Author: francesauty

Pistachio and Cherry Tiffin

I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that this is some great bake, or indeed, a new idea. I got the inspiration from a coffee chain’s pistachio and amaretti tiffin, but decided to recreate it with my own additions. As with all tiffin, it is very, very simple and a (excluding the amaretto soaked cherries) great thing to make with the kids. It would also make a lovely Christmas gift or addition to serve with coffee at the end of a meal. Ingredients: 100g Dried Cherries (chopped roughly) 40ml of Amaretto 225g Butter 45g Golden Syrup 50g Cocoa Powder 250g Amaretti 50g Pistachios, chopped 200g Milk Chocolate 100g Dark Chocolate Extra Pistachios, freeze Dried Cherries or sprinkles to decorate. Begin a day or two before you want to make the tiffin by soaking the dried cherries in the amaretto. The cherries will plump up and taste delicious. Line an 8′ square baking tray. Melt the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Crush the amaretti biscuits fairly finely, then stir through …

Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte

This is a recipe that I have adapted from one of my favourites from delicious magazine. After the first time that I made it I switched the chocolate ganache for whipped cream on top, which I felt balanced the dark chocolate of the cake better still. I also crush amaretti biscuits and scattered them over the top also.   Then recently I had the idea of making it with hazelnuts and Frangelico instead of almonds and Amaretto. It worked very well, but it could easily be adapted for whatever alcohol you prefer. I think Marsala would be especially delicious and would be a nod to Tiramisu, especially if you folded some mascarpone through the cream and dusted the whole thing with cocoa powder. Ingredients: 200g Of Butter 200g of Dark Chocolate 150g of Ground Hazelnuts 6 Medium Eggs 180g of Caster Sugar 50ml of Frangelico liqueur To finish: 300g Double Cream 30g of Icing Sugar 30ml of Frangelico 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla 40g of Roughly Chopped Hazelnuts (any kind of other decoration you fancy, perhaps …

Simple Roast Chicken

This isn’t so much a post about how to roast a chicken, though I will say how I go about it: it’s more of a post about how living in the countryside has brought me closer to farmers and food producers and the impact it’s had upon how I shop and cook. This proximity, and the friendliness and welcome of these hard working families, has made me more interested in the food I buy, cook and feed to my children. It has made me want to see where the meat comes from; to see how the animals live; and to build relationships with the people responsible for them. This is the first of two posts about the people that I have met since moving to our village, and a bigger step into blogging about something other than baking. I have previously touched upon enjoying the fruits of our new garden (rhubarb, apples, blackberries and plums) and our local hedgerows (namely my foray into Elderflower Cordial production and its use in my Elderflower and Strawberry summer celebration …

Pumpkin, Apple & Pecan Bundt

It’s that time of year again when I get obsessed with all things autumnal, and, in terms of baking, I love spices like cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, and to use apples, pears, and nuts as key ingredients. Of course, I have succumbed to the American invasion of pumpkin, and love to bake with it during the months leading up to Christmas. It used to be near impossible to get canned pumpkin in the UK, but it is slowly becoming easier to find. When I do find it, however, I tend to stock up, just in case. I decided to make another bundt cake recipe that I could top with another favourite ingredients of mine, maple butter. If you cannot get any, simple make an icing with equal parts maple syrup and icing sugar. So, this is a *big* cake. Don’t make it for just you and your friend having coffee together. I used a large bundt tin. I suppose you could half all of the ingredients and make it in a smaller bundt tin, a …

Pea and Mint Ravioli

If you follow my Instagram account or know me in real life, you will know that my passion goes beyond baking and all things sweet. I love to cook and have done so since I was a child. I have decided to share some of my savoury recipes, and here comes the first one. Ever since I first made my own pasta a couple of years ago, I (and my kids) have become quite fixated by it. Its texture is like no bought pasta, even the fresh pasta in the supermarket. It is smooth and silky, robust and filling, and deeply satisfying and very fun to make. If you have never made your own pasta, then I urge you do so. When I saw peas in their pods in the supermarket, it took me back to my childhood when the only peas my grandma ever served where freshly podded, having been bought from the market and brought home in a brown paper bag. I loved to sit at the dining table with her and pop …

