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My Golden Pear

Saturday, 27 July 2013


These blueberry and thyme tarts were inspired by nothing more than my love for all things purple.  I had just seen Jen's gorgeous blackcurrant & vanilla eclairs and decided I wanted to make something as colourful and vibrant and came up with these little tarts.  There wasn't much of the thyme flavour noticeable so I would probably try adding a bit more next time.  The blueberry curd is finger licking good and would look and taste lovely on any sponge cake or just served with clotted cream and scones. 


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Yield: 6 individual tarts
  • 250g fresh blueberries
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 50g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 6 shortcrust pastry cases
  • 80mls whipping cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Put the blueberries, thyme, lemon juice and a teaspoon of water into a pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes until the fruit is very soft.
  3. Remove from the heat and push the fruit through a sieve set over a bowl to extract as much juice as possible.
  4. Put the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and blueberry juice into a pan and heat until the butter has fully melted.
  5. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down slightly before adding the beaten eggs.
  6. Return to the heat and keep stirring for 20 - 25 minutes until thickened. The mixture will thicken further once cooled down.
  7. I prefer to strain through a sieve once thickened just to remove any lumps.
  8. Whip the cream until soft peak stage.
  9. Add the blueberry curd to the cream (reserving some curd for decoration) and mix well.
  10. Pour into the tart cases and smooth the tops.
  11. Stir some of the reserved curd through the mixture to decorate.
  12. Refrigerate until set.
I am entering these into this months Tea Time Treats challenge hosted alternately by Karen at Lavender & Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked as this months challenge is fresh fruit.

Written by : Angela Darroch

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Thursday, 27 June 2013


This month's Classic French challenge is a French fruit tart.  Now, in all the times I have visited France I don't think I have ever been tempted to buy one of those glossy, sweet tarts that seem to adorn every French patisserie window that you pass.  I think it is the thought of cold custard that has always put me off.  So when Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes set the challenge I decided to give them a go.  They were quite easy to make and would make a delicious dessert that would go well with most menus.  They were not overly sweet and were very light.


Yield: 6 small individual tarts
  • 6 individual sweet shortcrust pastry cases (recipe here)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 15g plain flour
  • 15g cornflour
  • 350ml full cream milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 600g fresh strawberries
  • 1 tblsp seedless strawberry jam
Cooking Directions
  1. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add them, along with the pod, to the milk in a saucepan. Bring almost to the boil, being careful not to let it burn.
  2. Remove the milk from the heat, strain and set to one side.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light in colour.
  4. Add in the flour and cornflour and mix well.
  5. Slowly pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time.
  6. Return the mixture back to the pan and bring back to the boil and simmer for one minute, whisking continuously, or until smooth.
  7. Remove from the heat and cover with wax paper pressed directly against the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin forming.
  8. Refrigerate until chilled.
  9. To assemble the tarts - fill the pastry cases about 3/4 full with pastry cream and decorate the top with whole, fresh strawberries or sliced as I have done.
  10. To glaze the tarts - Heat the strawberry jam until just melted and brush lightly over the strawberries.

Notes :

When making custard I always use a balloon whisk to stir the mixture whilst it is in the pan.  This prevents any lumps forming but remember to not use your best non stick pans if you do this.  I don't know how many pans I have ruined this way!

If you think the custard has turned a bit lumpy then pour through a sieve and your problem is solved.

If you want to prepare the tarts well in advance it is probably best to seal the pastry cases before you add the pastry cream.  Brush the baked cases lightly with some egg white and then pop back in the oven for 1 minute to seal.  This should prevent a soggy bottom.

