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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Peanut butter biscuits

I wanted to make a batch of peanut butter biscuits for some time and I think they look really festive. As I also got the Christmas cookie cutters from Ikea and I wanted to try them.

Peanut butter biscuits

Animal-shapped biscuits, especially the moose and the baby bear, are so appropriate for Christmas. I loved the flavour and as half of fat is substituted with a healthy one, they are a better option, at least I hope so.
You can use only 1 type of sugar, I used both because I ran out of sugar when I was baking. The biscuits can’t be made with only peanut butter, it has a different texture than butter and it will not bind the dough in a similar way.

Peanut butter biscuits

Ingredients for 25-30 biscuits:
– 350g plain white flour
– 25g demerara sugar
– 150g sugar
– 65g butter, soften, at room temperature
– 60g peanut butter
– 1 free-range egg
– 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
– 4 tbsp golden syrup (or honey)
– 3 tsp cinnamon
– 2-3 spoons of milk

Mix the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into the bowl of the food processor. Add the butter cut in cubes and the peanut butter, blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Add both types of sugar and mix again.
Beat the egg lightly with the golden syrup and pour it into the bowl. Pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out and knead briefly until the ingredients are incorporated. Add milk a spoon at a time and knead until the dough is smooth. Wrap in clingfim and leave in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes if you think it’s necessary.

Preheat the oven to 180C or 160C fan. Line three baking trays with baking parchment. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and, using the biscuits cutter, cut out the shapes. Remove the excess dough and transfer the shapes on the baking tray. Knead the remaining dough for 30 seconds and roll it out again, cut animal shapes again and transfer them on the tray.

Bake the biscuits for 12-15 minutes. Take the baking tray out of the oven and leave them on the tray for 2-3 minutes. Then move them onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Peanut butter biscuits
The shapes look so funny. I might decorate them with fondant next time I’m using them. Although I still have an unused set of cutters that I plan to use for Christmas.

Mince pies with grapes and dates

I made these mince pies as a treat when my husband and I were decorating the tree. I should say the dog did help, by sniffing the branches and, after that, sniffing his gifts underneath the tree every single day. I can’t say I blame him, I can’t wait to unwrap my gifts too.

Mince pies with grapes and dates, easy to make and delicious

Ingredients for 8 mince pies:
– 175g plain flour
– 75g butter at room temperature
– 1 egg
– 150g grapes
– 100g dates
– 50ml grape juice
– 60g sugar
– 25g ground almonds
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– 1/8 tsp nutmeg
– a pinch of black pepper
– 1-2 tsp of icing sugar to decorate

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