Baking · Dessert

Sweet little bites of Spring 💚 Lemon Thyme Shortbread.

Growing up, I never got the deal with shortbread. I always went for something multicolored or chocolatey. Thought shortbread just seemed a bit dull. But as I’m getting older (I’m sure one day I’ll also get wiser) I appreciate the sweet elegant simplicity of shortbread. That crispy crunchy melt in mouth combination, I have to confess. I’m now completely hooked. I love how easy it is to throw together too. And it always goes down a treat at coffee morning with the girls 💚

I love lemon and thyme as a flavour combination. The two are a match made in heaven. This perfectly simple, yet perfectly stunning little recipe is a good one to have at hand. And seems to tie perfectly with sunny days and spring time.

Any excuse to get me out and in to the herb garden. Those around me know I’m happiest with dirty feet and grubby knees. Thyme loves the spring and I adore the little flowers it gives.

This is my basic shortbead recipe, but I do tend to mix other flavours with different season. A few others to try are Lemon and Lavender or Orange drizzled with dark chocolate.

Recipe :

1/2 Cup Earth Balance softened

1/4 Cup Organic granulated Sugar

1 Tbs Icing Sugar (confectioners)

1Tbs Fresh Thyme

Zest of 1 Large Lemon

1tbs Lemon Juice

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Cup Flour

1 Tbs Cornflour (corn starch)

More sugar for dusting.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Pop soft Earthbalance into a bowl and beat in the two sugars. Add the Thyme , lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and beat again. Sift the flour and corn flour together and slowly incorporate the flour into the butter mixture in two or three goes.

When it all comes to a dough pop between two sheets of baking paper or parchment and roll to about 1/4″ thick.

Transfer parchment onto a baking sheet and score into the shapes you like. I usually go with squares or rectangles. At this point give the shortbread a good dusting with granulated sugar.

Pop them into the oven for 12-15 minutes. Until golden around the edges. Leave to cool a little before cutting again and leave to cool compelelety before serving.

Baking · Dessert

❤Sunday Baking Valentine’s Style ❤ 🌹 Cherry Almond and Rose Sticky Buns 🌹

Ok. Confession. The amount of times I tried to take photos of this recipe may be a little embarrassing… but nothing I did seemed to show it well. So a few billion shots and a few choice words later I gave up and used the first one I took. What can I say? I chose the blog life. The blog life did not choose me….

Anyway.. back to what I’m supposed to be wittering on talking about.

Valentine’s ❤ or Galentine’s or whatever it is you feel like celebrating… I’m not precious, you do you. But I do advise you do it with sticky buns.. because life’s just a little better when it’s served something sweet and sticky. Or maybe that’s just me ??

Besides, I always love the idea of making something to show you care. A little time and effort can mean the world. Specially on these commercially vamped up holidays. Take some time, make it with love instead. I will admit. These buns take a little love and some patience as it needs to prove twice. Not that it’s hard work, but it’s not a quick snap recipe.. but they seemed worth the wait to me ❤

It’s no secret in my house my love of all things almond. My two childhood favourites (childhood? Who am I kidding) were always Cherry Bakewells and Battenburg Cake. And you’ll find me eating my own bodyweight in Marzipan over the holidays too. I have to admit. This relationship has been going on decades now.. I think… I think it must be love ❤ and so that was very much the flavour I wanted to run with. And so.. my Cherry Almond Sticky buns were born.

These really are one of those special occasion treats. They’re sticky and rich and everything I love about a sweet treat. The cherry jam pairs well with the rose scented frosting and almond dough. I hope you like them as much as I did.

Happy Valentines Day ❤

Recipe:

Dough

1 Cup Almond milk

1 tsp Almond extract

1 Packet Dry Active Yeast

1tsp + 2 Tbs Sugar

3 Cups flour

3 Tbs oil

1/4 Cup Diced Cherries

Filling:

1/4 Cup Cherry Jam

Frosting:

1 1/2 Cups Powedered Sugar

1 Tbs Earth balance (melted)

1tsp Rose Water

Splash Almond Milk, so its liquid enough to spread.

To decorate : edible rose petals

To start gently heat almond milk to luke warm. Sprinkle in yeast and 1tsp sugar. Give a good mix and leave to get activated and frothy for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile add flour, and remaining sugar to a stand mixer. If you haven’t got a stand mixer you’ll need to knead the dough for a while until the dough is springy once you’ve made it)

Add milk to flour, and then add in oil an almond extract and mix until a dough is formed. Once ready pop to one side in a warm dry area for an hour or two or until dough has doubled in size.

