Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Seeded Flatbreads with Spiced Pulled Leg of Lamb

Searching through a few websites for some Easter fare I started to watch some videos of Paul Hollywood, one of which was for flatbreads, with pulled lamb, from the Waitrose website.  That set me thinking that I could try it, since I had bought a leg of lamb a day or so earlier, when it was on offer at Tesco.

So today that is what I have prepared.  It is posted on this blog since I think flatbreads can be considered to be baking.  The lamb, being an integral part of the whole, has to be included too.  But those who just want a nice flatbread can just make that.

I also made a Czech cucumber salad from A Little Bit of Czech, which I have eaten often when in Prague.  It is a very refreshing accompaniment to many meals, with a lovely, palate cleansing, effect.

So as well as the recipe, below, for Seeded flatbreads with spiced pulled leg of lamb, I also add the recipe for the cucumber salad.

I also served some shop bought coleslaw as an accompaniment as well as some extra green salad.

The aroma that fills the kitchen as the lamb, all coated in the heavenly spices, cooks is just amazing.  The long cooking time makes the lamb very tender and easy to pull apart with two forks.  So shredding it and serving it with the flatbread is just perfect for  lunch.  The taste of the lamb is wonderful, with the spices and juicy onions, wrapped in the flatbread, it is just so easy to eat.

Seeded Flatbread with Spiced Pulled Lamb

Black Onion Seed Flatbread

Czech Cucumber Salad

For the slow cooked lamb:
  • 3 onions, sliced into 1 cm thick rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2kg  leg of lamb
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 250ml red wine vinegar
  • 250ml Vegetable stock
For the flatbreads:
  • 500g  strong white bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 ½ tbsp nigella or black onion seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 310ml cool water
For the cucumber salad:
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2cup water
  • 6tbsp sugar
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 3tbsp white vinegar
  • black pepper
To make the lamb:
1. Preheat the oven to 170ºc, gas mark 3. Scatter the sliced onions and garlic in to the bottom of a roasting tin.
2. Mix the cumin, coriander, garam masala, chilli flakes and chopped rosemary together with the salt and pepper. Rub this onto all surfaces of the lamb, including the sides and the base. Sit the lamb on top of the onions. Pour the vinegar and stock into the base of the tray.
3. Cover with parchment and foil, then place in the preheated oven and cook for 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Uncover and return to the oven and cook for another 45 minutes, or until the lamb is falling off the bone.
4. Using two forks, pull the lamb away from the bone and shred the meat. Toss it with the onion and any juices. Serve with flatbreads and coleslaw and cucumber salad.

To make the flatbreads:
1. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the Nigella seeds, the oil and 200ml of the water. Use the fingers of one hand to mix the ingredients together.
2. Add the remaining water a little at a time until you have a soft, sticky dough and all the flour is incorporated. You may not need all the water.
3. Oil a clean work surface. Tip the dough onto the oil and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will become less sticky and feel smooth and silky when ready.
4. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover until the dough has doubled in size. This will take between 1-3 hours.
5. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Fold it inwards repeatedly until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle about 18cm in diameter.
6. Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry each flatbread for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and puffy. If the heat is too high, the outside of the bread will burn and the inside will be raw. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

To make the cucumber salad:
  1. Peal the cucumbers, and in a bowl grind them with cheese grader, ( large holes or really thin slices).
  2. Stir in salt, mix and let rest for 5 minutes. The cucumber will release it’s own juice.
  3. Add sugar and mix till the sugar dissolves, and than add water, vinegar, and pepper.
  4. Mix well, cover, and place in a fridge.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Hot Cross Buns (Version 1)

So as Easter approaches it is time to try some Hot Cross Buns. They are such a lovely treat to eat on Good Friday morning.  Investigating the various recipes that I found it seems that everyone has a slightly different interpretation of what the ingredients should, or might, be.   I have chosen two different recipes and will try both.  The first is a Paul Hollywood recipe from BBCGood Food,  This recipe has apple in it, which I don't remember having had in any Hot Cross Buns before.  

The recipe is quite simple to follow, though it does take some time, particularly as you have to wait for the dough to prove a couple of times before shaping them ready for baking.   I did increase the amount of spice, doubling the amount of cinnamon and adding a teaspoon of mixed spice, since reviews indicated that the recipe as it stood didn't make a particularly spicy bun.

The resultant buns are very tasty, but not quite how I remember them from the past.  That will be because of the inclusion of apple.  So, in my opinion, not very traditional but certainly worth the effort.

