Breadsticks Garlic Herb Dipping Oil

Hello there, have I got a new take on Garlic Bread for you today? Oh yes I have. Homemade Breadstick Garlic Herb Dipping Oil – deeeelish!! A fab recipe to make with the kids any day, but especially this week, during half term, here in the UK. Just like at Cafe Rouge except everyone has their own pot of dipping oil!

Crunch Breadsticks with Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil
Crunchy Breadsticks with Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil

We first had a version of these at Cafe Rouge a few years ago and we all thought they were yummy. So my mind started whirring, thinking that these couldn’t be ‘that hard’ to make at home – and guess what, they’re not!! And, dare I say, they taste better!

 

THE perfect sharing food. Perfect with pasta
THE perfect sharing food. Perfect with pasta.

Usually, when I’m feeding a crowd, I double up on the recipe and two people share one plate. But last night, with our Spag Bol we each had our own bowl of Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil and Breadsticks (some of us are getting over colds – so thought individual was best!!).

Crunchy Breadsticks, perfect for dunking in the Garlic and Herb Oil.
Crunchy Breadsticks, perfect for dunking in the Garlic and Herb Oil.

Firstly to make the breadsticks, for me it really is easier to have a bread maker or stand mixer. There is no way I could do all that kneading by myself, but if you’re happy to make the dough by hand, feel free.

 Recipe : Breadsticks Makes 10

1lb/450g  Strong White Bread Flour

2tsp  Dried Fast Acting Yeast

300ml Water – Approx 37C Body Temp

2tbsp Olive Oil

3/4 tsp Sea Salt Flakes – I used Maldon

Method : see below for hand kneading

Place the warm water into the bowl of your bread maker or stand mixer with the dough hook attached.  Add the dried yeast and mix with your fingers.  Place the flour on top of the water/yeast.  Pour the oil on top of the flour and sprinkle over the salt.

* For bread maker set cycle to knead and prove.

* For the stand mixer, mix the ingredients for 10 minutes. When the dough is soft and elastic remove to an oiled bowl, turn once, so the sides and top are slicked in oil, cover with cling film and place in a warm place to double in size (1-2 hours).

* For hand kneading, place all the ingredients into a large bowl, as per the other methods. Bring together with your hand, in the bowl, until a complete lump of dough is formed. Place the dough on a lightly floured worktop and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic – proceed as for stand mixer.

Once the dough has doubled in size knock back – gently punch down into the bowl to knock out the air (in a bread maker set to mix and allow 30 seconds of slow rotating to knock back your dough).

Tip your dough out onto a floured worktop.

Form the dough into a flat, done shape.
Form the dough into a flat, dome shape.
Divide the dough into half - using a dough cutter or knife.
Divide the dough into half – using a dough cutter or knife.
Divide the first half into 5 equal pieces of dough.
Divide the first half into 5 equal pieces of dough.
Pull each piece into a length.
Pull each piece into a length.
Twist each length of dough, pulling as you do so, to make a long twisted, uncooked bread stick and place on an oiled baking sheet.
Twist each length of dough, pulling as you do so, to make a long twisted, uncooked bread stick and place on an oiled baking sheet.

Repeat the same process for the other half of the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm draught free place until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 215C (200C fan).

Place the baking sheets into the hot oven and bake the breadsticks for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Crunchy, golden breadsticks.
Crunchy, golden breadsticks.

 

Place the cooked breadsticks on a cooling rack to cool.

Recipe : Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil

4tbsp  Virgin Olive Oil

4tbsp  Butter

3  Fat Garlic Bulbs

1tbsp  Fresh Finely Chopped Herbs – I used Thyme and Rosemary – or 1tsp Mixed Dried Herbs

1/2 tsp  Flaky Sea Salt

1/2 tsp  Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method :

Firstly I have to admit I didn’t actually measure the butter or olive oil when I made this!!  But you are aiming for a 50:50 mix of Olive oil and butter!  My laziness is your gain, as you can add more oil/butter if you want to stretch this recipe out for more servings!!!  And I get called Cheeky – can’t think why?????

Anyway back to the dipping oil for the breadsticks!  Put the Olive oil and butter into a small pan. Chop the herbs finely and add to the cold oil/butter.

Finely chopped Thyme (left) and Rosemary (right).
Finely chopped Thyme (left) and Rosemary (right).

Either mince finely, or use a garlic press to chop/squish the garlic bulbs and add to the pan.  Finally add the salt and pepper – you can add less salt if you’ve used salted butter – too little salt however, will result in this dipping oil having a very bland flavour (sorry Cafe Rouge, but it’s the seasoning in your dipping oil that let’s it down!).

Ooh a little heat, a little time and this will become the MOST delish Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil x x x
Ooh a little heat, a little time and this will become the MOST delish Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil x x x

Place the pan over a very low heat.  The idea is to melt the butter, infuse the oil/butter with the garlic and herbs and of course NOT BURN THE GARLIC!!!!

As soon as the butter is melted take the pan off the heat.
As soon as the butter is melted take the pan off the heat.

Leave the pan off the heat to sit and infuse with the Garlic and Herb flavours.  Even a few minutes makes a big difference to the final oil.  I made the oil whilst the Breadsticks were baking.  10 minutes before serving place the pan over a medium heat. As soon as the oil is bubbling and the Garlic is sizzling, remove from the heat and decant into individual serving bowls – I used ramekins.

THE perfect sharing food. Perfect with pasta
THE perfect food for sharing. Perfect with pasta.

Breaking into the crunchy Breadsticks and dipping into the Garlic and Herb Oil is a taste explosion in your mouth!! It’s a fun change from the usual Garlic Bread.  As always these Breadsticks go amazingly well with all pasta dishes.

NOTE: The Garlic and Herb Oil can also be spooned over Ciabatta or Baguette for a more traditional style Garlic Bread.

The Breadsticks can be made smaller (this will stretch out the number of servings), just remember to reduce the baking time – I’d start checking at 15 minutes.

Any leftover breadsticks can be frozen, in a freezer bag, for up to a month.

If you do try this recipe I’d love to hear how you get on?

Have fun making these and most of all sharing them!

Sammie x

 

 

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Nutella Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake

Hi there, I hope there is something in your day today that makes you smile.  I’m definitely smiling because I’ve made this luscious, moist Nutella Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake. Chocolate and vanilla sponge swirled together, baked and then topped with a generous slather of Nutella and whole, toasted hazelnuts.

Yep I’m back to baking, after being out of action for a few weeks with horrid Migraines, see here. Frustrating, painful and boring, however today I did it.  I finally got to remake the cake that I teased you about  and as Nutella has been on special offer, I won’t get blasted by the children, for depleting their Nutella supply.

Cut cake showing the marbling effect.
See the marbling effect inside the cake.

I should mention, given the number of times I’ve mentioned Nutella, that this is not a paid promotion.  It’s just Nutella is such an easy frosting for a cake and this particular combo is especially yummy.

A slice of Nutella Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake

Because, being completely honest, I’ll admit to eating a slice of this cake for lunch, three days in a row. It really is that tempting.

