Gyoza dumplings & Dipping sauce

It’s half term and I found time to make Gyoza!

Whilst it is not particularly complicated, it does take time and actually lots of effort (rolling that dough out is tough going), the results however are so very tasty that it is worth the hassle. It’s worth saying that you can make double the wrappers and freeze some for next time.




140g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)

125ml very hot water


110g minced pork

75g Chinese leaves or spinach, finely chopped

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 crushed clove garlic

1 tbsp finely chopped spring onions

Dipping sauce

6 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp white rice vinegar

1/2 tsp finely chopped spring onions

1 clove garlic thinly sliced

For the dough, place the flour into a large bowl and stir the hot water gradually into it, mixing all the time with a fork, until the water is incorporated. Add more water if needed. Tip the dough mixture onto a floured work surface and knead it with your hands, adding a little flour if it’s sticky. Continue kneading until it is smooth, approx 6-8 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a clean damp towel and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

  • combine the stuffing ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together well. Set aside.
  • After the resting period, take the dough out of the bowl and knead it again for about five minutes, dusting with a little flour if it is sticky. Once the dough is smooth, shape it into a roll about 23cm/9in long and roll out with a rolling pin until the dough is paper thin (make sure surface is floured, as it will stick) and cut circles with a cutter 9cm in diameter.Arrange the round skins on a lightly floured tray and cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out until you are ready to use them.
    Place about two teaspoons of filling in the centre of each ‘pancake’ and moisten the edges with water. Fold the dough in half and pinch together with your fingers.
    Pleat around the edge, pinching with your fingers to seal well. The dumpling should look like a small Cornish pasty with a flat base and rounded top.

2016-02-16 23.04.50.jpg

  • To cook, heat a large lidded frying pan (preferably a non-stick pan) until it is very hot. Add sesame oil and place the dumplings flat-side down into the pan. Reduce the heat and cook for about two minutes until they the dumplings are lightly browned. Add the water, cover the pan tightly and simmer gently for about 12 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Check the water half-way through and add more if necessary. Uncover the pan and continue to cook for a further two minutes.
  • For the dipping sauce, combine all the dipping sauce ingredients together in a small      bowl.

Serve with salad or sushi!




Bircher Muesli for busy people

Ok, so I am guessing that you thought I had dropped off the face of the earth, right? Not quite, but I did take on a new job, and a Diploma last year. This, coupled with busy family life has left me with very little time to try out new recipe ideas.

Last week I decided to stop eating a cereal bar each day for breakfast, but, with much to do in the morning, and little time, I thought it would be best to make something that I could prepare in advance. Bircher muesli is ideal, as not only can I make it the night before, I can make enough for two mornings for two people, and it is really healthy and filling.



1 cup oats

1 cup fat free natural greek yoghurt

1 cup semi skimmed milk

1 large apple

100g dried sweetened cranberries

20g sunflower seeds

  1. Mix together the oats, yoghurt & milk in a large bowl, cover and place in the fridge for 2-3 hrs.
  2. Remove bowl from the fridge and grate the apple into the mixture (taking care to avoid the core), then add the cranberries and the sunflower seeds.
  3. Mix well and then recover and place back into the fridge overnight.
  4. In the morning divide mixture into four portions, two for today and two for tomorrow.


*Note – The muesli is fine on day 3 if given a good stir, but I prefer to make a new batch.

My favourite cakes!

I haven’t had much time to try new recipes recently, but thought it might be a good idea to share some of my favourite cakes on here.

I bake for fun but I decorate the cakes with a great deal of care and attention to try and achieve realism in my creations.

People often say “It must break your heart when someone cuts into them!” Honestly NO it doesn’t, for me that is the best bit, it’s like building a big tower of blocks and then knocking it down and watching it fall, there is something very satisfying about that!

I hope you like them!!


This is my very favourite EVER cake, not only because I loved creating it but because of how perfect it was for the recipient! I love making Retro cakes and making this one as a surprise for my Mum was great fun!



From retro to bang up to date! This iPad cake was great fun and fairly challenging, yeh sure the screen is a printed icing screen but cutting a cake .5mm thin to make the iPad and laying the screen to fit precisely was no mean feat!



“Muuuuum I want a Pokemon cake with a Pokeball on it for my Birthday…..Pleeeeaaaase!” The Pokeball was a challenge, but I thoroughly enjoyed making Pikachu (almost as much as he enjoyed eating him)!



Totally different here but I adore the quilted effect on the top layer in this 50th Anniversary cake and I know that the special couple will have been pleased with their very special cake!



“My wife has always wanted a pink mini, can you bake one?” Well I like a challenge so of course I said yes!! Little did I now it would take nearly 12 hours to perfect but I am certainly proud of the result!



A special Birthday cake for a steam train fan, I just love the way this came out!



Lastly my first attempt at a wedding cake and at using flower paste (which incidentally is like working with chewing gum), I need to practice my flowers, but I think it looks good! 

Caramelised Red Onion Marmalade!

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a Cheeseboard and a Cheeseboard is dull without Red onion Marmelade so I have just made mine! This recipe is really so simple that you will feel like you ought to add something else, DON’T!! It is just lovely and I think you’ll agree!


