Thursday, 19 July 2012

Sparkling raspberry jellies

Sparkling raspberry jellies
Did you know you could make jellies with sparkling wine? It's a long time since I tried, and I'd forgotten what a nice touch the bubbles are.


6 gelatine leaves (see notes below if you can't get these)
150ml raspberry cordial (or squash if you can't get cordial)
100g caster sugar
500ml sparkling wine
250g fresh raspberries


  • Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water.
  • Heat the cordial with the sugar in a saucepan over low heat to dissolve the sugar.
  • Remove the gelatine leaves from the water and gently squeeze out excess water.
  • Add them to the cordial mixture and stir until the gelatine has dissolved.
  • Remove from heat and leave to cool for about half an hour.
  • Stir in sparkling wine, but gently, so as not to stir out all the bubbles.
  • Plop the raspberries into 8 glasses and pour the mixture over. See notes below if you want to get a bit fancier.
  • Serve in the glasses with a dollop of creme fraiche/cream/ice cream and a mint leaf.
For a less posh version, or if you can't get hold of gelatine leaves, use raspberry jelly (jello to you Americans). Leave out the caster sugar and use just enough boiling water to dissolve the jelly. If you're using block jelly/jello rather than powdered, you can dissolve it in the microwave with no added water. Then continue as for the rest of the recipe.

For a more posh version, plop only half the raspberries in to the glasses and then pour only half the jelly mixture over them. Set the remaining jelly mixture aside, in a relatively warm place, and put the glasses into the fridge for two hours. Then top up with the remaining raspberries and the rest of the jelly mixture. That will give you a layered look. 

Friday, 6 July 2012

Gluten-free Chocolate Orange Cake

It's great to see Karyn back in the kitchen after her break, and great to be back guesting here too. I recently discovered that not only do I have an intolerance to cow's milk proteins, but I'm also intolerant to wheat. Now as strange as it might seem, rather than filling me with dread, my first thought was 'oh good, I can play with all my favourite recipes again!' I now have some yummy savoury and sweet biscuits recipes and a tasty brownie recipe in the bag, but wanted something a bit more 'special occasion', and was really just waiting for the excuse to try something. Thursday was National Charity Day at my company, where every office, all over the UK, spends much of the day doing stuff to raise money for local charities...and one of the events at my office was a cake competition. So here's my entry- didn’t win, but sold out fast when it was sliced and sold to raise even more money. Of course I had to make 2 - one for work and one for the family!


For the cake

1 large orange (or as I had to hand, 3 clementines!)
200g castor sugar
Either 200g ground almonds Or 100g ground almonds and 100g polenta (this gives a nice nutty texture)
6 eggs
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder (if you're not making this for someone with a gluten problem, then use plain old baking powder!)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
25g cocoa powder

For the syrup and filling

1 large orange
50g castor sugar
100g good dark chocolate


Put one of the oranges (or all of the clementines) into a pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 2 hours (Or until the fruit peel is nice and soft).
Grease the bottom and side of 2 cake sandwich tins, and line the bases with greased baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
When the orange (or clementines) is ready, roughly chop into big pieces and remove any seeds. Then bung the whole lot, peel and all, into a food processor and whiz until it’s pulped. Divide the pulp roughly into 3, and set 2 lots to one side.
Add half of the eggs, ground almonds, polenta (if you’re using it) baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and sugar to the pulp left in the processor and whizz until mixed. Pour the runnier than usual batter mixture into one of the cake tins.
Put 1 of the other portions of pulp into the processor (don't bother to clean it first!) and add the other halves of all the ingredients and the cocoa powder, and whizz till mixed. Pour that into the other cake tin.
Bake both cakes for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check after 30 minutes, and if it's getting a bit too brown, put some tinfoil on the top. I used a fan oven and mine were done after 45 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tins.
Meanwhile you need to make thin little strips of zest from the other orange. You can either use a julienne maker, a zester that allows you to remove strips of zest, or a vegetable peeler, and then cut those thicker slices into thin strips. Bung them, the juice of the orange and the sugar into a pan. Boil up together to make a thin syrup.
Use a cocktail stick to make lots of holes in the top of the chocolate cake.
Melt the chocolate (either in a bowl over a pan of water, or in the microwave) and beat the remaining orange pulp into the melted chocolate. It does get a slightly lumpy texture, but who cares when it tastes so good.
Put the orange cake onto a plate, spread a thick layer of the chocolate/orange mix onto it and put the chocolate cake on top. Spoon about half the syrup carefully over the top, giving each spoonful time to sink into all the little holes! Then put the pan back on the heat and boil until the syrup is sticky. Spoon the thick syrup carefully over the top making sure the thin strips of zest sort of gather in the centre - or at least don't fall off the sides!

So decadent you don't really need to add anything - but I bet it's heaven warmed very slightly with clotted cream!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Lettuce cups with turkey breast and edamame beans

Lettuce cups
I've been on a diet, lately, and was appalled to discover how many calories there were in a single, unadorned tortilla. I've also been experiencing some problems with some wheat products. So I was really pleased to come across a recipe for lettuce cups which I have predictably tweaked and am about to share with you.


500g turkey breast or similar lean white meat
30ml sweet chilli sauce
45ml soy sauce
15ml sesame oil
100g frozen edamame (soya) beans
15ml olive oil
3-4 spring onions
Fresh mint leaves (some)
Fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves (some)
30ml omega mix (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds)
Lettuce leaves (gem lettuce for preference, but go with what you like/can get)
Lime wedges


  • Mix together chilli sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil
  • Add the meat and marinate for about 15 minutes (longer if the meat pieces are thick)
  • Chop the spring onions and steam together with the soya beans until just done and then drain, rinse in cold water and set aside
  • Remove the meat from the marinade (but don't throw that away) and fry in the olive oil until done through.
  • Remove the meat from the pan and slice finely.
  • Into the pan, place the veg you set aside earlier, the sliced meat, the marinade, the herbs (chopped), the omega mix and a small splash of water.
  • Give that lot a quick stir to heat through.
  • Arrange individual lettuce leaves on a plate and spoon the mixture onto each.
  • Fold the edges of the lettuce leaves over and eat with your hands as you would a tortilla.
Because my strapping sons can't be doing with this sensible food, I chopped up their lettuce leaves and served the meat mixture over a bed of egg noodles.