Hot Cross Buns

bunssssHop on over to my new blog http://www.addmorebutter.com for my latest post on Hot Cross Buns. So get on over there so you can make these steamy buns in time for Easter!

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New Blog!!

Slice of cake

Hello my lovelies!logo

Time to let you all in on a little secret.

I have a new blog! Yeee so exciting! Come and see my new post on the classic Victoria Sponge!

I love the community, wonderful comments and insight that my followers provide and I would be so grateful if you would all follow me to my new site. This is really exciting for me as I have wanted to create a new blog for so long and now its finally done!

Thank you for all the response that you give me as it has made me want to make more out of my blog and strive to make it better.

I hope you all like it as much as I do! Hopefully speak to you all soon!

My new blog address is: http://www.addmorebutter.com

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Parmesan Bites

parmesan biscuits

You know that moment when you open the oven door and you get a big waft of heat and then that cheesy aroma fills the room and you marvel at your newest creation sitting picturesquely on the counter. Then you think, oh I’ll have just one. So you grab one, pop it in your mouth and your eyes close as you savour that freshly baked morsel of heaven. And you think, hell I’m good!

Well, this sequence of events happened with these Parmesan biscuits. So I ate one. And another one. And then another. And 17 biscuits later, I found enough restraint to stop.

I can’t help but think of christmas every-time I look at these. They’re just that perfect nibble that you would have to make a million of because they disappear so fast. And yes christmas has just passed blah blah! But I love christmas time and I miss it already.

I really can’t praise these biscuits enough. They’re flakey, buttery and crisp. And we all have The Good Cook to thank for it. I absolutely adore Simon Hopkinson’s programme, everything he makes I want to then dash into my kitchen to make it too. Within about 10 minutes of watching Simon make these ridiculously easy biscuits, I was in my kitchen, rummaging through my fridge, hoping that I had enough cheese.

Ingredients – Recipe from The Good Cook (Makes about 30 biscuits)

  • 100g cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 100g plain flour, plus extra for flouring
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaped tsp mustard powder
  • 50g oz finely grated mature cheddar
  • 50g oz finely grated parmesan, plus a little extra
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

Processor Method: Place the butter, flour, salt, cayenne powder, mustard powder and cheeses into the processor. Process until the mixture begins to come together and then pulse gently until it forms a ball. Wrap the pastry up in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

By Hand Method: Place the butter, flour, salt, cayenne powder, mustard powder and cheeses into a bowl and gently rub in the butter using your fingertips. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, begin to gather them in the bowl using your hands. After a couple of minutes the crumbs will come together into a ball. Wrap this in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Flour your work surface and roll out the pastry to about 1/2 cm. Cut your biscuits to the desired shape. I went for squares and tried to get them as uniform as possible. Transfer them onto a greased baking tray (or a non-stick) about 2 cm apart. I used a palette knife for this. Brush the surface of the biscuits with beaten egg and grate some more parmesan on top. Bake for about 10 minutes. Lift the biscuits off the tray using a palette knife and place on a cooling rack.

ready to chill!oven!

YUM

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Crisp Chocolate Sables

Chocolate Sable

If you have a thing for chocolate then this is a recipe for you. I’m one of those chocolate people. Theres nothing I love more than a gooey and deeply chocolatey pudding. The kind that others would find hard to finish and say ‘oh it’s too rich for me.’ At that point I sit there thinking, how can something be too rich?! I then proceed to finish both mine and their desserts, guilt free. Really, I have no shame when it comes to food. Cream cakes for breakfast? Why not?!

Even though this isn’t an oozing chocolate brownie or a melting fondant, these crisp biscuits don’t disappoint on intense chocolate flavour. I have now eaten nearly 15 of these in the space of a day. I think that says more than I ever can on how good these are. They’re buttery and chocolatey and melt in the mouth but crisp all at the same time! And yes, I did go on about hating crisp cookies in my Chocolate chip and Oat Cookies post. But I’m making an exception for these lovelies.

Choc Sable

Ingredients – Recipe from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Miette  (Makes 30-35 cookies)

  • 125 grams all-purpose flour
  • 30 grams Dutched Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 115 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 135 grams granulated sugar (plus more for decoration)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, grated

Method

Cream the butter, sugar and salt together in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or by hand. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, beat until combined. Sift in the cocoa, baking soda and flour. Add in the grated chocolate and mix until just combined.

Gather the dough into a ball, cover it in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Dough can be refrigerated for up to two days.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, this dough is quite crumbly so be gentle. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut using a cookie cutter of your choice and place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, an inch apart. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Leave the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the baking trays as they are very fragile when hot. Carefully transfer onto a cooling rack with a palette knife.

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Cheddar and Thyme Scones

Cheddar Thyme Scones

Weekends are for lazy days, films in the evening and hours spent baking in the kitchen. Theres nothing more I love than wandering around the kitchen in my pyjama’s with the smell of something tempting in the oven. And Scones, well they’re definitely a weekend thing. They’re easy, promise delicious results and completely encompass the feeling of comfort. And yes, that is cheese you see oozing out. Mmm. This recipe comes from the brilliant blog that is Joy The Baker. Her twist on traditional scones really inspired me and got me in the mood for some baking… not that I need much encouragement these days. Joy used feta and chive in her scones but I just changed it to suit what I had in my kitchen as I can never be bothered to walk to the shops!

These are rich in cheddar flavour with a hint of thyme and a little bite of paprika at the end. A bit of chilli jam is the perfect accompaniment to these yummies.

Cheddar Scones

Ingredients - Recipe adapted from Joy The Baker (makes around 16 small scones)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 3/4 cup natural yoghurt, cold
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup chunks of mature cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg beaten for egg wash
  • smoked paprika for topping

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Start by sifting your flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt and pepper into a bowl. Place the butter into the bowl and rub the ingredients between your fingers until it looks like bread crumbs. In another bowl beat your egg, yoghurt and water and add it to the bread crumb mix. Stir with a fork until the mix just comes together. It should look rough and shaggy. Add in the cheddar and thyme and knead the dough a few times on the counter.

Pat out the dough into about 1 inch thickness. Cut the dough using a cutter, I used a 2-inch cutter. Place on the prepared trays. Gather the excess dough and re roll and cut. Once all the dough is used, egg wash the top of the scones and liberally sprinkle on salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size.

yummmmReady for the oven!

ready to eat

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Chocolate Chip and Oat Cookies

Cookies

There are some things in life which every person should have as a human right. Cookies, for example, should be a human right. What would tea be without the humble biscuit? I know there is always going to be an ongoing divide about what makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I’m on the chewy side of the chocolate chip cookie debate, I love a gooey melted choc chip masterpiece. I have no time for people who like a crisp cookie. Am I going to ever find the perfect recipe for this deliciously moist biscuit? Probably not but I’m up for trying anyway. This recipe is pretty far up my top 10 list of biscuit recipes. The blended oats add a really nice flavour and more of a chewy texture. I love popping these lovelies into the microwave before I gobble them up, warm and gooey. Just the way they should be.

Chewy Centre

Ingredientsdry mix

  • 100g porridge oats
  • 170g plain flour
  • 3g salt or a few pinches
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 1/4 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 110g soft butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 85g light, soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g chocolate buttons or chips

Method

Preheat the oven at 190C. Using a blender, blend the porridge oats until they become a powder. Cream together the butter and both sugars until pale. Next add the egg, vanilla and chocolate buttons and mix until combined. Next fold in the rest of the dry ingredients. Make into 4g balls and place a few cm apart on baking paper. Bake for 6-8 minutes, leave to cool on cooling rack.

baked

Dough

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Mini Lemon Drizzle Cakes

Lemon cakes

Theres just something that really appeals to me about mini versions of traditional cakes. Maybe it’s the fact that it makes me feel somewhat healthier than having an elephant sized piece of cake looking at me. And that their size justifies me eating ten of them… yeah I’m pretty sure thats it. But who am I kidding, I would eat ten pieces of elephant sized cake too.

