We have a selection of inspirational recipes to tantalise the taste buds
Gluten free Florentines
Ingredients (makes 12-16)
15g gluten-free plain flour
25g unsalted butter
60g caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
60ml double cream
50g dried cranberries
50g mixed peel, diced
50g pistachios, chopped
50g flaked almonds
150g dark chocolate
30g white chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan, gas mark 4). Line two large baking sheets with baking paper. In a saucepan over a moderate heat, gently combine the flour, butter,sugar and golden syrup with a small whisk, to prevent any lumps. Gradually stir in the cream.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the cranberries, diced mixed peel, pistachios and almonds. Dollop dessert-spoonfuls of the mixture onto the tray, leaving a generous gap between them to allow for spreading.
3. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until deeply golden. Leave to cool on the baking sheets.
4. Meanwhile, melt the dark and white chocolate separately, either in a microwave, or in bowls over a pan of simmering water.
5. Release the Florentines from the paper using a palette knife. Paint the smooth (bottom) side of each Florentine with dark chocolate.
6. Place the melted white chocolate into a small piping bag and pipe streaks of white chocolate across each Florentine.
7. Leave to set before eating or storing in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
Lemon Drizzle tray bake
150g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
3 eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tbsp milk
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C, gas mark 4). Grease and base line a 23cm square tin. Cream together the butter, 150g of the sugar and the lemon rind, until light a creamy.
2. Add the eggs, a little at a time, sifting in a little flour if the mixture starts to curdle.
3. Fold in the remaining flour with the milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level to the corners. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch.
5. Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin. Heat the remaining lemon juice in a small pan with the remaining caster sugar, until the sugar has dissolved.
6. Prick the cake all over with a wooden cocktail stick, then drizzle with the lemon syrup. Leave to cool in the tin.
7. Once cool, remove from the tin. Mix together the lemon juice and icing sugar and drizzle over the cake before cutting into 12 squares.
8. Decorate with lemon rind if wished.
*Please note for a gluten-free version of this cake, substitute the 150g self-raising flour with 175g of gluten-free self raising flour.
Paneer and Vegetable Samosas
Ingredients (makes 16)
For the pastry
260g plain flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp black sesame seeds (optional)
4 tbsp sunflower oil
For the filling
1 small sweet potato (roughly 150g)
150g cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbsp sunflower oil
½ small onion, peeled and diced
½ small carrot, peeled and diced
1 green chilli, deseeded and diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely diced
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground turmeric
large pinch chilli flakes
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp garam masala
small handful coriander, chopped
20g butter, melted
1. To make the pastry, place the flour and salt in a bowl with the black sesame seeds (if using), and mix together. Add the sunflower oil and rub into the flour with your fingertips. Add the water and bring the dough together. Knead on a floured work surface for 6-8 minutes, until smooth. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook the sweet potato and cauliflower in a pan of boiling water until tender. Drain and lightly mash with a fork. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and fry the onion, carrot, chilli and garlic for 3-4 minutes before adding the spices and cooking for a further 2 minutes.
3.Add the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes before finally adding the sweet potato and cauliflower mixture. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped coriander and season to taste.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan, gas mark 5). Divide the pastry into 8 balls, keeping 7 under a damp cloth while you roll out the first one. Roll to a 17cm circle, using a plate or pan lid to cut around to this size. Cut the circle of pasty in half.
5. Place 2-3 tsp of the mixture into the centre of the semi-circle of pastry, and then dampen the edges before folding to encase the filling into a samosa shape.
6.Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling. Brush each samosa with melted butter and place on a baking tray.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly golden.
8. Delicious served hot or cold, with mango chutney.
Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche
240g plain flour
1 tsp mustard powder
125g unsalted butter
1 courgette, trimmed, halved and sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
300ml double cream
15g parmesan cheese, grated seasoning.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan, gas mark 6.) Place the flour and mustard powder into a mixing bowl and, using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2.Add the milk and mix until the pastry comes together into a ball of dough. Wrap in cling-film and chill for 20-30 minutes in the fridge (the pastry can be made in a food processor if preferred).
3. Place the prepared vegetables into a roasting tin, sprinkle with seasoning and roast for 18-20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, roll out the pastry to line a 23cm loose-bottomed flan tin. Prick with a fork, line with baking paper and baking beans and bake blind on a baking tray for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and baking beans and bake the pastry case for a further 5 minutes.
5. Spoon the roasted vegetables into the baked pastry case. Whisk together the eggs and double cream, add seasoning and pour over the vegetables.
6. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden.
Rosemary Focaccia Bread
4 tsp salt flakes
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast
6 tbsp good flavoured extra
virgin olive oil
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1. Mix the flour, 2 tsp salt and the yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add 3 tbsp of the olive oil and 280ml water and mix to a very soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth.
2. Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough to it, turning it over to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 2 hours – it should double in size.
3. Knock back the dough and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out to fit a 35 x 26cm roasting tin or deep sided baking tray. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 1 hour.
4. Dimple the top of the dough by pushing fingers deeply into it and then leave, covered, for another 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan, gas mark 7).
5. Poke a small sprig of rosemary into each dimple, sprinkle with the remaining olive oil and salt and bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes, until risen and golden.
6. Cool on a rack or eat while still warm!
Stem Ginger Cookies
350g plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g light muscodao sugar
100g unsalted butter, diced
8 knobs of stem ginger, diced
4 tbsp golden syrup
1. Mix the flour, ground ginger, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
2. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the diced stem ginger.Whisk together the golden syrup and egg, then pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together with your hands until you have a thick dough.
3. Divide the mixture in half and shape into two thick sausages, approx 6cm in diameter, with flat ends.
4. Wrap in cling-film and chill for 20-30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C, (160°C fan, gas mark 3). Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
6. Remove the dough from the fridge and slice each sausage into 12 rounds. Place on the baking sheets, allowing space for spreading.
7. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden.
8. Leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes, then place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Louise's Nutella brownies
520g Nutella (or supermarket own brand equivalent)
125g self raising flour
(Extras for decorations as required, marshmallows, Mini Eggs etc.)
1. Mix thoroughly all the ingredients except for the decorations with a mixer, whisk or spoon.
2. Pour the mixture into a baking tin lined with lightly floured baking paper, or use small cupcake tins for individual brownies.
3. Bake in the oven (electric 180, fan 160, gas mark 4) for 20-25 mins until just set in the middle. This will make an amazing rich brownie.
Once you’ve made the basic recipe, try this for a fancier brownie:
Add any topping to the last five minutes of the bake (choc chips, marshmallows etc.). Keep an eye on your brownies whilst the toppings are in the oven.
An alternative way: when you bring your brownie out of the oven, press in chocolate chips or a Creme Egg, chocolate buttons etc for even more of an edge.