Carrot and Onion Bhajis

The onion bhaji, a classic staple starter in most Indian restaurants, is usually made by frying sliced onions in a spiced batter which can be quite greasy and heavy. I was inspired by Tracy (@TheLittlePK) to give this recipe a go and make my own version of it.


The original recipe had turmeric, cumin and coriander seeds, ingredients not a staple of the student pantry. I changed the spicing around slightly, using garam masala, which contained all 3 of the above, and adding garlic as I am a big fan of garlic!

Spices are a fantastic way of flavouring your food without adding extra fat, sugar or calories and they are a cheap purchase as they will last you a long time. There’s no need to go for fancy brands either, supermarket own brands will suffice.

This recipe is a perfect way to use up those carrots at the bottom of the fridge which you have no idea how to use them besides doing a carrot cake or just chucking them into a stew.

3 onions (red or white), thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tbsp garam masala

2 tsp mild curry powder

½ tsp hot chilli powder

¼ tsp table salt

2 tbsp tomato puree

6 tbsp water

90g plain flour

Prepare the onions and carrots. In a frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the oil and the onions and carrots and stir-fry for around 5 minutes until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add all of the spices and salt to the carrot onion mix and continue to stir-fry for a further 6-7 minutes until the spices are well distributed and the onion and carrot have softened slightly. Transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and give the parchment a light grease to stop the bhajis sticking to the tray. In a small bowl, mix together the tomato puree with the water. Set aside.

Add the flour to the cooked vegetables and use a fork to stir it through. Add around 80% of the tomato puree mixture and you should notice a batter-like mixture surrounding the carrot and onion forms. Leave to sit for 5 minutes.

Use an ice cream scoop to divide the bhaji mixture up. I filled the ice cream scoop three-quarters full which gave me around 10 bhajis but feel free to make them slightly smaller.


Bake the bhajis for 20 minutes and the tops should have started to brown and get crisp. Push the bhajis off the parchment with a knife and flip them around so that the underside can set too; this takes around 10 – 15 minutes in the same oven.

Serve the bhajis with a cooling cucumber raita as a snack or as a side dish to an Indian meal. These would be a fantastic vegetarian accompaniment to go with my Aubergine and Potato Curry.

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Apple and Plum Turnovers

There’s nothing homelier and comforting than a pie especially when you add a filling with lots of autumnal flavours and warming spices and my Apple and Plum Turnovers are fitting with the change of weather.

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This is a fantastic way to use up those apples that you just don’t know what to do with and the plums which are a bit too overripe for my liking. I like to keep the skin on both the apples and plums as both fruits are high in pectin, a water-soluble fibre that forms a gel when combined with water. This helps to set the compote up slightly so that there isn’t too much liquid which could give you a soggy bottom! I like to place a layer of rolled oats underneath the compote filling which helps to absorb some of the moisture and prevent that dreaded soggy bottom.

I roll out the pastry slightly to make the rectangle larger so it can hold more filling and also the pastry is thinner which is the perfect ratio of pastry to filling. Before I bake the turnovers, I finish with a brush of egg wash to glaze the pastry and sprinkle over some flaked almonds and crunchy Demerara sugar.

2 apples, I used Pink Lady

3 plums

2 tbsp sugar – you can use brown sugar

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp mixed spice

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

50g sultanas

2 tbsp water

2 tsp flour

1 pack of ready-rolled puff pastry

Rolled oats

Demerara sugar

Flaked almonds

Icing sugar

Decore the apples and chop them into 1cm cubes. Halve the plums, twist to separate them into two halves, destone, and chop the plums into 1cm cubes. Add the sugar and all of the spices to the pan. Put the pan on a medium heat for 10 minutes until the fruit begins to soften.

Add in the sultanas and water and stir. Place on the lid and allow the compote to bubble away for a further 10 minutes until the fruit has softened. Check the liquid, it should be thick and syrupy. You can add some flour to thicken it up. Transfer the compote to a bowl and allow to cool fully.


Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Cut the puff pastry into 6 rectangles and on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry slightly thinner and larger. Onto one side of the pastry and leaving a 1cm border on that side, sprinkle over a layer of the rolled oats. Spoon over around 2 tablespoons of the filling onto the oats and sprinkle over some more on top.

Cut a diagonal line in the centre of the other half of the pastry and fold the pastry over the filling, pressing around the compote and the 2 sides together lightly. Crimp the edges of the turnover using a fork and place onto the baking tray. Repeat for the other turnovers. Brush the turnovers with some beaten egg and then sprinkle over the Demerara sugar and flaked almonds.


