Min’s Marzipan Dimples…

I have always loved, loved, loved Marzipan and so I decided to give making my own a go…. 

It couldn’t  be easier! I literally just took a small bag of ground almonds (250gm) and mixed it into a malleable thick paste by adding some almond oil, (about 3-4 tablespoons.)
I wanted to add a delicate middle eastern flavour, so to these I also added some rose water (about 1 teaspoon) and then I rolled them into little spheres and made a tiny dimple in the centre. I garnished them with smashed pistachios and rose petals.

I then went Marzipan crazy and made another batch which I added Orange blossom water to and garnished with bronze sprinkles.

And then a curious thing happened…As I sat down and was enjoying them with a glass of wine, my little cat Min came padding over, had a sniff and then proceeded to eat one clean out of my hand! A cat who loves Marzipan ! As she also has dimples in her paws and clearly is a bit bonkers about marzipan it seemed only right to name them after her

Persian pudding pots.

This was a total experiment that was inspired by some dried rose petals we had left in the kitchen from another meal and a visit to our local Indian corner store. I wanted to make a sort of Persian/ Indian inspired milk pudding with so I just went free style and was so pleased with results! Favourite man who as you have probably gathered by now is somewhat brutal with his criticsim ate every single pot.
I made this up as I went along so the quantities are (as usual) not precise.

I bag of roasted vermicelli

3-4 cups of almond milk

4 Tbs vanilla essence

1 vanilla pod

A handful of crushed cardamom pods

A handful of rose petals

2 cups of smashed pistachios

3 Tbs rose water

3 Tbs fruit syrup

For the sugar glass garnish

3 cups sugar

2 cups water

I cup corn syrup

Put the kettle on and turn on the hob on, add the the vermicelli, and while its cooking smash the pistachio nuts, and the cardomon pods. (they don’t need to be a uniform size)

The vermicelli will cook really quickly ( I about 4-5 mins) it doesn’t matter if it you over cook it as does need to be gloopy!

When it’s cooked drain it and leave it long enough for any excess water to to drain off. Pour in the almond milk, rose water, vanilla, cardomon, pistachios and fruit syrup and let it all bubble gently for about 10 minutes so the flavours all infuse the milk.

Add in the vermicelli and let it all muddle together on a really low heat for about another 10 minutes.

After that decant it into little ramekin dishes and pop in the fridge to chill.

While they are chilling it’s time to have a go at the sugar glass, this was my first ever attempt and it scared the hell out of me, having sugar boiling angrily in a pan, but I gave it a go after lots of Internet research which I suggest you do too because it’s really tricky!

It can crystallise and go cloudy really quickly, and you have to move fast I managed to get about a spoons worth of clear sugar to play with, the rest crystallised and went cloudy,(but I offer it with Greek coffee as alternative to traditional sugar.)

When it reaches 300 C (I only had a meat thermometer which doesn’t go that high) it’s ready to either pour and spread on a lightly oiled tray or tray whip over really fast with a fork to make super fine strands.

I need to really work on this and perfect it, if it’s too much faff you don’t really need it, I just wanted to try it because I thought it would look pretty.

Scatter some pistachios and rose petals on the puddings and they ready to eat. This is a really fragrant and light after supper pudding and is delicious with a traditional small dark Greek or Turkish coffee.

Of baking and suchlike…


When I was a kid I loved baking I loved making cakes and biscuits and a mess in the kitchen in general, I thought I was the bomb.

No icing bag? Who needs one? I’ll just Cellotape this one lonely nozzle I found lurking in the back of the cutlery drawer to this plastic bag with the tip cut off  job done.

My cookery bible was The American Womans Cookery Book, Printed in 1950 with the most amazing recipes inside, and jazzy technicolor photos.

I loved the all the names which I guess are pretty standard now, Red Velvet Cake, Angel Cake, Devils Food Cake, but back then they were so new and exciting to me and what about New England Pandowdy and Lady Baltimore Cake? Never heard of them before. And using cups to measure! Imagine! Icing wasn’t icing it was frosting biscuits were cookies I was hooked.

Every Sunday without fail I would be down in that kitchen mixing up recipes and experimenting with anything I could find that was even vaguely cake or biscuit related related.

