Peach Cobbler

This classic US dessert hails from the Southern states. It consists of sweet peaches enveloped in a light, cakey, buttery, batter – think Toad in the Hole, but instead of sausage being surrounded in batter it’s peaches surrounded in batter, and baked until the batter is golden. Apple crumble had always been my go-to easy dessert, however this is a wonderful alternative. It can be served warm with custard for a nice winter dessert. Alternatively it can be served with ice cream. With spring on the way, and the progression of a somewhat promising route out of this pandemic, this change-up in our dessert routine has also helped to fill me with a sense of optimism.

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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Peaches: I use two tins of peach slices. I prefer the peaches in natural juice as opposed to in syrup, but that’s just my personal choice.
  • Butter: Adds a richness to the batter.
  • Baking Powder: This ingredient, combined with the hot butter causes the batter to rise around the peaches.

How To Make Peach Cobbler

Step One: Pre-heat your oven to 160 °C fan (180 °C conventional/ 350 °F/ Gas Mark 4).

Step Two: Spread 95 g unsalted butter out on the base of a 23 cm x 33 cm (9″ x 13″) cake pan. Place it in the oven for around 5 minutes until the butter has melted. I use my 9″ x 13″ Circulon Cake Pan.

Step Three: In the meantime, add two 400 g tins of peach slices drained to a large bowl. Mix in 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla essence and the 2 tbsp sugar. Set aside.

Step Four: In another bowl add in 150 g flour, 95 g caster sugar, 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt and mix well. Whisk in 150 ml whole milk until a smooth batter is formed.

Step Five: Remove the cake pan from the oven and pour the batter over the butter. Use a spoon to spread the batter out, but do not mix the butter and the batter together.

Step Six: Arrange the peaches on top of the batter.

Step Seven: Place the cake pan back into the oven. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until the batter has risen and is golden brown in colour.

How To Serve Peach Cobbler

  • This dessert can be served either warm or cold, with custard, ice cream or whipped cream.

Tips for Making Peach Cobbler

  • Bake on a low heat, but for a longer time. The idea is to cook the peaches so that they are nice and tender, as well as to brown and crisp up the batter.

Peach Cobbler Recipe


Serves:
8
Preparation Time:
5
Cooking Time:
50 – 60 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 95 g unsalted butter cubed
  • 2x 400 g tinned peaches drained
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar.
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 95 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 150 ml whole milk

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 °C fan (180 °C conventional/ 350 °F/ Gas Mark 4).
  2. Spread the butter out on the base of a 23 cm x 33 cm (9″ x 13″) cake pan. Place it in the oven for around 5 minutes until the butter has melted. I use my 9″ x 13″ Circulon Cake Pan.
  3. In the meantime, add the peaches to a large bowl. Mix in the cinnamon, vanilla essence and the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl add in the flour, additional caster sugar, baking powder and salt and mix well. Whisk in the milk until a smooth batter is formed.
  5. Remove the cake pan from the oven and pour the batter over the butter. Use a spoon to spread the batter out, but do not mix the butter and the batter together.
  6. Arrange the peaches on top of the batter.
  7. Place the cake pan back into the oven. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until the batter has risen and is golden brown in colour.

NOTES

  • Serve warm with ice cream.

Apple Crumble

Apple crumble is one of my favourite comfort food desserts. I just love to eat it warm with custard, and for this reason I associate it with cold winter evenings. One of the best things about this dessert (apart from it’s deliciousness) is that practically anyone can make it well since minimal baking skills are required.

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I like to use sweet apples to make it as opposed to cooking apples, as I prefer a sweeter dessert and am not that keen on the tartness you get from cooking apples. Also, some cooking apples take a long time to soften up when they are stewed, and I’m all about saving time wherever I can. I also like to add a little salt to the apple filling to give it a caramel apple taste. I also associate warm apple desserts with cinnamon and nutmeg, so I’ve included a little of both in this recipe, however this is optional.


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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Sweet Apples: I like to use Royal Gala or Red Delicious apples due to their sweetness. They also soften up really quickly when cooked, and this dessert is all about being quick, easy and fool-proof.
  • Flour: Plain flour, self-raising flour, whatever you have in the cupboard – it doesn’t make much difference.
  • Oats: Adds a nicer texture and flavour to the crumble topping.
  • Butter: This is key for a nice crumble texture.

