apple snow

my mum used to make this traditional English apple dessert on special occasions and according to what I’ve read about it’s history the recipe dates back to the 17th century and was called apple fluff amongst other things. I remember big bowls of it in the larder where I would stick my finger in and scoop up a delicious morsel. It’s light as a feather and you can add a teaspoon of your favourite spice to it if you fancy, to make it more Christmassy. It’s a great alternative to all the rich festive food and works as a light pud all year round.

serves 3-4 or multiply it for more people

Ingredients

1lb of Bramley apples, peeled cored and diced

3/4 cup of sugar

1 lemon, zest and juice

2 egg whites

1 optional teaspoon of spice, I added allspice

How

Stew the apples with 1/2 cup approx of the sugar with the lemon juice and zest (and mixed spice if using) until tender, this takes about ten to twenty minutes. They should be quite dry at the end, so continue to cook till all the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool and blend in a blender or with a stick blender till smooth.

With a hand blender, whisk up the egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff. Then gently fold the egg whites into the apple mixture until mixed through.

Spoon into serving glasses and serve with a small biscuit or shortbread.

NB it’s not advisable for pregnant women or people suffering with a compromised immune system to eat raw egg.

italian breakfast cake

Italians love a small sweet biscuit or a small piece of cake with their coffee in the morning. This cake is light and lemony and is made with olive oil and lots of eggs. You could eat it anytime of day and it would be delicious with berries and a dollop of crème fraîche too. I reduced the sugar a bit as I don’t like my cakes too sweet but you can add more if you prefer. I think it’s sweet enough.

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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 dairy free, but you can make them with butter if you prefer. 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. You can also use any shape cookie cutter if you haven’t got this one.

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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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