A Recipe For Heart Home: Two Popcorn Recipes - One Savoury, One Sweet

30 July 2013

Earlier this week, in an attempt to nip-in-the-bud any school holiday boredom, I purchased a bag of popping corn for my children. At eight and four these little golden kernels of maize act as entertainment as well as a snack. They love standing around the stove when the popping begins; saucepans with glass lids go far to add to excitement.

I took this opportunity to have a play about with flavours. We popped a good quantity of corn and flavoured one half savoury (Parmesan & Marjoram) and the other half sweet (Honey & Cinnamon). Both varieties got the thumbs up.
You can find both of these recipes over at Heart Home today.

Happy Popping!

Photography: Buttercup Days

A Chocolate Cake That You Can Eat During a Heatwave

22 July 2013

Over the weekend we spent a lovely hot afternoon with some special friends, aka my yoga ladies (minus one, plus husbands and children). The occasion was to see our (yoga lady #1) friend Sarah and her two gorgeous girls who were briefly back in their home town for a few days. It was in Sarah's stunning Milan home that we stayed on our trip there at Easter. Marianne (yoga lady #2) and Jamie hosted the afternoon in their lovely garden. The children, eight in all, played like a dream running around bare-footed in-and-out of the paddling pool, while the grown ups relaxed and drank glasses of chilled bubbles.

Later we all enjoyed a delicious barbecue and for pudding had this chocolate cake that I took along, having made it the evening before. You see, according to Sarah eldest daughter Emilia (7), the Milanese don't really know how to bake a decent chocolate cake. Apparently they are always far too dry. A bold statement I know. I can't comment myself as I didn't really eat any chocolate cake whilst in Milan. But Emilia has and this is apparently the case believe it or not.

So the pressure was on to bake a 'moist' chocolate cake. Also, what with the heatwave I needed to find a recipe that could cope with the heat, yet still deliver that chocolate hit. In this recipe the sponge does all the work without the need for any chocolate frosting or covering that would sweat in the current heat, making it perfect for heatwaves. Well, I found it. The original recipe is by the talented Katie Quinn Davies and is titled 'Easy Chocolate Cake' - and very easy it is too. I made a few substitutions with ingredients. Below is the original recipe. However, I replaced the Savoiardi biscuits with Jules Destrooper's Almond Thins and the Frangelico with 2 tbsp of milk in order to make it kid friendly. Also, do check the cake as it bakes as mine was cooked in just 35mins - but I do have a rather speedy oven.

Easy Chocolate Cake
Serves 8 - 10

small savoiardi biscuits, crushed
300g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
150g unsalted butter, softened
165g caster sugar
4 eggs
155g ground almonds
150g mascarpone
3tbsp Frangelico
icing sugar, shaved chocolate and double cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 200˚C/400˚F/ Gas 6.
Grease and line a 22cm round springform tin and sprinkle with 1tbsp of crushed savoiardi biscuits, just to coat the tin.

Bring a small pan of water to a gentle simmer and melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan without touching the water, stirring occasionally. Carefully remove from the heat and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition - don't panic if the mixture resembles scrambled eggs at this stage.
Stir in the remaining crushed savoiardi biscuits, the melted chocolate, ground almonds, mascarpone and Frangelico. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 55-65 minutes until the cake has a crust on top and is firm around the edges – a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. Be careful not to overcook, as the centre of the cake should remain a little moist. Dust the cooled cake with icing sugar and sprinkle with chocolate shavings before slicing and serving with a generous dollop of cream.

Photography: Buttercup Days

Banana Granola

12 July 2013

Have you ever made your own Muesli or Granola? It is well worth the effort; though actually there is very little effort involved. I love the fact that you can tailor the ingredients to suit your taste and you know exactly what you are putting into it. Earlier this week I had an urge to fill a Kilner jar with something wholesome and delicious to start the day with. So I did.

These days as well as dipping into my growing library of cookbooks for inspiration, I find myself looking at some of the amazing food blogs that are out there. Green Kitchen Stories, Pastry Affair, What Katie Ate, My Darling Lemon Thyme and Pratos Travessa are just a few that I follow with a passion.

It was Green Kitchen Stories that I turned to for this recipe. I didn't tweak or tamper with it in any way or form. It was a Lily that needed no guilding. In a mere half an hour you can have yourself a jar of this good stuff that will last you a week or more. You can find the recipe here. I like it served with plain yoghurt and fresh berries, Arthur opts for yoghurt and raisins and Lily prefers just plain old milk. David on the other hand sticks to his usual bowl of branflakes. Oh well, that's his loss.

Photography: Buttercup Days

A Recipe for Heart Home: Peach, Rhubarb & Pistachio Tarts

5 July 2013

This is a ridiculously short post, just to let you know that my recipe for Peach, Rhubarb & Pistachio Tarts is featured on the lovely Heart Home blog today. With the promise that summer has finally arrived, these would be just perfect to whip up this weekend and enjoy in the sunshine.

We're heading off to the wonderful Isle Of Wight later today to spend the weekend with my folk. The kids are SO excited, and David and I are raring to get there and relax in the garden, enjoy my mum's home cooking and get some sand (rather than the pebbles of Brighton) between our toes. Bliss!

Have a wonderful sunny weekend. xxxx

Photography: Buttercup Days