Saturday 25 November 2017

Pumpkin Casserole

When you grow pumpkins on your allotment and get too many of those you start searching for ideas. After I've given few to friends and another few left in hen run for chickens to feed on, I was still left with a good number.

Pumpkin Casserole

I realised that pumpkin could be used as a casserole, bake inside the pumpkin itself, stuff with meat. Voilla !!!

It's a hollowed-out pumpkin stuffed with meat, and since pumpkins come in unpredictable sizes baking times depend on how long it takes for the pumpkin to get soft enough to pierce with a knife, being precise is impossible. I choose a small one from the allotment.
Empty Pumpkin
Add meat

Add meat

Meat in pumpkin

Lid the pumpkin

Pumpkin in oven after a while

Pumpkin Casser

1 medium size pumpkin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 kg boneless lamb or beef
Onion - 2
Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 tablespoon
Whole Spices (Black Pepper, Green and Black Cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon) and chili flakes - to taste

  1. Heat oil in a cooker
  2. Add whole spices
  3. Add onion
  4. Add Meat, salt and ginger garlic paste
  5. Fry
  6. Remove 
  7. Close the lid of Pressure cook, and leave it on medium for a while till meat is slightly cooked
  8. Heat oven to 180C. Cut the top off the pumpkin and use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds. Get rid of any pithy bits. 
  9. Put the pumpkin on a baking tray, rub with 2 tbsp of the oil inside and out, and season well.
  10. Fill pumpkin with meat, cloves and chili flakes.
  11. Close the lid
  12. Leave in Oven for an hour and a half (check after an hour)
  13. Check again and leave for another 30 minutes if the meat is not done.

Friday 15 September 2017

Red Velvet Cake


Plane flour - 250 grams (sifted)
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon 
Cocoa powder - 2 tablespoons
Unsalted butter - 113 grams (room temperature)
Granulated white sugar - 300 grams
Eggs - 2 large
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
Buttermilk - 240 ml (1 cup)
Red food colouring - 2 tablespoons (liquid)
White distilled vinegar - 1 teaspoon
Baking soda - 1 teaspoon

(Use 2/3 or half of below quantity for icing)
Cream cheese - 227 grams
Mascarpone cheese - 227 grams
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
Icing sugar (sifted) - 115 grams
Whipping cream (double cream, cold) - 360 ml


  1. Preheat oven to 180c. 
  2. Grease two 9 inch cake tin with butter, line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
  3. In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar in a mixer on medium until fluffy.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating on low just until they are mixed in.
  7. In a cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. 
  8. Add the flour and the buttermilk (alternating one then the other) into the sugar/egg mixture on low speed, beginning and ending with the flour.
  9. In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter. 
  10. Pour batter into the two 9 inch cake tins, smooth the tops and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  11. Quickly divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops.
  12. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  13. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan.
  14. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight). (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)

Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In the bowl of electric mixer beat the cream cheese and Mascarpone cheese until smooth. 
  2. Add the vanilla.
  3. Add icing sugar and beat until smooth. 
  4. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the whipping cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread.
  5. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.

  1. With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half, horizontally. You will now have four cake layers (optional).
  2. Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. 
  3. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting.  
  4. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers. 
  5. Frost the top and sides of the cake.

Saturday 20 May 2017

Butterscotch Cake


Light Brown Sugar - 2 Cups (about 240 gram)
Butter - 200g
Vanilla - 1 teaspoon
Eggs (medium size) - 2 
Plain Flour - 2 Cups (about 300 gram)
Baking Powder - 1 teaspoon
Baking Soda - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Buttermilk - 1 Cup (to make buttercream - add 1 spoon white vinegar to warm milk and leave for 5 minutes to let it curdle)

Caramel Icing

Light Brown Sugar - 1 and 1/2 cups (about 220 gram)
Plain Flour - 1 tablespoon
Salted butter - 60 gram (divide in 2 parts)
Milk - 1/4 Cup
Vanilla - 1 teaspoon


Unsalted butter - 300 gram
Dark brown sugar - 2 cups (about 270 gram)
Heavy cream - 1 cup
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Cream cheese - 300 gram
Icing sugar - 2 cups (about 200 gram)


Pecans (crushed) - 2 cups

Butterscotch Cake


Cake Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 180c. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake tins.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer on medium until fluffy.
  3. Add vanilla, then add eggs one at a time, beating on low just until they are mixed in.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the flour and the buttermilk (alternating one then the other)  into the sugar/egg mixture on low speed.
  6. Pour batter into the two 9 inch cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Cool before frosting.

Caramel Icing Recipe

  1. In a small saucepan, mix together all ingredients and the extra 30g of butter. Heat over medium and bring to a boil. Stirring frequently to prevent burning, let the mixture boil for a good one minute.
  2. Take off the fire and add in the 30g butter. Cool the mixture, occasionally giving it a vigorous stir, until it is still warm (but not HOT) and has thickened enough to spread. 
  3. Spread it over the cake, moving fairly quickly because it will set as it cools. It will be a thin coating, not a thick layer. 
  4. Let it set completely before frosting.

Frosting Recipe

  1. Beat the butter, brown sugar until creamy.
  2. Add the cream cheese, powder sugar, salt and beat until thickened.
  3. Add heavy cream, and whip it in a mixer.
  4. Spread all over the cake and pipe the rest.
  5. Press chopped pecans on sides, and garnish the top with halves.
Butterscotch Cake

Friday 10 February 2017

Vegetable Pilau

A popular vegetable rice dish that makes a tasty light supper.


225 g/8 oz/1 cup basmati rice
30 ml/2 tbsp oil
2.5 ml/1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
4 green cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
50 g/2 oz//3 cup frozen peas, thawed
50 g/2 oz/ 1/3 cup frozen sweetcorn, thawed
25 g/l oz//4 cup cashew nuts, lightly fried
1.5 ml/1/4 tsp ground cumin


  1. Wash the basmati rice in several changes of cold water. Put into a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the cumin seeds for 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, cardamoms and cloves and fry for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and fry for 3minutes, until softened and lightly browned.
  4. Stir in the carrot and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Drain the rice and add to the pan together with the peas, sweetcorn and cashew nuts. Fry for 4- 5 minutes.
  6. Add 475 ml/16 fl oz/2 cups 6water, ground cumin and salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes over a low heat until all the water is absorbed. Leave to stand, covered, for 10 minutes, before serving.
  7. Serves 4-6

Friday 3 February 2017

Carrot and Coconut soup

A satisfying soup which is delicately spiced and is a perfect autumn warmer.


Carrots (trimmed and sliced) - 500 gram
Potato (peeled and sliced) - 1
Onion (finely chopped) - 1
Garlic clove (chopped) - 1
Ginger (grated) - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli (chopped) - 1

Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp
Garam Masala powder - 1 teaspoon
Lemon Juice - 2 teaspoon
Orange/Lemon zest - 4 teaspoon

Coconut milk - 200 gram


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan with a lid. 
  2. Tip in the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli, then cook for 3-5 mins until soft. 
  3. Stir in the garam masala powder, followed by the carrots, potato and zest, then cover and cook over a low heat for 10 mins more.
  4. Give the coconut milk can a shake, then pour most of it into the pan.
  5. Bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 15 mins until the carrots are really soft. 
  6. Add lemon juice.
  7. Use a food processor to whizz until smooth. 
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with a swirl of reserved coconut milk and an extra sprinkling of curry powder, if you like.
Note: Add a teaspoon of Kasoori methi and/or 2 tablespoon of coriander for added flavour

Apple and cinnamon cake

4 apples
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 tbsp sugar
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
4 eggs
6 oz (180g) butter, softened
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup milk
1/4 cup flaked almonds
1/4 tsp cinnamon 


  1. Preheat the oven at 350ºF (180ºC). 
  2. Grease a spring-form pan. 
  3. Peel and slice the apples. Toss them with 1 tbsp cinnamon and 4 tbsp sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. In another bowl, cream the softened butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  7. Fold the sifted flour alternately with milk.
  8. Pour half the batter in then spread the apples. 
  9. Pour the remaining batter. 
  10. Combine the flaked almonds with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the cake.
  11. Bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Saturday 28 January 2017

Marble Cake


Plain flour - 250 gram
Unsalted butter (softened) - 200 gram
Caster sugar - 200 gram
Milk (full-fat) - 40 ml 
Vanilla extract - ½ tea spoon
Eggs (large) - 3
Baking powder - 3 tea spoon
Cocoa powder (unsweetened) - 2 tea spoon
Icing sugar (for dusting)


  1. Preheat the oven 180C.
  2. Line a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter, 180g of the sugar and the vanilla extract together until the mixture is light and fluffy. 
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Add the baking powder.
  6. Sift the flour over the mixture.
  7. Fold in with 2 tbsp of the milk.
  8. Spoon two-thirds of the mixture into the prepared loaf tin – it should fill the tin three-quarters of the way.
  9. Sift the cocoa in the remaining third of the mixture and fold in, together with the remaining milk and 20g of sugar.
  10. Spoon the chocolate mixture over the cake mixture in the tin, then run a fork through both mixtures, gently swirling the two together to create a marbled effect.
  11. Be careful not to swirl the mixtures together too much as you want to leave an obvious marble effect.
  12. Bake for 55–70 minutes, until the cake shrinks slightly from the sides of the tin. Test it is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre and it comes out clean (test the cake after 55 minutes).
  13. Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. 
  14. Once cooled, dust with icing sugar.

Sunday 1 January 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares (No-Bake)


Butter - 150 gram
Dark chocolate - 150 gram
Milk chocolate - 50 gram
Digestive biscuits - 250 gram
Soft light brown sugar - 200 gram
Crunchy peanut butter - 300 gram
Vanilla extract - 1 tea spoon

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

  1. Line a baking tin with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan over a low heat.
  3. Blitz the biscuits and brown sugar in a a food processor to give fine crumbs. 
  4. Add to melted butter. 
  5. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract and mix together.
  6. Tip the mixture into the lined tin and press it down really hard with the back of the spoon.
  7. Melt the dark chocolate into a small bow (sit the bowl over a pan over simmering water, make sure that the bottom of the pan does not touch the water or the chocolate may ‘seize’ and go really grainy and stiff)
  8. Pour over the melted dark chocolate into the tin, tilting the tin back and forth a bit so that the whole thing is evenly covered. 
  9. Melt the milk chocolate, pour over the tin at different places, make swirls with a spoon.
  10. Pop in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.
  11. Once the chocolate is set, remove it from the fridge. Lift it out of the tin with the help of the baking parchment. 
  12. Use a sharp knife to divide it into squares.