coconut whipped cream



Simple things make me happy.  Whipped cream makes me happy…it really does.  So when I found that I can make coconut whipped cream out of a can of coconut cream and some sugar I was excited to share this with you.


Normally I buy coconut cream from an asian store so I was excited to see that Trader Joe’s carried it.  I won’t have to make a separate trip just for coconut cream.  Please know that coconut cream is not the same as coconut milk, although, you could use coconut milk for this recipe.  This recipes requires TWO ingredients…I told you it was simple.


Here is what coconut cream looks like.  It’s dense but once you whip it it will get fluffy.  You can use this as an alternative to a whipped dairy topping.


Fluffy white. I can see it now…I will be using use this as the whipped toping…

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a guide to pie crust: do’s and don’ts





Do keep your pie fats/butter and liquid ingredients cold.  You could even chill the ingredients by placing them in the freezer for 15 min for maximum flakiness.
Do use a fork or pastry cutter to cut pie fat/butter into the flour.  You want to be able to see the chunks of butter in the dough. Handle the dough as little as possible. Don’t over work the dough. You could use your hands to cut the butter into the dough but I prefer a fork because your hands produce heat that would melt the butter.
Do follow the recipe but use it as a guide when measuring liquid. Don’t expect your pie crust to come out the same way each time even if you follow the recipe exactly each time. There are so many factors that may change your dough.  Some days you may need more liquid than   others…

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Chocolate Honey Cake

Serves at least 10 people

First, this is a Nigella Lawson recipe and the instructions are by and large, hers.  Second, the cake is moist and dense and honey takes centre-stage.  Third, its flavour improves with keeping.  Finally, I’d recommend using a good flavoured honey for this recipe, preferably not Tesco Value/Asda Smart Price etc honey.  


100 g dark chocolate (broken into pieces)

275 g light brown muscovado sugar

225 g soft butter

125 ml runny honey

2 large eggs

200 grams plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp cocoa powder

250 ml boiling water


1.  Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature. While that’s happening, melt the chocolate from the cake part of the ingredients list in a good-sized bowl, either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Grease and line the bottom of a 9″ (or 8.5″) springform tin. Preheat oven 180 C.  

3. Beat together the sugar and soft butter until airy and creamy, and then add the honey. Add one of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and then the other egg with another tablespoon of flour. Fold in the melted chocolate, and then the rest of the flour and the bicarbonate of soda. Add the cocoa pushed through a tea strainer to ensure you have no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water. (I don’t suppose there’s anything to stop you doing this all-in-one in the processor, blitzing everything except the boiling water, and then scraping down the batter and pouring the water down the funnel with the motor running.) Mix everything well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared tin. Cook for up to an hour and a half, though check the cake after 45 minutes and if it is catching cover the top lightly with foil and check every 15 minutes.  Let the cake cool completely in the tin on a rack.    (The cake ever so slightly wobbles when you turn it out.)

4.  Unlike Nigella, I don’t see the need to smother this rich cake in more sweet chocolate icing.  Eat it on its own, with whipped cream or yogurt.  




Pear and cranberry crostata (in other words, a free form tart; also Egg-free)

Serves at least 6 people

This tart is inspired by Ina Garten of ‘Barefoot Contessa’ fame because she’s convinced me, “It’s really delicious!” Her measures are based on the US 8 fluid ounces (240 ml) cup but the recipe works swimmingly well with the British cup measure (1 cup = 250 ml).  


For the pastry

1 cup plain flour

2T demerara sugar (or unrefined caster sugar)

1/4 tsp sea salt

115 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed

2 tbsp very cold (or iced) water

For the filling

4 medium pears (I used Conference pears and Ina suggested Bosc pears)  

2 – 3 tbsp dried cranberries

zest of 1 orange

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 

1/4 tsp ground ginger 

2 tbsp corn flour (corn starch) or tapioca starch (this helps thicken the juice from ripe pears)

For the crumble-like topping

1/4 cup plain flour

1/4 cup demerara sugar 

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

60 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed


1.  Use a food processor (I used my small processor/chopper) to make the pastry. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter and pulse until the butter is the size of tiny peas.  Since my machine was a tiny one, I turned it off added 2 tbsp of refrigerated water (Ina says to add water through the feed tube with the processor running) before continuing to pulse again until the dough is just about to come together.  When I turned out the pasty dough, I found the texture somewhat crumbly, almost like finely bashed up sweet biscuits.  I bundled this up in plastic wrap to let chill in the fridge for at least an hour or two.

2.  Peel, core and cut the pears into somewhat evenly sized chunks.  Toss the chunks with spices, orange zest, cranberries and corn flour (corn starch).  Set aside.

3.  Rub the butter into the flour, sugar and spice mixture until it begins to resemble crumbs.  Set aside.   

4.  Preheat oven to 200 C. Once the dough has been chilled for a sufficient amount of time, roll it out on a floured surface (flour your rolling pin as well) to about 5 mm thickness. You could roll it out between two sheets of non-stick baking paper.  And to ensure that the pastry achieves a somewhat round shape, rotate the dough as you roll it out.  The dough is quite sticky.  

5. Place the pear filling onto the pastry leaving an inch border all around.  


6.  Fold up the edges around the fruit filling.  Feel free to be neat while pleating.  Bung the crumble mixture on top and put the whole lot into the oven.  

7.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on your oven) until the crust is golden.  By then, there shouldn’t be any soggy bottom!!   Very carefully transfer cooled tart onto a serving dish ensuring this bad girl doesn’t fall apart in the process as the pastry is rather delicate.





Lemon, polenta, almond, olive oil cake with rosemary-infused drizzle (Gluten-free, Dairy-free)

Another polenta-almond type cake for the G-F & D-F cabal.  Unlike other polenta cakes which use large amounts of butter resulting in a dense, almost stodgy cake, this one is as light as a fairy. The syrup is essential to maintain moistness of the cake considering its relatively lower fat content.


For the cake:

3 large eggs, separated

110 g unrefined sugar (light muscovado works fine here)

50 g ground almonds (almond meal)

1 tsp baking powder

100 g fine polenta (cornmeal)

2 tbsp mild and light olive oil

2 lemons, zested and keep the juice of 1 lemon for the drizzle syrup

For the drizzle syrup:

100 g unrefined sugar, preferably, but regular caster or icing sugars does the same job

100 ml water

2 fat sprigs of rosemary (or 3 thin ones)

Juice of 1 lemon and 2 limes (cos I like the syrup a wee bit tangier)


1.  Preheat oven to 180C.  Generously grease a 20 cm round non-stick cake tin/springform tin and line the base.

2.  Place polenta, almonds, zest of 2 lemons and baking powder in a bowl and mix them well together.

3.  Beat the 3 egg whites until almost stiff.

3.  Place the yolks and sugar into a bowl and beat at high speed til pale, thick and creamy.

4.  Continue beating while pouring in the lemon juice a little at a time until thoroughly incorporated and the mixture thickens slightly.  Add in the polenta/almond mixture and oil, beat until it looks like a paste.

5.  Incorporate the beaten egg whites into the polenta paste-like batter.  (If unsure of how to do this and worried of the possibility of bludgeoning the airy egg whites to death, take a look here).

6.  Pour into tin and bake for 35 minutes til the top is lightly brown. Image

7.  Prepare drizzle syrup before taking the cake out of the oven.  Combine the ingredients and heat until it just comes to a boil and all the sugar has dissolved.  Strain and keep warm.

8.  Remove cake from oven and prick it with a stick of dried spaghetti or skewer.  Spoon warm syrup over carefully on the still warm cake.  Let cool before un-moulding if using springform.  Else, you can remove the cake from the tin, place it on a plate and then spoon syrup over.  Enjoy!



(Roughly translates as Kaiser = Emperor, Schmarrn=Mess; this recipe is not Delia’s, she schmarrns this Austrian classic with raisins!)

¼ pint of Milk

130g Plain Flour

4 Eggs

80g Sugar

2tbsp Butter

A couple of drops of Vanilla Essence or 40g Vanilla Sugar

Icing Sugar


Separate the eggs. Mix the egg yolks, milk and vanilla sugar or essence, then add the flour and mix well; leave to stand for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, whip the egg white and sugar until stiff. Add some of the stiff egg mixture to the batter then fold the rest into the mix.

In an ovenproof pan over medium heat, add the butter until it foams, then add the mixture. Leave for 2-3 minutes before transferring into a pre-heated oven at 200C; bake for 15min.

Transfer the pan from the oven to the stove, quarter the baked mix and add icing sugar. Turn the pieces and let them bake for no more than a minute (to caramelise the sugar). Roughly cut the Schmarrn into messy pieces. Add more Icing sugar to taste and serve with compote or jam.

Never return to Delia’s recipe, take it from a real Austrian. Mahlzeit! (Austrian for ‘Bon Appétit’)


Honey Lavender Panna Cotta (Gluten-free)


This recipe serves 4


2 tsp powdered gelatin
2 tbsp cold water
1 cup half and half or cream (I used creme fraiche and it tasted divine!)
1/4 cup wildflower honey
1 tsp dried lavender (food grade)
1 cup milk
Strawberries or other berries, to serve


1.  In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons of water and let soften for at least 5 minutes. Lightly oil 4 5-ounce ramekins with baking spray or flavorless oil. Set aside.

2.  In a small sauce pan heat the cream, honey, and dried lavender to a light simmer then turn off the heat. Whisk to incorporate all the honey evenly, then strain into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the gelatin. Whisk for at least a minute to make sure it is very evenly distributed and that no lumps remain. Whisk in the milk.

3.  Pour into the ramekins, and put in the fridge to set. The panna cotta will need at least 2 hours to set; we prefer to wait at least 4, especially if the puddings will be unmolded.

4.  To unmold lightly run a knife around the edge of the chilled pudding and invert onto a chilled plate. Garnish with sliced strawberries and serve.

Recipe adapted from The Kithchn