Truffle Torte

On Friday I bought the May edition of the BBC Good Food Magazine and drooled over the photograph of James Martin's Truffle Torte. So I decided to give it a go. It's heavenly, but only have a small slice!

Truffle Torte


25g/1oz butter, plus some for greasing,
100g/4oz amaretti biscuits,
400g/1lb dark chocolate (70-75% cocoa solids),
4 tbsp liquid glucose,
4 tbsp rum,
1 x 568ml tub double cream, at room temperature,
cocoa powder, to serve.

  1. Line a 23 cm cake tin with baking parchment, then grease the base and sides with soft butter. Melt the butter in a small pan. Crush the biscuits, mix together with the butter, then spread over the base of the tin.
  2. Break the chocolate into squares and put them in into a heatproof bowl, with the liquid glucose and rum. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water, then leave it until the chocolate has melted and become slightly smooth. Stir , then take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  3. In a seperate bowl, beat the double cream until only slightly thickened. Fold half into the chocolate mixture, then fold that mixture into the rest of the cream. When blended and smooth, spoon it into the prepared tin. Tap the tin gently to even the mixture out, then cover with clingfilm and chill overnight.
  4. Just before serving, run a warm knife round the edge to loosen the torte, then remove from the mould. To serve, dust the surface with sifted cocoa powder.

    Serves 10
I adapted this recipe when I made the torte yesterday. I replaced the rum with orange juice (my partner Graham hates alcohol in desserts) and the amaretti biscuits (which I am not fond of) with digestive biscuits.

Next time I make the torte I will put double the biscuits and treble the butter quantity, to give it a cheesecake style base, as the base was very crumbly.

I will also impose some portion control over Graham, who has no sense of when he has had enough. The torte was so delicious that he kept helping himself to more and is now suffering for his greed!

I would recommend serving the torte with creme fraiche and raspberries.

The Great Big Vegetable Challenge

Another great site to visit. Charlotte is a mum trying to turn her vegetable hating son Freddie into a bit of a connoisseur! They are working their way through an alphabet of vegetables and is seems to be going really well so far!

My company for the afternoon.

May I introduce to you my furry friend Elmo, who kept up a percussion of pigeon-like purring all day.

Veggie Shepherd's Pie


It was a glorious afternoon here in Scotland. So I made the most of the sun by settling down in the garden with my book and a cat for company, it was great!

I came in at around 6 o'clock and started pondering on what to make for dinner. After a quick browse through the fridge and freezer, I decided to make a veggie shepherd's pie.

What is Shepherds Pie?

Shepherds pie and the very similar cottage pie are traditional Scottish dishes. Cottage pie was made from beef and shepherd's pie from mutton or lamb. Both were peasant dishes using scraps of meat or lamb, teamed with onions and carrots (staple Scottish crops) in a rich gravy, topped with mashed potato. I say topped with mashed potato, but before potatoes arrived on the bonnie banks of Scotland, these pies were topped with pastry

Veggie Shepherd's Pie


1 onion, chopped, 
1 clove garlic, finely chopped, 
1 carrot, chopped, 
500g mushrooms, finely chopped, 
500g soya mince, 
1 pint vegetable stock, 
2 tbsp vegetarian worcestershire sauce, 
1 tbsp tomato puree, 
1 tbsp olive oil, 
salt and pepper.


  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the carrots and cook until tender.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook for another few minutes. Add the soya mince, give it a good mix in and then add the vegetable stock. 
  3. Cook down for 20 minutes and then add the worcestershire sauce and tomato puree. 
  4. Cook for a further 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt as the stock can be quite salty. 
  5. Spoon into an ovenproof dish and top with mashed potato. Brown under the grill.

Serves 3-4

How much does a veggie shepherds pie cost to make?

Veggie shepherd's pie is a really frugal comfort dish. I priced this shepherd's pie using supermarket ingredients. It costs £1.03 per person when serving 4 people.

1 tbsp olive oil = 5p
1 onion = 10p
1 large carrot = 10p
500g mushrooms = £1.25
500g frozen vegetarian mince = £1.75
2 tbsp veggie Worcestershire Sauce = 24p
1 tbsp tomato puree = 3p
900g potatoes = 60p

Total = £4.12 
( 4 servings x £1. 03)

Cooking with Monkey

Found a great site! It's called Cooking with Monkey. I had a good laugh looking through the pages, it's definitely cult stuff! You have to have a look, it will brighten up your afternoon, especially if you like the PG Tips ad with Johnny Vegas and Monkey (another monkey who should have his own tv show!).

Balsamic Tomato and Feta Tart

So, on with the blog!

I am starting with an old favourite of mine, a puff pastry tart. I added feta to the basic tomato tart because I had a block sitting in my fridge.

Absolutely delicious!

Balsamic Tomato and Feta Tart


1 packet of pre-rolled, ready-made puff pastry
1 tub cherry tomatoes
100g feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp pesto
1 handful fresh basil, torn
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
milk for brushing


  1. Preheat the oven to 190c/375f/Gas 5.
  2. Fry the cherry tomatoes in a hot pan (no oil) until the skin begins to crack, then pour in the balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute more. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Roll out a sheet of pastry on a pre-heated oven tray. Score a line all the way around the pastry a couple of centimetres in from the edge, to make a border. This will allow the edge of the pastry to puff up.
  4. Spread the pesto on the pastry, being careful not to go over your scored line. Next, scatter the tomatoes and feta and basil across the pastry. 
  5. Brush around the edge with milk. Finally, drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the pastry is golden and puffy.
  7. Serve with a dressed salad and baby potatoes.

Serves 4
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