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AN OVERLOAD OF DIETARY INFORMATION

November 8, 2016

Those of you who’ve followed my blog may remember I have an ongoing health problem around IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). With that in mind we always eat healthily and homemade meals (ok I admit probably too much bread and cake in the past!).

Beautiful avocado

Beautiful avocado

Unfortunately things have got worse and following more investigation it seems I am Coeliac and Lactose intolerant. This actually makes sense to me as after following a restricted diet I was already avoiding creamy meals such as lasagna and fish pie and have devised lighter versions that didn’t bring on the violent reactions.

Lovely tomatoes

Lovely tomatoes

I’ve got literature to read, plenty of bookmarked items on my iPad and a couple of new recipe books on the way – but combining the gluten free, dairy free and FODMAP advice will mean a total change of what I eat. Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy to do it if it avoids surgery and poor health but I think I’ll have to start a list of what I can eat rather than a list of what to avoid. No more wheat, wheat products, milk, milk products, onions, cauliflower, lentils, mushrooms…..

Butternut squash is on the menu!

Butternut squash is on the menu!

A little bit daunted by it all but a new foodie journey for me – please share with me if you have any experience or ideas.

CHILLI CHEESE AND CHUTNEY SCONES

November 5, 2016

Beautiful morning here in Macclesfield today and I should have got on with my weekly bread baking but I had an appointment scheduled with a new Consultant so baking had to be left. On the walk back from the hospital I collected a bag full of sweet chestnuts so that was a positive!

Sweet Chestnuts

Sweet Chestnuts

With no bread left for lunch I decided to make some savoury scones and try baking some with chutney on the top like one I had recently enjoyed at the garden centre.

I thought the mixture seemed a little dry compared to my sweet scone recipe but they worked really well and were very tasty!

INGREDIENTS

225g self raising flour
Half teaspoon chilli powder
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 tsp baking powder
55g garlic butter (optional you can use ordinary butter)
100g cheddar cheese
90 ml milk
Extra cheese and chutney for topping the scones

METHOD

1) Preheat oven with the baking tray inside to 200.C.

2) Mix the dry ingredients in a mixer.

Mix the dry ingredients

Mix the dry ingredients

3) Cut the butter into small pieces and mix until breadcrumbs (you can do all this by hand)

4) Gently mix in the grated cheese then enough milk to give a firm dough. Do not pour in all the milk at once as you may not need it all.

Add the grated cheese

Add the grated cheese

5) Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough to approximately 2cm thick. Cut out the scones with a medium cutter and then place on the hot oven tray. Sprinkle a little cheese on the top of each scone and a teaspoon of chutney before putting in the oven.

Top the scones with cheese and chutney

Top the scones with cheese and chutney

6) Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden in colour – enjoy!

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

SIMPLE SCONES – another successful Eric Lanlard recipe!

September 18, 2016

We’re enjoying some beautiful Autumn weather here in Cheshire at the moment (forgetting quickly about the one night of amazing thunder and lightning last week!). I love all the seasons but when we get sunny days and Autumn colours what can be better.

I’ve always liked to get up early – lying in bed really doesn’t thrill me – and I particularly enjoy the peace of my kitchen at the weekend with the oven on and Radio 4 in the background.

Yesterday I planned to make pizza dough to leave in the fridge for tea and some scones to use some of the huge bright red glacé cherries I bought recently. I’ve been using a recipe that calls for chilling and resting but just wanted something a bit quicker as we were going out for a walk.

Google led me to a Times article with recipes from one of my favourite bakers – Eric Lanlard. These scones were simply mix, cut and bake. A nice small quantity too as just for us and scones certainly don’t keep past the next day.

Apart from the addition of the cherries I didn’t change a thing.

INGREDIENTS

225g self-raising flour
¼ tsp salt
25g golden caster sugar
50g unsalted butter, diced
125-150ml buttermilk
4 tbsp milk
1 beaten egg, to glaze

METHOD

1. Sift the flour into a bowl, add salt, sugar and butter and rub in until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Mix buttermilk and milk. Gradually mix in to form sticky dough.

3. Knead three to four times on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 3cm thick. Cut out 6 scones and place on a lined baking tray.

Simple scones

Simple scones

4. Brush tops with beaten egg.

5. Bake at 200C/Gas 6 for 10-12 minutes until well risen and golden. (Mine took a little longer)

Cherry Scones

Cherry Scones

6. Transfer to a cooling tray.

BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE CAKE

August 14, 2016

You know when you go into a cafe and there’s a type of cake there you haven’t made for ages and you think – I really like that why haven’t I made it – or is that just me!

Well that’s exactly what happened when we visited Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek last week. So many nice cakes to choose from but I spotted an Apple Crumble Cake that I made a few times last Autumn to use some of our home grown apples. No surplus apples at the moment but we got some really nice fruit and vegetables on the market – including some very reasonably priced blueberries and a huge bag of plums for just a pound (I’m thinking a pie for them).

So today I’ve tried enlarging my recipe to make a big family sized dessert cake so there will be enough to take to my son and daughter in law when we go for tea tomorrow.

Again I’m using cup measures – so quick to scoop straight into the bowl.

