Review: William Curley Chocolate Club – March 2015

William Curley March box
As mentioned in my first review of the William Curley Chocolate Club, I’m lucky enough to have a 3-month subscription to their lovely little boxes of joy. As the contents of each box vary from month to month, I thought I’d give a quick rundown of the second box I received, this time for March.

The treats again came packaged in a beautiful black box with a ribbon, but I forgot to take a picture in my haste to get to the contents! Never mind – here’s what was inside:

  • House dark truffles
  • Sea salt caramel mou sweets
  • Pistachio sables
  • House dark 65 chocolate bar
  • Aztec hot chocolate

William Curley house dark truffles
The house dark truffles were the first thing I tried, and they were as good as I expected considering how much I enjoyed a similar truffle in the February box. Rich, smooth and oh so flavoursome, I could have easily had 10 of these!

William Curley sea salt caramel mou
I was really excited about trying the sea salt caramel mou sweets, because they looked and sounded so good! The caramel was divine – absolutely perfect, in fact – and the hint of sea salt made these sweets genuinely delicious.

William Curley pistachio sables
I was surprised and excited to see these pistachio sables in the box – I’d assumed everything would be chocolate or sweet-based. But as I love pistachios, I couldn’t wait to try these. The biscuits were very shortbread-like – buttery and crumbly – and the pistachio flavour was amazing intense. They really didn’t skimp on the pistachios when making these, for which I am eternally grateful!

William Curley house dark chocolate bar
This is basically William Curley’s ‘standard’ dark chocolate bar with 65% cocoa solids, but there was nothing standard at all about the flavour! The packaging referred to ‘ripe fruit notes’ that were definitely there and made this a lot more enjoyable than absentmindedly tucking into your average bar of dark chocolate.

Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownies
I haven’t actually had the Aztec hot chocolate as a proper drink yet, but I used some of it in the Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownies I made recently. I had a taste before throwing it in, and it seems to be a nicely intense dark chocolate with just a hint of chilli. Hopefully I’ll get round to sampling it as a drink soon!

Overall, this was another excellent box that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m sad that the next box will be my last one (under this subscription anyway!), but I’m looking forward to seeing what it contains!

Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownies

Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownies
I’ve had a craving for something extremely chocolatey for the last couple of weeks, so I thought I’d give in and bake some brownies for the first time in a while. My boyfriend had been talking about cooking something Mexican at some point, which prompted me to look for a dessert to match – and that’s when I found the recipe for these Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownies.

I’ve seen a few recipes for chilli brownies before, but this one seemed unique thanks to the addition of cinnamon, which goes really well with chocolate.

As mentioned, I did want to make something *really* chocolatey, so I adapted the recipe to include more than just cocoa powder. As well as the cocoa, I threw in some chopped dark chocolate (just standard supermarket chocolate) and a little bit of the Aztec hot chocolate I got in the most recent William Curley subscription box.

Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownies - the chocolate I used
In the original recipe, the chilli kick comes from a quarter of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, but I read some comments that suggested this doesn’t make the brownies spicy enough. So I thought I was well within my rights to add the Aztec hot chocolate (which has a hint of chilli) and also up the amount of cayenne pepper to half a teaspoon.

Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownie mix
I only thought to taste the mix after I’d transferred it to the tin, and at first I thought it still wasn’t spicy enough – so I liberally sprinkled some more cayenne pepper on top.

After I put the tin in the oven, though, I realised that I could detect a distinct burn from the bit of mix I’d tasted – which probably meant that I’d made the brownies too spicy by adding more cayenne, as I have a higher than average tolerance for chilli (I regularly complain to my mum – the curry queen – that her food isn’t hot enough!).

Oops…

Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownies
I found that I had to leave the brownies in the oven for longer than the recipe said, which is pretty standard for me when making brownies! I took them out when they still looked a bit wobbly in the middle, but I probably should have left them in for a bit longer, as the brownies in the middle were definitely a lot gooier than the ones around the edges. They were still gobbled up, though!

Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownies
Gooey or not, the brownies were absolutely delicious – and not too spicy at all, in the end! The chilli kick was pretty faint for me, but everyone who tasted them also said it was just a background flavour and not too much, so that was a relief.

