Vanilla Ice Cream

1 1/2 pints of whole milk
1 cup skimmed milk powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
6oz caster sugar

Put everything into a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring all the time.

As soon as the mixture begins to boil remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool.

Once the mixture is completely cool pour into your ice-cream maker for the specified length of time. With my machine I have to finish the freezing process in the freezer. This entailed me pouring my mixture into a freezeable container and placing in the fridge. Every hour I went in and stirred up the mixture woth a whisk, just to break up the ice crystals. I did this about 3 times before letting it freeze completely.

If you don't have a machine then you will need to do all the freezing in the freezer, just make sure you give it a stir every hour or so as it freezes, just to keep it smooth!

This ice-cream was great and I am very pleased, I think I will use it as a base for other flavours (as well as on its own!).

Red Onion Relish


2 large red onions, halved and finely sliced
2tbsp sunflower oil
2 level tbsp brown sugar
100ml red wine or red grape juice
1tsp fresh thyme leaves
3tbsp balsamic vinegar


  1. In a small pan, cook the red onions in the oil over a low heat for about 15 minutes or until very soft, stirring frequently until done.
  2. Add the sugar, wine or grape juice, thyme leaves and vinegar. 
  3. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  4. Remove the lid and simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid is syrupy. 
  5. Cool, then store in a jar in the fridge.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • 60g butter at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 10g cocoa
  • 10ml red food colouring
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120ml buttermilk
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
Vanilla Butter Icing
  • 85g butter
  • 375g Icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Cream the butter, egg and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Combine the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract and once mixed add to the creamed butter mixture. Mix well.
  4. Mix the flour and baking powder together.
  5. Add half the buttermilk and half the flour mix.
  6. Combine well before adding the remainder of the buttermilk and flour and mixing further.
  7. Add the bicarbonate of soda and salt and white wine vinegar (in that order), mix thoroughly for at least 5 mins.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the cases of your choice. I used cupcake cases and my mixture made 15 cakes.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins or until the cupcakes spring back slightly when touched.
  10. Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
The Frosting
  1. Cream together the butter and the icing sugar.
  2. Add the vanilla extract.
  3. Slowly add the milk 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach the consistency you wish. I ended up using 2 teaspoons.
  4. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cakes and get ready to munch!

Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes
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Sausage & Pea Risotto

1 smoked sausage or 8 sausages, sliced
400g rice
250g peas
1 1/2ltrs chicken stock

Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the sausage slices.  If using sausages you may find it easier to part cook the sausages before slicing, this will make them easier to cut.
Add the rice and stir for one minute.
Add 1/2 ltr of the chicken stock and simmer until fully absorbed.
Add a further 1/2 ltr of stock and simmer until absorbed.
Add the remainder of the stock and cook until all liquid is absorbed.

Sausage and Pea Risotto

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Ultimate Chocolate Cake

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 200g unsalted butter, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbl instant coffee granules
  • 125ml water
  • 85g plain flour
  • 85g self raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 200g light brown/muscovado sugar
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 75ml buttermilk*

*Note - if you don't have buttermilk, add about 10ml of white vinegar to 65ml of milk and sit for 5 minutes.

For Ganache
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 285ml pouring cream
  • 2 Tbl caster sugar


Preheat oven to 160°C and grease and line a 22cm springform tin.

In a heavy based saucepan over low heat, place the chocolate and butter. Mix the instant coffee into the water and add to the chocolate. Gently melt together and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

While chocolate is melting, sift in the two flours, bicarb, two sugars and cocoa powder and whisk it to remove lumps. In a separate bowl, gently beat the eggs with the buttermilk.

Pour into the flour bowl, the chocolate mix and the egg mix. Stir together until just combined and pour into cake tin.

Bake for 80 - 90 minutes (1.20 - 1.5 hr) until skewer comes out clean and the centre springs back when lightly touched.

Rest in tin for 5 minutes then remove springform ring cool completely on wire rack.

Break the chocolate into pieces in a bowl and set aside. Heat up the cream and sugar in a pot and bring it to just under a boil. Pour the cream into the chocolate pieces and sit aside for a couple of minutes. When chocolate has melted, stir gently to combine into a silky ganache. Refrigerate until it has thickened but still loose enough to pour.

To assemble cake

Divide cake into 3 even layers and use some ganache to sandwich the layers together. Pour the rest of the ganache over the top of the cake and use a palette knife to push it to the edges so it'd spill over and coat the sides. Use the palette knife to smooth ganache all over the cake and leave aside to set. Pour over another layer of ganache to smooth out the cake if it's still bumpy (you'll need a double batch of ganache for this) Decorate the top with chocolate curls (recipe to follow) or grated chocolate and dust with cocoa powder.

Lavender Scones

350g Self Raising Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 dried culinary lavendar
1 tsp baking powder
85g butter
3 tbsp caster sugar
175ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
squeeze of lemon juice
beaten egg

Tip flour into a bowl with salt and baking powder. Add butter and rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add lavender and sugar and mix well.
Put the milk into a jug and heat for 30 seconds, add the vanilla and lemon juice. Set aside.  Put a baking sheet in the oven.
Make a well in the dry mixture and add the liquid.  Combine quickly with a knife.
Scatter flour on a board and pat the dough into a round about 4cm deep.  Do not over work.
Cut out rounds and place on the tray.  Re-round the dough and cut out more rounds until all dough is used.
Brush with beaten egg and bake for 10 mins, until risen and golden.

Lavendar Scones

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White Chocolate Banana Pie

  • 150g (5oz) plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 65g (2½oz) cold, unsalted butter, diced
  • 25g (1oz) sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 250g tub mascarpone
  • 200g (7oz) bar good quality white chocolate
  • 284ml carton double cream
  • 2-3 bananas

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a food processor. Add butter and whiz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add sugar and just enough egg to bring the mixture together - use the pulse button to help you. Shape pastry into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30min.
  2. Roll out the pastry, then press into the base and sides of a 20.5cm (8in) fluted pastry tin. Prick all over. Chill until firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190°C (170ÂșC fan) mark 5.
    Bake for 12-15min until the pastry has set and the pastry is dry and slightly sandy to the touch. Cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  4. Melt the mascarpone and chocolate together in heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
  5. Remove bowl from pan and set aside to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, lightly whip the cream. Fold chocolate into the cream. Spoon the filling into the pastry case and chill. To serve, top with bananas

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