Dark chocolate and orange cake

I made a similar dark chocolate and orange cake before, last year for Picnic fit for a Queen. As in that post I shared a few recipes, I decided to make this post as a stand-alone recipe. It was so good that I feel it deserves more attention.
This is one of those cakes I have to stop myself from eating. I love the texture of the cream, light due to the mascarpone, but still rich from the butter. The orange gives a lovely texture and the flavour is amazing. This time I used blood oranges, but they weren’t as red as I hoped they will be. I made another small change, I used 30% wholemeal flour. I usually bake with a blend of wholemeal and white.

Dark chocolate and orange cake

Ingredients for 8 slices:
– 1 blood orange and a few more slices for decor
– 200g plain white flour
– 100g plain wholemeal flour
– 3 eggs
– 100g demerara sugar
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 75g soften butter
– 100ml oil
– 3 tsp cocoa
– 125ml milk
– 250g full-fat mascarpone
– 150g icing sugar (for the cream)
– 100g dark chocolate

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I made Ramen for the first time and it turned out delicious. I will share the recipe for it and I will make loads of variations because I love it, my husband likes it and I’m so excited with the new chopsticks I bought. I want to learn to use them properly.

Vegan Ramen Recipe

My husband and I went to a newly opened Japanese restaurant in Manchester last month called Shoryu Ramen, you can have a look at my review on ancaslifestyle, if you want to have a nosy. We both enjoyed our dishes; the vegan option as the other ones weren’t really suitable for us. The hard part was to eat the Ramen with chopsticks and ladle, but I plan to change that by using the chopsticks at home as much as I can. As I said, we both were happy with the vegan option, so this Ramen is vegan.

Vegan Ramen Recipe

I had a thought about the broth and the toppings and I decided to do something simple for the first time. To make this Ramen, I didn’t follow any recipes, but I looked on the packaging and went from there. The only thing that I would change, I would make a little more broth, like adding 50% more vegetable stock, but it was too late when I realized I wished there was more broth. I saw that some recipes of Ramen have less broth and some have more, I think it might be just a matter of preference.

Ingredients for 2 servings:
– 75g rice noddles
– 450ml vegetable stock
– 100g silken tofu
– 10g dried black mushrooms (wood ear mushrooms)
– 5g dried seaweed
– 30g leeks
– 10g carrots
– 10g peppers
– 2 tsp miso paste
– 1 spoon sesame oil
– 1 spoon soy sauce
– white sesame seeds

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Pasta with artichoke

I was in a rush and I had no time to make a complicated pasta recipe, so pasta with artichoke was the answer. It’s very easy to make and I will keep it in mind for when we are going caravanning, as it’s something that can be easily done in the caravan. I do make variations of this pasta recipe with other types of canned veggies. At that time I had some artichoke, I thought it will be great and I was right.
On top I’ve sprinkled Nigella seeds because I find them delicious and they also add a little bit of colour. I used light soft cheese, but it will work with any type of soft cheese you prefer.

Pasta with artichoke.

Ingredients for 2 servings:
– 240g drained artichoke
– 165g dried wholemeal pasta
– 150g soft cheese
– 1/2 tsp cardamon
– 1/2 tsp garlic
– 1/2 tsp chilli oil
– salt
– pepper
– 2 tsp marjoram
– 2 spoons of oil
– 2 tsp Nigella seeds

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Red Valentine’s Day Doughnuts

As tomorrow is the big day, I wanted to share this Red Valentine’s Day Doughnuts recipe. It’s very easy to make and it looks so cute. The doughnuts are baked, so it’s a healthier option. I made lots of variations on the recipe and they turned out perfect each time.

 Red Valentine's Day Doughnuts

I decided to add a little bit more milk, oil and flour, to make more batter. This way the doughnuts will grow over their tin and, when flipped, they will have a base that can be filled with beautiful, smooth, whipped cream. I think this makes them more like dessert than a simple doughnut. I loved them so much that I will make them again.

Because it’s Valentine’s Day, I had to make them red. I used vegetarian red food colouring. For decor, I used redcurrants, as they are the perfect size. If you don’t have berries, use small hearts made out of biscuits or shop bought decorations.

