hot cross bun pudding

Hot Cross Bun Pudding | The Secret Life of Bee

Hold onto your hats, cos this one is a goodie. In fact this dish of deliciousness is so good it’ll make you wish it was Easter all year round! Easter brings with it many a public holiday and many an opportunity for lavish brunching, lunching and general munching. This hot cross bun pudding is pretty much perfect for any and every occasion.

Hot Cross Bun Pudding | The Secret Life of Bee

I do love a hot cross bun all year round. Toasted crisp and then slathered with some farm butter. Bliss. This hot cross bun pudding brings you all of those delicious spicy flavours but in the most comforting way. The vanilla and orange scented custard is rich and creamy and the tops of the buns get a wonderful crispy crust while their bottoms soak up all the custard and become gloriously pudding like.

Hot Cross Bun Pudding | The Secret Life of Bee

I do not recommend making this while alone at home. It is dangerous. The husband nearly got home to an empty baking dish and a self loathing wife. But fortunately I somehow pulled it together and managed to share this with him and a neighbour who stuck their head in through the kitchen window.

Hot Cross Bun Pudding | The Secret Life of Bee

Hot Cross Bun Pudding

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 6 hot cross buns
  • 250ml cream
  • 250ml full cream milk
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 60g sugar
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 Tbsp Grand Marnier *optional
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Softened butter for spreading
  • Maple syrup

Method:

Preheat oven to 170 ̊C. Grease an ovenproof baking dish with softened butter.

Slice hot cross buns in half and butter the insides. Place the bottom half of the buns in the baking dish.

Whisk the cream, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, orange zest, Grand Marnier and salt together. Pour half of the mixture over the buns.

Top with the other half of the bun and finish with the remaining mixture. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the custard is set and the buns are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and brush the tops of the buns with maple syrup while still warm. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and a glass of bubbles.

Hot Cross Bun Pudding | The Secret Life of Bee

 

*Disclaimer: Delicious bubbles provided by the wonderful folks from Krone.

fluffy vanilla waffles for your valentine

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

Spread the love this Valentine’s Day and make these fluffy vanilla waffles for someone near and dear to you. I don’t buy into Valentine’s Day and all the fluff and fuss of expensive roses and an over priced meal in a restaurant. What I love about this day is the general message of spreading love and happiness. Doing something at home like cooking a special meal for your other half or drawing a handmade card for your mom- that’s what Valentine’s Day is about for me.

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

These vanilla waffles are indeed love at first bite. They have a super crispy crust to them and a fluffy vanilla scented centre. I love them with berries and honey while the husband opts for butter and maple syrup. They are a vehicle for delicious toppings like caramelized cinnamon bananas or plain Jane as they are with a dusting of icing sugar. I had some of the best waffles of my life at a brunch spot in Brooklyn, NY with fried chicken and maple syrup. They were sensational, but that’s a wee bit too much admin for me first thing in the morning! If you don’t have a waffle maker it’s really not a bad little investment. It also makes a mean batch of french toast!

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

Fluffy Vanilla Waffles 

makes 3 large waffles

Ingredients:

  • 170g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 25g sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 340ml milk, warm
  • 75g melted butter

To serve:  fresh berries, honey, icing sugar, whipped cream or ice cream and of course an ice cold bottle of bubbly

Method:

Heat your waffle iron according to manufacturers instructions.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, milk, vanilla and butter.

Whip the egg white until fluffy. Add in the cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form.

Whisk together the wet and dry ingredients, and finally fold in the egg whites with a spatula until combined.

Ladle the batter into the waffle iron and cook until golden brown and crisp.

Serve with a dusting of icing sugar, fresh berries, a drizzle of honey and a cold glass of bubbly.

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Krone Rosé Cuvée Brut supplied by the lovely folks from Twee Jonge Gezellen.

Bubbly Sorbet

Bubbly Sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

Nothing says celebration like an ice cold glass of bubbles. Now you can have your bubbles and eat it too! Champagne or MCC sorbet is one of my favourite summertime indulgences. It tastes delicious, sounds glam and it feels extra special because well, bubbles. Obvs.

Bubbly Sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

This bubbles in particular is something special. Krone recently released the R.D. after after having spent 15 years on the lees before disgorgement. I popped a bottle of this to try it out with my toes in the sand and a magical sunset in front of me and… WOW. Just wow. I can quite honestly say it is one of the most spectacular bottles of bubbles I have ever tasted. It’s up there with the Krug and Doms of the world. In general I think we produce some of the most outstanding wine and MCC in the world and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else on earth! My proximity to wine farms is crucial for my mental and physical well being! It’s a glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away right?

Bubbly Sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

Bubbly Sorbet

Ingredients:

  • 200ml water
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 300ml Méthode Cap Classique
  • 1 lemon, juice & zest

Method:

Bring the water, sugar and glucose to the boil. Cook until syrupy and remove from the heat.