Recipe :  Nutella Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake serves 8-10

12oz/350g  White Caster Sugar

12oz/350g  Unsalted Butter – room temperature

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

2tsp  Vanilla Extract I use Nielsen-Massey

6  Large Eggs – pref free range

240mls/8fl oz  Buttermilk

12oz/350g  White Self Raising Flour

3oz/75g  Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

5-6  Heaped Tablespoons of Nutella

4oz/100g  Blanched Hazelnuts

Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 2, 300F

Making The Chocolate And Vanilla Cake Batter

  • First of all grease thoroughly with butter a 9 inch/22.5cm springform cake pan and line the base with baking parchment.
  • Add the butter, sugar and salt to a large bowl and cream together using an electric whisk (or stand mixer with paddle attachment). This actually takes a good 5 mins to get a really pale, light and fluffy mixture (so unless you want a thorough workout I don’t suggest you do this by hand!).
Pale and fluffy!!
Pale and fluffy!!
  • Next add the vanilla extract, and 1 egg. Whisk until combined.  While continuing to whisk gradually add the rest of the eggs, slowly, one at a time, until they have all been added.  If it looks like your mixture is going to curdle add one tablespoon of Self Raising Flour and the mixture will come back together.
Making the vanilla cake batter.

All eggs added and no curdling – I added a tablespoon of flour, just in case!

  • Add the remaining  flour and partly fold in. Now add the buttermilk (it’s worth giving the container a good shake, as the buttermilk can settle).  Complete the mixing, by folding in the part blended flour mixture and the buttercream.  Watch in amazement as the batter takes on a mousse like consistency.
This St Ivel buttermilk is the only one I could find!
This St Ivel buttermilk is the only one I could find!
Buttermilk added to the cake batter.

If my batter looks a bit pinky/orange, it’s  because the eggs that I used had very orange yolks.

  • In a separate bowl (I suggest that you use a larger one than I did) add the cocoa powder.
  • Place half of your vanilla cake batter on top of the cocoa and whisk until blended. I did try mixing by hand, but it was hopeless as the bowl was too small!
Cocoa.
Cocoa.
Place half the batter mixture on top.
Place half the batter mixture on top.
And whisk!!!
And whisk!!!

Creating The Marble Effect Of The Cake

  • Spoon in large dollops of the chocolate cake batter.
  • Follow with vanilla cake batter dropped in between the chocolate.
  • Now add chocolate batter on top of the vanilla.
  • Likewise repeat with vanilla and then chocolate batter until it is all in the cake tin.
First I dolloped chocolate cake batter.
First I dolloped chocolate cake batter.
Then I added vanilla..,
Then I added vanilla..,
Finishing with the rest of the chocolate.
Finishing with the rest of the chocolate.
  • Using a butter knife swirl the two batters together.  What you’re aiming for is a rippled effect. Since there is no precision to this method, swirl a few times, but not so many that the result is both cake batters completely mixed together.
Swirling finished, now level off the cake top.
Swirling finished, now level off the cake top.

Baking The Chocolate Marble Cake

  • Place the cake in the centre of a preheated oven and bake for an hour.  The cake is cooked when it is firm to touch and does not wobble underneath the set top. Also an inserted skewer will come out clean.
  • As soon as the cake is cooked remove from the oven.
  • Place the cooked cake, still in it’s tin onto a baking rack and leave to cool, for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minuntes  unclip the springform tin and remove the tin, leaving the cake on the tin base to cool.
Don't worry if there are a few cracks on the top. These will close as the cake cools.
Don’t worry if there are a few cracks on the top. These will close as the cake cools.

Decorating The Cake With Toasted Hazelnuts And Nutella

  • While the cake is cooling, lightly toast the hazelnuts.
  • Place the hazelnuts into a dry frying pan and toast over a high heat for approximately 5 minutes.  Toasting the hazelnuts brings out the wonderful oils and flavour. As soon as the hazelnuts are toasted remove from the pan and place in a bowl to cool.
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan over a high heat.
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan over a high heat.
Once toasted the hazelnuts turn a gorgeous golden colour.
Once toasted the hazelnuts turn a gorgeous golden colour.

As I mentioned, any cracks in the top of the cake will close on cooling, but don’t worry, the top is going to be covered in Nutella.

Place the cake on a cake stand/board or plate.  Place 5-6 tablespoons of Nutella on to the top of the cake.  Spread the Nutella over the top of the cake right up to the edge. An off set spatula is ideal for spreading.

Sorry, you do have to spread the Nutella as it doesn't set.
Sorry, you do have to spread the Nutella as it doesn’t set.
Nutella is so easy to spread!
Nutella is so easy to spread!
Oooh scrummy, this Nutella covered cake looks ready to eat - but we can add a final touch!
Oooh scrummy, this Nutella covered cake looks ready to eat – but we can add a final touch!

Time to get creative with the toasted hazelnuts. You can place them randomly or in a pattern on top of the Nutella.  Once finished you finally have a Nutella Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake.

Nutella Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake

So scrumptious looking and the perfect cake for sharing.  Also the Nutella doesn’t set so invite a friend/neighbour round, or the whole family and pop the kettle on. This cake is ready for slicing, so enjoy.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Nutella Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake you may also like these:

Vanilla Sponge Cake

Uncut Victoria Sponge Cake on a pretty cake plate decorated with delicate pink roses.
Victoria Sponge Cake

Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake

FF Nutella Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake

Maltesers Popping Candy Cupcakes

FF Nutella Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake
Maltesers Popping Candy Cupcakes

While it is nice to bake a cake, just to have in the cupboard. So that family members can cut a slice and enjoy with a cup of tea, there are other reasons to bake. For example, to give as a gift to a new family, or take round to welcome new neighbours. If you think bout it there are plenty of reasons to bake and share cake. Since an unexpected gift has a double feel good factor. Not only do the recipients receive a delicious gift, they also know that they’ve been thought about. What other reason do we need that that?

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

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Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns

Hi there, how are you today?  These Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns are so easy to make and are perfect for weekend breakfast with a large mug of Coffee!  They truly define the meaning of Lazy Weekend Breakfast Feasting.

FF Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns
Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns

Obviously, you don’t have to restrict eating these at breakfast time or just at the weekend – although, as scrummy as they are, I wouldn’t recommend having them everyday! These Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns are treats, in fact I had them for my birthday brekkie last year (& that was mid week!).

This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself.  After following her recipe a few times I fiddled with it a bit.  The buns were scrummy, but I wanted Pecan nuts inside my buns and preferred the use of Sultanas.  I also changed the ratio of ingredients, as I changed from American cup measures to Metric weight.  I was extremely pleased with the results, I hope you will be to and this easy recipe will inspire you to have a go at making these buns!

Pecan Sultana Sticky Buns www.feastingisfun.com
Pecan Sultana Sticky Buns www.feastingisfun.com

Upside down buns

Firstly, I should say that these Sticky Sultana Pecan Buns are made upside down!  That is, they are very similar, in method, to an upside down cake – meaning that you place a brown sugar/butter mixture along with Pecan nuts into the bottom of a deep muffin/cupcake tin, place the buns in top and then when cooked turn the buns out so the bottom of the bun becomes the top!

Don’t worry!  It’s not as confusing as it sounds and I am ALWAYS amazed that the buns turn out perfectly, they never stick and always look so impressive for such little effort.  In fact it really is a Ta Dah moment (I imagine a drumroll in my head!) that never ceases to amaze me and I always end up with a huge smile on my face!

Just a quick note : A proper deep muffin/cupcake tin must be used for this recipe.  A bun/fairy cake tin is too shallow, not only will it be too small for your buns, but you’ll also end up with butter dripping all over your oven.  I also place a baking sheet, a little larger than my cupcake tin, on the rack below, just in case any butter bubbles up and drips over – soo much easier to clean than the whole oven!!

