Victoria sponge

I wanted to make a pink Victoria sponge for a series I’m planning for Valentine’s Day, hence the hearts confetti. I have beetroot powder and I thought the cake will turn out pink and beautiful. The beetroot powder is healthy so I really hoped it will be a great alternative to food colouring. The batter had a lovely colour, but after baking there wasn’t any trace of pink left. I should have used food colouring for baking, I know that now.

That being said, I still wanted to share the recipe because it’s different than the Classic Victoria sandwich I made last year. This time I’ve replaced a third of the white flour with wholemeal flour. I wasn’t sure if it will rise nicely, but it did. I’m always trying to make the dishes I cook healthier.

01 Victoria sponge

I am considering another twist to the recipe and if that one turns out just as good, I will share that too. It’s still cake, so it should be enjoyed in moderation, but if it tastes amazing and it has a little bit more fibers, why not making a mix of flour. For the cake I used shop-bought strawberry jam as I finished the one I made last year. I looked and got one that has the first ingredient strawberries and not sugar. It has a lovely texture, with bits, and the flavour is great. I baked the sponges in the new sandwich tins I received this Christmas.

02 Victoria sponge

Ingredients for a cake with 8 servings:
– 225g soften butter
– 150g white flour
– 75g wholemeal flour
– 225g sugar
– 4 medium eggs
– 2 tsp of baking powder
– 2 tsp of beetroot powder (optional)
– 150g strawberry jam
– 300ml whipping cream
– 20g icing sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla paste
– 1 spoon of icing sugar to decorate and redcurrants

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Stilton and broccoli soup

I had a couple of broccoli and, after using the flowers to roast, I thought I should make a soup with the stems because I don’t like wasting food. I like Stilton and broccoli soup and I would eat it often.
As there were only 2 stems, the recipe is for only 2 servings. I also added a medium potato to give it a little more body. I think it’s a great way to use leftover Stilton from Christmas, if you have any. I bought more Stilton after Christmas and didn’t get the chance to eat it with all the cheese we have in our fridge these days.

01 Stilton and broccoli soup

Ingredients for 2 servings:
– 150g broccoli stem
– 1 shallot
– 1 medium size potato
– 600 ml vegetable stock
– 50g Stilton

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Matcha rice pudding

I was thinking of a vegan rice pudding since I’ve used coconut milk for a savoury dish a few months ago. After thinking of flavours that would work, I came up with Matcha rice pudding. It’s vegan, easy to make and not overly sweet. I used vanilla as an additional flavour and that was a really great idea as it compliments the matcha nicely.
The coconut milk will make the rice pudding creamy and that is why I used it. The flavour is not strong enough to come through, as matcha and vanilla will overpower it.

Matcha rice pudding with coconut milk. Vegan, easy to make and not overly sweet.

As always, if you want to make this recipe and you think it’s not sweet enough, taste and add more sugar. When the rice is almost ready, taste and add more sugar or vanilla paste, to suit your taste. I used a white risotto rice as it’s the best one for rice pudding. I would say the full fat coconut milk is better as it’s creamier. If you want a lighter texture, use a coconut milk with less fat.

Matcha rice pudding with coconut milk. Vegan, easy to make and not overly sweet

Ingredients for 4 servings:
– 140g risotto rice
– 200ml water
– 80g sugar
– 400ml coconut milk
– 1 tsp vanilla paste
– 1 tsp matcha powder

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Asparagus houmous with halloumi

On a trip, I bought houmous with asparagus and I loved it. I wanted to recreate the recipe at home, so this is my version of asparagus houmous, served with shallow-fried halloumi. I used fresh asparagus, but I imagine the recipe would be just as delicious with frozen asparagus.

01-asparagus-houmous-with-halloumi

Ingredients for 2 portions:
– 200g halloumi
– 100g asparagus
– 480g cooked chickpeas (drained)
– 1 lemon, zest only
– 2 spoons tahini
– 1/2 tsp sumac
– salt
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– 2 spoons of olive oil
– 1 spoon of oil

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Peanut butter and Baileys cheesecake

If you want to create something that looks and sounds fancy but it’s easy to make and you have leftover Baileys and biscuits from Christmas, this Peanut butter and Baileys cheesecake recipe is ideal for NYE. I’ve been meaning to share this recipe the last couple of days, but with the holidays I didn’t get the time to finish it. The recipe takes only 15-20 minutes to make and it’s a no-bake cheesecake, after is ready, just pop-it in the fridge and it will set in 1 hour or even less.

I used peanut butter biscuits, but you can use any biscuits you might have from Christmas or just plain shop-bought biscuits. You might find using peanut butter for the base a little difficult to mix, so switch to regular butter if you want to make your life easier.

01-peanut-butter-and-baileys-cheesecake

Ingredients for the pastry:
– 120g peanut butter biscuits
– 80g peanut butter
Ingredients for the peanut butter layer:
– 250g mascarpone
– 70g icing sugar
– 70g peanut butter
Ingredients for the Baileys layer:
– 250g mascarpone
– 50ml Baileys
– 50g icing sugar
– chocolate to decorate

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Christmas menu

I hope everyone had a wonderful time this Christmas. Last year I made a list with everything I prepared and it was helpful when I made the menu for this year, so this is what we had this year.

Vegetarian Christmas menu

Get ready for a lot of pictures. I cooked a lot, but we still have food left for the next couple of days.

Vegetarian Christmas menu
Devilled eggs, something made traditionally in Romania. My husband loves them, so I made a batch. Preparing this made me realize I need some food tweezers for decorating with small herbs.

Vegetarian Christmas menu
Olives and Polish squash pickles. It was the first time I had pickled squash and I love it. It has a mild flavour and it’s so versatile. I will buy it again. I’m not sure if it’s something specific to the Polish cuisine, the jar I had was in Polish.

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Last minute ideas for Christmas

For today I’m making a selection of the dishes for Christmas. I’m revising the Christmas menu for this year today and it’s a perfect way to see what options I have that I didn’t think about.

04 Snowflake cookies with cinnamon
Snowflake biscuits with cinnamon, the one I made was huge, but a smaller size would be just as nice.

03-tudor-pie
This is the Tudor Pie I baked for GBBO and it was fab. I am thinking of baking a pie for Christmas this year, maybe with a different filling.

basic-bread-recipe
I love having fresh bread and I try to bake for all the important occasions.

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