Next I shall try a more traditional recipe, using currants and sultanas only, but with slightly different spices.
Hot Cross Buns - including diced apple
  • 300ml full-fat milk, plus 2 tbsp more
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
For the cross
  • 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the glaze
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam
  1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (see Tip, below) into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
  2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
  3. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece – see Tip below). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.
  5. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses (see Tip below). Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  6. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Quick and Easy Mincemeat Cookies

I had a change of plan today.  I had intended to try my hand at Hot Cross Buns, but found that I didn't have enough strong white flour(bread flour) for the recipe.  So I will have to make the buns after my next shopping expedition.  Instead it gave me the opportunity to use up the remaining mincemeat that I made before Christmas.

I found a very simple recipe on the Aldi website .  Now I guess, since Aldi is a supermarket, that they expect you to buy the mincemeat, but home-made is much better than most that you can buy, so using up the remainder of mine fitted in quite well.

This recipe is very simple and works quite well.  I wasn't happy with the cooking time though, since I decided that the centres of the cookies were not cooked through.  So I increased the cooking time, by a full 8 minutes.  It may be because I cooked at 200c Fan, rather than 220c convection.  But the results have turned out very well indeed. They are nice and crunchy on the outside with a softer, chewy centre and, of course, that lovely mincemeat flavour.  The recipe said it made 30, but I actually managed 36.

Mincemeat Cookies

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 411g mincemeat
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 125g crushed cashew nuts(or almonds, which I used)
  • 400g plain flour
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/400°F/ gas mark 4.
  2. Cream the butter with the caster sugar.
  3. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
  4. Sieve the flour into the mixture along with a pinch of salt and mix well.
  5. Add the mincemeat and the crushed cashew nuts (crush with a rolling pin) and mix well.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a greased baking tray and bake for 10 minutes until light brown. 
NOTE: I cooked mine for 18 minutes, using a fan oven at 200c.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Mincemeat Muffins

Before Christmas I made some mincemeat, and used it for my mince pies etc, traditional at Christmas.  But I had a jar left over, which wasn't a problem as it keeps for up to 6 months in the fridge, if in a sterilised, airtight container.  So for my first bake upon my return from a trip to Prague I decided to make some mincemeat muffins.  For this you can  make your own mincemeat, as per the recipe at the link above, or you can buy shop bought mincemeat.  

I found a recipe for this on Let's Get Cooking - At Home which is easy to follow , for these muffins, so I thought I would give it a try.  Muffins are simple to make, they just don't need to be over-mixed or they will be a little tough.

These muffins certainly give off a very nice aroma as they cook, with the smell of the mincemeat and the mixed spice.  They also don't take long to cook, so everything can be done in less than an hour, as long as you start by preheating the oven.  

The mixture is enough for twelve muffins that should rise up above the level of the muffin cases.  Just the right size to enjoy with a cup of tea.

I still have more mincemeat, and since I have opened the jar I will have to use it in the next few days.  But before that I will be trying to make some Hot Cross Buns, ready for Easter.
Mincemeat Muffin

Mincemeat Muffins

  • 125g mincemeat
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 1 x 5ml spoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 85ml sunflower oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 x 5ml spoons mixed spice
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan or gas mark 6.
  2. Put the paper cases into the muffin tin.
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice) in a mixing bowl.
  4. Place the oil in the measuring jug.
  5. Beat the eggs separately in a second measuring jug and add to the oil. Rinse out the jug.
  6. Measure out the milk and add to the oil and egg mixture.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  8. Fold in the mincemeat.
  9. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.
  10. Bake for 15–20 minutes, until risen and just golden.
  11. Cool on the wire rack. They are nicest served just warm, but still good when completely cooled.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Apple and Almond Cake

I found a very nice recipe on Nigella.com  for an Apple and Almond cake.  The recipe doesn't use flour, butter or oil, except for greasing.  It just uses apples, sugar, eggs and almonds, with a little lemon juice.  What could be simpler.

I adjusted the recipe a little, by beating the egg whites separately, until they formed soft peaks, and then folded them into the batter.  Now that made the volume somewhat more than Nigella's recipe, so I had to improvise by increasing the height of the cake tin using silver foil.   Also the cooking time needed for my cake was longer than Nigella suggested.   She says 'ovens vary'.  She doesn't mention, but I think it is very significant, that apple sizes vary also.  So saying 3 apples, chopped and pureed actually rather imprecise.  The amount of puree you end up with is bound to impact the cooking time.  So it was with mine.  I actually cooked my cake for 62 minutes, and I think a further 5 minutes would have been even better.  So if you decide to try Nigella's recipe, which I reproduce below, be prepared to adjust the cooking time.  Also, if you follow Nigella's recipe the cake will be of a heavier consistency than mine, as I whipped the egg whites separately.

