Cinnamon Honey Roasted Grapes – A Perfect Dessert or Topping

I was recently sent some grapes to sample from The Grape Artisan, who supplies Marks and Spencer Food with the most delicious grapes I have ever tasted, with varieties including Candy Floss grapes. Candy Floss!!! I’ll talk about those beauties in another recipe post. I really had no idea grapes could taste so different! I had previously thought all black grapes tasted the same, all red tasted the same, and all green tasted the same. How wrong was I!?

One of the varieties I received was a punnet of seedless Sable grapes. The packaging says “Mouth wateringly sweet with hints of muscat and blackcurrant, Sable grapes reflect their exotic origins of blended white and Persian black grape varieties.”

These grapes are just beautiful. They are very sweet, but not quite as sweet as 2 of the other varieties I received. They have a hint of a delicate floral honey flavour which is just sublime.

We have recently bought a waffle maker and have been trying lots of different toppings to go on the waffles. I wanted to make a hot, fruity topping which would be nice and juicy. I wondered what grapes would be like if they were roasted, and imagined the juice bursting out making a lovely syrup. I decided to try it and am so glad I did! The result was so good!

Roasting grapes really brings out their sweetness and makes them extra juicy. As they get hotter, they plump up and then split a little, causing some juice to escape. I think it is best to use red or black grapes for this, as the syrup that is made in the process takes on the beautiful colour of the grape. At this time of year (well any time really but especially this time) I love cooking or baking with cinnamon, so I used some in this recipe. It goes so well with the grape flavour! I also added a spoon of honey to help the syrup caramelise slightly.

I have to admit this is now my new favourite topping. In fact I could easily eat a bowl of these on their own or with a dollop of cream. They make a wonderful topping for waffles, pancakes, or just ice cream. I even think these would be amazing as the fruity base of a crumble. I served mine on a Belgian waffle, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and the hot syrup poured over that. You can use any red or black grapes, but I would highly recommend the M&S Sable ones. Delicious!

 

CINNAMON HONEY ROASTED GRAPES – 2 generous servings

200g Sable grapes

25g unsalted butter

1 tbsp runny honey

Quarter of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, or a touch more if preferred

 

  • Preheat the oven to 170C fan/190C Conventional.
  • Put the butter into a non-stick roasting pan, and place in the oven until the butter has melted.
  • When the butter has melted, add the honey and cinnamon to the pan. Mix well with a wooden spoon (so that you don’t damage the non-stick surface).
  • Add the grapes to the pan and toss them in the mixture until they are all coated.
  • Place in the centre of the oven and let them roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently toss the grapes in the delicious syrup that is now developing. Return them to the oven for a further 5 minutes, or until the grapes have slightly burst and the skin is starting to go a little bit wrinkly.
  • Remove from the oven and serve straight away.

 

 

 

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Prosecco and Strawberry Cake Kit – A Stunning New Recipe from BakedIn

As you will know by now I am a HUGE fan of BakedIn, a wonderful company who produce baking kits so that anyone can bake scrumptious cakes at home. All of their kits contain the dry ingredients you need for the recipe already weighed out for you for convenience. Many of them also contain equipment you will need so that you can bake, even if you don’t own a cake tin!

BakedIn are always coming up with new amazing recipes, and I was beyond excited when I saw they had introduced a new range of extra-indulgent cake kits with a bit of an alcohol theme. The first in the range is the sensational Prosecco and Strawberry Cake Kit.

I knew I had to try this so rushed to order it straight away. It certainly won’t be the last time I order it either!

The kit comes complete with all the dry ingredients needed, a 200ml bottle of Prosecco (real prosecco… not just flavouring!!!), 4 disposable cake tins with baking paper pre-cut for each tin, a skewer to test when the cakes are ready, a butter measure guide, a cake board to serve your cake on, and the recipe card telling you exactly how to make it, all wrapped up in pretty pink tissue paper. All you need to provide yourself is butter, eggs, a splash of milk, and fresh strawberries.

