#HBBakeOff with Ugne, Holland & Barratt

If you follow @SpamellaB or I on Twitter / Instagram / Facebook you will probably be aware that we went to a rather excellent food event this Sunday just gone.

It was a Holland and Barratt ‘free-from’ bake off, hosted by no other than Ugne – who was one of the stars of this years’ Great British Bake-off series.

Getting excited on the train down to London, my good friend Pamela and I chatted the whole journey, all about our excitement for the event, the fear of losing and baking in front of so many other bloggers, and wondered what Ugne herself would be like. Oh, and we took loads of selfies… Of course 🙂

Travel was fairly fuss-free, so when we arrived to Cactus Kitchen in North Clapham, a quick tour of the building and we were ready to meet the team and get stuck in. Everyone else was already there (OK, so our train was 20 mins late) so we set about with quick introductions – then straight to the kitchens upstairs to get baking.

The place itself is beautiful, quaint and quicky whilst also having some really impressive facilities and swanky kitchen gadgets. I’d expect nothing less from the legendary Michel Roux Jnr’s London based cookery school! We learnt that the place was also the set of Saturday Kitchen from BBC1, a show I watch almost religiously at home – so it was straight behind the scenes to get a few photos in. The lovely staff were happy to let us pose and even offered to take the photos for us!

The kitchen upstairs was out of this world. A beautiful, airy space in the loft of the building with high ceilings and stunning exposed beams painted in the cutest, pale, duck-egg blue shade.

The surfaces were polished, natural wood and all our ingredients were set out before us. Complete with Cactus Kitchen aprons and our own name tags to mark our individual workspace.

Ugne was warm, friendly and seemed as excited as we were. She told us about how she loved free-from cooking as she is passionate about baking with a healthy twist, saying that baking such beautiful, tasty treats shouldn’t always be full of fat, sugar, dairy and gluten/wheat.

We were baking an Apple, Pear and Cranberry cake – a Holland and Barrett recipe that Ugne was to judge at the end. Baking was a lot more relaxed than we had first imagined, with some bloggers less experienced than others. It was soon apparent that this was all just a bit of fun, although our competitiveness was quite difficult to suppress at times!

Cheshire Food Blogger
Time for a quick selfie with Ugne in the midst of baking!

Whilst our bakes cooled – we were treated to a fabulous ‘free from’ lunch. Everything on the spread was gluten and wheat free and much of it was also dairy and sugar free too. It was all delicious, particularly the avocado and quinoa salad and the stunning cheese that was served with pickles and chutneys. There was also sliced ham, hummus, tortilla chips and various tasty salads that were all truly outstanding. Ugne of course joined us for lunch, and it was great to be able to ask her questions and enjoy her company whilst we covered all topics from food, weddings, blogging and GBBO.

After lunch, it was back upstairs to put the finishing touches to our free-from bakes and get a demonstration from Ugne as she baked her Apricot, Chestnut and Coffee Cake that was soaked in a little rum, but was free from gluten, wheat, dairy and refined sugar. It was great to see Ugne in action, she’s very clearly a natural at baking and it was a privilege to see her talk through the recipe and have the opportunity to ask questions. We got to taste her bake at the end and it was stunning.

And so for the finale – judging our free from bakes! Ugne was tasked with trying all 8 of the bakes individually. They had been set out in front of her by the staff at Cactus Kitchen, as to not reveal the identity of the bakers…… It was a tense few moments as Ugne carefully considered each bite, commenting on the pros and cons of each cake (in the nicest way possible – not in any way like Paul Hollywood does on the Bake Off!

It was clear to see Ugne found it tricky to pick, all the bakes were pretty good (well, most!) and after much deliberation a winner was picked for the prize. Sadly, it wasn’t Pam or I this time – although we did get some absolutely cracking feedback (including Ugne grabbing my face with both hands and telling me my cake was beautiful!) I will certainly be baking more free-from treats in the future as I thought they tasted fantastic. It was great to experiment with new ingredients under such expert supervision!

