Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

Cakes & Bakes: Chocolate mousse

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

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Chocolate mousse in heart-shaped ramekins | H is for Home

We don’t do the Valentine’s night restaurant ‘thing’ – long rows of tables for two, knocking elbows with the couples either side. So we usually stay in with something good to eat and a bottle of red.

This Valentine’s, Justin made gnocchi Gorgonzola and I made chocolate mousse for dessert (I even served them in heart-shaped ramekins). We rented a film, bought a bottle of nice Shiraz and settled in for the night… perfect!

Chocolate mousse isn’t quite a cake or a bake but I thought I’d share the recipe anyway! I tweaked a recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch: And Other Recipes from the F Word

Cakes & Bakes: Chocolate mousse

Yield: makes 4

Cakes & Bakes: Chocolate mousse


  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1 egg white
  • 50g caster sugar
  • White chocolate shavings, to garnish


  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat half of the cream until boiling
  2. Turn off the heat, add the chocolate pieces and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth
  3. Pour the mixture into a bowl set over a large bowl of iced water and add the rest of the cream and brandy
  4. Using a hand-held electric whisk, beat the mixture to soft peaks
  5. Remove the bowl from the iced water
  6. Whisk the egg white with a hand-held electric beater until it forms stiff peaks
  7. Add the sugar to the egg white, one tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously
  8. Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold the meringue through the chocolate mixture
  9. Spoon or pipe into chilled ramekins or serving glasses/pots
  10. Garnish with the white chocolate shavings
  11. Serve immediately or chill for up to 2 days

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Cakes & Bakes: Walnut Scotchies

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

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Walnut scotchies slice

I was browsing a bookshelf in Picture House Antiques last week and my eyes fell upon a book that I just had to have. It’s the Yorkshire W.I. Recipe Book published in the late 1950s.

vintage Yorkshire W.I. recipe book from the late 1950s

According to the foreword by Chairman, Eileen Yewdall,
“The present edition now being sold out, the Federation has been asked for another reprint, so a small committee has amended and added to the original, now including subjects that have come into favour since 1957, such as Deep Freeze, Cooking with Wine, Yeast Cookery, etc., etc.”

page from a vintage Yorkshire W.I. recipe book from the late 1950s

It contains scores of recipes submitted by Yorkshire Women’s Institute members with, rather tellingly of the era, many oven temperatures given in Regulo and seven separate recipes for salad cream!

The first recipe I’ve attempted is one for walnut scotchies, which was provided by the W.I. in Glasshouses. It’s a cake I’d never heard of previously -  a sort of shortbread base with a meringue topping… and very tasty!

There are quite a few recipes in the book that I’d not heard of before – far less tasted. I’ll be testing out lots of them in the near future and sharing the results here with you.

Cakes & Bakes: Walnut Scotchies

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 20 squares

Cakes & Bakes: Walnut Scotchies


  • 110g/4oz butter
  • 170g/6oz caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks & 2 egg whites
  • 170g/6oz flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½tsp vanilla essence
  • 60g/2oz chopped walnuts
  • 110g/4oz brown sugar


  1. Beat butter and sugar to a cream
  2. Stir in egg yolks one at a time and then add the flour sifted with baking powder and pinch of salt
  3. Add vanilla essence and mix well
  4. Spread ½cm/¼inch thick on well-greased oblong tin about 25cm/10inch x 22cm/9inch
  5. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts
  6. Beat the 2 egg whites until stiff
  7. Lightly mix in brown sugar and spread over the nuts
  8. Bake for half an hour in a moderate oven (180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4)
  9. Leave till cold and cut into squares

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Cakes & Bakes: Manchester Tart

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

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Square of Manchester tart on a plate on an orange background

I’ve been meaning to try to make a Manchester tart for ages. It’s a fairly local dish although not all that common to find… and consists a host of things we both love! Bananas, dessicated coconut, jam and custard. A Northern dish made from exotic ingredients like bananas and coconut!

