Tag Archives: Food

Farmhouse Butter Biscuits

A lovely simple biscuit, quick and easy to work with and it gives a delightfully crisp buttery biscuit.  Nothing fancy at all, as simple and wholesome as a biscuit can get! These biscuits remind me of some I had as a child at a farmhouse on the way to the lake district. There were no such things as hygiene certificates then, this was literally the farmer’s wife selling tea and biscuits in her kitchen and they were some of the best I’ve ever had!

Makes 18 biscuits

125g butter, softened
70g golden caster sugar (Plus a few tsp extra for sprinkling)
1 egg yolk
160g plain flour
small pinch of salt

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 5 and prepare two baking trays with baking paper.
  • Cream together the butter and the sugar in a small mixing bowl.
  • Add the egg yolk and beat well to combine.
  • Add the flour and the salt (if your flour is at all lumpy do sift it in as it will mix easier).
  • Bring all the ingredients together into a soft dough.  It can help to use your hand to get it all together in the last bit.
  • Pinch off small walnut sized balls of dough and roll them in your palms to shape into rounds.
  • Place on the baking tray and use the heel of your palm to squish them flat.
  • Sprinkle the tops with the extra sugar.
  • Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are just starting to colour.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the tray for 5 minutes before trying to move them as they will break otherwise.
  • Allow to cook on a wire rack.
  • Put on a pot of tea and enjoy!
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Filed under Cookies and Biscuits, Easy, quick

Allotment: Seven Weeks In

I can’t believe I’ve only had my allotment for seven weeks!  I am staggered by how much I’ve achieved already.  In fact, almost every spot of earth is full right now!

Allotment Seven Weeks

To have gone from this patch of bare earth to a productive plot in that time just goes to show what you can achieve when you put your mind to it (and an awful lot of elbow grease too!)

Allotment Seven Weeks

I’m trying out all sorts of things, fruits, vegetables, salads, flowers, it’s all going on!  I should be able to actually eat something within the next week, all I’ve had so far was a radish the size of a five pence piece when I was thinning them out!

Allotment Seven Weeks

I got a little carried away with my shed, but it’s a lovely space, Darcy has a little bed in there so he can hang out and supervise and I put tiles down on the floor so it’s always cool for him.  I’ve got everything I need, when I eventually get the chickens I’m planning on having fresh eggs for breakfast here every day.

Allotment Seven Weeks

I even had a go at building my own greenhouse, they didn’t make one in the size I wanted so I cobbled one together with my ever developing DIY skills!  It’ll do the job for now, anyway!

Allotment Seven Weeks

Stay tuned for some recipes using the produce I manage to grow, I’ve gone for loads of radishes as they’re so quick to grow so 101 things to do with a radish may have to start soon! Oh and if you have any hints and tips for how to fight back against the slugs with a small curious dog running around do let me know!

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Filed under Gardening, Not Food

Spicy Chicken and Pepper Soft Shell Tacos

I came across a box of soft shell tacos in the supermarket and couldn’t resist whipping up these simple chicken and pepper tacos for dinner the same night.  I don’t often find soft shell tacos in stock, often making do with the small own brand tortillas as an alternative, and I struggle with crunchy tacos (and baguettes for that matter) so when I do find them I seize the chance!

Spicy Chicken and Pepper Soft Shell Tacos

This is a great recipe to have at hand as by cooking the herbs and spices a little first then adding the chicken on top you get the effect of a marinade or spice rub but without any of the associated time or effort.  Winner!

Spicy Chicken and Pepper Soft Shell Tacos

Serves 4

1 tsp puréed garlic
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander leaves
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chipotle chilli powder (or to taste)
2 tbsp lime juice
2 large chicken breasts, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
Soft shell tacos
Lettuce
Guacamole/salsa/sour cream to serve as you prefer

– Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan then add the garlic, tomato and all of the spices in a little pile in the middle and let it sizzle a little.
– Dump the chicken on top of the spices and quickly stir it around so it’s coated.
– Add the pepper and lime juice and stir occasionally while cooking for about 5 minutes.
– Heat up your soft shell tacos and prepare them as you like. I’ve suggested lettuce with guacamole, salsa and sour cream but mix it up! Mayo works well too. I also like to serve mine with corn on the cob as a side.

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Allotment!

Ok, I admit it, I’ve gone full on “The Good Life” recently.  Following on from learning all about Beekeeping I volunteered to help clear ground for an apiary allotment site near my house and found out that there was a small starter plot up for grabs.  Well, grab it I did!

The beginning of the Allotment!

This is what I started with.  About 5m x 16m of weed suppressed ground.  I have spent the last few weeks digging and fencing and working away.

Lots of Digging!

There was an awful lot of digging.  The ground didn’t have any weeds, which was a blessing, but it did have a load of crushed plastic pots, a shovel, a rake, a fork, a pickaxe and a hammer all rotting away, along with what might once have been a green house base?  Anyway, it all needed clearing and levelling and the clay soil enriching.

Allotment Books

I’ve also developed a naughty habit of buying the Amazon 1p plus postage books on gardening.  In fact I’m awaiting delivery of a few more that caught my eye this week!

