There are so many delicious cakes and biscuits which appear from the recipe books ready for Easter. Simnel cakes, hot cross buns and Easter egg nest cakes to name a few. Frankly I think it’s shameful that all the Easter treats aren’t served all at the same time with a huge pot of tea and some excellent company. So that’s exactly what an Easter afternoon tea is all about. An excuse to scoff all the tasty cakes and biscuits along with some sandwiches (which of course contain some sort of vegetable to negate the cake calories) and scones (because it’s not afternoon tea without a scone).
While in Gothenburg last year I think I had a Kanelbullar every day. When it’s cold and windy outside sinking your teeth into one of these alongside a hot cup of coffee is just perfect. Slightly sticky, full of cinnamon and normally covered with nibbed sugar you can smell them before you see them in the cafés of Sweden. After trying a few different recipes I have come up with my own Kanelbullar recipe; the ideal balance of bread, wholesomeness and sweetness.
You will need (for 12 Kanelbullar):
- 40g butter
- 225ml milk
- 7g sachet fast action yeast
- 30g caster sugar
- Pinch salt
- 250g wholemeal flour
- 250g strong white bread flour
For the filling
I tried making a traditional Yule Log a few years ago. It was somewhat stressful. Apart from the fact that my butter is never warm enough and I always lose patience and mix it up anyway and deal with the consequential sponge that turns up the whole process is fraught with danger. The rolling up, unrolling, spreading of cream, re-rolling and hoping for no cracking then furiously patching it up with ganache, chocolate flying all over the place. It’s all a bit much for me; I’d rather be sipping a G&T and relaxing rather than cleaning ganache off of the kitchen tiles. That’s how my Marshmallow Rice Krispie Yule Log came about. It’s easy to make and you can fashion it into any shape that you like; the more dexterous amongst you may wish to attempt an actual reindeer.
I like to think I’m fairly well behaved. The majority of what I eat I make myself and is somewhat healthy and well balanced. I find a place for the indulgent dishes (macaroni cheese, dauphinoise and the like) amongst the day to day soups, salads, vegetables and wholegrains. I’m by no means a saint and I think a little indulgence never hurt anyone. When I plan to make something that’s maybe a little bit ‘naughty’ I make sure I go all out. These Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake Brownies are no exception; prepare to enjoy.
I wasn’t quite sure what to call this when I first made it but it’s become known as Topped Chocolate in my kitchen. There have been a few different flavours and so far this one, with honeycomb and pumpkin seeds, has been my favourite. It’s not a complicated recipe by any means and you can add almost anything you like; pecan and coconut or raisin and walnut are some that I have tried. One big chocolate bar makes enough for two for a week, if you take a small piece that is!
You will need (for one big slab):
There are an awful lot of new ‘healthy’ or ‘superfoods’ around at the moment and they are everywhere you look. Avocados, coconut oil, seeds and berries, cacao nibs; the list goes on. Now, I’ll try anything once and I have had a flirtation with all of the aforementioned foods but what happens when the Vogue moment is over, everyone’s moved on to something new and you’re left with a cupboard of half opened ingredients. Well if you’re me and throwing it away is not an option (although the compost bin might actually be the best place for the cacao nibs) you get creative. Welcome to my Three Ingredient Date and Coconut Bites; ready in a flash, use up some ingredients and made with all the good stuff.
I love cheesecake. This recipe for mini cheesecake mess is a great way of using up almost anything sweet you’ve got hanging around and, if I do say so myself, look pretty cute too. A lovely little sweet treat for lunch or after dinner. Have you ever tried to make cheesecake (or cream cheese icing) with low fat soft cheese? It never seems to work for me and just ends up all runny and no good at all. I thought I’d give it a try with some Laughing Cow Extra Light to see if that would work, and use up some leftover festive food in the cupboards, and I was so pleased with how they turned out!
Some people bake bread when it rains. I bake whatever contains as much butter and sugar as possible to cheer myself up. I’m not a big fan of rain. I made cookies once before when I was much younger and they didn’t exactly work out like they were supposed to; I made one very large, thin cookie. With the recent bout of cold and rain I felt it was time I attempted cookies again; why not. Mint chocolate chip cookies are much more welcome than precipitation.This recipe makes around 16 cookies:
I don’t think a bit of accuracy does anyone any harm and I find myself slightly troubled each Easter as I see many chocolate nests filled with standard size chocolate mini eggs. Not only does it look like an ostrich has laid several eggs in a blackbird’s nest you can only fit three maximum in each nest which doesn’t feel very generous. Now I know these aren’t used for educational purposes and are purely for chocolate enjoyment but I couldn’t bring myself to make something that was so proportionally incorrect. Thank heavens, then, that I found some micro chocolate eggs.
I am a fan of beetroot; I’ve tried many different recipes with them in the past but sometimes when the vegetable box keeps bringing me beetroot I am stuck for what to do. I have made chocolate and beetroot cake in the past and I fancied trying something sweet with my latest accumulation, hence, Beetroot and Poppy Seed Cupcakes. Something a little different and somewhat stripy for the lunchbox.
You will need (for 12 cupcakes):
- 200g self raising flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 150ml sunflower oil
- 200g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 25g softened butter
- 200g full fat cream cheese
- 300g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 180C. Squeeze as much water out of the grated beetroot as you can (your hands will turn a fabulous pink colour).