Month: August 2013

Shelina Permalloo’s Mango, Rum and Lime Syllabub recipe

Mango, lime and rum syllabub

Mango, Rum and Lime Syllabub

Taken from Sunshine on a Plate by Shelina Permalloo (Ebury Press, £20 hardback) Images © Martin Poole available on AMAZON

Serves 4

  • 4 ginger biscuits, crushed
  • 300ml double cream
  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 3 tbsp unrefined icing sugar
  • 75ml rum, plus 4 tsp
  • zest and juice of 4 limes
  • 150ml tinned Alphonso mango purée (alternatively blitz fresh mangoes in a food processor)
  • 2 Alphonso mangoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • desiccated coconut to sprinkle over the top
  • mint leaves, to decorate (optional)


1. Put the ginger biscuits into a large plastic bag (a sandwich bag is ideal) and bash vigorously with a rolling pin until you have a bag of crumbs.

2. Using an electric whisk, lightly whip the double cream. Add the vanilla seeds, icing sugar, the 75ml of rum, lime juice and zest, reserving a little for decoration. Keep whisking until it forms light peaks. Add about one third of the mango purée and half the cubed mango and fold through for a marbled effect.

3.  To assemble the syllabubs, divide the crumbs between 4 glasses. Sprinkle a teaspoon of rum over each and top with the rest of the mango purée. Spoon the cream over the top. Just before serving, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and reserved lime zest. Decorate with the mint leaves, if using.

Available on Amazon now!




Meet the expert: Shelina Permalloo Masterchef 2012 winner.

Shelina PermallooHow beautiful is Shelina Permalloo? I mean she can cook that’s for sure but up close and personal she is GORGEOUS!! Even in whites,slaving over a hot stove.

I was lucky enough to meet her when she was cooking up a storm (aka mouth watering canapés) at a press launch for Darren Jenner‘s bespoke kitchens at the Sub Zero & Wolf showrooms in London. Darren’s kitchens are beyond fab and he’s really down to earth.  Shelina had just won Masterchef and I had to say “hello”… as you do.

I had been shooting all day and I really wasn’t dressed to be at a launch like that. The place was filled with gorgeous ladies in very high heels, designer dresses who were sipping champagne and chatting about their £40,000 fridges. I was in my jeans having spent most of the day at a shoot on my knees arranging fake snow and a faux reindeer head! Was I put off by this? Not a jot! Having met the main man – who was so charming and down to earth I stood the other side of the island unit where Shelina was cooking up said canapés. She offered me a prawn covered in a chilli dressing. Not kosher! I had to refuse. So she said hang fire and I’ll do some more pineapple ones. Oh. My. Word! They were amazing. Sweet and hot and juicy all at the same time. I could have eaten the whole plateful- but that would have been rude! I was also hogging her attention and she was trying to concentrate. Cooking like that with all eyes on you can’t be easy!

So, I was chatting to Shelina’s agent (without actually realising it) and I said in passing to Shelina, “So you must be working on a book. When’s it out?” to which she replied “In a few months”. So it would appear fate was on my side. A few months later I arranged an interview with her and guess what? She remembered me! I was so flattered. When I say she remembered me I mean she remembered that I was the hovering vegetarian! Anyway, we chatted for ages and I’m completely her number one fan. Her book is just beautiful and her knowledge about flavours and spices is fantastic. But on to the interview…..


The Shelina Permalloo interview

How did you get into cooking and baking? 

When I was really young around 3 or 4 years old I used to sit and help my mum in the kitchen. She’d give me a big wicker platter full of rice and pulses and in those days you had to sift through it to remove the stones. That was my first introduction to cooking.

My Aunt and my mum were always cooking together and I learnt almost by default. It’s only recently during my time on MasterChef that my mum reminded me that when I was twelve I wanted to own a restaurant. She and Dad said a firm ‘NO’ as they wanted a more professional career for me and I’d completely forgoten about it.


Who inspires you most in the cooking arena and why?

David Thompson. He’s a renowned Thai chef. A legend in the Thai cooking arena. He doesn’t compromise on flavours and keeps his food as authentic as possible. He stays true to the original traditional recipes.


What influences the flavours of Mauritian food?