I found and slightly adapted a Marcus Wareing recipe I found online. There are lots of stages – it’s not quick to whip up, but it’s a scrumptious, filling dessert – I’ll be making it again soon!

Cakes & Bakes: Manchester Tart

Serving Size: 6-9 slices

Cakes & Bakes: Manchester Tart


  • Base
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Filling
  • 200g raspberry jam ( I used some of the raspberry jelly I made in the summer )
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp rum
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 4 medium bananas, sliced
  • Custard
  • 560ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp custard powder
  • Topping
  • 50g dessicated coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas mark 4
  2. Lightly grease or line the base of an 18cm/7inch square cake tin with baking paper
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then fold in the flour mixed with the baking powder
  4. Flatten the mixture into the tin using a small angled palette knife and bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes
  6. Spread the dessicated coconut evenly on a shallow baking tray and toast in the oven for no more than 5 minutes. Shaking once or twice to get an even colour
  7. For the filling, spread the cooled base with the jam/jelly
  8. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the sugar to the pan and melt to form a caramel, swirling all the time
  9. Carefully add the rum (I had an unplanned flambé experience!), then whisk in the butter
  10. Add the banana slices and toss gently or turn with tongs until coated & caramelised
  11. Layer on top of the raspberry jam/jelly, then place in the fridge for 30 minutes
  12. For the custard, put the milk in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat
  13. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, custard powder and an extra splash of milk together until smooth
  14. Pour a little of the hot milk on to the mixture, whisk well, then add it back to the hot milk
  15. Cook the custard over a low heat, stirring constantly with the whisk, until the mixture is very thick
  16. Pour the custard on to the banana caramel mixture then sprinkle the toasted coconut on top
  17. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes until the tart is set
  18. Slice & serve

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Banana ice cream

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

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small vintage enamel Cathrineholm bowl with home made banana ice cream and pair of ice cream wafer curls

As we mentioned in a post last week we’ve been feasting on lots of ice lollies in the warm weather.

bag of over ripe, marked down bananas

I saw this big bag of marked down, overripe bananas in the supermarket and thought I’d make some homemade banana ice cream.

sliced bananas on a chopping board

It’s really easy – first you peel & slice all the bananas and freeze them.

sliced bananas on two pizza cooking mesh sheets

Prior to putting them into the freezer I arranged them on these pizza baking meshes so that they didn’t turn into a massive, rock-hard lump.

frozen sliced bananas in a food processor

After about half an hour in the freezer pop the slices into a food processor and whizz for about 5 minutes stopping every minute or so, popping off the cover and turning over the contents with a spatula to ensure it all gets chopped up.

creamed frozen bananas in a food processor

If needed, you can add about 150ml of whole milk, single cream, soya or almond milk to give it a creamier consistency. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of honey for a sweeter mix.

creamed frozen bananas in a food processor

Decant into tubs (I used 6 medium bananas which made about 2 litres) and put in the freezer. Remove the tub from the freezer about 5 minutes before serving to make it easier to run a scoop through it.

small vintage enamel Cathrineholm bowl with home made banana ice cream and pair of ice cream wafer curls

Try adding chopped peanuts or chocolate chips (or both!) to the mix prior to decanting into the tubs.

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Bookmarks: Cheesecake

Monday, April 15th, 2013

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"Cheesecake" book by Hannah Miles with chocolate & ginger cheesecake and little jug of creme fraiche and squares of dark & white chocolate

Cheesecake by Hannah Miles (Masterchef 2007 finalist and a lawyer to boot!) arrived through the letterbox at a very opportune time – the eve of Justin’s birthday.

baklava cheesecake recipe

We’ve blogged about cheesecake before – in fact, it’s one of our most visited posts – there are a lot of cheesecake fans out there!

chilli chocolate cheesecake recipe

So we’re looking forward to sharing a load more varieties in this post.