Recipe : Makes 12 Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns

For the Topping:

150g/5oz  Butter – unsalted and softened

75g/3oz Light, Soft Brown Sugar

100g/4oz Pecan Nuts – roughly chopped

For the Buns :

450g/1lb Pack Shop Bought All Butter Puff Pastry

1tbsp  Butter – melted

1 1/2tsp  Cinnamon

150g/5oz Light, Soft Brown Sugar

250g/9oz  Sultanas

100g/4oz Pecan Nuts – roughly chopped

Method :

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan), 400F, has mark 6

Making the topping

Firstly, for the topping of the buns mix the softened butter and sugar until well combined.

Using a teaspoon (not a teaspoon measure) scoop 1/2 a teaspoon of the butter/sugar mixture and place into the bottom of the muffin tin, repeating 11 more times.

1/2 a teaspoon is just enough!
1/2 a teaspoon is just enough!
Each muffin cup has a dollop of the sugar/butter mixture!
Each muffin cup has a dollop of the sugar/butter mixture!

Next, divide the 100g of Pecan nuts between each of the muffin cups, placing them on top of the sugar/butter mixture.  Remember, although this is going into the bottom of the tin, when turned out this will become the topping of the Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns!

The Pecan nuts become caramelised, golden and sticky during cooking. Yummy!!
The Pecan nuts become caramelised, golden and sticky during cooking. Yummy!!

Making the buns

Lightly dust the worktop with plain, white flour.  Roll out the all butter puff pastry, with a floured rolling pin. You need a square shape that is approx 34 x 34cm.

All butter pastry really is essential as it adds to the flaky, buttery flavour of the buns.
All butter pastry really is essential as it adds to the flaky, buttery flavour of the buns.

Next, trim the top and bottom of the pastry square and brush with the melted butter.  Then sprinkle the sugar evenly over the whole of the square.

Don't worry about the odd few lumps in the sugar, they'll just add to the stickiness of the buns!!
Don’t worry about the odd few lumps in the sugar, they’ll just add to the stickiness of the buns!!

Sprinkle the cinnamon evenly over the sugar layer.

The smell of cinnamon fills the house when these buns are baking.
The smell of cinnamon fills the house when these buns are baking.

Now you can sprinkle firstly the Sultanas and the the chopped Pecan nuts, so they cover the pastry evenly.

Nice and evenly spread, now it's time to get a-rolling!!!
Nice and evenly spread, now it’s time to get a-rolling!!!

Starting at the front edge of the pastry, evenly roll over the edge of the pastry, tucking it under itself ( not too tightly). Then proceed to roll until you have a log shape, with the join underneath.

A nice even roll along the front edge of the pastry.
A nice even roll along the front edge of the pastry.
Keep rolling so the pastry is an even log shape.
Keep rolling so the pastry is an even log shape.
Trim the side edges of the log.
Trim the side edges of the log.

Shaping the buns

Next, using a sharp knife, mark the middle of the log. Then mark each half of the log in the middle. Now divide each marked section into 3 separate pieces. You should now have 12 buns!

Use a very sharp knife to slice through each section - so you get a nice clean edge to each bun.
Use a very sharp knife to slice through each section – so you get a nice clean edge to each bun.

Carefully place each bun, cut side up, on top of the butter/sugar/Pecan mixture in the muffin tin. Squish a little bit if needed and don’t worry if a little of the filling falls out in transit, you can always pop errant Pecans and Sultanas into any gaps once all the buns are in the muffin tin!

All ready to be popped into the preheated oven.
All ready to be popped into the preheated oven.

Baking the Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns

Place the tin into a preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. The Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns are cooked when the pastry is golden and puffed.

Ooh yummy! But be careful, they will come out of oven very hot.
Ooh yummy! But be careful, they will come out of oven very hot.

I just love to watch them bubbling and breath in their cinnamon scent when they first come out of the oven – it’s the little things in life that give me most pleasure!!!!!

Turning the buns out of the tin

Wait a few (3 ish but no longer than 5) minutes, then wearing oven gloves place a baking sheet (that is at least the same size as your muffin tin) over the top of the muffin tin and turn over. I promise the buns will drop out! Remove the muffin tin and stare in amazement at your gorgeous Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns– all 12 of them!! See I told you, they really are easy and they turn out every single time.

Perfectly turned out Sticky Pecan and Sultana Buns.
Perfectly turned out Sticky Pecan and Sultana Buns.

Leave to cool – remember all that bubbling and sizzling was butter and sugar boiling very hot!!

Serve warm with nothing but a hot drink of your choice, sit back, relax and smile!

Made for sharing

These Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns are perfect for breakfast, brunch, mid afternoon coffee. I think these are at their most delicious shared with friends and family who unexpectedly pop round! These are best served warm, so pop in a 140C oven whilst the kettle boils and serve with a steaming cup of coffee and a smile!

These scrummy Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns keep well in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen for up to 1 month. When needed, remove from freezer, place on a baking sheet and allow to defrost (this doesn’t take long 1-2 hrs depending on the room temperature), refresh and warm in a 180C oven for 5 minutes and serve.

FF Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns
Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns

I really hope that you give the Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns a try as not only are they easy to make, they are scrumptious and everyone who tries them has a big smile on their face!!!

Sammie x

 

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Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies

Hello, how are you today?  If you’ve taken a look at my blog before, you might have noticed that I rather like Cookies, ooh and Biscuits (is there a difference?)!  This recipe for Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies started forming in my brain last week – but I was out of oats.  Also I am very glad I ordered some with my shopping because these Cookies are scrumptiously delicious.

FF Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies
Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies

I like to play around with textures as well as tastes and with these Crumbly Oaty Cookies you also get nice nuggets of Apricot which have a lovely chewy texture.  The addition of Demerera sugar also adds a very slight toffee taste and extra crunch.  So all good then!

The first batch of Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies were made and baked.  My special friend and chief taste tester agreed to the arduous task of tasting them – it’s a tough job, but she manages!!!  They were given a thumbs up!! Obviously I had to try one as well and they are scrummy, plus with fruit and oats in them they must be good for you.  Well that’s my theory anyhow!

Recipe: Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies make approximately 20

50g/2oz  Demerera Sugar

75g/3oz  Caster Sugar

225g/8oz  Unsalted Butter – at room temperature

1 Large Free Range Egg Yolk

1tsp  Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1/8tsp Salt – I use Kosher

100g/4oz Dried Apricots

100g/4oz  Ordinary Rolled Porridge Oats (not quick cook)

175g/6oz  Plain White Flour

Method : Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4

Making the cookie batter:

First of all, in a bowl cream the butter and sugars together, ideally with an electric whisk (by hand with a wooden spoon is fine, just ensure the mixture is well beaten.

The whisked butter and sugars. The Demerara sugar gives the mixture more colour.
The whisked butter and sugars. The Demerara sugar gives the mixture more colour.

Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and salt to the mixture and beat in well.  Take the dried Apricots and chop them roughly into small 1/2cm pieces.  You want the pieces of Apricot small enough so that they distribute evenly throughout the cookie dough, but big enough to be golden nuggets of chewy fruit that contrast with the crumbly cookie texture.

Here's a pic of how I chopped the apricots!
Here’s a pic of how I chopped the apricots!

Into the bowl add the oats, flour and place the chopped apricots on top.  Mix together until just combined.