Mauritius wasn’t occupied until 400 years ago and it was the colonization of the many different cultures that created such a diversely ethnic food. That’s why at any dinner table you can find a French stew with an Indian curry and a chinese stir fry all at once. It’s a real fusion of tastes. East meets west.


How did you come to be on Master chef?

My love of food led me to apply for Masterchef back in April 2011. I sat and filled out the on -line application with a friend. I clicked ‘send’ and then forgot about it. At the time I was a Project manager and wanted to change to a job within the food industry. I soon gave up my job and started looking for a position in catering. Then in August I got a call from MasterChef asking me to come in for a chat.


What do you do for fun?

Cook! In my teens I’d cook for friends and at Uni I was the ‘house cook’. Now I cook to entertain. I love parties and going to friends houses. I also love Zumba and just chilling out with a good book. I can get totally lost in a good cook book. At the moment I am loving Rick Stein’s India but I also love literary books too.


Where is your favorite place to go out for a meal?

It depend on my mood but I really love ‘Silk Road’ in Camberwell. It’s low key, got a great style and has very hot, crazy szechuan spices. It’s delicious.


What kitchen gadget could you not live without and why?

Microplane grater – otherwise I’d have to stand and hand chop all my ginger and garlic instead of grating it!


What’s your favorite meal?

Anything made with seafood. Octopus, prawns, lobster. One of the dishes in the book ‘Seared Lobster with lime and coriander butter’ is the one dish that springs to mind. It’s my favorite dish.


How long did the book take to write? 

From start to finish it took a year. After I won MasterChef I had a few months where I had to keep it a secret so I got about 50-60 recipes done in that time. Then once the last show aired I was able to find a publisher. I was really happy to write a book for Ebury. That’s when I completed the rest of the recipes.


How do you test the recipes in Sunshine on a Plate? What’s the process?

All the recipes are tested at home first and then I got friends and family to test them. I wanted each dish to be as easy as possible to make whilst remaining authentic and not complex. Accessibility of ingredients was also a big thing for me. I didn’t want there to be any ingredients that were going to be really difficult to find. Even Sainsburys and Waitrose sell Chickpea flour, it’s just in the gluten free section rather than the baking.


What is your favorite recipe in the book?

For savory it would have to be the lobster dish. It’s a stand out party favorite. I love to cook it for friends. For dessert it would have to be the banana lattice. It’s a great way to use up bananas that are on the turn and it has that sticky toffee kind of taste whilst remaining light.


Were there any major disasters when working on the book? 

There weren’t any disasters really. We shot the book in Mauritius with lots of scene setting shots of market places and local fish and lobster sellers. On the last day we planned to shoot the book jacket. The plan was to get a shot of me cooking on the shore with the sea in the background. It had been a beautiful day all day. Just as my hair and make up was finished it started to rain but not just any rain. Torrential rain. It was a total wipe out and we had to go with plan B. I still love the cover shot.


What’s next on your wish list

I’m planning on opening my own restaurant, which has always been my biggest wish. But while I am planning that I am doing lots of shows including the Good Food show as well as planning book two!

Sunshine on a Plate by Shelina Permalloo (Ebury Press, £20 hardback) Images © Martin Poole available on AMAZON


Check out Shelina’s recipe for Mango, Rum and Lime Syllabub in the next post. I only have permission to feature it for one month so don’t miss it!



Dairy Free chocolate chip cookie recipe

COOKIE POPSThis week I have been baking non stop! First when we had friends come to stay at the beginning of the week and then all day Thursday and Friday with my mum for the big Summer Fete at the Synagogue (Shul) which is happening today. And on Friday I baked a birthday box of cookies for another good friend.

Keeping Kosher means that you don’t mix meat meals with anything with dairy in it (yes that means no cheeseburgers) and as there’s going to be a BBQ later on today at Shul all the food has to be dairy free or what we call parev (ok to eat with meat and milk meals). I was asked to get involved with the fete and bake some cakes and of course I enlisted the help of my super mum.

I had to come up with some cake suggestions that could be made to eat on the day as well as some to sell for people to take home with them. I have to say that I didn’t know where to start. I mean, I can think up loads of cakes but when it comes to quantities I was flummoxed! In the end the lovely, patient organisers ( I say that as I kept going AWOL on shoots in the lead up to the event and was a bit difficult to get hold of- sorry ladies!) made the decision and then during baking me and mum changed it all!


