Blackberry Nectarine Tart

Hi, I’m celebrating – today is the first day I’ve not woken up with a migraine for too long. When I get a fairly good day I smile and give thanks – harder to do on the other days, more like clinging on by my fingertips. AND I made the easiest tart ever! This Blackberry Nectarine Tart is made with shop bought, all butter, puff pastry, a tub of blackberries (mine were frozen) and a punnet of nectarines – you could easily use peaches instead.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

If you think roasting vegetables intensifies their flavour, then imagine what 30 minutes in a hot oven does to the fruit in this tart? Even with the addition of a sprinkle of vanilla sugar the intense fruit flavours in this Blackberry Nectarine Tart are a delight on the taste buds. Yet this is not a sweet tart. For me it’s a perfect balance of fruity flavour and flaky, buttery pastry.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - beautiful and delicious.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – beautiful and delicious.

 

I really can’t emphasise how easy this tart is to make. Since the pastry and blackberries were in the freezer, the nectarines, ridiculously cheap and in season, ripening at an increasingly rapid pace, needed using. Given how well this tart turned out I would happily make this during the colder months using, shock, horror – tinned peaches! Yup I would, with custard poured over. I am shameless!!!

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - a perfect summer dessert, even in the winter.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – a perfect summer dessert, even in the winter.

 

I hope I’ve convinced you to give this tart a try? As they say “The proof of the pudding, is in the eating!”

Recipe : Blackberry Nectarine Tart Serves 6

375g/13oz All Butter Puff Pastry – defrosted, if frozen

300g/11oz Blackberries – if frozen don’t defrost – I buy frozen punnets from Waitrose

7-8 Nectarines – peaches are a good substitute

1tbsp Vanilla Sugar

Method : Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan, 425F, gas mark 7

Grease or line with parchment paper a baking tray with shallow sides, the fruit give off juices when baked, 26cm x 39cm (10.5″ x 15.5″).

On a clean, dry, lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry so that it will just fit in the baking tray – I haven’t given dimensions, as if your baking tray size differs from mine a few centimetres either way, it won’t matter.

Using your rolling pin transfer the pastry to the baking tray.
Using your rolling pin transfer the pastry to the baking tray.

 

I lightly scored the pastry approx. 1cm in from the edge with a sharp knife. This would ensure that a nice, even, crust, bordered the tart.

Next slice each nectarine into 6 equal(ish) portions. If they are still firm this should be fairly easy. Mine were very ripe so I cut out the slices, against the stone, whilst holding the nectarine, over a bowl to catch the juices.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - arrange the nectarine slices in rows.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – arrange the nectarine slices in rows.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart - sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar.

 

You can buy Vanilla Sugar, or alternatively you can make your own.

Vanilla Sugar - I have a Kilner jar filled with caster sugar and a few vanilla pods. Leave for one month and the vanilla will have infused the sugar with it's delicious flavour and scent.
Vanilla Sugar – I have a Kilner jar filled with caster sugar and a few vanilla pods. Leave for one month and the vanilla will have infused the sugar with it’s delicious flavour and scent.

 

Tip : A light (little goes a long way) sprinkling of Vanilla Sugar over homemade popcorn is delish!!

Next arrange the blackberries on the tart, however you choose. I chose to go with the lines of the tart.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - using frozen blackberries I think helped them retain their shape during baking.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – using frozen blackberries I think helped them retain their shape during baking.

 

Place the tart in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes. There will be some juice that leaks, but I found, once the 30 minutes baking time was up, it had concentrated and did not make that part of the tart soggy.

The tart is cooked when the outside crust is golden brown and the base, when gently lifted, is golden brown too.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - once baked remove from the oven.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – once baked remove from the oven.

 

Immediately remove the Blackberry Nectarine Tart from the baking tray and place on a cooling rack. This keeps the tart bottom and crust nice and flaky.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - if you like a bit more sweetness a dusting of icing sugar would be perfect.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – if you like a bit more sweetness a dusting of icing sugar would be perfect.

 

Serve warm or cold. This tart was perfectly complimented by a scoop a good, vanilla ice cream.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart - utter deliciousness.
Blackberry Nectarine Tart – utter deliciousness.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Blackberry Nectarine Tart you may also like these:

Very Vanilla Ice Cream

FF Blackberry Nectarine Tart
Very Vanilla Ice Cream

Lemon Lime Meringue Pie 

FF Blackberry Nectarine Tart
Lemon Lime Meringue Pie

No Bake White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake 

FF Blackberry Nectarine Tart
No Bake White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake

If you keep pastry and fruit in the freezer regularly, I’d say this is the perfect, pull together, easy dessert, fit for snuggling on the sofa watching a film, or entertaining last minute, or even planned dinner guests!!

I used nectarines as their skin is so tender it doesn’t need to be removed.

What go-to freezer staples do you keep on hand?

