Apricot and Almond Tart 

Lazy summer Sundays are made for apricot tarts.

To make this you need:

Firm apricots (no not hard), stoned and sliced

1 x pkt ready rolled puff pastry ( let’s be lazy, it’s Sunday after all, and jus rol is vegan if you wish)

1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground 

Pinch Salt 

1/2 vanilla pod seeds

Small pkt of almonds 

Water 

Brown sugar 2 tbsp

Method 

Sprinkle the puff pastry with 1/2 tsp of brown sugar and cinnamon then fold over and roll out and cut into your desired shape and size ..I also made individual tartlets. 

Score a margin around the edge of the pastry and then place in the fridge to keep cool.

In a high speed blender, place all the other ingredients except the apricots, pulse to make a smooth thick paste . 

Remove your pastry from the fridge and inside of the margin you have scored, spread the almond paste.


Layer with the apricots and sprinkle with a little brown sugar.

Place in a preheated oven say 180c fan, bake for 25 -30 mins or until the pastry is puffed and golden.


Or if you would like to make individual tartlets use a mini muffin tin to shape your pastry cases, fill with the almond paste and cover with half an apricot. 


Note: if you like sweet things add an additional 1tbsp brown sugar.

Enjoy. 

Lemonies with White Chocolate and Kaffir Lime Leaf

Recently I’ve been on a forced health drive due to my gall bladder playing up, which hasn’t been much fun but it has been manageable until I came across this old picture of my scrummy lemonies with white chocolate and kaffir lime leaf. Admittedly not the most arty of pictures but delicious none the less with its gooey middle and crisp crust, and I’m pretty sure you will forgive my photography skills once you’ve made them.  

If I’m honest, I think I prefer these to its big sister the dark chocolate brownie owing too the lemon and kaffir lime leaf cutting through the heaviness of the chocolate giving a much tastier sweet treat. 

I developed this recipe back in March 2014 after being inspired by plain lemonies on Pinterest, it was the baked food thing of it’s time, a bit like this unicorn /rainbow/galaxy cake thing is that’s going on a the moment. I’m really not sure about all those colourants in foods, kids eating those types of cakes must be pinging of the walls ! Anyway I originally blogged this on my very first food blog “From Ground to Mouth” and as I’m centralising all my recipes it now appears here for you to enjoy. 


Lemonies with White Chocolate and Kaffir Lime Leaf

Serves: 12 or 6 greedy people

Prep time: 15mins

Cooking time: 28-35 mins

Ingredients:

200g white chocolate Green and Blacks

250g salted butter

3 large fresh kaffir lime leaves, scrunched and finely shredded

3 lemons, zested and juiced

125g plain flour, sieved

350g caster sugar

4 large organic eggs

Optional: use 1tbsp fresh lemon thyme instead of kaffir lime leaves

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c or 160c fan

Line a small – medium square or rectangle tray.

In a pan melt the chocolate and butter , then add the sugar, shredded lime leaves, lemon zest and juice; and mix.

Gradually add the eggs and then the flour

Place the mixture in the lined baking tray (small-medium) and bake until just set.

Set the timer for 28 mins first, then increase as you think fit. The ones I baked took 33 mins. The top of the brownies should appear cracked and have the slightest wobble.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin , then portion up. 

clementine, chocolate, and date m’hencha…an alternative christmas treat.

 

As I’m twiddling my thumbs until I start my new job next week, I’ve been looking at what ingredients I’ve got hanging about the kitchen and what deliciousness I can make. I first came across a recipe for M’hencha a couple of years ago but didn’t make it, although I was interested in making one at some point. Then this year I bought a date and orange one, it was delicious, the m’hencha was just on another level and for the last couple of months it’s been at the back of my mind that I need to make one. So I did and it turns out it’s really easy to make, which could be a little dangerous.

The dish served today is a spiced clementine, date and chocolate m’hencha, otherwise known as a snake cake from morocco. This M’hencha is a mix of nuts, dates, spices, and chocolate encased is crisp phyllo pastry, dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon. I’m really pleased with my first attempt and think it makes a rather nice alternative to a mince pie or piece of Christmas cake. I’ll definitely be making this later in the month for the festivities and I hope you do too.