I love a good zingy lemon cake, especially in winter when it seems to bring a taste of Summer into the otherwise gloomy months. And yes, January is the month for resolutions and being healthy, but come on… we all know you want these. And they’re mini size anyway, thats healthy!

These cakes have a tart lemon favour which is offset with a sweet piece of semi-candied lemon piece on top. Yes you need to cook them for an hour, so those of you who want a fuss free cake, you can purchase some candied lemon peel or pieces from the supermarket. This just makes the usually simple cake seem a but more fancy. So go on, have a weekend treat. I think we can all agree that life is not worth living without sugar and cake.

lemon drizzle cake

Ingredients – Makes 10-12 rectangle flexi-pan moulds

  • 225g   Butter, very soft
  • 225g   castor sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 Eggs, beaten – room temperature
  • 225g self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt

Lemon drizzle topping

  • 1 1/2 lemons juice
  • 85g castor sugar

Semi-Candied Lemon Pieces (can always be shop bought if you can’t find glucose)

  • 100g water
  • 50g castor sugar
  • 10g glucose – can be found in some supermarkets and most chemists
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Method

First, place the ingredients for your semi-candied lemon pieces into a pan, apart from the lemon pieces, and boil for 2-3 minutes. Add in your lemon pieces and leave to boil for 1 hour. Cover the top with a cartouche – a piece of greaseproof paper over the surface. Once ready, take the lemon pieces out of the liquid to cool. Place them on a plastic lid or something non stick, not tissue.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cream your butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Gradually add in your eggs.   Next mix in your salt and flour until combined. Spray your moulds with grease. Pipe the mix 3/4 of the way full into the moulds. Bake for 20-30 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

Whilst your cakes are baking, make your drizzle topping. Place your lemon juice and sugar into a pan and heat through until the sugar has dissolved, not letting it boil. Leave until needed.

Once your cakes come out of the oven, leave them in their moulds and prick them with a fork. Brush over the drizzle topping, using all of it. These babies will soak it all up! Once cool, tip out your cakes and place a piece of lemon on top of each to decorate.

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Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup

Sweet Potatoe SoupOh dear, another savoury post. Please don’t unfollow me. I promise there will be more sweet filled delights that make you dribble over your keyboard to come soon. I’ll veer away from this unfamiliar world where the word healthy seems to be normal vocabulary rather than butter and sugar.

However, in the mean time lets savour this rare occasion and consider… me, a sugar addict, to post something healthy. Its been snowing now for 3 days and what all of us really need in these cold months is a warming bowl of soup. Smooth and silky, wrapped under a warm cosy blanket on the sofa. How I wish every lunchtime was spent this way. Alas, no its not, so lets savour the few moments we’re trapped in our houses or let out of work early.

I’m going to keep it short and sweet today and leave you with a picturesque photo of the snow. And possibly with dreams of this silky soup with a crusty bread roll if I’m lucky.

snowwww

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic gloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 fat sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 150ml coconut milk

Method

Saute the Onions in some olive oil until soft. Add in your garlic and red pepper and cook for a few minutes. Add in your sweet potatoes. Add in vegetable stock until the vegetables are covered with liquid. I just used powdered Vegetable stock and water. Leave to simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Blend until smooth and add in the coconut milk. Season with pepper and salt to taste.

veg

blending!

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Sun-dried Tomato and Rosemary Fougasse

(with a bit of Parmesan, because Cheese makes everything better)

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For me, Bread is like a realistic form of time travel. Take a Foccacia for example, I have one glorious mouthful and it takes me straight back to my high school trip to Florence. Sipping a really good cup of coffee with the smells of fresh Pizza and Rosemary lingering in the air from a nearby restaurant. It’s even the same with breads from places I’ve never even been to. They make me feel cultured in a way I’m really not. Gone are the days of anaemic white processed bread from my childhood and here are the lazy afternoons spent baking breads from around the world.

