Cornflake and Jam Tart, a School Dinner Favourite

Cornflake Tart

There were two puddings at school that I used to absolutely adore… chocolate concrete and cornflake and jam tart. Both are so easy to make and taste delicious, especially with custard.

You can use shop-bought shortcrust pastry for the tart if you prefer but it is very easy to make your own. I was lucky enough to be given the recipe by a retired dinner lady, but I very slightly changed the amounts as I needed a bit more pastry than her recipe made.




200g plain flour

100g butter, chilled

3 tbsp cold water



120g golden syrup

50g unsalted butter

25g soft dark brown sugar

small pinch of salt

90g cornflakes

100g strawberry jam, slightly warmed to make it easier to spread



  • Rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water and mix with a round-bladed knife until the pastry comes together.
  • Knead briefly into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • While the pastry is chilling, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.
  • When the pastry has chilled, roll it out and use to line a tart/quiche tin. (No need to grease the tin). Prick the base with a fork.
  • Take a sheet of baking paper that is larger than the tin and scrunch it up into a ball. Open it back up and gently press it on to the pastry case, making sure you cover the edges too. (Scrunching it up first helps it get into shape perfectly). Cover the paper with baking beads (or uncooked rice if you have no baking beads).
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes. Very carefully lift the paper and beads/rice out, making sure you don’t touch the beads or rice as they will be red hot. Return the pastry to the oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until lightly golden.


  • In a large saucepan melt together the butter, sugar, syrup and salt. When it has dissolved, fold in the cornflakes making sure they all get coated in the sticky mixture.
  • Spread the jam over the pastry base, then tip the cornflake mixture on top to completely cover the jam. Press down gently.
  • Bake for 5 minutes until golden.

Serve warm (not hot) with plenty of custard. It is equally delicious cold on it’s own too. Don’t eat it straight from the oven though as the jam will be far too hot!

I hope this recipe brings you happy memories from your school days 🙂 x





Cinnamon Sugar Spiced Nuts – A Comforting Snack

cinnamon spiced nuts

My son and I recently went to the BBC Good Food Show, and while we were there we bought some absolutely delicious cinnamon coated nuts. They were so scrumptious, and we were sad when they had all gone. I decided to have a go at making some myself.

I tried a few recipes with varying success. Some just made the nuts very sticky and then set so hard I couldn’t separate the nuts at all. The best ones used egg whites, so I knew that was the way I was going to go with mine. One thing they all lacked though was the cinnamon hit that I had loved so much at the Food Show. I love the taste of cinnamon. It is one of my all-time favourite flavours. My family share my love of the sweet spice too, so I knew I needed to add plenty to get the recipe perfect. Some recipes add vanilla to the mix. I personally preferred it without, but you can add some for even more sweetness if you want. Most recipes also add salt. That is an ingredient I very rarely use. I only add it to recipes where it is needed to cause certain reactions with other ingredients. If you fancy a sweet and salty kick though, by all means add a little bit.

cinnamon spiced nuts

I tried using different types of nut, and discovered that some work better than others. Hazelnuts and almonds are very hard, and I found they needed a lot longer in the oven at a lower temperature to get the right texture. Pecans, walnuts and cashews are not as naturally crunchy and these turned out to be our favourites for this recipe. The cinnamon coating is very crispy when the nuts have cooled, so the contrast in textures just adds even more pleasure to eating them. You can use just one type of nut or use a combination like I did. Pecans and walnuts hold more of the coating due to their bumpy surface, whereas the smoothness of cashews gives them a thin covering. All equally delicious. Don’t use ones that are already roasted or toasted though!

I have made these both with cinnamon as the only spice, and with speculaas spice mix instead. You don’t need as much speculaas spice as just cinnamon, as the other spices in speculaas add a lot more depth of flavour. I would definitely recommend trying them with speculaas spice mix though. Whether you use cinnamon or speculaas, your whole house will smell amazing while they are in the oven!



1 large egg white

1 tbsp cold water

350g pecans, walnuts or cashews, or combination of all 3

200g granulated sugar

1.5 tbsp ground cinnamon, or 1 tbsp Speculaas spice mix (you can use more or less to taste)

  • Preheat your oven to 140c/130c fan. Line a shallow baking tray with foil and then lightly grease the foil with butter.
  • In a small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon (or speculaas spice) together.
  • Pour the egg white and water into a large bowl and whisk until it is white and foamy, like the bubbles when you wash the dishes. Don’t whisk too much or it will be too dry. You don’t want to get it to a meringue stage!
  • Tip the nuts into the bowl and mix well until every nut is covered in the egg white.

  • Add the cinnamon sugar to the bowl and mix until the nuts are completely coated and there is no egg white foam showing. (Don’t forget, cashews won’t hold as much of the coating as pecans and walnuts so don’t worry if they don’t look as coated… they will hold more after some time in the oven).

  • Tip the nuts on to the baking tray and spread them out to make a single layer. Some might stick together, but that is normal).

