I can’t believe that Christmas is less than a month away already…November disappeared in the blink of an eye and now Christmas is nearly here and I don’t even know what we’re doing for it yet; I am feeling decidedly non-festive and more than a little Grinchy… So I decided to do a spot of festive baking in an attempt to make myself feel less unenthusiastic about the whole thing. I made these delicious orange and anise snowflake breads; and while I didn’t end up feeling any more festive (I think more mulled wine may be needed), they were incredibly tasty and satisfying and would be perfect as part of a Christmas breakfast or brunch….
I’ve been on a bit of a compulsive blackberry picking drive recently; I can’t seem to take the dog for a walk without coming home with a bagful of blackberries, it just seems a shame to walk past the heavily laden brambles without at least nabbing a few… I have made jam (recipe coming soon!) and I’ve been eating an awful lot of blackberry compote, which is delicious with yoghurt or porridge, but I think I enjoyed it most when I paired it with this creamy, comforting coconut and cardamom rice pudding….
As promised in my last post, another rye recipe…I have actually made that marbled rye bread twice since posting it, it is so good! I’ve been eating marbled rye bread sandwiches for lunch every day and I haven’t had enough of it yet! I made something a little sweeter this time though – rye shortbread biscuits flavoured with masala chai. If you haven’t heard of masala chai before, it literally translates as mixed spice tea, and it is exactly that – black tea brewed with a blend of spices. The exact blend of spices used varies quite a lot so I went for a mixture of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and star anise, you can adapt the mixture depending on what spices you have/like; it is also common to use black pepper so add a pinch of that if you fancy as well. I also added some ground black tea leaves to my shortbread, this is entirely optional but seeing as chai means tea I figured there should be some in there!…
Caramelised red onion and goats cheese tarts – crisp parmesan pastry filled with balsamic caramelised red onions, egg custard and goats cheese.
Something that you may not know about me is that for a year and a half I helped to run/manage a village pub……
The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.
This months Daring Bakers challenge was to make Siopao – Asian filled buns. We could fill them with any sweet or savoury filling we wanted, but the filling recipe given with the challenge was for pork. Being vegetarian, I was initially planning on making a veggie filling for mine, but after hearing that the challenge was for pork buns, my not-remotely-vegetarian fiance gave me puppy-dog eyes and pleaded with me to make pork ones for him (I may be exaggerating slightly about the pleading…). I relented as the poor man is forced to eat a vegetarian diet roughly 90% of the time as I do most of the cooking (he doesn’t complain). I don’t mind cooking a bit of meat for him every now and again and will occasionally make a batch of meat pies to store in the freezer for when he gets a craving. I figured I could do the same with the buns (I doubt he’d be able to eat twelve of them within a couple of days!)….
This recipe took a couple of go’s to get right, the first time I made them, the tarts were delicious but the frangipane sort of exploded and spread everywhere, they tasted good but looked a mess. I was determined to get them right and not be defeated by a tart; so I tried again with a few tweaks and they turned out beautifully!…
I was out walking Ringo whilst visiting my parents in West Sussex last week, lamenting that I hadn’t had the foresight to bring along a container so that I could pick blackberries when I realised that an unused dog-poo bag would do nicely. I managed to pick over a kilo of berries there were so many; but then I had to decide what to do with them all! I chose to make three things to use them all up, this cake was the first….