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Posts from the ‘Biscuits’ Category

Chocolate Chip Gingernut Biscuits


Cold winter days call for pots of tea and ‘dunky biscuits’, the iconic British tradition of dipping ones biscuit into your tea! It’s a fine art, dunking it long enough to warm the biscuit through but not so long that it plops off into your cup causing a unattractive floating sludge….. I’m speaking from experience. Perhaps for those unfamiliar with dunking, it may seems a little ‘crass’ but it’s an old tradition that I imagine came from the need to dunk when biscuits were very dry and hard and now we refuse to let the tradition go. The best biscuits to dunk, for me, are the Gingernut which are crisp or the Rich Tea biscuit that is plain but needs a little more skill in the dunk. Believe it or not, there are dunking competitions in Britain…we are a little eccentric aren’t we?

So what food traditions do you have that others might find bizarre?

50g chopped dark chocolate, 70%
1 tsp ground ginger
110g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g butter
50g sugar
50g runny honey or golden syrup (2 tbsp)

Pre heat oven to 180C.
Sift flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.
Rub butter into flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, you can use a food processor, then add the sugar and chopped chocolate.
Add the honey/golden syrup and mix everything with a spoon, finish off by squeezing the mixture together with your hands.
Divide the mixture into 12, and roll each portion into a ball.
Place on the lined baking sheet, well spaced out as they will spread quite a bit during baking, flatten each one slightly.
Bake on the centre shelf for 15-20 minutes, or until they have spread out and turned cracked and craggy.
Cool on the baking tray for a few minutes then, using a palette knife, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Quinoa Bircher Muesli with Coconut Milk & Breakfast on the go Quinoa Fruit & Seed Bars


After a recent trip to Sydney a friend introduced me to her quinoa porridge and I knew it was something I was going to eat and make the first weekend back home. My preference was to make a Bircher style muesli cereal rather than porridge since its summer here and week days are too busy in the mornings for me to spend time cooking (which I know is a shame as would prefer to be in the kitchen). I thought I could probably prepare a few days worth of the quinoa in advance and add the rest of the fruit and seeds to it on the day of eating it. So I cooked a cup of quinoa as the base of the cereal, rinsed it in cold water and then drained it and kept it in the fridge which lasted me three servings. The rest of the ingredients I added just before eating it, or you could easily add them the night before although it’s not really necessary. The great thing about a quinoa muesli is that is is quite filling but is gluten free, it’s high in protein for a grain and a good source of amino acids, magnesium and iron. Here is more info on the grain if you are interested.

The muesli bars where for the extra energy boost during the day rather than reach for a choccy bar which is what I am know to do. The only sweetener being the honey which is from a friends local bee hive so it has to be good for me.

1 cup Ceres quinoa grains
Cinnamon powder
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Shredded coconut
Coconut milk
Fresh berries

Place the quinoa in a medium sized pan with 2 cups of water.
Simmer on a low heat for about 5 minutes or until the grains ‘sprout’ their tail. They should still have texture, not soggy.
Rinse in cold water, drain thoroughly and store in fridge until you want to eat your cereal. It will last several days only.
To serve, add a handful of sunflower, pumpkin seeds and shredded coconut, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of homey and coconut milk.


Make 12 bars
1 cup Ceres quinoa grains
1/2 cup of fine oats
1/2 cup, pumpkin, sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup figs, finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp coconut oil

Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a 22cm baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Place the quinoa in a medium sized pan with 2 cups of water.
Simmer on a low heat for about 5 minutes or until the grains ‘sprout’ their tail. They should still have texture, not soggy.
Rinse in cold water, drain thoroughly.
Place the finely chopped figs, oil and honey in a pan and simmer for 5 minutes to break up the figs.
Add all the other ingredients to the figs and combine.
Press firmly into baking tray.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cut into bars but do not remove from the pan.
Only remove once cooled completely.

Christmas Jamie Dodgers with Cinnamon & Ginger


The Jamie Dodger is a biscuit of my youth, I can’t say they were my favourite at the time as they were probably bought as an economical choice to stretch amongst us kids. Although now I am older and no longer live in the UK I look back at them quite fondly. I did like the chewy bit of jam in the centre though more than the biscuits itself so I have decided to revamp the Jamie Dodger to my taste with a little Christmas spice too. For my biscuits I have added cinnamon to a sable dough and added Opies ginger spread to the centres. You could use any ginger jam available in you neck of the woods. If you are a ginger fan, Opies make a wonderful range of ginger products, unfortunately the shop I used to buy mine from has closed its doors and I haven’t yet found a new source. Being a UK product I’m not sure there will be many places in NZ that stock it but do let me know if you come across it in Auckland.

Ingredients – makes 12
300g plain flour
200g butter
100g castor sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
100g ginger jam/spread
1 egg

Preheat oven to 180C.
Place all the ingredients except for the ginger jam and egg in a food processor and blitz till the dough becomes fine breadcrumbs in texture.
Add the egg and pulse until a dough starts to form. Remove from food processor and bring together by hand.
Roll the dough out in between to sheets of baking paper to prevent it sticking to the work surface or rolling pin, to about 1/2 inch thick.
Rest in the fridge till chilled.
Cut out shapes with a round cookie cutter. Half of the biscuits need to have the centre cut out with a smaller cutter (round, heart, star shaped).
Re-roll the off cuts of dough to make more biscuits.
Place biscuits on a non stick baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Once cookies are cool, dust the top biscuit with icing sugar.
Spread a generous amount of ginger jam on the base biscuit and press the top biscuit into the jam to form a sandwich.

Enjoy! Alli

Cheese & Bacon Scones with Homemade Piccalilli


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
80g butter
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
150g gherkins
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.

Lemon Coconut Slice for Guy – Gluten Dairy Free


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)
2oz sugar
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.

Tortas de Aceite & Sweet New Zealand


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
7g yeast
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.

Wakame Savoury Shortbread Biscuits


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

  • 4oz butter
  • 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.
  • Breakfast On The Run and The 100g Muesli Bar


    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 marmalade
    100g seeds (sunflower, linseed, sesame)
    100g butter
    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 :o)


    • •  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!

    Afternoon Tea and meeting a few other Food Bloggers

    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( ) 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!

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