Placing the chopped apricots in top of the flour helps to stop them all clumping together.
Placing the chopped apricots in top of the flour helps to stop them all clumping together.

Shaping the cookies:

Scoop a desert spoonful of the cookie dough and shape into a ball using your hands. I placed 6 cookie dough balls on both of the baking trays I used. Obviously the bigger the ball, the larger the cooked cookie will be!

Note : Unless you are confident that your baking trays are non stick, it’s best to line them with baking parchment paper.

Lightly press down on the dough balls, to flatten them into an even round shape.

Baking the cookies:

Place the baking trays in the oven and bake for 15-25 minutes until golden brown on the bottom (see photo).  Again the cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your cookies.

Note the underside is much deeper in colour than the top.
Note the underside is much deeper in colour than the top.

If the bottom is not golden (as above) return your cookies to the oven for an extra couple of minutes.  The first tray I got out of the oven looked fine, however, when I tried to turn the cookie over to check the underneath, it completely fell apart – I put the tray bake in the oven for an extra 5 minutes and the photo above shows the result!

When cooked properly, even whilst still warm, the cookie will hold it’s shape, allowing you to check the underside.  Leave the cookies to cool completely on the baking tray.

FF Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies
Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies

While cooling, ring a friend, or your mum, or someone you’ve been meaning to invite round for ages.  Pop the kettle on, quickly clean up (vacuum, throw some bleach down the loo, anti bac wipe the cat…..). No, no, no!! Whoever you’ve invited round doesn’t want to see you (and the cat!) frazzled to within an inch of your life. Relax.  Put on some whale music if necessary (although if you need that you might want to invite so and so tomorrow – just saying!!!).

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies you may also like these:

Extreme Chocolate Cookies 

FF Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies
Extreme Chocolate Cookies

Cherry Bakewell Cookies 

FF Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies 

FF Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies
Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Enjoy feasting and having a good natter, with a friend, over Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies.  Have fun catching up and sharing in each other’s news. Because one of the most precious gifts you can give is your time. We all feel loved and valued when others take time out of their busy schedules to share part of their day with us!

I know, because my sister – who is the best sis in the world – took time out of her day for me today.  Thanks babes, love you with all my heart xx.

Sammie x

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Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

Hello, I’m writing this blog with fond memories of our week spent in the heart of Devon during half term. This Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova was made, at the barn, with minimal equipment and only my memory for the recipe! I’d call that a challenge!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova made again at home.

Physically it was a bit of a struggle for me, but that was more than compensated by the time we spent as a family. Hanging out together, all 5 of us on a trampoline ( trust me I wasn’t jumping !!!!) that I thought was going to collapse at any second. Taking turns to row around the pond. Discovering semi-wild farm cats and their kittens in the hay barn – sooo cute. Spending time with our Devon family’s, both in church and on the farm. Yet most of all being together Feasting and Having Fun!!!!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova perfect for dessert or afternoon tea.

Firstly I have to give complete credit to Nigella for inspiring this scrumptious Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova.

Whilst staying in our gorgeous Barn in the middle of nowhere Pip had invited us to share a meal with her and her wonderful hubby Sailor Man and their daughter Leggy Lou!

Pip would be cooking Lasagne and I offered to do pudding!!

We’ve been staying on the same farm, in the same barn at least 10 years. I was pretty confident, given the restricted equipment available in the barn, that  I could ‘easily’ whip up a Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova!!

This is one of those puds that not only has the WOW factor visually but tastes even better than it looks. So simple to do then?

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova a delicious combination of flavours.

While out shopping I remembered ALL the ingredients (I may have made this a few dozen times before!). Although I couldn’t remember the quantities!

Back at the farm, in a rare moment of actually being able to get a signal, I successfully popped onto Nigella’s website  and got the recipe.  Fortunately I had not forgotten anything – boy was I relieved!!

Recipe:  Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova serves 8

You will need a good sized baking sheet that can take a 30cm diameter circle of meringue, lined with parchment paper.

6  Egg whites. (Preferably free range) at room temp

300g  Caster Sugar

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder (not drinking chocolate)

1 tsp Balsamic vinegar (your just gonna have to trust me on this one???!!)

50g  Chopped Dark (70%) Chocolate + an extra 25g Dark (70%) Chocolate chopped very fine, for sprinkling over before serving

450ml Double Cream

300g – 500g Raspberries – Fresh if possible. I have used decent thawed frozen ones in the midst of winter and it worked – Waitrose sell good quality frozen berries

Method:  Preheat the your oven to 200C/180C fan (350F, gas mark 4).

Firstly if you have any kind of electric whisk PLEASE use it. You can see from the photo below that I did not have one and it was VERY HARD WORK!!!

Oh yes - I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!!
Oh yes – I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!

Once the egg whites form stiff, satin peaks slowly add the caster sugar and keep whisking. Oh the joy, what was already a hard job became much more difficult as the sugar mixed into the whites. The mixture will become much thicker.

Once all the sugar is fully incorporated whisk until the meringue mixture is glossy, satiny and holds a stiff peak!

Next add the sieved cocoa, chopped chocolate and balsamic vinegar (stay with my guys it’s really worth it in the end!!!)

I'm not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!
I’m not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!

Using a metal spoon gently fold in the chocolate, cocoa and balsamic vinegar until the ingredients are fully combined. This was challenging for me, as you can see from the photos I’d used a straight sided, flat bottomed casserole dish as a mixing bowl!

Still I’m nothing if not adaptable!

When at home I draw round a 12″ (30cm) round cake tin, with pencil, on to parchment paper. On holiday I had to ‘guesstimate’!

Flip the paper over, so that the pencil marking is on the underside. At this point, you can attach the parchment to the baking sheet with little dobs of meringue mixture. These act like glue and stop the paper moving around.

Using the drawn circle as a guide, gently pile on the meringue mixture into the centre using a metal spoon. Use a palette knife (or butter knife if on hols!!!) to gently spread the mixture into an even circle shape approx 30cm across.

I’ve found it helps the cooked Pavlova not to crack if you build the sides up slightly so the centre is approx 1-2cm lower than the edge. It doesn’t matter if it does crack as later on you will be smothering it in whipped cream and raspberries! Using your knife smooth out the centre and create swirls around the outside of the Pavlova. Let your creative, fun side run free!! It’s soo much fun and you can swirl to your hearts content!

The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x
The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x

Place the beautiful Pavlova on the middle shelf of the preheated oven (180C – 350F or gas mark 4), immediately turn the oven temperature down to 150C (300F gas mark  2) and bake for  1, 1/4 – 1, 1/2 hours.

If you are confident about the eggs you have used, gather the children around the bowl and let them lick the bowl clean. Make sure you have a little taste too. It’s GORGEOUS.  I think it tastes like the lightest chocolate mousse.  You are eating raw egg so please do not taste if you are pregnant, unwell or elderly. Also I wouldn’t let my children taste it when they were very young.  Our youngest is 12 now so he was allowed to try some!

The Pavlova is cooked when the outside looks lovely and crisp and you can see the dark, fudgey inside through the natural small cracks in the surface.

Turn the oven off and leave to cool completely in the oven.

Once the Pavlova is completely cool remove from the oven and peel off the Parchment paper (I’ve never yet had one stick using Parchment, if you use greaseproof paper I can’t guarantee it will peel off as easily).

Place the Pavlova on a flat cake stand, cake board or metal tray if that’s all you have to hand!!