At this point removed the dough, squish the air out then knead in chopped cherries. Leave the dough to rest and rise a little again for an hour or so.

Once dough is ready, roll out to a large rectangle and spread with cherry jam. Roll up and slice. If you need more instructions on this check out my blueberry lemon rolls recipe. https://thelittlebluegarden.com/2016/03/13/blueberry-and-lemon-swirls/

Pop into a silicone mold or well greased baking tray. Then leave again for a little while till the oven preheats to 375°.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until puffed up and baked through.

Leave to cool slightly before inverting, but do it whilst it’s still warm for best results.

Mix all the frosting ingredients together. If you’re eating this straight away, pour all over and enjoy when cool enough to handle, but still a little warm, if not then leave to cool completely before frosting ❤

I’d love you to believe that was the total amount of frosting used …

Sprinkle with rose petals and enjoy !!

Baking · Dessert

A taste of home 🇬🇧. Cornflake Tart. Northern and proud ❤ 

After spotting a conversation on social media the other day about school meals and desserts someone mentioned Cornflake Tart, and that was it. The only thing I could focus on for the rest of the day was replicating it. Work ? Yeah. That didn’t get done. This is pretty much the only fond memory of Primary school food that I can think of to be honest. The reconstituted mashed potato served with an Ice cream scoop is not quite day dream worthy…. 

So that day off into the kitchen I went. To remake this mini nostaligic masterpiece. Have to say I cheated with some pre made vegan pastry (judge me if you may).  And the rest really was childs play. Once it was ready, and my vanilla sauce was on the hob ( we had it with custard traditionally at school). I was feeling pretty smug and naturally started snapping photos and sending them to a load of other Brits out here. When it happened…. Non of them knew what it was or what I was on about ?!? I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a British thing. Then a Northern thing? Nope. Maybe it was only served in the collieries ? What was wrong with all of these other peoples childhoods?! After another social media post it appeared my immediate school area at home knew, and some of the nearby towns. But every one else seemed rather perplexed by the whole thing…. so here to break the mystery a little. Is my very own version of a Cornflake Tart. 

This sweet sticky deliciousness is rich and cloying in that more-ish childish way. A little goes along way. Unless you’re me and just eat until you get a sugar headache. This a once in a while treat kind of dish. But if you fancy it more often… I won’t tell if you don’t. 

Don’t knock until you try it. Seriously. 

Would I ever lead you astray ?  

Recipe : 

1 pie crust 

1/3 Cup Treacle  / golden syrup 

1/4 Cup Earth Balance 

2 Tbs Brown Sugar

3 Cups Cornflakes 

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Cup Stawberry Jam 

 I made my tart in a deep square baking dish. 7×7 but this recipe would make a 9″ no worries. I had more Cornflake mix over I made onto little nests after aswell…

Bake the crust according to pack instructions, preferably with baking beans or something to bring out a nice flat crust with high sides. As this bakes start your Cornflake mix. 

Melt earthbalance and treacle and sugar until it’s one delicious sugary sweet harmonious mix. Dont boil. Pour this over your cornflakes toss together to coat and sprinkle in your salt. Your crust should be about ready. While it’s still warm (and being careful, spread the jam out over the bottom of the crust.  Theb gently spoon over your sticky sweet Cornflake mix. Pop back in the oven for 5 minutes and bring out of the oven to set up. Leave this to cool and set further. 
I recommend a hot custard or my vanilla sauce to serve with this to send you into a complete food coma.  (You can find the recipe on my Peach blueberry crumble page).  However my friend happily munched on it without the next day and was more than happy with the effort ❤.

Baking · Dessert

Lazy Sunday Night in at it’s best 💛 Peach and Blueberry Crumble.

I am very much a Sunday kind of girl. I love Sundays. And this week, laziness was the game. Literally. Me, my book, the pool the sunshine and nothing else. Well, until I got hungry. Then comfort food was added to the agenda…

Crumble will always be one of my all time favorites, hands down ..and this one comes with the flavours of summer. Peaches are everywhere at the markets right now, from states further north. I love that my new home land is very proud of its produce and where it comes from. You’ll notice when you’re shopping, you’ll spot the potatoes are from Idaho, the peaches from Georgia or the Carolinas, the oranges of course from our very own Sunshine State. I’ve learned to appreciate these little details. And I’ve become very accustomed to it. 

