Category Archives: Tried and Tested

blogger-image-686753947

Tried & Tested #6: Chocolate Truffle Torte

This chocolate torte from Delia Smith’s Christmas has been a favourite in my family for years. Yesterday my uncle hosted a delicious Sunday lunch to celebrate my Nana turning 90 and so I brought this crowdpleaser for dessert. I dressed it up for the occasion with some crystallised edible flowers from eatmyflowers.co.uk as well as a few candles naturally! I can’t recommend this recipe highly enough – it’s super easy and seriously chocolatey and you can easily get 14 portions out of it (rather than the suggested 10). With the festive season fast approaching, you have no excuses not to give it a go. Find the recipe here.

blogger-image-1410317732

Tried & Tested #5: Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Pâté

I’m a big fan of humous. However, it can be a little heavy on the calories and fat content, so when I was browsing on the BBC GoodFood website the other day and came across this “healthy alternative to hummous”, I had to give it a go…
You can find the recipe here. The only change I made was replacing the thyme with a generous handful of Greek basil from my garden.
The Verdict…
It was so easy to make and seriously tasty! Delicious hot or cold and at only 200 calories for an extremely generous portion, easy on the waistline too. I had mine as part of a healthy dinner with lots of greens, cherry tomatoes, a wholemeal pitta, carrot sticks and a dollop of low-fat cottage cheese. It had a massive thumbs up from my fiance too so no doubt it will disappear pretty swiftly!

Change it up?
I think this dip would lend itself to many different spices to give it a different twist. Next time I might try an Indian version or a Moroccan one….hmmm decisions….
lunapic_136863476824752_8

Tried & Tested #4: Healthy Blueberry Muffins

After the success of my Healthy Banana Bran Muffins I started looking for other recipes to try. I found this one over on the BBC Good Food website described as “The ultimate makeover: Blueberry muffins, a deliciously light version of this classic muffin that contains virtually no saturated fat”.

The recipe was easy to follow and quick to make. There are a lot of comments on the website saying that people have found the mix a bit dry but mine came out perfectly and baked at 180°C for 22 minutes.

I thought the muffins were delicious when still slightly warm from the oven. They had a light and fluffy texture and the blueberries were lovely and juicy and slightly jammy with an extra tang from the lemon glaze. On first impressions I was therefore very pleased with this recipe. However, they don’t seem to keep well at all. I stored mine in a tin and found that the next day the texture had totally changed. They completely lost their lightness and instead became very doughy and stodgy. Considering that most people would bake a batch to keep for at least a few days, this is a real downside to the recipe and I won’t be making them again. It seems a real shame when they were so lovely on the first day.

Blondie

Tried & Tested #3: Peanut Butter Blondies

I’ve been a fan of this recipe for years now and have played around with it many times in the quest for blondie perfection. The original recipe is from baking queen Rachel Allen and can be found in her fantastic book simply entitled “Bake”. You can find the recipe including the video from Rachel’s television series here. I like to add a mixture of white, milk and dark chocolate chips to mine, as well as a small handful of salted peanuts for extra crunch. For all you peanut butter lovers out there, these are the ultimate treat!

photo-39-

Tried & Tested #2: Toffee Pear Galettes

I had some leftover puff pastry knocking around the kitchen this week and so decided to test out this recipe for Toffee Pear Galettes. They really couldn’t be simpler. You only need a handful of ingredients: puff pastry, pears, toffee sauce and an egg. The recipe calls for shop-bought dulce de leche or toffee sauce but I decided to make my own quick sauce. To do this, simply place 50g dark brown sugar, 65ml double cream and 25g butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and bring to a simmer. Allow it to boil gently for 5 minutes before removing the pan from the heat and putting it aside to cool. Find the full recipe for the galettes here.

I served my galettes with home-made pear and ginger ice cream and an extra drizzle of toffee sauce…a match made in heaven!
THE VERDICT
I loved how easy they were to make and they tasted very similar to a tarte tatin but with less effort! The toffee also stayed soft and supple unlike a tarte tatin which can sometimes become overly firm and tacky on cooling.
Rating: 7/10 for their simplicity. I would recommend this recipe for a quick dessert that doesn’t compromise on flavour.
photo-37-

Tried & Tested #1: Parsnip & Maple Syrup Cake

Sadly I’ve found it very difficult to keep up with my blogging of late. Working full-time as a pastry chef at the bank and juggling the cake business as well redecorating a whole house (!) has certainly taken it’s toll and the blog has been playing second fiddle. I just don’t seem to find the time to experiment at home very often, so I thought I’d put together a new feature called “Tried & Tested”.

In my work as a pastry chef I am constantly trying out new recipes, many of them found online. The aim of “Tried & Tested” is to showcase these recipes and let you know whether they are worth trying out for yourself!

First up is Catherine Berwick’s Parsnip & Maple Syrup Cake from the BBC Good Food website. When I told my colleague what I was baking, he turned his nose up and exclaimed “PARSNIP cake!!” to which I retaliated by rehashing the slogan accompanying the recipe “Apparently it’s ‘the new carrot cake’!” I must admit I was a little dubious when I removed it from the oven and was overwhelmed by the smell of parsnip…

You can find the original recipe here. I made a few little tweaks: firstly I exchanged the pecans for walnuts which I toasted in the oven for 5 minutes at 170°C. Not having mascarpone to hand, I decided to create my own maple cream cheese icing by creaming together 100g softened unsalted butter with 150g sifted icing sugar before beating in 100g cream cheese and 2½ tablespoons of maple syrup. Finally I topped my cake with an additional 20g chopped toasted walnuts.

THE VERDICT

Both my colleague and I agreed that the result was lovely and moist and very reminiscent of a carrot cake. It had a deliciously crisp crust and the flavour of the parsnip really came through but didn’t seem out of place in a cake. It had an earthy depth which was complimented especially well by the maple syrup and toasted walnuts.

Rating: 7.5/10 A resounding thumbs up for the first “Tried & Tested”. I’ll definitely be making this one again.