Bliss Balls

It has been quite some time since I have been able to crack on with my favourite hobby… I’ve been doing slimming world for 2 months now and loving every part, but let’s just say it’s not exactly baking friendly! After almost 2 months, I’m 24lbs down (almost 2 stone) and am ready to start experimenting with some slimming world friendly baking, so watch this space!

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In the meantime, I’ve been doing a couple of bakes here and there and today I thought I’d share this recipe from the Meringue Girls, Everything Sweet recipe book (by far a clear favourite of mine!)

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If you’re looking for a healthy treat that tastes like something far naughtier, then these are for you. I made these Bangin’ Bliss Balls for my wonderful godmother for her birthday after a long discussion about health and cake and gluten free alternatives. These are quite the treat, healthy truffles!

If you have any slimming world ideas or any recipes you’d like to see, please don’t hesitate to share them with me and get in touch! You can get my details here. 🙂

Ingredients

250g squishy fresh dates, stones removed and not dried out dates!
50g whole roasted almonds, skin on
50g whole roasted hazelnuts, skin on
1 tbsp cocoa powder or cacao powder
100g desiccated coconut
pinch of sea salt
100g dark chocolate
optional extras: shelled pistachios, goji berries, cranberries, coconut shavings etc.

Method

  1. Place the dates, almonds and hazelnuts in a food processor and blend to a paste. Add a few splashes of water to help it along if things are getting stuck!
  2. Add the cocoa powder, coconut and salt and blend again. Mix until everything is well incorporated and the mixture is sticky.
  3. Line a tray with baking paper and taking 1 tablespoon at a time, roll into truffle sized balls between your palms. Dampen your hands to make this a bit easier.
  4. Place the balls on the tray and refrigerate for approximately 20 minutes.
  5. Whilst they are in the fridge, melt your chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Important tip- make sure your bowl is not touching the simmering water! Once melted, set the chocolate aside to cool slightly.
  6. One by one, dip the balls in the melted chocolate and use a spoon to transfer them back to the tray. Sprinkle with any chosen toppings before the chocolate hardens and return to the refrigerator to harden completely.
  7. Enjoy!

Harriet x

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Eton Mess Layer Cake

It is with great sadness that the Winchester Goalball Club have had to say goodbye to one of their great coaches, Chris Davies who has now left for Sheffield to start his new career with Goalball UK (he didn’t stray too far, obviously.) To say thank you to a wonderful coach and friend, I had to try and bake a cake worthy of his effort with the club over the past year and a half. This Eton Mess cake was the one!

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This cake is 3 layers of moist, spongy, creamy Eton Mess goodness and obviously brought the summer a little closer as we’ve seen lots more sun recently! I topped the cake with meringue kisses which you can find the recipe for here but obviously you can decorate as you wish. Those of you who are new to my blog and don’t know what Goalball is, you can find out more here. I’m off to another tournament this weekend with Rich, so now seemed as good a time as any to post the recipe for this delicious cake. One tip before I start though.. if you’re planning on making this cake, make sure you are serving it later that day or early the next as it is PACKED with double cream and the decoration does not last well in the fridge. Thank you Meringue Girls for another gorgeous recipe!

Ingredients

Please also add the ingredients from the meringue kisses page if you plan on doing meringues too- obviously necessary though if you truly want to call this an Eton Mess cake!

For the sponge

400g softened unsalted butter
400g caster sugar
8 large free range eggs
400g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp whole milk
2 tsp vanilla bean paste

For the coulis

375g ripe strawberries, stalks removed, chopped into small pieces
30g caster sugar

For the cream

600ml double cream
150g fresh raspberries, squished to a rough pulp with a fork
2 tbsp fresh mint, very finely chopped (optional- I did not use this in mine)

