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Maple and banana cupcakes

Banana cake invariably appeals to everyone, from tiny tots to adults. These mini ones can be served plain, simply dusted with icing sugar ,or swirled with the delicious maple butter frosting.

Makes: 12

Prep: 20 minutes, plus cooling

Cook: 18- 20 minutes

1 small banana

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp milk

60 g/ 4 ¼ oz lightly salted butter, softened

70 g/2 ½ Oz caster sugar


100g/3 ½

Oz self – raising flour


150g/5 ½  oz lightly salted butter softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 tbsp icing sugar

7 tbsp maple syrup

8pecan or walnut halves , roughly chopped to decorate

1.preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark4. Line a 12- section mini muffin tin with 3- cm/1 ¼ inch – mini paper cases.

2.In a  small mixing bowl . mash the banana to a puree  with a fork stir in the maple syrup and milk .

3 .put the butter and caster sugar in a separate mixing bowl and best together with an electrice handheld whisk until light and fluffy, Gradually beat in the egg, a little at a time ,adding a teaspoon of the flour if the minxture starts to separate.

4.Sift half the flour into into the bowl containing the butter mixture , then add half banana , Gently flod the ingredients tighter until only just mixed sift the remaining banana mixture and fold in.

5.Spoon the mixture into the paper cases. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until risen and firm to the touch .Leave in thr tin for 5 minutes hen transfer to a wire rack to cool.

6 For the frosting put the butter , vanilla ,icing sugar and maple syrup in a bowl and with an electric handheld whisk until smooth and creamy . put the frosting in a small paper piping bag fitted with a 1cm/ ½ inch star nozzle and use to decorate the cupcakes. Scatter with the nuts.

Gooey chocolate fudge bites

This is as rich and delicious as chocolate can be! It’s moist and gooey, with a generous amount of chocolate fudge icing. Store in a cool place rather than in the fridge so that the texture doesn’t spoil.

Makes: 21

Prep: 25 minutes, plus cooling

Cook: 35 minutes

200g/ 7 oz lightly salted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing

200g/ 7 oz plain chocolate, roughly chopped

100 ml/ 3 ½ fl oz double cream

3 eggs

150g/ 5 ½ oz light muscovado sugar

100g /3 ½ oz self-raising flour


200g/ 7 oz plain chocolate 3 tbsp golden syrup

55g/2 oz unsalted butter, cut into pieces

70g/ 2 ½ oz icing sugar, sifted

  1. Preheat the oven to 16o°C/ 325°F/ Gas Mark 3. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20-cm/8-inch square cake tin. Grease the baking paper.
  2. Put the butter, chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl, set the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and heat until melted. Leave to cool slightly.
  3. Put the eggs and light muscovado sugar in a mixing bowl and beat together with an electric handheld whisk until the mixture begins to turn frothy. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture. Sift in the flour and stir it in gently.
  4. Turn the mixture into the tin and level the surface. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. For the icing, put 175g/6 oz of the chocolate in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan with the syrup and butter. Heat gently, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Transfer the mixing to a bowl and beat in the icing sugar. Leave until the icing has thickened enough to just hold its shape.
  6. Split the cake in half horizontally and spread half the fudge icing on the cut side of the bottom piece. Place the other piece on top, cut-side down, and spread the remaining icing on top of the cake. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut thin shards from the remaining chocolate. (If it’s too brittle, heat very briefly in the microwave and try again.) Trim of the edges of cake to neaten it, then cut it into 21 rectangles. Scatter the shards on top.