I’m glad I added the extra chocolate because it really did add an extra dimension, especially the chopped dark chocolate, which created little pockets of gooey loveliness throughout the brownies. The cinnamon definitely lifted these brownies above your bog standard chocolate brownies.

I would definitely make these again – but perhaps add even more cayenne next time…!

Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownies
Mexican chilli and cinnamon brownies recipe

Adapted from this recipe.

Makes 18

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 50g to 100g chilli hot chocolate (I used William Curley Aztec hot chocolate)
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you’d like it spicier!)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/180C. Line a 9 in x 13 in baking tin with a piece of baking parchment/greaseproof paper big enough to hang over the sides.
  2. Gently melt the butter in a large saucepan without letting it come to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla to the saucepan and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the cocoa powder, chopped chocolate, hot chocolate, flour, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and baking powder to the saucepan. Stir gently until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and tip it from side to side to get the mix into all the corners. Bake for at least 20-25 minutes – if the mix still looks wobbly and liquid, leave the tin in the oven and check at 5 or 10-minute intervals until the brownies are cooked and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with fudgy mix on it.
  6. Cool the brownies in the tin, cut them into 18 pieces and remove them by lifting the paper out of the tin.

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns
As mentioned several times before, I’m trying to practice my bread-making more, as I’m not particularly good at it. These Easter hot cross buns from a Paul Hollywood recipe presented a bit of a challenge for me, but I think I just about overcame it!

One of the intriguing things about this recipe is the addition of chunks of fresh apple, which help keep the hot cross buns moist and add a bit more flavour. There are also a lot of sultanas and mixed peel, along with a generous helping of cinnamon.

The main issue I had to grapple with was, as always, the proving of the dough. The recipe says it takes 4 hours in total to prove the dough (you need to do it three times), but the whole thing including baking took me well over 7 hours!

Hot cross buns
The problem was that the dough seemed ridiculously slow to rise. Things improved when I attempted to warm up the kitchen, covered the trays with greased clingfilm instead of placing them in plastic bags and placed the final shaped dough balls on a chair in front of a hot oven (the last two points are Lorraine Pascale tips!), but I suspect the sheer weight of all the fruit in the dough inhibited the rise somewhat. Either that or I should have kneaded the dough a lot more!

I also had issues with shaping the dough into nice, neat, round buns, which is an ongoing problem for me! Some of the buns ended up slightly deformed as a result, but I just ate those first…

Hot cross buns
I baked the buns in two batches. The first batch was nearly burnt on top, so I put the second batch in for a few minutes less than the first, which seemed to help.

Hot cross buns
Despite the near-burning and the proving issues, the buns tasted so good. The first one I had, fresh from the oven, was absolutely delicious and beautifully sticky from the apricot jam glaze. They were equally good toasted and buttered, too. I really can tell the difference between these and shop-bought hot cross buns!

Would I make these again? Well, perhaps in the height of summer and when I know I have a whole day free! If you have a warmer kitchen than mine, I would recommend this recipe. Paul Hollywood might be a harsh taskmaster, but his bread recipes really do tend to be a cut above the rest.

Hot cross buns
Paul Hollywood’s hot cross buns recipe

Can be found here: http://paulhollywood.com/recipes/easter-hot-cross-buns/

Portuguese egg custard tarts

Portuguese egg custard tarts
I have a huge list of things I would quite like to bake that has been in the making for a few years (see my Pinterest board!). I’ll probably never get round to making even half of them. However, sometimes I spot a recipe that grabs me enough to make me want to get baking straight away – and these Portuguese egg custard tarts are one such recipe.

Portuguese egg custard tarts
I saw this recipe in BBC Good Food magazine and immediately started thinking about when I could make them. It’s odd, because while I love a custard tart, I’ve never really thought that much about making them – especially as I’m still a bit nervous with pastry.

Portuguese egg custard tarts
However, the recipe seemed fairly straightforward and Portuguese egg custard tarts have such a good reputation that I just knew I had to make these. The pastry is a quick version of proper puff pastry and is more flaky than anything else, as it doesn’t have as many layers as standard puff pastry.

Pastry for Portuguese egg custard tarts
It involves making a basic pastry and then layering it with grated butter, folding, turning and layering again, before chilling in the fridge. It wasn’t too fiddly; the most difficult part for me was rolling out the pastry sheet to the right size each time.

