jamaica ginger cake

Jamaica ginger cake is very nostalgic for me as it was a very occasional treat when I was growing up and I loved everything about it. I loved that it was a dark, dense, slightly sticky on the outside sponge cake made with lots of black treacle and fragrant with spices. They still make it today but I wanted to do a dairy free version that could also be vegan so I have created this recipe around the original recipe but omitted the butter and milk. It has a great texture as well as a great taste, and you don’t miss the dairy at all. The cake gets nicer over the next few days after baking and gets slightly sticky on the outside as the flavours mature. I tested it out on my friend’s teenage kids and they really loved it even though they had never had Jamaican ginger cake before. It’s dairy free heaven…but shhh you don’t have to tell anyone it is because they won’t notice.

Recipe

Serves 8.

Ingredients:
225g self raising flour or spelt flour with three teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1/2 cup of light olive oil
115g of black treacle
115g of golden syrup
115g of soft dark brown sugar
275 ml of full fat almond milk or a milk alternative that you prefer
1 medium egg or egg replacer for 1 egg (available in health stores)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
A little icing sugar for dusting (optional)
A bundt tin lightly oiled or sprayed with cake release spray

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pavlova ice cream pudding

This pudding can be assembled in 5 minutes max, so zero stress.  I’ve never met anybody who didn’t think it was really amazing. It has that great combo of creamy and crunchy mixed with sweet from the meringues and ice cream and tart from the berries. It’s a visual and sensual feast. The recipe uses any vanilla ice cream, but I use Swedish Glace or the newly launched coconut ice cream from Coconut Collaborative which are delicious if you are going down the dairy free route. None of your guests would guess it’s dairy free and it’s perfect if you are following kosher.

Recipe

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
1 box of frozen berries (thawed) from the supermarket freezer
1 tub of vanilla ice cream
store-bought meringue nests (good quality) I like the chewy ones
toasted almond slivers

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bellini sorbet

There’s nothing like a cocktail and dessert in one. Inspired by the Bellini cocktail, which was invented in around 1934 by Giuseppe Cipriani of Harry’s Bar in Venice, and still served there to this day. This sorbet is really refreshing and delicious. It’s also really easy to make and if you like Bellinis and you like sorbet, then you have hit the jackpot with this recipe. It is perfect on Valentine’s Day at the end of the meal. It’s light and a bit boozy, so your not too stuffed for your romantic shenanigans ahead. I would also serve this on a special occasion like Christmas Eve or New Years Eve.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
4 ripe peaches, skinned, stoned and cut into pieces (I really like white fleshed peaches)
Juice and zest of a lemon
125 ml of sparkling wine (I use Jacobs Creek sparkling rosé)
2 tablespoons of caster sugar

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creamy fish curry

I love this delicious Madur Jaffrey dairy free creamy fish curry recipe and have been cooking it for years. It’s perfect for a dinner party or as an antidote to all the Christmas fare. Really nice served with a wedge of lime and fantastic to serve on Christmas eve to guests as a simple supper with basmati rice or with whatever you fancy.

Recipe

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
A thumb size piece of ginger
3 green chillies
7 cloves of peeled garlic
400ml can of coconut milk
250ml carton of coconut cream
4 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive
3 medium onions finely chopped
8 small tomatoes halved
800g of white skinless fish (haddock, cod, monkfish), cut into big chunks
¾ teaspoon of turmeric
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
A handful of coconut chips, toasted in a dry pan (optional)
A bunch of finely chopped coriander (optional)
Salt to taste

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honey cake

Honey cake is, of course, a cake sweetened with honey, it’s deliciously packed with spices and it’s dairy free. It’s a tradition to serve it on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in the hopes of ensuring a sweet New Year. The first time I tried it I really loved it..it’s totally perfect with coffee or after dinner. My version is a healthier version using lots of grated apples, wholemeal spelt flour and olive oil… and I promise you it’s a big hit. I sometimes make this as a birthday cake too and it’s perfect at Christmas with all its amazing flavours.

Recipe

Serves about 10.

Ingredients:
½ cup of golden caster sugar or white sugar
¼ cup of dark brown sugar
¾ cup of runny honey
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cup of mild olive oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
4 eating apples grated
3 cups of wholemeal spelt flour
1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of allspice
a pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
¼ teaspoons of salt
a little icing sugar for decoration
9 inch bundt tin

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sweet glazed carrots

Carrots but not as you know them. These are subtlety sweet and particularly delicious. The roots of this recipe are French and Danish and that’s why they are so tasty. The French often serve their carrots like this and the chief chefs in our house when I was growing up were Danish. Once I’d cooked them this way as a side dish, I always cook them this way when I have carrots especially when I cook a roast. They are perfect at Thanksgiving and with the Christmas feast.
Recipe
Serves 6.
Ingredients:
1kg of carrots
30g of butter or a tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of maple syrup or sugar
1 big squeeze of lemon juice
A handful of finely chopped  parsley
Salt and pepper
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pandoro or panettone bread and butter pudding

Get your elasticated waist bands ready…this is a really indulgent dessert….but worth it because it’s truly delicious but definitely on the naughty list. Pandoro or panettone Italian cakes are perfect for a good old fashioned bread and butter pudding, as they are rather bread-like and lend themselves totally to this recipe, Pandoro particularly as its baked in a star shaped tin, so it looks very Christmassy when it’s sliced into star shapes. It’s also a delicious way to use them up if there’s loads in your larder at Christmas or afterwards or when you fancy doing something a bit different with them and want to turn them into an even more scrumptious dessert. It’s Italy meets England in the best possible way…and great for making with kids. You can get them to saw up the Pandoro into star shapes for you.
Recipe
Serves 3-4.
Ingredients:
250g of Pandoro or Panettone (I use the baby size ones)
30g approx of butter at room temperature
2 eggs
140ml of double cream
220ml milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of white caster sugar
Icing sugar for dusting
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