Fig and Lemon Tart

Fig and Lemon Tart

I’m lucky enough to have a fig tree in my back garden! After a disappointing harvest in my first year here, I devoted myself to the well-being of my fig tree, (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit). This year I have been rewarded with a bumper crop of beautiful, sweet figs; green on the outside and pink in the middle. This recipe is for one of my most successful and I think impressive sweet bakes. You can dust it with icing sugar (although I haven’t) and serve it with crème fraîche, cream or yoghurt, whatever takes your fancy. I found the recipe on, but changed it slightly by increasing the amount of zest in the cake.

Fig and Lemon Tart (2)

(Serves 6-8)
8 fresh figs
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
200g granulated sugar
3 large eggs
140g plain flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoons of dried yeast
115g unsalted butter, melted

• Preheat oven to 180°C fan/ 200°C/ Gas 6.
• Cut figs into quarters and gently toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
• Beat the eggs together and put in a large bowl with the flour, remaining sugar, yeast, lemon zest and melted butter. Make sure the butter is warm and not hot as it will kill the yeast.
• Mix all the ingredients together using an electric mixer until you have a smooth batter.
• Line a 9×2 inch spring form tin with baking paper.
• Pour in the batter, spread lightly to even the top.
• Take the figs out of the lemon juice and arrange in circles on top of the batter.
• Bake for 35-40 minutes until puffed and lightly golden brown.
• Allow to cool and then remove from the tin.
Fresh Fig and Lemon Tart

Salted Caramel Macarons

Salted Caramel Macarons


When I went to Paris last summer, on top of my list of things to do was to go to Ladureé for tea and macarons. It was fantastic. But then, quite by chance, I stumbled across something much better! Macarons which were not just exquisitely beautiful but full of exotic flavour combinations. Suddenly, Ladureé’s rose macaron paled into insignificance compared to Pierre Hermé’s flavour of the month: pistachio, almond and coriander. Yes, coriander! Well, I just had to try it. I’d never heard of Pierre Hermé before, but then I noticed his macarons in small concessions across the city. When I came back to the UK, I ordered his Macaron book which is simply a pleasure; just reading about the flavour combinations is enough to set off all kinds of cravings! It wasn’t until a year later that I found out there was a fairly new Pierre Hermé boutique which had opened in Covent Garden. That’s what started it, the macaron baking was back! I made these salted caramel ones, always a crowd pleaser and not too complex. I had a little problem with the salted butter as I couldn’t find the type he recommended. The type I used ended up being way too salty, so I used it in the caramel and then used an unsalted butter instead for the 290g part of the recipe. Most macaron recipes call for aged egg white. Simply separate the egg whites from the yolks and leave them for 3 days before using them.

Salted Caramel Macarons (2)

For the Macaron Shells (Makes 72 Macarons) 

300g ground almonds

300g icing sugar

110g aged eggs whites

15g Trablit coffee extract (I used a paste of very concentrated instant coffee, sorry Pierre)

15g egg yellow food colouring (This seemed like a lot, but it did the job) 

300g caster sugar

75g mineral water

110g aged egg whites


For the Salted Butter Caramel Cream

300g caster sugar

335g whipping cream

65g lightly salted ‘La Viette’ butter

290g softened ‘La Viette’ butter

For the Macaron Shells

     Sift together the icing sugar and the ground almonds.

     Mix the coffee extract and the food colouring into the first portion of the egg whites. Pour them over the mixture of the ground almonds and icing sugar but do not stir.

     Bring the water and sugar to boil to 118°C. When syrup reaches 115°C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed. When the sugar reaches 118°C, pour it over the egg whites. (This is much easier to do if you have a Kitchenaid, or something like it.) Whisk and allow the meringue to cool down to 50°C, then fold it into the sugar- almond mixture. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a plain nozzle.

     Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm in diameter, spacing them 2 cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment or a silicon mat.  Allow the shells to stand for at least 30 minutes until they form a skin.

     Preheat the fan oven to 180°C/ 160°C/ gas mark 4. Bake the macarons for 12 minutes.   

For the Salted Butter Caramel Cream

     Bring the whipping cream to the boil. Tip 50g of the sugar into a large saucepan and allow it to melt then add another 50g sugar and continue four more times.

     Allow syrup to caramelise until it turns a very dark amber colour. Take the pan off the heat and add 65g lightly salted butter, taking care as it may bubble and spit. Stir with a spatula then pour in the cream a little at a time stirring continuously. Put the saucepan back on a low heat and continue heating until the cream reaches 108°C. Pour into a gratin dish and press cling film over the surface. Set aside in the fridge until cool.

