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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Seasonal Recipes - Mini Raspberry Tarts

It would appear that the Summer is almost over in the UK, and Autumn is well and truly upon us. The evenings are feeling decidedly chillier than they were a few weeks ago. However, in terms of fruit picking, you may still be able to find some pick your own raspberries and strawberries if you're lucky. Sadly the pick your own raspberry season at our local farm shop finished last week, but we should still be able to get strawberries for a while yet.

Mini Raspberry Tarts

If you get your hands on some juicy raspberries and you fancy trying my recipe for Mini Raspberry Tarts you can find the recipe featured on Great British Chefs here.

Mini Raspberry Tarts Mini Raspberry Tarts Mini Raspberry Tarts

Tefal Actifry + Snacking

I have quite a lot of gadgets and small appliances in my bulging at the seams kitchen, but one piece of kitchen equipment that I've lusted after for some time is the Tefal Actifry, so when I was asked if I would like to try out the new Tefal Actifry + Snacking they didn't have to ask twice.

You may have heard of the Tefal Actifry through friends raving about their chips made using just one tablespoon of oil, as that's pretty much all I knew about it.

The Tefal Actifry is so much more than that though - you can use it to cook stir fries, risottos, fruit, chicken, fish, meat and desserts. You just add the ingredients to the non stick bowl, along with a small amount of oil, and during cooking the paddle moves the ingredients around to ensure that they cook evenly without burning.

Tefal Actifry + Snacking

With the addition of the snacking basket you can now also make chicken nuggets, spring rolls etc. Instead of having the rotating paddle inserted you place on a wire basket, and place the food on top (brushed or sprayed with a little oil), allowing air and heat to be circulated all around.

I've only had the Tefal Actifry + Snacking a few days but I've already used it quite a few times for the following :

  • Aubergine slices
  • Tomato ketchup chicken nuggets
  • Chips
  • Chicken and vegetable stir fry
  • Cinnamon apple slices
  • Chicken fried rice / risotto
Tefal Actifry + Snacking Tefal Actifry + Snacking Tefal Actifry + Snacking

The Actifry is really easy to clean and the non stick bowl washes clean with minimum effort, as does the wire basket and paddle, which pleases the husband!

I'm now looking forward to cooking up many more recipes in the Actifry.

I was sent the Tefal Actifry + Snacking for review

Monday, 18 August 2014

Better with BRITA - The winners!

Last month I announced the shortlist for the Better with BRITA competition that they were running in conjunction with Delicious magazine.
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Brita have now chosen their winners, as below :

Emily's cupcakes
At 15 Emily was the youngest person to enter the competition. Emily used to run her own baking website, Emily's Home Bakes, but gave it up to concentrate on her GCSE's. The judges were impressed with the bespoke cupcakes she designed for each of the judges, especially a miniature BRITA water jug made out of icing.

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Alex's gluten-free brownies
Alex created his gluten-free brownies after discovering that there was a lack of sweet treats available for his gluten intolerant sister. He's passionate about people enjoying food and wanted to get the best out of his ingredients by using BRITA filtered water. The judges loved the moist chocolate centre of the brownies, as well as the interesting addition of peanut butter.

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Rekha's samosas
Rekha's samosas are handcrafted, from the spices to the pastry, to ensure a perfect parcel of taste. Her creations are a favorite amongst her local farmers markets as people love her Indian cooking style. She's a perfectionist cook and ensures a golden glow by using the best ingredients, including BRITA filtered water.

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The three winners received a BRITA tap to enable them to continue to discover the results of cooking with filtered water and they used a BRITA Talori tap at the cook-off. BRITA taps are the most convenient way to get filtered water in the kitchen.

Each winner will now be able to follow their dreams and sell their creations at the Big Feastival, supported by BRITA at the brand's stand, for one day between 31st August and 1st September.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Florentines and Cheddar & Herb Biscuits

The Great British Bake Off is now well underway and week two saw bakers making savoury biscuits, Florentines and 3D biscuit scenes. The first time I ever saw a Florentine was when was 15 and working my Saturday job in a bakery - for £1 per hour. You could be mistaken into thinking that working in a bakery from a young age was where my baking interest stemmed from, however, the only time I came into contact with any cooking was when someone ordered a bacon sandwich and I would have to go out the back and fry it in the sandwich press.

I never actually tried a Florentine for a good few years afterwards, I was a little wary of them back then, probably something to do with the fact that barely any were ever sold and when we closed up at the end of the day they would go in the cupboard ready to be sold on the Monday, so goodness knows how many times that tray of Florentines had been in and out of that cupboard.

According to Mary, Florentines should be crisp, but I quite like the chewiness of my version. They hold their shape but don't 'snap' in two - maybe a few more minutes in the oven would do it. Despite the lack of snap my Florentines barely lasted a few hours, with the kids and their friends inhaling them.

Florentines and Cheddar & Herb BiscuitsFlorentines and Cheddar & Herb Biscuits Florentines and Cheddar & Herb Biscuits

Florentines - makes 12
50g golden syrup
50g butter
50g caster sugar
50g plain flour
50g flaked almonds
100g sultanas
150g milk or dark chocolate

  • Add the syrup, butter and sugar to a saucepan
  • Heat on a low heat until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved
  • Stir in the flour, almonds and sultanas and mix well
  • Line a baking sheet with non stick paper or silicone sheets
  • Spoon heaped teaspoons of mixture onto the baking tray, spaced well apart
  • Bake in a preheated 180C oven for approx 8 minutes
  • Leave to cool for 10 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully
  • Once fully cool, melt the chocolate in the microwave on short bursts
  • Coat the underside of each florentine with chocolate and allow to set

I quite fancied all of the savoury biscuits that the bakers made on the show last week, and they would be great on a Christmas cheese board. I played it quite safe with my cheddar and herb biscuits, made with mature cheddar cheese and fresh rosemary and lemon thyme from the garden. Now these definitely did have a snap, and were very buttery and moreish, a bit like a cheese straw.

Florentines and Cheddar & Herb Biscuits

Cheddar & Herb Biscuits - makes approx 18 biscuits

100g plain flour
100g cold butter
100g mature cheddar cheese, grated
1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs - I used rosemary and lemon thyme

  • Rub the butter into the flour
  • Mix in the cheese & squeeze together in your hands to form a smooth ball of dough
  • Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Roll out on a floured surface to approx 3mm-4mm thick
  • Using a cutter, cut discs from the dough, re rolling as necessary to avoid waste
  • Place on a greased baking sheet
  • Bake in a preheated 200C oven for approx 10-12 minutes
  • leave to cool on a wire rack

Florentines and Cheddar & Herb Biscuits Florentines and Cheddar & Herb Biscuits

Savoury and sweet biscuits together would have made a lovely afternoon tea, however shortly after this picture was taken the biscuits were all snapped up by the kids, and taken to a friends house for a bake off taste test of their own.

Take a look at all the other Great British Bake Off inspired bakes in The Great Bloggers Bake Off on Mummy Mishaps.

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