Chocolate Chunk and Marzipan Cookies

Amongst heaps of other festive foods, I absolutely love marzipan. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Nigella and certainly have never made my own. There's been a supermarket box stashed away in my kitchen for some time. It did have grand expectations of making its way onto this year's Christmas cake, but that never happened. Neither did plan B, stollen bites. And so, when I finally decided I really ought to dust off my apron and get baking I opted for something far simpler and far quicker. You may not be a fan of marzipan, but I am fully confident that these guys will convert anyone.

These chocolate cookies are perfectly gooey in the centre, crisp on the edges and stuffed full with big chunks of dark chocolate and marzipan. I would say that I took some into the office for my colleagues like I intended, but its probably more honest to say that I demolished the lot myself. I intend to make a further batch to stash away in the freezer ready for boxing day or any cookie related emergencies in the next coming weeks, if I don't eat them first. If you wish to do so too, just form the cookie dough into a sausage and wrap well in cling film. From frozen, slice into half inch thick discs and bake for 12-14 minutes until crisp on the edges and wobbly in the centre. Otherwise just read on and follow the regular recipe.

C H O C O L A T E   C H U N K   &   M A R Z I P A N   C O O K I E S
(Makes 16 cookies)

125 unsalted butter, softened
200g soft light brown sugar
1 medium egg
2tsp vanila extract
175g plain flour
25 cocoa powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g marzipan, chopped into small cubes
100g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks

  • Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract gently until combined. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a separate bowl to remove any lumps. Add to the butter mix and mix with a spatula until just combined. Fold in the marzipan and chocolate chunks and chill the cookie dough in the fridge for an hour.
  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line two baking sheets.
  • Use a tablespoon to dollop small balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for them to grow.
  • Bake for 11 minutes until crisp on the outside and soft in the centre. Leave to cool for at least 5 minutes on a wire cooling rack before serving.

Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

We may well be fully in the midst of winter now but I'm still not completely done with Autumnal recipes. This week I've already eaten pumpkin soup, pumpkin pasta and now pumpkin brownies. The partnership of rich, dark and fudgey brownies goes brilliantly with a little swirl of spiced pumpkin. Trust me, give it a try.

S P I C E D   P U M P K I N   S W I R L   B R O W N I E S


3 eggs
275g caster sugar
175g salted butter
300g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
175g plain flour

Pumpkin swirl:

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
3 tbsp caster sugar
170g pumpkin puree

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a 20cm square baking tray.
  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined and set aside.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate together over a pan of barely simmering water, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  • Return to the eggs and sugar and whisk once again until pale and fluffy. Pour in the chocolate and butter mixture and combine.
  • Gently fold in the flour using a spatula, careful not to over mix.
  • Mix together the pumpkin ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin. Dollop the pumpkin onto the top and swirl using a skewer.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. The top will be firm with a wobble in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to fully cool on a wire rack before chilling in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours (I like to leave mine overnight). This allows you to slice the squares neatly. Serve from room temperature though to ensure the optimum level of fudginess.

Sticky Ginger Cake with Coffee Frosting

This super simple cake certainly does pack a perfect ginger punch. Whilst its such a great standalone recipe without embellishment such as coffee frosting, its a great 'dress up' cake for any occasion also. In this instance I added a little frosting and chopped fudge chunks for a family birthday. Whether you prefer frosting or not, this cake will develop a delicious sticky top a day or two after baking. Step out the way shop bought Jamaican ginger cake, this is my new favourite. Next time I'm planning to bake it in a square tin and serve warm after a Sunday dinner with lashings of custard or ice cream.

