Pancakes are always a treat, but I have a particularly soft spot for savoury pancakes. My dinner time treat, when I was a child, was wholemeal pancakes with cheese sauce – utter bliss. These pea protein pancakes include matcha for flavour and colour and are served with a spicy peanut sauce. They are vegan, gluten free and most importantly, tasty.
As some of you may have noticed, since trying matcha in baking a few years ago, with this matcha, rhubarb and chocolate cake, I’ve become rather a fan. Matcha, which is somewhat bitter with umami notes offsets the sweetness of the sugar nicely. I was recently overtaken by a craving for something sweet and I realised I’d never made matcha blondies. Game, set and matcha.
Christmas is traditionally a time for baking biscuits and I usually make the most of it. I tend to make an old favourite or two, but also use the occasion to try out a some new recipes. One of them, this time, was to be Christmas Butter Biscuits.
As some of you may know, I’ve been drinking matcha for the last few days. I’m taking part in the teapigs #MatchaChallenge which involves consuming half a teaspoon of this amazing green tea every day for two weeks. High time to have a change from just drinking matcha and get baking with it too, I reckoned. I wanted to make something that was portable, would fit in a lunch box and was not too unhealthy. Matcha biscuits with spelt flour and dark chocolate chips were my solution to this conundrum. Rather than incorporate chocolate throughout, I chose the chips so the beautiful green colour could shine through.
As soon as I started creaming the butter and sugar, I realised I should have used coconut oil and rapadura instead. This would have given an even healthier and no less delicious new year matcha cookie. Oh well, next time.
The biscuits turned out just as I’d hoped, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle with a lovely green hue to them. Annoyingly, I couldn’t get this to show in the photographs. There was no mistaking the matcha flavour which went well with the dark chocolate. The spelt gave a slight nuttiness and bizarrely the biscuits almost tasted of peanut butter. Manageing to eat two and half large cookies to get my required half teaspoon, was a little much, even for me; a hot cup of matcha tea remedied the situation.
Tea Time Treats has gone off piste this month and is actually all about lunch boxes rather than a groaning tea table. These biscuits (or cookies if you prefer) work well, both in a lunch box and for tea. CT can attest to both. Hosted this month by Janie over at The Hedge Combers, Karen of Lavender and Lovage will be taking a keen interest too.
With matcha to the fore, I reckon these qualify for this month’s Treat Petite, which is all about Healthy Treats. This is hosted by Cakeyboi alternating with The Baking Explorer.
Innovation and Discoveries is the theme for The Biscuit Barrel this month. Having felt rather forlorn last month when I baked something for this challenge, only to find it wasn’t there, I am now super excited to find that Alexandra over at The Lass in the Apron is holding the fort whilst Laura from I’d Much Rather Bake Than … finishes off her degree. Very sensible.
- 100g unsalted butter
- 100g golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
- 1 large egg (I used a duck egg)
- 100g light muscovado sugar
- 150g flour (I used half wholemeal spelt, half white)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of Himalayan pink rock salt
- 3 tsp matcha
- 75g 70% dark chocolate buttons (or chopped)
- Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and matcha. Stir until just combined.
- Stir in the chocolate.
- Leave in a cool place to firm up a little.
- Place tablespoons of batter onto a lined baking tray (I made 15) and form into a rough circle.
- Bake at 180°C for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are firm. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
January is the traditional time to follow through with good intentions and try for a healthier lifestyle. I am always full of New Year’s resolutions and sometimes I actually manage to pull them off. This year I have set myself a tough one, but as it doesn’t involve food or drink, I was happy to take on the teapigs #matchachallenge as well.
I’ve had a love affair with matcha ever since CT brought some back from his Japan trip in 2007. I’d never heard of it before then, so it was a real novelty. Green tea was my tea of choice, so once I got used to the idea, it wasn’t such a big step to drinking matcha: it’s a very finely ground Japanese green tea with a distinctive flavour. Because you are ingesting the whole leaf this way, it provides a concentration of all those healthy nutrients that green tea is renowned for. It’s very high in antioxidants, has plenty of betacarotene and contains vitamins A, B and C. It’s said to boost energy levels for four to six hours after drinking it as well as raising metabolism and relieving stress. Teapigs matcha is organic and comes in 30g packs, normally costing £25. There is currently a 20% discount.
