Almost everyone I’ve spoken to about baked Bramley apples smiles, sighs and looks all misty eyed. They recount childhood memories of melt in the mouth stuffed Bramleys served sometimes plain, or with cream, maybe ice-cream or even custard.
It’s not surprising. The British grown Bramley has been the best apple to cook with for over 200 years; it’s higher malic acid content and lower sugar levels produce a stronger tangier tasting apple after cooking, with a melt in the mouth moist texture. READ MORE
It’s Bramley Apple Week! I am very proud to be one of the bloggers chosen to create a recipe to celebrate this home grown gem of ours; the great British Bramley apple. And given it’s also pancake week it felt right and fitting to make a delicious crepe cake – layers and layers of pancakes sandwiched together with a spiced cinnamon Bramley apple sauce and a cream cheese icing. Topped of course with yet more Bramley apples, gently cooked in a little sugar. READ MORE
The sheer alchemy of applying heat to ingredients never ceases to amaze me. Take apples for example. Raw apples are tart and bright and crisp and loud. Cooked apples are soft and slow and quiet. You could secretly eat cooked apples without anyone knowing. Raw apples are too shouty for that. READ MORE
Lawrence is back on the blog. Here goes:
Lawrence here again. I’m 16 months now and slowly getting to the point where I can leave this living hell of routine, removal from the bath, vegetables, limited treats, car journeys over 3 minutes and shoes. I have a message for all you baby/toddler hybrids out there about keeping your mother/father/adult ‘in charge’ on their toes. READ MORE
Well it wouldn’t be Easter without a Cadbury Crème Egg recipe. I’ve given you Cadbury Crème Egg mess and of course Cadbury Crème Egg chocolate flapjack in the past, but this time it’s the turn of the unbaked cheesecake. This is easy, assemble ahead stuff. It’s all the better for longer chilling in the fridge so make the day before if you can.
Have a wonderful Easter!
Crème egg cheesecake
For the base:
For the cheesecake:
For the top layer:
Grease and line a 20cm springform tin with clingfilm – this is important as it makes it much easier to remove later. Mix the biscuits, melted butter and sugar together (you can use a food processor if you wish), stir in the chocolate chips and press into the tin using the back of a metal spoon. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
To make the cheesecake layer, beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract in a stand mixer, with an electric handheld mixer or with a wooden spoon until combined. Then gently fold through the whipped double cream with a large metal spoon. Spoon a third onto your chilled biscuit base, then add half of the crème egg pieces, add another third, then the rest of the crème egg pieces and then the last third of the cheesecake mixture. Smooth until flatish and pop back in the fridge for 1 hour.
Melt the chocolate in short bursts in the microwave or over a bain marie then add the oil, stirring well. Pour over the top of the cheesecake and add the mini crème eggs to the top. Chill for another 2 hours.
To serve gently remove the springform tin and unpeel from the clingfilm. Cut into slices using a knife dipped in hot water for clean cuts, though beware this dessert is messy when served. Gobble it up quickly!
Failure can be a good thing. Take London for example. The first time I took a solo trip to London it was a disaster.
In 1999 I was a fresher at Liverpool University, studying for a degree in English Language & Literature. One day I bought a copy of Vogue. Now given I was a chunky size 14 this was ill advised. However this copy did feature a writing competition. Which I of course, being full of arrogant youthfulness, entered.
Months later I received a very proper looking embossed letter telling me I hadn’t won, but I was a runner up. How exciting! Imagine! A girl from Leicester, via Liverpool, being invited to London! All the L’s and all the exclamations. At this point I should have been happy in my triumph, left it there and declined. But I didn’t.
I bought a pashmina. Because that’s what I imagined women in London who were invited to Vogue House might wear. It was beige. I also bought a pair of pedal pushers in a kind of gold colour. They fit badly and made my already reasonable sized backside look gargantuan. I also wore a white loose fitting peasant style T shirt. And heels. A pair of heels that barely fit, were again beige, and hurt considerably. Oh and a beige handbag that didn’t fit much in. Not an umbrella for instance.
But wait! The horror wasn’t complete! I decided, the night before I caught the train to London, from my teenage bedroom in Leicester, to fake tan my whole body.