So we made,

  • 1 massive Lemon traybake for 60 (Mary Berry Style) to cut up and serve
  • 3 Lemon traybakes to sell
  • 100 very odd shaped fairy cakes – no tins makes a BIG difference!
  • 10 Apple cakes
  • 12 Honey cakes – well it is nearly Rosh Hashannah
  • 200 Vanilla Biscuits Bagged and beautiful
  • 60 Choc chip cookies (half on sticks for the wigglers)

In place of butter we used a kosher, dairy free alternative called Tomar for all the bakes. It’s a vegetable spread in butter or margarine form and I have used it quite a lot for desserts after a meat meal, but I thought I had better try it out on the cookies as I didn’t want them to be a big sticky mess on the baking sheet at shul.

I was right to test them out! They did spread and turned really greasy. So I had to adapt my regular favorite cookie recipe by reducing the Tomar and adding more flour. Bingo! That worked a treat – but they did need more chocolate chips as the butter flavour was missing. End result. Really good!

So here it is.

Parev / Dairy free chocolate chip cookie recipe

(Makes around 60 cookies- but you can freeze some to bake later)

  • 200g Tomar – at room temperature
  • 350g light brown sugar
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg- lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp spoon vanilla essence
  • 500g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g dark chocolate chips
Frozen cookies
Frozen cookies ready for the oven

To make the cookies

  1. Mix the Tomar and sieved sugars together until pale and fluffy. With a food mixer this will take around 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the egg and sieved dry ingredients to the butter mix and blend well.
  3. Add the chocolate chips
  4. Roll into balls and chill in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight if you are baking them without freezing.
  5. To Freeze: place the balls of cookie dough on a baking tray and place them in the freezer. Once completely frozen place the balls in a labeled sandwich bag ready for another baking day.
  6. If you want the cookies on sticks then add them before they are chilled. Stick them in the centre of a dough ball. As the cookie flattens during baking it will form a perfect circular cookie on a stick.
  7. To bake: Heat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan) and line a baking tray with silicon paper
  8. The cookies will spread so place each dough ball on the baking tray leaving plenty of space around each one. I bake 9 on each tray. If baking from the fridge bake for exactly 10 minutes. If baking from the freezer bake for exactly 12 minutes. The cookies will look like they aren’t cooked but don’t worry they are. They may also appear a bit puffy. The puffiness will deflate and leave a lovely cracked or chocolate chip yumminess on each cookie.
  9. Once baked remove the tray from the oven and place it on the cooling rack. Leave the cookies on the baking tray for five minutes then carefully place them directly on a cooling tray. The cookies are very soft when they come out of the oven so don’t attempt to remove them from the tray until they have cooled a bit. They will just squish into a big gooey mess if you touch them too soon.
  10. Eat them up while they are still warm. That’s when they taste the best.


Me and my girls x

My girls had seen so many test runs that you would think that they would be sick of the sight of cookies. But no. They still want them EVERY DAY!!!


Things are looking really Delicious over here!

Delicious Magazine

I’ve been mega busy the last few weeks shooting Halloween (I know. I know! It was Christmas last time and now it’s Halloween. I’m all over the place! No wonder my head’s spinning) and as the kids are off for the Summer I have literally been here there and everywhere. Can you believe the little ones are half way through their 6 weeks hols already? Slow down time. Plllleeeassse!!!

Anyway, I nearly forgot to tell you all about my exciting mention in Delicious Magazine. Back in May the lovely Rebecca Smith, Deputy Editor over there asked me if I had a recipe that had been handed down to me for Rosh Hashannah (the Jewish New Year) which would fit in with their September issue. Each issue has a feature where there is a really lovely personal story of a favorite recipe being handed down from generation to generation or from special friends. It’s really sweet.  Well, my first thought was to give her my Honey Cake recipe but as they had featured that cake last year I sent her my Challah recipe instead which I got from my brother Robert. It’s not one of those long time family traditions – rather just a nice to share story. It really takes me back to when he was in London (not Australia) and his first daughter was born. He tried so many recipes to get it right and would send everyone photos of what he had made each Friday night. You’ll have to pick up the current copy to read it in full and get the recipe- or I may just share it with you in a few weeks in time for Rosh Hashannah, but really  I just wanted to share my excitement at having mentioned in such a prestigious foodie mag. And just look how amazing Bex’s shot of it is in the mag!!! It makes my mouth water. Beautiful.

