Category Archives: Recipe

Easy Recipe: Chunky Rocky Road with M&Ms

Last weekend we celebrated my nephew’s birthday and as is tradition, we all brought along a sweet treat for the birthday party. I was short on time, so the night before I threw together a quick rocky road, mixed things up with a colourful bag of M&Ms and took it along to the party. It was a real hit and I suspect I’ll be asked to make my chunky rocky road with M&Ms on a regular basis now!

A little while ago I shared my recipe for Butterfinger Mini Cups Rocky Road and ever since then I’ve been knocking up trays of this easy treat for all kinds of occasions and sometimes just because we fancy it. It’s a great little crowd pleaser, especially if there are chocolate loving children in that crowd.

Easy Recipe: Chunky Rocky Road with M&Ms

These Chunky Rocky Road bars made with M&Ms really hit the spot, plus they’re really colourful and a great addition to a party table.

Chunky Rocky Road with M&Ms

200g Milk Chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 Tablespoons of golden syrup
135g Unsalted butter
100g Mini marshmallows
75g Raisins
110g M&Ms

Line a high sided baking tray with baking parchment. I used a small roasting tin because it seemed up to the job.

Put the milk chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a glass bowl. Using a bain marie (put an inch or two of hot water in the pan and place the glass bowl over the top making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl) over a gentle heat. Stir the chocolate, golden syrup and butter until everything has melted together.

While the chocolate mixture is slowly melting, put the biscuits into a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin until they’re broken up, but not crumbs. Ideally you want a mixture of chunky pieces and smaller, crumbly bits. Once bashed, tip them into a mixing bowl. Add the marshmallows and raisins.

Take the M&Ms and put a handful to one side for decoration. Take the rest and add them to the biscuit mix.

Once the chocolate mixture has melted, take it off the heat and carefully tip the biscuity mix into the chocolate. Stir it well and make sure everything is coated. Then tip it onto your baking tray spread the mixture out. It needs to be about 2cm deep as a minimum, but the thicker the better as far as I’m concerned.

Easy Recipe: Chunky Rocky Road with M&Ms

Take the M&Ms you’d put to one side and scatter them across the top of the rock road, press each one gently into the melted chocolate. Hopefully this will anchor them in place once it’s set. Chill in a cool place, preferably a fridge for at least two hours. Then slice into generous pieces and enjoy!

Easy Recipe: Chunky Rocky Road with M&Ms

Easy Recipe: Festival Jacket Sweet Potatoes

We have these Festival Sweet Potatoes on a very regular basis. We call them Festival Sweet Potatoes because we first had them at the Just So Festival a few years ago. There’s a stall which sells them and more often than not we have them for lunch a couple of times while we’re there. They’re just jacket sweet potatoes with simple toppings, but they always remind us of our Just So Festival weekends.

I’m not sure the name of the company who sell these at Just So, but if you’re going, they’re well worth tracking down and trying for yourself. If you’re not going to the Just So Festival, then you might as well make these at home, they’re almost as good as the original! I love the food at Just So, there are so many different food stalls to try, you could happily eat a completely different cuisine for every meal while you’re there.

Easy Recipe: Festival Jacket Sweet Potatoes

We usually bake the festival sweet potatoes in the oven, but you can microwave or BBQ them too if you want. They make a great lunch or a nice side with fajitas or whatever else you fancy.

Festival Sweet Potatoes

1 large sweet potato per person
Finely grated Cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Spring onions, finely sliced

How to make your Festival Sweet Potatoes:
Heat oven to 220°. Wrap your sweet potatoes in foil or put on a baking sheet. Sweet potatoes tend to leak a sticky fluid when they bake, so this will save you having to clean your oven afterwards. Bake for about an hour, or until the potato is soft all the way through when you poke it with a knife.

Once baked, slit the top and open them up. Add as much finely grated Cheddar cheese as you like, not too much though. Dollop on some sour cream and sprinkle over with spring onions and coriander, then eat. It’s as simple as that.

