Having set blueberries as the ingredient for this month’s We Should Cocoa, I’ve not managed to get my act together to bake what I had planned and I don’t think I’m going to before the deadline. However, a couple of years ago, I made these rather scrumptious blueberry and white chocolate flapjacks with some local blueberries, but for some reason never got around to posting about them. Here goes.
As I was buying some bananas in the Co-op the other day, I noticed a pack of reduced price raspberries. I couldn’t resist. They were fine, but not quite enticing enough to eat as they were; they looked as though they needed to be used quickly. The fastest thing I know how to bake are flapjacks. In next to no time, I had a plate of warm raspberry and white chocolate flapjacks.
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.
When I was leafing through Chantal Coady’s book Rococo: mastering the art of chocolate a few weeks ago, I was struck by her recipe for White Chocolate Heartbreakers – a white chocolate cake served warm with a melting raspberry and white chocolate middle – rather like a chocolate fondant. I bookmarked it straight away as I thought it would be an excellent dessert for the upcoming blackberry season, producing a surprise purple melting middle rather than a pink one.
We had a wonderful time last week, jaunting off for an evening picnic with friends at Helligan Gardens followed by a production of Dead Dog in a Suitcase by the multi talented and much loved Kneehigh Theatre.
As I wanted something a little elegant for such an occasion and had a load of apples that needed using up, I decided to make some apple tarts. Since discovering the fabulous yogurt pastry I used for my rhubarb and almond cream pasty pie earlier this year, there’s been no looking back. It’s easy to make, easy to use, has a great taste and texture and doesn’t crack when rolling. Being in a bit of a hurry, I forgot to add the white chocolate, so I ended up adding the chocolate to the apple puree part of the tart instead. This worked brilliantly, so I’m glad I made the initial mistake. The tarts looked good and tasted even better. The apple puree had a lovely creamy texture and vanilla flavour due to the white chocolate, which contrasted well with the crisp unsweetened pastry and the apple slices on top.
This is how I made:
- Rubbed 150g salted butter into 260g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half plain white) until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs.
- Stirred in 3 tbsp yogurt until the mixture clumped together.
- Brought it into a ball with my hands and left to rest for an hour before rolling.
- shortcrust pastry (mine was homemade) – enough for 6 x 10 cm tart tins
- 4 windfall apples
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla sugar (golden caster)
- 30g vanillary white chocolate (I used Green & Blacks)
- 1 drop nutmeg extract
- 3 dessert apples
- 1 tbsp apple jelly
Total time: Yield: 6
Ages ago, I saw a fabulous post for a fruit dessert pizza over at Peaches Please and was immediately struck by the idea. I had been sent some plums from South Africa so the time was right to try a plum pizza. Some of you may recall the plum and amaretto ice-cream I made with these very same plums way back when, so I had high hopes. I was also keen to try making pizza dough with white chocolate which I thought would suit this fruity delight very well.
This is how I made:
Plum and Walnut Pizza
- Mixed 250g flour (half wholemeal, half white) in a bowl with 1 tsp instant yeast, ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp maca powder (not necessary, but makes me think I’m being healthy).
- Stirred in 150ml warm water and 1 tbsp olive oil until the mixture came together in a ball.
- Kneaded for about 10 minutes on an oiled surface, adding 30g of finely chopped vanillary white chocolate towards the end (I used G&B).
- Placed into an oiled bowl and left to rise for an hour or so.
- Divided the mixture into 4 balls and rolled as thinly as possible into rounds.
- Placed on lined baking sheets.
- Warmed 3 tbsp of plum jam (homemade) and 1 tbsp marsala in a small pan.
- Sliced 4 large purple plums into thin slices.
- Roughly chopped a handful of walnut halves.
- Spread a tbsp of the jam mixture over the base of each pizza.
- Laid the plum slices over the jam then scattered some walnuts over the top.
- Dusted a little vanilla sugar over the top.
- Baked in the middle of the oven at 200°C for 12 minutes.
- Served immediately (apart from the odd photo or two).
Gosh these were good. The dough was soft and sweet and combined beautifully with the tart juicy plums and the fragrant vanilla. The walnuts gave a delightful crunch and added bitter notes which contrasted nicely with the caramel undertones from the bits of white chocolate that had caramelised in the dough. These were also a visual feast with the strikingly coloured purple plums. This is a dessert I can see us having again and again – maybe with peaches or nectarines by way of a change.
Alpha Bakes is P this month and I have three of them. P is for Purple Plum and Walnut Pizza. It is hosted this time around over at Caroline Makes and is alternately hosted by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker.
And this is my second entry to Bookmarked Recipes this month with Jac over at Tinned Tomatoes.
Being rather pleased with this fabulous bake, I am submitting it to Emily’s #recipeoftheweek over at A Mummy Too.
Plum is the chosen ingredient for the monthly Rix Aga Inspired Recipes, so I am sending this over to them as well in the vague hope I might win £100 Waitrose voucher.
I had to adapt the recipe from American measures to make it gram friendly and did my usual bit of tinkering, so these will not be replicas of the originals by any means. However, the flour is wholemeal and the sugar content is not high, so these cookies are relatively healthy. That is, if you ignore my addition of white chocolate – just to give them a soupçon of naughtiness.
This is how I made:
Chocolate Chip Avocado Cookies
- Peeled and stoned a small avocado then mashed it in a large bowl.
- Beat in 80g golden caster sugar and 40g dark brown sugar.
- Beat in 1 duck egg (large hen’s egg will be fine), ½ tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
- Sifted in180g wholemeal flour and ½ tsp baking powder.
- Stirred until just mixed, then stirred in 50g dark chocolate chips and 25g of white ones (for dairy free use all dark chocolate).
- Transferred the mixture to a small bowl, covered it and left in the fridge overnight to firm up.
- The next morning, placed heaped teaspoonfuls well apart on a lined baking tray – I made 20.
- Flattened them roughly with a fork and baked at 180℃ for 13 minutes.
Warm cookies for breakfast – mmmm. All this sweet stuff in the morning is becoming a bit of a habit and has got to stop, especially as these biscuits were surprisingly moreish. Of the “crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside” variety, they weren’t too sweet but had lots of chocolate hits per mouthful. They were a little greenish and they did taste of avocado, but we are hardy folk and didn’t mind that. In fact, we both really liked them. Normally I dislike cooked avocado, which in my experience has a gloomy texture and tastes bitter. Not in this instance however – could it be the alchemical properties of good old Theobroma cacao?
I’m sending this off to Jac at Tinned Tomatoes for her monthly event, Bookmarked Recipes.
Although Avocado isn’t strictly a vegetable, we tend to think of it that way, so I am entering this into Eat Your Greens and hoping Shaheen of Allotment 2 Kitchen will be lenient with me.