Written by Angela Darroch

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Monday, 15 April 2013


There was a palpable excitement in the air.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the air was warm.  The kids swapped their socks and trainers for flip flops, summer shorts were donned and the water pistols were dusted off.  My hubby retrieved the barbecue from the depths of the shed and spent a couple of hours cleaning it ready for his first barbie of the year.  The ice cream was in the freezer, the salad tossed, the meat sizzling and the wine poured.  This was what we had all been waiting for - the start of our long overdue summer.  We raised our glasses to toast a long, happy summer and that's when we felt it.  Rain - not just a few drops but enough that we had to abandon our barbecue and dash indoors - wet and miserable once more. 
 Oh the joys of a British summer!!
I had made this blueberry and lime ice cream as a treat for the kids and we still managed to enjoy it but probably not quite the same as if the sun had still been shining.  The addition of lime makes it deliciously refreshing and it really is a quick dessert if you have an ice cream maker.   If you don't have an ice cream maker then it is still possible to make - it just takes a bit longer.  All you need to do is place your bowl of mixture into the freezer for an hour, remove and whisk until smooth.  Return it to the freezer again for another hour, remove and whisk again.  Transfer the mixture to a rigid container and return to the freezer.  Before serving, move to the fridge for 30 minutes to soften.  I save all the soft and squidgy blueberries that the kids refuse to eat by storing them in the freezer until I have enough to make this ice cream.  For this reason I am going to submit this post to Turquoise Lemons - No Waste Food Challenge which has a theme of fruit this month and is being hosted by Elizabeth over at the lovely Elizabeth's Kitchen


Blueberry & Lime Ice Cream

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes plus freezing time

Yield: 4 - 6

  • 2 limes
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 150g blueberries
  • 200ml coconut cream
  • 284ml double cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Finely grate the zest from 1 of the limes and squeeze the juice from both.
  2. Add the zest, juice and sugar to a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add the blueberries to the pan and heat gently for a further couple of minutes.
  4. Leave mixture to cool.
  5. Stir in the coconut cream and blitz quickly with a hand blender to mix thoroughly.
  6. Whip the cream in a bowl until it just holds its shape.
  7. Stir the cream into the blueberry mixture.
  8. Churn in your ice cream maker until thick.
  9. Transfer the mixture to a container and freeze until required.
  10. Before serving, transfer to the fridge for 30 minutes to soften.
Written by Angela Darroch
Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food - May 2003

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Sunday, 17 February 2013


This month’s Classic French challenge over on Blue Kitchen Bakes  is chocolate ganache.  I always find this incredibly rich so this time I decided to add a bit of raspberry sauce to the bottom of each tart to counteract the richness.  I thickened my normal raspberry sauce with a touch of cornflour to stop it running out once we cut into the tarts and it worked well.  There is nothing difficult about making the ganache and it is really quick to prepare.  The only time consuming process to these delicious tarts is making your own pastry but if you are short of time then a good quality store bought pastry would speed the process up giving you an elegant and decadent dessert in just over half an hour. 


Prep time: 2 hours, including resting time for pastry shells
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 2hrs, 25 minutes
Yield: 6 individual tarts
  • Sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 150ml double cream
  • 190g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 300g raspberries
  • 2 tblsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 deg C.
  2. Make up one batch of sweet shortcrust pastry and prepare 6 small individual tart cases.
  3. Bake blind for 15 minutes.  Remove paper and baking beans and return to oven for a further 5 - 10 minutes to dry out.
  4. To prepare raspberry coulis, puree raspberries (leave some back for decoration), icing sugar and lemon juice using a stick blender.
  5. Pour through a sieve to remove all seeds.
  6. If you prefer the raspberry sauce to be slightly thicker you can mix 1 tsp of cornflour with some of the puree. Heat remaining puree in a saucepan and then stir in the cornflour mixture and stir until thickened.
  7. Set to one side.
  8. To make the chocolate ganache, heat the cream in a saucepan until just boiling.
  9. Add the chopped chocolate and stir with a spatula until fully melted and smooth.
  10. Remove from heat and leave for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
  11. To assemble tarts, spoon some raspberry coulis into the bottom of each pastry shell.
  12. Fill the shells with chocolate ganache ensuring a nice smooth finish on top.
  13. Decorate with whole raspberries.
  14. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe by Angela Darroch 


