Sweet potato and orange chickpeas salad (plant based)

This sounds most odd, this flavour combination of oranges with chickpeas and sweet potato but I promise you it isn’t. Its taste falls somewhere between the realm of spicy and fruity, lightly sweet dusted with faint hues of exotic vibrance which comes in part with the addition of cinnamon and cumin powered with sweet citrusy tang brought together with a thin sesame dressing. This salad is fabulously different and makes for a lovey accompaniment to meals if not eaten as a meal in itself.

we need some sweet potatoes, boiled chickpeas, capsicum, an orange divided into two parts, sesame seeds, black pepper, cumin and cinnamon powder, mustard and some salt

Chop the sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces, add in the cumin and cinnamon powder with some salt and bake at 180ºC for 20-25 minutes until cooked.

Place the baked sweet potatoes into a large bowl and set aside.

Roast the sesame seeds and pound to a fine powder.

In a bowl mix together the powdered sesame seeds with juice of half an orange with some lemon

Add in some salt, pepper and mustard and mix well to make a dressing.

the dressing should be of thin consistency. Chop the peppers and deseed+skin and devein the remaining half of orange, slicing it into segments.

To the bowl of baked sweet potatoes add boiled chickpeas

Add in the chopped casicum and orange slices along with the sesame dressing. Mix well and serve.


Sweet potatoes: 200 gms
Cooked chickpeas: 210 gms
Capsicum/Bell pepper: 1 small
Orange: 1/2 medium size
Salt : to taste
Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp
Cumin powder: 1.5 tsp

For the dressing 

Orange juice: 1/2 orange 
Roasted sesame seeds: 2 tbsps
Mustard: 1 tsp
Lemon juice: 1 tsp
salt to taste
pepper: 1/2 tsp (or more according to taste)
Oil: 1/2 tsp (optional)

Recipe instructions : Cube the sweet potatoes and add salt, cumin powder and cinnamon powder. bake at 180ºC for 20-25 minutes or until fully cooked. Set aside.

Chop the capsicum and devein+segment the orange.

Make the dressing by pounding sesame seeds to a powder and mixing in it the freshly squeezed orange juice from the remaining orange with lemon juice, salt, pepper and mustard. Add in the oil if using and mix to form a thin dressing.

In a large mixing bowl toss together the sweet potatoes with chickpeas, chopped capsicum, orange and the dressing.


Citrus butter cake


It’s been a while since there’s been any sun in our frigid little Chinese town, but I’m not complaining.Maybe I am because everything is cold and freezing and butter at room temperature is a solid brick and my bread dough doesn’t rise and it’s always raining and everything is wet and it feels like I’m living in a glacier…..but there are moments when there’s plenty sunshine in my kitchen, courtesy this golden cake, that looks like sun-rays and tastes like sunlit oranges bathed in sweet butter and love.

I’m not exaggerating, ’tis true and you know it and not least because you can make this cake at the snap of your fingers and smugly too.


Yes there’s fanta and no shame. Regular stuff that is butter, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, lemon and orange zest plus extra for icing, a whole lemon, fanta, flour, baking powder and


eggs that I forgot to include, but here they are.


into the flour add salt


and baking powder and keep aside for a while


this is a citrus cake and we want every breath to speak of it, which is why into our sugar we mix in the lemon zest


and orange zest


and using our fingers we just mix it all in so every bit of sugar is infused with the citrus twang.


in a separate glass juice your lemon


and add in the fanta.


beat together room temperature butter and zest mixed sugar until nicely mixed and kinda fluffy. It’ll only take a couple of minutes.


crack in the eggs. one at a time and beat after each addition to mix thoroughly, so here’s the first


and the second. It turns a fabulous yellow/orange after each addition.


once it’s all mixed well in add the vanilla extract


beat again and now it’s time for the flour which we will add in three additions. So here’s 1/3rd of our flour, mix briefly


and 1/2 of our magic potion that is fanta and lemon juice. Mix after each addition just until the batter comes together


another 1/3rd of flour, beat briefly.


add the remaining fanta, lemon juice, and mix to combine.


followed by the rest of the flour. Beat to make a smooth batter. It doesn’t take long.


You’ll finally get this. A pool of sun in a steel bowl.


Pour into baking tin of choice. I was too lazy to butter a loaf tin so I lined it with a baking sheet, but please feel free to butter and flour your cake tin. Bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Like so. The kitchen at this point smells like orange marmalade doing a cabaret. You can eat it as it is but a bit of embellishment never hurt anyone.


an easy glaze or make up if you prefer. add some reserved zest into icing sugar


with a spoonful or so of leftover fanta in case you haven’t been too greedy.


mix to form a pourable consistency like so.


and let your cake have it, make sure it has cooled down completely.

