If you like a bit of alliteration, how about “spelt strawberry shortcakes scream summer”? It’s not a lie. And furthermore they’re totally delicious. Knock up a batch, invite your neighbours around and enjoy them in or out of the garden. Serve them warm with whipped cream and macerated strawberries.
Beetroot is like marmite, you either love it or hate it. Are you a beetroot lover or hater? We’ve got one of each in our household. This easy roasted beetroot galette taken from the new edition of Higgidy: The Cookbook is a bit of a miracle. It was so delicious even beetroot hating CT liked it. Read on for the recipe, a review and an opportunity to win a copy of the book. Hang on, make that two.
Summer is here at last and not only does it bring light and warmth, it also brings us a wealth of juicy fruit. When you’ve had your fill of fresh berries and stone fruit, you’ll probably be looking for other ways to eat them. This recipe for poached peaches and apricots in a spiced lemon & thyme syrup is simple to make and utterly delectable.
It really is too hot to think about food at the moment. I know we’ve not had much of a summer yet, but I don’t take too well to the heat; now it’s arrived all I want to do is lie in a hammock under a shady tree and drink iced tea – peach and rhubarb iced tea to be exact.
One of the many highlights of our day at River Cottage last week, was the blackberry and apple spelt soda bread we made along with some beautiful butter. I was so delighted with the bread that I went foraging for blackberries a few days later and made a loaf at home.
Pasta is one of those standbys that is perfect for meals in a hurry. I often make tomato sauce to go with pasta and add carrots and onions and any other vegetables I happen to have around – parsnips work well. The other day, I was in even more of a hurry than usual and so I thought I’d try blending a raw tomato sauce instead. I was a little surprised at just how good this quick tomato sauce with seaweed was.
Recipe for a warming, nourishing and colourful lentil, carrot and roasted tomato soup, flavoured with herbs and spices. It takes a while to cook, but this allows the flavours to develop and become even more delicious.
Savoury muffins for brunch are a wonderful thing. They taste good and you can pack in whatever vegetables you happen to have to hand. They make an interesting and easy packed lunch too and they’re ideal for picnics. These beetroot, walnut, wild garlic and goat’s cheese brunch muffins are particularly fine ones.
As soon as I chose honey for this month’s We Should Cocoa, I’ve done nothing but dream of honey bakes. I love honey and if money was no object would use it instead of sugar almost exclusively. As well as the flavour, honey has a lot of health benefits which are not found in sugar. When I saw that Classic French this month was madeleines, my mind immediately moved to how I could incorporate honey and chocolate into these delicate little French cakes. I was recently sent some New Zealand Honey to try out and whilst I liked the woody notes of the 10+ pre-biotic Beech Forest Honeydew, I thought the more floral notes of the 10+ antioxidant Thyme Honey would work better here. Right until the last minute I was going to grate some milk chocolate into the mix which I thought would give a pretty speckled look. However, I wanted a hint of thyme to shine through and I thought this would be better achieved with white chocolate. I had seen a recipe for Honey Madeleines in a recent book I was sent for review purposes, Stacie Bakes, so I set to and adapted it quite heavily.
This is how I made:
Honey, Thyme and White Chocolate Madeleines
- Melted 50g unsalted butter in a small pan over low heat.
- Added 50g chopped white chocolate and 1 heaped tbsp thyme honey.
- Beat 2 duck eggs with 50g cardamom (caster) sugar until thick, pale and tripled in volume.
- Poured the chocolate mixture gently down the side of the bowl and folded into the egg mixture as gently as possible.
- Sifted in 75g unbleached flour and just over half teaspoon of baking powder.
- Finally folded in a scant teaspoon of finely chopped fresh lemon thyme.
- Spooned into 16 madeleine moulds and baked in the middle of the oven at 180C for ten minutes.
- Turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
These were by far and away the most delicious madeleines I’ve made yet. The honey was the predominate flavour, but it also gave them a succulent and sticky texture which was just delightful. White chocolate seems to work really well in bakes and although the flavour can’t be detected, it gives them a certain body and je ne sais quoi. They are very different without it. Lemon thyme & cardamom sugar combined to give a soupcon of citrus to the proceedings. They could, of course, be dusted with icing sugar, but I thought they were quite pretty in their yellow and brown livery, so left them au natural. I got the desired “foot” that is required for a classic madeleine, but in my short madeleine making career, I have not so far had a problem with this. Unlike most madeleines that really need to be eaten as soon after baking as possible, these improved with age and became stickier and even more scrumptious, although that didn’t prevent us from tucking in immediately.
I am obviously entering these madeleines into my very own We Should Cocoa.
I am also submitting them to Classic French with Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes who has chosen Madeleines as this month’s theme.
I adore herbs and use them a lot both in my cooking and for medicinal and cosmetic purposes, but I rarely pair them with chocolate. So it is a rare event that I am able to enter Karen’s excellent Herbs on Saturdays and I am always a little bit excited when I can do so – you never know I might just win a book. This month’s book sounds especially good and right up my street – cooking with edible flowers by Miriam Jacobs. I’m crossing fingers.
Thanks to the New Zealand Honey Co. for sending me some of their delicious honey to try.
This honeyed fig & goat’s cheese tart with walnuts & thyme is drizzled with homemade spiced chocolate balsamic vinegar. It makes for a great starter or light lunch when you don’t want to spend too much time on preparation. It looks quite impressive and tastes fantastic. You can make it as one large tart, as I have, or cut the pastry into squares or rectangles and serve as individual tarts.