What better way to end the weekend with a lazy rainy Sunday morning tea and a plate of cheese and bacon scones and homemade piccalilli. Of course the piccalilli was made several weeks in advance to allow the flavours to mature but the scones were enjoyed fresh from the oven. Piccalilli in the store doesn’t taste the same as how I remember it as a child, the colours are too bright and the flavours seem too sweet, I prefer the sharp bite of vinegar and the heat from mustard seeds, peppercorns and chili peppers. Moving into summer I love to have lots of pickles and condiments as part of ‘snacking platter’ which are easy to throw together when guests pop in so this year I have decided to start making my own. Since I have not made it before I was a little conservative on the quantities and only made four small jar and already we are down to two so I may have to get another batch on soon.
I turned to traditional English recipes for the BBC, taking ideas from a few and modified them a little to suit my taste. I really only wanted cauliflower and gherkins in mine but you gan use a range of vegetables as done here and here.
Ingredients – makes 8 scones
200g self raising flour
pinch of salt
4 rashers of streaky bacon, thinly sliced
100g grated cheddar cheese
150ml of milk
1 tblsp Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
Fry bacon till brown.
whisk the mustard into the milk.
Place flour, butter and salt into a bowl.
Rub butter and flour together until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Add the grated cheese & bacon and mix through.
Form a well in the centre of bread crumb mix and add the milk kneed gently to form a soft dough.
Transfer dough onto a floured board and press the dough out with hands (rather than using a rolling pin) until it is about 2cm thick.
Either use a round cookie cutter to cut out the scones or slice the scones into squares.
Place on a floured baking sheet and brush tops of scones with a little egg wash.
Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden brown, they will sound hollow like bread when tapped on the base if cooked through correctly.
Ingredients – Picalilli
For the wet brine
100g salt 1 litre cold water
1 small cauliflower into florets
For the spiced vinegar
300ml pint malt vinegar
1 tbsp mixed pickling spices
1 fresh chilli
For the sauce
25g plain flour
1tbsp grain mustard
1⁄2 tbsp turmeric
1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp malt vinegar
To make the wet brine – mix the salt with cold water in a large mixing bowl, allow plenty of space for the vegetables.
To make the vegetables – prepare the vegetables by cutting them into 1⁄2 inch pieces or even smaller. Make sure they are as regular in shape as possible.
Put into the wet brine and leave for 24 hours. Place a plate on top of the vegetables to make sure they are kept well under the liquid.
For the spiced vinegar – put the vinegar and spices into an aluminium or stainless steel saucepan, bring just to boiling point, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes; allow to cool. There will be less than 600ml/1 pint of vinegar but this will be correct for the sauce.
For the sauce – blend the flour, mustard powder, turmeric and ginger in a good sized basin, add the three tablespoons vinegar, stir to make a smooth paste. Gradually strain the spiced vinegar over the ingredients, make sure the mixture is smooth.
After spending the weekend with friends busily sampling all the yummy cakes on offer in New Plymouth cafes and bringing more back for dessert I felt a bit guilty that my friends hubby could not eat them since he is gluten dairy free. Having a background in French pastry, dairy gluten free is not very common to me but when I decided to make a nice lemon shortbread this week I thought I would create a recipe especially for Guy.
This slice starts as a shortbread made from almond meal, rice flour and desiccated coconut which is baked and then topped with a dairy free lemon custard mix and baked again. It’s texture is more like a soft biscuit with lemon topping soaking into the base.
To my buddies in New Plymouth, let me know if you get to make it and enjoy it! I’m going to experiment some more with this biscuit base, perhaps ginger and rhubarb or maybe chocolate?
2oz ground almond meal
2oz rice flour
2oz desiccated coconut
3oz dairy free butter substitute (I use Olivani)
300ml fresh squeezed lemon juice plus zest
3 large eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp coconut thread
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
Combine the ground almond, rice flour, sugar and dairy free butter together to form a biscuit dough.
Press into lined cake tin.
Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown then remove from oven.
Whisk the 2 tbsp sugar, eggs and lemon juice together and pour over cooked biscuit base.
Sprinkle with coconut thread and bake for a further 20 minutes or until set on top and coconut is golden.
Remove from oven, slice then allow to cool before serving.
Last week I popped into Farro and found some Tortas de Aceite in their ‘specials’ basket, I admit I can’t resist rummaging through the specials, can anyone? Often it means trying something you may not normally buy, in this case their originally retail price is quite high. They didn’t last long, they were so delicious with their crunchy flakey pastry and a hint of orange so I went back the next day for more but they had sold out. What else could I do do but make my own so I started rummaging around the net for a recipe and found this one.
It’s also my submission to Sweet New Zealand, a new monthly Kiwi blogging event instigated by Alessandra who will summarize what we have all have chosen for our submission at the end of the month.
I’m afraid it’s all in grams even the liquid.
Tortas de Aceite – (recipe adapted from Tidology)
50 gr (1 3/4 oz) olive oil
Zest of 1 orange
180g flour + extra for rolling
80g warm water
20g sugar + extra for sprinkling on top
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 200C.
Heat oil with orange zest then remove from the heat.
When cool, add rest of ingredients and knead gently.
Cover dough and allow dough to rise until doubled in size.
Divide dough into little golf ball size.
Flour work surface and roll pieces out into thin circles.
Sprinkle with extra sugar and place on a baking tray and bake in oven until golden(approx 10 mins) I also added extra zest to the top of mine but some add anise also to the dough.
Finally a whole weekend to potter in the kitchen, practice a little photography and put my feet up and blog. The weather has been pretty wild out at Muriwai with stormy seas and white water as far as the eye can see. The turbulent see got me thinking about some of the seaweed products that I have in the pantry from a local NZ company Pacific Harvest. I was in a baking mood and wanted to create something different, as well as having yummy cheeses and dips fridge, so I decided to make some savory biscuits to accompany the cheese. I used Wakame in its dried form which gave the shortbread biscuits a salty seaweed crunch to them which were perfect on their own or with a dip, as picture with a lime humous.
I used my ever faithful shortbread mix from my great grans cookbook which is why the ingredients are in ounces rather than grams, omitting the sugar and adding the Wakame.
Ingredients – makes 12-14
6oz plain flour
2 tbsp dried Wakame fronds
salt and pepper to season
Preheat oven to 180C.
Place all ingredients, except salt and pepper, in a food processor and blitz till the dough starts coming together.
Remove from food processor and finally knead together by hand.
Roll into a sausage shape and wrap with plastic wrap. Once wrapped in plastic food wrap it is easier to roll into the cylinder shape.
Rest in the fridge till chilled.
Remove wrapping and slice disc of approx 1/2 inch thick.
Place on a non stick baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown( bit longer than sweet shortbread).
Season with salt and cracked pepper as soon as the come out of the oven.
I don’t eat breakfast before I leave home in the mornings but I do like to stop for coffee each day on the way to work at my new favourite cafe called Extract Coffee in Kumeu. They have these great homemade muesli energy bars which after a morning swim are very tempting as my tummy is grumbling so more often than not it’s a coffee and a bar. So in a mad fit of inspiration I decided to whip up a batch of my own muesli bars last night but thought it would be fun to come up with an easy recipe to remember, hence the 100g bar here. One hundred grams of each ingredient, except for the addition of a little flour to bind it all together.
I used Manuka honey to sweeten the muesli as we are fortunate to have an abundance of it here in NZ , the one I have is a beautiful natural grainy honey from local bee keepers Earth Bound Honey in a place called Bethals Beach.
100g rolled oats
100g All Bran (or bran flakes)
100g rye flakes
100g sultanas or raisins
100g seeds (sunflower, linseed, sesame)
100g manuka honey
2 tbsp flour
preheat oven 160C and line a 22cm square baking tin with baking paper.