Then it was a matter of rolling up the pastry sheet, cutting it into 12 and rolling out each bit into circles to line a muffin tin.

Pastry for Portuguese egg custard tarts

Pastry for Portuguese egg custard tarts

Pastry for Portuguese egg custard tarts
The custard was also easy enough to make. I’ve never made it before, but I know it can quickly go wrong, so I kept a close eye on it all the way through and followed the recipe to the letter. And it worked!

Making custard for Portuguese egg custard tarts

Custard for Portuguese egg custard tarts

Custard!

I think my muffin tin must be on the small side, because I only used up about two-thirds of the custard when filling the pastry cases. It keeps in the fridge for a few days, though, so I had some of the rest with a quick microwaved syrup sponge a few days later.

The custard puffs up in the oven, and you need to make sure it doesn’t rise and sink while the tarts are still baking. They should puff up before you take them out, and then sink while they’re cooling.

Portuguese egg custard tarts
And that’s it! The tarts were so delicious. I’ve never had the ‘proper’ Portuguese variety before, but if the ones I made are anything like the real thing, they must be bloody good.

Why not give these a go for Easter?

Portuguese egg custard tarts

Portuguese egg custard tarts
Portuguese egg custard tarts recipe

Can be found on the BBC Good Food website here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/portuguese-egg-custard-tarts

Spinach and feta pizza pie

Spinach and feta pizza pie
This is a bit of an impromptu post; I wasn’t intending to blog about this spinach and feta pizza pie I made a couple of days ago, but I was asked for the recipe after posting a photo on Instagram and I thought I might as well get a blog post out of it!

In case you don’t know what a pizza pie (or deep dish pizza) is, it’s basically a pie made out of pizza dough with a filling in the middle and a conventional cheese and tomato topping (with whatever else you want to throw on top). It’s just the BEST invention if you love pizza!

I’ve made this with my boyfriend a couple of times before; the first time went well, but the pizza dough was a bit of a disaster the second time. However, I’m pleased to report that it went swimmingly this time round.

There’s a bit of effort involved with this wondrous creation, but it’s well worth it. The filling isn’t too difficult to knock up, but you need to prepare the spinach properly so it doesn’t go watery during baking.

Unfortunately, we haven’t managed to quite get the knack of it, but it’s still delicious regardless of how watery the filling is.

It’s worth either following the original recipe exactly (so use both Swiss chard and spinach, instead of just spinach as we’ve always done due to not being able to find Swiss chard in the shops) or using an alternative filling – I reckon roasted vegetables and mozzarella would work really well, or even a bolognese sauce.

Spinach and feta pizza pie
Apologies for the lack of photos, but I would have taken more if I’d known I was going to write a blog! The recipe below is based on this one. I originally found it in Vegetarian Living magazine, but it looks like the online version is a bit different, so the below is the version I’ve got with some extra changes/suggestions based on my experience of making this.

Spinach and feta pizza pie recipe

Serves 6

For the pizza crust dough:

  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 185ml lukewarm water
  • 0.75 tsp sugar
  • 225g strong flour, plus extra for rolling/dusting
  • 50g polenta
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing

For the tomato sauce (or use 200-250ml ready-made pizza sauce):

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g butter
  • 0.5 onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 200g chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 sundried tomatoes, drained of oil
  • 0.5 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper

For the filling:

  • 850g Swiss chard (or spinach, but beware of the wateriness!)
  • 250g spinach (frozen is – bizarrely – less watery than fresh. Defrost it first.)
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped chives or spring onions
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 265g cottage cheese (drain off any excess water)
  • 250g feta, crumbled
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp chopped oregano (or use dried oregano)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 35g pecorino cheese, grated + 1 tbsp extra (or use parmesan)

To make the pizza pie crust:

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1.5 tbsp of the lukewarm water.
  2. Add the sugar and 1.5 tbsp of the flour, and mix well.
  3. Cover with clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm place for 15 minutes.
  4. Add about half of the remaining water, all of the remaining flour, and the polenta, salt and olive oil, and mix well, adding more water if needed to create a soft dough that’s not too wet. Use the heel of your hands to work the dough for 5 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic.
  5. Lightly grease the inside of another large bowl with olive oil and transfer the dough to it. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove for 45-60 minutes, or until it has doubled in size. While it’s proving, make the tomato sauce (see below).
  6. Dust a work surface with flour and tip out the dough. Knock it back with one good punch to let any air out. Cup your hands over the dough and roll it around on the surface to create a smooth ball.
  7. Place the dough on a lightly greased baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove again for 15 minutes.

