Liquorice pudding

Nigella's liquorice pudding

I was intrigued when I discovered this liquorice pudding in Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima cook book. I love the flavour of liquorice; in ice cream, in All Sorts… and now in a creamy pudding.

Little tin of liquorice pellets

Nigella recommends you use Amarelli Rossano liquorice pellets (which were out of stock when I tried to buy some), but there are a few other brands available such as Simpkins Nipits, Barkleys pure liquorice pellets and Bel Canto imps (which are little rounds rather than pellets).

Liquorice pellets were originally produced as aids to clear the throat; natural liquorice is a mucoactive agent, which means that it helps to clear mucus from the airways. Perfect little cough & cold sweets!

Making liquorice syrup Slaking cornflour and milk

The recipe quantities make two little puddings – perfect for Justin and me. It’s easy to up the amounts if you’re making it as a family or dinner party dessert. It’s a quick dish to make, it can be prepared in advance and chilled and is gorgeous. Don’t forgo the addition of the sprinkling of salt flakes as you eat – it really does lift the flavour – like salted caramel.

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Nigella's liquorice pudding recipe

Liquorice pudding
Serves 2
  1. 60ml/2 fl oz water
  2. 1tsp pure liquorice pellets
  3. 2 tbsp light brown muscovado sugar
  4. 175ml/6 fl oz double cream
  5. 2tsp cornflour
  6. 1tbsp milk
  7. sea salt flakesLiquorice pudding ingredients
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  1. Put the water and liquorice pellets into a small saucepan (such as a milk pan) and bring to the boil, stirring or whisking frequently to help the liquorice melt
  2. Once it starts bubbling, turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes, stirring or whisking every now and again
  3. Turn the heat back on and whisk in the sugar, then the cream, and bring up to a bubble. Remove from the heat.
  4. Spoon the cornflour into a little bowl, cup or ramekin and slake it with the milk: which is to say, whisk in the milk until you have a smooth paste
  5. Pour this, whisking as you go, into the mixture in the saucepan. Still whisking, put the pan back on the heat and bring back up to a bubble, whisking all the while, for 20-30 seconds, or until thickened
  6. Divide between 2 heatproof glasses or cups and - unless you want to eat this hot - cover, touching the surface of the puddings, with cling film or baking parchment that you've wet with cold water then wrung out (this is to prevent a skin forming) and put them in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  7. Allow the puddings reach room temperature before serving. Remove the cling film/parchment and smooth the tops with the back of a teaspoon. Put the salt flakes on the table to sprinkle over as you eat, if desired
Adapted from Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Marzipan-stuffed prune flan

Marzipan-stuffed prune flan

Every so often, I treat myself to a bag of Agen prunes. In my opinion, they’re far superior to the usual supermarket prunes. They’re great straight out of the packet and chopped up and added to a bowl of porridge or cereal. I also like cooking with them – like I did with this marzipan-stuffed prune flan.

Sherry-soaked Agen prunes

I made a few little tweaks to the original recipe that I found in my Cordon Bleu Winter Puddings cookery book.

Cordon Bleu Winter Puddings cookery book Prune flan recipe in the Cordon Bleu Winter Puddings cookery book

Special Agen prunes aren’t necessary for the dish; any dried, whole prunes are suitable. I used an equivalent quantity of Pedro Ximénez sweet sherry instead of the red wine stipulated. I also substituted the redcurrant jelly for some damson jam given to us at Christmas by a neighbour. Feel free to swap the original ingredients back in, if that’s what you’d prefer!

Prune flan glaze made with sweet sherry and damson jam

This dish, at first, may seem a bit of a convoluted one to make. Don’t be put off, just break things down into phases; it’s well worth the effort. If necessary, some stages can be done days in advance; soaking the prunes and making the almond pastry.

Almond pastry ingredients in a food processor Almond pastry and beech wood rolling pin on a marble board Almond pastry flan case

You could even make it the day before you plan to serve it. Be aware though, because of the cream and the egg white, the flan should be kept chilled in the fridge.

Stuffing Agen prunes with marzipan Flan case, marzipan-stuffed prunes and custard cream

The flan is rich and decadent, a lovely dessert course for a dinner party. Serve a slice at the end of the meal accompanied with a glass of sweet sherry or other dessert wine such as Muscat or Madeira.

