Saturday, 28 July 2012

Triple Chocolate Cookies

My friends always complain that I hardly ever bake for them. If they come round to my house they know I’ll definitely bake something for them, but I hardly ever take bakes into school. Even on birthdays it tends to be someone else who brings the cake in. I’m not sure why – I think it’s the pressure? And all the different tastes, likes and allergies to bear in mind! With my four week internship this summer, I wanted this to be different and so every Friday I’ve taken something in for the office. Blueberry and lemon cupcakes one week, nectarine and coconut muffins last week, and these triple chocolate cookies the week in between. There is definitely less pressure and fear that people won’t like something when it involves chocolate!DSCF9085The original recipe is from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet book, a fabulous book and one where my list of ‘To Make’ recipes is pretty much the whole book. I feel like I can trust Dan Lepard’s recipes too – I’ve made many of his ones from the Guardian and they’ve always gone down well. I did make a slight change to this recipe – just making half the chocolate chunks white chocolate rather than all dark as I simply love white chocolate and thought it made more interesting. And triple rather than double chocolate can never be a bad thing!DSCF9091I loved how these turned out – they were so perfectly round! They had those moreish crispy edges, a soft middle, plenty of cocoa flavour and a generous helping of chocolate. I overuse this word so much but seriously – these really are addictive. I may or may not have eaten one for breakfast. Or even more than one…Anyhow! The office liked them, I liked them, my family liked them. The only people still waiting are my friends! You can find pretty much the same recipe here – the only difference is the book had 300g of chocolate and I didn’t freeze them. Enjoy!


Thursday, 19 July 2012

Gooseberry Flapjacks

I've had this bake and news ready for a while now, I just haven't blogged because I didn't know how to say it. Which is silly really, because its good and exciting news. To cut the waffle: I've won a competition! It was the Guild of Food Writers WriteIt! Competition, a food writing competition with a fab prize of 14 amazing cookbooks, publication on delicious magazine's website and a trip to delicious magazine HQ! I'm super excited and honoured to have won - you can read my piece here if you like. Now for cheesy photo alert...DSC_1827Look at my prize books! I won a copy of each book shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers Awards which I’ve been working my way through and they’re all so interesting and varied – my favourites so far have been Street Food Revolution for being inspiring and making me want to start up my own food company, and Peyton & Byrne British Baking for being full of delicious classic bakes with little twists. Rest assured my baking in the near future will be heavily influenced by these and all the others. The President of the Guild of Food Writers came for brunch to bring that massive pile of books you see there and I made these gooseberry flapjacks for us to munch as we chatted. I love flapjacks for the way a good one can taste so caramelly and delightfully chewy, yet you can still claim some element of health due to the oats… although I'm pretty sure the golden syrup goodness cancels any nutritional value out...which is why you add fruit! The gooseberries keep the flapjacks moist for longer than they may last otherwise, and also add a sharp element to stop the treat becoming too sickly. DSCF9073The recipe comes from the British Larder, a great restaurant in Suffolk which has had a blog long before the restaurant opened in August 2010. I tweaked the recipe only by taking out the seeds and nuts – a virtuous addition I’m sure but I’m still yet to develop a liking for seeds of any kind other than poppy. Gooseberries have such a short season we need to take advantage of them while you can and this recipe appealed because to me it was original - previously it has always been so easy to simply pair the fruit with some elderflower in a crumble or pie and have a winner so I was interested to try something new. The end result was crumbly and delicious, perfect for afternoon tea or elevenses. Enjoy!DSCF9072

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Tomato and Pesto Tart

Recently I’ve been getting more into savoury cooking. As this blog quite clearly shows, I’m always more of a sweet than savoury girl. I don’t like popcorn but I know if I did I’d be sweet or toffee rather than salt. I’m one of those people who never finds anything too sweet and always makes room for dessert no matter how big the main course. Case in point: in France recently, after ordering the very innocent-sounding ‘steak’ from the menu, what arrived was one of the best but biggest meals of all time: a humongous steak, an onion tart tatin, a pile of garlicky gratin dauphinoise, three different types of vegetable and fries – all on one plate! It was incredible and I severely regret not taking any photos but I still ordered a tiramisu for afterwards…which also turned out to be on the large side. It came in one of those kilner jars, but whereas often desserts are served in mini versions of these, this restaurant served it in full size ones. Full to the brim. Needless to say, it had been a case of eyes larger than stomach and I couldn’t finish it all but I think it proves my dedication to my sweet tooth. However, like I say, I’ve recently become more into savoury cooking.DSCF9036This tart has been a summer staple in my family for a long time and so was a perfect way to begin my savoury journey. When I was younger, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this but now I totally cannot understand why – it is so simple, so addictive and so perfect for summer! Ok, so the weather here at the moment is still a little resistant to admit that it is summer now (it’s July!) but even in the rain this combination is delicious. This recipe was one of those family ones that I’ve always seen my Mum make but never a recipe and as I was home alone I just made it up using a combination of recipes. To be honest, this is so simple it hardly needs a recipe – if you were to use ready made pastry it would just be an assembly job but homemade is often so much nicer.DSCF9043

Tomato and Pesto Tart

Ingredients: 125g butter

190g plain flour

40g grated Parmesan

50ml water

150g pesto

6 plum tomatoes, sliced

1. In a food processor blend the butter, flour and parmesan until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add the water until it forms a smooth dough. Shape into a disc and chill for at least an hour until firm.

2. Preheat the oven to 180’C. Roll the dough on a floured surface to fit a 20-cm buttered fluted loose bottomed tart tin and place in the tin. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or dry rice. Bake for 15minutes, remove the paper and beans and bake for 5-10minutes more until golden. 3. Spread the pesto over the base of the tart case in an even layer. Arrange the sliced tomatoes in rings on top of the pesto, and bake for a further 15minutes until the tomatoes are cooked slightly – keeping an eye on the edges of the pastry so it does not burn. Enjoy!