A Cornish girl's food adventures

Tag: spices

Cardamom buns

Cardamom buns

I’m almost certain that homemade bread is good for the soul. The process of making the dough, the smell as it bakes and that first taste when it’s fresh from oven – it really does make me feel good. I love making a batch of […]

Plum & cinnamon cobbler

Plum & cinnamon cobbler

Yeah! You did it! You made it through January. I don’t know about you but my January was 178 days long and I’m pretty sure that it rained every day. But it’s February now which means that it won’t be long before we can start […]

Gingerbread Honeycomb

Gingerbread Honeycomb

What do you call this? Honeycomb? Cinder toffee? Hokey pokey? Mr Colonial Cravings always laughs at me when I call it hokey pokey, but that’s what we call it in Cornwall and I think it’s pretty cute. Whatever name you have for it, this gingerbread flavoured version is just what your homemade gift repertoire has been waiting for!
It goes without saying that you have to be super-careful when you’re making this (it’s not one to do with kids) as the sugar will be crazy-hot and can give you a nasty burn if you splash yourself with it. It’s useful to have a jam thermometer but you can always test for ‘hard crack’ stage by dropping a tiny bit of the caramel into some ice-water.

Ingredients
makes loads
150g sugar
6 tbsp golden syrup
2 1/4 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
about 150g dark chocolate for coating

Mix together the spices and bicarbonate of soda and set aside until later. Line a deep sided baking tin or dish with foil and lightly oil.
Combine the sugar and syrup in a large heavy based saucepan and bring to boiling point. Heat until it reaches 140°c or ‘hard crack’ stage. Remove from the heat and quickly and carefully whisk in the spices and bicarbonate of soda so that the toffee foams up excitedly. Be very careful!
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and let it set and harden – don’t be temped to touch it and don’t try to spread it out, it’s just going to do what it wants to do!
Once it has hardened, cooled and set, cut or break it into bite sized pieces. Melt the chocolate and dip the honeycomb into it to half coat them and then leave them on a wire rack to set.
The tiny bits and dust from breaking up the honeycomb is really delicious sprinkled onto whipped cream on top of hot chocolate by the way!

Gingerbread Viennese Whirls

Gingerbread Viennese Whirls

Oh my word these are good! I didn’t think Viennese whirls could get any more delicious but this festive twist really is good. Melt in the mouth, crumbly, buttery biscuits spiked with fiery ginger and fragrant spices, filled with gooey toffee and rich brandy buttercream? […]

Apple and cranberry chelsea buns

Apple and cranberry chelsea buns

You just can’t go wrong with a Chelsea bun. Soft enriched dough crammed full of rich, sweet fillings and covered in finger-licking sticky glaze. Always a winner! I love these warm for wintry breakfasts or with a cup of piping hot tea on a chilly […]

Pumpkin chocolate cake (vegan)

Pumpkin chocolate cake (vegan)

When we lived in America people would get very excited about the fact that on 1st November all of the Halloween candy in the shops would be super-cheap. I’m not sure that you could make candy corn cheap enough for me to eat it! We don’t do Halloween on nearly the same scale in this country so we don’t have aisles of cheap candy in our shops but we do get an abundance of cheap pumpkins. Which makes me much happier, as I’m sure you must know by now – I love me some veggies!


The moisture from the pumpkin gives this cake a deliciously rich, fudgy, brownie-like texture without it being too dense or heavy and the spices and chocolate go together wonderfully.
I have quite a small bundt tin which I bake this in but you can easily double the mixture to fill a larger bundt or adjust the cooking time to bake it in a standard tin. You can make the pumpkin puree by simply blending steamed, roasted or microwaved pumpkin flesh.

Ingredients
375g pumpkin puree
50g light soft brown sugar
65ml flavourless oil
135g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
pinch of seasalt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
big pinch of grated nutmeg
handful of dairyfree chocolate chips (optional – but they add a bit of texture)
ganache frosting
50g dairyfree chocolate
50ml coconut cream

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and thoroughly grease your baking tin. If you’re using a bundt tin then it’s a good idea to lightly dust it with a little flour or cocoa to reduce the risk of the cake sticking.
Blend together the pumpkin, sugar, salt and oil in a mixing bowl until it is thick and smooth. Sift together all of the dry ingredients, to ensure that they are well blended and then briefly fold them into the wet mixture. Be careful not to over-mix it. Fold through the chocolate chips if you’re using them and then pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake the cake for 35 minutes, until it has risen and a cake tester comes out of it cleanly. Turn out of the tin and leave it to cool on a wire rack.


Make the frosting by chopping up the chocolate and placing it in a shallow dish. Heat the coconut cream until it is quite warm and then pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two and then stir until well blended. Leave to cool and thicken to a soft spreading consistency before using to coat the outside of the cake.

Pear and ginger pudding cake

Pear and ginger pudding cake

I’ve made this a few times now and it always gets a really warm welcome at the table. It’s what autumn puddings should be, rich and warming and packed with flavourful spices. The sponge is wonderfully light with a gloriously sticky crust, the pears are […]

Crispy tofu tacos – with avocado coleslaw

Crispy tofu tacos – with avocado coleslaw

Before I lived in the States I only ever really thought of tacos as the hard, crunchy shells you buy from the supermarket and fill with chilli and cheese. I was utterly oblivious to the world of deliciousness which ‘proper’ tacos provide, there are so […]

Sour cherry and cinnamon jam

Sour cherry and cinnamon jam

I’ve told you before about how much I love cherries. I’ve probably mentioned the tears that ensued when I swallowed a cherry stone as a child and my dad told me a cherry tree would grow out of my head.
Ordinarily cherries are far too expensive to buy too often. It seems that this year though cherry growing conditions in the UK have been pretty perfect and we have quite a glut! In other circumstances cherry jam would seem like such an extravagant thing to make but I was given a sackful (an actual sackful!) last time we visited Mr Colonial Cravings family.


Turning the fruit into jam not only means that I’ve preserved all that cherry joy to enjoy for a little bit longer but it also gives me some scope for a few more cherry based recipes. Watch this space…

Ingredients
makes about 2 medium jars
850g sour cherries, pitted
600g jam sugar (sugar with added pectin)
juice of half a lemon
1 cinnamon stick
knob of butter (optional)

Put a small saucer in the freezer to test the jam later for setting point.
Stir together the fruit and sugar in a very, very large pan. Add the cinnamon stick and set it over a moderate heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle rolling boil and leave it to bubble for around 30 minutes. If you have a jam/sugar thermometer then you want the mixture to reach around 105°c.
Test the jam to see if it’s reached setting point by dropping a spoonful of it onto the saucer that you put in the freezer earlier. Leave it to cool for a moment then push your finger through it, if the surface wrinkles then it’s ready. If it’s not quite there then let it bubble for a little longer. Once it has reached setting point turn off the heat, remove the cinnamon and stir in the lemon juice. If the jam has a lot of foam on the surface then stir in a knob of butter to disperse it.
Pour the jam into warm sterilised jars, label, seal and leave to cool.

Heirloom tomato and fennel tart

Heirloom tomato and fennel tart

When you get really good ingredients it’s worth using them in a recipe that really shows off their full potential. That’s how I feel about these beautiful heirloom tomatoes anyway. So often the fruits you find in supermarkets are insipid and disappointing but if you […]