A few days ago I shared my review of Grow Your Own Cake, published by Frances Lincoln. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.

This intriguing cookbook features 46 recipes for savoury and sweet cakes and bakes featuring vegetables and fruits you can grow yourself. The author Holly Farrell, an experienced gardening writer, shares invaluable tips on how to grow and harvest each crop, before putting it to use in the recipe provided. Photography is by Jason Ingram, who illustrates both gardening tips and recipes throughout the book.

growyourowncake grown your own cake sweet potato
Book jacket; sweet potato image by Jason Ingram

Pete and I have thus far made two recipes from the book, an Upside-down Pear Cake and this Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake, published below with permission from Frances Lincoln. I love the idea of taking a combination associated with American Thanksgiving menus and turning it into a cake.

We weren’t sure what to expect from this cake – in taste, in texture, in appearance. To our surprise the crumb is actually fairly light and not overly sweet, in fact it’s a lovely gently flavoured sponge which would work very well on it’s own, without the ganache filling or marshmallow fluff topping. We over-baked by just a few minutes, which gave the outside a slightly darker colour, but it didn’t affect the taste at all.

I am not sure adding mini marshmallows into the batter serves much purpose – as the cake cooks they seem to melt away leaving odd pockets in the sponge, lined with a crunchy sugar glaze – so I might skip those next time. The sweet potato cake is the real winner in this recipe, and you could lose the marshmallow elements if you wanted to and serve it as a simple unadorned sponge.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (2)

Sweet Potato & Marshmallow Cake

If sweet potato & marshmallow casserole, the traditional Thanksgiving dish, is too sweet for your turkey dinner, use this great pairing in cake form instead. It is perfect after a long winter’s walk.

Makes a two-layer cake

Ingredients

Mashed sweet potatoes
800–900g/1lb 12oz–2lb sweet potatoes

Cake
400g/14oz plain flour
11⁄2 tbsp baking powder
3⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp black pepper
1⁄2 nutmeg, finely grated, or 1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
165g/51⁄2oz unsalted butter
250g/8oz light muscovado sugar
4 eggs
450g/1lb mashed sweet potatoes
90g/3oz mini-marshmallows

Ganache
45ml/11⁄2fl oz double cream
100g/3oz white chocolate

Decoration
1⁄2 jar of marshmallow fluff (about 100g/31⁄2oz)
100g/31⁄2oz marshmallows

Equipment
2 × deep, round cake tins, 20cm/8in diameter, greased and base-lined

Method

  • For the mashed sweet potatoes, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roast the sweet potatoes for around 45 minutes until they are soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, then pop them out of their skins. Mash well (use a potato ricer if you have one).
  • For the cake, preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8309 Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8313

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl and mix well; leave to one side. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate after each egg. Mix in the mashed sweet potato, then the flour and spice mix. Quickly stir in the mini-marshmallows and divide the cake mixture between the two tins. Make sure that all the marshmallows on the surface are coated with mixture to prevent them burning. Bake for 50–60 minutes. To check if it is ready insert a skewer into the cake; if it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes in the tins, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8314 Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8316

  • For the ganache, heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat until just under boiling point. Pour over the chocolate and stir until it has melted and is smooth. Leave to cool until the mixture is thick enough to spread without running.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8319 Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8329

  • To assemble, sandwich the two cake layers together with the ganache, spread marshmallow fluff on the top and sprinkle with whole marshmallows.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (1)

Kavey Eats received a review copy of Grow Your Own Cake from Frances Lincoln, part of Quarto Publishing Group UK. Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell, photographs by Jason Ingram is currently available from Amazon for £14.88 (RRP £16.99).

 

You might be wondering why I’m sharing chocolate eggs with you now, on Good Friday, when it’s a little late to get your hands on them in time? But the good news is that Brownie Heaven sell their amazing eggs all year round, so if you didn’t get the egg of your dreams this Easter, why not make up for it by ordering one of these beauties for yourself?!

I’ve been seeing a few of these brownie-coated egg creations recently but Brownie Heaven have been making them since 2010 and believe they are the original brownie egg baker! Their Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs are made by wrapping a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, Cadbury’s Caramel Egg or Ferrero Rocher in a thick layer of chocolate brownie mixture and baking it in an egg shape. The Creme egg ones are dusted in biscuit crumbs, the Caramel egg version are coated in salty pretzels and the Ferrero Rocher eggs are coated in crushed Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

Brownie Heaven’s range also includes regular brownies, not just plain chocolate ones but a riot of flavours including Chocolate Chilli, Cognac Truffle, Dr Pepper flavour, Irish Whiskey, Milk Chocolate Chip, Rocky Road, Salted Caramel, Sticky Peanut Butter and more. Brownie Heaven have been making and selling their brownies since 2007, starting in their coffee shop and catering business in East Yorkshire, before expanding to food festivals and markets, before finally setting up their website for online mail order.