Method

  1. First, make your meringues. Find out how here.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 4. Grease two 18cm round cake tins and line with non-stick baking paper.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time. The mixture may start to look as though it is split but don’t worry. Sift the flour and baking powder into your mixture and add the milk and vanilla bean paste and beat until you have a smooth soft batter.
  4. Divide this mixture between the two tins, smooth the surfaces and bake for approximately 45 minutes, until golden and the cakes spring back when pressed. Turn them out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  5. Once cool, and they must be cool at this point, cut the cakes in half horizontally so you have four layers.
  6. Next we make the coulis. Put the fresh strawberries and sugar into a pan over a gentle heat. Simmer for 10 minutes until the fruit breaks down. Push through a sieve using the back of a spoon and set aside to cool completely.
  7. To make the cream, whisk the cream until in medium peaks and set aside a small bowl of the whipped cream for the finishing icing. Make sure you place some of the strawberry coulis aside too for decoration.
  8. Swirl the remaining coulis through the cream and fold in some crushed meringues from earlier and the crushed raspberries and the mint if you choose to add this. Fold these together until everything is just mixed.
  9. Place one layer of sponge on your serving board and spread a layer of Eton Mess cream over the top. Repeat with the other sponges and cream.
  10. Use a pallete knife to spread a thin layer of your reserved whipped cream all over the sides of the cake so achieve a semi-naked cake look. Spread a thicker layer on top.
  11. Decorate and arrange the meringues as you wish on top, drizzle the remaining strawberry coulis and allow it to drip over the edges and serve!

Enjoy!

Harriet x

 

Chocolate Roulade

Happy Easter Monday! I hope everyone has had a lovely Bank Holiday Easter weekend. I’m kicking myself for not getting my supply of mini eggs in in time again. Every year I turn up at Tesco and the shelves are empty. Yesterday, the only Easter eggs left were Milk Chocolate with, yes, you’re reading it right, CHEESE AND ONION CRISPS?! What are they thinking of!! I personally was much happier tucking into a slice of this delicious Chocolate Roulade today.

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The sponge is deliciously light and airy, and the double cream makes for a lovely addition. All finished off with a sprinkling of icing sugar and cocoa powder. I obviously had to add some of whatever mini eggs I did have to make it an Easter appropriate dessert. This is such an easy and quick dessert to make, and it always goes down a storm. Why don’t you give it a go? Perfect for those of you who are ambitious enough to start barbecuing in the occasional sunny days we’re getting at the moment!

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Ingredients

175g good-quality dark chocolate
6 free-range large eggs, separated
175g caster sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
300ml double cream
icing sugar and cocoa powder, to dust

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160 Fan/Gas 4. Lightly grease a Swiss roll tin then line the base and sides of the tin with a large sheet of greaseproof paper, pushing it into the corners. Making a small diagonal snip in each corner of the paper helps to fit the paper snugly into the corners of the tin.

  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water! Set aside to cool.

  3. Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until stiff but not dry. If you turn the bowl upside down, the whites should be stiff enough not to fall out.

  4. Put the egg yolks in a separate bowl with the sugar and whisk using the same whisk (no need to wash it) on high speed for 2-3 minutes or until thick and creamy and the mixture leaves a thick ribbon-like trail when the beaters are lifted. Pour in the cooled chocolate and gently fold together until well combined.

  5. Gently stir two large spoonfuls of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen the mix, then fold in the remaining egg whites using a large metal spoon so you don’t squash out the air you have just beaten in. Sift the cocoa over the top and lightly fold it in. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and gently move the tin around until the mixture is level.

  6. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes until risen and the top feels firm and slightly crisp. Remove from the oven, leave in the tin (expect it to fall and crack a little) and set aside until cold.

  7. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape. Lay a large piece of greaseproof paper on the work surface and dust it lightly with icing sugar. Turn the roulade out on to the paper so its lining paper is on top, then carefully peel off the paper. Score one of the shortest edges about 2 cm in, this will help to roll it up. Using the greaseproof paper, start to gently roll your roulade, but do not roll the whole way.

  8. Spread the roulade with the whipped cream, leaving a border of about 2cm all the way around the edges. I like to sieve some some icing sugar over the whipped cream. Now roll the cut edge over tightly to start with and use the paper to help continue the tight rolling, by pulling it away from you as you roll. Don’t worry if the roulade cracks – that is quite normal and all part of its charm.

  9. Finish with the join underneath then lift the roulade onto a serving plate or board using a large wide spatula or two fish slices. Dust with icing sugar and cocoa powder and serve!

Enjoy!

Harriet x

Easy Peasy Pizza

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a bit of a pizza fiend. It’s probably the only savoury thing I would choose over sweet dishes. Rich and I decided to get stuck in and make our own pizzas last night, and you know what? They were delicious! I just had to share the recipe here. It could not be easier! Definitely one you could do with kids with the Easter holidays coming up and what’s more, you can make the dough now, freeze it, and simply defrost the day before you want to get your pizza on.