This cake may look sober but it’s oozing with oomph. It smells like sun and tastes like light. Every bite carries a citrus hit and honestly any cake that uses a can of fanta cannot go wrong. it’s easy, delightful and a much desired change from everything boring these winters.


butter: 100 g (1/2 cup)

flour: 170 g (11/2 cup)

sugar: 110 g( about 1 cup)

fanta: 200 mls (3/4cup)

lemon juice: 1 tablespoon

eggs: 2

salt: 1/2 tsp

baking powder: 1 tsp

vanilla extract: 1 tsp

orange and lemon zest: 1 tablespoon + extra for icing.

For icing

icing sugar: 100 g (about 1 cup(

lemon + orange zest (1 tsp)

fanta: 1 tablespoon

Recipe instructions: mix flour, salt and baking powder and keep aside. add the lemon and orange zest in sugar and mix in with fingers until fragrant. In a glass squeeze in one lemon and mix with fanta.

In a separate bowl, beat room temperature butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat for a minute after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and beat again.

Add the flour in three stages alternating with fanta and juice mixture in two, and beat well after each addition until the batter is smooth.

Pour into a baking tin and bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely.

For the icing mix in the zest, fanta and icing sugar until you have pouring consistency. Pour over the cooled cake and let set before serving.


Make this now!

Orange torte (gluten free)

DSC_0660I was dying to make something citrusy, something with a bright yellow colour, something that would remind me of sunshine and fill the house with summer smells of freshness.

I love desserts that have a citrus note to them and this torte was no exception. This sunny disc of luscious flavours is a gluten-free torte which I adapted from Stephanie Jaworski of joyofbaking.com . she has such a wonderful collection of fabulous recipes and it’s all explained in such perfect details that it’d be impossible to go wrong, and this torte was no exception. I came across her clemetine torte and knew that I had to make it.

I just want to emphasize on the luxuriousness of this cake and that it’s one of the best things to come out of my kitchen. It’s pure tasteporn..I mean it.

DSC_0622cSince this is an orange torte you need oranges, almond flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract (I used a vanilla bean), sugar and eggs.

Before I start, I’d like to mention that these oranges need a good boiling because you want these golden beauties soft, soft, soft. I boiled these oranges a day in advance, and boiled them for about 1 hour until they were soft. Let them cool and store in fridge to use next day.

Also a word on almond flour/meal- please don’t get put off or think ‘meh this needs almond meal, who’s got that’? well I didn’t. I simply made it at home by blitzing almonds in a grinder until it resembled flour. It took me about 2 minutes. You can do it and you should, because this cake is extraordinarily delicious and moist and dense and orangey and you’d probably go to hell if you didn’t try this recipe.

ok moving on..

DSC_0623take a clean blender or food processor

DSC_0624throw in your oranges

DSC_0625crack in the eggs in the most clumsy fashion

DSC_0626add in the vanilla (I’m using a vanilla bean, but please use good vanilla extract if you want, I just happen to have a truckloads of these beans)

DSC_0627Once it’s all in

DSC_0628blitz to mix. It will turn into a golden pond of citrus love in a matter of seconds.

DSC_0629admire your handiwork and realize it resembles a milkshake and that you’re lactose intolerant..shed a few tears and get back to work.

DSC_0630in a separate large clean bowl.

DSC_0631dump in your almond flour/meal (whatever you call it)

DSC_0632add the sugar

DSC_0634in with the baking powder

DSC_0635don’t forget the salt

DSC_0638it’s all heaped in. good!

DSC_0639mix using a wire whisk. It’s just easier

DSC_0640mix well like so. I put a spoonful in my mouth and it tasted great already.

DSC_0641Now tip in your orange+egg+vanilla mixture

DSC_0643mix until it all comes together. Don’t be too vigorous.

DSC_0644let that rest a bit and prep the pan. Take a springfoam pan and using its base as guide, cut out a round piece of parchment paper. It’s not geometry, you needn’t be precise. (Again, don’t be put off by this step. It takes a mere minute and it’s important for the cake)

DSC_0645take a bit of melted butter and spread on the base of the tin.

DSC_0646like so.

DSC_0647this enables the parchment to stick better. Flatten it out well so that there are no air bubbles.

