Cauliflower Cake - Chou-Fleur Cake

My Beetroot and Chocolate muffin recipe was a runaway success and I am hoping that this Cauliflower Cake will be the same. Though one can imagine quite readily the taste of the former, the latter might be a little more complex to conjure.

Choux-Fleur Cake is moist with a crunchy nut topping. It smells slightly of cauliflower but when I bought it The Queen's Orchard where I volunteer, nobody was able to name the secret ingredient. This cake is a dessert and not a savoury cake. 

Besides cauliflower, this cake contains 1 Bramley apple, the old favourite cooking apple. The original Bramleys were propagated in Nottingham in the early 1800's, things you learn when volunteering!
There are only a few cooking apples (proper). Of course, any apple can be cooked with a varied degree of success. Blenheim Orange is another, it has a nutty flavour and goes way back to the 16th century.

He first spotted the recipe in Garden News whilst on a visit to his mum. I have not modified it much.

175g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
110 salted butter, diced
110g golden granulated sugar
50g ground almonds
110g peeled, cored Bramley cut in small pieces
2 tbsp lemon juice
110g cauliflower floret grated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium eggs beaten
50g chopped walnuts
1-2 tablespoons Demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 160C fan oven / 180 conventional
grease 20cm cake tin (pref loose bottomed)

1- sieve flour/ baking powder/cinnamon into a food processor
         note that using a food processor will produce best results
2- Add butter, sugar, ground almond and whiz
3- Then eggs and vanilla to the mix
4- mix the cauli and the apple in a bowl with the lemon and add to the mixture, give it a quick pulse and transfer to the baking tin.
5- Combine walnuts and sugar and scatter on the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes do the skewer trick to see if it's cooked, if not leave it to cook for another 5 minutes. Let it cool before turning out.

Click on the picture to see the recipe of the Chocolate and Beetroot muffin

I am sharing with Cook Blog Share hosted by Hijacked by Twins.
Cook Blog Share new logo

Give-Away #36 :One OXO GOOD GRIPs Non-Stick Pro Sponge/Sandwich Tin worth £19.00

I am considering making a Choux-Fleur Cake but not the savoury kind rather the sweet kind and this baking adventure will require professional baking equipment. Thank goodness, the good people at OXO GOOD GRIPs have offered to lent me a hand by sending me their Sandwich Tin.

I like the idea of a solid straight wall and micro-textured pattern which ensures even baking because let's face it, I need all the help I can get when it comes to baking cakes. 

Even more exciting, you get a chance to win the same sandwich tin worth £19.00, just use the comment box and the Rafflecopter to tell us what you'll cook with it. Competition ends on the 28/2/17 at midday  Good luck

What's new in the Kitchen #17: Love

Mr Kipling who "makes exceedingly good cakes" went a tiny-wee-bit overboard this Valentine's with a "boo-cake" made from 80 long-stemmed roses which display Kipling's cakes at their best. Slightly outside our budget at £400 but ....

The alternative a smaller bouquet of 20 roses sold from Mr Kipling's Facebook page for £30 is a fun idea.

Last year, I had the pleasure to meet Antonio Carluccio who spent the last 50 years sharing with us his passion for Italian food. He regaled the audience with tales of his beginning and made us  blush when he revealed one of his secret dreams,

"To make love on a bed of basil". Here is one of his creations for Valentine's day: Amore E Baci

For more Valentine's ideas head to:
Elizabeth Kitchen diary

This is not a paid post, I was sent a sample by Carluccio's. As always, wording and opinions expressed are our own.

Coconut Macaroons : A Kitchen Disaster

biscuit, little treat, easy recipe, coconut macaroon

Don't they look just adorable? so much so that you could almost reach out and bite into one. Well, don't. Pictures like people lie. They were a real disaster.

At first, I thought my skills were in question as I am not the best of bakers but, after a few week when the initial "outrage" had passed, I compared recipes and I was not entirely to blame. The recipe used was a "double baking" recipe similar to a biscotti recipe and of course.....I never read the recipe to the end. I served them single baked, yurk, and double baked them for the picture. But, by then nobody was interested anymore.

The experience will have taught me one thing. Even if I had taken my time with the recipe I would not have felt comfortable with the double baking and if you are not comfortable with a recipe, you should look for another and whichever one you choose when baking, stick to the proportions and the instructions.

In fact, Coconut Macaroons are simple to make, perfect for school holidays

  • 2 free range eggs
  • 225g  desiccated coconut
  • 150g  caster sugar
  • glace cherries to decorate

  • Method 
  1. In a large bowl, Beat the eggs thoroughly, add the coconut and the sugar, stir.
  2. Prepare a couple of baking trays by lining them with a baking sheet, if you have only one tray, you'll have to bake two batches.
  3. Shape 16 balls, they don't have to be perfectly round, if fact, it's unlikely that they will be.
  4. Place them on tray(s) decorate and bake in a preheated oven 180C/gas 4 for 25 minutes, they might need a little longer so keep an eye and let them back for another 5 minutes if they are not golden.
 Tip: Macaroons will stay fresh for a week in an airtight container.

