Thursday, July 21, 2016

Banana and Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

I'm not quite sure how it's happened, but somehow I've left it nearly a whole year again to write another blog post! Actually, that's a lie. I know exactly how it happened. A crazy final year of Speech and Language Therapy training, moving house and goodness knows what else has got a little bit in the way of blogging. Because whilst I've still found the time to bake (obviously...!), uploading pics and a recipe on here takes a little bit more effort. But now I'm all finished with studying (forever I hope - I can't face the thought of revising ever again) and officially a qualified Speech and Language Therapist (!!!), I have a little bit of spare time to blog. I hope, anyway. In between applying for jobs and making the most of the summery weather while it lasts, I intend to share some of the things I've been baking...

Although actually, this recipe I'm sharing isn't baking at all! Because honestly, who wants to be baking in this ridiculously hot weather? Climbing down three flights of stairs every morning when it's 30 degrees outside completely zaps me of my energy, so I want whatever I'm making to require as little effort as possible! This Frozen Yoghurt recipe definitely ticks that box. Take the four ingredients, stir them together, pop it in the freezer and then a couple of hours later you can sit down and enjoy a few icy scoops. Just what I fancy eating on a hot day. And I guess it's a little bit healthier than ice cream too, because you can chuck in any fruit you have to hand and there you go - you've just eaten one of your five a day right there. It might not taste quite as good as the froyo you can buy in the shops, but then again who knows how much sugar they add to each scoop... And obviously, you don't have the satisfaction of knowing that you made it yourself or the ease of not having to leave the house to eat it!!

So be creative...! Experiment with the type of fruit that works best. Enjoy the heatwave we're having whilst eating a bowlful of frozen yoghurt...!

Banana and Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

1 frozen banana
1 handful of strawberries
1/3 of a large pot of natural yoghurt
Sugar (to taste - I probably added around 2 tbsp)

1. Take the banana out of the freezer to defrost slightly.
2. Pour the yoghurt into a bowl.
3. Cut the strawberries into small pieces and blend in a processor to a purée. Add to the yoghurt.
4. When the banana is soft enough, peel and cut it into small pieces, careful to remove all the peel. Add to the yoghurt.
5. Sprinkle your desired amount of sugar on top and stir ingredients together.
6. When combined, pour into a tupperware and place in the freezer for a couple of hours until firm.
7. Remove from the freezer just before eating, so it's soft enough to scoop.
8. Add a couple of fresh strawberries and enjoy!  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pistachio and Lime Cake

Hello again! I thought it was about time I shared another recipe, because it has been OVER A YEAR since I last blogged!! How has that happened?! Time flies...! It's been a busy year though: moving to London and training to be a Speech and Language Therapist has meant that blogging has not been my top priority. Of course, those of you that know me will know that I have not stopped baking - it would take a lot for that to happen...but London life can be a little hectic and I don't seem to have a lot of free time at the moment. Not that I'm complaining...I love being busy! Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I finished for summer, so I might have a little more time to bake and blog over the next couple of months.... We'll see! I'm promising nothing...!

The cake I'm sharing with you today comes from the lovely Kate over at The Little Loaf. I can't remember when I first came across Kate's blog, but I was instantly hooked and have been following it ever since. I want to make EVERYTHING she posts and when she announced she was publishing a book full of her fabulous recipes I knew I had to buy it as soon as it came out. So I did exactly that and I would urge any other baking fans out there to do the same! It's called Homemade Memories and contains the most delicious bakes all photographed so beautifully - when I got it I didn't know where to start...! Gradually, I WILL make my way through it. So far I've made the mini milk lollies (when it was a bit more summery than today!), the nectarine upside down cake and now this divine pistachio and lime cake. Which was actually meant to be a loaf, but I improvised and used a square baking tin due to my limited equipment!! And actually, it meant it didn't need to bake for quite as long, which is always a bonus, as it means less time to wait until you get to eat what you've made! 

If I make this again though, I will endeavour to buy shelled pistachios, because 65g of pistachios means A LOT of shelling and I ended up with shells and pistachios all over the kitchen and a broken nail. Not that I'm was definitely worth it, but it was very fiddly! A wise owl has since told me though that using another shell to de-shell is the way forward, which would hopefully limit any future nail injuries!! 

