Perfect Pavlova

I don’t often make pavlovas as they end up being too big for a few people to eat, and all those calories over a few days is not a good idea! But a couple of friends came round to see us on Fri so I made one and it was luuuuuush! I prefer to keep my pavlovas simple, no crunchy, pippy passion fruit toppings for me thank you very much! So this recipe can pretty much be thrown together out of store/fridge/freezer staples and looks like you’ve made a huge effort. Result! The rule of thumb you need when making a pavlova is 62.5g of caster sugar per egg white, this way you can make one as big or small as you like!

For 6-8 portions you need
5 egg whites
310g caster sugar
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp cornflower
600ml double cream
300g frozen raspberries (or any fruit of your choice), defrosted
1 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Begin by whisking the egg whites until they form stiff peaks in a free standing mixer. With the motor running, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Add the vinegar and cornflower and mix in well.

Spoon the meringue on to a lined baking sheet. I usually take care to make a well in the middle with banked up sides to hold the filling in place but you can do it however you wish! Pop into the oven and turn the heat down to 140 degrees. Cook for 90 minutes and then turn off the oven. Leave the door open a little and leave the pavlova to cool in the oven.

Whip the cream to soft peaks then spread onto the pavlova. Add the raspberries and then sift over the icing sugar. Utterly delicious!

Chocolate Christmas Trifle

I used to be able to make lovely trifles, but my trifle mojo has been usurped by my boyfriend’s mum who makes a very mean one indeed. So much so Lex requested I didn’t make another for fear that it didn’t live up to one of hers…! However, this creation puts my mojo firmly back in contention I am pleased to say. It started as a way to use up some (embarrassingly) out of date sponge flan cases. But upon further inspection they were rock solid. So a chocolate swiss roll was purchased and the chocolate Christmas trifle extravaganza was born. It has the perfect combination of sour raspberries and strawberries to counter the sweet jelly and not-too-sweet chocolate custard. Decorate as you wish, we wanted sparkly poo so had a heavy hand with the festive glitter 😉

For 12-14 portions you need
1/2 chocolate swiss roll
1 tin strawberries, drained
1/2 pack frozen raspberries
1 packet halal jelly (or any other veggie jelly)
2 tbsp sweet sherry
2 tins ready to eat custard
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp boiling water
450ml double cream
decoration of your choice, we used chocolate vermicelli; glitter and stars for extra bliiiiiiiiiing

Slice the swiss roll into 1cm slices. Place these in the bottom of a trifle dish and cover with the sherry, raspberries and strawberries. Make the jelly up according to the packet instructions and pour over the base. Leave to set.

Meanwhile mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water to make a smooth paste. Add to the custard and mix well. Once the jelly is set, pour over.

Whip the cream to soft peak stage and put into a piping bag. Pipe over the custard and then go wild with the decoration. Eat, eat and be merry!

Raspberry and Strawberry Soyashake (v)

Tesco’s strawberries were rubbish yesterday and they looked so sad today that I had to use them up in something other than eating them au natural. I macerated half of them as L adores those on pancakes and the others went into this. Add sugar/agave nectar/maple syrup if you want but I kind of like the sharpness of just using fruit and soya milk. Clearly this can be made with milks other than soya but I happen to like soya milk…

For one person you need:
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
200ml unsweetened soya milk

Lob everything into a blender and blitz for 2-3 mins till smooth and frothy. Enjoy 🙂

Raspberry and White Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla

The original recipe for these is on the BBC Good Food site. I have simply added vanilla to them.

For about 18 cupcakes you need:
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
100g white chocolate chunks
150g frozen raspberries
200ml milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g butter, melted
100g vanilla sugar

Melt the butter and allow to cool. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add the chocolate and raspberries and then the egg and milk and finally the butter. Mix lightly. Scrape into lined tins and bake at 160 degrees for about 15-20 mins till golden brown. Delicious!

Bakewell Slice

This is from November’s BBC Good Food Magazine and it’s to DIE for. Seriously. It’s really, really gooooooooood!

For about 10-12 slices you need:
1 x 375g pack shortcrust pastry
200g soft butter
200g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
100g self raising flour
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 jar seedless raspberry jam
100g frozen raspberries
25g flaked almonds

Line a tart tin with the pastry, prick and bake in a hot oven for 10 mins till lightly coloured. Meanwhile lob everything else (apart from the jam and flaked almonds and raspberries) into a bowl and mix well to make the spongey topping.

Take the pastry out of the oven and leave to cool slightly. Nuke the jam for a few seconds to soften a bit and then spread over the pastry base. Scatter over the raspberries. Dollop the sponge topping over this and finish with a scattering of the almonds. Bake at 160 degrees for about 30-40 mins till risen and golden and firm. Serve and sigh in contentment. Loosen your trousers and have another slice 😉

Chocolate Cheesecake & Raspberry Brownie

This is _yet another_ Hummingbird recipe, but oh MY! it’s good! I made it for a work fuddle and it went down a storm.

