Tag Archives: stem ginger

Grapefruit & Ginger Cake


The Sunday just gone marked our second attending at Leicester’s excellent Clandestine Cake Club, this time at Deli Flavour in the recently refurbished Silver Arcade. The theme this month was “Memory Lane”, though I must shamefully admit that the caked I baked has no link to memories whatsoever. I just fancied baking a grapefruit cake, so I err…did.

Before I divulge the recipe, I would like to draw attention to the fact that on 3rd May I shall be cycling 100 miles to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research and YoungMinds. Please follow this link if you would like to donate, which would make me and my little legs very happy indeed! In some crazy twist of fate I also believe this is our 100th post. Huzzah!



1 grapefruit
250g sugar
225g stork/butter/spread
3 eggs
300g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger


50g stork/butter/spread
200g cream cheese
300g icing sugar
zest of a lemon
2 stem ginger balls, finely sliced


Boil the grapefruit in a pan for 20 minutes, drain the water, then repeat. (I must admit I don’t entirely understand the change of water but the recipe told me to so I did!). Leave the grapefruit to cool before removing pips and blending to a pulp (the whole thing, including skin).

Preheat the oven to 18ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4Beat the stork and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the pulp. Fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ground ginger. Divide the mix between two well greased/lined 20cm cake tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Leave in the tins for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

To make the icing, beat the butter and half the icing sugar together. Add the cream cheese, remaining icing sugar, zest and sliced stem ginger and beat until smooth. Keep in the fridge until the cake has cooled enough to ice it. Spread half the icing on each sponge, starting in the centre and spreading it outwards in ever increasing circles. For the bottom layer leave a 1-2cm gap around the edge so that when you place the upper layer on top the icing doesn’t splurge out. Place one on top of the other, decorate with a few strips of lemon zest. Share with friends at your local cake club!




How to bake the World’s Best Brownie


Brownies are great. Everybody loves a well baked brownie – you might know someone who doesn’t, but you only remember them because they are one in a million. This recipe is extremely versatile. It’s a rich, moist brownie that you can throw anything into to make it your own. The other great thing about this recipe is it is extremely difficult to get wrong – there is no danger of overmixing anything and it ending up as a chocolatey mess, and I have found that using the basic ranges of ingredients works just as well – just don’t tell anyone!


200g dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter (or baking spread/Stork)
300g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 large eggs
80g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
65g plain flour


Melt the butter and chocolate  in a bowl above a saucepan of boiling water slowly. You can do this in a saucepan directly, but just be sure to do it slowly and keep stirring it regularly – it will be fine. Add the sugar to a bowl (or a large jug) along with the vanilla essence. Pour in the chocolatey buttery mixture and stir well. Add the four eggs and mix thoroughly until smooth. Sieve the flour into the bowl and beat until smooth and silky – you can try very hard – but I have never found it possible to overmix this – just beating it with a wooden spoon until smooth works just fine. Line a brownie tin with baking paper (neatly – this is the most important bit!) and pour in the mixture. Gently bash the tin on the worktop Bake for around 15 minutes at 170° until the outside is cakey and the middle is still a bit squidgy. As a general rule – check your brownie and if it wobbles when you shake it – it needs longer – ideally 5 minutes after the time it stops wobbling. There is a varying degree of squidgyness so if you’re into eating your brownie with a spoon – you probably want to leave it for less time – mine turn out quite sturdy, but moist in the middle. This advice becomes very important when you start adding things like raspberries and cheeseecake topping.

Optional extras:

You might like to try adding chopped nuts, chocolate chips, cherries, fresh raspberries (you can add frozen too – but you’ll need to substantially increase the cooking time) or chopped stem ginger. Add to the mixture at the end.

If dark chocolate is not your thing – this recipe works just as well with milk chocolate – just knock the sugar down to 250g and the butter down to 200g.

Adding a cheesecake topping and swirling it through the mixture adds a wonderfully simple, yummy extra. Mix 150g cream cheese with 60g icing sugar and a tsp vanilla extract. Beat in one egg and dollop on top of the mixture. Swirl through with a skewer or knife. Alternatively pipe it in lines and sweep the skewer through it in alternate directions for a posh pattern.