DSC_0649Brush the sides as well. I took an extra precaution and lined the base with aluminum foil to prevent any leakages. I have trust issues with this pan, and in return it doesn’t love me back.

DSC_0650Tip in your batter. Tap it a bit and bake @ 190℃

DSC_0652take it out after and hour. Check with toothpick in case it comes out clean and LET IT COOL COMPLETELY! I’m sorry for yelling but this how I yelled at the man who kept trying to eat it.

DSC_0660once completely cooled, very carefully and gently remove the base pan and peel off the parchment paper. Just be a little cautious. It’s a wonderfully moist cake so don’t be too heavy-handed with it.

DSC_0674cut yourself a piece and fall in love.

Note: this cake tastes best after a couple of days of making, and for best results you have to let it be undisturbed overnight.


Oranges : 450g (boiled until soft, best to do a day in advance)

Eggs: 6

vanilla extract : 1 teaspoon or vanilla bean.

Almond flour/meal : 250 g (if you can’t buy it, then grind the same wight of almonds until it resembles flour)

Sugar: 230 g

baking powder: 1 teaspoon

salt: a small pinch

How to: In a blender or food processor, blend in the oranges, eggs and vanilla.

In a separate large bowl mix in the almond flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Pour in the batter and mix well.

Line your springfoam tin with parchment paper after greasing the base and sides. To prevent leakages line the outside base with aluminium foil.

Pour in the batter and bake at 190℃ for 45-60 minutes. Check with toothpick to see if it’s baked. Mine took one whole hour.

Note: Around the 40 minute mark I covered the top with aluminum foil as it was getting a little brown.

DSC_0672Here’s another delicious picture. Enjoy!!




Chocolate orange cake

DSC_0162Orange and chocolate when put together, open a portal of another dimension, which leads you into a parallel universe where there is endless happiness, where eating more makes you lose weight and where lemons give you life.

Orange and chocolate form something so deep, so intense and flavourful and so unbelievably delicious that you’d think the person who discovered this was given a nobel prize or at least he should be given one asap.

This cake is so rich, so damp, dense, dark and irresistible that you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from devouring this completely. It’s almost impossible to put in words but it tastes like a mouthful of happy malevolence. Crazy right? but this cake has to be made to believe and this is one of the best desserts you could serve at a dinner party. It’s gorgeous and it has an air of elegant simplicity with the most aromatic and not so subtle flavours of orange and chocolate.

The other best part about this cake is that it’s easy and it can be made into just one bowl.


DSC_0090Just flour, salt, baking soda, butter, best quality dark chocolate, sugar, orange marmalade, vanilla, orange liqueur (optional), eggs.


DSC_0093I started by melting the butter and the chocolate into a microwavable bowl. You could by all means use a double boiler but this was easier and faster.


DSC_0095Stir together and exercise enough restrain to not dive into this dark pool of melted chocolate and butter. It’s so easy that I’m using a tiny wooden spoon and a bowl two sizes too small to make this cake.


DSC_0098Into this add in the orange marmalade


DSC_0099the sugar


DSC_0100the orange liqueur


DSC_0101the vanilla extract


DSC_0102and stir. You can see lumps of the marmalade I put in and this is what helps the texture of this cake making it moist with small pieces of marmalade studded in the chocolate.


DSC_0111In with the beaten eggs


DSC_0113and gradually adding a bit of flour and stirring to incorporate. Instead of adding in the whole heap, add in a tablespoon at a time and gently mix in without over beating.


DSC_0117like this


DSC_0120to finally get this.


DSC_0125Into a cake mould. You can also make cupcakes out of this and more often when I have a lot of people, I actually make these into small cupcakes and these need absolutely no frosting/icing of any kind… none!!


DSC_0138Now because this cake is damp, it takes a bit longer than usual cakes but this is so glorious and intensely aromatic. It’s fabulous.


DSC_01688You really have to make this cake and see for yourself how easy it is to create something so rich and elegant yet so simple. This cake is a hit and you’d be asked for seconds and thirds. You really have to make this..



  • butter 125 g (unsalted)
  • dark chocolate 100g (at least 60%cocoa)
  • Orange marmalade 150 g
  • Orange liqueur (optional) 30 mls/1 tablespoon
  • sugar 120 g
  • salt 1/4 teaspoon
  • baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
  • eggs 2 large beaten
  • flour 150g
  • vanilla extract 1 teaspoon

Recipe: Melt the butter and the chocolate. Add in the marmalade, sugar, liqueur and vanilla. Stir to combine

add in the eggs and mix thoroughly.