Apart from ice cream!!!

Sammie x

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Walnut Fig Oat Cookies

Hello, I’ve got a question for you; do you like Figs? Because in our house opinion is divided – so I, being a massive lover of Figs, fresh or dried, was sneaky – I made these Walnut Fig Oat Cookies and I kinda forgot to tell everyone what was in them! I’m very naughty, I know. Guess what happened?

Walnut Fig Oat Cookies - unbelievably good!
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies – unbelievably good!

 

Everyone liked them! Now there are distinct Fig haters in our home, I mean they are very vocal when I bite into a perfectly ripe fresh Fig, or snack on a pack of dried Figs. I totally get that Figs have more of a distinct texture maybe than taste ( the inside of a fresh Fig described to me, as looking like raw flesh, very vocal ). So, loving them as I do – both Figs and our children – I thought I’d see if I could unite them, if only once AND I did!

Our children, like most I suspect, love cookies – with chocolate in or on them. Preferably both!! I’m more your fruit and nut (case!) girl. So when I’m baking it’s nice to branch out with flavour combinations. In doing so, I’m also, hopefully, educating taste buds. Am I alone in this quest?

Walnut Fig Oat Cookies - perfect with a cold glass of milk.
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies – perfect with a cold glass of milk.

 

I’ve always cooked our children the same food as for hubby and me. When they we’re little I would ‘water-down’ with added veg – carrots in Spag Bol. etc. With the odd exception they have grown up eating Wholemeal bread, curries,  salads (with all manner of ingredients), in fact all of the foods we eat. Also we all sit at the table and eat and enjoy the same meal together.

Anyway, I knew Figs would be pushing it. Because, not knowing they were eating chopped, dried Figs, allowed them to taste without prejudice. I’m not silly, I realise the chocolate option would win, hands down, every time, given the choice – I also know that Walnut Fig Oat Cookies would be munched, if there was no choice! Balance is everything!!!

Walnut Fig Oat Cookies - would you like one?
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies – would you like one?

 

Recipe : makes approx 20 Cookies

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp.

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt

1 Large Egg Yolk – pref free range

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

75g/3oz Plain Rolled Oats

100g/4oz Chopped Walnuts

100g/4oz Dried Figs – approx 6

Method : Preheat oven to 190C/170C fan

In a large bowl whisk the butter, sugar and salt until pale and creamy.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
Add the oats.
Add the oats.
Add the flour.
Add the flour.

 

Chop the Walnuts and Figs to approx. the same size – 1cm.

Walnut Fig Oat Cookies - add the chopped walnuts and figs.
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies – add the chopped walnuts and figs.
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies - stir until all the ingredients are just mixed.
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies – stir until all the ingredients are just mixed.

 

Grease or line baking trays with parchment paper. Using a medium ice cream scoop or your hands, place balls – approx 4cm – onto the baking tray.

Walnut Fig Oat Cookies - leave some space between each dough ball.
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies – leave some space between each dough ball.
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies - using clean, wet fingers, press down on each dough ball to flatten the cookie.
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies – using clean, wet fingers, press down on each dough ball to flatten the cookie.

 

Place the baking trays into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cookies are baked when they have turned a lovely golden colour on top. As soon as the cookies are baked remove the trays from the oven.

Note : Depending on the thickness, I had to carefully remove some cookies from the tray and return the others back to the oven for a few minutes – note to self, ensure all cookies are an even thickness before baking.

Walnut Fig Oat Cookies - allow to firm up and cool on the tray for 10 minutes.
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies – allow to firm up and cool on the tray for 10 minutes.
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies - remove the cookies and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies – remove the cookies and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

 

Enjoy the smell of toasted Walnuts pervading through your kitchen. Mmm delicious. Once cooled see who you can fool into eating one of these delicious Walnut Fig Oat Cookies!! The oats, whilst also being good for you, add to the rustic charm of these yummy Cookies.

I really do urge you to try these delicious, crunchy, fudgey cookies. They come personally recommended!

Walnut Fig Oat Cookies - the proof of how good they are, is in the baking and tasting!
Walnut Fig Oat Cookies – the proof of how good they are, is in the baking and tasting!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Walnut Fig Oat Cookies you may also like these:

Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies 

FF Walnut Fig Oat Cookies
Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies

Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

FF Walnut Fig Oat Cookies
Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies 

FF Walnut Fig Oat Cookies
Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies

 

Have you ever cheekily sneaked ingredients into a recipe?

Sammie x

 

 

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White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake


Wimbledon starts today here in the UK and that can only mean one, two, oh well maybe a few things. First of all it means Strawberries – beautiful, British, luscious, red, ripe berries. While strawberries are available year round in the supermarkets, eating local, seasonal berries cannot be beaten. So to celebrate these gorgeous fruits I have created a White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake.