I’ve blurred out the recipe on the picture above in fairness to BakedIn.

BakedIn cake kits are nothing like packet mixes, even though the dry ingredients are in packets. Packet mix cakes are often packed with added ingredients and preservatives to give them a long shelf life, and can result in artificial aftertastes. BakedIn kits are purely the dry ingredients needed, such as flour or sugar. Sometimes if a stage of the recipe requires 3 dry ingredients to be added together, BakedIn weighs them and packs them together for convenience. Nothing extra is added though. They use only top quality ingredients, such as locally produced flour, and finest Belgian chocolate. Packet mixes often just tell you to stir in some oil or an egg and the mix is ready to bake. To me, that is nothing like proper baking. BakedIn kits have a recipe to follow and the methods are just like ones you would see in recipe books. This makes them great for anyone with a love of baking already, or who wants to learn how to bake.

Naked cakes (cakes which are left uncovered rather than iced) are very on-trend right now with their classy elegant appearance. Even more beautiful though, in my opinion, are the semi-naked cakes… cakes which have a very thin coating of buttercream which lets the sponge still show through.

The Prosecco and Strawberry Cake is a semi-naked cake, a stunning showstopper. This cake consists of 4 layers of delicious vanilla sponge, each drizzled with prosecco syrup, which you make using the ingredients provided. The layers are sandwiched together with fresh strawberries and prosecco buttercream, and the whole cake is topped with another layer of the buttercream and covered in white chocolate curls, with strawberries for decoration. It tastes absolutely heavenly. My Other Half even went so far as to say it was the nicest cake he had ever eaten, and he has eaten a lot of cakes! I have to agree though, it is pure indulgence. The sponge is soft and light, the buttercream is fluffy and creamy, and the prosecco taste takes it to another level. The combination of prosecco and strawberries is a winner!

This cake would make a perfect alternative to traditional Christmas cake. I am going to get another one for the Christmas period. It would be ideal for New Year’s Eve celebrations too. In fact it would be perfect for ANY celebration or occasion! It would also make a fantastic gift to give to someone, and they would be extremely lucky to receive it!!!

 

If you would like to buy one of these wonderful kits, CLICK HERE to go to the BakedIn Bake Shop. It costs just £20 which is amazing value when you consider everything you get in the box! You wouldn’t be able to buy a cake like this ready made at that price. It really is brilliant value for money. Go on… treat yourself. You’re worth it 🙂

 

 

Peach Schnapps and Raspberry No Bake Cheesecake Hearts

One of my all-time favourite desserts has to be a no-bake cheesecake. So simple to make, yet with so many different flavour combinations to try. My favourite up until now has been THIS ROSE AND PISTACHIO CHEESECAKE but I think I’ve now come up with a worthy contender for the title of my number one recipe.

I was kindly sent a fantastic mini hearts pan to use from The Little Cook Shop and I’ve used it in a few recipes now as it is so versatile. (See HERE and HERE for a couple of other recipes using it). I was going to make one big cheesecake but decided that mini hearts ones would be much nicer, especially as the topping was going to be bright red. I was also going to make a peach puree to mix in but decided to use peach Schnapps instead. I used Archers as I always have a bottle in the house. You can’t beat Archers and lemonade on a Summer’s evening!

The secret of a no-bake cheesecake is in the pan you use. Never make one in a pan that has a fixed base, or else you’ll have a nightmare trying to get it out in one piece (unless you line it with strong foil first and lift it out). That is why this heart pan is so perfect. Each heart has a loose base so that you can easily push the cheesecakes out of the pan when they are set. It is such a good quality pan and washes up so easily too. I really can’t recommend it highly enough!

I made these cheesecakes yesterday and half of them disappeared very very quickly. I’ve eaten another one today and it tastes just as good, if not better! These will keep well in the fridge for a few days, but I doubt you’ll have any left after two!

PEACH SCHNAPPS AND RASPBERRY NO-BAKE CHEESECAKES

160g digestive biscuits (about 10 biscuits)

60g unsalted butter, melted

150g full-fat cream cheese

30g icing sugar

85ml double cream

2.5 tbsp Peach Schnapps, or more for a stronger taste

150g fresh raspberries, rinsed

30g caster sugar

0.5 tsp lemon juice

extra raspberries to decorate if required

  • To make the biscuit base, either blitz the digestives in a food processor, or place them in a ziplock bag and bash them with a rolling pin, until you have fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and mix well until completely combined.
  • Divide the mixture equally among the heart shaped cavities, and press down firmly with the back of a teaspoon until flat and well-compacted.
  • Place in the fridge for an hour to firm up.
  • Place the cream cheese and icing sugar in to a bowl and whisk until smooth. Place the double cream in to another bowl and whisk until it reaches soft peak stage. (This means that peaks will form when you lift the whisk out of the cream, but the tips of the peaks will fold back down).
  • Add the cream to the cream cheese and fold in until combined. You’ll notice it becoming thicker as you do this. The more you fold, the thicker it will become. Add the peach schnapps and keep folding to mix it in well, until smooth. (Taste a tiny bit at this stage and add more schnapps if required).
  • Divide the mixture between the hearts. I found it easier to use a piping bag to make sure I covered the bases completely. Use a small palette knife or spatula to level the tops, then place in the fridge for at least 3 hours to set. The longer the better.
  • While the cheesecakes are in the fridge, make the raspberry sauce: Press the raspberries through a fine-meshed sieve to remove the seeds (or blitz in a food processor and then pass through the sieve). Pour the seedless raspberry juice into a small saucepan, add the sugar and lemon juice, mix, and place over a low heat on the hob. Let the mixture come to a boil, stirring regularly, and keep on the heat until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • When the cheesecakes are set, remove from the fridge and push the bases up from underneath to release them from the pan. Use a knife to gently ease the metal heart base off the biscuit. Place on to a serving plate.
  • Stir the sauce until smooth and pour in to a disposable piping bag. (If the sauce has thickened too much, just mix in a little bit of boiled water that has cooled down). Cut a tiny end off the bag to make a very small opening. Drizzle the sauce over the cheesecakes, and add a raspberry on top of each if required to decorate.
  • Enjoy!!!

As these are so small with a decent amount of biscuit base, they are easy to pick up to eat. Or you can be more civilised and use a spoon, of course.

You could substitute the Schnapps for any flavour or alcohol you prefer. I can think of many cocktail-inspired cheesecakes to try with various alcohol and fruit toppings. I’m looking forward to making many more!

SPECIAL OFFER

If you would like to give these a go and would like to make them in the same pan, you can buy it HERE and to make it even more tempting, if you use the code CONFARREO10 at the checkout you will get 10% off your order. That code can be used for everything on their website so make the most of it 🙂

Cinnamon Sauce and Cream Cheese Icing Recipes for Fluffy Pancake Toppings

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This time last year there was a huge amount of excitement in our house as we were just a couple of weeks away from flying out to Orlando to see Mickey Mouse and friends. Half of me was dreading it (I imagined it would be just like a jam-packed Alton Towers for 2 weeks) and the other half of me was excited for the Disney magic. I have to say now though it was absolutely fantastic! The people were so friendly and fun, the weather was just glorious, the whole atmosphere was laid back, and the magic was definitely there. I had been kind of dreading the food too. I’d imagined just fried chicken and burgers for 2 weeks. Isn’t it funny how wrong our preconceptions can be? Three particular meals will always be remembered as some of the best food I have ever eaten. A Mexican feast in a gorgeous restaurant called Chuy’s on International Drive. A delicious meal in a restaurant called The Plaza, in Magic Kingdom. And a humungous breakfast in Denny’s Diner on International Drive. For this breakfast I chose pancakes with egg, hash browns, bacon, sausage and I think there were beans too. Can’t quite remember that part so well.  It was all soooooo good but the best part by far was the pancakes. They arrived on a separate plate and they had a cinnamon sauce and cream cheese icing drizzled over them. (Cinnamon seems to be a very big thing in Orlando).

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You can’t tell from the picture but these beauties were enormous! Actually you can tell…. the plate they are on is a dinner plate! I can honestly say these were divine! The pancakes were super light and fluffy, and the sauce and icing were… it’s hard to find a word to describe how amazing these were. You know the extremely famous scene with Meg Ryan in the diner in “When Harry Met Sally”? Yes, THAT scene? Well I think she had just tried a mouthful of this dish when she filmed that! Enough said.

I have craved these pancakes ever since returning home but had no idea how to go about making them. Two days ago it was Pancake Day and I was determined to recreate the only pancakes I have thought about in the last year. It took a bit of trial and error to get the sauces right but I was deliriously happy to eventually sit at the table with a stack of fluffy pancakes and two squeezy bottles full of the 2 most delicious toppings in the world. And as I would feel selfish keeping these recipes to myself, I’m going to share them with you. These taste EXACTLY like the ones I had a year ago in Florida. I am so happy now I can enjoy them every day!!!

You can use your favourite recipe for fluffy pancakes if you already have one. I used THIS RECIPE and it made 5 good sized very light and perfectly fluffy pancakes. Some people use buttermilk but these were just perfect as they were. I actually made 2 batches so had 10 pancakes. They were just as good the next day warmed quickly in a dry frying pan. I should imagine you could warm them quickly in a microwave too in around 15 seconds. Or eat them cold! Here are the recipes for the sauces:


CINNAMON SAUCE

200 g granulated sugar

25 g plain flour

1 level tsp ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

140 ml water

30 g unsalted butter

  • Put all of the ingredients except the butter in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sauce starts to bubble and thickens. Let it boil gently until it is the thickness you prefer. I boiled mine for around 5 minutes, still stirring it.
  • Take the sauce off the heat and add the butter. Stir until the butter has melted and is thoroughly combined.

 

This sauce is at its best served slightly warm or room temperature. It is perfect for pancakes, waffles, churros, or glazing cakes. It would make a delicious dipping sauce for fruit too.


CREAM CHEESE ICING

100g unsalted butter, at room temperature

50g cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tbsp milk

half tsp vanilla extract

220g icing sugar, sifted

pinch of salt

  • Using a handheld electric whisk/beater, mix together the butter and the cream cheese until combined.
  • Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat until creamy.
  • Finally add the icing sugar and salt and continue to beat until very smooth and any lumps have disappeared.

This icing is perfect for pancakes, waffles, to use as a dipping sauce, or drizzling over cakes. Leftover icing will need to be kept in the fridge and ideally used within a few days.


I had 2 squeezy bottles which I used to put mine in and they made it so easy to drizzle the sauce and the icing over my pancakes. They also make them very easy to store. Both of these recipes made enough to fill 1 and a half bottles of each, so if you don’t want that much, just halve the recipes. Although I am absolutely certain that when you try them both, especially together, you will be wanting a permanent supply of them!

As you can tell from the photo of the ones I made, I put quite a bit more sauce and icing on them than the ones I ate in Denny’s Diner. When you try them, you’ll understand why. I have no shame in saying I could even eat them on their own straight from the bottles!!! I hope you love them as much as I do. I’d love to hear what you use them for if you make them. Enjoy! 🙂

Coconut and Ginger Panna Cotta with Orange Sauce

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I recently discovered how easy it is to make panna cotta (see THIS POST for a panna cotta topping recipe) and have to admit I’ve made it several times since. As well as being easy it is also a cheap dessert to make, yet super tasty and perfect for all occasions.

In the June Degustabox, one of the items I received was a can of Amoy Coconut Milk. I instantly had 2 ideas for yummy desserts to turn this in to…. coconut cheesecake, or coconut panna cotta. My new-found love of the latter won.

There is a bit of an art to making a perfect panna cotta, in that it contains gelatine. Too little and you’ll have a splodge of unset cream on your plate. Too much and you’ll end up with a rubbery blob you could bounce off the walls. (Not that I’ve tried that!!!) To make the vanilla one I used in the recipe I’ve linked to above, I followed Simon Rimmer’s recipe which can be found HERE. Every one I’ve made since has used the same basic recipe but changing the flavours. This coconut one is also based on that recipe. The amount of gelatine he uses gives a perfect result every time, as long as you keep the liquid ratios the same. It holds it’s shape perfectly yet when you break into it with your spoon, it is deliciously soft and creamy.

This coconut version tastes so good with or without the ginger, but I just wanted to add an extra depth to it. The orange sauce goes beautifully with it all. I made my sauce very thick but you can choose how thick you want it and adjust the simmering time accordingly. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have!

COCONUT AND GINGER PANNA COTTA

3 leaves of gelatine

250 ml double cream

250 ml Amoy coconut milk

25 g caster sugar

1 level tsp ground ginger

ORANGE SAUCE

250 ml fresh orange juice

50 g caster sugar

25 g unsalted butter

half level tbsp cornflour

  • Place the gelatine leaves in a small bowl and cover with cold water while preparing the next stage.
  • Place the cream, coconut milk, sugar and ginger into a pan. Mix together, then heat gently until just starting to simmer. Remove from the heat.
  • Squeeze the gelatine leaves to get rid of as much water as possible. Throw away the water.  Add the gelatine to the pan and stir until it has completely dissolved.
  • Pour the mixture equally into 4 ramekins, and leave to cool. When cool, place them into the fridge to set. The longer you leave them the better, but at least 3 hours is ideal. (Overnight is fine too).
  • To make the sauce, place the orange juice, sugar and butter in a small pan and bring to the boil. In a small cup, mix the cornflour with a litle bit of the hot orange mixture until it is smooth and lump-free. Remove the pan from the heat, pour the cornflour mix into the pan and stir well. Bring back to the boil and heat until it is the consistency you require. The longer you heat it, the thicker it will get. (It will also thicken a bit more as it cools). Leave to cool.
  • To unmould the panna cotta, carefully run a sharp knife around the edge, and then dip the ramekin into hot water for around 10-15 seconds, making sure no water gets in to the ramekin. Turn the ramekin upside down on to a plate and give it a gentle shake. The panna cotta should slide out. If it doesn’t, just dip it into hot water again for another 10 seconds. When you dip it into the hot water it will cause the outer edge to melt slightly, which will make it slide out.
  • Use a spoon to drizzle some of the orange sauce around the panna cotta, and some over the top too. Enjoy!

I served mine with crystallised/candied orange peel, which I made using THIS RECIPE.

The beauty about this dessert is you can make it in advance. I tend to make panna cotta the day before I actually want it. Don’t unmould it until you will serve it though. Enjoy!

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Rosehip and Rhubarb Gin Liqueur Jelly…. Jelly for Grown Ups!

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This weekend I made a dessert which turned out to be a huge success on my Twitter account. One person even commented that it was Michelin Star worthy! High praise indeed!!! I have to admit I am really proud of this and I will be making many more varieties over the next few months as it was so delicious.

It all began when my sister asked me recently if I had tried a new jelly by Hartley’s called What’s Your Flavour? I replied that I hadn’t, but on my next trip to Sainsbury’s my son spotted it on the shelf. He asked if we could try it, so I bought a pack. (You get 2 sachets/1 pack for 70p there).

