Winter spiced tea recipe

Spiced tea was a recent discover for me, and to be honest, at first I wasn’t sure. Now however I am a full on convert. It’s another of those little comforters for the dark cold months we are about to embrace.

So where did this come form? Well for me, it was an innocuous little packet of tea we bought in Whittards. It was cold and dark and Kate and I were trampling along the high street near to christmas. I was becoming more and more annoyed at the endless christmas themed latte tasters that the coffee shops were offering as we passed. Kate was having a blast but at that time I hadn’t developed a love for coffee, so felt left out.

Luckily we passed Whittards and that mean I could treat myself to some nice tea to take home. After all the pumpkin spiced lattes, gingerbread lattes and Black Forest mochas Kate was sampling, the idea of a winter spiced tea grabbed me and I grabbed a bag of it. Off home we went.

This wasn’t the traditional Chai Masala or Chai latte, it was much more subtle and for me, much more winter (think cards with robins and snow). I loved it, subsequently so did my friend Hayley who loves tea as much as me and so we usually end up sharing new found delights.

So… to jump to the end of this rather long and meandering tale… this year I am making my own and it’s not as hard as you think. I make my own Lady Grey (and Hayley approves) so I jumped right in.

The dominant flavour (and aroma) for this tea is cloves. I know, shocker, I was absolutely assuming cinnamon given the associations with winter, but nope. It’s actually cloves. The secondary aroma and flavour is orange peel.

To make the tea

Ok we are going to make this as one mug of tea. You will need:

  • Black tea (tea bag or loose leaf but enough for one mug). Assam works great but any black tea will do the job. Avoid already flavoured or scented teas like Early Grey though)
  • An orange or satsuma to get that citrus peel. You just need a couple of bits of peel.
  • 4 cloves (whole). This sounds like a lot, but we are using them whole and not grinding them so they actually impart way more aroma than flavour.

How to

Brew your mug of tea to your liking. I drink my tea black so I don’t like it too strong. Then simply steep your cloves and orange peel in your mug of tea. Make sure you have a plan for how to get them out again. I have a little one mug tea pot with a filter basket that I use.

That’s it. Really. It’s so easy, but such a lovely, makes you smile cuppa.




More sweet treats to comfort you on a cold night: honeycomb cinder toffee

Growing up, we called this honeycomb but I’ve heard it called cinder toffee, hokey pokey, puff candy and even sponge toffee. No matter what you call it, this is a bomb of sugary delight and fabulous on a cold night, in front of the fire with a cuppa. 

You know the orange, toffee-like centre of a crunchy bar that just melts in your mouth and then goes super sticky? Well, that’s what we are making.

It’s actually really simple to make and very quick, although you do have to be patient and wait on things setting oh and did I mention it’s pure sugar? This is a big pile of empty calories that will rot your teeth… but oh my god it’s so tasty!!!

First things first though, we are going to be working with CRAZY hot, burny, molten lava-like sugar. BE CAREFUL!

Ingredients

  •  5 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 250ml water
  • 650g granulated sugar
  • 340g golden syrup

The science bit

This sweet delight gets called honey comb because of the bubbly texture, you don’t actually need to add honey to the recipe. I use golden syrup cause the taste an colour work really well and honey can burn really quickly.

Talking of burning, we are basically melting the sugar and then heating it to crazy temperatures,150ºC or hard crack to be precise. The water helps to stop the sugar burning, but the amount of water in the finished toffee also dictates the texture of the finished product:

We are going for hard sweeties as we want the crunchy texture.

Another note about water, or humidity to be precise, open a window while you are cooking this as the high humidity of the kitchen will make your honeycomb sink while it’s cooling.

Ok Let’s make sweeties

Grease and line a (roughly) 23-x-33 cm baking tray with greaseproof paper (grease the paper as well, trust me).

And make sure the paper comes up higher than the sides by a few cm and have all your ingredients measured and to hand, this is gonna be fast when it kicks off.

