Chocolate Orange Pudding Cake

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I have long been a huge fan of Nigella Lawson.  I first discovered her when she did a food column for Vogue magazine.  She was less well known then, not having written her cookery books, but has deservedly gone on to even greater heights.  Today’s bake is one I used to do often when I had friends over for dinner.  It was always a success, and is so easy to make.  It is, as it says, a pudding cake.  The texture is dense and slightly squidgy (technical term) and is more pudding than cake.  I wrote the recipe down when I first baked it, and have since tried to Google it.  I am unable to find this one other than looking at other bloggers’ sites.  I am guessing it might have appeared in her Vogue column.  There is a similar (but not identical) version with raspberries in her fabulous book “How to Eat“. But, again I cannot find this recipe online other than via other bloggers’ sites.

Ingredients:

125 butter

100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces.

300g good orange marmalade

150g sugar

2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt

150g self raising flour.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Butter and flour a 20cm springform cake tin – or use a cake tin liner.

Put the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and melt over a low heat (you can also do it with a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water).  When the butter is nearly melted, add the chocolate.  Remove from the heat and stir until the butter and chocolate are smooth and liquid.  Set aside to cool for a bit.

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Add the marmalade and sugar (I used light muscovado sugar, but plain white sugar is fine too).  Use any type of marmalade you like, one with a coarse shred adds more texture to the cake, but not everyone prefers that.  Add the beaten eggs and mix well until amalgamated.  Stir in the flour, and pour into the cake tin.  Place in the oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes – ovens vary and I find my cake needs just under an hour of cooking time, but check, insert a skewer and if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.  Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out.

This pudding cake is best eaten slightly warm, with cream, mascarpone or crème fraiche.  This is so simple and easy, and everyone will ask for the recipe!

Of course it would have looked a whole lot better if I had sifted a light dusting of icing sugar over the cake, but hey, it’s all about the taste, isn’t it!!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful day 🙂

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Salted Butterscotch Whip

Aaah, butterscotch, remember this from last time?!  No, you can’t see a theme developing.  Well, maybe just a tiny one.  Yes, I admit it, I’m in love with butterscotch.

Do you remember Angel Delight?  That powdered pudding you whisk with milk, which gives a lovely whipped mousse-like pudding?  Especially the butterscotch flavour one?  Well, this recipe is a home-made version of this.

I saw the recipe for Salted Butterscotch Whip in the March 2018 issue of Olive Magazine. I had to make this!  It is oh, so easy to make, minimal effort and not many ingredients.

The only thing I did differently was that I used light muscovado sugar instead of, as the recipe called for, soft dark brown sugar.

This particular recipe has the addition of some sea salt flakes (that delicious sweet/salty combination).  It is, to cut it down to basics, a cornflour and milk based pudding, but certainly not reminiscent of any of the disgusting wobbly versions I ate as a child.

The butterscotch is made, milk is added and this is all thickened with cornflour.  The mixture is then refrigerated and once cold, softly whipped cream is folded into it.  I made the mistake of over-whisking the cream (unfortunately I seem to keep doing this unintentionally) and so it was slightly too stiff, but nevertheless I managed to combine it with the butterscotch mixture.  I should have piped the pudding into the glasses, as it would have looked so much better, and I should have topped the puddings with a sprinkling of grated dark chocolate……..but, it is ALL about the taste after all, isn’t it!  Now, don’t let’s waste any more time, grab a spoon and join me!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful day 🙂

Cranberry, Apricot & Butterscotch Pudding

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When winter seems determined to hang on for just that little bit longer, when the days are cold and grey, we look for comfort.  To be honest, we don’t really need much of an excuse to have comfort food, but to justify it makes us feel better!!  Something warming and tasty is always welcome.

I found this recipe in the December 2017 issue of BBC Good Food magazine.  It is one of Nigel Slater’s recipes – oddly enough the first one of his recipes I have tried.  How could I have lived so long and not made more of Nigel’s recipes?!  Frustratingly enough, I am unable to find the recipe to give you the link.  When I searched the BBC Good Food website I could not find the recipe, and when I Googled Nigel Slater’s recipes the apparent link to this recipe kept taking me to a completely unrelated page.  I blame myself, as I am  not very tech-savvy, so please look this recipe up (I’m sure you’ll have more luck than me) as it is really worth making.

