Tag

recipe

Ate, Christmas, Made, Recipe

A Last Minute Gift. Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Biscotti.

Last year I made a pact with myself to start making more of the presents I was giving in an attempt to reduce the amount of things I bought at Christmas. It’s not that I don’t love the huge array of things out there to buy, but that it just feels so much more satisfying to give someone something you’ve had a part in creating. It doesn’t need to be something grand or all that elaborate, I think it’s just nice for it to be something you spent time on.

 

Pistachio Biscotti Recipe

 

Each year I make large batches of chutney to include with my friend’s and family’s Christmas presents. I try and do this a few months in advance to a) get it out of the way, b) make use of particular fruit being in plentiful supply and c) allow the flavours to mellow. As Christmas starts to draw closer and the presents start to be given I like to add some kind of baked good in there too.

Through trial and error over the year I’ve settled on biscotti being the perfect gift. Some years I’m in the mood for something citrusy and others for something involving a little more chocolate. (Next year’s is going to be chocolate orange, I’ve already decided.)

 

Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Biscotti Recipe

 

It keeps perfectly well for days and when combined with a tin of tea leaves, a bag of freshly roasted coffee or a bottle of something is the perfect last minute gift for someone. No matter how hard we try there’s always someone we didn’t think we’d see but now seemingly will or maybe even someone who got you a present you entirely weren’t expecting. This is where the biscotti and the coffee come in.

This year I played around with adding herbs to the mix before finally settling on Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio. When you’re done simply add a good handful to a bag, tie up with string and add a label.

 

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

 

These little brown paper bags are from IKEA and perfectly match the wrapping paper I went with this year. If you’re into your wrapping you can take a closer look at that here.

 

Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Biscotti Recipe

Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Biscotti

150g plain flour

125g caster sugar

2 tsp baking powder

Zest of 2 lemons

100g dried apricots

150g unshelled (and unsalted) pistachios

A handful of thyme sprigs

2 eggs

2 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees fan.

In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and lemon zest. Once this is done set it to one side and roughly chop the apricots and pistachios – you want to be able to see the colours from both as you slice the biscotti. Pick the leaves from the sprig of thyme and add them to your flour mixture and stir in the apricots and pistachios.

In a separate bowl lightly beat eggs and milk together before adding to the dry mix. Fork through until it starts to clump together before getting your hands in and bringing together into a dough. If it feels a little too sticky add a fraction more flour.

Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and need briefly to make sure all of your fruit and nuts are combined. Split the dough into two equal balls, roll into a fat sausage and place each on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Once it’s on the sheet you can perfect the shaping, don’t worry. You’re looking for them both to be around 20cm long and 6cm or so wide. The mixture should be playable so shape as you will.

Bake the biscotti in the oven for 25-30 minutes. In this time you’ll see it will have risen and spread out slightly, along with taking on a soft golden colour.

Remove from the oven and careful transfer the loaf to a chopping board by just picking up the greaseproof paper. With a serrated bread knife cut the loaf diagonally into 1cm thick slices.

When both loaves are slices, lay the pieces out flat on the baking trays and return to the oven. As you do turn the temperate down to 130 degrees fan and bake for 10 minutes before flipping the biscotti over and baking for a further 5 minutes.

When you take the biscotti out of the oven it should be firm and crisp but when pressed still retain a slight toast-like texture when pressed. Transfer to a rack to cool down before packaging up the biscotti in little bags or glass jars.

 

Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Biscotti Recipe

 

 

Leave a comment
Ate, Cook, Made

A Sunday In September.

Nigel Slater's Sticky Fig Chutney

If I were to take December and its connotations of Christmas out of the equation, September would be unequivocally my favourite month of the year. I’ve always had more of an affinity with the colder months, I put it down to the fact I was born in a snowstorm. September is the month that bridges the gap between the final days of summer and the undoubtedly soggy October that lies ahead. There’s a fresh nip to the mornings but a blazing sunlight to the afternoons. The light manages to hold on until the early evening as the mornings slowly but very surely get that little bit darker with each passing day. We all know it’s coming, but September breaks it to us gently.

Ultimately autumn is about comfort. Spending entire days in doors, hiding out from the showers and keeping warm. Catching up on all those little things you’ve been meaning to do all summer but haven’t quite got round to yet. Those books you never got round to reading, or the film you keep saying you’ll watch but never seem to be able to settle enough to put it on. The term ‘hygge’ seems to be a little too commonly used of late, but nonetheless belongs in these time of the year. Find something to do, take it slowly and most importantly, enjoy it.

Nigel Slater's Sticky Fig Chutney

And so to chutney. September is fig season, potentially the best of all the fruit seasons. For those of you who have more important issues than to spend a Sunday contemplating your favourite fruit harvest, I can assure you it’s a good one. Figs find their way to my toast and onto my granola, grilled with honey and almonds and served with coconut yoghurt, caramelised with balsamic vinegar and tossed into a salad; in short, I can find a home for them just about anywhere. Nothing is quite as satisfying as making a warm sticky fig chutney however.