Brownie Heaven - Kavey Eats -8235

They usually sell their Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs in boxes of four of one type, but recently sent me a mixed box for review with two Scotch Cream Eggs, one Salted Pretzel Scotch Caramel Egg and one Ferrero Scotch Brownie Eggcelente. A box of four Cadbury’s Creme Egg Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs or Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs retails for £22.95, a box of Salted Pretzel Caramel Scotch Eggs is £23.95 and both prices include courier delivery in the UK.

I thought these were great fun, and a really unusual idea too, even if they’ve been much copied since. The brownie is dense and rich, so a quarter or half egg at a time is plenty, which means you can share these with a friend or just eke them out for a week! We shared ours with some friends who also really enjoyed them.

Brownie Heaven - Kavey Eats -8225 Brownie Heaven - Kavey Eats -8228

GIVEAWAY

Brownie Heaven are offering one mixed box of Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs to a reader of Kavey Eats. The box will contain two Scotch Cream Eggs, one Salted Pretzel Scotch Caramel Egg and one Ferrero Scotch Brownie Eggcelente and includes delivery to a UK address.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the giveaway in 2 ways – entering both ways increases your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
If you were designing a new brownie for Brownie Heaven, what would you put in the centre of a Chocolate Brownie Scotch Egg?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey and @brownieheaven on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a box of Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs by @BrownieHeaven from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsBH #KaveyEatsBrownieHeaven
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle to the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES, TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 6th May 2016.
  • The two winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a Brownie Heaven box containing two Scotch Cream Eggs, one Salted Pretzel Scotch Caramel Egg and one Ferrero Scotch Brownie Eggcelente. Delivery to a UK address is included.
  • The prize is offered by Brownie Heaven and cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, entrants must be following @Kavey and @brownieheaven at the time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a review box of Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs from Brownie Heaven.

 

Last month I got it into my head that I wanted to make a persimmon fruit curd. That was a little odd on my part really, since before this, I’d never even eaten persimmons at home – only on my travels. But this winter their orange piles have been beckoning me from several local grocery shops, and I was really keen to experiment. Once the idea of persimmon curd entered my brain, I couldn’t dislodge it!

Persimmons are a fascinating fruit. Bright orange with a smooth skin, at first glance they look a little like orange tomatoes or tomatillos, though they are related to neither. They vary in shape from round to ovoid and even square – such an unusual shape for fruit! – and the colour runs from light yellow-orange to dark red-orange. Botanically a berry, persimmons range in size from a couple of centimetres up to 9 centimetres but most I’ve come across are towards the larger end of that scale.

The most widely cultivated variety is the oriental persimmon Diospyros kaki, native to China where it has been cultivated for more than 2000 years. In Japan, persimmons are known as kaki fruit and are hugely popular. You may also know them as sharon fruit, the name by which the fruit is marketed in Israel, another key producer.

Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2013 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-2852 Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2012 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-2574

I first tasted them in Japan; they were in season during our two Autumn trips and many trees still had the orange fruits hanging to their branches, though all the leaves had long since fallen. Market stalls and supermarkets created striking displays of huge piles of evenly sized and coloured fruits.

Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2012 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-2827 Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2013 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-5805

When under ripe, the taste of many persimmon varieties is rather astringent; the high levels of tannin are unpleasantly mouth-puckering. Other varieties, such as the Japanese fuyu, are much less bitter and can therefore be enjoyed when not fully ripe – at this stage the flesh is still firm and crisp.

When fully ripe, the flesh becomes jelly-like with a rich flavour and intense sweetness.

They are also enjoyed dried, a great way of preserving a seasonal favourite.

Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2013 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-3099

Having fixated on the idea of making fruit curd, which is known as fruit butter in North America by the way, I wanted very ripe fruits with sweet, jellied interiors so I was delighted to spot a bowl of seven slightly-past-their-best persimmons for £1 at one of my local ethnic grocery shops. I can rarely walk past the displays of fruit lined along the outside front of the shop without buying something good to eat!

Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8006 Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8021

My first attempt – persimmon and lemon curd – had a wonderful flavour but I blended it for it too long and as it overheated, the eggs curdled. In the mouth, it still felt super smooth and didn’t taste eggy but visually, it had a curdled texture.

For my second trial I adjusted the recipe ratios a touch, but changed the timings a lot and that resulted in a thick, silky smooth curd that was everything I hoped it would be. I also increased volumes to use the remainder of the persimmons, but you can certainly scale the recipe down to two thirds or even a third, easily enough.

I also switched lemon for bergamot on the second run, as I had a couple on hand. Bergamot are actually sour oranges but their yellow skin and sour flesh and juice mean they make a perfect substitute for lemons, and their zest gives off that trademark Earl Grey scent – the tea is flavoured with bergamot oil extracted from the skin of these distinctive citrus fruits.

Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8009 Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8019

The flower-shaped calyx of the persimmon fruit can be hard to remove, more so when the fruits are not fully ripe. My tip is to place the fruits upside down on the chopping board, calyx-side down. Cut the fruit in half until the knife is pushing on the calyx. Then take the two halves of the fruit, still joined at the calyx, and pull them apart. The calyx will remain attached to one half. You can then either pull it off by hand or use a sharp knife to cut it away from the fruit.

Because I wanted super ripe fruits, there were a few patches on some of the persimmons that were too ripe to use. I cut these out and discarded them. To get 500 grams of chopped fruit (skin on) I used four fruits.

Persimmon Fruit Curd on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle (overlay)

Persimmon & Bergamot Fruit Curd | Power Blender Recipe

Makes approximately 1 litre fruit curd; can be scaled down as required

Ingredients
500 grams roughly chopped persimmon fruit (see note below on peeling)
200 grams caster sugar
zest of 2 bergamot oranges (or 1 lemon)
120 ml bergamot orange juice (or lemon juice)
3 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks
150 grams butter, roughly cubed
0.5 teaspoon salt

Note: Because I knew my Froothie Optimum power blender could handle them, I decided to keep the skin on to add extra colour and fibre. However, the skin is pretty tough so if you make this using a less powerful blender, you may prefer to peel the fruit.

Note: The Froothie Optimum 9400 has an incredibly powerful motor that powers the blade to 44,000 rpm – and it’s the friction generated by that speed which heats up the mixture as it blends, allowing you to blend and cook the curd in one step. If you make this using a less powerful blender, you may need to transfer the blended mixture to a pan and cook over very gentle heat to thicken the curd.

Note: I sterilise my jam jars in the oven (and boil lids in a saucepan on the stove) before I start weighing and preparing ingredients. Before I transfer ingredients to the blender jug to make the curd, I remove the jars from the oven and lay the lids out onto a clean tea towel, so they cool off a little before I pour the finished curd into the jars a few minutes later.

Method

  • Place all ingredients except butter into the blender jug and switch on at low power. Smoothly turn up the power to full. After about a minute the ingredients should be blended into a super smooth liquid.
  • With the blender still on, remove the cap in the lid and gently drop the butter in piece by piece. I took about a minute to drop all the butter into the mix.
  • Blend for another two to three minutes until the jug starts to feel a little warm to the touch. Don’t let it get really hot – you don’t want to overheat the curd.
  • As soon as the jug feels warm, switch off the blender and dip a spoon in to check taste and texture. The curd should be thick and smooth. If it is, you’re done. If not, blend for a little longer and check again.
  • Transfer straight into still-warm sterilised jam jars and seal.

Persimmon Fruit Curd on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8033

Other power blender fruit curd recipes you may enjoy:

Kavey Eats is a brand ambassador for Froothie. Please see my sidebar for further details. I affiliate with and recommend only brands and products I truly believe in.

 

Wayfair collage

From Brazilian brigadeiros to beetroot truffles, from candied orange peel to vanilla marshmallows, from fudge, to caramels to chocolate bark, my round up of 10 fantastic recipes for homemade gifts is featured on Wayfair’s Inspiration blog.

10 Edible Homemade Gifts to Make the Holidays Sweeter

Check it out for some delicious ideas for home made gifts this year!

 

Once upon a time, the Old Man of the Moon decided to visit the Earth. Disguised as a beggar, he came across three friends who lived together in the forest – Fox (Kitsune), Monkey (Saru) and Rabbit (Usagi) and asked them for something to eat. Monkey leapt up into the trees to gather fruit and nuts; Fox ran to a stream to catch a fish; these they presented to the old man. Rabbit raced around the forest grassland finding nothing but grass and returned forlorn to the teasing of his two friends. Desperate to help their visitor, Rabbit asked him to build a fire. Leaping into the flames, he offered himself to the old man to eat. Quickly the beggar changed back to his true form and pulled Rabbit from the fire, restoring him to life. He thanked each of the forest friends for their generous kindness but to Rabbit he said, “Your selfless sacrifice was the kindest of all. I will take you to the moon with me!” To this day, if you look up at the moon, you can see Rabbit there, pounding mochi in his mortar and pestle.

This is the story of Tsuki no Usagi (Moon Rabbit), told to me recently by a Japanese friend.

The myth originated 2400 years ago in the Indian Buddhist Jātaka tales, stories about the previous lives of Buddha in both human and animal form. One such tale tells the story of a monkey, an otter, a jackal and a rabbit, similarly called upon to find food for a beggar. When the rabbit offered himself in the fire, the beggar revealed himself as a god and drew the likeness of the rabbit on the Moon for all to see.

As is often the case, the details of the story changed as it spread. In China, the rabbit pounds medicinal herbs to make an elixir of life for Chang’e, the Moon Goddess.

Only in Japan is Rabbit thought to pound rice for the creation of delicious mochi (rice cakes).

