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Jam thumbprint biscuits

As a small child i would love to stay with my grandparents on weekends consuming these biscuits from a local bakery after or sometimes even before a delicious salad sandwich.

Must remember to clear the decks before taking photos in future, we have a random clothes peg and jar in the background incase you were wondering.

At the bakery these biscuits were more dome shaped with a pool of jam in the center however, my  Hugh's home made version capture the soft, rich and buttery yumminess just as i remember.

Recipe adapted from hugh fearnley whittingstall
Makes about 24 biscuits

225g unsalted butter, room temp
225g caster sugar
½ vanilla pod, seeds only
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp buttermillk
280g plain flour, sifted
About 3 tbsp apricot jam
About 3 tbsp raspberry jam

Heat the oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/gas mark 4.  Weigh/measure all ingredients and seperate eggs. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla seeds.
Next beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then beat in the buttermilk.
Gently fold in half the flour, stir gently, then add the rest – don't overwork it or the biscuits will be tough. Gather the soft dough together gently with your hands until you have a smooth ball. Wrap in clingfilm, chill for 30 minutes, then roll into 2.5cm balls, each ball should weigh about 30g. Place these on the baking sheets about 2.5cm apart. Use your thumb to push a deep little well in the centre of each ball – this is quite a sticky dough, so dip your thumb in water first. Put a quarter of a tablespoon of jam in each indentation.
Bake until firm to touch and golden on the bottom, about 10-15 minutes. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks and cool completely.

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On my quest to search the internet for halal vanilla extract i came across this nice shop named Vanilla Mart their halal vanilla extract is quite expensive about £14 so i opted for  vanilla beans as they are cheap as chips compared with supermarket prices!
I ordered the gourmet indian vanilla pods rather than the more famous madagascan variety and im ashamed to say i never knew india produced vanilla beans, how food uncultured am i? The GOOD news is the flavour for me is equally as delicious as its more expensive cousin.
This weeks mission it to bake it... using vanilla, care to join me?


Top Tip Tuesday - Shortcrust Pastry Rules

  • Always ensure at least your butter is chilled when starting to make shortcrust pastry, butter makes the pastry short i.e. crumbly. However, if the butter is warm then it will combine with the gluten of the flour and make your pastry tough! Work fast yet with a gentle touch.
  • To roll your pastry, i find it easier and have more control when it's between two sheets of plastic wrap, i find i can get a thinner pastry using this method. Roll up onto a floured rolling pin before laying over your case/pie dish
  • Trim excess pastry from the sides (you can do this after baking but easier and less crumbs see pic if you do it now). Use a piece of the overhang to gently push the pastry into the creases/edges of your case if any tears occur patch work is necessary, don't worry no-one will see it once your tart/pie has it's filling.
  • Chill your pastry case in the fridge or blast in the freezer (cover with plastic wrap) this will give the gluten time to relax resulting in a more delicate pastry than if you were to skip this step and reduce the chance of shrinkage when you come to bake it!
  • Don't forget to line your case with baking paper then baking beans/beads/pie weights before blind baking. Always remove paper and beans after 10-12 mins and cook for a few more mins for the base to colour.

Now after all that talk of chilling and relaxing, i have housework to do, must dash!



Lemon Meringue Pie/Tart

Salam Alaikum / Hi


Food historians tell us the precursor for meringue was an Elizabethan-era dish called  "Snow". (aka snow eggs). What exactly is meringue and who is credited for the discovery?
"Meringue...an airy, crisp confection of beaten egg white and sugar. The word probably entered French from German, as did many other French words ending in -ingue. It first appeared in print in Massailot [1691], although earlier recipes for the same thing but without the name had been published. The name travelled to England almost at once and first appeared in print there in 1706....It seems to have been only in the 16th century that European cooks discovered that beating egg whites, e.g. with a whisk of birch twigs (in the absense of any better implement), produced an attractive foam. At first the technique was used to make a simple, uncooked dish called snow, made from egg white and cream. However, cooking such a foam would not have resulted in meringue, for any fat in the mixture, as represented by the cream, prevents the egg whites from taking on the proper texture...When true meringue made its appearance in the 17th century, it still lacked its name and was often called "sugar puff.""
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 197)

A dear friend 'Sugar' gave me the recipe for this delicious lip smacking pie/tart the other week, without my weighing scales i had no option but to wait and it was totally worth it.
I finally set my mind to bake it this morning. After around an hour and half it was finished,  ready and waiting for when dh woke from his slumber.
Note: In future Asmaa, don't think about pastry baking when in england a heat wave is in progress!