Bake the turnovers for around 25 – 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown, risen in layers and when you lift them up from the tray, the bases are cooked through. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

While they cool, make your icing by mixing together icing sugar with either water or milk to form a thick icing that is runny enough to pipe; 2 teaspoons of liquid usually works for 40g icing sugar. Place into a piping bag and drizzle over the turnovers, or you can randomly drizzle it with a spoon.


Meatless Monday: Aubergine and Potato Curry

Meatless Monday is a worldwide campaign aimed at improving the health of people and the planet by removing meat from our diet for 1 day a week. Founded in 2003, Meatless Monday has gained immense popularity and whilst I haven’t actively done this myself, as a student, I do find that meat is expensive and also a bit of a pain to cook sometimes. With that, I came up with this Aubergine and Potato Curry.

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I cooked this curry in a large batch so I could have some in the freezer on hand to defrost at any time. You can change this curry around to suit your tastes by using hot or mild curry powder or omitting the dried chilli flakes if you don’t like the heat. You could also add cauliflower, spinach or chickpeas if you want to; frozen spinach is brilliant in curries I find as it thickens it up nicely too.

I used tinned potatoes for my curry, it’s cheaper and much easier than cooking potatoes from scratch at just 15p for a tin that was just right for the amount of curry I was cooking. Frozen or tinned vegetables are essential items in my kitchen, it eliminates the need to prepare them and they can be more nutritious than their fresh equivalents as the nutrients are locked when they are flash frozen.

1 onion, chopped into 1 inch squares

1 pepper, chopped into 1 inch squares

2 tbsp sunflower oil

1 carrot, cut into 0.5cm half moons

1 medium aubergine, cut into 1 inch squares

1 x 560g tin of new potatoes

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

¼ tsp hot chilli powder

2 tsp garlic granules

4 tsp medium curry powder

2 tbsp garam masala

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp tomato puree

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

50g frozen peas

Place the onion and pepper into a saucepan over a medium heat with half of the oil and sweat the onion until it has turned slightly translucent and has softened slightly. Add in the carrot and continue to cook until the carrot softens slightly and then season.

In a separate pan or wok, fry off the aubergine in the remaining oil until the aubergine has browned on both sides. Season with salt and pepper and add the aubergine into the rest of the vegetables. Add in the tinned potatoes and add around 100ml of water and cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.

Place all of the spices into the pan you cooked the aubergine in and toast the spices. You should start to smell the spices’ aroma as they toast. Once toasted, add in the tomato puree and mix the spices into the puree and let the puree “brown” for 2-3 minutes; by this I mean heat the puree through so that you intensify the tomato flavour.

Meanwhile add the chopped tomatoes with a teaspoon of sugar to the vegetable pan and swill out the tin of tomatoes with 50ml of water. Add in the browned tomato puree and give everything a stir to combine. Leave the curry to bubble on a medium high heat for around 10 minutes to finish cooking the vegetables and allow the flavours to amalgamate.

Adjust the seasoning and the spice to your liking and then add the frozen peas and leave the curry to boil for a further 10 – 15 minutes to thicken up. If it is still a bit too wet, you can remove some of the liquid and create a slurry with some cornflour, adding it back to the pan to thicken it.

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When the curry sauce is to the desired consistency, serve the curry with some freshly cooked basmati rice or some naan bread; I bought some garlic and coriander naans which were perfect for mopping up the curry sauce. You can also finish it with a sprinkle of coriander, serve it with a cucumber raita or with some crispy poppadoms!



‘Spiced Chocolate Sultana’ and ‘White Chocolate Coconut’ Welsh Cakes

I received a package today from Beech’s Chocolate which contained 5 fantastic little chocolate bars, ranging from Lime and Chilli Dark Chocolate to Anglesey Sea Salt Milk Chocolate, as well as Chocolate Coconut Macaroons and Dark Chocolate Ginger Thins.


Beech’s Chocolate is a UK-based company which uses all natural ingredients to produce chocolates which are suitable for vegans as well as being gluten-free. Traditional and quality chocolates are being produced by a British chocolatier in Lancashire and have been since 1920.  You can find their full range here on their website.

I couldn’t wait to use their chocolate in my GBBO bake yesterday and I chose to use their Ginger Dark Chocolate to make Spiced Chocolate Sultana Welsh Cakes. Having a flatmate who is Welsh, I was told that I wasn’t making proper Welsh cakes because they had chocolate and spices in them but consider this a 21st century take on the Welsh cake! I based this recipe around the Beech’s Chocolate’s Ginger Dark Chocolate bar which I received.