Overall, this was one of the best food events I have been to yet. Meticulously organised, great staff and Ugne herself was the true star baker. I feel really privileged to have met such a nice woman and I think we can all expect to see great things from her in the future!

Cheshire Food Blogger
Presenting her own TV show one day…..? She’s a natural 🙂

Here’s a few more snaps from the day. And a massive thanks to the organisers Jade and Manisha for doing such an excellent job!

Cheshire Food Blogger
Katie, one of the other bloggers who was baking next to me topped her cake with a chocolate ganache and cashew butter! <3
Cheshire Food Blogger
It’s all in the detail….
Cheshire Food Blogger
Food bloggers doin’ what they do best……
Cheshire Food Blogger
I could get used to this 🙂 on the set of Saturday Kitchen! And sporting the festive jumper…
Cheshire Food Blogger
OK, just one more selfie…. 🙂

Tahini Lemon Biscuits

You might have noticed I don’t really bake that much. I’ve featured some pretty impressive guest-posts by way of showcasing some brilliant bakes, like when I made this lush Raspberry & Coconut Cake with my friend Cee, or when Pamela made these gorgeous Ginger Cakes with Spiced Lemon Cream as a guest recipe. Very yum indeed.

Inspired by last week’s #GBBO biscuits theme, I thought I would get my bake-on again and rustled these little beauties up. I must say, it’s one of the easiest and most delightful recipes I have ever followed. Thanks to the lovely Ruby Tandoh (finalist of the Great British Bake Off, 2013), as I found it in her book “CRUMB” which I got for my birthday earlier this year.

This is the second recipe I’ve made from her book, which is very well laid out, the recipes are simple, easy to follow and the photography is plain and moody, which I like. The balance between the lemon and tahini is delicious, the tahini is delicate, nutty and it’s bitterness is wonderfully offset by the sugar and the mild zing from the lemon zest. In her own words; “The result is a delicate biscuit, as tender as shortbread but without the heaviness.” They really are gorgeous.

Not sure if this counts as a , but I thought I’d share the recipe with you on the blog, as they are so lovely. Makes about 24.

What you need:

  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 120g tahini
  • 120g caster or granulated sugar, I used caster
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 240g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 180°c/fan 160°c/gas mark 4 and line a large baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment.

Cream the butter, tahini and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then mix in the lemon zest. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mashing gently under the back of a spoon to combine.

Cheshire Food Blog
Cream the butter, sugar and tahini

Roll out 24 conker-size balls from the mixture and space them apart on the baking tray. Pat each ball down to a flattish disc, about 1cm thick. It doesn’t matter in the slightest if the biscuits have little cracks around the edge. You can use a fork at this point to make lines or a crosshatch pattern on the top of the biscuits.

Cheshire Food Blog
Let the biscuits cool on the baking tray, before transferring to a rack

Bake for 12-15 minutes; the edges should be golden brown. The biscuits will be very crumbly when first baked but leave them on the tray and they will become firmer as they cool. Once cold, transfer them to a wire rack.

Cheshire Food Blog
Lemon Tahini Biscuits <3

Ollie's Mulberry and Apple Jam

Morning Campers!

I’ve not treated you to one of these for a while, a lovely guest post plus special recipe, this time from Ollie Nuttall – Head Chef at Cheerbrook Farm Shop & Butchers in Nantwich, Cheshire. A local lad born and bred in the Nantwich area, Ollie started cheffing in his early teens and has learnt some of his craft whilst working in various well-rated establishments across Cheshire. He worked as sous-chef at Brunning & Price’s Old Hall in Sandbach and then went on to work at Cheshire Cat Pub Co.’s The Three Greyhounds, in Allostock, Knutsford. Both pubs serve delicious, creative, comforting classics that are consistently well-executed and both in absolutely gorgeous settings.

Being on the creative side of the academic spectrum, and with a passion for food that shone through from an early age, Ollie decided to pursue a career as a chef to follow his ambition. When I met up with Ollie to find out more about why he loves what he does (and to try his delicious jam) he was quick to tell me that no two days are the same. The job is always keeping him on his toes; coming up with new recipe creations based on the freshest, seasonal produce Cheshire has to offer and serving them up in the idyllic setting of Nantwich.