Add the MCC, lemon juice and lemon zest. Allow to cool.

Once cool strain out the zest with a sieve and pour into an ice cream machine. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you don’t have an ice cream machine pour the mixture into a ziplock bag. Freeze. Remove frozen sorbet, break into pieces and blitz until smooth using a blender or food processor.

Serve with some ice cold bubbles on the side!

 Bubbly Sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: This utterly fabulous bubbles was sponsored by the awesome folks from Krone.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

This vegan chocolate ice cream, or nicecream should I say is dairy-free, sugar-free and guilt-free but with ALL the flavour and the most amazing luxurious texture. Bananas are a truly handy little fruit and are the base of this ice cream. Add some top quality dark cocoa powder, vanilla and almond milk and you have yourself something seriously scrumptious.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

This sweet treat takes seconds to whip together. Just remember to freeze your sliced bananas the day before or even early in the morning if you make this for an after dinner delight. I slice my bananas and lay them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, cling film the lot and then pop them into the freezer.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

The pistachio brittle adds amazing crunch, colour and it’s delicious. If you want to keep this recipe refined sugar free then just leave it out and you can serve your nicecream with some toasted almond flakes or fresh raspberries. I love the brittle and could eat it on its own as is. Just watch out for your teeth!

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream with Pistachio Brittle 

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g bananas, sliced, frozen overnight
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract/essence or paste
  • 100ml almond milk

For the brittle:

  • 225g caster sugar
  • 75ml water
  • 50g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • pinch sea salt

Method:

Add the frozen bananas, cocoa powder, vanilla and almond milk to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Scrape into a small serving dish and freeze.

For the brittle: Whisk caster sugar and water together in a pan on high heat. Make sure to clean down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and some water or your caramel will crystallise. Do not stir the caramel. Allow it to cook and bubble until it turns a rich golden brown colour. Pour out immediately onto a greased baking tray or a baking tray lined with a silicone mat.

Scatter with the roughly chopped pistachios and sea salt and leave to harden and cool.

Serve ice cream with shattered shards of pistachio brittle.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

 

raspberry financiers

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

Financiers make me nostalgic for Paris. I miss walking into my local boulangerie first thing in the morning and being hit by the sweetest smell in the world. Freshly baked bread and pastries that would make a diabetic weep. The French take such pride in their pâtisserie. From the identically sliced figs on a massive tart to the expertly glazed raspberry on a macaron. It’s perfection.

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

Financiers are it for me. They’re my Achilles’ heel of the pastry world. Specifically raspberry financiers. The slightly tart and super fresh raspberry is the perfect accompaniment to the buttery,  and indulgently rich ground almond based treat. I know it’s a forbidden word but deal with it… They’re incredibly moist. So don’t over bake them. It would be a crime of pastry passion.

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

Lastly when you get to the recipe and you think i’ve made a typo with the amount of butter… I haven’t. Just deal with it. Butter is life. While at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris I learned it was possible to use several kilograms of butter in one meal. God bless the French. For financiers I like to make my own almond flour. I find freshly grinding the almonds make the little cakes more moist. OMG I said it again. Breathe. If you don’t have a Nutribullet or a little coffee grinder don’t bother- bought will do just fine. Now make these babies and share them with people you really love.

Raspberry Financiers

makes 18

Ingredients:

  • 300g butter plus extra for greasing
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 350g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g flour
  • 9 egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • pinch sea salt
  • 250g fresh raspberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grease 3 x 6 mini cupcake trays or similar moulds.

Brown butter in a saucepan and set aside to cool.

Place ground almonds in a large mixing bowl. Sift in the icing sugar and flour. Mix together.

Whisk the egg whites lightly just to combine them, not whip them.

Add them to the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix thoroughly.

Finally add the vanilla, pinch of salt and the cooled butter. Mix well.

Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour before ladling it into the moulds.

Press three raspberries into each mould and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Turn out onto a cooling rack and try resist eating them all at once.

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

 

red wine poached pear clafoutis

red wine poached pear clafoutis | The Secret Life of Bee

This scrumptious red wine poached pear clafoutis was such a happy accident. I was watching old episodes of The Roux Legacy and Albert and Michel are just so darn captivating. They were making a traditional cherry clafoutis. The clafoutis looked incredibly delicious plus their French accents already had me in a tizz and I needed to make that thing now!

red wine poached pear clafoutis | The Secret Life of Bee

Problem number one- cherries aren’t in season here at the moment and number two I didn’t fancy leaving the house for ingredients. I wanted a fruit that would give me a tender mouthfeel that would work well with the custard like filling but also  a fruit that would keep it’s shape. Hello little pears peeking out of my fruit basket. Their fate was sealed when I spotted the open bottle of red wine from the night before and voilà I got the poaching liquid on the go.

red wine poached pear clafoutis | The Secret Life of Bee

I cannot take any credit for the clafoutis base recipe. It’s the original recipe from the Roux brothers and I put my own spin on it by adding some orange zest and Grand Marnier. I also poached my pears with a fair whack of cinnamon. It’s so fragrant and delicious and the final product has a hints of milk tart flavours!

