Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year Nougatine

Happy New Year!  Are you looking to put a little crunch back into your life, or simply a good addition to your daily diet of ice cream?  How about these quick and easy nougatines?  I saw them being made on Professional Masterchef and was inspired...  to be honest, it was greatly helped by buying two silicone baking mats.  You have to work quickly, and be prepared for some heat in the kitchen!

This is a perfect dairy and gluten free treat to go with sorbet or ice cream.


6oz/150g caster sugar
3oz/75g flaked almonds

Have ready two silicone baking mats or two sheets of non-stick baking parchment and a rolling pin.  It also helps to use the baking tray the almonds were heated on. 

Toast the almonds in a hot oven (180 deg C) until lightly browned - only a few minutes, keep an eye on them!  Put the caster sugar into a pan and heat until it has dissolved, then keep heating until it has caramelised.  Don’t add any water, and stir it only lightly to get it all to dissolve, then, as it browns, whip it off the heat.  

This next bit is quite quick, and you have hot sugar in your hands, so read it through first! 

Add the almonds and stir to mix it all together, then pour it straight onto the parchment, immediately putting on the second layer.   Roll it all with the rolling pin until it is pretty flat and then, as soon as you can peel off the top layer, use a sharp knife or cutters to cut shapes before the nougatine becomes brittle and hard.

Allow it to set.

If you have any left, blitz it in a blender and it is praline.  

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Christmas Pudding Cheesecake

Do you have a left-over lump of Christmas pudding sheltering in your fridge?  Yes, of course you do! And the best way to use it up is to turn it into a very delicious cheesecake.   This is an adaptation of a BBC Good Food Recipe, which I tested on my family.  Result!  One more pudding to add to the repertoire!  not to mention several more pounds on the family's avoirdupois... This is not a gelatine cheesecake, but it is an idea to chill it overnight.  Failing that, an hour in the freezer does it the world of good.  Apparently, this will keep for 3 days - haven't tested that bit yet!  Try making it with gluten free biscuits, and then all your wheat-free friends will be happy too.

Christmas Pudding Cheesecake 

Christmas Pudding Cheesecake

8oz/225g ginger nut/hob nob biscuits, crushed to crumbs
4oz/110g butter

8oz/225g Christmas pudding (you don’t have to be too exact!)
Zest 1 orange
60ml brandy (or 30ml each brandy and stout)
1lb 6oz/600g cream cheese or soft cheese
10fl oz/300ml double cream (half a pint)
7oz/200g pale muscovado sugar
1 vanilla pod’s worth of seeds
(I added a tablespoon of chopped stem ginger and syrup)

2 clementines for decoration

Line a 9” spring clip tin with parchment.   Melt the butter in a bowl, add the biscuit crumbs, mix well and spread them over the base of the tin.  Chill in the fridge until set. 

Blend together the Christmas pudding, alcohol and orange zest until it is a lumpy purée.  Using a hand held whisk, beat together the cream cheese and sugar, adding the cream and vanilla seeds.   Now add the pudding purée (and ginger), and mix it all gently together.  Pour into the tin and level it up.  Chill for at least couple of hours until set (see above).

You are now supposed to cut the clementines into rounds, and put them on a baking tray, sprinkling with caster sugar and blow torching until they are caramelised.  As you can see from my photo, this didn’t quite happen!  Hope you do better than I did…    

Friday, 9 December 2016

Lemon Meringue Antarctic Cream

This is perhaps one of the easiest throw-together puddings in a long time, and also one of the most delicious!  One of my sons is currently trekking across Antarctica as part of a 6 man Reserve Forces team aiming to do a crossing of the continent.  They are currently battling cold and high winds, but also ice ridges known as sastrugi.  According to the team, it's like walking over lemon meringue pie. Bear in mind that the most walking any of us do over a lemon meringue pie is the post-lunch digestif!  
This pudding is a tribute to Alex and the SPEAR17 team, pulling their heavy pulks with all their food, bedding and fuel for .  If you want to follow their progress, go to

Lemon Meringue Cream 
Lemon Meringue Antarctic Cream

¾ pint/500ml double cream
½ pint/280ml Greek yoghurt (roughly half a carton)
1 small jar home made lemon curd
Mini meringues (2 egg whites, 2oz/50g caster sugar)
Lemon zest

Whip the cream until thick, add the Greek yoghurt.  Stir in the lemon curd.  Pour the cream into a large bowl and level the top.   Decorate with meringues and lemon zest.  This is best served not quite chilled. 

Meringues:   Whisk 2 egg whites until stiff, adding the caster sugar 1tsp at a time.  Pipe using a ½”/12mm pipe onto baking parchment.  Bake in a cool oven for approx. ½ to ¾ hr.   The oven should be at about 140-150 deg C, and the meringues should dry out but not get either too powdery or too coloured!   

This will make far too many, but they are delicious sandwiched together with a blob of whipped cream, or on the top of another pudding.  They keep for ages in a tin or plastic box. 

When you eat this, think yourself fortunate to be in a warm house and not outside in -25 deg C!