S T I C K Y   G I N G E R   C A K E   W I T H   C O F F E E   F R O S T I N G
(Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver)

Sticky ginger cake:

375g unsalted butter, softened plus a little extra to grease the cake tin
330g soft light brown sugar
225g black treacle
75g golden syrup
6 eggs
375g self raising flour
4 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
5 tbsp sour cream (roughly a 150ml tub)
8 pieces jarred stem ginger, chopped plus 6 tbsp syrup, separated

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees, and grease and line the bottom of a 2cm round cake tin.
  • Cream together the butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup until light and fluffy.
  • Slowly add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
  • Gently fold in the flour, spices, sour cream and chopped stem ginger until just incorporated.
  • Pour into the prepared cake tin, smooth over the top and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and leave the cake to cool fully in the tin. Brush the top with the stem ginger syrup whilst still warm to allow to soak through the cake.

Coffee buttercream frosting:

75g unsalted butter, softened
250g icing sugar, sifted
25ml buttermilk or just regular milk
15ml strong espresso coffee

  • Cream the butter and half of the icing sugar until light and fluffy on a low speed. I like to add the icing sugar in intervals in attempt to cover as little of myself in clouds of sugar as possible. Add the buttermilk and coffee and mix once again on a low speed until fully incorporated.

To assemble:

Once the cake has fully cooled, upturn from the cake tin onto a plate. Smooth over the buttercream with a large palette knife. To decorate I added some chopped shop bought fudge and some gold leaf, but of course this is completely optional. Crushed ginger biscuits would also work well.

Bake Off Bake Along: Week 8 - Treacle Rum Nicky Tart

Paul Hollywood's certainly pulling out all the stops this year on the mean bakes. Last week's 'forgotten bakes of the past' was certainly original but there just wasn't anything that cut the mustard for me. So in absolute protest, I made a mash up of the Cumberland rum nicky and a treacle tart. That is a treacle tart, complete with lashings of rum and a lattice topping. Ideal.

Whilst my lattice may not be exactly symmetrical or even formed of even pastry widths, I was pretty chuffed that I actually managed to make such a big tart without a soggy bottom! And even more so that I found an excuse to make a seasonal dessert for the family's Sunday dinner all in the name of GBBO. Even if I may have cheated a little. 

T R E A C L E    T A R T
Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food, serves 8

2 packets ready rolled shortcrust pastry 
1 egg, beaten 
350g golden syrup
50ml dark rum
juice and zest of 2 lemons
1tsp ground nutmeg
150g fresh white breadcrumbs

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees and lightly grease a tart tin.
  • Line the tart tin with one roll of pastry, ensuring to gently press into each edge. Prick with a fork to stop from rising during baking. Place in the fridge to cool also whilst making the filling.
  • To make the filling, gently melt the golden syrup over a low heat and remove. Add the rum, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg and breadcrumbs. Pour the filling into the prepared pastry tin and smooth over the top. Brush the top edges of the tart with the beaten egg ready for the lattice top.
  • To make the lattice top, unroll the second roll of shortcrust pastry onto a well floured surface, or just within the baking paper its packaged in. Egg wash the top (do this first before making the lattice, otherwise it'll drip into your filling). Slice inch wide lengths of pastry, ensuring long enough to cover the width of the tart and weave into a lattice pattern over the mixture, egg wash side up. Press down to seal the edges and trim any surplus.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry becomes crisp and golden.
  • Serve warm or cold, with your choice of ice cream, custard or cream. 

Bake Off Bake Along:

Week 1: lemon and raspberry loaf
Week 6: lemon pasteis de nata, egg custard tarts
Week 8: treacle rum nicky tart

Sunday Roasts at The Old Queens Head, Angel

Well and truly diving head first into the Autumn season I've been trotting around town filling as many Sundays as possible with an epic roast dinner. So much so my pals and I even have a Whatsapp group aptly named 'Roast Club / Fight Club'. Trust me, there's many lengthy conversations on gravy alone.

So when an email dropped in my inbox claiming to be offering 'London's best Sunday roast', I could not resist the opportunity to give it a try.

Warm and welcoming, The Old Queen's Head in Angel is the ideal Sunday hang out. Complete with traditional Sunday roasts, burgers, board games, live music, a roaring fire and of course a bloody great selection of Bloody Mary's.