Easy Recipe: Festival Jacket Sweet Potatoes

I like a lot of spring onions and coriander; but if you’re catering for a crowd you can just put the toppings in bowls and everyone can help themselves. These are great for a party. I like to serve them in the foil as this saves on washing up too!

Easy Recipe: Festival Jacket Sweet Potatoes

Healthy Recipe: Refreshing Lifeway Kefir Ice Lollies

The recent heatwave has meant that we’ve been having fruity ice lollies as an afternoon snack to help us cool down. I’ve been mostly making these with weak squash, but to mix things up a little I’ve made a few batches of kefir ice lollies using Lifeway Kefir.

Lifeway Kefir is America’s leading kefir manufacturer which has recently launched in the UK. Kefir is a live and active cultured milk smoothie with a tangy taste and a creamy consistency, a bit like a drinkable yogurt. It’s just the thing for an on the go breakfast or for a snack for children.

Healthy Recipe: Refreshing Lifeway Kefir Ice Lollies

Kefir is considered to be a good source of probiotics (healthy bacteria) and calcium. There’s a really good article on the health benefits of kafir on the BBC Good Food website if you want to know more about it.

Lifeway Kefir is currently stocked in all Booths supermarkets in the North West and is currently available in four different flavours; plain, strawberry, blueberry and mango. We were sent some samples to try, and with the weather being hot, the first thing I did was make some kefir ice lollies. These kefir ice lollies are about the simplest thing you could possibly make, seriously.

Healthy Recipe: Refreshing Lifeway Kefir Ice Lollies

Kefir Ice Lollies

You will need:
1 250ml bottle of your favourite flavour of Lifeway Kefir
Ice lolly moulds
A freezer

How to make your Kefir ice Lollies:
Shake your bottle of Lifeway Kefir and pour equal amounts of the kefir into your ice lolly moulds. Carefully place the moulds in the freezer and let them freeze for at least 4 hours. It might take longer depending on the size of your moulds.

The kefir ice lollies can cheerfully stay in your freezer for up to a month. When you are ready to eat them; pour a mug of hot water, dip your lolly mould into it for 10 seconds and that helps release the lolly from the mould. You are now free to enjoy your lolly.

Healthy Recipe: Refreshing Lifeway Kefir Ice Lollies

If you enjoy yoghurt I think kefir will float your boat. It appeals to me as a mum because it’s handy to have a few bottles in the fridge to cater for kids tummy rumbles over the summer holidays. We liked the range of flavours, though the blueberry and mango flavours were by far the most popular among my crew. I think they’d be great over cereals too.

My son often has to take antibiotics and we’ve been advised to give him probiotic drinks to help top up the good bacteria in his gut. These Lifeway kefir drinks are just the kind of thing we would give him to drink each day. They’re tasty, they’re healthy and they make darn good ice lollies!

You can find Lifeway kefir in selected Booths stores.

Disclaimer: We were send some samples in exchange for this write up. All images and opinions are our own.

Healthy Recipe: Refreshing Lifeway Kefir Ice Lollies

Summer Recipe: No Churn Plum Ice Cream

July is National Ice Cream Month and there’s no better month of the year to sit in the sunshine and eat a cool refreshing ice cream. We have two plum trees in our garden and each year we have more plums than we can cope with. In years gone by I’ve made plum tarts and crumbles and big batches of plum jelly. This year I put some aside to make a batch of fruity and refreshing plum ice cream.

This plum ice cream recipe is quite simple to make and you can do it even if you don’t have an ice cream maker. Sadly as we began to churn our first batch of this lovely ice cream, our ice cream maker churned its last and ended up in the bin.

I’ve called this no churn plum ice cream, but you can churn it if you want, it’s often easier if you have an ice cream maker, but not the end of the world if you haven’t.

