A Plum Crumble Of Sorts

It is always a mistake to send the Husband to the supermarket without an itemised list. As he disappeared though the front door l shouted the word ‘FRUIT’ at him whilst trying to stop the Boy eating cat food. On his return l scoured the bags for the usual weekly selection of apples, kiwis, bananas and possibly a mango, only to discover a net full of ‘honey oranges’ and a head-sized bunch of what could only be described as oval persimmons. The sticky label on this mystery fruit said, quite simply, ‘Plum’.

An oval persimmon type of fruit.

An oval persimmon type of fruit.

Never one for turning down a new taste experience, as well as being subject to a ravenous pregnancy based hunger that yesterday saw me mainlining BK fries as if l had not eaten in weeks, l popped one in my mouth. The skin was persimmon thick and tart, but the soft flesh was sweet and juicy. I ate several more, pondering what to do with the copious amount of fruit that now sat on our kitchen table. Only one thing sprung to mind – a crumble.

Crumbles are my favourite dessert. There is something about buttery sweet clods melting into a slight tart stewed fruit, perhaps with some custard, that makes me feel warm on the inside. Not entirely befitting for tropical heat, but hey, thats why air-con was invented, right?

So this morning saw me rubbing flour and butter together – l use more butter as l like a bit of a melty stodgy crumble – and mixing in some brown sugar to create a caramel scented crumble mix. At the same time l simmered the ‘plums’ with a little sugar, water and allspice. The skins separated from the flesh, so before assembling the dessert for the oven l blitzed the fruit with a blender. Once in their baking dishes, they baked in the oven for 10 minutes until the tops were golden. Or a little sunburnt in a couple of cases.

They were tasty. Damn tasty. Tart and sweet, a tropical version of a traditional plum crumble. Something l would make again if l (a) could identify the fruit and/or (b) knew how to ask for it in Thai. I am not sure that ‘it looks like a persimmon and tastes a bit like a plum’ will cut it somehow. Anyway, if you can’t get hold of these so-called ‘plums’ any fruit will do. Oh, but not banana, l tried that once. Disaster.





Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

It was one of those moments that my Mum now dreads. The ones where I make seemingly random decisions that often end in near disaster*. Four years ago, heartbroken, ridiculously stressed and slightly delirious with exhaustion,  I booked a flight. To Stockholm. In December. On Friday. It was Wednesday. It started with a snow storm in the UK. My flight was delayed. I arrived after midnight, stepped out of the bus and almost drowned in snow (no exaggeration). Sweden has an abundance of snow. In fact, I spent the whole time marvelling at this white, twinkly wonderland that people were living in. Well, most of my time. The rest was spent wearing every item of clothing I had brought and fending off frostbite. Note to self: thin leather jackets and Converse are not appropriate winter wear north of the UK.


Snow, snow, and more snow.

Back Camera

Appropriate winter wear.

Luckily, there were also plenty of cafes to warm my frozen fingers in, which is where I developed an everlasting love for cinnamon buns. Sticky, sweet, warming and spicy, and perfect with a glass of gluwein. This is the food that mends sad hearts.

*This trip ended with a cancelled flight, no flights out for the foreseeable future, many hours in queues, and the possibility of Christmas spent alone in a hostel in Stockholm. My Mum came to the rescue again and I made it home for the holidays.

Cinnamon Buns


Soft, sweet and spicy. Note the glass of milk instead of gluhwein (it’s not December yet!).


For the dough:
225ml milk
75g butter
300g plain flour
125g wholewheat flour
70g brown sugar
1tsp cardamom
½ tsp salt
10g dried yeast
1 egg, beaten

For the filling:
75g butter
50g brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt

To finish:
1 egg, beaten
brown sugar

Mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, cardamom, and yeast in a large bowl.IMG_5787
Make a well in the centre and mix in beaten egg, and milk that has been scalded with butter and then cooled. Mix it to a dough, cover with clingfilm and leave it in a warm place for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, beat together butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt.IMG_5789
When dough has risen, roll out to the size of a laptop and spread filling over it. Roll up and cut into 7 slices, one smaller than the rest. Arrange in a greased baking tin.

Cover, and put in a warm place for 30 minutes. When doubled in size brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 200 Celcius for 20-25 minutes.

Leave to cool and then tear apart and eat. IMG_5808

Delicious, even if your heart is not broken. IMG_5814

Passionfruit & Lime Drizzle Cake

A month ago some friends of ours gave birth to twin boys. Whilst initially we (I) furnished the babies with some very cute outfits, myself and The Husband have been pondering what to give them as a new mother and father. After a long ranging discussion which included both home-made sock monkeys (my suggestion) and electric guitar thingamebobs (definitely not my suggestion), we decided that when The Boy was born all we wanted was a little more time. Time to shower, time to talk, time to nap, time to watch television, time to just BE. So, we gave them time. In the shape of a lasagne and a sponge flavoured with passionfruit and lime. The cake was so yummy l made another one, which we have devoured. Incongruously, with Japanese craft beer.

Passionfruit & Lime Drizzle Cake


Cake ingredients

85g unsalted butter

245g soft brown sugar

grated zest of 2 limes

pulp of 2 passionfruit

165ml milk

235g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

3 egg whites

Syrup ingredients

Freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes

50g soft brown sugar

Glaze ingredients

Freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes

250g icing sugar


1) Beat butter, sugar and lime zest together until well incorporated.IMG_5633

2) Mix milk and passionfruit pulp and add to the butter mixture, a little at a time.


3) Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the wet mixture a third at a time.

4) Beat egg whites until you have stiff peaks, then gently fold into the cake mixture.