In true Sunday style, we went straight to the traditional roast menu where choices include: 32-day aged longhorn beef with marrow gravy (£15.50); old spot belly pork with crackling (£14.50); roast corn-fed chicken with garlic aioli and smoked gravy (£13.50); and a mushroom wellington served with vegetable gravy (£12.50). All come served with roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, seasonal greens and a yorkshire pudding.

We opted for the beef, served gorgeously pink and the pork with an incredibly perfect serving of crackling. Whilst the beef's marrow gravy was a little lacklustre, the pork's was significantly better and I thoroughly enjoyed dunking my yorkshire into the lashings of it.

Which leads me to the yorkshire pudding. Giant in size, homemade, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Need I say anymore?

Alongside, we opted for a side of cauliflower stilton gratin (£4.50). Growing up each Sunday my mother would pile our plates high with dozens of different vegetables claiming to be 'preparing' us for the week ahead. And so, just like my Mumma taught me, I added some extra veg to the pub's generous offerings. But only because it was laden with oozy grilled stilton.

All in all, we enjoyed a generously portioned roast at The Old Queen's Head and would definitely return. Particularly to stick around long enough to catch the live house band from 5pm.

Find out more and take a look at the rest of the menu, here.

Note: I received a complementary meal in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Bake Off Bake Along: Week 6 - Lemon Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata)

We'll just skim past the fact that we're on week 6 already and I have been having far too much fun on holiday and weekends away to have done any baking for the other weeks. After a fortnight in Portugal this summer, eating my body weight in pasteis de nata and sagres, I decided to give them a try myself.

That aside, pastry week is one of my least favourite weeks. Particularly as I don't think Paul would accept the use of shop bought pastry. And so, to keep the silver fox happy, I gave a rough puff a go all in the name of 'bake off bake along'. I used this recipe from the BBC for the pastry which was pretty simple to follow. I just struggled with re-rolling some offcuts to get extra tarts from. They lost their layers and ended up more like shortcrust. Otherwise, not too shabby I'd say.

P O R T U G E S E   L E M O N   C U S T A R D   T A R T S   ( P A S T E I S   D E   N A T A)
(Recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood, makes one dozen tarts)

300g rough puff pastry, recipe here or shop bought is fine too
375ml whole milk
zest of 2 lemons
45g plain flour
185ml water
375g caster sugar
7 large egg yolks
  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees and lightly grease a 12 hole tart / muffin tray.
  2. Make the pastry or roll out a block of shop bought pastry to the thickness of a pound coin. Use a 10cm cookie cutter to cut out a dozen discs and fill each of the tart holes gently pressing into each edge. Prick the base of each tart with a fork, cover with individual squares of baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 10 minutes until the pastry starts to firm. Remove from the oven and set aside whilst you make the custard.
  3. In a small pan, heat the milk, lemon zest and flour together whisking continuously for 2-3 minutes until it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat.
  4. Pour the sugar and water into a separate pan and gently heat to melt the sugar. Once melted, increase the heat to boil until the syrup reaches 100-110 degrees.
  5. Gradually whisk the syrup into the milk mixture. Add the egg yolks to a large mixing bowl and strain over the milk, whisking continuously. Cover the surface with a layer of cling film and leave to cool. 
  6. Pour the custard into each of the custard cases, about two thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for up to 20 minutes. The pastry should be golden and the custard bubbly, firm and brown.
If you think your tarts are cooked but the pastry hasn't browned enough, dust with a little icing sugar and grill or blow torch the tops until golden. Sneaky trick. 

Bake Off Bake Along:

Week 1: lemon and raspberry loaf
Week 6: lemon pasteis de nata, egg custard tarts
Week 8: treacle rum nicky tart

Bake Off Bake Along: Week 1 - Lemon and Raspberry Loaf

Hello, remember me? It's been far too easy over the last few months to eat all the food and not share. But, excuses aside, if there was anything that was going to blow off my baking cobwebs, then no surprises it was going to be the return of the Great British Bake Off. And boy was it good.

