Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Cornflake tart

I had a trip down memory lane when I visited My Lahore in Birmingham. My Lahore's dessert menu featured old school puddings, puddings if you are in your late 20's early 30s would be served to you in school. Puddings such as jam roly polly, apple crumble and an absolute blast from the past cornflake tart. I haven't sampled corn flake tart for years but when I saw the huge cornflake tart squares in the restaurant I knew I had to recreate this at home. This pudding gave me strong feelings of nostalgia and in my opinion, the golden era of school puddings. I don't think children these days would be served this with the pastry, jam, cornflakes and honey,  as it's far from healthy eating. But it is in fact a comforting pudding. I found a recipe online from Baking Mad for this recipe and the only thing which I changed was that I brought ready made pastry.

The recipe can be found here


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Tiramisu Veloce, Quick Tiramisu

I love an Italian classic dish. When I go to an Italian restaurant I usually order a dessert. Sometimes I'll order a tiramisu or a lovely sharp tart. The best tiramisu I ordered was in Milan, it had the perfect combination of alcohol, sponge fingers, mascarpone cheese and chocolate. As much as I love tiramisu, I've never actually made it at home. Until now, that was in part due to WH Smith selling a number of cookery books, including Jamie's Italian for £3. Flicking through the cookery book I was inspired by a number of desserts but I was eager to try this quick tiramisu. I fancied a quick dessert with minimal effort and this recipe certainly does the trick. The flavour of the coffee and orange zest was strong, but me being a lover of a strong hit, I added a couple of tablespoons of rum which I felt enhanced the flavour. 

15 sponge fingers
285ml pint good strong coffee, freshly brewed
4 tablespoons caster sugar
500g mascarpone
2 vanilla pods
140ml pint vin santo or sweet cherry
zest and juice of 1 orange
100g best-quality dark chocolate

Get yourself a medium deep bowl or dish about 20 to 25 cm/ 8 to 10 inches in diameter and arrange your sponge fingers snugly in layers on top of each other. Sweeten your coffee with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Pour the coffee over the sponge fingers, making sure the top later is completely covered - you'll see the coffee being sucked  up the sponge. Wile that's soaking, put your mascarpone into a bowl and whisk it up with the rest of the sugar.

Score the vanilla pods length ways and scrape the seeds out into the bowl of mascarpone keeping the pods for making vanilla sugar if you want to. Continue whisking and as you do so, drizzle in the vin santo or sherry. You want to get it to a loose, shiny consistency. If it's still too thick you can use a little of the orange juice to loosen it before you squeeze the rest of the juice over the sponge fingers. Smear the vanilla mascarpone over the sponges and either grate over all the chocolate or make shavings using a knife or a peeler. Sprinkle lightly with a little finely grated orange zest and keep in the fridge until you're ready to serve, as it's best serve chilled.


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Quick Fruit Crumble

I'm having a bit of a cookbook cull, sorting through the books I rarely use and treasuring the ones which I use all the time. Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food is one of the oldest cookbooks I  own and one of the bookmarked diet cookbooks that I use. A few lazy Sundays ago, I fancied a warming crumble, but without the calories. It would be impossible to make a pudding with 0 calories, but this crumble is actually very fruity and only contains 240 calories per serving. This crumble is incredibly quick as it uses tinned peaches as the main fruit, but you can swap this for tinned fruit cocktail if you wish. From start to finish this crumble will be ready in around 30 minutes and as it's lighter on the waistline, you could treat yourself to a second helping. 

1 x 420g can peaches in natural juice drained
1 ripe banana, sliced thinly
50g low fat polyunsaturated margarine
100g plain white flour
1 tablespoon light brown soft sugar
2 tablespoons porridge oats
freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/ 190C/ Fan Oven 170C
Tip the canned fruit into a medium size baking dish - chop the fruit if necessary. Mix in the banana sliced.
Place the margarine, flour and sugar in a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the porridge oats. Spoon this topping over the fruit and sprinkle over nutmeg.
Place the dish on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the topping is lightly browned.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

November monthly eatings 2017

Where has the year gone, we are only a few weeks away from Christmas and I can't wait to share some of the Christmas baking I have been up to. But before that, I enjoyed a few meals in November, I hadn't planned to eat out much at all having just returned from Jamaica, but when meals out call ......