For 32 teeny tiny portions you need:
Brownie Base
200g dark chocolate
200g butter
250g icing sugar
3 eggs
110g plain flour

For the Cheesecake Layer
400g cream cheese (don’t be tempted to use half fat like I did, it doesn’t work as well)
150g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

For the raspberry cream mousse topping
300ml double cream
1 punnet raspberries, defrosted if frozen

Begin by making the brownie base. Melt the chocolate. Beat the butter and icing sugar together and then add the flour a dollop at a time. Mix in the chocolate and splat into a lined baking tin.

Whisk together the cream cheese and icing sugar and eggs and vanilla. Pour over the brownie base. Bake in a moderate oven for about 30 mins.

Once cooked, leave to cool and then chill in the fridge. Just before serving whip the cream and raspberries till very thick and fluffy. Smear on to the cooked base and then sigh in pleasure as you devour each. Little. Bite. Utter, utter bliiiiiiiiis!

Pear and Raspberry Cake

This is based on Rachel Allen’s recipe for Dutch Apple cake and her variation for adding pears and raspberries.

For 10-12 portions you need:
2 eggs
175g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
85g butter
75ml milk
125g plain flour
grated rind of an orange
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
4 ripe pears, peeled and cut into 6ths
1/2 pack frozen raspberries

Begin by whisking the sugar and eggs together till thick and frothy. Meanwhile melt the butter with the milk and then slowly whisk in to the egg mixture. Add the flour, baking powder and orange rind. Pour in to a lined baking tin. Lay the pears and raspberries on the top. Bake for 10 mins at 200 degrees then for a further 30 mins at 180 degrees.

Summer Berry Trifles

If you can call this a trifle that is. Am not sure if trifle needs sponge. But this doesn’t have any in it. Just berries, custard and cream. It’s quick and delicious 🙂 It was adapted from BBC Good Food magazine’s August edition (p36)

For 4 portions you need:
2 tbsp bon maman strawberry jam
juice 1 orange
1 large cup chopped mixed berries (I used strawberries, red currants, raspberries and blueberries)
1 small carton ready made custard
1/2 cup double cream, lightly whipped

Mix the jam with the OJ and then add the berries and mix gently. Whip the cream till billowy. Layer some berries in the bottom of serving glasses and then add 1/4 of the custard. Add some more berries and then finish with a dollop of cream. Serve soon after assembling or it’ll meld in to a gooey, but yummy, mess.

Raspberry Chocolate Torte

Yes, highly original this recipe, but I think it’s actually better than it’s plain and purer sister. The addition of raspberries gives you something to contrast the rich chocolate with and the creme de cassis adds a different dimension to the rum.

As before, to serve 10 or more people you need:
5 tbsp creme de cassis
2 tbsp brandy
450g plain chocolate
75g liquid glucose
75g crushed amoretti biscuits
600ml double cream
200g raspberries
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Melt the chocolate, glucose and booze together in a double boiler. Meanwhile sprinkle the ammoreti crumbs over the base of a springform tin lined with clingfilm. Lay about 15 raspberries on to the base of the tin, on top of the crumbs. Whip the cream till flopped and then fold into the chocolate mixture. Add the rest of the raspberries, saving 12 for decoration, and fold gently to mix. Pour in to the tin, smooth the top, dust with cocoa and decorate with the reserved raspberries. Leave to chill for at least a couple of hours, if not overnight. Serve in modest slices and let out a deep sigh of contentment. Someone tasting this yesterday said “do you always eat like this” to my husband and looked very jealous at the positive reply!!

Lime Drizzle Cake with Blackcurrants and Raspberries

This is based on a recipe in Good Foods 101 Cakes and Bakes.

For about 20 slices you need:
225g soft butter
225g caster sugar
250g self raising flour
25g ground almonds
100g blackcurrants
100g raspberries
juice and rind of 2 limes
4 eggs
50g flaked almonds

For the syrup:
140g caster sugar
juice of 2 limes and 2 lemons

Begin by making the cake. Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs, lime juice and rind, flour, ground almonds and a little milk if necessary to make a smooth but thick batter. Fold in 2/3 of the fruit and scrape into 2 lined loaf tins. Scatter over the rest of the fruit and the flaked almonds. Bake in a moderate (150 degrees) oven for about 45 mins.

Meanwhile make the syrup – gently heat the juice and sugar til the sugar has dissolved. Once the cakes are cooked, prick with a cocktail stick and pour over the syrup. Allow the cakes to cool completely before cutting into slices and enjoying.