Chai & Speculoos Ice Cream

Following the success of my tea & biscuits ice cream, I decided to continue the theme with a different tea and to pair it with another type of biscuit. I have a feeling that I’ll be trying a few more variations, so do let me know your favourite tea and biscuit combination in the comments below!

English breakfast is usually my go-to tea, but if I’m feeling something with more flavour and warmth, I really like masala chai. Whether it’s brewed in hot water with a splash of milk, or made into a chai latte, I love how the blend of spices (cinnamon, cloves, anise, cardomom, ginger) lift a simple black tea.

The house chai at Dishoom (various branches in London) is one of my favourites since it has the perfect balance of sweet and spicy – and you get unlimited refills! At home, I like Tea India‘s chai – you can smell the amazing spices the minute you open the box, and each teabag is packed with plenty of flavour.

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I wanted to find a biscuit that could match the strong flavours of the chai and was torn between gingersnaps and speculoos. I think either of those biscuits would’ve paired well, but I decided on speculoos in the end as I wanted a more cinnamon-flavoured ice cream.

Speculoos is traditionally a Christmas cookie that originates from the Netherlands and Belgium. It’s laced with similar spices to chai – cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom – but also pepper and nutmeg. I used Lotus’s Biscoff biscuits for my recipe, but I’m definitely planning to make some of these biscuits from scratch at some point!

Like my milk tea ice cream, I steeped 5 tea bags’ worth of chai in the milk and cream mixture before making the custard. I also added a few extra pinches of cinnamon, ground ginger and nutmeg. My kitchen was filled with the aroma of all the spices and it started to remind me of Christmas πŸ™‚

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This ice cream also turned out wonderfully, with the speculoos complementing the creamy chai ice cream perfectly. I’m starting to think you can’t go wrong with this tea and biscuits combination! I’m thinking of doing an earl grey ice cream next…!

Ginger Barley & Rye Biscuits

When I was a kid, ‘baking’ meant using some kind of cake or cookie mix, mostly because it was convenient when my parents were busy, the instructions were easy to follow, and the results were still tasty. But using these mixes didn’t leave much room for creativity, and some of the ingredients were pretty questionable. I was so excited to move out into my own place (with a fully functioning oven) since this meant I could finally start making some of my favourite baked goods from scratch!

You can imagine I was a little sceptical when we received a biscuit mix as part of our goody bag after the British 10K… but I finally got around to making it today and ended up pleasantly surprised. Sweetpea Pantry has a whole range of baking mixes (for biscuits, cakes, pancakes, etc) that are based on wholegrains and contain no refined sugars (unlike the mixes I used to rely on).

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I received their Ginger Giggles Biscuit Mix, which includes the following ingredients: stone ground wholemeal plain flour, rye flour, wholegrain barley flour, unrefined dark muscavado sugar, flaxseed, ground ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon and sodium bicarbonate. All I had to add was butter, honey and an egg white.

The instructions were straightforward, and it was fun cutting out different shapes for the biscuits – I had to freestyle most of this, as I didn’t have any cookie cutters (but the rustic look is in trend… right?).

 

The biscuits turned out crisp around the edges and slightly moist and chewy in the centre. They’re not overly sweet, and have a lovely spiced flavour.

 

All in all, I’d recommend this to busy bakers, or even if you want to make a healthier version of your favourite baked good!

Classic Carrot Cake

Weekends are for baking so on Friday evening, I decided to make one of my favourite cakes – carrot cake! Ever since coming to the UK, I’ve become addicted to this sweet, rich dessert so I wanted to find a perfect recipe to make it at home.

I find recipes like this – where you basically dump everything into a huge bowl, mix and then bake – so satisfying and therapeutic. While I appreciate using actual technical skill to make perfect macarons, for example, sometimes after a long week, all you want is a simple, (fairly) effortless recipe. The result here isΒ an incredibly moist and warmly spiced cake, which can be enjoyed as afternoon tea, after dinner and even for breakfast.

Usually, I love the combination of carrot cake and cream cheese icing, but I’ve opted for an icing sugar drizzle for this recipe as it keeps the cake lighter (and means that it’s more justifiable to have several servings in one sitting!).

