Sunday, 23 February 2014

Luscious Citrussy Delights

We have been working on a new recipe for Luscious Lemon Bars which incorporates a delicious lemony-type custard on top of a crispy shortbread base And a generous topping of icing sugar yeah -  sunshine on a cloudy day. – perfect!
Then after a visit to Positano in Southern Italy I returned with a recipe for
Clementine and Limoncello Marmalade – fabulous on granary toast – the anytime treat.
Then I dipped into my passion for Moroccan pastries. So you have a wonderfully luxurious Lemon and Almond Shortbread – just perfect with a glass of mint tea or a good coffee.
We are soo chuffed with these luscious citrussy delights that we couldn’t decide which was the best. But we soo hope you like one of these babies and will keep our fingers crossed that one is the ultimate tempter. They are all fabulous.

Masses of love and hugs, Ruth and Sarah xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

These Luscious Lemon Bars have been crying out to be baked. They seem to be so trendy at the moment so we had to have a go and this our take on a fabulous very modern bake. Divine!!!!
Prep. We now make our own vanilla sugar as we want that extra lovely vanilla boost in our pastries. The achieve the same effect, process 3 vanilla pods with 500g castor sugar and place in sealed pot.     
Preheat the oven on 180 C, gas mark 4
Line a 9x 13 deep dish or baking tin with thick baking parchment
Makes 30-36 bars depending on your generosity    

For the dough
80g icing sugar + 2 tablespoons fine vanilla sugar
220g butter or margarine
350g plain flour
Grated zest 1 lemon

4 medium free range organic eggs
350 castor sugar + 50g vanilla sugar
zest of 3 un-waxed lemons
juice of 2 un-waxed lemons
70g flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Icing sugar to dust
Wiz the softened butter or margarine with the icing sugar, lemon zest and flour until a soft dough. Press into the lined tin. Bake in a medium oven for approximately 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden.
Remove and cool slightly and make up the filling

Please note we always use soft brown sugar but you will have a brownish filling so for the beauty of the filling use castor sugar as we did the second time – perfect.

Combine all the filling ingredients and either use a hand whisk or whisk until smooth and no lumps are showing. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is set. When cool – if you can wait that long – remove the whole pastry by lifting the paper and sift with icing sugar. Cut into bars. OOOOOOOOOOH and enjoy.

                                  Limoncello and Clementine Marmalade

We are still so delighted with the glorious colour of this marmalade and the fabulous citrussy tang. The secret of the luscious flavour is to boil the chopped skins twice in cold water. It doesn’t take very long but the reward is a perfect colour and a tart but not bitter sweetness.  Can’t wait to make toast. Ohh Sunshine on a cloudy day.
Made 5 approximately 350g jars
Sterilise jars by washing well and placing on a tray in a hot oven and cook for 10 minutes.   
1 kilo clementines
750g jamming sugar
250ml water
½ glass limoncello optional

Wash and peel the clementines saving the peels except for the tiny hard top piece. Finely chop the peels as fine as possible and put onto simmer n a saucepan of cold water. After boiling for a few minutes strain with a colander and place back in the pan adding more cold water. Bring to the boil again and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. In the meantime remove the centre white pithy bits from the clementines and chop into approximately 2 cm chunks. Place the sugar and the flesh of the clementines plus the semi-cooked peels in a large heavy based pot and simmer for approximately 45 minutes or if you have a sugar thermometer just on jam stage – however I would test a little before rather than over-cook. Test by pouring a little onto a jam lid and place in the freezer. You should get a firm set shown by a wrinkle pushed with a finger. Now pot into sterilised jars.  Place waxed discs on top and then cellophane on top and be soo pleased. Fabulous on granary toast or toasted crumpets.

  Lemon and Almond Shortbreads

These luxurious little Moroccan shortbreads sing out sunshine in every bite and sum up all that is wonderful about citrus. Just a fabulous little biscuit. The quantities are large but makes 60, but they’ll soon fly. Oh yes Sunshine on a cloudy day. Xxxx
Line three baking sheets with baking parchment
Set oven at 180C, gas mark 4
345g butter
180g icing sugar
450g ground almonds
2 free range organic eggs
Coarsely grated zest of two lemons +2 tablespoons lemon juice
440g flour

Wiz all the ingredients together in the processor or work by hand until you have a smooth dough. Leave to chill for 1 hour. Roll out on a slightly floured top to approximately 2- 2½cm thick and cut with a fluted pastry wheel into rectangles or squares. Remove carefully with a palate knife or fish slice – they are quite soft.  Bake for 20 minutes. Dust with castor sugar when warm. Enjoy xxxx  

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Here's some lovely economical tasty treats for you to try. Have a go and let us know what you think.