To make the tomato sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan until the butter has melted.
  2. Add the garlic and onion and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes, until well softened.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and oregano, and simmer until the sauce has reduced to a rich, thick consistency – about 15 mins.
  4. Season to taste. Set aside and leave to cool.

To make the filling and assemble the pizza pie:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
  2. Remove the woody stalks from the Swiss chard and spinach (if using fresh). Blanch the leaves for 2 minutes in salted boiling water then drain well, squeezing out the excess moisture with your hands and then wringing out any remaining moisture with a clean tea towel. At this point you can try to dry out the leaves further in the oven, on a low heat setting.
  3. Chop the leaves very finely and combine with the chives/spring onions, dill, cottage cheese, feta, eggs, oregano and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin with olive oil and lightly dust a work surface.
  5. Separate the pizza crust dough into two balls, one weighing around 330g and the other around 170g.
  6. Roll out the larger ball of dough into a 35cm circle that’s about 3mm thick.
  7. Gently fit the dough to the cake tin, pressing firmly into the corners and up the sides so that there’s a 2.5cm overhang. Cover with a tea towel and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Spoon the filling into the dough-lined tin and spread evenly.
  9. Roll out the remaining dough into a 20cm wide, 3mm thick circle. Prick it all over with a fork.
  10. Place the circle of dough on top of the filling in the tin. Fold the overhang of the other piece of dough over the top to form a thick edge.
  11. Spoon the tomato sauce on top and spread evenly.
  12. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and bake the pizza pie for 15 mins, before rotating it and baking for another 15 minutes.
  13. Sprinkle the pecorino or parmesan on top and bake for a final 15 minutes or until the pizza is golden and crisp.
  14. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of pecorino/parmesan on top.
  15. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before releasing the pie from the tin. Serve and enjoy your pizza pie!

Review: William Curley Chocolate Club – February 2015

William Curley Chocolate Club subscription box
Today’s post is a bit of a departure from my usual baking-related accounts. I haven’t baked anything new/worth blogging about in a few weeks, but I have been enjoying a rather wonderful subscription box courtesy of the Curley Chocolate Club, run by chocolatier extraordinaire William Curley.

I received a 3-month subscription as a leaving gift some time ago and activated it to begin in February. I’ve now consumed the lot (and received my March box!), so I thought I’d review it.

William Curley Chocolate Club subscription box
First, just look at that beautiful box! It screams luxury before you even see the contents, doesn’t it?

And then you open it and go ‘ooooh!’. Or I did, anyway.

William Curley Chocolate Club subscription box
So, what did I get? The contents of the February box were:

  • A selection of 4 flavoured chocolates
  • Orangette (orange confit and dark chocolate batons)
  • Millionaire (a chunky biscuit, caramel and chocolate bar)
  • Suisse Rocher Dark Chocolate (caramelised almond batons covered in dark chocolate)
  • White chocolate and raspberry bar

I was determined to make my goodies last for as long as possible (or at least until the next box arrived)! I started off with the flavoured chocolates, as their best before date was coming up soon.

William Curley chocolate assortment

Top row: Amedei Chuao and apricot & wasabi Bottom row: Piedmont hazelnut and coconut

The leaflet that came with these informed me that I had a rather varied selection of flavours: Amedei Chuao truffle, apricot and wasabi, Piedmont hazelnut and coconut. I immediately went for the coconut and thoroughly enjoyed it (of course).

The next one I tried was my favourite – the Amedei Chuao truffle made from 70% dark chocolate. It was super smooth, rich and oh so flavoursome. I usually prefer milk chocolate to dark when eating chocolate on its own, but this truffle was so enjoyable I could have had 10 more!

The Piedmont hazelnut chocolate was lovely, while the apricot and wasabi chocolate was a little odd but delicious. The wasabi flavour is really delicate (thankfully) and unusual in a fruit chocolate like this, but so nice!

