Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Moroccan orange cake

This cake was a complete experiment this morning.  I decided to put a bulk load of oranges from the wholesale market to good use in baking.  However when reading the ingredients I realised we were missing half the items so had to make it up as I went along.  I was very surprised how delicious and simple it turned out!

The original recipe is actually a gluten free healthy cake, however I didn't have any ground almonds so had to add flour but by all means try it as a gluten free option too.

It is a no beating, no butter cake, which makes it very quick and very easy.

So here it is, a simple tangy Moroccan orange cake!

You will need:

  • 350g self rising flour
  • 250g xylitol (or sugar for a less healthy option)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 5 eggs
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 2tsp agave syrup (or substitute with honey)
  • zest and juice of 1 large orange and 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
Note: for gluten free option substitute the flour for 300g ground almonds.


1) Heat the oven to 180 degrees.  Line the base of 20cm spring form tin with baking paper and grease the sides.  Mix together the flour or (almonds for gluten recipe), xylitol and baking powder.  In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, 2 tsp agave syrup and orange and lemon zest and orange juice.  Pour the mixture into the dry mixture and combine.

2) Pour into the prepared tin and bake for approx 50 - 60 minutes or until a skewer comes clean from the centre and there is no raw cake sticking to it.  Cover with foil if it is browning too much.  Allow to cool and make the syrup.

3) Pour juice from 1 orange and 1/2 a lemon into a pan with 60g of agave syrup (or 3 tsp of sugar), bring to boil and leave simmer for 5 minutes. 

4) While the cake is still warm drizzle the syrup over the cake and all it all to seep in.  I made a few holes with a skewer on top of the cake to ensure it all gets soaked up.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Greek shortbread (Kourambiedes)

These buttery melt in your mouth biscuits are an institution in every Greek home.  Traditional shortbread doesn't get better than these.

This, my mothers recipe makes quite a lot, but they do keep for a while in a airtight biscuit tin and are great to offer guest when they pop in for a quick cuppa.

You will need:
  • 500g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • 1kg cake flour (more or less depending)
  • 1 cup chopped roasted almonds (optional)
  • icing sugar

1) Cream the butter very well till white, add egg yolk, vanilla and a tablespoon of icing sugar.

2) Sift in flour, little by little so eventually the mixture is a soft dough that is not to sticky to handle.  You may use less or more flour to get it to this point, depending how long you beat the butter for, but the dough should not be too hard or too soft.  You may add a cup of chopped almonds if you wish.

3) Take a handful of dough and create a ball, then roll on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin.  Using a glass cut out the half moon shapes.

4) Bake at 180 degrees for 20 mins or until golden, then sprinkle with icing sugar the minute they come out the oven so they absorb most of it and later once they have cooled sift more icing sugar over them, enjoy with a cuppa or store in an airtight container for a rainy day.

Monday, 8 April 2013

pink meringues with rose cream

These pretty pink swirl meringues are adapted from my aunt's famous pavlova recipe.  Much simpler than they look, these little puppies only take 15 minutes to prepare, but need over an hour in the oven.  A simple dessert definitely on the labour side of things and wholly satisfying on the eating front...

If I was entertaining at home I would attempt to create a pudding pyramid by building them up like bricks layered with cream and fruit.  On this occasion however I took them round to friends for a semi spring picnic!

Makes 12 meringues

You will need:
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 4 heaped teaspoons cornflour
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • red food colouring
  • 1 tub of fresh double cream
  • 1 tsp rosewater

1) Beat the egg whites till very stiff (if you were to turn the bowl upside down they should not move).
2) Add the caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time.
3) Add the vinegar and vanilla essence. 
4) Spoon mixture onto a grease paper lined baking tray, and using a toothpick or teaspoon, swirl in the red food colouring.
5) Bake at 140 degrees for 1 1/4 hours.  When complete turn the oven off but leave the meringues in the oven to dry out as the oven cools.

Serving suggestion:
Beat the cream with a teaspoon of rosewater and serve with fresh strawberries and blueberries!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

cherry tomato, lentil & feta salad

Now here is a quick and delicious salad that is not only refreshing and simple to make, but also quite filling.  Lentils are a great source of fibre and work really well in the salad together with the crunch of the sweet red onion, they add a wonderful texture to this salad.  I love serving it as a side for a BBQ or even in a wrap as an ideal lunch.

I have to say this was my favourite salad of last year and seeing as the sun decided to make its guest appearance today I thought it was a perfect day to share this with you.


You'll need:

1 packet of cherry tomatoes
1 tin of brown lentils
1 red onion, sliced very thinly
1 block of feta
1 handful of parsley, coarsely chopped
1 Tbs good quality olive oil
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar


1) Slice the tomatoes, and mix in a bowl with the lentils, onions, parsley and crumble the feta over and season with salt, pepper and dressing (olive oil and balsamic vinegar).

Note: Feel free to add more tomatoes if you are making a bigger salad.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

easy ciabatta bread recipe

No Kneading....just mix ingredients, leave to stand overnight in fridge and bake the next day.  How simple!!!

The best part about baking the smell, and I love serving it warm with a delicious bean stew or homemade soup.  On this occasion I couldn't resist the fresh warm loaf straight out the oven, so had to indulge in a fresh tomato and basil bruschetta.

I am a real novice when it comes to baking bread, but this recipe is dead simple.  It makes enough dough for 3 loaves which freeze well.  Or you could save some dough for homemade pizza - delicious. 


You will need:

  • 1 kg bread flour
  • 10g sachet dried yeast
  • 20g salt
  • 750ml ice cold water
1) Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly mix in the water with a strong spoon,  then with wet hands fold the mixture till smooth and firm.
2) Cover with plastic and leave to stand in the fridge overnight.  The dough will keep for 3 days before baking.  There will be enough to make 3 loaves 650g each, but you can also use it for pizza, focaccia or baguette.
3) Put the dough in a flour-dusted cloth and twist and pull to create the desired shape of the loaf.  Bake at 200 degrees for 35 mins. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

wild rice with fennel, lentils & broccoli

This is for those days when you feeling like you need to a little healthy...  Packed with nurtirion this is the superfoods of all foods kinda meal.  Delicious served with a dollop of plain yoghurt and dash of tobasco. 

Serves 4

You will need:
  • 300g brown basmati rice or wild rice mix
  • 150g dried puy lentils
  • 1/2 broccoli head, cut into florets
  • 8 pitted olives
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 750ml boiling water or veg stock
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 handfuls of baby leaf spinach
1) Brown onion, add the fennel and garlic
2) Add the rice and lentils, pour the stock over and simmer gently for approx 20 mins or till the rice is cooked, keep adding more water if you need to
3) Half way through the rice, add the broccoli and olives.
4) When the rice is cooked, switch off the stove and stir in the spinach.  Allow the spinach to wilt into the rice while mixing.

Serve with a drissle of balsamic vinegar and a tbs of plain yoghurt

Monday, 4 March 2013

scones, quick and simple

All it takes is 20 minutes and you will have fresh warm scones on the table...very easy recipe!

There is not much to say about these little guys apart from the fact that they are very easy to make and taste great when they've just come out the oven.

Why not treat mum this weekend with a little tea time.

Makes 8 - 10

You'll need:
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

1) Mix all the dry ingredients together.
2) Beat the egg and oil, add to dry ingredients.
3) Add milk last.
4) Spoon into a greased muffin tray and bake in 180 degrees for 10 - 15 mins or until golden.