Tag Archives: cinnamon

Warm crumble of apples and pears

A beautiful still life!

A beautiful still life!

A new Wild Food Market has blossomed in our neighbourhood and I got these apples and pears from one of the producers’ stalls. It was such a beautiful feature on my dining table I could hardly decide what to do with it!

Knowing that the beautiful Bramley apples turn into a light, soft snow once cooked, I decided to turn my display into a crumble once again…

Ingredients list:

  • 3 Bramley apples
  • 3 or four pears
  • Same amount of Flour, brown sugar and butter (150g)
  • Oatmeal or plain oats, 100g
  • Cinnamon, 1 Tbsp
  • ginger, 1 Tbsp
  • One capful of Orange blossom water
  • Cornflour, 1 tsp
  • A few blackberries (optional)

Butter up a deep dish  – terracotta or oven proof glass is best.

Peel and chop the fruit and squeeze some lemon juice over so as not to oxidise too rapidly.

With your fingers tips, rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it has the consistency of sifted sand. Leaving some bits and lumps is fine too. Mix the oatmeal in.

Add the cinnamon and ginger.

Spread the fruit into the dish.

Drip the capful of orange blossom water. Sprinkle with the cornflour and toss it all together.

Now sprinkle the flour mix over all of the surface, trying to cover it completely.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

Serve warm with cream or ice-cream.

For a slightly different but equally delicious version, check out here my Blackberry and Apple Crumble or a GF version here.

An apple crumble is the very best of classical English baking! Never tire of it.

Have a beautiful week-end everyone.

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Spicy pumpkin cookies

Cookies that melt in the mouth...

Cookies that melt in the mouth…

This lovely cookie I found on allrecipes.com. I was looking for a nice way to use my Libby jar of pumpkin purée and I really enjoyed the melting fudge-like texture of the dough  and the mixed spices.

Ingredients list:

  • Fine flour, 180g
  • Baking powder, 1 tsp
  • Baking soda, 1tsp
  • Ground cinnamon, 2 tsp
  • Ground nutmeg, ½ tsp
  • Ground cloves, ½ tsp
  • Salt, ½ tsp
  • Butter, 125g
  • Icing sugar, 90g
  • Pumpkin purée, canned, 100g
  • Egg, 1
  • Vanilla extract, 1 tsp

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.

Cream the butter and icing sugar. Add the flour and spices mix.

Drop ball shaped portions of the dough on greaseproof paper and reserve in the fridge for 30 min if possible – it will help them retain their shape.

Bake for 15 to 20 min then let them cool and drizzle some icing over them (icing sugar mixed with a few drops of lemon) or just dust in icing sugar.

If you do not have pumpkin puree, you can replace with unsweetened chestnut puree. The nice spicy edge of this cookie is made even nicer by the fact is is not over sweet.  The icing sugar does also improve the texture and makes the dough very fudgy and melting.

Enjoy those cookies with a nice cup of tea. That is my favourite British expression: not just any cup of tea but a “nice cup of tea”! Cures all ills – might even work on my nasty cold…

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Miniature classic Xmas puddings

This year, we are going totally British for our Christmas lunch. Usually I pick and mix : one starter here, a main there and some odd exotic bits from someplace else ; but this Christmas, lunch will be very traditional and purely British. For once, we are not travelling anywhere so that is one extra reason -if need be – to stay very local.

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In this spirit, I have decide to do my own Christmas puddings. I have been asked many times by friends to share a Christmas pudding recipe and I had none! But fear not, here is one coming!

I dived into some of my oldest books and searched far and wide to eventually settle on a mixed recipe which heritage is a cross between “Kitchen Essays” by Agnes Jekyll (in the beautiful Persephone Books edition) and Dan Lepard from The Gardian.

Little miniature puds in foil dressing

Little miniature puds in foil dressing

Agnes Jekyll calls hers “The Enchantress Plum Pudding” and calls for:
“Half a pound of bread-crumbs, sultanas, currants, raisins, mixed peel, suet, brown sugar, 4 eggs and the zest of two lemons. Mix and cook in usual way, serving with Brandy or orange butter.”
Though I love her concision and economy of style, I think my recipe needs a little expansion…

Ingredients list for 6 mini puddings:

  • Bread-crumbs, 125g
  • Sultanas, 125g
  • Currants, 125g
  • Chopped dates, 125g
  • Mixed peel, one small handful
  • Coconut cooking cream (or any shortening), 75g
  • Agave syrup, (0g
  • Brown sugar, 125g
  • Plain flour, 50g
  • Baking powder, ½ tsp
  • Mixed ginger, cinnamon and cloves spices, 2 tsp
  • nutmeg or mace, 1 tsp
  • Eggs, beaten, 2
  • Grated carrot, 1 small (or 50g)
  • Blanched almonds, 100g
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Dark rum, 100 ml

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and turn well with a wooden spoon until all is mixed evenly. It is traditional at this point to give a go to each member of the family at turning the spoon in the mixture and make a wish for the year ahead. The sunday before the advent calendar begins, so five weeks before Christmas, was traditionally called Stir-up sunday because it was the time to make your puddings ahead of Christmas day. You can still make it after that date but it will have less time to steep and for all the flavours to mingle…

Line and oil 6 small Dariole moulds. The ideal shape is round but you can be ground-breaking and inventive – you are making you own pudding after all!