Look at these beauties. Aren’t they stunning? 

You know they’re good when they’re half the size of your head and you leave a trail of juice behind you as you eat. They really should come with a sticky face warning though….
Anyway back to my crumble!   

My lazy day wouldn’t be complete without something sweet and delicious with as little effort as possible, et violà – I give you my crumble recipe. This just couldn’t be any easier.

This feeds 3ish- but can multiply easily. 
Base:

2 Peaches

1 Cup Blueberries

Topping: 

1 Cup Flour

1/3 Cup Oats 

1/3 Cup Oil – I used Avocado 

1/2Tsp Cinnamon 

1/3 Cup Organic Brown sugar.
Preheat the oven to 400°.

Chop your peaches into a 1.5 cm ish dice and mix in with your blueberries. Pop into a baking dish in a thick even layer. 

To make the topping pop the flour oats and oil in a bowl and mix until a chunky  crumbly texture. Then stir through your cinnamon and brown sugar. Tip this on top of your fruit. 

I hope you didn’t break a sweat. 

Pop this in the oven for 30minutes ish. Until hot and bubbly.

Optional Vanilla sauce : 

This basically is a mock up of a traditional custard. 

2Cups Almond milk 

2tsp Corn Flour 

1 vanilla pod 

Sugar to taste. (1-2 Tbsish)

Pop almond milk into a pan and stir in the flour whilst it’s cold. Turn the heat on low.

 Split the vanilla bean and slide a.knife along to get the caviar, pop that in the milk and then chuck the whole pod in too for extra flavour. Whisk this all in and continue to whisk the mixture until it has heated and begins the thicken. At this point whisk your sugar in too. 

Once nice and hot and thickened pull the vanilla pod out and you are ready to go. 

Ps. Cream or Ice Cream work here too. 

Baking

Bringing the Sunshine inside, with a Lemon Thyme Upside Down Cake.

Summer Summer Summmerrrr thyme. See what I did there? I know…. 

So it’s been a while! But we are back and rolling now. And today’s recipe makes me smile. Just look at the colours here. I’m also curious to see if this baby works as mini cakes? Hmmm.  

So it’s hot here in Florida. I know you’re shocked. However with the heat the rain also comes. And today not only did it rain, but it poured. Non stop. So missing my sunshine I decided to take charge and invent my own. And as you can probably tell I’m pretty pleased with the result. This sweet sour combination of elegance did the trick just nicely.  I love everything to do with Lemons and my constant supply came in handy today. A sticky layer of sugar cutting sour lemons to top a thick rich sponge. I adore the combination of lemon and thyme and think it adds a different element to the cake, but just plain lemon would be just as good for those not too sure about adding herbs to a cake! 

So, in true Lianne style I made it up as I went along and was pretty happy with the results. 

This recipe really was very easy. And made one 6 inch sponge. I really do recommend a spring form pan for this, just to make your life easier when removing the cake. Other than that its a doddle. Give it a go!
Recipe: 
The top 

Ok lemons. I used 2 sliced thin – though I did wind up with gaps on top so you may want to use more. And please pop out any pips at this stage. 

Earth balance- or some form of plant based spread.

2 tbs Organic Sugar. 
Start by greasing the tin pretty liberally with the spread. Then use 1 tbs of sugar to coat the inside of the tin (if it take a little more then just go for it). Place your thinly sliced lemons on top of the sugar, creating one pretty little layer. Then go in with the second table spoon of sugar to recoat the lemons. Leave to one side to sit.
The sponge :

Wet:

1 Cup Almond Milk 

1 tsp Apple Cider vinegar 

1/2 tsp Vanilla paste

1/3 Cup Oil I used Olive 

3/4 Cup Sugar 
Dry:

1 1/4 Cup Flour 

1 Tsp Baking Powder 

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda 

2 Tbs Corn Flour 

1Tbs chopped Thyme

1 Lemon – zest only

1/4 Tsp Salt 
Topping :

Marmalade.
Pop the almond milk and ACV in a bowl and add the vanilla paste too, give this a little whisk then set aside. 

Measure out all your dry ingredients into a larger bowl and give this a dry whisk too to make sure everything is mixed nicely. 

Go back to your wet ingredients and add your oil and sugar and give another little whisk. 