Verso Lounge, Stafford

Cedar Lebanese restaurant, Birmingham

Halfpenny Farm, Oldbury

Miller and Carter, Wolverhampton

The Shire Horse, Stafford

Frankies and Bennys 


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Brownie Pudding

I'm a sucker for any pudding which contains chocolate. Smooth, rich and gooey, this brownie pudding is perfect for tantalising your taste buds. I found this incredibly easy to make and even easier to eat. This brownie pudding is more gooey that a normal chocolate brownie and would go well with custard, for those crisp winter nights. 

Brownie Pudding

Brownie Pudding

Recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery, Life is Sweet.

Makes 23x32cm (9x13in) tin, to scoop or serve as desired.

For the pudding
245g plain flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
295g caster sugar
30g cocoa powder
250ml evaporated milk
2tsp vanilla extract
50g butter
200g chopped pecans

For the topping
275g soft light brown sugar
60g cocoa powder
750ml hot water (boil then let cool slightly)

Preheat the oven to 175C (350f), Gas mark 4. Grease the tin with butter. To make the pudding, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cocoa in a bowl.
Using a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand held electric whisk, beat the evaporated milk, vanilla and melted butter into the dry ingredients until smooth. Fold in the pecans by hand and spread the mixture evenly in the tin.
To make the topping, mix the brown sugar and cocoa together and sprinkle over the mixture in the tin. Pour the hot water over the entire pudding.
Bake for 40-45 minutes before serving.


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble

Nothing quite says Spring than a the bright pink, long stalks of the vegetable yet eaten as a fruit, rhubarb. I've always seen think pink hued beauties at my local supermarkets and often passed them to  fruits which I am more familiar with. I really want to cook more with seasonal British fruit and vegetables this year. Fruit and vegetables always taste better when in season and so hopefully I'll be hearing more and more recipes using seasonal ingredients.

The last few weeks was the first time I've ever cooked with rhubarb. The first thing I made was rhubarb crumble, it reminded me school puddings -such fond memories. I noticed, though that when the rhubarb is baked, some of the vibrant pink hue was lost, so when I remade this, I added an early seasonal bunch of strawberries to add further sweetness. The end result is a rich, fruity and comforting crumble which will keep you satisfied from Spring to Summer.

4 x rhubarb, cut into 2cm thick
75g demeara sugar
150g plain flour
50g oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
25g margarine (e.g stork)
250g strawberries, hulls removed and cut in half.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5. Place the rhubarb in a pie or oven dish, sprinkle the brown sugar over the rhubarb and roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, add the flour, oats, cinnamon and margarine. Using your fingers mix together - the idea is to have finer pieces of crumble, alongside some large clumps.
Remove the rhubarb from the oven, add the strawberries and gently mix with the rhubarb. Place the crumble on top and bake in the oven on the top shelf for between 35-40 minutes.


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Pirlos Dessert Lounge Review

Restaurants specialising in desserts seem to be popping everywhere at the moment, they seem to be the latest trends in the food world. Believe it or not, I have not visited a dessert restaurant before and a few years ago, this notion of a restaurant dedicated to solely desserts, puddings and naughty treats would be unthinkable. There's quite a few dessert places around at the moment and a recent addition to Birmingham city is Pirlo's in Digbeth. My cousin and I visited on a Saturday lunchtime to replace the usual sandwich with a waffle, ice-cream or brownies. The restaurant is relatively large with a combination of sofa style seating area. There is a large counter with ice-creams and desserts on offer. We were seated and quickly presented the menu. 

To kick things off, we ordered a milkshake, mine was an oreo and my cousins was a strawberry milkshake. I was pleasantly surprised that my oreo milkshake (£3.95) contained large chunks of oreo, lashings of creamy and ice-cream and chocolate. Wonderful. My cousins strawberry milkshake (£3.95) was rich and creamy and had a burst of strawberries. 