In retrospect maybe it was just my way of escaping Sunday nights and having to watch The Antiques Road Show and Last Of The Summer Wine, but in time I got bored with messing about with flour and sugar and suchlike, got bored of cooking in general. Left home, went to University blah blah blah…

Fast forward to now, I had got myself into the mindset that puddings weren’t really proper cooking? But how wrong I was…such inspiration everywhere and do you know what?

Becky got her groove back and it turns out I can make a pretty good cake and biscuit if I say so myself. ( I do, I just did)

So here for you, my super easy peasy lemon squeezy  recipe for Rocky Muffins. Which essentially are a combination of you guessed it; a rock cake and a muffin.

(Sorry no actual Lemons involved)

8 oz Self Raising or Spelt flour if you wish (gives a deeper flavour no gluten etc)
3 Tbsp fruit syrup

4 Oz chopped Glace Cherries

A hearty slug of Vanilla Extract

3 Oz Almond Milk

3 tsp baking Powder

1 Mashed ripe Banana

preheat the oven to around 180 C and grease a muffin tray

Into a large mixing bowl sift the flour and baking powder, squoosh in the banana, cherries and  milk, add the fruit sugar and the vanilla and mix well adding enough milk to make a nice gloopy thick mixture.

And it’s that simple!

Dollop it into the muffin tins about three quarters full and bake for about 20-25 minutes, check they are done by inserting a sharp knife into the centre of a muffin which should come out clean.

Delicious at breakfast with Alpro Coconut Yoghurt jam or just as they are!

If any of you are interested in hunting down the cookery book it was published by The Culinary Arts Institute Chicago and edited by Ruth Berolzheimer

It’s over 598 pages long by the way, but such an insight into to “vintage recipes” if that’s  a thing?

It is ! I just said it!

Aquafaba Magic!

Let’s be honest, chickpea juice doesn’t sound very appealing does it? Aquafaba is a magical discovery…the liquid you find in a can of chickpeas or beans can be used to replace egg whites!

This gloopy juice contains starches, proteins and soluble plant solids which have moved from the pea or bean into the water they were originally canned in. The juice  will thicken up and foam just like egg white when whisked up with sugar and cream of tartar.

Even though I don’t really eat sweet things any more I really wanted to try this. I thought it would be lovely to be able to make sweet treats as little gifts for friends, I hope to be able to somehow adapt the recipe and use less sugar.

I used the juice from one can of chickpeas, a whole 500gm box of Tate and Lyle icing sugar which is vegan and GM free. Some vanilla essence and about 4 tablespoons of corn starch as I couldn’t get my hands on any cream of tartar (which seems to give the best results.) I also only have a hand blender so it was pretty hard going as it takes a while to thicken. After about fifteen minutes of whisking, whilst gradually adding in the sugar and corn starch it began to form peaks and thicken up. Magic! I popped mine on a baking tray in little blobs and baked them for about 40-50 minutes at 140 C

Add coconut to make macaroons, a little food colour to jazz it up or layer meringue discs with a filling, I used bananas blended with coconut oil to make a creamy frosting. I need to experiment a lot more with this as you can use Aquafaba in so many other recipes as an egg replacement. I heartily recommend having a look at Vegan Meringue Hits and Misses! on Facebook, there are some incredible edibles being created there.

Oatie fruity Bon Bons

These little Bons Bons are beyond easy peasy to whip up.

It’s also a great way of using up all those little odd bits of oats and dried fruits and seeds that end up lurking on the back of the larder. (and Bon Bon is a much prettier word than balls don’t you think?)

My Bon Bon Recipe

Measures are approximate as it’s based on whatever’s in the store cupboard.

Preheat the oven to 180 C 

500gm gluten free muesli 

250gm milled flax seed 

250gn flax seed

250gm desiccated coconut

As much maple syrup as it takes to bind it all together

Quarter of a cup of water

Pop all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them together , pour in the maple syrup you want enough to bind the mix but not go soggy, it should be quite stiff, so now add the water and leave the mix for about 10 minutes so the oats soften.

Fill a jug with water and moisten your hands, and then use a dessert spoon to spoon a small amount into your hand and roll into a little Bon Bon, the water stops your hands getting all gloopy and the mix sticking. 

Place them on a non stick baking tray and bake them for about 15 minutes until they go a golden brown.

Enjoy and shake your Bon Bons baby!