Salted Chocolate Tart

Salted Chocolate Tart

If you are a chocoholic, this is definitely a recipe for you. When the Summer time hits my style of baking very much changes and I am much more likely to head to towards the tarts and light bakes in my recipe books… as well as those that require little heat, so I don’t get too hot in the kitchen! This salted chocolate tart is one of my favourite recipes for Summer. It is light but rich in flavour, can be accompanied by so many different things and of course looks beautiful on my Summer picnic spread table. This recipe is also very much a big winner in my family, as the four of us can often demolish the entire thing in one sitting. A few things to note, make sure you use very good quality chocolate for maximum flavour, and also trust your own taste buds. Taste the chocolate filling before adding to the pastry, and make sure it is chocolatey and salty enough for your taste buds.

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Setting Time: Minimum 2 hours

Skill: Medium 

Ingredients:

300g shortcrust pastry

300ml double cream

3tsp caster sugar

1tsp sea salt flakes

200g dark chocolate

50g butter

50ml milk

1/2tsp vanilla extract

Decorate:

50g white chocolate

1tbsp crushed pistachios

1tbsp freeze dried raspberries

Method:

Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees, or 160 fan oven. Grease a tart tin and roll out your pastry with plenty of flour. Line your tart tin with the pastry, top with greaseproof paper and fill in with baking beans. Once the oven is heated, pop the pastry in the oven for 20 minutes.

Whilst the pastry is cooking you can begin preparing the filling. In a medium saucepan add the double cream, vanilla, caster sugar and sea salt. Pop the pan onto a medium heat and stir until it all starts to bubble. Remove from the heat.

Once the cream is off the heat, add in the butter and the chocolate. Stir until the mixture is glossy and melted. Then, add the milk. Stir this all together and set aside to thoroughly cool.

Once the pastry has had 20 minutes, remove from the oven and take the baking beans and paper off. Pop the pastry back in the oven for ten minutes. Remove from the oven and leave the pastry to cool completely.

Once everything is cool, fill the pastry with the chocolate filling. Careful not to over fill the pastry case. Pop the tart in the fridge and leave to set for a minimum of 2 hours. Once completely set you can decorate. I melt a little white chocolate and sprinkle with a teaspoon over one side, finishing off with a sprinkle of freeze-dried strawberries and pistachios.

This recipe is my own.

White Chocolate & Passionfruit Cookies

White Chocolate & Passionfruit Cookies

Cookies, one of my favourite indulgent treats. And what I love is that generally I have all the ingredients I need in my kitchen instantly, and you can totally mix them up with different ingredients for what you fancy. This recipe came around from the addition of passionfruit to my favourite white chocolate chunk cookie recipe. I know that it gets very mixed feelings, but white chocolate is my favourite chocolate for cookies, as it adds sweetness and tastes so delicious with vanilla. So, the passionfruit is something I added after a trip to Dyrum Park in Bath, where they sell the most divine passionfruit curd from their little national trust shop. I am pretty sure you can also find it in a lot of supermarkets, or national trust properties. I add a little of the curd to the cookie recipe as it adds the perfect punch of sweetness and sharpness to the dough, as well as complimenting the white chocolate so well.

Skill: Easy

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

100g softened butter

1tbsp golden syrup

120g soft brown sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

450g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

2tbsp & extra passionfruit curd

200g white chocolate chunks

1 egg

Method:

Start by pre heating your oven to 200 degrees, 180 fan. Line two large baking trays with baking paper.

In a medium sized saucepan, on a low heat, melt together the butter, golden syrup, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Keep on the heat until everything is melted together. However, don’t over heat as the butter will burn. Set this aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and baking powder into it. Add the egg and passionfruit curd and mix together. Once the butter mixture is completely cool add it to the dry ingredients. Add in the white chocolate chunks and mix everything together until a dough has formed. If the mixture is too runny, you will need to add a little more flour.

On the prepared baking trays, add a small ball size of the mixture spread across, around 6 per tray. Press them down a little so they will cook evenly. Once you have prepared them all, you can add some more passion fruit curd. I pop about ½ teaspoon amount in the middle of each cookie.

Pop these in the oven – they take around 10 minutes to cook but will need to be switched around from top to bottom half way through. Keep an eye – they should be golden and crisp. When you take them out of the oven, they will need to cool to crisp up properly, whilst the inside remaining soft.

Enjoy!

This recipe is my own.

Sunday Lunch at The Bristol Hotel ‘River Grille’ Restaurant

Sunday Lunch at The Bristol Hotel ‘River Grille’ Restaurant

AD – this blog post is in collaboration with The Bristol Hotel, and we were gifted the meal featured within.

Last weekend, Finn and I were lucky enough to be invited to The Bristol Hotel in the centre of the city to try their new Sunday lunch menu in the River Grille restaurant. I was thrilled about this opportunity when I had the email through as I am a sucker for a good Sunday lunch, and adore finding new places to eat around Bristol. I have always heard good things about the restaurant in the hotel, so we were both extremely excited to see what was in store. The new Sunday lunch menu consists of a two or three course offer, with a very varied selection of dishes, priced at £20 for two and £23.50 for three.

The setting of the restaurant is probably what surprised me the most, offering some beautiful 180 views of the Bristol harbourside, with ceiling to floor windows creating an atmosphere like no other. For us, this was made even better, as Sunday was very busy with everyone out enjoying the sunshine, so the atmosphere really was great. Even better for someone like me who is a massive people watcher! With the view sorted, we were able to choose from a very good range of dishes on the menu, that obviously very much caters to a large audience.

First things first, let’s talk wine. I knew instantly that I was probably going to enjoy the Roast Beef, so a red wine would have been better company, however because of the weather and the sun beaming in, I went more with what I fancied. This was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, my absolute favourite white wine. My wine was delicious, crisp and light, whilst also being perfectly cold. Finn had the Rioja – he only really drinks red wine, so again went with what he knew he would enjoy. Finn said the Rioja was ‘simply delicious; it was smooth and rich in flavour’.

To start, I wanted something light, so chose the Caesar salad. I love this simple classic dish, and it met every expectation I had. The leaves we crisp and fresh, the croutons were golden and crispy, and the dressing was creamy with just the right balance of salt from the classic anchovy recipe. I really enjoyed this part of my meal, especially with my wine. Finn went for the mushroom and thyme tart, which was topped with a good handful of rocket leaves. The tart was perfectly cooked with delicious crumbly pastry, and the filling had the perfect balance of flavours with a good number of mushrooms.  Both dishes were presented beautifully and in our opinion were the ideal size for a starter.

As we went to review the new Sunday lunch menu, we couldn’t not go for the roast dinner. I chose Beef, whilst Finn devoured the Pork Belly. Both roasts came with leek gratin, cabbage, roasted carrots, parsnips and potatoes, cauliflower cheese, a Yorkshire pudding and gravy. There really was everything you could ever think of! I have to say, I was very impressed. Often, I find when I go somewhere for a roast that if there are a lot of components, they can be a little disappointing. Every single part of this meal was absolutely delicious, and all the flavours had been careful considered to complement each other. My meat was soft and tender, with lots of flavour, the roasties were crisp, the parsnips and carrots were sweet, and the Yorkshire was perfectly cooked with the right balance of being light but bulky. However, as a foodie I must admit that the gravy was the highlight of the show for me. I know how hard it can be to get a sauce right and wow they did. It was so rich and tasty in flavour, as well as for me being the perfect texture and consistency. I like a good gravy that packs a punch, and this one certainly did.

Writing this review, I am very much reminded of how delicious this food was and how at this point I was really trying to comprehend how I was possibly going to eat anything else! Although, I knew I had to try the lemon posset. I have always been such a lemon posset fan and used to make my own so often. We both wanted something a little lighter and fresh for dessert, so both went for this traditional pudding. It was amazing! A perfect amount of lemon, with a gorgeous creamy consistency, paired seamlessly with a little fruit. I really enjoyed this dessert, and think it was the perfect ending, particularly after a traditional roast dinner.

To conclude, I would also like to mention the exquisite service that Finn and I received. From start to finish we were made to feel welcome and comfortable, with all our needs met and a friendly manner from everyone who served us. The overall atmosphere of the restaurant, as I mentioned, really surprised me, as with the surrounding views and high ceilings I would personally say that it had a really positive and buzzing vibe for the duration of our meal. Without a doubt we will be going back to enjoy another meal!

I would like to say a big thank you to The Bristol Hotel for inviting us to review your new Sunday lunch menu!

Visit the website here.

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Jacket – Miss Selfridge

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Shoes – H&M

Belt – Gucci

Bag – Mulberry

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This blog post is in collaboration with The Bristol Hotel, however all views and opinions are entirely my own.

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

When it comes to sweet treats, cake has to be right at the top for me. I absolutely love it and cannot get enough of a giant slice of cake with loads of English tea on a Sunday afternoon. I am just traditional like that, what can I say. There are a lot of cake recipes around nowadays, however it frustrates the hell out of me when people seem to want to add twists and tricks to a recipe and ruin what is already a good thing. No cake recipe needs to be highly complicated and skilled, unless you want to decorate them with ridiculous patterns and techniques. I am a fan of the simple recipes, the recipes I can still remember my great grandma baking for us in her little floral house. Cake for me should be quick and easy to produce, and obviously, taste amazing! It needs to be light and moist in texture, whilst also being rich with a huge depth of flavour. Trust me, it is much easier to achieve this than you would think.

Chocolate cake – the answer to all life’s problems.

Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate (no less than 60%), chopped

200g butter

1tbsp instant coffee granules

85g self-raising flour

85g plain flour

1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g light brown sugar

200g caster sugar

50g cocoa powder

3 eggs (room temperature)

50ml whole milk

Method: 

Heat your oven to 160 degrees (140 fan). Prepare your chosen cake tines with baking paper.

With 100ml boiling water, mix in the coffee granules and set aside.

In a saucepan, on a low heat, add the dark chocolate and butter. Once melted together, add the coffee granules mixture. Once it is all together, take off the heat as you don’t want it to be overdone.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the milk until smooth. Then sieve in the self-raising and plain flour, as well as the bicarb. Next, add in both sugars and the cocoa powder through the sieve too. You don’t want any lumps in the mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients with the egg and milk. Now you can add the chocolate mixture. The batter should be smooth and a little runny. Pour into your prepared cake tin and place in the oven.

Bake the cake for around 90 minutes. Checking regularly after around 60. If it is starting to look a little dark on the top, add foil so it doesn’t burn. It will be cooked through when you can put a skewer through it, and it comes out of the cake clear. Set the cake aside to cool whilst you prepare your chosen topping.

This recipe is my own. 

Homemade Pesto & Prawn Pasta

Homemade Pesto & Prawn Pasta

I think one of life’s simple pleasures has to be homemade pesto. There is nothing quite like it – it is so delicious, and I personally feel like I am just tasting a little part of Italy with every bite. What I also love is that it is relatively quick and easy to make. I mean you just shove it all in a food processor and blend. It can also be mixed up and bulked out with other ingredients, however for this recipe I have kept it traditional with just basil. When I make this, it is generally because I want something in a rush, and that is why this recipe is pesto with prawns. If you buy cooked prawns, you literally can just throw them in, and you have a healthy delicious meal instantly.

This recipe is great if you can make the pesto in advance for a quick five-minute meal, however if that isn’t possible, it still should never take more than 20 minutes to get it together. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Skill – Very Easy

Ingredients

300g basil

1 cup olive oil

100g pine nuts

3 cloves chopped garlic

50g grated parmesan

1 pack cooked king prawns

Pasta (amount for the number of people eating)

Start by boiling the kettle and prepping the pasta. Place the pasta in a large saucepan with a good sprinkling of salt. Pour over the boiling water and cook on a medium heat until soft.

Whilst the pasta cooks, you can prepare the pesto. In a food processor, add the basil, pine nuts, olive oil, chopped garlic and parmesan. Blend until completely smooth. Then add a good sprinkling of salt and pepper as well as a dash of balsamic vinegar. Blend again until completely mixed together.

Once the pasta is cooked, pop into a cullender and pop the saucepan lid over it. Using the same saucepan, place it back on the heat with a dash of olive oil. Place the pesto into the saucepan with a tiny bit of hot water. Also add the prawns. When the mixture is bubbling, check to see if it is all hot including the prawns. When you are happy it is done, pop the pasta back in the saucepan and mix everything together until it is all even and hot through.

Serve with a lovely grating of parmesan and some salad leaves. Eat within 2 days.

 

This recipe is my own.  

 

White Chocolate and Blueberry Baked Cheesecake

White Chocolate and Blueberry Baked Cheesecake

One simple pleasure in life has to be a giant slice of fresh homemade cheesecake. Whatever the flavour, baked or chilled, it is a scrumptious treat that a lot of us find very difficult to resist. It is different from any other sweet dessert, and what I personally love is how it can be made in so many different ways. If you want something a little lighter and fresh you can make a quick lemon chilled edition, but if you want something rich and indulgent, a chocolate based baked cheesecake is the perfect way forward. Any cheesecake can be enjoyed with tea or coffee, or if you want to push the boat out even more, a glass of wine! This pairing is one of my grandmothers’ favourite! In this recipe I am bringing you one of my favourite baked cheesecakes, flavoured with white chocolate and blueberries, which I add by making a fresh blueberry jam. White chocolate for me is my favourite in a cheesecake, as naturally these cakes are less sweet than a sponge, so they really can take the hit from the white chocolate.

Another great thing about cheesecakes, well baking in general, is that it is very easy to make it the right way for you. I personally love the balance or blueberries and white chocolate; however, you can very easily change up the fruit or chocolate to something you prefer.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 45-60 minutes

Skill: Medium

Ingredients

250g digestive biscuits

75g butter

500g soft cheese

300ml double cream

200g caster sugar & 100g caster sugar

300g white chocolate

3tbsp plain flour

3 eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

200g blueberries

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees, 180 fan.

Start by prepping the base. In a food processor blend the digestives until they have started to crumble. Then add the butter and blend until you have a smooth base. Into a prepared tin, place the base and blend out with your hands until even. Pop this in the fridge for an hour or so (30 minutes minimum).

Whilst the base sets you can prepare the jam and the white chocolate. To make the jam, on a low heat place the blueberries and 100g caster sugar in a medium sized saucepan. Also add a couple of tablespoons of water. Mix this and let it bubble away until a thick sauce has formed. To melt the white chocolate, place it in a heatproof bowl over a little boiling water. Once melted, remove and set aside to cool. By this time the jam should be starting to get to the right texture. It usually only takes about half an hour. Once it is looking a little thicker, set it aside and let that cool too.

Now you can make the mixture. Start by beating the eggs in a small bowl until completely runny. Leave this to the side. In a large mixing bowl gently whisk the cream cheese until it is a little lighter. Then add the sugar and beat until completely together. Then add the double cream and whisk until it is all a little thicker. Don’t whisk it too much though. To finish add the eggs, flour and vanilla extract, as well as the white chocolate. Gently whisk this all together until smooth.

Remove the base from the fridge and cover with ¾ of the blueberry jam. Spread it out evenly ready for the cream cheese filling. Now add the cream cheese and again, spread it out evenly. Place this in the oven for around 45-60 minutes. The top should be brown, with the edges firm and the middle still a little wobbly. Leave the cake on the side at room temperature for around an hour until it sinks. I then leave it in the fridge overnight before eating.

To serve, use the remaining jam and add it to the top of your cheesecake, whether you choose to cut it like I do or leave it as a whole cake. I also add a lovely sprinkling of crushed pistachios.

Keep the cheesecake in the fridge at all times and use within around 5-6 days. It can also be frozen, and even better in the Summer, can be eaten frozen!

 

This recipe is

my own.