Orange and Grapefruit Bircher with Chilli

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (March 2018)

The chilli adds a subtle kick to this bircher, from Annie Morris’s book, ‘Spoon: Simple and Nourishing Breakfast Bowls That Can be Enjoyed Any Time of Day’ (Hardie Grant, £15), while the dense oats balance out the taste.

Makes 2 bowls

Grapefruit Compote Ingredients:

2 grapefruit
1 tbsp honey
1 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon

Bircher Ingredients:

150ml orange juice
125g oats
100ml natural yogurt

Topping Ingredients:

Toasted flaked almonds
Dusting of dried chilli flakes

Step One: To make the grapefruit compote, peel the grapefruit and discard any pith.

Step Two: Segment the grapefruit using a knife to get the juiciest part of the fruit, leaving behind any pith, and reserving the juices.

Step Three:  Add to a pan with the juices and bring to the boil with the remaining ingredients.  Simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes, then leave to cool.

Step Four:  To make the Bircher, place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Step Five:  Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

Step Six:  The next morning, divide the mixture into two bowls.  Serve with the grapefruit compote and a sprinkling of toasted almond and dried chilli flakes.

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Fig Crostata with Rosemary Custard

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2018) and taken from a book called Feasting.

Figs are believed to have originated in the Middle East and have a strong presence in the Bible.  Showcase their sweet flavour and luxurious texture in this rustic crostata.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:-

240g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
80g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
120g cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
90g semolina
8 fresh figs, sliced in half lengthways
1 egg beaten, for glazing
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

Rosemary Custard
750ml milk
2 rosemary sprigs
3 egg yolks
70g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour

Step One: Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of cold water, and blitz again until the dough comes together.  Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball, then flatten slightly.  Wrap in cling-film and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Step Two: Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6. Roll out the dough into a large circle with a 30cm diameter. Line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle one third of the semolina on top. Put the dough on top of the semolina and sprinkle the rest of the semolina on top of the dough.

Step Three: Arrange the figs on top of the pastry in an inner circle with a diameter of about 20cm. You should be left with a 10cm ring of pastry around the fruit. Fold up the edges of the pastry over the fruit. Glaze the pastry flap with the beaten egg and place in the oven to bake for 50 minutes.

Step Four: While the crostata is baking, make the rosemary custard. Pour the milk into a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the rosemary sprigs and warm through to infuse for 5-10 minutes.

Step Five: In a bowl, vigorously whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornflour to form a paste. When the milk is warm, remove the rosemary and pour 250ml of the warm milk into the egg mixture. Gently combine, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Stir continuously over a low heat until the custard thickens.

Step Six: Remove the crostata from the oven. Dust with icing sugar, if using, and serve with the rosemary custard on the side.

Vanilla and blackcurrant sponge

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2016) and taken from the book River Cottage Gluten Free written by Nutritionist, cook and River Cottage teacher Naomi Devlin.

For a nut-free version of this moist, flavoursome cake, replace the ground almonds with 50g gluten-free white flour – the cake will be a little drier, but still delicious.

Serves:  10

Vanilla and blackcurrant spongeIngredients:

200g gluten-free white flour blend
100g cornflour
4 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp ground psyllium husk
100g ground almonds
5 tbsp milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
350g salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
350g light Muscovado sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 large eggs

For the filling:

Juice of 1 lemon
350g blackcurrant jam
450ml double cream, whipped until thick

Icing sugar, for dusting

You will need:
2 x 20 cm sandwich tins

Step One:  Preheat the oven to 180oF/Fan 160oC/Gas 4.  Line the base of the cake tins with discs of baking parchment and butter the sides.  Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder, psyllium and ground almonds together into a bowl; set aside.  Pour the milk into a small bowl and add the vinegar to curdle the milk.

Step Two:  In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together using an electric hand whisk or wooden spoon until light and fluffy (or use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment).  Beat in 1 egg, followed by 3 spoonfuls of the flour mix, beating well between each addition until the mixture is smooth again.  Repeat until the eggs are all in, then beat in the rest of the flour mix.  Beat in the curdled milk mix.

Step Three:  Scrape the mixture into the prepared tins and level the surface.  Let stand for 15 minutes, then bake for 28-30 minutes until golden, springy and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Let stand for 10-15 minutes, then run a thin knife around the inside of the tin.  Turn out the cakes and place, right side up, on a wire rack.  Leave until cold.

Step Four:  Using a serrated knife, slice each cake in half horizontally to make four layers.  Stir the lemon juice into the blackcurrant jam.  Place one cake layer on a plate, spread with a third of the blackcurrant mixture and cover with a third of the whipped cream.  Repeat twice, placing the prettiest cake layer on top.  Sift a little icing sugar over the top and serve.