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Friday, 8 February 2013


This week has been chocolate mousse week in my house much to the delight of my two little tasters.  I wanted to try and find a recipe that was easy, quick and above all else delicious.  My first choice was to try a recipe without eggs as I am always hesitant to use raw eggs when cooking for other people.  The worst result I had was a combination of mascarpone and melted chocolate.  It was thick, almost solid, and just too heavy.  Not an air bubble in sight.   I then went to the other extreme and tried the traditional method using butter, eggs and chocolate.  The result was good but it wasn’t quick and it was still a bit too heavy for me.  My last attempt was Raymond Blanc’s version which only uses 4 ingredients – egg whites, chocolate, a small amount of sugar and a drop of lemon juice.  It was super quick and after only 10 minutes in the fridge it was the perfect consistency.  It is light, deliciously tasty and not too heavy on the calories.  Perfect.  You have to make sure that your chocolate is completely melted before stirring into the egg white mixture and if you follow Raymond’s instructions the chocolate should not seize when mixed with the egg whites.  I used half the quantity (4 egg whites) and managed to get 3 of these espresso cups. This is not an overly sweet mousse – using only 20g of caster sugar to 4 eggs but both I and the kids loved it.  Hubby didn’t get a look in but with Valentine’s Day just round the corner I’m sure I can rustle up another batch.


Written by : Angela Darroch

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Sunday, 3 February 2013


No time to make a pudding? – 14 minutes from start to finish is all you need …..

It was while I was reading through the list of requirements for the Credit Crunch Munch Challenge that I remembered this super quick pudding that I used to make many (many) years ago.  It was back when microwaves were still quite fashionable and we used to cook a whole meal in about 12 minutes, unlike nowadays where we tend to use them more for reheating and defrosting food.  I had just started out on my own and only had a microwave and an electric frying pan with which to do all my cooking.  This lemon ‘ping’ pudding was a firm favourite both because it was so quick and it could be used so many different ways.  I don’t think you’d win any prizes for the best sponge pudding if you were to enter a competition but once you add a sauce over the top and serve with custard, cream or ice cream – well who cares about perfection. I’ve even cooked some apples with sugar and lemon juice, put them in the dish with the sponge mixture on top and cooked for 4 minutes to give me a super quick Eves Pudding.  Add some cocoa powder and chocolate and you have a quick chocolate pudding which is great with a bit of chocolate sauce over the top. It is also a really easy pudding for kids to make because they don’t have to use the oven and it’s ready before you’ve even had a chance to tidy up their mess. 

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 minutes
Total time: 14 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6

  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tblsp lemon curd
Cooking Directions
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, vinegar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Spoon into a microwave-proof baking dish.
  4. Microwave on High for 3 - 4 minutes until set and a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Leave to rest for 1 minute.
  6. Turn out onto a serving plate.
  7. Meanwhile, heat the lemon curd in the microwave for 30 seconds..
  8. Pour over the top of the sponge pudding and serve with vanilla ice cream.
As this pudding only takes 4 minutes to cook in the microwave I am going to enter it into the Credit Crunch Munch Challenge which is hosted by the lovely Camilla over at Fab food 4 All and Helen over at Fuss Free Flavours.

I have also used up some left over lemon curd (I had to check with Mrs Beeton to find out if this was a preserve) so I can enter the same pudding into the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Kate over at Turquoise Lemons
As this is also a perfect pudding albeit not a very glamorous one I can enter it into the Tea Time Treats Challenge which is being hosted this month by Kate over at What Kate Baked and Karen over at Lavender and Lovage on alternate months.
Written by : Angela Darroch 

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Saturday, 19 January 2013


When I first discovered the Classic French challenge over on Blue Kitchen Bakes I was more than happy to participate. I have strong ties to France and love everything about their whole way of life. When January's theme was announced I knew it would be a good chance for me to try out the classic souffle - something I haven't made since my early days of cooking. My last attempt was a bit of a disaster. I can remember we had some friends over for dinner and I had prepared everything for the souffle up until the addition of egg whites. We had our first and second course along with copious amounts of wine. The time came to finish off my souffles. Disaster - they were as flat as a pancake. The taste was still good and everyone very kindly finished them off. It was only when we went to tidy up and I found the bowl of egg whites that I realised my mistake. A souffle with no egg whites does not a souffle make.
 So fast forward to 2013 and with lessons learnt I'm ready to master the souffle. My Mum had been raving about these pear souffles so I knew what I would make. When she sent me the recipe she put a little note at the bottom telling me that I had about 2 minutes to photograph them before they would collapse. 2 minutes - are you serious? I have only just progressed from taking my camera off its Auto setting. Exposure, Aperture, ISO etc. are all new terms to me and do not come naturally. We also have absolutely no decent natural light at the moment which makes things even harder. I thought I would give it a try and with everything set up close at hand I made my first batch. One click, two clicks, three clicks, flat souffles and of course no decent images. Next batch in the oven, one click, two clicks, three clicks, flat souffles, lighting has changed and exposure settings wrong. Next batch in the oven, perfect souffles, lighting much the same, this time it's going to work, trip over my tripod, flat souffles. Next batch in the oven (yes I really do have that much patience), souffles even better than the last, manage to avoid the tripod, lighting as good as it's going to get, press the button, nothing happens, press again in desperation, nothing happens, check the camera, battery flat.
 Accept defeat.
 So after all that - were the souffles good?
Yes, they were.
They had much more flavour than I ever imagined they would. As expected, they were light and airy and this is my only problem with them.  I don't often get to eat desserts so when I do I want something with a bit of substance, something that I can savour over time. These souffles were delicious but gone in a flash, leaving me wanting more. 
So here we have my shaky, rather dull photo of what is a delicious pear souffle.