For the main event, my cousin and I ordered waffles. I chose the Pirlo's Super Special, containing Ferreo Rocher, Strawberries, Bananas and two scoops of ice-cream, I chose vanilla and chocolate (£6.95). My cousin ordered the Create Your Own (£8.95) choosing Strawberries, Banana, Nutella Sauce and Strawberry ice-cream. I thought the waffles would be similar to how I make waffles at home using my waffle maker, how wrong was I. The Waffles were huge, something out of Man vs Food. Presented beautifully, the waffles was decorated with the topping and large scoops of ice cream. I dived straight in. Light fluffy, crispy and chewy waffles with a selection of sweet toppings. I think if I were to visit again, I would share one waffle between two people as I ended up taking half back with me (but I suppose that's not a bad thing as you have dessert for the following day). 

I visited in the early afternoon and we were initially the only customers there, I would have like more of an atmosphere. My cousin assured me though that most people visit dessert lounges in the even. If that's the case I now know where I will be heading for dessert after a meal out.

Positives: Delicious desserts, great location and large portion sizes 
Negatives: As stated, I would have liked more of an atmosphere.

Disclaimer: I attended Pirlos as a guest, as always all opinions are my own. 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Rum and Raisin Cheesecake

Finally, a post which is sweet, but not a cake. I am challenging myself this year, to at the very least, not bake a cake so often and explore other sweet bakes. This is the first of a non-cake sweet bake: Rum and Raisin Cheesecake. If my memory is correct, this cheesecake was made by Jo Wheatley from Season 2 of The Great British Bake Off. I loved the combination of rum and raisins in-cooperated in a luxurious, rich and delicious cheesecake. This recipe has been on my bake list for 3 years (I know its such a long time), so one lazy Saturday, I had a sudden change of heart and instead of making my usual chocolate cake, I decided on making this cheesecake. 
I feel as though I have slightly robbed myself as making a cheesecake was incredibly easy and for relative simpleness, the results are beautiful. I loved the slight ferociousness that the rum brought to this cheesecake, alongside the sweet and plump raisins, made this a wonderful dessert. I had to tear my way from the cheesecake after the third slice .......
Here is how my Rum and Raisin Cheesecake turned out:
Rum and Raisin Cheesecake.

Rum and Raisin Cheesecake.

Rum and Raisin Cheesecake.

Rum and Raisin Cheesecake in the making. 

Rum and Raisin Cheesecake baked.
Recipe for Rum and Raisin Cheesecake.

Serves 6 -8
10 digestive biscuits
50g unsalted butter,  melted
600g full fat cream cheese
2 tbsp plain flour
175g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
285ml soured cream
40g large raisins,  soaked overnight in 2tbsp rum,  then drained.

1 x 20.5cm spring clip tin,  greased;  a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Crush the biscuits in a food processor,  then mix with the butter.  Press onto the base and halfway up the sides of the prepared tin. Bake for 5 minutes,  then cool.
Using an electric mixer on low speed,  beat the cream cheese with the flour,  sugar,  vanilla,  eggs,  egg yolk and half the soured cream until thoroughly combined.  Don't let the mixture becomes frothy as this will spoil the creamy, even texture of the cheesecake. Stir in the raisins reserving a few for decoration,  if you like. 
Pour the mixture into the tin on top of the biscuit base. Set the tin on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Stir the remaining soured cream,  then carefully pour it over the top of the cheesecake. The top will still be fragile so if you need to spread the soured cream,  do this gently.  Bake for a further 15 minute or until the cheesecake is set but still slightly wobbly in the centre.
Remove from the oven and run a round bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the cheesecake. Leave to cool in the tin,  then cover and chill overnight before unmoulding for serving and scattering with the reserved raisins. 

I am sharing this recipe to a couple of blogging challenges, the first from Ness at JibberJabber this months theme is It's In The Book  and I was very inspired by the Great British Bake Off Book. 

I'm also sharing this with Jac from Tinned Tomatoes who hosts a monthly challenge Bookmarked Recipes , this months these is vegetarian and vegan bookmarked recipes. 

Dom from Belleau Kitchen  who is hosting a new monthly challenge called Simply Eggcellent, this month's theme is just to use a recipe that contains free-range eggs, which my cheesecake does, so qualifies.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Peachy Keens Birmingham Restaurant Review.