Place the butter and honey in a pan and bring to the boil for two minutes
Add all the other ingredients to the melted honey and butter and stir in. Once stirred and slightly cooler give the muesli a slight knead with your hand to bring it together into sticky lumps. This works the gluten and will help it stay bound once baking.
Press the muesli into the lined tin, you might need to wet your hand with cold water to do this. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Cut into bars once cool, I found the best thing was a sharp bread knife.
I had seen this recipe over at London Eats and decided I should finally make Florentines. They have always been a favourite of mine but my first attempt many years ago had them spread across the baking tray like wafer ginger snaps and it put me off trying again. That’s baking them you do understand not eating them. So when I saw this recipe I realised that the small addition of flour probably prevented this from happening and decided it was time to expel the Florentine demon and have another go. Mine didn’t quite go as crunchy as you would expect with Florentines, perhaps I was a little impatient with the cooking of the mixture before spooning them out onto the tray but everyone enjoyed them and perhaps they were more preferable to those with dodgy teeth )
- • 85g butter
• 85g golden syrup
• 30g plain flour
• 60g flaked almonds
• 15g preserved ginger, sliced
• 15g candied peel, finely chopped
• 60g sultanas
• 60g cherries, quartered
• 100g plain chocolate
• 50g milk chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a non-stick baking tray
- Melt butter and syrup in a pan and bring to the boil, then add all other ingredients apart from the chocolate. Allow the mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes (it should thicken slightly).
- Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture on the baking sheet, flatten slightly and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes until hard (when they come out of the oven, if they have spread too much, use a spoon to push the edges back into shape while still soft). Move the Florentines to a wire rack to cool completely(**). If they seem oily from all that butter, place the warm biscuits on kitchen paper.
- Once the Florentines are cool, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, and coat the base of each biscuit. If you like, use a fork to make a wave pattern or swirl on the base of each Florentine.
- (**) If the biscuits do not come from the tray when they have hardened, place the tray over a hob flame for a couple of seconds, and then they should come right off!
It was a balmy afternoon in Muriwai, not quite the temperatures I had expected for the afternoon tea planned but we still managed to sup several pots of tea between us.
I have not met another food blogger before so after two years of blogging it was quite exciting to be meeting Plum Kitchen, Sasasunakku and Mairi-Toast who were all popping out to Muriwai for afternoon tea with me a the Gourmet Gannet. It was great to meet the girls behind the blogs I have been following and share a few stories with them in person.
We were all introduce to some new teas I had discovered this week from a local distributer in Kumeu, Harney and Sons(www.harneyteas.co.nz ) We started with their White Earl Grey, progressed onto a Valentines tea which had hints of chocolate and roses and finished with their Tower of London with hints of bergamot and honey.
On the menu was; cucumber sandwiches, asparagus and feta canapes, fennel & onion tarts, lavender shortbread, scones, strawberry jam & cream, chocolate fruit christmas cake, chocolate mousse cake and strawberry tarts, all homemade of course!
We hope to hold a few more afternoon teas next year so let me know if you would like to join us and I will keep you posted!
Yoyos are an iconic New Zealand biscuit, named after their appearance of course! They are traditionally made like a shortbread with the addition of custard powder to flavour the shortbread and a custard cream filling.
With visitors over from the UK last week we went on a road trip and stopped at a cafe for coffee and cake on our journey and there sitting at the counter under a glass dome was a mound of Yoyos, I just had to introduce my visitors to them. They went so well with our flat whites, that’s an espresso coffee with plenty of milk for those of you who don’t live over this side of the world and wondered about making them into a coffee flavoured Yoyo. I took the Edmonds recipe and flavoured the biscuit with cocoa and added melted chocolate and espresso grind to the cream filling, perfect….unfortunately for my visitors they had already gone back to the UK so they didn’t get to try them.
