Saturday, 28 April 2012

Sledging biscuits - A 'Biscuit' recipe - giveaway

If you read my last post you'll have seen my review of Miranda Gore Browne's book 'Biscuit'. There are some lovely recipes in this book, the one in this post is the third recipe from 'Biscuit' I have tasted, the first two were made by the author herself!

This recipe caught my eye because of its name 'Sledging biscuits'  ('coat pocket biscuits'  were a close contender too) and I liked the look of the ingredients, and mostly had them all to hand in my store cupboards. The recipe turned out a lovely biscuit, not too sweet but the texture of the oats with the raisins and chocolate pieces make a very good combination. It had a little bit of a chew with the fruit, and was lovely dunked in milk!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

'Biscuit' by Miranda Gore Browne - book review

Picture courtesy of EBury Publishing
Last week I was lucky enough to go to a book signing and a demonstration given by the author in London, it just happened that I was in exactly the right place just at the right time. The event was at Waterstone's Piccadilly (cost was just £6 for the evening) and the book was a new recipe book by Miranda Gore Browne. You might remember Miranda from the first series of the Great British Bake Off?

Miranda caught my eye on the first series with two things, first her chocolate cake with decorative buttons...took me ages to find that button mould but I got it in the end! AND her beautiful iced biscuits, they were so delicate and such lovely works of pure baking art, see above, far too pretty to eat, almost!

Fast forward to now and Miranda has written a recipe book and its appropriately entitled 'Biscuit'. Its full of recipes for all kinds of biscuits, everyday biscuits, special occasion biscuits, biscuits that are rolled, biscuits that are scooped, or pressed, savoury biscuits, fruity biscuits, plain biscuits, brownie biscuits, sweetie biscuits (biscuits with sweets in or on them). Its a bit of everything from the plain to the unusual, but all are biscuit inspired! The recipes are clearly laid out and easy to follow, there are not a lot of photographs in this book but it does not seem to affect the desire to want to bake from it once you look through it. I like the fact its a personal book with lots of endearing descriptions of children and family favourite recipes and short personal illustrations of the significance of some recipes that have been baked for generations. The chapters are divided up into easy (for beginners) and more complicated recipes. Tips and advice and variations to recipes are in there too.

Being able to go to the Waterstones signing meant I was able to take some of my own photographs and ask my own questions and pick up some biscuit baking tips. On top of all that I 'may' have eaten 4 chocolate chunk and 2 pesto, parmesan and pine nut (and taken 2 to work the next day) one or two of the freshly baked biscuits made by Miranda herself...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Rhubarb and rose muffins - recipe

Here is my version of a rhubarb and rose muffin, born out of picking up some local rhubarb from my nearby market...and a bit of pondering...not much skill needed here as this is just a basic sponge batter mix with a couple of additions.
These muffins are lovely and light and the subtle fragrance of the rose and the tart taste of the rhubarb were quite a good match for each other. Rhubarb is in season just now so I am linking this post to Ren Behan's Simple and in Season monthly round up. Pop over to Ren's blog Fabulicious Food to see lots of other inspirational and seasonal recipes from fellow food bloggers.
200g margarine
3 free range eggs
200g golden caster sugar
200g self raising flour
150g part cooked rhubarb
1 and a half teaspoons rose water
50g sliced almonds
You will need 12 muffin cases and a muffin baking tray
1. Cook the rhubarb ahead. I peeled and cut mine into chunks about and inch long, put these in an ovenproof dish and sprinkled on 1 or 2 tablespoons of golden caster sugar. Cover with cling wrap and put in the microwave on high power for about 2 minutes. Cooking rhubarb like this helps keep its shape. Leave this to cool.
2. Pre heat the oven to 180 C fan.
3. Cream the margarine and golden caster sugar with a hand or stand mixer until pale and fluffy, add the beaten eggs a little at a time and beat again. Fold in the self raising flour with a spoon.
4. Add the rosewater and about 150g of the drained rhubarb. Leave the rhubarb juices for later. Fold in gently and make sure all the rhubarb is covered by cake batter.
5. Put the batter mix into 12 muffin cases, use a large tablespoon, or a large ice cram scoop. Sprinkle some sliced almonds over the top of each muffin.
6. Bake in the oven for up to 25 minutes, or when a cocktails stick comes out of the cakes clean and they are golden brown.
7. Leave the cakes to cool in the tin. As they are cooling prick the top of each muffin with a cocktail stick in a few places and dribble some of the cooked rhubarb juice onto each cake. Leave this to soak in while the cooling continues.

