Coconut penny toffees

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Ingredients

  • 50 g unsalted butter , (cold)
  • 25 g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon glucose


Method

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and have it standing by alongside a large basin of iced water. Cube up the butter. Lightly toast the coconut until golden.

Put the sugar and glucose in a medium-sized heavy-based pan with 2 tablespoons of water. Pop in a sugar thermometer and heat gently over a medium heat, until the sugar has melted and begins to caramelise.

Once it reaches 150ºC, remove from the heat and quickly set it in the basin of iced water to halt the process. Immediately remove and whisk in the butter until incorporated. If it begins to separate, place back on the heat and continue to whisk and emulsify.

Using 2 tablespoons, drop spoonfuls of the toffee onto the lined tray. Sprinkle immediately with the desiccated coconut. To make lollipops, press the sticks into the toffee now, almost all the way across the discs, so that they hold in place.

Set aside to cool and harden. Store between sheets of greaseproof paper or cellophane in a sealed container and eat within 10 days.

December scones

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Ingredients

  • 2 clementines
  • 4 cloves
  • 150 g dried cranberries
  • 150 g unsalted butter (cold)
  • 500 g self-raising flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 heaped tablespoons golden caster sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk , plus extra for brushing
  • 3 tablespoon quality cranberry sauce
  • FILLING
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 1 clementine
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 heaped tablespoons icing sugar
 

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Method

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6.

Grate the clementine zest into a food processor and set aside. Squeeze all the juice into a small pan, add the cloves and simmer over a low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, then remove the cloves. Add the cranberries and cook until they’re fully rehydrated and have sucked up all the clementine juice. Leave to cool a little.

Roughly chop the butter and add to the zest in the food processor. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of sea salt and pulse to fine breadcrumbs.

Crack in the eggs and pulse again. Add the milk a splash at a time and pulse until it comes together into a dough, then tip out onto a floured board and put the blade back in the processor.

When the cranberries have cooled slightly, blitz in the food processor until finely chopped. Tip onto the dough and gently knead – it’s important to handle the dough as little as possible so you end up with short, crumbly scones. Add a touch more flour as you go, if needed.

Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, or if you’re planning to freeze the scones, prepare a few trays that will fit in your freezer.

Roll the dough out to roughly 2cm thick, then stamp out the scones with a round 5cm fluted pastry cutter. Roll out any off-cuts and re-shape to use up the dough.

Poke the middle of each scone with your floured finger to make a well, brush the top with milk and add a little cranberry sauce, Jammie Dodger-stylee!

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the scones have risen and are golden. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

For the filling, gently whip the cream to soft peaks, then grate in the clementine zest and fold through, along with the almond extract and icing sugar. Refrigerate until needed, then serve with the cranberry scones and a pot of tea.

If you don’t want to bake a whole batch of scones, freeze them after you’ve cut them out. That way, you can come home from work and simply pop the frozen rounds in the oven at 180ºC/gas 4, and in 20 to 25 minutes you’ll have hot, golden scones.

Roasted pear with walnut & ginger filling

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Ingredients

  • 5 comice pears
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 70 g walnut halves
  • 20 g pine nuts
  • 20 g stem ginger , optional

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Halve and core the pears (you’ll be using 1 for decoration), and place them all cut-side up in an ovenproof dish.

Sprinkle over ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon and the caraway seeds and pop in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re just browning at the edges and the flesh is soft. Allow to cool.

Place the walnuts and pine nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes – the pine nuts won’t take long to turn golden, so keep an eye on them. Set aside a few toasted pine nuts for serving.

Once the pears have cooled, scoop most of the flesh out of 4 of the halves, leaving just enough so the sides don’t collapse.

Chop up 4 other roasted pear halves and pop in a food processor with the scooped-out pear flesh and toasted nuts. Add the stem ginger and the rest of the cinnamon and blitz. You want a paste that’s quite textured, not totally smooth.

Divide the pear mixture between the scooped-out pear skins. Peel and core the reserved pear, slice it thinly lengthways and arrange a couple of slivers on top of each stuffed pear.

Decorate with a few chopped toasted pine nuts and serve, warmed through or cold. It’s great with a little peppery salad, like rocket leaves, on the side.