Sieve the baking soda and cream of tartar together in bowl and have this in grabbing distance. Trust me on sieving this. In a large pot, add the water first to help the sugar to dissolve, and then add the sugar and golden syrup and bring the mixture to a boil without stirring. You can swirl occasionally (carefully) but do not stir. Stirring will cause the sugar to crystallise. This is the hardest thing, I know but you must resist!!!!

Continue boiling until your temp hits 150ºC then remove the pot from the heat and QUICKLY sieve in the baking soda and cream of tartar mixture and stir quickly to make sure it has been incorporated, but stop once it’s no longer visible.

But quickly!!!

QUICKLY pour and scrape the now frothing contents of the pot into your baking tray and let it set. Try to do this without screaming, panicking or dumping the now volcano like pot and running away.

Do not touch it, stir it, try to spread it. Don’t even try to tip the tray, just leave it where it naturally sits. Did I emphasise enough that you need to be quick? It takes seconds for this to turn into a volcano of froth as the baking soda erupts but it also takes seconds for you to knock the air out, hence quickly and do not touch.

Now you have to leave it alone and let it cool for around 2 hours until it is solid. Really, I know it’s tempting to touch it and test if it’s set, don’t do it, it’s bloody hot!!!

After 2 hours smash it into bite-sized pieces and enjoy or you know be virtuous and give it away (but nobody likes virtuous I don’t eat sweeties types). It’s extra awesome dipped in chocolate, or so I’ve been told, cause you know I don’t eat unhealthy things so I wouldn’t know.

My body is a temple.

Oh sorry no, amusing park, my body is an amusement park, I always mix those two up.




Butternut squash soup… an autumn warmer or còsagach recipe

Last year we introduced you to our winter fun known as Hygge. It the association of all things warming and comforting to get you through the dark nights, happy with what you have and the time spent with loved ones. Well as we were telling you all about this, a local newspaper here in Scotland introduced us to what they are claiming is the Scottish term for this… còsagach.  Now I will not lie, I have never heard of this and no one I spoke to had either, but hey I’m all up for a new term to explain things which is way easier to say 🙂

So còsagach…. VisitScotland the tourism people are claiming it means snug, cosy or sheltered. Maybe relating to sheltered as in a den or foxhole, something an animal shelters in? Some folk relate this to a bit of a mix up with còsag maybe sounding like the English word cosy?

But hey, what the heck let’s have some fun and go with it. So today’s recipe is a warming Butternut Squash Soup for a còsagach autumn evening. Maybe after raking leaves in the garden adding more duct tape to the poorly and failing greenhouse?

Ingredients

  • 1 large peeled and deseeded butternut squash, cut into little bits
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 0.25 tsp chilli powder
  • 0.25 tsp paprika
  • 0.25 tsp cardamom
  • 0.25 tsp nutmeg
  • 1.5 litres stock (I like chicken)
  • Salt and pepper

How to

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan
  2. Put the squash into a large bowl with the oil, spices and salt and pepper and give it all a good mix
  3. Spread it out on a roasting tray and roast for about 45 minutes, or until squishy
  4. Fry the chopped onion until soft and then add it to your soup pot
  5. Once the squash is cooked, put it into your soup pot and add the stock
  6. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins. Check the seasoning
  7. When you are happy, blend the heck out of it!!! You want it velvety smooth

Serve it with some crusty bread and butter or for extra còsagach/hygge, you could roast the butternut squash seeds (just for 5 minutes or so) with some oil, chilli powder and garlic salt and then sprinkle on top.




Halloween here isn’t about pumpkins… apple spiced muffin recipe

I’ve been involved in a bit of facebook rant recently about Halloween and the fact that Scottish kids celebrate this as the American version (trick or treat) rather than holding onto the traditional Scottish celebrations I knew as a kid. It’s just one of those things, the world is becoming smaller with the advent of communications technologies. We grow up with American, Hollywood films and TV shows regularly come from the states, so it’s only natural that there is a crossover of cultures. So I suppose that’s where bloggers like myself have to talk about our cultural traditions so they don’t get forgotten.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is everywhere at this time of year… now. It wasn’t a thing really when I was a kid, but these days Halloween and Autumn, in general, are filled with pumpkin. We have pumpkin decorations in the shops and pumpkin spiced coffees in the coffee shops etc. Here in Scotland, the tradition at Halloween was to carve a turnip. Yep, a turnip and it was bloody hard work, really only adults had any chance. We also had a few other traditions which I loved.