Fig and Ginger pudding

Fig and ginger puddingIngredients:

150g (5oz) dried figs, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
185g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
210g (7oz) self-raising flour
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pecan nuts, roughly chopped, to serve
Stem ginger, to serve

For the Sauce:

125g (4oz) unsalted butter, cubed
150g (5oz) brown sugar
200ml (6 ½ oz) cream

Ice Cream, to serve

Serves:  8     Prep time:  30 mins     Cook time:  40 mins

Step One:  Heat the oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Grease a 18cm (7in) round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.  Put the chopped figs in a bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda and pour over 300ml ( 9 ½ fl oz) of boiling water.  Set aside.

Step Two: Beat the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition, then sift in the flour and ginger.  Add the soaked fig and the juice, then the vanilla and mix well.

Step Three:  Pour into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until risen and firm to touch.  A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.  Leave in the tin to cool, then carefully turn out on a baking tray.

Step Four:  When ready to serve, heat the oven to 200oC (gas mark 6).  Make the sauce by placing the butter, sugar and cream in a small saucepan.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step Five:  Top the pudding with a few pieces of stem ginger and the pecans.  Pour a third of the sauce over the pudding and put in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.  Serve immediately on individual plates, and serve with the remaining hot sauce and cream or ice cream.

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

Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Cream and Honeycomb

Chocolate mousseRecipe Courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Jan 2016) and taken from a book called Special Delivery by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe.

This chocolate mousse is improved by adding raspberries and cream, with honeycomb shards for pure theatre.

Serves:  4

Ingredients:  120g chocolate, with at least 80g dark chocolate; 4 eggs, separated; 1 tbsp caster sugar.

Honeycomb Shards:  165g granulated sugar; 1 ½ tbsp runny honey; 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Raspberry Cream: 100ml double cream; ½ tsp vanilla paste (optional); 50g fresh or frozen raspberries

Step One:  First melt the chocolate, either in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or gently in the microwave (on medium for bursts of 30 seconds).

Step Two:  Next, whisk the egg whites to firm peaks with a tiny pinch of salt, then slowly add the sugar and keep whisking until you have stiff peaks.

Step Three:  Lightly beat the egg yolks, then add to the slightly cooled chocolate and use a whisk to combine.  Gently fold in about a third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then fold in the rest.  Pour into a serving dish (or small glasses) and leave to set for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Step Four:  For the honeycomb shards, line a large tray with baking paper.  Combine the sugar, honey and 1 ½ tablespoons of water in a tall, heavy-based pan and heat until it registers 154oC (310oF) on a sugar thermometer.  This is called the ‘cracking stage’.  If you don’t have a thermometer, test by dropping a little of the syrup into a bowl of cold water and then fishing out the result: if it is still stretchy, keep cooking: if it ‘snaps’, it is ready.

Step Five:  Take the pan off the heat and sift in the bicarbonate of soda.  Be careful – the mixture is hot and it will foam and rise up the pan.  Stir with a wooden spoon until combined, then pour it onto the baking sheet, getting it as thin as you can and smoothing it out with a spatula.  Leave the honeycomb for at least 15 minutes to set.  Store in a cool, dry place – but not the fridge, or it will go sticky.

Step Six:  Just before serving, make the raspberry cream.  Whip the cream and vanilla to soft peaks.  Fold through the raspberries, crushing them a little as you go to give pretty red streaks, then spoon over the mousse.  Break honeycomb into shards and use to decorate.

Scandinavian Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon bunsRecipe Courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Jan 2016) and taken from a book called Special Delivery by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe.

Although best eaten warm, these cinnamon buns are good for a few hours after baking.

Makes about 12

Ingredients:  1 tsp active dried yeast; 45g caster sugar; 200g plain flour; pinch of salt; 1 ½ tsp ground cardamom; 1 egg; 40g butter, plus extra melted butter for glazing; 1 egg, lightly beaten; 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon, plus a little extra for dusting; 175g raisins; icing sugar, for dusting

Step One:  The day before, mix the yeast, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and 70ml lukewarm water in a medium bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Stir in half the flour, ten leave to stand for about an hour, or until roughly doubled in size.

