Eggless Turmeric Milk Tart

Shove over overpriced Turmeric Latte and Golden Milk. It’s Haldi Doodh and it always has been!

Ever since I heard about the South African Melktert (Milk Tart) I knew I had to try it. It’s creamy, custardy and packed with delicious cinnamon flavours on top of a shortcrust pastry base. What’s not to love?

Much like a British custard tart, the Melktert is made with egg yolks for that famous custard-like wobble. As you know, yolks are not my setting agent of choice – I’m going rogue and using my own blend of cornflour (cornstarch) and wheat flour blended with milk.

I was inspired by Paul Hollywood’s show City Bakes on Food Network, where he makes an Earl Grey Melktert in Cape Town. The show is fantastic and you can watch the episode tonight, 15th May on Food Network. Give it a watch and try out a take on the famous Melktert.

Turmeric Milk Tart

Since it began, I’ve boycotted the rise of the turmeric milk fad that seems to have infiltrated every coffee shop and café in sight. It should be simple, a feel-good tonic to make you feel better after a rough day, not flashy, expensive and inaccessible. After all, the ingredients are basic. Haldi Doodh is a healing tonic Indian mums stir up for children when they’ve got sore throats and coughs. As a natural antiseptic, turmeric (either fresh or dried and ground) was always in the kitchen. As a child I would reluctantly down mugs of hot Haldi Doodh because it didn’t taste like the banana milkshake I’d hoped for it to be. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t Nesquick. As much as I now love haldi doodh and the soothing properties it carries, I don’t believe in paying a shed load for it when I can make it at home.

The beautiful thing is that when fresh turmeric is combined with milk, cardamom and black pepper, you get the most miraculous flavour and aroma of fresh mango. Just a little bit, not too much, blitzed with the milk for a pretty yellow colour. Once cooked, the colours will transform from daffodil to deep amber.

This tart is as sweet and flaky as it is fruity, spicy and ever so slightly bitter. Each element is perfectly balanced, just how I like it.

Turmeric Milk Tart

Eggless Turmeric Milk Tart
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

For the sweet pastry:
240g flour
140g unsalted butter, frozen and grated whilst still frozen (this helps incorporate it faster and keeps everything cold)
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp cold water

For the turmeric milk filling:
415g evaporated milk
395g can condensed milk
50ml whole milk
3cm piece turmeric, peeled (this will stain so wear gloves!)
3 cardamom pods, seeds lightly crushed
6-8 black peppercorns, seeds lightly crushed
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g flour
40g cornflour
50g salted butter
Ground cinnamon to dust

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2. To make the pastry, place the flour, salt and brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the grated butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the cold water and pulse until the mixture just comes together. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Take a 25 x 3.5cm loose bottomed tart in with fluted edges. Roll the pastry out to about 35cm wide, 4mm thick. This will ensure you have enough overhang at the edges. Place the roll dough into the tin and allow it to hang over the sides. Use a spare ball of dough to gently press the dough into the corners and sides to line the tin. Don’t worry if you make a tear, just patch it up.

4. Place a piece of greaseproof paper over the dough and fill with baking beans, rice or any dried lentils you have. Bake for 10 minutes.

5. Carefully remove the baking beans, greaseproof paper and prick the pastry all over with a fork. Turn the oven down to 120°C and bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and dries out completely.

6. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Put the oven back up to 160°C

7. To make the filling, place the flour and cornflour into a large bowl. Add 50ml whole milk and stir to make a thick paste.

8. Place the evaporated milk in a blender (I used a Nutribullet), and add in the fresh turmeric, cardamom, peppercorns, vanilla and condensed milk. Blend until super smooth, about a minute.

9. Slowly whisk the evaporated milk mixture into the flour paste until smooth. Pour the mixture into a pan and cook on a medium-low heat until slightly thickened (think cheese sauce consistency). Add the butter and whisk.

10. Pass the mixture through a sieve and into a jug to remove any lumps.

11. Place the tart shell on a baking tray and place it in the oven. Pull the shelf out and pour the filling into the shell. Push the shelf back in gently and close the oven door. Bake for 30 minutes.

12. Crack the oven door open and allow the tart to cool in the oven.

13. Dust the tart with ground cinnamon and decorate as you wish. Serve warm.

Turmeric Milk Tart

Love Sanjana




Eggless Cardamom Carrot Cake with Orange Blossom Frosting

I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandparents recently. I never really knew them, two of them not at all, and for that I feel utterly cheated. I’ve always known it. I guess this is just the first time I’ve ever put it into words. I think about what they were like, their interests, loves, hates and of course, what they cooked. My ears ache to hear the stories behind Cauliflower and Cashew Curry, 7-Vegetable Khichri and Dhilo Mohanthal. I know they were famous in our family but where did my grandparents learn to cook them and most importantly, who or what inspired them in the first place? Nanabapu and Bapuji were chefs with the best kind of training – doing apprenticeships in hotels and restaurants, and later cooking their family recipes for other families. I think we’d have been great friends and I, an excellent student. I wonder if they’d teach me the skills I need to pipe Ghatia (fried chickpea snacks) and Jalebi (syrup-soaked spirals) the way they did in India and Kenya? I’ve learned a lot from my mum who was taught much of what she knows by them, and today in my own kitchen I practice my weekends away with Pink Floyd, Led Zep and Fleetwood Mac for company. Tip from my experience: You’re likely to make rounder Chapattis if you roll them to the tune of Stevie Nicks’s voice. Fact.

Cardamom Carrot Cake with Orange Blossom Frosting

Sometimes I find myself having conversations with Baa and Bapuji, Nanabapu and Nanima in my head. Call me crazy but I’m quite sure that my Nanima (who passed away when my mum was just seven) is my spirit guide. She pushes me to get stuff done, tells me not to overthink when I’m stressed and that I should always strive to be like my mum… resilient. I update them all on my ambitions and like most grandparents, they’re supportive, practical and full of sound advice. To me they’re here, even though the things I hear back when I share my thoughts with them is “all me”, if you know what I mean.

In six weeks I get to see my oldest friend from school get married. We grew up in the same town, went to the same college and did everything together. She used to make me the most gorgeous birthday cards and presents and today she’s an incredibly talented, award-winning artist. Back in the day I used to cook during school holidays so I could get her opinion on my latest edible creations and now I produce content at Food Network. Today, some 20 years later I get to bake her a wedding cake, as well as be her bridesmaid and that lights up my heart. Nanima will be with me at every step, of course. The night before she’ll tell me to get it together and do my friend proud. It’ll be a kick ass cake.