Short-grain japonica glutinous rice (known in Japan as mochigome) has a higher protein concentration and less amylose in its starch than other types of rice, which results in a soft but firm consistency – it is delightfully chewy, the gummy elasticity a highly prized texture.

Traditional mochi are made by pounding soaked and steamed mochigome into a smooth paste. The paste is formed into a variety of shapes, often with a filling of sweet azuki bean paste. In other variations, flavourings are mixed into the paste itself, and these days there are many different fillings to choose from. Mochi is enjoyed in many dishes, savoury and sweet; one of my personal favourites is mitarashi dango – solid balls of mochi served on a stick with a sweet-savoury soy sauce glaze.

Another popular sweet is mochi ice cream – a ball of smooth, delicious ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of chewy mochi. These are a relatively recent phenomenon, appearing for the first time in the early eighties but they have quickly gained popularity across Japan.

Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7671 Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7684

I first encountered Little Moons mochi ice creams two years ago, at a pop up dinner by United Ramen. Asking afterwards about the utterly gorgeous ice cream mochi dessert, I learned they were made by Little Moons, a fledgling company launched by entrepreneur siblings Howard and Vivien Wong. Several months later, I came across them again when I visited Kanada-ya ramenya just after they opened. Today, Little Moons are served by several Japanese restaurants across London including Bone Daddies, Tonkotsu and Shoryu Ramen. Ramenandmochitastic!

Howard and Vivien worked with Nobu’s head patisserie chef, Regis Cursan to develop their range, and have updated the new Japanese classic by using artisan gelato fillings in six flavours – currently Vanilla, Toasted Sesame, Coconut, Matcha Green Tea, Mango and Raspberry. Little Moons mochi are hand-rolled in London to the traditional Japanese method, and the range is free from artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives. The mochi are also gluten free and less than 100 calories per ball.

The Wongs have also created a second brand, Tsuki Mochi under which they sell mochi truffles. The Dark Chocolate ones are filled with Belgian chocolate ganache and dusted with cocoa. Tsuki Mochi also make a Yuzu Lemon Cheesecake edition which I must, as a yuzu addict, try soon!

Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7674 Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7681
Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7676 Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7683

Last weekend I hosted a lovely afternoon tea featuring all six Little Moons mochi ice creams and the Tsuki Mochi dark chocolate ganache mochi. We enjoyed these with some delicious Adagio Teas served in an absolutely beautiful Japanese teaware set with an elegant metallic grey finish.

The mochi ice cream were as good as I remembered (though I do miss the wonderful pineapple flavour I first fell in love with at the ramen pop up dinner). My favourites were the mango and the matcha, though I loved them all. Pete’s favourite was the toasted sesame – he also loved the flavour of the raspberry gelato but wasn’t sure it worked so well in a mochi wrapping. Our guests both favoured the rich vanilla, flecked with vanilla seeds, with the coconut and mango also winning high praise.

All four of us adored the mochi truffles – these had a superbly rich, dark chocolate flavour and a light mousse-like texture within.

On the tea front, we started with Adagio’s kukicha, a blend of green tea leaves and stems. The tea had a powerful aroma as it brewed, but was light and refreshing to drink. Later we switched to genmai cha, the nutty flavours of toasted popped rice were particularly satisfying on a cold November day.

Of course, mochi are far more than a sweet treat to enjoy with afternoon tea – they make superb desserts after a meal, particularly the mochi ice cream which are stored in the freezer and need just a few minutes to soften before serving. Although small, they are surprisingly filling and just one or two balls would be perfect after a meal.

Little Moons come in a box of six and are currently stocked by Whole Foods (£5.99) and Partridges (£6.95). Tsuki Mochi truffles come in a box of four and are available from Selfridges (£4.50).

Kavey Eats received product samples from Little Moons / Tsuki Mochi plus a Japanese teaware set and Adagio teas, to host a Japanese afternoon tea.

 

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or my blog’s Facebook page you’ll have noticed that I visited Canada recently, taking in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and the region around Niagara-on-the-Lake. I’ll be sharing lots (and lots and lots!) from that trip in coming weeks. I totally loved all the destinations I visited and cannot wait to go back with Pete for a self-drive holiday.

Our tour of the Niagara region was hosted by husband-and-wife chefs Michael and Anna Olson who not only took us to visit their favourite local producers, vineyards, restaurants and markets but also invited us into their home for dinner and breakfast. We learned several of their delicious recipes, getting involved, asking questions and taking photographs as we laughed and chatted the hours away.

A recipe we all adored was Anna’s Blueberry Sticky Buns, which she made for us with blueberries and peaches, both in season in the local area.

Keen to take inspiration from Anna’s reverence for local and seasonal ingredients, I switched the blueberries and peaches for plums and blackberries gathered from our allotment just hours before.

Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle - textoverlay

Anna’s original recipe calls for buns to be cooked individually in a muffin tin, but I’ve followed the variation she showed us to tuck them all together into a baking dish and turn them out whole for a wonderful family-style tear-and-share result. Also following Anna’s example, Pete and I made the dough, filling and buns in the evening, popped them into the fridge overnight to rise slowly and baked them for a perfect Sunday breakfast the next morning.

Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-183230 Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-183757 Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-184852
Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-185252 Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-185301 Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-185335
Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-182704 Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-185736 Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-094608
Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-095403 Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-095417 Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-095614

I’m sharing Anna’s original recipe below.

To make my plum and blackberry version, just switch out the blueberries. Of course, you can use your choice of berries or chopped fruit.

To make the tear-and-share version, smear some of the maple-cinnamon filling across the bottom of a baking dish, and sit the buns side by side on top of that, within the dish. Either rise for half an hour at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.

We found that the buns need an extra 10-15 minutes in the oven when cooked this way.

 

Anna Olson’s Blueberry Sticky Buns

Makes 12 sticky buns

Ingredients
Dough:
2 ¼ tsp / 8 g dry active yeast
¼ cup / 60 ml warm water
1/2 cup/ 125 ml milk, room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tbsp/ 25 g granulated sugar
2 ½ cups/ 375 g all-purpose flour
½ tsp / 2 g salt
½ tsp / 2 ml ground nutmeg
½ cup / 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup / 125 g cream cheese, room temperature
Sticky Bun Filling:
½ cup / 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup / 200 g packed light brown sugar
3 tsp / 45 ml maple syrup
1 tbsp / 15 ml cinnamon
2 cups / 500 ml fresh or frozen blueberries

Method

Sticky Bun Dough:

  • Dissolve yeast in water and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  • In a mixer, add milk, egg and sugar and blend. Add flour, salt and nutmeg and mix for 1 minute to combine. Add butter and cream cheese and knead for 5 minutes on medium speed.
  • Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rest 1 hour.

Sticky Bun Filling:

  • Combine butter, sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon. Spoon a tablespoonful of filling into bottom of each cup of a greased 12-cup muffin tin.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a rectangle 1/2- inch thick.
  • Spread remaining filling over the dough, sprinkle with blueberries and roll up lengthwise.
  • Slice dough into 12 equal portions and arrange them in muffin tin. Allow to rise for 1/2 hour.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, and turn out onto a plate while still warm.

 

Huge thanks to Anna for sharing and showing us her delicious recipe, and for giving permission to share it with you. And of course, thanks to all of those involved in making my trip to Canada so amazing. I can’t wait to share more with you soon!

Kavey Eats visited Canada as a guest of Tourism Quebec, Ontario Travel & Destination Canada. The Anna Olson recipe is reproduced with permission.

 

I developed this recipe when writing a piece about Carob Molasses recently for Good Things magazine. (You can read it by following the link). The inspiration for the combination is entirely thanks to the wonderful Beiruti blogger, Joumana Accad, author of  tasteofbeirut.com.

The malty caramel flavour of carob molasses and the delicious sesame of the tahini work wonderfully with chocolate and make for a delicious, unusual chocolate brownie.

If you’ve never tried the combination before, its well worth seeking out carob molasses from your nearest Lebanese, Turkish or Greek specialist store to make it.

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - text

Carob Molasses & Tahini Chocolate Brownies

Combining the classical flavours of debs bi tahini (carob molasses mixed with tahini) with chocolate in a rich, fudgy brownie.

Makes 36 squares

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
120 grams Demerara or light brown sugar
120 grams carob molasses
60 grams unsalted butter, melted
40 grams tahini
200 grams plain flour
30 grams cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp salt

Tip: For the sugar, carob molasses and tahini I suggest weighing these directly into the mixing bowl as you reach the steps where they are added. Other ingredients are best weighed out ahead.

Equipment: I use a stand mixer to make the batter but you can use an electric whisk or beat by hand, if you prefer. This recipe is for an 8 inch / 20 cm square baking tin.

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan).
  • Line a 8 inch / 20 cm square baking pan or dish with parchment paper (or grease with butter), and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until well combined and a little frothy.
  • Add the carob molasses and beat again to combine, then add the melted butter and tahini and mix until smooth.
  • Combine dry ingredients (flour,  cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) and add to the mixing bowl. Beat until dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated; if using a stand mixer or electric whisk, start at the lowest speed and increase once most of the flour mix is folded in. This stops the dry ingredients flying out of the mixing bowl!
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Use a spatula to spread it evenly into the corners and create a reasonably smooth surface.
  • Bake for 20 minutes for a fudgy texture or 25 minutes for a more cake-like finish.
  • Remove from oven, leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then lift out onto a wire rack. Baking parchment makes this task easier, as you can grab the paper at the sides and lift the entire cake up and out.
  • Once cool, transfer to a chopping board and cut into squares. An 8 inch / 20 cm square tin divides nicely into 6 x 6 brownies.

