Afternoon Tea

This week, I’ve updated and grown my Afternoon Tea & Cakes Book. I’ve been working like a crazy woman to get it done by this weekend because my jewellery making kit is arriving today and I can’t wait to get onto the new project – I’m making crocheted earrings.

They may go up on Etsy or Home of the Mall or I may do a market stall. I’ve never made jewellery before so not sure how it’s going to pan out. Watch this space, as they say, because I’m sure I’ll have to blog about it!

But for now, I thought I’d share a couple of Cheesy recipes that I’ve included in the new edition of Afternoon Tea & Cakes.

It’s up on Etsy now if you’d like to indulge in a few elegant and delicious afternoon tea parties 🙂 or pop over to the Books Section and choose your preferred retailer.

CHEESY CRUMBLES

Chewy, cheesy, bite-sized snacks

Ingredients

115g (4-5oz) Cheddar Cheese
100g (4oz) plain flour
25g. (1oz) walnuts
6 tablespoons butter
4 spring onions
1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190˚C/375˚F/Gas mark 5.
  2. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.
  3. Grate the cheese coarsely in a bowl.
  4. Thinly slice the spring onions and finely chop the walnuts. Stir both into the cheese.
  5. Stir in the flour and the mustard.
  6. Melt the butter and add to the cheese mixture, stirring until well blended.
  7. Shape into 2.5cm (1in) balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a spatula.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown
  9. Leave to cool on the sheets for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire tray to cool, completely.
  10. Best eaten warm and on the same day as making them although they can be stored in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days.

CHEESE PUFFS

This recipe includes bacon, but a veggie substitute could be used instead.

Ingredients
500g (1lb 2oz) all butter puff pastry
100g (4oz) cheddar, grated
50g (2oz) fresh breadcrumbs
2 rashers streaky bacon, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
Seasoning

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 230˚C / 450˚F / Gas mark 8.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion, bacon and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the breadcrumbs, cheese and mustard and season to taste.
  4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out 12 circles.
  5. Put a heaped teaspoon of the cheese mixture in the centre of each circle, then fold it n half and seal with beaten egg.
  6. Crimp the edges, transfer the pastries to a baking tray and brush the tops with beaten egg.
  7. Bake the puffs for 15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Variation
Add 100g (4oz) of chorizo cut into small cubes to the filling when you fry the onion

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Chocolate Pecan Pralines

As I’m addicted to chocolate peanuts, I thought I might try this recipe from the old fashioned candy book (published around 100 years ago!). The original recipe is below my translation.

Ingredients

*3 cups of granulated sugar,
1 cup of cream,
2 squares of chocolate, melted or grated
3 cups of pecan nuts, chopped finely
**1 cup of sugar cooked to caramel,
pecan nut halves to decorate

*Maple or brown sugar could be used in place of all or part of the quantity of granulated sugar.
**I’ve found a number of theories about caramelizing sugar but Delia seems to know what she’s talking about so I’ll go with her version. If you’ve never done this before her step by step page here makes it easy! Probably best to make it in a big pan as you’ll be pouring the chocolate mixture onto it.

Method

My translation is as follows:

  1. Put the cream and sugar in a heavy based saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Bring to the boil and boil until mixture is at the soft ball stage (put a tiny drop into cold water – if it pushes together smoothly, it’s ready) or, if you have a cooking thermometer, until it reaches 236 degrees.
  3. Add the melted or grated chocolate and beat it into the mixture. Then pour the mixture onto the sugar cooked to caramel. Bring back to the boil and remove from heat.
  4. Add the chopped nuts and beat until the mixture begins to thicken.
  5. When cool enough to hold its shape, drop teaspoon by teaspoon onto a greased board or any clean non-stick surface and place a pecan half on each before it sets.
  6. The mixture sets very quickly so you may want to enroll some help with the placing of the nut halves.