Cardamom Carrot Cake with Orange Blossom Frosting

If I was baking this cake for my grandparents, I’d describe it as Gajar Halwa cake. It’s got all the flavours of the traditional Indian dessert made with carrots, cardamom and nuts. It’s an ultra-moist (my work colleague and friend Jo’s Clothes says it’s okay to use that word in reference to cake), four layer beauty. Lauren wants an elegant naked cake with very little icing on the outside so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to practice my decorating skills for this kind of cake. Decorated with fresh tulips (which I grew in my garden, btw!) this is one of my more refined creations. The flavours are just as spellbinding as the presentation, and by god is this look easy to achieve! Follow my recipe below and you’ll have your very own wedding-inspired naked cake to devour.

This makes enough to fill 2 8-inch cake tins. Once the sponges have cooled, I split each one into two layers and fill with fluffy orange blossom cream cheese icing. The fragrance is unbelievable and is so good against the slightly sharp tang of cream cheese.

So it’s a short one today but I think bawling on the train once is enough for me this week and anyhow, it’s all about the cake. Bake it for someone you love.

Cardamom Carrot Cake with Orange Blossom Frosting

Eggless Cardamom Carrot Cake with Orange Blossom Frosting
Serves 12-14

Ingredients:
450g flour, sifted
30g ground pistachios
1 tbsp coarse semolina
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 heaped tbsp ground cinnamon + 2 tsp
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Zest of 1 large orange
Water from 1 can chickpeas
100g milk powder
140g sour cream
480ml sunflower oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
420g grated carrots
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
300g caster sugar
120g brown sugar

For the frosting:

250g unsalted butter, softened

300g cream cheese, room temperature

550g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp orange blossom water

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C/gas mark 4. Grease and line two deep 8-inch wide cake tins and set aside.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger.

3. Add the ground cardamom (at this stage because it needs to be coarsely ground unlike the other spices.

4. Add the semolina and ground pistachios.

5. Peel and grate the carrots on the large side of a grater.

6. In a stand mixer briefly combine the chickpea water and milk powder. Add the oil, brown sugar, caster sugar, orange zest, sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat for 2 minutes.

7. Add the flour mixture in two stages, still beating the mixture slowly. The batter should be relatively smooth but take care not to over beat.

8. Stop beating. Squeeze the juice from the carrots into the batter and fold. Finally, fold in all of the grated carrots.

9. Divide the batter between the two pans and slam the base of the pan onto the work surface to remove any unwanted air bubbles which may cause the cake to rise unevenly.

10. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

11. To make the icing: Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment affixed. Beat at high speed until pale. Gradually add the icing sugar in batches until it’s all incorporated. Add the vanilla, orange blossom water and a pinch of fine salt. Beat until very light and pale, about 6 minutes.

12. Add the cream cheese and whip until just combined. The frosting should be off white, thick and creamy.

13. Trim the tops of the sponges if they’re not totally flat and split each one through the middle. I use a cake wire like this one for even layers. You could also use a large serrated knife.

14. Place the first sponge on a cake board and fill with 2 ice cream scoops worth of icing (this is an easy way to ensure your layers have the same amount of icing in between). Spread it evenly.

15. Top with another sponge and repeat for the next layers.

16. Once your cakes are stacked, top with the remaining icing and cover the cake. You don’t have to be neat.

17. Use an offset spatula to scrape the icing from the sides of the cake to create a “naked” effect.

18. Decorate with swirls of icing using a regular piping bag and large swirl tip. Decorate with your favourite flowers.

Cardamom Carrot Cake with Orange Blossom Frosting

Love Sanjana




Eggless and Vegan Vanilla and Jasmine Macarons

The code has been well and truly cracked. People all over the place are making gorgeous French macarons sans eggs and it’s downright remarkable.

It’ll come as no surprise that the secret ingredient in these eggless/vegan macarons is aquafaba – the vegan chickpea water that replaces egg whites in meringues, pavlovas and rich vegan chocolate mousse.

I’ve tried to nail the perfect eggless/vegan macaron for years and as soon as aquafaba came along, it was like all my baking prayers had been answered. It was the magic ingredient needed to form the basis of hundreds of recipes I’d always wanted to recreate without eggs.

Eggless/Vegan Vanilla Jasmine Macarons

I’ve tried making macarons with both French meringue and Italian meringue and each time, the French meringue would look so promising and the end results were a total disaster – they’d puncture in the oven and ooze even though they had been rested for hours, were dry to the touch and baking at a low temperature.

It had to be a problem with the stability of the aquafaba French meringue. I read online that even with regular macarons, the eggs should be aged and that Italian meringue offers tonnes more stability due to the hot sugar syrup being boiled to 115C – past the soft ball stage and verging on the hard ball stage. This means the fluffy whites hold stiff peaks, whether you’re using eggs or aquafaba. All that beating in the stand mixer allows the proteins and acids in the whipped-up whites to bond with the sugar and create a stable network to trap in air for volume that wouldn’t look out of place in a L’Oréal advert.

Eggless/Vegan Vanilla Jasmine Macarons

My recipe is based on a classic French macaron recipe in most ways – it contains equal measures of ground almonds, icing sugar and caster sugar. The changes I’ve made are that I used thick, reduced aquafaba in place of the eggs (which you absolutely cannot taste in the final product, I promise). I also made my sugar syrup for the Italian meringue with strong brewed jasmine tea for a gorgeous aroma and flavour. The rest of the changes come with baking the macarons.

I tested several batches of macarons, baking each sheet at different temperatures and found that the key to getting even ‘feet’ on every macaron depends on several things, baking temperature being an integral one. Here are some tips I learnt along the way:

  1. Aquafaba from a can is rich in protein but contains a lot of water. You should reduce it by half the night before you want to make the macarons, pour it into a bowl and keep it in the fridge – the resting and cooling time is essential for a thick, viscous ‘egg white-like’ replacer.
  2. Use a sugar thermometer to measure when the syrup reaches 115C – don’t eyeball it.
  3. Sift the almonds with the icing sugar – I skipped this when making a previous batch and the tops weren’t as smooth as I’d have liked them to be.
  4. After adding the sugar syrup to the foamy whipped aquafaba, beat it for ten minutes. It won’t be as voluminous as making French meringue with aquafaba but that’s okay.
  5. Don’t hold back when combining the almond paste and Italian meringue. Add all of the almond mixture in one go. Use a spatula to make sure it’s well mixed, pressing it against the sides of the bowl and folding, 20 times or so. The batter should look like light and airy molten lava, dropping off the spatula and becoming one with the mixture within 10-15 seconds. Some people like to imagine magma oozing from a volcano.
  6. Pipe the macarons straight from above, at a 90 degree angle.
  7. Make sure you tap the tray hard on the surface at least 5 times to remove any air bubbles. I did it 3 times whilst working on a batch and my macarons were lop-sided.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 150C and as soon as your tray of macarons goes in, turn it down to 115C. This will give them the shot of heat they need to develop feet and also cook evenly. If your oven has hot spots, make sure you turn the tray after the first 5 minutes of cooking has elapsed.
  9. Allow the macarons to cool completely before attempting to lift them off the greaseproof paper.