6 Large Red Onions

150ml Balsamic vinegar

150mi Red Wine

200g Muscavado Sugar

1) Sterilise 6 x 125ml Jars.

2) Peel and chop all of the onions in 1/2 and then slice them all thinly. Add sliced onions to a large non stick pan and pour in the Vinegar, Wine & Sugar and mix well.

3) Cook on a medium heat until the whole lot reduces right down and there is very little of the syrupy liquid left (usually 40-45mins). While hot pour into sterilised jars and seal with lids.


4) Serve with Any cheese, but it goes particularly well with a soft blue or Camembert.


Orange and Amaretti Macaron Cupcakes!

So I entered a Cupcake Competition! I didn’t win and that’s ok, well it’s ok-ish and I’ll tell you why – BECAUSE these cupcakes ROCK!!! They are absolutely delicious and the competition judges were clearly crazy, yes I know I’m biased so I suggest that you try them for yourselves! Enjoy!!!



115g/4oz Self raising Flour

115g/4oz Caster Sugar

115g/4oz Stork/Softened Butter

4 Egg Whites 

50g Ground Almonds

½tsp Almond Essence

375g Icing Sugar

125g Unsalted Butter

1 Small Orange

40g Amaretti Biscuits

Preheatoven to 180oC (fan assisted)/200oC

1)  Place Cupcake cases in thewells of the Muffin Pan and set aside.

2)  Into a Mixing Bowl add the 115g Stork & 115g Caster Sugar and using a round Bamboo Spoon beat the 2 together until combined. Then add the Egg Whites, Flour & Ground Almondsand mix thoroughly! Using the small adjustable Measuring Spoon add ½ tsp Almond Essence and mix until combined.

3)  Using a Large Scoop add 1 scoop of mixture to each cupcake case and then place the Muffin Pan in the oven to bake cakes for 15-20 minutes.

Whilethe Cupcakes are baking –

4)  Zest orange into a Prep Bowlusing Microplane Zester and set aside and then cut orange in half and using Citrus Press juice orange into another Prep Bowl.

5) In a Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl combine Icing Sugar, Softened Butter and 3 tbsps orange juice using a mix n scraper. Add 2 tsps orange zest and combine until you have a smooth buttercream.

6) Fill Easy Accent Decorator with Buttercream and set aside.
7) Remove Cakes from Muffin Pan and place on Cooling Rack to cool

Whilst Cakes are cooling –

8)  Place Amaretti Biscuits in Manual Food Processor and Chop to crumbs.

9)  Pipe Buttercream on to Cupcakes using EasyAccent Decorator and then Sprinkle with Amaretti Crumb

Serves 12


Profiteroles the easy way!

Hands up if you think Choux Pastry is really complicated? If you have your hands up then you have fallen for the Myth, I don’t blame you, I too fell for “It’s so difficult and ALWAYS goes wrong!” well please believe me when I tell you “It isn’t and it doesn’t!”

Go on, give it a go, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!


 Profiteroles –

55g butter

150ml water

70g plain flour

1 tsp caster sugar

2 eggs

Sauce –

115g Dark Chocolate (or 50/50 dark and milk if you prefer)

30g butter

4 tbsp double cream

Filling –

150ml Double Cream

1) Set the oven to 200oC. Cut up butter and heat in a saucepan with the water. When the water boils tip in the flour & sugar then beat the mixture hard with a Bamboo spoon until it is smooth and comes away from the sides of the saucepan.


2) Beat the eggs, then beat them into the mixture, a little at a time until you have a thick, smoth glossy paste. Put a small scoop of the mixture into each well of a Mini Muffin Pan.


3) Bake for 20-25mins until Puffy and Golden Brown, place Profiteroles on a Cooling Rack to cool and pierce them with a fork to let out the steam and stop them going soft.


3) Break Chocolate into a Saucepan add the butter and cream and stir over a low heat until the Chocolate has melted and it has all combined.

4) Whisk Cream until think and spoon into Easy Accent Decorator, Using the long thin nozzle pierce Profiteroles and Pipe in whipped cream.

5) Arrange Profiteroles on a serving plate and drizzle with the chocolate sauce.



More things to do with Dates – Moroccan inspired Lamb

As tempting as it was to use up the rest of my bag of dates by making more cake, I decided instead to challenge myself!

I LOVE spicy food, Moroccan, Turkish, Thai, Indian, Mexican all of it, unfortunately it doesn’t like me! I have an intolerance to Chilies, so have to avoid these restaurants and generally stick with Mustard or Horseradish to add a kick to my food.

My challenge was to create something with the Moroccan/Persian flavour without the Chilies and I had to trust my judgement and sense of smell on this. The second challenge was that two of my children don’t eat Rice, so I had to replace that too!

The result was wonderful and for the first time in months I put a meal in front of my family that the ALL enjoyed – Moroccan inspired Lamb, Roasted New Potatoes with shaved Garlic and Red Onion and from the November Issue of BBC Good Food Magazine Persian Menu Shirazi Salad, Cucumber &  Mint Yogurt and and Aubergine & Yogurt dish.


