zabaglione

This has to be up there as one of the most delicious light custardy puddings there is. Zabaglione has been made in Italy for hundreds of years and each region has their version of it with its own history. It’s only got three ingredients, egg yolks, sugar and Marsala wine which gives it a delicious spiced taste. It’s warm creamy and frothy and traditionally it’s served with a little biscuit, like a Lingue Di Gatto, amaretti or cantucci which you can dip in, or you can make my Biscotti.

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mince pie cake

A dairy free alternative to a traditional Christmas Cake which can be made last minute, just make the mincemeat the day before as it needs to marinate and ruminate for 24 hours before you use it. You can use a jar of shop bought mincemeat if you want to save time, the cake is full of spices a bit of brandy and all the Christmassy flavours and is perfect if you are a mince pie fan, but fancy a lighter cake version and it’s perfect with dairy free vanilla ice cream.

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chocolate and pistachio biscotti

These super crunchy Italian biscuits are much easier to make than you think… even though you bake them twice. The combination of pistachio and chocolate is always delicious and I add a touch of vanilla too. They are perfect as gifts wrapped up in cellophane bags (which you can get on Amazon) with a ribbon or for tea time and Christmas entertaining. My friends love them and are always offering to taste test them for me…

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olive oil cake

This cake is a traditional Spanish olive oil cake. It’s usually served with a glass of black coffee. It’s got a lovely orange flavour from the orange juice and zest and tastes really Mediterranean. I make nearly all my cakes with olive oil because I prefer the texture and they stay moist and fresh for much longer. I’m also not great with dairy. Most Mediterranean countries use olive oil instead of butter in their cakes and obviously it’s a lot healthier as is most of their diet. Hope you like it as much as me. Continue reading

chocolate dipped ginger shortbread

These shortcakes are really fun easy and vegan. Anyone can make them. All you do is mix the ingredients, bake them, dip in warm chocolate and leave to cool. They taste amazingly buttery even though there’s no butter in them. They are perfect as tree decorations if you make a little hole in them before baking so you can thread a ribbon or piece of string through to hang them up.  I’ve tried these out on friends who can’t tell they are dairy free, so give them a go…

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roasted pears with Vermouth

I have been making this recipe for ever because not only is it the easiest pudding to make but it is one of the most delicious. Every one loves it and it’s got the lovely flavours of vanilla, the spicy vermouth and lemon peel. I initially got the recipe from an old Italian cookbook which had only a few ingredients in each recipe and no measurements. Every single recipe I did from that book was genius in its simplicity in the way Italians effortlessly get it right plus they all tasted amazing. This recipe requires virtually no work at all, you just bung the pears in a roasting dish with the rest of the ingredients, so it’s perfect for an easy dessert after dinner or when you want to create a simple pudding at the end of a dinner party. It can be served hot or cold and I serve it with dollops of Greek yogurt or sour cream. If you are vegan or dairy free you can serve it with {Swedish Glace } icecream or soya yogurt.

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caramelised roasted red onions

  • These onions are roasted until they are caramelised and sitting in an unctuous balsamic syrupy sauce. This recipe pays tribute to the humble onion as a vegetable in its own right. They are fab with a roast dinner or as a side dish and they are also great at room temperature along side salads and bread. But apart from being delicious, studies  have shown that rosemary has amazing anti ageing properties, ten percent of the population in the town of Acciaroli in Italy are over 100 years and scientists are putting it down to the rosemary in their diet and scientific studies have also shows that rosemary helps maintain and improve brain function and memory. So I’m adding Rosemary to my diet whenever I can, which is easy as I love the taste and smell.

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date paste

I have been wanting to use dates to sweeten cakes and other foods for a long time. Sugar is something I try and cut out as much as possible and I tend to use maple syrup instead, except in cake baking as it’s a bit more complicated as the ingredients are integral to the recipe working. So I have been reading up about the best way to use dates as a sweetener and it seems that making your own date paste is deffo the best way to incorporate them into a recipe. So far I have also read that if a recipe uses a cup of sugar, you can then add two cups of date paste but you have to bear in mind there’s more water content in the date paste and it’s not as sweet as sugar. It also keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks and let’s not forget that dates are one of the major ingredients in sticky toffee pudding. So what could go wrong flavour wise…? I will try it out in my recipes, and am really interested which flavour cakes and even biscuits it will work with…plus it will sweeten things like oatmeal for breakfast.

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pear cake

This pear cake has a lot of pear in it, so it’s healthier and moist. If you read this blog you will already know I love pears, I love both the taste and the texture and this cake is made with whole meal spelt flour and olive oil so it’s dairy free.
I think the thing about most cakes, is they can be lacking in the flavour department but this one is spicy and has the subtle fragrance that comes from the pears. It’s perfect as a birthday cake or as a tea time treat or simply just because you fancy some cake.

Recipe

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:
2 ripe pears
1/4 cup of golden caster sugar
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
3/4 cup of mild olive oil
1/3 cup of runny honey or maple syrup
1 egg and one egg yolk (or if you want to make it egg free, use egg replacer for 1 1/2 eggs (from health food store))
1 1/2 cups of whole meal spelt flour
A pinch of allspice
A pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Plus icing sugar for dusting
And a lemon if making icing
A deep 7 inch cake tin sprayed with cake release spray or lightly greased with cooking oil

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