There’s something so peaceful about chopping onions I find. My eyes have become so accustomed to it now I don’t even emit a sniffle, let alone a tear. Chopping the onions and layering them beneath mounds of sliced figs, dolling out lashings of all spice and gently smashing peppercorns to pieces for the final flourish before dousing the whole thing in vinegar – it’s a Sunday well spent.

Sticky Fig Chutney

As a child my Grandma had to hide the bottle of vinegar in the highest of cupboards, I was known to try and drink it. Yes, I’m aware it’s quite bizarre, but even now as a pool of balsamic vinegar sits at the bottom of my salad bowl, I know I could drink up every last drop if I wanted to. That sweet, spicy smell of the vinegar mingles with the all spice and juicy sultanas to result in the most comforting of September feelings. It’s not quite the baking of the Christmas cake, but it’s a very close second.

I always turn to a Nigel Slater recipe for my fig chutney, taken from potentially my favourite cookbook of all, The Kitchen Diaries II. Whilst several blogs have chosen to write up the Sticky Fig Chutney recipe, I can’t help but feel that isn’t right? If you’d like to make it the recipe is easily Google-able; my only amendment to the genius of the original recipe is to throw in some bay leaves. If you don’t have the book – I whole heatedly recommend it.

Sticky Fig ChutneyAutumn Fig Chutney

The jars are now neatly lined up on my the shelves awaiting some kind of minimalist labelling technique that I’ve yet to fathom. I recommend sloshing it on crusty sourdough, topped with goat’s cheese.

Leave a comment
Ate, Food

The Second Sunday.

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

I like to the think of the August Bank Holiday weekend as summer’s final hoorah. The eagerly anticipated arrival of the year’s penultimate three-day weekend signifies Autumn’s soft approach. Quietly it will creep into our days, slowly staking its annual claim on our lives, but not without allowing summer to deliver us one last gloriously extended weekend.

When BONADEA invited me to join them in creating the perfect Bank Holiday weekend, I knew immediately how it would be. I have long been an advocate of treasuring the weekend, never more so than when it happens to come with a double helping of Sunday. That’s what it is you see, it’s a second Sunday. Bank Holidays allow us to live what is the greatest day of the week, twice. So I say we revel in it fully. Splash out and make something exceptional, break out the finest china your cupboards have to offer. It’s time to celebrate this rare beast in a luxuriously lazy fashion.

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

For me, there’s a process to it all. An order of service if you will. Saturday involves the chores that are essential yet invariably not all that enjoyable; the washing, the cleaning, the plumping of excessive amounts of cushions and the collecting of essential supplies.

Saturday evening sees clean sheets hit the bed, a night earlier than usual it’s true, but I disrupt the system for good reason. Fresh pyjamas are pulled from the drawer, a long leisurely bath is drawn and a heavenly night of sleep is had, safe in the knowledge that the week contains that elusive extra day of peace.

When Sunday hits the event begins. Slippers on with the kettle boiling, the coffee is brewed. Filling the house with the true smell of morning, there’s nothing quite like it. Now is your chance to dust off the aforementioned Sunday best, bring out your finest porcelain coffee pot and the most elegant of coffee cups, before drifting back to bed until the first twinges of hunger mean it’s time for the morning’s main event. Breakfast.

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

If you have yourself a helpful counterpart, this would be where you send them out to collect the Sunday papers, of which you will naturally only read the magazines. If there is no counterpart, I suggest a quick dash post-coffee and pre-breakfast.

At my house, crisp white table linens and slightly crumpled napkins play host to delicate porcelain and gleaming copper. When BONADEA suggested I explore the immaculately white world of Fuerstenberg’s Herzog Ferdinand collection, it became apparent we clearly went to the same school of Sunday. Our visions of the perfect breakfast aligned seamlessly. 

We all have those beautiful items we hold to one side, more than likely only for ‘guests’. Well, in my eyes that’s ludicrous. Bring them out, select your finest cutlery and set the table. 

Here would seem a good time for the second pot of coffee, whilst the papers start their soft descent into a crumpled mess and the pancake batter hits the pan. For there should be pancakes, no lazy weekend is truly complete without a pancake.

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

Spread soft ricotta cheese atop your crisp sourdough and smother in freshly sliced cherries, drizzle with honey and strew with mint. Pour the coffee, share out the pancakes and quietly retreat to the content world of the Sunday magazine. I would suggest at the very least an hour is spent slowly eating breakfast; ensuring no coffee is left unconsumed and no page left unturned. And then? Well it’s time to go about the day, filled with the happiness only a good breakfast can really deliver.

When Monday morning arrives, the only thing you should change is your pancake topping. This is the rare second Sunday. Make to count and do it all again. 

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

Peach & Goat’s Cheese Pastries

1 x Ready rolled sheet of puff pastry
Soft goat’s cheese (or ricotta cheese if you prefer)
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 x Slightly firm peaches (pears also work nicely)
1 x Beaten egg
A drizzle of honey

Take the puff pastry out of the fridge around fifteen minutes before you want to create your pastries. Once rested, slice the pastry into rectangles and place on a lined baking tray.