Delicious Magazine

 I do love a handed down recipe. Don’t you? What recipe have you been handed down that you go back to time and time again?  I’d love to know.


6 to 12″ in 60 seconds (aka Madeira cake ingredients for different size cake tins)

6 to 12″ in 60 seconds: Madeira cake ingredients

10" Madeira cake recipeI have to say that I have been bowled over by how many questions I have been asked about Madeira cake since I started this blog. I mean if you check out my first post on it there are over 200 comments! So I shouldn’t have been surprised by the response to last weeks post on how to adapt ingredient amounts for different sized cake tins with a 10″ recipe along side. But there you have it. I was surprised. As promised in last weeks post, here is the chart with all the ingredients you need to make a Madeira cake from a 6″ all the way up to a 12″. I can’t fit a 14″ in my oven so I don’t possess a tin that size so if anyone needs the ingredients for that you’ll have to measure the volume in ml so that it is 3″ deep and let me know what it is! Then I can work out the rest.

The Measurements

This chart is for ROUND Madeira cakes that are 3″ deep so you can slice them in half to fill if you want to. (Buttercream measurements for different size cakes are being calculated now after a reader requested them. So, no more leftovers to devour for me then! Watch this space.)

Madeira Cake IngredientsMadeira cake chart - April 2015(this chart was revised on 27th April 2015

I’ve also had a few questions about the ingredients on my first Madeira cake recipe post. That recipe was also for an 8″ round cake but the depth of that cake only came out to 2″ deep. The ingredients above will give you a much deeper 3″ cake. That’s why there’s a difference in the ingredients quantities. As I have got more experienced I have tested out other ideas and I think I’ve nailed the Madeira cake recipe now. Another two things to note are that I used to only use butter in this cake as I thought that would taste better but as my mum uses butter and margarine combined I tried that out and the result is a much lighter and more moist cake. The other tip she gave me was to mix in the flour and water in three goes. If you add all the flour then all the water you get a cake with lots of air holes in it and it tends to be more dry than if you add them alternating for three goes. Small things = big benefits in baking!

How to make Madeira cake

  1. Line the cake tin with baking paper. I use sunflower oil to grease the tin so the cake stays soft. Butter tends to bake too quickly giving you a harder cake on the outside.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
  3. Start by creaming the butters together then add the sugar and beat till it’s pale and fluffy.
  4. Very slowly add the eggs – a spoonful at a time. Add a spoon of the flour to prevent curdling if necessary. Add the vanilla essence and mix.
  5. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and have the hot water ready. Add the flour and water in three goes. This produces the fluffiest and most moist cake rather than adding all the flour then all the water.
  6. Bake for time stated on the chart for your size cake tin or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean.
  7. Don’t open the oven door for the first 30 minutes. It will make the cake sink.
  8. Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before turning out of the tin carefully.

Happy baking bakers


P.S. I wish I had £1 for every time I misspelt Madeira!!! p.p.s. Here’s the link for the instructions on how to make the Madeira cake.

P.P.S.I’ve been re-testing these cakes for the timings which have been taking much longer than originally stated – sorry guys. I’ve just got the 10″ left to test so if you’re baking that size just keep an eye on it after an hour. I’ll be testing the 10″ just as soon as I have more room in my freezer!



How to adapt a cake recipe for different size tins and a 10″ Madeira cake recipe.

How to adapt a cake recipe for different size tins 


Last week I made a two tier wedding cake for a friend and I decided that it was about time I really mastered getting the right amounts of ingredients for different sized cake tins, rather than doubling and hoping for the best. I got the basic gist of how to work it out from Ruth Clemens on her Pink whisk blog. You take your basic recipe and then measure the volume of water that the cake tin will hold. Now my Madeira cake recipe is for an 8″ cake but I find that the cake isn’t as deep as I’d like it to be. It usually only comes out about 3/4 of the depth of the tin, so I have been experimenting.

My goal was to have a cake that would rise to just above the rim of the cake tin so that I could skim off the top to make sure that it’s perfectly flat – ready for decorating. So I used my 8″ recipe in a 6″ tin and voila. Perfect result. So that was my base to work with.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
%d bloggers like this: