Espresso Impossible Flan
Enjoyed at Marion’s, 4 August 2023

Russian Borsch Soup
Enjoyed at Vicki’s, 23 June 2023

Rice Pudding
Enjoyed at Vicki’s, 23 June 2023

Spiced Cauliflower, Lentil and Cauliflower Soup
Enjoyed at Michele’s 19 May 2023

Eaten at Margie’s place, August 2022

Easy Whole Wheat Crust
Basic : 6 tablespoons of softened butter
1-2 cup plain whole wheat flour
Variation: for a sweet base add 1-2 tbsp brown sugar

I play around with ground almonds, a mix of flours ( Buckwheat, wholemeal, plain) , amaretti biscuits, buckwheat grits. I have found I need more butter and flour than the recipe gives to fit my dish. So play around. The base is very forgiving.

Mix the ingredients until the pastry is slightly sticky.

Grease your pie dish and put dollops of pastry into the dish press down firmly and build up the sides to a thickness which you like (don’t make it too thin).

I often make this a couple of hours and up to the day before, seal and put in the fridge until needed.

This is also a good pastry for savoury dishes (without the sugar!)

The apple mix: a mix of apples – granny, gala, fuji. Peel and roughly chop. Cook with a clove, nutmeg and cinnamon until soft with some larger pieces still there. Again this can be done the day before. The flavour seems to improve if left overnight.
When you are ready to put the pie together. Roughly peel a medium sized apple (a red one), quarter and then slice into sections, Line the base of the pie and sprinkle a light mix of cinnamon and sugar over the slices.
Pile the cooked apple over the base.
Top with a sliced apple and the cinnamon/sugar mix. This is the only sugar I use.

Amaretti biscuits are nice to sprinkle over- either over the base or the top.

Cook about 45 mins at 180ºC

I’ve been using this mix since 1981 when I bought ‘Diet for a Small Planet’ in Boston. Sorry I can’t be more exact with measurements. It has been one of those recipes which is great to play with.

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).

  1. Place the apple peels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle it over the peels.
  3. Toss the peels with your hands until evenly coated with the sugar mixture.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, tossing the peels halfway through with a pair of tongs.


Eaten at Vicki’s place, 29 January 2021

For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Dream Cake with Barley & Berries (eaten at Michele’s on 20 March 2020)
by Simon Bajada from The New Nordic
Serves 8–10
Photo: Simon Bajada

Over fifty years ago a lady living in Jutland, Denmark, invented the original recipe for this cake. Her granddaughter named it drømmekage, which means ‘dream cake’, and entered it into a baking competition. The cake won and somehow the news spread like wildfire. It’s now one of the most consumed cakes in Denmark. An ambassador of accessible new Nordic dishes, Mia Irene Kristensen, adapted the cake by substituting the coconut in the original version with barley to make it a little more traditionally ‘Nordic’. The cake is indulgent: a sponge using cream on the base contrasting with a chewy caramel topping! You can use full-cream milk instead of the cream.

300g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
300g caster sugar
90g unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200ml pouring cream
175g fresh or frozen red-or blackcurrants, or blueberries
cream or custard, to serve

180g unsalted butter
60ml full-cream milk
300g soft brown sugar
175g barley flakes or rolled oats
3 teaspoons dark malt, (optional)

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 10 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and fold to combine. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla and cream. Fold in the currants or berries.
Pour the dough into a 20 cm round springform cake tin. (You can use a larger cake tin, but bear in mind to reduce the cooking time.) Bake for 40 minutes, or until the middle of the cake is firm to touch.
About 5 minutes before the cake is ready, make the topping.
Mix together all the ingredients for the topping in a saucepan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring, until it bubbles slightly.
Remove the cake from the oven and increase the temperature to 220°C.
Pour the caramel over the cake then return it to the oven for 5–7 minutes, until you see it set and start to turn dark brown at the edges. Allow the cake to cool in its tin for a few minutes before running a knife around the edge and releasing the springform. Cool and allow the topping to set before cutting into slices. Serve with cream or custard.

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Cheesecake La Vina (eaten at Margie’s on 1 Nov 2019)

Serves 8
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 35 min
7 medium sized eggs
1kg (1000mg) cream cheese
400 grams sugar
500 mls heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 200ºC.
Take out a 25cm springform pan.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the eggs and cream cheese.
To the cream cheese mixture, add the sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract.
Lastly, mix in the flour.
Using a stick blender, blend the cream cheese mixture until it’s completely smooth.
Prepare the springform pan: butter and line the springform pan with parchment paper so that the parchment rises 5-8cm  above the top of the pan. Depending on the size of your parchment paper, it may require a couple sheets.

Pour mixture into pan. Tap the pan on a table to help knock out any air bubbles.
Place on the middle rack in the oven for 30-40 minutes. The cheesecake will look VERY loose when done (see HERE), but don’t panic. As long as the outside looks set, and you see some very light browning, it should be fine.
To brown the top further, place under the griller on high, and watch it carefully. It should take 1-3 minutes to get some nice dark colour.
Take cake out and let it cool to room temperature. The cheesecakes are left out all day. Refrigerating the cheesecake firms it up a little too much.

Making the cheesecake:

la vina cheese
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Total Hands-On Time: 45 min
Preparation Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Carrots’ sweetness makes them popular in North Africa, where the combination of sweet, sour and spicy is used to make some unusually harmonious creations. Here, crushed cooked carrots make a sharp and hot spread perfect with a pile of warm pitas. Increase the harissa if you would like this very hot. I didn’t have any harissa and used my chilli jam.

• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 10 large carrots (2-1/4 pounds), peeled, sliced 3/4-inch-thick
• 1 cup vegetable stock
• Grated zest of 1 orange
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 2 teaspoons harissa paste, or to taste
• Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 cup Greek yogurt
• 3-1/2 tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
• Salt and black pepper

1. Place olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add carrots and sauté 6 minutes, stirring often, until they’re soft and take on colour. Add stock, turn heat to medium-low, cover pan, and cook another 25 minutes, until carrots are completely soft and there is hardly any liquid left.
2. Transfer carrots to food processor, add 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, and blitz to form a coarse paste. Leave to cool, then add orange zest, garlic, harissa, half the lemon zest and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
3. Mix yogurt, lemon juice, remaining lemon zest, and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt.
4. Spread yogurt mixture on a serving platter and spoon carrot mixture on top. Sprinkle with pistachios, drizzle with a little olive oil, and serve.