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle-7533

LoveCakelinklogoThese brownies will last for up to a week in an airtight plastic box.

I’m entering this bake into Jibber Jabber’s cakes from around the world challenge.

 

For the latest Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream I set a theme of sorbets and granitas.

Corin Sorbet

Corin at Pro-Ware Kitchen created this rather grown up Tangerine and Prosecco Sorbet, the perfect palate cleanser. I love the beautiful orange colour and am seriously coveting the pretty champagne coupe glass.

Caroline Sorbet

One advantage of sorbet over ice cream is that it’s a little easier to make low calorie versions. Caroline from Caroline Makes shares this Slimming World Kiwi and Lime Sorbet which substitutes powdered sweetener for sugar. Of course, you can stick to sugar if you like!

no churn lemon 3

Regular BSFIC participant Alicia Foodycat put forward a rogue entry, a No-Churn Lemon Ripple Ice Cream! Yes it has dairy, but as she says, lemon is so refreshing it’s almost like a sorbet! Besides, BSFIC is all about sharing frozen treats, so I’m happy if she is!

Jen granita

Another grown up entry from Jen of Jen’s Food in the form of this Sloe Gin and Tonic Granita. Doesn’t this look just the thing for a warm midsummer’s evening?

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle -landscape-text

Lastly, I made use of some of the herbs from our back garden for this simple Lemon Balm Sorbet which also features a slosh of white rum to add flavour and keep it super soft.

IceCreamChallenge

Thanks to everyone who joined in. July’s BSFIC theme is ice lollies, so do get freezing and join in!

 

As a child of the seventies, I have strong memories of walking to the local newsagents with my pocket money and choosing sweets.

Oh, the excitement!

Tiny white chocolate teddy bears were a particular bargain at 2 for half a penny, but I also had a penchant for drumstick lollipops, fruit salad chews, pineapple and cola cubes, strawberry and lemon bonbons, sherbet pips, pear drops, sherbet dip dabs, gobstoppers, foam shrimps and bananas, tubes of love hearts, refreshers and parma voilets, candy necklaces and bracelets, plastic-bound whistles and lipsticks and those white cigarettes with the ends painted red…

Today, there is quite a demand for the retro sweets of my childhood and many that were once discontinued are available once again.

Scoff Club is the latest in a long line of food subscription services – sign up and a box of sweets will be posted out to you once a month. Choose from 2 tubs (approx. 500 grams), 3 tubs (approx. 750 grams) or 4 tubs (approx. 1 kilo) priced at £9.99, £11.99 and £13.99 per month respectively, delivery included.

Scoff Box - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-120703
One of our 3 tub Scoff Boxes

As is the norm with such subscriptions, you don’t get a choice on what your box will contain. For many, that element of surprise is very much part of the fun, and it’s also ideal if you are buying a subscription as a gift for someone else. I found it a little frustrating as one of our boxes had half a tub of liquorice sweets in it, which both of us hate. That said, we have enjoyed the majority of the contents.

The good news is that Scoff have recently introduced a preference centre so you can let them know whether you hate, like or love Jelly & Gums, Sour/Fizzy, Chocolate, Hard/Boiled, Chewy, Sherbet and Lollies. Unfortunately for us, there’s no category for liquorice and given that I’d mark Chewy as Love, I have no way of banning liquorice from my box.

The overall range across my trial of the 3 tub box has been decent, though I have found individual boxes a little lacking on variety – each tub holds only one or two types of sweets in it, plus there are a few extra loose items in the box. The box shown above was a little disappointing, whereas the box with lots of different chews was much better!

Because of the tub format, the boxes are too large to fit through the letterbox so you’ll need to retrieve them from your local Royal Mail depot if you’re not usually home during the day. I’d vastly prefer flatter boxes that could easily fit through the letterbox, which should certainly be possible for the volumes we’re talking about about here.

I’d also like the option of specifying from the start how long my subscription will run – one month, three months, six months and a year. As it stands, it’s an open-ended subscription and you have to remember to cancel when you’ve reached the duration/ budget you had in mind.

That said, this is a fun addition to the subscription trend and a nice gift idea for those with a sweet tooth.

GIVEAWAY

It’s my pleasure to join  with Scoff Box in giving away a three month subscription for the 3 tub Scoff Box to one lucky reader of Kavey Eats! The prize includes free delivery within the UK.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the giveaway in 2 ways – entering both ways increases your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment sharing a memory of buying or eating sweets when you were a child.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a @ScoffBox subscription from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsScoffBox #KaveyEatsScoffBox
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle at the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid. Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 5th June 2015.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries (across blog, twitter and instagram) using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a three month Scoff Box subscription to the three tub box and includes delivery within the UK.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Scoff Box.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter all three ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

DISCOUNT CODE

New subscribers are offered 50% off their first box. Enter discount code SCOFF50 on ordering.