 Spicy Homemade Tea Cakes

What could be better on a grey day than filling the house with spicy dough smells and after, sitting by a cosy fire with a plate of toasted tea-cakes and a jar of jam. Makes winter almost bearable. Enjoy xxx   
Makes 12 tea cakes

Set oven on 200 C, gas mark 6
Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment 
650g strong flour
10g dried yeast
50g fair-trade soft brown sugar
365 ml tepid milk plus extra for brushing
1 generous tablespoon golden syrup
200g basic mixed dried fruit   
105g butter-type margarine   
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Juice and zest of 1 tangerine left over from Christmas
Put the dried fruit to soak in a small bowl with the zest and juice of a Clementine Satsuma etc. Measure 100g of the flour in a bowl with the dried yeast, the sugar and the milk. Whisk well until all the yeast has dissolved and leave to sponge in a warm place for approximately 20 minutes.
Now place the rest of the flour in a large bowl with the butter-type- margarine, the salt and spice. Whisk the golden syrup into the milk/yeast liquid with the dried fruit mixture and add this to the flour to make a soft dough. Work well either in a mixer or by hand for at least ten minutes.
Cover with some oiled clear-wrap or a cloth and leave to stand in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size approximately 1½ - 2 hours .
Form into tea-cakes by dividing into rounds and flattening slightly. Place on tins covered with cloths. Leave to rise. After 45 minutes or until really puffy, brush with milk and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes approximately or until they are golden brown and give a hollow beat when tapped. 
Enjoy cut and toasted and spread liberally with your favourite spread. Mmmmm    
After baking and tasting we wondered why we’d never made these bad boys before!
Soo much better than shop and soo cheap!!!!!!

                                                 Easy Peasy Pea Soup

This kind, loving cheapy soup is a hug in a mug. It takes the simplest of ingredients and can be made in minutes.  It will sit in flask at work or wait in the fridge to welcome you home from a rainy day. Enjoy our favourite family soup.
For 10 generous portions of three good ladles each

3 large jacket potatoes or 4 medium
3 large onions peeled and chopped or use a 500g packet of frozen ready-chopped
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 400gm pack basic frozen peas.
Freshly milled salt and pepper
2 litres water

Peel and chop the onions. Add to a large saucepan with the oil and sweat gently for approximately ten minutes to soften. Scrub the potatoes and chop into chunks leaving on the skins. Cover with 2 litres vegetable stock made with either two veggie stock cubes or 6 teaspoon marigold powder.  Simmer gently and when almost tender add half the packet of peas. Add the other half to a processor leaving approximately 50g peas to add a little texture if desired. Process until smooth. Now add the remaining soup contents and process. Add the few uncooked peas. Serve hot with warm crusty bread.           

Add two finely chopped leeks and a little more stock to the mix plus a good bunch of parsley.

 Oozy Mashed Potatoes and Cheese

This cheap but nutritious, easy to prepare supper dish uses potatoes with the skins – where all the best nutrients are situated and combines this with a melting cooking mozzarella easily sourced from the supermarket. Add extra vegetables even frozen if desired. Delicious with cooked leeks, frozen peas or corn 

Serves 4-6

4 large jacket potatoes well-scrubbed
gms cooking mozzarella
freshly milled salt and pepper

Cut up the potatoes, place in a glass dish and half cover with water. Cook for 20 minutes on high in the microwave. Strain off the water but save it. Mash the potatoes with some of the water seasoning well and when a good consistency is achieved, place half of the seasoned mash in an oven-to-table pottery dish. Cover with half the cheese and vegetables if required. Add the remaining potatoes and cover with more cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes 180C, gas mark 4 for 30minutes. Serve when golden and bubbling and enjoy.           

Variation as in picture – place 200g per person of almost cooked vegetables such as broccoli, frozen peas, corn, cooked leeks or spinach, on the base of the dish. Cover with the mashed potato and cheese. If the vegetables are cooked and frozen they can be left in their frozen state and will defrost while cooking.