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Ingredients

This recipe is enough to make about 4 medium-large pizzas

500g strong white flour
7g easy bake yeast (I use Allinsons)
1 tsp granulated or caster sugar
2 teaspoons salt
300ml warm water
50ml olive oil
Plus, whatever toppings you decide. We went for:

Mozzarella, sliced and grated
Passata
Red onions
Red pepper
Pesto
Chorizo
Pancetta
Mushrooms
Oregano and rosemary

Method

  1. Put your flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Put your yeast, sugar and salt in the well.
  2. Mix the water and the olive oil together and with a cutlery knife, stir the water and oil combination into the dry flour ingredients.
  3. Once all the ingredients are combined into a sticky dough, lightly flour your work surface and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. Make sure to keep flipping the dough over so you cover all areas.
  4. Lightly oil the large bowl and put your dough back in and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave in a warm place to prove for approximately 1 hour or until your dough has doubled in size.
  5. Preheat your oven to 240C or 220C for fan ovens.
  6. There is no need to knock your dough back. Simply divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll out on a lightly floured surface, then shape.
  7. Lightly flour your baking tray before putting your base on. Spread the passata up to the edges of your base and cover generously with whatever toppings you’ve chosen! I really liked the mix of sliced and grated mozzarella and the pesto was a great addition.
  8. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes and bingo, you’re done! Slice up and serve.

Enjoy!

Harriet x

Rainbow Lemon Celebration Cake

Wow, it has been quite some time since I last had a chance to blog. Unfortunately, due to a combination of factors such as time in Calais and a problem with my hands, I just haven’t been able to bake but this week, I got back on the baking wagon to celebrate my gorgeous friend Emma’s birthday!

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It has long been tradition that I bake the birthday cakes for 5 of the best girls in the world- a tradition I don’t plan on stopping any time soon! So this time, I made a lemon sponge with a surprise inside- rainbow icing! The sponge is perfectly moist, much like that you would find in a lemon drizzle cake, but with buttercream instead of the drizzle. Honestly, this cake is so easy- you just need patience!

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I hope I won’t be disappearing for a long period now, as I have a few more recipes lined up! Enjoy this one and stay tuned for next week- I believe it could be Oreo related… Happy Birthday gorgeous girl!

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Ingredients

For the cake

450g unsalted butter, softened
450g caster sugar
8 large eggs
finely grated zest 2 lemons
450g self-raising flour

For the icing

2 batches of the following:

150g unsalted butter
55g vegetable shortening (I used Trex)
910g icing sugar, sifted
120ml double cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Beat together the butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy, then add the eggs one at a time, slowly mixing through. Remember to keep scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl throughout.
  2. Sift in the flour, then add the lemon zest and mix until well combined. This recipe is enough to fill 4 round 8-inch cake tins. Line your tins and fill them all equally, then level them with a spoon.
  3. Bake for 25-30 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Leave your cakes to cool completely before attempting to cut the layers in half. This cake only requires 7 layers, so do what you wish with the final layer. I have read some lovely ideas such as making cake pops or a tiny replica cake with the final layer. Choose a serrated knife if you don’t have a cake leveller (you can buy one here) and cut around the edge rather than slicing right through if you do use a knife- otherwise you may end up with wonky layers!
  5. Whip up your first batch of buttercream by combining the vegetable shortening and the butter and beating until well combined. Next you want to add your icing sugar, about 300g at a time and add some of the double cream after each portion of sugar. Keep beating until the mixture is well combined and fluffy.
  6. Divide this batch equally into 6 small to medium bowls. This is where you choose which colours you would like for your icing! I use Wilton Gel Colouring– the pots last for years and you really do only need the tiniest addition to get a rich colour. Try to avoid using liquid food colouring. If you don’t have the pots of gel colouring, then try the Dr Oetker gel which is readily available in most supermarkets. Mix your icing with a fork until you achieve the desired colour.
  7. Now it’s time to start layering your cake! Place your first layer on a cake board and smooth your first choice of icing colour over the top. Try to go up to half an inch from the edge of your cake to avoid it spilling over into the final layer- gravity really will push that icing to the edge! Next, place another layer of cake on top and smooth the next colour of icing, repeat until you reach the final layer.
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  8. Now it’s time to whip up another batch of the icing, this time to coat the outside of the cake. Your first step is to crumb coat your cake. This means you want to do a thin layer of icing all over, not worrying if the cake is still visible through, but making sure all areas are covered. Stick the cake in the fridge for an hour after this, allowing the icing to harden. Now when you cover the cake with the remainder of the icing, you won’t have any crumbs coming through your buttercream!
  9. Cover the cake with the remaining icing using a palette knife. You can use this tool to create pretty patterns in the icing once completed or just decorate as you wish. I used some pink icing and piped to my heart’s content. I got the garland and straws from Tiger– a shop I could spend hours in!
  10. Happy eating!

