Banana and Chocolate Muffins


Banana and chocolate is a match made in heaven, and these little muffins are proof of that fact.

They’re so simple to make, and the moist chocolate centre went down a treat in my house.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 75g melted butter
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large, ripe bananas
  • 2 medium eggs 
  • Chocolate spread
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.  Melt the butter and allow to cool. Mash the bananas well. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl, add the caster sugar and stir through.
  2. Beat together the eggs, vanilla extract, melted butter and milk in a second bowl. Add the mashed banana and stir through.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture, stirring roughly with a fork until it is a lumpy paste.
  4. Set paper cases into the moulds and spoon half of the mixture into the cases. Add a dollop of chocolate spread, and top with the other half of the mixture.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins come away from the side of the pan when touched.


Tarte Tatin


I followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe to make this delicious tarte tatin – and it has quickly become my favourite dessert of all time. I did, however, make a few little alterations – so here’s my recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• plain flour, for dusting
• 500g puff pastry
• 5 small eating apples
• 100g golden caster sugar
• 100ml sweet honey rum
• A teaspoon of vanilla essence
• 50g butter, cubed

Preheat the oven to 190˚C.

Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out your puff pastry until it covers the dish or ovenproof frying pan that you’re cooking the tatin in. You can put it to one side for now and peel the apples.

Halve the apples and get rid of the core and seeds.

Add the sugar, rum and vanilla essence to your pan on a medium heat until the sugar dissolves and forms a caramel. (Just please remember never ever to touch or taste hot caramel, as it can burn really badly.)

Once you have caramel, add the halved apples. Stir carefully until the apples are covered and leave it to cook for about 5 minutes or until the apples begin to soften.

Add the cubed butter, then lay the pastry over the top. Quickly and carefully tuck the pastry down right into the edges – it’s best to use a wooden spoon so you don’t touch the caramel.

Bake the tarte Tatin for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden.

To make it look like a tarte Tatin you need to turn it out, which isn’t hard – but you do need to be careful with that hot caramel. So get a serving plate or board larger than your pan and put an oven glove on to protect the arm holding the board. Put the board or plate on top of the pan, then quickly, carefully and confidently turn it out.

Once you become a bit more confident with the recipe, why not try a few alterations? You could add some raisins, or even make it with pears – get a bit creative!

Blueberry Boy Bait


This is a recipe from the gorgeous Smitten Kitchen blog.

You’ll need:

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1) Pre-heat the oven to 180°c .

2) Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Meanwhile, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy.

3) Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time.

4) Mix in the flour mixture a third at a time, making sure that each third is thoroughly mixed in before you add the next lot. At the same time, beat in the milk bit by bit – adding as required.

5) Add the blueberries and the remaining teaspoon of flour – take care to fold the blueberries in gently. Spread this batter into your prepared tray.

For the topping:
Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter.

6) Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Leave to cool.

Guest Post: Fizzy Wine Jelly, Honey Tuille and Sugared Mascarpone


Rose Savage gives us her take on this deliciously alcoholic dessert.

After going to a charity fundraising cooking demo run by The Hop Pole Inn, I left inspired and thus attempted this pudding (or maybe desert sounds more refined). My family were more than happy to indulge my culinary whim… I mean who wouldn’t want a desert that still held nearly all of its alcohol content?

There are a few stages to creating this and the finesse of which, I learnt,  is held in its delivery and plate presentation. (Note: I don’t usually dine to such high standards)

I did do some of my own added bits and apologies to the chef if I haven’t done the recipe justice.

Don’t be daunted, it doesn’t actually take that long.

Fizzy Wine Jelly

1 bottle of pink fizzy wine of your choice… Champers if your feeling plush.

200g of Sugar… (If the wine is not sweetened already eg. Asti)

14 leaves of Gelatine (If you use Dr OEtkar, each about the size of the palm of your hand)


Soften the gelatine in cold water until you can barely keep it in your hand. Put a mug of wine in a small pan and warm, add the sugar and then add the softened gelatine. Take of the heat, and in a separate bowl pour the rest of the bottle and add the heated ingredients to it.

Place a few raspberries in the bottom of your moulds and pour over the jelly mixture. Place in fridge. (Tip: To remove from the moulds place in hot water briefly, this will loosen the jelly)

Now for the Honey Tuille… (makes roughly 30)

These were a little harder (my first attempt looked like biscuits for builders!)

60g of butter

88g Honey

120g Caster Sugar

90g Egg Whites

112g Plain flour

Melt the butter slightly (but don’t boil) and then just add all of the other ingredients. Stir into a smooth paste and leave in the fridge for an hour-ish, then it’s ready to use.

The complicated bit comes when creating the THIN circle shapes required – we used the orange inner seal of a kilner jar. Use a  palette knife to transfer just less than a teaspoon of mixture into the mould and repeat (speaking from experience, it takes more than one attempt to get this right!). With the oven preheated to 150°c, cook each batch for 10 mins or until golden To get an idea of texture, the biscuits were almost translucent.

Sweetened mascarpone


Sugar to taste

And finally…..

A mixed fruit puree

Made from mixed fruits and sugar, which is then warmed keeping the mixed fruit in shape, blitzed and then sieved.