  • Place in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, stirring and spreading them back into one layer every 15 minutes to help them cook evenly. You’ll find the cashews take on more of the coating after the first stir too. When you take them out of the oven at the end of the 45 minutes, stir them up. They should look nice and dry. If they look slightly wet or sticky, just pop them back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

  • Leave to cool completely on the tray, then store in an airtight container.

When the nuts are cooled and you are transferring them to a container for storage, you’ll find lots of crunchy bits of the coating that are left on the tray.

Don’t throw these away! They taste soooooooo good. Put these into a little jar too as they make a heavenly sweet crispy topping to sprinkle over ice cream or other desserts. You can see my little jar on the left in the photo below.

candied nuts

If you want to try them with speculaas spices I would recommend the vandotsch speculaas mix, available HERE.

I can guarantee you will want to make these again and again as they are totally addictive. I asked for recommendations on Twitter for the best places to buy large packs of nuts, and after checking out each one I am happy to recommend you buy them from GRAPE TREE. Their 1kg packs are the cheapest I have seen and I know from experience that they only sell top quality ingredients.

I hope you love them as much as we do. Let me know if you try them 🙂

Polish Cake – A Quick and Easy No Bake Treat


To say my childhood was eventful would be a huge understatement. It had some major low points, with some moments of loveliness thrown in. One of the events which happened as a result of other events was me being fostered for a while. I could tell you so much about my foster family. Maybe one day I will.

Jean, my foster mother, used to cook all meals from scratch. She was a fantastic cook. Everything she made was made with love, and was heartily comforting to eat. One of the treats she used to make was Polish Cake. I have no idea if it is really from Poland, although I highly doubt it is as I can find no mention of it anywhere else. And it is not a cake. But she called it Polish Cake, so the name stuck. Luckily she gave the recipe to my sister so we have been able to carry on making it, and our children have had the pleasure of it too. My son absolutely loves it, just like I always have. It used to be such a wonderful treat. Strange as it may sound, no matter how tough the day had been, Polish Cake made everything better.

It is such a simple sweet treat. A biscuit base topped with chocolate. You could jazz it up and add various extra ingredients such as glace cherries, nuts etc to make a tiffin type treat, but I love it just as it is. It is meant to be topped with dark chocolate, but I use milk chocolate as my son hates dark. It is still delicious with milk, but it does taste even better with dark. It is entirely your choice though which you use.

You can make it in any shape tin you like. I prefer to use square or rectangle as it is easier to cut. I find it helps to line the tin with baking/greaseproof paper to make removing the Polish Cake a lot easier. You can use any sized tin you prefer, but note that the bigger the tin, the thinner the Cake will be. I like to double up on the ingredients and use a 12 x 7 inch tin. That makes the thickness you see in the photograph. If you do that, you won’t need to double up on the chocolate amount for the top, just add an extra 50g. You will still have enough.

I hope you love this as much as we all do!


225g digestive biscuits

100g unsalted butter

1 generous tbsp golden syrup

4 rounded tsp drinking chocolate

150g dark chocolate

  • Grease and line a baking tin, using a strip of baking paper the same width as your tin, and long enough to cover the bottom and 2 sides with a bit extra to help to lift it out when it is ready.
  • Crush the digestive biscuits into crumbs. This is easiest in a food processor, but you can also place them in a ziplock bag, and bash them with the end of a rolling pin.
  • Place the butter, syrup and drinking chocolate in a large saucepan and heat gently until melted. Keep stirring until it becomes smooth. It might look like it has all separated, but keep mixing and it will come together. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the crushed biscuits to the pan and mix well until thoroughly combined.
  • Tip the biscuit mixture into your prepared tin and press down firmly and evenly with the back of a spoon.
  • Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. (Or you can melt it in a heatproof bowl in the microwave, checking it every 10 seconds to make sure it doesn’t burn).
  • Pour the melted chocolate over the biscuit and spread it evenly to cover.
  • Place in the fridge until set.
  • Lift the Polish Cake out of the tin using the paper to help you. Cut into preferred sized pieces with a long sharp knife, and enjoy!



Chocolate Concrete and Pink Custard Cheesecake – A School Dinner Classic Updated

I regularly make chocolate concrete as it is a firm favourite in my home, especially for my son. (The recipe for that is HERE). I tend to serve it either on its own or with plain custard, although I used to love the pink custard that accompanied it in school. I know the school pink custard was in fact hot blancmange, but I can’t remember if it tasted of strawberries or raspberries. It had such a subtle berry taste so we all called it pink custard rather than naming it by it’s flavour.

Whilst eating a piece of chocolate concrete recently I realised it would make a perfect base for a cheesecake, and so decided to make one with a topping based on the school pink custard. I didn’t want it to have a very strong flavour either, to keep it similar to the school pudding. Well, as similar as it can be with cream cheese included!