You could use this mixture to create a base for a normal cheesecake, or a triple layered brownie cheesecake. I would recommend halving the recipe and adding the cheesecake and raspberry cream layers according to the recipe here. You could just as easily add a non-baked cheesecake mixture to the top of a thinner brownie base and chill to set. Any other ideas for how to use this ultimate brownie recipe would be greatly appreciated – post ideas below!

For more of our brownie ideas and thoughts, see Our Quest for the World’s Best Brownie.

Sticky Chilli, Ginger, Citrus Salmon


Oh look, I cooked fish again and oh look I cooked it with fennel. This is mainly a Hairy Dieter’s recipe, with some tweaking.

Serves 5


5 125-150g salmon fillets, skin on
1 fennel bulb
3 spring onions, sliced lengthways


2 stem ginger balls, finely chopped
2 tbsp stem ginger syrup
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
zest and juice of 1 orange
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
salt and pepper

*I didn’t actually have a chilli so substituted 1 tsp chilli powder


Make up the marinade, ideally in a large rectangular flat dish à la this one. A bowl will work fine (in fact, I used a bowl and am recommending a flat dish in hindsight). Lay the salmon fillets in the dish with the skin side pointing vertically, season with plenty of black pepper (and chilli powder if you like) and leave for a few minutes. Turn skin side down, peppper, leave, turn to the third side, pepper, leave and finally turn once more to skin side up. Cover and put in the fridge for at least half an hour. I made mine up in the morning and left it around 8 hours (!)

When you’re ready to eat, preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7 tear off a piece of foil large enough to bake the salmon in. Lay out on a large oven tray, I recommend using a deep one in case of leakage. Remove the tough outer fennel leaves and cut off the manky bits (for want of a better word). Halve from top to bottom, lay flat side down then cut into thin (2mm) wedges from outside edge to centre. Put out on the foil with the spring onions then carefully place the salmon fillets on top, skin side down. Not going to lie, hands really are the best way of doing this. Drizzle over about half of the marinade, pull up the sides of the foil and scrunch together to form a seal.

Put in the oven for 15 minutes, bring out and check. My oven is a bit of a cold-burner and mine took a fair while longer. Meanwhile reduce the rest of the marinade on the hob until viscous and sticky. When the salmon is ready, plate up with the fennel, some steamed veg and drizzle over the reduced marinade.


sticky salmon

Pear & Stem Ginger Ice-Cream


J got it into his head that he wanted some pear ice-cream and while we were performing our standard “what’s-in-the-reduced-section-of-the-supermarket?” bargain hunt we came across not one but two bags of pears! So W got onto finding a recipe, which we have pretty much followed, but with the addition of 60g chopped dark chocolate to round off the recipe. For the original recipe, see here.


6 small pears, chopped
4 pieces stem ginger, chopped
3 tbsp stem ginger syrup
60 ml white wine
284 ml double cream
150 g sugar
3 egg yolks
splash of vanilla essence
60 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped


Add your chopped pear, half the chopped stem ginger and stem ginger syrup to the white wine over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until you form a purée. (We cheated and used a hand-zhuzher after a while). Take off the heat and place somewhere to cool (the cooler the mixture going into the ice-cream maker, the better).

Separate your egg yolks and whisk together with the sugar in a jug/small bowl until completely mixed. Gently heat the cream in a separate saucepan and when warmed through take off the heat and add the yolk/sugar mix, stirring constantly until again fully mixed. Put back on a low heat, stirring as the mix thickens into a lovely yellow-y rich creamy custard (approx. 5-10 minutes).

Take off the heat, combine with the pear purée, remaining stem ginger chunks and vanilla essence. Put the mixture into your ice-cream maker for 20-30 minutes (OR put in the freezer, churning by hand every 20 minutes or so to prevent ice crystal formation to ensure a smoooooth ice-cream). Once done in the ice-cream maker, stir in the chopped chocolate and transfer to an appropriate receptacle and stick in the freezer. Lick the bowl. Nom.


