Roll ’em out and use a cookie cutter biscuits

Biscuiteers super chocolatey biscuits
Makes 24-30

275g plain flour
100g self-raising flour
75g good-quality cocoa powder
125g granulated sugar
125g salted butter softened and diced
125g golden syrup
1 large egg lightly beaten

For plain biscuits:
350g plain flour
100g self-raising flour
125g granulated sugar
125g salted butter softened, diced
125g golden syrup
1 large egg

Sift the flours and cocoa together into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and mix well. Add the butter. Using just the tips of your fingers, rub the ingredients together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. When the butter is all mixed in, make a well in the centre and add the syrup and egg. Mix well, drawing in any of the flour left at the side of the bowl and stop as soon as a ball has formed.

If using a food processor, combine the dry ingredients and sugar, blitz with the butter to fine crumbs, then add the other ingredients and pulse to a dough.

Then follow the biscuit basics link and check out the delicious sounding variations including how to make chocolate Bourbons – mmmm!


Oh what to do with Turkey mince?

It’s the cheapest meat in the shops at the moment and is also remarkably lean and low fat – just my sort of food. But what to do with it because to be honest, the last few things I’ve tried, including a ‘kid friendly’ recipe which added grated apple, have just came out a bit tough and tasteless.

But then I happened to stumble across this Turkey Meatball recipe. First of all, these guys have obviously done an impressive amount of marketing because they’re coming higher up the google search than some of the BBC food sites. But also it reminds me of the recipe book mum has on her shelf, which has step by step colour photos and instructions on how to make simple, everyday food. But not in a book with a broken spine and pages that have been sellotaped back five hundred times.

The key it seems – a bit like making muffins – is not to handle the meat too much. Start by making a tomato sauce – heat crushed garlic in olive oil for about 30 seconds until it starts to give off a garlicky smell, then chuck in 4 tins (yes that’s 4!) of chopped tomatoes and simmer until you’re ready to add the meatballs.

Next the meatballs – mix all the other ingredients together first (obviously I replaced panko with matzo meal, milk with water and missed out the cheese!) including matzo meal, egg, seasoning and then using a fork, or knife, add meat and gently combine. Don’t touch the meatballs for 20 minutes when you first add them, then give them a bit of a shake and taa daa. Soft, moist, tasty and not at all dense or tough. Perfect to put on hotplate for friday night dinner with white rice, peas and big salad.

apple cake for dessert – but that’s a whole new lesson!

Rosh Hashanah Challah

Quick while I remember. I’m planning on making challot again for Rosh Hashanah. Last year I just added raisins to my basic recipe and then sprinkled – or more accurately drowned it – with cinnamon and sugar.

But I just found a smitten kitchen apple and honey challah recipe that looks good. Probably more practical for lots of people than Jamie Geller’s individual apple stuffed challahs – but I’m intrigued to try her famous challah recipe.

Carrot and courgette cakes

Despite having been brought up with only parve cakes, I love baking with butter! Such a different taste to vegetable margarines and they feel very luxurious.

But for parve cakes it’s always nice to find recipes that don’t use butter or milk so you don’t have to substitute and they taste as they were meant to!

So here are two I’ve discovered recently…

A yummy Venetian carrot cake by Nigella with ground almonds and olive oil. Looks flat and dense but actually quite delicious. Also good for pesach as no flour!

I’ve had a slight obsession with courgette cake since living in Edinburgh and always tried very wholesome recipes that were too stodgy. Until I discovered this great David Leibovitz courgette cake – made all the better with lemon icing.


Very easy chocolate cake

The easiest peasiest chocolate cake. Fabulous when you need something quick and easy!!

2 cups s/r flour
1½ cups sugar
½ cup cocoa
3 eggs
½ cup orange juice
½ cup water
¾ cup oil

. Preheat oven to 170C (fan)

. Mix dry ingredients

. Add wet ingredients

. Put into largish greased baking tin

. Bake 50-60 minutes depending on shape of tin

. If making in 2 tins check after 40-45 mins although may still need 50 mins

Shabbat dinner – Chanukah!

I loved the Butternut squash and sage latke recipe L sent but don’t fancy standing and frying all that at the moment.

Looking at keeping it simple for 8. So plan at the moment is:

Roast butternut squash soup (may even cheat and buy it ready peeled and cut.

Roast chicken – probably just lemon and garlic but other options welcome. I see there’s still some rosemary alive at the back of the garden.

Carrot mash with honey, lemon juice and cumin. Peas and beans, which are good left on hot plate with spring onions and even a bit of lettuce. I know it sounds a bit nunu but the French even have a name for it!

Hassleback potatoes which I had to google at first but they look like fun alternative to normal roast pots.

And for dessert I have gingerbread in the oven to serve with Swedish glacé vanilla – yummy!!

Shabbat dinner – orange and lemon chicken

Celeriac and parsnip soup – soften onion, add veggies, then stock. Blitz. Bit more water. Yum!

Dead simple roast chicken – poured over lemon juice, orange juice and olive oil and stuffed with lemon, orange, garlic and onion. Would have included thyme and rosemary if I’d bothered going into the wet garden to pick them. Cooked in 180 fan oven with Nigel Slater’s top tip – 20 mins for each 500g plus extra 20 mins. Added water to bottom of the pan when it started to go dry. Cut up and put on hot plate with plenty of liquid in bottom and covered.

Cut up white potatoes and red onion into medium chunks and roasted in hot oil, adding sliced garlic half way through. Also yummy with chunks of aubergine, cumin and coriander. Takes about 40 mins at 180 fan.

Grated carrot salad with lemony dressing and dried cranberries.

Apple Crumble with Paul Hollywood inspired topping. Mixture of plain white and wholemeal flours, oats, brown sugar and chocolate chips. Just used sunflower oil to bring it together which was fine but you don’t get a crunchy, crumbly texture without using butter/marg. Cooked at about 160 fan until fruit is soft and top coloured nicely. Good on hot plate, just be careful of condensation softening the crumble if you cover it – I find tea towels work a treat.

Elegant ‘n Easy Fruit Torte

1 cup marg (4oz)                     24 halves plums/apricots/peaches/sliced apples
1 cup sugar                            Sugar
2 eggs                                    Lemon juice
1 cup s.r. flour                        Cinnamon

. Preheat oven to 350F (gas 4, 160C)
. Cream sugar & marg
. Add lightly beaten eggs & mix well
. Add flour & mix well
. Put batter in round loose bottomed tin
. Bake 50-60 mins

Shabbat lunch – aubergine rolls

Sliced aubergine lengthways 1cm thick. Still don’t understand salting them because they are so salty even when wiped and cooked! Baked in oven on lightly oiled baking sheet until soft and browned. Leave to cool with silver foil over them to stop sticking to tray. Filling was meant to be mixture of ricotta and mascarpone but SO expensive in kosher shops so used soft white ‘noodle pudding’ cheese and yoghurt with some nutmeg. Quick tomato sauce using canned plum toms, blitzed with roasted garlic and reduced over low heat. Put bit in bottom of pan, roll ball of filling in each aubergine slice and lay seam side down, pour rest of sauce over and sprinkle with grated cheese – no Parmesan so cheddar did nicely! Sat on hot plate really well.

Salad – iceberg shredded, grated carrot and red cabbage, green and yellow pepper diced, dried cranberries. Balsamic, honey, rapeseed oil and crushed garlic dressing.

Easy chocolate cake and leftover crumble with alpro custard for dessert.