  9. Now for the tricky bit – the knot! I found this link very useful as it contains a video and is where I have based my recipe on with a few adaptations. (Basically, grab one end and coil around your hand twice. Then over the top and coil and tuck the loose end at the bottom. As I said, the video helps!)
  10. Place the shaped buns onto a lined baking tray and preheat the oven to 180°C.
  11. Leave the buns to rise again until doubled in size for about 30-40 minutes.
  12. Brush with a little beaten egg if you like and to be really authentic, sprinkle with pearl sugar or almonds.
  13. Bake for about 15-18 minutes until golden.

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Engagement Cupcakes

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his weekend I was pleased enough to be able to indulge in creating some pretty, girlie, sweet and dainty little cupcakes for a friends engagement party! A chance to get out the edible glitter and pink sprinkles for a little celebration!

Lemon sponge topped with a rose of vanilla buttercream and all exaggeratingly sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries and edible glitter. I don’t have a sweet tooth so I’m not a huge baker as such but I do appreciate a good buttercream icing. And this piping bag vat of the creamy sweet icing was probably the best buttercream I’ve ever made. Using an unrefined icing sugar (Billington’s Golden Icing Sugar) worked a treat. Not only did it not need sieving which is always a bit of a dull and trivial kitchen chore but it has a natural honeyed molasses flavour which added a beautiful depth of flour and golden colour. Freckled with the seeds of some bursting ripe vanilla pods it sat swirled and temptingly onto of these fluffy lemon sponges.

A great party and lovely celebration! Although I seem to have volunteered to make the wedding cake now…

Makes around 60 mini cupcakes

Cupcakes

  • 220g unsalted butter
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 220g self raising flour
  • 1 large 1stp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Buttercream

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 400g ‘Billington’s Golden icing sugar’
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • Freeze dried raspberries (optional)
  • Edible glitter optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 and line a mini muffin tray with some mini muffing cases (you can also use normal cupcake size but it will obviously make less)
  2. Cream the butter and caster sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one by one. Add the vanilla
  4. Sieve in the flour and baking power and stir to combine well.
  5. Finally stir in the lemon zest.
  6. Spoon about 1 tbsp of mixture into each muffin case and bake for 13-15 minutes until just golden and cooked.
  7. Remove from the tray and leave to cool. Repeat using the same tray until you have used up all the mixture. Leave all the cakes to cool completely.
  8. Meanwhile make the butter cream. Cream the butter with half the icing sugar until creamy.
  9. Cream in the vanilla seeds and the rest of the icing sugar.
  10. Add a few splashes of milk to thin out the mixture if it is a bit thick.
  11. Spoon into a piping bag with a nozzle shape of choice.
  12. When the cakes are cold, pipe the icing on top.
  13. Sprinkle with the raspberries and edible glitter if you like

Jess - Engagement cakes3