Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Millionaires Shortbread Semifreddo

"Can we make Caramel Shortbread?"

And the temperature sky rockets to 30o/c. Standing over a hot vat of sugar didn't appeal.

Cold, soft and creamy caramel slices of Semifreddo sandwiched between a light biscuit base and a snappy chocolate topping is sheer bliss.


Biscuit Base
80gr soft butter
50gr caster sugar
150gr plain flour
Small pinch of salt

Caramel Semifreddo
300ml double cream
100ml condensed milk
25ml caramel flavoured syrup (like Monin)

Chocolate Topping
100gr dark chocolate
25gr butter


1, Preheat your oven to 160o/c
2, Make the biscuit base first by creaming the butter and sugar together and fold through the flour and salt until you have a soft dough.
3, Spray a 1lb loaf tin with cake release spray and press in the dough. Bake for 25-30minutes until golden brown. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning onto cooling rack. It is quite fragile. Cool completely.
4, When the biscuit base is completely cold, wash and line the same loaf tin with cling film and carefully place the biscuit base back into the tin.
5, Make the Semifreddo by whipping the cream, condensed milk and caramel syrup together until soft peaks. Top the biscuit with the Semifreddo and smooth out any air bubbles and the top. Cover with cling film and freeze for a minimum of four hours or until solid.
6, When it has set solid, melt the chocolate and butter together, cool slightly and spread over the top. Return to the freezer for ten minutes. Slice and serve.

I'm entering this into the Semifreddo Blue Ribbon Challenge at Crunchy Creamy Sweet and also into Kavey Eats condensed milk Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge.

Monday, 23 July 2012

We Should Cocoa: Duck Breast with Red Wine, Blackcurrant & Chocolate Sauce

This months We Should Cocoa is hosted by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog who fastened the strap on her bad cop hat to give us a challenge of blackcurrants. Last month's whopper two part coffee round up hosted by The Kitchenmaid can be seen here and here.

This is one of those recipes where you are just kind of making it up as you go along. My though process went a little like:-

Duck, sauce? Sauce! Shallot, red wine, ooh, bit of jam, ooh, blackcurrant jam, We Should Cocoa, chocolate! Butter! Hooray!

I might have to add that my thought processes aren't always so... Erm... Nevermind. Here it is - duck breast with red wine, blackcurrant and chocolate sauce!

2 duck breasts - trimmed, scored and seasoned on both sides

2 shallots finely diced
1tsbp balsamic vinegar
75ml red wine
1 1/2 tsp blackcurrant jam
Grated dark chocolate to taste
Small knob of butter

Salad leaves for serving.

1, Place an oven proof dish on the middle shelf of your oven and preheat it to 200o/c.
2, Heat a frying pan over a low medium heat and place the prepared duck breasts, skin side down. Gently cook these for around six minutes or until the skin is golden brown. Quickly sear on the other side of the breast and transfer to the preheated dish, skin side down. Remove from the oven after six to eight minutes dependant on how you like your duck cooked. Six minutes will be a pink medium. Cover with foil and leave to rest for 4-5minutes before serving. Prepare the sauce whilst the duck is in the oven.
3, In the same frying pan that you used to pan fry the duck, drain off a little of the rendered fat and quickly sauté off the shallots until they are golden. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar and red wine. Simmer gently until the alcohol has cooked off and reduced by around half.
4, Stir in the jam until dissolved and check for seasoning. Remove from the heat and add in grated chocolate to taste. I didn't want a hugely chocolatey sauce but simply that little hit of cocoa that works so well with gamey meats.
5, Finish the sauce by stirring in the butter and pour over your sliced duck breast. Serve with a simple salad.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Brunch: Kuramathi Tuna & Roti

Post honeymoon blues.

I'm convinced my tan is fading. I've used up all but a couple of days of my work holiday entitlement. I doubt I'll be able to wear a maxi dress again any time soon. Or pretty sandals. 10 days of pure bliss.

So, in honor of the best getaway we have ever had - I've recreated our favourite breakfast we ate whilst we were there. This was also served with a firm, meaty style fish in a light coconut curry sauce and rice but the spicy tuna and soft roti were the star of the show.

Spicy Tuna

1 can of responsibly fished tuna in oil, drained. I used a supermarket own brand pole and line caught Maldivian Tuna. If you use brined tuna, simply add a tablespoon of flavourless oil as well so it isnt too dry
1 small shallot, finely sliced
1/2 red pepper, chopped finely
Small handful of coriander, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Small pinch of dried red chilli, salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Juice of half a lemon

1, Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly until the tuna has broken up and distributed evenly through the rest of the ingredients.
2, Cover with cling film and refrigerate. Remove from the fridge ten minutes before serving.