For the printable version - click here

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4
  • 6 large ripe pears
  • 50 ml granulated sugar
  • 125 ml pear juice (I used Copella Apple & Pear juice )
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • small amount of butter and caster sugar for the ramekins
Cooking Directions

Preheat oven to 190 deg C
  1. To prepare your ramekins, brush with melted butter and coat thoroughly with caster sugar.
  2. Peel, core and chop the pears.
  3. Poach with the sugar and pear juice until liquid is reduced by half.
  4. Puree.
  5. Add cornflour and egg yolks to the puree and warm through to thicken, stirring constantly.
  6. Beat egg whites to medium peak stage.
  7. Add a 1/4 of the egg white mixture to the pear custard and mix in well.
  8. Fold the remaining egg white mixture into the egg custard.
  9. Fill your ramekins with your mixture and smooth over the top with a pallet knife.
  10. Run your finger round the edges to make a small indent.
  11. Bake for 9 - 10 minutes.
  12. Sift over some icing sugar and serve immediately.     
I am going to enter this into the Classic French challenge run by Jen over at Blue Kitchen Bakes.
Written by : Angela Darroch

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Saturday, 1 December 2012


I have to confess to never having eaten fresh cranberries before.  Up until recently they have never been grown commercially in the UK so we very rarely see them in the shops and if we do they are normally quite expensive.  Now that they have started growing them in Kent I'm sure they will play a bigger part in our seasonal cooking.  When I spotted them for sale in our local grocery store I decided to try them out.  This dessert was featured in the December issue of Food & Travel and just looked and sounded too good not to try.  It is not a quick dessert to make but it is one that can easily be prepared in advance and would then only take a couple of minutes to plate up.  I did cheat a teeny weeny bit and used tinned mandarins instead of fresh orange and I think it probably added more flavour.  You could of course also use shop bought pavlovas but the chocolate in these make them extra special.  I used a good quality chocolate http://www.lindt.com/swf/eng/products/excellence/orange-intense/
and I think it definitely makes a difference to the end result. 
 When I came to make the topping I thought I would taste a couple of the berries to find out what they were like but Oh My Goodness did I get a shock.  They were truly awful and left such a bitter taste in my mouth that I was very dubious about how the topping would taste once cooked.  Once cooked, though they were delicious.  The finished dessert was really delicious and the different textures and flavours were just heavenly.  Although not light in calories it feels light to eat and would be perfect for after a heavy Christmas meal.
  Definitely one of my favourites.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Total time: 80 minutes
Yield: 8
  • 100g orange flavoured chocolate
  • 4 large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 tblsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g fresh cranberries
  • 4 tblsps orange flavoured liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 1 large orange, zested then peeled and segmented
  • 300 mls double cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 190 C (325 F) and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
  2. Break the orange flavoured chocolate into a small bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water.
  3. Place the egg whites and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk until soft peaks form.
  5. Add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time and whisk well between each addition, reserving 2 tsps of sugar for later.
  6. Once the sugar has been added, the meringue should be very stiff.
  7. Sift the cornflour over the meringue and fold through very gently.
  8. Mix the remaining 2 tsps of sugar with the vinegar and vanilla essence and fold into the meringue until well mixed.
  9. Take a tablespoon of mixture at a time and place 4 piles on each tray. Spread out into individual 9cm circles.
  10. Drizzle a little melted chocolate over each and swirl gently through the meringue using a toothpick.
  11. Place small spoonfuls of meringue mixture around the edge of each circle to build up slightly.
  12. Drizzle some more melted chocolate over the meringue mixture and swirl gently with the toothpick.
  13. Cook for 5 minutes.
  14. Lower the oven temperature to 110 C (225 F) and cook for a further 45 minutes.
  15. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
  16. Store in an airtight container until needed.
      To make the topping
  1. Put the cranberries in a saucepan with the sugar, orange liqueur, orange zest and any juice left behind from segmenting the orange.
  2. Heat gently, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Cook until the cranberries just start to burst.
  4. Cool completely before assembling the meringues.
  5. Whisk the cream until it just holds its shape but is still a bit floppy.
  6. Pile some of the cream into the centre of each pavlova.
  7. Place the orange segments and the cranberry mixture on top of the cream.
  8. Top with some chocolate shavings and dust with icing sugar.

