Tag Archive: Recipe

Feb 10 2015

Recipe: Winter Warmer – Chunky Minestrone Soup

recipe-minestrone-2When it is cold, miserable and generally gloomy outside I kind of retreat into a little ball, well not quite but I do have a need for home comforts, warm blankets and more cups of tea than an average human should consumer to get through the day. Another winter warmer of mine is to cook up a big bowl of chunky minestrone soup from a recipe that I used to make with my mum.

I promise it is easy to cook, healthy and above of tasty – if this doesn’t help keep the winter blues away I don’t know what will!!!

Chunky Minestrone Soup
A delicious chunky winter warmer of a soup that is easy to prepare and cook. Best served with crusty bread, next to a roaring fire and a great book!!!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
  1. 3 large carrots, roughly chopped
  2. 2 large potatoes, roughly chopped
  3. 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  4. 2 tbsp tomato purée
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil
  6. 200ml vegetable stock
  7. 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  8. 2 x 300g can cannelloni beans
  9. 2 large handfuls of macaroni or soup pasta
  10. 2 garlic cloves
  11. sprinkle of mixed herbs
  12. crusty bread, to serve
  1. Heat the oil in a large casserole pan, add the onions, garlic and herbs, and fry off for five minutes until softened
  2. Add carrots and potatoes, stir in the tomato puree, stock and chopped tomatoes. Bring to boil and then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes
  3. Add the cannelloni beans, cook for a further 10 minutes, and then add the pasta and let it bubble nicely for another 10-15 minutes
  4. Season to taste and serve with crusty bread
  1. When cooled section off the rest of the soup for freezing - for a quick and easy fix when you are in need of a winter warmer
Fashionista Barbie http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/


Jun 28 2014

Fashionista Barbie Bakes: My Summer Pavlova


I am a dessert junkie, I have such a sweet tooth that I get so excited about pudding, I am one of those who will skip starters so I have enough room for afters. Winter for me is all about anything dripping in custard, I love hot desserts, so it is always nice when the sun is shining to make a truly summer pudding and I don’t think you can get more summery than Fruit Pavlova, it is sweet and fresh with the added crunchy-yet-gooey vibe of the meringue that makes it perfection, well in my eyes anyway.

I can make a cake, muffins, pies, crumble, tarts, trifle, brownies and generally most other cake-like desserts, but it seems that making a meringue is going to keep alluding me. So if like me you can’t seem to get your meringue crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside opt for a shop-bought meringue, it isn’t really cheating and it really does then make this a quick dessert to make. If however you want to give meringue a go check out this one on the BBC.

The beauty of a pavlova is that you can really include any fruit you like on the top, I went with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries as we had them in the fridge, but I also love blackberries, pomegranate seeds, mango and blackcurrants, I also one summer experimented with plums out the garden. I find that anything goes, just go with fruits that everyone enjoys.

Fruit Pavlova


1 x meringue pavlova

Fruit – strawberries, blueberries and raspberries (enough to cover the pavlova)

300ml double cream

300ml Greek-style yoghurt

A few drops of vanilla essence


Wash and prepare all fruit.

Place the meringue on a pretty plate or stand, once finished it will be more difficult to move.

Whip the double cream along with a few drops of vanilla essence until it just holds its shape, I find it easier to use my K-Mix but you can also do by hand.

Fold in the yoghurt.

Pile the cream mixture on top of the pavlova and place the fruit on top, I went for a layered approach – strawberries then blueberries and finishing off with a pile of raspberries.

To serve – dust with icing sugar.

I always find that it is best to serve alongside an extra bowl of fresh fruit so your guests can add on some more to enjoy with the delicious creamy mixture.

Do you love pavlova? Let me know in the comments below what your favourite summer desserts are.

Jun 16 2014

Food: Gizzi Erskine’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart


For part one of my cooking with Gizzi Erskine I showed off her fabulous Sweetcorn Fritters, which I tried out again this weekend and they were just as easy to make as at the Nescafe Dolce Gusto event, I might have found my speciality!!! Well you can’t have brunch without finishing it off with something sweet, so Gizzi shared her delicious Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, which I have to be honest isn’t an every weekend kind of dessert as it does take a couple of hours to prepare and make.

I enjoy making this dish, it would be easier with a mixer, but it still requires a lot more patience than I generally have, and one major tip I would have is don’t take your eyes off the caramel as this is the bit that can easily go wrong. But what I will take away from this recipe is a new confidence in using pastry, I have always been a little scared of pastry, but I did get some great tips from Gizzi and the use of the ceramic baking beans for the blind bake is something I had never heard of before. 

Are you confident enough to try Gizzi’s salted caramel chocolate tart?


