Category Archives: Sweets

Praline – The old Italian way


It is nice to have sweets sometimes that contain just the basics.

This praline will satisfy anyones urge for sweet and it only takes 5 mins to make and 5-10 mins to cool.

I am a big fan of simple Italian recipes when cooking and nobody beats the Italian’s for the simplicity of their sweets.

I generally go organic but the taste is just the same with regular ingredients.

Let me know what you think.


olive oil (for brushing)

130 grams / 4 1/2 oz caster sugar (fine sugar)

150 grams /5 oz blanched almonds, chopped (I use less sometimes to get more of a toffee taste)

15 grams / 1/2 oz unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice

fresh bay leaves (optional)


Brush a marble slab or baking sheet with oil.

Melt the sugar with 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of water in a heavy based pot over a low-medium heat.

Stir in the almonds, then add the butter and lemon juice.

Lower the heat and cook until the mixture is a golden brown    (it will start to burn around the edges, this is what you want.         Just  keep stirring it in to the mixture until a golden colour is achieved)

Remove the pan from heat and pour onto baking sheet and spread out to 1cm / 1/2 inch thick.

Cut into diamond shapes with a knife and let cool and set.

Break up praline into diamonds and prior to serving rub bottoms with fresh bay leaves until scented.


Poached Pear with Cinnamon Quills and Brandy


I sat in my kitchen trying to come up with a dessert that was slightly unusual and not something that most people would have tried.

The problem with being a male who loves cooking is this

1. I  always have that urge to justify why what I am making is masculine.

2. I am lazy.

With both of these factors in mind and a bowl of pears sitting under my nose I came up with the following recipe.

It is simple, delicious and contains brandy (the masculine part).

Serve this dish up the next time you have someone over and they will be blown away by the mix of flavour and presentation.


  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 pears (peeled)
  • 3 cinnamon quills
  • ¼ cup brandy

  • In a large deep pot over a medium heat stir the water, sugar, cinnamon and brandy until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil.
  • Add the peeled pears  (leave the stalk on),  reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Make sure the pears stay under the syrup while cooking.
  • Serve with ice cream and bittersweet chocolate chips/shavings
Slice off the rounded base of the pear to achieve a flat surface on which to sit the pear for serving.