My version became more a tart than pie, as the layers were skinnier than normal. This is in no way a fault in the original recipe but to myself by not using a 19cm flan/tart/pie tin, i used my one and only 23cm petal shaped loose based tart tin.

The on-going problem i have with baking in my pretty petal tin is the tart always sticks and never will come out in 1 piece (the tin is supposed to be non stick and i still butter it very well)  Any tips/help would be greatly appreciated.


225g plain flour
25g sugar
100g butter
¼ tsp salt
1 egg
*Note this is probably Enough for two 19cm flan cases or 1 23cm tart tin with a but left over, it can be frozen.

Juice of 3 lemons
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
3 tbsp corn flour
150ml water
75g sugar
2 egg yolks
15g butter

2 egg whites
115g sugar

  1. In a food processer pulse flour, sugar and butter to fine bread crumb consistancy add in beaten egg and pulse until you have a dough, may need little water. Chill for at least ½ hour. Do prep work i.e. zest lemons,weigh sugars and butter etc for filling/meringue.
  2. Preheat oven to 180deg C Fan/ 200deg C/400 deg F/gas 6. Roll out dough to line your chosen tin, best if quite thin but it is fragile to work with especially in the heat of the morning sun! Patch where necessary. Prick pastry and line with paper and baking beans, bake for around 12 mins and then take out paper and beans and bake for further 5 mins, maybe longer depending on how well done you like pastry.
  3. Reduce oven to 130deg C/ 150deg C / 300deg F/ gas 2, For filling put lemon juice and zest in pan, mix water and corn flour together and add, slowly bring to boil and stir until thickened, remove from heat, add sugar, let cool so you don’t scramble egg then mix in egg yolks. Stir in the butter, spoon into pastry case.
  4. For meringue, whisk egg whites until stiff then gradually whisk in the sugar, until thick and glossy. Spoon it over the lemon, spreading with spoon and then swirling it with a scewer/cocktail stick. Bake for 15 mins( 23cm tin) or 30-35 mins (19cm) OR until meringue is golden and crisp.
Thank you sugar for the recipe.

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Free From Friday - Vegan & Gluten Free Courgette/Zucchini Fritters

Asalamu Alaikum / Hi everyone,

Courgette or Zucchini? Well here are a few interesting foody facts:

  • The term Zucchini has an Italian origin while courgette is relatively French.
  • Zucchini is used by those people who speak North American and Australian English whereas courgette is used by those who speak French, British, New Zealand and South African English.
  • Zucchini and courgette are the same plant veggies but are used to refer to that same plant, which is growing across its different stages of plant development. The courgette is smaller and estimated to be about 14 x 4 cm long whereas the zucchini is bigger, which is estimated to grow as big as 15-20 cm.                                                     Source
So now we are all aware of the difference, let me say either can be used in this recipe and you will still achieve the same tasty results, inshAllah.

Adapted from smittenkitchen

Makes: About 7 fritters


450g/1 pound courgette/zucchini
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 tsp no egg (natural egg replacer) mixed with 2 tbsp water
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon wheat free baking powder
Olive or another oil of your choice, for frying

Essential Equipment
Baking sheet
Food processor fitted with grater attachment / Grater
Ice cream scoop


