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Monday, 25 November 2013

Scottish Vanilla Tablet

Well, I failed again to post twice this week.  It all seemed so promising when I posted my recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but that was two weeks ago, and time has flown by. Apologies for those of you that check my blog to see the latest update, I know its a pain when nothing seems to change for a long time. 

Todays recipe is a little bit of a change from the norm and it all started when my dear friend Kate requested the use of my hob (yes I did say hob...)  Her attempts at making this Scottish favourite have failed due to a malfunctioning cooker hob and when she asked if she could visit this Sunday and make this sweet treat my answer was long as I can blog about it!

Tablet, or I suppose you could also call it crumbly fudge, is a classic sweet developed in Scotland in the early 18th century.  Normally flavoured with vanilla, whisky or nuts this very sugary treat has a crumbly texture and melts as you eat it.  Ingredient wise its very simple - sugar, condensed milk and butter (with added flavour) but its the technique which is the challenge and without care can result in dangerous burns or as Kate found out liquid that just won't set (or even freeze).   

Make sure you use a large, tall sided, pan.  I used my pasta pot as this has tall sides and very good heat dissipation.  Be-careful when adding the milk as the liquid bubbles up high.  A good quality candy thermometer is a must for this recipe, don't bother without unless you are a dab-hand at making sugar based sweets and know what a hard-boil looks like.

Cut up in to small squares this sweet is perfect for giving away as a present and since Christmas is on the way it may be something I make a number of times.  

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have decided that its time to start back at the gym.  I did so well before the start of the summer holidays but now I feel like it was all for nothing.  I have turned in to one of those 'gym paying but not going' sort of people.  It seems that every time I visit my gym they have something new and this isn't because my gym is great at getting new things it is because I tend to take a 3 month break between workouts!   My plan of action (ummm, ok) is to get fit now and over Christmas ready for my trip to Thailand in April.  I tend to say this every year but this time I real need to stick to it.  Lets see how long this last for.

It is not my intention to transform this blog in to a collection of healthy recipes.  I will offer the odd healthy replacement but my solution to the problem of 'baking a cake and then eating it all to myself' is to give it all away.  The staffroom at work is a place where anything left on a table will get eaten, whether you want it to or not.  So, on to todays recipe.

I have tried many recipes for 'perfect' chocolate chip cookies and this seems to be the best by far.  This recipe comes direct from Nigella Kitchen and is my go to recipe for cookies.  With 300g of chocolate chips these cookies are both soft in the centre and crisp around the outside, each mouthful guaranteed to contain more than an ample amount of chips per bite.  These cookies are perfect for storing in the freezer, uncooked, shaped and ready to go.  Using an ice cream scoop you get a perfectly sized cookie each time and this mixture makes more than another to cook now and freeze for later.  You could cook them all now, or freeze them all for later, whatever way you decide these are truly perfect.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Classic Leek and Potato Soup

Walking to work Monday morning was bitterly cold, so cold in fact I wished I had my gloves.  Even with the sun shining and the sky blue it still felt like winter had taken hold.  Its far away from the Monday I had a week earlier.  Wondering around the streets of Barcelona in shorts and t-shirt felt like a million miles away.

Todays mid-week post is a classic soup recipe - leek and potato.  Quick and easy to make I had this large batch made up within 30 minutes.  I think it took longer to chop up the potatoes than to actual cook the soup.  Warming and smooth this is a perfect pick-me-up when the weather is cold.  Drank from a mug while watching fireworks outside in the cold this is one of my favourite soups.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Swedish Black Forest Gateau

The past month has flown by.  Soon it will be Christmas ( I have already seen my first Christmas tree) and won't be long until I am breaking up for Easter.  Last month wasn't the best of months for me and is the main reason why I only managed to post one recipe.  Hopefully now things can start to get back to normal and I can continue with my goal of two posts a week!

October is my birthday month, and as a present I received the IKEA cookbook Fika.  Described in the book as "a break for coffee and a bite to eat...a moment's relaxation with friends, family or colleagues'  It is a unique book with regards to layout, each recipe has its own ingredients page where each element is carefully presented in a very IKEA sort of way.  

This recipe is the very last in the book and is my first venture in to cooking Swedish style cakes and food.  I have been lucky enough to visit Sweden and have sampled some of the fantastic, yet overpriced, cakes.  This recipe is far from the German version of Black Forest Gateau - there isn't a cherry to be found - but instead its a light meringue layer cake sandwiched with thick vanilla infused cream and topped with shavings of chocolate and cocoa powder.  Hazelnut, meringue, cream and chocolate, not a bad combination and perfect to eat with friends.  Gluten free too.