WWritten by : Angela Darroch

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Saturday, 10 November 2012


I love Autumn.  The gorgeous colours, the crisp, frosty mornings, the change in menus from light and fresh to slow cooked comfort food.  Apple pie has to be one of my favourite comfort foods.  There is nothing more inviting than the smell of fresh apple pie cooking in the oven.  Heaven!!  I had a couple of apples from our tree in the garden and wanted to make individual apple pies.  I loved the photos on Zoom Yummy's blog and so decided to pretty much follow her recipe.  I used ready made Sweet Shortcrust pastry but followed the rest of her recipe and the results were delicious.   


  • 750g ready made Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
  • 8 medium cooking apples peeled, cored and diced evenly
  • 1/2 cup granulated, white sugar
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tblsps butter, melted
  • 20ml cornflour
  • Vegetable oil for greasing muffin tin
Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 180 C (356 F)
  1. Lightly oil your muffin tin with the vegetable oil.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to a thickness of 3mm.
  3. Cut circles for the base of the pies. They should be big enough so that the edges extend slightly higher than the edge of the pan.
  4. Cut enough circles for the top of the pies. These should be slightly smaller than the bases.
  5. Ease the large pastry circles carefully into the pan.
  6. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the filling together and mix well.
  7. Taste to make sure there is enough sugar for your taste.
  8. Fill the dough with enough of the filling mixture so that it is heaped high above the edge of the pan.
  9. Place the pastry tops over the filling.
  10. Using a knife or a fork, seal the edges and decorate as you wish.
  11. Cut a small slit in the top.
  12. Glaze the tops with some milk.
  13. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  14. Let them cool down to just warm and enjoy as is or with some homemade custard.

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Wednesday, 1 August 2012


I love desserts!  Do I have a favourite?  Without a doubt it would have to be Creme Brulee or the Spanish equivalent - Crema Catalana.  Once you have tapped into the thin crispy caramel topping you have the silky smooth custard underneath.  Absolute perfection.  I find the Spanish version slightly easier to make because they add cornflour which helps to set the custard.  The only downside to making this dessert is you do need a cook's blowtorch to caramelise the topping. The caramelisation process has to be really quick so that you don't heat up the custard underneath (this would make it too runny) and I have never found a household grill hot enough to do this.  Both my Mum and I are dedicated to our Brulees and have stepped up a notch and use plumbing torches - perfect brulee in seconds.  The custard base can be made 1 to 2 days in advance but once you caramelise the topping it cannot go back in the refrigerator and needs to be eaten within half and hour or so.  This is a really easy recipe which has never failed me.  The last thing I need to say is please don't miss out the step of straining the custard.  Even if you have made a perfect, lump free custard you still need to strain out the lemon zest to get that silky smooth result.

