July 29, 2014

These are so simple, healthy and always go down a storm. They can be made well in advance and sneakily hide in the freezer until the summer heat becomes all too much and you need an immediate cool down!

They are also a great way of using up spare fruit either from the garden, left over jams or just those extra strawberries that are ageing in the fridge.

I use total Greek yogurt for the base. This is a great yogurt and one of the best for you that is available. It's packed full if protein (keeping you fuller for longer) and doesn't have any nasties.

Quantities are a bit lacking for this recipe. I tend to just use up everything I have in the fridge, fill my  lolly makers and then save the rest for a morning smoothie. 

Put plenty of yogurt and then your choice of left over jam (I used some blackcurrant) or some fresh fruit. If you use just fresh add some honey or maple syrup to keep them sweet. Natural sweeteners are always a better option than sugar for these. 

Leave them in the freezer for a few hours  before dipping the lolly holder into cool water to release the lollies and enjoy (they will last a good 3 weeks too )if you want to smugly hide them away until it gets really blistering again . 

July 23, 2014

This Greek treat - similar to Turkish delight is a great sugary treat. It is my Mum's all time favorite and over the years I have grown to love it too. Whenever my parents come back from Greece they always bring a few boxes of these delicious sticky sugary cubes that we all enjoy with a glass of wine after supper. 

Earlier this year I was in New Zealand and during my stay there one evening we went out for supper. The menu was quirky and for dessert they served up three squares of Turkish delight. I was so impressed, and ever since I have thought it would be great to give it a go myself and I would try out this Greek version that we all love so much.

You will need...

a 7in square tin
8 gelatin leaves 
500g granulated sugar
few drops of red food colouring 
2 tsp rosewater 

2 tbsp icing sugar
1tbsp corn flour

Start by putting your gelatin leaves into 300ml water and allow to sit for 5 minutes until soft. Then add your sugar and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Take off the heat and mix in your food colouring (you will not need much so add drop by drop) and your 2 tsp of rose water. Mix well together and then pour into you lined baking tin. 

You can also just oil your tin, I would recommend doing this.


Once set, this will take about 24 hours, turn out onto a plate with cornflour and icing sugar. Throughly cover the Loukoumi in this dusty coating.


Next chop into squares and again cover in your corn flour/sugar mixture. 

Once covered pile high on a plate and decorate with rose petals.

 This would also make a great Christmas treat. Pack neatly into a box and tie with a ribbon for a pretty, unusual homemade gift.

July 22, 2014

This strawberry and balsamic tart is a really good summer BBQ pud. You can make it in the morning in about 30 mins and leave it to the side until later on when you are ready to serve up. I love using things that are in season and strawberries are a favorite summer fruit. 

This tart is also nice and light as the base instead of a heavy custard, is yogurt with plenty of vanilla paste added to give it a sweet kick.

For a 7in tart you will need...

For pastry... method here.
12oz plain flour 
6oz butter
few tbsp ice cold water 
(ready roll short crust if you are feeling lazy or pushed for time)

2 punnets of strawberries
2tbs balsamic vinegar 
1tbs golden caster sugar

1 tub total yogurt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste


First marinade your strawberries in the sugar and balsamic while you set about making (or rolling out your pastry) once rolled out, place into your tin and prick with a fork all over. 

Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with rice or baking beans if you have them.

Blind bake for 10 minutes with the rice and parchment. 

Then remove contents and bake the case empty for a further five minutes until golden.

Allow case to cool completely before adding your yogurt mixture...

Next strain your strawberries from the balsamic marinade and arrange them on top.

Top with some basil leaves and keep in the fridge until you are ready to enjoy!

July 21, 2014

 This is an unusual, yet delicious dessert. Sweet tomato compote with a sweet vanilla yogurt cream underneath. Most people will oooh and eeeek at the idea of using tomatoes in a pudding but I promise it tastes delicious and you almost can't tell they are in there they just add a little extra kick to the finished dish. 
The tomatoes cook down with lots of sugar and cinnamon until they are deliciously soft and sweet to taste.  

I used a tomato per person, so however many you are cooking for allow one large tomato each. 

3 large tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick 
150g caster sugar 
250ml water
4 tbsp Greek total yogurt 
1 tsp vanilla paste 
2 tbsp skimmed milk 

Start by making your compote, as this needs to simmer for a while until it becomes sticky and syrupy. 
Mix the water, sugar and cinnamon stick in a pan over a medium heat, stir until the sugar has melted. Then add your tomato and allow to simmer for about 45 mins, or until thick and jam like.

Next make your creamy sweet yogurt. mix the yogurt, vanilla paste and milk together until well mixed and easy to spoon into your serving glasses.

Place an even amount into each glass and then, once your compote is done allow to cool before pilling a good helping on top of each.

leave them to once side until you are ready to serve. An unusual dish to serve up one summer evening.

July 19, 2014

These don't always come out as the neatest or most presentable treat but they are delicious with a hot cup of tea on a summers afternoon. when you any left over pastry, simply cut what you have into flat disks and place into a mini tart tin.