I was saying to a friend today, when I was younger I would have always thought that chocolate cake was my favourite, but really a cake with fruit in is a hands down winner in my eyes. Banana, carrot, blueberry, raspberry, pear...I could go on - whatever the fruit, put it in a cake and it's bound to work out! The fruit makes it extra moist and kind of makes you think you're eating something a little bit healthier (although I'm 99% certain it's not!). This cake is really a variation on the lemon drizzle - but perhaps a little more sophisticated and a little zingier (is that a word?!).  Actually, I've decided in fact that this cake may have beaten the lemon drizzle. Limes seem to have a much stronger flavour than lemons and the pistachios not only add a deeper flavour, but they give it a beautiful colour too. My Grannie's lemon drizzle cake is a regular request in the Goodhand family, but if I request one any time soon, I might point her in the direction of The Little Loaf and ask her to use limes instead...! 

Pistachio and Lime Cake (barely adapted from The Little Loaf's Homemade Memories)  

For the Cake:
60g Shelled Pistachios
180g Self-raising Flour
Pinch Salt
175g Softened Butter
175g Caster Sugar
Finely Grated Zest of 3 Limes
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
1-2tbsp Milk
For the Glaze:
65g Dried Apricots, roughly chopped
2tbsp Honey
Juice of 3 Limes
30g Pistachios, roughly chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees (fan, 170 degrees without fan).
  2. Grease a square baking tin and line with baking paper.
  3. Put the shelled nuts in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder. 
  4. Place in bowl and stir in flour and salt.
  5. Cream together butter and sugar in separate bowl.
  6. Add lime zest and cream until pale and fluffy.
  7. Gradually beat in eggs with a bit of flour mixture with each addition.
  8. Fold in remaining flour mixture until just combined.
  9. Fold in the milk until it drops gently off spoon (you might not need to use it all).
  10. Put batter in tin and smooth top.
  11. Bake for 30-40 mins until risen, golden and firm to touch (a skewer inserted should come out fairly clean).
  12. Remove from oven and leave to cool in tin for 10 mins,
  13. Make syrup by combining apricots, honey and lime juice in a saucepan. 
  14. Bring to a simmer then cook for 3-4 mins until apricots have softened and mixture is syrupy.
  15. Stir in pistachios.
  16. Transfer cake to wire rack.
  17. Poke holes in top (not all the way through) and pour over the warm syrup.
  18. Make sure pistachios and apricots are evenly distributed.
  19. Leave to cool and cut into 12 pieces.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rhubarb and Custard Tart

Well, it's that time of year again when all the weird and wonderful fruit and veg that my dad has decided to grow in our garden is ready to pick and we are suddenly faced with a glut of something peculiar that needs using immediately! But to be honest, rhubarb isn't that weird and in fact, I quite enjoy the challenge of coming up with a new recipe to go with whatever's in season. Actually, I've decided that I quite like rhubarb too. Put it with some ginger and something sweet and I enjoy its kick of sourness. When I spotted a recipe for rhubarb and custard tart it leapt out at me, because as I've said countless times before, anything with custard in is a winner for me!! 

This summery tart was certainly no exception. The rhubarb still had a bit of bite to it, the custard was the perfect amount of vanilla-y-ness and the pastry was flaky and crisp (Mary Berry would have been proud of it!). I was actually planning on being lazy and buying ready-made pastry, but if you make your own it always tastes better (even if it is a bit of a faff to make), which was definitely true for this recipe! Anyway, the rest of the tart was very easy to make, because despite it having custard in, you don't actually have to make it in a saucepan before hand, which is a bit of a relief, because there's always a risk it might curdle... Thankfully, this is avoided putting it in the oven and it came out looking pretty perfect and tasted pretty perfect too! I guess you could have it with cream or ice cream, but I prefer it just as it is, either as a pick-me-up mid-afternoon with a cup of tea or as a dessert. Next year I will not need to search hard for a recipe with rhubarb, because I will absolutely be making this one again!!  