This recipe is fresh from the fruit in his garden – juicy mulberries and big cooking apples. As they were ripe and ready, he wasted no time in turning them into this scrumptious jam which is perfect on scones or even just a slice of toast. He admits, this is not something he’d usually make, but as it’s a great way to use up what nature’s provided (and save money on future pots of jam!) he thought, why not. It only cost £4 for the sugar, and 30p for the lemon the only gadget you might need to make the perfect jam is a big heavy saucepan and a jam thermometer

This recipe takes about 1 hour and makes about 2.5kg (5 lb) of jam, or 6 jars full.

What you need:

  • 1.5kg (3 lb) mulberries, washed
  • 600ml (1 pint) water
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 500g (1 lb) cooking apples (prepared weight), peeled, cored & sliced
  • 1.75kg (3.8 lb) jam sugar
  • A knob of butter

What to do:

  1. Wash 6 largish jam jars, and place on a tray in the middle of the oven at 100°c to sterilise them. Leave them in the oven at this heat, until the jam is ready.
  2. Place the mulberries in a preserving pan (large heavy based saucepan) with half the water and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until soft and pulpy.
  3. Place the prepared apples, lemon juice and zest in a separate pan with the remaining water, and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the apples to the mulberries in the preserving pan, and stir in the sugar.
  5. Continue stirring until all the sugar is dissolved, then add the knob of butter.
  6. Boil the jam for 10-30mins and use a jam thermometer to test the temperature (It could take longer than 30mins)
  7. Test for a set using the jam thermometer, and when setting point is reached, take it off the heat and remove the top layer using a slotted spoon.
  8. Remove the jars from the oven, and divide the jam into them equally then add the lids.

Do you have any fresh fruit growing in the garden, which you could turn into jam? Gooseberries are in season at this time of year, as well as red currants, blueberries and cherries!

Let me know if you’re making a jam this summer and use the hashtag #sophiesscran to show me your creations.

Follow Ollie on Instagram here for more food ideas and recipe inspiration.

Ollie's Mulberry & Apple Jam <3
Ollie’s Mulberry & Apple Jam <3

Cee’s Raspberry & Coconut Cake

As you know, this weekend my good friend Charlotte (Cee, for short) came to stay with me, and we went on a bit of a foodie marathon! If you read my previous post you will know that Charlotte spent the last couple of years living in Australia and working as a deckhand/cook on various different fishing boats. It was her job to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole crew – including snacks to tide them over during the long and gruelling working hours. What a woman!

Having pretty much made ‘a cake a day’ for 14 months, it’s clear her baking skills have improved vastly and she even adapted some of her own recipes. Being in a very male-dominated environment during her time at sea, she admits, she didn’t always make the stuff that she liked best – as she had to please the majority. Now she’s back on dry land in the UK, I asked her what she felt like baking and it was this – her Raspberry & Coconut Cake, which ultimately the lads on deck just found a little bit too ‘girly’). After all, it is pink, white and very pretty!

Yesterday, we spent the day shopping for ingredients in and around the Knutsford area, then got to work in the kitchen. Cee’s recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare and 50 minutes to bake in the oven. You will need some parchment paper and a baking tin approximately 23cm squared.

What you need:

  • 250g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 55g hazelnuts, ground up to a fine powder (in a food processor or using a pestle and mortar)
  • 150 frozen raspberries

For the coconut topping;

  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 15g dessicated coconut
The cake mixture, with the frozen raspberries on top
With the coconut topping, sprinkled on top
Fresh out of the oven, Cee’s Raspberry & Coconut Cake! <3

What to do:

  1. Position a shelf in the centre of the oven, and preheat to 180°C. Grease your baking tray and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time until just combined.
  3. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the flours and hazelnut powder. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin, and sprinkle evenly with the frozen raspberries.
  4. To make the coconut topping, combine the flour and sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter, then stir in the coconut.
  5. Spread the coconut topping evenly over the cake mixture and raspberries in the tin.
  6. Bake at 180°C for about 50 minutes. Stand the cake for 5 minutes after baking, then turn onto a wire cooling rack. Turn the cake upside down to cool.