Dookin for apples

Pic from  https://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/glasgow-school-children-take-part-12106270

Dookin for apples was simply lots of apples bobbing in a big tub of water, which you had to catch with only your mouth – hands behind your back. There was much hilarity and soggy kids. We also ate apples coated in toffee with a stick stuck into them to hold, a bit like a lollipop.

Treacle Scones

Pic from  https://www.scotsman.com/news/how-scotland-celebrated-halloween-in-7-pictures-1-4272133

I have to tell you about treacle scones just for my baby sister Leigh (who turned 41 a couple of days ago – happy birthday Leigh! The game of treacle scones is basically, bits of scone, covered in black treacle, hanging from strings across the room (so they swing) and kids, again with hands behind their backs have to bite the scones. Imagine treacle all over your face, in your hair, on your clothes etc… My sister had long, thick curly hair and she was always a complete mess but the end of the game (it didn’t help that I worked out that I could nudge the scones just right so they’d swing right at her).

Guising

Lastly, in Scotland we go guising, not trick or treating. We made our costumes and go out prepared to “do a party piece” to earn our sweets. It could be you tell a joke, sing a song, show off your dance moves… or if you are my little brother, Arlen, tell an adorable cute poem when you are 3 – completely set up by myself and Leigh cause his cuteness got us extra sweets… We coached him well!

Anyways…. enough of my rant, you came here for a recipe..

Spiced Apple muffins (not pumpkin) for a warm autumn night treat

Ingredients for 12 large muffins

  • 500g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 180ml oil
  • 150ml milk
  • 400g jar of Bramley apple sauce (with chunks of apple in)

I am being completely lazy and using a jar of apple sauce, but feel free to use your own homemade sauce it will probably be sooooo much better.

Get Baking

Muffin wrappers

Step 1.  First, preheat your oven to 170 C for a fan oven or 190 C for a conventional oven & then prepare your muffin tin – if you aren’t using muffin wrappers as I do (see above), oil your tin.

Step 2. In a bowl, combine all your wet ingredients and sugar and then give it, really good mix to break up the egg and combine the egg and oil. Then add your applesauce and mix it through.

Step 3. Sift the flour, spices and baking powder into a big bowl and give it a good mix.

Step 4. Pour your wet into your dry, give it enough of a mix to combine but don’t over mix. How to know it’s right, it should drop thickly and easily off a spoonBaking can add more milk if it’s too thick and a little flour if it’s too runny.

Step 5. Add the batter to the muffin wrappers. They should be NO MORE than three-quarters full. Do not overfill, trust me, as they will rise heaps in the oven.

Step 6. As quickly as you can, get them in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 mins, until they are golden brown on top.

Step 7. Let them cool and then nom!




Growing tomatoes in the cold climate of Scotland. Yup it is possible.

I think it’s fair to say that tomatoes have been one of my favourite things to grow over the past couple of years but I hear all the time that you can’t grow tomatoes in the Scottish climate.  Yet I grow lots, blue tomatoes, purple tomatoes, red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, even stripy tomatoes.

So what’s the trick?

Well simply, it’s about choosing the right variety for the space you have to grow them. Let me explain. You get two types of tomato plants determinate (bush type) or indeterminate (also called cordon). Determinate tomato plants grow as a bush, they are usually compact and all the fruits ripen at pretty much the same time. They don’t need a lot of staking or pruning. Indeterminate tomato plants grow to be tall, very tall, sometimes over 6 feet and continue to grow and produce fruit until they are killed off usually by cold weather. They also need a lot more care and maintenance, lots of pruning.

Within these plant types there are lots of different varieties which in turn will all have different positives and negatives for you as a grower. For example, the bigger beefsteak type tomatoes take a lot of sunlight to ripen, so if your garden doesn’t get a lot of direct sun or if your summer season is short, then these can be difficult to grow. The little cherry varieties, however, can be easier as they need a little less sunlight to ripen.

