Banoffee Trifle - An Easy Christmas Dessert

Banoffee Trifle

We may be trying to deny it, but Christmas is definitely hurtling towards us at great speed.

I don't know what happened this year. I'm usually super organised and have most of my gifts by now and know exactly what everyone else is getting. This year I haven't even made a list made yet and I have no idea what I'm going to buy anyone other than Cooper.

Knowing how unorganised I am this year, you may be surprised to hear I'm trying out Christmas desserts for the big day.

quick Christmas dessert

I'm determined to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible this year. I always miss all the fun with Cooper on Christmas Day and he's growing up so fast. I thought we might go out for Christmas dinner, but when I saw the paltry veggie and vegan choices I gave up on that idea and decided preparing ahead and simplicity would be the way to go.

I've been working with Gresado lately. On online shop that's been supplying top notch products to chefs in London for over 40 years. They've now opened their doors to home cooks and they kindly sent me a Panettone to try.

Well that got me thinking of Christmas desserts and I had that eureka moment. A banoffee trifle!

Quick, easy and indulgent! Tick, tick, tick!


Special offer: During December Gresdao are sending a free 
panettone to all customers to spend £50 in their online store.

Christmas Trifle

You could make one big trifle, but I rather like making individual portions in glasses. Why not try it out before Christmas and decide if it's perfect for your Christmas day too.

print recipe
Christmas dessert
Banoffee Trifle
A easy dessert that will impress your guests.


Ingredients
  • ½ panettone
  • 12 tbsp apple juice
  • 397g/1 ¼ cups caramel condensed milk
  • 3 bananas
  • 500g/2 ¼ cups ready made custard
  • 300 ml/1 ½ cups whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp chocolate sprinkles
Instructions
1. Slice the panettone and add a layer to the bottom of each glass 
2. Drizzle each layer of cake with 2 tbsp apple juice. 
3. Top with a layer of Caramel and a few slices of banana. 
4. Next add a layer of custard.   
5. Whip the cream until thick. You may add a little sugar before you whip, if you like. I piped my layer of cream, but you could just spoon it on, it would taste just as good. 
6. Finish with slices of banana and chocolate spinkles.
7. Pop in the fridge until you are ready for them. I'll be making mine on Christmas Eve along with my soup.
8. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
 
Details
Total time:  
Yield: 6 individual trifles




Christmas dessert

Looking for a more traditional banoffee recipe? Try my Quick Banoffe Pie, Cheats Banoffee Pie or my Lower Calorie Banofee Pie.


Disclosure: This recipe was developed for Gresado using their panettone. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
21

New in my Kitchen #17



This is where I like to share my kitchen discoveries. The good, the bad and the ugly!




Mash Direct sent me a few of their products to try. Yes they do sell a variety of vegetable mash, but they sell so much more and we liked these baby potatoes coated in breadcrumbs and chilli.

Price:  £1.75 (Asda) for 370g
Score: 8/10






Cooper and I absolutely loved these. We'll be looking out for them to try again. A real treat. Crispy in the outside and soft, creamy and packed with flavour on the inside.

Price: £1.50 (Tesco) for 300g
Score 10/10






I've been working with Gresado, an online grocery shop that specialises in high quality chef ingredients. They kindly sent me a few of their products to try including these capers. Everything they've sent me so far has been excellent, so I have high hopes for these capers, but I haven't broken into them yet. 
Any suggestions on what dishes I should use them in?

Price: £10 for 400g
Score: ?

10% off all orders in November with the code kgnov14






I remember these from the first time around. These are sweetly spiced, almost a smokey BBQ flavour with a  little kick from paprika and jalapeno. Too, too easy to snack on! The crunch of handcooked crisps and suitable for veggies and vegans.