The original recipe text:

Stir the sugar and cream over the fire until the sugar is melted, then let boil to the soft ball degree, or to 236° F. Add the chocolate, melted or shaved fine, and beat it in, then pour the mixture onto the cup of sugar cooked to caramel; let the mixture boil up once, then remove from the fire; add the nut meats and beat until the mass begins to thicken. When cold enough to hold its shape drop onto an oil cloth or marble, a teaspoonful in a place, and at once set a half nut meat on each. Two persons are needed to make these pralines, one to drop the mixture, the other to decorate with the halves of the nuts. The mixture becomes smooth and firm almost instantly.

Enjoy!

Linda x

Parsley Pie

Although parsley has been used as a garnish for many years, it’s now being recognized as a valuable food.

High in iron and vitamin C, parsley is a nutritious and inexpensive food – especially if you grow it yourself.

Parsley pie, a traditional Cornish recipe, especially good for using up leftovers.

  1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 (350F, 180C)
  2. Lightly grease an ovenproof dish and almost fill with chopped fresh parsley.
  3. Mix in cooked lamb or any other meat or vegetarian substitute (chopped or minced)
  4. Add a couple of chopped hard boiled eggs and any chopped veggies you may have lurking in the fridge!
  5. Season and pour stock over the whole lot. Stock could be meat, chicken, ham or vegetable.
  6. Cover with a pastry top and bake in the pre-heated oven for about half an hour.

NB: If you use meat, always make sure it’s piping hot right through before serving.

Grow your own parsley so you have a constant supply of this wonderful herb.

How to Grow Parsley at Home

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Broad Bean Recipes

Broad Beans, also known as Fava beans are so good for you, you should eat them with everything! They are high in fibre and have around 25grams of protein per 100g. They’re also rich in B vitamins and iron among other goodies.

Steam until tender and serve as a green veg or leave to cool and stir into any salad bowl.

And try out these easy recipes…

BROAD BEAN SALAD

Ingredients

Broad Beans
1 finely chopped red pepper
1 finely chopped or grated onion or shallot

Dressing
6 tablespoons of nut or olive oil
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of chopped herbs

Method

Steam or boil broad beans until tender but not too soft
Drain and allow to cool
Mix red pepper, onion and herbs together
Stir into broad beans and serve.

BROAD BEAN PASTA SALAD

Ingredients

6oz/ 175g/ 2 cups of pasta shells
4-6oz/ 100-175g/ 1 cup of broad beans
1 bunch of watercress, chopped
1 small carrot, grated
Preferred salad dressing

Method

Cook pasta until tender but not too soft
Drain, rinse in cold water, drain again and leave to cool completely
Steam or boil broad beans until tender, drain and allow to cool
Mix all ingredients; pasta, beans, carrot and watercress together in a large bowl
Add salad dressing and serve.

BROAD BEAN SOUP

Ingredients

1 medium sized potato, peeled and diced
1 onion, finely chopped
A little oil or butter
Vegetable or chicken stock
Broad beans
Seasoning (pepper, herbs etc;)

Method

Heat oil or butter in a large heavy based pan and gently fry diced potato and chopped onion until soft.
Keep on a low heat and stir to prevent burning
Add stock and as many beans as the pan will hold!
Bring to the boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until beans are soft
Season to taste with a little black pepper, herbs or both

*For non-vegetarians, add a little chopped, cooked bacon in the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

BROAD BEAN PATE
*If you like coriander (cilantro) you’ll love this one!

Ingredients

2lbs/ 900g/ 5 cups of shelled broad beans
2 teaspoons ground coriander (cilantro)
2 teaspoons ground parsley
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
About 4 tablespoons of olive oil

Method

Cook beans until tender, drain and reserve liquid
Blend beans and herbs in a blender
Add garlic
Thin the mixture with a little of the reserved liquid to make a thick puree
Slowly stir in the oil until the required thickness of pate is reached
Taste and stir in extra seasoning if needed.
Serve on toast or crackers

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Banana Seed Cakes

Although my gluten, sugar and dairy free banana loaf seems to have become a regular family favourite, I’m getting bored now! If you’re not bored with it yet, There’s an infographic on this page – tip: screenshot it on your phone.