This Fougasse is obviously French but with the tastes of Italy hiding in little flavoursome pockets throughout. The Rosemary permeates throughout the dough but the tomatoes stay in smaller sections (which everyone secretly tries to snag in their piece.) And the Parmesan Cheese? Well, thats just because a bit of gooey goodness on top never does anyone any harm.

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Ingredients – Recipe adapted from Richard Bertinet Fougasse 

  • 250g strong bread flour
  • 175ml of water
  • 5g fresh yeast or 1/4 tsp of dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 10 or more sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of chopped rosemary
  • Shavings of Parmesan Cheese

Method

Rub the yeast into the flour if using fresh or, if using dry, mix the dry yeast into the flour. Add the salt and then water. Mix using either your hands or a bowl scraper until the dough starts to come together. Tip out onto a surface and knead until the dough comes together in a smooth ball. (Embrace the wet dough! Don’t be scared. You’re the boss!) Leave to rise in a bowl covered with a tea towel for an hour.

While your bread is rising, chop your tomatoes into smaller chunks and roughly chop your rosemary. Place your tomatoes on some kitchen paper so that they aren’t too wet when put into the dough. Using a knife, carefully slice thin shavings of Parmesan ready for baking.

Once your dough has proved, tip it out onto a floured surface and press down with your fingertips. Pre-heat your oven to the highest it will go and place a deep tray in the bottom. Place the rosemary and tomatoes into the centre and knead into the dough. Cut the dough in two and pull out into two triangular shapes. Cut one slit down the centre of the triangles and then three on either side. This can be done with a very sharp knife of a plastic bowl scraper.

 Pry the holes open a little so that they wont close up when rising again. Place onto a floured baking tray and leave to rise for 5 minutes. Bake for 12-15 minutes, before you close the door, pour some cold water into the preheated tray in the bottom of the oven to create steam for a good crust. Lastly, put on some parmesan a few minutes before the bread is done.

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Dorset Apple Cake

dorset apple cake

Moist texture, tart Bramley Apples, a zingy hint of Lemon and a sugar crusted top. For me, that’s what describes the perfect cake. It’s like the heavens have opened when your fork cuts through that crisp surface and plunges into a moist cake packed full of soft Apple. Ok yes I am on the verge of foodporn here but I don’t care! This cake is so unexpectedly good.  I often stumble upon such a simple recipe and expect the results to be as average as the recipe seems to be. But no, simple so often seems to be best. Definitely best served warm, this light cake really is packed full of flavour due to the tart Apples and Lemon zest. The ground almonds add a more crumbly texture to the cake but don’t worry, these crumbs are very moist! I whole heartedly think that the Bramley Apples really make this dessert, but I know these are hard to get hold of if you don’t live in the UK. So I’d be interested to see if any of you try a different type of Apple, just make sure you use a tart variety. The best thing about this cake is, you could adapt it to suit the ingredients in your home (all of which you probably have already.) How about a changing up the apples for plums or pears? Definitely on my list for a cold winters night.

P.s Yes we’ve had snow already! Just thought I’d share a picture, to put you into that feel good festive mood.snow!

Ingredients – Recipe from Channel 4

  • 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 450g Bramley Apples
  • Finely grated zest and Juice of 1 lemon
  • 225g caster sugar, plus extra for dredging
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 25g ground almonds
  • Demerara sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 C fan. Grease a 23-24cm cake tin with butter and line the base with a circle of baking paper. First, zest your lemon and set aside for later. Peel, core and cut the apples into pieces, and add the the lemon juice. Set aside.

Cream together the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest in a bowl untilsmooth and pale. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. After each egg, add about a tbsp of flour from your overall amount. Add the remaining flour and the baking powder into the bowl. Next, fold in the ground almonds and drained apples.

Pour into your cake tin, smooth over the top and sprinkle with the demerara sugar (you can get excited and go a bit over the top with this.) Bake until well-risen, brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Mine baked for 45 minutes but it can take up to 1 hour. Cover the cake with some baking paper if it starts to get too dark.

Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then serve warm. You can also coat the top with more caster sugar if you want. Serve with ice cream, pouring cream or clotted cream.

mix is ready!

ready ready ready

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