I chose to fill my macarons with white chocolate ganache – I love the feeling of chilled, set ganache against the chewy almond texture of the cookies. This is best achieved after filling the macarons, placing them in an airtight container and refrigerating overnight.

Eggless/Vegan Vanilla Jasmine Macarons

If you want to make vegan macarons, replace the white chocolate ganache with my favourite vegan buttercream recipe. I’ve posted it below in case you want a 100% vegan macaron. Easy!
The shells are flavoured with jasmine tea and fresh vanilla. I added a little blue colouring to some of them for a pretty watercolour effect you don’t have to. The gold was edible gold dust painted on with a clean paintbrush.

Eggless/Vegan Vanilla Jasmine Macarons

Eggless/Vegan Vanilla and Jasmine Macarons
Makes 28-30 macarons

Ingredients

For The Macaron Shells:
350g aquafaba – from 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas in water (not salted water)

180g icing sugar
180g ground almonds
100ml strong brewed jasmine tea
180g golden caster sugar
Seeds ½ vanilla pod, scraped
Blue gel food colour and gold petal dust, optional

For The Whipped White Chocolate Ganache:
200g white chocolate
200g double cream

For Vegan Vanilla Buttercream (instead of the white chocolate ganache):

100g vegan margarine or vegan butter (I use Pure Dairy-Free Soy spread)

250g icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

You will also need:
5 x (13in x 9in) baking trays lined with silicone greaseproof paper
Piping bags
1cm round piping nozzle
Sugar thermometer
Stand mixer with whisk attachment

Method

1. Take two 400g tins chickpeas and pour the liquids into a bowl on a weighing scale. Weigh out 350g.

2. Pour the mixture into a pan and simmer until the liquids have reduced to 150g. Pour into a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Allow to cool, and then place in the fridge overnight.

3. I like to line my trays well ahead as I draw a stencil (2cm rounds) on the reverse of the greaseproof paper so I can ensure the macarons are the right size and spaced far enough apart. For this recipe you’ll need 5 heavy bottomed trays lined with silicone greaseproof paper.

4. The next day, sift the ground almonds and icing sugar into a bowl. Add 60g of the chilled chickpea liquids and stir to combine.

5. Pour the rest of the chickpea liquids into a clean, grease-free stand mixer. Turn the mixer on to medium speed. It will start getting foamy.

6. Pour the jasmine tea into a pan and add the caster sugar. Boil until the mixture registers 115C on a sugar thermometer.

7. Turn the mixer on high speed and carefully but quickly pour the sugar syrup into the whipped aquafaba.

8. Add the vanilla and beat the mixture for 10 minutes. It won’t be massively voluminous but it’ll become thick, glossy and rather like marshmallow fluff. After 10 minutes, you should have a mixture that resembles a bird’s beak on the whisk when it’s pulled up.

9. Add the almond mixture to the meringue and use a spatula to incorporate fully. Use a spatula to make sure it’s well mixed, pressing it against the sides of the bowl and folding, 20 times or so. The batter should look like light and airy molten lava, dropping off the spatula and becoming one with the mixture within 10-15 seconds. Think magma oozing from a volcano.

10. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round tip with the macaron batter. Add any colours you might want to use.

11. Take your pre-lined trays and pipe the macarons from straight above, not on a slant. If your batter is the correct consistency, you’ll see it spread slightly and smooth out within 30 seconds or so for each round.

12. Once all your macarons are piped, give each tray a firm but steady bang on the countertop – I do it 5 times.

13. Allow the macarons to air-dry in a cool place for about 2 hours.

14. Pre-heat the oven to 150C.

15. To make the white chocolate ganache, place the cream and white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 90 seconds and leave it to sit for 10 minutes. Give it a gentle mix. Once it’s uniformly melted, cover and refrigerate until set.

*NOTE: if you’re making vegan buttercream, beat all the ingredients together until light and fluffy.

16. Once the tops of the macarons are touch-dry, bake the macarons, one tray at a time. Once the tray is in the oven (middle rack), turn the temperature right down to 115C. Set the oven timer to cook for 25 minutes. During the time they’re in the oven, pay to your oven’s hotspots and turning the tray if you need to (after the first five minutes if you do).

17. Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool. Repeat the baking process for each tray.

18. While the last tray is in the oven, remove the ganache from the fridge and whip it until fluffy and light. Add vanilla if you like.

19. Once the macarons have cooled fully, gently peel them away from the greaseproof paper.

20. Match the macarons up by shell size. Pipe the ganache or vegan buttercream onto one half and gently press the two shells together for the perfect macaron sandwich. Decorate as you wish.

21. They taste WAY better the next day. Line an airtight container with kitchen paper and arrange the macarons in a single layer. Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight.

Eggless/Vegan Vanilla Jasmine Macarons

Try not to eat them all in one go. I struggled with that part.

Now go and make these and enjoy looking like a baking wizard in front of all your friends.

Love Sanjana

Click the image above to Pin it for later!

Click the image above to Pin it for later!




Sweet and Salty Chevdo Chocolate Chip Cookies

At first, I thought this might be it; the moment I’d officially lost the plot. I was ready to bring two of my favourite things closer than they’ve ever been. Turns out I haven’t gone insane. It worked.

So, I united chevdo and chocolate chip cookies and their baby turned out to be a goddamn champion.

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Chip Chevdo Cookies

Imagine this – the perfect balance of sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy and chewy in one little disc of happiness. The edges are slightly crisp, while the middle is soft, chewy and studded with chocolate chips, peanuts, potato chips, corn flakes, puffed rice and crispy lentils. If you love salted caramel or chocolate with chilli or sea salt, you’re going to go doolally for these egg-free cookies.

The moment when you sit down to masala chai and ‘naasto’ (snacks) is the instant your troubles and stresses fizzle away. The soothing, milky masala tea erases the furrows in your brow and the crunchy, savoury, sweet and spicy snacks fill you with the feeling of home comforts. It’s a simple pursuit that inadvertently becomes an occasion without even trying. Flawless.

