Tag Archives: baking

Roasted Aubergine

This is my new favourite way to eat aubergine. I make it all the time. The flavours intensify in the oven and every part of the aubergine becomes delicious. It’s easy, simple, and there is no waste!

You can adjust the flavours depending on what you are serving it with. If you’re serving with Italian food, use fresh basil, dried oregano, and lots of garlic.

*Here’s a little extra something for you. If you make too much, or you want to try something different – scoop the fleshy aubergine out the skin when it’s baked and mix in the food processor with a dollop of yoghurt for a delicious homemade dip.*

Roasted Aubergine

Ingredients:
2 cloves of garlic, halved
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried mint
pinch cinnamon
handful fresh parsley, chopped
squeeze of 1/4 lemon
Olive oil or garlic oil
salt & pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C. Slice aubergine long ways and place on a baking tray.

2. Prick the aubergine with a fork and drizzle with olive oil. Rub the garlic onto it. Sprinkle the rest of the herbs and spices on top.

3. Bake for around 40 minutes depending on your oven. Before serving, use a knife to check the aubergine is soft and cooked all the way through.

I think it is delicious served as a side dish with Moroccan style lamb and cous cous.

Enjoy!

Cheat’s Tiramisu

Oh, you know I love a quick, easy and delicious dessert! This is definitely all of those things.

It is not a completely authentic tiramisu recipe, but it is so effortless, so quick, and so tasty! I created it because I wanted to use up some leftover mascarpone, but I’m so glad that it worked out well because I will without doubt be whipping this up in a flash next time I need a quick treat!

You will need some shot glasses or very small ramekins. I think it looks best served in glass so you can see the beautiful coffee biscuits and creamy layers.

Cheat’s Tiramisu

Makes 4 mini portions

Takes around 15-20 minutes, plus chilling time.

Ingredients:

120g mascarpone
2 tbsp creme fraiche or double cream
5 sponge fingers
3 shots espresso coffee
2 tbsp cocoa powder and extra for sprinkling
2 tbsp icing sugar

1. Mix the cocoa powder with a 1/4 cup of boiling water, and stir until the powder has completely dissolved. Add the coffee, and if you have any you can add a little marsala wine too (don’t worry if you don’t have any).

2. Cut the sponge fingers into 4 quarters, and soak in the coffee-chocolate for 5 minutes.

3. Mix the mascarpone with the creme fraiche or cream and stir in the icing sugar. You can add more sugar if you like it really sweet.

4. Start layering the glasses. First put a teaspoon of creamy cheese, then a sponge quarter, and keep layering until you fill the glass. Smooth over the top with some cheese, and then decorate with a sprinkle of cocoa.

Chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins before serving. (A couple of hours is better.)

Buon appetito! Enjoy!

Aubergine and Feta Tarts with a Tamarind Drizzle

Even though tamarind is usually used in asian cooking, I’ve used it here in a Mediterranean style tart. I really like the sweet and  tangy flavour and thought it would be perfect with cheese. I love all these ingredients separately but I’ve never used them together before.

As you may already know I love puff pastry for being delicious, easy to use, and amazingly versatile. It’s works so well with Mediterranean ingredients and especially cheese. I have previously posted a recipe for Mozzarella and Pesto tarts on puff pastry.

This is a simple recipe that makes a perfect starter or light lunch. Serve with a salad and some sliced meats.

Aubergine and Feta Tarts with a Tamarind Drizzle

Start to finish time: 45 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients

150g ready rolled puff pastry
1 aubergine, sliced about 5 mm thick
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp tomato puree
4 tsp  garlic oil
100g feta cheese
a few basil leaves

Salt & Pepper

For the drizzle:
1 tbsp tamarind paste
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp honey
a few drops of lemon

1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

2. Lay the sliced aubergine over kitchen paper and sprinkle each slice with salt. Leave for a few minutes and then dab with more kitchen roll. Turn each slice over and do the same on the other side. Move the slices to an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil. Oven cook for 5 minutes on each side. If they start to crisp, remove from the oven.

3. Whack the oven up to 220 degrees. Cut the ready rolled puff pastry into 4 of your desired shape. Move to an oiled tray and put 1 tbsp of tomato puree and 1 tsp of garlic oil on each one. Spread with the back of a teaspoon.

4. Layer the cooked aubergine next, and then crumble the feta cheese on top. Sprinkle with black pepper and then finish with a few basil leaves torn over the top.