Price: 2 for £2.50 (Sainsbury's) 150g bags
Score 8/10






This cool red kitchen timer came from brabantia. I currently have two wind up kitchen timers. One is a metal one that looks like an egg and the other is a frosted cupcake. They may look great, but they are absolutely useless. They both start of well then run down with no indication that they have finished. So I have been doing a lot of running backward and forward to look at my laptop clock recently while baking.

It was time for something a bit more modern and accurate. This one runs for up to 99 minutes and has a 5 year guarantee, which I clearly need. I love the vibrant red and the fact it's magnetic, so it sits nicely on my fridge.

Price: £8.50
Score 10/10




Now you may not want to know this, but if you have a woven bread basket then chances are it's filled with bugs. Yes go throw it away this minute. Totally disgusting. Up until now I've been using a bowl with a napkin in it to avoid such a vile state of affairs. The great thing about this bread basket as well as being stylish, it is reversible and machine washable. Result! I went for the medium which is big enough for us, but it you have a bigger family Brabantia also sells these in a larger size.

Price: £9.25
Score: 9/10





Hot of the press. I bought these yesterday to serve filled with sour cream, salad leaves, homemade chilli and grated cheddar. I do like Mission flour tortillas, they are large, so easy for wrapping and lovely and soft. I'm not keen on the Tesco flour tortillas, which I find claggy, but Mission Deli Wraps Wheat and White are excellent. 

So when I saw wholemeal I thought "Brilliant!"  and immediately bought two bags. I always buy wholemeal if possible so it made sense, but ugh, I didn't like them, the flavour or the texture. Once warmed they were a bit flaccid and damp. Not a nice experience. Go for Wheat and White and steer clear of this flavour.
Price: 2 for £2.50 for an 8 pack
Score: 2/10 





Not in my kitchen, but food related. I rented this from work. Yes I work in a library where we rent DVDs and staff are made to pay. We used to get them free, but someone who shall remain un-named, abused this courtesy and it was stopped. Damn them! Anyway I really wanted to watch this, so I paid up. 
The film is about a chef who works in a fine dining restaurant, but isn't allowed to cook what he wants to cook and after a bad review and twitter going crazy he leaves, buys a food truck and travels around the country with his best friend and son cooking up great but simple food. This time using social media to his advantage. 

Graham and I really enjoyed this film and would heartily recommend it.

Price: £9.99 (Amazon)
Score: 10/10 





9. Homeware from John Lewis

On a recent trip to Edinburgh I had an uninterrupted browse around John Lewis (Graham and Cooper were in a toy shop). 
I was loving this colourful new range and couldn't resist treating myself. I was a little disappointed by the glass. It has dipped in sides in a white glass, which is rather nice to hold. I thought coloured smoothies would look excellent against, but it actually just looks quite clear.

Price: Various
Score: 9/10






I've been enjoying this fresh coconut milk that has no extras added. I've been adding it to dal and smoothies. The great thing is once it is open, you can just fold over the top (I sealed mine with a peg) and pop it in the fridge until you next need it. Very handy.

Price: £3.25 for 200g (Planet Organic)
Score: 9/10




11. Colin the Caterpillar

Now you know how I love jellies, but they aren't abundant for veggies, well there's a new one in town. It's in the Colin the Caterpillar range. Cherry flavours and a lot firmer than the butterfly jellies. I still like the veggie Percy's the best, but it's nice to have another option. The range also comes in chocolate, which is fun for little ones, but I'm not so bothered about that.

Price: not sure
Score: 8/10








Cornishware kindly sent me a little surprise ahead of Christmas. A personalised mug in a gorgeous pale blue. I do love a bit of cornishware with those classic stripes. What a kind gift.

Price: £10
Score 9/10









13. Salted Caramel Haagen Dazs

Number thirteen but not unlucky. This stuff is heavenly and I thought they could never beat Strawberry Cheesecake. "Salted caramel and crunchy caramel pieces swirl elegantly through delicious caramel ice cream". Oh yes! I've actually made this last two weeks. Just dive in for a few spoonfuls, then back in the freezer. Sheer bliss!