5) Put in a cake tin and bake for 30 mins at 170 Celcius.

6) Put all syrup ingredients in a small saucepan with 100ml of water and boil until reduced by half


7) When the cake is cooked, cover with the syrup and leave to cool.

8) Mix lime juice and icing sugar to make the glaze. Drizzle over the cooled cake.


Passionfruit: my new addiction.

Autumn Apple & Maple Cake

Autumn is one of my favourite times of year. Crisp air, russet leaves, log fires and darkening evenings; the smoky smell of Bonfire Night when you are wrapped up tightly against the biting wind. Here in Bangkok, despite every clothes shop being full of scarves, gloves, winter coats, and some rather fetching earmuffs with nary a vest top in sight, it remains hot and steamy.  Its inhabitants dress for an imagined winter, huddling in their houses with the air con on full. So l am cooking for an imaginary Autumn, inspired by all the blogs out there that are full to the brim of pumpkins, apples, and chestnuts. Recently The Boy has been tucking merrily into imported apples, often blended with roasted squash and this week there were a couple left over. So, inspired by a recipe by Amber Rose in Love, Bake, Nourish, l made this unusual but nonetheless delicious Apple & Maple Cake. I ate this wearing a summer dress, but in my head l was kicking winter boots through piles of leaves.

Autumn Apple & Maple Cake

Cake Ingredients:

250g apples (two medium apples)

2 eggs, seperated

125ml olive oil

225g plain flour, sifted

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g maple syrup

pinch of salt

Topping Ingredients:

200g cream cheese

100g maple syrup

1 lemon

1 lime


1.) Wash and peel apples (I left the peel on for texture)

Apple Cake-1

2.) Grate apple and squeeze all the moisture out through a sieve.Apple Cake-2

3.) Beat egg yolks and oil together until creamy. Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, maple syrup and grated apple. Mix thoroughly.Apple Cake-3

4.) In a very clean bowl, beat egg whites and salt until you have stiff peaks.Apple Cake-4

5.) Gently fold the egg whites into the cake mixture, then pour into a cake tin and bake for 30 – 40 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius.Apple Cake-5

6.) Beat together the cream cheese and maple syrup, adding the zest of the lemon and a squeeze of juice.

Apple Cake-6

7.) Smooth on top of the cooled cake and decorate with some lime zest.Apple Cake-7

“In Heaven, it is always Autumn.”
John Donne

Happy H*OWL* oween

I love Halloween. My Facebook photos over the years stand as testament to this : a Mummy in heels, a Luche Libre in spandex , a Scooby Doo character in a red wig. You name it, l have worn it. This year, however, The Boy is too young to celebrate with me and The Husband will be enjoying some man-time in a pub. So l  have swapped lycra for an apron and baked these owl-ish cupcakes instead. Happy H*OWL*oween!

The Owl and the Witch's Pussycat

The Owl and the Witch’s Pussycat

-This is an adapted version of the Red Velvet cupcake recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery, and inspired by ideas from Pinterest. I made double the quantities for 24 cupcakes-

H*owl*oween Cupcakes


60g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
20g cocoa powder
20ml orange and green colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
120ml milk
150g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp white vinegar

For the decoration:

20g cocoa powder
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter
40ml black food colouring
20 ml of milk
1 packs of Oreos
1 packs of M&Ms


1.) Put the butter and the sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg and cocoa powder until well mixed.IMG_5415

.2.) Add half the milk and beat until well mixed.IMG_5419

3.) Add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the milk and flour have been added and you have a smooth, even mixture.IMG_5424

4.) Mix together bicarbonate of soda, vanilla extract and vinegar (it fizzes!) and beat thoroughly into the mixture.


5.) Divide the mixture in half and colour one half in orange and the other in green. Not particularly appetising, but very spooky. Fill a cupcake tin, mixing the two colours. Bake for 20 minutes at 170 Celsius.IMG_5442

6.) While the cakes cool, beat icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter together.IMG_5443

7.) Add milk and beat until the mixture is smooth.IMG_5450

8.) Add the  black food colouring and smooth on top of the cooled cupcakes.IMG_5461

9.) Open the pack of Oreos (trying not to eat them!)


10.) Split the Oreos in half and spread out your M&Ms so you can see the colours (trying not to let anyone else eat them!).IMG_5469

11.) Cut the Oreos in half for the eyes and use the M&Ms for the pupils and the beak. The ears are created by breaking an Oreo into quarters.


 I shall be eating these whilst watching a (not too) scary film by myself this evening. Spooky!

Fresh Strawberry Scones

Having bought a small pot of strawberries for The Boy to sample (his face was one of utter disgust when he put them in his mouth this morning), l fancied making a fruity treat for our Saturday breakfast. I found a lovely little recipe for Strawberry Scones in a book entitled “Bread” by Anne Sheasby. She suggests adding cinnamon, which is inspired. These were so tasty with a smattering of cream cheese and a mug of Yorkshire tea this morning. Even whilst being covered in half masticated strawberry by my beloved offspring.


225g self raising flour

25g caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

a pinch of salt

100g fresh strawberries, chopped

55g butter

125ml milk (plus extra for glazing)


1) Add flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and mix lightly.


2.) Dice butter and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.


3.) Stir in sugar and chopped strawberries.


4.) Add enough milk to mix a soft dough, and turn it out onto a floured surface.IMG_5400

5.) Pat out the dough until it is about 2cm thick, and cut out 12 rounds (l used a glass!).

Brush the tops of the scones with milk.

IMG_54026.) Bake at 220 degrees C for about 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown on top.