Ruj’s Salted Caramel Cheesecake

This no bake cheesecake is an easy to assemble dessert that doesn’t fail to deliver on the salty sweet taste!

Ingredients

Biscuit Base

  • 250 g Digestives/Shortbread Biscuits
  • 75 g Salted Pretzels
  • 135 g Unsalted Butter (or Stork, melted)

Cheesecake Filling

  • 500 g Full Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 100 g Icing Sugar
  • 150 g Salted Caramel (I used Joe & Steph’s Salted Caramel Sauce)
  • 1tsp freshly ground salt
  • 300 ml Double Cream

Decorations

  • 100 g Salted Caramel
  • Toffee Popcorn

Ruj’s Lemon & Poppy Traybake

Light fluffy tangy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lemons
  • 225 g soft butter or baking spread
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 275 g self-raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 25 g poppy seeds

FOR THE ICING

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, approximately
  • 225 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 7 mint leaves finely chopped

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line a 24 x 24 x 4cm (9” x 9″ x 1 1⁄2″) traybake tin or roasting tin with greased parchment paper.
  2. Using a zester remove the zest from one lemon and set aside for garnish. Finely grate the rind from the other lemon. Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl, add the grated lemon rind and beat well by hand or with an electric hand whisk for about 2 minutes until well blended. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
  3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the cake is shrinking from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the centre with your fingertips. Leave to cool in the tin. Once cool turn out and remove paper.
  4. For the icing, mix together the lemon juice, sieved icing sugar and mint to give a coating consistency. Spread out evenly over the cake sprinkle with reserved lemon zest and leave to set.
  5. Cut into squares to serve.

Ruj’s Chicken Pasta bake

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 slices of seeded bread (left out for a few hours so a little stale)
  • 200g red lentil penne pasta
  • 200g passata/chopped tomatoes
  • 70g of basil pesto (homemade if possible)
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 200g chicken breast, diced and boiled
  • 5 sage leaves

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C.
  2. Break up the bread into large chunks and blend to a crumb in a chopper. Mix in the dry herbs (oregano and parsley), season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and leave to one side.
  3. Boil the pasta for half of the normal cooking time in salted water, drain and cool down with cold water. Mix in the passata and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Boil the diced chicken in water and drain, mix in well with the pasta, and pour into baking dish.
  5. Add the pesto to the dish by dotting around in clumps.
  6. Crumble the feta into the breadcrumbs and mix well. Scatter breadcrumbs over pasta and try to cover all pasta completely.
  7. Decorate with fresh sage leaves.
  8. Bake in oven for 30-40mins until breadcrumbs are crisp and brown.
Pre addition of crumb!
Ready for the oven!
Cooked

Ruj’s Garlic Doughballs

For the dough balls

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp caster or granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp fast action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp soft butter

For the garlic butter

  • 2 tbsp soft butter (or ghee)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed (I like to use more)
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley, or mint

Method

  1. Put the flour and 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl, stir in the sugar and yeast, then rub in the butter. Add enough luke warm water to form a soft, slightly sticky dough – you’ll need about 150ml. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until smooth and springy.
  2. Divide into 12 small pieces, roll them into balls, then place on an oiled baking tray with space around them. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to prove for 40-50 minutes, or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 8. Bake the dough balls for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 6 and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until risen, golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Mix the soft butter and olive oil together, and mash in the garlic and parsley/mint. Serve the warm dough balls with the garlic mixture brushed over them or as a dip.

