Rosewater and cardamom brownies

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I do love brownies. I may not be the biggest super fan of chocolate, but I will probably always say ‘yes’ to a good brownie. Especially the gooey-inside // flaky-outside variety. How could you say no to that?

Then there’s the addition of rosewater chocolate frosting (optional, but tasty) based on a recipe from the Kitchn, and chopped pistachios and rose petals for decoration (again, optional, but also tasty) which essentially makes these brownies into a rather fancy dessert .

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This brownie recipe comes from an adaptation of Iambaker’s recipe that mimics that of a boxed brownie mix (you can find the recipe here). It uses cocoa powder, rather than chocolate, but that doesn’t mean dry brownies. In fact, this is probably where oven temperatures and how long you bake the brownies have more impact on making dry brownies than the cocoa powder. Therefore, in this instance, it’s probably better (and tastier!) to be on the side of under-baking your brownies than over-baking brownies, because dry brownies are also sad brownies. Not even frosting can totally make up for sad brownies.

Makes 9 brownies.  Read More

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Cinnamon & nutmeg baked oatmeal with plums & toasted hazelnuts

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Porridge divides our family. On the one side, mum adores it. On the other, my dad thinks it’s the foodstuff created by the devil (I’m really not exaggerating). As with plenty of other things, such as coffee versus tea or even rainbow trout, I sit firmly in the middle. I don’t love the stuff, but I don’t hate it either. A little bit of sugar, milk and a sprinkle of raisins is good enough for me, but I only eat porridge a couple of times a year, mostly in the winter.

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That being said, I adore baked oatmeal. Why? Well, if you’ve never had baked oatmeal, you’re missing out, even if you despise it as much as my dad. Baked oatmeal is basically the child of a flapjack and a cake. Take a slice and warm it up in the microwave, add a bit of milk or even a bit of caramel sauce, and it’s probably one of my favourite sweet breakfasts (but not too sweet, cause that’s not my thing (unless we’re talking caramel, of course…)). On top of that, it’s super customisable; don’t like hazelnuts? What about almonds, pecans? And the plums? I love raspberries and blackberries in my baked oatmeal, but apple and pear slices are always a great substitute. Nutmeg and cinnamon could be swapped to cardamom or allspice — or even everybody’s seasonal favourite, pumpkin spice!

The handy thing with baked oatmeal, is that it’s delicious fresh out the oven, but it keeps well in the fridge for a few days. However, my favourite method when I’m making baked oatmeal for myself at university is to slice it up when it’s cold, wrap it in greaseproof paper and place in a container in the freezer. Then all I have to do is take out one slice in its paper, place it on a plate, defrost it in the fridge overnight and microwave it in the morning for a few minutes — tastes good as new (seriously)!

Makes about 6 large servings.
Adapted from here. Read More

Upside-down cardamom and cinnamon peach cake

I gotta say, this has been a long time coming. Tarte tatin, and all things sweet that happen to be upside down and full of sticky, caramel-y goodness, has been on the list for SO long, even since I was a little girl. Upside-down tarts and cakes were some of my childhood favourites, and I would always beg my mother to make one for me, and she’d usually distract me with words of how difficult it was and the promise that I could get a bought one from a bakery instead (and she did hold to the latter one usually).

But there’s always something fun about managing to make your own! Yet, on the other hand, that caramel was always going to be a problem…burning sugar has always been something that came with a strong warning in our kitchen when I grew up (with good reason, of course). Perhaps I’ll graduate to a more traditional type of upside-down cake/tart, but for now, this one serves its purpose. And a great one at that.

This cake is sticky and gooey and sweet with the peaches and brown-sugar butter that cooks itself in the oven (no burnt hands here!), and the actual cake itself rich and spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, both of which lend another layer of warmth for a dessert that seems both perfect for warming up a cold autumn’s evening, or topped with ice-cream for the end of a summer BBQ. I guess the TL;DR version of it is that it’s just plain great.