Ingredients – Biscuits
- 175g butter, softened
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cups plain four
- 1/2 cup custard powder
Ingredients – Filling
- 50g butter, softened
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 50g 70% cocoa chocolate
- 1 tsp fine ground espresso powder
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Sift the flour and custard powder and mix sifted ingredients into butter mix.
- Roll dough into a sausage shape then divide into 20. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on greased tray then flatten balls slightly with a fork to make an imprint.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- To make the filling, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Once melted remove from boiler and add the butter and icing sugar. Allow mixture to cool and it will become firm enough to pipe or spread.
- Sandwich two biscuits together with a spoonful of the filling.
I have been wanting to make Madeleines for over a year now but have not been able to find a tray here in Auckland apart from an eye wateringly expensive one at Milly’s kitchen ($50+). If it had been some flashy branded Madeleine tray from France I probably would have weakened and bought it but it was made in China where normally items like that would be cheap. Thankfully I displayed uncharacteristic patience and while in Sydney this week for work I found one at the local kitchen shop for only $16.
The first thing I did once back home was whip up a batch Saturday morning. I wanted to Kiwi-ize them a little by using our famous manuka honey but had no idea if that was going to be successful as I have never made Madeleines before. They were perfect, so much so we have consumed the whole batch and it is only Sunday!
The original recipe which I have adjusted with the addition of honey was from David Lebovitz
Ingredients – makes 18 cookies
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 130g Manuka honey
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- zest of one lemon
- 120g unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
- Pre heat oven 200C
- Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.
- Whisk eggs, honey and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
- Spoon the flour and baking powder into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter.
- Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
- Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by 3/4′s (you’ll have to eyeball it, but it’s not brain-surgery so don’t worry if you’re not exact.) Do not spread it.
- Bake for 8 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. Avoid over baking them.
- Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack.
Madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they’re best eaten the day they’re made.
This weeks class was all about crackers; Italian, English and Middle Eastern. Although I have to confess even though I love the Grana with a bit of blue cheese I do keep sneaking them with my cup of tea also. It’s such a give away of my heritage eating biscuits with a cuppa, it’s just not the same without them!
All the recipes are easy to make, but the grana and lavash do take more time because of the double baking or proving. Saying that six girls got a batch of each made and baked in a three hour class.
- 1.5 cups Strong Flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp castor sugar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup luke warm water, at room temperature
- Pre heat oven 180C
- Place all ingredients except olive oil in a bowl and knead for 10 minutes.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm area to prove till double in size.
- Divide into balls, using a rolling pin roll into paper thin pieces.
- Place on baking tray and dock to prevent dough from rising.
- Brush dough with olive and sprinkle with whole or ground spices of your choice.Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool on wire rack.
Fig & Walnut Grana
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 cups (190g) flour, sifted,
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup figs, remove stalks
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade and line a baking tin.
- Whisk eggs and sugar until creamy.
- Fold in flour, walnuts and figs, gently. If you over mix the dough will become too dense.
- Mould mixture into a loaf form and bake for 35 minutes or until lightly coloured.
- Cool on a baking rack and then rest in fridge.
- Once the loaf is cool slice thinly and arrange on baking trays lined with greaseproof paper.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool on a baking rack and serve!
Blue Cheese Shortbread
- 6 oz/170g Four
- 4 oz/113g Butter (soften but not melted)
- 30g blue cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven on bake (not fan bake) to 180 degrees centigrade and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or use non stick tray.
- Sift flour into bowl.
- Add butter and rub into flour, season with salt & pepper.
- Add the cheese and gently bring ingredients together to form dough. Do not over mix otherwise dough will become tough.
- Lay dough onto a large piece of cling film and wrap dough. Once wrapped roll dough to form a cylinder shape about 2 inch diametre (this will be the size of the biscuit diametre before cooked).
- Put wrapped dough into fridge for 30 mintues to cool and firm.
- Once dough is firm, remove from fridge and slice 1/2 inch thick rounds and place onto prepared baking tray.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden on edges.
- Cool on a wire rack then serve with additional cheese, dips or chutney.