Slice of marzipan-filled prune flan

Click here or on the image below to save this prune flan recipe to Pinterest

Marzipan-stuffed prune flan recipe

Marzipan-stuffed prune flan
Serves 8
For the prune topping
  1. 350g/¾oz prunes
  2. ¼pt sweet sherry
  3. 3tbsps damson jam
For the pastry
  1. 170g/6oz plain flour
  2. 45g/1½oz ground almonds
  3. 45g/1½oz caster sugar
  4. 115g/4oz butter, cold, cubed
  5. 1 egg yolk
  6. 1-2tbsps cold water
For the custard cream
  1. 1 rounded tbsp custard powder
  2. 150ml/¼pt whole milk
  3. 150ml/¼pt double cream
  4. 1tsp caster sugar
For the almond filling
  1. 60g/2oz ground almonds
  2. 1½tsp caster sugar
  3. 1½ egg white, beatenMarzipan-stuffed prune flan ingredients
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For the prune topping
  1. Soak the prunes in the sherry for 2-3 hours
  2. In a lidded saucepan, simmer the prunes in the sherry until tender
  3. Lift the prunes our of the saucepan using a slotted spoon and set aside to cool
  4. Cut the prunes carefully down one side and remove stones (ignore this step if you bought pitted fruit)
  5. Add the damson jam to the liquor and set on a low heat to melt, whisking and straining at the end, if necessary, to get a smooth glaze
For the pastry
  1. Using a food processor, pulse together the flour, ground almonds and caster sugar with the cold cubes of butter. When the mixture looks uniformly crumbly, add the egg yolk and sprinkle a tablespoon of cold water evenly over the top and continue to pulse until the mixture comes together into a ball. Add another tablespoon of water if necessary
  2. Cool the ball of pastry, in a zip-lock bag, in the fridge for half an hour to an hour
  3. Roll out the pastry and line a 18-20cm/7-8" diameter flan dish
  4. Bake blind
  5. Set aside to cool
For the custard cream
  1. In a small saucepan, mix the custard powder and milk to a paste. Using a wire whisk, stir over a gentle heat until boiling
  2. Tip into a steep-sided mixing bowl and whisk well
  3. When well cooled, whip the double cream, sweeten with the sugar and fold into the custard
For the almond filling (marzipan)
  1. Using a (mini) food processor, pulse together the ground almonds, caster sugar and egg white until it forms a ball
To bring everything together
  1. Carefully stuff each prune with about a teaspoon of the marzipan
  2. Fill the cooled flan case with the custard cream mixture, spreading it evenly
  3. Arrange the filled prunes evenly over the top of the custard cream trying to cover it completely
  4. Brush or spoon the glaze over the top
  5. Slice and serve
Adapted from Cordon Bleu - Winter Puddings
H is for Home Harbinger

Coconut ice cream

Home made vegan coconut ice cream

We’ve been craving light food at mealtimes in this run of hot summer weather. We’ve been eating lots of salads and having the odd barbecue too. I always have to finish a meal with something sweet; so this week, instead of baking a cake, I made some cooling and refreshing coconut ice cream.

Home-made coconut ice cream ingredients in an aluminium measuring jug

The recipe I devised couldn’t be quicker or simpler; just 4 ingredients – half a carton of coconut drink, a tin of coconut milk, some caster sugar and drop of vanilla extract. A delicious 100% vegan recipe.

Home-made coconut ice cream in a plastic tub

It’s delicious served on it’s own or combined with slices of fresh fruit such as mango or peaches. It’s also great with chocolate sauce. We love to eat it after spicy foods. It’s the perfect dessert to follow a hot curry or chilli-laden stir fry.

Click here or on the image below to save my vegan coconut ice cream recipe to Pinterest

Home made vegan coconut ice cream recipe #icecream #vegan #vegetarian #dessert #coconut #coconuticecream

Coconut ice cream
Yields 1
Prep Time
35 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
35 min
Total Time
35 min
  1. 500ml unsweetened coconut drink
  2. 85g/3oz caster sugar
  3. 1 tin (400ml/14fl oz) coconut milk
  4. 1tsp vanilla extractCoconut ice cream ingredients
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  1. In a 1 litre measuring jug, stir the caster sugar into the coconut drink until dissolved
  2. Stir in the tin of coconut milk
  3. Add the vanilla extract
  4. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. (Mine takes approximately 25-30 minutes)
  1. If you use sweetened coconut drink you can lower the amount of sugar that you add. Similarly, if you like your ice cream sweeter, up the sugar added to 100g/3½oz
H is for Home Harbinger

Top local desserts that gained global popularity

Top local desserts that gained global popularity | H is for Home

The world is full of delicious desserts and some of them are too good to remain local. It happens that after trying some yummy sweets, pastry, etc. while travelling, people start to produce them in their country when they return home. In this way, many regional desserts have gained global popularity and are well-known almost everywhere in the world. We’ve prepared a list below of top local desserts that have now become amazingly famous. Check them out!

