Grand Marnier Panna Cotta

OrangePanna Cotta is incredibly easy to make even though it’s name sounds fancy. Add Grand Marnier to your panna cotta and you have something a little more grown up/boozy than the classic vanilla panna cotta. If you feel like substituting citrus flavours then may I suggest a limoncello panna cotta. Use lemon zest instead of orange, and limoncello instead of Grand Marnier.

Another little note on this recipe, I have the quantities to make enough for two people but multiply up for more. It is very easy to get the proportions as you use your containers to measure the ingredients. Beautiful glasses or kitsch tea cups make great containers, the recipe asks you to fill them with milk/cream to the level you want to serve at.


Milk filled to serving level of one teacup
1 heaped tsp powdered gelatin
2 tbsp caster sugar
Double cream filled to serving level of one teacup
Slosh, approx 1-2 tbsp Grand Marnier 
few zests of orange 

Pour the milk into a saucepan and gently heat, add the powdered gelatin. DO NOT LET THE MILK BOIL! Once the gelatin has dissolved add the sugar. Dissolve the sugar in the milk, but once again do not let it boil!

Take off the heat and whisk in the cream, Grand Marnier and orange zest. Pour back into the teacups. Place the panna cotta in the fridge to set for 1-2 hours.

Grand Marnier Panna Cotta is delicious served with fresh strawberries.


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Flavoured hummus

Once you have the basic plain hummus you can split it up and add flavourings to get different hummus. I tend to split it into three quantities add flavouring to two of the quantities and keep one plain hummus. Here are a few ideas for flavoured hummus I have tried:

Spanish hummus

1/3 of a quantity of basic hummus

1 teaspoon of paella spice mix

½ teaspoon chilli flakes

Stir the paella spice and chilli into the hummus, makes really tasty hummus with a delicious Spanish flavour. If you don’t have pre mixed spices use a mixture of smoked paprika, dried rosemary, dried parsley, turmeric, garlic and black pepper.

Coriander hummus

1/3 of a quantity of basic hummus

Bunch (around 10g) of fresh coriander

Add the coriander to the basic hummus and liquidize. Coriander hummus tastes really good with carrot sticks dipped in.

Lemon and parsley hummus

1/3 of a quantity of basic hummus

Zest of ½ a lemon

Bunch (around 10g) of fresh parsley

Add the parsley and lemon zest to the basic hummus and liquidize.

These are just a few I have tried, but there are loads of other variations to try as well. Personally I want to have a go at making roasted red pepper hummus, or jalapeno hummus.

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Simple hummus recipe

Hummus, a delicious chickpea dip, is incredibly easy to make. This simple hummus recipe gives a base for flavoured hummus recipes. However it can sometimes be difficult to source the tahini, a sesame paste used to flavour the hummus. While my local supermarket doesn’t sell tahini I found a jar of it in a local organic fair trade shop.

Simple hummus (15 mins)

2 tablespoons tahini

Juice ½ lemon

50ml water

1 tablespoon olive oil

240g cooked chickpeas (400g tin of chickpeas in water)

1 clove of garlic

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt to taste

Mix together the tahini, lemon juice, water and olive oil; if using a food processor a quick press of the button will do this. Add the chickpeas and garlic and liquidize, either with a food processor or a handheld liquidizer. Stir in the cumin and a little salt and your simple hummus is ready.


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Pork loin with creamy peppercorn sauce

Pork loin with creamy peppercorn sauce is more than a bit decadent for a student meal. Since becoming a final year student I have come to appreciate nice food once in a while over a night out. Main advantage being I can still make my 9am afterwards and then work in the library till late.

However the disadvantage of really nice food is often cost and time. This meal is decadent, quick and not too expensive. Pork is generally much cheaper than lamb or cow but still tastes really good. I have used pork loins but pork chops, or medallions are just as good. Have a look at what is best value for money.

This recipe contains creamy peppercorn sauce quantities for two generous portions, will stretch to four less generous portions easily. However if having this as a lonely meal for one like I have done previously, don’t make as much sauce or you and your waistline will regret it.

Also close the door and open the window before cooking the pork, this recipe smokes quite a bit and your housemates won’t appreciate you setting off of the fire alarm, speaking from experience.