Summer Recipe: No Churn Plum Ice Cream

No Churn Plum Ice Cream

400g of ripe plums
200g caster sugar
200mls double cream
200mls vanilla yoghurt


Take your plums and give them a wash and check them over for nasties and rotten bits, discard if you’re not happy with the fruit. Use good ripe, juicy plums. Heat the plums in a large saucepan with a good splash of water. Boil them until soft, then rub them through a sieve to get rid of the stones and skins.

Pour the plum purée back into a clean pan and warm gently, add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Taste the purée, add more sugar if you think it needs it. Some plums can be quite tart. Leave the mixture to cool.

If you have an ice cream maker, add the cream and vanilla yoghurt to the purée and combine. Following the instructions on your ice cream maker, add the plum ice cream mixture and churn until it’s ready. Them store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.

If you’re not using an ice cream maker, perhaps because yours suddenly died; whip the cream before adding the vanilla yoghurt and the plum. Pour the ice cream mixture into a large tub with a secure lid and put it in the freezer. Remember to take it out of the freezer every 45 minutes or so and give it a good stir with a fork, this will stop ice crystals from forming.

Once your ice cream is frozen, it will be quite set, when you need a scoop or two, take it out of the freezer about 15 minutes before you need it, it’ll be easier to scoop!

I’ve topped the plum ice cream with pink sprinkles, but crushed amaretti biscuits are just fabulous on it. Go forth and make plum ice cream with some of your summer fruit glut, you won’t regret it!

If you enjoyed this recipe for plum ice cream, you might also enjoy these recipes:

Summer Recipe: No Churn Plum Ice Cream

Recipe: Rhubarb and Ginger Upside-Down Cake

We’ve got a fruit patch in our garden, some years we have more fruit than we can cope with, but other years are a bit of a let down. Last autumn we planted some rhubarb. Rhubarb was always growing in my childhood garden and we used to frequently eat this sour fruit in crumbles or stewed with ice cream. I had different plans for our first crop, I wanted to make a Rhubarb and Ginger Upside-Down Cake.

Upside-Down cake is so wonderfully retro. It’s usually made with pineapple, but I thought some lightly poached rhubarb stalks would look lovely, flavoured up with stem ginger and orange it was a real tea time treat. I suspect this will be our new go-to recipe for our homegrown rhubarb, it somehow feels like a waste to just turn it into a crumble.

Recipe: Rhubarb and Ginger Upside-Down Cake

Rhubarb and Ginger Upside-Down Cake


For the poached rhubarb layer –
Rhubarb, 5 or 6 stems cut into lengths
50g sugar
200mls of orange juice
1 piece of stem ginger, finely diced
1 dessert spoon of stem ginger syrup

50g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar

For the cake batter –
150g butter or baking margarine
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking powder
150g self raising flour
2 tablespoons of the poaching syrup from the poached rhubarb, cooled

I baked my upside-down cake in a 20cm square tin, I thought the rhubarb would look better laid out in the square tin, but use what you have.

To begin with I cut my rhubarb into lengths which would fit the tin, I knew I would use any smaller lengths to fill in any gaps and I had almost exactly the right amount for my tin.

In a saute pan, put in the orange juice, rhubarb, stem ginger and syrup and 50g of sugar. Lightly poach the rhubarb over a gentle heat. You want the stems to be softening but not floppy or collapsed. Once cooked, remove them from the pan and leave them to cool a little. Turn the heat up in the pan and reduce the liquid by around half so it turns into a rhubarb, orange and ginger syrup.

Recipe: Rhubarb and Ginger Upside-Down Cake

While your rhubarb is cooling a little, cut out a piece of baking parchment to fit the bottom of your baking tin. Grease the tin and put the parchment in the bottom.

Beat 50g of unsalted butter and 50g of sugar together and spread that on top of the baking parchment, this will add more delicious flavour to your rhubarb topping.

Carefully arrange your rhubarb in the bottom of your baking tin. I decided to do lengths of colourful rhubarb, but you can arrange yours in whatever pretty pattern you like. Remember that when you turn your cake out, the bottom will be the top, so making it pretty is worth a few minutes of your time.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°.