Price £2.25 instead of £4 at Tesco
Score 10/10




Have you any new discoveries in your kitchen?


Disclosure: I was sent some of this selection to try, the rest I bought myself. I only give my own opinion on products and I hope to inspire you.
16

Stir up Sunday Recipes

stir up sunday 

Stir up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent and the traditional time to bake Christmas puddings, although it's also the time to bake Christmas cakes.

Urban Fruit and Great British Chefs challenged me to make a twist on a traditional Christmas cake. I decided what was needed was a rich spicy Christmas cake without the fuss.

My cake is based on one my mum has baked for us since I was little. I changed the recipe up with a darker sugar for a more caramelised flavour, more mixed spice and I used Urban Fruit. Cheeky Cherry, Blueberry and Blackcurrant and Smashing Strawberry instead of the raisins and sultanas my mum uses.  

So how is it faff free?

It's all made in a pot.

The butter is melted with the sugar, fruit and spices, then the flour and eggs are added, before it's poured into a loaf tin. Simple.

The cake sliced beautifully and was moist, spicy and delicious, especially spread with butter. I know, I know, bur I said it was simple, not low calorie.



And now a few more Stir up Sunday recipes:



To celebrate Stir Up Sunday, there's a twitter party this Sunday 23rd November between 2pm – 4pm where you can pose any question you like to @UrbanFruit on Twitter using the hashtag #StirUpSunday.  Throw in a question or two or just follow the chat. 

Get stirring!

In the mood for more than Christmas cake? Why not spend some time this week making some homemade advent calendars. You can find some inspiration here.



Disclosure: I write for Great British Chef and was asked to promote Stir up Sunday. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
17

Melon, Spinach and Avocado Smoothie

melon and spinach smoothie 

I'm back on my smoothies.

Did I tell you I stopped making them for just over a week and came down with a chest infection? I was struggling with the dark winter days. I was so tired and mornings were a bit of a struggle so the smoothies were given the push. It was all I could do to get us out the door in the morning.

Big mistake!

I felt even worse for not having them and then the chest infection took root.

Well I'm still hating these dark dreich days, but now I'm back on my smoothies and definitely feeling better for it.

green smoothies

This one is a new combination for me. Honeydew melon, frozen spinach and avocado are the main ingredients. I had a wee taste of the avocado when I was making it. Well you have to don't you? It was difficult not to jut scoff the lot. I really do love avocado.

The smoothie itself is smooth and mellow. The flavour is fresh and creamy but there's no kick to it. You don't taste the spinach, but the melon and avocado do come through. A real pleasure to drink.


print recipe
Melon, Spinach and Avocado Smoothie
Melon, Spinach and Avocado Smoothie
A mellow and creamy cream smoothie with a hint of sweetness.
Ingredients
  • ½ honeydew melon
  • 1 cube frozen spinach
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 heaped tsp hemp protein powder
  • 200 ml apple juice
  • 200 ml water
Instructions
1. Remove the flesh from the melon and avocado and add to a blender jug. 2. Add the frozen spinach, hemp powder, apple juice and water. 3. Whizz until smooth, 4. If you don't have a powerful blender like my Optimum 9400 defrost the spinach first as it could burn out the motor in your blender. 5. Pour, sit back and enjoy!
Details
Total time: Yield: 4 - 6 glasses



8

Vanilla Cupcakes with Clotted Cream and Raspberry Jam


I'm not keen on cupcakes as a rule. A plain little cake topped with frosting, I admit they look pretty, but I find them a bit boring. A filled cupcake? Oh yes, I'm there!

I made some vanilla cupcakes to show off some of my purchases from the new Tesco  Autumn/Winter homeware range. Isn't it pretty? Far too nice to resist.