  1. Preheat oven to 180C Fan/200C/325F, place baking sheet in oven until it's needed. Stir together rice flour and baking powder in a small bowl, In a small cup mix egg replacer with water, set aside.
  2. Weigh Courhinni lol see what i did there, Cut ends off and Grate them using a food processor fitted with the grater attachment, please be careful of your fingers!!!. In a large bowl, toss courgette/zucchini with 1 teaspoon salt and then transfer to a sieve set over a bowl and leave for minimum of 10 minutes. Squeeze out the remaining water from the courgette/zhuccini by pressing it with a spoon against the holes of the sieve.
  3. Place the dehydrated mass back into your large bowl. Taste and if you think it could benefit from more salt add 1/4 teaspoon or to taste, stir in onion, egg replacer and black pepper, at this stage you could also add a few spices or herbs such as dill/parsley. Stir the flour mix into the batter.
  4. In a large frying pan(i really need a skillet as they are much better) heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Using an ice cream scoop as your measure, drop dollops of your batter onto the frying pan, only a few at a time so they don't merge together,  flatten as much or little as you prefer with the back of your spatula. Cook the fritters over medium heat until the edges at the base of the fritter are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turnover the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath, about 2 minutes more. Pat briefly on paper towels then transfer to your hot baking sheet and then into the warm oven until needed. Repeat proces with remaining batter ensuring pan is well oiled each time. Make sure that the fritters have at least 10 minutes in the oven to finish setting and getting extra crisp. 

If your not afraid of the extra calories, deep fry  scoops of batter at 180C the scoops of batter for a minute or until the edges start turning golden. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil, place on a baking sheet, flatten as desired, bake for 15-20mins or until needed.

Enjoy as a side dish or snack.

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Pancake Shapes

Salam Alaikum / Hi readers,
As I am waiting for my new weighing scales to arrive which i purchased from Amazon, I thought I would take a little bit of a baking/Sweet break and I say little, because I managed to fry up some of these delicious and comforting pancakes for my son and i this morning.
This recipe made 5 heart shape pancakes with extras leftover for moi but how many will vary depending on what size, shape cutter you use and how thinly you choose to spread the pancake batter in the pan.

1 cup plain/all-purpose flour
2 tbsp caster/fine sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp - ground all-spice (you could use cinnamon, cardamom basically anything that goes well in cakes)
1 egg
2 tbsp sunflower oil or melted unsalted butter
½ cup milk (I use full fat but the choice is totally yours)
To serve
X amount butter
X amount of sugar or syrup of your choice
1. If you’re using butter melt tbsp and let it cool a little before proceeding.
2. In a large bowl Sieve flour, baking powder, all-spice  and salt together, add sugar and mix (I use a fork for this but a whisk would work too)
3. In a another bowl or a jug, beat the egg, cooled butter and milk together, add this to your dry mix and mix until it just comes together, a few lumps are fine as this will ensure you have light and fluffy pancakes, inshaAllah.
4. To cook - place your frying pan, preferably non-stick on a medium heat. If like me your pan is no longer no-stick, grease pan with a little vegetable oil (not butter, it burns easily) and cook half a ladle full of batter at a time, remember to use the back of the ladle to even out the pancake.  Cook for about 2mins OR until the pancake as browned underneath, flip and continue to cook the other side for another 30 seconds to a minute.
5. Place pancake on a serving plate, using a cookie/sugarpaste cutter (size, shape is up to you) dipped in sugar, stamp out your pancake shape. With a pastry brush, glide over your shape with butter then sprinkle with sugar. Repeat steps 4-5 for remainder of pancake batter.

Ideally serve straight away i.e. don’t keep son waiting while you stand about taking photos lol

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange has to be one of my favourite flavour combinations but ssshhhh don't tell chocolate mint i said that!

Mint Choc Ice cream vs. Chocolate Orange Chocolate, which would you choose?