I tried the chocolate on its own and the strong depth of the chocolate complimented the ginger well and although I couldn’t taste the ginger too strongly trying it at room temperature, the fragrance of ginger came alive when the Welsh cakes were cooking in the pan. I decided to compliment the chocolate by adding sultanas, ground nutmeg and cinnamon into the Welsh cake mixture.

But if you aren’t a fan of sultanas, you can also try making my White Chocolate and Coconut Welsh Cakes; it’s the same base recipe but instead you replace the chocolate, the spices and sultanas with white chocolate and desiccated coconut.


I’m yet to review the other 4 bars but as with every review, I do receive the products to review and receive no monetary payment to write these reviews. I have not been told to write falsely positive reviews and everything is my own opinion. I keep products after the review.

For the Welsh cakes:

225g self raising flour

90g margarine

45g granulated sugar

1 egg

For the White Chocolate and Coconut Welsh Cakes:

100g white chocolate, chopped into small cubes

2 tbsp desiccated coconut

For the Spiced Chocolate Sultana Welsh Cakes:

1 x 60g bar of Beech’s Ginger Dark Chocolate, chopped into small cubes

60g sultanas

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Measure out the flour and margarine into a bowl and using your fingertips, rub the fat and flour together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, egg and the chocolate fillings. Use a table knife and a folding motion, where you lift around the edge of the bowl and cut through the middle, to bring the Welsh cake dough loosely together.

Pour out the dough onto a very lightly floured surface and knead the dough together with your hands. Roll out the Welsh cake dough to 5mm thickness and use a cookie cutter, a glass or wine glass (which is all we had available) to cut out rounds of the dough. Place them onto some parchment while you reroll the scraps of dough.

Cook the Welsh cakes in a lightly greased frying pan over a medium heat until both sides are golden brown; this will take around 2 – 3 minutes. The chocolate chunks will melt out of the sides and in the pan, just give the pan a quick wipe if the chocolate starts to burn.

Repeat with the remaining Welsh cakes. Traditionally Welsh cakes are finished with a sprinkling of caster sugar but I feel it doesn’t need it with the sweet chocolate already.



Exploring Chocolate Tarts: Cremamocha Tart

The final chocolate tart in my series ‘Exploring Chocolate Tarts’ is my Cremamocha Tart; a shortcrust pastry base filled with a coffee flavoured smooth chocolate ganache. The coffee flavour comes from the addition of Camp Coffee, a chicory-based coffee flavoured essence which can be used in baking to produce a coffee flavour as well as being used as a coffee substitute.


Here are some of my other recipes where Camp Coffee could be used to give a great coffee flavour. To use Camp Coffee, I recommend using the same weight of the coffee granules, so if a recipe calls for 1 tsp of instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tbsp of milk, add 1 tsp of Camp Coffee essence.

Coffee and Vanilla Striped Biscuits

Snowy Mountain Mochacinno Cake

Mocha Choca Madeleines

Coffee and Walnut Lamingtons

Perfect Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes

Since the ganache filling is not baked in the oven, you have to blind bake the pastry cases. You can read the full details of both how I line my tart tins as well as how I blind bake my pastry by clicking here.

1 pack of ready rolled shortcrust pastry

150ml single cream

2 tbsp Camp Coffee essence

150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

Fill your tart tins with the pastry as detailed above, rerolling any excess to the same thickness. Any gaps in your pastry can be patched up with the pastry. Line with foil as above and fill with weights.


Place the tarts into the preheated oven and turn the temperature down to 180˚C and bake blind for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove the foil and weights and return to the oven for 10 minutes until the base is golden and cooked through.

For the ganache, heat together the cream and Camp Coffee essence in the microwave for 90 seconds, stirring after each 30 seconds have passed. Add in the dark chocolate pieces and leave for 3 minutes. Then stir the ganache until the chocolate has all melted and it is smooth and silky.

Fill the pastry cases right to the top with ganache, using a knife to spread out the surface so that it is smooth. Chill the tarts for 45 minutes until the ganache has set and isn’t soft or sticky to the touch.


To serve, dust the tart decoratively with icing sugar, using a template to create shapes. You may wish to serve it with fresh fruit or a praline.