I am lucky because I have a greenhouse, which means I can have the tomato plants growing for an extended season, meaning when the weather changes in Scotland and we start to get cold and even frost (which is much earlier here than other parts of the UK, I can keep my plants safe in the greenhouse, unaffected. If I was growing my plants outdoors, I’d have to take this into consideration and chose a variety which would ripen quickly to get the best of the shorter season.

So here are some of my very quick tips for growing tomatoes.

Planting

You can plant your tomatoes directly into the soil or into pots. I prefer pots as this gives me the option to move things around in the greenhouse. If you use pots, make sure they are a decent size, your tomato plants get quite big. I usually go for around a ten-inch pot with good quality compost. You can also use grow bags, but try to keep it to one or two plants per grow bag.

Watering

This is one of the most important parts of growing tomatoes and I can’t stress enough how important it is to water your plants regularly and evenly.  The reason I say this is because if you neglect the plant, even just a little and then suddenly try to catch up on the watering, the skins can split, meaning you are likely to get mould growing in the fruit. Try to keep a strict watering regimen.

Feeding

Feeding your plants is essential, once they start to flower you need to feed them weekly with a good, balanced fertiliser. After all the plants are making lots of fruit for you so they need lots of nutrition.

Support

Your plants will need support, especially when they are full of heavy fruit. I use canes and wires to support mine. You can also buy cages especially for growing tomato plants but basically, you just need to find a way to keep them upright and support heavy branches.

Pruning

Determinate varieties (bush) should have their side shoots removed from below the first truss of fruit to allow air and light to penetrate and prevent disease. Try not to remove too many shoots after this as it will reduce your crop so keep them “bushy”.

Indeterminate varieties (cordon) should be encouraged to keep only one or two main stems. Remove any “suckers” by pinching out the growing tips from the leaf joints. These plants will be tall.

Remove “suckers” from your tomato plants

With both types, you may have to regularly remove excess leaves to allow sunlight and air to reach the fruit and help it to ripen.

Good luck with your tomato growing, I hope you guys will get as much fun and pleasure from growing tomatoes as I do, and remember, there are lots of types to grow, so be brave and try at least one that’s not a standard red salad tomato?

Once you have a gut of tomatoes and don’t know what do do with, take a look at some of our tomato recipes to help.

Tomato chutney

Tomato and red pepper soup

Summer pasta

Some of our other posts on growing tomatoes




Slow cooker ham with a ginger crunch top

We realised today that we hadn’t shared this recipe with you guys and were astounded. It’s so easy to do and gives you not only a fantastic dinner but options for sandwiches and leftover meals too. The ham is cooked in the slow cooker so there is almost no work for you to do, switch it on, make some coffee and go watch that box set of “The West Wing” for six hours. Easy peasy (and that’s exactly what we are doing today as it cooks).

We first did this as a dinner for christmas, we wanted something different, something we’d never done before and decided on a ham, but we didn’t want lots of stress on christmas day, cause lets face it, there is lots of good tv to be watched, so we hunted for something simple and delicious. From that search, a few recipes came to light and we took the bits we fancied from them all to make our christmas ham. It’s apparently a Swedish style recipe originally and funnily enough, a christmas tradition called Julskinka. 

The basics –  Cooking your ham

Like I said, this is sooo simple.

You need a ham, we go with an unsmoked gammon joint. Unsmoked because there are going to be other more subtle flavours in there and we thought the smoked flavour would overpower things. It might seem an obvious statement, but you need it to fit in your slow cooker, so as we say in Scotland, don’t let your eyes be bigger than your belly.

Firstly, very roughly chop an onion and put this in the base of the pot, this stops the ham being in contact with the bottom and reduces the risk of it scorching.

Next…

Ham… cut off the layer of fat from the top. Some folk do like to leave this on and get it crispy when they roast the meat, but we aren’t fans so we cut it off and then put the ham in the pot on top of the onion.

