Apricot & Orange Blossom Pudding

This delicate dessert has all the looks of showstopper without the forty steps of a complicated recipe. I love custards and especially a french egg and vanilla bean creme pastry but this milk pudding is egg free and thicken with cornflour. Ive gone a little off the norm by using stevia to add sweetness and poached fruit.

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Lets start with I don’t know the exact origins of this pudding and at the risk of looking it up on Wikipedia it appears as a dessert loved by many different cultures. Lets face is desserts should have no boundaries. Flavoured with lemon in Italy, rose water in the Middle Eastern also called “Muhalbiyah”.

The Greek pudding called “Alevria” which can also be lactose free is often made with a reduction of grape juice to make a syrup or the milk version flavoured with mastic or orange blossom water. It is the Greek versions that I am most familiar with and most probably the first ever custard I ate as a child.

A variety of toppings common in to both the Middle east and the Mediterranean almost always include crushed walnuts or pistachios and spices like cinnamon.

Ive add poached fruit and its juices for freshness, like apricot halves but peaches are also perfect and if you preferred passionfruit or a raspberry coulis then go for it.

This pudding is flavoured with orange blossom water and a sprinkling of crushed pistachios and for added decadence Ive added a few dry edible rose petals.

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“Apricot & Orange Blossom Pudding”

4-5 serves

Ingredients

500ml Milk

40g Stevia

35g Cornflour

1 tablespoon Orange Blossom water

5-6 Poached Apricot halves reserve the juices

50g Pistachios – Crushed

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan add the stevia and the cornflour mix well.
  2. Add Milk and whisk together till no lumps of cornflour are visible.
  3. Continuously stir to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Mix while on medium heat till it thickens and large bubbles rise to the top and keep mixing for a further 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the orange blossom water stir to combine.
  4. Pour the pudding into individual heat proof ramekins
  5. Allow to cool to room temperature then cool in the refrigerator
  6. Top with an apricot half, pour a little syrup over the top and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.

*For extra decadence Ive used edible dry tea rose for a little WOW! Factor 🙂 …………………..(I purchased the roses from T2 the tea shop)

*This recipe can be doubled if required

*Fresh edible flowers can be used (please be mindful to purchase these for consumption purposes as you do not want to be serving up flowers sprayed with pesticides)

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Lentilicious Greek Lentil Soup

 

This Greek soup is a staple, this thick moorish soup will have you printing out this recipe and permanently fixing to your pantry door for quick reference……….or is that just me!

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Although Im not a vegetarian I do love my vegetables and pulses, this is one of those dishes that always made young Greek children giggle as its name “Fakes” AKA Lentils sounds a little rude but when I was growing up it was always a dish we looked forward to. Oh, ps yes we still get a giggle out of the name…… priceless 🙂

 

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Served with fresh crunchy bread either slathered with butter or  just used as a mop to scoop up more flavour. (Ive also served it up with the addition of crumbled feta or grilled spicy chorizo, see  * note bellow 🙂

Greek Lentil Soup

Serves 4 

Ingredients
1 x 400g cans of brown lentils rinsed
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 brown onions, chopped fine
1 small leeks chopped diced fine
1/2 teaspoon cloves garlic, crushed
1 Lg carrot, grated
400g finely chopped tomatoes (fresh or good quality canned)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano

400ml Hot Water or good quality Beef or Chicken Stock

3 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce (I know thats not Greek but it works well….trust me)

Salt Flakes
Cracked Pepper

Crusty bread for serving

Method

Rinse the lentils in cold water, drain and set aside.

Heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil add the onion, leek and bay leaf and saute for approximately 3 – 5 minutes on moderate heat stirring constantly so as not to burn.

Add the garlic, grated carrot, tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Mix all to combine.

Add the lentils, tomatoes and hot water, mix and simmer with the lid on the pot for approximately 35 minutes. If your soup has reduced to quickly add another cup of liquid.