Chevdo

Of course, there is no naasto time without chevdo. A crunchy, savoury Indian snack in which every ingredient is fried to golden perfection before being tumbled together with salt, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, sugar and chilli. The ingredients vary from recipe to recipe but the essentials include: potato sticks, whole mung beans, corn flakes, puffed rice, chana daal, peanuts, curry leaves and sultanas.

So you’re probably thinking that this sounds similar to that notorious bar snack, Bombay mix? Yeah, well it’s definitely not the same as that.

However, Bombay mix is a derivative/form of chevdo in the sense that it’s a whole load of sweet, spicy, salty, crunchy ingredients fried and combined for a snack sensation that’ll set your taste buds alight.

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Chip Chevdo Cookies

Chevdo can come in a variety of forms. My favourite is the mild kind with a decent ratio of crunchy ingredients to nuts and spices to sultanas. Perfectly balanced chevdo is a tough thing to come by but once you find your brand, you’ll always be able to count on it.

You can buy it from the supermarket in the Indian snacks section, from speciality shops that are probably still using the family recipe, perfected over decades or order it online.

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Chip Chevdo Cookies

For my recipe, I went for a mild corn flake chevdo mix but you Kenya chevdo (mild and not spicy in the slightest) is also a delicious option. The only thing I’d say is steer clear of commercial Bombay mix packets or really spicy chevdo mixes. They will overpower your cookies and the balance of sweet, salty and spicy will be all out of kilter.

These cookies are bonkers-awesome and you should definitely make them. Your friends and family will welcome the surprise of flavours and let me tell you now, they are the most addictive things that will ever come our of your oven.

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Chip Chevdo Cookies

Sweet and Salty Chevdo Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 18-20 cookies

Ingredients

225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g caster sugar
80g soft light brown sugar
150g milk chocolate chips
130g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g mild chevdo mix (regular or Kenya chevdo)
30g dehydrated potato powder
40g liquid from a can of chickpeas (aquafaba)
½ tsp vanilla extract
Melted dark chocolate, for dipping (optional)
More chevdo for decorating (optional)

Method

1. Whip the butter in a stand mixer until light, fluffy and pale. You can also do this by hand or use a hand-held electric mixer.

2. Add the caster sugar and brown sugar and whip for 3-4 minutes until super light.

3, Add in the dehydrated potato powder and chickpea liquids (this is the egg replacer and will make your cookies super soft, chewy and delicious – you won’t taste them in the finished cookies). Add the vanilla extract and beat for a few minutes.

4. Combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Gradually add this in to the butter mix in two stages. Do this slowly so you don’t overwork the mixture.

5. Fold in the chocolate chips and chevdo and use your hands to bring the cookie dough together. It should be soft, not sticky.

6. Pre-heat the oven to 160C. Line three large baking trays with non-stick baking paper and roll the dough into ping-pong ball sized rounds using your hands.

7. Space each cookie dough ball onto the trays, leaving space around each one – they will spread in the oven. Place the trays in the fridge for 10 minutes.

8. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes, remove them from the oven and use the back of a teaspoon to press them down gently. I find this results in a chewier middle. Return to the oven and bake for a further 7-8 minutes until golden. If you prefer your cookies cakey, skip the flattening step and bake for 14-15 minutes.

9. Remove the cookies from the oven – they will be super soft and delicate so leave them to cook on the trays for 10 minutes.

10. Gently lift the cookies onto a wire rack using a spatula and allow to cool completely.

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Chip Chevdo Cookies

Once cooled, you can serve them as they are but if you want to be fancy, dip each one in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with more chevdo. Chill until the chocolate sets.

Store the cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature. They are best eaten fresh but will keep for 3-4 days.

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Chip Chevdo Cookies

I doubt they’ll last that long.

Love Sanjana




Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments

I’ll never forget my year five primary school teacher. She was the kind of person you should have aspired to be like one day, over and above Ginger Spice who was probably the most popular choice at that age. Along with all the fair qualities and graces you’d expect from somebody who had mastered the art of being patient with a bunch of little cretins, this particular teacher was a master of bribery.

And said bribery always involved sweets.

Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments

Chocolate Limes to be precise. She had a stash of these retro classics stowed away in her top drawer for when you answered a question correctly, or were simply doing something that was out of your comfort zone. Even though it was a single sweet you probably wouldn’t have given a toss about if your nan had offered one up at the weekend, it was the status, power and sense of achievement that came with that limey shell and chocolate middle. It made you feel like you had truly taken a step forward that day.

Don’t even get me started on the time one kid mapped the entire family tree of Henry V111 on the wall and earned himself a tidy SIX Chocolate Limes – one for each deceased wife. The whole class was seething with jealousy.

My point is, it’s always important to reward yourself. Someone I look up to very much once said to me, ‘Don’t be fixated with end goals. Reward your successes every step of the way, recognising the things you’re learning and how they’ll ultimately contribute to a bigger picture. Learn new skills and collect a multitude of new experiences. Consistently accomplish your aspirations, however small.’ This is something I believe can keep us motivated and not overwhelmed by long-term goals.

Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments

If I learnt anything in year five, it was that the chocolate limes reward system was the dog’s bollocks and a legit way to make you feel great about achieving something – when you’re ten. Now we’re all grown up, I felt the need to take standard sweets to the next level.

These Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments are incredibly soft and almost Viennese Whirl-like in texture. A combination of flour, icing sugar, butter and cornflour creates the most wonderful melt-in-the-mouth feel. Inspired by those retro Chocolate Lime sweets, the biscuits are packed with lime zest and extract, while the chocolate buttercream filling gives them the most delicious bitter sweetness. Add a smidge of lime marmalade for added indulgence. I’m a life-long advocate of Rowse Shredded Lime Marmalade.

So tell me, what have you achieved today? Whether you saved a life or simply managed to have a great conversation with someone new, treat yourself to one of these Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments. You deserve it.

Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments

Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments
Makes 18

Ingredients

For the biscuits:
200g plain flour
200g unsalted butter, softened
40g icing sugar
30g cornflour
Zest of 2 limes
Drop of lime extract (optional)
Drop of green food colour (optional)
Pinch of salt

For the chocolate filling:
120g unsalted butter, softened
90g icing sugar
100g dark chocolate, melted
30g cocoa powder

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C. Line two flat baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

2. Place all the ingredients for the biscuits into a food processor fitted with a rotating blade and switch it on to high. Process until you have a smooth dough that leaves the bowl fairly clean.

3. Place the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large, star-tip piping nozzle and pipe an even number of rosettes or swirls onto the sheets. Try to make sure they’re all a similar size to make sandwiching them together easier later on.