Pour your wet ingredients into your dry and fold gently until it’s just say mixed. The mixture is quite thin, don’t panic about a few little lumps. Pour this ontop of your pretty lemon layer and bake for appx 35-40 minutes. Or until a skewer comes out clean.. 
Now for the fun part. Turning the cake out. The cake needs to still be very warm for this. Pop a cooling rack over the top of cake and turn. Undo the spring on the pan. Then for the top using a knife or spatula remove the bottom of the cake tin. 
A final adornment of that shiny elegant topping would be to heat some marmalade gently and brush onto of the lemon layer.  A sprig or two of fresh thyme on top or around the cake always looks good too. 

And now that the cake is ready, I advise you stick the kettle on!

Enjoy ! 

Baking · Breakfast

Sunday mornings call for lazy breakfasts. Cinnamon Maple Baked Chia Oats with blueberry and Banana. 

So I’ve made hundreds of flavor combinations of this in recent years. It’s a quick and easy get ahead for the night before or you can prep it the same morning and them gently cook together in the oven. It couldn’t be any more simple. This is one of my favorite combinations, but try it with literally any berry, stone fruits, even carob or chocolate chips in. Nuts and seeds make a great topping too.

Oats are just such a great start to the day. A slow release energy, with a warming and grounding feel to them. You all know my love or porridge. Well this is a little different, but runs on the same principle. I add Chia as a another little hit of goodness, and a fat. But you can add or remove anything you want. Really versatile concept. I love that comfort food, homey feel you get from oats.

This recipe is for one, but can easily be multiplied for whoever you’re feeding!

Good morning everyone 🙂
Recipe:

1/2 Cup Rolled Oats.

1 Tbs Chia.

1 Cup Water (boiled if making that morning , cold if they’re sitting over night)

Almond milk or milk of choice

Maple Syrup

Cinnamon

1 Banana

Handful of Blueberries

Nuts and seeds of choice (optional)

Pop your oats into an oven sage baking dish, stir in the chia then add the water and a good splash of milk. Stir everything together and drizzle with maple and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Flatten eveything out to nice even layer and adorn with your fruit of choice. Being sure to poke pieces into the oats as well as just decorating on top. Then either pop this in the fridge over night or straight into the oven!
Pop the oven on 375.

Give the oats a final sprinkle with some nuts and seeds and bake for 20-25 minutes. A little less if you boiled the water and are cooking straight away!
Enjoy xox

Baking

Some days you just need a Cake and cuppa. Butternut Squash and Raisin cake, with Orange and Vanilla bean frosting. 

Seriously though. Is there anything that beats a big slice of cake and a cup of your favourite tea? It’s the remedy to a whole host of life’s little niggles… comfort food at it’s absolute best. And a sugar rush to boot. Mind if I have another slice?

This little beauty was inspired by a whole host of baby Butternuts I got at the Farmers market this week. Have I mentioned how much I love Farmers Markets? I did kind of rip off a carrot cake a little. But in my opinion this baby is better. I also added my latest spice obsession, cardamom. Seriously. I’ve only ever used it in spicey dishes. This has to be my new love to add to desserts and smoothies and cookies. Try it. Sprinkle this magic everywhere.

Makes one deep 6 inch cake

Recipe:

1 cup grated Butternut

1 cup Almond milk

1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1/3 Cup Oil – I used Avocado

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Organic sugar

1  1/4 cup flour

2 tsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp Baking soda

Pinch of Salt

1/2 tsp Vanilla paste

1 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Nutmeg

1/4 Tsp Ground Cardamom

1/2 cup Raisins

1/4 Cup Pecans (chopped )*** optional.
Pop the oven on 350°.  And grease your cake pan with a little oil.

Pour the Almond Milk into a jug and add 1tsp apple cider vinegar. Leave that to sit for a while.

Measure out your flour, baking powder , baking soda salt and spices into a bowl and whisk everything dry together.

At this point your almond milk will have curdled a little, add in the oil and the sugar and give eveything a wisk.

Slowly incorporate your wet mix into your dry mix, whisking a little as you go. Then stir in the raisins, butternut and pecans if using.

Pour this into the cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave this to cool before icing.
Icing recipe:

1/4 Cup Earth balance or spread of choice

2 Cups Powdered sugar / icing sugar

Zest of 2 oranges and juice.

1/4 Tsp Vanilla paste

Almond milk if needed.

Soften the earth balance and beat in powdered sugar. Add orange zest, juice and  vanilla and keep beating . If mix is a little dry add a splash of Almond milk.

Wait until the cake is cooled completely and then ice away!

I decorated this cake with edible flowers and another sprinkle of raw butternut to keep it nice simple and rustic.

Enjoy !