Salted Carmel Chocolate Tart

Ingredients for chocolate tart:
150g unsalted butter
1 x pack of ready to roll short crust pastry (based on 200g pastry used for tart – 25cm)
160g good quality chocolate (lindt or green & blacks 70%)
8 tbsp cocoa powder
small pinch of salt if required
4 eggs
180g caster sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
3 tbsp single cream

Ingredients for the caramel:
150g caster sugar
65g unsalted butter, diced
100ml single cream
1 tbsp sea salt

Grease a tart tin (25cm) with butter and then dust flour inside, place the pastry inside and blind bake in the over on 170°c for 30-35 minutes.

Cook the tart without the blind bake for the last 5 minutes of cooking. When the pastry is cooked and starts to get a little brown take it out and leave to cool. In the meantime, make the caramel by melting the sugar and a splash of water in a saucepan on a medium heat until it is a light golden colour, then whisk in the butter and then the double cream.

Finish with the salt. pour the caramel into the cooked tart and place in the fridge to set for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 140°c.

When the caramel has almost set, start making the chocolate mix by melting the butter, chocolate, cocoa powder and salt in a bain marie (a bowl held above a saucepan of simmering water) stirring until it’s smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and well creamed, followed by the golden syrup and double cream. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well.

Pour the mix into the tart on top of the set caramel and bake in the oven for 40 to 45 min.

Gizzi-brunch-cake-1 Gizzi-brunch-cake-10 Gizzi-brunch-cake-7 Gizzi-brunch-cake-6Gizzi-brunch-cake-5 Gizzi-brunch-cake-4 Gizzi-brunch-cake-9 Gizzi-brunch-cake-3

**Join other Dolce Gusto lovers over on Facebook at The Pod**


Feb 06 2014

Fashionista Barbie Bakes: Simple Blueberry Muffins


Since I started my healthy kick, cutting out sugar, chocolate and generally everything I love, I have found it hard to find anything to bake that doesn’t stray me too much from the new healthy me. But as I find baking a stress reliever and I love cake I just couldn’t stay away so I have been trying to figure out what is the healthiest cake option and I came up with Blueberry muffins – well they can’t be that bad as they are filled with yummy fruit.

OK, so I am not sure they are that healthy, just healthier than say double chocolate chip muffins, and they have to count as one of your five a day – right??? Well that is what I am telling myself with these delicious beauties that are so easy to make. Plus, if like me you are obsessed with juicing and smoothies you will probably already have lots of blueberries to get baking these for a little afternoon snack.

I promise these are so simple to make, around 10 minutes prep work, then all you have to do is sit back and let them bake for around 30 minutes – if it helps you could use the time wisely and do a mini-workout.

Are you a fan of blueberry muffins?



375g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g golden caster sugar
125ml vegetable oil
1 egg
125ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g blueberries – I prefer fresh but frozen works as well
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling


Pre-heat oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4, and line the muffin tine with 12 paper cases.

Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl – gently mix. Then place the oil, egg, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined – then add the blueberries and mix.

Spoon mixture evenly into the muffin cases. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Remove from muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.

blueberry-muffin-5 blueberry-muffin-1

Mar 28 2013

Fashionista Barbie Bakes: Chocolate Oreo Brownies


I find baking relaxing and therapeutic – if I am stressed it is one of the best ways to clear my head. One of my favourite recipes to bake is Lorraine Pascale's Chocolate Oreo Brownies, which I first saw on her BBC show 'Baking is Easy'.

I am a huge brownie fan, I love that they are easy to make, versatile – you can substitute the Oreos for raspberries, white chocolate chunks, nuts, mini eggs, basically anything, and they are easy to make.

Oh and they are so delicious – this recipes makes the best gooey centred brownies I have ever made and with the added crunch of the Oreos they are simply perfection!!!



165g butter, plus extra for greasing

200g dark chocolate, grated or finely chopped

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

2 tsp vanilla extract

165g soft light brown sugar

2 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp cocoa powder

pinch salt

154g pack of Oreos, broken into quarters

icing sugar, for dusting


Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in square baking tin with butter, then line with baking paper with the paper overlapping the sides a little.

Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the grated (or chopped) chocolate. Leave to stand for a few minutes, or until the chocolate melts, and then stir together.

Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla together in a large bowl until the eggs begin to get light and fluffy. Add the sugar in two additions, whisking between each. Pour it around the side of the egg mix so as not to knock out the air that has been whisked in. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes stiffer. Once the egg mixture is ready, pour the chocolate into it – again around the sides so as not to knock the air out.

Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and a third of the biscuits and stir until fully combined, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Scatter the remaining biscuits over the top, pressing them in slightly. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25–30 minutes. The middle should be very so slightly gooey. Leave the brownies to cool in the tin – the top will sink and crack a little.

Pull the brownies out using the overlapping paper and cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar.

baking-brownies-6 baking-brownies-2 baking-brownies-4Seriously it is that easy – and trust me they won't last long – I sent this batch into work with my boyfriend and I understood that they were gone in seconds.

**Recipe taken from Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy book, but can also be found here on the BBC website**


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