Apple and Almond Cake

for the apple puree

  • 3 tart eating apples (such as braeburns)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar

for the cake

  • 1 splash of vegetable oil to grease tin
  • 8 large eggs
  • 325 grams ground almonds
  • 275 grams caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 50 grams flaked almonds
  1. Peel, core and chop the apples roughly. Put them in a saucepan with the lemon juice and sugar and bring the pan to a bubble over a medium heat. Cover the pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until you can mash the apple to a rough puree with a wooden spoon or fork. Leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/180ºC/350ºF; oil a 25cm / 10 inch springform tin with almond or a flavourless vegetable oil and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  3. Put the cooled puree in the processor with the eggs, ground almonds, caster sugar and 1 tablespoon - or generous squeeze - of lemon juice and blitz to a puree. Pour and scrape, with a rubber spatula for ease, into the prepared tin, sprinkle the flaked almonds on top, and bake for 45 minutes. It's worth checking after 35 minutes, as ovens do vary, and you might well find its cooked earlier - or indeed you may need to give a few minutes longer.
  4. Put on a wire rack to cool slightly, then spring open. This cake is best served slightly warm, though still good cold.
  5. As you bring it to the table, push a teaspoon of icing sugar through a fine sieve to give a light dusting.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Black Forest Gateau

Harking back to the 1970s makes one think of a firm favourite of those days, Black Forest Gateau.  It was almost a staple of the diet in those days, served in almost every restaurant. Although it is not so popular these days that doesn't mean that it isn't a very tasty dessert.

I took a look around to see what I could find, by way of decent recipes, and found several that I like, but almost all were for round cakes and I wanted to try a square one.  So I took a couple of the recipes and combined the best bits and then converted to fit a 20cm square tin.

Now this recipe is quite fiddly, with lots of different component parts.  But I must say that I think it is worth the time and effort, as the result, even though I am not very good at presentation, is most rewarding.

It also takes a few hours to make, since the cake has to cool completely before slicing.  Also the filling needs to be allowed to cool.  I actually made the filling yesterday, so it was already cool before I started.

Black Forest Gateau

  • 240g caster sugar
  • 140g plain flour
  • 72g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 120ml crème fraîche
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 150ml cold coffee
  • 60 ml vegetable oil

Cherry Filling:

  • 1 orange
  • 425g can of black cherries
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornflour

Cream Filling:

  • 600ml whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 25g icing sugar


  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75ml water
  • 4 tablespoons kirsch, or cherry brandy

  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • icing sugar, for sprinkling if you wish.

  1. Preheat your oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3
  2. Grease a 20cm deep square cake tin, and line the bottom with baking paper.
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Whisk the crème fraîche with the eggs, milk and cold coffee until well combined. 
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. 
  6. Mix just until a smooth batter is formed. 
  7. Add the vegetable oil and whisk again to combine.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cake springs back when gently pressed with your finger and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 
  9. Leave in the tin for at least 5 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool.
  10. Make the cherry filling(you can do this the day before and refrigerate).
  11. Peel the zest from the orange. 
  12. Drain the juice from the cherries into a pan and add the sugar, the juice from the orange, the orange zest and the cinnamon stick. 
  13. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. 
  14. Remove from the heat, leave to stand for 5 minutes, then take out the cinnamon stick and orange zest. 
  15. Mix the cornflour with a little cold water in a bowl. Pour the boiled juice on to the cornflour, whisk to combine, then return to the pan.
  16. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 3–4 minutes, whisking continuously. Add the drained cherries, turn the mixture into a clean bowl and leave to cool. Make sure the cherries are completely cold before assembling the cake.  Also make sure that the mixture is thick and glutinous.  You dont want it too wet.
  17. For the syrup, put the sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the kirsch, then leave to cool.
  18. To assemble the cake, cut it horizontally into 3 layers, set the base on a cake card and, using a pastry brush, brush it with the kirsch syrup. You don't have to use all the syrup, you dont want to make the cake so wet that it falls apart.
  19. Spread the base with a 0.5cm layer of whipped cream.  
  20. Cover with half of the thickened cherries. 
  21. Place another layer of sponge on top and repeat the process. 
  22. Top with the final layer of sponge and press down gently to level the cake if necessary. 
  23. Cover the top with the remaining cream and refrigerate.
  24. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bain marie(double boiler) Pour the chocolate on to a marble slab and quickly spread it with a palette knife to level it out as thinly as you can. As soon as the chocolate has set, take a large chopping knife and, holding it at a 45-degree angle, push at the chocolate in an upward motion to make chocolate curls. It really does not matter if they are all sorts of shapes and sizes. If the chocolate breaks, it is because it has become too cold. Just scrape if off the marble, re-melt and try again.
  25. Haphazardly arrange the chocolate on the top of the gateau and keep refrigerated until you are ready to serve it.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Genovese Almond Cake