Whip the cream until thickened but still floppy (adding a teaspoon of caster sugar if you prefer to sweeten the cream) and smother the top of the Pavlova with it leaving a cream free edge.

Just waiting to be adorned.
Just waiting to be adorned.

Tumble (or carefully place it’s your choice!) the raspberries over the cream topped Pavlova.

Now finally sprinkle over the remaining 25g (about a tablespoon) of finely chopped dark chocolate.

 

Soo beautiful, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!
Soo beautiful,Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova. the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!

We shared this with our dinner hosts who were extremely complimentary about the combination of flavours, but mostly the hidden, almost brownie like middle of the Pavlova. The contrast between the crunchy outer layer, the sublime tartness of raspberry enveloped in velvety whipped cream and then the surprise, almost fudgey centre with nubs of chocolate work to create a TASTE SENSATION! Thank you Nigella for inspiring this recipe.

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova the perfect sweet treat to take to take to someone’s house.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova you may also like these:

Lemon Lime Meringue Pie

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Lemon Lime Meringue Pie

Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova 

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

Pavlova the perfect dessert for Sharing, Feasting and Having Fun!

Sammie x

 

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Victoria Sponge Cake

Victoria Sponge Cake, light, buttery, golden sponges sandwiched together with homemade raspberry jam. A simple recipe that yields a completely knockout cake both in flavour and looks. And as you master this recipe, you will forever be asked to “bring THAT cake” when gathering with friends and family. Because, put simply, this is a cake for feasting.

Jam and cream filled sponge cake on a pretty plate decorated with little roses.

Since a Victoria Sponge Cake is two identical sponge cakes put together with a slather of jam (and whipped cream if desired) in the middle, it is a great starting point for any baking journey. Because there are no complicated decorating techniques, or steps in the method, the finished cake is all about two things. First of all taste; good quality ingredients are key, butter should not be substituted with margarine. Also, texture; a light sponge is a direct result of not over mixing the cake batter.

Sliced cake showing the freshly made jam between the golden sponges.
Victoria Sponge Cake

Raspberry jam lends a sweet, slightly tart, intense fruit flavour against the buttery, vanilla sponge. While a good quality bought jam is fine to use, making fresh jam adds an additional edge. Since it requires very little time to make I really urge you to try it. Finally, with a light touch and using great quality ingredients the finished result is the Queen of all cakes. I say Queen as this cake is named after Queen Victoria herself.

Victoria Sponge Cake

Recipe: Victoria Sponge Cake serves 8-10

2 x 20cm (8in)  greased loose bottom cake tins, the base of each lined with baking parchment.

225g/8oz Caster Sugar plus 1/2 tsp for dusting the finished cake

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

4 Large Free Range Eggs  – room temp

225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour or equivalent weight Plain White Flour plus 1.5 tsp baking powder

2 tsp  Vanilla Extract I use – Nielsen-Massey

Fresh Raspberry Jam use 5 tablespoons of good quality jam if not making from scratch

Juice of 1 Lemon approximately 30mls

225g/8oz Fresh or Frozen Raspberries  – I used frozen from  Waitrose

225g/8oz Sugar

Optional – 300ml Whipped Cream (double or heavy cream)

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan oven, gas mark 4, 350F.

Making the cake sponges

  • First of all thoroughly grease with butter, both cake tins and line the base with baking parchment.
  • Place the sugar, butter and salt into a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until pale and fluffy – if using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment.
  • Rub a little of the mixture between your fore finger and thumb.  If no grittiness is felt the sugar is well mixed into the butter.
  • Next add the eggs and vanilla extract. Add 1 tablespoon of the flour and whisk together for 30 seconds to combine.
  • Sift the flour (and baking powder if required) into the bowl.
  • Whisk the ingredients together until just combined. Over whisking, or beating will develop the flour’s gluten, resulting in a tough, baked cake.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Making the cake batter.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tins, dividing evenly between the two. If wanted weigh equal quantities of cake batter into the tins.
  • Smooth the top of the batter with a spoon.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Prepared cake batter in the tins, ready to be baked.
  • Place the tins into the centre of the oven (centre and lower shelf if they cannot fit on one shelf).
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden in colour. The cakes are baked when the top springs back when lightly pressed.
  • As soon as the cakes are baked remove from the oven and place the tins on a cooling rack.
  • Allow each cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutesbefore turning out, top of the cake uppermost and placing directly on to a cooling rack.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Golden sponges cooling.

Making the fresh raspberry jam

While the cakes are cooking make the raspberry jam:

  • Into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan add the lemon juice, raspberries and sugar.
  • Also place 2 small plates or saucers into the fridge to chill.
  • Stir the ingredients together with a wooden spoon and bring up to a simmer on a low heat.
  • As soon as the sugar is dissolved increase the heat to bring the jam up to a rolling boil – bubbling vigorously but not over the sides of the pan.
  • Stir to ensure the jam does not stick. Take care as the jam will be very HOT.
  • After 5 minutes at a rolling boil spoon a few drops of hot jam on to one of the chilled plates. Allow to cool for a minute. Using your finger, push one side of the jam, if it wrinkles up the jam is ready; it has reached setting point. Should the jam not wrinkle continue cooking for a further 2 minutes and test again.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Freshly made Raspberry Jam for the Victoria Sponge Cake.
  • As soon as the jam has reached setting point remove the pan from the heat.
  • Pour the very hot jam into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Freshly made raspberry jam.

Assembling the cake

  • To assemble the Victoria Sponge Cake ensure both sponges and the raspberry jam are cold.
  • Carefully peel the baking parchment away from both sponges.
  • Place a sponge, flat side up on to a plate or board.
  • Spoon all of the jam on to the flat sponge and spread almost to the edge. Also, add a layer of whipped cream if desired.
  • Place the second sponge, flat side down, on top of the jam covered bottom sponge.
  • Finish with a light dusting of caster sugar on the top of the cake.
Victoria Sponge Cake filled with freshly made raspberry jam.

Serve this cake sliced with a good quality, fresh made cup of tea. Alternatively a glass of champagne for a special occasion compliments both the event and cake.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days. Always refrigerate the cake when adding cream and also during warm weather.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Victoria Sponge Cake with fresh raspberry jam filling you may also like these:

Raspberry and Cream Giant Doughnut

Raspberry And Cream Baked Giant Doughnut with pink drizzle icing a small white sugar ball decorations.
Raspberry And Cream Giant Doughnut

Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

Heart shaped cake covered in piped buttercream roses and decorated with mini edible pink hearts.
Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

Strawberries And Cream Cake

Strawberries And Cream Cake,
Strawberries And Cream Cake

While this cake may be easy to make, learning to master a simple recipe and make it well is the foundation to becoming a great cook and baker. Since cake decorating and presentation are of no importance if the product being served and shared does not taste appealing. And flavour always comes first in any feast. Never more so than when the feast is marking a special occasion. Because, friends and family bring out the flavour even further, as my long held belief shows that food shared always tastes better.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Bread is something that I really enjoy making. Flour, yeast, salt and water, combined and worked, create a bread with real taste. Add in a few extra flavours and the possibilities are endless. Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread is an incredibly easy, yet packed with flavour bread. Perfect for making at home.

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread.

This week in our house is all about birthdays. Our Lil Man will be 12 this week, it’s also my Sister’s birthday in the same week. Definitely time for Feasting, Celebrating and Fun! Covert baking operations during the day – ready for surprises on their special days. Ooh I love a celebration – well that is as long as I’m not the center of attention!