Now for the flavour bit, ginger beer. Yup, a big bottle of ginger beer. It isn’t so common to cook meat in fizzy drinks but its popular in the US and apparently some other countries, but new to us, trying to describe this too you is way more difficult than you realise. I grew up on the west coast of Scotland so we actually call this ginger, a bottle of ginger. We call all fizzy drinks ginger regardless of what flavour they are, I have no idea why but cola is called ginger, lemonade is called ginger, ginger beer is called ginger. Kate grew up on the east coast so she would call this juice or fizzy juice. Again regardless of the flavour or brand, its juice. Elsewhere in the UK, you’d hear it called pop and in the US soda. So basically whatever you call it, top up your pot so that the liquid (ginger beer) comes almost to the top of the ham, next add a big tablespoon of mustard and about a thumbs size pieces of grated ginger. Give it a good old stir, set the heat to low, put the lid on and go off and forget about it for five-six hours.

The topping

I mentioned earlier that some folks cook a ham and for them, it’s all about getting that fat on top to go crispy in the heat of the oven, well instead we are making a crunchy crumb topping out of…. ginger snap biscuits. Yup!

For the topping you’ll need:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp. grainy mustard (Swedish if you can get it)
  • 6 tbsp. finely crumbled gingersnaps (or breadcrumbs)

Mix the egg yolks, brown sugar, and mustard together and then spread over the top of the ham. Sprinkle the crumbled up gingersnaps over the top of this to make a nice thick layer.

Now put the ham in a preheated oven at about 220C for 15 to 20 minutes to get everything nice and crunchy.

Once you are happy, remove from oven and cover loosely with tin foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.

It should be soft and pink and delicious. Carve it up and nom!




Tomato and red pepper soup – hygge comfort returns

It’s that time of year again, it’s cold, blooming freezing and its dark most of the time. It’s really easy during the cold autumn and winter months to get a bit low or blue and pine away wishing for spring. So to combat that, over the past couple of years, Kate and I have been trying to get into the Danish mindset of hygge. Basically of trying to take joy in the things that make life good. A warm home, good food, family and friends. It’s all about the little things, personal to each and every one of us. It could be reading a book by the fire, a long soak in the tub or just having family around for dinner.

So in the spirit of sharing our hygge findings, we’ve been sharing our best comforting winter recipes.

For us, part of the joy in this amazing soup is that the ingredients came from our garden, which always makes food taste better. Knowing you put the time and energy into growing them. It also goes amazingly well with some sourdough, imagine…… 🙂

So what do you need?

  • 3 red peppers, halved & de-seeded.
  • 1 onion, unpeeled & halved.
  • 4 Cloves of garlic
  • 2 Sticks of celery, sliced & chopped.
  • 500g tomatoes.
  • 450ml Vegetable stock.
  • 2tbsp Olive oil.
  • 2tbsp Tomato puree.
  • 1tbsp Sundried tomato paste.
  • 1tsp chilli flakes.
  • 25g Butter.
  • Salt & pepper.

What to do

  1. Pre heat oven to 200C and put the pepper & onion halves (cut side down), the tomatoes & garlic onto a baking tray & drizzle with the olive oil. Bake at the top of your oven for 30 mins or until the vegetables are roasted & tender.
  2. Meanwhile melt down the butter in a large pot over a low heat and soften the chopped celery for 4-5 mins. Don’t burn the butter.
  3. Adding the tomato puree, sundried tomato paste & the chilli flakes to the stock and mix well and then add to the sauteed celery. Remove from the heat.
  4. When the baked vegetables are ready remove the peel from the onion & garlic cloves roughly chop them & add them to the pan along with the tomatoes. Place back on to a low to medium heat & using a hand blender blend until the soup is smooth.
  5. Season to taste & gently simmer until the soup is at a comfortable edible temperature. Do not allow the soup to boil. Serve with homemade sourdough bread & enjoy the moment.

 

Could it be any simpler?




Tablet. The Scottish Sweetie

Tablet is a very, very, very, very, very sugary traditional Scottish sweet. Or as we say in Scotland, a sweetie. Every kid in Scotland grew up eating this stuff and it’s probably responsible for the appalling dental health of my generation and before.