So, you think comfort food…….stodgy, unhealthy, fattening…..No!  It’s all about quantity and balance.  And in this case there are cranberries and dried apricots – two of your five a day!!  See, there’s always something good 🙂

This is a sponge pudding with the fruit, and it is accompanied by a butterscotch and cranberry sauce.  It is lovely.  The dried apricots and the cranberries have a nice sharp tang anyway, and they stop the pudding from being too sweet.

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I began to get a bit concerned when I made the batter, it was very stiff.  I re-read the recipe as I thought maybe I had put in too much flour, or misread ingredient quantities.  But I had followed the recipe exactly.  I gritted my teeth and put it in the oven.

Then on to the butterscotch sauce.  I was actually tempted to put all the cranberries in the pudding, instead of, as the recipe says, some in the pudding, but the larger quantity go in the sauce.  This time I went with the recipe.  Yes, honestly I did!

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This was also the first time I’d made butterscotch.  How could I not have made it before?! It was difficult not to devour the sauce before I had even put it on the pudding!

Towards the end of the cooking time, some of the sauce is poured over the pudding, and it is returned to the oven for 10 minutes.  You would then serve it with the rest of the sauce.  I poured all the sauce over the pudding before finishing baking.  In spite of my earlier concerns, the sponge part of the pudding turned out lovely and light.

The pudding goes really well served with a nice dollop of thick cream, or – as I did- some lovely vanilla ice cream.

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Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Cappuccino Cheesecake Cups

I don’t particularly like traditional Christmas pudding, and years ago I decided that as long as I was cooking the Christmas meal, I would make a pudding I wanted.  Sod tradition! The pudding I make most often is Christmas Crumble, which is always popular, and is sufficiently “Christmassy” to satisfy most people’s idea of what is acceptable on the day! I have, however, also made various trifles, and various chocolate-based puddings.

This year I was particularly indecisive.  I wanted to do something that required minimal effort.  A no-bake cheesecake was an option.  Years ago there were many variations on a theme of cheesecake pots – little pots of cheesecake mixture, usually involving brandy, rum, or some kind of alcohol.  I eventually found – in my gigantic trunk of recipes collected over the years – this one.  In the end I didn’t make this for Christmas day as the numbers of my guests doubled and Christmas Crumble was an easier way to feed the masses.

I still had cream, and cream cheese which I had bought in preparation, to use up, and so this weekend I made these Cappuccino Cheesecake Cups.  This recipe is so quick and easy, minimal effort.  It is very adaptable in that the flavour (in this case coffee and chocolate) can be easily varied.

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Ingredients:

3 tablespoons light muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

450g cream cheese

150ml double cream, plus extra for decorating

3 tablespoons Tia Maria

Amaretti biscuits

Dark chocolate for decorating

Method:

Put the sugar and coffee granules in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder.

Soften the cream cheese and mix in the sugar & coffee mixture with the Tia Maria.

Add the cream and using an electric whisk, beat it all together until it is well mixed and thick.

Place an Amaretti biscuit at the bottom of a small glass and spoon the cheesecake mixture on top (it would look really neat if it was piped). Pour a thin layer of cream over the top and finely grate the chocolate to cover the cream.  Refrigerate for a couple of  hours to set.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Peanut Butter & Salted Caramel Cheesecake

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I’ve been hankering after cheesecake for a while now, but specifically wanted to do a no-bake recipe. I haven’t made a peanut butter cheesecake for ages, so this was my mission.  I searched recipes…….and eventually one caught my eye. Peanut Butter. Caramel. Cheesecake. No-bake.  Yes! I didn’t even have to think twice. The cheesecake I ended up making was (slightly) adapted (okay, okay, I meddled, I admit it) from Something Swanky’s delicious recipe for No Bake Peanut Butter & Caramel Cheesecake.

Reader, I was going to follow this recipe to a T, honestly I was…..I hit a very small stumbling block.  The recipe calls for Cool Whip.  I don’t know exactly what this is, other than I am unable to get it in this corner of the UK.  So…I opted for a similar volume of double cream, which I whipped before adding to the other ingredients.  You may have noticed the use of the word “similar”……well, it all started when I made the base for this cheesecake.