Once your rhubarb is in position, make your cake batter. Beat your butter or baking margarine together until fluffy, add the eggs, baking powder and vanilla extract and combine. Finally, carefully mix in the flour and add two tablespoons of the rhubarb syrup leftover from the poaching earlier and mix well.

Pour your cake batter over the rhubarb and smooth it off. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 35 minutes. Once baked I like to leave the cake in the cooling oven for 10 minutes or so with the door slightly open.

Once baked, leave the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes or so and then carefully turn it out. My cake came out after a couple of seconds upside down on the board. The baking parchment I’d put it on made sure all the fruit came out in one layer.

It’s best served warm with ice cream or custard, but it’s still delicious cold.

Recipe: Rhubarb and Ginger Upside-Down Cake

Given how love/hate rhubarb can be; both my 8 year old nephew and my 7 year old son loved it and both asked for seconds. It’s such a simple cake and it looked so pretty with its pink and green stripes. It’s a subtly beautiful cake and one which I’m going to bake over and over again. I just need my rhubarb plant to up its game a bit.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like my lemon and ginger drizzle cake.

Recipe: Rhubarb and Ginger Upside-Down Cake

Recipe: Greek Inspired Olive, Spinach and Feta Pinwheels

In a few weeks time I’ll be hosting a celebratory picnic with some close friends. My mind is busy planning what I can serve up to my guests which is delicious, no fuss on the day and they will enjoy. I’ve sidestepped soggy quiche and I’m thinking a selection of different flavoured pinwheels might hit the spot. I was brainstorming some filling ideas when I found a jar of Olive Branch Sweet Olive, Fig and Almond Relish in my cupboard, and I wondered if this sweet and tangy relish would work in a pinwheel, thankfully it did and I’ll be making these Olive, Spinach and Feta Pinwheels again!

Recipe: Greek Inspired Olive, Spinach and Feta Pinwheels

Pinwheels are sheets of puff pastry, rolled up with a tasty filling and baked in the oven. They’re really simple to make; especially if you decide life is too short to make your own puff pastry and you buy the ready rolled stuff. It usually costs about £1 for a sheet so it’s quite economical.

Alongside the olive, fig and almond relish, I added chopped spinach, feta and a little bit of Cheddar cheese to the mix. The result was really different, a delicious sweet, tangy pinwheel with enough cheese and spinach to balance out the sweet with the savory.

Recipe: Greek Inspired Olive, Spinach and Feta Pinwheels

Greek Inspired Olive, Spinach & Feta Pinwheels

Makes 15

1 pack of ready-made puff pastry
A jar of Olive Branch olive, fig and almond relish
2 large handfuls of baby spinach, chopped
100g feta cheese, crumbled
Fresh black pepper
75g finely grated Cheddar cheese

On a large board unroll the sheet of puff pastry, leave it on the paper it comes wrapped in. Spread the jar of relish all over the pastry leaving a bare edge along one of the long sides of the pastry. Spread it out as evenly as you can.

Scatter the chopped spinach and crumbled feta fairly evenly over the top of the relish and season with black pepper. I don’t think it needs salt as the cheeses make it quite salty. Scatter about 25g of the finely grated Cheddar cheese over the top, this will melt and stick it all together.

Recipe: Greek Inspired Olive, Spinach and Feta Pinwheels

Roll the pastry up along its long side, roll it us as tight as you can, as if you were making a Swiss roll. Wrap it in the paper in came in and put it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and carefully cut into rounds approximately 1.5cm thick. You should get around 15 pinwheels from this.

Place each round on a greased baking tray and top each one with a little of the finely grated Cheddar cheese. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack for 15 minutes or so. Because the relish has sugar in it, these feta pinwheels will be extra hot, so don’t be tempted to gobble them up straight from the oven.

If you don’t have a jar of the olive, fig and almond relish to hand, you could choose your own favourite relish. Alternatively a nice olive tapenade would be great in these Greek inspired pinwheels.