Although, if dairy isn’t an issue for you, there’s another version here. Every time I make this, I seem to have different mixes 🙂

This Banana Seed Cake Recipe looks quick and easy although sunflower seeds aren’t always available so I’m going to try it without seeds as soon as the bananas don’t get eaten again 🙂

Found in ‘Grow Your Own Pharmacy’ (out of print now)

Banana Seed Cakes

Ingredients

2 small-medium very ripe bananas
6oz./150g./1.5 cups of self-raising flour*
3oz./75g./0.3 cup of sugar
3oz./75g./6 tablespoons of butter
5-6oz./125-150g./1 cup of sunflower seed kernels

*if using plain flour add 1-2 teaspoons of baking powder

you also need 3 bowls but they’re easy to wash up!

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, 180C or Gas mark 4
  2. In a bowl, mash peeled bananas
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and beat in the sugar and bananas
  4. In another bowl, mix the flour, sunflower seeds and baking powder, if using, together.
    *If you’re using self raising flour and not including seeds, skip this step.
  5. Fold the flour (mixture) into the banana mix and stir together well.
  6. Put tablespoons of dough on an ungreased baking sheet leaving about 5cm/2ins between them
  7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for around 15 minutes or when they are just starting to brown.

Let me know how you get on with this. I haven’t tried it yet. People keep eating the bananas!

Enjoy

Linda x

Banana and Chocolate Pancakes

Oh my, if bananas and chocolate don’t satisfy that sweet tooth, nothing will!

This is one of those recipes that get personalized the more you make them. If you’re gluten intolerant but can’t get pancakes to work with gluten free flour, maybe try an alternative such as almond flour – I haven’t tried this so don’t quote me on it! And the different types of chocolate you could use are plentiful 🙂

Banana and Chocolate Pancakes

Pancake Mix:

4oz. (100g) flour
Approx. 8fl.oz (200mls) milk
1-2 eggs (depending on size)
A little cooking oil

Filling:

1-2 bananas
2oz. (50g) dark chocolate (keeping it healthy!)
1 tablespoon honey

Method:

To make pancakes:

  1. Sift flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre
  2. Break an egg into the well and add a little milk.
  3. Mix well, adding more milk gradually and mixing until all milk has been used and you have a fairly thick batter mix.*
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan and pour in a little batter and cook for a minute or two.
  5. Turn over – or flip if you can! – and cook gently on the other side for a minute or two.
  6. Serve warm
  • some pancake makers like to chill the batter for half an hour or so before cooking. Not sure why, but when I remember to do this, the pancakes are often more ‘pancake’ like!

To Make Filling:

  1. Gently warm honey and chocolate in a pan to melt.
  2. Slice bananas and add to the pan.
  3. Cook gently for a minute or two then spread over cooked pancake.
  4. Eat immediately!

Enjoy!

Linda x

Mediterranean Potatoes

When I lived in France, I experimented with veggie recipes and this is one that my kids loved and therefore they ate it quite often!

I included it in the free potato book (pdf) here if you’d like to download it or just copy the recipe below and give it a go. Super tasty and nutritious…

Mediterranean Potatoes

Ingredients

3 or 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and diced
1 courgette (zucchini)
1 green pepper
1 medium onion
A handful of fresh chopped herbs (maybe a teaspoon-ish of dried herbs if no fresh available?)
The juice of 1 lemon
A little olive or nut oil

Method

  1. Boil or steam potatoes until just cooked. Drain well and set aside.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, slice the pepper into strips or cut into chunks, chop the onion and slice the courgette.
  3. Gently sauté the pepper, onion and courgette in the oil in a large pan until vegetables are soft.
  4. Stir in the cooked drained potatoes carefully, add the lemon juice and herbs.
  5. Stir gently over a low heat for a minute or two and serve immediately.

NB: Use up any odd bits of vegetables you have lurking in the fridge; e.g. a tomato or a few small broccoli or cauliflower florets.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Chocolate Leaves

Well, if it’s chocolate, it’s probably worth sharing, right?!