  1. Round Wood Stripe Tray - £15  
  2. Double Dipped Navy & Light Blue Side Plate - £4 
  3. 4 Denim Napkins - £4
  4. Creative Tops Jam Jar Glass - £3 
My vanilla cupcakes are a basic recipe I use that's very like a Victoria sponge batter. The same quantities of butter, sugar and flour. Very easy to remember. The other great thing about this recipe is it only makes nine cupcakes, which I think is more than enough to share.



I scooped out some of the cupcake once they were completely cool and filled them with Tesco Finest Cornish Clotted Cream and Finest Raspberry Conserve. I popped the cupcake lid back on and topped them with pipped whipped vanilla cream and finished them with a single Scottish raspberry.

Boy they were fine.

The cupcakes are back in town!



print recipe
Vanilla Cupcakes with Clotted Cream and Raspberry Jam
Vanilla Cupcakes with Clotted Cream and Raspberry Jam
Classic vanilla cupcakes filled with clotted cream and raspberry jam, then topped with piped vanilla cream and a raspberry. Sheer indulgence.
Ingredients
  • 125g soft, butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 9 tsp clotted cream
  • 9 tsp raspberry jam
  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or some vanilla bean seeds
Instructions
1. Fill 9 holes of a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases. 2. Blend the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. (I used an electric hand whisk) 3. Add the vanilla, milk, eggs and flour and mix until combined. Do not over mix as this will result in a heavy cupcake. 4. Spoon cake batter into each cupcake case until about two thirds full. 5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. 6. Leave to cook on a rack. 7. Once they are totally cool, scoop out some of each cake and fill each one with a tsp of clotted cream and jam, then add a lid back on. 8. Whip the cream with vanilla and pipe onto each cupcake. 9. Top each cupcake with a raspberry.10. Enjoy.
Details
Total time: Yield: 9 filled cupcakes



Here are a few more cupcakes for you to enjoy:


Chocolate Cupcakes - Fab Food 4 All, Roasted Beetroot and Raw Cacoa Nib Cupcakes - Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary, Banana Cupcake with Peanut Butter Frosting - Taming Twins, Beetroot and Bitter Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramelised Hazelnuts - Franglais Kitchen, Lemon and Poppy Seed Cupcakes - Maison Cupcake & Toffee Apple Cupcakes - Feeding Boys and a Firefighter.

More?


Disclosure: I developed this recipe for Tesco. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
28

Beetroot, Rocket (Arugula) and Feta Fritters


Beetroot

I love the stuff. You may have noticed that before. I like it plain or pickled in salads, on a sandwich, in wraps, topping a burger and just out of the jar with a fork.

So when Haywards got in touch and asked me to create a recipe card for them, I was delighted to.

I immediately had that eureka moment and decided a beetroot burger or fritter would be amazing. In the end I decided to make fritters and I teamed the beetroot with rocket and feta which work really well with it's earthy flavour.

These are really easy to make and would be great on a burger bun with salad, on a wrap, or served as a starter with dip.

I made my fritters quite rustic, but you could make a finer fritter, by chopping finer. It's very much a personal choice. I do hope you try them and let me know what you think.


print recipe
Beetroot, Rocket and Feta Fritters
Beetroot, Rocket and Feta Fritters
Quick rustic fritters that all the family will love. Serve on a bun with salad, on a wrap or as a starter with dip.

Ingredients
  • 300g pickled baby beets, coarsely grated
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 1 generous handful of rocket, chopped
  • 100g feta, cubed or crumbled
  • 2 large lightly beaten
  • 5 tbsp plain flour
  • a goo grinding of salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 200ml sunflower or canola oil
Instructions
1. Wrap the grated beetroot in Kitchen paper, then squeeze out the excess liquid and transfer to a bowl. . 
2. Add the diced onion, the rocket, feta & egg to the bowl and mix well to combine.  
3.Season with salt and pepper, then mix in the flour.
4. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Once hot, drop one heaped tablespoon of the mixture at a time into the oil and cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot or cold.
5. Enjoy!

