Cakes & Bakes: Cardamom rice pudding

Home-made cardamom rice pudding | H is for Home

We’ve finally polished off all the Christmas Day left overs. I made a (surprisingly delicious) fritata using up a couple of sliced up roast potatoes, sprouts and stuffing. It’s amazing what you can throw together to save on wasting food!

Cardamom rice pudding before going into the oven | H is for Home

Today has been frosty all day and at times like this, all the body craves is comforting carbs. This hot, creamy cardamom rice pudding just hits the spot!

Dish of cardamom rice pudding | H is for Home

It’s quick to pull together, foolproof and is delicious served hot with a side of pouring cream or vanilla ice cream.

Bowl of cardamom rice pudding with vanilla ice cream and pouring cream | H is for Home

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Home-made cardamom rice pudding | H is for Home

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon curd and jelly tarts

Home-made lemon curd and fruit jelly tarts with a cup of tea | H is for Home

I had a bit of leftover lemon curd from last week’s Pavlova recipe… I also have jar upon jar of home-made fruit jelly in the store cupboard. As someone who hates to waste anything, I thought I would make some simple lemon curd and jelly tarts.

Making pastry tart cases | H is for Home

Whether you’re rubbing in by hand or using a food mixer, the shortcrust pastry is a breeze…

Filling pastry tart cases | H is for Home

…then fill with your preserve(s) of choice and bake. Start to finish in an hour or so. Perfect if you want to rustle up something quickly – or try a bit of baking with the kids.

Cooked lemon curd and fruit jelly tarts | H is for Home

You can leave them plain & simple – or perhaps pretty them up a bit. I garnished the top of the lemon curd tarts with a single blueberry and the jelly ones with a little sprinkle of dessicated coconut.

Adding garnishes to lemon curd and fruit jelly tarts | H is for Home

They’re a good finger food for a party or an afternoon or high tea. They’re simple, inexpensive and delicious – a great combination!

Click here or on the image below to save the recipe for later!

Home-made jelly and lemon curd tarts | H is for Home

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon and blueberry Pavlova

Home-made lemon and blueberry Pavlova | H is for Home

One of the first things I remember baking as a kid in Trinidad are soupies. Plain meringue rounds, usually with a good dash of garish food colouring. I don’t think I’ve made meringue since then, so this dessert is a long time coming! This time the recipe will be a bit more sophisticated; I’ll be making a lemon and blueberry Pavlova. I’m not a great fan of dry, chalky meringue so I’m making it with a just about baked, soft, chewy Swiss meringue.

Four separated eggs and aluminium cup of sugar | H is for Home

For a successful meringue you need to ensure you do a few things. Firstly, use the freshest eggs possible. Next, separate you eggs – one by one – not into each other to ensure none of the yolk gets into the mix. If you don’t, the yolk of the last egg you crack splits, that would be all the egg whites ruined!

Swiss meringue mixture over a saucepan of simmering water | H is for Home

It’s also important to make sure that your mixing bowl and your whisk or whisk attachment are clean as a whistle. If they have any sign of oil or grease it will affect how well the egg whites form those all-important stiff peaks.

Beaten Swiss meringue mixture | H is for Home

Success on that front – so I was off to a good start!

Swiss meringue piped on to parchment paper | H is for Home

I decided on three graduated layers with whipping cream swirled with the gently simmered blueberries – and a small batch of my freshly made lemon curd.

Home-made lemon and blueberry Pavlova with jar of lemon curd | H is for Home

The flavours worked so well together – the sweet meringue combining beautifully with the slightly tart blueberries and the sweet, unctuous lemon. A real triumph!

Home-made lemon and blueberry Pavlova | H is for Home

Other great Pavlova fillings you could try are the classic strawberries, passion fruit & kiwifruit; mandarin; peach, pomegranate, banana & toffee (banoffee) or black cherry & chocolate (black forest). Or flavour the actual meringue with cocoa powder, fine ground coffee beans or – my new favourite – cardamom.

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!
Home-made lemon and blueberry pavlova | H is for Home

Cakes & Bakes: Shortbread rounds, three ways

Home-made shortbread rounds with mug of tea | H is for Home

Whenever the biscuit stash in our store cupboard reaches critical levels there are normally two obvious options to remedy the situation. Firstly, I can whip out a pre-made refrigerator cookie dough roll from the freezer. Alternatively, if the frozen stock is depleted, I can whip up a quick batch of shortbread.

Vintage wooden shortbread round mould | H is for Home

Justin bought me this vintage wooden biscuit mould a few weeks ago, so it was a great opportunity to use it for the first time to make some shortbread rounds.

Home-made shortbread round with vintage biscuit mould sprinkled with semolina | H is for Home

We think the mould might be Indian so we’ve added a few spices in homage – cardamom, ginger and vanilla.

Three home-made shortbread rounds on a tray lined with parchment paper | H is for Home

The swirl pattern it makes is just beautiful – I needed to sprinkle some polenta into the mould so the dough didn’t stick and it also helped with the definition.

Three home-made shortbread rounds cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

We liked all three flavours. And it has to be said that, if we hadn’t been trying to think of suitable Indian spices for biscuits, we probably would never have tried cardamom shortbread – yet we both thought that it was very successful. I’ll definitely be making these again soon!

Cakes & Bakes: Walnut and sultana loaf

Sliced, home-made walnut and sultana loaf | H is for Home

I’ve decided to make a walnut and sultana loaf this week by tweaking a basic white bread recipe that I regularly use. I didn’t have enough white flour in store so I substituted a quarter with wholemeal. It was a good decision as it added to the nuttiness of the finished loaf.

Home-made walnut and sultana loaf dough in a mixing bowl with cane banneton | H is for Home

Sliced or torn pieces of this bread will go amazingly well with a mild, creamy blue cheese such as Dolcelatte, Saint Agur or Roquefort.

Home-made walnut and sultana loaf dough profing in a cane banneton | H is for Home Home-made walnut and sultana loaf dough profing in a cane banneton | H is for Home

Another good option would be a couple of dipping bowls of good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Once the loaf’s a couple of days old, have it toasted and spread with butter and honey.

Home-made walnut and sultana loaf | H is for Home

Cakes & Bakes: Viennese fingers

Home-made Viennese fingers | H is for Home

Making these Viennese fingers made me realise just how poor my piping skills are! 🙂

Piping Viennese fingers on to baking sheet lined with parchment paper | H is for Home

Not just that, but also a reminder of how cold our kitchen is – it’s a rubbish environment for doing things things like proving bread and sourdough starter. The biscuit dough cooled and hardened inside the piping bag making it a nightmare to squeeze out through the nozzle. My first batch was a disaster! I piped them out to the 10cm that was stated in the recipe but they seemed way too long. They were also too thin and weedy. My second batch were better, I piped them to 5cm and the dough was beginning to warm up a little so flowed more smoothly. But I still have to put in some more practice.

Viennese fingers cooked and cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

As well as dunking the Viennese fingers in chocolate, you can dip them into chopped mixed nuts or dessicated coconut. But take care when you’re doing it – these are so crumbly they break easily (as I found out quite a few times).

Viennese fingers being dipped in chocolate, chopped nuts and dessicated coconut | H is for Home

Next time I make them, I’ll have a go at sandwiching two fingers together with layers of vanilla buttercream and my mixed berry jelly.

Home-made Viennese fingers and vintage tea set | H is for Home

Having mentioned a few problems, the resulting biscuits were both pretty and delicious. We’ll have to have a few delicate afternoon tea breaks this week!