The Plot as it stands!

This is where I’m up to: fences built, beds marked out and paths laid.  I’ve crops in the ground and I’m preparing to build a chicken run at the far end so I can have fresh eggs too!  More on that and the epic shed move soon!

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Filed under Gardening, Not Food

Lemon and Raspberry Mini Loaf French Yogurt Cakes

I can’t remember where I first came across the recipe for French Yogurt Cake.  It’s always just been there. But I never once felt the need to try it.  There were always more exciting, more challenging cakes to try.  Why go back to basics with a cake intended to be made with the help of toddlers?

French Yogurt Cake

This is why, my friends!
Beautiful, light, fluffy cakes that are the perfect teatime pick me up… or breakfast, coz it’s got fruit and yogurt in and that’s a breakfast food, right?

French Yogurt Cake

And, even though I possess no toddlers of my own (Darcy isn’t too good at baking, even though he loves the tasting part!) I can say with my limited knowledge of the species that this would be an absolutely brilliant recipe to bake with kids.  No faffy weighing, just measure everything out using a yogurt tub and mix it up.  Simple!

French Yogurt Cake

And so quick.  The thing that takes the most time about this recipe is waiting for the oven to heat up!  (Or sometimes it’s the pressing need to pop to the Co-op as you realise you’ve run out of eggs half way through!) We all know there are some days when you just want to get something in the oven without any hassle, these can be whipped together and out of the oven in less than half an hour (although I assume if you do choose to involve kids it will take longer…)
Don’t delay, give them a go today!

French Yogurt Cake
Makes 6

1 x 125g tub natural yogurt
2 tubs self raising flour
1 tub golden caster sugar
1/2 tub rapeseed oil
3 eggs
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon, grated*
~ 1 tub frozen raspberries

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C.
– Prepare a tray with 6 mini loaf cases. Alternatively you can make this as a large loaf and just increase the cooking time.
–  Put all of the ingredients except the raspberries in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Use the yogurt tub to measure out each of the ingredients.
– Divide equally between the mini loaf tins. (Space them well as this mixture rises!)
– Scatter the top of each cake with frozen raspberries.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. (If cooking as a large loaf 45 minutes to an hour)
– Allow to cool until just warm them devour! Also excellent when you allow them to fully cool before consuming!

*
RECIPE VARIATION:
Instead of Lemon and Raspberry these can be adapted to any flavour you like.  I have also had great success with Chocolate Orange, just replace the lemon zest with orange zest and add 2 tbsp cocoa powder and a tub of chocolate chips instead of raspberries.

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Filed under Cakes, Easy, Teatime Treats

Sausage and Red Lentil Stew

This Sausage and Red Lentil Stew started as a riff on Cassoulet… but it just isn’t Cassoulet.  It’s lazy girl’s cassoulet!  It’s still deliciously comforting and a filling but not too stodgy recipe to bring some tomatoey brightness to these dull February days!

Sausage and Red Lentil Stew

It can work well with any sausages but I will say that my preferred ones are either Turkey (which are getting harder to find!) or sweet chilli sausages, which are just delicious in anything you put them in!  I would steer clear of chicken sausages though, I just don’t think they have the depth of flavour you want here and they get lost with the vibrancy of the tomato.

Sausage and Red Lentil Stew

Serves 4

8 sausages of your choice
2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 clove chopped garlic
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, chopped
5 tbsp red lentils
1/4 tsp salt
~200ml water

  • Brown the sausages in a large, lidded pan first.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, give it a stir, pop a lid on it and leave it to simmer for 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on the water level, make sure you keep stirring occasionally to stop the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pan.  If you need to add a splash more water do so.
  • Leave to sit for 10 minutes before serving as this will be HOT!

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

These Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons are a lovely thing to make as a gift, or just to keep on hand for those chocolate cravings that spring up from time to time!

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

They’re quick and easy to whip up, you just need to allow time for them to set.

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

I’ve tried mine with Almond milk, which is my go to dairy alternative, and also with regular cow’s milk, which obviously negates their Vegan heritage!  But they’re delicious either way!  What you always need to make sure of when you’re working with chocolate is that you enjoy the chocolate you’re starting with!  If you start with a delicious chocolate then you will end up with a delicious finished product.

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

Makes ~14 spoons

200g dark chocolate (make sure it’s vegan!)
50g coconut oil
2 tbsp cocoa powder

– Melt the chocolate either slowly in a microwave or over a pan of boiling water, whichever method you prefer.  Heat it until 90% melted then take off the heat and allow the last lumps to melt with the residual heat.
– Stir in the coconut oil and the cocoa powder and mix until  smooth.
– Pour carefully into an ice cube tray so that each hole is just filled, clean up any spillages so you have a clean edge.
– Place in the fridge for 10 minutes until starting to solidify then poke the spoons so that they stand upright.  You can leave them to set at room temperature too but this will take a lot longer.
– Put them back in the fridge until fully set, an hour will do it, them unmould and place in plastic bags to keep them.
– To use, simply pop into a mug of hot milk (alternative) of your choice and stir!

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Filed under Drinks, Easy