White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake - perfect with a glass of Champagne, or my preference, a nice cup of tea - pinkie fingers out darlings!!!
White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake – perfect with a glass of Champagne, or my preference, a nice cup of tea – pinkie fingers out darlings!!!

Which brings us onto my second point; many afternoons will be spent over the next fortnight watching copious amounts of Tennis. I kid you not. Because Wimbledon is a national pastime. Will Murray make it through to the final? Will the Williams sisters reign supreme? Second to our preoccupation with the weather (which is actually my third point!), Wimbledon lovingly becomes THE subject of conversation. Taking precedence over my third point. Will the weather hold? Will the roof be closed. Much speculation, umming and aahing takes place during Wimbledon AND it’s FUN!!

Smiling at British eccentricities

I love the way we British, while watching a well known player blast their way through three sets against a relative unknown ALWAYS pull for the underdog. It’s one of the Great British traits I really admire. Yet for two weeks computers, iPhones, TV’s are all tuned to the BBC, for a glimpse of the All England Tennis Club’s freshly prepared, lawn courts, get thoroughly annihilated by some of the worlds top athletes.

Wimbledon is one of the highlights of my year. Can you tell? Since I  had the opportunity to go, back in the day when John McEnroe reigned supreme, I’ve been sold on it ever since. In fact, should you get the opportunity to visit SW19 it’s a wonderful, Wimbledon, experience!

White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake - the perfect dessert for Summer.
White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake – the perfect dessert for Summer.

 

Recipe : White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Serves 8-10

275g/10oz Digestive Biscuits – or Graham Crackers

125g/5oz Unsalted Butter

750g/Approx 1.5lb Mascarpone Cheese

2tbsp Icing Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – or 2tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

50ml/Splash of Whole Milk

200g/7oz Good Quality White Chocolate

250g/9oz Fresh Ripe Strawberries

Method : White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake

You will need a 25cm/10″ Springform Cake Tin for this recipe.

Since it can be quite difficult to remove the cheesecake from the base of the pan, I cover the base with aluminium foil and click into place.

Covering the base of the pan with foil protects it from knife marks!
Covering the base of the pan with foil protects it from knife marks!

Making the cheesecake base:

  • Now it’s time to make the base
  • Place the biscuits into a thick, sealed freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin, until they are broken and look like sand.
Place the digestive biscuits into a sealed freezer bag.
Place the digestive biscuits into a sealed freezer bag.
Bash the biscuits with a rolling pin, until they are broken up and resemble dry sand.
Bash the biscuits with a rolling pin, until they are broken up and resemble dry sand.

 

  • Put the butter into a small saucepan and melt over a low heat. Once melted, tip in the biscuits crumbs and mix thoroughly. The mixture should resemble damp sand.
  • Press the biscuit base into the tin using the back of a spoon to create a compact, even layer.
  • Refrigerate for an hour.
Tip the damp sand mixture into the springform pan.
Tip the damp sand mixture into the springform pan.
Press the mixture down evenly with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for an hour to set.
Press the mixture down evenly with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for an hour to set.

Making the cheesecake filling:

  • Next for the cheesecake filling – melt 75g/3oz white chocolate in the microwave, remove before completely melted and stir. The residual heat will ensure all the chocolate melts. Be careful, white chocolate is the easiest chocolate to overheat.
Into a large bowl add the Mascarpone, icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and a splash of milk. Whisk to thoroughly incorporate all the ingredients.
Into a large bowl add the Mascarpone, icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and a splash of milk. Whisk thoroughly to incorporate all the ingredients.
Pour in the cooled, melted white chocolate. Whisk until the cheesecake mixture is silkily combined.
Pour in the cooled, melted white chocolate. Whisk until the cheesecake mixture is silkily combined.
Resist the urge to sit in the kitchen floor and eat the contents of this bowl with a spatula!!
Resist the urge to sit on the kitchen floor and eat the contents of this bowl with a spatula!!
Add the cheesecake mixture to the top of the biscuit crust and smooth.
Add the cheesecake mixture to the top of the biscuit crust and smooth.

 

  • Pop the cheesecake in the fridge while you sit on the kitchen floor and lick the bowl and spatula clean. Mmmm not too shabby!

Decorating the cheesecake:

  • Melt the rest of the white chocolate, as before and set aside to cool a little.
  • Also pick two strawberries for the centre of the cheesecake. Hull and halve the rest of the strawberries.
Arrange your strawberries in a pretty pattern, or just tumble them on top - it's your cheesecake!!
Arrange your strawberries in a pretty pattern, or just tumble them on top – it’s your cheesecake!!
Using a fork drizzle the melted white chocolate from side to side.
Using a fork drizzle the melted white chocolate from side to side.
Continue drizzling until your White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake is complete.
Continue drizzling until your White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake is complete.
  • Finally place the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set (overnight would be better – but who are we kidding?).
Run a palette knife around the inside edge of the cheesecake and release from the pan.
Run a palette knife around the inside edge of the cheesecake and release from the pan.