As well as a great drink, matcha lends itself very nicely to baking, not only giving a distinctive flavour, but also an interesting green colour. I have made a number of cakes and biscuits using matcha, but was particularly pleased with matcha shortbread, matcha and white chocolate cupcakes and chocolate matcha battenberg.
Much as I like matcha, it’s not something I’ve had every day, so I was interested to see if drinking it regularly made any difference to my flagging post flu energy levels. The teapigs #matchachallenge is to drink ½ tsp of matcha a day for a fortnight. It’s early days yet as I’m only on Day 5, but I have been enjoying finding different ways to drink it. I have so far made two different kefir matcha smoothies, drunk it as normal in a mug of hot water and tried it as a matcha shot in a glass provided by teapigs. Today I made a frothy matcha white hot chocolate. I used white chocolate so I could retain the beautiful green colour.
This is how I made:
Matcha Hot Chocolate
- Warmed 150ml of milk to just below boiling.
- Poured it into a mug containing 2 heaped tsps of white chocolate powder (I used Mortimer’s) and ¼ tsp matcha powder.
- Used an electric milk frother (kindly provided by teapigs) to mix and froth the drink.
- Sprinkled a little matcha powder over the top.
It was delicious. The frothing gave it a really light texture and the white chocolate was creamy, but the matcha cut through the sweetness with strong refreshing notes.
If you fancy entering the Matcha Challenge there is a chance to win a year’s supply of matcha from teapigs and a pack of matcha is being given away daily via instagram. The challenge runs throughout January and it’s a nice easy way to get your New Year off to a healthy start.
Thanks to teapigs for providing a pack of matcha green tea, a shot glass and aerolatte frother in exchange for blogging about the challenge.
I am sending the matcha hot chocolate off to Nayna for her event, Let’s Cook/Create Hot Drinks over at Simply Food.
It’s been a while since I did any baking with matcha. Last week provided the perfect opportunity. We’d been invited to eat sushi with a Japanese colleague of CT’s which I was hugely looking forward to. A few little matcha cakes, I thought, would make a suitable post prandial snack. As I mulled over what flavour I should pair the matcha with (mostly in the early hours of the morning) I kept coming back to citrus which I thought would give a fresh and zingy high to the bitter notes of green tea. But, unusually for me, I had no fresh citrus in the house, not even lemons.
With time fast running out I made a last minute decision to add some of my mother’s marmalade to the mix. Two bitters together can work really well – think coffee and chocolate. I was hoping this would also provide some of the zing I was looking for.
Well I couldn’t have been better pleased with how these mini matcha marmalade cakes turned out – well maybe they could have been a bit greener in colour. They were light in texture, greenish, had a mild matcha flavour and a delicious marmalade hit. CT and I were hard pressed not to snaffle one on the train on our way to our hosts. Just as well we didn’t as they all disappeared with remarkable rapidity.
How anyone managed to fit them in is a miracle. We had the grandest sushi spread I’ve ever come across. It was a self-assembly job; nori seaweed was provided along with what seemed like hundreds of fillings. As the only vegetarian there, I was still well catered for – omelettes, mushrooms, cucumbers, natto, asparagus, okra, radishes, beans, cress and all the usual accompaniments and condiments. Four hours of eating and sake drinking and we were still able to knock back a few cakes and lashings of a flowering green tea. Mine were not the only cakes: there was a lush chocolate cake as well as a banana tarte tatin. How we managed to stagger back to the train station and home I’ll never know.
I’ve named this year Super Sushi. I reckon I’ve eaten more of it this year than all the other years combined. It all started with our bloggers session at Yo Sushi and snowballed from there. Only two days after this sushi feast I got a surprise phone call from a friend who was dashing through Plymouth on his way back to Italy. “Can you make it to Koishii for a Japanese blow out in two hours time?” I dropped everything, so did CT.
I’m sending these off to Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary for Shop Local as the wholemeal flour is Cotehele Mill’s own, the eggs are local as is my mother’s homemade marmalade.
It’s been a while since I submitted anything to #recipeoftheweek over at A Mummy Too, so off these go.