White Forest Gateau

This is a cake that I adapted from a recipe that I found in delicious. magazine. I made the original a couple of months ago but didn’t care for the icing at all. I decided I wanted to nail a cake with cherry and almond flavours, that featured white chocolate, but it couldn’t be cloying or heavy. I also had various visions of how the final cake would be decorated. But I think I made it too fussy and old fashioned on this occasion and would definitely scale back a bit next time. But I thought it would be helpful to include the process to show that it usually takes a few attempts to get to where you want to be. Ingredients 150g of Plain Flour 50g of Ground Almonds 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder 300g of Caster Sugar 5 Medium Eggs, separated 1/2 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Almond Extract 115g of Vegetable Oil 250g of good Cherry Jam   Syrup ( if you don’t want …

Cherry & Almond Squares

I can’t take much credit for this recipe: it is based on an old favourite of mine from BBC Good Food magazine, Blackberry and Coconut Squares. I did reduce the amount of sugar and change the flavourings, however. It came about because I saw a large carton of fresh cherries reduced at the supermarket and decided to buy them and give the recipe a new twist. I find with fruity recipes, that I like to alter them according to the season and what’s easily available. Ingredients: 250g of Self Raising Flour 25g of Oats 230g of Light Brown Sugar 200g of Cold Butter, cubed 30g of Ground Almonds 300g Fresh Cherries, stoned and halved 2 Medium Eggs 1/2 Teaspoon of Almond Extract 50g of Flaked Almonds Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan oven) and line an 8″ square baking tin. Put the flour, oats, sugar and butter in a large bowl and rub together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix through the ground almonds. Weigh out 150g of this breadcrumb mixture in a separate bowl and add …

Elderflower and Strawberry Summer Celebration

This cake is a combination of tweaked recipes from elsewhere and my own imagination. It came about because of my recent obsession with elderflower. I have always loved the flavour of elderflower and knew that people gathered the flowers and made their own cordial and wine, but for some reason I assumed it didn’t grow in Scotland. But since getting our puppy, then moving to our new house and village, I have become much more aware of the passing seasons and the flowers, trees and plants around me. I had a rough idea of what elderflower looked like but wasn’t sure. Then I saw some flowers that I thought might be it whilst out on a walk with the dog. I photographed it and had it confirmed by my friends on a Facebook group, who are keen cooks and bakers. I researched more about collecting and making cordial and decided to give it a try. I decided to use The River Cottage recipe which was very straight forward and easy. During the process I did doubt how …

Mocha Coffee Cake

I came up with this recipe for my old school friend who was coming over for coffee. I asked her what her favourite cake flavours were and she said: coffee, coconut, fruit and dark chocolate. I decided coffee and chocolate was a good way to go. I’ve long been a fan of Annie Bell’s Coffee and Walnut cake. Her coffee and mascarpone cream is so very delicious: it’s creamy but not clawing; and it feels luxurious and decadent, but is incredibly simple to make. The topping is almost identical to Annie Bell’s, so I can’t take credit for how delicious it is. But I decided I wanted to make more of a coffee sponge, incorporating chocolate, and leaving out the nuts on this occasion (though you could always sprinkle chopped walnuts on the top if you fancy). I also wanted to add more flavour and moisture by using a sugar syrup on the cake itself. Ingredients For the Cake: 150g of Butter at room temperature 150g of Golden Caster Sugar 150g of Self Raising Flour 3 …

Pistachio and Apricot Tart

  This recipe came about simply from chancing upon some very pretty apricots at the supermarket. I thought they would be delicious in a frangipane type tart, but then wondered what it would be like to substitute pistachios for the traditional almonds. There was only one way to find out; and I was delighted with the result. I have to say, though, that it’s maybe not the prettiest tart that I’ve ever made, and almost looks savoury. But I can assure you that it is sweet and delicious.   Ingredients: 300g of Sweet Pastry 100g of Butter, at room temperature 100g of Caster Sugar 2 Medium Eggs 150g of Pistachios 40g of Self Raising Flour 3 or 4 Apricots Preheat your oven to 180C. Roll out the pastry and line an 8″ tart tin with it, leaving the excess to hang over the edge. Prick the base with a fork several times and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Whilst the pastry is chilling prepare the apricots by cutting them in half and removing …