Here is my recipe for Moroccan Inspired Lamb –


700g Lamb (fat removed and cubed)

300g Shallots (peeled and halved)

150g Dried Dates (chopped)

3 cloves Garlic

2 tbsp Hibiscus & Rose Nectar (My Secret Kitchen)

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp All spice

500ml gravy (I made a thin gravy using onion Bisto)

1) Preheat oven to 200oC.

2) Into a Deep Covered Baker place chopped Shallots, then using a garlic slicer (or if you are good with a knife that would work) cover shallots with very thin slices of Garlic. Add chopped Lamb to the dish and then top with chopped dates.

3) Drizzle the Hibiscus & Rose syrup and shake the Cinnamon & allspice over the top of the Lamb, then mix up your gravy/stock and pour this over the top and put the lid on baker.

4) Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hr. Remove from oven, stir well and replace without lid for a further 30 minutes.

5) Serve with Basmati Rice or Flat Bread and Salads. (or if you don’t like rice, the roasted potatoes worked well).

Serves 4.

How to make Honeycomb!

WOW Honeycomb is so simple to make, who knew???

Not me that’s for sure, neither did I know that Honeycomb actually HAS got Honey in it! I mean I assumed that the name referred to the fact that it looks a bit like well…er…honeycomb *hopes she wasn’t the only one who thought that*

So it looks good, it tastes amazing and it takes no time at all to make a vast amount of it, I see absolutely NO reason why you won’t all rush out and buy the ingredients and try making Honeycomb this weekend!!! 😉


325g Caster Sugar

50g Honey

125g Glucose Syrup

1 tbsp Bicarbonate of Soda

(Yes JUST 4 ingredients)

1) Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2) Put the Sugar, Honey & Glucose Syrup into a large pan with 4 tbsps of water and Bring to the Boil. Stir whilst boiling, you need to dissolve the sugar and you don’t want it to burn.
3) Turn Temperature down slightly, it needs to keep bubbling and heating without burning, so I went from 6>4 on the hob. Allow to Simmer until it turns a light golden colour or reaches 149oC (300oF) Otherwise known as the ‘Hard-crack stage’. I used a Sugar thermometer for this bit.
4) When temperature is right remove from the heat and quickly stir in 1 tbsp Bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will grow quickly (this is why you need a big pan). Pour carefully into lined baking tray and spread evenly.

5) Leave to cool completely! Do not touch or check it, just leave it for an hour or so and when hard you can break it into chunks and if you like dip the chunks in Chocolate!! Mmmmm…Image

Party Time – Salmon Bites!

Salmon is wonderful, the flavour is so distinct and it has that wonderful pink colour which adds variety to your food. Having already made the wee Spinach Puffs for the vegetarian guests last night I decided to make something with a little bit more class and so sophisticated were these that they could be served at high tea in any upmarket restaurant and I would be impressed.


3 Tortilla Wraps

125g Smoked Salmon

2 tbsp chopped fresh Dill leaves (no stems)

2 tbsp Sour cream

100g Full Fat Soft Cheese

1 tsp Tomato Ketchup

Ground Black Pepper (to taste)

Gerkins (to decorate)

1) Preheat Oven to 180oC. Cut edges off wraps to make square and then cut each square into 9 small squares (the MMP makes 24 and there will be 27 wee squares so 3 will be left over). From each corn of the squares cut in diagonally towards the centre leaving only an inch square in the centre uncut.

2) Place each wee square over the well of the MMP and using Mini Tart Shaper press them into the wells, the corners should overlap and look really pretty. Bake for 12 minutes until Golden Brown.

Meanwhile –

3) Gently cook smoked salmon on a low heat until pale in colour (you don’t need to add oil) and then set aside.

4) Zest a lemon and then cut in half and juice it. Into a bowl add Cream Cheese, Chopped Dill, Sour Cream, Ketchup, Pepper (to taste) 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp zest, mix well! When cooled add Salmon to the bowl and combine fully (salmon will flake when mixed in.

5) Remove Cases from oven and set aside to cool. Fill Piping Bag or Decorator with the Salmon Pate and pipe into each case. Top with a piece go gherkin and Serve. Mmmm….


Party Time – Cheese & Spinach Puff Tarts!

Last night we had friends round for a Bank Holiday Party, the perfect excuse to play with my Mini Muffin Pan to make nibbles! I love Spinach with Nutmeg and Cheese it’s almost Perfect and these little bites took no time at all and went down a storm.


1 Block Puff Pastry

100g Mature Cheddar Cheese

1 tbsp Full fat Mayo

50g fresh Baby Spinach Leaves

2 Spring Onions

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1) Preheat Oven to 180oC. Cut Puff Pastry into 24 cubes and place in the wells of the Mini Muffin Pan, using a Mini Tart Shaper press pastry into tart cases then set aside.

2) Put spinach in a mixing bowl and chop using kitchen shears into small pieces. Finely chop Spring Onions and add to the bowl then grate the cheese into the mixture, measure and add the Mayo and Nutmeg. Mix well.

3) Add a tsp of the filling to each Mini Tart Case and then bake for 20 mins. Cool and Serve! So simple and so very Mmmm…Image