How To Make Apple Crumble

Step One: Pre-heat your oven to 180 °C fan (200 °C conventional / gas mark 6 / 400 °F).

Step Two: To make the filling, add 8 peeled, cored and roughly chopped 1cm cubed apple pieces to a saucepan along with the 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix this well and stew for 5 minutes with the lid on until the apples release some water. Then simmer for a further 10 minutes with the lid off until the apple is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Step Three: In the meantime make the crumble. Add 230 g flour (2 cups), 4 tbsp oats and 50 g caster sugar (1/4 cup) to a large mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.

Step Four: Add in 100 g unsalted butter (1/2 cup) and use your finger tips to work the butter into the dry ingredients to make crumbs.

Step Five: Pour the stewed apple into a pie dish (roughly 21 cm by 30 cm is ideal), then top with the crumble and bake for 35 minutes until the crumble starts to go golden brown.

How To Serve Apple Crumble

  • Serve warm with custard, vanilla ice cream or single cream. In my opinion nothing beats warm apple crumble with hot custard – yummm.

Apple Crumble Recipe


Serves:
6
Preparation Time:
10 minutes
Cooking/Baking Time:
50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

for the filling:

  • 8 gala apples (or other sweet apples) peeled, cored and roughly cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • pinch salt

for the crumble:

  • 230 g flour (2 cups), plain or self-raising whatever you have in the cupboard)
  • 4 tbsp oats
  • 50 g caster sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 100 g unsalted butter (1/2 cup), cold and cut into 1 cm cubes

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 °C fan (200 °C conventional / gas mark 6 / 400 °F).
  2. Add the apple to a saucepan along with the vanilla essence, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt. Mix well and stew for 5 minutes with the lid on until the apples release some water. Then simmer for a further 10 minutes with the lid off until the apple is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Add the flour, oats and sugar to a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the butter and use your finger tips to work the butter into the dry ingredients to make crumbs.
  5. Pour the stewed apple into a baking dish, top with the crumble and bake for 35 minutes until the crumble starts to go brown.

NOTES

  • Serve warm with custard or ice cream.

The Best Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

I am currently embroiled in a love affair with my new air fryer (yes, I’m such a kitchen geek)! I’d wanted one of these for a couple of years now, but had always talked myself out of buying one. I thought it would be just another kitchen gadget that I’d quickly loose interest in, that would remain on my kitchen counter taking up precious space. However, I could not have been more wrong. These things are amazing! I honestly wish I had bought one sooner. Somehow they add crispness and flavour to foods even without prior marinating (and I’m the marinating queen) and all with minimal oil.

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After lots of research I decided on the Ninja AF100UK as it seemed perfect for a family of four, and I have not been disappointed. It’s really easy to use (I used it without looking at the manual) and cleaning up is easy as the pan and grilling tray are non-stick and can be popped into the dishwasher. Honestly, I’ve found a way to use it every day since it arrived and the great thing is that I can make healthier meals for my family without compromising on the taste.

One of my kids’ favourite treats are freshly fried cinnamon sugar donuts (the kind I remember getting at the fair when I was little), so I decided to have a go at making an air fryer version based on the US style biscuit dough. The donuts are so quick and easy to make and cook in 5 minutes. They are then coated in butter and dipped in delicious cinnamon sugar – the butter gives the cinnamon sugar something to cling on to. The result is a tasty light and airy sugary donut that the family can easily polish off in one sitting. And unlike the deep fried version there was no excess oil to have to somehow discard afterwards.


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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Flour: I use plain flour
  • Baking Powder: Gives the donut a light and airy texture.
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter. This helps to ensure that the texture is not too dry.
  • Milk: My milk of preference is oat milk, but this will work well with whole dairy milk too. The milk binds the ingredients together.
  • Cinnamon Sugar: Just a simple mix of caster sugar and cinnamon, but the ratio has to be correct to get that perfect fair ground donut taste.

How To Make Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Step One: Pre-heat your air fryer at 200 °C for 3-5 minutes.

Step Two: Add 225 g plain flour to a large mixing bowl. Add in 1 tbsp baking powder, 0.25 tsp fine sea salt, 20 g caster sugar and 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Step Three: Add in 75 g unsalted butter cold and cubed and use the tips of your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles course bread crumbs.