     Beat the 290g softened butter for 8 to 10 minutes, add the cooled cream and syrup mixture half at a time. Spoon the salted butter caramel cream into a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Pipe a generous mound of filling onto half the macaron shells. Top with remaining shells.

     Store the macarons for 24 hours in the fridge and bring out 2 hours before serving. 

Paul Hollywood’s Scones


The reason I love scones is that they are so quick and easy to make; you are ready to go with a delicious afternoon tea before you know it. You don’t have to faff around with icing or decorations; they come out of the oven and are ready to go. As we had a sunny afternoon, I decided to make the most of it and whipped up a batch of these scones to enjoy in the garden. They came out of the oven looking well-risen and fluffy with golden tops. We had the scones with Fortnum and Mason’s Rose Petal jelly which is amazing and really tastes of roses rather than just tasting sweet. I did decide to adapt Paul’s recipe slightly by adding sultanas.

Scones with Rose Jam


500g strong white flour, plus a little extra for rolling out

80g softened butter, plus a little extra to grease the baking tray

80g caster sugar

2 free-range eggs

5 teaspoons baking powder

250ml milk

A handful of sultanas (my addition)

1 free-range egg, beaten with a little sat (for glazing)


·         Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/ Gas 7

  •  Lightly grease a baking tin with butter and line it with baking or silicone paper.

·         Put 450g of the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Rub the flour and butter together with your fingers to create a breadcrumb-like mixture.

·         Add the sugar, eggs and baking powder and use a wooden spoon to turn the mixture gently.

·         Now add half of the milk and keep turning the mixture gently with the spoon to combine.

·         At this point add the sultanas and the rest of the milk a little at a time. Bring everything together to form a very soft, wet dough. (You may not need to use all the milk).

·         Sprinkle most of the remaining flour onto a clean work surface. Tip the soft dough out onto the work surface and sprinkle the rest of the flour on top.  The mixture will be wet and sticky.

·         Use your hands to fold the dough in half, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat. By folding and turning the mixture in this way you incorporate the last of the flour and air. Do this a few times until you have formed a smooth dough. If the mixture becomes too sticky, use some extra flour to coat the mixture or your hands to make it more manageable. Be careful not to overwork the dough.

·         Next, roll the dough out: sprinkle the flour onto the work surface and the top of the dough, then use the rolling pin to roll up from the middle and then down from the middle. Turn the dough by 90 degrees and continue to roll until it’s about 2.5cm thick. ‘Relax’ the dough slightly by lifting the edges and allowing the dough to drop back onto the work surface.

·         Using a pastry cutter, stamp out rounds from the pastry and place them onto the baking tray. Dip the edge of the pastry cutter in flour to make it easier the cut the scones without them sticking. Don’t twist the cutter, just press firmly, then lift it up and push the dough out.

·         Once you have cut 4-5 scones, you can re-work and re-roll the dough until it is all used up.  

·         Place the scones on the baking tray and leave then to rest for a few minutes to let the baking powder work. The use a pastry brush to glaze them with the beaten egg and salt mixture. Be careful to keep the glaze on the top of the scones and not the sides as this will prevent them from rising evenly.

·         Bake the scones in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the scones are risen and golden-brown.

·         Leave the scones to cool then split in half and add butter, jam and cream if you like.



Peach and Basil Frozen Yoghurt

Peach and basil frozen yoghurt (3)

Peaches are everywhere right now. They are sweet, juicy and in their prime. With all the special offers on punnets of peaches it would be criminal not to make the most of them. I stumbled across this recipe on the back of another that I had pulled out to keep, and since the weather has been so good of late, I decided to give it a go. Wow! I loved it! This frozen yoghurt is beautiful, tasty, refreshing and healthy. The only change I made to the recipe originally from My Waitrose Magazine, July 2014 was to double the amount of basil. I believe that if an ingredient is in the title, you should be able to taste it and for me, the basil is what makes the recipe special. I also used 0% fat yoghurt as that is what I had in the fridge and it tasted delicious.

Peach and Basil frozen yoghurt (4)


700g peaches (about 7 peaches)

5-6 tablespoons honey

175g Greek yoghurt (I used 0% fat)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

8 basil leaves (I used double the amount as I really wanted the basil to come through).

 Peach and Basil Frozen Yoghurt

·         Put the peaches into a food processor with a pinch of salt, 5 tablespoons of honey and the remaining ingredients.

·         Whiz until totally smooth, then taste and add a little more honey if needed.

·         Use a flexible spatula to push the mixture through a fine sieve.

·         Put in a freezer proof container and freeze for 8 hours or until solid.

·         Blitz in the food processor again until smooth.

·         Eat immediately or freeze for another hour to firm up a little.