Eton Mess Rocky Road Summer Dessert

Eton Mess Rocky Road

Be warned, this is absolutely delicious … the ultimate dessert for the sweet toothed and those that have thrown their diet out of the window in order to indulge.  Perfect for summer picnics and parties, this recipe makes a good number of Rocky Road slices so it’s definitely for sharing, otherwise you’ll be burning off the calories for weeks!  The original recipe came from the delightful Hollie Berries; mine has been tweaked a little to use up store cupboard supplies, but do pop over to Hollie’s site, she has a lovely blog and beautiful shop full of handmade pretties.

800g white chocolate *
250g shortbread biscuits chopped into small chunks
200g fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
100g marshmallows (chopped if using large ones)
100g shop bought pre-made meringue

* ideally the best quality white chocolate should be used, but this made it a way over my budget so I used supermarket own brand white chocolate instead.
Eton Mess Rocky Road ingredients

Line a roasting tin (mine was approx. 34cm x 24cm) with baking paper.

Break the white chocolate up into small pieces and place in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, stirring the chocolate until melted.  Alternatively you can melt the chocolate in the microwave, but I do find the first method to be easier to handle and produces a smoother result (especially if using cheaper chocolate).
white chocolate melting over a pan

Remove from the heat source and stir in the broken shortbread biscuits, followed by the marshmallows and strawberries, a little at a time and mix well.  Finally carefully stir in the broken meringue keeping some aside for decoration.

Carefully spoon the mixture into the tin, smoothing the top and pressing it down and into the corners with the back of a metal spoon.  Crush the remaining meringue and sprinkle over the top.

Place the tray in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to let it set before slicing into squares.
Eton Mess Rocky Road slices

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Carrot cake

homemade carrot cake

Flo and Daisy, our two hens, have returned to laying after their little winter break and they seem to be on a mission as we are inundated with eggs and I’m trying hard to keep on top of the supply.  The one excellent thing this leads to is cake baking – you can’t go wrong with homemade cake and a nice cup of tea.

I thought I’d share this recipe for carrot cake which was given to me by a friend when I worked in London about 25 years ago.  I distinctly remember her saying it was a healthy cake as it has carrots and sultanas in it!  I think I’ll take her word for it!

The original recipe made a big cake (she was from a large family), so way back I wrote half quantities of ingredients in the margin.  I had a little snigger to myself seeing I’d written 1/2 of a 1/4 teaspoon of spices – obviously my maths wasn’t up to much back then (I’m proud to say it’s now improved)!

150g (5oz) soft light brown sugar
125g (4oz) butter or baking margarine
grated rind of an orange
2 eggs
200g (7oz) self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/8 teaspoon mixed spice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
250g (9oz) carrots, peeled and finely grated
85g (3oz) sultanas (optional)
2-2.5 tablespoons milk
Icing sugar and orange juice (optional)

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carrot cake ingredients

Preheat the  oven to 180 C, gas mark 4 (recipe was pre-fan oven so adjust accordingly!).  Use baking paper to line the base and then grease a 1.5 litre (3 pint) loaf tin (or equivalent round cake tin).

Cream together the sugar, butter/margarine and orange rind in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, gradually beat in the eggs.  Fold in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices, a little at a time.  Fold in the grated carrots and sultanas (if using) together with the milk.  If the mixture seems a little stiff, stir in a little extra milk.

Spoon the mixture into the loaf/cake tin and cook for 40 minutes or until firm and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cooked cake comes away clean.

carrot cake 1

Place on a rack to cool.  If you wish, when the cake is cool and has been turned out of the tin, mix a little icing sugar with orange juice to form a nice consistency and spoon over the top of the cake.

carrot cake with icing

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