Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Fig, Apple & Pomegranate Jam

Jars of fig, apple & pomegranate jam.

With its gorgeous jewel like colour, this fig, apple & pomegranate jam tastes wonderful. It has a perfect figgy flavour, but with tart notes from the lemons and pomegranate molasses which offsets its sweetness beautifully. The addition of apples ensures an easy set.

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Blueberry & Rose Almond Bars

Preserves, Traybakes | 8th September 2012 | By

There was nothing for it, with a fridge load of blueberries in need of using up, I just had to do some baking. Interrogating my books, via Eat Your Books, two recipes appealed: Dan Lepard’s blueberry almond bar from Short and Sweet and blueberry streusel muffins from Tea with Bea. It was a tough choice, but in the end Dan won out. Shockingly, chocolate did not feature in this recipe, so I added some. I also decided to cook the blueberries in  rose syrup, as I’d recently made another batch. I tried to upscale the recipe a little as I didn’t have the required 20 cm tin.

This is how I did it:

  • Washed 300g blueberries and put them in a pan.
  • Added 100ml of rose syrup and 25g caster sugar.
  • Bought the mixture to a gentle simmer.
  • Mixed 2 rounded tsp of arrowroot in about 40ml water.
  • Added this and stirred well, continuing to simmer for about 5 minutes, until the mixture had thickened and was a very deep blue.
  • Sifted 180g flour (80g spelt, 100g white) into a bowl with 3/4 tsp baking powder.
  • Added 60g ground almonds and 75g cardamom sugar (caster).
  • Cut 110g unsalted butter into pieces and rubbed this into the flour.
  • Added 1 duck egg and mixed.
  • Poured this into a 21cm square tin lined with baking parchment and pressed it flat.
  • Poured 50ml milk into a small pan.
  • Added 2 tsp honey, 100g light brown sugar, 75g flaked almonds, 25g ground almonds and a drop of almond extract.
  • Bought mixture to a simmer and cooked for a few minutes until mixture thickened slightly.
  • Took off the heat and added 30g dark chocolate (G&B Maya Gold).
  • Spooned the blueberry compote over the biscuit base.
  • Spooned the almond caramel over the blueberries.
  • Baked at 180C for 30 minutes.

The blueberry and caramel mixtures amalgamated completely during cooking, which was a little disappointing. But that was where the disappointment ended. They tasted fruity and the almond shortbread base was delicious and just the right texture, with the caramel adding just the right amount of sweetness. Remarkably some of these survived for several days and the last ones tasted just as good as the first.

Raspberry & Rose Curd Cupcakes

Cupcakes, Preserves | 2nd August 2012 | By

Having seen some lovely looking raspberry curd over at the HungryHinny back along, I was determined to make some as soon as possible and as it happened just in time to use in cakes for my birthday tea. I had some rose sugar just waiting to be used and some local raspberries – raspberries and rose are a heavenly combination.

This is what I did to make the raspberry & rose curd:

  • Squished 200g of raspberries in a bowl & placed this over a pan of simmering water.
  • Added 150g rose sugar – complete with rose petals.
  • Grated in the zest of an organic lemon.
  • Squeezed in the lemon juice.
  • Blitzed with a stick blender.
  • Added 60g unsalted butter and stirred until melted.
  • Whisked in 2 duck eggs (equivalent to 2 large hens eggs).
  • Stirred over the heat for a good twenty minutes until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Sieved mixture and poured into two sterilised jars.
 
Each time I make a new curd I think it has been the best ever. When I tried this one, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
 
 
For the raspberry & rose white chocolate cupcakes I pretty much followed my recipe for the apricot curd cupcakes with the following exceptions:
  • used rose sugar rather than cardamom sugar in the cake batter.
  • creamed the butter & sugar then beat in the melted white chocolate.
  • substituting the curd for raspberry rather than apricot, both in the batter and the mascarpone topping.
  • swirled the curd through the batter rather than layering it in the middle.
 
These too were completely delicious and although the lemon curd cupcakes I also made were very good, these definitely pipped them at the post. Mascarpone and fruit curd is another match made in heaven! My one disappointment was that the lovely spotty pink cupcake cases I bought especially for these cupcakes came away from the cakes soon after baking. So the beautiful presentation I’d envisaged was not to be. I tried sorting them out with elastic bands, but this gave them a crazed dancer look which I think might have been even worse.

