Sunday, 24 November 2013

Seven on (Stir-Up) Sunday: 24.11.13

Stir Up Sunday: Sticky treacle, heavy stout, fresh eggs, jewelled fruit, black magic in prune format, sweet spices, the empty bowl. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

We Should Cocoa: Chocolate Crackles

This month's We Should Cocoa is hosted by Rebecca at BakeNQuilt who has challenged us to make cookies.  Last month's vegetable packed challenge round up can be found here.  You can read all about We Should Cocoa and the past challenges here.  


There is a man who gets on the train at the same platform as me every evening.  He has that kind of geezer swagger; you know the type I mean, legs open wide, newspaper flapping.  And every day, on that platform, he manages to get in front of me and get on the train first, even though I am there well before him every time. 

I'm not saying that because I have girl parts that I deserve to get on the train first, I'm simply saying that it's just a bit rude to push in front of someone who is there before you. Every day. 


It's lead me to the conclusion that I am, in fact, invisible. 

Something else that's invisible is the magic that happens in your oven when you make these.  You can make this magic visible by sprawling yourself across the kitchen floor and watching them bake.  Honestly. It's pretty cool to watch the cracks appear.  One day, I'll get on the train before him. I'll be visible too. 

We live in hope.

120gr dark chocolate
60gr soft room-temperature butter
135gr soft light brown sugar
1 egg
60gr cocoa powder
120gr self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
40ml milk
Icing sugar

1, Melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie until completely smooth and set to one side.
2, Beat the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy. 
3, Beat in the egg and the dark chocolate.
4, Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl.
5, Alternate adding the sifted dry ingredients together with the milk and mix until you have a completely combined batter. Don't freak at this point, the batter will look really soft.  It will firm up in the fridge. 
6, Line a bowl with clingfilm, add in the batter and top with a layer of clingfilm.  This needs to be refridgerated for a minimum of 30 minutes but the longer you leave it, the more manageable it will be. 
7, When you are ready to start baking, preheat your oven to 175o/c and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. 
8, Sift some icing sugar into a small bowl. Divide the batter into 24 lumps, roll in your hands and then roll in the icing sugar until completely covered. It will have the consistency of soft  chocolate ganache that is ready to be rolled into truffles. Don't be tempted to knock off the excess icing sugar, we want these to be completely covered with a thick layer of icing sugar.  
9, Place 12 balls on each baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until they are crackled and slightly firm to the touch on the edges. Leave to cool on the baking sheet before peeling off.  They have a soft almost cake like texture and are soft when they first come out of the oven. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Seven on Sunday: 17.11.13

Sunday: Cat face alarm clock, video games, trying to study, bedroom view, Movember, tiny paws, mannequin magic tricks

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Fig Rolls

This year, I am finding it desperately hard not to go "full Christmas" on you so early in the year. I've already dusted of my Rat Pack Christmas album, made five Christmas presents, decided on goose rather than turkey and have cajoled Jim into letting us have two Christmas trees this year (We have a fake one in the loft that hasnt been used for three years on the trot). I had a dream about table setting the other night. No lie. 

I have a daily battle with not starting a mince pie binge.  

But, as I keep on being reminded, it is too early. 1st December seems like an age away. 
In the meantime, I'll sulk a bit. I made fig rolls and only twice did my hand hover over the mixed spice... 


Fig Filling
250gr dried ready to eat figs

Biscuit Dough
250gr plain flour
170gr cold butter
70gr caster sugar
2 egg yolks
Tiny pinch of salt


1, First get your fig filling on the go.  This needs to be cold when you use it. 
2, Cut each of the figs into quarters and put in a medium saucepan over a low heat.  Add a couple of large splashes of water and put on the lid.  You'll need to simmer these really gently until soft. You might need to add more water but don't be tempted to drown them.  I smooshed mine with the back of a wooden spoon a bit to break them down. 
3, When the figs are soft, blend in a food processor. Return them to the pan, and over a low heat, cook until you have a thickish paste consistency. Remove from the heat, transfer to a small bowl and leave to cool completely. 
4, To make the biscuit dough, sift the flour into a large bowl, cut up the cold butter and rub together with your fingertips until you have a lumpy bread crumb type consistency.  
5, Stir through the sugar and then add in the egg yolks.  Bring the dough together using your hands and flatten into a disc before wrapping in clingfilm and sticking in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
6, When you have chilled biscuit dough and cold fillling, dust your worktop with flour and roll the biscuit dough out to a rectangle which is roughly 15 cm by 40cm   Cut down the middle of the dough so you have two long strips. Add half the fig mixture to each dough strip by spooning it, just off centre, down the dough strip. 
7, Fold the edges of the biscuit dough around the fig mixture. I rolled mine over slightly so the join was on the bottom.  You should now have two logs. Flatten these slightly and cut these into 4-5cm sections and place on a lined baking tray. 
8, Bake these in a preheated oven at 190o/c for 20-25minutes until gold brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack before eating. You really don't want to attempt to put one of these in your mouth when they are hot; the filling is the temperature of lava. Trust me (and my burnt lip).