Lavender Mousse, Blackberry & Cinder Toffee Verrine

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (May 2018) and taken from Afternoon Tea at Bramble Cafe by Mat Follas the winner of MasterChef in 2009.

This is a mini version of the pudding Mat cooked in the MasterChef final. The flavours work together beautifully; the sharp blackberries in the base, the summery aroma of the mousse and the caramel crunch of the toffee, which fizzes when you eat it with the berries.

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Makes 4

For the blackberry compote:
150g blackberries
3 1/4 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar

For the lavender mousse:
450ml double cream
50g icing sugar
Lavender extract

For the cinder toffee:
5 dessertspoons caster sugar
2 dessertspoons golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

You will need:
4 verrine glasses, approximately 200ml each, to serve

Step One : For the blackberry compote, heat the blackberries, sugar and vinegar in a saucepan until the blackberries just start to soften and break up. Mash them a little with a fork, then spoon into four verrine glasses. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Step Two : For the lavender mousse, in a mixing bowl, whisk the cream, icing sugar and a few drops of lavender extract. Taste it, you should be able to just taste the lavender, but not overpoweringly so. Add a few drop more, as needed. Finish whisking until the cream forms soft peaks. Pipe or spoon into the verrine glasses on top of the compote. Tap the glasses on a flat surface to level the top of the cream, then chill in the fridge.

Step Three : For the cinder toffee, cover a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and put it somewhere flat and stable to minimise the risk of spillage, as the toffee will be very hot when poured onto the sheet. In a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan, just cover the base with a little water, before adding the sugar and golden syrup. Have the bicarbonate of soda to hand and a whisk or silicone spatula. Melt on a medium heat until the mixture if turning a lovely caramel colour and smells of toffee. Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk carefully, but quickly, to combine – the mixture will foam up to about five times its previous volume. Pour onto the greaseproof paper and leave to harden and cool.

Step Four : To serve, break up the cinder toffee – I place it in a resealable sandwich bag and whack it on a flat surface then sprinkle the shards over the tops of the verrines. Serve cool, but not cold.
TNT-OFFER-2019

Macaccino torte with toasted pecan and chocolate crumb

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) and taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White.

Maca is the Lucozade of the granola-crunching, wheatgrass-swilling community. This golden fairy dust is supposed to strengthen stamina and virility too. If you’re curious, this mystical maca comes in powdered form resembling a sort of butterscotch flour. It’s fun to use, and if it does indeed boost libido, then it’s even more fun than expected. Good luck!IMG_1822

Makes 20 servings

For the base:
1 cup (110g) pecans
5 Medjool dates or pre-soaked regular dates, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
sprinkle of seat salt flakes

For the cream filling:
1 1/2 cups (170g) cashew nut butter
6 tblsp maple syrup or coconut blossom nectar
5 tblsp hot, strong coffee
3 tblsp maca powder
2 tblsp lucuma powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 teaspoons tamari soya sauce
4 tblsp melted cacao butter
4-5 squares of dark chocolate, melted, to decorate
Coffee beans, to decorate (optional)

Step One : To make the base, put all the base ingredients in a food processor and whizz together until they begin to clump into a ball. You might need a tiny trickle of cold water or coffee to bring it all together, depending on how soft the dates are. You can post pecans first, but it’s not necessary.

Step Two : Press the mixture firmly into a non-stock 18cm springform tin, or whatever torte flan you have. Set in the freezer while you get going on the cream filling.

Step Three : To make the filling, give the cashew butter, maple syrup, hot coffee, maca, lucuma and tamari a good pelt in a high-speed blender or food processor. You don’t need to buy lucuma especially for this recipe – a dash of vanilla works just as well, but the lucuma will give buttery, caramel tones to the flavour.

Step Four : Slowly add the melted cacao butter to the mix while the motor is still running. You should have a glossy maca-fuelled ganache by now. Spread the filling over your base and refrigerate until set. You can happily keep this macaccino torte in the freezer too, for unexpected dates. To decorate, go mad with melted dark chocolate and a spoon, and parachute some coffee beans on top.

Strawberry and Basil Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) and taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White.

By loading more fresh veg and nuts into us ladies, we’ll arm our bodies against The Ageing Process. This cake should help. Avocados and almonds are drenched with helpful fats and nourishing minerals needed to keep our toes tapping and skin flowing. Remember, the skin is your largest excretory organ. If you’re eating garbage, you’ll end up wearing it on your face.

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Serves : 8

Ingredients for the base:
1 1/2 cups (180g) walnuts
6 Medjool or other sticky dates, stones removed
touch of sea salt flakes

For the creamy centre:
3 ripe avocados, stones and skin removed (240g)
25g packet of fresh basil, leaves only
juice of 3-4 limes
4-6 tblsp raw honey
3 tblsp unscented coconut oil, melted

For the topping:
1 punnet of fresh strawberries

Step One : To make the base, blend the walnuts, dates and sea salt in a food processor (not a blender) with a splash of water. When it starts clumping together into a cookie dough ball, you’re good to go. Press into a 20 x 25 cm loaf tin. Bring the dough up the sides like a posh flan, making sure you support the elbow of the base – the part where the base meets the sides. Freeze.

