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Recipe ~ Spice Biscuits: Perfect for Those Hard-to-Buy-For People #recipe

These spice biscuits (or cookies for Americans) are the perfect homemade gift. They are quick and easy to make, taste good and go well with a cup of tea or coffee.

Spice Biscuits

SPICE BISCUITS

250 g butter/ 2.2 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons mixed spice

Beat the butter and sugar to a cream. Add the egg and the golden syrup, then mix in the dry ingredients. Roll balls about the size of a teaspoon and place on a cookie tray (greased). Flatten with a wet fork. Bake at 180C/350F for 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Shelley’s notes:
*These bicuits spread during cooking, so don’t put them too close together on the tray.
*This is a Jo Seagar recipe from her Easy-Peasy Summer Entertaining book
*This recipe makes 36 biscuits

Recipe: Ginger Biscotti #recipe #baking

Biscotti

This is another recipe from Annabel Langbein’s Simple Pleasures. I’ve been working my way through this book and found dozens of tempting recipes to try. This one for ginger biscotti was a real winner. I’ve tried biscotti recipes before, but this one was the best of all. Hubby said so!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1 1/2 cups castor sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a tray with baking paper.

2. Mix ingredients together until you have a soft dough. Pat into a log shape – around 23 cm x 7 cm and place onto the tray.

3. Cook until the log is a pale golden color – about 30 minutes.

4. Remove from the oven and decrease the temperature to 140C.

5. Let the log cool until you can cut it without burning your fingers. Slice thinly and arrange on a tray.

6. Bake again until crisp and dry. This should take about 15 – 20 minutes, but the biscuits will become crisper as they cool.

7. Once completely cool store in an airtight container.

Ginger Biscotti

Shelley’s Notes:

1. As usual, my cooking time was less since my oven is on the hot side.

2. I’ll use this recipe and experiment with some different flavors, maybe cranberries and chocolate.

3. This recipe really worked well, and the biscotti were perfect with a cup of tea.

Recipe: Turkish Bread #travel #food

I adore Turkish bread and have done since I first tasted it, still warm from the oven during a trip to Turkey. Locals buy fresh bread every day, and the last time we were in Istanbul, it was fascinating watching the bread delivery. A man walked down the road shouting about his wares. A housewife lowered a basket with money from a second storey home, the man took his money, placed the bread inside the basket and the lady reeled up her fresh bread. Shopping made easy!

Selection of Bread Istanbul Turkey

We did a food tour in one of the Istanbul districts, and this is a photo of the shop window where we had a stop. Our first stop, I think, which is where we had breakfast.

In my quest to try new recipes this year, I came across this recipe in Annabel Langbein’s book Simple Pleasures for Turkish Bread. It can be made with a mixer, a breadmaker or by hand.

Turkish Bread

Bread before baking

Bread before baking

Bread Cooked

Cooked Bread

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups lukewarm water

2 teaspoons dried yeast granules

1/2 teaspoon sugar

5 tablespoons greek yoghurt (room temperature)

4 1/2 cups flour – slightly more if making by hand.

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon flaky salt

Method:

1. Place the warm water in a large bowl, sprinkle over the yeast and stir in the sugar. Stand for around five minutes until the yeast is frothy.

2. Add the oil and yoghurt to the yeast mixture and combine.

3. Add the flour and salt and mix together until you have a soft and wet batter.

4. If you’re mixing by hand, which I was, add an extra half a cup of flour.

5. Lightly flour a board and knead the mixture between 20 – 30 times.

6. Return to bowl and cover. Leave to rise in a warm place until double in size – around two hours.

7. Preheat the oven to 190C. Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and divide into two. Use well-oiled hands and shape into two ovals about 2 cm thick.

8. Place on a lined tray and press out. Drizzle olive oil over the top and use your fingers to dimple the top. Sprinkle with cumin and salt.

9. Bake until puffed and golden for around 20 minutes.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. When I make the bread again, I’ll cook it for a few more minutes.

2. Hubby and I had sandwiches and also used the bread to dress up our hamburgers. It would also be perfect with soup, and Annabel Langbein suggested that it would make good crostinis.

Do you have a favorite bread?

Receipe: Mango, Feta and Avocado Salad

This year I’ve decided to try more new-to-me recipes instead of cooking the same old thing every week. To this end, I grabbed two recipe books from the library and started looking for enticing recipes.

The first book was Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food, which I chose because I’ve seen her on the Food channel and enjoyed her recipes. It’s summer here in New Zealand, and with the abundance of avocadoes and other salad ingredients, I thought I’d start with a salad.

Mango Salad

Ingredients:

Mango

Feta cheese

4 radishes

1 ripe avocado

Fresh basil

1 bag of salad greens or rocket

1 lime

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

To Make the Salad:

1. Place salad greens on platter.

2. Slice radishes. Cube mango, avocado and feta cheese and arrange all on top of the salad greens. Tear the basil leaves and add to the salad.