Initially I thought the first 2 challenges were a little on the easy side. But then I remembered the small fact that I've never dared make a swiss roll, let alone mini ones, and that my fruit is forever sinking in my cakes.

And so, I decided to ease myself in gently and try challenge one, the fruit cake. Adapted from an old favourite of mine, this lemon and raspberry loaf probably would have underwhelmed Paul in terms of its simplicity. And also the small fact that I managed to burn the top, let the berries sink AND go completely overboard with drenching it with syrup! Otherwise, all in all a great tasting loaf.

L E M O N   A N D   R A S P B E R R Y   L O A F
Makes one 2lb loaf

200g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
230g plain natural yogurt
215g caster sugar
3 eggs
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
120ml vegetable oil
200g fresh raspberries
80ml lemon juice
2tbsp caster sugar
  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, add the yogurt, sugar, eggs, zest, vanilla and oil and gently whisk until combined.
  • Fold the wet mixture into the dry before gently adding the raspberries at the very last minute.
  • Pour into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 - 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • In a small pan, melt the additional sugar into the lemon juice to make a syrup. Prick the top of the baked loaf with a fork and pour over the syrup whilst still warm.

Salted Chocolate and Pistachio Rye Babka

Who doesn't love the combination of dark chocolate and pistachio? Whilst a babka is both messy and pretty timely to make I think the idea of this flavour combo wrapped up within a light and springy rye dough is the ultimate in indulgent weekend breakfast baking.

I know we're only on Thursday and a few more working hours away from the weekend, but hear me out. There's a trick to making this guy in advance. Make the dough and the filling on a Friday or Saturday, at the same time or day by day, and leave to prove in the fridge till you're ready. So long as you have the bulk of the work done, all you need to do is allow it to get to room temperature before baking.

I'm already looking forward to starting the next one ahead of this weekend to enjoy with a huge cup of black coffee in bed on Sunday morning. I recently gifted my giant coffee machine to my brother in exchange for an old school coffee dripper, and you know what? Its got me excited for lazy morning coffee rituals all over again!

S A L T E D   C H O C O L A T E   A N D   P I S T A C H I O   R Y E   B A B K A
Serves 6-8, recipe adapted from Olive Magazine

For the babka dough:

500g rye flour, plus extra for dusting
30g golden caster sugar
1tsp salt
7g dried fast action yeast
zest of 1 lemon
275ml full fat milk
75g unsalted butter
2 eggs, 1 beaten and one to glaze

For the filling:

75g unsalted butter
75g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
2tbsp icing sugar
2tbsp cocoa powder
75g blanched pistachios, roughly chopped, plus extra for decoration
1/2tsp sea salt flakes


75g golden caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

  • To make the dough, place the dry ingredients including the lemon zest into a large mixing bowl. Put the milk and butter into a small saucepan and gently heat over a low heat. Along with the beaten egg, add the mixture to the flour mix and stir to combine. Using a dough hook on a stand mixer, beat for 5 minutes until a soft, sticky ball of dough has formed. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • To make the filling, melt the butter and chocolate in small pan over a very low heat. Once fully melted, set aside to cool slightly, around 5 minutes. Add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and whisk together until smooth.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, tip onto a well floured surface and roll into a long rectangle about 1/2 inch in thickness. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving an inch around the edge. Scatter over the chopped pistachios and sea salt flakes. Fold in half lengthways and gently roll to seal the filling, until about the thickness of a pound coin.
  • To shape the babka, slice the dough rectangle into 4 equal width strips. Then, slice each of the 4 strips into 'trousers', i.e. leaving around 1/2 inch at the top unsliced. For each of the 'trousers' individually, plait together the two 'legs' before finally plaiting each of the 4 strips together. Don't worry this can be rough!
  • Place the dough plait into a grease round baking tin, about 8-10", tucking the loose ends underneath.
  • Leave to prove once more for around one hour, until the babka has doubled in size again. Alternatively, leave to prove overnight in the fridge and remove at least 30 minutes before baking to allow it to reach room temperature.
  • Brush the top of the babka with the remaining egg and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, a the babka will be golden, springy and a skewer inserted will come out clean.
  • To make the glaze, boil 75ml of water with the sugar until dissolved and of syrup consistency. Remove from the heat before stirring in the vanilla, brushing the top of the cooked babka and topping with some extra chopped pistachios.

