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MY PISTACHIO MERINGUES WITH SUMMER BERRIES

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Francesca Lanni

Hello.. I’m back! This is a gorgeous fruity dessert I made, hoping you will forgive my absence once you try this..

Ingredients: 85g shelled pistachios,1tsp cornflour,1tsp white wine vinegar,4 egg whites,200g golden caster sugar

Heat the oven to 140C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and place the pistachio nuts into a shallow roasting tin and toast in the oven for about 7-10 mins until golden. Place in a food processor and blitz until coarsely ground. Blend the cornflour and vinegar to a paste. In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar a tbsp at a time until it forms a stiff glossy mixture. Fold most of the pistachios into the meringue, reserving about 2 tbsp. Finally stir through the cornflour mixture. Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray to make four large meringue nests, using the back of the spoon to hollow out the centres. Sprinkle with the reserved pistachios and bake for about 45 mins until firm and crisp on the outside. Turn off the oven, but leave the meringues in to dry out in the warmth until completely cold. To serve, place a meringue on each plate and spoon a little crème fraîche into the middle. Sprinkle over the seasonal berries and serve. Isn’t it delicious?

 

BATTENBERG CAKE

Posted on March 11, 2013 by Francesca Lanni

No cake is more British than a frivolous Battenberg cake. At any afternoon tea, in fact at any occasion bring out a Battenberg cake and watch smiles all round. There is something cheering about the distinctive pink and yellow squares tightly wrapped in a thick layer of marzipan that no other cake seems able to achieve. Battenberg Cake is believed to have been named in honor of the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. Though today many buy a Battenberg cake they are actually no more difficult to make than any other sponge cake as you can see in this Battenberg Cake recipe. Continue Reading →

RASPBERRIES AND WHITE CHOCOLATE, THE SCRUMMY MUFFIN

Posted on February 6, 2013 by Francesca Lanni

Few combinations are loved as much as raspberries and white chocolate.The freshness of the raspberries beautifully complement the scrummy white chocolate. A great combination of ingredients all within one scrummy muffin!! I find that it’s best if you keep the white chocolate in large chunks as this tastes best once cooked. Ingredients 250g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
100g caster sugar
250ml milk
1 large egg
90ml vegetable oil
150g raspberries
150g white chocolate chips. Method: Preheat oven to 180C (160C if using a fan oven) and line muffin-tray with paper cases.
Place all the ingredients apart from the raspberries and chocolate into a bowl and mix the batter until it is all combined but still lumpy – this helps keep it light and fluffy.
Gently fold in the raspberries and chocolate.
 Bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely risen and golden on top.
Allow to cook slightly and enjoy. I baked these and made the mistake of letting other people taste them. Now I need to make at least 2 batches to keep up with demand! Easy, quick to make and taste fantastic.

FANCY SOME VINTAGE FLAVOUR? THE LEMON MERINGUE PIE!

Posted on January 7, 2013 by Francesca Lanni

Lemon Meringue Pie is a famous traditional British dish. Sadly the Lemon Meringue Pie fell out of fashion in recent years. I found this mouthwatering recipe in a magazine and tried it. It turned out perfectly, and tasted great as well. If you are in a hurry then use a shop bought tart case, but for the best results, nothing beats home made pastry. For the pastry: 175g plain flour , 100g cold butter , cut in small pieces, 1 tbsp icing sugar , 1 egg yolk For the filling: 2 level tbsp cornflour, 100g golden caster sugar , finely grated zest 2 large lemon, 125ml fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons), juice 1 small orange,85g butter, cut into pieces, 3 egg yolks and a 1 whole egg. For the meringue: 4 egg whites, room temperature, 200g golden caster sugar, 2 level tsp cornflour. Continue Reading →

GINGERBREAD MEN, A CHRISTMAS CLASSIC

Posted on December 17, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

350g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out, 1 tspbicarbonate of soda, 2 tspground ginger, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 125g butter, 175g light soft brown sugar, 1 egg, 4 tbsp golden syrup.To decorate: writing icing cake decorations.

Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Continue Reading →

APPLE COMPOTE

Posted on November 22, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

This is a delicious dessert. Those which usually tend to be simple and easy to make, are always my favourite, like the apple compote. Everyone can make it at home. Apple is a versatile fruit and apple compôte is great. Use up a glut of apples, and make a delicious breakfast or healthy dessert. Kids love it, grown-ups love it. Serving it chilled or warm is great, sprinkled with some toasted almonds and raisins make it even better.

Ingredients: 100g unsalted butter, 750g Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped, 100g caster sugar, 1 vanilla pod split.

Preparation and method: Place the butter in a stainless steel saucepan and start to melt. Add the apples, sugar and vanilla pod. Cook out the apple to a compote, stirring from time to time for approximately 30 minutes on a moderate heat. If the texture is too runny then leave to reduce until you have a thick texture. Remove the vanilla pod, and reserve for use later. Place the apple compote into a blender, blend to a fine pulp and pass through a fine sieve. Serve.