INGREDIENTS

For the crumble:
¼ cup golden granulated sugar
⅓ cup Demerara sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Sprinkle ground nutmeg
115g butter, melted
1⅓ cups plain flour

For the cake:
6 oz butter, at room temperature
¾ cup golden granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp grated lemon zest
⅔ cup creme fraiche
1¼ cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare a 9-inch round springform tin. Mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then add the flour. Mix well and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest and creme fraiche.

Add the eggs

Add the eggs

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed gently add the flour mixture to the batter. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Gently fold in the blueberries

Gently fold in the blueberries

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the batter.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with icing sugar.

Blueberry Crumble Cake

Blueberry Crumble Cake

MY KIND OF SHOPPING – UNICORN CO-OPERATIVE AND BARBAKAN BAKERY/DELI IN CHORLTON

May 28, 2016

Although I love cooking and baking sometimes it’s lovely to know you can go to somewhere reliable and buy some “real” food that you can just throw together for a relaxed treat.

When we want to do that our favourite destination is Chorlton. I first enjoyed bread from the Barbakan through our Northern Harvest farm shop delivery. The bakery and deli has been established for 50 years and has recently undergone a refurb to incorporate some indoor seating. Whatever the weather though the outdoor covered verandah is a great place to sit and people watch while enjoying your meal or just a coffee and luscious pastry. On Saturdays you can also choose from the outdoor sausage barbecue.

The staff at the Barbakan are all so helpful too – while in the queue today the little boy in front being carried by his daddy was given a bagel and a sample of sausage to keep him cheerful while waiting you don’t get that in a chain store!

We enjoyed coffee and apple strudel this morning with the added treats of canolli that we’ve never eaten before – very sweet little Italian pastries!

Cannoli treats

Cannoli treats

Then I returned into the deli and came away with olives, tuna salad, Parma ham, pork pie and olive scones.

We love the Unicorn Co-operative – as much as possible all the fresh produce is sourced as locally as possible and clearly displayed where it’s from. All the dried goods are bought in bulk and then they bag them up for onward sale and savings for the customers. It’s a brilliant concept.

Love this concept

Love this concept

The fresh produce is great but it’s also great for rice, pulses, nuts, dried fruits, tinned and bottled too – all organic!

There’s a good choice of vegetarian savoury products and salads on the deli and they are hoping to produce more ready packed choices from here in the chilled counters soon.

So we’re all stocked up again and just wish we had a co-operative like this in Macclesfield.

Great idea next to the play area

Great idea next to the play area

EASTER ROCKY ROAD

March 26, 2016

As I’ve not been baking cakes and sweet things for some time I still had quite a lot of chocolate in the fridge……left over from Christmas would you believe! Then my lovely daughter in law brought back a large bag of Spring coloured sweets and I thought I would use them all up in a classic Rocky Road.

Spring colours

Spring colours

The last one I made at Christmas was a little crumbly so this time I increased the chocolate and didn’t add any butter or syrup that my original recipe used.

It turned out perfectly and the unusual colour of the sweets definitely gave it an Easter look.

INGREDIENTS

Large bag of candy covered chocolates (approx 320g)
600g milk chocolate
180g mini marshmallows
300g Digestives

METHOD

Melt the chocolate

Melt the chocolate

Crush the biscuits leaving some chunky pieces amongst the crumbs

Crush the biscuits leaving some chunky pieces amongst the crumbs

Add the biscuit and marshmallows to the chocolate

Add the biscuit and marshmallows to the chocolate

Mix thoroughly adding half of the sweets

Mix thoroughly adding half of the sweets

Press mixture into a baking tin or foil tray and top with the rest of the sweets

Press mixture into a baking tin or foil tray and top with the rest of the sweets

Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before cutting into 24 squares

HOME WINE TASTING WITH PIEROTH WINES

March 6, 2016

Over the last few years we’ve enjoyed many food festivals and shows and began to notice the stands selling home wine tasting events but were a bit unsure what it would be like.

Then at the Foodies Festival at Tatton we had VIP tickets that included a glass of Prosecco from the Pieroth Wine stand and had a good chat with the gentlemen there. We were interested so decided to buy a gift token for my brother (you know how hard it is to buy for the man who has everything!).

You can buy for weekday of weekend, for yourself or a larger group depending on your needs. In our case there should have been four of us but my sister in law was unable to come so it was just three.

Les Barber from Pieroth Wines

Les Barber from Pieroth Wines

Our guide through the wines was Les Barber. He gave us an interesting introduction to the company, it’s vineyards and then our selection for the evening – 11 wines ranging from a light, sweet white German wine to a rich, full bodied, oaky red.

Even in our little group of three the range of favourites was huge – I am a lightweight Prosecco drinker who only enjoyed the first two, hubs preferred the middle range lighter reds that it is now popular to chill, and my brother’s choice was the richer, oaky reds at the end of the tasting.

My favourite from the wine tasting

My favourite from the wine tasting

I had supplied savoury nibbles and water and with the chat and tasting it took just over an hour and a half. Ideal early evening entertainment before we had our meal.

Having been a little unsure we all really enjoyed learning a little more about wine and although we did order a mixed case between us there was no hard sell and it wasn’t expected. The wines are dearer than our usual supermarket special offers but are all single estate, first pressing with none of the additives found in cheaper bottles.

We would definitely do it again and include other members of the family or friends too.

This post was not sponsored or requested by Pieroth Wines and was written because we enjoyed our evening!

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