William Curley Suisse Rocher almond batons
Next up: the dark chocolate-covered caramelised almond batons. I already knew I was going to love these before my first taste, as I’m a huge fan of almonds and have fond memories of the toscakaka I made a while ago, which introduced me to the joy of combining almonds and caramel.

They were SO delicious and really hard to put down. The caramelised almond centres were just beautiful, and the chocolate added an extra layer of flavour that made the batons amazingly addictive. I would buy these on their own!

William Curley Millionaire
I shared the Millionaire bar with my boyfriend, as he absolutely loves millionaire’s shortbread. It was very similar to your standard piece of millionaire’s shortbread, albeit with nicer (and more) chocolate and a particularly generous helping of gooey caramel. The biscuit wasn’t a standard shortbread – it was a bit crunchier – but it was still lovely.

William Curley Orangette

William Curley Orangette

The next treat to try was the Orangette batons. They were scrumptious – the centre of these was a chewy, tangy and slightly bitter orange confit (like a really thick and luxurious marmalade), with dark chocolate on the outside. Orange and chocolate is such a great combination, and the batons were definitely a cut above your average Jaffa cake!

William Curley white chocolate and raspberry bar
Finally, it was time for the last treat in the box: a delectable white chocolate bar with tangy raspberry bits. White chocolate and raspberry is a classic combination and I couldn’t fault this bar at all – the chocolate was beautifully sweet and creamy, and the raspberry wasn’t at all overpowering. Perfect!

Overall, I was blown away by the quality of the contents of this box. I’d never tried William Curley’s chocolate before (the poshest chocolates I’d previously had were Hotel Chocolat’s), but I’m a firm fan now! Every type of chocolate was just so tasty, and the flavour combinations were fantastic.

If you’re looking for a fancy present for the chocolate lover in your life, you really can’t go wrong with the Curley Chocolate Club. I can’t wait to try my March box now!

Melopita AKA Greek honey pie

Melopita Greek honey pie
I’ve never had much luck with cheesecake. In fact, the last time I made it was such a disaster that I decided I wasn’t going to attempt it again for a long time. Well, I think I finally struck it lucky with this honey pie AKA melopita AKA Greek cheesecake.

I spotted the recipe on Pinterest a while ago and was struck by how simple yet delicious it looked. There’s no (buttery) biscuit base here; it’s all about the honey and cheese, which in this case is a hell of a lot of ricotta (as I had no idea where to find myzithra in Manchester).

Melopita Greek honey pie
I can’t stress how easy this is to make. All you do is mix the ingredients together, transfer the mix to a tin and bake. Even I couldn’t get that wrong with my cheesecake-destroying ways!

Melopita Greek honey pie
I left the pie in the oven for longer than the recipe said, as it looked very wobbly and pale at the end of 40 minutes. I took it out when the top looked more set and golden. For reference, I didn’t make the whole recipe; I used 500g of ricotta instead of 600g and reduced the weight of the other ingredients accordingly. As you can see, the top cracked as the pie cooled!

Melopita Greek honey pie
We had the pie as a dessert after a Greek-themed meal and served it as suggested, with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon on top. It was absolutely delicious – rich, fragrant and just the right sort of sweet.

Unlike the last time I made cheesecake, I will definitely make melopita again – and soon!

The recipe

Can be found on the Cook Me Greek blog here.

Banana and chocolate spice cake

Banana and chocolate spice cake
I wonder if there’s anything else you should do with overripe bananas other than put them in a cake? There probably is, but baking a cake is always going to be my first choice. I ended up making this banana and chocolate spice cake after ending up with three very ripe bananas earlier in the week, and it’s so good!

The recipe is from Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen, which I picked up for mere pennies in a sale a couple of months ago. This is the first recipe I’ve tried from the book, and it went like a dream.

Banana and chocolate spice cake
The cake is basically your typical banana cake with spices such as cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. The recipe says you can also add a handful of chopped nuts, but I opted for some chopped milk chocolate instead.

I also substituted the creme fraiche with soured cream, as that was all I had in (and I know from experience that soured cream is a truly magical cake ingredient!), as well as swapping the light muscovado sugar for light brown sugar.