MOIST ALMOND OLIVE OIL CAKE

Posted on November 14, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

Preliminary remark: I try to give my kids healthy food. This cake is! But it’s also full in flavour. And it’s got to be the easiest thing I have ever baked. It requires no electric appliances at all, and you need only two bowls and a whisk. Mix your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients, fold the batter gently, and bake. When the cake cools, glaze it and let it sit. And with the glaze the cake shines; the flavors just dance. Which is exactly what you’ll want to do around your kitchen after you have a slice of this. Continue Reading →

TRICK OR TREAT? FRANCESCA’S HALLOWEEN COOKIES

Posted on October 26, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

Are you getting ready for next week? These spooky cookies are sure to go down a treat with children at Halloween. I’m sure they will also love to get involved with making them too. My 1year old son goes in his play kitchen and starts doing what I do! Simply bake cookies in suitable Halloween shapes and decorate with colored sugarpaste. For more realism, try adding a bit of texture to the icing before it dries.

225 g of butter at room temperature 110 g caster sugar 275 g plain flour pinch of salt ground spices or vanilla (optional). Preheat oven to 180C . Make the dough: In a medium bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add vanilla or spices (if using). Reduce speed and gradually add flour and salt and beat until a dough forms. Divide the dough in half. Between 2 sheets of floured parchment paper, roll one half of the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutter and repeat with remaining half of dough. Reroll dough scraps and cut more cookies.

Bake and cool the cookies: Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake just until golden brown — 10 to 12 minutes. Carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

HALLOWEEN CUPCAKES

Posted on October 17, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

Warning: it’s going to be Halloween soon.  My sons have their scary masks ready and we just need to bake scary cakes now.  This cupcake recepie is light and tender, with the perfect balance of pumpkin and fall spices.  I have made them with white chocolate cream cheese frosting before but I think I prefer them this way, with just a thin spread of classic cream cheese frosting so the cake is really the star. Continue Reading →

NUTELLA CAKE

Posted on October 9, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

Baking chocolate cake with kids can be a recipe for disaster. Most children adore home-made chocolate cake – but many recipes are a little heavy-handed with ingredients like cocoa powder and chocolate fudge frosting, making the finished product way too rich for little tastebuds. Nutella chocolate cake is the exception to that rule – this is far and away one of the easiest cake recipes you’ll find. You literally throw everything in a bowl and beat – and its distinctive hazelnutty chocolate spread flavour practically guarantees that it won’t last long. Which is probably for the best, as it’s not a cake for anyone watching their weight. Continue Reading →

LOW-FAT STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKES

Posted on October 1, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

This speedy, low-fat recipe means you can enjoy creamy cheesecake without the guilt. You can also use different fruits for the top. You can fill these little pots with whatever fruit you’ve got at home. For a delicious banoffee version, slice bananas and toss with a squeeze of lemon juice and a spoonful of caramel sauce, or roughly crush raspberries with peach slices to make it Melba-style. You’ll need 85g low-fat biscuits, 200g extra-light sotf cheese, 200g 0% fat Greek yogurt, 4 tbsp caster sugar, few drops of vanilla extract, 2 tbsp strawberry jam, 100g strawberries.

Put the biscuits in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin until you have chunky crumbs. Divide between 4 glasses or small bowls. This is my son’s favourite part. He usually stops playing and starts watching (and eating the biscuits) too. Beat the soft cheese, yogurt, sugar and vanilla together until smooth, then spoon over the crumbs and chill until you are ready to serve. Stir the jam in a bowl until loose, then gently stir in the strawberries. Divide the strawberries between the cheesecakes and…serve!

UPSIDE DOWN PEAR CAKE

Posted on September 24, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

Home bakers should always have a personal cake repertoire! This is very easy to make, and great for kids who want to help in the kitchen (mine did as outside was pouring and they were starting to feel annoyed..). You can use pretty much any fruit really. If using apples with apples it may look like a Tarte Tatin.

Ingredients for 4 serves: 3 pears, peeled, halved and cored 175g butter 175g caster sugar 3 eggs 175g self-raising flour, sifted 3 tbsp milk 1 tbsp icing sugar.  You’ll also need a 20cm shallow pudding dish or cake tin, greased and lined with baking parch.

Arrange the pear halves evenly over the bottom of the prepared pudding dish or tin and set aside. Using an electric beater or a wooden spoon, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, adding them one at a time and mixing well after each addition. Add the flour to the bowl, gently fold it into the mixture, then stir in the milk. Spoon the cake mixture evenly over the pears and smooth the surface. Cook in a preheated oven at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for 45 minutes, until the surface is firm when gently touched and the cake comes slightly away from the sides of the dish. Remove from the oven, let it cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a serving plate. Peel away the baking parchment, dust the top of the cake evenly with icing sugar and serve immediately.