Serves 2

For the creamy peppercorn sauce

Knob of butter
Chopped clove of garlic
Small glass of white wine
Half a chicken stock cube
75ml single cream
Teaspoon of mustard
Teaspoon of freshly crushed whole peppercorns (or more to taste)


Two pork loins
A little olive oil
Fine green beans or asparagus spears


I use a cast iron griddle pan for this, as I was lucky enough to find one on the cheap in a charity shop. If you don’t own one try to use a heavy bottomed frying pan. Leave the griddle/frying pan on the stove to heat up while you start to make the sauce. Also rub a little oil into each side of your pork.

For the sauce heat a generous knob butter in a sauce pan till it starts bubbling. At this point add the garlic and then the wine. Crumble half a chicken stock cube into that and leave to reduce for a little while you see to the meat.

By now your griddle/frying pan should be sizzling hot. Put your pork and asparagus/green beans in to the pan. Leave for a few minutes.

Add the cream, mustard and peppercorns to your sauce, stir in and leave to reduce on the hob. Have a quick taste to insure there is enough pepper and mustard to your liking.

Back to the griddle/frying pan turn everything over and leave for another few minutes. The pork and asparagus/fine green beans don’t take long to cook but check they are done before serving. However overcooking the pork will lead to it being dry and tough.

Plate up the pork and asparagus/fine green beans and drizzle over the creamy peppercorn sauce. Enjoy this pork loin with creamy peppercorn sauce with the rest of your white wine.

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Coffee and Walnut Cake

Coffee and Walnut Cake is a delicious and very traditional cake. The bitterness of coffee and walnut brilliantly pair with the sweet buttery icing.

This cake isn’t that difficult to make, if you know how to make a standard victoria sponge then this method is basically the same.


For the cake

150g/6oz Butter
150g/6oz Sugar
3 Eggs
150g/6oz Self-Raising Flour
25ml Strong Black Coffee (not hot)
50g/2oz Walnuts

For the Coffee Icing

2oz Softened Butter
1 Heaped teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in a few millilitres of hot water
1 teaspoon of natural yogurt
Icing sugar
Walnuts to top


Pre-heat the oven to 180◦c. Cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. I tend to do this with the back of a wooden spoon, but a handheld electric whisk is much quicker and easier, I just wish I owned one.

Add the eggs to the mix one by one mixing in after each one. Then add the flour and coffee and mix in. Make sure the coffee isn’t too hot or you will ruin your cake by cooking the eggs with it!

Finally add the walnuts and spoon the mixture into two greased sandwich pans dividing equally (lining the bottom of the pans with greaseproof paper will ensure they don’t stick). Bake for around 20 minutes. However ovens are different so it may take shorter or longer depending on whether you have an electric, fan or gas oven.

The cake will be done when it feels springy to touch, and a knife inserted into the centre comes away clean.

While the cake is cooling make up the icing. I’m afraid my icing never follows an exact method. I tend to mix all the icing ingredients together then add icing sugar till it reaches the right consistency. Sorry I can’t be more specific with the icing quantities, just make sure you have plenty of icing sugar and add a little more yogurt and sugar if you want more icing.

Spread the icing sugar on top of and between the cakes. Finish the coffee and walnut cake by topping with a pattern of walnuts.





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Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto ham

asparagus wrapped in prosciutto hamThis asparagus wrapped in prosciutto ham is a recipe contributed by a friend. To do this awesome recipe justice I feel her own words best describe asparagus wrapped in prosciutto ham. Enjoy!

GET asparagus and WRAP it in prosciutto HAM and a lil bit OF olive oil SMOTHER IT slightly. and then OVEN 200°c for 30-40 minutes. IT will rock your WORLD.

(one slice of prosciutto ham per asparagus spear).


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Black eyed bean and potato curry

curry powderThe secret to this black eyed bean and potato curry is the delicious masala base. This recipe is more time consuming and difficult than my other recipes but totally worth it for the end result.

I use black eyed beans but any other bean would also be really tasty with this, even chickpeas work really well. Once you have the base sorted you can pretty much add anything you like. Try chicken or lamb for a non vegan option.

I would suggest serving this black eyed bean and potato curry with rice, chapati or naan bread, and a little mango chutney or raita on the side.

Makes enough for 3-4

cup of black eyed + water to soak

3 large peeled and roughly chopped onions
3 cloves of garlic
inch of fresh ginger
tin of chopped tomatoes
tablespoon of tomato paste
curry spices
I never keep to the same curry spices its usually just a combination of what is in the cupboard shaken into the mixture. Sorry to be so vague in terms of ratios, the spices I usually shake in are as follows:
Garam masala
Curry powder
If you didn’t want to invest in loads of different spices just go for the curry powder and shake a load of that in.

