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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Filo Eclairs

This is some sort of an invention that I concocted after wanting to recreate a cannoli I had ages ago and remembering thoughts that they'd be awesome to make myself. Cannoli are Sicilian pastry desserts, the singular is cannolo, meaning "little tube" can be filled with either fresh ricotta or pastry cream ( à la American style). 

But, after researching I discovered it was a lot harder than I had previously first thought! First problem = you need a pasta tick! Secondly = you need special cannoli tick- again! So failing to have the correct culinary equipment (sigh) I have to resort to my own version which is much more comparable to that of an eclair, so hence the name for these but I don't care anymore because they tasted really good!! 

My version involves making your own moulds out of tin foil which is very easy to do and rolling layers of sugary filo pastry around it until you form a tube. Here you can use cannoli moulds instead if you are fancy enough to have them. (Good for you!! Sorry for sarcasm.) The sweetened pastry shells cook really fast - so be warned! Which is a good thing because the quicker you get to eat them. The filling is a matter of making crème pâtissière (which is custard for those of you who are not aware) and then you fold this into whipped cream to give lighter more airy creamy custard. 

You can be more elaborative with these if you want and add other flavourings into the filling such as coffee or go all out with more chocolate! You could sprinkle chopped pistachios onto the piped chocolate topping or some crushed freezed dried strawberry for a bit of colour and texture. It's up to you to be creative. 

Filo Eclairs


(Makes 12)

Pastry cases:
8 sheets of pre-prepared filo pastry [about 39 cm x 30 cm in size]
8 tbsp caster sugar
Sunflower/olive oil cooking spray

4 egg yolks
70g caster sugar
30g cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
340ml milk
300ml whipping cream

To decorate:
100g milk chocolate
1 tablespoon icing sugar


To prepare the filling, whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar until light and thick, then whisk in the cornflour. Pour the milk into a saucepan with the vanilla extract and bring the milk to the boil and then switch off the heat. Pour the milk in a slow and steady stream on to the egg mixture, whisking continuously all the time. 

Return the mixture to the saucepan and continuously whisk over a low heat until it starts to thicken, make sure you scrape down the sides and bottom, otherwise it will burn. Once it releases a bubble or two, take it off the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover with cling film (pat it down so it sticks to the mixture) and refrigerate for at least an hour before using. 

Preheat the oven to 190 °C/ 375 °F/ gas 5.

To make the pastry shells moulds, cut out 12 (roughly 15 x 30 cm) rectangle pieces of tin foil. Using your finger as a guide, loosely roll up each foil piece to form a cylinder with a 1-inch opening. Lightly coat the outside of each cylinder with cooking spray.

Place 1 filo sheet on a large cutting board or work surface (cover the remaining dough to prevent drying with a damp teatowel); lightly coat the sheet with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of sugar, then place another sheet on top and spray and sprinkle with sugar again. Cut filo layers lengthwise into 3 equal strips so 13 x 30 cm rectangles. Place a foil cylinder at the bottom of 1 filo strip, (don't worry it's supposed to be larger in length than the pastry itself) and roll it up around the cylinder. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining filo so each one being 2 layers, cooking spray, and granulated sugar in between each and roll up around the foil cylinders. 

Bake the pastry shells for about 8-10 minutes until pale golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Carefully remove foil cylinders from filo shells by twisting ends of foil in opposite directions and gently pulling foil from them. 

Next whip the cream and fold into the crème pâtissière that has been chilling in the fridge - make sure it is cold before using. Fill into a piping bag and cut a hole large enough hole for it to fit just inside the diameter of the pastry shells. Pipe the cream halfway into one tube and then pipe more into the other end to fill completely. Repeat with the other 12. Melt the chocolate and spoon into a piping bag, snip a 0.5cm hole and drizzle chocolate  evenly over filled pastry shells. Sieve a little icing sugar over each and serve immediately or same day. You can prepare the filling and pastry shells and store separately up to 3 days in advance and fill when ready to serve. Store filling in fridge and pastry in air-tight container.

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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Guest Post: Chicken, chorizo and butterbean stew

Hello, I know I haven't been posting much just recently but I'm ultra delighted to be guest posting over at The Diary of a Jewellery Lover blog today (a lifestyle blog about all things travel, fashion, home, food and beauty) written by Mellissa Williams, with this hearty wholesome one pot dish - perfect for students on a budget. 

Everything gets thrown into it and is left to bubble and simmer away while you can get on with other things. (That also means little washing up – added bonus. Yess!!) So pop on over here for the post!
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Monday, 6 April 2015

Summer's on it's way: No-Churn One-Step Coffee Ice cream

Well hope everyone is enjoying what's left of their Easter bank-holiday weekend, I am but then again I'm still off college for another week so yeahhh!! I've been getting into the holiday spirit of things with my first ice cream recipe of the year and it seems that for once the weather is playing along too. All is good. 

For those who don't have an ice cream maker this recipe is just perfect because as the title suggests - all you need is an electric whisk (well I suppose you could manage by hand but that would just be effort!) Freeze it in a container and you're away...

You could serve it squidged into little brioches, like sweet burger buns which they do in the south of Italy but my favourite way is to crumble over some chocolate cake (which I've also provided a recipe for) and drizzle on lashings of chocolate sauce, maybe comprised of all those leftover chocolate easter eggs (I know there isn't such a thing as leftover chocolate - but agree with me on this: it can get a bit too much after a bit right?)

No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream 


Makes 1 ½ litres
600ml double cream
397g tin of condensed milk
4 tbsp instant coffee granules 
4 tbsp boiling water

Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water in a small bowl and set aside to cool slightly. Then whisk the cream, condensed milk and coffee together until soft peaks form, and you have a gorgeous, latte coloured airy mixture. Fill into a container, you could use a loaf tin covered with cling film or an air tight container, and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Serve straight from the freezer. 

Chocolate cake for serving with the ice cream

Adapted slightly from Mary Berry's Chocolate traybake recipe


3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp hot water
170g softened butter
170g caster sugar
210g self-raising flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
¾ tbsp milk

Preheat your oven to 170°C/ 325°F/ gas 3. Grease and line a small tray bake or roasting tin about 10 x 6 inches in size. Blend together the cocoa and hot water then allow to cool slightly. Measure all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat until well mixed, add the cocoa liquid and beat again. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the centre with your fingertips. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Crumble up small pieces with your fingers and have on top of your coffee ice cream with chocolate sauce.  

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Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Pink Lady Food Photographer Of The Year - People's Choice Awards

I am very excited to share the news today that I have been shortlisted in the Young 15-17 category of The Pink Lady Food Photographer of The Year Awards - people's choice. I entered my photo for the savoury couronne post I did a few months back on a whim that I'd probably not hear another word about it since....but I was very excited to receive the news today. 

You can vote for my photo here:  There is alot of tough competition but I would be so grateful if you could take the time to just go onto the webpage (scroll literally right down to the bottom) and there I am. 'Frances Cope - Young 15-17 A Savoury Couronne' One vote per 24hrs will be submitted, just simply enter your email address and press vote. Oh and tell everyone you know... I certainly will be as you can imagine. 

All voting will close on Thursday 16 April 2015 at midnight GMT. So not that long really! 


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