Details
Total time:

Yield: makes 12 fritters


If you love beetroot too, check out my beetroot articles over at Readers Digest:
 
And here are a few more of my favourite beetroot recipes. So get that jar out of the fridge!


Recipes clockwise from main photo:

Disclosure: I was paid to develop a recipe for Haywards. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
22

Pizza: Homemade and Dining Out


We love pizza.

It's one dish that's never turned down in my house. I have to be strict, because left to their own devices Graham and Cooper would sit down to it two or three times a week. I try to restrict it to once a week or once a fortnight. You can have too much of a good thing.


I've tried and tinkered with quite a few recipes for pizza dough and pizza sauce and now I have it down to a fine art, with one favourite sauce, one wholemeal dough and one basic white dough.

Pizza dough is actually very easy to make and a great introduction to bread making. Make extra and pop some in the freezer for quick evening meals. Just pop it in the fridge in the morning before you head to work and it's there waiting for you when you get home. For the sauce I've perfected a recipe I whizz up in my blender in seconds. It's rather delicious!

I also have a great standby recipe for the days I don't have time for dough and have none standing by in the freezer. It's a pizza with a base of puff pastry instead of pizza dough. It's very good as you can imagine, although a bit more calorific.

We also like to eat out and yes, pizza still features. We don't have a great Italian or pizza chain in Dundee, but when we're in nearby Perth or St Andrews we like to visit Pizza Express. Their pizza is always good and it's a great place to take kids.

On this occasion, we visited a rather swish Pizza Express in an old church building in Morningside, Edinburgh after a fun day out at Dynamic Earth.



Once we were settled and Cooper had his hat on and some colouring and stickers to hand, we had a look at the menu. While we were deciding we ordered drinks and some of their new Noci.

Noci are a sweet and slightly spiced mix of almonds, peanuts and cashews toasted in harissa spices, They are rather addictive. Be warned!

I decided to try some new dishes on the menu.

The Dough Balls Formaggi, which are dough balls baked with Gran Moravia cheese, served with garlic butter and the steamed Broccolini which is cooked with garlic butter and chilli flakes, finished with Gran Moravia cheese. They were both excellent. In fact I could have happily sat down to a big plateful of the broccoli as a main course, although it did have a quite a kick.


I knew I would struggle to eat my pizza too, but I couldn't resist so leftovers were earmarked for lunch the next day. I went for the Melanzane Pizza, which had a spicy arrabbiata sauce and was topped with marinated aubergine, baby mozzarella and Gran Moravia cheese. It was thin and tasty and it had a bit of a kick too.


Cooper enjoyed his meal. He can often eat like a bird, but happily plows through all the courses at Pizza Express. A starter of dough balls with salad, a plain Margherita pizza, followed by ice cream and a bambinoccino.

Graham was really pleased to have vegan options for a change. It can be a bore trying to find something he can eat on a menu.

He had dough balls with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, followed by the Pianta Pizza, which was spinach, chestnut mushrooms, pine kernels and artichoke on a spicy arrabbiata base, finished with rocket and extra virgin olive oil. He finished of his meal with some refreshing raspberry sorbet.

After our meal we headed home, stopping on the way so Cooper could visit his Nana and Grandad. A great day out!


To finish this pizza extravaganza I would like to share some pizza recipes from some of my favourite bloggers:


  1. Pear Pizza with Stilton and Walnuts - Greedy Gourmet
  2. Paneer Pizza from Scratch - Fuss Free Flavours
  3. Samphire and Goats Cheese Pizza - The Hedge Combers
  4. Roasted Mushroom Flatbread Pizza with Lemony Garlic Sauce - Food to Glow
  5. Homemade Wholemeal and Lentil Pizzas - Utterly Scrummy Food for Families
  6. Pizza Primavera - Franglais Kitchen


Disclosure: Thanks to Pizza Express for inviting us along to try there new menu. As ever I was not expected to write a positive review and an opinions expressed are my own.
19
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