Step Four: Use a measuring jug to measure out 80 ml milk. Add in 1 tsp vanilla essence and stir well.

Step Five: Slowly add in the milk mixture to the flour-butter breadcrumbs. Use a wooden spoon to bring the mixture together to form a soft dough.

Step Six: Roll the dough out onto a floured surface until it is around 1 cm thick. Fold the dough into three (like how you would fold an A4 piece of paper to fit into a DL envelope). Repeat this step two more times.

Step Seven: Now roll the dough out so that it is around 1.5 cm to 2 cm thick.

Step Eight: Use a 5 cm round cookie cutter to cut out 8 donuts. Roll the remaining dough into a ball and then roll out with a rolling pin again until it is 1.5 cm to 2 cm thick and cut out a further four donuts.

Step Nine: Use a shot glass to cut out donut holes from the donuts. Reserve the donut holes.

Step Ten: Brush the tops of the donuts and donut holes with some of the 200 g melted butter. Then turn the over and brush the other side with butter. Set aside the remaining butter

Step Eleven: Add the donuts to the crisper tray of the air fryer and air fry at 200 °C for 5 minutes, turning them half way for even cooking. Then add the donut holes to the air fryer and air fry them for 3 minutes, again turn them half way. Depending on the size of your air fryer you may need to cook the donuts and donut holes in batches.

Step Twelve: Use a silicone brush to brush the tops of the donuts and donut holes with the remaining melted butter. Then turn them over and brush the other side with butter. For a more indulgent donut brush the top and bottom of the donuts with butter twice. This allows the donut to absorb more butter.

Step Thirteen: In a large bowl mix together 75 g caster sugar and 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon.

Step Fourteen: Dip the donuts into the cinnamon sugar until they are coated. Enjoy them while they are warm.

How To Serve Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

  • Air Fryer donuts are definitely best served warm.
  • You can even make a chocolate dipping sauce for the donuts by mixing some Nutella with milk until it is the right consistency for dipping.

Tips for Making Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

  • Open the air fryer and check on the donuts regularly when air frying the donuts. You want the donuts to go brown, but not to be overcooked as they will dry out.
  • When brushing the donuts with butter really try to ensure that all the surfaces of the donuts are coated with butter, especially the holes. Really get your silicon brush in there.
  • Double brushing the donuts with butter once they are cooked enhances gives the donuts more flavour and also gives the cinnamon sugar more to cling on to.

Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts Recipe


Makes:
12 donuts and
12 donut holes
Preparation Time:
15 minutes
Cooking Time:
3 – 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the donuts:

  • 235 g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp fine sea salt
  • 20 g caster sugar
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 75 g unsalted butter cold and cubed
  • 80 ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract        
  • 1 medium egg beaten

For greasing the donuts before and after air frying:

  • 200 g melted butter

For the cinnamon sugar coating:

  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat air fryer to 200 °C for 3-5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and nutmeg.
  3. Add in the cold butter and use your finger tips to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles course breadcrumbs.
  4. In a jug or cup mix together the milk and the vanilla essence.
  5. Slowly pour this milk mixture into the breadcrumbs mixture and use a wooden spoon to bring it together into a dough.
  6. Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out until it is around 1 cm thick. Fold the dough in 3 (like how you would fold an A4 sheet of paper if you were trying to fit it into a DL envelope). Roll out the dough again and repeat this twice.
  7. Now roll the dough out so that it is around 1.5 – 2 cm thick . Use a round cookie cutter to cut out 8 donuts. Roll the remaining dough into a ball and re-roll it out until it is 1.5 – 2 cm thick. Cut a further four donuts out.
  8. Brush the tops and bottoms of the donuts and donut holes with some of the melted butter.
  9. Place the donuts and donut holes onto the crisper try the air fryer. Cook the donuts for 5 minutes and the donut holes for 3 minutes. Turn them half way. You may need to air fry them in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
  10. Brush the tops and bottoms of the donuts and donut holes with melted butter. You can brush them with butter twice for extra flavour.
  11. Make the cinnamon sugar by combining the sugar and the cinnamon. Dip the donuts and donut holes into the cinnamon sugar until they are coated.

NOTES

  • These are best devoured while they are warm.
  • Don’t over cook as they will get hard.