Monday, 16 April 2012

'Food you can't say no to' - book review - recipe

Tamasin Day Lewis is a prolific food writer and cook. I can remember watching her on TV, some years ago now (long before food channels and the like...yes readers, I pre-date food channels!) cooking on some New World (it was anything but new world!) rickety old gas stove and thinking, 'how ever does she make such fabulous food on an old cooker like that'? Tamasin went on to have the most marvellous new kitchen, and a new stove (and Aga too I think?) to go with it but I always remember her cooking on that old gas stove. I was mesmerised by her ability to create such feasts from it; anyway, fast forward a few years on and Tamasin has a new recipe book out currently called 'Food you can't say no to'.

Read on for my review and a lovely recipe from the book at the end of this post...

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Thai baked fish in paper - recipe

This is a great recipe that skimps on calories but does not skimp on taste. You could use just about any fresh (unsmoked) fish for this easy, tasty and quick supper dish. I used wild Scottish haddock for my recipe and this was skinless and boneless fillets supplied fresh from the trawlers in Peterhead from Delish Fish.

This baked fish recipe is full of Thai inspired flavours, its any easy recipe to put together, its low fat and virtually carbohydrate free (excepting any side dishes). As a guide the calories for this recipe using a 150g to 200g fillet of haddock is less than 250 calories and less than 2g fat.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Pass it on - Liebster award

I've been handed a Liebster award from Angela at Garden, Teacakes and Me ...this award is exclusively for blogs with less than 100 followers... *sobs* so the big boys and girls can't come and join in this game *cackle*...its for us little uns only.

The idea is one blogger chooses you to receive the award and return you pass it on to five other blogs you like/follow/stalk etc.

The origins of the Liebster Blog award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favourite or dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note. A way of introducing other bloggers to the blogs you enjoy.

Without further blogs of choice are...

Friday, 6 April 2012

Chocolate pizza - recipe

There are lots of variations around for this notion of a chocolate pizza, some include a real dough base, others chocolate variations but this is my take on it, which started with thinking about those crispy rice cereal chocolate cakes you make at Easter. Then my thoughts sort of moved on to what do you do when your children have too many chocolate Easter eggs and leftover sweets at Easter (yes this happens I have seen it happen in my own house and with my own eyes!).

This is not hard to make and I can't tell you how lovely it is to eat its a perfect way to spend an hour with children in the kitchen when they are looking for something to make or do in the Easter holidays. So here is how to make a chocolate pizza, the easy way in pictures (mostly!).


1. Try to get sweets like these below, if you want your chocolate pizza to look dead good authentic in its final appearance. I used the jelly strawberries to make round pepperoni jelly shapes (by cutting a round shape from the strawberry) and the surplus green jelly stem I cut up and made 'pretend' basil. Alternatively you can just make your pizza topping up of any sweets you have to hand...

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Saucy Fish Co - review

Saucy Fish Co sent me two of their fish in sauce packages to try at home (we are Fish Fanatics here, and link up with Fish is the Dish and with other bloggers to trial and share fish recipes).

This product is not something I would normally buy to make at home, as my preference is to buy fish from a local fishmonger and then create a dish with it from scratch. Or I like to buy fish with the intention of making a particular pre-planned recipe. I'm not really a fan of supermarket fish sold in fish counters and chiller cabinets, as I am never convinced it is as fresh as my local fishmongers supplies. Saucy Fish Co has somewhat challenged my views after this review.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Hairy Bikers Perfect Pies - book review

This is a book that was published late in 2011, its the Hairy Bikers 'Perfect Pies' book (the Hairy Bikers are Simon King and Dave Myers in real life).  The 'boys' (they are men really!) currently have a regular weekly baking programme on TV, a new book about baking and are doing a round the UK signing the new book tour, they hit the north west this week!

'Perfect Pies' is quite a hefty volume with over 350 pages packed with all manner of savoury and sweet pie and other recipes; its described on the cover as a 'pie bible' and its not an unfair description at all. We like pies a lot in this household (it might be the childhood link to Wigan for one of us, who knows?) and I often make a huge pie (we are talking a big 'desperate Dan' pie affair) when catering for the wider family, as they do tend to go down really well. If you are having a bigger group round to eat, what everyone really wants (whatever the occasion may be Christmas, Easter or whenever?) is a made from scratch homemade full to bursting pie, trust me on this one!