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

Stargazey soup 

I just made this today because I was playing around with my petit four cutters and some stray carrots (I know too much time on my hands right?) I love making soups, especially in the winter, you can use up all the odd bits of pasta and rice and veggies you have knocking around and totally mix up the herb and spices.

This is very simple and clean and light, perfect for when we are having this funny off on summer weather.

1 bag of kale

6 carrots hopped or cut into stars or whatever shape you fancy with a petit four cutter

I vegetable stock cube

2 gloves of garlic crushed

250gm orzo 

4 spring onions finely sliced

4 bay leaves

Olive oil 


Get the kettle boiling and the hob on, and crush the garlic. Chiffonade the kale as fine as you can, discarding any stalky bits and then sautée it the pan with some olive oil the bay leaves and garlic until it softens.

Add water on to the kale about three quarters full in the pan and fling in the orzo and the vegetable stock cube. Cook it for about 8 minutes then add the carrots and spring onions and let it it bubble away gently until the orzo is fully cooked and the water has reduced into a light broth.

Pesto for the people.

This pesto recipe is a doddle, experiment with different nuts, because they all lend such a different depth of flavour.

Cashew Pesto.

With the addition of Nutrional Yeast this has a mild creamy almost cheesey taste to it.

2 Bunches of basil

2 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil (add as you go for a smooth consistency, about 4-6 Tbs)

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast 

150gm cashews 

Whizz it all in the blender adding enough oil to make it nice and smooth, it’s better after it’s had some time in the ‘fridge for all of the flavours to imbue.

Use the same base recipe for walnuts and pine nuts but omit the nutritional yeast.

Serve with pasta, zoodles or fresh crusty bread.

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!

Cashew Presse.

Yes that’s right I’m still banging on about mock cheeses …Because  I have exciting discoveries to share with you!

After feeling pretty pleased with myself after my “Moquetta” creation I decided to try something similar with cashews. I simply blended cashews with a little olive oil, nutrional yeast and paprika and pressed it into a little pot with a weight on top and popped it in the fridge over night.  And here it is, the paprika combined with the nutritional yeast gave a nice rich taste and it had a nice smooth buttery consistency, good for spreading on crackers and toast.

img_0210-2And then I discovered Cooking With Plants this recipe is simply amazing and it’s so ingenious because it uses sweet potatoes and sweet marinated peppers! By adding Agar Agar, a Japanese algae that acts like gelatine this clever mixture sets so it will slice and gave the same consistency as cheese! I served mine with walnuts and my aramanth crackers.

And then I got really carried away and coated it with my roast piri-piri spiced peanut crumb which gave a  lovely spicy crunch against the rich velvety potato and pepper mix.

But if experimenting with nuts and sweet potatoes doesn’t float your boat all is not lost, because there is a delicious substitute vegan cheese out there which goes by the name of  Violife. It’s made predominantly from coconut oil and starch and is gluten and soya free. They have a whole host of flavours and even do a mozzarella and Parmesan style which melt and crumble just like the real thing. I get mine from Holland and Barrett

I also must mention this incredible book by Miyoko Schinner who makes artisan vegan cheeses, this book is packed full of incredible recipes, mozzarella, Camembert, I haven’t tried any yet but watch this space….