When you are ready to serve add the Worcestershire Sauce, season with salt and pepper and stir through the remaining olive oil.

Finally taste and check the seasoning. (For a little extra heat add half a little dry chilli flakes Ill leave that up to you 🙂

*If you forgot the fresh crusty bread don’t forget Soda bread is another great option especially a Walnut Soda bread. Another option is a good crumbling of feta and a sprinkling of freshly chopped oregano.

*To satisfy the meat eaters of the family a chorizo sausage sliced and grilled added to the dish is another flavour sensation. Reduce the amount of salt and instead boost the flavour by adding a couple of Beef stock cubes or chicken instead of just salt.

Walnut Soda Bread

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Kali Orexi

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Gingerbread Angels

Christmas just isn’t the same if I don’t bake gingerbread Angels, Deer or Gingerbread Men!

…. well if Im honest there will always be something baking.

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I love this spicy biscuit especially when just baked. Who needs exotic air fresheners when all you need to do is a little baking. The warm aromas of Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and All Spice will have you reaching for the kettle and sitting down with your favourite brew in one hand and a Gingerbread Angel in the other.

I’ve been asked a few times and its worth noting that to build a gingerbread house the dough is a little different slightly dry and once baked not as soft and fluffy as the gingerbread men you might be familiar with. My recipe can be used for both individual biscuits like these angels or if you want to make a gingerbread house. After baked the biscuit is crisp but after a few days they begin to soften slightly.

To decorate the angels or other shapes I like to use Royal Icing and a few soft shell sugar pearls and sprinkles to add a little glam like the red and green and red garland wreath or the gold sugar crystal hearts its really up to you. In the past Ive also used 100’s and 1000’s and they look great too. I hate to admit this but its all up-to the Christmas Tree and the overall household decorations  that dictate that years colour theme…..That’s a bit over the top but then again thats me!

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You will need:

Rolling Pin

Baking trays

Baking Paper

Cookie Cutter (Angel, Reindeer, Santa) Ive used Angel

Ingredients:

100g Unsalted Butter

200g Soft Brown Sugar

150g Molasses

150g Golden Syrup

1 Egg

700g Plain Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Ginger powder

1 Tablespoon Cinnamon Powder

1 Tablespoon Mixed Spice

1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda

1 teaspoon White Vingar

A little extra flour for dusting your work surface

Method:

  • Bring the butter, Molasses and Golden Syrup to a gentle simmer mix well, remove from heat, allow to cool.
  • Sieve the flour, baking powder, Mixed spices, Cinnamon and Ginger together and set aside
  • Add the egg to the cooled butter syrup and mix well
  • Mix together the Bicarbonate of Soda and Vinegar, mix into the butter syrup
  • Add the butter syrup to the flour, fold through to make the dough
  • Wrap the dough and rest in the fridge before rolling out for baking.
  • Pre Heat oven to 180 Degrees and bake biscuits for approximately 12 minutes

Remove the dough from the fridge. Very lightly sprinkle some flour on your work bench. Roll out the dough to about 3-4mm thick. I like to dip the cutting edge of the cookie cutter into the flour shake off the excess and then cut the shape (repeat till you have cut out all) Gently lift the dough shapes onto the prepared baking trays. Leave a good 1-2cm between each shape.

Bake the gingerbread for about 12 minutes (you know your oven, sometimes they run hotter than others so watch the first batch and adjust your time accordingly). Allow the baked gingerbreads to cool slightly on the baking tray before you move them to a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.

To decorate your Gingerbread you will need some

Royal Icing

Small Pipping Bag

Sprinkles – Ive used Queens White Soft Shell Pearls (which are great ….No more chipped teeth using the other hard ones “Great Ideas Queens”

Mixed Red and Green Sprinkles for the Garland Wreath

Black or Brown Food Colour Pen to draw on the face (which can only be done after the royal icing has completely dried……don’t be tempted to do it any sooner, trust me! )

Step 1

Fill the piping bag with royal icing (2-3 Tablespoon full) cut the tip of the piping bag so that you can pipe a line. If the royal icing is too runny thicken it up with a little more icing sugar or if too thick add a tiny amount of water (a little goes a long way)

Step2

Trace the shape of the angel all the way round, allow this to dry as you finish the other baked gingerbread.