Prep time: 45 mins plus chilling time
Total time: 45 mins plus chilling time

Yield: 4 - 6 servings depending on your dish size

  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 4 tsp cornflour
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 568 ml carton double cream
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken in half
  • extra caster sugar for the topping

Cooking Directions
  1. Put the cream, milk, zest and cinnamon in a pan and heat gently until it reaches boiling point. Remove from the heat.
  2. Mix the caster sugar and the cornflour in a bowl.
  3. Stir in the egg yolks until smooth - do not whisk or the mixture will form a froth.
  4. Pour the cream mixture onto the egg mixture, stirring to combine well.
  5. Rinse out the pan and return the mixture to it.
  6. Stir over a low heat for 5 minutes until thickened.
  7. Set aside for 30 minutes to infuse and thicken further.
  8. Strain into a large jug and pour into your serving dishes. Cover with cling wrap and chill overnight or longer to set.
  9. Just before serving - sprinkle some caster sugar evenly over the top of the custards and caramelise quickly with a cooks blowtorch.
  10. As the caramel cools, it will harden.
  11. Eat within half an hour but do not chill in the refrigerator as this will cause the caramel to soften.
Written by : Angela Darroch


Monday, 23 July 2012


Amongst my collection of cookery books and magazines I have a large pile of folded up pieces of paper which I have collected over time.  These are recipes which have been passed on to me, articles torn out of magazines, quick notes made from my favourite TV shows - you name it - I've got it.  Every now and again I haul this treasure trove out of my cupboard and look through it for something to catch my eye.  This time round it was a recipe for a Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake.  When I read through the list of ingredients I just knew it had to be delicious and that it would be perfect for my 'fancy' dinner coming up soon.  What is not to like about mascarpone cheese, double cream, chocolate, almonds, brandy and best of all - hot chocolate sauce over the top?  I set to work with great anticipation.  The smell was heavenly, the tasting of each process was divine.  It was a messy process with loads of bowls and utensils but it didn't bother me, the reward would be worth it.  After an hour in the oven it looked perfect.  I plated up a slice with some vanilla ice cream and the homemade chocolate sauce whilst patting myself on the back at how delicious it looked.  I spent the next half an hour taking my photos trying not to tuck in too early.  Finally the moment had arrived - tasting time.  My first mouthful was a bit of a surprise - nothing much to taste.  I tried another mouthful - it was worse than the first.  The texture was nothing less than awful.  It was like eating air but in a sandstorm - slightly grainy from the ground almonds.  I called my 5 year old son to ask for his opinion.  "Mmm - I don't think we should take it on the picnic tomorrow" was his reply.  What?  How can something that looks this good not taste delicious and not even appeal to a 5 year old?  With no further ado it was tossed in the bin and I spent the next half an hour tidying up the mess in my kitchen - very grudgingly I might add.

So sadly there is no recipe to go with this delicious looking dessert.  It was a bad day at the office for me.  Better luck next time.

Written by : Angela Darroch

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012


There are so many good vanilla ice creams on the market but for pure indulgence there is nothing to beat a good homemade version.  If you are worried about making the custard - don't be.  If you end up with a lumpy mess then just take a whisk to it and beat the lumps out and nobody will be any the wiser.  If you are not sure what to make with the left over egg whites then freeze them in an ice cube tray for later.  Just remember to label them once frozen or you could ruin your next lovely cocktail drink.

Prep time: 20 minutes plus additional chilling and churning time
Cook time: n/a

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 300 ml milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 5ml cornflour
  • 300 ml double cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Using a small knife, slit the vanilla pod lengthways.
  2. Pour the milk in a saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy.
  5. Gradually pour over the hot milk, whisking constantly.
  6. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring all the time. (I leave the vanilla pods in while I am doing this to maximise the flavour).
  7. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Chill
  8. Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon.
  9. Fold the cream into the custard and churn in your ice cream maker until thick.
Written by : Angela Darroch       

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Friday, 13 July 2012


I finally got all three ice creams made and assembled my gelato cake.  It turned out much nicer than I thought it would and looks very pretty on the plate.  It is a lot of work to make all three layers from scratch but once it is done you can leave it in the freezer as a good standby dessert which would go down well with kids and adults.  I haven't given specific quantities for the ice creams because it is going to depend on the container that you use.  Try and use the same amount of scoops for each layer to get some consistency and press down well to get rid of any air bubbles.
Personally I'm not sure it needs the biscuit layer on the bottom and would try it without next time I make it.