Rhubarb Honey Cakes with Rose – aka Nonnettes

Rhubarb Honey Cakes flavoured with rose aka Nonnettes.

These delicious rhubarb honey cakes, known as nonnettes in France are lightly flavoured with rose. They’re made with the addition of rye flour but without eggs. This gives them an almost silky mouthfeel with a delightfully soft texture.

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Passionfruit Curd

Passionfruit Curd

Preserves | 10th May 2012 | By

Passionfruit curd is something that has been niggling away at the back of my mind since I saw the post about it on Chocolate Teapot nearly three years ago. This reminded me of the recipe in Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, which I’d been meaning to make since I bought the book over a decade ago ago. You can perhaps see a pattern emerging here – fast is not my middle name! Although both of these recipes sounded good, I preferred a version without seeds as I wanted to use the curd in a cake. So, back in March, I finally got around to making what promised to be the best fruit curd ever. I based my version on a recipe I saw over at thepassionatecook.

This is how I did it:

  • Cut 3 passionfruit in half and scooped out the flesh.
  • Rubbed through a sieve to remove seeds trying to extract as much juice as possible.
  • Placed juice in a bowl with 40g cardamom (caster) sugar and 1 duck egg.
  • Whisked thoroughly.
  • Placed bowl over a pan of simmering water and carried on whisking,
  • Added 25g unsalted butter & continued to whisk for about twenty minutes until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Poured into a jar.

This was indeed the best fruit curd ever, I loved the colour and I loved the taste. It was so delicious and there was so little of it, I thought it would be rather a waste to use it in a cake, so instead we had it on scones one day and on toast the next. However, when I found out that my first Clandestine Cake Club meeting had a fruit theme, my idea for a passionfruit curd cake began to re-form. So, it wasn’t long after making my first batch of passionfruit curd, that I then made my second.

I am submitting this to Jac’s Bookmarked Recipes over at Tinned Tomatoes which was founded by Ruth of Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments.

Pumpkin Butter

Preserves | 21st November 2011 | By

This is another of my recipes that isn’t a chocolate one, but can be justified appearing here because it WILL be used in a chocolate recipe – to be posted shortly! Adapted from the excellent blog One Perfect Bite, where you will find the photograph is so much better than mine, I have reduced the amount of sugar and spices and increased the apple juice content. There is much debate as to whether pumpkin butter can be water processed, thus extending its life to a year or so; as the debate has not proved conclusive either way, I thought I’d go with the safest method – the ‘keep it in the fridge and try and use it within a month’ one. This is how I did it:

  • Cut a big chunk out of the last of our Boston Marrow pumpkins.
  • Peeled and de-seeded it, then cut it into small chunks (about 1″ sq) to weigh about 2.5 lb.
  • Placed in a large pan with 1 cup of very local apple juice, kindly given by a friend.
  • Brought to the boil, then simmered (with the lid on) until soft – approximately 30 minutes.
  • Pureed this with a hand blender.
  • Stirred in 1 cup of granulated sugar and the following spices: 1 rounded tsp ground ginger, 1 rounded tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cloves and a good grating of nutmeg.
  • Simmered this gently (with the lid off) for a further hour, stirring occasionally, until the mixture was thick and leaving a well defined trail when a spoon was dragged through it.
  • Spooned into 6 warm sterilised jars.
  • Left to cool and placed in the fridge.
Sweet and spicy with a gorgeous warm orange colour, this is my kind of food and was delicious on a slice of toast this morning. I’m now thinking I might have to make some pumpkin scones to go with it. 
I’m linking this to Ren’s Simple and in Season monthly event which she hosts on her fabulous blog Fabulicious Food – I just so love that name.

Apple and Lemon Curd

Preserves | 9th October 2011 | By

I have a commission to make the cakes for a friend’s Open House weekend. This feels quite a responsibility and is taking some planning, but it’s also fun as I’ve been given free rein to bake what I like. The only specific request I’ve had are for some of the apple rock cakes I made back in August. I haven’t fully decided what I’m going to do yet, but with an ongoing apple glut, it seemed timely to prepare some apple and lemon curd to be used as filling or topping or both. The idea for this came when browsing through the excellent Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No 2 by Pam Corbin. I followed the spirit of Pam’s recipe but not its exact method or quantities.