Peaches and Cream Cake

This is the cake that I made for my birthday this year and it was a winner with my family. It has a light and fluffy sponge with a hint of cinnamon. It is filled with whipped cream and chopped peaches. And it is topped with a little more cream and sliced peaches.

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I’ve always loved cream cakes and savoury dishes with creamy sauces, but over the years I’ve found that I’ve become less tolerant to dairy products. So I tried to avoid these creamy foods as much as I could (though I would suffer for ice cream and cheesecake on occasion). However, I recently discovered Elmlea Plant Double Cream, and it’s been a game changer – I can now enjoy the dishes I’d once been avoiding without risk of feeling uncomfortable afterwards. Elmlea Plant Double cream works well in cream teas and coffees, in creamy pasta alfredo sauce and it’s a dream in this peaches and cream cake. It’s definitely worth a try whether you’re dairy intolerant or not.


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Peaches and Cream Cake Recipe

Serves: 6 – 8

Preparation Time: 12 – 15 minutes

Baking Time: 25 – 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 160 g butter melted and cooled
  • 160 g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • 100 ml double cream or Elmlea Plant Double Cream
  • 200 g peach slices drained (around half a tin)

METHOD

  1. Pre heat oven to 170 °C fan (190 °C conventional oven).
  2. Grease and line two 18 cm round loose bottomed cake tin with baking paper. Brush the baking paper lightly with some additional melted butter. I used my favourite MasterClass Non-Stick Loose Base Cake Tin for this. These high quality tins are deep with a thick heavy base. The non-stick coating means they wash really well and still look like new after over a dozen baking projects. Click here for more details on the tin.
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together and set aside.
  4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together with a hand mixer for around 7-10 minutes, until the mixture has doubled in size and it is stiff.
  5. Fold in the butter with a spatula.
  6. Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon mixture a quarter at a time and lightly fold into the batter after each addition.
  7. Divide the batter between the two baking tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until the cakes start to come away from the sides and a skewer poked into the centre of each cake comes out clean.
  8. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the tins for around 10 minutes before removing from the tin and removing the baking paper. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. In the meantime prepare the filling and topping. Reserve around 6 of the peach slices for the top of the cake. Chop the remaining slices into small chunks for the filling.
  10. Whip the cream using an electric whisk. Reserve a quarter of the cream for the top of the cake.
  11. When the cakes have cooled completely, spread or pipe the cream onto the top of one of the cakes. Sprinkle with the peach chunks. Add the remaining cream to the top of the cake and arrange the whole slices neatly on top.

Beef Meatball Curry

I used to associate meatballs with Italian food or IKEA 😉, but they are a lot more versatile than I initially thought. They work really well in this Indian inspired curry. The meatballs themselves are seasoned with onion and chilli, and the tomato-based sauce contains an aromatic blend of spices and creamy coconut milk which ensures full-on flavours with every bite.


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Beef Meatball Curry Recipe

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the meatballs:

  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 700 g lean beef mince
  • 0.5 large onion finely diced
  • 1 green chilli finely diced
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tbsp dried coriander leaf
  • 1 tsp salt

For the curry sauce:

  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1.5 large onions finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 thumb sized piece ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 0.5 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 400 g tin chopped tomato
  • 400 ml tin coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 180 g spinach

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C fan (or 200°C conventional oven), line a baking tray with grease proof paper and brush with the oil. In a large bowl combine the mince, onion, chilli, garam masala, garlic powder and coriander leaf.
  2. Shape into 24 meatballs and spread them out on the prepared baking tray. Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes until the balls have browned turning halfway.
  3. In the meantime make the curry sauce. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan on a medium heat and fry the onion, garlic and ginger until softened for around 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. Pour in the spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilli powder, mustard powder and cinnamon) and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir in the coconut milk.
  6. Add the cooked meatballs to the pan.
  7. Cook on a low heat with the lid on for 40 minutes. Be sure to stir the curry every 20 minutes.
  8. Add the spinach to the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on until wilted.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.

NOTES

  • For an even more flavoursome meatball, prepare the meatballs the day before and leave overnight in the fridge to marinade.
  • This also works well with lamb mince.
  • I use mild chilli powder in this dish to make it toddler friendly, but if you like spice then you may want to use the hot (or extra hot) version.
  • Serve with steamed basmati rice and a side salad.