Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Cornish Fairing Biscuits (with a twist)!

Today's weather is dull and wet, lots of other jobs to do but not in the mood, and wanted to bake something quickly..

So I thought I would bake some biscuits Cornish Fairings actually, got my mum's old recipe out only to find I don't have ginger (quite important that one) and golden syrup!
Well I had a good old rummage in the spice cupboard and I found some galangal which has a slight smell of ginger!!! and the recipe also has mixed spice  which I have so I thought I'd give it a go.
Oh also substituted honey for golden syrup.
Well, they are delicious even if I say so myself, they look the same as fairings, but they are slightly more chewy without being tough and because of the galangal the biscuits have a slight peppery taste but just a hint.
I am having to bake another batch as these have been eaten already!!
Here's the recipe

100 g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon of galangal ( or ginger)
Pinch of salt
40 g of Castor sugar
50 g of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of Honey

Firstly pre heat the oven 200*C/400*F/Gas mark 6
Line two baking trays with grease proof paper and butter lightly
Sift flour into mixing bowl add salt, galangal, spices, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda
give a mix and add sugar and diced butter
Rub with fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs
Then add honey and pull together with wooden spoon
Add a little bit of cold water if dough is still crumbly
You should now have a nice firm dough
On a flat surface with your hands roll your dough to form a large sausage about 15inchs long, 2 inches thick 
Slice into 20 sections  and shape each piece of dough to 50p size balls
Place on grease proof paper leaving plenty of space between each ball as they should double in size
Bake in oven for 7 minutes until golden brown 
Remove from oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes
Then gently lift off trays onto wire racks to allow to cool completely
Once thoroughly cooled place in airtight container, will keep for a few days
Unless like me they have all been eaten in seconds and am know off to make another batch!!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Getting ready for planting!

Well I know in some places of England it's quite cold but here in Cornwall it's still fairly mild, so we have been able to turn some of the soil on the allotment ready to plant the garlic I'm planting Tuscany Wight.
We planted these for the first time last year and I'm still cooking with them, great flavour and large size bulb, ours stored very well.

Here are a few pictures of our allotment.

As you can see looks rather sad at the moment, but it is the time of year! we would normally have brussels sprouts and cabbages but last year we had a VERY wet summer and humid so what didn't rot got eaten by the cabbage white, slugs and pigeons.
We should have covered with some form of netting but never got around to it, (we were away a lot ) and again the weather wasn't so great.

Having said that, early spring was very dry and we had a great harvest of pak choy spring cabbage, broad beans,early potatoes early carrots and beetroot.
But as the season moved on the rain came and so a lot of salad crops, sweetcorn,  carrots, got eaten or floated off down the allotment to the owners pig! who doesn't complain.
Hopefully we will have a better summer but I must put in the hours also.

I am in the process of ordering onion sets, I have never done onion seeds so can't comment on the difference.. if there is any I'd love to know.

My sister bought me a propagator for Xmas so I will start thinking about getting my chilli seeds and peppers planted , well maybe next month, I'm getting ahead of myself .

In this last picture we have turned over the plot on the right , but need to add some goodness to the soil, don't use chemicals only organic matter or as near as possible.
Thinking of planting potatoes and legumes ,also doing bit of companion planting, I love marigolds and sweet peas so have more research to do as far as what to add to the soil that's compatible to these vegetables and flowers.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Rosemary and Caramelised onion Focaccia Bread

My first attempt at baking Focaccia bread and it turned out very tasty!

I wanted to bake some bread because I was making chicken and noodle soup for supper, so I thought instead of the normal bread I usually bake I will try Focaccia.

I had some shallots leftover from xmas and we have a huge Rosemary bush in the garden so that was the topping sorted.

Rosemary and Caramelised onion Focaccia Recipe

500g White Bread Flour
1teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of sugar  
7g Sachet of easy bake yeast
300ml Warm Water (1 part boiling 2 parts cold)

In large mixing bowl add flour and salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
In a measuring jug measure your water and add sugar until dissolved
Then add yeast and whisk until you have a light foam on top
Leave for another 10 mins
While waiting for yeast to ferment finely chop 2 shallots and gently fry in a nob of butter a
Add a teaspoon of sugar once caramelised take off heat and leave to one side
Chop up two sprigs of fresh rosemary leave to one side
When yeast mix is nice and foamy give another whisk and add to your flour
Bring all your ingredients together to form a nice dough (if to dry add a small amount of water, if too wet add a small amount of flour)
Knead the dough on a floured surface for at least 10 mins( great exercise for upper arms)
You should then have smooth dough.
Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with damp  tea towel and place in a warm draught free place for at least an hour( you want the dough to double in size
When the dough is ready take out of bowl and place on a lightly greased baking tray
Shape dough  by gently pushing air out and keeping dough flat
Make little indentations in dough using your little finger place in hot oven at 230 C/gas mark 6 for 10 mins
Take out of oven and sprinkle top with sea salt and your shallots and rosemary
Put back in oven for 20 mins until golden on top and bread has even bake underneath and sounds slightly hollow
Serve still warm if possible this Focaccia will keep moist for a few days or freeze on day of baking
I served mine with homemade chicken and noodle soup it was delicious

Sunday, 8 January 2012

My First Time !!

Well here goes,
This is my first ever blog! and I'm quite nervous after being a blog lurker so to speak for a long time.

But after another disappointing meal out my partner suggested that I start a food blog and share my rants and raves with other fellow foodies.

I'm also crazy about growing my own food, and we are fortunate to have an allotment it's fab only five of us allotmanteers  on roughly half an acre of land and our view is the sea.

So what I'm hoping to achieve with this blog is to chat about what I'm growing, what I'm cooking, eating out (my favourite pastime) and hopefully sharing recipes and stories with whoever might be interested .

So all you food lovers, veg growers please stop by and share your ideas and stories with me.