Slow Cooker Chocolate and Orange Waffle Cake

This week (10th October to 16th October) is National Chocolate Week and to celebrate, I chose to make a chocolate cake flavoured with orange in my new slow cooker which has a waffle topping which adds a different texture, colour and flavour.

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Slow cookers are a fantastic way to cook cheaper cuts of meat which require longer and lower cooking than other, more expensive, cuts of meat such as sirloin steak or chicken breast. The slow and long cooking process breaks down the meat by softening the connective tissue resulting in tender meat.

But you may be surprised to learn that you can even make cakes and other puddings in your slow cooker. The main tips that I have read about baking cakes in a slow cooker is to remember to grease and line the ceramic pot with a disc of baking parchment and to place a tea towel or cloth under the lid to prevent any condensation making the surface soggy. But the hardest bit of the cooking process is the waiting!

If you are looking for more slow cooker baking recipes, I suggest checking out Lucy’s (aka @bakingqueen74) blog where she has created lots of different bakes to go in your slow cooker; you can find the slow cooker baking section here.

58g margarine

95g granulated sugar

1 large egg

95g self raising flour

10g cocoa powder

40g Choc Shot Orange Spice (if you don’t have this, 40g of melted chocolate with the zest of ½ orange)

1 toasting waffle, cut into pieces

Grease the pot of your 1.5L slow cooker well and line the base with a disc of baking parchment, allowing it to come up the sides slightly.

In a bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until the sugar has dissolved slightly. Add in the egg and beat until the egg has incorporated; don’t worry if it curdles. Add in the self raising flour and the cocoa powder and fold until it resembles a cake batter. Add in the Choc Shot (or melted chocolate) until the cake batter is a deep chocolate colour and pourable.

Pour all of the cake batter into the slow cooker pot and use the back of a spoon to level out the surface. Place the waffle pieces on the cake and push them in slightly.


Turn the slow cooker onto the low setting for 1 hour and 15 minutes, remembering the place a blue cloth or a tea towel under the lid. Then turn the slow cooker up to high for the last 35 – 45 minutes. The cake is done when an inserted skewer comes out clean.


Leave the cake to cool in the slow cooker for 30 minutes before lifting out the pot, running a knife around the edge and turning out the cake. To serve, take a slice of the cake and accompany with some whipped cream or ice cream.


Gochujang Fried Rice

The Korean dish, bibimbap, which literally translates as mixed rice, was the inspiration for this recipe, my Gochujang Fried Rice. With pieces of fried bacon, scrambled egg, spring onions, cucumber, sweetcorn and gochujang paste, which is Korean fermented chilli paste, this fried rice dish is ready in less than 30 minutes and is so simple to cook and prepare!


I’m yet to fully master cooking rice on an electric hob and that’s something I definitely need to work on, however I am beginning to master the art of cooking quickly which is what I’ll need after a tiring day of lectures and workshops!

And if you’ve never tried gochujang, it’s a spicy almost garlicky chilli paste which lends lots of flavour to anything, whether that’s meat, vegetables or my fried rice. The flavour of gochujang is complex and I’ve never tasted anything like it however I do know that it tastes delicious! If you don’t have an Asian supermarket where you can buy it, you can find gochujang in most normal supermarkets these days.

If you’re worried about not using the whole tub, here are some of my other gochujang recipes you can try!

Korean Pork Belly with Japchae Noodles

Romaine Lettuce Kimchi

75g long grain rice

2 rashers of bacon

1 egg

1 spring onion, chopped into discs

¼ of a cucumber, cut into 2 inch matchsticks

2 tbsp gochujang paste

A handful of tinned sweetcorn

Wash the rice until the water runs clear and then place into a saucepan with enough water such that when your middle finger touches the surface of the rice, it comes up to the first ridge. Place the pan on a high heat and bring to the boil.

Once the water has boiled, turn the heat down as small as possible and leave on the heat with a lid on for a further 15 minutes or so. The rice is done when there are dimples in the surface and fluff it up with a fork only.

In a dry wok, fry the bacon rashers until they are cooked through. Any burnt pieces will add to the flavour so don’t wash the wok in between. Place it onto a chopping board and chop it into small pieces.

Add the egg into the wok and scramble it and pour it out onto the chopping board.

Into the wok, fry the spring onions with the cucumber until slightly softened. Add in the gochujang paste, the sweetcorn and the cooked bacon and egg and stir fry with a wooden spatula until everything is covered with gochujang.


Add the warm rice in all at once and continue to toss around until the rice has turned a golden colour. Transfer to a bowl, finish with a few more slivers of spring onion and eat immediately.