Inspired by photos we received from our guests having a Skiology holiday at home, we have decided to launch a competition so you can relive the best moments of the perfect winter stay. So get your aprons on and wood spoons at the ready- it’s time to cook!

Canapes

Bruchetta

An excellent recipe for lock down since you can use any variation of chopped herbs and salad vegetables which you happen to have! We have gone for a basic recipe here as you are hopefully likely to have these in the fridge:

Ingredients: Baguette slices x 8 | Fresh tomatoes x 2 | Red onion x 1/2 | Lemon juice x 1/2 tsp | Coriander x 1 tsp | Seasoning

1.Begin by chopping up your tomatoes into roughly 1 cm slices to make a nice bite size piece. Some do prefer to remove the seeds in the centre of the tomato but in the spirit of reducing food waste, we will keep them in 🙂

2. Add the diced tomato to a bowl and add t 1/5 finely sliced red onion along with chopped coriander.  Add lemon juice to taste along with salt and pepper. For those spice lovers out there- why not add a drop of hot sauce? Stir well and leave to marinate.

3. Slice your bread into to 3cm squares for the ideal bite size piece. Now toast lightly until golden in a preheated grill or in an oven set at 180 degrees for 4 minutes.

4. While hot, simply rub a peeled clove of raw garlic onto each slice of bread. The more you rub, the stronger it will be so make sure it is just one or two swipes of garlic on each.

5. Using a teaspoon, add the salsa mix onto the toasted bread once you are ready to serve. But do this too soon and after 5 minutes the bread will be soggy!

6. Finish with some extra herbs and if you are feeling super fancy, a drizzle of olive oil or balsamic teams up great with most flavour combinations!

No baguette – no problem!

If you do not have a baguette in your cupboard then fear not! You could quite honestly use any bread product you have to hand whether it is a wholemeal roll, sliced white bread or even pitta bread. All will provide the perfect vehicle for getting your salsa to it’s destination.

Mini Frittata

Another versatile recipe which can pretty much coordinate with what you have in your fridge or what you prefer combination wise as long as you have the basic ingredients of egg and potato! We have popped some suggestions in the ingredients but see the directions below for our perfect frittata combination 🙂

Ingredients: 200g Sweet or White Potato | Eggs x 4 | Cheese x 100g optional: cheddar / feta / goats cheese | Vegetables x 50g optional: peppers / onions / courgettes / mushrooms / tomatoes / broccoli / peas / literally whatever you fancy!

1. Finely slice the onion and add to a pan on a medium-low heat with 1 tsp of oil and sauté. Meanwhile, slice the remaining vegetables you wish to use in the frittata, ideally you want everything slices to around 1cm thick so it all cooks at the same time and also makes for a more bitesize piece. Now add your sliced vegetables to the pan with the onion and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes.

2. In a separate pan, bring half a pan of water to the boil. Take your potatoes wash them and while leaving the skins on (remove if you prefer) slice into 1cm thick disks. Add to the boiling water and reduce to a simmer for 3-4 minutes or until they are waxy to touch but not soft. Remove and drain and then add to you onions and vegetables in the pan.

3. Continue to mix the vegetables while sautéing.Now is the time to add your seasoning and herbs to taste. My favourites are a little rosemary, thyme, tomato puree and smoked paprika. Once seasoned, removed from the heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

4. In a bowl, crack the eggs and whisk well. Once the potato mix is cooler, stir in the eggs. If the mix is too hot, the eggs will scramble!

5. Line a square baking tin with greaseproof paper and empty the potato mix in once it is softened. 

6. Top with sliced tomato and crumbled/ grated cheese and bake at 180c for 30-40 minutes or until egg is set in the centre. Leave to cool before cutting.

Yoghurt cake recipe

Ingredients:  2 x yoghurt pots | 2 x pots self raising flour | 2 pots sunflower oil | 2 pots sugar | 2 eggs | 1/2 tsp vanilla extract | *flavouring of your choice

The cake mix

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Empty both yogurts into a bowl but retain the pots. Next, use the pots to measure 2 pots of oil then add to the bowl. Repeat for the remaining ingredients and then pop the eggs and bicarb into the bowl too. By putting the oil in first, it prevents the other ingredients from sticking to the inside of the yoghurt pot!

2. Mix all ingredients together until well combined and smooth. I like to use a whisk but some prefer a spoon. 

3. Divide batter equally between 2 or 3 greased sandwich tins or whichever tin / tray you choose. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the smell of cake fills the air, the top of the cake has turned golden brown or when a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clear of cake batter.

4. Allow to cool a little before trying to turn the cake out onto a plate or cooling rack to. It is good to do this while still warm as the butter will allow the cake to release much more easily then when it is cold. 

Preparing the baking tin

Any cake tin will do sandwich tin, loaf tin, baking tray, cupcake tins or even china tea cups! (Please check with the china cups have no chips or cracks before exposing it to heat). A great trick for easy lining is cutting the baking paper roughly to size then scrunching it up complete into a ball in your hands, then flatten it out again. This makes it far more malleable to then fit it into all the corners / curves of the tin.

No cupcake cases? No problem!

Cut squares of baking paper that are 1 inch wider than the cupcake hole on all sides. i.e. A cupcake hole of 3 inches across requires paper to  measure 5inches by 5 inches. Make a 1 inch cut towards the centre in the middle of each side. Now when you press the paper into the hole, the paper will more easily fit in.

The endless cake flavour and topping possibilities

There are no rules. It is whatever is in your cupboard. From the humble vanilla cake with a water icing or a use it up fruit cake, the possibilities are endless.