I am certain these Olive, Spinach and Feta Pinwheels will go down well at our celebratory picnic. They’ll be great with a nice chilled glass of prosecco on a sunny summers day!

If you enjoyed this pinwheel recipe, you might also like these simple cheese and onion pinwheels.

Recipe: Greek Inspired Olive, Spinach and Feta Pinwheels

Recipe: Wonderfully Mancunian Manchester Tart

Growing up in Manchester, a regular pudding at school was Manchester Tart. A traditional Manchester Tart is a shortcrust pastry case, topped with a layer of raspberry jam and bananas which is then covered in crème pâtissière and sprinkled with desiccated coconut. This is a slightly tweaked version of a traditional Manchester Tart, I don’t like bananas so I’ve left them out. Other people don’t like the coconut, which can easily be left out too.

Recipe: Wonderfully Mancunian Manchester Tart

My Grandma was an accomplished pastry chef and school cook. When she died I inherited her cookbook collection. The jewel in the cookbook crown was a large hard-backed book filled with her handwritten recipes which she’d developed over the years. In this book in her best copperplate handwriting was her recipe for Manchester Tart. Over the years, the original tart was probably served to thousands of Mancunian school children.

This delicious tart was a favourite school dinner treat and is based on the similar but fairly ancient Manchester Pudding.

Recipe: Wonderfully Mancunian Manchester Tart

I’ve not so much reinvented it, but left the bananas out. Feel free to add them back in, or leave out the coconut if you prefer. It’s quite forgiving really, as long as you’ve got a layer of good jam and lots of crème pâtissière you can’t go wrong!

Traditional Manchester Tart

1 packet of ready-roll shortcrust pastry – or you can make your own
½ jar of raspberry jam
1 tablespoon of desiccated coconut
2 vanilla pods
800ml double cream
5 egg yolks
4 tsp corn flour
100g caster sugar

Pre-heat your oven to 200°.

Grease an 8 inch tart tin and gently press the pastry into it and trim the pastry roughly, you can tidy it up once it has baked. Place some baking paper and baking beads on top of your pastry and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and beads and put back into the oven to crisp up for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool.

To make the crème pâtissière, split your vanilla pods and scrape out some of the seeds, put the pods and seeds in a pan with 500mls of the double cream. Warm this gently, stirring frequently until it is near boiling point. Remove from the heat and take out the vanilla pods.

Meanwhile whisk your egg yolks, corn flour and caster sugar together in a large bowl. Then slowly (so you don’t scramble the mixture) add some of the heated cream to the bowl, keep adding gradually, whisking all the time until the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently, whisking all the time until it is near boiling and thick. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. There are a number of ways you can prevent your crème pâtissière from forming a skin; personally I like to go back to it every five minutes or so and give it a good whisk, this will also help it cool a little quicker. If you don’t want to do this, you can lay a piece of cling film directly on the top of the crème pâtissière.

Recipe: Wonderfully Mancunian Manchester Tart

You will need to leave it for around an hour to cool properly.

In the meantime, whisk the remaining 300mls of double cream until it is in firm peaks. Once the crème pâtissière is cool you can carefully whisk the two together.

If you’re using the coconut, in a small pan warm the desiccated coconut up. Keep stirring until it is lightly toasted and fragrant.

To construct the tart, trim the edges of the pastry case with a sharp knife so they look neat. In your cooled pastry case generously spread your raspberry jam on the bottom. If you want to add thinly sliced banana to your tart, this is the time to do it.

Carefully fill the pastry case with the crème pâtissière mixture, smoothing it off and sprinkling the top with the toasted desiccated coconut. Put the tart in the fridge to cool overnight.

There are quite a lot of steps to making this tart, which is partly why I cheated and used ready-made pastry. Manchester Tart really is worth making at least once, and crème pâtissière is nothing to be scared of!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like to try this Cornflake Tart or my lemon and elderflower gin meringue pie.