I used this recipe for roti to accompany the tuna and simply cooked them in a dry frying pan.

I am entering this into Fuss Free Flavours' holiday themed Breakfast Club. You can see details on how to enter here.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Strawberry & Blueberry Promise Cake

Dear Purple Picnic Bench,

I'm writing this to apologise.

It's July. And we haven't sat outside once on your creaky limbs properly this year. We haven't laid plates on your peeling table top, teetered wine glasses on that uneven part, carefully stood up to avoid tipping and I haven't made impromptu floral table centre pieces out of small flowerpots and fauna. We haven't discussed things over you. We haven't strewn you with tea lights in mason jars when the night closes slowly in.

You served as a potting table only to watch a lot of those seedlings eaten by snails. A cat has not sunbathed on your benches. You're currently upended by the shed to afford you some protection from the rain.

I made this cake as a test. When the sun finally does come out, I'll make another. We'll sit with you and eat it. I promise.



50gr butter
50gr caster sugar
1 egg
80ml buttermilk
2tbsp milk
100gr self raising flour
200gr strawberries, sliced
50gr blueberries

Crumble Topping
20gr plain flour
10gr butter
20gr caster sugar
15gr ground almonds

Cream for serving (optional)

1, Preheat your oven to 170o/c and spray a 7 inch pie dish with cake release.
2, In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy followed by the egg.
3, Beat in the buttermilk and milk and then fold in the flour.
4, Rub together the crumble ingredients until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
5, Transfer the batter into the prepared pie dish and scatter the fruit on top. Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the fruit is starting to bubble and the crumble topping is golden brown.
6, Serve hot or cold with thick cream

Monday, 9 July 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Quinoa Pancakes & Chai Lattes

Cinnamon buns and pancakes. That's all I've wanted to eat for the past two weeks. And big fatty chai lattes.

Rather than deny myself of their buttery, fluffy, spicy lures, in a similar vein to this healthy(er) baked french toast, I decided to give them a makeover.

Pack a protein punch with the quinoa in the pancakes, cinnamon swirl them to sate my lust for the buns and a DIY chai latte. Luckily I had a helping hand from Blue Diamond Almonds and a carton of their Unsweetened Almond Milk - they've challenged 30 bloggers to come up with some original recipes using their almond milk and I happily accepted a carton to play with.

Cinnamon Swirl Quinoa Pancakes


Quinoa Pancakes

200gr cooked quinoa
100gr self raising flour sifted with 1/2tsp of baking powder
2 eggs
50ml Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 tbsp honey
1tbsp light olive oil
Cooking oil for frying
Maple syrup for serving

Cinnamon Swirl Topping

2tbsp cinnamon + 1tbsp honey mixed into a paste
Put the cinnamon paste into a small piping bag or corner of a freezer bag with the very tip snipped off.

1, Stir the quinoa in with the flour.
2, Beat the eggs together with the almond milk, honey and olive oil before folding into the flour and quinoa.
3, Preheat a nonstick frying pan and wipe a little oil around the pan with some kitchen roll.
4, Drop two dessert spoons of the pancake batter and spread a little with the back of the spoon.
5, Pipe a swirl of the cinnamon paste onto the pancake. Cook the pancake until bubbles start to form in the top and gently flip so not as to damage the swirl.
6, Cook until just golden brown on the underside.
7, Keep the cooked pancakes warm. Serve with maple syrup.

Chai Latte

300ml Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 cinnamon stick
1/2tsp ginger (I'll cut this down to 1/4tsp on the next batch)
3 cloves
4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
1 black tea bag
Small pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Honey to taste and a pinch of cinnamon to serve
1, Add all the ingredients, except the honey and ground cinnamon, into a small milk pan and bring to a gentle simmer.
2, Simmer for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and the tea takes on a caramel colour.
3, Strain out the spices and stir through honey to taste. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

Monday, 2 July 2012

(Diabetic) Lemon & Dark Chocolate Shortbread Shells

Ok. I tried to posh up the name when all I did was smear my favourite diabetic shortbread dough into a silicone Madeleine tin. Can't blame a girl for trying right?

Recipe Tweaks:-
Replace the orange zest with the zest of one lemon and two drops of good lemon extract. Decrease the baking time to 15-18 minutes dependant on the size and depth of your Madeleine tin. I baked mine for 16 minutes. The recipe made 14 shells in total.