Fortunately, shyness is not something our son could ever be accused of having. His enthusiasm and passion for life is infectious and wonderful to see. He waits all year for his birthday and the night before, without fail, he reaches ‘ready to explode’ status!Christmas is the same for him, times a gazillion!I adore his passion & zest for life, even if at times it can be exhausting and overwhelming.

So, to make life a bit easier on myself today, I grabbed a previously, made and frozen Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne  from the freezer last night and left it to defrost in the fridge overnight. Yes, I confess to feeling a tiny little bit smug.
Since I have a bread maker that makes my life (in the world of bread baking), so much easier, I decided to whip up a couple of these GARLIC ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD.  Also, as this is such a reliable and easy recipe, I decided to share it with you.

Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.
Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.

GARLIC ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD: makes 2 loaves.

You will need 2 x lightly oiled 8×8″ square tins ( with at least 2″ depth), or – 1 larger oiled baking tray (2″ deep) to bake one large focaccia.

Recipe: Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread 

1lb Strong Plain White Flour – I use Shipton Mill

300ml Warm (hand hot) Water

1 x 7g Sachet, Easy Blend Yeast

2 tbs Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling over bread, oiling baking tins & cling film)

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper for top of the bread

2 tbs Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped

8 Garlic Bulbs (4 for bread mixture, 4 for topping the bread).

Method: Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7

When using a bread maker or stand mixer:

Place the warm water into the pan or bowl of the device you are using, making sure the dough hook is attached to the stand mixer.

Sprinkle over the sachet of dried, activated yeast and swish about with clean fingers to mix.

Next place the flour on top of the liquid mixture. Add the oil and salt.

Now add 1 tbs of the finely chopped Rosemary and salt.

Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!
Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!

Add in four minced bulbs of garlic. I’m a very big fan of my garlic press (no peeling or chopping), but you may chop, process, squish with the back of your knife. Please don’t write in with other methods for finely mincing garlic, just be happy that you’re innovative.

Now mix & prove (if using a bread maker). With a stand mixer, attach the dough hook & mix for 8-10 minutes, until the dough has a silky, stretchy, elasticity about it.

If kneading by hand, bring all the ingredients together and work (knead) the dough until you can feel the change, when the dough again stretches easily and feels silky to touch – a good way to check that the dough has been worked enough is that it should be hard to tear.

Shape the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl, then turn the ball over, so the top has an oily layer & cover tightly with cling film. Place in a warm draught free place until doubled in size (about an hour).

Prepare the baking tins (or large tin if only using one) by placing some oil in the tin (approx 1tsp for a smaller tin).  Then using your fingers or a piece of kitchen towel completely cover the inside of the tin with a light slick if oil. When doing this by hand, your nails also benefit from a cuticle treatment.
Talking of fingers, if you have long nails it’s probably easier to apply the oil with the kitchen cloth. It also probably means you look after your hands and nails may not need a quick, olive oil cuticle treatment. Just saying, I NEED the treatment.

If using a bread machine switch on to knead cycle to knock the dough back for a minute. With the dough in the bowl, remove the cling film & gently punch down (enjoy the soft enveloping feeling!)the dough to knock out the air bubbles and gently knead by hand for 2 minutes.

Half the focaccia dough.
Half the focaccia dough.

Divide the dough in two (or leave whole if making a larger Focaccia) using a sharp knife or a dough cutter.
Place half the dough into each tin (or all into one tin).

NOW is the absolutely BEST thing about making this type of bread. If you loved making mud pies when you where younger, or maybe still do, you’re going to LOVE this next bit.
Using your the heel of your hand, gradually press the dough out until it reaches the edges of the tin and is roughly the same thickness across the tin.

Check out my dimples!!!!
Check out my dimples!!!!

Next using your fingers, have great fun making lots & lots & lots of dimples in the dough – to give it the classic focaccia look.
Can you tell how much I really love that part? So much fun!
Drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt flakes, the rest of the finely minced Rosemary, a grinding of pepper and the rest of the garlic. Split over 2 tins if making 2 Focaccia loves.

Lightly oil some cling film:
TOP TIP: Using a clean wet cloth wipe some of your work surface so that it is damp. When laying your cling film over the top it will lay flat and not attempt to attach itself to itself, you, or random kitchen objects. You can then easily spread a light coating of oil over the cling using your hands, or a pastry brush.
I know there’s oil in the dough, the tin has been oiled, you’ve just drizzled oil on top of the focaccia – JUST TRUST ME!

Most of the time you could get away with not oiling the cling, but and it’s happened to me, it WON’T EVER STICK if you oil the cling!

The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect - so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!
The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect – so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!

Cover the top of the tin with the oiled cling (so it’s airtight) and leave in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size. Alternatively,  place the dough in the fridge. While it will take longer to rise, the bread will develop a lovely flavour, due to the slow prove. It’s your dough, so, do whatever you fancy.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP – I have successfully risen the dough slowly in the fridge, completely forgotten about it, so it quadruples in size. Knock it back by recreating the dimpled effect, as before, left to rise and it’s turned out fine.
Bake the focaccia in a preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until a golden colour and still quite soft. The base should sound hollow when rapped with a knuckle.

Once baked, remove from the oven, take a deep breath, the smell is intoxicating. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, run round the outside with a palette knife until you can feel the loaf easing from the tin. Turn the bread out and place on to a cooling rack. Repeat with second tin.

Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?
Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?

The Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread will be marshmallowy soft & is fine to serve warm as is. Or cool, wrap in foil and freeze for up to one month.
If you prefer a slight crust to your focaccia, 10 mins before serving, place the bread directly on to the rack of a preheated oven (as for baking the dough) for 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how crusty you like it.
Because this bread is thinner than a loaf, you can cut or tear the bread whilst still warm.

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread baked as a whole.

This bread goes with any dish you would normally serve garlic bread with. It also goes fantastically well with soup. Spicy vegetable, leek and potato are especially good with this bread. It is ideal for dunking!
One Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread is plenty for our family of five, so I wrap in foil and freeze the other one.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread you may also like these:

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

Easy Crusty Baguettes

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Easy Crusty Baguettes.

Garlic Cheese Bombs

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Cheese Bombs

I really hope you give this recipe a try. You can vary the herbs. I’ve used Thyme, Oregano and SHOCK/HORROR dried mixed herbs. Ooh I’m such a rebel! But seriously, it works better with the woodier herbs (rather than parsley/fennel) mentioned. Since I find that soft herbs are better mixed with butter and oil, then slathered into a baguette/ciabatta (part bake baguettes work well for this!).
Until next time, I hope you have fun giving this recipe a go and enjoy feasting with whoever you share it with.

See you soon. Sammie xx

No part of this blog post may be replicated without written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Blueberry And Lemon Muffins

Welcome to Feasting is Fun and these fruity Blueberry And Lemon Muffins. Made using a whole lemon, zest and juice and packed full of blueberries. Ideal for packed lunches, picnics or afternoon tea. Most importantly these muffins are perfect eaten any time of the day. Although, as always, they taste better when shared.