Ruj’s Coffee & Walnut Cake

Ingredients

  • 250g pack softened butter
  • 100ml strong black coffee (made with 2 espresso pods or 2tbsp instant), cooled
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g walnuts, half roughly chopped, the rest set aside for decoration (use more if needed)

For the topping

  • 100g icing sugar, sifted, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 150ml double cream
  • 100g mascarpone, at room temperature

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan oven.
  2. Butter 2 x 20cm round cake tins and line with baking paper. Set aside 1 tbsp of the coffee for the filling.
  3. Beat the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and half the remaining coffee in a large bowl with an electric whisk until lump-free.
  4. Fold in the chopped walnuts, then divide between the tins and roughly spread.
  5. Bake the cakes for 25-30 mins until golden and risen, and a skewer poked in comes out clean. Drizzle the base cake with the remaining coffee. Cool the cakes in the tins.
  6. Meanwhile, make the filling: beat together the icing sugar, cream and mascarpone, then fold in the reserved 2 tbsp coffee. Spread over the base cake, then cover with the topping cake and dust with icing sugar or more buttercream and decorate with walnut halves.

Ruj’s Ginger Parkin

Yummy ginger goodness

Ingredients

  • 200g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 85g treacle
  • 85g light soft brown sugar
  • 100g oats
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger

Method

  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan oven. Butter a deep 22cm square cake tin and line with baking paper. Beat the egg and milk together with a fork.
  2. Gently melt the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter together in a large pan until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Mix together the oatmeal, flour and ginger and stir into the syrup mixture, followed by the egg and milk.
  3. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 mins – 1 hr until the cake feels firm and a little crusty on top. Cool in the tin then wrap in more parchment and foil.
  4. Keep for up to five days before eating… it tastes better the longer you leave it!

This simple and easy recipe is best served warm with custard, or thick cream… I have even tried with butterscotch sauce and it was great.

Ruj’s Quiche Lorraine

Shortcrust Pastry Ingredients

  • 100g of butter
  • 225g of flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp of water

Method:


1. Sift the flour and salt into a dish or food processor. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the bowl or food processor.

2. If using a food processor, pulse the butter and flour together until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs


3. If using your hands, use a knife to lightly cut the butter into the pastry, then use your fingertips to ‘rub in’ the butter. Lift it up from the mixing bowl and let the crumbs drop back into the bowl from a height to incorporate air and keep the pastry light

4. Add a tablespoon of ice cold water to the food processor and lightly pulse. Repeat this until a dough just starts to come together. If using your hands, add a tablespoon of cold water to the mix and slowly bring the dough together with your fingers. Once the dough has just started to form a ball, turn out onto a work surface and knead lightly to form a dough. Do not add too much water during this process – extra liquid will make the pastry easier to work with, but will result in hard, tough pastry

5. Use your hands to squeeze the pastry together and roughly shape into a small, thick pancake-shape. Don’t over-knead the pastry, as this encourages the development of gluten, giving the pastry a hard texture

6. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using to allow the pastry to rest – this causes the gluten to relax, which helps to stop shrinkage when cooking. The pastry can now be kept in the fridge for up to a week. Fresh pastry also freezes well, and can be safely defrosted at room temperature overnight. When the pastry is slightly cooler than room temperature, it is ready to roll. Be sure to lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin before working with the pastry

Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients:


Shortcrust pastry (recipe above)
250g of streaky bacon
150ml thick/ heavy cream
150ml double cream
4 eggs
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 heaping tablespoon chopped chives (or herb of your choice)

Method:

  1. Roll out the dough, and place over a 30cm loose base quiche/ tart tin. Use your fingers to press into the corners and make sure the pastry is even on all sides. Place the tart tin in the fridge so the pastry remains cool before blind baking.
  2. Pre-bake the shortcrust pastry base… by “blind” baking. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the chilled crust with parchment paper. Allow for a couple inches to extend beyond the sides of the tart or pie pan. Fill tart pan with dry beans, sugar, or rice.
    Bake for 15minutes. Then remove from oven, remove the weights (the easiest way to do this is to lift up the parchment paper by the edges) and set aside.
  3. Cook the bacon: Grill the bacon rashers on medium heat. Slowly cook the bacon, turning the strips over occasionally until they are nicely browned and much of the fat has dissolved
    Lay the cooked strips of bacon on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat. Chop the cooked bacon or snip using kitchen scissors into small strips.
  4. Preheat oven to 180°C
  5. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the nutmeg, salt, black pepper and chives and whisk a little more. Add the milk and cream and whisk vigorously to incorporate and introduce a little air into the mix – this keeps the texture of the quiche light and fluffy. Add any herbs of choice.
  6. Put the filling in pre-baked crust: Arrange the bacon and grated Parmesan cheese in the bottom of the crust.
    Whisk the egg-milk mixture hard again for a few seconds, then pour it gently into the pie crust.
    You want the bacon and cheese to be suspended in the mix, so you might need to gently stir it around just a little. You also want the chives, which will float, to be evenly arranged on top, so move them around with a spoon until you like where they are.
  7. Bake: Put the quiche into the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check for doneness after 30 minutes by gently jiggling the quiche. It should still have just a little wiggle. (It will finish setting while it cools.)
    Cool on a wire rack.
    Eat at room temperature, cold (a quiche will keep for several days in the fridge), or reheated gently in a 160°C oven.
  8. Serve with salad