Adapted from here.
Serves about 10
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Blueberry crumble traybake

It’s been a month of bad news for our family, immediate and extended. It sort of stings even now to just even type that, though things will move forward and continue to improve. But to think of the memories for just a moment more, I have this recipe. I’ve always loved berries in baking — they lend a tart sweetness that verges on the edges of sourness that I just adore, as have plenty of my family members.

Blueberries, in particular, have been the favourite in our family, and some of my best memories are the few times our whole family gathered down south at the summer house, and we had the fire going, and my paternal grandmother whipped up yet another perfect batch of her blueberry pie. Come to think of it, it was more of a crumble with oats that became crunchy and sweet on top, with the tart blueberries glistening underneath.

So in honour of those times, and those family members, I have this. It’s not quite the recipe of my gran’s, but it takes a bit from the old, and mixes it with that of the new. Makes about 8 large bars/pieces. Adapted from here. Read More

Vanilla bean buttermilk loaf with maple butter topping

I have been dreaming thinking about maple butter ever since my friend and I, during her visit to my home and village in Suffolk over our university break, decided to tackle a recipe for the Harry Potter drink, Butterbeer. It was a pretty good success, to the point that my friend declared our version better than that sold in the Harry Potter studios in London. High praise indeed.

However, the real star of that recipe was the maple butter. Warm, maple-y, and slightly goo-ey, it was like a mix of a rich buttery sauce with a thick maple flavoured caramel. We made extra on the second go of the recipe, and simply ate it out of the saucepan with a spoon. Since it’s so dead easy to make on top of that (seriously, it’s just butter melted with a little bit of maple syrup, swirled together and slowly cooled to goo-ify and darken), I really wanted to make something, a cake or muffin or whatever, that utilised this wondrous finding.

I finally decided to go for a simple vanilla bean loaf cake, made with buttermilk, though the cake is pretty rich itself, even without the maple butter. It tastes a lot more decadent than it seems, or how it’s made since the cake itself is so buttery and moist. I suppose you could serve it with ice cream, or sour cream to tamper some of that sweetness, but I think this cake stands on its own. Makes 1 large, serves about 12.

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Rhubarb tart with citrus glaze

I have never been a fan of rhubarb. To which I can only ask of myself, what was I thinking? Rhubarb is totally delicious, with that slightly tart-sweet flavour, which citrus brings out so well. And it’s perfect with vanilla ice-cream.

So I’m glad I saw the light. Expect to see more rhubarb recipes in the future, since we’ve got a whole forest of them growing in our garden and my parents are begging me to start chopping away at them to use in recipes.

So today, I present you an easy-peasy rhubarb tart made with pre-made puff pastry (well…you can make it if you want from scratch, but I won’t be joining you) and a lovely orange and lemon glaze that really brings out the tartness of the rhubarb.

Makes 2 tarts, serves about 8 in total.  Read More

Blackberry and vanilla cheesecake bars

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I cannot tell you how delighted these cheesecake bars make me. I was going round and round the house, all jittery because I was that pleased with how great these turned out. Not to mention I could sit down and eat the whole tray, because they are sinful and creamy and slightly tart from the blackberries and it was just the epitome of why baking your own sweet treats is the best!

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(Now of course you guys have to love them as much as I do)

It’s not for people looking for something light and refreshing (I guess in its own way, these bars are still that, but you know, this is where rich buttery-creamy-cheesecakey goodness comes in). No diets here, at least not when these come into the picture. But it’s worth it. SO worth it.

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And what’s even better? The recipe is dead easy. No stupid water baths and tin-foil lined baking pans here. Thank goodness for that, since I break out into a sweat at the thought of such complicated processes for cheesecake (I mean, I love cheesecake, but it’s not the only delicious thing out there, y’know?) so this is a happy equation. Easy baking = amazing cheesecake bars. That’s my kinda maths.

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Makes about 12 rather large-sized cheesecake bars, but it does depend on your baking dish – mine was roughly 20 by 30 cm, but it’s a damn easy recipe to make so you can play with the amounts roughly, just try to keep the ratios roughly the same if you need to increase the ingredients. If you end up with too much crust & cheesecake mix, lucky you – you could bake some twice-over!

Adapted from hereRead More