Clementine, Chocolate and Date M'hencha
clementine, chocolate and date m’hencha

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 12 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 150ml clementine juice
  • Zest of 4 clementines
  • 200g date paste
  • 165g almonds
  • 50g pistachios, shelled
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 100g vanilla sugar
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom, ground
  • 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted

Decoration

  • 2 tsp icing sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon, ground

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180c

Grease and line a 10-inch cake tin

In a food processor place the clementine juice, zest, almonds, pistachios, cocoa powder,  date paste, vanilla sugar, icing sugar, egg white, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and orange blossom water, pulse the mixture to get a textured paste and place in a bowl.

To assemble the pastry, melt the butter and lay out a large length of cling wrap.

Unwrap the phyllo pastry, placing 4 sheets each over lapping short ends on top of the cling wrap.

Using a pastry brush work quickly and brush the pastry with the melted butter, ensure you brush between the over lapping edges. Then place a sheet of pastry over each of the buttered layer and repeat with the rest of the phyllo, making sure the top layer is also buttered.

Take the m’hencha filling; make a line of filling along the longest edge of the pastry nearest to you.

Using the cling wrap to help you start to turn the edge of the pastry over the filling and continue to roll, remove the cling film and discard.

Ensure the pastry seam is on the underside of the rolled pastry, brush with the remaining butter and gently coil the pastry around itself, at the end tuck the pastry slightly under the coil, place in the cake tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool in the tin.

When cooled, remove from the tin and dust with the icing sugar and cinnamon. Serve on its own or with some whipped cream and a mint tea.

 

lemon and keralan vanilla drizzle cake

Left to my own devices on a gloomy Sunday afternoon my attentions focus on baking, it’s also a welcomed distraction from doing my accounts!  

Now, I’m not one for fancy cakes except for my Persian Orange Cake of course, I tend to opt for plain cakes such as this Lemon and Keralan Vanilla Drizzle Cake. So to brighten up my day  I decided to make a lemon drizzle cake and as I’ve got an abundance of 1st grade Keralan vanilla beans, I couldn’t resist adding this spice to the mix. The results of which have been very satisfying.

So why vanilla pods from Kerala ? 


Well when I visited a little while ago, I say a little while ago but my first encounter with Keralan Vanilla was while I was in Kerala 14 years ago. I thought the vanilla vines were most unusual just growing in gardens, certainly not the usual plant in the gardens of Wales, thats for sure. The memory has always stuck with me and so too my obsession for Kerala. Last year on one of my regular visits to the state, I was introduced to a spice merchant and somehow ended up returning home with 10 kilos of spice at no cost and 1/2 kilo Keralan vanilla pods at a ridiculously low cost. I was so struck but it’s quality, heady aroma and complexed flavour, I fell back in love with the spice that I had previously taken for granted using Madagascan varieties. I still have a fair bit of vanilla left and amazingly the pods are still sticky, plump, flexible pods with an intense in flavour and aroma. 


Prep time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 45-55 mins

Serves 8-10 

Ingredients:

For the cake

3 eggs, free range/organic 

75g unsalted butter, melted 

200gm vanilla caster sugar 

75g plain full fat yoghurt

200g plain flour, sieved

1tsp baking powder

2 unwaxed lemons, juice and zest

1 Keralan vanilla pod, seeds

For the icing:

80g icing sugar, sieved

1 lemon

1/2 Keralan vanilla pod seeds

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160c if fan assisted, or 170c without a fan.

Grease and line a 1 pound loaf tin.

In a bowl add the lemon juice, sugar and vanilla seeds mix with a spoon to dissolve the sugar. 

In a food mixer bowl add the eggs and whisk until a little fluffy, then add the sugar mix, melted butter and yoghurt, whisk again until combined.

Remove the bowl from the food processor and add the flour and baking powder, fold in gently with a metal spoon.

Pour the cake batter into the lined tin and cook in the oven for 45-55 minutes. Do the cake test with a skewer after 45 minutes, if it’s not clean, cook for a further 5-10 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin

In a bowl combine the icing sugar, vanilla and lemon juice, mix until smooth.

After 10 minutes pour the icing over the cake, while it’s still in the tin.

Leave the cake to cool completely then remove from the tin. 
Notes

If you would just like a lemon drizzle cake just leave out the vanilla.