This mixture should make about 12 squares of cake!

Salted Caramel & Popcorn Cake, by The Cake Duchess

After the success of being featured in the wonderful Great British Cookbook, the Cake Duchess has literally been swept off her feet with orders for her wonderfully decadent and stunningly decorated cakes – which seem perfect for any occasion.

One look at her Instagram account and you will be drooling; instantly craving one of her sweet little treats,  so lovingly hand-crafted,  decorated to absolute perfection and using the finest of ingredients. There was one little beauty, however, which caught my eye more than any of the others – and that was her mighty Salted Caramel and Popcorn Cake. It, looks, to, DIE, FOR! Wouldn’t you agree?!

Well, the lady herself, (also know as Amy Vyse, from Nottingham) was good enough to share her secret recipe, and here’s what she had to say about it:

“This recipe is for my famous, best-selling cake  ‘Salted Caramel & Popcorn Cake.’ The cake consists of layers of caramel sponge, filled and coated with a salted caramel buttercream, then topped with a caramel drizzle and of course, popcorn! What more could you want from a cake!!”

I am really happy to share this wonderful recipes and exclusive photos with you on my blog. If you try this cake – please make sure to tag @TheCakeDuchess and @SophiesScran on twitter – and use the comments at the bottom of the page to let us know what you think! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • Butter for greasing
  • 7 medium free range eggs
  • 430g caster sugar
  • 400g butter
  • 430g self raising flour
  • 1 x 395g tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 100g sweet popcorn
  • Edible Glitter (optional)

For the Buttercream

  • 240g butter softened
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 100g caramel (see recipe below)
  • Pinch of salt

As this is a long and complex recipe, we have split it into chronological sections to make it simple to follow!

Method:

1.  Making the Caramel

To begin you need to start by Making the Caramel. Now of course, there is quick and a long method to making caramel – either buy it premade from a shop or follow the recipe below. It is fine if you chose either, but below is the most satisfying by a long way!

  • Remove the label from the unopened tin of condensed milk. Fill a deep pan with water and bring to boil. Carefully place the tin into the pan, making sure there is enough water to completely cover it at all times, keep topping up the water when necessary. Gently simmer for 3 hours.
  • When the 3 hours is up, remove the tin from the water and allow to cool completely before opening. When you peel back the lid, there is nothing better than the sight you are greeted with – thick, gooey, indulgent caramel!

caramel

2.  Now for the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 150* and grease 2 x 6” (15cm) round cake tins with butter. Line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
  • Place the butter and sugar in bowl and mix on high speed until light and fluffy.
  • Break the eggs into a separate bowl, ensuring no egg shells spoil your batter, (we will add some texture later!)
  • On a low speed, mix the eggs into the sugar and butter mixture and beat until all is combined. If your mixture looks like it has curdled add a small spoonful of flour.  Once combined, sift flour into the mixture and beat until smooth.
  • Now add 200g of the beautiful caramel, and gently fold into the mixture until you have a lovely evenly coloured batter.
  • Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake to stand for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

cake

 

photo 4 (2)

3.  For the Buttercream

  • Cream the butter until soft, and mix in the icing sugar – remember to turn the mixer down when adding icing sugar, or you will end up with a snowstorm effect in your kitchen 😉
  • Once combined and stiff, add the caramel and pinch of salt and mix well.

photo 4 (3)