 

Kavey Eats received sample products from Scoff Box.

 

You can take the girl out of Luton…

Smack in the middle of the eighties – which I still hold to be the best decade, musically and fashion-wise (though I admit to harbouring some bias on this) – I did a German Language Exchange Trip through my secondary school. Luton and Hamburg were an odd pairing; the kids of that rather attractive northern German river port city must surely have been a tad disappointed when they discovered that the attractions of Luton amounted to little more than a biscuit-shaped pincushion in the local museum and a pink flamingos fountain in the Arndale shopping centre.

The (frankly marvellous) pink flamingos have long since gone, which is a huge shame as they were one of Luton’s best (if not only) attractions.

pinkflamingoesofluton

Worried I might be imagining the biscuit-shaped pincushion (though my little sister remembers it too), I made a call to the museum last week and was delighted to hear back from one of their specialist curators that they do indeed have a biscuit-shaped pincushion in their collection (though it’s not currently on display). It dates from around 1870 and was produced as an advertising product by Huntley, Albert & Palmers. I should add at this point that the museum did, of course, have a great deal more on display than the biscuit-shaped pincushion, including no-doubt-excellent exhibits about the local hat- and lace-making industries for which Luton was, once upon a time, quite famous. It’s just that, as a teenager, little of this captured my attention; I’d probably appreciate it much more today!

And, by the way, did you know that the expression ‘mad as a hatter’ originated in Luton?

Anyway, back to Germany…

I’d actually already dropped German from my curriculum by the time the trip came around. We signed up for the exchange in our second year but travelled in our third by which time, having mastered only ‘ich liebe dich’ and ‘du bist eine dumme ganz’, I decided to focus on French, which I found immeasurably easier. I added one more phrase to my German knowledge some years later, by the way; even today I still like to point at random plants and declare ‘das is kein gummebaum’ (that is not a rubber plant) – a very useful phrase, I’m sure you’ll agree?

Luckily, the majority of people I met in Germany spoke superb English, so I got along just fine.

My host family showed me around Hamburg, of course. It’s an attractive city and the views from the revolving restaurant up in the Heinrich-Hertz-Turm comms tower were beautiful. I also spent a few days visiting German Schleswig – a school trip within a school trip – with my exchange partner’s class.

One of the days I remember most fondly was a family outing to nearby Lübeck, just an hour’s drive away or 45 minutes by train.

Situated on the River Trave, Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, and a major port in the area. For several centuries it was the leading city of the Hanseatic League, a commercial confederation of merchant guilds and market downs that dominated trade in Northern Europe, stretching along the coast from the Baltic to the North Sea. The Old Town, on an island enclosed by the Trave, is famous for its extensive brick gothic architecture and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

shutterstock_166226867 shutterstock_183595226
Images of Lubeck from Shutterstock.com

Niederegger Marzipan

It was not just the beauty of Lübeck that won my heart, oh no! Lübeck is also famous for its marzipan. And I really, really love marzipan!

A local legend suggests that marzipan was first made in the city in response to either a military siege or a local famine. The story goes that the town ran out of all foodstuffs except stored almonds and sugar, and these were combined to make loaves of marzipan “bread”.

In reality, marzipan is believed to have been invented far earlier, most likely in Persia though historians are undecided between a Persian and an Iberian origin.

Niederegger have been making marzipan in Lübeck for over two centuries, and relate the story from the perspective of founder Johann Georg Niederegger.

Our marzipan was invented far away, where almonds and sugar are grown. Rhazes, a Persian doctor who lived from 850 to 923, wrote a book in which he praised the curative qualities of almond and sugar paste. When the crusaders returned from the Orient, they brought with them a host of spices and Oriental secrets. In 13th century Venice, Naples and Sicily, spices and confectionery were generally traded  in tiny boxes. The enchanting word “Mataban” (box) gradually came to be used for the contents of the box:  Mazapane (Italian), Massepain (French) and Marzipan (German). Did you know that even back in the 13th century, the renowned philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas reflected upon the indulgence of eating Marzipan? In his doctrinal teaching, he reassures enquiring and anxious clerics: “Marzipan does not break the fast.” In his stories, the great novelist Boccaccio clearly describes the correlation between passion and marzipan. In those days, marzipan was topped with gold leaf to crown the sweet temptation. Great Hanseatic merchant boats brought spices and other prized ingredients to the North. Initially, however, only apothecaries were allowed to trade sugar and spices. Not until confectionary became a trade in its own right were so-called ‘canditors’ allowed to produce marzipan. The first Europeans to indulge in marzipan were kings and rich people. It has been reported that Queen Elizabeth I of England, who lived from 1533 to 1603, was addicted to all things sweet.  The saying ‘regal enjoyment’ was coined. Later, at the French ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV’s sumptuous feasts, huge tables laden with marzipan were the order of the day. Marzipan reproductions of all sorts of fruits, poultry and game were created – anything you desired could be made. In the first half of  the general population were now able to sample the almond delicacy to their heart’s content in coffee houses. Now that sugar could be extracted from sugar beet, the costly luxury became slightly more affordable. Marzipan was also particularly popular and prized in Lübeck. I would now like to tell you something about my life: as a young man, I left my home town of Ulm to become apprenticed to a confectioner, Maret, in Lübeck. In 1806 I was able to open up my own shop. I supplied my wares to kings and tsars. From then on, my reputation grew thanks to excellent quality. My recipe for marzipan – as many almonds as possible, as little sugar as necessary – is secret, and has been passed on from generation to generation since my death. That way, Niederegger Marzipan remains what it has always been: a delicious speciality made from the very best almonds. New York, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, a sweetmeat goes on tour … Niederegger stands for “marzipan of world renown”.