Rhubarb and Custard Tart

280g Plain Flour
60g Custard Powder
200g Butter
4tbsp Caster Sugar
2 large Egg Yolks
350g Rhubarb
1/2tsp Ground Ginger
100g Golden Caster Sugar
1 Large Egg and 1 Egg Yolk
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tbsp Plain Flour
284ml Single Cream 

  1. For the pastry place the flour, custard powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl followed by the cubed butter.
  2. Rub together until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the egg yolks and 3-4tbsp of water and quickly mix together.
  5. Shape into a ball, cover in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Cut the rhubarb into bite-sized pieces and place in a frying pan with the ginger and half the sugar.
  7. Warm through just until the sugar dissolves.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  9. Roll out the pastry and line a 24cm tin with it.
  10. Line with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake for 15 minutes, removing the beans for the final 5.
  11. Beat together the egg and egg yolk, vanilla extract, remaining sugar and the flour. 
  12. Gradually whisk in the cream and any juice from the rhubarb.
  13. Spoon the rhubarb into the prepared pastry case and pour over the cream mixture.
  14. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the custard is very lightly set.
  15. Remove from the oven, serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Berry Coconut Marshamallows

I MADE MARSHMALLOWS! Yes I did...! And they actually taste like marshmallows, with all the stretchy, fluffiness you associate with them. Except these taste a million times better than shop-bought ones and I don't feel like I'm stuffing my face with additives and goodness knows what else. Because my marshmallows were delicately flavoured with fruity berry goodness and a sprinkling of dessicated coconut, which means that you have a perfectly formed gooey square of just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy that sugar craving. 

You may be wondering why I decided to make marshmallows and, to be honest, as I'm not really a massive fan of marshmallows (unless they're toasted on a campfire), I could well ask myself the same question. A few months ago I saw a recipe somewhere for homemade marshmallows and I was intrigued, as I'd never even thought about the idea of making your own marshmallows... I saw that the recipe required a sugar thermometer though and it wasn't until I requested one at Christmas that the recipe popped into my head again. Since then a sugar thermometer has been sitting in my room waiting to be used, but when some of my friends were pestering me at the weekend to bake something new and adventurous, it was lucky enough to have its first outing and my homemade marshmallows were born. So girls (you know who you are!), I hope these live up to your expectations and are a suitable level of difficulty...! 

Despite the initial unknown of boiling sugar to a specified temperature and the novelty of using my sugar thermometer, they were surprisingly easy to make! There's no actual baking involved, as it's the gelatine that you add which sets it. And the beauty of the recipe is that you can flavour them with whatever ingredients you want (within reason, of course!). I dissolved the gelatine in a berry smoothie and added a little red food colouring to enhance the pinkness, but you could use any fruit paste you like or any other flavouring. I'd never thought of flavouring marshmallows before and yet the possibilities are endless. They would even make cute little gifts wrapped up nicely. So I may well be making them again and if you want a bit of a challenge, try making some marshmallows!

Berry Coconut Marshmallows (makes 36 squares)

60ml Berry Smoothie
1 Sachet (12g)  Gelatine
220g Caster Sugar
80ml Golden Syrup
100g Dessicated Coconut
Vegetable Oil (for greasing)


  1. Toast the coconut and allow to cool.
  2. Line a baking tray with cling film and grease with oil.
  3. Sprinkle a layer of coconut on cling film.
  4. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and sprinkle with gelatine to allow it to absorb the liquid.
  5. Put the golden syrup and caster sugar in a pan and pour in enough water to cover.
  6. Stir thoroughly.
  7. Cook over a low heat until sugar has dissolved and then bring to the boil (don't stir).
  8. Wait for the thermometer to read 115 degrees Celsius take the pan off the heat and allow to cool for one minute.
  9. Whisk the gelatine on a medium speed and gradually add the sugar syrup - the mixture should grow in volume.    
  10. Continue to whisk until the mix becomes really thick and stretchy bubbles begin to form on the surface.
  11. Transfer to the lined baking tray and sprinkle with coconut.
  12. Leave to set for 1-2 hours until it feels firm to touch.
  13. Once set, remove from the tray and peel off the cling film.
  14. Cut into cubes with a lightly greased knife.
  15. Coat the sticky sides in more coconut and enjoy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Parsnip and Pecan Pieces

How is it February 2014 and the last time I blogged was October? Sorry I've been a bit AWOL these past few months, but I promise you I have been baking I've just been a little preoccupied let's just say. But last week I got some pretty exciting news and I found out that I've been accepted at City University London to study Speech and Language Therapy!!! So finally after all my applications, interviews, volunteering and madly rushing around trying to do a million things at once, I can actually relax because I know what I'll be doing in September. Relief is an understatement and I still don't think it's quite sunk in that I don't have to constantly be worrying about what I'll be doing next. My future is coming together which means I have a bit more time on my hands for now and for me some of that time will be filled with baking :)

So this weekend Abbey came to stay and I have not seen her in FOREVER. Inevitably, we had to make sure we fitted in some baking at some point, so we spent some of our lazy Sunday making these delicious Parsnip and Pecan Pieces from Lorraine Pascale's cookbook, A Lighter Way to Bake. I've made loads of recipes from it already despite only getting it at Christmas, so I can safely say it was a good buy! And it makes me feel a tiny bit better about myself knowing that what I'm baking isn't quite as calorific as it could be...!

I'm always intrigued by cake recipes that have vegetables in the title and this was no exception. Carrot cake has to be one of my favourites and I figured that using parsnip might create something a little similar. I was right. It is delicious: moist, perfectly spiced and extremely moreish. It is also really quick and easy to make. I have to say, the cream cheese frosting is what makes it and I will definitely be recreating this recipe at a later date. I certainly need no more convincing that vegetables make great cakes, but I might just have to eat a few more Parsnip and Pecan Pieces to double check I like it... It's my way of saying congratulations to myself, right?

Parsnip and Pecan Pieces (makes 16 small squares)

For the sponge:
225g Parsnips, peeled and grated
200g Wholemeal Flour
100g Soft Brown Sugar
75g Butter
50ml Vegetable Oil
50g Pecan Nuts, roughly chopped
5tbsp Milk
2tbsp Honey
3 Eggs
2tsp Baking Powder
1tbsp Ginger
Pinch of Cinnamon
1/4tsp Ground Nutmeg
1tsp Vanilla Extract
For the frosting:
200g Low-Fat Cream Cheese
4tbsp Icing Sugar
2 Knobs Stem Ginger, finely chopped
1tsp Vanilla Extract

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Grease and line a tray.
  3. Put all the ingredients for the sponge into a bowl and mix well to combine.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until springy to touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  5. Once cooked, remove from oven and leave to cool in tin.
  6. Whilst cake is cooking make the frosting by mixing all the ingredients together (don't overmix). Leave in the fridge until needed.
  7. Remove the cake from the tin and spread the frosting on top evenly.
  8. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Coconut Orange Cake

I had an urge to bake a cake yesterday. As you do. Well as I do anyway and after getting so wrapped up in The Great British Bake Off recently but not having enough time to bake, ignoring this urge was just not an option. I think seeing all their wonderful cake creations on there inspired me to make a cake just for the sake of it! Because who says a cake has to be for a special occasion? I definitely don't need an excuse to eat cake...

The question was what to put in it. For some reason, I got it into my head that I wanted to make a coconut-y cake, but with something a little more unusual. My inspiration came from some orange and coconut tea that my mum tried the other day and said worked beautifully together. I'd never have put orange with coconut but after trying this cake, I can safely say it definitely works. I think there's something a bit autumnal about oranges too and the dessicated coconut inside the cake just gives it a bit of extra crunch. Actually, the recipe comes from my very trusty Be-Ro book that I am sure I must have mentioned before. It basically has every basic baking recipe in there that you could possibly ever want, in particularly simple steps! I just changed it slightly and used coconut milk instead of ordinary cow's milk to bring out the coconut flavour a little bit more. But I have to say, my favourite part has to be the icing. It's loosely based on a coconut icing from the Hummingbird Bakery 'Home Sweet Home' book, with the addition of orange zest and juice. I spent several minutes scraping the bowl very carefully after I'd iced the cake to make sure I hadn't left any icing in the bowl that I could have eaten!! 

The end result was not a disappointment and I think this will be something I will be making again. Sitting down to a slab of coconut orange cake and a cup of tea whilst listening to the wind howling around outside is my idea of a Sunday afternoon...

Coconut Orange Cake

225g Self Raising Flour
Pinch Salt
100g Margarine
100g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
50g Dessicated Coconut
1 Egg
3tbsp Coconut Milk
1 Orange, grated rind and juice
250g Icing Sugar
80g Unsalted Butter
2tbsp Coconut Milk
1tbsp Orange juice
Zest of half an orange


  1. Grease and line 2 cake tins.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  3. Mix flour and salt together and rub in margarine.
  4. Stir in sugar, coconut and orange zest.
  5. Beat together eggs, orange juice and coconut milk.
  6. Mix together to a soft consistency.
  7. Place in prepared tins for about half an hour, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  8. Remove from tins and allow to cool.
  9. Whilst cakes are cooling make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and butter together with an electric whisk until combined.
  10. Add the coconut milk, orange juice and zest and mix again until light and fluffy.
  11. Once cakes have cooled, spread just under half the icing on top of one of the cakes.
  12. Sandwich the other cake on top and spread the top and sides with the remaining icing.
  13. Sprinkle with some orange zest and toasted coconut then cut yourself a generous slice and enjoy!  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spiced Iced Apple Buns

This post has been ready to write for a while now - it's just finding the time to get round to it! Anyway, here goes... As I mentioned in my previous post, we've had a glut of apples from our apple tree so I tried to be experimental and find something a bit out of the ordinary to make with them. With the help of my best friend foodgawker (which if you love to salivate over lots of delicious-looking recipes, is definitely the website for you!) I came across this very autumnal recipe for baked doughnuts. The combination of cinnamon, apple and maple syrup instantly appealed to me and I just had to give it a go! I don't think you can beat these flavours put together, especially at this time of year as the weather is starting to feel a bit more blustery and the leaves are starting to turn those beautiful shades of red and orange. I do love Autumn. 

But you may be wondering why I've not actually called these little buns doughnuts. Well that's because they didn't really taste much like doughnuts, not like any doughnuts I've ever tasted anyway! Don't get me wrong, they tasted wonderful and it was like taking a bite of autumn with every mouthful, but they just weren't quite how I'd imagined. As my cousin (who is 11) said to me after eating one, they failed as doughnuts, but they tasted even nicer! I like how he put that and I think it was a quick comeback after seeing my hurt face after he'd said the word 'failed'! But I have to agree with him - they did fail as doughnuts, although they did succeed as iced buns!!

I'm not quite sure how you can make doughnuts taste like doughnuts if you're not frying them, but when it said they were baked I was intrigued...I will be on the lookout for another baked doughnut recipe I think. Another good thing about them I guess, is that they really are quite healthy. Aside from the maple syrup you use to sweeten them, the tiny bit of oil and the icing sugar on the glaze, there's really not a lot of anything you shouldn't be eating in there. Which gives you an excuse to make lots of them! Oh and if you're wondering how I got the holes in the middle since I don't have a doughnut pan, I used a muffin tin and put a ball of foil in each cup which kind of worked for most of them....It was all a bit of an experiment anyway, but I definitely urge you to give them a go! 

Spiced Iced Apple Buns

130g Plain Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Allspice
1/4 tsp Salt
100g Maple Syrup
60ml Apple Cider
90g Apple Sauce
1tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
130g Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Apple Cider
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
50g Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Grease muffin tin and place foil balls inside each cup.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt in a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, apple cider, apple sauce, oil and vanilla extract.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. Spoon or pipe mixture into muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the dough springs back when pressed.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing and placing on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. To make the glaze mix the cider and icing sugar together in a small bowl.
  10. In another bowl combine the sugar and spices for the topping.
  11. Dip the top of each bun into the glaze and sprinkle with the sugar topping.
  12. Allow to set and enjoy!