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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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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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Thursday, 31 January 2013


As a family we do not use large quantities of refined sugar. The only time I ever use it is in my baking and that is usually for a treat rather than the norm. Over the years I have tried several artificial sweeteners in my baking but have never been converted and always revert back to the normal household brands of sugar. While I was out shopping last week I came across a new product by Tate & Lyle called Light at Heart. This is a combination of Brown Sugar and a Stevia Blend and has 50% less calories. I shook the container and could tell that the sugar was granulated (I hate the powdery substance of artificial sweeteners) so in the trolley it went.

Since buying the product I have done a bit of research into Stevia and I think it would be fair to say that there is a divided camp when it comes to the safety of consuming Stevia products. The plant has been used for centuries in South America as a natural sweetener, it has almost zero calories and studies have shown that it significantly inhibits the development of dental plaque. On the flip side it has negligible nutritive benefits (but then neither does refined sugar) and there is this small camp who maintains that more research needs to be done before allowing Stevia to be used in food products. For me the positives outweighed the negatives and I know we will not be consuming large quantities so I was keen to try it out.

I decided to try it out on something simple first so went for these easy pancakes and a blueberry sauce. Now what I didn't notice on the packaging was something it said on the back *as it's twice as sweet, only use half as much* My blueberry sauce was very, very sweet so I would definitely have been able to use half the quantity. By the time I made the pancakes I was a bit wiser and only used half my usual quantity of sugar and this time the taste was perfect. More to the point - there was no artificial taste normally associated with low calorie sugars/sweeteners.

The next step now is to try baking one of my tried and tested cakes to see how it compares. I will let you know how I get on.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 - 4
  • Juice and zest from 1 large orange
  • 70 g sugar or 35g Light at Heart sugar
  • 125 ml water
  • 2 tsps cornflour mixed with a small quantity of water to form a paste
  • 350 g fresh blueberries
  • 115 g self rising flour
  • 30 g butter
  • 50 g sugar or 25 g Light at Heart sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 80 ml milk
Cooking Directions
  1. Add the orange juice, zest, 70g (35g) sugar and water to a pan and heat until simmering.
  2. Stir in the cornflour paste and continue to stir until mixture thickens slightly.
  3. Add the blueberries and stir gently to combine.
  4. Leave to simmer for approximately 5 minutes.  The blueberries should still be whole.
  5. Remove from  heat and leave to one side.
        To make the pancakes
  1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  2. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.        
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Add the egg and stir lightly to mix.
  5. Add enough milk at this stage to make a thick pouring batter.
  6. Lightly grease a heavy bottomed frying pan with butter.
  7. Using a tablespoon, pour a spoonful of the mixture into your heated pan.
  8. When the surface of the pancake begins to bubble turn it over to cook on the second side.          
  9. Serve with natural yoghurt (or a dollop of cream) and blueberry sauce.
Written by : Angela Darroch       

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Saturday, 23 June 2012


This super quick, easy salad dressing is definitely one of our favourites at the moment - so much so that I make double the quantity and store in the refrigerator.  A really quick dinner for us is to bake some chicken breasts in the oven, slice thinly and add to a mixed salad and serve with the honey and mustard dressing drizzled on top.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: nil
Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: 250 ml

  •  125 ml mayonnaise
  •  60 ml honey
  •  60 ml Dijon mustard
  •   1 tblsp red wine vinegar
Cooking Directions
  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well together.
  2. Refrigerate
Written by : Angela Darroch       

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Wednesday, 23 May 2012


There is nothing not to like about a creamy, deliciously sweet, golden brown caramel sauce.  I have to make mine in small batches because to leave it in the fridge is just asking for trouble.  Add salt to it and it is taken up to another level - nothing beats salted caramel.  Is it difficult to make?  Not really, but you have to focus just on making it and nothing else as it can go wrong very quickly.  It is very tempting to try and stir but don't as it will crystallise.  The other temptation is to stick your finger in to have a quick taste - please don't.  I have a huge blister on my finger because I could not resist the temptation.  Liquid sugar is unbelievably hot and sticky.  When you add the cream and butter it does tend to bubble up a bit but if your pan is deep enough it won't be a problem.

If you have a spare 11 minutes - you have to give it a go.


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 6 mins
Total time: 11 mins

Yield: 250 ml

  • 250g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 4 tblsps water
  • 150ml cream
  • 50g butter
Cooking Directions
  1. Put the sugar and water into a heavy-based pan.
  2. Heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Increase the heat slightly and gently boil for 5 - 6 minutes until golden brown - do not be tempted to stir during this process as the sugar will crystallise.
  4. Remove from the heat, and carefully stir in the cream and butter until well incorporated.
  5. Leave to cool slightly and then transfer to a glass jug.

Written by Angela Darroch

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