Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Benedict Bars

The trouble with reading food blogs is they always make me hungry. I think it is impossible to look at pages of cakes, pies, tarts and all manner of other delicious things without feeling a little bit envious. And then it becomes all too tempting to reach for the biscuit tin. To avoid snacking endlessly, I have a few times I prefer to read blogs: 1) Last thing at night – having just brushed my teeth I’m not feeling the need to eat more or 2) First thing in the morning on my phone – its unlikely that early in the morning I will be motivated enough to move for food unless its proper breakfast. Of course, there are downsides to these as well. When I came across these Benedict bars last thing at night it became rather difficult to go to sleep as I craved some nutty, jammy, biscuity goodness…

DSCF8444When I finally got round to making these I was not disappointed. The recipe makes a generous tray full but I know that tray will be finished very soon. The bars are comprised of a layer of shortbread, a thin layer of jam (I chose cherry instead of the suggested raspberry) and a flaked almond topping. Boy, do these layers work well together. The time in the oven toasted the almonds and enhanced their nutty flavour, the jam was sweet and sticky and the shortbread base rounded everything off perfectly. Definitely a fan. DSCF8454 I don’t think I would make any changes to the recipe. Before baking, I felt the bars looked like they needed extra almonds but I had no spare. However, after baking the layer was definitely thick enough. I did have to bake my bars for 10-15minutes extra than the recipe states to make my almonds golden/toasted but all ovens vary. I look forward to trying these again with different jams – its such an easy recipe and sure to be a hit at school fairs, coffee mornings, afternoon tea….whenever!DSCF8465You can find the recipe here and obviously, I highly recommend it. Now I’m off to catch up on some blogs…safely armed with my hefty square of Benedict bar :)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Sun-dried Tomato & Thyme Fougasse

DSCF8434 You’ll have to forgive the night time photo, but I made something savoury, I used yeast and attempted bread making! None of these things often happen so a slightly dodgy photo wasn’t going to stop this bread reaching my blog. The recipe came from Lorraine Pascale’s TV series – Baking Made Easy. Lorraine used to be a model before turning to cooking and baking and now owns a cake shop I am determined to visit extremely soon! This TV series was her first but I hope it won’t be the last – the recipes were original, easy and al looked irresistible.

It was difficult to choose just one recipe to try, and I hope to try out some more, but I felt it was time to go out my comfort zone. Fougasse is a fern shaped French bread, and this version had sun-dried tomato and dried thyme added. It was  easy to make – I used the KitchenAid to do the kneading. This was the first time I had done this but I would do it again – it saves time and messy worktops and gives me a chance to do a spot of cleaning up! However, if making a dough with lots of add-ins I don’t think my dough hook is quite right as it doesn’t disperse these ingredients evenly. Somewhere along the way I think I went a little wrong as my dough didn’t seem to fully rise – but happily this didn’t affect the final taste! Chewy, studded with sweet spikes of tomato (I was using this instead of chorizo but would like to try this another time for a hint of spice) and rather moreish – dipped in good olive oil this was a winner. You can find the recipe and see Lorraine Pascale making it here: enjoy!