Step 3

Once the outer edge is dry, time to fill it in. This time you want the royal icing to have a little movement so that it will spread easy but not run away ….if you know what I mean 🙂 Using the same piping fill it with the royal icing again and slowly fill in.

Step 4

Once again wait till the royal icing is dry before you continue with this step. To make the Garland wreath pipe a ring of royal icing onto the angel and sprinkle with the sprinkles. Allow it to set and then shake off the excess. For the hallow pipe a line of royal icing and then gently place the soft shell pearls across and allow to set dry.

Now the rest is up to you! I like to put the angels in clear food / lolly bags tie some colourful ribbon over the top and give them as gifts. Ive used them as name cards for Christmas lunch. Ive even used them as ornaments on the christmas tree. What ever you choose to do Im sure they will be enjoyed by all.

 

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Lucy's Friendly Foods

There’s not a great deal to say about these other than they’re part brownie, part cookie… they’re chocolate brownie cookies! So they have that soft chocolate texture in cookie form, and they taste just like brownies. Best of both worlds, right? They got a thumbs up here anyway.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 10-12

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps plain flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsps oat milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

– Preheat the oven to gas mark 3

– Line a cookie sheet with parchment

– Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda. Stir in the sugar and salt.

– Pour in the oil, vanilla and oat milk.

– Bring together to a dough.

–…

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“Kolokithopita”….Greek Ruffle Sweet Pumpkin Pie

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Now I know there aren’t that many ingredients and well the method seams relatively simple but trust me this is BIG on flavour.

This is my favourite childhood dessert. My mother was taught by my grandmother and I make it for my friends and family too. I love pumpkin and I’ve made this pie for friends that have never enjoyed eating this glorious orange coloured vegetable as a savoury addition to a meal  let alone as a dessert…….and “they have loved it”. The aroma of it baking in the oven, the butter caramelising the fillo pastry and the smell of the sweet spiced pumpkin makes for one heavenly combination.

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Utensils:
1 large bowl
1 Vegetable grater
1 Deep baking pan 25cm x 25cm x 5cm (a little bigger is ok)
1 pastry brush

Ingredients:
600g Pumpkin (peel and seed discarded the pumpkin flesh grated)
80g Sugar (I like to use Coconut Sugar)
80g Currants
1/2 Tbs Cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp Clove powder
1/2 Orange Zest only (optional)
1/2 tsp Salt
1pkt Fillo pastry
100g Unsalted butter melted (cooled to room temperature)
30g  Rice Bran oil

Method:
1: Grate the pumpkin and place in a deep bowl

2: Add the sugar, currants, spices, salt and orange zest mix well cover the bowl with cling film and set aside for approximately 30 minutes.

When you are ready to assemble preheat the oven 170 Degrees(fan forced)

3: Butter the deep baking pan. Lay flat 1 sheet of fillo pastry and brush 
with butter line the inside of the baking dish then repeat with the next 
filo pastry sheet till you have 4 pastry sheets lining the base and edges. 

*You will need to be a little creative when you lay out the sheets making  sure to cover the edges and leave any excess hang over the lip of your 
baking dish as you will flip it over when you have added the filling.

4: Pour the pumpkin filling in spread evenly. Fold over any over hanging 
pastry. Butter 2 more sheets of pastry and lay them over the top of the filling - make sure to fold over and execs pastry this time so that all the 
top layer is nice and flat.

5: Butter 2 more sheets this time you will need to cut them to size so thatthey fit perfectly. Make fillo ruffles by gently making folds and gently 
scrunching then together and placing on top. Repeat the till the top is 
completely covered. You will need about 7 sheets or more. 

6: Bake for approximately 35 - 45 minutes or till the pastry is golden 
brown. 

Ive always served this dessert at room temperature dusted with icing sugar or you could try agave powder and just a little more cinnamon powder. if you would like to serve it hot then a nice scoop of vanilla ice-cream is     perfect.
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I hope you all enjoy my very own child hood favourite. 

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Note: 
tps = teaspoon
TBS = Tablespoon

 

 

 

Toasted Almond and Pecan Frangipani

A Dainty Dessert without the fuss…..”Sounds like my type of recipe”

“Toasted Almond and Pecan Frangipani”

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Some of my best ever recipes might be considered fuss free but never lack all the delightful qualities of a great home bake.

With a crumb thats both moist and has a heavenly aromatic warmth that only roasted nuts can give. A crunchy crust which can only be described as….”Balance has been restored in the universe of baking”. If you are partial to pecans and almonds as I am, then Im thinking you will love this recipe.

Crunchy crust coating:

1 x 20cm round baking pan

10g room temperature unsalted butter                                                                                                                  40g flaked almonds                                                                                                                                                        2 Tablespoons caster sugar

Spread the butter all over the base and sides of the baking pan.

Spread the almonds and sugar around the edges and base and set aside.

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For the Frangipani:                                 

75 g whole Almonds toasted                                                                                                                                       75 g whole Pecans toasted
140 g Caster sugar (optional use French Caster Sugar – CSR Sugars of the World)
3 eggs
115 g butter at room temperature
50 g Plain/All purpose flour                                                                                                                                         1 pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Topping:                                                                                                                                                                      40g Flaked Almonds

Preheat oven to 170 ° C (fan forced).

In the bowl of your food processor fitted with the cutting blade place the toasted almonds, pecans and sugar pulse till the nuts are and even crumble.

Add eggs and butter and the pinch of salt pulse the food processor for 30 seconds.

Finally add the flour mixed and baking powder, pulse again till everything is well combined.

Pour the cake batter into the cake pan and sprinkle the 40g of flaked almonds evenly over the top of the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, till the cake is golden.

Let the cake cool completely before removing from the cake pan.

Dust with a little icing sugar and serve. 🙂

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Greek – Zucchini and Fresh herb Feta Frittata

Zucchini and Fresh Herb Feta Frittata

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This is a dish that both my mother and grandmother both bake to perfection and even though for the sake of the recipe I have added measurements for the zucchini and the fresh herbs a little over or a little under will not alter it, it will alway taste as delicious as it should.

When zucchinis are in abundance and fresh herbs are plentiful then this bake may appear a few times as part of the dinner meal, for lunch or even breakfast.

Filling:

  • 4  Zucchini (medium sized) Grated
  • 1/4 cup Fresh chopped Mint
  • 1/4 cup Fresh chopped Dill
  • 1/4 cup Fresh chopped Parsley
  • 1 onion, finely grated
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 250g feta cheese, crumbed
  • 3 egg whites (whipped to stiff peak)
  •  1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a bowl mix together the grated zucchini and fresh herbs set aside.
  2. In a small fry pan add a tablespoon of olive oil and the grated onion, saute gently till the onions have softened and lightly caramelised. Add the onion to the zucchini and mix to combine.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.
  4. Beat the egg yolks and  olive oil together add the crumbled feta cheese, white pepper, mix into the zucchini mixture.
  5. Fold the whipped egg white into the zucchini mixture.
  6. Oil a large baking tin (approximately 20cm x 25cm) spread the mix evenly. Spread the grated cheese over the top.
  7. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes till the top of the bake is crisp and golden.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

 

French Sugar – Apple and Almond Loaf

 

French Sugar – Apple and Almond Loaf

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Ingredients:

190g soft butter

130 g French Caster sugar (White Beet Sugar – CSR Sugars of the World)
3 eggs
190 g Plain flour
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
60g ground almonds
30g Sour Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean Paste

1 Large Granny Smith apple pealed with core removed and cut into 8 wedges.

Method: 

Preheat oven to 190 ° C.

