If there had to be a cake that I could not live without, it would be this Vanilla Cake. It is plain and simple, has the finest, most delicate crumb and can be dressed up or down with icing, cream, fresh fruit, steamed fruit or a compote. Whichever way you choose to eat yours, I hope this becomes one of your very favourite cakes too! Please note: THERE ARE DIFFERENT BAKING TIMES DEPENDING ON WHETHER YOU BAKE THE CAKE IN ONE OR TWO CAKE TINS.
Preheat your oven to 180℃ and spray two 22cm loose-bottom cake tins and line the base and sides with baking paper. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a mixing bowl and whisk to mix through. Add the eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed for 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the sugar with the mixer still running. Now beat on high speed until the mixture is three times its original volume – about 7 minutes or so. Scatter a third of the flour on the surface and mix on the lowest speed until the flour is just incorporated. Keep going until there is no flour left. Add the butter and milk to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is warm when you put your finger in it. NB: you want the butter to melt but NOT boil the milk! Pour the milk-mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and vegetable oil and whisk through with a hand whisk. Add about 250ml of the egg and flour mixture and vigorously whisk to combine. The batter must be smooth. Turn the mixer on to a low speed and very slowly pour in the milk mixture. Scrape down the sides and base of the bowl. Beat on low speed for 20 seconds. Divide the batter between the prepared cake tins. Lift each tin 5cm from the work surface and drop it – repeat a few times to knock out the large air bubbles. Place the cake tins in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and cool in the tins for 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks and removing the baking paper. Leave to cool completely before filling with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
Preheat your oven to 190℃. Place an ovenproof saucepan on medium-high heat, add the oil and butter and add the bacon. Fry until cooked and starting to turn crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving behind the fat. Add the onion to the saucepan and cook until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Add the rice, stock, 60g butter, pumpkin and cooked bacon to the saucepan and stir together. Cover with a lid/aluminium foil and bake for 45 minutes, until the rice is soft. Remove from the oven and stir in the parmesan. Taste and season with salt and pepper.|Sprinkle over the parsley and serve.
1 x 400g tin chickpeas 240g chocolate 10ml sesame seeds
Preheat your oven to 180℃ and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Rinse the chickpeas under running water and spread them out on a kitchen towel. Place another towel on top and dry the chickpeas. Spread them out on the prepared baking sheet and spray them with cooking spray. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, giving them a shake every now and then so that they bake evenly. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Break up the chocolate and add it to a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan with barely simmering water. Allow to melt. Pour the chocolate over the chickpeas and scatter the sesame seeds over. Refrigerate until set, about an hour. Break into shards.
250ml rolled oats 30ml chia seeds 45ml cocoa powder, sifted 45ml honey 80ml milk 125ml coffee, room temperature 2,5ml vanilla a pinch of salt Top layer: 150ml greek yoghurt 30ml honey cocoa powder to dust
Add the oats, chia seeds, cocoa powder, honey, milk, coffee, vanilla and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk together for 1 minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Prepare the top layer by stirring together the yoghurt, honey and vanilla. Spoon half the oats into two serving glasses and top with half the yoghurt mixture. Repeat the oats layer and then top it off with the yoghurt layer. Dust an even layer of cocoa powder on top to serve.
Place a saucepan on medium-high heat. Pour in the chicken stock, add the salt and bring to the boil. Slowly pour in the polenta while whisking. Keep whisking until there are no more lumps. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, while still whisking, until the polenta thickens. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook for a further 30 minutes. Whisk every 5 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter and parmesan. Cover the polenta with a lid and stand for a final 5 minutes before serving.
200g chorizo, casing removed and sliced 45ml butter 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced in discs 2 onions, sliced 1 x 400g frozen puff pastry 4 eggs 125g sour cream 50g parmesan cheese, grated 15ml flour 5ml smoked paprika
Preheat your oven to 200℃ and spray a 22cm diameter loose-bottom pie tin with baking spray. Place a pan on medium-high heat and add the butter. Add the chorizo, leeks and onion and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll the pastry into a 25cm diameter disc. Line the prepared pie tin (base and sides) with the pastry and prick the base all over with the tines of a fork. Line the pastry case with baking paper and dry beans/rice and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake the shell for another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 180℃. Add the eggs, sour cream, parmesan, flour and paprika to a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth. Spoon the chorizo mixture into the pastry shell and spread it evenly over the base. Pour the egg mixture over and bake the quiche for 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
A sweet omelet may be a strange/unusual idea but this traditional omelet with vanilla and fresh berries will surprise and delight your tastebuds!
3 eggs, separated 30ml + 30ml sugar 1ml + 1ml salt 45ml flour 125ml cream 2,5ml vanilla 80ml strawberry/raspberry jam fresh berries icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat your oven to 220℃ and line the base of a 22cm loose-bottom cake tin with baking paper. Spray with cooking spray and set aside. Add the egg whites to a mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Add the egg yolks, 30ml sugar and 1ml salt to a separate mixing bowl. Beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes until you have a very thick, very pale mixture that falls from the whisk in ribbons. Fold a third of the egg whites into the mixture, add the rest and fold in until just combined. Sift the flour over and fold in with a metal spoon until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and gently smooth the top. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. The omelet should be fluffy and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. Add the cream, vanilla, 30ml sugar and 1ml salt to a mixing bowl and whisk until medium-stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until needed. Remove the omelet from the oven and remove the ring of the cake tin. Invert the omelet onto a plate and gently peel off the baking paper. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread the jam on half the omelet. Spread the cream over the jam and sprinkle over the fresh berries. Gently fold the omelet over. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
If you dont like the slightly bitter aftertaste of tahini paste in hummus, this is the recipe for you. Made from macadamia nut-butter (any nut-butter is good) it produces a buttery, soft hummus with a delicious umami taste.
1 x 400g can chickpeas 60ml nut butter (I use the Babylonstoren Macadamia nut butter but you may use any variation that appeals to you) 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 30ml lemon juice 2,5ml salt
Drain the chickpeas and place in a liquidiser/cup of a stick blender. Add the nut butter, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Blitz together until smooth. Serve as a dip with crispy vegetable sticks or simply slosh it onto a cracker or fresh slice of bread. PS: I sprinkled sunflower and chia seeds on the hummus to add another layer of taste.
1 litre vegetable stock 30ml olive oil 30ml butter 1 onion, finely diced 3 cloves of garlic, minced 2 x 400g cans of chopped tomato 45ml tomato puree 125ml white wine 250ml arborio rice 45ml grated parmesan cheese and more for serving 125ml basil leaves, finely chopped
Pour the stock in a small saucepan and heat it over a medium-low heat until just barely simmering. Place a wide, heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the two cans of tomato and the tomato puree and cook for 15 minutes, until the mixture looks concentrated. Add the white wine and cook for another 10 minutes or so to allow most of the moisture to evaporate. Pour in the rice and stir to coat in the tomato mixture. Add two ladles of stock to the saucepan while simmering. Adjust the heat accordingly and stir continuously. Once the mixture starts to look dry again, add another two ladles of stock. Keep going, repeating the process, until the rice is el dente. Turn off the heat and add the parmesan cheese and basil. Stir through. Serve the risotto immediately with extra parmesan to grate over.
This recipe makes 12 muffins but can easily be doubled. You may also keep the batter in the refrigerator for a week. Be sure to take the batter out and leave it at room temperature for 40 minutes BEFORE baking. They store really well in a sealed container.
50ml + 200ml buttermilk 6ml bicarbonate of soda
375ml bran 125ml boiling water 60ml butter, melted 190ml brown sugar 1 egg, beaten 160ml flour 160ml wholewheat flour 2ml salt 125ml grated carrot 125ml pecan nuts, roughly chopped
Preheat your oven to 220℃ and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cups. Pour the 50ml buttermilk into a small bowl, sprinkle in the bicarbonate of soda and stir to dissolve. Set aside. Add the bran to a large mixing bowl and pour over the boiling water. Stir through. Drizzle over the melted butter and stir together. Now add the brown sugar, egg and 200ml buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk and bicarb into the mixture and stir through.|Add the flour, wholewheat flour, salt, grated carrot and nuts and mix together. Divide the mixture between the paper cups and bake for 20 minutes. Cool the muffins on a wire rack and keep stored in an airtight container.