Here is the recipe:-

Makes: 16
Baking Time: 15-20mins


250g lightly salted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
4 eggs
250g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder(unsweetened)
3/4tsp baking powder
finely grated rind of 2 oranges

Buttercream Icing
180g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar
3-4 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1-2 teaspoon buttermilk or regular milk
Orange food colouring (optional)

Sprinkles of your choice to decorate (optional)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160 C Fan/ 180 C/ 350 F / Gas Mark 4, Line your cupcake tin(s) with paper cases (greaseproof ones ideally)
  2. Weigh all ingredients, make sure everything is room temperature, zest your oranges and then put all ingredients in bowl and beat starting slowly and then cranking up the speed for 1minute maximum until light and creamy.
  3. Divide the cake mixture between the paper cases, i find using a ice cream scoop works best for this but regular tablespoons will work too. Bake in middle of oven for 15-20mins, resisting the temptation to open the door until your timer beeps. To check for doneness insert toothpick and if it comes out with a few dry crumbs clinging to it, your cupcakes are ready.
  4. Leave to cool for no longer than 1minute inside tins and then carefully remove and leave to cool completely on a wire rack
  5. Buttercream icing - cream butter, gradually add your icing sugar, add orange juice, buttermilk, food colouring (a few drops at a time until a pale orange colour is achieved) and beat at medium speed for a few mins. Once cupcakes are completely cool, using a palette knife generously spread with icing and decorate with chosen sprinkles
If you feel overly citrus you could add the zest of another orange in your buttercream to give an extra zing!

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Top Tip Tuesday - Volume vs. Weight

Asalam Alaikum / Hi everyone,

For best baking results, it is always better to weigh ingredients rather than go by volume of cups etc because each time you measure the same ingredient by volume, there will be a difference in weight by a few grams.
It's not such a problem on a home baking scale as there is a bigger margin of error however, if you are batch baking at home then i do suggest you weigh your ingredients as those few grams of error will be even more grams! affecting the quality and consistancy of your bake.
This post comes at just the right time, as my second lot of scales in a year have just broken! Time to invest in a decent set me thinks.




Asalamu Alaikum,

I saw this recipe yesterday morning on the tv and thought i must have a go at making these, sure enough in the afternoon i set to it and like most breads i make they were all gone by the end of the day!

Today's little twist on things is that i sprinkled Za'atar over a few of the breadsticks before baking.

Click here for the recipe [Note: Bake time 15-20mins or until desired crispiness has been achieved]

Best served with dips, salad and soup.

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Free From Friday - Gluten, Dairy & Egg Free Gingerbread Biscuits

Salam Alaikum / Hi Everyone,

Today and for at least 1 Friday every month i plan to post a free from recipe.
The motivation behind this is my 1 year old daughter that has food allergies (Dairy, Eggs, Wheat) so my recipes will mainly be focused around the removal of those food products, although they may include more e,g, soya free.

Ginger is great in tea, curries, not to mention the famous gingerbread men, parkin the list could go on.

Wiki says
The traditional medical form of ginger historically was called Jamaica ginger; it was classified as a stimulant and carminative and used frequently for dyspepsia, gastroparesis, slow motility symptoms, constipation, and colic. It was also frequently employed to disguise the taste of medicines.
Some studies indicate ginger may provide short-term relief of pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. 
 Recipe Adapted from How to Make Gluten Free Vegan Cookies


  1. Oil a large baking sheet and preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC/160ºC(fan)
  2. Mix the flours,baking powder, salt, and ground ginger together in a large bowl
  3. In a separate bowl or in your stand mixer, cream the vegan spread or shortening and sugars until it's slightly paler in colour.
  4. Mix the coconut milk and egg replacer into sugar mixture
  5. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ones. At this stage you could add the zest of 1 lemon/orange. DO NOT OVER MIX.
  6. Take a tablespoon of  the dough and roll into a ball, place on a baking sheet, repeat until you have about 17 biscuits or no dough left!
  7. Flatten with the back of a spoon or fork and sprinkle the tops with sugar.
  8. Bake them for 5 minutes, rotate the pan, and then bake another 4 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool a minute on the sheet before placing on a rack to cool completely.

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Top Tip Tuesday - Baking Powder Test

Salam Alaikum / Hi readers,
So you finally found that baking powder lurking at the back of your cupboard, want to know if it's still up to the job?
Simple pour some hot tap water into a small cup or bowl and add a teaspoon of baking powder, if the baking powder doesn't begin to fizz intensely immediately it's probably no good and won't cause your bake to rise, get yourself to the shop and buy some more.



