Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Quickie – Vegetarian Antipasti Puff Pastry Tart

Not that kind of quickie. FILTH.

If you’ve a vegetarian visiting, or even if not and you just want a tasty and bloody-well-effortless supper, then this is a super-reliable approach. If you use vegan pastry and cheese you could even make it vegan.

Wait. Is vegan pastry a thing? I have no idea.


Ready rolled puff pastry sheet

Egg, beaten


A selection of pre-packaged or jarred antipasti. Whatever you like. I tend to go for tomatoes, black olives, artichokes and whatever is on special.

Pre-heat your oven to 200c fan.

Lightly score the pastry – which you set onto a lined baking tray – all around, about 2cm or so in from the edge. Egg wash it. If you like you can lightly paint the inside area with red or green pesto, tho’ I didn’t tonight.

Then chop up the antipasti bits into appropriate sizes and chuck on the pastry, inside the scored line. Cracked black pepper over the top.

Into the oven with it for about 20-25 mins or until the pastry puffs – clue is in the name – and gets beautifully golden brown underneath as well as on top. Like me on holiday.

Eat. Like, all of it.

You’re welcome.

Diana Henry’s Bitter Flourless Chocolate Cake w/- Coffee Cream

Do you know about Diana Henry? If not, get edumacated. She’s the absolute shit (‘the’ prefacing shit transforming it into a High Compliment) and her book, ‘Simple’, ought to be renamed ‘Just Cook Something, Anything, From This Book And It’ll All Be Ok’.

We’ve a fairly constant rotation of lunch guests throughout December and the impending January here at BakAv Towers. If I thought I could get away with it I’d just make the previously posted pavlova for every pudding but even the Boyfriend might get slightly boggle-eyed at yet again being presented with something involving kiwi fruit.

I am thus forced to seek alternatives and this, my friends, is an excellent one. It’s kind of brownie-ish but also totally isn’t. It can be made the day before and, as with most things dusted in icing sugar (bar me), looks pretty enough to blag its way through any post-main course lethargy.


For the cake:

160g unsalted butter, and a bit more for the tin

320g good quality dark choc, at least 70% cocoa please

145g caster sugar (I used golden, it makes literally no difference if you do or don’t)

5 large eggs, separated

40g ground almonds

Later on, just prior to serving, you’ll want:

300ml double cream

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder, dissolved in about the same of boiling water (I used hot from the tap, don’t own a kettle, hate drinking tea, etc etc)

2 tablespoons each of whiskey and icing sugar (DH recs up to 3 of icing sugar but I don’t think it needs that much)

Pre-heat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4, and butter a 20cm round tin, springform ideally unless juggling cake is a particular skill of yours and you are 100% confident in your tin-buttering skillz.

Over a little saucepan of gently simmering water, place a bowl (not touching the water) and chuck the broken up chocolate, the chopped up butter and the caster sugar in. Stir as required, until melted. Let it cool for a bit, off the heat, once done, 4-5 mins. Then stir in the egg yolks, one at a time. I used a fork for this bit.

Yum. Would already eat as-is.

Now you need to beat your egg whites (electric beaters, please) till they form what Lady Diana describes as medium peaks – stiff but with drooping peaks. She may as well be describing my post-child tits during this Winter weather, but she isn’t so let us move swiftly on. Look:

Cute little eggwhite Clanger.

Using a big metal spoon – wooden ones destroy all the lovely air you’ve managed to get into the whites – fold the ground almonds into the cooled chocolate mix, then about half the whites. It’ll look like the below:

Then gently combine the remaining whites into the mix and pour the done batter into the tin.

Into the oven for 35 mins. Do you know, writing this now, I have an AWFUL feeling I may have cooked mine for 55 mins. Fully average of me. The takeaway is that if I did, it was STILL bloody delicious so either way you can’t go wrong. Take it out of the oven and let cool completely in the tin.

The above pic is said cake immediately post-oven. It sinks and satisfyingly cracks as it cools. Also smells bloody amazing.

Right – once you’re ready to serve, whip the cream a bit till it starts to consider holding its shape, add the coffee, booze and icing sugar, whip briefly till combined. Cream is almost always infinitely better if you whip it just prior to consumption. Just like m….no. No.

Slice up the cake and dollop very generous blobs of cream on or next to it. I was half pissed by the time we ate this so no good pics to share other than the icing sugar’d glory as demonstrated below.

Eat. Enjoy. Also, leftovers. Also, I’m having cream with booze and coffee in it always from now on.

Nigella’s Pavlova

It pains me to call pavlova ‘pavlova’. Any decent human knows it as ‘pav’.

I had 6 adults and three 4yr olds to feed at lunch today. Obviously the children got shop-bought, over-priced organic icy-poles for pudding. For the adults – some sterling pav.

My mate PP (hi P!) swears by Nigella’s ‘How To Eat’ pav recipe. I’ve tried it three times now. I can subsequently report it’s very reliable as long you, too, are reliable. Ish. I’m relatively reliable but I am also, at the time of writing, about 75% pissed, so I promise no gospel here bar that of my own experience.

Nigella does a few odd things in this recipe. The sugar content is pretty super-high, and she has the oven up high pre-pav entry. She also uses cornflour AND vinegar. OMG NIGELLA WHY SO CONTROVERSIAL?!

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.


4 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons cornflour


250g caster sugar (I always use golden)

600ml double cream

Strawberries, raspberries, kiwi and passion fruit

Separate the eggs, yo. Don’t fuck it up as any yolky ingress will render the whites un-whiskable.

Start to the whisk the whites in a VERY clean bowl. Use an electric mixer of some kind, stand or hand-held, either will do. After a bit begin to add the sugar slowly, as per the video.

Above is a really scientific demonstration of the consistency you’re looking for post-sugar inclusion. Don’t fuck it up.

Add the cornflour, vinegar and about a teaspoon of vanilla and whisk briefly.

It should look like the above when you’re done. It’s a stiff meringue. I never accomplish perfectly smooth raw mix. A bit of sugar graininess is fine, just be sure there’s a glossiness about it. Don’t stress. CHILL OUT FFS IT’S ONLY A PAV.

Dab some meringue onto a baking sheet and place your baking paper on top. This is a Super Fancy Trick to stop the paper moving. Be impressed.

Dollop on the raw meringue in whatever shape you please. I generally prefer some kind of long-ish thing as opposed to circular. Doesn’t matter really though a long log type shape will see you well when it comes to slicing up equal serves. Chuck it in the oven and immediately turn said oven down to 150C. Bake for about 60-65 mins. Then after the allotted time, turn the oven off and leave the meringue in there till it’s 100% cool. Overnight is ace.

See how it’s cracked and fallen in, above? That’s totally fine. Normal. Do not stress. Just let it cool completely before removing from the oven.

Whip 600ml of double cream with a bit of vanilla paste and about a tablespoon of icing sugar, until thick. Splodge on top of the pav. Top with – and this is VERY important – kiwi, raspberry, strawberry and passion fruit. ONLY.


Eat. Eat lots. You should get crispy meringue outside and pillowy marshmallow inside.

It needs eating on the day it’s made, ideally. Follow with a course of confident Stilton and reassuring Port, for total fulfilment.