 

Behold the White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake

Crunch base with a soft, light, vanilla topping.
Crunch base with a soft, light, vanilla topping.

Spectacularly beautiful and so simple to make.

Cover with cling film and keep refrigerated. Eat within 3 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake then you may also like these:

Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

FF White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake
Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

White Chocolate Drizzle Strawberry Cream Cake 

FF White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake
White Chocolate Drizzle Strawberry Cream Cake

Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake 

FF White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake
Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake

While Wimbledon certainly is a highlight of my year, gathering with family to watch the final together is the biggest thrill. Because sharing time together is what matters most. Also, making memories and creating experiences that our children will tell their children about, is absolutely the heart of who I am as a parent. I firmly believe that all food tastes better when shared. So getting together with friends and family turns simple food into a feast!

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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Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies

Hello lovely people, thank you for stopping by to read my blog. I really do appreciate each and everyone of you. So I thought I’d share my latest Summer cool down drink with you – Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies. A fabulously tasty way of recharging your system.

Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies - that gorgeous colour is enough to make you smile.
Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies – that gorgeous colour is enough to make you smile.

 

Why Superfoods? Blueberries are full of antioxidants and are known to be good for your nervous system and brain. Bananas are high in Vitamin C, fibre and can help regulate blood sugar levels. They can also help with mood enhancement. These fruits have many other positive affects on the body, especially when eaten raw, which is how they are in the Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies.

Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies - cool, delicious and gorgeous.
Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies – cool, delicious and gorgeous.

 

If you’re craving something sweet, as I was and don’t want to dive into a tub of chocolate ice cream, then these Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies will fix that craving and do your body good at the same time. Yes there is ice cream and whole milk in this recipe, you can totally switch this recipe up and use frozen low fat yoghurt and skimmed milk. The bananas will still give the smoothie a creamy taste.

So good for you - time to slurp up one of these Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies!
So good for you – time to slurp up one of these Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies!

 

I was actually really surprised that these smoothies didn’t need extra sweetening, considering the amount of blueberries added. Sometimes blueberries can be a but tart, but the sweetness of the bananas offsets this, leaving the perfect balance. I’ve used frozen blueberries but fresh are fine. To keep the cold in the smoothie just break the bananas up, pop in a bag and freeze.

Using bought frozen fruits keeps the cost down and gives them a longer use-by date. However, I have raspberries growing in our garden and if we have loads I would definitely put them in smoothies. Just do whatever works for you! We’re pretty chilled about things like that, bit like the smoothies!!!!!

Recipe : Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies

400g/14oz Frozen Blueberries – I buy mine from Waitrose most supermarkets sell frozen fruit.

3 Large Ripe Bananas

250ml Whole Milk

4 Large Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream – approx 1/2pint – 300ml

Method :

Peel the bananas, break into pieces and add to a liquidiser. Add the frozen blueberries, ice cream and milk.

Time to whizz up the ingredients.
Time to whizz up the ingredients.
Look at THAT colour! If the mixture is too thick add more milk. Whizz up and then pour.
Look at THAT colour! If the mixture is too thick add more milk. Whizz up and then pour.
Aah Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies - sip, relax and chill x
Aah Blueberry Banana Superfood Smoothies – sip, relax and chill x

 

I really hope you try this smoothie. Relax, chill out and know those Blueberries and Bananas are doing you good on the inside.

Let me know if you switch up the fruit combo and how it turns out.

Obviously I’d like you too try this one first, but hey it’s Summer, I’m chilled with your choices.

Also Raspberry Banana Ice Cream Smoothies

 

Sammie x

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Bakewell Cupcakes

Hello people, do I have the perfect picnic Cupcake for you to make and enjoy this sunny day here in the UK today – I think so? Let me introduce these delicious Bakewell Cupcakes. All the yumminess of Bakewell Tart in Cupcake form.

Bakewell Cupcakes, best eaten outside in the sunshine!
Bakewell Cupcakes, best eaten outside in the sunshine!

 

Now I love Bakewell Tart, the raspberry jam layer, enveloped in an Almond sponge or frangipane, so I set about turning one of my favourite tarts into a cupcake. Hence the Bakewell Cupcake was born.

Bakewell Cupcakes, perfect for a picnic in the park.
Bakewell Cupcakes, perfect for a picnic in the park.

 

You have to admit, these cupcakes even look cheerful  – maybe it’s the bright red cherry on top of the Almond glaze?  When you bite into these Bakewell Cupcakes your mouth is filled with an assortment of tastes and textures! The hidden Raspberry jam and Almond flakes in the centre are a wonderful surprise!

Bakewell Cupcakes - pretty and delicious!
Bakewell Cupcakes – pretty and delicious!