Alternatively you could use some sorbet or chocolate on the plate for decorative effect.


Rose Savage in her own words…

I’m more of a Teaching Assistant than Chef but nevertheless I can dream. I live at home in the West Midlands with my family where creativity is my release, as is Wine!

 Jamie Oliver has always been the recipe book of choice and the Christmas sack is never complete without one. While I’m more savoury over sweet and rustic over fine dine, you may ask why this recipe… My reply would be: why not? I fancied a change and like to challenge myself and my tentative exploration into cooking.

I suppose I like creating out of nothing.

P.S I’m a very messy cook



If you want to find about more about Rose’s cooking exploits, she tweets @RoseAliceSavage.

Infused Olive Oil


Tonight we made some infused Olive Oil – as you do. They’re really simple to do, and it makes a delicious alternative to the plain stuff.

We made one Basil Oil and one Chilli and Garlic. These are great for cooking fish or delicate meat, and they make yummy salad dressing…

But these are just two ideas – why not try adding orange peel, rosemary and garlic, or roasted tomato and red pepper.

** Note: Be sure to use dried herbs and spices in your Olive Oil. Otherwise, whatever you add will still have a high water content, and although olive oil doesn’t allow the growth of bacteria, the water in anything you’ve thrown in does.



Another evening baking session led to these brilliant creations…

Super indulgent, and oh so yummy.

What you need: (makes about 10 brownies)

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa) – broken into small chunks
  • 40g cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 65g plain flour (sifted)

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

In a large bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter and the chocolate and mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar, then add this to the chocolate mixture. Stir together well.

Beat the eggs and mix in until you have a silky consistency.

Pour the brownie mixture into a a baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes. Be sure to keep checking on them regularly, as you don’t want to over cook them. It’s all about judgement really, but you don’t want a skewer to come out clean if you poke it in the middle, basically.

And enjoy!

Victoria Sponge


I wanted to make a special birthday cake for my little sister’s 13th and a good friend suggested a victoria sponge recipe she’d seen on the Hairy Bikers.

So I roped in some help from the boyfriend, and we got baking!

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the cake

  • 250g/9oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g/9oz golden caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g/9oz self-raising flour

For the butter cream

  • 250g/9oz icing sugar
  • 125g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp hot water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Sliced strawberries to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/360F/Gas 4.
  2. Grease two 23cm/9in spring-form cake tins and line with baking parchment.
  3. Whisk the butter and the sugar in a bowl, using an electric whisk, until light and creamy for about five minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating constantly until completely combined before adding the next egg.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and fold in the flour.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and place into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes, or until completely cooked through. Test the cake is cooked by inserting a metal skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is cooked.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for five minutes, then remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Meanwhile, for the butter cream, place the icing sugar, softened butter and hot water into a clean bowl. Mix well until completely combined and creamy. Add the cinnamon and mix well.
  9. To serve, trim the top off one of the cakes to make a level surface. Spread the raspberry jam over the top of the levelled cake surface, then cover the jam with a layer of the butter cream. Cover in a layer of sliced strawberries.
  10. Sandwich the second cake on the top and press down lightly.
  11. Spread the remaining butter cream on top of the second cake, and decorate with a layer of sliced strawberries.

Cooking with lentils



I recently wrote a little feature for a friend of mine who runs an exciting blog for environmentally conscious London foodies. 

She asked me to write a blog on the benefits of cooking with lentils – and it seemed only too appropriate to oblige. 

You can find my piece here. Let me know what you think.


Green Bean London is packed with recipes, reviews and features about ethical and eco food. If you want to know what it’s all about, click here.

Guest post: Sweet potato curry soup


So it turns out that my sister is a talented little chef. At school she made this sweet potato curry soup, and I can tell you, it was delicious.

I asked her to share the recipe as a guest post for the blog, and here it is – enjoy!

What you’ll need.

2 tbsp curry paste
Can of chick peas
Can of coconut milk
3 sweet potatoes
Stock cube

– Peel the sweet potatoes
– Put the curry paste and the potatoes in a pan, cook for 2 mins
– Crumble the stock cube and add 300ml of water
– Simmer for 20 mins
– Add the rest of your ingredients
– Simmer until the potatoes are soft

Orange Cake



For some bizarre reason, we had a surplus of oranges in the house. So, at 9 o clock one evening I decided to put them to good use. This recipe is delicious and orangey – lack of a sieve made my cake into more of an orange brownie, but it was still 100% tasty. Enjoy!

For the cake

  • 100 g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 orange, finely grated zest only
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the topping

  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Butter and flour the sides of a 20cm cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.

2. For the cake: melt the butter gently in a saucepan and set aside.

3. Whisk together the eggs, grated orange zest and caster and icing sugar for a few minutes until light and slightly fluffy. Stir in the melted butter and sift in the flour and baking powder. Fold it all together gently.

4. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the surface and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes or until golden.

5. Place the tin on a wire rack and allow to stand for about ten minutes before removing the cake carefully from the tin.

6. For the topping: sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in just enough orange juice until it is soft but not runny.

7. When the cake is cool, spread the icing over the top.