Friday, 29 June 2012

Foodie Pen Pal Parcel - Eggless Strawberry Cake

It’s the end of the month which can only mean one thing….yes you’ve guessed it, it’s foodie pen pal time. The time when everyone who sent a lovely little parcel of foodie wonders to a food loving stranger blogs about the lovely little parcel of foodie wonders they received from another food lover! Being part of this scheme makes my month soooo exciting and if you haven’t joined yet you should (unless you don’t really like food…but otherwise you have no excuses)! So go and check out This Is Rock Salt for all the important details.

But anyway enough of the advertising and onto this month’s parcel which I was lucky enough to receive from Hannah. I explained to Hannah back at the beginning of June that as much as I love being sent things that I can instantly start munching on, one of the most exciting parts of the foodie pen pal process so far has been receiving new and exciting ingredients and food stuffs that I may not have come across before. Hannah took all of this into consideration and sent a bundle of wonderful goodies to me.

Uncle Roy’s Flowers of Scotland seasoning -  Something I definitely haven’t seen before! A mixture of flower petals, herbs and spices to be used as a seasoning for game, pork and poultry. I haven’t had the chance to use it yet but can’t wait to give my next roast dinner a burst of colour with this.

Sweet Paprika – I was really excited by this one. After enjoying a holiday in the south of Spain last year I have been experimenting with a little bit of Spanish cooking and sweet paprika has been on the top of my shopping list for a little while but I hadn’t got around to buying any. But now I don’t need to, and like Hannah I love the cute little tin this come in!

Ham Salt – Hannah made this following a recipe from ‘Comfort and Spice’ by Eat Like a Girl. I hadn’t heard of ham salt before but am looking forward to giving this a go on some lazy brunch style poached eggs at the weekend.

Cocoa Cherry Pie Nibbles – I haven’t tried any of the treats produced by Bear before so it was great to have this to try…yum.

Floral tea – I love my tea and have had tea flowers before. I adore being enchanted watching the delicate tea flower bloom in a mug of hot water so haven’t dived into this one yet but am saving it when in real need of a decent cuppa on a wet and dreary afternoon.

Rose Marshmallows – Hannah apparently first discovered these in the Balthazar Bakery in New York and has since been making them herself to feed her addiction. I really do like a good marshmallow and these did not disappoint, there was a subtle floral flavour within these plump, mallowy cushions and once I had started munching I really couldn’t stop myself from scoffing the whole lot. So thank you very much Hannah for these gorgeous home-made treats…I may well have developed an addiction to these too!!

Freeze dried strawberries – Finally a tube of summery little freeze dried strawberries. Hannah suggested they would be good to decorate a cake with…and so I was inspired to use one of my favourite summer fruits in a cake, which of course I decorated with these little freeze dried beauties!

So thanks Hannah for a really exciting parcel, and for the inspiration for this eggless, strawberry cake.


300g fresh strawberries
20g caster sugar
1 tablespoon water
One 397g tin of condensed milk
175g melted butter
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bircarbonate of soda
25g butter
200g icing sugar
A handful of freeze dried strawberries for decoration

Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C / 350 deg F

Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

To begin with hull the strawberries (slice the stems off) and then roughly chop.

Add the chopped strawberries, caster sugar and water to a small saucepan and place over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the strawberries begin to soften. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and then using a stick blender or food processor blend the strawberries up to produce a smooth puree.

Next place the condensed milk, melted butter and 200ml of the strawberry puree into a mixing bowl and beat until the ingredients are mixed together well.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the condensed milk mixture and continue to beat together until fully combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and place into the oven for 45-50 minutes until the cake is golden in colour and a sharp knife entered into the centre comes out clean.

Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before turning out of the tin onto a cooling rack.

Whilst the cake is cooling mix 50ml of the remaining strawberry puree with the butter and icing sugar and beat together until fully combined and light and fluffly. And if you have any leftover puree it’s great served with ice cream or yoghurt.