Recipe: Wonderfully Mancunian Manchester Tart

Easy Recipe: Parma Violet Shortbread Biscuits

I absolutely adore Parma Violets. They are probably my favourite sweet. I’ve had a big bag of them in my cupboard for a while waiting for me to bake with. I didn’t know what I wanted to make with them, but the other day I was craving a biscuit. One thing led to another and the next thing I know, I’m eating a Parma Violet Shortbread in the garden with a cup of tea.

These Parma Violet Shortbread Biscuits are as light as a feather. I smashed up the Parma Violets and added them into my shortbread mix, so there are tiny crunchy bits of Parma Violets throughout the biscuits. They’re really good, a little bit unusual but quite subtle. If there’s not enough Parma Violet in them, you can always add more to the mixture.

Easy Recipe: Parma Violet Shortbread Biscuits

Parma Violet Shortbread Biscuits

225g butter
80g caster sugar
50g Parma Violets, bashed up
330g plain flour
Caster sugar for sprinkling

Pre-heat your oven to 180. You’ll need to have a couple of baking trays covered with greaseproof paper ready.

Put your Parma Violets into a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin until it’s a mixture of fine powder and small fragments of violet flavoured rubble.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly beat the butter and sugar together. Once fluffy, add the Parma Violets and little by little add the plain flour. Mix with a wooden spoon as best you can. Try not to overwork it too much or the dough will go gluey.

I find the following method tidier and it stops you manhandling the dough too much. Once the shortbread dough is mixed, tip it out onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper; bring the dough together with your hands and then fold the paper in half with the mixture sandwiched in between.

With a rolling-pin, roll it out so it’s about 5mm thick and cut into rounds. I used a glass for this and carefully lifted each shortbread biscuit onto the baking tray. You should get around 18 good-sized shortbread biscuits out of the dough. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar over each round before baking.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the shortbread, they still need to be pale and not brown. Once they’re baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack.

Easy Recipe: Parma Violet Shortbread Biscuits

They’re as easy as that. Delicious with a cup of tea and as light as a feather too. A real treat for Parma Violet fans!

If you enjoyed this recipe you might also like these Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky or these Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread biscuits.

Easy Recipe: Parma Violet Shortbread Biscuits

Recipe: Sticky Rosé Braised Ham Hock

I really enjoy cooking with wine. Not just the kind of cooking where you’ve got a glass of wine on the go to keep you company while you stir the pot; but the kind where you use a whole bottle and slowly cook a piece of meat until it virtually falls apart. This week I made an unctuous Sticky Rosé Braised Ham Hock using virtually a whole bottle of Marques De Caceres Rosado Rosé, and it was worth the wait.

Recipe: Sticky Rosé Braised Ham Hock

I’ve recently decided to make more of an effort to buy better quality meat. So this week I popped to our local butchers, Little Pigs in Didsbury to pick up some sausages and chicken. I spied a ham hock for £3.50. I’ve never cooked with ham hock before, but after a chat with the butcher he gave me a few tips and off I went to have a think about what I was going to do with it.

I decided that low and slow would be the way to go with my ham hock. Braised in a bottle of Marques De Caceres Rosado Rosé and some herbs for three hours, I had a feeling it would be good. I was almost right, it was great!

Recipe: Sticky Rosé Braised Ham Hock

I thought a bottle of Marques De Caceres Rosado Rosé would work well with the ham hock. It’s a crisp rosé made from a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes and it has hints of redcurrants and aniseed. It’s a lovely, easy drinking rosé, and just the thing to drink on a summer evening.

My Sticky Rosé Braised Ham Hock does take some time to cook to perfection, but the results are well worth taking some time over.

Sticky Rosé Braised Ham Hock

1 red onion, sliced
1 Ham Hock
A bottle of Marques De Caceres Rosado Rosé
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of pink peppercorns
2 tablespoons of runny honey
1 tablespoon of English mustard

Recipe: Sticky Rosé Braised Ham Hock

Pre-heat your oven to 200°. Wash your ham hock under running water, if you don’t do this it will be so salty it will be virtually inedible. Put your ham hock in a large lidded casserole dish and add the sliced red onion, wine, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns. You might need to top up the liquid in the pot up with some water, it should just about cover the ham hock.

