I love to cook and bake, and one of the delights of my cooking was this, which is a French pastry case called Pate Sucree, filled with strawberries Chantilly cream, and then adorned with more strawberries, passion fruit and a sprig of mint. All hand made by me, the strawberries and mint from the garden, the cream made by me too, but the passion fruit was shop bought.
Second recipe in the lavender range.
Self-raising flour, for dusting
2 teaspoons dried lavender buds
375g self-raising flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Prep: 20 mins | Cook: 15 mins | Makes 12
- Preheat oven 220 C / Gas 7. Dust a baking tray with self-raising flour. Give the lavender buds a short blitz in a food processor, so that it is a coarse powder.
- Sieve 375g self-raising flour into medium bowl, add lavender and caster sugar. Using your fingertips, rub butter into the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add milk. Use a blunt knife to mix until dough begins to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until dough comes together. Do not over-knead.
- Flatten dough with palm of your hand until about 2cm thick. Use a 5cm round cutter or a drinking glass to cut out your scones. Place onto prepared baking tray 1cm apart. Brush with additional milk.
- Bake in preheated oven for 14-16 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
- Place on a wire rack and let cool.
- Cut in half, smear in salted butter.
Although not the best photo (used my iPhone) I can truly say they are totally delicious, and I will be making more.
I said in a previous post that I was going to do some cooking with Lavender. Well my 50g bag arrived yesterday, as it was a sealed bag, there was no fragrance off it at all. I opened it, and it was intoxicating to say the least. I put it in an air tight storage jar till today.
Today I made a net bag so that I cold have the lavender in the caster sugar without it distributing itself throughout. This will make it easier to control the fragrance of the sugar to a strength I require. This sugar will be used as toppings for biscuits like shortbread.
Once the bag was sewn up properly, I just added it to half a kilo of sugar, shook it up so that the bag was at the bottom, and now I will leave it for a week, then test the strength of the sugar. This really should take between one and three weeks to get to the perfect strength, checking every few days after the first initial week.
I wish I could share the fragrance from it with you all, it is a fantastic smell.
I love ginger, in stir-fry, cakes, chocolate, tea, and roasted with chicken, or in a rib recipe, however, sometimes I need to use stem ginger, which is ginger preserved in syrup, and it is really easy to make, so here is a little wisdom.
1 lb fresh gingerroot, peeled and scrubbed and cut into 2 inch pieces
12 fl’oz water
1 lb sugar
- Rinse scrubbed and peeled roots and soak in cold water overnight.
- Place in pan of cold water to cover. Bring to a boil.
- Drain and repeat process 3 or more times (depends on how old the ginger is).
- In a separate pan, boil sugar and water together for 20 minutes to make the syrup. Stir in the drained ginger root and heat until syrup comes to a boil.
- Remove pan from heat and let stand overnight.
- Store in airtight glass jars in the refrigerator.
Easy, and great in biscuits, shortbread, cakes, and my favourite; Rocky Road Crunch Bars.
I LOVE lavender, and this year, I am going to cook with it. My first will be to do Lavender Shortbread. Last year I decided to harvest the French lavender buds I had in the garden, however, there just was not enough to use in anything substantial, like cake or shortbread. So, with that I am willing to cheat, but this did not come as easily as I thought. We live not too far from “The Lavender Farm”, which does all things, you guessed it, lavender. But, with all the will in the world, the farm had gone into liquidation, so it was back to the drawing board. None of the shops that I use, including John Lewis have such things either, so I had a choice to either grow lots in the garden, or troll the internet. Growing would mean little harvest at the end of summer, so the internet it was.
I will be posting details of what I cook, and what I think of it, and will include recipes and photographs of the finished items.
I usually roast my chicken like everyone else does to be honest, in the oven, basted in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. However, today I decided to do it differently, and also because I was ready for my dinner at 10:30am.
I took a very large chicken, and cut it in half down the spine. put the two halves in a roasting tin, rubbed them with extra olive oil & lemon juice, seasoned with sea salt, then added 5 crushed cloves of garlic to them, just thrown on really, and the same with a good thick finger of ginger, then chopped some fresh sage on top and roasted at 220˚c for about 40 minutes.
What you have is a delicious roast chicken without the 2-3 hour cooking time.
I love to cook, but for the last week my Oven has been out of limits as there is a fault with a gas cut off so cannot use it. However, all was not lost as I finally made Chocolate fudge, and it is very easy to make, and you don’t even need a sugar thermometer.
vegetable oil, for greasing
300g/10½oz soft light brown sugar
125g/4½oz evaporated milk
300g/10½oz milk chocolate, chopped
75g/3oz dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa solids), chopped
- Grease and line an 8″ square cake tin. I use an earthenware lasagne dish.
- In a heavy based large pan, put the butter, sugar and milk and put on a low heat till the butter and sugar melts.
- Add the marshmallow and allow to melt, stirring from time to time. When melted, turn the heat right up and allow it to boil for five to eight minutes.
- Chop all the chocolate up into small pieces.
- Take the mixture off the heat and add the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for a minute, then stir really well making sure all the chocolate has melted.
- Turn out into to prepared cake tin and place either in the fridge or in a cold place to set for a few hours.
Once the fudge has set, lift out using the grease proof paper and cut into your desired size squares, you can usually get 25 squares out of it, and enjoy.