When the cake is fully cooled spread the icing over the top and then sprinkle with freeze dried strawberries to finish the decoration.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pineapple and Coconut Semi-freddo

I think I may have mentioned more than once that I have a slight soft spot for ice cream! It really is that one food stuff that I just can’t get enough of and that I really can’t say ‘No’ to. I even find myself spending quite a lot of time on-line reading about delectably delicious ice cream recipes (sad I know…but food is my favourite hobby!). Anyway it was on one of these recent trawls of ice cream containing food blogs that I stumbled across a recipe that had been submitted for a ‘bloggers scream for ice cream’ challenge. This challenge is run by Kavey of Kavey Eats and each month a theme is set for the type of iced treats for bloggers to experiment with before submitting their recipes to Kavey who compiles them into one big directory of gorgeous ice creaminess!

As June is the start of the summer (yes honestly it is summer) the theme for this month is fruit. And I couldn’t resist joining in this challenge whether the sun is shining or not. But obviously I had to come up with a recipe that fits in with my blog and so the pineapple and coconut semi-freddo was born. By using coconut milk there are no dairy products in this recipe so great for all those out there that are lactose intolerant. As a semi-freddo rather than typical ice cream recipe there is also no need for an ice cream maker so there are no excuses not to get into the kitchen and whip this block of tropical yumminess up!!


1 handful of fresh mint springs – roughly chopped
300g fresh pineapple (which has been peeled and cored)
105g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
1 400ml tin of coconut milk (try and chose a thick and creamy variety)

Dice the pineapple into medium sized chunks and then place in a bowl with the chopped mint and 30g of the sugar. Mix to ensure the pineapple is evenly coated with the sugar and mint and set to one side.

Take a loaf tin and line with cling film.

Put the egg yolks with the remaining 75g of sugar into a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t actually touch the water. Then using an electric hand mixer beat the sugar and eggs together until thick and glossy. It will probably take a good 10 minutes for the eggs to get to the required consistency.

Remove the egg mixture from the pan and continue to beat for another 5 minutes to allow the mixture to cool slightly.

Then add the coconut milk to the egg mixture a little at a time, mixing again after each addition of the coconut milk.

Once all of the coconut milk had been added to the egg mixture fold in the pineapple and mint that has been macerating nicely in the bowl that was set aside earlier.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and pop into the freezer for at least 4 hours.

As semi-freddo literally translates as ‘half frozen’ it is best to remove the semi-freddo a bit before you want to serve it up. Then remove from the tin, peel back the cling film and slice into generous portions before tucking in!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Vegan and gluten free ginger spice biscuits

So I mentioned in my last blog post that during May's Foodie Pen Pal process I sent a parcel to Nicky  full of gluten free and vegan treats to meet her dietary requirements. It is always great to have a particular motivation or request to fuel the development of a new recipe to fit the blog (so if you have any particular requests for recipes to appear here let me know). I think biscuits also lend themselves well to being sent in the post and as a mega fan of the good old ginger nut I went about creating a gluten free and vegan version. And thanks to my baker’s intuition Nicky is a big fan of gingery things too so everything worked out pretty well on this one in then end!!


60ml vegetable oil
100g molasses
40g dark brown sugar

170g rice flour
40g tapioca flour
40g ground almonds
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon all spice

50ml water

Makes approx. 24 biscuits (depending on size!)

Preheat oven to 180 deg C / 350 deg F

Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper or non-stick baking parchment.

Place the vegetable oil, molasses and brown sugar in a saucepan over a low heat and stir occasionally until the sugar has melted to create a syrupy mixture.

Place the remaining dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir until well combined.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the melted sugar mixture and stir well.

Once the ingredients start to combine use your hands to give the mixture a light knead and bring everything together. If at this point the mixture seems a little dry and doesn’t stick together add the water a little at a time until the mixture will hold together when formed into little balls.

Then using your hands form the mixture into small balls (approximately the size of a golf ball).

Place the balls of mixture onto the baking tray evenly spaced apart and squash down with the palm of your hand to make little discs.

Place into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before carefully transferring the biscuits from the baking tray to a cooling rack.

Once fully cooled tuck in and enjoy!!