OLYMPC SHORTBREAD BISQUITS

Posted on August 6, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

Make these crumbly, buttery, traditional shortbread biscuits in the shape of gold medals is perfect fun for children. Makes 12-15.

Ingredients: 200g plain flour, 120g unsalted butter, chopped, 50g caster sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract, gold lustre, edible glitter, a tube of writing icing and a ribbon, for decoration.

Method: Sift the flour into a bowl and add the chopped butter. Rub with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs and then tip in the sugar and the vanilla extract. Bring the dough together with your hands and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take out the dough and roll out to a thickness of around 5mm. The dough will be crumbly, but just push it all back together and roll again. With a 7cm circular biscuit cutter, stamp out biscuits and place gently on the baking tray. Continue rolling and stamping until all the dough is used up. With a sharp knife, cut a small hole at the top of each biscuit and then bake for 10-12 minutes, until just golden. Leave to cool on the tray. Lift off the biscuits and dust with a little gold lustre or edible glitter, thread a ribbon through the hole at the top and pipe a number one onto each.

Result: gain your on medal and eat it!

 

COCONUT AND LIME SMOOTHIE

Posted on July 23, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

You can enjoy this delicious and healthy snack whenever you want to, quickly and inexpensively. Play with the taste by combining different fresh and frozen fruits with your favorite plain or flavored yogurt. It’s hard to go wrong with a homemade smoothie.

Ingredients: 600 g low-fat plain yogurt, 400 ml coconut milk, 1 lime, juice only, 1 tsp honey, a few ice cubes.

Method : Put the yogurt, coconut milk, lime juice and honey in a liquidiser and blend until smooth. Crush the ice cubes in a blender or other machine suitable for crushing ice. Put the crushed ice in glasses and pour in the smoothie mixture. Serve immediately.

FRANCESCA’S SUMMER PUDDING

Posted on July 16, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

Here in the UK it’s not properly summer. This year’s raining constantly and I really need something fresh to prepare to remember the season we are supposed to live in. Here’s my summer pudding:

Continue Reading →

FANCY A CHOCOLATE DESSERT ?

Posted on July 9, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

Ingredients : 75g dark chocolate , chopped and melted (use a standard dark chocolate for this rather than a high cocoa one as it combines better). 2 eggs, separated / 25g butter, melted / 2tsp golden caster sugar. Mix the chocolate with the egg yolks and butter. Whisk the egg whites and then whisk in the sugar until the mixture is shiny and stiff. Divide between 4 glasses and chill until set.

TRADITIONAL ENGLISH CUSTARD

Posted on June 28, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

This is the traditional British sauce.  A ‘must have’ for apple pies and many other dishes. Hot or cold, custard is just as delicious served either way although I believe warm custard is one of the most comforting things ever. Making custard is actually surprisingly easy. You just need to be very careful of what you’re doing, have the right equipment with you – basically a good metal whisk, non-stick saucepans, a rubber spatula, and good quality ingredients – and you’re sorted. Continue Reading →

LOVE FOR SUMMER BERRIES? RASPERRY JAM!

Posted on June 19, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

Make the most of summer berries and try making your own jam – delicious spread on homemade bread. This recipe yields incredible results with minimum fuss. One major problem with this receipt. It disappears too fast!

Ingredients: 600 Kilogrammes of Raspberries – frozen or fresh, 600 Kilogrammes of Granulated Sugar, Ounce of Butter. Continue Reading →

MY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Posted on June 7, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

This famous classic American cookie is a treat no matter what the age or occasion. Be careful not to cook these too long. I know it becomes tempting to keep cooking these because they don’t seem to be done after 10 minutes, but they will continue to cook for awhile after you take them out of the oven, and when cool, will be nice and chewy. Continue Reading →

JUBILEE TEA PARTY

Posted on May 31, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

The Queen’s Jubilee is well on its way, I guess it’s hard to miss it here in London. Step outside and you are surrounded by Union Jacks everywhere on everything! To celebrate the event I have decided to to make some “royal” cupcakes and picked an excuse to play around with my favorite ingredients. I used my previous cupcakes recipe topped with cream cheese instead of buttercream and decorated with fresh berries. Continue Reading →

THE EASY PEASY CUPCAKE

Posted on May 23, 2012 by Francesca Lanni

Whilst expecting my first child, I came across a cake decorating book and soon got enthralled with the endless and colourful universe around what I so far considered a pure and simple “loaf”. It took me a second maternity to effectively be caught into the desire of cake making and decorating (no worries, no Postnatal Stress to get through!). The opportunity came when my old boy turned 3. I wanted to make a super astonishing birthday cake for him and that’s how I got involved in learning more and more about cake decorating. I attended several classes inItalyand inUK. I just LOVED it! My first sugar production was, then, a Nemo cake and I couldn’t believe how it looked like a real fish. And when I made a flower petal? Oh… I was hooked! From that very moment, I can’t help making cakes for  friends and family. And now that I’ve been bitten by the ‘cake decorating bug’ I just can’t stop.. Continue Reading →