Add the flour slowly or one tablespoon at a time and mix completely without over beating.

The batter will be very moist. Bake at 180℃ for 45-50 minutes. Let cool completely.

This cake needs no icing or frosting at all.

Alternatively you can use this recipe and make cupcakes as well.



Citrus butter cookies


These citrusy buttery delights were something I’d been longing to make ever since I stumbled upon Pioneer Woman’s recipe (here)

For whatever reason’s I kept postponing because procrastination is one of my super powers. Somehow after my man nagged me for a batch of fresh cookies which weren’t chocolate, I figured this is the time I make these citrus drops.

I altered the original recipe a bit because in my remote Chinese town, where even blogging can become a problem, I didn’t have all the ingredients necessary, but somehow I tweaked a bit and these came out ,oh so fabulous, oh so mouth-watering and oh so citrusy, that I imagine the original recipe must have been absolutely off the charts.

This wasn’t difficult, in fact it was one of the easier cookie recipes and so much fun to make.. so here goes.


The ingredients really easy and quick to assemble. Butter, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour.


As with most cookies out there, it begins fairly easy by creaming the butter which becomes a lot harder if it isn’t at room temperature. Also you don’t have to cream it’s soul. Just a minute would do, or even less.


In with the sugar


followed by the egg yolk


I’d really hoped the yolk maintained it’s integrity but NO!


Beat the butter, sugar and egg yolk and add the zest of both lemon and orange, but also reserve a bit for later, which we will come to in a bit.


now the flour


beat that all together and you’d probably end up with a bit crumbly mixture. It’s really not a problem, because now you add some orange juice


and some lemon juice


Mix well and it shall all clump into this sunny yellow glorious dough. Just a faint whiff and you’d faint.


Roll into balls. It’s almost as if I’m moulding a sun.


this is just to let you know how big these were. I scooped out using my melon scooper. These were the prettiest things I saw all week.


Lay them out on a parchment paper, so as to avoid any stick up that might happen.


Behold the mighty yellow kisses of sun.. I baked mine for some 15 minutes at 190℃ . I also flattened their tops a bit using the back of a glass before pushing them in the oven. Can you see the orange specks of the zest? Let these cool, while we get on with the icing.


The icing is simple enough. Lemon and orange zest, meringue powder, lemon and orange juice. It’s actually royal icing, but I’m not too sure about the eggs here, so instead of making them with egg whites, I used meringue powder instead. But if you have your own royal icing recipe using egg whites, please feel free.


This is just Meringue powder, lemon and orange juice, the zests and powdered sugar, all beaten into a frenzy to create…..


THIS!!! isn’t this beautiful? the consistency is really up to you, but i like thick fat icing ribbons so I didn’t let it get too thin a drizzle.


Using a spoon,or a piping bag if you want more elegance, lay on the icing as you wish, however you want.


Absolutely unsure fat patterns. Also before the icing dries don’t forget to put some more strands of zest on these babies.




These are sugary, buttery bites of citrus in your mouth. Your cheeks will feel it, you will love it and your man, well mine kept lurking until the last pictures were taken, and then these were devoured rather mercilessly.

These have to be made to be believed, and you’d feel oh so competent about yourself..

Thanks a lot Pioneer Woman for these full flavoured bites of citrus love.


200 gms Butter

150 gms sugar

1 large egg separated

200 gms all-purpose flour

30 gms of lemon zest and orange zest (roughly 2 tablespoons)

40 mls each of lemon and orange juice


Meringue powder (as mentioned on the box)

30 gms of orange & lemon zest + extra for decoration.

30 mls tbsp orange and lemon juice

For the consistency I had, I used about 30 gms (around 2 tbsps) of meringue powder, 50 gms powdered sugar, scant amount of water and 30 mls (about 2 tbsps) each of orange and lemon juice. But really it’s up to you. You might want to go thicker or thinner with the icing.


Cream the butter (make sure the butter is at room temperature), add in the sugar and egg yolk. Beat again to mix and add in the zest and the flour. Beat until it’s more or less mixed and finally add in the juice and beat to combine.

Scoop out equal sized balls using a melon scooper, or however your MO is and roll them into balls. Line on a parchment paper and slightly flatten their tops using the back of a glass. Bake at 190℃ for 15 minutes and let cool completely before icing.

Meringue icing as per instructions or as I mentioned above for the consistency I got. Decorate your now cooled cookies as you desire, or just go for a not so subtle pattern and drizzle the remaining zest before the icing dries off. Remember to let the icing set before unleashing yourself.