Sticky date pudding

Photo by Gary Donald Corbett

“Who doesn’t like sticky date pudding?! It’s one of the top desserts on many menus around the world and a regular recipe in my own kitchen. I’ve been testing a vegan recipe for catering and have realised this is better than the version I used to make. With the addition of banana to replace the eggs you do get and extra flavour in the mix but it compliments the traditional flavours so well. Enjoy!”

Watch the video here

https://youtu.be/BCxatZoIIBM

Ingredients for the pudding

  • 1 cup soy milk (you can use cows milk or vegan alternative)
  • 2 cups dates
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Ingredients for the sauce
  • 110g Nutikex (or butter)
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
Method
  1. Heat your oven to 180 Celsius
  2. Place soy milk, dates and golden syrup in a saucepan and heat while stirring until dates are soft.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of bicarb soda and stir. Put aside to cool.
  4. Using a fork mash the bananas with the olive oil.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients and mix together.
  6. Add the bananas and dates to dry ingredients and mix together.
  7. Line a slice tin with baking paper and spoon the batter in, smoothing it down.
  8. Bake in a 180 Cescius oven for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer comes our clean.
  9. For the sauce combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring.
  10. While the pudding is still hot spoon over some of the sauce.
  11. Serve with extra sauce, coconut ice-cream, Medjol dates and a sprinkle of chopped walnuts.

 

Mum’s sago plum pudding

“For as long as I can remember Mum has made a sago plum pudding for our Christmas meal.  I thought it was about time that she taught me how to make it! You may notice there doesn’t seem to be any plums in the recipe, but I assume the original version did. Sago is an ingredient made from the starchy centre of a tropical palm. In this recipe it acts as the binding agent in place of eggs. As there is no flour, the gluten comes from bread crumbs making the pudding incredibly moist!  We’ve always eaten it with lashings of custard and whipped cream. Flaming the pudding is an optional but exciting addition, just make sure there is a fire extinguisher handy. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons sago
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 85g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 250g sultanas
  • 60g currents
  • 60g glacé cherries
  • 60g chopped dried apricots
  • 90g breadcrumbs
Method
  1. Put sago and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and cook while stirring for 10-15 minutes. The mixture will go quite gluey and the sago will plump up and become slightly translucent.
  2. Stir in the butter, sugar and bicarb. Set aside to cool slightly
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the sago mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together.
  5. Butter a steamed pudding tin and place a round of baking paper at the bottom.
  6. Transfer the pudding batter into the tin and smooth the top. Put on the lid.
  7. Bring about 5cm of water to the boil in a large stock pot, then carefully place the steaming tin inside with the pot lid on. Simmer for 4 hours. You may need to top up the water level as it cooks. I check every 30 minutes.
  8. Turn the pudding onto a serving plate.
  9. To flame the pudding bring 1/4 cup of vodka, brandy or any other clear alcohol to the boil in a small saucepan. Carefully light the alcohol and pour over the pudding. (This is best done with the lights dimmed for best effect.)
  10. Serve slices of the pudding with custard and whipped cream.

Gluten free lemon bars


Photos by Gary Corbett

“I’ve decided I need to master gluten free baking! When I cater I always have to do some gluten free items and tend to fall back on things like a chocolate flan with hazelnut meal or an orange almond cake.  I decided to try a gluten free lemon bar because I love the non GF version and it seemed to be easy to make using almond flour and corn flour. The result was delicious! You can also substitute lime or passionfruit juice or as I did, a combination of two juices. It also works brilliantly as a dessert with fresh berries and a dollop of thick cream. Enjoy!”

Ingredients for the base

  • 200g almond meal
  • 25g corn flour
  • 75g white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 100g cold butter
Method for the base
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C.
  2. Line a 20cm square baking dish with baking paper making sure the paper comes all the way up each side. This makes it much easier to remove from the tin once it’s baked.
  3. Cut your cold butter into 1cm squares and add to a food processor with the other ingredients.
  4. Blitz the mix until its come together.
  5. Press into your baking tray and smooth the top with a spoon.
  6. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
  7. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Ingredients for the custard
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g white sugar
  • 100g lemon, lime or passionfruit juice (I used 50g lemon and 50g passionfruit)
  • 20g corn flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Method for the custard
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until combined.
  2. Pour over your cooled base.
  3. Bake in a 180 C oven for 15-20 minutes or until the custard has just set.
  4. Allow to cool on the bench then cover with cling wrap and let cool completely in the fridge.
  5. Once cool, Cut into bars and serve sprinkled with icing sugar or serve as a dessert with fresh berries and thick cream.

 

 

Spotted dick

Photo by Gary Corbett

“Who doesn’t like a spotted dick. (Insert giggling here). This traditional English steamed pudding is delicious on a cold night and very moorish. I’ve omitted the suet and added some sour cream and boozed-up the sultanas. You can use other dried fruit or nuts if you want and I’ve changed out the traditional custard for a French style Sabayon. Enjoy!”

Spotted dick ingredients

  • 200g sultanas
  • 1 cup muscat
  • 250g frozen butter
  • 400g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150g white sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 eggs
Method
  1. Place your sultanas and muscat in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer an cook for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool in the liquid.
  2. Grate 250g of frozen butter into a bowl. Add 400g of self-raising flour and gently mix through with your fingers so the butter is coated in flour.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 150g of white sugar and the zest from 1 lemon and mix to combine.
  4. Drain the sultanas and add to the mix. Keep the soaking liquid for the sabayon.
  5. Whisk 6 eggs with 1/4 cup of sour cream and 1/4 cup milk. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  6. Butter the inside of your steaming tin then put in 1 tablespoon of plain flour and shake so it coats the butter.
  7. Transfer the batter to the tin and smooth the top.
  8. Cut a piece of baking paper to fit over the batter and cut a few slits in the top. Smooth this over the batter and put the lid on the tin.
  9. In a large pot place a small ramekin or heatproof bowl inside and pour in boiling water to just cover it.
  10. Place the steaming tin inside on top of the ramekin and put a lid on the pot.
  11. Bring your water to a simmer and let the pudding steam for 90 to 120 minutes. Every half hour check the water level and add more boiling water if necessary.
  12. Carefully remove the steaming tin and test to see if the pudding is cooked by putting a knife or skewer in. If it doesn’t come out clean then put the tin back to steam for another 10 or 20 minutes. (In the size tin I have this took 2 hours)
Sabayon ingredients
  • 3 eggs (or 6 yolks)
  • 150ml muscat (from soaking sultanas)
  • 120g white sugar
Method
  1. Mix all ingredients together until completely combined.
  2. Transfer to a saucepan and continuously stir on  medium heat until the sabayon has thickened.
  3. Serve a slice of spotted dick with the sabayon and a dollop of thick cream. Enjoy!

 Youtube video link

https://youtu.be/ECMwBtcTGfI

 

 

French toast 3 ways

Photos by Gary Corbett

“You can’t beat French toast for an indulgent breakfast, brunch or even dessert. I’ll be making this with my nieces on a Facebook live this Mother’s Day. I’ve given you three recipes to choose from but you can get your creative juices going with many different culinary alternatives. I’ve also given a vegan alternative for the custard and you can use a non-dairy spread instead of butter. Enjoy!” 

Ingredients for egg custard

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
Ingredients for vegan custard
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Version 1 – with mixed berries
  • Thick cut fruit toast
  • Mixed berries
  • Maple syrup
  • Thick cream or coconut yoghurt
Method
  1. Put berries in a container and pour over some maple syrup. Set aside.
  2. Mix custard ingredients together until they are well combined. Put in a shallow bowl good for dipping.
  3. Put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  4. Cut your fruit toast in half, dip in the custard on both sides and put in the frying pan. Let one side go golden (about 1 minute) before turning over.
  5. Place on a plate, top with a dollop of cream or coconut yoghurt, some berries and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Version 2 – with coconut bananas

  • Thick cut fruit toast
  • Bananas
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Thick cream or coconut yoghurt
  • Toasted almonds
Method
  1. Mix custard ingredients together until they are well combined. Put in a shallow bowl good for dipping.
  2. Cut your bananas in half then slice them lengthwise so you get a flat side.
  3. Put some coconut on a flat plate. Dip the flat side of the banana in the custard then place in the coconut.
  4. Put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  5. Place the banana flat side down in the frying pan and cook until the coconut has gone golden. Remove and set aside.
  6. Clean the pan of coconut then put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  7. Cut your fruit toast in half, dip in the custard on both sides and put in the frying pan. Let one side go golden (about 1 minute) before turning over.
  8. Place on a plate, top with a dollop of cream or coconut yoghurt, the coconut bananas, some toasted almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Version 3 – with figs and spiced yoghurt
  • Thick cut fruit toast
  • Fresh figs
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Toasted almonds
  • Honey
Method
  1. Mix custard ingredients together until they are well combined. Put in a shallow bowl good for dipping.
  2. Put yoghurt and spices in a bowl and mix together.
  3. Cut your figs into quarters.
  4. Put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  5. Cut your fruit toast in half, dip in the custard on both sides and put in the frying pan. Let one side go golden (about 1 minute) before turning over.
  6. Place on a plate, top with a dollop of spiced yoghurt ,fresh figs, some toasted almonds and a drizzle of honey.

 

 


Baked beans and Breakfast pizzas

Photos by Gary Corbett

“Like many people I grew up eating tinned baked beans for breakfast. It was an easy staple that filled you up and could be prepared in no time. The only problem with the tinned version is the amount of sugar it contains.  For that reason (and because it’s delicious!) I started making my own version, playing around with different types of beans, herbs and seasonings.  This recipe is where I landed, so when I decided to do a video to launch the Spotty Kites song “Say hello”, I decided to turn it into a breakfast pizza. We had a great time cooking in my kitchen with Lauren and Costa (check out the video on YouTube). I can’t wait to see if they try it for their families. Enjoy!”

You can find the video on my Musical Menus YouTube page.

https://youtu.be/2UQ4ptY6oMw

Ingredients for baked beans

  • 1 red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 x 400g tins tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin red beans
  • 1 x 400g tin white beans
  • 1 x 400g tin black beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Splash of Tobacco sauce
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • Sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 cup marinated green olives
Method
  1. Heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil in an oven proof covered dish and add a diced  red onion, stirring until they start to soften. Dice the garlic and cook off with the onion.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir to cook of for a minute. Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and stir to combine.
  3. Add 2 tins of tomatoes and the beans and stir for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in the vegetable stock then add the salt, Tobacco, Worcestershire, red wine vinegar and white sugar.
  5. Put a few sprigs of thyme in the mix and cover with the lid.
  6. Bake in a 180c oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and stir in the diced green olives.
  8. Serve on crusty bread topped with an egg. (You can freeze portions of the baked beans and defrost for meals later.)

Ingredients for Breakfast pizzas 

  • Sprinkle – Parmesan, fresh basil and pine nuts
  • Prosciutto
  • Baked beans
  • Pizza bases
  • Pizza cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • eggs
Method
  1. Put some parmesan, fresh basil and pine nuts in a food processor and blitz for a few seconds or until they make a crumble.
  2. Lay the prosciutto on a baking tray and bake in a 180c oven for 7 minutes or until crisp.
  3. Remove from the oven to cool. Increase the oven to 230c.
  4. Cut 4 mini pizzas out of a pizza base. (You can also make a full pizza if you want to)
  5. Top with the baked beans.
  6. Top with the pizza cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in a 230c oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Lightly oil a fry pan and gently crack the eggs into it. Reduce to a medium heat and cover the pan with a lid until the eggs are cooked. (2-3 minutes)
  9. Remove the pizzas from the oven and place on a serving plate. Top with an egg and some prosciutto.
  10. Sprinkle the crumble over the top and serve. Enjoy!

 

Christmas Crinkle Cookies

“I’m always looking for quick and easy recipes to make for Christmas parties and presents.  These biscuits are based on a Mexican recipe I found that I deleted the chilli and spices and added Christmas mince.  They turned out so well I’ve had requests to make more. (Mainly from my husband)  I love the texture of the crinkle and on the outside which is achieved by rolling them in icing sugar.  Enjoy!”

(Photos by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 450g plain flour
  • 80g dutch cocoa powder
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 300g Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
  • Icing sugar to roll balls in
Method
  1. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Beat the eggs with the oil, then stir in the Christmas mince.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat until combined.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (this makes them easier to roll)
  5. Put icing sugar into a small bowl.
  6. Roll golf ball sized balls in your hand then roll then in the icing sugar until covered.  shake off the excess and place on a parchment lined baking tray.  (You can press them down slightly so they won’t roll around but don’t flatten them out.  They will keep their ball-shape once they’re cooked.)
  7. Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crackle patten has emerged.

 

 

 

 

Apple Chai Pumpkin Pie

“Whoops! I seem to have missed thanksgiving or halloween for this post. (Not that we really celebrate them here much)  But who says pumpkin pie should only be served on those days? For this recipe I’ve combined the silky softness of the pumpkin custard with the spiciness of chai tea to make a slightly different version of this American classic. Like all good tarts, it’s slightly complicated and has several stages but the finished product is well worth the effort.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

For the cinnamon pastry

  • 140g butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • 140g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
For the spiced apples
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tbsp chai tea
  • 2 tbsn raw sugar

For the pumpkin filling

  • 600g pumpkin
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 tbsn chai tea
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3 eggs