Profiteroles

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Ingredients

  • 50 g shelled pistachios
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 100 g dark chocolate (70%)
  • CHOUX PASTRY
  • 85 g unsalted butter , plus extra for greasing
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 3 large free-range eggs

Method

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6 and grease a baking sheet.

For the choux pastry, melt the butter in a saucepan with 220ml of water then bring to a rolling boil.

Sift the flour and 1 pinch of fine sea salt onto a piece of folded greaseproof paper, then quickly pour into the boiling water.

Beat the pastry mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth and the bottom of the pan is beginning to fur, then spread out on a plate and leave to cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Crush the pistachios. Place the cream and most of the pistachios in a small saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse until ready to use.

Beat the eggs. Once the pastry is cool, return it to the saucepan and gradually beat in the beaten egg until the pastry mixture reaches a consistency that lazily drops off the spoon (you may not need all of the beaten egg).

Using teaspoons, space out small dollops of pastry mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Once cooked, use a skewer or drinking straw to pierce holes in the bases of the profiteroles, then leave them upside down on a wire rack to dry completely.

When you’re ready to fill the profiteroles, strain the cream and discard the pistachios. Whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla essence until it holds its shape. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe a teaspoonful or so into the centre of each profiterole.

Break the chocolate into bites, then melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (without letting the bowl touch the water).

Arrange the profiteroles on a platter and drizzle over some of the melted chocolate. Serve the leftover chocolate in a small jug on the side.

Protein pancakes

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Ingredients

  • 100 g oats
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 100 g cottage cheese
  • 1 banana
  • 1 pinch of baking powder
  • 1 splash of almond milk
  • groundnut oil
  • TOPPINGS
  • 4 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons runny honey
  • 4 tablespoons fat-free Greek yoghurt
  • 4 fresh figs
  • 1 pear
  • 1 apple
  • 1 handful of pomegranate seeds

Method

Blitz all the pancake ingredients (except the oil) in a blender until smooth, adding an extra splash of almond milk if it’s too thick.

Prepare all your toppings in small bowls, slicing the figs. Core and coarsely grate the pear and apple, then toss with the pomegranate. Set aside.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, brush with oil, then pour out any excess.

Drop heaped tablespoons of the batter into the pan and cook for 3 minutes, or until little bubbles start to form on the surface.

Carefully flip with a palette knife and cook for a few more minutes, or until the pancakes are lightly golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate.

Layer the pancakes up with the fruit and almond butter, drizzle over the honey and spoon on the yoghurt.

Hot cross muffins

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Ingredients

  • 225 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 200 g light muscovado sugar
  • 150 g ground almonds
  • 100 g buckwheat flour (see tip)
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 1½ teaspoons gluten-free baking pow
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large orange
  • 3 large free-range eggs (at room temperature)
  • 175 g mixed dried fruit (ideally with candied orange in it)
  • 50 g dried cranberries
  • 1 eating apple (125g)
  • 100 g icing sugar , plus extra for dusitng

Method

Heat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Line two muffin trays with paper cases or squares of baking paper. In large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric beater until pale and fluffy.

Combine the almonds, flour, mixed spice, baking powder and salt in
a bowl, then sift it on top of the creamed butter and sugar. Add the orange zest, 3 tablespoons of the juice and the eggs to the bowl as well. Beat everything together until you have a thick batter, then stir in the dried fruit, cranberries and apple.

Dollop the mixture into the muffin cases so they’re three-quarters full. Bake for 35 minutes, then turn down the heat to 160C/gas 3 and bake for
a further 20–25 minutes, until the muffins are well risen and golden, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Gradually mix the icing sugar with 4–5 teaspoons of the orange juice to make a thick icing. Spoon into a piping bag with a round nozzle, or into a sandwich bag, snipping off one corner. Pipe crosses onto each muffin, dust with extra icing sugar and leave to set.

Tips

Buckwheat, despite its name, is not related to wheat at all and is totally gluten-free. The flour has a light nuttiness. You’ll find it in most supermarkets and health food shops.