I had to leave the cake in the oven for close to an hour rather than 45 minutes as called for in the recipe, but it was perfectly baked when it did come out.

Banana and chocolate spice cake
Believe me when I say that this is a truly scrumptious cake. The spices and banana go together perfectly (especially the cardamom) and the pockets of chocolate take the cake to the next level.

I’ve mostly been having this cold, but last night I tried it warm with ice cream and that was delicious too! I do have one (nice) problem though: it’s such a big cake that I’m struggling to get through it all by myself. I would recommend baking this when you have a crowd to feed!

The recipe

An adapted version can be found here. To make the same version as mine, make the following substitutions:

  • Swap the golden caster sugar with normal caster sugar
  • Swap the spelt flour with plain flour
  • Swap the unsalted butter for salted butter
  • Swap the creme fraiche for soured cream
  • Swap the nuts for 65g of chopped milk chocolate

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins Now this is a lovely recipe for when you want something that’s sweet, (sort of) good for you and quick to make. These oat, blueberry and honey muffins are really easy to whip up and are delicious – plus there’s no butter in these, just oil and milk instead, so you can fool yourself into thinking you can have more than just one!

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins
The recipe is much like most other muffin recipes – make up the dry and wet mixes, then carefully combine them without overmixing. The original recipe called for raisins, but I replaced these with blueberries as I happened to have some in the fridge.

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins
I also increased the amount of sugar in the mix, as blueberries aren’t quite as sweet as raisins. You end up with a rather wet mix, but that’s apparently what it should be like! Cue lots of messiness as I attempted to spoon the mix into the muffin cases…

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins
The muffins baked in 20 minutes, but I think I would give them a couple of minutes longer next time, due to the extra moisture provided by the fresh fruit. Still, these are scrumptious – not too sweet and lovely and purple inside!

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins
The original recipe says to have these for lunch with cheese or on their own with some butter and extra honey, both of which I might try over the next couple of days. If there are any left after today, that is!

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins
The recipe

Makes 12 muffins

  • 250g plain flour
  • 85g porridge oats
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 100g blueberries
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 200ml milk
  • 75ml vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp honey

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan 180C. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases, or butter the holes directly.
  2. Mix the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and blueberries together.
  3. In another bowl, mix the eggs, milk, oil, sugar and honey.
  4. Add the wet mix to the flour mix and stir until just combined. The mix should be fairly runny.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until risen and golden on top.
  6. Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve alone, with cheese or buttered with honey.

Lemon and coconut cake with strawberry jam

Lemon and coconut cake with strawberry jam
Well, it’s been a little while since my last post. I haven’t really had the time to bake much recently; I went to Paris the other week (it was amazing) but, unfortunately, my new job didn’t quite work out, so I’m now a freelance copywriter and on the hunt for a new permanent role. It’s all been a bit unexpected and fairly stressful, but I’m past the worst now – so much so that I made this rather lovely lemon and coconut cake with strawberry jam earlier in the week!

The recipe is by Chetna Makan of GBBO fame. You may remember that I’m a huge fan of hers and that I successfully made her masala chai baklava a few months ago. This traybake was a tad easier to make and I got to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes in the process – throwing way more coconut into the mix than the recipe calls for.

Lemon and coconut cake with strawberry jam
The recipe is really easy to follow. Just make a basic cake mix, stir lemon zest and dessicated coconut into it, bake and then top the cooled cake with jam and more dessicated coconut. The recipe says to use raspberry jam, which is the classic choice when it comes to coconut, but I didn’t have any and used strawberry jam instead.

Amazingly for me, the cake baked perfectly in the time specified by the recipe. It’s a miracle! I’m a fairly impatient person and found it difficult waiting for the cake to cool so I could top it and eat it, but I just about managed it. The resulting cake was delicious – the sponge itself wasn’t overly sweet, but the jam balanced that out and the tang of the lemon zest was beautiful. Just what I needed after an insane few weeks!

Lemon and coconut cake with strawberry jam
I would heartily recommend this cake if you’re looking for something really easy to knock up for teatime. I can imagine that it would be a lovely pudding served warm with custard, too!

Lemon and coconut cake with strawberry jam
The recipe

Can be found on the Food Network website here.