Sunday, 28 April 2013

Cheesy Bakes.

These are cheese, bacon and apple muffins that I made for this month's Random Recipes.  When I first saw the recipe I had to do, I thought I would manage to kill two birds with one stone as our baking club Pinnies and Petticoats was having a cheese themed evening this month.  I soon realised, however, that I would have to make my bake for P&P the night before and transport it to work and I really felt these muffins wouldn't be very tasty a day and a half later. The recipe is from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II and he says in the recipe that you must eat the muffins the same day as they are cooked so that made my mind up for me.

So, for Pinnies and Petticoats, I decided to do a recipe I have made before - Chilli and almond biscuits from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet.  These are fairly cheesy and with a bit of a kick.  I forgot to take any photos of them but have found some old photos on the computer of a previous batch I made - not sure if I have mentioned them on the blog before.  They really are very tasty nibbles to have with drinks so I have made them a few times and Steve has made them a couple of times as well.  The recipe is on the Guardian here.

The Fromage Fest was just brilliant. I didn't have any tea beforehand and stuffed myself on cheesy treats.  We had a lovely mixture of savoury and sweet things.  I'll try and list what I can remember - 

  • lamb and stilton pasties (amazing!!!)
  • pear and goat's cheese tartlets
  • feta and olive samosas
  • cheesy monkey bread with homemade mozzarella and apple & chilli jelly
  • parmesan shortbread
  • parmesan and chilli stars
  • cheesy feet 
  • blacksticks blue and poppyseed sables
  • bacon and cheese twists
  • goat's cheese puffs with a chutney surprise
  • stilton puffs
  • homemade oatcakes and celery seed hearts served with cheese
  • a cheese and pickle hedgehog
  • basil and feta cupcakes
  • cheese and bacon cupcakes

  • basil and mascarpone tart with a walnut base (also amazing!)
  • summer fruits cheesecake
  • rhubarb crumble cheesecake
  • lemon and poppyseed cake with cream cheese frosting
  • chocolate cheesecake
  • dark chocolate and mint mini-cheesecakes

If anyone fancies joining in with Random Recipes each month, go along to Dom's blog and have a look - he gives us a new challenge on the first day of each month.

If anyone in the Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire area fancies coming along to Pinnies and Petticoats, we are a very friendly, non-competitive baking group and wee meet once a month on a Wednesday evening at Tiger Tiger.  You can get full details on the facebook page.  Next month we are doing a Eurovision theme.  Everyone picks a Eurovision country and makes a bake from there.  I will be doing a Slovenian bake and will post here when I do. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Surprise Ingredient Swap 3 - Florentines.

This was the lovely selection of things I received from Ruth from Makey-Cakey for her Spring Surprise Ingredient Swap. For some reason as soon as I saw the hazelnuts and the cocoa nibs I decided I wanted to make florentines.  I felt that was failing a little though as it meant I didn't use the cute kitty biscuit press she included in the parcel and I also didn't manage any kind of nod towards the seasonal Spring theme.  However, I totally succeeded in making lovely florentines which will make a nutritious snack for the boys if there are any left by tomorrow (I am finding them a little bit too perfect with my cups of tea tonight). 

By the way, does anyone notice that Ruth has rather cleverly sent me a card with a dog on that looks very like my gorgeous Bob?

So back to the florentines - I roughly chopped the 115g of hazelnuts leaving some big chunks.

  I weighed out 40g of the cocoa nibs and 100g of chopped dried apricots.  I melted 30g of unsalted butter in a pan and added 95g caster sugar.  I combined the butter and sugar and let cook gently for about 5 mins then I added 20g plain flour.  I took off the heat and whisked in 150ml of double cream.  I then added the nuts, nibs and apricots and mixed well. I then put heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto baking sheets lined with baking paper. I left plenty of space for them to spread.

  I put them in the oven at 180 C fan for 10 mins.  

I let them cool on the trays then flipped them over with a palette knife and spread melted dark chocolate on the undersides.  


Florentines are so easy to make.  I don't know why I haven't been making them all the time!  

Thanks Ruth for the brilliant parcel. I still have lots of cocoa nibs to use and my biscuit cutter. I might try Dom's classy cupcakes from a previous ingredient swap when I sent him some coca nibs. He gives a good explanation of what they are in this post too.