Chocolate cake

You could make a simple sponge recipe and add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or for a chocolate sponge, simply add 2 tsp cocoa powder to the flour when mixing. Then when the cake is cooled you could decorate it with:

  • Melted chocolate simply drizzled over the top.
  • Nutella spread on the top (or middle if making sandwich sponges).
  • Make a chocolate buttercream (recipe here)
  • Using a grater, shave chocolate pieces on top of each cake
  • Or for a lighter chocolate finish, dust the cake with sweetened cocoa powder using a sieve.

If you have different flavour yoghurt pots then why not opt for a strawberry yoghurt and add in white chocolate cut finely for a different twist on the chocolate approach?

Or a cherry yoghurt works really well with dark chocolate!

Fruit bowl Cake

Some great fresh fruits to use are apples, pears, peaches, mangos, pineapples, nectaries and even grapes!

Simply cut the fruit into slices or chunks and you can either arrange the fruit in patterns on top of the cake batter which is in the tin, or you can go for the rustic look of  chopping the fruit up and tumbling it on top of the batter.

Press the fruit in lightly so it does not all sit complete proud of the batter. Sprinkle 1-2 tsp brown or white sugar on the fruit or with a pastry brush, gently brush loosened jam on top- my favourite is apricot!

Baking may require an addition 8-10 minutes due to the extra ingredients added. This will be a little more unstable to handle so best to let it cool completely before trying to remove from the tray and slice.

Also delicious as dessert served with custard or ice cream!

Coffee and walnut

Simply add a shot of coffee into your cake batter at the mixing stage. Either 1 x expresso or if using instant coffee, I dissolve 2 tsp instant coffee with 25ml of boiling water, stir until combined and add to the cake mix. at this stage, you could also add some chopped walnuts or nut of your choice.

To decorate your coffee cake, you could perhaps do a traditional water icing by measuring out 150g icing sugar and using the same method above for the coffee concentrate, at 1-2 tsp of liquid coffee to the water icing or enough until it is runny enough to pour but not so runny that it will drip right off the cake!

If you are doing a sandwich sponge, you may want to do a coffee buttercream for the ultimate in coffee cake heaven. Here is a great standard recipe (click here)

Top tip: If you accidentally over bake your sponge and think it may be a little dry, you can use the coffee concentrate as a light drizzle simply brushing it over the top of the sponge, around 3-4 tsp worth.

Banana Cake

If this is your first time making a banana cake then you should be aware that the older and more bruised up the banana- the better the taste and texture your cake will be. You can still use less ripe bananas but they will nut mush up as easily and the taste is just not quite the same.

Simply take 1-2 over ripe bananas and using the back of a fork, mush up and add this into the cake batter along with all the other usual ingredients.

When baked, you could decorate with a vanilla buttercream (recipe here) or if you are feeling adventurous, why not try a Dulce De Leche sauce. Now I will warn you now, make this and I promise you will not be able to stop eating this. So if you are trying to avoid putting on an extra weight during lockdown, do not tempt yourself with this recipe.

We proceed with caution… for the Dulce de Leche sauce melt 50g butter in a non stick pan and add in 50g brown sugar, whisk on a medium heat constantly until dissolved. Now add a 350g tin of condensed milk. SUPER important that you now whisk vigorously and constantly until the sauce is well combined and starts to bubble. If the sauce catches at all it will get little burnt bits so a steady heat and constant stirring/whisking is key. Once the sauce has started to bubble then it is ready. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Spread this on top of your banana loaf / cupcakes / face and enjoy!

Spiced Carrot Cake

Pack one of your five a day into you cake by grating 100g of carrots and adding it to your cake batter along with optional extras of:

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2tsp nutmeg

Juice of 1 orange

20g sultanas or raisin

50g x grated courgette

Simply add into the cake batter and stir until combined. Due to the higher density of this cake, you may need to bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the cake is golden and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clear of cake batter.

To decorate, you could make a traditional cream cheese topping (recipe here). Or for something different, a cinnamon buttercream (recipe here). But my favourite for a dairy free option is to simply make an orange drizzle by adding equal parts of orange juice and sugar into a pan and bringing to a gentle simmer for 3-5 minutes or until reduced by 1/3. When cooled, drizzle over or brush onto the sponge with a pastry brush.

Feeling jazzy- you could try these carrot decorations (recipe here).

Citrus cake

To make the sponge a nice citrus flavour, do not add the juice as this tends to turn the sponge a dark colour during baking. Instead, I like to use the zest of the lemon which has been finely grated from the lemon or orange or lime and then simply stirred into the batter when mixing all the other ingredients. I would for this recipe, not add the vanilla as it can be a flavour clash.

Citrus drizzle has to be the winner every time for a citrus cake. Simple, delicious and looks pretty too! Simply add the juice of a your chosen citrus fruit to a bowl and add an equal measure of sugar. Adding graulated sugar will give a lovely crytalised effect on the cake. Using caster sugar will dissolve a little more and achieve a more uniform drizzle. Simply mix the sugar and juice until combined (a bottle of squeezy citrus juices works fine too).

Or if you prefer to use icing sugar, you can achieve a thicker lemon icing to the consistency that you prefer. This is also great for dolloping on top of cupcakes!

My favourite addition to a citrus cake is a homemade lemon or lime curd (recipe here)

Decorate with citrus segments rolled in sugar (very tart!), more grated citrus zest, fresh mint from the garden, or why not go for a cherry on top!

Happy Cooking & Bon Appétit!