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The directions were simple… dissolve the sachet contents in boiling water, then add your choice of drink to make the flavour. My son made one sachet using his favourite summer fruits squash and he said it was the best jelly ever. I decided I wanted to try something more grown up with the other sachet. We had bought a beautiful rosehip and rhubarb gin liqueur at the Foodies Festival recently and I thought it would be perfect as a jelly flavour. You need 200ml of your chosen drink for these jelly sachets but I didn’t want to use that much in case it didn’t work, so I used 100ml liqueur and 100ml lemonade. As this jelly would be for adults only I wanted it to look special so I poured it into a Nordic Ware Brownie Pan to set. To make it look extra special I added some dried rose petals to each jelly too, and put them in the fridge to set.

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They came out of the pan perfectly when they had set, after a quick dip in hot water. If you do this, make sure you don’t get water on the actual jelly, just dip the base of the pan. They looked so beautiful and elegant.

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I tried one straight away to make sure they tasted good, and all I can say is WOW! They tasted exactly the same as the bottle of liqueur, and they still had that lovely strong kick from the alcohol. I decided they needed to be served with something equally grown up, so for the first time in my life I made vanilla panna cotta in ramekins, and placed a jelly on each one after they had been turned out. The soft creaminess of the panna cotta went perfectly with the jelly, and the rose petals were a pleasant bit of texture.

What’s Your Flavour jelly is now going to be a cupboard essential for me. It is amazing to think you can choose any flavour you want and turn it easily into a jelly. I am going to have fun experimenting with new flavours and combinations, and coming up with new ways to make jelly a worthy dessert for all occasions, some for children and some strictly for adults! I think I can safely say that Whats Your Flavour is my new favourite product. Who said jelly was for kids???

What would your flavour be? I’d love to find out what exciting ideas you all have 🙂

DISCLAIMER: I bought this product myself and Hartley’s have no idea I am writing this about them. All views and opinions are my own. 

Croissant Cinnamon French Toast

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I absolutely adore French Toast, or eggy bread as some people prefer to call it. For this recipe though you have to call it French Toast as I used croissants instead of bread. It is super quick and easy and a cheap recipe to make, and your tasty treat will be on it’s way to your mouth just a few minutes after opening the croissant packet!

I received a pack of 8 croissants from Brioche Pasquier as part of the May Degustabox (review of that coming very soon).

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I do love croissants but wanted to try something different with these. I wasn’t sure if they would work as French Toast but I can definitely now say they do! The addition of cinnamon sugar after they have cooked just takes them to another level and you can then top them however you want, or just eat them as they are. I topped one half with strawberries and the other I left with just the cinnamon sugar. Both were sooooooo good. They’d also be amazing with ice cream on top. And chocolate sauce drizzled over. And…… I’m getting carried away! Eat them as a tasty elevenses treat, or a delicious dessert. However you eat yours, I am sure you’ll love them.

The recipe is enough for 3 croissants, so just double it if you want to make more.

CROISSANT CINNAMON FRENCH TOAST

3 Croissants

1 egg

2 tbsp milk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

knob of butter

50g caster sugar

Half tsp ground cinnamon

  • Split the croissants in half horizontally.
  • Beat the egg, milk and vanilla extract together and then pour on to a large plate.
  • Arrange the croissant halves on the egg mixture with the cut side facing down. Leave for a couple of minutes to soak up some of the mixture. Carefully turn the croissant halves over so the top and bottom gets covered in the mixture too.
  • Gently melt the butter in a frying pan. Fry the croissants cut side facing down, gently pressing with a spatula or fish slice, until golden. Flip them over and fry for a minute or so more until this side is also golden.
  • Mix the caster sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl then spread this cinnamon sugar on to a plate. Place a croissant half on to the sugar to coat one side, turn it over to coat the other side, then repeat with the other croissants.
  • Serve warm as they are, or add any toppings of your choice. I used sliced strawberries mixed with a spoon of strawberry syrup for one half.

This is a lovely sweet recipe and I found it to be very moreish so make sure you have plenty of croissants to go round!