Method

  1. For the cinnamon apples: In a cup pour the boiling water over the chai tea and sugar and leave to sit.
  2. For the pumpkin custard: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a light simmer then add the chai tea.  Allow this to sit and infuse while it cools down.
  3. Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm square pieces and steam until soft.  Set aside to cool.  (If you’re in America you can buy pumpkin pie mix in a can. Shame on you!)
  4. For the cinnamon pastry: In a food processor combine the butter sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.  Add the egg and process until pastry comes into a ball.
  5. Tip out onto a piece of cling wrap and form into a disc.  Place in refrigerator.
  6. For the cinnamon apples: Peel the apples and cut each one into 16 wedges. Place apples in a small saucepan.
  7. Drain the chai tea and add the tea leaves to the cream. (Every little bit of flavour helps)
  8. Pour the chai tea mixture over the apples and bring to a simmer.  Cook the apples until they’re soft but still holding their shape.  Transfer the apples and liquid to a bowl and refrigerate, letting them cool in the remaining liquid.
  9. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the pastry from the fridge and on a well-floured surface, roll out until it’s about 5mm thick.
  10. Carefully transfer this into a greased 30cm tart dish (I use the sort with the removable bottom), filling any gaps and neatening up the edges.
  11. Transfer the tart dish to the freezer for 15 minutes.
  12. For the pumpkin custard: Drain the infused cream of the tea leaves and put in a food processor.  Add the cooled pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and eggs and process until smooth.
  13. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the tart dish from the freezer and using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry evenly (about 20 times).
  14. Line the pastry with grease-proof paper and fill with baking beads or rice.  Transfer to a 180 degree celsius oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the beads/rice and baking paper and cook for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 150 degrees.
  15. Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool slightly.  Drain the apples of any remaining liquid and put a layer of 2/3 of the cooled apples into the bottom of the tart. (The remaining apples are reserved for serving)
  16. Pour the pumpkin custard over the apples and transfer to the oven for 30-35 minutes.  The cooked pie should be uniformly cooked but still a bit wobbly.
  17. Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream and some of the remaining spiced apples and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate and Fig Brownies

“Who doesn’t like chocolate brownies?  Well, from the speed these flew off the plate, I’d say no-one!  I’ve made so many different versions of the humble brownie: date, white chocolate, GF with almonds, the list goes on.  This was one of those fortuotous moments when I had a container of diced dried figs sitting on the bench from a previous recipe and only a short amount of time to cook something.  So my brownies got a healthy dose of figs at the last minute.  I love the extra texture and flavour they impart.  I’ve also found that grinding my own almond and hazelnut meal gives me more control over the texture. I like to process the nuts with the skins on and mill to a slightly bigger grain than the store bought versions. Finally, the trick in getting a really good brownie is having the courage to take them out of the oven before they feel totally cooked.  You just have to trust your own judgement and get used to your oven.  But even if they’re slightly underdone they’ll still taste amazing. Enjoy!” 

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 1/4 tsp flaked salt
  • 150g dark sugar
  • 150g white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 175g Self raising flour
  • 130g almond or hazelnut meal
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 150g chopped dried figs
Method
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. In a medium saucepan on medium heat melt the chocolate and butter, stirring regularly.  Once melted stir through the salt.  Leave to cool slightly.
  3. Mix together the sugars with the eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add the flour, almond/hazelnut meal and cocoa and mix until combined.
  5. Pour in the chocolate mixture and figs and stir to combine.
  6. Spray a 20cm square baking dish with baking spray and line with baking paper.
  7. Transfer the brownie mixture to the pan and bake for 40-50 or until the brownie stops wobbling in the pan and a seeker comes out with a few crumbs on it.
  8. Allow to cool to room temperature or eat warm with ice-cream.  Brownies also freeze really well, so make another batch to keep for later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lime and Pistachio Cake

“I’m embarressed about how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything here!  What with work, catering, cake design and the installation of a new kitchen, It’s been shunted to last priority.  I’m determined to turn over a new leaf and have a few recipes in my back-log to post in the coming weeks.  I made this cake for a work colleague’s birthday when I had a surplus of lemons.  The flavour and texture was brilliant but I decided to tweak the recipe to give it a bit more texture.  Feel free to use whatever fruit you like for the compote.  I think the strawberries and cherries were a great colour splash for the finished dish. You can also substitute lemons for limes but personally I liked this version better. Enjoy!”

(Photos by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

Cake

  • 250g room temperature butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 room temperature eggs
  • zest from 3 limes
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 50g diced pistachios
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
Syrup
  • Juice from 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Fruit compote
  •  Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup strawberry liquor
Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 140 degrees (Fan forced).
  2. Grease and line a 20cm spring-form tin.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time until combined.
  4. Add the sour cream and lime zest and beat until combined.
  5. Fold in the pistachios and flour.
  6. Spoon mixture into prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatular.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.
  8. While cake is baking place lime juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  9. When cake is done remove from the oven and pierce numerous holes with a skewer.
  10. Pour over lime syrup and refrigerate.
  11. For fruit compote cut the strawberries into quarters, de-seed and halve the cherries.
  12. Add fruit, sugar and liquor to saucepan and heat until fruit has just softened. (If you cook it too long you’ll get jam!)  Leave to cool.
  13. Decorate the cake with pistachios then serve a wedge of the lime cake with some fruit compote and a dollop of cream.