Put the mixture into the moulds or into one big mould and cover with a small circle of baking paper. Then wrap each into a big square of baking paper and twist the ends on top. Wrap this into a square of foil and twist the ends then tie a rope around the mould, just below the rim and leave a loop – to retrieve the pudding after cooking. Cover and leave them to steep until the next day or two!

Put the puddings into a jam pan or a large cooking pan, pour some water in, being careful to only go halfway up the sides of the moulds – you will need to top up later but better not to drown the cakes… If unsure, you can stand the moulds on upturned jars or a small rack.

All ingredients together

All ingredients together mixed

Cover the pan with foil or a lid and cook on low flame  for 3 hours, checking the water level from time to time.

Let them cool down and put them under a cloth in a cool, dark corner of the house until Christmas day. A cellar would be ideal but failing that I have put mine under a bed!

On Christmas morning, you will need to steam them again in the same way for 2 to 3 hours. Serve warm, pour a thimble of rum over and set light to it!

I love the festive, lovely glow of anything flambéed! Love the smell it leaves behind too…

Stir and wish

Stir and wish for a happy Christmas day

 

 

 

 

Courgette, walnuts and pumpkin seeds cake

Courgettes make for a very unusual but surprisingly delicious ingredient in our Friday cake… A great recipe to bake at the week-end whilst keeping to your 5-a day.
A lovely way to eat one of your 5-a day!

A lovely way to eat your veg

Ingredients list

  • 3 large eggs
  •  250ml sunflower oil
  •  250g soft light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  •  2 tsp cinnamon
  •  ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 300g courgettes, peeled and grated
  • 100g walnuts, chopped roughly
Preheat oven to 180C and prepare two 8” round cake tins.
Grate the courgettes, making sure to choose them fresh and small so they are not bitter! This could ruin your best efforts…
Beat the eggs and sugar and add the oil. Then add the flour followed by all the other ingredients.
Pour into two sandwich tins or one round tin. Bake for 35 min to 45 min, depending on your tin size. Check the top is springy and nicely raised before taking out.
I decorated the top with pumpkin seed to keep to the autumn theme.
I chose to sandwich it and spread a mix of light cream cheese and lemon curd (shop bought) in between. This is not always necessary and this cake is also nice on its own. I like the fact it is not overly sweet and the oil gives it a very springy, soft and aerated texture.
This recipe is apparently a take on the hummingbird bakery recipe, and it was found here at aureafemellabakes.
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Almond milk rice pudding with lemon zest and cinnamon

A warming and regressive pud, perfectly pitched against the cold and grey weather that is still lingering on in the April month… This will comfort your soul and make the world suddenly feel like a cosy and reassuring place! Don’t sue me if it fails though: can’t be held accountable for freak weather…

I love the spanish style rice pudding my grand-mother used to make for us, but I made mine with almond milk for a change and it fitted beautifully. Lately, I have enjoyed using almond milk for its subtle taste as much as its health benefits. It was delicious in Panacotta and today it sings away in humble rice pudding.

Soft, pillowy rice pudding covered in warming cinnamon

Soft, pillowy rice pudding covered in warming cinnamon

Ingredients list:

  •  Almond milk (or full fat milk) 1L
  • Round or short grain rice, 170g
  • Zest of one lemon cut in big strips
  • Ground cinnamon, 1tsp
  • Brown sugar (or vergeoise) 140g
  • Butter, 50g
  • Vanilla bean, one scraped

Warm the milk in a pan and sprinkle the rice and spices and the lemon skin. When I peel the skin off my lemon (organic and unwaxed for this), I like those strips to be large and uneven: this is proper family food, not dainty party pudding.

Turn and check the rice often but the cooking should take about 45 min to an hour- sometime I put it in the oven for 1h30 at 150degrees. Towards the end, you add the sugar and the butter and mix it all in.

Alternatively, you can use a Thermomix and here is the step by step- this produces a lovely soft and pillowy result:

First insert the butterfly whisk and add the milk, rice, lemon zest, vanilla and cinnamon.

Cook 45 min at 90° speed 1.

The great advantage of course of the Thermomix over the oven version is you don’t have to watch it : just set the timer and go for a half hour run!

When you come back:

Add the sugar and butter and cook 10 minutes at 90° speed 1.

Remove the butterfly whisk and turn into a serving dish to cool. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve at room temperature or cold the next day.

It’s heavenly! A spoonful of it and you get this happy, contented-baby, feeling all around the table… Regressive possibly but so good…