Pineapple Cake

This cake is for those times when your not in the mood for fancy pants cake decorating (yes that was me this morning) but still need something nice to serve your family.
I feel this cake certainly doesn't need buttercream icing has it is beautifully moist from being packed full of pineapple and let me tell you, it packs a punch on the taste buds.

Recipe adapted from The Pink Whisk's Pineapple and Raspberry Cupcakes

200g butter, softened
100g soft brown sugar
75g caster sugar
4 eggs
200g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
220g fresh chopped pineapple (roughly about 3/4 of a pineapple)

Preheat oven to 160C (fan)/180C/Gas Mark 4.
Weigh all ingredients, chop the pineapple, butter and line with baking paper a 20cm loose based round cake tin.
Sieve together the flour & baking powder, set aside.
Beat together the softened butter and sugars until well combined, about 3-5mins.
Carefully add the eggs, alternating with a tbsp of the flour to stop the mixture from curdling.
Scrape down the sides of your bowl with a rubber spatula and then with a large metal spoon (a tbsp or wooden one will do) fold in the flour and then the chopped pineapple, do not overmix.
Fill your cake tin with the cake batter and then level using the back of a spoon, place your cake tin on a baking tray and then into the oven for around 50-60mins (all depends on the juiceness of your pineapple)
Let the cake cool a while before loosening the base and turning out.
Remember to turn the cake upside down onto a serving plate so that the bottom is now the top and is level, dust with icing sugar before serving.
Enjoy and don't forget to say Bismillah.

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Lemon & Raspberry Cupcakes

Lemon has to be one, if not THE best cupcake flavour for me personally, I love anything sour yet sweet at the same time and believe it or not i would choose lemon over chocolate 9/10 times, shocking i know.

These days lemons are widely available on every continent however, lemons were once so rare that kings presented them as gifts to one another!

So next time you fancy gifting yourself, look no further than this recipe.

Makes: 7/8 cupcakes


Cake Batter
110g / 4oz / 1/2 cup butter / cake margarine
110g / 4oz / 1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar
110g / 4oz / 1cup self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1 lemon, finely grated zest
2tbsp lemon juice

1 -2tbsp lemon curd OR
1-2tbsp raspberry jam

Buttercream Icing(enough for 12cupcakes so you will have some leftover if your not over generous when piping)
140g/5oz softened butter
280g/10oz icing sugar, sieve.
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
few drops yellow/Pink food colouring (optional)

Raspberries to decorate


Pre-heat the oven to 190C (160c fan), 375F, Gas 5 and place paper cases in a cupcake tin
Sift together the self-raising flour and baking powder, x3 but really x1 will do just fine if your in a rush.
Using your handheld/stand mixer or if your in the mood to burn some calories, a wooden spoon and lots of arm power, beat together the butter and sugar until soft and creamy, this should take about 5mins.
Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time until smooth and well combined.
At this point if using a mixer, STOP and then gently gently fold in the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and juice until JUST combined. Using a ice cream scoop or 2 tablespoons divide the mixture into the paper cases.
Bake on middle shelf for 12-15mins.
Remove from oven allow to cook a minute or 2 and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.

Fill cupcakes with lemon curd or jam

Make the buttercream icing, by beating the softened butter, slowly adding the icing sugar or you will have a icing sugar cloud in your face lol then add the lemon juice and food colouring (a few drops go along way) beat for a few minutes the fill your icing bag fitted with a large tip of your choice and then pipe onto cupcakes.
Decorate with raspberries and if you have leftover lemon curd use it to fill the raspberry centres.

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Top Tip Tuesday

Salam Alaikum / Hi readers,

Every week, or so i plan to post a baking top tip, inshAllah it will benefit the beginner and remind you pro's out there too.

Oven Tip

To test for doneness in cupcakes, cakes, quick breads, tray bakes, use a toothpick/cocktail stick insert in the center. If the toothpick comes out virtually crumb free, they are done yipeeeeeee

* visual/sensory signs for doneness of cakes*
touch -  cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center
see - cake is coming away from the edges of tin