I thought long and hard about how to add the berry flavour and decided that as it is based on a childhood pudding, I would use another childhood favourite in the mixture… strawberry Angel Delight. I was going to puree some fresh strawberries but thought they might add too much flavour, and it would be easy to keep it subtle with Angel Delight. Don’t judge it until you have tried it! It helped to make the cheesecake topping the perfect texture too – creamy but set so that it can hold it’s shape when cut. I had a tub of it so used some of that for this recipe. I know the packets you can buy have 59g in so at first I tried it using that amount, but the flavour was far too subtle. For me it was perfect using 75g. If you can’t find the tubs, you can buy 2 packets and use the remainder of the 2nd one to make an extra dessert with milk, or keep it ready to make this recipe again.

The topping is a no-bake cheesecake topping as I’m not a fan of baked versions. But obviously the chocolate concrete has to be baked, so its a half-no-bake cheesecake. I added some fresh cream and chocolate-dipped strawberries for extra scrumptiousness, but you can leave those off if you prefer. The cheesecake is delicious with or without the decorations.

Some schools served chocolate concrete with mint custard rather than pink. You can easily adapt this recipe to make a mint version if you prefer. You would just need to swap the Angel delight for a few drops of peppermint extract to taste, and a touch of green food colouring. You could then add After Dinner mints (After Eights), mint Matchmakers, or mint Aero balls to decorate. I will be trying that version very soon!

It is best to make it in a springform tin or a loose-bottomed deep cake tin, to make the removal of it easier. I used a loose-bottomed 20cm (8 inch) cake tin for mine. Obviously if you use a bigger tin, your layers will be shorter. You can either line your tin with foil making sure you smooth out any creases, or line with baking parchment. If doing it with parchment, only grease the tin very slightly to keep the paper in place, and don’t grease on top of the paper.



100 g unsalted butter, melted

115 g granulated sugar

150 g self raising flour

20 g cocoa powder

1 medium egg (the smallest one you have), beaten



560 g cream cheese (I used 2 x 280g tubs of Philadelphia)

300 ml double cream

75 g strawberry Angel Delight

60 g icing sugar



100 ml double cream

Fresh strawberries

Melted chocolate (either milk or dark, and white)



  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Line your tin with either foil or baking paper (see last paragraph before the recipe).
  • In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and the sugar together. Add the flour and cocoa and mix well. The mixture will be very stiff. Finally add the beaten egg and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, spread it around so it covers the bottom and press down firmly right up to the edges. Use your fingertips to sprinkle a few drops of water over the surface.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes. (It will feel a bit soft when you take it out of the oven but will firm up as it cools). Leave in the tin to cool completely.



  • In a large bowl mix the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth and creamy.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until soft peaks form (when you lift the whisk the cream will form little peaks and the tips will fold back over).
  • Add the cream to the cream cheese mixture, then add the Angel Delight powder and whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  • Spoon this mixture on to the cool chocolate concrete base, and use a spatula to spread it evenly up to the edges of the tin.
  • Place in the fridge and leave until set (around 2-3 hours).
  • When set, carefully open the tin (if springform), or push up from underneath the tin (if loose-bottomed) to remove. Very gently peel the foil or paper off the cheesecake and place on to a serving plate.



  • Wash and dry the strawberries. Dip them in to the melted milk or dark chocolate, and place on a sheet or parchment paper on a plate. Put the dipped strawberries in to the fridge until the chocolate has set.
  • Drizzle the melted white chocolate over the strawberries using either a spoon or a piping bag with a tiny hole cut in the end. Place back in the fridge for around 10 minutes.
  • Gently whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks, then place in a piping bag with the nozzle of your choice, and pipe on to the top of the cheesecake around the edge. Top with the chocolate-dipped strawberries.


By the way, my other half was appalled that I kept the leaves on the strawberries. Oops! I keep them on to make it easier to hold the strawberries both for dipping and eating! If you prefer yours without the leaves, just cut them off beforehand.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know if you make the strawberry or the mint version!


If you fancy trying another scrumptious cheesecake recipe, try THIS CHOCOLATE AND BAILEYS CHEESECAKE. Although this one is strictly for adults only! Enjoy 🙂



Spiced Pear and Pecan Flapjacks With Cream Cheese Icing – A Satisfying Autumnal Bake

The very lovely Steven, from The Speculaas Spice Company, recently sent me some of his speculaas spice mix to use in some recipes. I am a massive fan of this spice mix, and you can read a previous post I wrote about it HERE.

I love everything about it: the warming fragrance it spreads around your home while it is baking, the sweet flavours of all the spices combined into one mix, the versatility of it. If a recipe calls for ground cinnamon, you can guarantee this spice mix will take that recipe to a higher level instead.

One of my favourite fruits has to be the pear. So sweet and bursting with flavour, and so refreshing with the amount of juice they have. My favourite pear of all is the Conference variety. The riper, the better. I always have plenty in the fruit bowl at this time of year. I have such a sweet tooth, so they are great for satisfying my sugar cravings.

