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Friday, 24 October 2008

Chocolate Gingerbread for SHF!

Is it time for Sugar High Friday already?

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This month the theme is spices, and I'm pleased because it means I can make Nigella's Chocolate Gingerbread. Even though I have the book Feast, I first saw the recipe in the April 2008 edition of Delicious magazine. Then I spotted Andrew's post, and finally, I now have a good excuse.

I cut the recipe in half and it still made enough to fill a 9" square cake tin. The cake is delicious, but very soft and crumbly, more like a brownie - not your usual gingerbread cake texture. I made a dark chocolate ganache icing because I didn't have any ginger ale on hand, but have put it on the shopping list for next time.

To enter your own spicy, sugary treat, go to this month's SHF host - the fabulous Dessert First - for all the details.
Sugar High Friday was created by Jennifer at The Domestic Goddess. You can see all the previous themes here.

The Chocolate Gingerbread recipe can be found here or in her book, Feast

Nigella's Chocolate Gingerbread 5094 Nigella's Chocolate Gingerbread 5114

This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Panini Rolls for World Bread Day

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I can't believe another year has passed and World Bread Day is here again!

As I've said before, I bake tons of bread and here is my recipe for simple panini rolls, which make an appearance at least once a week. The best way to eat them is toasted, with melted cheese, onion and tomatoes. Fresh basil leaves are good too, only I forgot to put them in this time.
Don't have a panini press? Me neither! I grill (broil) the split paninis with the fillings first. Close them and pop them onto a pre-heated griddle pan to make the outsides crispy and get the lovely grill marks on them. Flatten them while in the pan by pressing down on them with a heat proof spatula or press them down with a clean flat saucepan lid.

3rd World Bread Day hosted by 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf cheese panini 5044 R

Hop on over to Kochtopf, where Zorra is hosting the 3rd World Bread Day event - there are lots of fabulous bread recipes from around the world and you can also take a look at the past World Bread Day round-ups.

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Panini Bread Rolls

1 sachet (7g) quick rising yeast
600g/1lb 5oz strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
370ml/13 fl oz water (approx)
1 beaten egg to glaze, optional

Put all the ingredients into the bread machine in the correct order.
When it comes to the water, you may need less or more, keep an eye on it and add as necessary to make a smooth, soft dough.

When the dough is ready, cut it into about 10 pieces and knead each one into a long roll shape. Flatten with your hand or use a little rolling pin - you want them fairly flat.

Cover and leave to rise until they have doubled in size, brush with beaten egg (optional) and bake in a pre-heated oven 180ºC/350ºF for about 14-16 minutes until golden brown.

(Printable Recipe)

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Chocolate and Pistachio Wedges

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This recipe is one that would have been overlooked, had I not been looking for something sweet to make with pistachios.

Coming from The Cookie and Biscuit Bible, these chocolate and pistachio wedges are rich, a bit like a soft chocolate shortbread, covered with crunchy, colourful nuts.

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Chocolate and Pistachio Wedges
Adapted from The Cookie and Biscuit Bible

200g/7oz unsalted butter, softened
90g/3½ oz caster sugar
250g/9oz plain flour
50g/2oz unsweetened cocoa powder
25g/1oz shelled pistachio nuts, finely chopped
Cocoa powder for dusting - ooops, I forgot to dust mine!

Heat the oven to 190ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. Line a 23cm/9" round tin with baking parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and either work in with your hands, or use a hand held electric mixer to bind the mixture together until smooth
(as I did).

Press the dough into the prepared tin. I used a small double ended rolling pin to spread it smoothly to the edges, or you can just use the back of a tablespoon to press the mixture evenly into the tin.

Prick the dough with a fork, sprinkle the pistachio nuts over and gently press them in. Mark into segments with a knife.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, but do not allow to brown or the cookies will taste bitter.

Remove from the oven and dust with cocoa powder. Cut through the marked segments and leave to cool before removing from the tin.

(Printable Recipe)

This is my contribution to a party that Kellypea is holding over at Sass & Veracity. I just recently found her food blog via another favourite of mine, Passionate About Baking, and I'm impressed to see that Kellypea is celebrating her 100,000th visitor to her delicious blog with this party!

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Jammin' with British Scones and Clotted Cream!

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Fresh from the oven

There is a wonderful British tradition, afternoon tea.

In times gone by, it used to be more of a light meal - a pot of steaming hot tea and tiny sandwiches, cakes and pastries - taken between 3 and 5pm. Nowadays, the more formal afternoon tea is only served on special occasions, in hotels or when friends pop round. Cream teas are more popular, and can be found in every tea shop.

At the weekends, we quite often stop for a mid afternoon cuppa and a biccy, recharging our batteries after slogging in the garden.
It's a treat to have a cream tea - warm scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam - something we normally indulge in when on holiday, or when a pot of Cornish clotted cream finds it's way into my shopping trolley.

The recipe I use for rich scones has been adapted from the Be-Ro cookery book. The traditional method is to rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips, but I find that by doing the rubbing in bit with the food processor, your scones are far lighter and more crumbly in texture - you really don't want them to end up too heavy or 'cake like'.

Now, for the controversial part! Jam or cream on top? There is a big difference, ask any cream tea aficionado. We can argue about it until the cows come home, but for me it's got to be jam.
Why? Well, it just tastes better! Try it and see for yourself!

PS. You can use any jam that takes your fancy, it doesn't have to be strawberry. My 14 yr old likes to eat his with a drizzle of caramel on top - kids eh! And if you can't get hold of clotted cream, use the thickest double (heavy) cream you can find.
Oh... and they also taste good cold!

scones with clotted cream and jam 4796

Rich Scones
Adapted from Home Recipes with Be-Ro

200g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 pinch salt
50g (2oz) unsalted butter
25g (1oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) currants or sultanas (optional - I left them out)
1 large egg beaten with enough milk to make 125ml (¼ pint) liquid

Heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7.

In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt and butter to make fine breadcrumbs. If you don't have a food processor, rub the flour, salt and fat in with your fingertips until fine.

Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar and dried fruit if using.

Add the egg and milk, reserving a little for brushing the tops of the scones. Stir with a flat bladed knife until the mixture comes together.

Knead lightly on a floured surface a couple of times until the mixture is smooth. Be careful not to overwork the dough as this will make the scones tough. Roll out the dough to between ¾ and 1" in thickness.

Cut out rounds using a biscuit (cookie) cutter, any size will do but I like a 2½ inch size cutter. Re-roll the trimmings to use up all the dough.

Place on a baking tray and brush just the tops with the reserved egg and milk.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until well risen and the tops are golden.

Split them in half horizontally and serve warm (or cold) with clotted cream and jam.

(Printable Recipe)

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Ready for baking

British Food Fortnight logo08

As we are slap bang in the middle of British Food Fortnight, these scones are my entry into this year's blog event being held by Antonia of Food, Glorious Food!

Last year's entry was a Hazelnut Cartwheel, a dessert made with pastry and cake crumbs, a bit unusual and different from anything I've made before.


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.