Monthly Archives: February 2015

Halloumi, Aubergine & Mushroom Burger

I was thinking about carrot cake the other day, as one does, and started to think about Nando’s.

It may sound crazy, that a mass produced cake in a semi-fast food place is one of my favourite carrot cakes, but its seriously good. Yummy moist cake with just the right amount of spice, dreamy frosting and that serving of clotted cream!

This post isn’t about carrot cake though!

Thinking about Nandos got me thinking about their halloumi and mushroom burger. So I decided to make my own 🙂


The bread:I normally get it in their bread rolls. As brioche rolls seem to be the burger bread of choice at the moment, I thought I would use them. Strangely enough I couldn’t find them in the supermarket, so decided to make my own.

I used this recipe which was easy to follow.


They do take a bit longer as they have to be refrigerated and then left to reach room temp and rise.  However, this can be worked into your day, I made the dough in the morning, put it in the fridge before I went out and then took them out when I got home and by the time I started to cook the filling they were ready to bake.

The side:Before getting the burger ready (and baking the brioche rolls), I put my spicy sweet potato chips in the oven.
These were made by peeling and chopping 2 sweet potatos, soaking them in cold water (to remove some of the starch) for aprox. 30mins.  They were then drained in a collander and dried off with a kitchen towel.  They were placed in a bowl and mixed with 3 tablespoons of harissa paste. They were then spread evenly over a tray and baked for 45mins (turning half way through).


The vege/cheese:I was tempted to buy a Nandos marinade for my vege, but luckily I came across this recipe from Ramsons and Bramble, which also inspired me to use aubergine in the burger.

I made a few adjustments for the marinade:
-juice & zest of half a lemon
-2 teaspoons of cider vinegar
-4 teaspoons garlic paste
-5 tablespoons olive oil
-1 tablespoon harissa paste
-2 teaspoons soy sauce
-lots of freshly ground black pepper
All ingredients are placed in a bowl and mixed.

This marinade is sooo good, I’m so happy I made this instead of using a store bought one.


Once the aubergine was fried in olive oil it was placed in a plate with the marinade


the mushrooms after being smothered in the marinade

To construct the burger, after slicing the brioche roll, chilli jam was spread over the base and covered with a leafy salad. I placed the fried halloumi, a slice of aubergine and the mushroom on top.

This was served with the sweet potato chips.



Hazelnut Latte Cake

Weird fact…I have four sisters and they are all born in February.
So yes, February isn’t a good month for healthy eating (or at least I have an excuse for overindulging?)

I saw a picture of this cake on the BBC Good Food instagram as a sneaky peak into what was coming up in their Feb issue, and bought the magazine the minute it hit the shelves.

I decided this cake would be perfect as a joint celebration cake for them (and sent a pic and ate an extra slice for my sister who lives abroad).


The recipe is finally up on their website so I can now share it with you all 🙂

The Cake

The sponge is a Genoise, this is the  first time I have made a genoise; its a slightly different technique but fairly straightforward.


Put the butter, milk and coffee powder into a small pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Set aside.


Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk,for aprox 10-15mins,until the mixture has thickened and leaves a trail when the whisk is pulled out. As the cake doesn't have any raising agents this is important to give the sponge a bounce and make it rise nicely


Mix together th century flours and salt and sieve into the egg mixture, gently fold in


Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on top and gently fold in


Pour in the warm milk mixture at the side of the bowl, and gently fold in until there are no longer any darker streaks


Divide the mixture between the pans and once cooked leave to cool

The cake itself feels very different to a normal sponge, it seems to have a slightly denser structure.

The Syrup
I couldn’t find my cake slicer so had to use a large serrated knife and the aid of my rotating cake plate.

I was quite impressed as even with a cake slicer my layers don’t normally come out even, the dense structure of the cake definitely helped!


Once the cakes were cooled and cut, it was time to coat the layers with the coffee syrup.

I made my syrup without the alcohol. I found I needed to make double the quantity.


The Frosting

Nutella + Mascarpone = OMG

It might be getting boring now how in every one of my posts I describe the frosting as the ‘best ever’, but seriously, this is!

It sooo easy to make and it tastes absolutely dreamy.


The layers are sandwiched together with the frosting


The remainding frosting was spread over the top and sides of the cake


I used a decorating comb to give the ridged effect

I sprinkled the hazelnuts at the bottom, I didnt toast them with the sugar as the recipe states (I couldn’t be bothered).

The Topping
The showstopping finish to this cake is a beautiful latte pattern


But mine looked more like a mess…



I decided to salvage my cake by smoothing it over which gave a pretty marbled effect


I was really happy with how this cake looked, fine, it doesn’t look as pretty as the magazine version, but was still impressive.


And most importantly, it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten let alone made!


The hazelnut sponge is perfect with a crunchy texture from the chopped hazelnuts and a rich coffee flavour from the syrup.  The frosting, as I have already described, compliments it perfectly and the coffee cream on the top brings all the flavours together.

Its the kind of cake you would be happy with if you bought a slice at a nice patisserie.


Bruce Bogtrotter-ing

Whenever I think of chocolate thing comes to mind…


That cake!

And it’s ‘that’ cake that spoils chocolate cake for me. “That cake was made from real butter and real cream! And he, that robber-bandit, that safe-cracker, that highwayman standing over there with his socks around his ankles stole it and ate it!”