Pears and cinnamon (and Christmassy spices) are a match made in heaven, so I decided to come up with a recipe using my favourite pears and the speculaas spice mix. I wanted to bake something delicious for my son and Other Half to have in their lunchboxes, and flapjacks are always a winning lunchtime treat. I usually make them quite thin, but this time I wanted chunkier flapjacks, so used a smaller tin to bake them in, and was then able to cut them smaller too. We all adore pecan nuts too, so I always have plenty in the cupboard. Pears and pecans go so well together too, so I decided to add some for extra texture and flavour.

In a previous post I wrote about chocolate flapjacks, I mentioned the easy-to-remember ingredient ratio I always use to make them. (You can read that post HERE). As I was going to be using very sweet ripe pears, I reduced the amount of sugar in this recipe as I didn’t want them to be sickly sweet. It took me a couple of attempts to get the quantities right, but to me, this is now spot on.

I grated the pears using the large coarse side of my grater and as the pears were so soft and ripe, they created a lot of juice. In my first attempt I drained that into a cup and didn’t include it in the recipe. (OK, I admit it – I drank it). I worried the mixture would be too sloppy with it. In my next attempt though I included it, and it added so much extra flavour, and didn’t affect the texture.

When the flapjacks were cool, I made a cream cheese icing to drizzle on top, just because I love it with anything that has cinnamon in. If it goes well with cinnamon, it definitely goes well with speculaas spice mix! You can leave this off if you prefer though.



200g unsalted butter

160g soft light brown sugar

3 heaped tbsp golden syrup (or you could use honey if you prefer)

80g pecan nuts, roughly chopped

1 rounded tsp speculaas spice mix

4 ripe pears, coarsely grated

400g rolled or porridge oats


75g icing sugar

20g cream cheese

splash of milk


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/Gas 4. Lightly butter a 20cm square baking tin. Cut a strip of baking paper the same width as your baking tin, so that it is long enough to line the bottom and 2 sides with a bit extra at each end to help to lift it out of the tin.
  • Place the butter, sugar, syrup and spice into a large saucepan, and heat gently until the butter has cmpletely melted and the sugar has dissolved, stirring regularly. Bring it to a gentle boil and let it simmer slowly for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and add the pecans, grated pear and any pear juice. Mix well.

  • Add the oats and mix until the oats are completely covered and the mixture is evenly distributed.
  • Tip the mixture into your baking tin and press down firmly with the back of a spoon until level.

  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the edges are starting to go a bit crispy and the top is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven.
  • Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes, then use the edges of the baking paper to lift the flapjack out on to a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely, then place on a chopping board and cut into required sizes. (I cut mine into 12 pieces).

  • To make the cream cheese icing, mix the icing sugar and cream cheese together until smooth. Add a splash of milk to make it a bit runnier so it is easy to pipe or drizzle.
  • Spoon the icing into a small disposable piping bag or sandwich/freezer bag, snip off the tip of the corner to make a very small hole, and pipe the icing on to each flapjack piece. Leave for the icing to set for around 20 minutes, or eat immediately if you can’t resist the runny icing.

You could use grated apple instead of grated pear, although I haven’t tried that yet. You could swap the pecans for any other variety you prefer. Walnuts would be amazing too.

I hope you love these as much as we do! Don’t forget to check out Steven’s amazing speculaas spice mix! If you like cinnamon, or mixed spice, you will absolutely LOVE speculaas. Check it out HERE.




Lotus Biscoff Caramel, Chocolate and Walnut Tart – September’s BakedIn Baking Club Recipe

There are so many things I love about BakedIn: their products are simply amazing and produce gorgeous results every time, their staff team is so friendly and supportive, and they have a fantastic Baking Club.

This month’s Baking Club recipe was absolutely divine! I always get excited when the bright green BakedIn box lands on my doormat, and I love opening it to find out what the recipe is each month, as it is kept secret until you receive it. I have to admit to letting out a squeal of delight when I saw the recipe card on top of the ingredients in this month’s box. I am a MASSIVE fan of Lotus Biscoff … biscuits and spread, so I was over the moon to see this recipe included both! Lotus biscuits, spread, caramel, chocolate, walnuts – heaven!

The recipe cards included always give you an indication of how much skill is required for each bake. They are often around the 2 out of 5 level, but this one was a 4 out of 5 (with 1 being super easy and 5 being tricky). This excited me too as it meant it would be more of a challenging bake. I love these most of all, as they take you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to try new techniques.

So what exactly was so special about this recipe? Let me tell you exactly what it was. (I say “was” as it didn’t last long in my house at all)!!! Imagine a crispy pastry base, with a thick layer of gooey Lotus Biscoff caramel sauce smothered over it, with chopped walnuts sprinkled all over that, covered with a rich fudgy chocolate filling, topped with a sweet caramel icing and finally decorated with crushed Lotus Biscoff biscuits. You’re drooling now, aren’t you? The sweetness of the caramel balances so perfectly with the richness of the dark chocolate filling. It would be the perfect dessert for any occasion!

