Edible centrepiece


Edible centrepieces are highly versatile creatures. They’re also really easy to adjust to accommodate food choices and/or intolerances. In this one I’ve got chocolate-coated strawberries, plain blueberries, and star-shaped marshmallows (made using a cookie cutter – I’m pretty sure you can buy novelty-shaped marshmallows, which would be a lot easier to work with!). Mr Mallow is a good brand of GF marshmallows, and dark chocolate is usually dairy-free, but as with most things when it comes to food intolerances, you should always check the packet!

Other ideas include grapes, flower-shaped pieces of pineapple (also made with a cookie cutter) or colouring the white chocolate. The internet is bursting with ideas – a quick Google search will reveal all kinds of creative inspiration.

Fruit Flan

Fruit Flan 2


From step-by-step’s Fingerfood. While I wouldn’t really class it as fingerfood myself, I’m nevertheless glad it was included in the cookbook because it looks amazing and tastes even better. The original recipe was for two flans, but I halved it to give enough for one (which is why there’s a lot of half- and quarter-quantities).

Prep time = 40 mins, total cooking time = 30 mins

Ingredients – pastry

• 160g (2 ¼ cups) plain flour
• 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
• 90g (3oz) butter, chopped
• 1 egg
• ¼ tablespoon water

Ingredients – custard

• 210ml (1 ¼ cups) milk
• 2 eggs
• 1 tablespoon cornflour
• 65g (¼ cup) caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Ingredients – topping

• Kiwi fruit, sliced
• 200g canned peach halves, sliced
• 7 black grapes
• 125g strawberries, halved

• 80g (¼ cup) strawberry jam
• 2 teaspoons brandy


• To make pastry, place flour, sugar and butter in bowl of a food processor. Using the pulse action, process for 30 seconds or until the mixture is fine and crumbly.
• Add the egg and water and process for 20 seconds or until the mixture just comes together when squeezed.
• Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead gently to form a smooth dough.
• Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for 20 minutes.
• Roll the dough on a floured board to fit a greased 23cm (9 inch) round loose-bottomed flan tin. Ease pastry into the tin and trim edge with a sharp knife.
• Cut a sheet of baking paper to cover the pastry in the tin and spread a layer of weights over it: ceramic baking beads are good, but dried beans, rice or macaroni all work well.
• Bake for 10 minutes, remove baking paper and weights, and bake for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned; cool.

• To make custard, whisk half the milk with eggs, sifted flours and sugar in a medium bowl.
• Heat the remaining milk in a pan until warm, remove from heat and gradually whisk into egg mixture.
• Return the custard mixture to pan; whisk over heat until mixture boils and thickens. Simmer for 3 minutes.
• Remove from heat and stir in essence. Leave to cool, then spread into pastry case.

• To make topping, arrange fruit decoratively over custard.
• Heat jam and brandy together in a pan, then strain through a sieve. Brush over fruit.
• Refrigerate flan before serving.

Fruit Flan 1