Cooking Directions
  1. Line a baking tin with baking parchment.
  2. Crush the biscuits to fine crumbs in a food processor.
  3. Put the crumbs in a large mixing bowl and add the melted butter, stir thoroughly.
  4. Tip them into your baking tin, pressing down firmly with a spoon.
  5. Place in the fridge until set.
  6. Spoon the chocolate gelato over the crumb base, pressing down evenly.
  7. Place in the freezer until set.
  8. Repeat last two steps with the raspberry sorbet.
  9. Repeat again with the vanilla ice cream.
  10. Cover with baking parchment and leave in the freezer overnight to firm up.
  11. When you are ready to serve the gelato cake, remove the parchment, place a serving plate on top, invert the pan and then invert again on to another plate so that it sits base-down.
  12. Serve in slices.
Written by : Angela Darroch       

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Thursday, 12 July 2012


I have to confess that chocolate ice cream is not my favourite but in the latest Food and Travel magazine there is a dessert which intrigues me.  It looks fabulous but I just can't see how all the different flavours can work together.  It involves making three different ice creams and one of them is this chocolate gelato.  I've now made two - one to go.  Hopefully by tomorrow my dessert will be ready to try in time for National Ice Cream day. 

Source - Food and Travel


For the printable version - click here

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: n/a
Total time: 15 minutes plus 30 minutes churning time

Yield: 6 servings

  • 500 ml full cream milk
  • 165 ml whipping cream
  • 40g dark chocolate
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 egg white
Cooking Directions
  1. Put the milk, cream and dark chocolate in a saucepan and heat gently to boiling point.
  2. Leave to one side to cool down.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, egg white and the cocoa powder.
  4. Add the milk mixture and whisk together until well combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn until ready.


Written by: Angela Darroch

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Friday, 6 July 2012


Don't you just ♥ summer?  The trips to the beach, spontaneous picnics in the park, sun downers on the patio as you watch the kids play in the garden till late at night.  Well, here we are at last - it's July and it's summer!!  Or is it?

 As I look out the kitchen window the skies are grey, the rain has been relentlessly beating down on my windows for days now with no sign of disappearing.  In fact we have severe flood warnings throughout the country for this weekend. The long term forecast is no better - rain, rain, rain.  The kids are due to break up for their (very) long summer holidays - HELP!!   Well, I am going to think positive, sunny thoughts and just maybe the weather forecasters have got it wrong and our long overdue summer is just round the corner.  I am going to fill my freezer with lots of light summery dishes and of course the obligatory ice creams and sorbets for the kids.  I made a start today with this very summery raspberry sorbet which is so refreshing and delicious.  Go on make it and dream of summer or if you are lucky enough to be living somewhere where the sun is shining make it and cool down after a long hot day.


For the printable version - click here

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: n/a
Total time: 15 minutes plus 30 minutes churning time

Yield: 6 servings
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 200 ml water
  • 500g raspberries
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 egg white

Cooking Directions
  1. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Pour the syrup into a bowl, leave to cool and then chill.
  3. Puree the fruits in a food processor or blender, then press through a sieve into a large bowl.
  4. Stir in the chilled syrup and lemon juice.
  5. If you have an ice cream maker - churn until thick, then add the lightly whisked egg white.
  6. Continue to churn until firm enough to scoop.         
If you are making by hand - pour the mixture into a plastic container and freeze for 4 hours until mushy. 
 Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth, then return to the container.
   Lightly whisk the egg white and stir into the mixture.      
   Freeze for another 4 hours.

Written by : Angela Darroch       

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Friday, 29 June 2012


Every year we set off to France for our summer break with my Mum and Dad and every year I say I am going to eat sensibly.  What happens - my Mum dishes up her famous lemon fridge tart and all my resolve goes out the window and it is pretty much down hill from that moment. 

This fridge tart is very sweet but if you serve it with a raspberry sauce and some dark chocolate it is pure heaven.  It freezes beautifully - I cut mine into portion sizes and then open freeze until just frozen.  Once frozen, pack into a Tupperware dish and keep in the freezer until needed.  I decorate mine once it has defrosted and voila you have a super quick dessert for those unexpected guests.