There is always a tip on ways to enhance your bake, and this month it said you could serve it with double cream to make it extra indulgent. I decided to pipe some on top rather than pour some over it. Wow, what a treat this was!

I am so so happy to have this recipe forever in my collection now, as I will definitely be making this time and time again. There were a lot of steps involved to make it, but the end result was so worth it.

The Baking Club has a wonderful Facebook group where we all talk about the bakes and share photos of our creations. It has been so lovely this month to see some people saying this was their first time making pastry. Their bakes all looked amazing and they have picked up a new skill along the way. This is what I love most about the Club… it allows people to create something wonderful, no matter how long they have been baking for, and that sense of achievement is priceless!

If you would like to join the Baking Club and receive a new recipe and ingredients every month, CLICK HERE to sign up.

If you would like to make this scrumptious tart, (and therefore have the recipe to keep forever too) you can buy the kit HERE. It includes all the dry ingredients you need, as well as the Lotus spread and baking paper to use. Hurry though, as it will only be available to buy until the middle of October 2018 (unless it sells out sooner).

Happy baking!





Pink Gin and Lemon Cupcakes

Unless you have been living in a cave lately you will have noticed that pink gin is everywhere at the moment. Social media is full of various types of pink gin with lots of different suggestions of ways to enjoy it.

My partner decided to buy some for me as he knows I love trying new things, so he came home with a bottle of Gordon’s Pink Gin. I couldn’t wait to try it but have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of tonic water so wanted to find another way to drink it. A quick Google search led me to my new favourite drink for the Summer… pink gin and lemonade. All of the versions I found of this included chopped strawberries in the glass. If you are looking for a nice refreshing fruity drink for a hot day, this is it. Half fill your glass with ice, add as many chopped strawberries as you want, pour in 50 ml of pink gin, and top up with lemonade. The fruitiness of the gin (raspberry, strawberry and redcurrant), combined with the lemonade and fresh strawberries makes a delicious choice for a warm Summer evening.

Every time I try a new drink my mind automatically starts thinking about how a cake or cheesecake would taste in that flavour, and this time was no exception. Straight away I imagined a lovely zingy lemon sponge, with pink gin buttercream, and chopped strawberries to decorate. It would also be amazing in cheesecake form so I will be making one of those very soon too.

I make lemon drizzle cupcakes regularly, and thought the sponge used in those would be perfect to use for pink gin cupcakes. I didn’t want the gin buttercream to overpower the lemon, I wanted it to be quite a delicate fresh flavour. If you would prefer a stronger gin flavour though, just add another spoonful.

For the buttercream I would strongly recommend using butter. This might sound obvious but I know some people use products like Stork or margarine. They really wouldn’t work in this recipe and would give a very sloppy result. I always use unsalted butter. It doesn’t need to be an expensive brand; supermarket own brand is just perfect.



125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

175 g caster sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

finely grated zest of 1 large lemon, and the juice of the lemon in a separate cup

175 g self raising flour, sifted

pinch of salt

4 tbsp milk

70 g icing sugar



200 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

400 g icing sugar, sifted

2-3 tbsps Pink Gin, depending on taste

pink food colouring – in gel or paste form (I used Wilton Icing Colour)



Fresh strawberries, washed


  • Preheat your oven to 180C. Place cupcake cases into the 12 holes of a muffin tray.
  • Cream together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and lemon zest and beat well.
  • Gently fold in the flour and salt until it is all combined, and then add the milk. Fold carefully until the mixture is smooth.
  • Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases. (You can use a spoon but I find it easier to use an ice cream scoop to ensure evenly sized cupcakes).
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden and springy to touch.
  • While the cakes are baking, put the lemon juice and the 70 g of icing sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the icing sugar has dissolved. Leave to one side until the cakes are ready.
  • When the cakes are baked, remove from the oven and pierce each one all over with a cocktail stick while still in the muffin tray. Spoon the lemon juice syrup evenly over each cupcake so that it soaks into the sponge.
  • Place the cupcakes on to a wire cooling rack and leave until completely cool.


  • Place the butter into a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat until soft. Gradually add the icing sugar a few spoonfuls at a time and continue to beat until it is all combined and smooth.
  • Add 2-3 tbsps of pink gin and again mix until combined and smooth. You might want to taste a little bit to make sure it is as strong or delicate flavoured as you would like, and add more if desired. Add a tiny bit of pink food colouring and mix until the buttercream is evenly coloured.
  • Spoon the buttercream into a large piping bag fitted with the piping nozzle of your choice (I use a 1M nozzle), and pipe a large swirl on to each cupcake.
  • Cut the strawberries into halves or quarters and place one piece on the top of each buttercream swirl.
  • Enjoy!