Jools’ easy creamy rice pudding

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Ingredients

  • 120 g risotto or pudding rice
  • 800 ml unsweetened almond milk , or regular milk, plus an extra splash
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup or runny honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste , (or you can scrape out the seeds from a vanilla pod, if you have one)
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1 ripe banana

Method

Put the rice, milk, 200ml of water, half the maple syrup or honey and the vanilla into a large pan. Give it a good stir, then place the pan on a very low heat. Cook gently for around 45 minutes, or until thick and creamy, stirring regularly. Loosen the rice pudding with an extra splash of milk before serving, if needed. Peel and slice the banana, then serve the rice pudding scattered with the blueberries and banana and the remaining maple syrup or honey drizzled on top.

Tips & tricks: As a treat, I sometimes like to turn this into chocolate rice pudding by adding two tablespoons of quality cocoa powder in with the rest of the ingredients.

Tips

As a treat, I sometimes like to turn this into chocolate rice pudding by adding two tablespoons of quality cocoa powder in with the rest of the ingredients.

Pistachio, yoghurt & elderflower cake

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Ingredients

  • 250 g butter , plus extra for greasing
  • 250 g sugar
  • 150 g pistachios , plus extra to decorate
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 200 g polenta
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons Greek-style yoghurt
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • ELDERFLOWER SYRUP
  • 150 ml elderflower cordial
  • 2-3 tablepsoons runny honey
  • ½ a lemon
  • ELDERFLOWER ICING
  • 200 g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons elderflower syrup

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Roughly chop and add the pistachios, then mix in the almonds, polenta, baking powder and yoghurt until well combined.

Crack in the eggs, one by one, and mix in. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir to combine and pour the mixture into the cake tin.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the syrup.

Place the cordial and honey in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes till thickened. Taste and add a squeeze of lemon juice, if necessary.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the syrup for the icing. Make a few holes in the warm cake with a skewer, then gently pour the remaining syrup over the cake.

Leave the cake to cool a little in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack.

For the icing, mix the yoghurt, icing sugar and syrup until smooth.

Spread over the cooled cake and top with a handful of chopped pistachios, then serve.

Vegan toffee apple upside-down cake

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Ingredients

  • 25 g vegan margarine , plus extra for greasing
  • 3 dessert apples
  • 195 g muscovado sugar
  • 180 g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ teaspoons mixed spice
  • 80 ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tesapoon vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • 85 g walnuts

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4 and grease and line the base of a 23cm square cake tin.

Core and coarsely grate 2 of the apples and finely slice the remaining apple.

Melt 85g of the sugar and the margarine in a pan, then pour into the prepared tin. Top with the sliced apple in a single layer.

Combine the flour, 110g of sugar, the bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, 180ml water, the vinegar, grated apple and lemon zest. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet, quickly but thoroughly.

Roughly chop and stir in the walnuts, then pour over the layer of apples in the cake tin.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool for 5 minutes before turning out.

Vegan Victoria sponge

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Ingredients

  • 300 g dairy-free margarine , (suitable for baking), plus extra for greasing
  • 300 g gluten-free plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 300 g golden caster sugar
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 200 g organic soya yogurt
  • zest of
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • optional:
  • rice milk
  • For the filling:
  • 200 g icing sugar , plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g dairy-free margarine
  • 100 g fresh raspberries
  • 4 tablespoons raspberry jam

Method

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. Grease two springform cake tins (roughly 20cm) with the margarine, then line the bottom with greaseproof paper and dust the sides with gluten-free flour.

In a bowl, beat the margarine and sugar for around 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Halve the vanilla pods lengthways then, using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the margarine mixture, along with the yoghurt and lemon zest, then mix until combined. Sieve the flour, baking powder and xanthan gum into the bowl, then fold through. If it’s a little thick, add a splash of rice milk and stir briefly until you have a nice, smooth batter.

Carefully divide the mixture between the cake tins, then place on the middle shelf of the hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, before turning the cakes out onto a wire cooling rack, then leave to cool completely while you make the icing. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl, then add the margarine and beat until smooth. If it’s a little thick, add a splash of milk to loosen.

Once cooled, place one of the sponges on a plate or cake stand. Carefully spread the butter icing on top and scatter over most of the raspberries. Spread the jam onto the second sponge and place, jam side down, on top of the iced sponge, pressing down slightly. Dust the top with a little icing sugar and decorate with a few raspberries, if you like, then serve.