Baking, Something sweet

Double choc biscuits 


These are really easy and delicious if you like chocolate. This will make about 15 biscuits or 8 larger cookies.

So what do you need?

  • 100g butter
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
  • 100g plain (all purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. cocao powder
  • 50g chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. plain yoghurt or milk

So what do you do?

Start by pre- heating your oven to 175 degrees C / 350 F. Then cream together the butter and sugar and mix in the vanilla essence. Next add in the the flour, baking powder, cocao powder and choc chips and mix them in. Then add just enough plain yoghurt or milk to bring the mixture together into a dough.

On a lined baking sheet put dessert spoons balls of the mixture leaving some space between them and then press them down with the back of a fork. Put them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the begin to crisper at the edges. Allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Baking, Snacks, The Basics

Oatcakes 

If you live somewhere that they are readily available in the shops then you probably  wouldn’t bother making them but if you don’t and you get a craving for them they’re not ask to make and you can make them smaller than shop bought ones for a more delicate biscuit to go with cheese after dinner. They’re also very economical to make. This recipe makes about 40 biscuits.

So what do you need?

  • 250g porridge oats
  • 50g whole meal flour
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)

So what do you do?

First preheat your oven to about 190 degrees C / 375F. If you have a baking stone then put it in the oven to heat up. Then put the oats in a food processor and grind them until they become like a rough flour still with about a third still in oat pieces. Then heat about 80ml of water and add a tsp. of sea salt and the butter until it melts. Mix the flour in with the oats and then pour in the water and butter. Mix everything together with a spoon until it comes together  in a ball. If necessary add a little more hot water to bring everything together. Put the mixture on a floured work surface and roll it out until it’s as thin as you want the oatcakes I made mine slightly thinner than shop bought ones. The with a cookie cutter of your desired size, I used one 4cms and one 5 cms in diameter. Cut out the oatcakes and the reroll any extra mixture and repeat. Then put the oatcakes on a baking stine or baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes and then turn them over for about 10 minutes on the other side so they dry out completely. Then put them on wire racks to cool. Enjoy with your favourite cheese!

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Baking, Brunch

Classic cheese scones

scones

I’ve previously posted a recipe for cheese and herb soda bread scones. These are classic cheese scones based on Felicity Cloake’s How to make the perfect cheese scones recipe. They are very moreish served warm split open and buttered. This will make two dozen scones.

So what do you need?

  • 600g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 4tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp. bicarbonate of soda (or 3tsp more baking powder)
  • 120g butter
  • 300g mature cheddar
  • a small bunch of spring onions
  • 2 tbsp. natural yoghurt
  • 2 tsp. wholegrain mustard
  • 140ml milk
  • 140ml water
  • 1 free-range egg

So what do you do?

Start by preheating your oven to 220 degrees C / 425F. I cook my scones on a pizza stone so I put this in the oven to heat up too. Then sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Chop in the cold butter in small bits then rub it into the flour with your fingertips. It will become like breadcrumbs. Add the spring onions finely chopped and most of the cheese, prated. Mix these in. In a measuring jug mix together the yoghurt, milk. mustard and water and then pour it into the mixing bowl. Stir everything together to make a soft ball of dough. Lift it onto a floured work surface and then roll it out to about 3cms thick. Use a 6cm cookie cutter to cut out the scones. Roll together any offcuts of dough to make more scones. Put the scones on a pizza stone / floured baking sheet and glaze the top with some egg wash (egg beaten with a little milk) then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the scones and bake for about 12 minutes until golden brown. Allow to partly cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

 

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Snacks, Thai Food

Fried tofu with Thai herbs & cashew nuts

This makes a really tasty and attractive snack, starter or part of a bigger Thai meal.

Start by preparing your Thai herbs and spices. I finely sliced the more tender insides of four or five lemongrass stems lengthways, julienned a large red chilli, sliced about four red shallots, 3 cloves of garlic and tore a few kaffir lime leaves.

In a wok with about half a cup of hot oil I started by frying the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves, as they take a little longer, after about a minute I added the shallots and fried for another minute then added chilli, garlic, a couple of bunches of fresh green peppercorns and a couple of handfuls of cashew nuts and fried everything until it was golden and crisp and then drained them. You can use large dried chillis instead, of the fresh one, which will go crisp and can be crumbled on the risotto for an extra kick of spiciness (these don’t take long to cook so add them near the end of the frying process.)

Next I cube a couple of blocks of form tofu (about 500g). I then fried this in the same oil, turning occasionally) until crisp and golden brown (you may need to fry the tofu in two batches). I then drained the tofu and put it on a serving plate and scattered the herbs and nuts over the top. I served with a chilli dipping sauce with some extra dried chilli (optional) and coriander leaves in it.

 

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Salads, Something fruity

Crunchy apple, pecan & blue cheese salad

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This salad has a great crunchy textures and a delicious mix of flavours.

I started by tossing about 100 g of pecan nuts in a tsp. of maple syrup with a pinch of salt which I then toasted in a hot oven for a few minutes turning a couple of times until they just started to brown (you could do this under a grill too). Next I sliced a  courgette and grilled it on a griddle pan with a little olive oil. Then I sliced a couple of smallish heads of fennel and two small red shallots. Then washed a bunch (about 50g) of rocket and cored and sliced two apples and put them in a bowl of water with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Then I made a dressing with about a tbsp. of olive oil, a tbsp. of maple syrup a pinch of sea salt, a squeeze of lemon, a tsp. of Dijon mustard and a splash of water which I mixed together. I assembled the salad scattering the rocket first and then adding the other fruit and veg. I then crumbled 110g of blue cheers on top (feta would work well too) and the sprinkled over the pecans and a little chopped parsley and then drizzled over the dressing. I served it with some small cubed roast potatoes, it would also be great with a fresh crusty loaf.

 

 

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