Before I go any further I want to just explain one thing to anyone reading this who wasn’t lucky enough to grow up eating tablet, you have probably seen tablet called fudge or Scottish fudge in tourist shops. Tablet is absolutely not fudge. Although fudge, tablet and toffee are all made with similar recipes, they have a very different texture. Tablet is brittle, but soft and melts in the mouth. It’s not chewy at all. It’s slightly grainy in texture and very sweet. Did I mention yet that its super sweet? And it melts in the mouth. Heavenly!

When you mention tablet, almost everyone in Scotland has a story of a legendary family member who made the best tablet, I learned today that apparently, my gran made tablet but I don’t have any family recipes so wasn’t aware that she had (my gran died when I was about 4 so I don’t really remember much of her).  Luckily though, Kate’s mum was the tablet legend in her family, and Kate’s dad happily shared her recipe with us. Talking about traditional Scottish recipes though, Kate’s mum’s recipe is written in a school book (we call these jotters, school jotters), which is where her dad found it. Given that Kate’s mum would have been 73 this year, that’s an old school jotter and a proper old recipe 🙂

So a massive thank you to Mike for sharing this.

Recipe exactly as it was written (in old measures)

Ingredients:
2 lbs sugar
2 ozs butter
Half pint milk
1 small tin condensed milk
1 teaspoonful Vanilla essence

Method
Put sugar, milk and butter into a pan, stir with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves and bring to boiling point; add condensed milk slowly and boil steadily for  10-15 minutes.
Add Vanilla essence, remove from heat and stir well with wooden spoon until thick.
Test for suitability for pouring by putting a little of the mixture into a small bowl or cup of cold water, if ready it should form a soft ball.
Pour into a greased tin. Mark when set but before it cools.

It took me a couple of attempts to get this right, the first attempt I got too hot and it became toffee. So to try to help you, here are my directions.

Bring the sugar, butter, and milk to a boil slowly, stirring constantly.  You want to give the sugar time to dissolve, and you don’t want the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pot so keep stirring. Once it’s boiling, slowly add the condensed milk and keep stirring.

 

Now once you get the mixture boiling again, and of course keep stirring, you want to get the temperature up to around 118C, this took me 15 minutes but the time will vary determined by your cooker. You can see in Kate’s mum’s instructions that she talked about testing the mixture by dropping it in cold water. I went with the thermometer method as it seemed a bit more reliable.

The mixture will darken as it heats and thickens slightly.

A word of warning, use a very deep pan, with a heavy bottom. This mixture bubbles furiously when boiling and increasing in mass by about 2 thirds.

Once you have the mixture up to temperature, take it off the heat and add the vanilla essence. Be warned, however, this will cause the mix to froth, so be careful.

This is where the hard work starts, keeping it off the heat, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric whisk, beat until the mixture thickens. This took 5 minutes with an electric hand whisk.

Now pour it VERY CAREFULLY into a greased baking tray and leave to cool completely. It will harden and set.

Once its cool, you can cut it into small square portions. Remembering that this is just sugar and fat, make the portions small. This is definitely no health food!

There you go, Scottish tablet.

Enjoy!

 

 




Easy to make fluffy pancakes (Scottish style)

As a wee weekend treat, I like to make pancakes for breakfast and wake kate up with a big plate of pancakes, egg and sausage and a cup of coffee.

We’ve been doing this for a few months and even created a youtube video showing you how to do this but only just realised that we forgot to share the recipe here on the blog. So apologise folks, here it is.

Big, fluffy pancakes to make you smile

A bit like morning rolls, pancakes are another one of those foods which cause a little bit of controversy here in the UK.  Why? Well simply because depending on where you are, when you order pancakes, it’s a bit like roulette waiting to see what you get.

Here in Scotland, pancakes are fluffy, thick and delicious. Much like the American pancake although we tend to eat them cold, smothered in butter with a cup of tea. Down south, they would call this a drop scone, not a pancake. In England (down south) they tend to eat thin french crepes style ones and call them pancakes.

