Sunday, 21 November 2010


In the Biscuit Challenge so far, I have tackled widely known biscuit tin favourites. This time, I wanted to try something different – just as irresistible, just as moreish, still something I have regularly bought from a supermarket, but just a little bit different. DSCF8214 The most famous Italian biscuits would probably be amaretti, biscotti and cantuccini. Whilst all these are delicious, I think my favourite now has to be this – the ricciarelli. A soft and chewy macaroon, with a truly intense almond flavour and a tiny touch of lemon. Also slightly addictive.  You have been warned!DSCF8226 These are not particularly complicated, but you do need to start the day before so they have plenty of time to dry out which will lead to their scrumptious chewy texture later on. Whilst I am not a hugely patient person and the no instant gratification was different, I think the wait just makes the reward even more tasty. And you end up with freshly baked ricciarelli for breakfast through no effort! Splendid.

You can find the recipe here (scroll down!) – I hope you enjoy :)DSCF8225

Monday, 15 November 2010

Plum and Marzipan Galette

I made this galette a good few weeks ago now – just as the weather changed from Summer to Autumn. Now, we are deep in Winter but the galette has still been made repeatedly. The first time, the galette was a chance to begin making good use of the fabulous Autumn produce that Britain does so well: plums, apples, pears – our climate is so much more suited to these than endless supplies of summer berries. Since then, I have made it simply because I loved it and it is so easy! Just 4 ingredients: puff pastry, plums, marzipan, sugar. Easy as pie…DSCF7837The key ingredient in the galette is the marzipan. Other than Christmas cake every year and the odd new recipe, marzipan’s presence in my kitchen is rare…mainly because I know I will just eat it all. :) The plums I used here aren’t very sweet – instead quite sharp and therefore the marzipan combination doesn’t become too sickly. The marzipan also soaks up the plum juices and ensures the pastry stays crisp. Plus, the demerara sugar sprinkled on top balances out the melting marzipan and soft juicy plums. Tempted yet?DSCF7844 I didn’t use a specific recipe each time to make this, it can be easily scaled up or down depending on the ingredients you have to hand, the fruit you have and the amount of people you have to serve. For around 6-8 people, these amounts will do…

Ingredients: 500g plums
450g puff pastry
400g marzipan
2 tablespoons milk
4-5 tablespoons demerara sugar

1. Roll the puff pastry out until it is a large circle and around 3mm thick. Place onto a large baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper.
2. Roll the marzipan to a circle which is 5mm thick, or 1cm smaller than the pastry. Gently lay this on top of the pastry.
3. Halve and stone the plums. Cut each half into four slices, and carefully arrange on top of the marzipan.
4. Bring up the excess pastry from the edges and fold over the marzipan and plums. Sprinkle the plums with some of the demerara sugar. Brush the pastry with the milk, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
5. Bake in a 170’C/Gas Mark 3/325’F oven for 20 minutes until the pastry is risen and golden and the plums are soft. Enjoy whilst warm!

Monday, 8 November 2010


Towards the end of October, my Spanish class and I went on a week long trip to the beautiful city of Granada, in Andalucia, Spain. I have been here very briefly two years ago, but this was a proper chance to get to know the city. And it was great – gorgeous city, gorgeous food, gorgeous summer weather. Lovely.

DSCF7933A central street in GranadaDSCF8131A view over the city from the top of the Albaicin, Granada’s old district.DSCF8041A fountain pond in one of the Alhambra’s palacesDSCF8150 A view of the Alhambra from the AlbaicinDSCF8123

Inside the San Jeronimo monastery