I found another appetising cake in Le Cordon Bleu's Chocolate Bible, Genovese Almond Cake.  Not too heavy on the chocolate, but lots of almond flavour, the combination of which is very good indeed.

The recipe called for an 18cm square cake tin, but mine is 20cm.  So this time, unlike my last bake, I increased the ingredients by 20% and cooked for a couple of minutes longer.  I all worked out very well, as the cake looks and tastes wonderful, in my opinion.

It is a simple cake to make, particularly if you buy in the almond paste.  I made my own which is simple enough and ensures the right proportion of almonds and flavouring in the paste.  Both the latest recipes I have baked have used melted butter, which is mixed into the batter as the last item.  I quite like that idea, and will be trying it in a few more recipes.
Genovese Almond Cake

Ingredients - I show the amounts I used, rather than those in the original recipe.
Sliced Almonds(I used flaked)
72g unsalted butter
5 eggs
240g almond paste
24g plain flour, sifted
12g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 tsp baking sofa, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180C/355F.
Butter a 20cm square cake tin and scatter the almonds inside.
Melt the unsalted butter and set aside.
Beat the eggs into almond paste, one at a time, and continue whisking until the mixture is pale and has thickened, so that it falls from the whisk in ribbons without breaking.
Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.
Add the melted butter.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 27 minutes, or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.
Turn out onto a rack to cool.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Chocolate Almond Square

I found a lovely recipe for Chocolate Almond Square in a book called Chocolate Bible, from Le Cordon Bleu.  I bought the book last week and have found a few recipes that I want to try.  This particlar one is called Chocolate Hazelnut Square, but does say you can substitute almonds, and since I had those in the cupboard, and rather prefer them I thought I would try it.  I did have to go on to Amazon.co.uk to get some chocolate sprinkles/vermicelli though, since my local supermarkets don't stock such things.    I now have 1 kg of them, so they will appear in future recipes, very soon.

It is quite an easy recipe to follow, though there are several bowls involved, so a fair bit of dish washing afterwards.  But a sink of hot, soapy water at the start of things makes it easy to keep on top of.  

In terms of time it takes at least 3 hours from start to finish, as you have to let the cake cook, cool completely before turning out and adding the ganache.  Then you have to refrigerate it to let the ganache set.  

But it is very worthwhile as the end result is most satisfactory. I didn't have an 18cm square tin, so I had to make do with a 20cm, which means a larger square, but a thinner cake. I could have adjusted the ingredient amounts,by adding 20% more, to take account of the larger tin, but didn't want to mess with it, and get the cooking time wrong.
Chocolate Almond Square


  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 60g plain flour, sifted
  • 30g unsweetned cocoa powder, sifted
  • 50g ground almonds(or hazelnuts)


  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100ml whipping cream
  • 20g mild honey


  • 150g chocolate sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F
  2. Butter and 18cm square tin, and dust it with flour.
  3. Melt the butter and set aside.
  4. Beat the egg yolks with 100g of the caster sugar, until pale and thickened.
  5. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites, gradually adding the remaining sugar, until they are smooth and shiny and form stiff peaks.
  6. Gently fold into the egg ylok/sugar mixture.
  7. Combine the flour, cocoa and almonds.
  8. Fold half of this mixture into the egg white mixture, then fold in the remainder in 2 separate batches.
  9. Add the melted butter.
  10. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Cool before turning out onto a rack.

Chocolate Glaze:

  1. Finely chope the chocolate and place in a bowl.
  2. Heat the cream and honey in a small saucepan, until simmering, and pour over the chocolate.
  3. Stir gently until smooth.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. Use a spatula or palette knife to spread evenly over the entire surface of the cake.
  6. Press the chocolate sprinkles around the sides.
  7. Refrigerate for one hour, or until the glaze is firm.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Highlander Shortbread Biscuits

This is my version of a meltingly light shortbread biscuit.  I came up with it after reading a few different recipes for Highlander biscuits, that seemed to use evaporated milk, or some similar liquid.  But I found a few that didn't include liquid, only softened butter.  So my version is very similar to a shortbread, but maybe a slightly lighter texture.  They, truly, melt in the mouth and taste absolutely delicious.