 Once all placed in the tin fill with some fresh jam (I used some I made this month from the over flowing blackcurrant bushes) but use whatever you have in the cupboard. 

Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden around the edges. 

Allow to cool as the jam will be bubbling and extremely hot.

Enjoy with a big cup of tea!

July 18, 2014

 These are a great summertime treat that can be enjoyed by everyone. They can be prepared in advance and you can just pile them onto a plate and let your summer BBQ guests take one as they please as the sun sets.

First cut, wash and prepare your fruit...

Then thread your berries onto your BBQ skewers and then melt a little white chocolate (I used 50g white chocolate) and then leave to set before piling high to enjoy later. 

 They look pretty and take no time at all yet never fail to impress! A little summer BBQ secret.

July 09, 2014

This is quick and easy summer pudding. You can whip it up in a hour and have it ready and cooling before friends arrive. 

For this tasty summer pie you will need...

(if you want to cheat like I did!) 1 packet of ready roll short crust

1 1/2lb freshly picked (or bought!) blackcurrants 
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbps plain flour 

Start by rolling out your pastry to fit into your tart tin. I used a 9in, loose bottom flan tin. You will have spare around the edges, don't worry about that, it will come in handy later. 

Mix up your currants, flour and sugar in a mixing bowl...

and then start to place the fruit mixture into your pastry lined tin. 

Trim all your excess pastry off until you have a neat edge. 

Roll out your left over pastry for the top. If you fancy, as I did you can use a lattice cutter or you can just roll and place strips of pastry on top until you have a fancy looking pie lid! Brush with a little beaten egg which makes a nice golden finish. 

Bake in the over for 25 minutes at 180C until golden and bubbling and then leave to cool before enjoying with some frozen yogurt or ice cream! 

July 06, 2014

These are a delicious Greek treat. On market day you can buy the flowers in bundles and go home with some barrel aged local feta and serve them up for a light lunch or starter for supper. 

Here you are limited to a few weeks in the year when you can go out into the garden and pick the best of the flowers before they start to go over. However they are still just as tasty and will be a fairly unusual started to serve up on a warm summers evening. 

I have picked a mix of the male flower (with no baby courgette on the end) and the female (with courgette) this was just the selection I had in the garden. You can use either and they taste the same, the male flowers are just a bit easier to stuff as you don't have the worry of the baby courgette falling off. 

First, pick a selection of flowers (I chose two each but it really depends on how hungry you are!)

Next cut out the stamen/stigma in the centre of the flowers (the fleshy bit in the middle) and then delicately wash out any bugs or dirt that may have got inside. 

Next mix up your feta and a selection of herbs. I used dill and oregano. Really mash your feta until you have a soft mix.

Next, stuff. Open the flowers and put a teaspoon of the feta mix inside then wrap the petals around and twist slightly to make sure your stuffed flower stays intact. 

Next mix up your batter mix with 180ml of beer or sparkling water ( I used beer) then carefully coat your stuffed flowers in the batter mix...

Then heat your oil, Always be careful heating oil and never leave your pan unattended as they can be a dangerous fire hazard. Wait until you can through a small cube of bread in and within a minute it turns golden. This will take 2 to 3 minutes. 

then place your stuffed flowers in to the oil with  spoon and use a spatter guard to ensure you don't get sprayed with boiling oil. Once they have all ben placed in the oil let them cook for 1 1/2 minutes on one side and then turn them over. 

Once cooked place them onto some kitchen towel to remove excess oil and then serve. If you fancy they are delicious with some runny honey drizzled over. 

July 03, 2014

When I am in Greece I have a mini slice of this cake with some fresh yogurt everyday for breakfast (followed by some watermelon) and it keeps me going until lunch time. It is deliciously tangy and sweet and moist and like any delicious local Greek treat it has a couple of secrets...

It has olive oil instead of butter and also some yogurt which makes it light and not as heavy as full fat cakes and even more tasty (and maybe even a little bit good for you with all that fresh extra extra virgin olive oil!)

You will need..

225g Olive oil
175g Total Greek yogurt
175g Caster sugar
3 Eggs
175g Self raising flour

for the syrup...

juice of one lemon and a table spoon of caster sugar with a splash of water.

for the glaze..

Juice of two lemons and 120g icing sugar.

Start by weighing out all of your ingredients into a mixing bowl. I tend to set my bowl onto the scales and weigh everything into it - this saves on the washing up and makes it seem a whole lot easier than constantly weighing everything out separately. 

Pre-heat your oven to 180c

Fold all of your ingredients together...

Pour into a greased and lined cake tin.

Bake for 40 mins 

Poke holes all over your cake and then pour over your syrup (lemon juice and caster sugar) and leave it to soak into the cake - this adds to its moisture and sweetness. 

Then add your glaze - this can be a bit messy! But makes your cake even more tasty and beautifully shiny. 

You really want your cake swimming in sticky tangy syrup.

Serve with some fresh yogurt and enjoy for breakfast (or dessert!)

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