Strawberry and Black Pepper Jam Tarts

The queen of Hearts she made some tarts

All on a summers day

The knave of Hearts he stole those tarts

And took them clean away.


The humble jam tart is always an easy one to whip up for when people come over, an easy little dessert, or an afternoon treat. If you have some pastry already in your freezer it makes it even easier.

First roll out your pastry and cut out to your desired shape. (Really you can use what ever you have at hand. A big long tray can also look great. Just cut the pieces to suit then.) For a pastry recipe, you also try here.

Grease tray, and place strips of baking paper down. All this does is makes it super easy to flip out when they are cooked. Rather than baking blind, I pricked the pastry with a fork and baked until golden at 180C. When the pastry shells are cooled, you can add ANY jam you want. It all tastes good. For these little numbers. I melted a little dark chocolate and then drizzled a small amount on the inside of the shell. This just gives a thin layer of chocolate underneath the jam mixture. Then spooned a strawberry jam mixed with freshly ground pepper. The pepper isn’t overwhelming just gives a gentle hint of… ooohh, whats that?

The King of Hearts called for the tarts

And beat the Knave full sore

The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts

And vowed he’d steal no more!


Vanilla Champagne Coconut Cupcakes

You know when you ponder on something for awhile, thinking, I think it will work, I think it will, I think it will… Well this was one of those moments. Experimenting in the kitchen at its very best. Why? Not because I think my cooking is the bees knees, but because the cupcakes turned out even better than I had hoped they would.

These are my favourite thing I have cooked this month. Moist with a hint of champagne. Melt on your tongue, fantastic straight from the oven or just as good a few days later. These were a hit with The Monkeys, neighbours, family and Mr Chocolate.

Vanilla Champagne Coconut Cupcakes

125 grams softened butter

1/2 cup castor sugar

1 vanilla pod scraped (or two tsp of essence)

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 beaten egg

1 1/2 cups s/r flour

1 cup bubbly champagne (sparkling wine)

Cream the butter sugar and vanilla together. Then add the egg, coconut and champagne. It should look a little like soggy bread crumbs. Then fold in the flour. Cook at 180 until just cooked.

I have done batches in mini cup cakes, cupcakes and whole cakes, just adjust the time according to size. Should be just firm on top, not golden as they will be too dry then.

(20 mins for cupcakes as a guideline.)