- 125g unsalted butter
- 50g white chocolate (G&B)
- 100g cardamom sugar (golden caster)
- 150g flour (half wholemeal, half white)
- 25g ground almonds
- 3 tsp matcha powder
- 1 heaped tsp baking powder
- 2 duck eggs or large hens eggs
- 2 heaped tbsp marmalade
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12
I have long been an admirer of the stunning bundt creations to be seen over at Dolly Bakes. Being averse to tins for storage reasons as well as sticking ones, I’ve been on the look out for a silicone bundt-type mould to use. I’ve not found anything suitable – until now that is. Lékué do an amazing range of silicone bakeware and it looks to be better quality than some I’ve come across. Recently I received a few items from them to try out. You can see how I got on with the bread maker in a previous post. The bundt-like mould they sent, however, was the very first thing I tried. I was a little nervous and quite excited.
For my first ever bundt, I thought I’d create an orange and chocolate marbled affair with an orange glacé icing. There were no clues as to the quantities needed for the mould, so I had to guess. I thought I was making a generous amount of cake mix, but it barely covered the bottom. As it turned out, this was fine and produced a perfectly sized cake which still looked good. The second time I used it, I upped the quantities, but it still didn’t make a full size cake. I sprayed the mould with oil just to be on the safe side – I really didn’t want it getting stuck. I needn’t have worried, it came out like a dream.
Despite my nerves, I was really happy with the result of my first ever bundt-shaped. It really looked quite striking. The almonds, orange juice and yogurt kept the cake nicely moist and the flavours were clear and fresh and worked beautifully in combination. The Lékué bundt-like mould was so easy to use too: it was sturdy enough to stand up in the oven on its own without losing shape; I had no problems turning the cake out (and the second time I didn’t spray it) and it was easy to wash. Perfect. I can see this getting a lot of use.
A few days later, we had some good news to celebrate and invited some friends around for tea. So impressed was I with my orange and chocolate bundt-like cake, that I decided to make another one. Only this time I added more ingredients and accompanied it with a third flavour – matcha. This was an even prettier cake than the first. It was bigger and had three contrasting colours rather than two; once cut the interesting swirling patterns were revealed and some of the slices were spectacular. No one piece was the same. CT likened it to a metamorphic rock, maybe not marble but it was certainly very “gneiss”, he quipped. The cake was just as delicious as the first and the texture was equally good. Now what ingredients, I wonder, am I going to include in my third bundt-like cake?
My method for the second cake was exactly the same as the first except I had three different mixtures rather than two. See below for the printed recipe for the first cake. The quantities for the second were as follows:
- 240g unsalted butter
- 260g caster sugar (again I used cardamom sugar)
- 4 large eggs
- 100g ground almonds
- 230g flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 organic orange – zest and juice
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- 1 rounded tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 scant tbsp matcha powder
Not only are these bundts completely made from scratch but the recipes are my own. With just a little bit of pride, I am thus sending them off to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays.
As you can probably tell, I have a new found passion for bundt cakes, so I am sending these off to the very first Love Cake Challenge with Ness over at JibberJabberUK who has chosen the February theme of Baking with Passion.
As already stated, I’ve rather fallen in love with these cakes, so although they weren’t made for Valentine’s Day as such I think they fit into the general love theme for February, so I’m sending this off to Dolly Bakes for her Calendar Cakes – Oh L’amour.
CT is quite keen on these bundt cakes too, so it is possible the next flavour might be a mocha one and he might get it for a special Valentine’s Day treat. As such I am submitting these to Lets Cook Sweet Treats for Valentine with Nayna over at Simply Food.
Both of these cakes were made for loved ones, so I am also entering it into the Four Seasons Food challenge with Anneli Delicieux and Lou at Eat Your Veg. The theme this month is not surprisingly Food From The Heart.
Finally, I think, I’m linking this up to #recipeoftheweek with Emily over at A Mummy Too.