FF Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Blueberry And Lemon Muffins

Since I’ve been thinking about the names that different foods are given, for example, Buffalo wings, the name totally confuses me. You see Buffalos don’t have wings, well not the ones I’ve ever seen on television or in books. Now wait for it, this is going to come as a massive surprise,  they are in fact Chicken Wings. Also, as far as I’m aware, Moussaka doesn’t have Moose in it or Mousse! Bell peppers don’t go ding a ling a ding, when shaken. I’m pretty sure Horseradish doesn’t have horse in it. Such is the English language, if you think of any more please post them in the comments box?

FF Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Blueberry And Lemon Muffins

Well I can guarantee that these Blueberry And Lemon Muffins definitely have both Lemon and Blueberries in them. Now although I call these muffins, they aren’t proper muffins in the strictest sense,  but they’re not cupcakes either. So I settled on muffins, you know that whole thing with the English Language?  It doesn’t really matter, all you need to know is that they are good.

So good in fact that place two Blueberry Lemon Muffins in a bowl, whilst still warm and slather with custard, or cream, or both. Then dig in!

Recipe : Blueberry And Lemon Muffins makes 12

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter – room temperature

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

3 Large Free Range Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

100g/4oz Buttermilk

175g/6oz Fresh Blueberries rinsed and dried

1 Unwaxed Lemon zest and juice – zest first and then squeeze out the juice

175g/6oz Plain White Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

Method : Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan, 375F, gas mark 5

  • First of all place 12 large muffin cases into a deep muffin tin.
  • Place the sugar, salt and butter into a large bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk and juice of one lemon.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into the same bowl.
  • Whisk together until just combined. Over mixing will cause the muffins to be tough.
  • Keep back 12 blueberries for topping the muffins.
  • Add the lemon zest and remaining blueberries to the batter and fold in gently using a large metal spoon.
FF Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Making the Blueberry And Lemon Muffin batter.
  • Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, dividing equally.
  • Top each muffin with a fresh blueberry.
  • Place the muffin tin into the oven centre and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • The muffins are baked when golden and spring back from a light touch. An inserted skewer will come out clean of batter, with some blueberry juices attached.
FF Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Filling the muffin cases and baking them.
  • As soon as the muffins are baked remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the tin and place on to a cooling rack.
  • Leave to cool completely, or until just warm.
Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Blueberry And Lemon Muffins

Now arrange nicely and take a photo. Email this photo to five friends, put the kettle on and see who arrives!

Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Blueberry And Lemon Muffins

These muffins are at their best, just warm. Since each blueberry, when cooked forms it’s own little pod of jam throughout the muffin. Seriously yummy and very hard to stop at one, two, three….. Remember they’re for sharing.

Enjoy. While reminding yourself that blueberries are a ‘super food’  and there’s a whole lemon in the recipe, happily kid yourself that the feast before you is good for you. Since it is packed with Vitamin C.

Store cold muffins in an airtight container and eat within three days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Blueberry And Lemon Muffins then you may also like these:

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

FF Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

FF Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

Double Strawberry Almond Muffins

FF Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Double Strawberry Almond Muffins

 

A fantastic recipe to make with children who will wolf them down as quick as they are cool enough to eat. With big jammy, smiling faces and wide eyes begging you to make another batch for them to share at school. Go on – it’s fun!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Amazing Apple Pie

Hi, how are you today? It’s Sunday, traditionally the day of rest. Since not everyone gets to stay at home, I have a treat for you. Either to make for your family and loved ones when then come in from work, any day of the week, or just because it is so delicious. A dessert that will make you want to go for a brisk walk afterwards, or snuggle up on the sofa and have a nap. Here is my Amazing Apple Pie.

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Amazing Apple Pie

Rest and relaxation is so important. More so nowadays in our 24/7 world. While life, with work/children/DIY/etc. can sometimes feel as though we are chasing our tails. It is important to take time to stop and rest. Turn off our electrical devices, mentally switch off from all the tasks still to be ‘done’ and simply be. Whether that be playing a board game, reading a book or going for a walk. Rest is good for our mind, body and soul.

I will let you into a secret, once you’ve finished your list of things that MUST be done, guess what? More ‘jobs’ will miraculously appear! So if we take a few hours, or even a whole day to chill out, rest, or spend time doing something, that in itself is relaxing, we will feel soo much better. And be ready to face the world and all the demands that are placed on us.

We were created to work and be fruitful (no pun intended on the Amazing Apple Pie) but also to rest.

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Amazing Apple Pie

Obviously I’m aware many, many people cannot rest on a Sunday. Our Doctors and Nurses, who do such a fantastic job of treating and looking after sick people, don’t just down tools and stop because it’s Sunday. There are millions of people who, without their commitment to providing our security, ensuring our power supplies continue, indeed run our government and many, many more dedicated professions who work around the clock. Far too many to mention here – who ensure the smooth running & care of the population of our Great United Kingdom. To them I give my heartfelt thanks. Just think, Vicars don’t get Sunday off.

Rest doesn’t have to mean just plopping down in front of the telly, although if that’s how you chill out, go for it! Personally I love gardening, gentle gardening, pottering. Planting a few bulbs, deadheading, a little light pruning, nothing that causes me to beak out in a sweat and lands me on the sofa for 3 days, simply because I’ve overdone it. That is not rest, I’ve learned the hard way!

Baking is right up there with gardening as a form of relaxation for me. Gentle pastry making, not frenetic mid-week meal cooking, followed by mums taxi running one child to piano, my lil man to scouts, not to mention the impossible task of getting a filthy rugby kit washed, dried, ironed and ready by the next day. I don’t even own a tumble drier!

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Amazing Apple Pie served with Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard.

So to my recipe for scrumptious Amazing Apple Pie: am I stressed Noooo. I find the whole process relaxing – if you find that strange – that’s ok. You do what you must to relax, I bake or garden!!!!

You will need a 9-10″ glass pie dish ( the glass really does make a difference – the bottom of the pie doesn’t go soggy – don’t know why – but glass seems to conduct the heat better, resulting in a pie that is baked evenly on the bottom as well as the top! Anyhow it works!!!

Recipe: Amazing Apple Pie serves 6

For the pastry:

350g/12 oz Plain White Flour

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

75g/3oz Unsalted Butter – cold & cubed

75g/3oz Vegetable Shortening – cold & cubed (or broken into similar sized chunks as the butter) I use Trex

1 Free Range Egg, whisked with 1 tbs of water – for egg wash

1tbsp Demerera Sugar – I use Billingtons

For the filling:

600g/1lb 4oz weight of peeled Apples – Tart varieties (such as Granny Smiths, or cooking apples such as Bramleys) are best, but windfalls of any variety can be used

2 tbs Corn flour also called corn starch

1 Large Lemon – juiced

2 tbs Vanilla sugar or caster sugar & 1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Method: Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6

To make the pastry:

Place all the ingredients into a bowl (of stand mixer if using, with paddle attachment), using a pastry cutter, or your fingers, quickly rub/cut/blend the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles lumpy breadcrumbs – pea sized pieces of fat should still be visible.

Add enough cold water – 1 tbs at a time until the pastry JUST comes together, stirring with a butter or palette knife. Just as the mixture starts to clump go in with your hands and gently & quickly bring the clumps together into a ball.

Place the pastry onto some cling film, pat out to form a disc & then cut the disc in half, reshape each half back into a disc. Wrap each half in cling & place in the fridge for at least 30 mins to allow the pastry to relax.

NOTE : Whilst the pastry is resting you can prepare the filling – see below.

Once the pastry has rested remove it from the fridge & place 1 disc on a clean floured surface. With a lightly floured rolling pin start rolling, using even outward motion & turning the disc, adding small amounts of flour so that the pastry doesn’t stick.