So today’s recipe are for Scottish pancakes – please don’t say scotch, it hurts my ears and annoys me greatly. There is no such thing as scotch (unless you count what Americans call whisky), it’s Scots or Scottish. 😃

Ingredients for 8 big pancakes

  • 270 grams of plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of melted butter, allow it to cool slightly
  • half a teaspoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar, just normal granulated sugar will do
  • two beaten eggs and
  • 260 ml of milk

Get to making your pancakes

Firstly,  add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and give it a mix, then add the wet ingredients to another bowl and mix well. Now combine the wet into the dry, mixing to form a thick batter.
There, that’s it. Easy huh?

Well, you still have to cook them…

Get a non-stick frying pan nice and hot. You don’t want it too hot because then the pancakes can burn. So keep it on a nice medium heat, you want the pancakes to spend enough time in the pan so that the insides cook not just the outsides.

This recipe will give probably about eight kind of average sized American-style pancakes.  I just find my big kitchen spoon is just the perfect amount for that so basically I use that as my batter to pan transference device.

Once the pan is hot, spoon some batter into it, enough to make a pancake the size you want. I’d say a nice big dollop but more importantly, I say – once it’s in the pan, leave it alone. Don’t fiddle with it. That’s very important! Let it sit in the pan and what you’re watching for the little bubbles repeatedly busting through the batter.

Once you have little bubbles all over it, you can turn it over and give it 30 seconds or so to brown on the other side. The little bubbles are how you know it’s cooked and it’s ok to flip it.

Watch our video to see what we mean. https://youtu.be/9rfCss5k4w0

It really is that simple and in less than 20 minutes you will have a big stack of lovely pancakes to share for a weekend breakfast.

 




More hygge recipes to get you through the dark, cold nights: bakewell muffins

We mentioned in a previous post that hygge is a Danish word meaning roughly to enjoy the pleasures life brings and be content. So here’s another recipe to help you bring on the hygge this winter.

Today I’m taking a day off from studies to have a bit of a play about with some recipes, one of which is bakewell tart in a muffin. Hey what can I say, I like a challenge.

We’ve made a batch of these to take with us to our annual winterfest gathering at Mole End tonight.

One of my true pleasures in life is a pot of tea and a slice of GOOD bakewell tart. There’s nothing like it. I experience extreme disappointment at poor bakewells but we won’t go there.

I learned to make muffins (properly) this year thanks to the most awesome book by a colleague’s wife, it’s available on amazon and I totally recommend it.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0952885832/

So for 12 of my fabulous bakewell muffins (BIG coffee shop style ones) you will need.

  • 500g plain flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g of sugar
  • 250ml plain yogurt
  • 350ml of milk
  • 180ml of vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoons of almond extract
  • 200g of ground almonds
  • Raspberry jam

How to

Step 1.

Muffin wrappersFirst preheat your oven to 170 C for a fan over or 190 C for a conventional oven & then prepare your muffin tin – if you aren’t using muffin wrappers, oil your tin.

Step 2.

In a bowl, combine all your wet ingredients and sugar and then give it really good mix to break up the egg and combine the egg and oil.

Step 3. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a really big bowl. Add your ground almonds and give it a stir to mix through.

Step 4. Pour your wet into your dry, give it enough of a mix to combine but don’t over mix, it will be lumpy but that’s ok.

How to know it’s right, it should drop thickly and easily off a spoon, you can add more milk if it’s too thick and a little flour if it’s too runny.

Filling muffins with jamMuffins with jamStep 5. Quarter fill your muffin cups with batter and then add a teaspoon of raspberry jam to the centre.

Try to keep it central to stop it oozing out the side of your muffin.

Add more batter to cover the jam (the muffin cup should be NO MORE than three-quarters full. Do not over fill as they will rise heaps in the oven.

 

 

At this stage if you want, you can sprinkle flaked almonds on top to make them look pretty.

Step 6. As quickly as you can, get them in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 mins, until they are golden brown on top.

Step 7. Let them cool (as that jam will be like lava) and then nom!

Bakewell muffins with raspberry jam