4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the filling, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and continue to beat for 10 minute.

6. Pile the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe onto the biscuits before sandwiching with another, or simply spread the buttercream on with a teaspoon.

Love Sanjana

 

 




Eggless Dark Chocolate, Almond and Roasted White Chocolate Tart

I’m a sucker for something sweet after dinner. Like my dad, tell me you’ve got hot Gulab Jambu and ice cream for dessert and I’ll be like putty in your hands.

This chocolate tart makes me feel that way too. A crumbly, sweet shortcrust pastry base (without eggs, might I add), ridiculously smooth and rich chocolate filling with the most incredible roasted white chocolate swirl which takes me back to the days of sitting on the steps of our family shop eating Caramacs… except there’s loads more chocolate involved.

Eggless Dark Chocolate, Almond and Roasted White Chocolate Tart

If you’ve never roasted your white chocolate, you’ve been missing out. Gone will be the days you insist dark chocolate is superior to white. This whole time you had forgotten one amazing detail… it is that white chocolate can be transformed into the most beautiful caramel you ever tasted. 

Inspired by the baking guru that is David Lebovitz, I set to work making the roasted white chocolate, following his brilliant instructions to the letter – and you should too. 

  
One tweak I made was that I added a small amount of coconut oil out of fear my chocolate would seize. It resulted in a super smooth caramelized white chocolate with a hint of exotic coconut that of course, was most welcome. 

The dark chocolate filling is a glorious ganache which requires very little effort and no baking whatsoever. The best thing about the filling is that it sets so beautifully after a couple of hours in the fridge.

Cut yourself a piece and feel the cool chocolate filling melt in your mouth. I think it’s time you had the recipe now.

Eggless Dark Chocolate, Almond and Roasted White Chocolate Tart

Eggless Dark Chocolate, Almond and Roasted White Chocolate Tart
(serves 8-10)

For the filling:

300g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
100g good-quality milk chocolate
400ml double cream
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp almond extract

For the Roasted White Chocolate Swirl:

300g good quality white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt

For the pastry:

300g plain flour
125g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp icing sugar
3-4 tbsp buttermilk
Pinch of salt

Toasted flaked almonds, to garnish

Method

1. To make the roasted white chocolate, place the chocolate and coconut oil on an ovenproof tray. Place the tray in the oven and switch it on to 120C.

2. Allow to melt, stirring very gently every 10 minutes for around 60 minutes or until golden and caramel-like. Seriously, no matter how much you want to stick your finger in that melted chocolate – don’t. Instead, sprinkle over the sea salt and set aside.

3. To make the pastry: In a food processor, pulse together the ingredients for the pastry until you have a rough dough. Using your hands, bring the dough together on a clean surface. Don’t knead or handle it too much. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Lightly flour a large, clean surface and roll the pastry out until it’s 5-6mm thick. Roll it around your rolling pin and line a 9inch fluted tart tin with a loose bottom. If your dough tears slightly, don’t be afraid to patch it up. Leave some dough hanging over the edges. Place the tart on top of a flat baking sheet.

5. Place a large piece of food-safe cling film over the pastry and fill the top with flour. Pack it down slightly. This will ensure your pastry is beautifully even and doesn’t rise in the oven. Bake at 160C for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the tart from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cling film filled with flour. Use a fork to prick holes all over the bottom of the pastry and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until golden.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

8. To make the dark chocolate filling: Heat the cream on a low heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat. Add the chopped dark and milk chocolate, almond extract and butter and stir very gently until you have a luxurious, even chocolate mixture.

9. Trim the sides of the tart case, cutting away the excess pastry. Fill the tart with the chocolate mixture. Take dollops of the melted white chocolate mixture and swirl into the tart – you’ll need around half of it. Put the rest in a jar and use it to sandwich cakes and macarons or just spread it on toast.

10. Sprinkle over the toasted flaked almonds.

11. Place the tart in the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight.

Love Sanjana




Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

I’m so obsessed with vegan meringue right now. I never thought that it would be possible to create light, fluffy whipped meringue that becomes so beautiful and melt-in-the-mouth after a couple of very patient hours in the oven.

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

You might have already seen my previous recipe for Vegan Saffron, Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests which I did a YouTube video for and still, I’m raving about the endless possibilities aqua faba or ‘bean water’ holds for the future of vegan baking. No longer do I waste and drain away the water from cans of chickpeas, butter beans and pinto beans. Rather, I save them and whip them in to the fluffiest meringue peaks you’ve ever seen.

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

Just like egg whites, this bean water is packed with protein and when it’s whipped with sugar, becomes glossier than that expensive French manicure you just got.

It’s this that makes glorious desserts like pavlova, eton mess and meringue cakes possible and it’s this that’s lit me up from inside. I’m so hungry to experiment with magic aqua faba more and I can’t wait to share more of these vegan-friendly creations with you.

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

This recipe is unbelievably basic but the results are slap-you-in-the-face pretty. I promise, everyone will be asking how you did it. I did toy with the idea of using fresh fruit to create the stripes but aqua faba meringue can be quite temperamental. Any trace of grease, oil, excess water or fat will very quickly deflate the mixture and all those beautiful air bubbles will be gone.

Also, I’ve had lots of comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about whether you can taste the chickpeas in the end product. The short answer is no. After adding vanilla, natural fruit extracts and baking for over 2 hours, there’s no trace of chickpea flavour.

If you’re looking to try it with fresh fruit, I’d suggest really blending it to a very smooth puree, boiling with a little sugar and reducing right down so the water content is minimal. Cool it completely before using.

I opted to use natural concentrated mango and raspberry extracts, which you can buy online from Amazon. The flavour they give these otherwise very simple vanilla meringues is so incredibly intense.

Stick with me for more vegan meringue experiments.

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

Ingredients

1 x 400g tin chickpeas in unsalted water, drained and the liquids reserved
140g icing sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped

For the raspberry stripe:
Wilton gel food colouring in rose
2 drops vegan raspberry extract

For the mango stripe:
Wilton gel food colouring in lemon yellow
2 drops vegan mango extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 100C. Line three large baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2. Drain the chickpeas and reserve the water. Put the chickpeas in a container and use it to make Channa Masala or Hummus later.

3. Pour the chickpea water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment. Make sure your bowl is really clean and grease free. Any oil will cause your meringue to deflate.

4. Whisk on a high speed for 4 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat. During this time, add the cream of tartar and vanilla.

5. In a small bowl, add a teaspoon of the lemon yellow gel food colouring and two drops of vegan mango extract. Stir to combine. Repeat in a separate bowl for the rose colouring and raspberry extract.