Red wine poached pear clafoutis

serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe pears, peeled, halved & cored
  • 500ml red wine
  • 3 cinnamon sticks or half a handful of the bark
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 160 g plain flour
  • 160 g butter, melted and cooled
  • 300 ml milk
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste or powder
  • 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier or Brandy
  • zest of 1 orange
  • granulated sugar for dusting
  • butter for greasing

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 22cm tart dish with butter.

Combine the red wine, cinnamon and sugar with a splash of water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to the boil. Add the pear halves and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, turning the pears every couple of minutes, until the pears are soft and evenly coloured. Remove and cool.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl and then sift in the flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the cooled melted butter, followed by the milk and sugar. Finally add the vanilla, Grand Marnier and orange zest.

Place the pears evenly over the base of the tart dish. Pour over the clafoutis mix without spilling on the tops of the pears.

Place in the oven and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes until lightly golden and set.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar while hot, leave to set slightly and serve warm.

red wine poached pear clafoutis | The Secret Life of Bee

red wine poached pear clafoutis | The Secret Life of Bee

 

orange tea cake with Greek yoghurt frosting

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Pass me a cup of Earl Grey and a slice of this orange tea cake and i’m as happy as Larry. I adore all citrus fruit and have been munching on an excessive amount of Clementines and Navel oranges recently. Granny dearest is also a big fan of the old citrus family but an even bigger fan of the cake family. She requested something to accompany her cup of tea and voilà this orange tea cake happened!

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

I returned from the shops with some bits and bobs for cake making and suddenly realised i’d been so focussed on the cake itself i’d completely forgotten about any form of icing. The cake is rich, sweet and incredibly moist so it needed something that wouldn’t overpower the delicious sponge and it’s zesty flavour. I also wanted a white icing for aesthetic purposes and found myself digging in the fridge for cream. No cream was discovered but the Greek yoghurt looked at me and said, “Hey- I’m creamy and smooth and delicious. Give me a shot at this.”

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

To top off the Greek yoghurt frosting I candied some orange slices in a thyme infused syrup. The smell in your kitchen is reason enough to make this cake with haste. Thyme goes so well with sweet baked goods as well as cocktails. I love adding herbs to desserts and drinks for a kick of flavour, a boost in scent and some colour.

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

I made two cakes pictured here as I wanted to layer them but this recipe makes a single layer cake which is all you really need for a cake like this. You can always go back for a second slice. Obvs. And keep an eye on the orange slices when simmering away in syrup. You want them very tender but not disintegrated! Now get baking and tea making. I can smell the Bergamot orange and happiness in the air.

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Orange tea cake with Greek yoghurt frosting

makes 1 single layer cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges, zested & juiced
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 65ml milk
  • 200g flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Candied orange slices:

  • 2 oranges, cut into slices
  • 200g sugar
  • 250ml water
  • bunch of fresh thyme

Frosting:

  • 125ml Greek yoghurt
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 1 orange, zested

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line and grease a 20cm cake tin.

Cream the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix. Pour in the milk, orange juice and orange zest. Mix well.

Finally sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold in well without overworking the batter.

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake thoroughly on a cooling rack before icing.

To make the candied orange slices bring the sugar and water to the boil in a small pot. Add the thyme and orange slices and turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes. Using tongs flip the orange slices and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. Drain and place on some baking paper and in the fridge to firm up.

To make the icing beat all the ingredients together until smooth.

Drizzle the icing over the cake and place in the fridge for the icing to set.

Invite some friends over for an orange infused tea party! You can even keep the theme going and all dress up as Donald Trump!

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Beeorange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

 

brandy snap biscuits

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

The humble brandy snap biscuit. To your rescue when you have dinner guests arriving in 5 minutes and you haven’t prepped dessert. Brandy snaps are quick to make, delicious to eat and super entertaining for your guests to watch you burn your finger tips on. 

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

I used to think I was so fancy when I was little. I would make brandy snap baskets and serve sorbet in them for family dinners. They’re so versatile. Sorbet and ice cream is a treat served in their crunchy clutches. Filling them with whipped cream and berries is my other favourite as done here because sometimes the simplest desserts are the best. 