Two tablespoons of oil
mustard seeds (optional)
cumin seeds (optional)

around 200g potatoes
bunch of chopped coriander

Soak you black eyed beans for several hours, either overnight or over the day.

Liquidize the onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, tomato paste and curry spices with a handheld blender. This makes the raw masala base.

Heat the cumin and mustard seeds in a pan in the oil. When the oil gets hot add the raw masala base. Cook the base on a low heat in a covered pan. The masala will be ready when it has changed from a light reddy color to a more browny red. The time for this can vary depending on heat, around 40 minutes should be enough. Stir the mixture every now and again to stop it sticking. Taste to check its done, it will be done when it stops tasting like raw onions and more like delicious curry.

While the base is cooking parboil the potatoes and black eyed beans together. When the potatoes are done drain and reserve.

Add the potatoes and beans to the base and cook for 10 minutes more. Finally add the chopped coriander and serve.

If you are doing rice with this then it probably best to put it on when the beans and potatoes go in. Then everything will be ready together.

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Chickpeas with fried chorizo and vegetables

Basil LeaveThis recipe is delicious and really easy to make, the chickpeas make this a filling alternative to a pasta dish. Don’t feel you have to stick to the vegetables that I have used in this recipe aubergine or green beans would also make this delicious. For a vegetarian version omit the chorizo.

This makes enough for three people, the portions look small but chickpeas with fried chorizo and vegetables is really filling.


50g finely chopped chorizo
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 chopped chilli
1 onion sliced into half-moons
1 sliced yellow pepper
1 sliced medium courgette
1 clove of crushed garlic
1 drained tin of chickpeas
2 chopped large tomatoes
A handful of chopped basil


Fry the chorizo on a low heat in a large non-stick pan with the olive oil for a couple of minutes, and then add the chilli. Add the onions and fry until they start turning translucent. After that add the sliced pepper, courgette and crushed garlic. Fry until the pepper has softened.

Finally add chickpeas and tomato and basil, serve when the chickpeas and tomato are hot.

This chickpeas with fried chorizo and vegetables can be eaten as a meal on its own, or in smaller portions as an accompaniment to chicken or lamb.

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Chocolate tray bake

A chocolate tray bake is easy to make and requires no special baking equipment.

This chocolate tray bake is very versatile you can eat it as:

  • A tasty tea time treat with a cup of tea
  • Topped with melted chocolate, for extra decadence
  • With chocolate buttercream icing and buttons or maltesers on top, for a birthday cake or special occasion
  • Heated up and served with custard for pudding

You can also experiment with adding orange oil or cinnamon for chocolate orange tray bake, or cinnamon and chocolate tray bake.

Makes around 16 squares


6oz/180g Butter
6oz/180g sugar
3 eggs
4oz/120g self raising flour
2oz/60g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons of milk


Preheat your oven to 180◦c, grease and line a rectangular baking tray with butter and baking paper. Put the butter in the microwave for a few seconds to soften.

  • kitchen essentialsWith a wooden spoon mix together the butter and sugar, add the eggs one at a time mixing into the butter and sugar after each egg. The butter and egg will look curdled, don’t worry. They don’t really mix together too well but once the flour is added it will look fine.

Add the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and mix together, finally add the milk. Mix this in with the rest of the batter then spoon in to the prepared tray. Place in the oven for around 20 minutes. Cooking times vary depending on the type of oven, and dimensions of your tray.

To check if your chocolate tray bake is done gently press down the centre, it should spring back if done, also insert a clean knife in the centre this should come out clean.

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Spiced honey cakes

With the Christmas season now upon us these spiced honey cakes make a excellent alternative to the traditional mince pies.

I have suggested the use of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg as the spice in this recipe. If you wanted to add orange peel or ground cloves these would certainly add to the flavour of the spiced honey cakes. Alternatively you can just add mixed spice, this will contain all of these spices and save you the price of buying the spices separately.

Makes 16 cakes

125g/5oz butter
150g/6oz runny honey
75g/3oz unrefined caster sugar
175g/7oz self raising flour
2 eggs


  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 190°c or 180°c for fan ovens. Melt the butter with the honey and sugar in a saucepan on a low heat. When the butter has melted remove from the heat.

Add the flour and spices mix in then add the two eggs and also mix in. Distribute the mixture among 16 cake case in a muffin tray, may need to bake in two batches.

Bake for 20 mins or until a skewer/knife pushed into the centre comes out clean.

For extra decadence ice these spiced honey cakes with a glaze made of honey, icing sugar, water and spices.

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