6. Fit a large piping bag with a large round tipped piping nozzle. Use the back of a teaspoon to stripe the two colours lengthways all the way up inside the piping bag but not right to the top – leave at least 2 inches at the top free of any colour. Use two different spoons to keep the colours separate. I did three stripes of each colour.

7. Place the bag inside a large mug and fold down the top slightly. Fill your piping bag with half the meringue mixture and holding the nozzle straight, pipe 1 ½-inch chubby meringues, pulling away quickly when you get to the top to achieve those cute little peaks. Leave a bit of space around each meringue to ensure they don’t touch in the oven. I have a quick video for this on Instagram. I’m @korasoi.

8. Wash out your bag and repeat this process for the remaining meringue mixture.

9. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 2 ½ hours or until the meringues are totally dry to the touch and come away from the baking paper easily. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

10. Serve with your favourite vegan ice cream, on top of cakes, or dip the bottoms in melted vegan chocolate and crushed freeze-dried raspberries or chopped nuts. You can also serve them with fresh raspberries, mango slices and whipped coconut cream, but assemble this right before you want to eat or the meringues are likely to dissolve.

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

Go on, experiment with your favourite flavours and colours. I’d love to see where your imagination takes you.

Love Sanjana




Vegan Peanut Butter and Cardamom Brownies

I’m obsessed with brownies; rich, chocolatey, fudgy, incredible brownies. I’ve also got a soft spot for peanut butter and in case you hadn’t noticed, I cannot possibly go a day without eating cardamom.

It’s not often I go in to the kitchen completely sure of what I’m going to produce. I’ll have something in the fridge or cupboard I know I want, then I forage about until I find the perfect partners for what I fancy and they could be totally bizarre combinations I’ve never tried before.

If I’ve learned anything from all my years of experimental cooking is that you have to be fearless. FEARLESS. Yeah sure, sometimes things don’t turn out the way you plan but that’s what takeaway pizza is there for. I’ve rescued even the most disastrous of dinners and 98% of the time, the antidote consists of lemon, salt and sugar. They are like magic for repairing even the spiciest of curries.

Baking is different. As sweet as it can be, baking can also be very cruel – especially eggless and vegan baking. I’ve had more disasters than successes and too many slabs of sunken cakes and burst macarons to count on two hands, presuming I had the arms of the goddess Laxmi. Having said this, I’ve made countless batches of eggless and vegan brownies over the years… It’s finally safe to say I think I’ve nailed it.

Vegan Peanut Butter and Cardamom Brownies

So when I wandered in to the kitchen on this particular day, I was fully prepared for what was going to happen and even though I was about to step in to that baking danger zone, I was f e a r l e s s.

What was about to happen was something truly beautiful, btw. It was the coming together of super-moist dark chocolate heaven, creamy-salty peanut butter and the deeply-aromatic flavours of cardamom which I cannot imagine life without.

Blended black beans give these brownies an incredible texture and allow them to retain even more moisture, which produce perfect brownies without the need for eggs, or any dairy products. This makes these brownies 100% vegan and egg free. What could be better?

Vegan Peanut Butter and Cardamom Brownies

Vegan Peanut Butter and Cardamom Brownies
Makes 18-20 brownies

Ingredients

For the Brownie Batter:

250g plain flour
60g good-quality cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)
40g black beans, drained, rinsed and blended until smooth
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
150g light brown sugar
100ml groundnut or sunflower oil
320ml soy milk (or regular full-fat milk for a non-vegan brownie)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

For the Peanut Butter and Cardamom Swirl:

100g crunchy peanut butter (you can use smooth if you prefer)
50g non-dairy spread such as Pure (if you’re not vegan, use unsalted butter – I’ve tried both ways)
50g light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F.

2. Line a 34 x 20 x 3cm H. (13 1⁄2″ x 8″ x 1″) brownie tin with greaseproof paper and oil. I add an extra long sheet of greaseproof paper lengthways to make handles for easy lifting out later. It really makes it much easier to remove from the pan.

3. To make the peanut butter and cardamom swirl, mix together all the ingredients until smooth. Place in the fridge until later.

4. To make the brownie batter, sift together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

5. Whisk together all the wet ingredients including the bean paste and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Whisk again.

6. Gradually add the dry brownie batter ingredients in to the wet and whisk briefly until well combined. It’s really important not to over beat the batter.

7. Pour the batter in to your prepared brownie tin and smooth out the top. Next text your peanut butter swirl mixture from the fridge, give it a quick beat and dollop teaspoon-sized nuggets on top of the brownie batter. Use a butter knife or spoon to swirl it through.

8. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. It will still be a bit wobbly but this is good. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the tray to loosen up any brownie stuck to the edges. Using the clever little handles you made with greaseproof paper earlier, carefully lift the brownie out and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

9. Slice in to squares or rectangles. Enjoy with a cold glass of almond or hazelnut milk.

Love Sanjana




Vegan Saffron, Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been fascinated by meringues. There’s something so magical about those white, fluffy clouds of sweet vanilla. The chewy goodness of pavlovas, with their marshmallow-like middles and cratered tops that are begging to be dolloped with whipped cream and crowned with berries.

So beautiful, yet nigh on impossible without egg whites which somehow, when whipped up, have more volume than Claudia Schiffer’s barnet in a L’Oréal Elnett ad.

Well that’s what I always thought… until now.

Vegan Saffron Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests

The protein in egg whites allows the air bubbles created by lots of whipping to be held. Sugar dissolves into these proteins and bonds with them. The water in sugar helps increases their strength and elasticity, allowing even more air to be trapped and held sturdy. There’s nothing quite like a stiff peak.

Vegan Saffron Meringue Kisses

Without the strong proteins present in egg whites to kick the meringue process off, all you’re left with is sugar. What can vegans and those who abstain from eating eggs use instead? Fear not, we no longer need to be oblivious to the sheer joy desserts like Eton Mess, French Macarons and Pavlova can bring.

Want to know the most frustrating thing about all of this? The answer has been staring us in the face the whole time.

The secret to replacing egg whites is chickpea water. Nope, I haven’t lost the plot. It really is the water we throw down the drain when we’re making our Channa Masala and Falafel. I almost slapped myself across the face when I found out. Mind. Blown.

Vegan Saffron Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests Chickpeas

I stumbled upon the chickpea water trick through my awesome, creative mum and later, the aquafaba website which was created off the back of a development group of very clever vegans on Facebook. It’s taken the vegan world by storm. From Lemon Meringue Pie to Baked Alaska, this makes almost every meringue-based dessert possible and I can’t wait to try more recipes with it. And share them with you, of course.