Stores well in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Gently warm before serving if you like.

Jam Doughnut Bundt

This month's obsession is currently doughnuts. Particularly every single flavour Crosstown sells, all of the chocolate filled ones from Bread Ahead and, you know what, even a regular supermarket's jam filled when needs must. If you've never had any of these then you are missing you, I'm telling you.

There's certain things, like doughnuts, that I know will cause me more frustration than joy if I attempt to master them in my very own kitchen. Whilst I may be an avid baker, I am more than keen to leave certain things to the professionals.

Everything except combining my love of a simple one bowl bundt cake mix with all the joys of a doughnut, in one giant form.

And so here I present to you, a jam doughnut cake, or a giant doughnut if you will. Because I doubt very much I could replicate something as good as my market favourites.

Of course this is very much a cake and not made from dough, but all prep can be done in one bowl within 10 minutes. Forget making dough, kneading and proving, this guy is super easy going. Filled with your favourite jam, mine is always raspberry, and smothered in cinnamon sugar once baked.

Just remember to thoroughly grease your bundt tin for ultimate upturning and bob's your bundt uncle, a stress free bake!

J A M   D O U G H N U T   B U N D T
(Serves 8-10)

400g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
225g golden caster sugar, plus extra for topping
175g butter, melted, plus extra for topping
250ml full fat milk
2 eggs
half jar of raspberry jam
1tbsp ground cinnamon

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees and grease a bundt tin.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and caster sugar to a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk together the butter, milk and eggs in a jug before pouring into the dry ingredients. Gently mix until everything is just incorporated.
  • Pour half the batter into the prepared bundt tin. Use a small spoon to smooth some of the mixture up the walls of the bundt tin in order for the jam to be fully enveloped during baking. Dollop the jam evenly around the middle of the bundt ensuring not to touch any sides. Pour over the remaining batter, smooth the top and bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool before upturning onto a wire rack to cool fully.
  • As the bundt is cooling, brush with a little melted butter and scatter over cinnamon sugar to coat each side.

Better with Comté Masterclass

Everything is better with cheese, in fact everything is better with Comté. And that was exactly the premise of a night in Cactus Kitchens trying our hand at incorporating one of my favourite cheeses into a selection of seasonal dishes.

First up, cheese tasting. All milk to make Comté comes from Montbéliarde and French Simmental cows who have 2 acres of land each in the Jura Massif to roam free and work their magic. What a life! They eat grass and flowers in the summer and hay in the winter. Each day small village dairies transform the cows milk into wheels of Comté who in turn age the cheese in house, regularly turning the wheels, salting and brining for up to 24 months.

Not only does seasonal changes in the cows diet change the flavour profile of the finished Comté wheel, but also the age of the wheel. There's such a vast difference between a young Comté and a mature. When young, its elastic, lactic, pale and fruity. When mature, more nutty, deeper in colour and crumbly due to the break down of amino acids. 

These both lend a great flavour to varying seasonal dishes as we went on to explore and try for ourselves in the kitchen. 

To start, a watercress, beetroot and fennel salad with Comté, basil and walnut crostinis. Here the 18 month is used in place of parmesan and pine nuts to give a deep nutty flavour in both the pesto and in the generous shavings on top...part of the perks of working with Flick - there's no scrimping on the cheese! Our starter was paired with, Grüner Veltliner, Reiden Selection, one of my favourite wines of the evening. From Austria's signature grape, its dry, fresh, citrusy and the perfect balance to the 18 month Comté and balsamic beetroot.

Next up, a butternut squash, sage and Comté risotto where a young cheese is used for creaminess to the earthiness of the squash. Of course, once again this is also topped with generous shavings of the mature because this is a cheese night after all! Paired with Tierra Alta Sauvignon, again dry and citrusy but more acidic - perfect for the younger, creamier 8 month Comté.