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do. My partner adores the lemon drizzle cupcakes I usually make but after eating one of these pink gin ones he said he prefers these! I think I have to agree 🙂

How do you enjoy your pink gin? Let me know in the comments. I’m intrigued to try new ideas with it.

Happy Baking!

If you can’t get to a shop to buy the gin, you can buy some from Amazon HERE

Dark Chocolate and Baileys Fondants – The Quick Recipe Way

The wonderful people at HARTS OF STUR recently sent me a set of 2 ramekins from the new QUICK RECIPE range of cookware. I had never heard of this range before so I was curious to see what was so special about them. I was so impressed, I just have to tell you about them.

The Quick Recipe range includes lidded casserole dishes, various sized and shaped roasters, and these ramekins. Each item in the range also includes recipes created specifically for that item, so that the ingredient quantities are the exact amount you need. What makes these different from any other though is that the recipes are obtained by scanning a QR code which is on the bottom of each item!

Most people nowadays have a smartphone, whether it is the latest top branded one or a cheaper version. It really doesn’t matter. If you have an iPhone, you can just hover your camera over the code. If you have an Android phone (as I do) you will need to install a QR code reader app first. There are so many to choose from on the Google Play Store, at no cost. Then you just open the app and scan the code. When you have scanned the code, a pop up will allow you to access the relevant Quick Recipe page on their website, taking you directly to the recipes designed for your item. No more having to keep recipes in folders, or scouring the internet for inspiration. Simply scan, check you have the ingredients, and bake! I really think this is a fantastic idea, especially for busy people who don’t get much time to search for recipes. Here’s a little video showing you how they work:

The ramekins (and the rest of the range) are made from fully vitrified porcelain, making them freezer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe. They have a pretty herringbone style design on the outside which looks so stylish that they are perfect to go straight from oven to table. They are very strong and you can tell they are really good quality.

I decided to scan the code and see what recipes I could make in my ramekins. Although the others looked amazing, I absolutely love Baileys so was excited to see a recipe for Dark Chocolate and Baileys Fondants. I checked the ingredient checklist and was happy to see I could tick them all off (yes you can actually tick them off on the list). The recipe tells you how long you will need to get the preparation done (in this case 25 minutes), and how long it will take to cook (10 minutes). I like that detail, as it lets you ensure you have enough time before you begin. So many times I have found a recipe but the preparation has taken so long I’ve barely had enough time to get it all done. This takes the guesswork out of that. There is also a handy video to watch on each recipe showing you how to make them, so you know you are doing it correctly.  It actually took me less than the 25 minutes so in less than half an hour I had 2 piping hot desserts which were sheer indulgence.

The outside was a beautiful chocolate sponge and the middle was molten chocolate with a heavenly Baileys taste. It is one of those desserts that you just can’t help but close your eyes as you take the first mouthful so you can just enjoy the flavour and gooey texture. If you are making a romantic meal for someone, THIS is definitely the dessert you need.

I have discovered over time that not all ramekins are the same size, so a recipe that might be good for some ramekins might not be good for others. It is good to know that the recipes found by scanning the code are EXACTLY right for these. As you can see from the above photo, the fondants rose to fit the ramekins absolutely perfectly. No overflow, no gap at the top. That is what sets this range apart from any others.

I also love the fact that the recipes are for 2 ramekins. Obviously if you buy 2 sets you just double the quantities. So many times though I have wanted to make a scrumptious dessert for me and my partner, while my son has wanted something completely different. I have found wonderful sounding recipes but they are all for 4, 6 or even 8 ramekins. So you think that’s ok, I’ll just halve the ingredients. And then you see the dreaded egg quantity. For example, the recipe needs 3 eggs for a 4 ramekin dessert. Straight away that recipe has to be abandoned as you obviously can’t halve an egg. These Quick Recipes take all the hassle out of converting recipes to make just two. They really are perfect for busy lifestyles.

If you would like to buy these ramekins they cost just £6.95 and are available HERE from Harts of Stur.

Welcome to 21st century baking 🙂


DISCLAIMER: I was sent the ramekins at no cost in exchange for a review. This in no way affects my opinions. I will not ever recommend products or services I don’t personally like, so if I put a review on my blog, it means I really genuinely like the product. All views are my own honest opinions. 



“Practical Herbs” Tea Tour – Some Herbal Tea Recipes and Their Benefits, Including Relief From Hayfever

I was recently lucky enough to be sent a fantastic book called “Practical Herbs 1” written by the Finnish herbalist Henriette Kress. This book, as well as “Practical Herbs 2”, has just been published by AEON Books, priced at £19.99 each.

The books are packed with information about identifying herbs when foraging, how to pick them, how to dry and store them, and all the different ways you can use them and what benefits they give to your health and wellbeing. I have to say I was completely engrossed! I actively look for natural remedies for ailments that sometimes come my (or my family’s) way, so was very impressed to see that there were plenty of remedies included that were for problems we have experienced.

As today is National Tea Day I was asked to specifically try one of the tea recipes included and share my thoughts on it. I decided to try 3 different ones as they sounded like they would help to sort me out with a few little niggly issues.


Anyone who knows me will know that I am a bit obsessed with roses, their beautiful appearance, their wonderful fragrance, and their sweet heavenly taste. I was over the moon to see roses featured in Practical Herbs 1. There are lots of new ideas of ways to use roses that I had never heard of, but will definitely be making! Rose petal elixir to calm nerves, rose honey paste to soothe sore throats and lift your spirits, rose beads for when you need to feel special and calm… the list goes on. There are a few different tea recipes for roses but I decided to try the Rose Petal Tea, as I have a permanent supply of dried rose petals in my cupboard. You can use dried or fresh petals for this recipe.

Obviously you can’t just use any roses, as most shop-bought ones have been sprayed with various nasties to get rid of pests and to help them bloom. If you grow your own in the garden and haven’t used any chemicals on them, they should be fine to use. The book does state though that many hybrid roses we grow in our gardens have no scent, and these are not suitable. You need roses with a beautiful strong fragrance. Alternatively you could buy dried edible rose petals, but again they must be fragrant.



1 tsp dried rose petals, or 2 tsps crushed fresh petals

250 ml boiling water

  • Pour the boiling water over the rose petals, steep for 10 minutes and then strain.
  • Drink 1-3 cups a day.

Rose petal tea is a relaxing tea that lifts your mood. It also helps to ease menstrual cramps and mild stomach cramps. if you let it go cold, you can also use it as a face wash!

This tea really did lift my spirits. The wonderful aroma and the sweet rose taste are enough to clear any clouds away. I loved this tea and have been drinking a cup every day.



I always knew raspberry leaf tea was great for women near the end of pregnancy as it helps to strengthen pelvic organs and is packed with minerals. I didn’t know though that it is a fantastic tea for women in general. The book says that it can help to sort out many menstrual problems, such as pain, frequency, and amounts. I was most interested in it though for another purpose. For reasons unknown to anyone, in all the years I have been having cervical smear tests I have only ever had 1 result come back with no issues. This means I have to have tests every year, and it tends to be at least 2 a year. No one enjoys having them but they are vital to detect any early signs of problems, so we all go through them. As I am typing this, I have a letter to my side inviting me for another smear test as my last one a few weeks ago was inadequate. Henriette Kress says in this book that Red Raspberry Leaf tea is great for women with cervical issues. She states that if a smear test result comes back with problems, drinking this tea for a few weeks can often mean the next result comes back clear! (Obviously this isn’t saying it is a cure for cancer, so please don’t read it as such. There are a whole host of issues that can cause problematic smear results). Needless to say I am drinking this tea twice a day until my next test so fingers crossed!

You can make a tea out of the berries, but that helps to ease a fever. I used the raspberry leaf recipe which is why the tea doesn’t look red.



1 tsp dried red raspberry leaves, or 2 tsps fresh leaves

250 ml boiling water

  • Pour boiling water over the leaves and steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain through a coffee filter.
  • Drink 2-3 cups a day for several weeks for full benefit.

Henriette explains that the undersides of red raspberry leaves are covered in tiny spines that can irritate mucuous membranes if swallowed, which is why you must strain this tea through a coffee filter to remove them.

I quite liked the taste of this tea. It is hard to explain what it tastes like but I found it to be quite pleasant. It certainly doesn’t bother me drinking 2 cups of this a day.



The final tea I tried was made with stinging nettles. I chose to try this one as it is the best one for a condition I suffer from terribly every year… hayfever! I love Spring and Summer but I dread the puffy eyes and streaming nose that come with it. Flowers don’t bother me, it is grass and tree pollen that cause me problems. Some people who have drank nettle tea from Spring to Autumn have been able to come off hayfever medication altogether! I hate taking tablets so a natural remedy for a problem I have suffered from since childhood sounds perfect.

Stinging nettles have a huge amount of benefits. I won’t list them all here as the book takes a few pages to cover them all, with each needing different parts of the nettles. As well as recipes to eat and drink, the book also tells you how they can be used in your garden as a fertiliser, a pest repellent, and a compost starter; and as part of your beauty routine by using as a hair conditioner and a softening footbath! So many uses for one plant!

I bought dried stinging nettle leaves to make into a tea, but in the future will be picking some now I know what to look for and where is best to pick from.



2-3 tsps dried nettle leaf, tops, or seed

250 ml boiling water

  • Pour boiling water over the nettles. Leave to steep for 10 minutes, then strain.
  • Drink 2 to 3 cups a day.

I strained this one through a coffee filter too as it was quite powdery. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t like my first taste of this tea. It tastes very very earthy and I didn’t like that. The store I bought the dried nettle from said that you can add some honey or any other natural sweetener if you don’t like the taste of this one. I added some honey and it made such a difference. I can happily drink 2 cups a day now. I’m hoping that doesn’t cut down the benefits that I am praying will come from it and keeping everything crossed for a sneeze-free Summer.