Bar of dark chocolate


One of the most popular desserts nowadays is definitely chocolate. It originates from the Meso-American culture as there are traces of consuming it by Aztecs, Mayans and other tribes in ancient times. However, it was always consumed in a liquid state back then. The first solid-state chocolate was produced in England in the 19th century. Nowadays, as can be seen on the website of Santa Barbara Chocolate, this product comes in many different shapes, colours and tastes!

Chocolate éclairs


An éclair is a kind of pasty made in a longitudinal shape with choux dough. It has a cream filling and is covered with chocolate icing. This dessert was invented in France in the 19th century and, at first, it was called ‘petite duchesse’ or ‘pain à la Duchesse’. The name we use today, éclair, translates as ‘a flash of lighting’ from French, and it refers to the fact that it’s eaten fast (in a flash). Usually, it’s filled with vanilla custard, or whipped cream and topped with chocolate or coffee flavoured icing.

Dish of tiramisu


Tiramisu is also known under a different name – ‘Tuscan trifle’. It comes from Siena, a city in the north-western province of Tuscany in Italy. The spectacular taste it provides made it popular worldwide. It’s very different from the heavy American pies – it’s very light, like a tapioca pudding. It’s made of ladies fingers soaked in coffee and layered with a whipped combination of mascarpone cheese flavoured with cocoa, Marsala, eggs and sugar. Interestingly enough, the name tiramisu means ‘cheer me up’ or ‘pick me up’ in Italian.

newspaper packet of churros


Churros, that can now even be bought at American baseball matches and Korean cinemas, originally come from Spain and Portugal. They’re soft dough sticks made from flour, salt and water; although there’s a lesser-known potato dough variant as well. Most commonly, they’re extruded through a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle; however, it’s a moulded curve that can come in a mixture of shapes. They’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside… and are incredibly delicious. To enhance their taste even more, churros are often sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Moreover, they are can be eaten with a dip, like hot chocolate sauce or milky coffee.

Bowl of gulab jamun

Gulab jamun

It’s a milk-solid-based sweet, originating from the Indian subcontinent. It’s commonly eaten in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, the Maldives and other countries. As well as milk, vegetable oil, raisins and pistachios are used in their preparation. The dough is formed into small balls that will expand when cooked – similarly to doughnuts. Gulab jamun can be served with sweet syrup, as well as saffron, citron juice, rose water or almond pieces. It’s not a dessert that’s meant to be eaten straight away; for it to absorb the syrup more effectively, it should be left to soak overnight. Traditionally, it’s enjoyed at birthday parties, weddings, festivals or significant celebrations such as the Hindu festival of Diwali or the Muslim Eid. Nowadays, it can be easily found in restaurants all over the world.

Plate of fruit pavlova


This meringue-based dessert is named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, however it hails from the Southern Hemisphere. It has a crisp crust and a soft and light inside. What’s more, Pavlova is typically topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit such as strawberries, kiwi, pomegranate and passion fruit. It’s said that this dessert was created to honour Anna Pavlova on one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand. The actual nationality of its inventor has been a source of disagreement between those two nations for a long time.



Cheesecake can have one or more layers, with the primary one being made of a combination of soft cheese (like ricotta or cream cheese), sugar and eggs. If a bottom layer is added, it’s usually a crust produced from crushed cookies, pastry or graham crackers. This cake comes in both baked and unbaked (usually refrigerated) varieties.

Nowadays, cheesecake has spread widely and takes lots of different forms all around the globe. In fact, it originated in ancient Greece (and later Rome, after the conquest). The earliest known mention of it is in the 5th century BC, in a book on the art of making cheesecakes, written by a Greek physician, Aegimus.

There are even more internationally spread local desserts, and it’s always worth knowing their provenance. This way, we know to which nation we should be thankful for inventing them!