Sticky toffee pudding

I agree that this may not be the prettiest looking pudding out there, but I assure you that what it lacks in aesthetic appeal is more than compensated for in taste. Now that we are on this topic, I have a question – how on earth do you make something that’s sticky and gooey look good in a photograph without it looking like you’re the messiest eater on the planet? Any ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I took Martha Stewart’s recipe. And I tweaked it. I subbed the castor sugar for brown, reduced the quantity, and also found it enough to make just half the amount of toffee sauce that it called for. The brown sugar gives the pudding that extra caramel-y nuttiness, accentuated by the plump date bits that form its base. The toffee sauce ties it all together and makes it a foolproof lick-worthy pud. Delicious!

We had friends over for dinner this past weekend and I’d made Aubergine parmigiana but with beef instead, and this sticky toffee pudding for dessert. I made the pudding a good 8 hours earlier and after going completely berserk with the hole-poking on it, poured half the toffee sauce over to soak it all up. The rest was reserved for drizzling over and licking straight from the bowl. Had to be done. Continue reading

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Yogurt syllabub

I know it sounds like I just made this word up! Syllabub is an English dessert that’s made with milk that’s been curdled either with wine or any other form of acid before being flavoured and sweetened. I’ve used yogurt here which we know has already undergone that process, so it’s essentially just a flavoured yogurt, but a far cry from the ones that you might be used to eating. I mean, how many times have you mixed red wine into it?

In England, Syllabub also apparently goes by the names ‘solybubbe’,’sullabub’,’sullibib’,’sullybub’, or ‘sullibub’. I just read that sentence out loud and it seriously sounded like my fish when he asks for food!

Stewing the fruit is a popular idea with syllabub, and that’s exactly what I had intended to do when I started out making this. It’s only when I began slicing into the figs, I realized that they didn’t have to undergo any transformation to make this dessert delicious. If you’d like to stew them instead, just sprinkle some brown sugar on the figs and cook until tender. I’d add a pinch of cinnamon too for good measure if I were you.

This low-fat dessert uses just a handful of ingredients, is healthy, and chock full of nutrients from every component. The fact that it takes no more than 10 minutes to whip up is just another reason why I’m all over it. You could use whatever fruit you have on hand – I always seem to have a few fresh figs lying around, but I have no doubt that it will work exceptionally well with strawberries, oranges, or apples too.

The addition of pomegranate seeds and pistachio slivers give this dessert a bit of a Turkish / Mediterranean feel, and the wine and orange zest take you down the mulled wine route. You could say that it’s a bit of a (con)fusion, but it definitely has its charms.

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Apple tarte tatin & an anniversary

I know I’m treading on the territory of culinary arrogance when I say this, but I don’t understand why the Tarte Tatin has been regarded as an insurmountable feat for an amateur cook. Sure, the caramel is a blink-and-it’s burnt kind of ordeal but other than that, it’s literally just some minor pastry action (shop-bought one at that), apple slicing, baking (which the oven does for you) and finally flipping onto your serving dish. One of the lesser evils of French pâtisserie, if you ask me. Having said that though, this is probably the farthest I’d venture into that world, precision in cooking not being my biggest virtue.

The apples and sugar together feel like we’re going down the apple pie route and although I wouldn’t dismiss that idea, this sure does feel different. In a hoity toity chef-y kind of way. With a rustic more-ish charm to it. It’s all encompassing and completely undeniable.

Quickly want to point out the changes that I made to the original recipe : I added a vanilla pod to the caramel as it was cooking down (because that just seemed like the right thing to do). The cooking times have also been altered, and my guess is that yours will be different from mine too).

In other news, today marks the first anniversary of this tiny little part of my world here. Truth be told, when I first started, I had no idea what I was doing and literally dove into it blind (which is obvious with the pictures from the first few posts) and unprepared. But looking back, I can definitely say that it’s been a lot of fun and a great way of connecting with you guys. Thank you for all the love and support!

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Spiced baked figs with Vanilla mascarpone

I’ve recently discovered a part of myself that I never knew existed..an inherent need, a kind of maternal instinct if you will, to feed my family with an extra dose of fruit and vegetables. I’m not getting ahead of myself here, I’m still talking mascarpone, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be the kind of mum who will conceal a few pieces of broccoli under a blanket of melted cheese, make sweets out of dried fruits, or just..hide figs under some mascarpone. I try. (My dear husband is the fruit ninja in question here). Enough practice for when we have little ones of our own!

This dessert is simple enough to be called a weekday dessert, and at the same time looks super extravagant to be a party piece. The figs retain and hold their shape when baked, and the honey and cinnamon form an oozy syrup to be poured over the top for extra flavour. The mascarpone, slightly tart, gives you the perfect balance in every bite.

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NECTARINE CRUMBLE

Brace yourself for this. I may just have the simplest, quickest recipe for you which actually looks like you put in a whole load of effort (says the same person who layered lemon curd over fresh fruit and made it a dessert), so you know I’m onto something here.

This crumble can be used as a staple and adapts beautifully to any kind of fruit base. Apple is a classic which I adore also, but in this version, I’ve used fresh ripe nectarines. It tastes like summer in every bite.

A dollop of ice cream over warm crumble is classy, but straight out of the oven is most likely what you’d see me doing – jumping straight for the sticky caramelized bits that stick to the sides of the ramekin, and invariably burning my tongue every.single.time. It happens to the best of us (I kid myself).

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LEMON CURD PARFAITS

This is more of a good idea than it is a recipe. Honestly, it happens to be no more than an assembly job, really. Not having to pull out heavy machinery in order to make a sweet something is always a good sign in my book, and I’d jump at every opportunity to get the ingredients for it from a jar (lemon curd is the case in point here).

OK, let me clarify : I try to avoid tinned/canned foods as much as possible and despise those sneaky ginger-garlic paste tubs that squeeze their way into most homes. Completely frowned upon. But organic lemon curd from a local store is tolerable, non? Or so I’d like to think. I’m not one to preach about food habits, but like the saying goes, we are what we eat. That there provides plenty of food for thought!

This dessert is fresh, tart, sweet and crunchy all in one bite. Everything you want it to be. Also, if you want to add a layer of whipped cream or cream cheese, you’re smart..go for it!

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CRÈME CARAMEL WITH A HINT OF RUM

I go through these phases. For instance, when I discovered the joys of herby mushrooms on toast, I remember eating it almost everyday for more than 2 weeks straight! An addictive personality or an obsession, I can’t seem to figure out.

You have those dishes that come into your life with a bang and most often than not, leave with as big an impact (I got so sick of even looking at mushrooms for a long time after my fungi-obsession), and then there are those classics that you never tire of. This recipe I’m pleased to announce, falls under the latter category.

The voluptuous texture of the custard pairs wonderfully with the oh-so-slight booziness of the rum and the caramel topping. As clichéd as it may sound, it really is melt-in-the-mouth good! I personally love the addition of rum and feel like it really highlights the other flavours, but just a bit of vanilla would suffice nicely too. I made 6 ramekins’ worth for 3 of us and devoured half of those myself. When it tastes this good, who needs an excuse? Rhetorical question. Continue reading