Generally speaking I’m not too fussed about smoothies. I love fruit so eating it never feels like a chore and I also think that eating it rather than drinking it makes me feel more full (and therefore a lot less likely to reach for less […]
Maybe it’s this food blogging lark but my cupboards always seem to have packets of dried fruit, nuts and seeds in them with just a few spoonfuls left in each. Ordinarily I’d toss them into some granola but Mr C and I recently made a batch of butter which left us with a fair amount of buttermilk. Even after several pancake breakfasts and a plum cobbler there was still some residing in the fridge so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and make some lovely light fluffy scones and toss in all these odds and ends. They turned out beautifully and now I may just end up buying more seeds so that I can make them again!
500g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
100g of whatever dried fruit, nuts, seeds or chocolate chips you’ve got in your cupboards
a sprinkling of demerara sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and pop in a baking tray to warm up.
Sift together the flour and raising agents (I do this twice for extra lift). Whisk in the sugar and then lightly rub in the butter until the mixture looks like chunky breadcrumbs. Toss through the fruit/nuts/seeds and then use the buttermilk, adding a little at a time, to combine everything into a soft dough. Very briefly knead the dough and then pat it out to about one inch thick. Use a pastry cutter to stamp out the scones or just cut the dough into triangles.
Carefully retrieve your hot tray and cover it with a silicone sheet or some baking parchment. Place the scones on the tray and brush the tops with a little extra buttermilk before sprinkling them with sugar. Bake them for 15-20 minutes (depending on their size) before leaving them too cool a little on a wire rack.
So you’ve heard of lemon drizzle cake right? Well soak cake is what happens when you make a little too much delicious drizzling syrup and don’t want to waste any of it! Seriously, this cake is literally drenched in deliciously fragrant, sweet, sticky syrup. Because I don’t like icing. If I could stomach icing then I could have just added a heap of icing sugar to the syrup to thicken it and used it to decorate the cake, which you can of course do if you’re on board with the idea.
I love this cake as it is though. It’s so soft, tender and moist (obviously) and the flavour of the bergamot is just amazing (I do love Earl Grey though!). I know that it’s not an easy fruit to get hold of though, my mum gave me this one, so feel free to swap it to a different fragrant, sour citrus fruit if you want. Lemon and lime would make a nice combination.
makes 1 medium bundt or loaf cake
zest of one bergamot
100g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
pinch of salt
3 tbsp milk
juice of one bergamot
50g icing sugar (plus extra 50g more to finish)
Pre-heat your oven 180°c and prepare your tin. Grease and line it if you’re using a loaf tin or grease it and dust it with flour if you’re using a bundt tin.
For extra flavour you can blitz together the sugar and zest in a food processor if you like but don’t worry if you’re short on time. Cream together the butter, zest, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, before sifting in the flour and baking powder. Stir in the ground almonds and then mix through the milk to give the batter a nice dropping consistency. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake the cake for around 45 minutes. It should be well risen and golden on top and feel springy to the touch when it’s done.
While the cake bakes you can make the soaking syrup. Combine 50g of icing sugar with the gin and fruit juice in a small pan and heat gently. Let the syrup bubble until it thickens and reduces a little. Set it aside to cool a bit.
Take the cake out of the oven and pop it on a wire rack to cool but leave it in the tin. Use a cake tester or a cocktail stick to poke the cake all over. Use a spoon to drizzle about half of the syrup over the warm cake before leaving it to cool completely. Add the remaining icing sugar to the leftover syrup to thicken it, use as much as you need to get your desired consistency. Turn out the cake onto a serving plate and pour over as much or as little of the thickened syrup as you like to glaze the cake.
I eat gallons of soup during the winter months. Seriously, I get through vats of the stuff. It’s so quick and easy, especially creamy blended soups, you can have yourself a warming veg packed meal ready within 30 minutes or so from start to finish. I like to make quite generous quantities so that I can either have leftovers for lunch or stash some in the freezer for another day.
This recipe is packed with flavour with a bit of sweetness from the vegetables balanced with the savoury umami of the miso. It’s wonderfully rich and thick too, perfect served with a hunk of fresh bread.
makes a vat!
a little oil
1 white onion
1 medium carrot
800g sweet potatoes
1 fat garlic clove
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tbsp shiro (white) miso
black pepper to taste
sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds to garnish
Peel the onion, garlic and sweet potatoes (don’t bother with the carrot – life’s too short) and roughly chop everything so that it’s all a similar size. Heat a dash of oil in a large saucepan and toss in the vegetables. Gently fry them until the onions start to caramelise a little. Add the miso and the stock and then bring the pan to the boil. Reduce the heat and let the soup gently bubble away until the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender.
Leave things to cool down a bit and then transfer the soup to a liquidiser and blend until everything is silky smooth. Return the soup to the pan and season to taste with black pepper. Re-heat a little if you need to and serve topped with a drizzle of sesame oil and sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.