I found a few ways of making chocolate decorations but they get a bit fiddly sometimes, then when you think it’s working, one of the chocolate works of art snaps and has to be eaten… oh well 🙂

I haven’t tried making these chocolate leaves yet. I need to go to the shop – AGAIN!

Anyway, see what you think. Copied from The Chocolate Book by Valerie Barratt

Select non-toxic leaves for ‘molds’ with clearly defined veins. Rose, bay, strawberry and mint are all possible. Don’t use leaves that would otherwise be non-edible.

Wash the leaves gently and pat dry.

Melt some chocolate on a heatproof plate over a pan of hot water.

Holding the leaf by the stem, carefully dip the vein side only in the chocolate

  • Alternatively, melt chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water and use a small paintbrush to paint the chocolate on the veined side of the leaf.

Wipe off any chocolate that may have dripped onto the front of the leaf.

Place on non-stick or waxed paper to set.

When the chocolate is completely hard, carefully pull off the leaf by the stem

Et voila! A chocolate leaf ready to decorate a dessert or celebration cake.

Linda x

Viennese Chocolate Cookies

Still on a chocolate run 🙂

Loving the recipes in The Chocolate Book (Valerie Barrett). Some have lots of sugar but this one seems a little less heavy on the sugar. See what you think.

I’ve copied it word for word as it appears in the book and I’m typing very quickly because the kitchen is calling!

Ingredients
225g./8oz/1 cup of butter or margarine
50g./2oz /½ cup icing sugar
225g./8oz/2¼ cups of all-purpose plain flour
50g./2oz /½ cup drinking chocolate powder
25g/1oz/3 tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch)
125g/4oz plain chocolate
A little icing sugar for dusting

Method
Preheat oven to 180˚C, 350˚F, Gas mark 4

  1. Cream together the butter or margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Work in the flour, drinking chocolate powder and cornflour
  3. Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star shaped nozzle. Pip in fingers (or shell-shapes) onto greased baking trays.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack
  5. Melt the chocolate. Dip half of each biscuit into the chocolate and leave to set on non-stick (waxed) paper.
  6. Dust the uncoated half with a little sieved icing sugar.

Enjoy!!
If all the chocolate’s gone, I’m not going to be a happy bunny… 😊
Linda x

Jaffa Cakes

I found this recipe in an old Chocolate Recipe book. I liked the fact that there isn’t a huge amount of sugar listed in the ingredients.

Most marmalades we buy in stores tend to be packed with sugar, but perhaps a low-sugar variety may be available? Or a home-made sugar-free filling could be used as an alternative. No rules here!


The recipe is written as originally published.

Ingredients (makes 18)
50g/2oz/¼ cup of sugar
65g/2½oz/⅔ cup of self-raising flour, sieved
Approx. 4 tablespoons/60ml. marmalade, sieved
125g/4oz plain chocolate
Rind of ¼ orange, finely grated
2 teaspoons/10ml. corn oil*
1 tablespoon/15ml. water
2 eggs

  • Perhaps another oil may be okay. I haven’t tried this recipe yet but I might try it with a nut oil.

Method
Preheat oven to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas 6

  1. Put eggs and sugar into a bowl. Whisk until thick and creamy so that when the whisk is lifted the mixture leaves a trail. If using a hand whisk, put the bowl over a pan of hot water.
  2. With a metal spoon, fold in the flour
  3. Spoon the mixture into about 18 well-greased round-bottomed patty tins (muffin pans). Bake for about ten minutes until golden brown.
  4. Remove and cool on a wire rack
  5. Spread a little marmalade over each cake.
  6. Put the chocolate, orange rind, oil and water in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Stir well until melted.
  7. Cool until the chocolate starts to thicken and then spoon over the marmalade. Leave to set.

Bon Appetit!
Linda x

P.S. I’d love to recommend the book I found this recipe in although I think it may be out of print. If you’d like to try and find it, it’s called ‘The Chocolate Book’ by Valerie Barrett and was published in 1988.