Take a knife and score a smaller rectangle around 1cm from the edge, creating a border. This allows the edges to puff up whilst cooking.

In a bowl mix the soft goat’s cheese with freshly cracked black pepper. Spread liberally on the centre of the pastry before arranging finely sliced wedges of peach atop.

Crack an egg into a bowl and briefly whisk, brush around the border you’ve created for a glossy finish. Finally, drizzle over a dash of honey and place in a pre-heated fan oven at around 180 degrees for around 15 minutes.

These are perfect served fresh from the oven or cold, however your lazy morning takes you.

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

This post was produced in partnership with BONADEA. The beautiful porcelain featured throughout this post is taken from Fuerstenberg’s Herzog Ferdinand collection, available on site now.

|1.| Fuerstenberg Coffee Pot |2.| Fuerstenberg Dessert Plate |3.| Fuerstenberg Coffee Cup & Saucer |4.| Fuerstenberg Sugar Bowl

 

1 Comment
Ate, Food, Recipe

Peaches & Cream.

 

When a fruit is in season, it is truy in its element. That’s how nature works. Winter strawberries never quite taste the same as luscious English strawberries do in July, plucked during their natural period and delivered to your plate exactly how nature intended. There’s a lot to be said for the benefits of eating in season, not simply taste alone.

This week I received my first organic fruit and vegetable box from Riverford Organic. When I lived in London I regularly had Able & Cole boxes delivered but sadly they appear to have forgotten ‘The North’ exists and have yet to extend their offering past the Watford gap. Riverford Organic however, are more than happy to venture into the cold, unforgiving climates of ‘The North’. Arriving freshly plucked from the earth at a local organic farm, this week’s box was to include a punnet of perfectly ripe, perfectly peachy donut peaches. Oh how I love a good peach.

I’ve nothing against eating a peach as they are, but when they’re grilled? Magic happens. Pure peachy magic.

Slice the peaches in half, remove the stones, drizzle with honey and scatter with thyme leaves. Grill until the surface starts to brown and the honey has a thick caramel-like quality to it. Mix thick Greek yoghurt – or coconut yoghurt if you prefer to go dairy free – with a good dollop of honey, spoon over the grilled peaches and roughly chop some pistachios, roughly scattering them over the yoghurt. It’s simple, yet it’s dreamy.

 

 

The few remaining peaches made their way to the following day’s breakfast bowl; sitting atop an acai berry oat smoothie. Add a banana, some frozen mixed berries, acai berry powder, oats, honey and almond milk to a blender, blitz into submission and serve with coconut yoghurt, pistachios, flaked almonds & a smattering of desiccated coconut should you desire. Again, simple yet scrumptious.

 

|1.| The White Company Porto Roaster |2.| Kelly Hoppen Zen Cereal Bowl |3.| Ferm Living Fein Brass Serving Spoons

Leave a comment
Food, Recipe

Lemon & Blueberry Oat Bites.

Like pretty much everyone out there, I like to snack. It helps my days seem that little bit more bearable if I know there’s a treat of some variety waiting in my top drawer for elevenses. I cannot claim to be a saint in the snacking arena by any means, but I do try my best. As we all know, you get points for trying. So that’s something.

These flapjack like bites satisfy the need to snack without sacrificing any of the taste. They also happen to contain two of my favourite things – blueberries and lemon. I will essentially east just about anything with lemon in. They’re relatively simple to make and can be played with easily; try adding in a layer of blackberries or mixed berries for example. The world if your oaty oyster.

Ingredients 

  • 220g oats (gluten free works perfectly)
  • 6 tbsp runny honey
  • Zest & juice of 2 lemonds
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 10 medjool dates
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 75g pumpkin seeds
  • 75g sunflower seeds
  • 250g blueberries

Start by making your blueberry filling. Place your blueberries in a pan with a tablespoon of honey and the juice of half a lemon (zest it before juicing and leave to one side). Cook on a gentle heat for around 10 minutes until it resembles a jam-like consistency. Leave to one side.

Next melt the coconut oil, tahini, remaining 5 tablespoons of honey and the rest of the lemon juice in a pan.

Pop your dates in a blender and pulse into they’re one big sticky ball. Add this to a bowl containing the seeds, oats, salt and lemon zest. Add in the contents of your pan once all of the coconut oil has melted and give it a really good mix. The date paste can be tough to blend in, so give it some elbow grease.

Put half of your oat mixture into a tin – I tend to go for a flat square one to make slicing them simple, but feel free to use whatever you have to hand. Although a circular tin may cause some portion issues, which we all know no one wants.

When half the mixture it is in the tin, give it a good press down either with your fingers or the back of a spoon.

Next add the blueberry mixture and spread evenly across the layer. Now add the second half of your oat mixture and spread out. You may need to be a tad more gentle here to ensure the blueberry mixture doesn’t spill out. Press down as firmly as you can and then transfer to the fridge to set.

If you can hold off for 3-4 hours, that’s ideal. Overnight is best. Then it’s time to slice into bitesize squares. They should keep in the fridge for up to a week, or you can freeze any left overs.

We both know there won’t be any leftovers.

Leave a comment