And of course, the Comté chefs worked their magic on a Comté, banana and vanilla tarte tatin. Yes, there's cheese in this dessert. The use of a young Comté, between 8-12 months, as we learnt in making the risotto gives a creaminess to the puff pastry and trust me, it was delicate and totally delicious. Served alongside a Petit Védrines Sauternes gave the perfect nutty, caramelised balance to the finale dish.

Armed with some new know-how I'm very excited to give some new Comté dishes a try at home. I've also decided that it would be a pretty great life being a Comté cow being free to roam in your 2 acres all day and graze non stop.

Thanks for having me Comté and Cactus Kitchens!

I was invited to attend the masterclass, was not paid and all opinions are my own...who doesn't love cheese this much?

Hot Cross Bun Brownies

I interrupt the scandi centred recipes posted so far this year with a seasonal brownie recipe. Because when all else fails and you're lacking in baking mojo, revert back to basics. These guys are proof that a trusty brownie recipe has your back. Throw in whatever you fancy, something seasonal or something outrageous.

This is my traditional, failsafe brownie recipe pimped up with toasted hot cross buns, extra currants and some cinnamon, all topped with some crosses in true Easter fashion.

H O T   C R O S S   B U N   B R O W N I E S
(Makes 12-16 brownies)


3 eggs
275g caster sugar
175g salted butter
300g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
50g currants
175g plain flour
1tsp ground cinnamon
3 toasted hot cross buns, cooled

Crosses (optional):

50g plain flour
50ml water

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a 20cm square baking tray.
  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined and set aside.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate together over a pan of barely simmering water, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  • Return to the eggs and sugar and whisk once again until pale and fluffy. Pour in the chocolate and butter mixture and combine with the currants.
  • Gently fold in the flour and ground cinnamon using a spatula, careful not to over mix.
  • Tear the toasted and cooled hot cross buns and scatter over the base of the prepared baking tray. Pour over the brownie batter ensuring to fill all gaps and corners.
  • Mix together the flour and water to form a paste. Pour into a piping bag with a small round nozzle. Pipe crosses over the brownies.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. The top will be firm with a wobble in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to fully cool on a wire rack before chilling in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours (I like to leave mine overnight). This allows you to slice the squares neatly. 

Store brownies in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen if well wrapped for a few months.

Nordic Afternoon Tea at Aster, Victoria

Its no secret that I love cinnamon buns. 50% of the few recipes I've posted so far this year have all been bun related. My quest for the year is to learn the perfect knot and unlock cinnamon bun superstardom.

So when I was invited down to Aster in Victoria to try their new Nordic afternoon tea, firstly I was thrilled to try their cinnamon buns. And secondly, I love Nordic food so was intrigued as to how they'd translate it into an afternoon tea menu.

First up, cocktails and bubbles. My choice was the Greenway with gin, St Germain, matcha tea syrup, fresh basil and lemon juice. Super fresh and infinitely better than a matcha latte, i.e. matcha with gin!

For savouries, Atlantic prawn skagen on sourdough, blackcurrant herring with egg on dark rye and pork rolls with aquavit mustard. I love Finnish egg butter karelian pies so was thrilled to see it on the menu in an open sandwich. 

And for sweets, cinnamon knots, blueberry pie rye croute and lingonberry macarons. The softest macarons around with lingonberries sourced straight from Finland.

Executive chef Helena Puolakka then gave us a demonstration on how to make the best cinnamon knot. Gone are the days of a big roll and slicing each bun, its all about knots to keep optimum filling in each and to maintain light airy buns. It really does make the difference!

If you fancy getting your fika on, I thoroughly recommend Aster's and its such a gorgeous venue! Served from 3.00pm-5.00pm everyday for just £20 a head, you can't go wrong.

For more information, and to drool over the menu, take a look here.

Thanks to Sheepa for inviting me, I had a fab time. Although my food was complimentary, all opinions are my own.