Step Two:  In a large bowl, combine the remaining flour with the salt and cardamom.  When the pre-dough is ready, add it to the flour, along with the egg.  Mix until you have a dough.  Put the butter between two sheets of baking paper and bash it with a rolling pin to soften.  Fold the butter into the dough and knead until fully incorporated, then cover and rest for 10 minutes.  Knead the dough again, then cover and rest for another 10 minutes.  Repeat once or twice more, until you have a firm, smooth ball of dough.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Step Three:  Next day, knock back the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Flatten into a rectangle about 25 x 10 cm.  Brush with the beaten egg, then sprinkle over the remaining sugar, followed by the cinnamon and raisins.  Roll up the dough into a long sausage, like a Swiss roll, then cut into slices about 2 cm thick – you should get about 12.  Nestle the slices into a greased 23cm baking dish or tin, cover with a tea towel and leave until doubled in size, about 1 – 1 ½ hours.

Step Four:  Preheat the oven to 200oC (400oF) and sit a roasting tin on the lowest shelf.  Put the buns in the oven, pour a cup of water into the tin and reduce the temperature to 180oC.  Bake the buns for 10-15 minutes until golden, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.  While still warm, brush with melted butter, then dust with icing sugar and cinnamon.

Nectarine & Polenta Upside-Down Cake

This recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine – August 2015

Nectarine and Polenta upside down cakeThis cake, with an upside-down topping and moist, sandy texture, this charmingly retro cake is naturally gluten-free.  If you’re baking for someone who is sensitive to gluten, make sure to use gluten-free baking powder.

Serves:  6-8

Ingredients:  For the Sponge: 120g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing; 125g caster sugar; 2 eggs, lightly beaten; 75g ground almonds; 75g fine or ‘quick cook’ polenta; finely grated zest of 1 lemon; 1 tsp baking powder; pinch salt

For the Topping: 2 medium nectarines – or equal quantity of other stone fruit – skin on, stones removed; 75g light Muscovado sugar; juice of half a lemon

Step One: Preheat the oven to 190oC. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin with butter and line the bottom with baking parchment.  Generously grease the parchment with butter too.  It’s best not to use a loose-bottomed tin here, but if that’s all you have, tightly wrap a double layer of foil around the outside of the base to prevent juices escaping.

Step Two: Quarter the nectarines and cut them into thin slices.  Toss with the sugar and lemon juice, then arrange in a single layer, slightly overlapping, round the bottom of your tin.  Scrape any excess sugar syrup over the top.

Step Three: To make the sponge, cream butter and sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon, or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition.  Fold in the almonds, polenta, baking powder, lemon zest and salt.

Step Four: Spoon the batter over the nectarines, smooth the surface with a spatula, then tap firmly on the work-surface to remove any bubbles.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until risen and golden.

Step Five: Remove the cake from the oven, run a sharp knife around the edge, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Banana Bread

This recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Banana BreadThis cake needs no more than a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon.  If you’re unable to find buttermilk, you can replace it with a combination of half yoghurt and half skimmed milk.  Day-old banana bread is delicious cut into slices and toasted.

Prep time : 15 mins  –  Cook time : 55-60 mins

Ingredients:  210g (7oz) plain flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda; ¼ tsp salt; 125g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened (take out of fridge a few hours before you start); 250g (8oz) granulated sugar; 2 eggs, lightly beaten; 3 large, very ripe bananas; 120ml (3 ½ fl oz) buttermilk; icing sugar, to serve

  1. Heat the oven to 170oC (gas mark 3).  Grease a loaf tin and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, butter, sugar and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or hand-held electric beaters until just combined.  It’s important not to beat the batter to much – just long enough to make it smooth.
  3. Mash the bananas with a fork and add to the mixture bit by bit, alternating with the buttermilk, mixing until combined.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the top of the bread is firm and deep brown colour.  A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.  Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  4. Serve dusted with icing sugar.  The flavour improved on keeping.  It will store for up to 3 days if covered with cling film.

Passion Fruit and Mango Brulée

Although you’ll save even more time by using canned mango, peeling and cutting a fresh one is well worth the few extra minutes – the taste and texture is so much better.

Serves : 4  :   Prep : 6 mins  :   Cook : 4 mins  :  Cals per portion : 440

Ingredients: 1 large ripe mango; 2 x 200g tubs Greek yogurt; 2 passion fruit; 250g tub mascarpone cheese; 2 tbsp light Muscovado sugar

  • Cut flesh from mango. Put pieces into the base of four ramekin dishes.
  • Beat the Greek yogurt and the seeds and juice from the passion fruit into the mascarpone cheese to form a thick creamy mixture.
  • Spoon the yogurt mixture over the mango, then sprinkle the sugar over the top.
  • Grill until the sugar melts and forms a hard crispy caramel. Cool before serving.