The quality of Niederegger marzipan is certainly renowned, as is that of slightly younger Lübeck marzipan manufacturer Carstens (founded in 1845, 39 years after Niederegger).

At its core, marzipan consists of nothing more than ground almonds mixed with either sugar or honey. These days, a wide range of marzipan is available; many commercial versions contain a comparatively low volume of almonds; instead they contain more sugar with the flavour boosted by almond oils and extracts or even cheaper synthetic almond flavourings. They are often sickly sweet.

Niederegger marzipan is the very good stuff. With a high ratio of almonds to sugar, the flavour is subtle and natural and the sweetness is not overwhelming.

Germany grades marzipan according to the following ratios:

  • Marzipanrohmasse (raw marzipan) contains 65% ground almonds and 35% sugar. When you see a label of 100:0 or 100%, it means 100% raw marzipan with no additional sugar added, not that there is no sugar at all.
  • Niederegger Marzipan is raw marzipan, made to the 65:35 almond to sugar ration and labelled as 100:0 (100% raw marzipan).
  • Lübecker Edelmarzipan (Lübeck fine marzipan) is described as 90:10. That means it’s 90% raw marzipan mixed with an extra 10% sugar. Don’t forget, that 90% is not 90% almonds but a mix of almonds and sugar. More sugar is added to that raw marzipan paste. That means the ratio of almond to sugar falls to around 58:42 (58% almonds, 42% sugar).
    Lübeck marzipan has a PDO (protected designation of origin) and the label can only be used for marzipan manufactured in the region to the 90:10 ratio.
  • Gütemarzipan (quality marzipan) must be 80:20. It’s made of 80% raw marzipan and 20% sugar. Almond makes up 62% of the total and sugar the other 28%.
  • Edelmarzipan (fine marzipan) is described as 70:30. It’s made of 70% raw marzipan and 30% sugar. The almond now makes up only 45% of the total and sugar the other 55%.
  • Gewöhnliches marzipan  (ordinary or consumer marzipan) is described as 50:50, so is half raw marzipan and half sugar. That means only a third of the total content is almond and two thirds is sugar.
  • There are also other designations such as Königsberger marzipan, which is no longer associated with place of manufacture but describes a style of marzipan that usually contains almonds, sugar, egg white and lemon juice and has a distinctive golden brown colour.

For anyone looking for high quality marzipan, you can buy Niederegger here in the UK – I’ve seen different products from their range on sale in John Lewis, Waitrose and Tesco and of course, you can buy online (from the same stores plus Chocolatesdirect.co.uk, Ocado and Amazon, to name a few).

Probably the most common Niederegger product  is marzipan coated in dark-chocolate, which is always wrapped in red foil. Blue foil denotes a milk chocolate coating and other colours of foil indicate flavoured marzipans such as apple, caramel, espresso, orange and pistachio – the latter being one of my personal favourites. There is also a liqueur range available.

Marz1

GIVEAWAY

It’s my pleasure to join  with Niederegger in giving away two hampers worth £25 each to readers of Kavey Eats!

Each hamper contains:-

  • 1 x Milk chocolate marzipan bar
  • 1 x Dark chocolate marzipan bar
  • 1 x 125g Marzipan loaf
  • 1 x 200g 16 Piece mini loaves assortment
  • 1 x 100g 8 Piece mini loaves classic
  • 1 x 40g Marzipan stick
  • 6 x Mini Loaves
  • 1 x Gift hamper box
  • Free delivery within the UK

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the giveaway in 2 ways – entering both ways increases your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment sharing a memory of language lessons at school, when you were a kid.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a marzipan hamper from @niederegger_uk and Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsMarzipan #KaveyEatsMarzipan
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle at the beginning of the tweet and please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES & DETAILS
  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 1st May 2015.
  • The 2 winners will be selected from all valid entries (across blog, twitter and instagram) using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • Each prize is a hamper of Niederegger produts, as detailed above and includes delivery within the UK.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered and provided by Niederegger .
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter all three ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message. If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received sample products from Niederegger.

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