desserts · food + drink · posts

Caramelized Pineapple with Chilli and Sweet Coconut Broth


Easing myself into the new year with this light and refreshing dessert for this months blog hop themed Tropical Paradise, hosted by Nic from Dining with a Stud. I love tropical flavours and the combination of fresh pineapple and coconut is a favourite. Our weather is not very tropical at the moment but blasting the fruit with some heat from a kitchen blowtorch and adding a little fresh chilli to a coconut based broth gives this dessert a touch of tropical paradise.

The kitchen blowtorch is a very handy tool to have and I mostly use it for adding a thin crisp caramel coating to crème brûlées, browning some meats and fish, adding a touch of colour to meringue toppings, marshmallows and gratins! Also a great tool for lighting candles and if you are into food styling for photography then a kitchen blowtorch will come in useful!

DSC_0038Using the kitchen blowtorch to add a quick glaze of caramel over fruit and intensify its flavour couldn’t be simpler, especially when preparing a small amount. If I was entertaining a larger crowd I would use the grill. As coconut sugar is quite solid a looser sugar like muscavado is used for sprinkling over the pineapple before caramelizing. The sweet coconut broth can be made ahead and chilled but best to caramelize the pineapple before serving. If you are not a fan of pineapple,  replace with bananas, which will be just as delicious!

Caramelized Pineapple with Chilli and Sweet Coconut Broth


  • 400ml coconut cream
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 50g coconut sugar
  • 1 ripe pineapple, cut lengthways into quarters, core and skin removed
  • muscavado sugar, for caramelizing
  • 1 small red chilli, de-seeded and very finely chopped

How to make: Place the coconut milk, lemongrass, kaffir leaf, zest and juice of lime and coconut sugar into a saucepan. Gently bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn down the heat and gently simmer for about five minutes. Remove from heat and cover the saucepan with a lid and leave the broth to infuse and cool completely. Discard the lemongrass and kaffir leaf.

Pat dry the pineapple with some kitchen paper. Sieve a light layer of brown sugar over the pineapple. Use the blow torch in a sweeping motion over the sugared pineapple to caramelize. Cut the pineapple into desired sized chunks and thread onto a wooden skewer.

Divide the broth into small bowls and scatter over a little fresh chilli, place the caramelized pineapple skewers over the bowl, serve immediately! Serves 4 to 6.

This post is part of the Sweet Australian Blog Hop, head over to Nic’s blog Dining with a Stud to see all the other delicious Tropical Paradise entries!SABH_13-01_Tropical-300-1

baking · food + drink · posts

Victoria Sponge Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream

A fond memory recalled from childhood, the familiar words called out by my parents… “your tea is ready,” a signal letting us know our evening meal was on the table. High Tea or as we called it our “Tea,” was a light savoury meal that would be eaten somewhere between the hours of 6pm to 7pm.

Afternoon tea (3pm to 5pm) reserved for special occasions usually involved serving a selection of delicious home-baked cakes, light fluffy scones and crustless sandwiches, all washed down with copious amounts of freshly brewed tea.

I love how this quote sums up afternoon tea and I believe it is a special ceremony, a visual feast, a time to take out your pretty china cups, decorative plates, quaint cutlery, antique tiered cake stands and linen napkins…  and spoil all the lovely people in your life.

“Under certain circumstances there are few hours more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” ― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady.

Afternoon tea would not be complete without a selection of cakes, so you might like to try other recipes such as, Rocky Road Chocolate Cakes, Matcha Tea and Lemon Cupcakes , Mini Pavlova Bites, Chocolate Guinness and Blackcurrant Cupcakes or Welsh Cheese Cakes.

Victoria Sponge Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream


  • 110g butter, softened
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 25g self-raising flour
  • 75g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh orange juice

You will need a 12 hole cupcake tin lined with paper cases and a piping bag and nozzle.

for the buttercream

  • 110g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon of finely grated orange zest
  • 200g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of fresh orange juice
  • sugar flowers and strips of candied orange peel, to decorate (optional)

How to make:  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4/Fan 160°C.

Add the butter, caster sugar and orange zest into a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, beat ingredients together until light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs (a few tablespoons at a time) to the cake mixture, beating well after each addition.

Add in the sifted flours and fold into the cake mixture with a spatula until the mixture is smooth, stir in the milk. Divide the cake mixture evenly among the prepared baking tin. Bake cupcakes for about 18 to 20 minutes or until the middle of the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed with fingers. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring the cupcakes to a wire cooling rack.

For the buttercream: Add the butter and orange zest into a mixing bowl,  beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sifted icing sugar into the butter, beating between additions until all the icing sugar has been incorporated. Beat in the orange juice. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with the desired nozzle,  pipe the buttercream on top of each cupcake. Decorate with edible sugar flowers and candied orange peel, if desired.


This post has been part of the High Tea Sweet Adventures Blog Hop hosted by Jennifer from Delicieux where you will find all the other delicious High Tea entries on her blog!

desserts · food + drink · posts

Sweet Date and Coconut Sauce

Everyone gets their own little cup for dunking some fresh fruit into this easy dessert sauce, made from date syrupfresh coconut cream, flavoured with pandan leaf and vanilla!  A sweet exotic sauce inspired by the cuisine of Bali, which use palm sugar, coconut and pandan leaf in many of their sweet and savoury dishes! Attending a cooking class some years back at Bumbu Bali and the many times we dinned at the restaurant gave me a deeper understanding of how authentic Balinese food is prepared and cooked using many wonderful aromatic spices!

Popular in the middle east where there is an abundance of date palms, date syrup is sweet without being overly cloying and can be used to replace other molasses wherever treacle and syrups are traditionally used… delicious drizzled over pancakes and waffles!

Brands of tinned coconut cream vary, some containing lots of additives, do check the label and buy the best quality you can find! If you are lucky enough to have a supermarket that grates fresh coconut (Lulu in Bahrain, saving you the trouble), why not make your own fresh coconut cream… which I will post with another recipe!

Infusing date syrup and coconut cream with pandan leaf releases its earthy fragrance (which needs heat or bruising), adding a subtle unique grassy flavour to this sweet sauce!

A sweet sauce that is easily adaptable by infusing the sauce with other spices, like star anise or cinnamon. Replace the coconut cream with fresh cream or simply serve this sweet sauce drizzled over some vanilla or mango ice cream for another quick dessert!

Sweet Date and Coconut Sauce with Fresh Fruit


  • 125g date syrup
  • 300g coconut cream
  • 1 pandan leaf (screwpine), tied in a knot
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons rice flour or cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (home-made) or store bought
  • for garnish, freshly grated coconut ( or moisten dried coconut with a little coconut cream)
  • for serving, fresh pineapple, banana and apple, cut into cubes (squeeze a little lemon juice over the cut fruit to keep its colour)

How to make:  Pour the date syrup and coconut cream into a small saucepan, add the pandan leaf. Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer for about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice or cornflour mixture and cook for about two minutes, remove from heat and discard the pandan leaf. Stir in the vanilla extract and let the sauce cool before storing in the refrigerator.

To serve: Pour the chilled sauce into small cups or dishes and sprinkle over some fresh coconut, serve with freshly prepared fruit! Serves 6.

This post is part of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop hosted by the The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader check out all the other delicious entries here!