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

Shape wise you can really play around. Moulding them into cylinders works great for fillings. Moulding them around a small glass will create a little basket shape to put things in. Of course you can also always leave them to harden as is in disk form and top a dessert with them for some great textural crunch. 

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

I’m not going to lie. You’ve got to put your big girl/boy pants on and just deal with the heat. There’s a sweet spot temperature wise when they are perfect for moulding. You have to let them cool ever so slightly once out of the oven or they will be too soft and you cannot let them cool too much or they become brittle and break. So aim for somewhere in between the two. I use a very skinny rolling pin to make the cylinders but you can use whatever random utensil or handle you have in the kitchen. Give it a light spritz with some spray & cook and you’re all set. 

Brandy snap biscuits

makes about 10

Ingredients:

  • 50g butter
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 50g brown sugar 
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

whipped cream & berries to serve

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with a silicon mat or baking paper.

Mix butter, golden syrup and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Melt slowly over low-medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Whisk the ground ginger, salt and flour together to mix well. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the liquid butter/sugar/syrup mix. Stir together to form a stiff batter. Finally add the brandy and lemon juice. Mix well.

Spoon two tablespoons of mixture onto the silicon mat fairly far apart. I do two at a time as they spread a lot and this gives you enough time to mould them before hardening.

Cook the two brandy snaps for about 8 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Mould them around a handle making sure to press the two end together so they stick together and close the cylinder. Let cool until hard.

Pipe them full of whipped cream spiked with plenty of brandy and sweetened with a touch of icing sugar. Serve with fresh berries and enjoy!

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

dulce de leche panna cotta

dulce de leche panna cotta | The Secret Life of Bee

I was spoiled with a giant tub of the finest dulce de leche in Argentina last year. I brought it back and have been umming and ahhing about what to make with this deliciousness. I had my sexy Spanish speaking friends over for dinner one night and it seemed fitting I break out the dulce de leche. Panna cotta is one of our favourite dinner party desserts and so a combination of the two was born. And what a combo!

dulce de leche panna cotta | The Secret Life of Bee

The dulce de leche has a rich sweetness and gives an incredible layer of caramel flavour. The smell of it melting into the warm cream is enough to make you want to drink it straight out of the pot. I had several ladles teaspoons just to make sure i’d added enough. You can pair it with a different topping depending on what fruit is in season. A tart raspberry coulis and a crunchy crumble would also work beautifully. You can even buy some almond biscotti and break it up over the panna cottas before serving for some texture.

dulce de leche panna cotta | The Secret Life of Bee

Dulce de leche panna cotta

serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 750ml cream
  • 250g dulce de leche
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 4 sheets gelatine 
  • pomegranate rubies

Method:

Place cream and vanilla in a small pot and heat. Once warm add the dulce de leche and stir until combined and the cream is hot.

Soak the gelatine leaves in very cold or ice water. Squeeze out the residual water when they are soft and add the leaves to the pot off the heat.

Whisk the gelatine into the cream mixture until completely dissolved. 

Strain the cream mixture though a fine sieve for a perfectly silky texture. 

Pour into little ramekins or glasses and place in the fridge to set. (at least 4 hours) 

Top with pomegranate rubies just before serving. Granadillas and raspberries also work beautifully with this panna cotta. 

dulce de leche panna cotta | The Secret Life of Bee

dulce de leche panna cotta | The Secret Life of Bee

Tabasco bloody mary sorbet

bloody mary sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

Bloody Mary sorbet. What a glorious thing. Not overly sweet, perfectly spicy and very refreshing! This sorbet is a wonderful dessert or palate cleanser. Throw on an extra few shots of vodka and serve it poolside as an adult slushie. (You can tell i’m really excited about winter)

bloody mary sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

The trick with this sorbet is using top quality tomato juice. So none of that horrid stuff in the tin! Same goes for normal Bloody Marys and everything else in life. Top quality ingredients will give you a top quality result. You can spice it up as much as you like. Taste as you go and you can squeeze in some extra lemon or add a crack of freshly ground black pepper. You can also serve the sorbet with something fun like a celery salt cookie or black pepper shortbread.

bloody mary sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

Tabasco Bloody Mary sorbet

Ingredients:

  • 750ml tomato juice
  • 110ml water
  • 110g sugar
  • 45ml vodka
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • pinch celery salt
  • a dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Red Tabasco

Method:

Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until it becomes syrupy. If you have a thermometer it should read 112˚C when the syrup is ready.

Pour the sugar syrup into the tomato juice and mix. Add the vodka, lemon, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco all to your taste.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

If you don’t have an ice cream machine- pour the mixture into a zip lock bag and freeze. Remove when frozen and blend it a few chunks at a time in a food processor or using a stick blender. Return to the freezer in a container and freeze until firm.

bloody mary sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

bloody mary sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer- this post has been sponsored by the awesome folks at Tabasco SA