If you, like me, are trying to find natural remedies for problems, I would strongly recommend these books. I will be ordering Practical Herbs 2 on the strength of how informative and concise the first book is. Everything is explained in great detail to make sure you get the full benefits. The author has over 20 years experience of treating people with a range of conditions, and she takes care to pass her expert knowledge on in a clear, easily understandable way. The books are perfect for complete beginners to herbs and foraging, to advanced herbalists.


To find out more about Henriette Kress, visit her website HERE

To visit AEON Books and order Practical Herbs, click HERE




Cardamom Rice Pudding With Blackberry Layer and Pecan Crumble Topping

I love rice pudding. I’ll happily eat it hot or cold. It brings back so many lovely memories from childhood. The school I went to served it up as a pudding with a spoonful of chocolate curls on top, which was so yummy. At home I used to enjoy it with a dollop of jam dropped into the middle.

When Boddington’s Berries sent me some of their delicious Blackberry Conserve to try, I just knew it would be amazing in a rice pudding, but I wanted to make it an extra special dessert. I decided to combine two of my favourite puddings into one… crumble and rice pudding layered with some of this fruity conserve.

One of the things I love about Boddington’s Berries products is the high fruit content. In fact, for every 100g of conserve, 80g of that is fruit! That equates to the most wonderful fruity taste and texture. It is like eating a mouthful of juicy ripe blackberries! You could use a different fruit conserve if you prefer but I would highly recommend choosing a Boddington’s one as they are such high quality. And the very high fruit content means it is like eating a fruit crumble with rice pudding.

I added cardamom to the rice pudding as it is a flavour I love and it compliments the blackberries perfectly. You can buy ground cardamom but the flavour and aroma is much better if you buy green cardamom pods and grind the seeds yourself. (They are available in little jars in the herbs and spices section of all supermarkets). I love foods with lots of different textures too so added pecan nuts to the crumble topping for extra crunch. I usually bake rice pudding in the oven so it gets that delicious skin on top, but I didn’t want that for this recipe so cooked it on the hob. I wanted the crumble topping to be super crunchy so baked it on it’s own in the oven in a shallow baking pan. You can eat this dessert hot or cold. We ate ours cold and really really enjoyed it. I served it in small tumbler glasses and it made 4 full portions. I like serving cold desserts in glasses, and it is lovely to be able to see the individual layers that way. It is up to you how you layer the different components. I put a thin layer of crumble in the glass first, then rice pudding, followed by a layer of blackberry conserve, with more rice pudding on that, and topped with a final layer of crumble. You could arrange it however you prefer.

The crumble topping is so tasty I made double the amount and used the leftover over the course of a few days as a topping on ice cream and mixed in with yoghurt. (I might have sneakily eaten a little bit on it’s own too but no one saw me so that’s ok).


Cardamom Rice Pudding With Blackberry Layer and Pecan Crumble Topping


90 g plain flour

45 g unsalted butter

30 g caster sugar

15 g demerara sugar

30 g pecan nuts, roughly chopped



100 g pudding rice

700 ml milk, plus an extra splash if desired

7 green cardamom pods

2 level tbsps caster sugar


4 tbsps Boddington’s Berries Blackberry Conserve



  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan.
  • Place the flour and butter into a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles crumbs. (Or you can blitz it in a food processor).
  • Stir in the sugars and pecans until evenly distributed, then tip into a shallow baking pan and spread it all out so the layer is as thin as possible.
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. (It will go even crunchier as it cools).
  • Leave to one side until needed.



  • Press the cardamom pods to make them split open, then remove the seeds from inside. Use a pestle and mortar to grind the seeds as finely as possible.
  • Place the rice, milk, sugar and cardamom into a large saucepan and stir. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then quickly reduce the heat so it doesn’t bubble over! Cover, then simmer on a low heat for 30-35 minutes, stirring from time to time to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  • Taste a bit of the rice to make sure it is soft. If it is, remove from the heat. If not leave for a further 5-10 minutes.



  • The rice will thicken as it cools, so add an extra splash of milk if needed to loosen it up a bit.
  • Stir the Blackberry Conserve in a small bowl to make it easier to spread out.
  • Place a layer of crumble mixture in the bottom of each glass, then add a thick layer of rice pudding to half fill the glass. Spread a tablespoonful of conserve on top of the rice, then add more rice and finish with a golden layer of crumble topping.
  • Enjoy!

As I said before, you can enjoy this dessert hot or cold. If you are serving it hot though, make sure it is not boiling hot or else your glass might shatter! I know I said it is good to have lots of different textures but glass splinters do not count!!!

To see the full range of delicious conserves that Boddington’s Berries has to offer, CLICK HERE to go to their website.


DISCLAIMER: I received the Blackberry Conserve for free in exchange for a recipe idea. I only feature products on my blog that I genuinely would recommend, and all my views are my own honest opinions.