Step Two : Meanwhile, get going on your ‘cheesecake’ filling. Puree the avocado flesh, basil, lime juice, honey, melted coconut oil and some Frank Sinatra at full speed until savagely smooth. A blender can be used for this bit.

Step Three : Taste. If it needs more zing or kick, add another squeeze of lime juice to the mix. If you prefer more sweetness to rock your taste buds, then add an extra bit of honey. Spoon the filling over the frozen base and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. It will last for three days in the fridge like this.

Step Four : Just before serving, slice a handful of fresh strawberries and scatter them over the top along with any stray basil leaves you find loitering in your kitchen.

Turkish Delight Chocolate Mousse

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (September 2015) and taken from In the Mood for Healthy Food by Jo Pratt.

This rose-scented mousse is rich and creamy, yet far healthier than standard chocolate mousse. Instead of cream, Avocados are used, which give a thick, creamy texture and also make this dessert dairy-free, much lower in saturated fat and loaded with antioxidants and omegas. As for the chocolate, providing you use a high cocoa solid chocolate (such as 70 per cent), you’ll consume less sugar, and more antioxidants, iron and magnesium than other types of chocolate. I think that makes this delicious dessert guilt-free!

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
75g dark, bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
3 egg whites
3 tblsp agave syrup
1 ripe small-medium avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 tsp rosewater, plus extra to taste
1 tblsp pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
A pinch of dried rose petals, optional

 

Step One : Gently melt the chocolate either in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or on a low heat in the microwave. Once melted, leave to cool to room temperature.

Step Two : In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the agave syrup and continue whisking until they form firm peaks.

Step Three : Blend the avocado and rosewater with a hand-blender until completely smooth, then mix into the chocolate. If the avocado isn’t smooth enough, you can pass it through a sieve or fine mesh strainer using a spatula to remove any lumps. Mix in one spoonful of the egg whites to loosen the mixture, then gently fold in the rest.

Step Four : Spoon the mousse into glasses or dishes. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours, then scatter with chopped pistachios and rose petals, and serve.

Tip : If you want to try something other than rosewater to flavour the mousse, you could add: grated zest of 1 orange, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a few drops of coconut extract or a pinch of ground cardamom seeds.

Apple and Berry Crumble Tart

Serves: 6

Prep time: 20 mins;  Cook time: 1 hour;

Ingredients Filling:
675g (1lb 8oz) cooking apples
500g bag frozen summer fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries
75g (2 ¾ oz) caster sugar
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
10ml (2 tsp) arrowroot, mixed with 15ml (1 tblsp) cold water.

Ingredients Base and topping:
75g (2 ¾ oz) unsalted butter
75g (2 ¾ oz) caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
5ml (1 tsp) baking powder
75g (2 ¾ oz) ground almonds
225g (8oz) plain flour
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
8-12 whole almonds to decorate

Step One : Peel, core and slice apples. Place in a pan with frozen fruits, sugar, lemon juice and rind and 45ml (3 tblsp) water. Simmer for 10 mins, until fruit just softens. Add arrowroot and stir until thickened. Leave to cool.

Step Two : For base and topping, blend together butter and sugar in a processor. Add the egg, baking powder, ground almonds, flour and cinnamon then process until mixture is just crumbly. Turn into a bowl.

Step Three : Grease and line a 23cm (9in) loose-based tin. Turn out two-thirds of crumble mixture on to a floured surface. Knead together to combine. Use to cover base of prepared tin, pushing together any cracks.

Step Four : Spread cooled fruit mixture over base. Sprinkle over reserved crumble mixture. Decorate with almonds. Bake at 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 50 mins until pale golden.

Step Five : Serve warm or cold with crème fraiche.

Tip: As alternative fillings, use other fruits when they’re in season. Good combinations are apple and apricot or pear and raspberry.

Other crumble recipes …

English Apple and Tipsy Bread and Butter Pudding

Serves 4

Ingredients:
175g (6oz) dry, crusty French bread, cut into bite-size pieces
3 English apples, cored and diced
25g (1oz) raisins
85ml (3fl oz) whisky
400ml (14fl oz) milk
Butter
4 eggs
100g (4oz) caster sugar

Step One : Preheat oven to Gas 5, 190°C, 375°F. Put bread, apple and raisins in a bowl, pour over whisky and half the milk and leave to soak. Butter 4 ramekin dishes.

Step Two : In a large bowl, whisk eggs with the sugar. Slowly whisk in rest of milk until smooth. Divide bread mixture between the ramekins, pour egg custard over each and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins. The custard should be just set and the top of the pudding golden.

Serve Warm.

Find more Apple dessert recipe’s here …

Raw Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cups

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Summer 2017)

The heavenly combination of peanut butter and chocolate is always decadent, and the unprocessed versions of both ingredients are wonderfully nutritious, say Melissa Sharp and Lindsay Stark in Modern Baker: A New Way To Bake (Ebury Press, £26).  This is their take on the peanut butter cup – and they make fab individual desserts, too.

Makes 12 standard cups or 24 mini cups

For the Peanut Butter Base:-

200g peanut butter
180g pitted dates
100g oats
100g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp coconut oil

For the chocolate topping:-

100g coconut oil
30g raw cacao powder
2 tbsp date syrup

Step One: Grease 2 x 12 hole mini-muffin trays or a 12-hole standard muffin try with a neutral flavoured oil, such as sunflower oil (not coconut oil as this will go solid and won’t prevent the mixture from sticking).

Step Two:  In a food processor, blend together all the peanut butter base ingredients until they come together in a smooth mass, with no lumps of date.

Step Three:  Divide the mixture evenly among the holes in the tray and press down firmly.  Place the tray in the freezer while you make the topping.

Step Four:  For the chocolate topping, place all the ingredients in a small pan and warm over a gentle heat until the coconut oil is melted.  The date syrup can sink to the bottom, so make sure that you stir the mixture well.

Step Five:  Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter mix and return the tray to the freezer for at least 1 hour.  These lovely cups keep really well in the freezer for up to a month, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  Defrost for 1-2 hours in the fridge before eating.

Nutrition note:  Dates are rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre.  The humble peanut is often eclipsed these days by more ‘fashionable’ nuts, but it can punch its nutritional weight alongside all of them.

Pancake Day

pancake daySo it’s Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day today.

My absolute favourite filling is Nutella, sliced banana and vanilla ice cream.    I just love how the warm pancakes melt the ice cream and softens the banana and it just turns into a gooey, chocolatey, yummy delight.  Photographic evidence to follow later.  🙂

What is your favourite topping / filling ?

 

The result …… they were delicious 🙂

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Meringue Yule log

The log is made from a spongy Pavlova-like meringue, rather than the usual sponge.  This allows you to make the log the day before, if desired.  Use leaf-shape or star cutters for the decoration.  You can also add soft fruit like raspberries (thawed, if frozen) or chopped marrons glacés to the filling.

White chocolate Yule logIngredients:

4 large free-range egg whites
120g (4oz) caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
½ tsp vanilla extract
600ml (20 fl oz) double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp lemon curd
200g (6 ½ oz) white chocolate, chopped

Serves:  8     Prep time:  30 mins, plus time to cool and decorate     Cook time:  30 mins
Cals per serving:  626     Fat:  48.5g

Step One:  Heat the oven to 150oC (gas mark 2).  Line a Swiss roll tin with non-stick baking paper.  Whisk the egg whites in a mixer until they form stiff peaks, then gradually add the caster sugar, beating until the mixture is stiff and glossy.  Beat in the cornflour, white vinegar and vanilla extract.  Transfer the meringue to the tin, spreading it evenly with a flat-bladed knife.

Step Two:  Bake for about 30 minutes, it should feel dry and springy when ready.

Step Three:  Remove from the oven and set aside for 1 minute only before turning out onto a sheet of baking or greaseproof paper lightly sprinkled with icing sugar.  Allow to cool.

Step Four:  Whip the cream and icing sugar until it forms soft peaks.  Spread the lemon curd thinly over the meringue and then spread with about half of the cream.  Use the greaseproof paper to roll the meringue up (from the short edge) into a log.  Place the log seam side down on a platter.  Spread the remaining cream over the outside of the log and refrigerate until ready to decorate.

Step Five:  Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of very hot water (the bowl shouldn’t touch the water), stirring occasionally until smooth.

Step Six:  Spread the chocolate over a sheet of baking paper to a thickness of about 3mm (1/8 in).  Place on a tray and refrigerate until set.  Use a leaf or star cutter to cut shapes from the set white chocolate (you may have to return it to the fridge occasionally) and decorate the top of the log.  Dust lightly with icing sugar before serving.

Tip:  If making the meringue a day before, cover with cling film overnight.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Winter Trifle

winter trifleIngredients: 

4 tbsp Grand Marnier
100g (3 ½ oz) dried cherries
100g (3 ½ oz) dried sultanas
250g (8oz) Jamaican ginger cake
600ml (20 fl oz) chilled custard
Toasted flaked almonds, to serve

For the Syllabub:

Grated zest of ½ lemon
2-3 tbsp caster sugar
100ml (3 ½ fl oz) sweet white wine
300ml (9 ½ fl oz) cream

Serves:  8    Prep time:  25 mins, plus refrigeration and standing time

Step One:  Soak the dried fruit in the alcohol for 6 hours or overnight.  Strain, reserving both the fruit and alcohol.  Cut the cut into slices 1 cm (½ in) thick and arrange a single layer over the base of a large glass trifle bowl.  Pour over the fruit and alcohol.  Pour the custard over the cake covering with cling film and chill for at least 3 hours.

Step Two:  To make the syllabub cream, mix together the lemon zest, sugar and wine and leave for 30 minutes.  Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl, then add the cream and whip until the mixture just holds it shape.  Be careful not to over whip it.

Step Three: Spoon the cream over the trifle and return it to the fridge until you are ready to serve.  Just before serving, decorate with toasted almonds and silver dragees, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine