Saturday, 4 September 2010

Baked Alaska

Disclaimer: The method described below has not been fully tested, but is our improvement of the recipe we were originally given, as some steps didn't quite work for us - we're confident this way WILL work, but if you'd rather wait till we've tried it properly - at which point I'll remove this disclaimer - go ahead :-) The photo shows what we made by following the original recipe.

Makes: 4-6 servings
Takes: 10 minutes + 5 minutes cooking time


a Madeira cake
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp strawberry or raspberry jam
4-6 slices of vanilla ice cream from a block (not soft scoop)
4 large egg whites
8 oz (225g) caster sugar

  1. Turn the Madeira cake onto its side then slice in half horizontally. Drizzle a tbsp orange juice over each piece and spread one of them with the jam.
  2. Arrange the slices of ice cream to cover one half of the cake and top with the other piece. Place onto an ovenproof plate and freeze until ready to cook.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200oC/Gas Mark 6.
  4. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Whisk in the caster sugar then remove the cake from the freezer and spread the meringue over.
  5. Bake for about 5 minutes, until the meringue topping turns golden brown. Serve at once.
You can use rum or brandy instead of orange juice for a grown-up version! You can also omit the jam and use raspberry ripple ice cream.

Rocky road

Very like tiffin but with the classic rocky road combination of chocolate, biscuit and marshmallow.

Makes: 18-24 pieces
Takes: 20 minutes + at least 2 hours chilling time


4 1/2 oz (125g) unsalted butter
10 1/2 oz (300g) good quality dark chocolate
3 tbsp golden syrup
7 1/4 oz (200g) rich tea biscuits
4 oz (100g) mini marshmallows

  1. Grease and line an 8x10 inch oblong tin.
  2. Put the butter into a large, heavy-based saucepan. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the pan with the syrup. Melt over a gentle heat and stir well.
  3. Scoop out about 4 1/2 fl oz (125ml) of the chocolate mixture and set aside in a bowl. Leave the rest to cool slightly in the pan.
  4. Meanwhile, put the biscuits into a plastic freezer bag and crush them roughly with a rolling pin - some should be crushed into crumbs, but make sure you leave some as larger pieces too.
  5. Fold the biscuits into the chocolate in the pan then add the marshmallows. Tip into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a wet spatula.
  6. Pour over the reserved chocolate and smooth again with a wet spatula. Refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.
  7. Cut into 24 pieces. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
You can add dried fruit, glace cherries, chopped nuts etc to vary the recipe if you wish!

Yogurt cake

This makes a lovely, moist, light sponge with a fairly subtle but delicious flavour which is easy to vary by choosing a different flavour of yogurt.

Makes: 12 slices
Takes: 15 minutes + 50-60 minutes cooking time


8 oz (225g) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 oz (175g) caster sugar
3 1/2 oz (100g) butter or margarine
2 medium eggs
a 200g pot of Mullerlite yogurt in your chosen flavour

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC/160oC (fan oven)/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line an 8x10 inch oblong baking tin.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients. Use an electric hand mixer on a slow speed to combine then turn it up to high to beat to a smooth batter.
  3. Pour into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes, until it feels firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack then slice into 12 fingers.
A particular favourite in our household is to use toffee yogurt, as the flavour seems to come through more strongly. Raspberry and cranberry gives a nice subtle hint of fruit; or try lemon and lime with the grated zest of a lemon and/or lime added. Chocolate gives a very subtle flavour so enhance it with some vanilla essence and 1 tbsp cocoa, sifted with the flour at step 2. Vanilla makes a nice, simple sponge! Any of the above (and probably other flavours I haven't tried) are very good served with custard as a dessert.

Vegetable curry

It's difficult to post a recipe for this one, as it's very much a 'throw what you've got into the pan' type thing with no fixed quantities! It's lovely, though - the vegetables pretty much cook down into mush, but they all add their own bit of flavour and it's much nicer than the baby food it resembles... (If you really want some quantities to get started then see the notes at the end.)

Makes: Depends how much of each ingredient you use
Takes: 10 minutes + 30-40 minutes cooking time


Sweet potato(es)
Tinned tomatoes
Tinned coconut milk
Vegetable stock cube
Salt and pepper
Curry powder to taste
Fresh spinach

  1. Peel the sweet potato(es) and potato(es) and cut them into approximate 2-inch chunks. Cut the cauliflower into florets of a similar size. Peel and top and tail the carrots, cut in half lengthways then chop into thick slices.
  2. Put all the vegetables in a large saucepan with the tinned tomatoes and coconut milk. Make up a pint of stock with the stock cube and boiling water and add to the pan, then season and add the curry powder.
  3. Stir well and bring the curry to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the vegetables are cooked and starting to break up to form a thick sauce. Stir every now and then during this time and add a bit more boiling water if the curry looks too dry.
  4. Rinse the spinach leaves then stir them into the curry till they start to wilt. Serve with rice.
As a very rough guide, you can use 1 large sweet potato, a couple of medium potatoes, 1 small cauliflower, 3 carrots and 1 tin each of tomatoes and coconut milk with 1 pint of stock and a couple of handfuls of spinach. I'd use about 2 tbsp curry powder with that lot. But as you can see, it's a very flexible recipe!