Friday, 19 April 2013

Crumble Bar Cookies



Again, we thank Instagram (@peterdelicious) for his kindness.

Yesterday, I got bored and made a coconut genoise cake that was as light and fluffy as a little cirrus cloud, wispy, delicate, perfect. But we have made a silent promise to ourselves around these parts to stop jumping about all over the place and try to post in some sort of order. So you can wait for the Malibu soaked wonder and have bar cookies instead.

When I made the panna cotta I was scared it wouldn't be sweet enough, or to be honest that it wouldn't even set, and since I had planned it to be dessert at Brideshead Club, I knew I needed a fall back option. So I made these.

They're the kind of thing your mum would make with you when you were little. Not fancy, quite unassuming. But oh! So delicious. And the perfect use for that nectarine butter that I know you're all wondering what I've been doing with. (It's been porridge topping, as a general rule.)

You could use jam instead. Or, maybe, a little jam and a layer of fresh raspberries. Do you see what just happened there? I set you an assignment. Hop to it. Report back on Monday with both variations and I shall grade them accordingly.

Crumble Bar Cookies

You will need:

135g flour
100g sugar
70g rolled oats
115g butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
jam or fruit butter

  1. Grease a 20cm square tin. Line it. Grease the lining. You'll want to give up at this point, I know, but persevere. Set the oven to 180°C.
  2. Mix the flour, oats and baking powder together. Rub in the butter until you have a crumble mixture. Add the sugar.
  3. Press 2/3 of this sandy mixture into the tin, forming a base. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven; top with jam or fruit butter (as much or as little as you like) and the remaining crumble. Bake for another 15 minutes.
  5. Cool in the tin. Slice. Eat.
  6. Makes 8 large bars. I like large. You could do 12 or 16 if you prefer.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Panna Cotta



OK, so here's a common theme in my life: repetitive conversation.

I work in the airline industry. One of the best things about my job is that I work with different crew everyday. I mean, think how great it would be for you, office worker, if you could trade that old sour puss in the cubicle over there for a different colleague every day? It is amazing.

But also, frustrating. You can sometimes find yourself talking about the same stuff everyday. Where you're from, where you  live now, what languages you speak... And then you start talking about your personal life. Cats, boyfriends and exes.

But I don't have any of those. So people ask me about my husband. They request to see pictures. I usually say I don't have any (too lazy to find one!), but sometimes I relent, and my soul crumbles a little when I see on their faces that they think I'm the lucky one.

---

They ask how long we've been together and when I tell them (12 years and counting), gasp and ask me what the secret is. Bored with trying to answer that seriously (I rule my house with a grip of iron and he's too scared to leave), my answer is always the same:

"Well, I make a pretty good panna cotta..."

But it dawned on me the other day that I actually had never made a panna cotta, didn't even know how. So I know you'll be pleased to know that my sarcasm has become truth. I do in fact make a pretty good panna cotta.

It took some research. Google will show you that people are quite opinionated about panna cotta and what should or shouldn't go into it, how much gelatine the mixture needs and whether or not the creamy pudding should be served unmoulded or not.

It began to give me a headache, which persisted until I had the wisdom and foresight to think to myself, screw it, I am master of my own destiny. So. This is panna cotta my way. Follow if you wish.

(I stole the buttermilk idea. It was delish.)

Perfect Panna Cotta

You will need:

300ml single cream (or 600ml and don't bother with the next two ingredients)
250ml buttermilk
50ml milk
3 tbsp sugar
1 vanilla pod
2/3 sachet powdered gelatine (I used Dr. Oetker brand and it weighed around 8g)

  1. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla pod into the cream. Heat the cream until just below boiling and then allow to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, put the milk into a large bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine. Leave for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the warm milk into the milk and gelatine; add the buttermilk and mix well. Strain into a jug.
  4. Pour into 4 125ml ramekins. Chill until set (around 3 hours). Serve at room temperature. Which I did with rhubarb cooked in a little sugar, orange juice and left to steep with the left over vanilla pod.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Brains S.A. Gold Chutney


We all run away from the sadness in our lives. Good things come to an end. We're not always ready to face the truth and it can be a bitter shock, discovering that the joys we've held so close to our hearts are no more.

Readers: I have finished the last of the Brains S.A. Gold chutney.

....

Please don't worry. All you need to know is that in time I will heal.

The good news is that, even though I have never mentioned the chutney to you before (despite having made it three times), you can get the recipe in this book.

I can tell you two things. #1 is that I am not going to give any away next time. #2 is that you don't need to use Brains S.A. Gold ale, but that's my local and it's delicious.

Pam says make the chutney in October time, but frankly, you can make it whenever. It's not like swede is seasonal.
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