Five – spice Fish

Serves 4

5 ml/1 tsp Chinese five- spice powder

20 ml/4 tsp cornflour

4 portions white fish fillet, such as cod, haddock or hoki, about 175g/ 6 oz each

15 ml/ 1 tsp sesame or sunflower oil

3 spring onions, shredded

5ml/1 tsp finely chopped fresh root ginger

150g/5 oz button mushrooms, sliced

115g /4 oz baby corn, sliced

30ml/ 2 tbsp soy sauce

45ml/ 3 tbsp dry sherry or apple juice

5 ml/ 1 tbsp sugar

Salt and ground black pepper

1 Mix the five-spice powder and cornflour and use to coat the portions of fish.

2 Place the oil in a shallow microwave proof dish with the spring onions, ginger, mushrooms and corn. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, stirring once. Add the fish and toss well to mix. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 4-6 minutes, stirring once.

3 Mix together the soy sauce, sherry or apple juice and sugar, then pour this mixture over the fish. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes, stirring once. Adjust the seasoning, then serve with noodles and stir –fried vegetables.


Double chocolate muffins


Prep: 15 minutes, plus cooling

Cook: 15

Because these muffins are thing, its only right that they’re as packed with chocolate as they could be !

Any that are not eaten fresh from the oven can be kept for tow days in an airtight container. Warm them for a few minutes in in a moderate oven to revive their floavour.

Make: 12

Prep: 15 minutes plus cooling

Cook: 15 minutes

15g/ ½ oz cocoa powder

70g/ 2 ½ oz self –raising flour

¼ tsp baking powder

25g/ 1oz light muscovado sugar

85g /3 oz milk chocolate, roughly chopped


3tbsp milk

40g/1 ½ lightly salted butter malted

40g/1 ½ oz plain chocolate, roughly chopped

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 190◦C/375◦F/Gas mark5. Line a 12- section mini muffin tin with 3-cm/1 ¼ -inch mini paper cases.

2 sift the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Stir in the light muscovite sugar and milk chocolate. in a separate mixing bowl, beat together the egg, milk and with a fork until they are evenly combined.

3.Tip the egg mixture into the flour using a dessertspoon ,gently fold this ingredients together until only just mixed.(Don’t over-blend the ingredients or the the muffins won’t be as light.)

4.Spoon the mixture into the p aper cases; it should be level with the top of the tin. Bake in the preheated oven for15 minutes, or until risen and just firm to the touch. Leave the muffins in the tin for 2 minutes, then transfer them in their cases to a wire rack to cool.

  1. 5. Put the plain chocolate in heatproof bowl, set cover saucepan of gently simmering water and heat until melted. Using a teaspoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the muffins and serve warm or cold.


Chocolate mint cake pops

This is a cake pop version of rocky road and is about as easy to make as gets . the milk chocolate coating has family appeal but you can use plain chocolate instead for a more adult flavor

Makes: 26-28

Prep:  1 hour, plus setting

Cook:  5 minutes

300 g/101/2 oz plain chocolate roughly chopped

25 g/1 oz  unsalted butter softened

50 g/13/4 oz hard. boiled mint sweets

450 g/1 lb milk chocolate

50 g/13/4 oz mine marshmallows roughly chopped

26-28 lolly sticks

Chocolate sprinkles to decorate


1: line a baking tray with baking paper put the plain chocolate in a heatproof bowl set the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and heat until melted stir in the butter leave until the mixture is cool but not beginning to set.

2: put the mint sweets in a polythene bag and firmly with a rolling pin until they are broken into tiny pieces finely chop 150/51/2 oz of the milk chocolate. Then stir it into the melted plain chocolate with the mints and marshmallows until thoroughly mixed

3: As soon as the mixture is firm enough to hold its shape roll 20 g/3/4 oz of it into a ball shape the remaining cake pops in the same way place them on the baking tray and chill for 30-60 minutes until firm but not brittle push a lolly stick into each cake pop then chill for 10 minutes

4: roughly chop the remaining milk chocolate and  melt as above then remove from the heat dip a cake pop into the chocolate turning it until coated .lift it from the bowl letting the excess drip back into the bowl and place it in a cup or tumbler sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles repeat with the remaining cake pops chill or leave in a cool place until the chocolate has set