When the circle looks wide enough to fill the pie dish, will a small amount of over lap, place the pastry into the UNGREASED pie dish, so that the excess pastry drapes slightly over the edges of the pie dish.

Please don’t worry,  if you have followed the recipe & are using a glass pie dish IT DOES NOT need greasing. There is enough fat in the pastry for it not to stick. If you have used a different type of pie dish I would play it safe & butter it first.

For the filling:

Peel, core and quarter the Apples. Slice the quarters into 3.

Place the prepared apples into a bowl and pour over the lemon juice, cornflour, sugar and spices. Using clean hands toss the apples so that each piece is covered in the lemony, gooey mixture.

Place the apple mixture onto the pastry base.

Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the outside edge of the pastry with egg wash.

Remove the 2nd pastry disc and roll out as before, ensuring when placed on top, the circle of pastry slightly overlaps the top of the pie.

Using a sharp knife carefully trim the excess pastry. Then either using a fork or your forefinger and thumb, press the lid of the pastry to seal it around the rim to the bottom layer.

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Creating an Amazing Apple Pie

Make a few snips in the top of the pastry, to allow any steam to escape.

If you want to be creative, make leaves, berries, whatever you want to decorate the top of the pie, making sure you don’t cover the slits in the pastry up. I just happen to have a mini apple shaped cutter that I couldn’t resist using on this pie.

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Decorated with Pastry apples and leaves, this Amazing Apple Pie is ready for the oven.

Brush the top of the Amazing Apple Pie with egg wash and then sprinkle the Demerera Sugar over the top of the pie. This adds an extra crunch and very mild toffee flavour. Put the pie dish onto a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes. The pie is cooked when it is a gorgeous golden colour, on top and underneath.

Remove from the oven and let the pie rest for 15 minutes, this will make it easier to slice.

 

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Amazing Apple Pie 

I like to serve this Amazing Apple Pie with Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard, cream, vanilla ice cream (or all of them!!!!) and a big smile. Wait for a minute and you will, in the moment of the first mouthful become the most popular, loved person in the room.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Amazing Apple Pie you may also like these:

Autumn Apple Almond Cake

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Autumn Apple Almond Cake

Iced Bakewell Tart

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Iced Bakewell Tart option for un iced version too.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Blackberry Nectarine Tart

This pie cries out to be shared with family, friends and loved ones alike. It’s also worth considering popping across the road to the gentleman who recently lost his wife and sharing a slice of pie with him.

Sometimes, when we are stumped by what to say, our actions can convey more than words ever could.

Until next time, challenge yourself to share with someone who is outside of your comfort zone. You may just make somebody else smile?

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.

Hello again. I’m really enjoying this blogging lark, I hope you are enjoying my thoughts and recipes too? Please leave a comment if you try any. I’d love to hear how you got on. So today let me bring you my Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.

FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Super Easy Shortbread Cookies

Today is the day…..all the children back at school. My mind is buzzing with all the possibilities that today holds! All the things I put off during the summer holidays  to spend time with our 11, 13 and 15 year old children.

I love having them home, they all get along pretty well (not bad for 2 older girls and my boy) and I shall miss their music/chatter/mess… Well maybe not the mess. But they do fill our home with energy and fun. Still tomorrow is the weekend, so today I shall enjoy the peace knowing chaos is only a day away.

FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Super Easy Shortbread Cookies

Hmmm there’s jam to be made, not really in the mood for that, tidying – but it’ll only need doing again on Monday. Cookies! I have nothing really against shop bought biccies but you really can’t beat homemade and these are a doddle.

You will need:

2 x baking sheets with parchment paper on them.

Cling film (I’ll explain later)

Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature : it really makes a difference.

Recipe: Super Easy Shortbread Cookies makes 20-24

150g/5 oz Caster Sugar (plus 2 tsp for sprinkling on top)

1/4 tsp Salt

225g/8 oz Unsalted Butter

1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste, or 1 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

1 Large Free Range Egg Yolk – the white can be frozen for up to one month, perfect for Pavlova

225g/8 oz Plain White Flour

50g/2 oz Corn Flour – corn starch

Method:

  • Place butter, sugar and salt into a large bowl.
  • Whisk or beat (using a wooden spoon) together until the mixture is very pale yellow.
  • Now mix in the egg yolk and vanilla paste/extract.
  • Sift in the flour and corn flour.
  • Mix thoroughly, but gently until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Now take a big, deep breath. The smell is scrummy and will help you recognise later when the Super Easy Shortbread Cookies are nearly cooked!
FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Making the cookie dough.
  • Set the mixture to one side so that you have a clear work top in front of you. You will need a clear space in front of you. Wipe this space with a clean, slightly wet, dish cloth.
  • Taking the clung film unwrap about 12 inches (30cm) lay it over the damp work surface as you do so. Magically the cling will lay flat and not become a tangled mess!
  • Place half of your cookie dough on the cling film in a rough log shape.
  • Using your hands and the cling mould the dough into a log, with a diameter of approx 1 1/2″ (7cm)
  • Wrap tightly making sure the cookie dough is as even as possible along the log.
  • Carefully transfer this to the fridge laying it on a flat surface (the dough will still be quite squishy – I usually lay it lengthways across my palm).
  • Repeat this process with the rest of the cookie dough. Leave the dough to rest and harden up for at least 2-3 hours.
FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Creating the cookie dough log, chilling and slicing the cookies.
  • Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4, just before you remove the cookie dough log from the fridge.
  • Remove 1 log from the fridge and leave to warm slightly for 5 minutes (I find leaving it for this time makes the dough easier to cut and not crack).
  • Using a sharp knife cut regular discs approx 1/4″ (1/2cm) wide.
  • You should end up with 10-12 cookie discs.
  • Place these on the parchment paper lined baking sheets, making sure there is at least 1″/2.5cm gap each way between the discs.
  • Sprinkle each cookie with a little sugar.
  • Place the baking trays in the centre and lower part of the oven
  • Bake the Super Easy Shortbread Cookies for 14-17 minutes. When baked they are a light golden colour.
FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
  • When you start to smell the scrumptious buttery, vanilla smell it’s time to check on your cookies. DON’T PROD THEM – however tempting! They will still be soft and firm up on cooling. These cookies are cooked when they turn a light golden colour. Remove from the oven, careful they are hot!
  • Leave the cookies on the baking tray to cool completely.
FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
  • The sprinkle of sugar added just before baking gives the cookies a sparkling sheen once baked.

Pop the kettle on and try one, just to make sure they’re good. These cookies travel well and I like to pop some in cellophane bags tied with pretty ribbon and pass them on to friends andfamily. They are also scrummy when shared with a close friend over a cuppa and a heart to heart chat.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Super Easy Shortbread Cookies you may also like these:

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Heart Cookies 

FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Heart Cookies

Cherry Bakewell Cookies 

FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

Rolo Chocolate Cookies 

FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Rolo Chocolate Cookies

Since I am a self confessed Cookie Monster, I assume that others are too. Baking fresh cookies, ready to share, is one way of showing my friends and family how much I love them. I mean I’m giving away cookies! Whether it’s cookies, cakes or other bakes, I have never had anyone turn down the gift of a homemade treat.

If you want to see more of my recipes, or show me your bakes you can find me on Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest – @sammiefeasting

Sammie xx

No part of this post may reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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