Flapjacks

Going for a walk on a Sunday with the dogs on a misty Autumn morning is one of life’s old fashioned pleasures   With luck there are blue skies, autumn leaves and some crab apples or sloes peeking through the hedges.  Simple but timeless pleasures.

Flapjacks. There is nothing to beat the smell of them coming out of the oven.  Buttery, honked and oaty toasty.    Somehow though flapjacks seem out of fashion and not often on offer.   Maybe it’s because flapjacks are seen as being worthily oaty and, if we are going to have that sort of thing, people will go for an energy bar.    Flapjacks are relegated to something that your granny made – and often overbaked -making them so claggy and hard when you bit into them you were afraid that you would need to visit the dentist from a lost tooth or filling. Continue reading

Chocolate Marmite Brownies

I know, I know – you are thinking that I am weird putting marmite (or Vegemite) into a chocolate brownie!   But people thought a salted caramel was strange not so long ago so  you can kind of get where I am coming from.

What the marmite actually does here is to season and round out the chocolate and make it more chocolatey.   You could use a tsp of salt instead if you are a confirmed marmite hater but as you won’t pick out marmite as an ingredient, as it’s role here is to blend and add to the whole, in my opinion you’d be missing out.

This is a very simple, easy recipe which makes it easy to get a lovely gooey, squidgy brownie.   I’ve added roasted hazelnuts but you don’t have to (use any other nut,  or leave nuts out entirely), and if you are gluten free it works with gluten free flour or ground almonds.

So go on, surprise yourself and make a batch.  Have fun letting people guess the mystery ingredient!  Most can’t stop stuffing these for long enough to answer – they are that good!

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Blackberry & Apple Curd

 

Rather than the usual lemon or orange curd, this recipe uses blackberries and apples to make a very autumnal version.   Whilst it’s method is slightly different to a traditional curd, it too is delicious on toast or as a cake filling.  Perhaps, most surprisingly if you bake it in a pastry case for 30 minutes in a medium oven you get a wonderful mousse-y textured tart.

I originally just popped the fresh blackberries onto the bread and curd for decoration but having greedily devoured the finished product I would really recommend it!

Of course it’s brilliant just eaten from the jar on its own!

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Almond Cake with Orange Curd

This is an absolutely delicious cake.    We are almond mad in this house so it never lasts long.  I admit that it doesn’t look as visually stunning as some but believe me this cake is well worth the making.   It can be served plain with a cup of tea or as a pudding with orange curd (see recipe link Blood Orange Curd and Icecream or use shop bought) and whipped cream or mascarpone.  You can also add toasted flaked almonds to add more texture as I have.    If you need this to be gluten free then gluten free flour works very well instead of the plain flour listed. Continue reading

Croissant, White Chocolate & Whisky Pudding

This is just a wonderful  pudding at any time of the year.  Let alone Burns Night or St Andrew’s Day.   Really this is just a very smart update on a bread and butter pudding although I suspect far more people will love this.

So why is the pudding suitable for a Scottish celebration?  The croissants are reminiscent of the “Auld Alliance” and are thrifty because you use them when they are one or two days old.  The sultanas are soaked in Whisky (need I say more?), and the custard is rich with cream and eggs and melted white chocolate  and what Scot doesn’t love sweet and rich puddings?  Then again don’t we all?


Ingredients (serves 6)
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Raspberry and Almond Cake

This is one of those cakes that you don’t want to be without.   It’s delicious, can be put together quickly using whatever soft fruit you have to hand, is easily made gluten free, works well as a Traybake should you prefer and is as happy as a pudding as it is with a cuppa.  Quite frankly it’s a complete and utter Winner.

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Rose Petal Syrup

For some reason rose petal syrup seems to have gone out of fashion – but there is nothing like it to enhance the flavour of strawberries.  It makes them taste like you remember them from your childhood –  luscious, sweet and mouth-wateringly.  I can’t begin to tell you the difference it makes.  The syrup itself smells of the best of summer and brings out the sun in everything you put it on.   Fold a couple of tablespoons into softly whipped cream to transform a Victoria Sponge or meringues.   Pour over vanilla Ice-cream to lift it to a whole other level.

It’s best to pick the roses when they are blowsy and maybe only a day away from starting to drop their petals.  The colour of the rose you choose will effect the colour of the syrup just as the intensity of the roses fragrance will effect the taste of it.   I mostly use the pink roses from my rugosa hedge with 2-3 dark scented red roses thrown in to deepen the colour.  120g is about two colanders worth of petals   Totally worth it though!

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Gooseberry & Elderflower Gin (or vodka)

Before the gooseberries and elder flowers are over use them to make this quickly infused gin/vodka that really does bring out the flavour of summer

 

 

 

 


Ingredients

  • 360g gooseberries
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 6 large elderflower heads
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 75cl  gin or vodka

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Almond and Orange Polenta Cake

I thought it might be fun to try putting this recipe for the easiest cake I know into a visual format. I’d be interested to know what you think about it. Is it easier to use or do you just find it annoying?

This cake comes from an online course I did a few weeks ago with Ursula Ferrigno. I’ve changed it a bit by cutting down the sugar and upping the citrus but it’s a winner of a recipe and YES! The cake does go into a cold oven. If you are using an Aga then please put it in under a cool shelf and reduce the cooking time to about 20 mins.  This cake is gluten and dairy free

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Little Almond Biscuits

I do love a biscuit and these tick all the boxes for me.  If you made the Blackcurrant Fro-Yo they are a perfect accompaniment to that or any other ice-cream for that matter, great with a raspberries or strawberries, stewed plums or damsons, or just with a cuppa. You can’t go wrong.

How would I describe these biscuits?  Buttery and crisp, crumbly and almond-y.  They are just perfect and keep well in the tin if they get a chance!   As easy to make as they are to eat!!
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