Oops, there is another one. Victoria over at A Kick at the Pantry Door has chosen Orange as this month’s Feel Good Food, so really I have no choice but to enter 😉
Thanks to Lékué for sending me the bundt mould to try out. I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
- 180g unsalted butter
- 200g caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar as the flavour works well with both chocolate and orange)
- 175g flour (I used half wholemeal, half white)
- 75g ground almonds
- scant 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 3 large eggs
- 1 organic orange – zest & juice
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp yogurt (I used honey yogurt)
- 50g icing sugar
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8-12 slices
I was so pleased with the chilli white chocolate shortbread snowflakes that I made last month, that I seem to have done nothing else recently but make more shortbread biscuits based on that recipe. I was baking for a friend’s birthday party recently and thought it would be fun to make “after dinner” tea and coffee biscuits. With 100 guests expected, I made two batches of the biscuits resulting in about 110 in total. To one I added Japanese matcha tea powder to give an intriguing tea flavour and green colour and to the other I added some ground coffee which gave an interesting speckled look and a mild but definite coffee flavour. These proved to be rather popular, especially, it seemed, for scooping up a very large trifle that had been made for the occasion. Even more recently, I made over 60 lemon and cardamom biscuits for my last day at work. I haven’t quite decided what biscuits I shall be making for Christmas this year, but as I’ve ordered some organic oranges, I’m currently in favour of making some orange and cardamom white chocolate shortbread biscuits. By the new year, I suspect I shall be thoroughly fed up with shortbread.
Like their chilli shortbread predecessors, any of these would look good pierced and hung with ribbon from the Christmas tree. They’d also make lovely Christmas gifts.
|Coffee White Chocolate Shortbread|
|Matcha White Chocolate Shortbread|
|Lemon and Cardamom White Chocolate Shortbread|
This is how I made:
White Chocolate Shortbread Biscuits
- Softened 50g of good quality white chocolate by putting it in the mixing bowl and placing it on the storage heater for ten minutes.
- Added 170g of unsalted butter cubed and left to soften.
- Creamed the butter and chocolate with 85g golden caster sugar until pale in colour and fluffy in texture (used cardamom sugar for the lemon cardamom biscuits).
- Added 175g plain flour (half wholemeal, half white), 80g brown rice flour and a pinch of pink Himalayan rock salt.
- Depending on the flavour, added 1) 2 heaped tsp of matcha powder 2) 2 heaped tsp ground coffee 3) grated zest of an organic lemon together with the ground up seeds of 3 cardamom pods.
- Stirred until incorporated, then formed into a ball and left in my cold kitchen to firm up for half an hour.
- Rolled out to about 3mm thickness and stamped out small shapes getting 50 to 60 biscuits in total (hearts for the matcha shortbread, flowers for the coffee and snowflakes for lemon cardamom).
- Left to firm up in my cold kitchen for 15 minutes.
- Baked for 7-8 mins at 180°C until just golden.
- Dusted with fine caster sugar whilst still hot, then transferred to a wire rack to cool and harden.
Jo at Comfort Bites has started a new challenge with the same name as her blog Comfort Bites. This month her theme is Christmas and as these would make great Christmas gifts, I am entering them.
Well as far as biscuits go, these are fairly Quick and Easy which is the theme for this month’s The Biscuit Barrel with Laura of I’d Much Rather Bake Than … The stamping can be fiddly if you use a small snowflake cutter as I did for the lemon cardamom cookies, but a larger and simpler stamp would not take very long at all.
And as everything is made from scratch some of these are being sent of to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays.
Last weekend saw me very busy with a mammoth bake for a friend’s birthday party. When asked if I could make some cakes to bring along, the only request made was for small cakes that were easy to eat and weren’t cupcakes. It took me a while to come up with some ideas. I wanted to include lots of different flavours, textures and colours. Eventually I got there. Sometimes I find it hard to get hold of good quality free range eggs. Luckily, I had plenty of organic ones from Penbugle Farm which I’d been given to use.
Brownies just had to be on the menu. I decided to use a recipe from my newest chocolate book Chococo which CT bought for me as a Valantines surprise. This uses far less sugar than is normal in brownies, but the author Claire Burnet claims that they are still sweet and delicious. I Swapped the pecans for walnuts, the rice flour for buckwheat flour and made a few other adjustments.
This is how I made:
- Melted 150g unsalted butter with 225g 70% dark chocolate in a pan over low heat, then left to cool.
- Whisked 125g dark brown sugar with 3 large organic eggs. 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp fleur de sel using electric beaters until mixture was thick, pale and doubled in volume.
- Sifted in 50g buckwheat flour and folded in as lightly as possible.
- Stirred in 60g chopped walnuts as lightly as possible.
- Folded in the chocolate mixture until just incorporated.
- Poured into a 22cm (9″) sq cake mould and scattered 20g chopped walnuts over the top.
- Baked at 180C for 17 minutes. Left to go cold then cut into 16 squares.
As well as the honey and spice cakes I’ve already blogged about, I also made Blackcurrant Bakewell Slices and Date and Rum Slices. The piece de resistance which I will post about later was this lime and pistachio birthday cake. CT got into the spirit of thing and drew appropriately illustrated labels for each bake. We all had a deal of fun on the night including a Beetle Drive and lots of dancing.
The final bake I took along were these Japanese green tea Madeleines which CT refers to as Matcheleines and which I based on my chocolate chilli Madeleines. As some of you will have gathered by now, I am a big fan of using matcha in baking. It works particularly well, not only giving an interesting colour, but adding great flavour too. They were as good as I was hoping they might be; CT would have happily demolished the lot given half the chance. There were certainly none left at the end of the evening. Perhaps I should have made crepes as my friend is actually Breton.
This is how I made:
Matcha Madeleines (Matcheleines)
- Melted 75g unsalted butter gently in a small pan then set aside to cool.
- Whisked 2 duck eggs and 75g golden caster sugar together for quite a long time it seemed, using electric beaters. Whisked until the mixture had trebled in volume and was pale and thick.
- Sifted in 90g flour (half spelt, half white), 1 tbsp matcha (Japanese powdered green tea) and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
- Folded this in as gently as possible trying not to lose too much air from the eggs.
- Poured the butter in down one side of the bowl and folded this in until just incorporated.
- Placed 1 tbsp of the mixture into each of 16 Madeleine moulds.
- Baked for 10 minutes at 200C until well risen and firm to the touch.
- Turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
- Dusted with caster sugar.
As Madeleines are a classic French bake (mais peut etre pas normalment avec le matcha), I am entering them into Tea Time Treats where the theme this month is French tarts, cakes bakes and pastries – ooh la la. Hosted this month with Karen of Lavender and Lovage, the challenge is co-hosted by Kate of What Kate Baked.
These also fit nicely into Bloggers Around the World where Chris has chosen Japan for this month’s national cuisine. Matcha is the taste of Japan for CT who drank it zealously whilst he was there.
I’m also entering the brownies into Choc Full Easter over at Jagruti’s Cooking Odyssey an Easter event celebrating ….. chocolate of course!
Although I can often be seen running down the road with a piece of toast in my hand first thing in the morning, I have had a bit of a love affair with breakfast smoothies recently. Packed full of healthy and delicious ingredients, they can be a great way to start the day. If I’m at home on my own, I sometimes have one as an easy lunch option. Normally I use milk, but when given the opportunity to try some unsweetened Almond Breeze recently, I thought I’d take the chance to reacquaint myself with almond milk.
Made from Californian almonds, Almond Breeze is dairy free and soya free. It is very low in calories with only 14 per 100 ml, making it ideal for those on the 5:2 fasting diet. 100 ml also provides 15% of the recommended daily allowance for Calcium.
Foodies 100 set a challenge to come up with an “easy to make but incredibly scrumptious breakfast smoothie”. Well, I had this one sorted without even having to think about it. I’ve honed my matcha smoothie to the point of perfection and for optimum nutrition, it was just a matter of swapping the dairy milk for Almond Breeze.
This is how I made:
Matcha and Banana Superfood Breakfast Smoothie
- Soaked 2 tbsp of porridge oats and 2 tsp of chia seeds in a litre of unsweetened almond milk (Almond Breeze) for 15 minutes so that the oats and chia would swell and thicken the smoothie.
- Added two chopped fairtrade bananas, 1 tsp matcha powder and 2 tsp honey (I usually use Cornish honey, but I had been sent some Beech Forest Honeydew from the New Zealand Honey Co, so thought I’d use that to give an extra boost with its 10+ pre-biotic factor).
- Whizzed this in a liquidiser for a couple of minutes until smooth and frothy.
- Poured into 2 large glasses and topped with shavings from a bar of 100% chocolate.
Pure breakfast bliss and so simple. It was thick and frothy, just as I’d expected. The matcha green tea gave a pleasant green colour and infused the smoothie with its distinctive taste and high density of antioxidants. The chia seeds gave a lovely speckled look and added additional powerful nutrients. The chocolate on the top gave a real burst of intense cocoa with every sip and without the addition of sugar is super healthy too. For a vegan alternative, the honey could easily be replaced by date syrup or agave nectar or left out all together.
Disclaimer – I was sent two litres of almond milk to try. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.