They are also very simple to make, using only 4 main ingredients, and they take no time at all. 

Highlander Shortbread Biscuits
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g ground rice
  • 3 tbsp demerara sugar mixed with 2 tbsps caster sugar
Cream the softened butter together with the caster sugar.
Add the flour and ground rice to the creamed butter and mix to a paste.
Roll the paste into a sausage shape  and coat with the demerara sugar mixture
Chill for an hour, in the refrigerator
Preheat the oven to 190'C/170c Fan/Gas mark 5
Cut the sausage into about 12 slices and place on a greased baking sheet
Sprinkle the remaining demerara sugar mix over the top the slices
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the biscuits take on a light golden colour
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Anzac Biscuits

I decided on a biscuit day, and first up was my take on Anzac Biscuits.  ANZAC actually stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.  That army fought valiantly in World War 1 at Gallipoli and other places.  Anzac biscuits, in one form, were sent to the troops.  I believe, from reading, that those biscuits were referred to as 'tiles' or 'wafer's and were harder in texture.  

I took my recipe from BBC Good Food and reproduce it here.  But I didn't have enough dessicated coconut so I supplemented it with some shredded coconut instead.  It shouldn't make a significant difference to the taste though.  

I also used a whoopie pie tin to bake mine, as I am better able to determine regular amounts like that. They turned out quite nicely, as you can see, and the taste is very good too.

Biscuits, or cookies, are always a nice thing to make, and usually very easy, with not too many ingredients.

I will be making another biscuit later today, so check back for more.  That is likely to be my take on Highlander Biscuits.

But for now here are the Anzac Biscuits:
Anzac Biscuits

  • 85g porridge oats
  • 85g desiccated coconut
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g butter, plus extra butter for greasing
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.
  3. Put dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to buttered baking sheets, about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading. Bake in batches for 8-10 mins until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Tarte Au Sucre

It seems that Tarte Au Sucre, or Sugar Pie is different between France and Belgium and North Ameria. In France and Belgium, from the recipes I have read they tend to be a brioche type bread recipe, whereas in North America it appears that a shortcrust pastry is preferred.  For my attempt I found a recipe in the Telegraph, by Bruno Loubet.  

In the instructions it says to push the edge up, about 1 cm, to form a rim.  I did this, but it didn't stay in place during cooking, and some sugar dripped off.  Not to worry it didn't mean things were a complete disaster, as the resultant tarte was nicely cooked and tastes very good indeed.

Some of the recipes I read rolled out the dough, having rested it for longer than this recipe, and then prodded hole over the dough.  This allowed cream, or cream fraiche to slip into the dips.  I wanted to do that, but since I couldn't find a recipe in English with that method I decided to stick rigidly to this version.

Tarte au Sucre
  • 5g (⅛oz) fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 350g (12 oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 160g (5¾oz) butter, softened and cut into cubes
For the topping:
  • 70g (2¾oz) crème fraîche
  • 60g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 60g (2oz) demerara sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  1. In a mixing-bowl, dissolve the yeast in 175ml (6fl oz) lukewarm water, then add the sugar and 50g (1¾oz) of the flour. Whisk well, then cover with clingfilm and place in a warm place for about 15 minutes – the mixture should become bubbly and double in volume.
  2. Place the remaining flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the eggs, egg yolk, a pinch of salt and the yeast and mix on a medium speed. It will take about five minutes for the dough to gain some elasticity; then add the butter, a few cubes at a time, ensuring each is incorporated before adding the next. Mix for a further two minutes, until the dough is elastic.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly floured bowl, cover with a damp cloth and refrigerate for an hour. Preheat the oven to 195°C/ 375°F/gas mark 5½.
  4. Form the dough into a ball, place on a lightly floured non-stick baking-sheet, and roll out to a circle of 32-35cm (12½-13¾in) diameter. With the tip of a finger, push the dough about 1cm (½in) in from the edge all around to form a small rim. Spread the crème fraîche all over the tart then sprinkle over the sugars and lemon zest and bake for about 20 minutes, until it feels spongy and is golden brown all over. Check that the underneath is cooked, too.
  5. Serve with a good jam.