For the printable version - click here

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: n/a
Total time: 15 minutes plus time in the refrigerator

Yield: 12 servings (you only need a small piece)

  • 1 tin condensed milk (397g)
  • 200 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 250g coffee creamer
  • 30 ml water
  • 250g Tennis biscuits
Cooking Directions
  1.  Pour the condensed milk and lemon juice into a bowl and mix together until thick.
  2. In another bowl put the coffee creamer, water and some of the condensed milk mixture and mix immediately until well combined.
  3. Add the rest of the condensed milk mixture and beat again until well combined.
  4. Line a tin - roughly 12" x 6" with one layer of biscuits.
  5. Pour half the condensed milk mixture on top of the biscuits and spread out evenly.
  6. Add another layer of biscuits.
  7. Add the rest of the condensed milk mixture and spread out evenly.
  8. Place in the refrigerator for at least one day.
  9. To serve - decorate with raspberry sauce and chocolate curls.
""Note""  I think Tennis biscuits are typically a South African biscuit.  In the UK I use 'Nice' biscuits which are very similar.  They are a butter biscuit with a hint of coconut in them.

    Written by : Angela Darroch

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Monday, 18 June 2012


I can happily spend hours in the kitchen working on a dish but like anything in life there are a few things which I just do not enjoy doing.  No. 1 on the list has to be peeling potatoes - definitely one for hubby to deal with.  No. 2 is making pastry cases.  I find it so stressful especially when it comes to making a rich shortcrust pastry.  You have to get the pastry really thin so that it is not too doughy and then of course it tears just as you drop it into the tin.  Of course you can patch it up but it never looks the same.  The next problem is getting it to dry out nicely without going too brown and of course last but not least is getting it out of the tin without breaking the edges.  No, no, no - life is too short to make your own pastry cases.  Thankfully there is a good selection of ready made ones in the shops for cowards like me.  Of course if you are a domestic goddess and prefer to make your own then this tart requires a rich shortcrust pastry case.

 I did in fact make the pastry case for my lemon tart and all was going well until I went to fill the case with the filling.  Yup - not enough filling - my tin was too deep.  I went ahead and baked the tart and when it had cooled slightly I went round the edge very carefully with a pair of kitchen scissors and trimmed down to the filling edge. 

This is not a traditional lemon tart but only because I find them too eggy (not a real word but very descriptive)?  It is nevertheless a lovely tart and very tangy and very easy.  No need to worry about the egg curdling or splitting.  It can be served plain with some icing sugar dusted over the top. Alternatively you can fancy it up a bit for a special dinner by caramelising some caster sugar on the top and serving with some sharp raspberry coulis on the side.


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 servings
  • 1 shallow 20cm sweet shortcrust pastry case
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 397g tin of condensed milk
  • Rind from 3 lemons
  • 160 ml fresh lemon juice, strained
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large bowl pour condensed milk, rind and lemon juice onto egg yolks.
  2. Mix well and pour into prepared pastry case.
  3. Bake at 180°C (350° F) for 30 minutes or until just set.
To caramelise the top

Cut the tart into slices.
Sprinkle with caster sugar
Using a cooks blowtorch, caramelise the sugar
Sprinkle another layer of caster sugar over the top
Caramelise again.

Do not refrigerate after this step as the sugar will soften.

Written by : Angela Darroch

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Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Today is a bit of a sad day for me - my brother and his family have set off on the final leg of their journey to set up a new life in Adelaide - 10,000 miles away.

On one hand I am so excited for them but on the other it feels like such a long distance to be separated.
In my heart I know that we have many lovely holidays to look forward to both over here and in Australia but that doesn't help how I feel in the short term. 
What's a girl to do when feeling down - get in the kitchen of course and what better ingredient to cook with than lovely, luscious chocolate.

These chocolate brownies are deliciously crisp on the outside and soft and fudgy when you bite into them. 
 Perfect as they are or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: 9 servings

  • 100g butter
  • 100g plain chocolate
  • 300g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g plain flour
  • 2 tblsp cocoa powder
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Butter and line the base of an 18cm square tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Melt the butter and chocolate over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  4. Stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well until blended.
  6. Add the flour and cocoa and beat for 30 seconds until smooth.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 35 - 40 minutes. The mixture should still be slightly wet if you test with a skewer.       
  8. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes.  Remove and cut into 9 servings.
Written by: Angela Darroch

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