4. Time to Ice

  • When the cake has completely cooled you have two options, you can skim the tops off of your two sponges and leave them whole, or you can cut them again to give the cake 4 layers instead of 2.
  • Once decided, place your cake on a cake board or plate and spread a spoonful of the buttercream on each layer. Add the next layer and repeat – until you reach your top layer.
  • Next, we need to ‘crumb coat’ the cake. This is to seal in any stray crumbs, and create a smooth surface to the cake. A second layer will then be applied for a perfectly smooth finish.
  • Spoon a large dollop of buttercream onto your cake, and smooth over the top of it with your palette knife or cake scraper. The Cake Duchess swears by her cake scraper, and says you can pick one up for about £4 at your local Hobbycraft or cake decorating shop. 
  • Slowly scrape the surface to make sure you have a perfectly smooth and flat top.
  • Spread the icing around the sides of the cake and use your choice of utensil to make sure it’s smooth.
  • Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, then repeat and leave for another 30 minutes.
  • Once the cake is chilled, remove from fridge and place the remaining caramel into a piping bag (if you don’t have a piping bag you can use a sandwich/food bag by snipping off the corner).
  • Slowly, around the top edge of your cake, pipe the caramel so it creates a lovely ‘dripped’ effect down the sides of the cake.
  • To finish, top with popcorn pieces and sprinkle with a little edible glitter!

Salted Caramel & Popcorn Cake

There you have it! The Cake Duchess’s famous Salted Caramel & Popcorn Cake. DIVINE! 

Amy would love to see your finished cakes, so please make sure you tag @the_cakeduchess on Twitter, @thecakeduchessnotts on Instagram if you make this amazing celebration cake!!

With Love, Sophie & The Cake Duchess -x-


 

Recipe: Smoked Chilli Chocolate Brownies with Tabasco Chipotle

Finally, here is my dessert course for the Tabasco #FunWithFlavour challenge! As you know, I am not the best at baking (a little out of practice, as I usually focus on savoury dishes). So for my Tabasco dessert recipe, I adapted a standard chocolate brownie recipe from the BBC Good Food website, and they turned out a treat!

Smoked Chilli Chocolate Brownies with Tabasco Chipotle
Smoked Chilli Chocolate Brownies with Tabasco Chipotle

The recipe takes about 1 hour in total, and makes 16 squares of brownie. You’ll also need a brownie tin, approx. 20cm by 20cm works best.

What you need:

  • 185g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 185g best quality dark chocolate
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 100g milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks (for chocolate chips)
  • 4 tsp Tabasco Chipotle
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar

What to do:

  1. Cut 185g unsalted butter into small cubes and tip into a medium bowl. Break the 185g of best quality dark chocolate into small pieces and add to the same bowl. Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, then sit the bowl on top so it rests on the rim of the pan, not touching the water. Put over a low heat until the butter and chocolate have melted, stirring occasionally to mix. Once melted and combined, remove the bowl from the pan and leave the mixture to cool to room temperature.
  2. While you wait for the chocolate to cool, position a shelf in the middle of the oven and turn on to 160C Fan, 180C conventional or Gas mark 4. Coat your 20cm square tin with butter and add a some flour – tapping the tin and turning it on each side until the inside of the pan is completely coated in a very thin layer of butter then flour (this will help prevent the brownies sticking). Alternatively you could line the pan with greaseproof paper.
  3. Next, sieve 85g plain flour, 40g cocoa powder and the 1 tsp cinnamon into a medium bowl (to get rid of any lumps).
  4. Break 3 large eggs and 275g golden caster sugar into a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on maximum speed, whisk the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy, like a milk shake. This can take 5-8 minutes, depending on how powerful your mixer is. You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture becomes really pale and about double its original volume.
  5. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture from earlier over the eggy mousse, then gently fold together with a rubber spatula. Continue folding in a ‘figure of eight’ motion, moving the bowl round after each fold, until the two mixtures are one. The idea is to marry them without knocking out the air, so be as gentle and slow as you like – you don’t want to undo all the work you did in step 4.
  6. Hold the sieve over the bowl of eggy chocolate mixture and resift the cocoa/flour/cinnamon mixture in, shaking the sieve from side to side to cover the top evenly. Add the 4 tsp of Tabasco Chipotle sauce. Gently fold in the sieved powder using the same ‘figure of eight’ action as before. The mixture will look dry and dusty at first, but if you keep going gently and patiently, it will end up looking gungy and fudgy. Stop just before you feel you should, as you don’t want to overdo the mixing.
  7. Stir in the milk chocolate chunks until they’re dotted throughout.
  8. Pour all of the mixture into the prepared tin, ensuring it is level. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, open the oven, pull the shelf out a bit and gently shake the tin. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it’s not quite done, so slide it back in and bake for another 5 minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin. Take out of the oven.
  9. Leave the whole thing in the tin until completely cold. Remove from the tin using a knife to gently ease it away from the edges. Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into four squares.
  10. These brownies will keep in an airtight container for a good two weeks and in the freezer for up to a month.
Tabasco Fun with Flavour Challenge, Smoked Chilli and Chocolate Brownies with Tabasco Chipotle
Tabasco Fun with Flavour Challenge, Smoked Chilli and Chocolate Brownies with Tabasco Chipotle