 

The use of flaked Almonds in the centre is two-fold, firstly they provided a delightful crunch, secondly they stop the Raspberry jam from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake. So when you bite through the glorious Almond glaze into the moist cupcake sponge, your mouth is then filled with tart Raspberry Jam and crunchy Almond flakes. The perfect cupcake balance!

Bakewell Cupcakes - with Raspberry Jam and Flaked Almond centre.
Bakewell Cupcakes – with Raspberry Jam and Flaked Almond centre.

 

Now enough of me telling you how scrummy these are, let’s get on with how to make them!!

Recipe :  Bakewell Cupcakes makes 18

18 Cupcake Cases

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – at room temperature

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt

4 Large Eggs – pref free range

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2tsp Almond Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour

1/2 Jar Raspberry Jam

175g/6oz Flaked Almonds

For the topping:

400g/14oz Icing Sugar

1/2tsp Almond Extract

18 Red Glace Cherries

Method :

Preheat Oven to 180C/160C (fan).

First of all line the muffin tins with the cupcake cases.

Add the butter, sugar and salt to a large bowl.

Whisk together until light and fluffy. Then add the Vanilla and Almond Extract. Whisk to combine.
Whisk together until light and fluffy. Then add the Vanilla and Almond Extract. Whisk to combine.
Add half the flour and 2 eggs, whisk together to combine.
Add half the flour and 2 eggs, whisk together to combine.

Add the remaining flour and eggs, whisk until combined.

Light, fluffy, Almond flavoured cake batter.
Light, fluffy, Almond flavoured cake batter.
Place approx 1 teaspoonful of the batter into the bottom of each cupcake case.
Place approx 1 teaspoonful of the batter into the bottom of each cupcake case.
I used the end of a desert spoon as it was easier! Continue until each case has cake batter in the bottom.
I used the end of a desert spoon as it was easier! Continue until each case has cake batter in the bottom.
Add a good pinch of flaked Almonds to each case, pressing the cake batter flat as you add them.
Add a good pinch of flaked Almonds to each case, pressing the cake batter flat as you add them.
Place 1/2 a teaspoon of raspberry jam on top of the Almonds.
Place 1/2 a teaspoon of raspberry jam on top of the Almonds.
When the jam has been added then place a heaped teaspoon of cake better on top.
When the jam has been added then place a heaped teaspoon of cake better on top.
The batter will naturally spread out during the cooking process, sealing in the hidden jam centre!
The batter will naturally spread out during the cooking process, sealing in the hidden jam centre!

 

Place the Bakewell Cupcakes into a preheated oven and bake for 15-20 mins, until the top is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Allow to cool completely before icing.
Allow to cool completely before icing.

 

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add 1/2tsp of Almond Extract and enough water to make a thick, fluid icing. It should be able to hold a figure of eight.

Almond flavour glaze that's just the right consistency.
Almond flavour glaze that’s just the right consistency.
Use a teaspoon to cover the top of the cupcakes with the icing.
Use a teaspoon to cover the top of the cupcakes with the icing.
Now pop a cherry on top and leave to set for a couple of hours - if you can wait that long??
Now pop a cherry on top and leave to set for a couple of hours – if you can wait that long??

 

Bakewell Cupcakes are not only pretty and delicious, they also make perfect, portable, picnic food. They are ideal for sharing with friends, family or someone you know, who needs a little pick-me-up!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Bakewell Cupcakes you may also like these:

Iced Bakewell Tart

FF Bakewell Cupcakes
Iced Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Shortbread Bars 

FF Bakewell Cupcakes
Bakewell Shortbread Bars

Cherry Bakewell Cookies 

FF Bakewell Cupcakes
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

 

I hope you try my cupcake version of a traditional Bakewell Tart.

What other deserts can we turn into cupcakes?

Sammie Xx

 

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Strawberries And Cream Cake

Hi, thank you for stopping by to look at this scrumptious Strawberries And Cream Cake! I hope the sight of it puts a smile on your face. Strawberries in Spring remind me of the promise of sunshine, picnics in the park and days at the beach. Ultimately I think that strawberries are a celebration of warmer, sun drenched days, ready to be shared with friends and family.

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Strawberries And Cream Cake

Since this is such a simple cake to make and yet looks so beautiful, it could easily turn any occasion into a Feast! I baked it simply because strawberries were on special offer. They were so sumptuous they deserved celebrating!

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Strawberries And Cream Cake

 

I find that usually during Summer, when it is hot, too hot for cake (yes there is such a thing in my world!), Strawberries are eaten just as they are, warm from the sun, or churned into the most delicious ice cream, see my Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream. Whereas Spring allows for the indulgence of cake – and vanilla whipped cream – and Strawberries. Totally and utterly delicious!

 

Recipe : Strawberries And Cream Cake serves 8

For the cake:

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temperature (plus a little extra for greasing the tins)

4 Large Free Range Eggs

1/4tsp Salt

225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour – alternatively use the same quantity of Plain White Flour plus 2tsp baking powder

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

For the filling:

450g/1lb Strawberries – hulled and sliced, save 1 pretty strawberry for the top

400ml/3/4 pint Double Cream

1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – alternatively use vanilla extract

1 tbsp Sugar

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

While I have used the ‘All in one’ technique for this cake, which usually involves placing all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisking, I have added an extra step.

Making and baking the sponge cakes

  • First of all grease 2 x 7in (17.5cm) sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking parchment.
  • Next add the butter, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until pale and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and eggs; Note – I always crack eggs into a separate bowl first, any shell is easily removed and one bad egg cannot spoil the cake batter. Also sift the self raising flour (or plain flour and baking powder) into the same bowl.
  • Whisk all of the ingredients together until just combined and smooth. Take care not to overmix the cake batter, as this can result in a heavy sponge.
The All-In-One-Method is a whizz
The All-In-One-Method is a whizz.

 

  • Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 prepared sandwich tins. Smooth the top of the cake batter using the back of a spoon.
Place the tins into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Ready for the oven
  • Place the tins into the centre and lower parts of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • The sponges are baked when they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed in the centre. Also an inserted skewer will come out clean.
  • As soon as the cakes are baked remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in their tins.
  • Turn the cakes out on to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before filling and decorating. Carefully remove the baking parchment.
Cooling cakes, waiting to be transformed....
Cooling cakes, waiting to be transformed….

Filling and decorating the cake

  • As soon as the cakes have cooled they can be filled and decorated.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the cream, sugar and vanilla bean paste until the cream holds it’s shape. Also, take care not to overmix as this can cause the cream to split, essentially you can create butter.
Spread half of the cream onto the bottom cake layer, flat side up.
Bottom half of the cake
  • Place one cake sponge on to a plate or board, flat side up.
  • Spoon half of the whipped cream on to the cake and spread so that it almost comes to the edge.
  • Add a layer of sliced strawberries on to the cream.
Arrange the sliced strawberries over the cream.
Strawberries and cream
  • Now place the other cake on top, flat side facing down.
  • Cover the top owith the rest of the cream and decorate with sliced strawberries, placing a whole strawberry in the middle.
FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Strawberries And Cream Cake

Ideally place the finished cake into the fridge for 1 hour, as this allows the cream to firm up and makes slicing easier.

I love to serve this cake sliced and placed on my best china, with a cup of tea served in a cup and saucer. You may slice and serve this cake however you wish.

Both cake sponges can be made a day ahead, cool and store in an airtight container, using baking parchment to separate them. However the cake is best assembled on the day of eating.

As with all cream cakes they are at their best on the day they are made. Wrap any leftover cake in cling film, alternatively place in an airtight container and store in the fridge. Eat within 2 days of assembling.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Strawberries And Cream Cake you may also like these:

Summer Mixed Berry Sponge Cake 

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Summer Mixed Berry Sponge Cake

Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova 

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova

Double Strawberry Almond Muffins 

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Double Strawberry Almond Muffins

 

While I love baking, sharing my finished bakes gives me the most pleasure. Because, for me, seeing the anticipation and finally a happy face as someone enjoys something I’ve made really does give me a buzz inside. Finally, remember,  before slicing into this cake I urge you to take a photo! Seriously, if you look at this cake in the deepest, darkest, depths of an icy winter, it will remind you that sunny days are ahead. Hope is powerful – even if it is in the form of cake!

What’s your favourite food to share?

Sammie x

 

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Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw

Hello everyone.  A big shout out to all the Mums and Dads on half-term duty.  I’ve created a deliciously Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw, that all my children love. It’s a really good way of getting fresh veg onto the dinner plate and goodness into us all.  Not only that but this Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw tastes seriously good!

Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw - easy on the eye, tasty on the tongue!
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw – easy on the eye, tasty on the tongue!

Some may argue – ‘Why should I make my own Coleslaw, when it’s easily available and isn’t expensive?’  Which, if you think about it, it a fair point.  I do, on occasion, buy Coleslaw from the shops aaaand each time I do I regret it!  The Coleslaw is either really gloopy and absolutely smothered in a creamy sauce, or else it seems to contain only cabbage and onion, the latter having a strongly, oniony, overbearing taste.  I don’t like shop bought Coleslaw!  There I’ve said it!!!

Homemade Coleslaw really is better than anything you can buy.
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw really is better than anything you can buy.

Now I like onion in my Coleslaw, but I don’t like it to have a nasal clearing, strong, over powering taste.  I’ve sorted this problem.  Firstly I use red onions, which are generally sweeter than white onions, then I slice them thinly and soak them in lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt.  The lemon juice draws out all the acridness from the onions, leaving them sweet and crunchy!

Pretty red onions add a super sweetness to this Coleslaw!
Pretty red onions add a super sweetness to this Coleslaw!

I make a great big bowl of this Coleslaw which we eat alongside fish and potato wedges, fabulous with homemade pizza, great with burgers, or in place of salad with any meal.  Let’s get on with the –

Recipe :  Serves 6 as a main side dish.

1/2  Medium White Cabbage

1  Medium Red Onion

3  Medium Carrots (or 2 large)

1  Lemon

Approx 5 Heaped Tablespoons of Mayonnaise (I use full fat mayo)

Method :

First take the lemon, cut in half a squeeze it into a large bowl – feel free to use your favourite citrus juicer!!!

Watch out for any pips!!!
Watch out for any pips!!!

Now cut the red onion in half and slice as thinly as possible into half moons. Break up the onion and add to the lemon juice in the bowl. Sprinkle over the sea salt and mix the onion half moons, breaking them apart as you go, into the lemon juice.

Set aside for 10 minutes whilst you prep the cabbage.
Set aside for 10 minutes whilst you prep the cabbage.

Take half a medium white cabbage and remove the tough core.  Cut the cabbage into 3 sections and finely shred them with a sharp knife.L

Shredded, Crunchy, White Cabbage.
Shredded, Crunchy, White Cabbage.

In the bowl with the onions and lemon juice add 4-5 heaped tablespoons of your favourite mayonnaise.  Mix thoroughly so that the lemon juice becomes incorporated into the Mayo. Add 1/2tsp of freshly ground black pepper.

The onions should now be in a thickish, lump free sauce.
The onions should now be in a thickish, lump free sauce.

The lemon juice thins out the mayo so the resulting sauce is smooth and creamy, but not gloopy, thick and claggy like mayonnaise only Coleslaw sauces.  Put the shredded cabbage on top of the onions and sauce in the bowl.

All we need now are the carrots!!!!
All we need now are the carrots!!!!

Trim off the tops and bottoms of the carrots, peel and then grate in the coarse side of a box grater.

This is gonna be grate!!!!!!!
This is gonna be grate!!!!!!!

Place the grated carrot in the bowl.

"Hi there - you've been Tango-ed!!!"
“Hi there – you’ve been Tango-ed!!!”

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and you have yourself some top notch, Crunchy, Homemade Coleslaw.

I'm not a side dish - I'm the main attraction!!!
I’m not a side dish – I’m the main attraction!!!

If not using straight away, cover in cling film and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  This coleslaw is at it’s best the day you make it, but will keep for a day in an airtight container.

Put me on a jacket potato and dive in!!!!
Put me on a jacket potato and dive in!!!!

Again this is a fantastically portable dish, that makes it great for feasting with family, friends, work colleagues, in fact ANYONE.  This Coleslaw is ideal for buffets (it’s easy to double/triple/quadruple the quantities. It is so easy, inexpensive, cheaper and way more delicious than the shop bought alternative.  Try this recipe once – feel free to adjust the lemon/mayo ratio – and I bet you’ll think twice before buying shop bought Coleslaw again!

 

Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw - another batch made - we eat this ALL the time!
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw – another batch made – we eat this ALL the time!
Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw
Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw equally as good made with red cabbage.

Oh and please let me know how you get on, I love to read your comments.

This Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw is the ideal accompaniment to:

Better Than Takeout Pizza

Better Than Takeout Pizza
Better Than Takeout Pizza – crispy edges, chewy dough, gooey melted cheese. Once you’ve made this you’ll never want to order a pizza again! www.feastingisfun.com

Ciabatta Based Pizza

Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza
Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza.

Until next time happy feasting, sharing and having fun!

Sammie x

 

 

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Leek and Potato Soup

Hi, thanks for stopping bytoday.  I hope you are well?  As for me, I have a rotten sore throat (plus the high temperature etc that go with these horrid virus’). I need soup! Not any old soup, Leek and Potato Soup!  I love this soup, it’s the one thing I can eat when I am feeling unwell and haven’t got an appetite.  When I’m unwell this is what I feast on.

Ooh it's like a hug in a bowl. Yummy x
Ooh it’s like a hug in a bowl. Yummy x Leek and Potato Soup

So I make a big batch of this soup when I’m well, then I freeze it in single portions.  That way if I’m not feeling bril, like today, all I have to do is grab a portion out of the freezer, reheat and eat!

Recipe: Leek and Potato Soup

0.5Kg  Leeks

0.5kg  Potatoes – I’ve used King Edwards, floury potatoes work best in this recipe.

1tsp  Nutmeg – freshly grated

1/2tsp  Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1/2tsp  Black Pepper – freshly ground

1  Vegetable Stock Cube

1  Tbs  Butter – for sautéing leeks

50mls plus a little extra Double Cream

Method :

Place a large, heavy based saucepan on the hob, add the butter and melt on a slow heat.