Enjoy!

Harriet x

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies

It has been AGES. I have been so busy recently trying to sort life out before heading to the refugee camp over in Calais, I’ve barely had time to turn the whisk on, let alone whip up a batch of anything. But here it is, my most recent bake, made for my Dad’s birthday- a batch of absolutely delicious gluten free brownies. I have Meringue Girls to thank for this incredible recipe. I never would have thought of another brownie recipe seeing as I have always been so devoted to my lifelong favourite. You can find that one here!

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These brownies are squidgy, fudgy, melt in your mouth kind of brownies that you most definitely won’t find in any bakery or supermarket. I have always found brownies to be too dry, which is why I ALWAYS make my own. You won’t catch me buying them! Used in this recipe, to make them gluten free, is coconut flour. If you don’t like coconuts, don’t worry, neither to I, and you can’t taste it in the slightest. The closest you come to tasting it is that slight waft you get when adding it to your brownie mix. You are going to ADORE these brownies. I promise.

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Ingredients

250g unsalted butter, melted
200g dark chocolate, cut into very small pieces
70g coconut flour
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus a little for sprinkling (I used Maldon Seat Salt flakes and sieved it)
80g cocoa powder
4 large eggs
360g caster sugar
OPTIONAL
100g pistachios, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare a 20cm square baking tin with a little oil and non-stick baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir gently. Once it has completely melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the dark chocolate stirring until the chocolate has melted and it is all well combined.
  3. Put the coconut flour, baking powder (sieved), salt and cocoa powder (also sieved) into a large bowl and mix until they’re well incorporated.
  4. Place the eggs in a bowl, either attached to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or ready to be whisked by hand or electric whisk and beat until light and creamy. You’ll see bubbles forming- this is good! Add the sugar and continue to beat until it is all incorporated.
  5. Gradually add the melted chocolate and butter mixture to the egg and sugar mixture whilst whisking the whole time. Gently fold in the coconut flour mixture and make sure everything is well incorporated without knocking the air out- I used a metal spoon to achieve this, not wooden!!
  6. If you wish to add pistachios, this is where to do it. Then spoon the mixture into your tin, level is out and dust with an extra sprinkle of sea salt and/or the rest of the crushed pistachios.
  7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, although mine took longer than this. You want to bake until a skewer inserted around the OUTSIDE (not the centre) come out clean. You need the middle to be pretty squidgy, so it should be slightly under-baked in the middle when it comes out. Remember, it keeps cooking for a while once out!
  8. Leave in the tray to cool completely before cutting and serving with vanilla ice cream.

Harriet x

Birthday Banoffee Pie

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you have all had a beautiful time with your friends and family. On December 23rd, I spent my birthday in London which was such a great day, most amazing time! London at Christmas is so beautiful. However on the 19th, I got to spend the weekend celebrating with the best friends  a girl could ask for down in Brighton. What did I get? A birthday Banoffee Pie! My favourite dessert ever, I will always find room for Banoffee Pie. Mishka, the honorary cook made a corker. Crumbly biscuit base with delicious caramel centre and whipped cream and bananas on top.

   

 I know Christmas is an indulgent time of year, but treat your friends and family to this delicious Banoffee Pie recipe, it is quite the treat. Mishka, you’re a top babe! 😍 Here is her recipe:

    

Ingredients

For the base

100g butter, melted

250g digestive biscuits, crushed

For the caramel

100g butter

100g dark brown soft sugar

397g can Condensed Milk

For the topping

4 small bananas

300ml carton double cream, lightly whipped

grated chocolate

Method

1. Tip the biscuit crumbs into a bowl. Add the butter a mix in. Spoon the crumbs into the base of a loose bottomed ton and push halfway up the sides of the tin to make a pie shell. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

2. Melt the butter and sugar into a non-stick saucepan over a low heat, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved. Add the condensed milk and bring to a rapid boil for about a minute, stirring all the time for a thick golden caramel. Spread the caramel over the base, cool and then chill for about 1 hour, until firm or until ready to serve.

3. Carefully lift the pie from the tin and place on a serving plate. Slice the bananas; fold half of them into the softly whipped cream and spoon over the base. Decorate with the remaining bananas and finish with the grated chocolate.

Enjoy! I could eat a whole one to myself…

Harriet x