5. Oven cook for 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden and has risen.

6. In a bowl, add about 1 tbsp of boiled water to the tamarind paste and stir until it has all mixed. Add the sugar and honey and then put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon juice.

7.  When the tarts are golden and puffed, take them out the oven and drizzle the tamarind over them.

Serve hot or cold with a salad.

You might also like:

Orange and Ginger Cheesecake

This is a perfect Christmas dessert or simply an after dinner treat!  I created this cheesecake as a festive dessert, and I have to say, it really worked! It is beautifully sweet, creamy and tangy all at the same time. The ginger gives it an extra fiery kick too.

I have used the basic cheesecake recipe before many times. I made it up in the summer as a way to use an abundance of fresh strawberries from my parents’ garden. I cooked them with a pinch of sugar and made a delicious jam to top the cake. It went down very well at the pot luck dinner I went to so I have made it again many times with different toppings and flavourings.

Orange and Ginger Cheesecake

Takes: Around 2 hours
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
110g ginger biscuits, crushed
80g plain digestive biscuits, crushed
75g butter, melted
100g full fat soft cream cheese
250g mascarpone cheese
100ml double cream
2 tsp vanilla essence
4 tbsp icing sugar
5 satsumas or clementines, peeled and sliced

For the glaze:
Zest of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 orange
5 tbsp ginger preserve*

*As part of the glaze, I used a ginger preserve from Sainsbury’s.

1. Mix the biscuit and butter and press into the bottom of your dish. Chill in the fridge for around 30 minutes or until the butter has hardened.

2. In a small pan, heat all the glaze ingredients until simmering. Stir continuously and add water/sugar if necessary. (Continue to simmer until it has significantly reduced and feels like a sticky jam.)

3. Mix the mascarpone, cream cheese and vanilla essence in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream with the icing sugar until it has the stiffness of whipped cream. Gently, add it to the cheese mixture.

4. When the biscuit base has chilled, you can put the cheese on top. Put it back in the fridge for another half an hour.

5. By now the glaze should have the correct sticky thickness. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Do not let it go cold.

6. Place the satsuma slices in a neat decorative way on the cheesecake. Start with the large slices around the outside and end with the smaller slices on the inside. Brush the satsumas with the glaze, and use the remaining to glaze the visible parts of the cheese. Do it quickly and gently so as not to cook the cheese or press it out of shape.

7. Chill the whole cheesecake for at least 2 hours. I recommend making it a day before you want to eat it!

Take the cheesecake out the fridge 30 minutes before serving so as the soften the base enough to slice.

Enjoy! I really am very proud of this as it tasted so delicious and looked so festive!

Mozzarella and Pesto Puff Pastry Squares

I love puff pastry. It is so easy to cook with, you can do so much with it, and it’s tasty! Well, it’s not easy to actually make by yourself, but as I’ve said before, I’m not the amazing baker in the family! I’m the passionate amateur cook.

This is a really simple but tasty recipe for puff pastry squares with mozzarella and pesto. I  often make it with other toppings too, such as goat’s cheese and caramelised onion. You can serve it as a starter with a nice rocket salad, or as a part of a meal; a light lunch perhaps. Plus, it has that added bonus of being vegetarian, so a great dish to make for your veggie friends.

This has very few ingredients and takes hardly any time to cook. I recommend baking the pastry for about 10 mins before adding any heavy toppings, in order to let it puff properly! No one wants unpuffed puff!

Personally, I think it’s best served hot.

Mozzarella and Pesto Puff Pastry Squares

Start to finish time: 30 mins
Serves: up to 12 (as a starter)

Ready rolled puff pastry (if you can get the one on baking paper it’s easier)
Jar of pesto
1 big Mozzarella ball (or about 250g)
2 tomatoes on the vine
12 black olives
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or as per the instructions on the puff pastry. Cut the pastry into evenly sized squares, about 10x10cm. Spread the squares with pesto and place into the middle of the hot oven. While it’s cooking, cut the mozzarella and tomatoes into thin slices, and the olives into halves.

2. When the pastry has puffed and started to golden, take them out the oven and very quickly add the other toppings. 1 slice of tomato, a couple of slices of mozzarella and 2 olive halves to each square. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and put them back into the oven. The quicker you do this stage, the better.

3. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the pastry is perfectly puffed and golden and the cheese has melted. Serve with salad.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Any comments are very welcome, especially if you try out any of my recipes and have any feedback.