 

SpamellaB’s Guilt-free Ginger Cakes with Spiced Lemon Cream

As you may have noticed, my food blog is somewhat lacking in something… Can’t quite put your finger on it? Well, I will tell you. It’s SWEET STUFF! This is just one of the reason’s I am really excited about this blog-swap with the amazing Health Food Blogger Pamela ‘SpamellaB’ Bustard of www.spamellab.com. Since we met last year at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, we have been friends ever since. So this post-swap is long overdue!

[A note from Pamela:] When Sophie and I decided to write a guest recipe for each others’ foodie blogs, it was a surprise to think it had taken us this long to exchange a piece of our love for food! I love reading Sophie’s informative restaurant reviews and visually brilliant recipe posts; her passion and personality shine through.

As I focus on clean eating and gluten-free treats, I wanted to make something that looks indulgent for her readers but can still be enjoyed totally guilt-free! You can use normal flour if you wish, and also make this into one big cake or loaf but keep in mind the cooking time might need to be extended. I hope you enjoy!

What you need:

Ginger Cakes:

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup stevia or other natural sweetener
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 150g unsweetened apple puree (either cook peeled and chopped apple chunks, or buy in supermarkets in the canned fruit aisle – much quicker!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 4-6 tbsp milk (can use cow’s milk, soya or almond)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Spiced Lemon Cream:

  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • ¼ tsp each of ginger and cinnamon
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Spamella B's Ginger Cakes with Spiced Lemon Cream...
Spamella B’s Ginger Cakes with Spiced Lemon Cream…

Get baking!

  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C and grease (and if possible, line) your loaf or cake tin. I used four small Gugelhupf tins but it’s up to you which you prefer – the mixture will make enough for about 8-10 servings.
  • Put the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, ginger and sweetener) in a large bowl and mix well.
  • In a blender, whizz up the apple puree with the eggs, yogurt and 4 tbsp milk until you have a smooth consistency. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir gently until all combined and you have a thick batter-like texture.
  • Spoon the mixture into your prepared tins and bake for at least 30 minutes – if you have divided up the mixture between smaller tins, the cake(s) should be ready by now – you want them to be risen, golden and a skewer comes out clean. For larger cake or loaf tins, you may need to cover it and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, leave to cool for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.

ginger-11

  • For the ‘cream’: Put the coconut milk, ginger, cinnamon, honey and vanilla in a small pan and heat on a high heat until it’s nearly to the boil. In a cup mix together the cornflour with about 1 tbsp cold water and mix to a paste. Whisk this into the coconut mixture and continue whisking on a low-medium heat until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon rind, then, leave to cool.
  • Ready to indulge? Simply spoon some of the sauce (either warm or cold) on top of the cake, add a few pieces of crystallised ginger if you wish and tuck in!

ginger-3

 

ginger-9

Don’t they just look amazing! Thank you so much to Pamela for baking these absolute little beauties for my blog – and for bringing a bit of sweetness which my blog clearly needed! -x-

Keep up to date with Pamela’s blog posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any more of her wonderful ‘indulging innocently’ recipes.

For Pamela’s blog, I rustled up a Gluten Free Harissa Falafel with a Quinoa Tabbouleh. Click the link to see the recipe and feel free to share!!

The Handmade Ice Cream Company

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

When Steve from The Handmade Ice Cream Company contacted Sophie’s Scran to see if we wanted to sample and review some of their ice creams I must admit, I was rather excited.

However, getting the ice cream to me (from Cumbria- where it’s made, to Cheshire) during the week when I am at work in Manchester all day where we don’t have a freezer – did prove a bit of a challenge.

So, I roped in my Grandparents to help, as they live in Cheshire, have a large freezer and are generally in the house all day. So Steve dropped it off with them – safe to say, they were more than happy to help, being true ice cream connoisseurs themselves…

Best Products, Best Ingredients

Steve’s ethos is pretty simple – “the best products require the best ingredients,” so by sourcing the finest ingredients (and if he can’t find them – he makes them himself, having spent 15 years as a professional pastry chef) his ice creams are truly handcrafted. The final products are indulgent, naturally flavoursome and textured. It’s tricky to find a bad word to say…

Let the taste-test begin!

WHITE CHOCOLATE & RASPBERRY

As well as looking absolutely stunning, this flavour tastes fresh, indulgent and not overly sweet. The tangy raspberry balances so well with the white chocolate, cutting through the sweetness – a match made in heaven. My Grandma loved this – and that is saying something, as she is usually averse to raspberries after her mother used to crush up aspirin in

My Grandma loved this – and that is saying something, as she is usually averse to raspberries after her mother used to crush up aspirin in raspberry jam when she was a little girl in an attempt to make her take medicine when she was poorly!

Steve and his team have helped her appreciate raspberries again for all their wonderfulness 🙂 The raspberry flavour and texture is there – but it’s delicate and not overpowering, with the white chocolatiness sweet and creamy, as expected.

SALTED CARAMEL

Salted Caramel seems to be an ever more popular flavour nowadays, and this one is creamy, sweet with a sharp salty tinge that really packs a punch. The texture of this one is very smooth – almost more like a sorbet texture, which keeps it light, and rather too easy to have ‘just one more scoop’ – lovely. I would have preferred a slightly firmer texture to this flavour, however, I feel like this would go well with a dark chocolate torte or brownie dessert due to its softness. Perfect for an alternative Christmas day pud!

CHOCOLATE

This is a chocoholics dream. A truly indulgent chocolate fix – it comes served with an extremely generous sprinkle of chunky dark chocolate shavings on top, and then the same laced throughout the ice cream itself. The added chocolate shavings add a wonderful texture – a sharp chocolate crunch every now and again really makes this one special. This was one of my Grandad’s favourites too.

CARAMEL, FUDGE & HONEYCOMB

Another one my Grandad couldn’t get enough of – and it’s the same for me. I love honeycomb ice cream, and this one had plenty of perfectly sized honeycomb pieces throughout. The caramel and fudge add a whole other dimension, making this the sort of ice cream whereby all you need is the tub and a spoon. Very tempting just to polish the whole lot off, without sharing. The texture is creamy, the caramel running smoothly throughout with the odd sticky bit here and there where the flavour lingers for a while afterwards. The fudge pieces are small but add just the right amount of solid texture to compete with the honeycomb. Very yummy indeed.

GINGERBREAD

This flavour is somewhat festive. It has a slight citrusy orange taste in the background, which compliments the small gingerbread pieces really well. The ice cream itself is smooth and light, and although it features tiny cakey pieces, they are so small and evenly distributed they come together perfectly. Much nicer than the brash efforts the likes of Ben & Jerry’s make to incorporate cake/biscuits into their ice creams. I feel like a scoop of this would go well with Christmas pud for a nice little twist on the Christmas day classic!

The full range of The Handmade Ice Cream Company’s flavours can be found here, and the great news is they are willing to create bespoke flavours for you – great if you run a restaurant and need the perfect ice cream to serve alongside your decadent desserts!

The Handmade Ice Cream Company allowed Sophie’s Scran to taste their delicious ice creams for no cost – the review above is a true representation of how we feel about each of the flavours sampled.

You can also find The Handmade Ice Cream Company on Facebook and Twitter, and for any further information please contact: info@handmadeicecream.co.uk / 015395 31021.

The Handmade Ice Cream Company
The Handmade Ice Cream Company