February 2017 - Inheritance Recipes

More than ever we need to celebrate DIVERSITY. Please join us in February with your family recipes wherever you are in the world, through your recipes in the pot, let's be proud of our roots. let's share our stories.


Inheritance Recipes is a challenge that Margot of Coffee and Vanilla and I have started to celebrate dishes food bloggers cherish. We would love to hear about your friends and family recipes.

Recipes which have been passed down by a family member, a friend, through an ancestral culture and dishes which you would like to bestow to future generations.

See some examples on the January round-up

We will share your recipes via our social media channels and include them in the round-up (with pictures) at the end of the month. We will also add your recipes to the Inheritance Recipes Pinterest board (that has 2.3 K followers) and include your blog’s handle in our Inheritance Recipes list on Twitter. Don’t forget to subscribe to them both!


Please, link back to challenge page on both: Pebble Soup and Coffee and Vanilla blog.

If possible, display one of the IR badges on your recipe post. (Click through to open one of the badges, right click to save it to your computer and then upload badge to your blog.)

Feel free to link up to past posts but please, update them with links to the challenge pages to qualify.

Recipe suggestions:
  1. traditional recipes or preparation methods,
  2. national recipes from all over the globe,
  3. dishes that you often prepare with your children (starting a new tradition),
  4. recipes inspired by childhood memories,
  5. dishes inherited from a family member or a friend.
Closing date is the 28th February.

Please note that entries that fail to follow “how to enter” instructions won’t be approved.

If you use Twitter to promote your recipe, please use #InheritanceRecipes, tweet it @coffeenvanilla or @solangeweb and we will re-tweet it.

And last but not least, have a look at the terms and conditions if you haven't yet done so.
We can't wait to see your recipes and read their stories.

Polish Style Chocolate Cheese Cake by Coffee & Vanilla

Cap Breton Fruit Scones
by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary and Loveheart shortbread
 by Only Crumbs remain

white chocolate and raspberry 
creme brulee by Gluten Free Alchemist

Red peppers chili hearts by AK2

Danish Fedtebrod 

Paolozzi meat sauce


Red Borscht and bugnes from Coffee and Vanilla and Pebble Soup

Review: Pie & Vinyl - Southsea

A prop paradise,

a really good record-store

And a delicious Pie cafe offering a varied menu of pies with an array of mash and liquor,

in Southsea 

When I landed a commission to visit Portsmouth and Southsea for 2017- Year of Literary Heroes, I asked him if He would like to join and if so, where would he like to eat. "Pie and Vinyl" was the immediate answer.

Such enthusiasm required action. So fresh from the train, we headed for the quirky Castle street in Southsea and entered a kind of Ali-Baba cavern for prop lovers, the place is so kitsch that you don't know where to look, every surface is covered with amusing, delicate, pretty and right ugly "things". I loved it from the word go.

The cafe cum kitchen bit is tiny and spills out a little in the record shop. There are eight tables which at lunch time were all full, a queue started forming by 13.00.

So what is the attraction?
The choice of pies is vast and caters for all sorts of dietary requirements. The owners wait on you as if you were their long lost relatives. The pies are from a few sources. From Buckwell, you'll get the sensible options, Chicken 'n Mushrooms is one. Choose one from the lovely Pieminister people fare and you'll get unusual options such an Heidi: Goat cheese and sweet vegetable or from Pie and Vinyl's own kitchen and you'll be served an all singing pie.

Pie and Vinyl pies are named after tracks, on the special board are the pies of the week which are related to the new releases that week. Got it? It's like being brought back in time to your childhood days, when you were singing from the top of your voice, making up the words you didn't know or understood.

I went for a "The 'O Sea" with mustard mash and dried onions topping with liquor.
Look and I'll say no more.

Except that, the tea came in a pot accompanied by a tiny hourglass. Pies start from £6.00

When in Portsmouth/Southsea Pie and Vinyl is definitely a place to visit.


61 Castle Rd, Portsmouth, Southsea PO5 3AY
phone: 02392 753914

Brumal Risotto :Vegan Butternut Squash and Spinach Risotto Recipe

It's amazing how the world has changed towards veganism, 30 years ago a plant-based diet was if I am honest, rather tasteless.

This month delicious Vegan recipes are everywhere you look. After all, we are in Veganuary.  When the PR for Flora, the plant-based spreads cie, got in touch to ask if I could relay one of their recipes using Flora Freedom, I found it impossible to say no, out of respect for all the people who will dabble in veganism this Veganuary and in support of their friends who will have to make a few changes in their presence too.

I opted for their Vegan Risotto Primavera with some seasonal changes

Risotto, Vegan, Asparagus, peas, recipe

But before leaving you with the recipe, let me tell you how I first came to contact with Veganism.

We are going way-way back about three decades ago, I had never heard the word, vegan and the world had yet pay attention to the movement. On one of my trips to England, He'd offered to introduce me to his best friends. We drove to Warrington, in the middle of winter. My travel bag contained a little black dress, a pair of leather trousers and a wool fluffy jumper.