Reader, I don’t think I need to tell you how bad I looked. A beige monstrosity, streaked in orange. It rained in London, as it often does, and I, being a girl from up North, had no idea that carrying an umbrella in the heat of the capital’s summer might be a good idea. I arrived; wet, streaked, stressed and beige.
I managed to sit through the lunch, in a panelled board room, with Alexandra Shulman (Editor), Miranda Sawyer (Journo) and Nick Hornby (Author), the latter whose work I bought days before to swot up on.
Shulman and I didn’t speak. I imagine she was concerned the beige horror might be a contagious disease. Sawyer chatted kindly, though clearly not engaged in anything a 19 year old student might have to say. (I don’t blame her). Nick was lovely. So interested in everyone. A real gent.
I took the Midland Mainline back to Leicester on the to pick up my Fiat Panda, feeling London was so very unattainable to me. I had embarrassed myself and done a disservice to every girl from the Midlands trying desperately to reinvent herself.
Just 3 years later I moved to London, again, solo. And it was anything but a disaster. I loved it. And I never wore a beige pashmina again. Or gold pedal pushers. (The same can’t be said for my love affair with ‘Holiday Skin’ fake tan).
I made a lovely video with the Scoff folks to show how to make these very easy white chocolate mousse eggs. You can see the vid on my YouTube channel and also the Scoff one. You can watch it below too.
White chocolate mousse eggs with lemon curd yolks
Makes about 9 though depends on the size of your chocolate eggs
For the curd:
For the mousse:
NB: These hollow eggs must be kept in the fridge until serving. It is advised not to serve raw eggs to young children, pregnant women or the elderly.
Today I attended a Mother’s Day assembly that not one of my sons’ featured in. Not one. No, I was not being a kind soul and sitting in the audience watching a friend’s child whose mother has to work. Nor am I some kind of Mother’s Day service addict; a woman who can only cry through watching emotional clip art on a projected Power Point presentation set to Enya. (Like Helena BC’s character in fight club, though I seem to recall she was addicted to support groups). No, no and no. I am just deeply disorganised, though not in the traditional sense.
One of my very good friends, who I shall call Helena (for that is her name) noticed my strangely efficient style of disorganisation at university and commented that because I display a ruthlessly efficient façade everyone trusts me to know what to do, get them to places on time and generally mother people. But it’s all just smoke and mirrors and today reader, my cover has been blown.
Here is a pudding that is ruthlessly efficient. It uses these fantastic flan cases from Iced Jems. Serve it warm with a scoop of ice cream and perhaps some slices of banana. Or just alone if you’re in a not-very-efficient mood.
15 minute chocolate cake puddings
Makes 8 flan shapes or 12 cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and pop 8 flan cases onto a baking tray. If you don’t have flan cases like these ones from Iced Jems then you could line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cases but beware that the cakes will take longer to bake – so these will be more like 20 – 25 minute chocolate cake puddings rather than speedy 15 minute ones. Right, logistics over. Ready?
Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk with a hand whisk (or you can do this in a stand mixer or with an electric hand held mixer if you prefer) for 3 minutes. Then divide the mixture between the 8 flan cases equally and bake for 15 minutes. Check them after 10 minutes as all ovens are different and you don’t want a dry chocolate cake.
Either serve immediately with a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream and maybe some chocolate chips for good measure or serve alone. Cream might be nice too. These can of course also be eaten cold, just as a cake.
I feel I could be in danger of teaching grandmother to suck eggs. But I’m ploughing on through anyway. It’s pancake day, or rather Shrove Tuesday. The day to use up all the fat and eggs in the house before the first day of Lent.
Now I am pretty sure most of you have a pancake recipe already. Perhaps some of you are expert flippers. If you’re not in possession of the perfect recipe or the right wrist action then read on. This recipe works for me every time. You do need a non stick frying pan though. And nerves of steel. Expert flipping is all about nerves of steel.
This recipe plus my chocolate pancakes recipe and my spinach & ricotta filling recipe are all here too as well as a video of me flipping pancakes with the boys.
Makes about 7 large pancakes 22cm in diameter
(This recipe first featured on ITV’s This Morning).