For me, personally there is a very fine line between pudding bases being just right, and being like set concrete.  I therefore always err on the side of less butter and more biscuit.  Or, in this case, pretzels, because that is the base biscuit for this cheesecake.  It is an inspired, one, because the lovely salty bits from the pretzels work so well with the pudding.

However, today, my base didn’t even stick together.  When I removed it from the oven and saw there was no hope of it sticking, I thought maybe I’d throw it away and start again…but no, because I then thought I’d melt some dark chocolate and drizzle it over the base to help hold it together.  So I did.  Yes, I know, I shouldn’t have.

Then, on re-reading the recipe, I realised I hadn’t added sugar to the base ingredients. Too late for that now.

By then I was losing the will to live (I don’t have much strength in reserve!) and whilst I started with good intentions measuring everything carefully, I threw caution to the winds and became free and easy in my interpretations of measurements.

It all mixed together well and looked (and tasted) promising.  One of the ingredients is Marshmallow cream, and again, this does indeed work very well in the mixture. I spooned the mixture on top of my crumbly base and then thought why don’t I drizzle salted caramel over the top now……long story short, I clumped solid dollops of salted caramel on the top of the cheesecake mixture and carefully tried to mix it in.  It was a marbled effect, I told myself!

The end result?  Part of the base is glued together solidly with the chocolate (we KNEW that would happen, didn’t we!) and the rest is a mass of pretzel crumbs.  The cheesecake mixture is lovely though, and so, my meddling aside, this recipe is delicious.  I know what to do better next time!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Cherry Bakewell Sponge Pudding

P1010038It is the season of comfort foods, and comfort puddings.  I know it won’t be long before I crave fresh vibrant salads and fruit, so I maximise the opportunity for some warmth and comfort in my cooking.

I found this recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine October 2017 issue. I love the traditional British Bakewell Tart (or Bakewell pudding) and having visited Bakewell itself, the home of this tasty pudding I have had the real thing!  Today’s pudding is a variation on the theme, but as with all the recipes I prefer to make, easy and tasty. And, of course with cherries – fruit – y’know, healthy!

This Cherry Bakewell Sponge Pudding is warm, almondy, comforting and with a nice balance of fruit to sponge topping.  You could of course, always add more fruit if you prefer that.

Personally, I would thicken the cherry sauce a little more, as I was unable to reduce it enough (without it all ending up a sticky sugary mess). But as it was, the excess liquid was absorbed by the almond sponge, and worked well.

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The sponge topping has ground almonds, and almond essence, as well as flaked almonds sprinkled over the top (maximum almond!!).

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The end result is a lovely, light almond sponge on top of the cherry filling. I would definitely make this again.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful day 🙂

 

Bounty Cheesecake

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Yes, it has been a while since I have blogged.  I’m afraid life defeated me for a while.  However, once again, my thoughts turned to baking. I couldn’t decide what to do, and in the end I thought cheesecake.  I love cheesecake, a nice stodgy, densely cheesy pudding. Baked or not, it’s a luxurious, comforting eat.

Today I chose a no-bake cheesecake, and it is a recipe new to me.  Of course, I did the few obligatory tweaks, I can’t help myself!

This starts with a biscuit crumb base and I used milk chocolate Hobnobs.  My preferred method for crushing the biscuits is to put them in a strong plastic bag, put it on the floor and stamp on it – just being careful not to burst the bag.  Who says baking isn’t physical! Mixed with melted butter, the chocolate on the biscuits melts nicely, and makes the difference from being a plain crumb crust. A bit of desiccated coconut adds to the texture.

A few chopped bounty bars on top of the crust and then the cheesecake mixture (cream cheese, vanilla, icing sugar, a jar of bounty spread, double cream) goes on top.  This goes into the fridge to set for a couple of hours. Once set, I melted some Galaxy milk chocolate and poured it over the top, and once again back into the fridge to set.

And there you have it.  Now I wonder how it would turn out if I replaced the vanilla extract with a coconut liqueur…..?

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