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Ingredients

  • 160 g light brown sugar
  • 145 ml vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 160 g grated carrot
  • 100 g raisins
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 2ΒΌ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Β½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180Β°C / 160Β°C fan / 350Β°F.
  2. Line your baking tin with parchment paper.
  3. Put the sugar, oil and eggs into a mixing bowl and lightly whisk until combined.
  4. Add in the grated carrot and raisins and mix gently.
  5. Sift in the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  6. Fold everything together.
  7. Transfer the carrot cake mixture into the baking tin.
  8. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.
  9. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, and then on a wire rack.
  10. For the frosting/drizzle, beat the icing sugar and orange juice until smooth, then drizzle over the cake in any way you like!
  11. Serve and enjoy!

(Recipe adapted from bbcgoodfood.com)

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Matcha & White Chocolate Blondies

Matcha (Japanese green tea) is one of my favourite flavours in the world – I love the tea on its own, but I’m also obsessed with matcha ice cream and desserts. On its own, matcha can be slightly bitter, which I think can be nicely balanced out by the sweetness of white chocolate.

This recipe makes approx. 16 blondies, which are great for a dessert, a snack or even breakfast (at least I did!). They’re dense, cake-y blondies with a lovely hint of matcha.

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Ingredients

  • 200 g butter (unsalted)
  • 200 g soft brown sugar
  • 150 g white chocolate
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp matcha powder (I used Bloom’s Supercharge Matcha)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180Β°C / 160Β°C fan / 350Β°F.
  2. Line your baking tin with parchment paper.
  3. Melt the butter and mix in 100 g of the chopped white chocolate.
  4. Stir until the white chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sugar together until pale.
  6. Sift in the flour and baking powder, matcha powder into the egg and sugar mix.
  7. Add the vanilla extract.
  8. Pour in the cooled chocolate butter mixture and fold everything together.
  9. Transfer the blondie mixture into the baking tin.
  10. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.
  11. Melt the remaining 50 g of white chocolate and drizzle over the cooled blondies.
  12. Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream or a cuppa tea!

(Recipe adapted from Teapigs.com)

 

 

 

Strawberry Quartet – Four Delicious Ways to Enjoy Strawberries this Summer

Summer is in full swing here in London, so I thought I would share four (or technically three) ways to prepare my favourite fruit of the season – strawberries! I served these together, but you can also have them separately, or paired with other desserts.

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(From top, going clockwise) – roasted strawberries, marinated strawberries, strawberry ice cream and a fresh strawberry

1. Fresh strawberries

Okay, okay this is a bit of a cheat as there’s not much preparation to do – but sometimes fresh fruit should just be enjoyed as it is, with nothing else added.

That being said, here are three tasty ways to prepare this beautiful fruit.

2. Roasted strawberries

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Roasting the strawberries gives the fruit a more concentrated, sweeter flavour. The berries end up with a gooey and syrupy texture, meaning they’re best paired with something else (e.g. ice cream, oatmeal, bircher muesli, toast), rather than eaten on their own (though I wouldn’t stop you!).

Ingredients

  • 200 g strawberries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180Β°C / 160Β°C fan / 350Β°F.
  2. Cut the strawberries into halves or quarters (if large).
  3. Mix all the ingredients together.
  4. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning them halfway.

3. Marinated strawberries

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This is a delicious recipe that heightens the sweetness of the strawberries, while keeping them extremely fresh. I love the extraΒ zing!Β that the mint and lemon zest provides to the fruit. Again, like the roasted strawberries, these are a great topping for other desserts or breakfasts.

Ingredients

  • 200 g strawberries
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar (you could use a natural liquid sweetener, if you prefer)
  • 5 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1/4 lemon

Directions

  1. Cut the strawberries into quarters.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and cover with cling film.
  3. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, and longer for a more syrupy result.

4. Strawberry ice cream

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Despite being such a simple flavour, strawberry ice cream is one of the hardest ice creams to get right. Often, it can end up with small ice crystals because strawberries are over 90% water! Therefore, you have to start with the highest quality strawberries which are super sweet (rather than pale and watery) to make this ice cream.

Some recipes say to cook the strawberries first before mixing it with the ice cream base (e.g. David Lebovitz’s Roasted Strawberry & Miso Ice Cream), but I wanted to retain the naturally fresh flavour of strawberries, so I chose to puree the fruit before combining it with my usual custard base.

My ice cream has a light, fragrant note of strawberries, but unfortunately the berries I used weren’t as ripe and sweet as they should’ve been. Thankfully, there were no crunchy ice crystals!

This is a lovely ice cream to enjoy on its own, or with another dessert. I love the combination of strawberries, white chocolate and matcha, so I paired this ice cream with some homemade matcha blondies (recipe to come).

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This has been a pretty long post – so I’m glad you’ve made it down here! Let me know what your favourite way of eating strawberries this summer.