Trim the top and bottom of the leeks.  Make a slit down the entire length of each leek.  Wash each leek thoroughly under cold water, making sure that any dirt, trapped between the layers, is washed out. (This is best done under a tap of cold running water – or you can chop the leeks, place in a bowl filled with cold water, swish about to dislodge any dirt and drain.)

Chop the leeks into roughly 1/2″ dice.

Add the chopped leeks to the melted butter in the pan.  Then add half of the salt and stir ( the salt will stop the leeks burning).  Sauté the leeks for 5-10 minutes on a medium/low heat until translucent (the dark green parts of the leek won’t change, don’t worry that’s ok!).

Sautéing the green and white parts of the leeks together, gives the finished soup a beautiful, finished colour.
Sautéing the green and white parts of the leeks together, gives the finished soup a beautiful, finished colour.

Whilst the leeks are sautéing peel and chop the potatoes (1″ dice for the potatoes).  Place the prepared potatoes into a bowl and cover with cold water.

Once the leeks are translucent add the potatoes and the water they have been stored in.  Pour over enough recently boiled water, from a kettle, until the potatoes and leeks are completely covered in liquid.

The potatoes added.
The potatoes added.

Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the stock cube, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Hold back on adding the rest of the salt, stock cubes vary in their saltiness.  Better to add a the salt later, than have an over salted ruined soup!!!

Adding freshly grated nutmeg really enhances the flavour of the soup.
Adding freshly grated nutmeg really enhances the flavour of the soup.

Cook the soup on a gentle simmer for at least an hour.  This slow cooking breaks down the tough fibres found in the dark green tops of the leeks, enhancing not only the colour, but, importantly the flavour of the soup.  I’ve made this soup before leaving it to simmer happily, on a low heat, all morning.  Not only did it taste delicious, the house had a wonderful, welcoming, warm aroma!

When the soup is fully cooked it’s time to blend! There are various ways to do this:  A potato masher can be used to simply ‘mash’ the potatoes and leeks into the liquid.  This will not give the smoothness achieved by using a blender, but creates a wonderful textured soup.

 

An immersion blender is quick and allows you to control the texture of the soup.
An immersion blender is quick and allows you to control the texture of the soup.

I’ve used an immersion blender for my soup.  As can be seen from the photo, make sure you move your pan away from direct heat whilst blending.  The soup is completely blended until super smooth.

Other ways of blending including using a liquidiser or food processor.  I personally would not liquidise the soup until it has cooled.  Whatever you decide, ensure you follow the manufacturers instructions for your appliance.  Just looking out for your safety xx.

When you have your soup at the desired texture, stir in 50mls of double cream.  This makes such a difference.  If you are seriously counting the calories (or are allergic to milk products), check the soup for seasoning and eat as is.  However, I don’t skip the cream stage!!! Once this relatively small amount of cream has been added it enriches the soup, rounds out all of the flavours and takes the soup to a whole other taste experience – basically it’s worth adding the cream!!!!!

It's only 50mls of Double Cream! Go on, you're worth it!!!
It’s only 50mls of Double Cream! Go on, you’re worth it!!!

Then serve yourself up a big bowl, with a little extra swirl of cream, should you desire and enjoy.

Yummy, soothing, smooth, velvety Leek and Potato Soup.
Yummy, soothing, smooth, velvety Leek and Potato Soup.

A warming feast to enjoy in the colder months.  Excellent for soothing sore throats.

This soup freezes very well for up to 3 months.  Pour into single serving, freezer proof plastic containers.  Perfect for sharing if one of your friends or family members fall ill.  Once frozen it is very portable, so a bowlful of homemade soup is just a quick drive away!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Leek And Potato Soup you may also like these:

Warming Winter Vegetable Soup 

FF Leek And Potato Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup 

FF Leek And Potato Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup 

FF Leek And Potato Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

 

See even simple easy soup can be shared.

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. Master this recipe and you will forever be asked to “bring THAT cake” when gathering with friends and family. Put simply, this is a cake for feasting.

FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Victoria Sponge Cake sandwiched together with freshly made raspberry jam.

Since a Victoria Sponge Cake is two identical sponge cakes put together with a slather of jam 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.

FF Victoria Sponge Cake
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.

FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Victoria Sponge Cake dusted with caster sugar.

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

Juice of 1 Lemon approximately 30mls

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

225g/8oz Sugar

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

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.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Victoria Sponge Cake with fresh raspberry jam filling.

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.

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

FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Raspberry and Cream Giant Doughnut.

Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Strawberry Sweetheart Cake.

Black Forest Cupcakes

FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Black Forest Cupcakes.

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. Flavour always comes first in any feast. Never more so than when the feast is marking a special occasion. Friends and family bring out the flavour even further, as my long held belief shows that food shared always tastes better.

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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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

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