berry sundae cheesecake recipe

Each double page spread presents you with a delicious cheesecake recipe on one side with beautifully styled and photographed image on the other.

valentine cheesecake recipe

The range of recipes in the book (there are 60 in all) spans mini-cakes, cake pops, baked cheesecake, no-bake cheesecakes, even cheesecakes with jelly on top!

whisky and raspberry cranachan cheesecake recipe

They’re divided up into chapters such as fruity cheesecakes, candy bar cheesecakes, party cheesecakes and around the world cheesecakes.

mini popcorn cheesecake recipe

There’s also a useful introduction that includes types of cheese you can use, troubleshooting (I’ve been asked in the past about how to stop cracks appearing – it’s covered here) and information about storing & freezing.

sticky toffee pudding cheesecake recipe

No great amount of equipment is needed for most of the recipes – usually just a 23cm/9-inch spring form cake tin. A few of them call for perhaps a silicone mat, piping bag & nozzle, push pops, chef’s rings, sugar thermometer or blow torch.

vanilla cheesecake recipe

Anyway, back to Justin’s birthday – cheesecake is his favourite kind of cake so I told him to choose a recipe from the book and I’d make it for his birthday. He decided on the chocolate ginger option.

"Cheesecake" book by Hannah Miles with ingredients to make a chocolate & ginger cheesecake

Chocolate Ginger Cheesecake

Yield: serves 12

Chocolate Ginger Cheesecake


  • For the crumb base
  • 300g/10½oz ginger biscuits/cookies
  • 150g/1¼ sticks butter, melted
  • For the filling
  • 650g/2¾-3 cups cream cheese
  • 600ml/2½ cups crème fraîche
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g/½ cup caster/white sugar
  • 200g/7oz dark chocolate, melted & cooled
  • 6 balls preserved stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs ginger syrup (from the preserved stem ginger jar)
  • 150g/5½oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2tbs plain/all-purpose flour, sifted
  • For the topping
  • 150g/5½oz white chocolate
  • 30g/1oz dark chocolate


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3.
  2. To make the crumb case, crush the biscuits/cookies to fine crumbs in a food processor or place in a clean, plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin. Transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl and stir in the melted butter. Press the buttery crumbs into the base & sides of the prepared cake pan firmly using the back of a spoon. You need the crumbs to come up about 3-4cm/1½ inches high on the side of the pan so that they make a case for the filling. Wrap the outside of the pan in cling film/plastic wrap and place in a roasting pan half full with water, ensuring that the water is not so high as to spill out. Set aside.
  3. For the filling, whisk together the cream cheese, crème fraîche, eggs, sugar, melted chocolate, finely chopped ginger, syrup and chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Sift the flour over the mixture and stir in, then pour the mixture into the crumb case. Bake in the preheated oven for 1-1¼ hours until set but still with a slight wobble in the centre. Turn off the heat and leave to cool completely in the oven, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
  4. Once chilled, melt the white and dark chocolate for the decoration in separate, heatproof bowls set over 2 pans of simmering water. Leave to cool slightly, then spread the white chocolate in a thin layer over the top of the cheesecake. Spoon the dark chocolate into the piping bag and pipe swirls over the top of the cheesecake in pretty patterns. If you don't have a piping bag, you can swirl patterns of the chocolate using a spoon. Chill in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set before serving.



23cm/9-inch spring form cake tin, greased & lined A piping bag fitted with a small, round nozzle/tip (optional)

I felt a bit of pressure as I knew we’d be photographing the finished product as part of this post. I dreaded it ending up as one of these “Nailed it!” Pinterest pins! Fortunately it turned out well – we’ve just had a slice each with coffee.

slice of baked chocolate and ginger cheesecake with small cup of black coffee

Cheesecake is available from Ryland Peters & Small the publishers, Amazon and Hive.

[Many thanks to Ryland Peters & Small for this review copy]