BTW, you can’t taste chickpeas in the finished dessert AT ALL. Not one bit.

My first flavour experiments led me to create these very simple Vegan Saffron, Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests. They’re beautifully-crisp on the outside, slightly spongy and marshmallowy in the middle and they totally melt in your mouth.

Vegan Saffron Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests

The chickpea water is whipped with cream of tartar, saffron and sugar until stiff and glossy. This takes about 8 minutes in a stand mixer. So quick.

Many meringue recipes call for vinegar, lemon juice, or cream of tartar to increase the foam’s acidity, which promotes the growth and stability of a meringue. You can use any of them.

These are then piped onto a baking sheet and baked in a very low oven for a few hours until they’re totally dry and peel away from the paper easily. The key here is patience. Give these beauties time.

While they were baking, I macerated strawberries in lime juice, zest and a touch of icing sugar. To assemble, I filled them with whipped coconut cream and topped with the strawberries. I love strawberry mojitos and these are like a gorgeously-tall glass of iced strawberry mojito in dessert form.

Vegan Saffron Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests

You can use this recipe to make a large pavlova too – just add a teaspoon of cornflour to the meringue mixture and bake for 90 minutes longer.

Watch my YouTube tutorial for how to make these right here. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Vegan Saffron, Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests
(Makes 18 nests or one super large pavlova)

Ingredients

For the Vegan Meringue:
1 x 400g tin chickpeas in water –not brine or salted water (you can also use other white beans – butter beans also worked for me)
140g icing sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 large pinch of saffron
½ tsp vanilla extract (make sure it’s not oil based!)
Yellow gel food colour (optional) 

For the Strawberries:
600g strawberries
1 lime, juice and zest
1 tbsp icing sugar

For the Whipped Coconut Cream:
2 x 400ml full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
2 tbsp icing sugar

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 100C. Line three large baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2. Drain the chickpeas and reserve the water. Put the chickpeas in a container and use it to make Channa Masala or Hummus later.

3. Pour the chickpea water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment. Make sure your bowl is really clean and grease free. Any oil could cause your meringue to deflate.

4. Whisk on a high speed for 4 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat. During this time, add the cream of tartar, vanilla and saffron. Once your meringues have reached a really stiff glossy peak stage, add a little bit of yellow food colour if you like. Whip until evenly incorporated.

5. Fit a piping bag with a large star-tipped nozzle and spoon in your meringue. You might have to do it in batches if it doesn’t fit. Shake to remove any large air pockets.

6. Pipe into nests by piping a 3-inch round spiral base, then pipe two to three circles on top of the outer edge of the base, spiraling upwards to create a ‘nest effect’ on the edge of the meringue.

7. Bake at 100C for 2 ½ hours, then switch the oven off and leave for a further hour. Remove from the oven and gently peel the meringues away from the greaseproof paper. They should be totally dry underneath. Remember, the larger the meringues, the longer they will take to bake.

8. Meanwhile, chop the strawberries any which way you like. Add the lime juice, zest and sugar. Mix and cover with cling film. Chill until later.

9. Open the tins of coconut milk (don’t shake them first) and remove the thick cream from the top. Place it in the bowl of your stand mixer and whip along with the sugar until smooth. Reserve the water for a smoothie tomorrow morning.

10. Assemble the nests with a spoonful of coconut cream, top with strawberries and lime zest. Serve immediately.

The plain meringue nests will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Vegan Saffron Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests 3

Dig in.

Love Sanjana x




Eggless Pistachio and Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

If you’d have told me before today that there’s something quite beautiful about making your own pistachio paste from scratch, I’d have probably told you you’re a mug.

Turns out it’s only bloody brilliant.

I’ve been nuts about pistachio desserts ever since my taste buds got their first fix of the gorgeously-green ice cream as a kid. That sweet fragrance of pistachios and just a hint of almond reminds me of both Indian sweet shops with their rows upon rows of Pista Halwa and cherry-topped Bakewell Tarts. It’s what I imagine heaven for sweet-toothed food bloggers smells like. Also present in said heaven would be Mr Kipling (the master of baked goods), Lionel Ritchie (with his smooth-as-buttermilk voice) and Madhuri Dixit (with her timeless beauty). So like all the components of this, my dream cake… all the greats.

Eggless Pistachio and Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

To get the perfect green pistachio paste, the pistachios should be unsalted, shelled and skinned. If you have the good fortune to encounter them in all their emerald-green glory in a shop, buy them. If, like me, you can’t find them, you’ll need to remove the outer shells, blanch them in boiling water for three minutes, drain and refresh under cold water, then slip the skins off. Finally, give them a quick toast in a hot oven.

Marzipan gives the paste a delicious nutty edge and liquid glucose brings it all together like a dream.

In this recipe, I use a combination of sweetened condensed milk, milk powder and buttermilk as an egg replacer and it really works wonders in helping the cake hold its structure once risen which I find is the trickiest part of egg-free baking.

Finish the cake with a slathering of cream cheese frosting, raspberries and extra pistachios. A few white chocolate curls are also welcome to join the party.

Eggless Pistachio and Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Eggless Pistachio and Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
Serves 10-12

Ingredients

For the pistachio paste blend together:
200g pistachios, shelled and skinned
150g white marzipan
220ml liquid glucose
A drop of green food colour, if required

For the cake:
1 x 397g tin sweetened condensed milk
180g caster sugar
320ml buttermilk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
190ml groundnut oil
3 tbsp pistachio paste
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp skimmed milk powder
450g cake flour

For the frosting:
250g unsalted butter, softened
250g full-fat cream cheese
300g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

To decorate:
400g raspberries
Pistachios
White chocolate curls

Method

1. Grease and line two 10-inch wide x 4-inch deep cake tins.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 160C.

3. In a stand mixer, combine the condensed milk, milk powder, cider vinegar, buttermilk, oil, pistachio paste and sugar. Beat on high speed for 5 minutes.

4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in three stages, folding in gently between each. Don’t overbeat this.

5. Divide the cake batter between the two prepared tins, smoothing out the tops.

6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted into the middles comes out clean. It’s really important not to open the oven door for the first 30 minutes – your cakes will almost certainly collapse if you do.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

8. To make the cream cheese frosting, in a stand mixer beat together the butter, vanilla and sugar (add the sugar gradually) for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Next, add in the cream cheese and beat in very briefly. If you overwork this, the frosting will become runny. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

9. To decorate, sandwich the cakes together with half of the cream cheese and an even layer of raspberries. Top with the remaining frosting. Scatter with pistachios and white chocolate curls.

Enjoy with your favourite people or all by yourself.