I used to be such a huge fan of "All You Can Eat" restaurants , if you asked me a few years ago what was my favourite restaurant, I would instantly respond with a couple of well-known Chinese restaurants in Wolverhampton "The Imperial" and "Wing Wah". These days, I tend to not visit all you can eats as often as I used to, due to a combination of other  types of restaurants are on my to visit list but I always welcome the opportunity to visit All You Can Eat restaurants, or as they are known today "World Buffet", so when Peachy Keens asked me to review their Birmingham branch , I happily accepted.
Peachy Keens

Located 5 miles south of Birmingham City Centre, this restaurant is located off the A45 road and is visibly noticeable from the main road. The building is a former pub, this is instantly noticeable from the outer building and in parts, the inside decor. There is two large seating areas, which is perfect for hosting large groups of parties or work functions, on my visit there were several people celebrating birthday parties. I also observed a private function room, which would be perfect for birthday parties.

The most important element of any restaurant is the food. Peachy Keens prides itself on having several Live Cooking Stations; I observed a Chinese, Italian and Pancake cooking station. There were also several types of starter and main courses from a variety of cuisines such as: Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian and Mexican. I also observed a section which serves English Cuisine, many a plates had roast beef, Yorkshire puddings and Shepherd pie, I was quite surprised but many people had yorkies on their plate! There was also a section which included a large amount of salad recipes and of course no World Buffet would be complete without a wide selection of desserts including the obligatory chocolate fountain.
Let's discuss the food further. I sampled a selection of Chinese and Indian Starters, including prawn crackers, crispy seaweed, salt and pepper squid, spring rolls and chicken wings. All the dishes I samples were piping hot (which is something that is not always the case at buffet restaurants), I particularly enjoyed the spingrolls and the seaweed, which was crispy and incredibly moreish.  
Starters - Peachy Keens. 

Starters Peachy Keens. 

Starters Peachy Keens. 

Starters Peachy Keens. 

Starters Peachy Keens. 

For the main event, I usually have a plan of action sticking to primarily Indian dishes, but for review purposes I felt it was necessary to sample a Live Cooking Station and what better dish to sample than a teppanyaki. I was incredibly impressed with the selection of items that you could chose to make your teppanyaki such as: chicken, beef, prawns, mushrooms, bean sprouts and egg noodles. There was a selection of sauces such as Black Bean, Sweet and Sour and Shanghai, which I chose and was gloriously hot.
Teppanyaki work station.

Teppanyaki Work Station. 

I loved how you could watch the chefs as they prepare your evening meal, the flames went up super high and the teppanyaki was made in minutes. Not content with having a healthy (ish) teppanyaki, I had to sample some of the classic Chinese dishes such as Sweet and Sour Chicken and Egg Fried Rice, I particularly enjoyed the sweet and sour chicken, not overly sweet which I liked.

I felt I could not leave this restaurant without sampling the large, incredibly large selection of desserts. Desserts such as Galab Jambu, Chocolate Brownies and Tiramisu, alongside a chocolate fountain and marshmallows.


There were numerous attentive staff which I feel is imperative with a busy restaurant serving a large amount of foods. The staff that served me were friendly and I was shown around the different work station as being new to the restaurant, this was incredibly helpful.

Value for money
Prices start from £6.99 for adult lunch and £12.99 for the evening meal.

A great restaurant for those who enjoy good value for money and trying a variety of cuisines under one roof. This is an ideal restaurant for families and small children will be impressed by the selection of desserts.  A family member who dined at the restaurant with me is looking forward to going back.

A large selection of Live Cooking Stations for those who fancy a healthier meal.

I feel this restaurant is let down by the location and may be out the way for some.

This restaurant gets a 3.5 star rating by Food Glorious Food.

Food Glorious Food Restaurant rating index.
5 Star - Excellent: loved the food, loved the restaurant, loved the service, Already booked my next visit.
4 Star - Overall good: food was delicious will visit soon.
3 Star - Average: food was nice, but improvements can be made. No rush to return.
2 Star - Below average: nothing special, in no rush to visit again.
1 Star - Inadequate: Do not go, you have been warned.

Disclaimer: My meal at Peachy Keens were complimentary, as always all opinons are my own.

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