3. Dress with lime juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I didn’t have any radishes and improvised with some kobari (spelling?) It’s a large radish-like vegetable, which I grated. I think radishes would have been better for the crunch factor and the dash of color would have looked good.

2. Other than that, I enjoyed the salad very much and would make it again.

Recipe: Kiwi Crisps

Last Saturday I made some biscuits (that’s cookies to those of you in the US) and I took them out to my father’s farm on Sunday. Last night, my sister rang.

Sister: I’m sending those biscuits back to you via courier.

Me: Why?

Sister: I’ve eaten three, and I’m not meant to be eating sugar. They’re very moreish.

Me: *laughing* I’m so sorry! I didn’t think.

Sister: It’s only three. I’ll start my diet again tomorrow. Only another 20 kg to go.

My sister has lost a lot of weight already since visiting a dietician. Her new sugar-free diet and increased exercise has made all the difference. I’m so proud of her.

Anyhow, here is the recipe for the troublemaking biscuits – Kiwi Crisps.

DSCF8867

Ingredients:

4 oz butter

2 Tablespoons of castor sugar (2 oz)

2 Tablespoons condensed milk

1 1/2 cups plain white flour (6 oz)

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 oz dark chocolate chopped

Method:

1. Heat the oven to 350 F (175 C)

2. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.

3. Add the condensed milk and mix well.

4. Stir in the chocolate.

5. Add the baking powder and the flour and combine well.

6. Line a tray with baking paper.

7. Roll the dough into small balls. Place on tray and flatten slightly with the heel of your hand.

8. Press down with a fork. To keep it from sticking to the dough, I dipped my fork in a cup of warm water.

9. Bake for approx 12 minutes.

10. Cool on the tray for a few minutes, then remove to cool completely.

Shelley’s Notes.

1. I used dark chocolate chips and they worked perfectly.

2. The recipe said to bake for 20 minutes, but in my oven this was way too long. I cooked mine until they turned color slightly because I prefer my cookies crisp, but around 10 – 12 minutes should be okay, depending on your oven.

3. These biscuits have a caramel flavor, thanks to the condensed milk, and sprinkling the biscuits with a hint of flaky salt would give them a salted caramel taste, although I haven’t tried this yet.

As I said, these biscuits are very moreish, and it’s difficult to eat only one. Now, my question for you. Are you able to stop at one biscuit/cookie?

Recipe – a vegetarian dish #recipe #travel

The first time I tried Koshari (a vegetarian dish) was during a visit to Egypt. It was a lunch staple on our river boat as we cruised down the Nile from Luxor to Aswan.

Egypt_RiverBoat

This is our small river boat. The larger, more luxurious boats dwarfed ours, but our smaller size meant we passed through the locks first.

Egypt_ViewfromBoat

The Nile river brings life to the area. The grass is a vivid green and the crops thrive in the soil with plentiful water, but once away from the river, it’s very dry.

Here is the recipe for Koshari.

Ingredients:

1 cup basmati rice

50 ml olive oil

2 1/4 cups of vegetable stock – water is okay if you don’t have stock

250 grams brown lentils

100 grams small macaroni

20 gram butter

2 onions, thinly sliced

Baharat Tomato Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated

2 1/2 teaspoons baharat

1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

400 grams canned cherry tomatoes

200 grams canned chopped tomatoes

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Baharat:

You can buy this online or from specialty stores. I made mine since I had all the available spices in the cupboard.

2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

To make the sauce:

1. Heat the oil in the saucepan, add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender.

2. Stir in the baharat spice and chilli

3. Add the tomatoes and season to taste. Simmer until thickened. Stir in the vinegar and keep warm.

To make the base:

1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a pan, add rice and stir to coat. Season to taste, then add the stock. Cover with lid and cook on a low heat until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed.

2. Cook the lentils until almost tender, then add the macaroni. Stir until the pasta is al dente. Drain and combined with the cooked rice.

Egypt_Kosharibase

3. Heat the butter and cook the onion until golden brown and crispy.

4. To serve, divide the rice mixture into bowls and spoon over the tomato sauce. Garnish with the crispy onion.

Egypt_Koshari

Shelley’s Notes:

1. We added spinach leaves to our tomato sauce. We also had some kidney beans in the fridge, so we added those as well.

2. We didn’t have cherry tomatoes. I used a 800 gram can of chopped tomatoes.

3. I think I’d garnish with parsley or fresh coriander in the future, rather than the onion.

Verdict: Delicious! I will definitely make this dish again.

Delicious Oatmeal Cookies #recipe

Oatmeal Cookies

This weekend I had a yearning for cookies. After checking through my favorite recipes, I decided I’d try a new one for oatmeal cookies. They turned out very well – the recipe is a keeper.

Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

4 ounces brown sugar

3 1/2 ounces fine caster sugar

4 ounces butter

1 egg (large)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon milk

7 ounces plain white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

salt

3 ounces of rolled oats (oatmeal porridge)

6 ounces of either – chocolate chips, raisins, chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)  coconut or dried cranberries.

Method:

1. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

2. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk.

3. Add your choice of the optional ingredients – I added chocolate, cranberries and a few walnuts.

4. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour and mix well.

5. Roll into walnut sized balls and flatten slightly. Place on greased baking tray.

6. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in a pre-heated oven 180C/350F until lightly browned.

7. Leave on the baking tray for a few minutes before placing on a rack to cool. Makes aprox. 35 cookies.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I cooked mine for ten minutes using fan bake. They turned out soft and a bit chewy.

2. Next time I’ll cook them slightly longer to see how they taste when they are a bit crisper. Just an experiment. This batch was delicious as they were.

A Delicious Ginger Crunch

Ginger Crunch

I really, really like Ginger Crunch, and I’ve been on the lookout for a good recipe for ages. This recipe comes from the recipe book A Treasury of New Zealand Baking and is from Jo Seagar. I liked this recipe because of the super gingery flavor and the fact that it has wholemeal flour, which makes it feel healthy…even though it isn’t really. Smile

Ingredients for base:

150 grams butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup long-thread coconut (I didn’t have any so used finer coconut)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (porridge/oatmeal)

3/4 cup wholemeal flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup chopped crystallised ginger

Method:

1. Melt the butter, golden syrup, and sugar together in a saucepan.

2. Place the other ingredients in a bowl and stir in the melted ingredients from 1 above.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a slice tin with baking paper and flatten the mixture into the tin.

4. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Topping:

100 grams butter

6 tablespoon golden syrup

2 1/4 cups icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

3 teaspoons ground ginger

Method for Topping:

1. Melt the butter and golden syrup together then add the ginger and icing sugar to make a frosting.

2. Spread the topping on the warm base.

3. Chill and cut into pieces

Shelley’s Notes

1. I added a little extra icing sugar since the frosting ran off the base the first time I made it. I put it in the fridge the second time and didn’t lose my frosting.

2. This is crunchy and gingery, although a little sweet. It was delicious and I can see myself making this often.

3. I used bake instead of fan bake, and the 20 minutes was the perfect cooking time.

Are you a fan of ginger?

Writing in Books. Gasp!

I have a thing for recipe books, and each time I visit my local library, I grab some different ones to study and find new recipes to test. My favorites are those featuring baking—the types of cakes and biscuits (cookies) my mother used to make when I was a child.

New Zealander, Alexa Johnson has written several recipe books on baking. The books are called Ladies, A Plate, and the one I’m studying at present is called Ladies, A Plate: The Collection.

One of the things she mentions at the start of her recipe books is about writing things down. She says to record your experience with the recipe in the actual book since this adds interest and usefulness to the recipe book when it is passed down within a family. Forget the rules about writing in books.

At first I thought, no way! Because nothing annoys me more than checking out a library book only to find a previous reader has “corrected” it. But then I thought about how useful it would be to have the knowledge of previous cooks in my family. I would love reading notes written by my grandmother or mother since they were both excellent cooks. The idea really appealed to me, and now I’m a convert. I can’t wait to start writing notes in my recipe books.

How do you feel about writing in books? Do you do it?

Oat Cakes

Oat Rounds

I tried out two new recipes this week, and this is the first. This recipe for Oat Rounds, or what I like to call oat cakes, comes from 100 Sweet Treats and Puds by Mary Berry. I was pleased with the texture, but both hubby and I thought the final result was too sweet.

Ingredients:

50 grams (2 oz) fine sugar

100 grams (4 oz) butter

100 grams (4 oz) porridge oats (oatmeal)

50 grams (2 oz) plain flour

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160C or 140C for fan oven and line trays with baking paper.

2. Combine the sugar and butter and beat until creamy.

3. Add the oats and flour and combine.

4. Lightly knead the mixture, flour work surface, and roll out to a thickness of 5mm or 1/4 inch.

5. Cut into rounds with a plain cutter and place on baking trays. Should make around 16 rounds.

6. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

7. Cool on a wire rack.

Shelley’s Notes

1. These biscuits were way too sweet. At least they were for my taste. I’d half the sugar the next time.

2. I have a fan oven, and I cooked my biscuits at 140C. They took ages to cook, far longer than the 20 minutes, so I think I’d increase the temperature a little.

3. My mixture kept crumbling when I was rolling it, so I pressed my biscuits into shape. That’s why mine look a bit ragged!

4. They taste great with cheese.