Each 1/8th serving is approximately 460kcal… Enjoy!

Asparagus Courgette Artichoke Spelt Stir fry with Garlic Basil Pesto

In a bid to eat more vegetables my family and I are trying out some vegan alternatives to our evening meals.

This recipe is tasty and filling, packed full of vitamins and due to the spelt protein also. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts!

Ingredients

300g Green asparagus tips

1 small courgette

150g mushrooms

100g cooked artichokes

200g spelt

4 tbsp wild garlic pesto (recipe below)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Ingredients (wild garlic pesto)

40g wild garlic

5g fresh basil

30g pumpkin seeds

1tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

3tbsp olive oil (I used truffle infused)

1tbsp water

1tbsp lemon juice

Salt & Pepper

Method

  1. Cook spelt according to packaged instructions and drain any excess water.
  2. Cut courgettes lengthways and thinly slice, cut the asparagus spears in half and slice the mushrooms.
  3. Heat up a large pan and add 1tbsp of olive oil. Fry the courgettes until lightly brown.
  4. Add asparagus and fry for 3mins. Add the mushrooms and artichoke hearts and fry for another 3mins. Add in the cooked spelt and mix well.
  5. Mix in the wild garlic pesto and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Love cake….the Persian way!

I’ve seen many versions of this cake and have been desperate to recreate it to see if it truly is as good as it sounds. Well verdict is it’s better than I ever imagined…

Imagine flavours of almond, cardamom and rose with a light soft crumbly cake that melts in your mouth. Simply divine! Many of the ingredients are used in Indian deserts so I was drawn to these flavours from the recipe alone.

You can make this as a healthy version and cut the sugar content or replace with Stevia. Either way you will not be disappointed.

Recipe below…

Ingredients

  • 2 cups / 200g ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups / 165g semolina
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 120 g / 8 tbsp unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar , packed (150g)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (150g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 250 g / 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • Zest of one orange
  • 50 g / 2 oz raw pistachios , chopped or slivered (or almonds)

SYRUP:

  • 1/3 cup / 85 ml lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup / 70g white sugar
  • 3 tbsp+ rosewater (adjust to taste, start with less)

Method

  • Preheat oven 180C/350F (standard) or 160C/320F (fan). Grease and line a 22cm/9″ cake tin.
  • Mix ground almonds, semolina, baking powder, nutmeg and cardamom in bowl.
  • Beat butter and both sugars with an electric beater until incorporated. Add eggs, beat until smooth. Then add yoghurt and orange zest, beat until smooth.
  • Add dry ingredients. Stir until mixed through.
  • Pour into pan, smooth surface. Scatter over pistachios.
  • Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Poke 30 – 40 holes all over the cake using a skewer (poke all the way through). Pour warm syrup over while cake still hot. Leave to soak for 1 hour+ before removing from pan. Cool then slice to serve.
  • Decorate with dried rose petals or dust with icing / confectionary sugar
SYRUP:
  • Place ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer and stir to dissolve sugar. Simmer for 2 minutes. Keep warm (or reheat) for pouring.