This is what I did:

  • Peeled, cored and roughly chopped 5 windfall Cornish apples (variety unknown) to give just over 350g flesh.
  • Simmered this in a pan with a splash of water until soft then blitzed to a smooth puree with an electric hand blender.
  • Put this into a Pyrex bowl and placed over a pan of simmering water. Added 200g cardamom sugar and stirred until the sugar had dissolved.
  • Grated in the zest from one organic lemon (reasons for using unwaxed lemons can be found here), then squeezed in the juice.
  • Stirred in 80g unsalted butter until it had melted and all was smooth.
  • Beat in 2 duck eggs (large hens eggs would have been fine) and whisked until all smooth.
  • Gave an occasional whisk over the next 15 minutes until the mixture had thickened.
  • Pressed through a sieve. This probably wasn’t necessary as the mixture was perfectly smooth and creamy looking at this point, but I’m a bit particular when it comes to eggs and can’t stand any “bits”.
  • Poured into 3 sterilised jars, covered with waxed discs then screwed on the lids.
  • Left to cool and stored in the fridge.

This set really well and was buttery, smooth and soft. It was lemony for sure, but with noticeable fruity overtones – delicious. This was sweeter than either the lime & ginger curd or apricot curd I made earlier in the year even though I used less than half the amount of sugar stated in the recipe with 2/3 of the apple. It was also creamier and less sharp so will hopefully make a good stand alone filling for a cake.

Susan, whose blog title splendidly encapsulates the essence of her blog, A little bit of heaven on a plate, is running a home made and well preserved challenge. This is my entry.

Ruth from the The Pink Whisk has just started a monthly challenge and this one fits nicely into her October theme – Apples.

Apricot and Cardamom Curd

Preserves | 16th July 2011 | By

Another post which isn’t a chocolate one – yet! It will be used for a future chocolate recipe though. Apricots are the ingredient chosen by Chele for this month’s We Should Cocoa. Don’t you just love the colour of apricots? I certainly do. When I saw a recipe for Apricot Curd over at Home Baked, it seemed like a useful thing to have to hand. Not that I have yet decided what I’m going to make – several ideas are still circulating in my mind. I used a slightly different method to Hannah as I’d heard whisking the lemon juice into the eggs helped to “cook” the eggs, so wanted to do that bit first. I also used a little less sugar as I don’t like things too sweet and the sugar I used was cardamom sugar – an idea I got from hearing about Vanessa Kimbell’s book Prepped.

This is what I did:

  • Simmered 4 large stoned and chopped apricots (225g) in a splash of water for about 10 minutes until soft.
  • Grated the zest from an organic lemon and squeezed out the juice.
  • Whisked this together with 2 duck eggs in a bowl large enough to sit on a pan of simmering water.
  • Placed the bowl on the pan and whisked in 200g cardamom sugar.
  • Added the apricots and continued to whisk.
  • Whisked occasionally until the mixture was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Strained through a sieve (there were a few hard threads in the apricots which would have given an unpleasant texture).
  • Poured into 3 small sterilised jars.
This tasted divine – creamy apricot with a refreshing zing, what’s not to like? It set better than the lime curd and had a firmer texture. Since writing the above, I’ve used it in some cupcakes which will feature in a later post.

Ginger and Lime Curd – Smooth Zingy and Zesty

Two jars of lime and ginger curd.

Preserves | 10th May 2011 | By

Smooth and rich with plenty of zing and zest and just a hint of ginger. Once you’ve made it, this ginger and lime curd may just become your go to fruit curd. Spread it on bread, pile it onto scones or fill your cakes with it.

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The Best Chilli Sauce You Will Ever Taste

Chilli Sauce

Gifts, Preserves, Sauces | 11th November 2009 | By

This recipe really is for the best chilli sauce you will ever taste. It’s a medium hot ketchup style chilli sauce, but is packed with flavour. It can be used as an ingredient in recipes, but is at its best drizzled over the top of eggs, tomato dishes or spread into a cheese or tofu sandwich.

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