Unknown to me, the friends we were about to spend the weekend with were ethical vegans, their philosophy extended beyond diet and had utterly changed their lifestyle and left me facing a real wardrobe problem. There I was in the north of England, with only one option: my little black dress....

I spent the weekend wrapped in it and several borrowed non-wool jumpers. Not the sexy look, I was hoping for but, the beginning of a long friendship, I listen to the reasons behind their choice with my heart and after two days was much more aware of our cruelty to animals.

On an intellectual level, I remember thinking, "What difficult path they had chosen". On a practical level, my most vivid memory of our return journey is our stop on a motorway cafe to eat the place dry. A weekend of veganism had seen me not only freezing but starving too. 

It would not be the case anymore as it's much easier to find vegan products. Here is a list of 7 top tips from Lucy Jones, Expert Dietician and TV Presenter which show just how to start on a vegan course.

7 Simple Tips to try this Veganuary
1.       Simply swap the milk in your tea, coffee and cereal to one of the great plant-based alternatives. There are loads to choose from including soya, almond, cashew, coconut, oat and hemp. Pick one fortified with key nutrients like calcium and B12 to make sure you don’t miss out.
2.       Big up the pulses! Tinned pulses are easy, ready to use and a great filling provider of protein and fibre. Add to soups, salads and veggie chilli.
3.       Try making a delicious cottage pie using soya, quorn or vegetable mince and lentils / beans. Combine with chopped veggies, tinned tomatoes, herbs and spices and top with mashed root veg made with Flora Freedom. Nothing more warming when topped with vegetable gravy and steamed green veggies
4.       Get out the slow cooker. Chuck in tinned tomatoes, veggies, lentils or beans and some barley / potatoes for a warm filling dinner. Serve in a bowl with crusty fresh bread spread with Flora Freedom.
5.      Try out some vegan pancakes. Make your pancake mix using flour, a plant based alternative to milk, nut butter and mashed banana. Top with sugar and lemon or chopped fruits for a fun tasty start to your day.
6.       Don’t miss out on enjoying dessert. You can make a delicious crumble topping using flour, oats, sugar and Flora Freedom and add on seasonal fruits. Combine with a soya or oat based custard or try some coconut ice-cream alongside
7.       If you’re cravings start to creep up on you, nuts make a fantastic healthy vegan snack. Combine 30g of your favourite with some small chunks of rich 80% dark chocolate for an indulgent afternoon treat.

Brumal Risotto : Butternut Squash and Spinach Risotto


  • 25 g Flora Freedom
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 225 g Arborio rice
  • 700 ml hot vegetable stock
  • 300 ml vegan dry white wine (optional but increase stock to 1 litre if not used)
  • 250 g roasted butternut squash, cut into large cubes
  • 175 g spinach, washed and drained
  • 75 g vegan Parmesan cheese, grated 
  • pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Directions

  • Heat Flora and olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft but not browned.

  • Add the rice and stir well. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and cook gently, whilst stirring, until the liquid has been absorbed.

  • Stir in 300ml stock and repeat until the stock has been absorbed.

  • Add half the remaining stock, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the risotto has a creamy consistency.

  • Add the butternut squash cubes to the rice and squash them roughly with a fork, then add the frozen spinach and remaining stock. Bring back to a simmer and continue stirring as the liquid is absorbed and the rice becomes tender and the spinach well defrosted.

  • Serving suggestion: serve with sweet potato pancakes

Disclaimer: Sponsored post. I was contacted by Flora to write a post promoting their recipes for which I received a food voucher. No cash was exchanged. 

Bidvine: The Easy Way for Hiring a Pro

Sponsored post

When it comes to mundane tasks, we all need a bit of a helping hand time to time. Bidvine is an app-based and online local services marketplace that dubs itself as “the easiest way to find and hire local professionals.”

When Bidvine got in touch and I read through all their literature and in order to share the finding with you, I gave it a go. Like everyone else at the start of the year, I have a long list of things needing doing so if there is a simple process to save time, it's tempting.

Determine what you need

Before soon, I had my options narrowed down to three. Fitness, Photography, Learning. The latter seemed like a popular option, especially when it comes to learning guitar or singing. We possibly have the success of the TV show such as the Voice and Gareth Malone's to thank for that. However, this is not something, I would consider unless I wanted half of South London evacuated as a result.

However, my social media picture needs updated as it's now a couple of years old, best to keep up with the wrinkles. In my opinion, there is nothing worth than old profile pictures.

To get the right pro, all what is needed is to detail what you need using service-specific questions. Bidvine then sends your request to relevant qualified professionals. 

Choose One
True to their word in my case, in the space of 2 hours, I had received 5 offers from professional photographers with quotes and a message detailing the companies credentials.

The process is indeed very simple

Bidivine operates in the whole of the UK and the list of professionals is growing every day.

Click here, to learn more about



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