We found that before it went in the ice-cream maker the pear taste was quite subtle (hence the addition of the chocolate). However freezing ap-pear-ed to bring out the pear flavour nicely so don’t worry too much if, on first pre-frozen tasting, it’s not too pear-y. J really wanted to add more ginger (in the form of root ginger) but was shot down by W. (*whinge*). Still, it’s a dang tasty ice-cream, really nice and fluffy and infinitely more-ish.

For reasons unbeknownst to us, our mixture practically doubled in size in the ice-cream churner so just bear that in mind if your mixture almost fills your machine – keep an eye out for overflow! You wouldn’t want to lose any of this beauty!


Stem Ginger Shortbread


One for you two for me. I made this recipe as a birthday offering for my Dad. Having probably still got some remains of the cake I baked 2 weeks ago, plus a cake from Tesco that he bought for my mum’s birthday, I decided to bake him something a bit different.

And I was hungry.

So I baked a batch of stem ginger shortbread for him. And two for me.


100g butter
50g caster sugar + a small bit for sprinkling on top
130g plain flour
20g cornflour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch salt
20g (approx. one ball) stem ginger


Preheat oven to 160*C. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until pale and creamy. Weigh out the plain flour and corn flour in a separate bowl, add the ground ginger and salt. Finely chop the stem ginger into little pieces and add to the flour. Coat the ginger pieces in the flour before adding the whole lot to the butter-cream. Mix with your hands to combine the ingredients, trying not to handle it too much as shortbread does not like being warm. Form a solid dough before rolling out into a 5 cm diameter roll. Chill for at least 30 mins.

Now you have two options:

1. Do as I did and slice the roll into 0.5 cm slices with the sharpest knife you have. This can lead to smushed circles, but with a little reshaping will be relatively less handled and therefore happier shortbread.

2. Insist on circular perfection by rolling out the dough and cutting 5 cm discs with a cutter. Note the more you rework the leftovers from each batch, the more you will sacrifice on texture of your shortbread.

Up to you. Either way, plonk your biscuits on a greased baking sheet and pop in the oven for around 15-20 minutes. Take them out at the first hint of browning. Sprinkle over a little sugar and leave to cool on the baking tray to firm up a little. After at least 5 minutes, you can transfer to a cooling rack.

Unlike most baked goodies, I am not a huge fan of these warm (?!?!). I know this because I am greedy and tried one straight from the oven. I advise you to wait until they are cool. Serve with tea and friends.


Ginger & Lemon Ice-Cream/Fro-Yo Mashup


It’s got cream in it. It’s got yoghurt in it. It’s icy AND frozen (well…I suppose those are one and the same). So which is it – a bona fide Ice-Cream, an authentic Frozen Yoghurt…or some crazy hybrid combo? Who knows but more importantly who cares? Words go out the window when treats this quick taste this good. Not too unhealthy either. Boom.

Makes ½ litre


200ml single/double cream
200ml natural yoghurt
6 pieces of stem ginger, chopped
3 tbsp stem ginger syrup from the jar
pinch of salt
zest of 1 large lemon


Whisk up the cream until it thickens – I used an electric whisk to save my paltry arms. Add the yoghurt, salt and syrup and continue to whisk. It doesn’t need to get too thick – I thought my mixture would be way too runny but half an hour in the magic ice-cream machine really thickened it up nicely. Chop your ginger into 0.5cm cubes and fold in with the grated zest of 1 lemon. Or go mental and add the zest of 2 lemons. Throw in the ice-cream maker and follow the instructions for your particular machine.

Mine came out almost ready to eat so this is a great one to make if you need to rustle up a frozen dessert pronto. Again I have failed to take a picture*, but hey ho. One of these days we’re going to go back to cooking real food but for now we’re surviving on ice-cream and ice-cream alone.



garnished with coriander. lovely jubbly.

Afternoon Tea: The Finished Article


So, after 2 hours of chopping, stirring, boiling and baking we (re)created possibly the best cream tea we have ever had. Boom. Make sure to check out the recipes below the picture!


We had our savoury scones with some extra mature cheddar (anything less is a crime) and could have done with some clotted cream with our sweet scone, alas…we were too lazy to go to the shop…!

Based on the menu of Cordial and Grace tea-shop in Bristol.


Cheddar & Mustard Scone
Tomato & Red Onion Chutney

Stem Ginger Scone
Rhubarb & Ginger Jam