Firstly peal and core the apple, cut into wedges squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the apple pieces and sprinkle with a little sugar. Place the coated apple pieces in a bowl and set aside for the moment.

Using a standard mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar till fluffy and pale in colour then begin adding the eggs one by one. Be sure that they are well combined before adding the next egg.

Add the sour cream and vanilla bean paste.

Sift together the flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Add to the butter and egg batter. Mix till all ingredients are well combined.

Place cake batter in cake tin lined with baking paper, place apple slices along the top of the cake batter and sprinkle with French caster sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes then lower the thermostat to 170 ° C for 25-30 minutes. Or until a wooden skewer can pierce through the centre of the cake and is clear of any wet batter when removed.

Allow the cake to cool in the cake tin then remove and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Sprinkle the cake with icing sugar and serve.

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Sesame Seed Dinner Rolls

There is a true beauty to baking in general, yet nothing surpasses the aroma of freshly baked bread penetrating into every corner of your home. The aroma likened to a warm hug or a heartfelt smile from a loved one you have been longing to see. For myself its been the longing to walk past the village bakery in Greece to relive a moment that has lasted a life time.

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Now I know that you might be looking at these pictures thinking …..”she’s made rings, as well as rolls”, true I took the opportunity to make the Turkish “Simit” a bread ring that is heavily crusted with sesame seeds (which I was totally obsessed with eating at all hours of the day while in Turkey a few years ago).     I uses the same method of baking as the rolls. So be brave and try something different …ps they make the perfect edible napkin rings 🙂

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Sesame Seed Dinner Rolls

Ingredients:
1 Tbs milk powder
250ml water
40g Rice Bran Oil
40g Unsalted Butter melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
500g Bakers flour

Honey Wash:
2 teaspoon honey
2 Tablespoons water

Topping: Sesame seeds

Method:
Place in a bowl the flour, milk powder, dry yeast, sugar and salt mix well to combine all. Add the water, oil, melted butter, egg and mix. Using a standard mixer with a dough hook attachment knead till the dough looks smooth and elastic – on medium speed for approximately 6-8 minutes.

Cover the dough with cling film  to prevent forming a skin and leave to rest about 15 -20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 60g portion sized pieces. Shape each into a ball and allow to rest again for a further 10 minutes. Take each individual dough ball and press with your hand to open the dough to form a circle about the size of a teacup saucer. Then roll back again to the dinner roll shape.

Dissolve the honey and water. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on a small baking tray or flat dish.

Brush the tops of each dinner roll with the honey wash then roll the wet side in the sesame seeds.

Place on baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.

Allow the dough rolls a further 30 – 35 minutes to rise.

Preheated oven at least 15 minutes prior to use at 200 degrees Celsius. 

Just before baking, use a water filled spray bottle to spray a fine mist of water over all the dough rolls. Reduce the oven temperature at 170 degrees and bake the bread rolls until golden brown approximate baking time 12 – 18minute. (All depends how big you make to rolls)

Once baked place the rolls on cooling racks.

The only thing let to do is head to the fridge reach out for the butter, rip one of those freshly backed beauties apart and lay on the butter.

Pure Joy!

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“Kiwi Fruit and Banana Booster”

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Ok now don’t knock it till you try it.

“Kiwi Fruit and Banana Booster” 

1small Banana
1 Kiwi Fruit, (Green or Gold) plea and stem removed
1/2 cup fresh Spinach
1cm piece of fresh ginger 
Zest of half a lemon
1/2 Tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon white Chia Seeds
1 cup cold Almond Milk

Method
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth. 

Enjoy!

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Strawberry Fields

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“Strawberry Fields” 

Makes one serve, but feel free to share!
1 cup Strawberries (washed and stems removed)
1 cup Almond Milk
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 pinch Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter (or Peanut Butter)

Method

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.
Enjoy!