 Red Valentine's Day Doughnuts

Ingredients for 6 doughnut-desserts:
– 80g plain wholemeal flour
– 50g demerara sugar
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1 egg
– 70ml milk
– 3 spoons of oil
– 4 drops of strawberry flavouring
– red food colouring
– 150 ml whipping cream
– 2-3 spoons of icing sugar
– 6 berries to decorate the doughnuts

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Sweet potato and parsnip soup

Even though a few years ago I didn’t like soup, now I like it and I have a soup almost every day. As I had sweet veggies, I though of making a sweet soup and condiment it with cardamon to give it the savoury taste. It worked great and I enjoyed the soup. I think the cardamon works really great in both sweet and savoury dishes. As I plan to make this sweet potato and parsnip soup recipe, again and again, I though is better to share it on my blog, so I will remember it next time I’m looking through my recipes for things to cook. The recipe is vegan and low in fat, as I didn’t add any type of oil, I didn’t think it needs any.

Sweet potato and parsnip soup

Ingredients for 6 bowls of soup:
– 300g sweet potato
– 300g parsnip
– 1.5l vegetable stock
– 1 medium potato
– 1 tsp sea salt
– 1/4 tsp white pepper
– 1tsp cardamon

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How to make the perfect glass biscuits

I love how glass biscuits look, they are such a showstopper. After trying a few different things, I can say that now I know how to make the perfect glass biscuits and I want to share that with you. The glass biscuits are very easy to make, once you know how to make them. For the biscuits I’m sharing today I used the same recipe of dough like in the heart biscuits and these too are perfect for Valentine’s Day. The glass biscuits are great because they are suitable for all occasions. I made some last Christmas in shape of the house and stars, but then I was still trying to figure out the best way to make the glass.

How to make the perfect glass biscuits

First of all, choose the biscuits cutters you want to use. I suggest to make the glass part small enough that the biscuits can be easily transferred onto the baking paper.

To make the glass, you need hard candy or boiled candy. I have to confess I had no idea were I can find them in my local supermarket. I never go into the candy section as none of us likes candy, so it took a while to actually find the right one.
The candy is hard and it will not get softer after baking. That makes it great for glass biscuits, but if you don’t like candy, like me, just make enough biscuits for decor and bake the rest of the dough without glass.
Hard candy is made out of sugar, boiled, then removed from heat and flavoured and coloured.

How to make the perfect glass biscuits

Cut the hard candy on a chopping board, with care because it’s hard and it can be tricky to cut. Cut the candy in halves and quarters. If you try to crush it into a food processor the pieces will not be big enough to make the glass. Also, crushing the candy with a rolling pin will not work. I tried all these methods and the best one is to cut the candy by pressing down a big sharp knife with both hands on top. I think this is the best way to avoid getting hurt too.

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Heart Biscuits

With Valentine’s Day approaching and me away for over a week with work, having a few recipes made for the big day was quite helpful. I made these pink heart biscuits and we loved them so much I wanted to make another batch before leaving. In the end, I made a couple of sweet loafs, filled with chocolate. It would have been too much to make biscuits too.

01 Heart Biscuits

For them I used red food colouring, a vegetarian option. If you don’t want to use any food colouring, you can make them white and sprinkle beetroot powder on them. The beetroot powder is pink, very cute and healthy at the same time. It’s something I will try next time I’m baking biscuits. The recipe is enough for 36 – 40 shaped as heart biscuits, the cookie cutter I’ve used is a regular size, not small and not big either.
To flavour the biscuits, I used strawberry flavour and strawberry syrup. It’s the kind of syrup you can dissolve in water to make juice, it’s made out of strawberries and sugar. I got that from a Polish shop. If you don’t have any or decide to use a different type of flavour, change the 5-6 tsp of syrup with 4 of golden syrup or honey.

02 Heart Biscuits

Ingredients for around 40 heart biscuits:
– 200g plain white flour
– 150g wholemeal flour
– 175g demerara sugar
– 1 free-range egg
– 125g butter, soften, at room temperature
– 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
– 1.5 tsp vanilla
– a few drops of strawberry flavour
– 5-6 tsp of strawberry syrup
– red food colouring

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