From all the chocolate cakes I’ve eaten, and that’s a lot of chocolate cake, I have never had one that meets my chocolate cake expectations.

I wanted to make ‘that’ cake.

I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe, the recipe as stated makes the most moist, rich chocolate cake, and when coated with the chocolate ganache resembles the Bruce Bogtrotter cake


And eating a slice, or the whole thing, you can completely relate to this feeling:


I decided to add to that and make it even more Bruce -worthy.

I made the cake as described, it does take a bit more effort than your normal chocolate cake recipe, but it’s totally worth it.


I made the cake into three layers using three 8″ sandwich pans.

For my own extra touches to make it into my dream cake I:
1) made a Nutella buttercream:
-250g unsalted butter at room temperature
-500g icing sugar
-6 tablespoons of Nutella
I whisked the butter til softened then gradually whisked in the icing sugar (I mix gently before whisking to stop an icing sugar cloud from forming) until fully combined, then a few drops of milk (aprox 20ml, til you reach the desired consistency). Whisk for 5mins. Add the nutella and then whisk until fully combined.

2)made a chocolate fudge sauce:
– 150g dark chocolate
– 150ml double cream
– 3 tbsp golden syrup
– 175g icing sugar,seived
Put all the ingredients into a sauce pan and mix until smooth and glossy, leave to cool

On to construction…

The layers were sandwiched together with a layer of buttercream AND fudge sauce:


the buttercream looks crumbly as I had taken it out of the fridge and didn't let it soften completely, as the fudge sauce was runny I piped a ring of buttercream to stop it from dripping down the sides

The cake was then covered in a layer of buttercream:


Which was then covered in a layer of fudge sauce:


I like the dripping effect so didn't smooth it over

And the final finishing touches:


Now that cake looks scrumpdidliumptious!

Even though I didn’t get a chance to try it (it was a gift), I have been told it tasted as good as it looks.

Having made the cake before and tried the buttercream and fudge sauce, I can only imagine it must have tasted amazing and would have been happily eaten whole by Bruce.

Chocolate Coconut Mousse

Thank you to Arielle from With all my Affection for sharing this super easy to make chocolate mousse.

This takes 5mins to make and tastes absolutely delicious.



Yes, only three ingredients!
–  x2 cans of 160g coconut cream
– 50g cocoa powder
– three tablespoons icing sugar
(makes 6 small servings)

The original recipe says to use a tin of coconut milk left in the fridge overnight and separating the thicker ‘cream’ from the water.  A few reviews said that it came out too watery so I decided to use coconut cream instead which is the same thing with less water. I did still leave it the fridge overnight.

Empty the coconut cream into a bowl and sieve in the cocoa powder and icing sugar (I altered the quantities slightly). I was initially apprehensive as it seemed really watery initially and wasn’t sure if it’d thicken up.

After a few mins of whisking it had thickened up nicely and had a moussy consistency. I should have piped it into my serving dishes but was feeling lazy so spooned it in.


It tasted really chocolatey with a subtle hint of coconut.

This is a great recipe for when you need a quick dessert hit, and its vegan/dairy free/egg free (if you are making it for someone who suffers from dairy allergies make sure the cocoa powder doesn’t contain whey).

This would also taste delicious omitting the cocoa powder and using vanilla essence.

Brownie Caramelita

What do I like love more, caramelitas or brownies?

I couldn’t decide between the chewy, caramely, oaty caramelitas (and some may say healthy, oats and pecans are known to lower cholesterol and pecans are good for flagging energy levels, I will ignore the rest of the obesity/diabetes inducing ingredients :p) and fudgy chocolatey brownies.

So I decided to combine them together to make this amazing bar.


I prepared the caramelita biscuit and brownie mixture (I made half the amount, no nuts/fruit).


I baked the oaty base for 10mins:


Then covered with the brownie mixture, and baked for 20mins:


I then smoothed the caramel on top and sprinkled the chocolate chips and pecans:


And crumbled the remaining oaty biscuit dough on top, before baking for a further 20mins:


Once cooled, I left it in the fridge overnight.



Omg… These are amazing!

The thin brownie layer is just enough to give it that fudgy hit, and compliments the gooey caramel and caramelised pecans gorgeously.

New fave? Me thinks so!

Fudgy Update

So I had some evaporated milk left over from when I made the fudge the other day, I didn’t want to chuck it down the sink so decided to make more fudge 😀

The fudge recipe I originally used called to not stir the fudge, this was to prevent any crystals from forming. However, the recipe I used this time did call for stirring and the results were amazing.


The fudge was super crumbly and as the sugar slightly burned on the bottom of the pan it was transformed from vanilla to a gorgeous caramel fudge.


My favourite fudge is from Totally Fudged and this resembled their salted caramel fudge bar the salt.

I decided to go for vanilla fudge, and used this recipe. I halved the quantities:
1)Place 250g castor sugar (I used Golden Castor),170g evaporated milk, 2 tablespoons of milk and a pinch of salt in a pan and heat over a medium heat until the sugar melts (this was a lot quicker than the granulated sugar used in the other recipe)
2) Bring to a boil then bring up to 240deg/’soft ball’ on your thermometer. Stirring frequently.
3) Once it reaches the desired temperature, take of the heat and add the butter and vanilla, leave for 10mins
4) Mix/whisk until it loses it glossy appearance and place in a lined tin and leave to cool