Love Sanjana




Eggless Mint Chocolate Fondants & Fennel Seed Crème Fraîche

There are some flavour combinations that just shouldn’t be messed with. Mint and chocolate is one of them.

The Mr isn’t a fan of desserts. I’ll often spend hours in the kitchen trying to perfect eggless and vegan cakes, cheesecakes, cookies and brownies. Yet no matter how happy I am with how one might have turned out (which, I’ll be honest, doesn’t happen often), he still won’t touch it. Unless it’s mint chocolate.

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like ice cream. That changed when I met my husband. I’ll be honest, I thought it was super weird. The one exception to his no-ice-cream rule is mint chocolate, it has to be totally frozen (soft serve is never an option), topped with strawberry syrup and hazelnuts.

Just. So. Weird.

So here I am. It’s Valentine’s Day – which for the record, I think is a load of old bollocks. We don’t do presents and ridiculous extravagant gestures – we never have and never will. However, it isn’t very often he doesn’t work weekends so when we get the chance to spend time together, we make the most of it. Why do people need to ‘prove’ to the world they love each other on one day of the year? Usually it’s for the benefit of their Facebook ‘friends’. People should treat their other halves with love and kindness every day. Full stop.

Okay, that’s my little rant over.

This is one of those weekends where we’re both home so we decided to spend the day cooking. I love it when we do this.

Our ultimate menu of Paneer Butter Masala, Garlic and Coriander Naan, Gujarati Kachumbar and these Eggless Mint Chocolate Fondants and Fennel Seed Crème Fraîche is complete. The latter because it’s the only dessert he’ll eat.

I’ve been working on this recipe for a long time and now I’m finally ready to share it. The ingredients required are very different from a conventional chocolate fondant but the result is spectacular. A combination of things including baking powder, milk powder and cornflour work to do the job of eggs in my recipe. The batter recipe is perfect and provided you follow all the rules (because making chocolate fondants, a.k.a Moelleux au Chocolat ain’t a joke), they’ll be crisp on the outside and gooey in the middle.

Once baked for just 10 minutes, they need to be turned out and served immediately. If they’re not, they’ll carry on cooking and the middles will be light and fluffy rather than having the lava-like centre you really want.

Mr Patel, this one’s for you… but not because it’s Valentine’s Day.

Mint Chocolate Fondants Fennel Seed Creme Fraiche Recipe Image

Eggless Mint Chocolate Fondants & Fennel Seed Crème Fraîche
(serves 6)

Ingredients

200g sweetened condensed milk
100g sour cream
80g melted butter
200g melted mint chocolate (use one with at least 70% cocoa solids – I like Green & Blacks)
2 tbsp milk powder
1 tsp cornflour
5 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 bag Mint Aero Bubbles (these are great melters)

For the Fennel Seed Crème Fraîche:

200g crème fraîche
1 tsp toasted fennel seeds, ground

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

2. Grease 6 dariole moulds and place a disc of greaseproof paper in the base of each.

3. In a stand mixer, combine the sour cream, condensed milk, melted mint chocolate and melted butter until smooth and light.

4. Add in the milk powder and continue to whip until fluffy.

5. Next, add in the flour, cornflour, and baking powder.

6. Beat until just incorporated – do not overmix.

7. Fill the moulds to just under half way. Pop in two (or three) Mint Aero Bubbles and cover with more batter. The moulds should be filled ¾ of the way up. Repeat for the next 5.

8. Place all of the fondants on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes exactly.

9. Remove from the oven and immediately turn out onto a plate.

10. For the Fennel Seed Crème Fraîche, whip 200g Crème Fraîche with 1 tsp freshly-ground fennel seeds. Serve alongside the fondants for a lovely, fresh balance against the rich chocolate + a hint of spice.

The perfect way to round off any Indian meal.

Love Sanjana

 




Eggless Coconut Drizzle Cake

Eggless Coconut Drizzle Cake

After a blissful late honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand, life in chilly England resumes. But thankfully I brought a few exotic Thai goodies back in my suitcase. Mango wafers, longan toffees, Thai honey and this gorgeous flaked coconut crowning my loaf cake.

Packed with coconut flavour, this eggless cake can be baked in a loaf tin or round cake tin. It’s great sandwiched with raspberry jam and buttercream but today, I wanted an exotic cake that reminded me of the mouth-watering flavours of Thailand. If you have a large loaf tin (25cm in length), this will make one loaf. If not, two smaller tins will be perfect.

Greek yoghurt is the perfect way to ensure this cake stays fluffy and rich inside and of course, there’s not a speck of butter in sight. Why use butter when coconut oil has so much more to give?

Cold-pressed coconut oil makes a wonderful loaf cake as it helps it retain its shape as well as keeping the cake fluffy and perfect inside as the coconut oil cools. It’s also packed with sublime coconut flavour. A touch of vanilla extract will help bring this out.

I always make it at least a day ahead of serving. When it comes out of the baking tin, wrap the cake in cling film and leave to cool like this. It will keep the cake lovely and moist. 

When toasting your coconut, keep an eye on it. It will scorch in the blink of an eye if you’re not careful.

The icing is just a simple mix of icing sugar, coconut extract, vanilla extract and a few drops of water added just until you have a thick ‘drizzleable’ consistency. Is that a word? It is now.

I love this with a cup of hot, milky masala coffee.

Eggless Coconut Drizzle Cake

Eggless Coconut Drizzle Cake 
Serves 10

For the dry ingredients:

400g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cornflour
100g desiccated coconut

For the wet ingredients:

200g coconut oil
350g caster sugar
200g Greek yoghurt
250ml coconut milk
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 tsp coconut extract

For the icing:

200g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp coconut extract
20-30ml water or enough to make a thick icing

20g coconut flakes, toasted in the oven, to decorate

Method

1. Grease and line a 25cm x 8cm oblong loaf tin. Pre-heat the oven to 160 C

2. Combine all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat together the coconut oil and sugar for 5 minutes.

4. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and beat until well combined.

5. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, and beat until fully combines – no more than a minute.

6. Pour into the line baking tin and bake in the middle rack of the oven for 60 minutes or until a skewer poked through the middle comes out clean.

7. It’s important not to open the oven for the first 40 minutes of baking.

8. Remove from the oven, run a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it and turn out onto a wire rack. Wrap the cake in cling film and allow to cool completely.

9. To make the icing, beat together all the ingredients and drizzle over the top of the cooled cake. Scatter over the toasted coconut flakes and allow the icing to set at room temperature for an hour or so.

Eggless Coconut Drizzle Cake

Enjoy with masala coffee on a chilly afternoon.

Love Sanjana