Put the lid on the dish and put in the oven for 3 hours. Make sure you check it every hour or so, adding extra water if it needs it and turning the meat in the pot. When it’s ready the meat should just fall off the bone.

Remove the meat from the dish and set aside. Sieve the liquid in the casserole dish into a pan and reduce the amount of liquid by about half. This just means simmer it until there is half the liquid in the pan than when you started. Add the honey and mustard and whisk them into the sauce.

Take the meat off the bone and remove the layer of fat from the meat. Lay the meat in a roasting tin. Pour over the reduced liquid and put it back in the oven for 20 minutes, turning and basting the meat half way through. Remove from the oven and serve with a drizzle of the sticky sauce.

Recipe: Sticky Rosé Braised Ham Hock

I served my Sticky Rosé Braised Ham Hock with creamy polenta and asparagus; but it would be great on buttery mashed potato or served in a similar way to pulled pork.

For just £3.50 we got a really good meal for four people. The rosé really helped to give the rich glossy sauce a distinctive flavour. For such a delicate wine, the Marques De Caceres Rosado Rosé made such a robust sauce. Delicious!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like to try my slow cooked beef in red wine.

Sticky Rosé Braised Ham Hock

Disclosure: I was sent some Marques De Caceres wine to use in a recipe. All images and opinions are my own.

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

There’s nothing quite as good as a cup of coffee in the garden with a little sweet treat to go with it. This week I knocked up a batch of my quick coffee cupcakes and sat in the garden in the last of the sunshine before Storm Hector swept in and spoiled all our summer fun.

Cupcakes are something I make quite a lot of at home. They’re so quick and easy to do and I often have a fresh batch of buttercream in the fridge for emergencies. I know this is potentially an unpopular opinion, but cupcakes are just buns with fancy icing. If you can master a basic swirl people think you’ve got mad baking skills. I’m not going to win any prizes for my decorating, but I can do some basic piping, enough to turn a humble bun into a cupcake. If I can do it, you can too!

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

These quick coffee cupcakes are great to make in a hurry. I piped plain vanilla buttercream on these, but if you’re baking for a real coffee fan, then you can easily make coffee buttercream. You can ramp the coffee flavours up further by adding a Roasted Coffee Cacao Truffle from Beech’s Fine Chocolates to the top, this turns a simple cupcake into a lovely grown up after dinner treat!

Win a selection of Beech's Fine Chocolates Gourmet Packs

Quick Coffee Cupcakes

150g butter or margarine
150g caster sugar
3 eggs (large)
150g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaped teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in 1/2 tablespoon of milk

For the buttercream:
250g icing sugar
250g butter (softened)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beech’s Fine Chocolates Roasted Coffee Cacao Truffles

Pre-heat your oven to 180° and put paper cases in a bun or a muffin tray.

Cream your butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and using a hand mixer combine until the batter is smooth and airy.

Dollop a large dessert spoon of the cake batter in each case and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave cool on a rack.

While your cupcakes are cooling, sift your icing sugar and beat together with the softened butter. Add your vanilla extract and beat it in thoroughly.

Once your cupcakes are cool, put your vanilla buttercream in a piping bag with a star piping nozzle – I use a Wilton 2D nozzle. I did a standard buttercream swirl, if you’re not sure how to do it, watch this short video.

I then decorated the buttercream swirl with a Roasted Coffee Cacao Truffle from Beech’s Fine Chocolates. Serve with a cup of very good coffee.

If you wanted to up the coffee content of your coffee cupcake, you could add some coffee to your vanilla buttercream. Dissolve some coffee in a splash of milk and beat it through thoroughly.

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like these popcorn cupcakestangy marmalade cupcakes or romantic rose cupcakes.

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes