June recipes: Blooming Great Tea Party

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baking

Tea parties have been a real feature of the summer so far after June’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations so carry on with a Blooming Great Tea Party in aid of Marie Curie

Invite your friends, family or colleagues to join you for tea and cake, and don’t forget to price your slice! Find out more about the work of Marie Curie and ideas to help you throw a tea party

Fiona Cairns’ strawberry & elderflower cake

Ingredients:
For the cake:
• 450g unsalted butter, really soft, diced, plus more for the tins
• 450g self-raising flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 8 eggs, lightly beaten
• Finely grated zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons
• 450g golden caster sugar
• 4 tbsp elderflower cordial

For the elderflower cream:
• 1.2kg ripe, even-sized
• strawberries, cleaned, dried and hulled
• 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 600ml double cream
• 8 tbsp elderflower cordial

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 170°C/350°F/gas mark 4. To make the three-tiered cake, take three 20cm round sandwich tins. Butter the tins and line the bases with baking parchment. If you have only two tins, then make the cake mixture and divide it evenly into three batches, baking the third as soon as a tin becomes free.

For this cake, I use an electric mixer and beater attachment, but you can use a food processor, or a bowl, add the butter, eggs, lemon zest and sugar, and beat well, adding the cordial towards the end. Be careful not to over-mix, as you want a light cake.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer emerges clean. (To halve the recipe, bake in two 20cm tins for 20-25 minutes.) Remove from the oven, leaves for a couple of minutes, run a knife around the rim to loosen the cakes from the tins and turn out on to a wire rack. Remove the papers and leave to cool completely. Trim the cakes flat.

For the filling and decoration:
Slice 400g of the strawberries and toss in a bowl with the sugar and vanilla, leave all the flavours to mingle for 30 minutes.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form, adding the cordial slowly just as it begins to thicken. Place one cake on a cake stand and spread with a layer of cream and half the slice strawberries. Repeat with another cake, a layer of cream and the remaining sliced strawberries. Top with the last cake. Spread the remaining cream all over the top and sides.

Take the best-shaped strawberries and cut 10-12 in half. Place the halved strawberries, cut side up in a circle around the edge of the cake, and pile up the rest in the centre. Cut the remaining strawberries into slices – or in half – and press into the cream all around the sides.

Ingredients:
For the cake:
• 200ml soya or almond milk
• 20ml cider vinegar
• 180g self-raising flour
• 20g ground almonds
• 200g caster sugar
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• 80ml vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon almond extract

For decoration:
• Raspberry Jam
• Toasted almond flakes
• Glacé or fresh cherries
• Almond icing.

Makes: 12 large cupcakes, about 24 fairy cakes or 48 mini ones

Ms Cupcake’s vegan Bakewell tart cupcakes

Method
Mix the soya milk and vinegar together and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line your muffin tray with muffin cases.

In a bowl mix by hand the dry ingredients until fully combined. Add to the bowl the soya milk mixture, oil, vanilla and extract. Using a metal spoon quickly mix together until just combined (about 10 seconds). The mixture should still be a bit lumpy, so be careful to not over-mix! Tap the bowl onto the work surface to halt the raising agents from working too quickly (you will see the bubbles pop.)

Using an ice-cream scoop or a spoon, evenly place the batter into the lined muffin tray and tap the filled muffin tray on the work surface to pop the bubbles again.

Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack in the muffin tray for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the muffin tray and finish cooling them on the wire rack until room temperature.

Decoration:
Once your cupcakes are cooled, spread a big dollop of jam on top of the cupcake and then pipe your almond buttercream on top to hide the jam below. Decorate using toasted almond flakes and top it all off with either a fresh or glace cherry.

Almond icing:
Using an electric mixer (or a handheld mixer), whip together the margarine, vegetable fat and vanilla until creamy (about 1 minute). Add half of the icing sugar and continue mixing (slowly at first and then bringing up to speed). Mix until combined. Add the rest of the icing sugar and mix while dripping in the soya or almond milk until it is a smooth consistency. If the icing is too firm, then add a bit more milk and mix again.

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April recipes: Feed your family

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Say bye-bye to boring dinners with exciting recipes from Chefs In Schools, by Nicole Pisani & Joanna Weinberg

Nerissa’s butternut squash cake

Ingredients:

• 125g/4½oz unsalted butter
• 125g/4½oz golden caster sugar
• Two free range eggs
• 200g/7oz cooked butternut squash
• 250g/9oz self-raising flour
• One teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Edible flowers, to decorate

For the icing

• 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 100g/3½oz soft light brown sugar
• 85g/3oz maple syrup
• 220g/7¾oz cream cheese

Prep: 15 minutes | Cooking:  45 minutes | Serves: 8 people

“This recipe is one we share with every school we work with,” writes Nerissa Buckley, school chef trainer.

“It was developed out of necessity but became a hit. I was at a school one day and we needed a cake ASAP for lunch. We like to get as much fruit or vegetables to our cakes as we can and I was hunting around for some to put in, when I remembered we were baking butternut squash whole in the oven for the next day. It was a lightbulb moment… and what a yummy result.”

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a 20-cm/8-inch cake tin with reusable baking paper. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat again until pale and creamy.

Add the cooked squash, flour and spices and gently fold in to combine. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until lightly golden on top and a knife or skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Make the icing while the cake is cooling: beat the butter, sugar and maple syrup (an electric beater makes this easier) until light and airy, then add the cream cheese, a quarter at a time.

Continue to beat for about two minutes until smooth and thick.

When the cake is completely cool, smear all over the top and sides. Decorate with edible flowers.

Ingredients:

• 400g/14oz hummus
• 24 baby vegetables for “planting” e.g. radishes,  carrots (with leaves if possible), baby cucumber and  tenderstem broccoli, trimmed and peeled, with tops on, or cut into small spears
• Flatbread, to serve

For the ‘black soil’

• 75g/2¾oz stale, good-quality bread
• Olive oil
• 75g/2¾oz black olives, pitted
• 50g/1¾oz pumpkin seeds
• One teaspoon cumin seeds
• Generous pinch of chilli flakes

Prep: 5 hours (drying time) | Making: 10 minutes | Serves: 4-6 to nibble on

EDIBLE GARDEN

“he first time Oli and I made the Edible Garden, a Nopi classic, for Gayhurst School was just an epic moment for me – educational, beautiful, joyful, with the kids all eating vegetables. It was everything in one moment and I remember thinking that we were on to something here.” Nicole Pisani.

For this recipe you’ll need two small loaf tins or other vessels deep enough to “plant” the veg into – tumblers or squat mugs also work.

Method

First make the “black soil”: preheat the oven to 100°C fan/120°C/250°F/gas mark ½. Toss the stale bread in a little olive oil and arrange with the black olives on a baking try and pop into the oven (turned off) to dry out for four or five hours. Place a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the seeds and chilli flakes until fragrant. Transfer to a blender with the dried olives and bread and blitz together.

Tip the mixture back onto the baking tray and rub the soil together to feel if it is dry enough. If not, return to the low oven for an hour or until dry.

Divide the hummus between the loaf tins. Scatter over the black soil and plant in the veg. Serve with flatbread.

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March recipes: Dinners for winners

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We’re sharing three hearty recipes from The Hairy Bikers’ Everyday Winners by Si King and Dave Myers, published by Seven Dials, out now £22 hardback

Cumberland sausage pie

Ingredients:

• Eight Cumberland sausages (about 500g)
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 15g butter
• One large onion, diced
• Two large carrots, diced
• Two celery sticks, diced
• 1 tbsp plain flour
• 2 tbsp tomato purée
• 100ml red wine
• 400ml beef stock
• 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
• Two bay leaves
• One large thyme sprig
• 1–2 tbsp Cumberland sauce
• 1 tsp orange zest (optional)
• sea salt and black pepper

Topping

• 1kg floury potatoes, cut into chunks
• 30g butter
• One bunch of spring onions, cut into rounds
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
• 50ml single cream
• 100g Cheddar cheese, grated

Prep: 20 minutes | Cooking:  90 minutes | Serves: 4 people

Cumberland pie is similar to shepherd’s pie, so we thought: why not make a pie with Cumberland sausages for the full Cumberland experience? We’ve broken the sausages up into little balls so everyone gets a bite of banger satisfaction. Add the cheesy potato topping and this is a dish to be proud of.

Method

Skin the sausages. Divide each into four and roll each into a ball. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and lightly fry until browned on all sides, then set aside.

Heat the remaining oil and butter in a large saucepan or a flameproof casserole dish. Add the veg and sauté for a few minutes, until well coated. Cover and leave to cook, stirring regularly, until tender – this will take at least 10 minutes.

Stir in the flour, then when it has disappeared, stir in the tomato purée. Turn up the heat and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, then pour in the red wine. Bring to the boil and continue to stir, then add the stock, sauce and herbs. Stir in the Cumberland sauce and orange zest, if using, then add the sausage balls. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom, until it has reduced a bit and thickened. Meanwhile, make the topping. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add potatoes, season and cook for 10–15 minutes until tender. Preheat oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Drain the potatoes and mash until smooth. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the spring onions. Fry until they start to soften, then add the potatoes to the pan with the mustard, if using, and the cream. Beat together until well combined.

Put the filling into a pie dish or casserole dish. Spread the mashed potato over the top, then rough it up with a fork. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes until browned and piping hot.

If you’re a burgerholic like we are, you’re always on the look-out for something new. Here’s our latest incarnation of the veggie burger which has bags of flavour and a nice hit of chilli. Good served Mexican style with avocado and a dash of soured cream.

Ingredients:

• 2–3 tbsp olive oil
• One small onion, very finely chopped
• ½ red pepper, very finely chopped
• One small carrot, finely grated
• Two jalapeños, very finely chopped (include seeds)
• 3 tbsp coriander stems, finely chopped
• Four garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1-2 tsp chilli paste or hot sauce (such as chipotle)
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• 400g can of black, pinto or kidney beans, drained
• 50g cooked brown rice
• 75g breadcrumbs
• One egg
• Sea salt and black pepper

To Serve

• One avocado
• Juice of one lime
• Cheese slices (optional)
• Four burger buns
• Four lettuce leaves
• Four slices of red onion
• Soured cream (optional)
• Coriander leaves, to garnish
• Hot sauce

Prep: 20 minutes + 1 hour chilling | Cooking: 15 minutes | Serves: Four

Chilli bean burger (vegetarian)

Method

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Add the onion, pepper and carrot and cook until the onion is soft and translucent and the vegetables collapsed down and glossy, but dry. Add the jalapeños, coriander stems and garlic and stir for another couple of minutes. Stir in the chilli paste or hot sauce, soy sauce, cumin and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.

Put the beans into a bowl and mash roughly – you want a mixture of textures. Add the rice, breadcrumbs, egg and the cooled vegetables. Season and mix.

Heat a little more oil in the frying pan, take a dessertspoonful of the mix and form it into a small patty. Fry on both sides and taste for heat and seasoning. Add more salt, pepper or chilli, if necessary. Form into four patties and chill them for at least an hour – this will help the flavour develop.

Remove patties from the fridge. Prep the avocado, toss in the lime juice and season with salt. Heat more oil in a frying pan and add the patties. Cook over a medium heat until a brown crust forms underneath. Carefully flip. If serving with cheese, add it to the burgers now and cover the pan to help the cheese melt. Lightly toast the buns, then layer up the lettuce leaves, onion, avocado slices, burgers, cheese, if using, and soured cream, if you like. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with extra hot sauce.

Barley & Beetroot Salad (Vegetarian)

Ingredients:

• 100g barley, well rinsed (or farro)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, grated or crushed
• 150g salad leaves
• 200g green beans, topped, tailed and blanched
• 2 large cooked beetroots, Peeled and diced
• Small bunch of dills, leaves only
• Small bunch of parsley, leaves only
• Small bunch of mint, leaves only
• 50g walnut pieces, lightly toasted
• Sea salt and black pepper

Dressing

• 50ml buttermilk
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp lemon juice or
• white wine vinegar
• ½ garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
• 1 tsp honey

Prep: 10 minutes | Serves: 4 people

Barley is great in a salad like this or you can use farro – a super-healthy grain that has a similar nutty taste to barley and is quicker to cook. Whichever grain you use, this is a big earthy salad with plenty of flavour and texture. You could add some goat’s cheese, if you like.

Method

Put the barley in a saucepan, cover with cold water and leave to soak for half an hour. Drain and cover with fresh water, then season with salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for half an hour until the barley is cooked through – you want it quite al dente. Strain, drizzle with the olive oil and add the garlic. Leave to cool to room temperature.

If you prefer to use farro instead, cook according to the packet instructions, then dress with the olive oil and garlic.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and season with salt And pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning or sweetness as necessary.

Arrange the salad leaves on a large platter. Add the beans and beetroots, then drizzle over some of the dressing. Sprinkle over the herbs, barley and walnuts, tossing everything very lightly so the top layers combine well. Drizzle over the remaining dressing and serve.

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February recipes: Sweet dreams

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We share a taste of Nadiya’s Fast Flavours published by Penguin Michael Joseph (£22)

Banana thyme loaf

Ingredients:

• Four small bananas, three mashed (340g prepped weight), one sliced lengthways
• 50g salted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the tin
• 175g caster sugar a pinch of salt
• a large sprig of fresh thyme leaves picked
• 120ml olive oil
• 75ml whole milk, at room temperature
• 300g self-raising flour, sifted
• 100g caster sugar 45g salted butter 60ml cream
• ½ teaspoon salt flakes

Prep: 25 minutes | Cooking:  1 hour | Serves: 8-10 people

Method

Put the mashed bananas in a bowl and leave out for half an hour to oxidise – this will make them browner and add to the colour. Or if you are in a rush, just mash the bananas and get to baking the loaf.

Line and grease a 900g loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C.
Add the butter and caster sugar to the banana and mix, then add the salt and thyme leaves, reserving a few to sprinkle at the end. Now pour in the olive oil and milk and mix through. Add the sifted flour and fold through until you have a smooth cake batter.

Pour into the tin and level off with a few sharp taps, add the two slices of banana, cut-side up, and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, covering loosely for the last 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when a skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the caramel by adding the sugar in an even layer into the base of a pan, on medium to low heat, and watch as the sugar turns to caramel, stirring it occasionally. As soon as the sugar melts, add the butter. If you find it seizing, don’t worry, just keep stirring over a very low heat and the caramel will come together. As soon as the butter has melted, add the cream. Cook on a low heat for two minutes till you have smooth caramel. Take off the heat.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then take out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

As soon as it has cooled enough, drizzle over the caramel. If it’s become too stiff, warm gently and then drizzle. You will have caramel left over but not to worry, because we all need a little extra caramel and it’s perfect served on the side for anyone who wants some more to pour over. Sprinkle with a few thyme leaves, if you like.

The simplest of all recipes, this set-custard-slash-mousse pot is creamy, zesty and entirely foolproof. Using very few ingredients, the syllabub is infused with thyme and set with lemon juice. Simply serve with sponge fingers and a good cup of coffee.

Ingredients:

• 150g raspberries
• One teaspoon rose extract
• A sprig of fresh lemon thyme, leaves picked
• 300ml double cream 50g caster sugar
• One lemon, zest and juice sponge fingers, to serve

Prep: 15 minutes + 1 hour chilling | Makes: Four

Lemon Syllabub

Method

Have four serving glasses or jam jars ready.

Mix the raspberries with the rose extract and lemon thyme leaves and mash a little to break up. Divide the mixture into the four glasses.

Add the cream and sugar to a mixing bowl and whip to soft peaks. Add the lemon zest and juice and fold through. Spoon on top of the raspberries. Ideally chill for an hour before serving, but you can eat it straight away!

Serve with sponge fingers.

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January recipes: Gut Reaction

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baking

We’re serving up a taster from The Gut-Loving Cookbook by Alana & Lisa MacFarlane which is out this month, published by Pavilion Books

Baked salmon topped with sourdough crumbs

Ingredients:

• One slice of day-old sourdough, or shop-bought sourdough loaf
• 1½ tbsp olive oil
• One lemon, quartered
• One fennel bulb, finely sliced
• One red onion, sliced
• Two handfuls of cherry tomatoes
• 100g jarred artichoke, drained
• Two salmon fillets
• Two garlic cloves, finely sliced
• Handful of stoned black olives
• Handful of fresh herbs, such
as basil or flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
• Salt and pepper

Prep: five minutes | Cooking: 30 minutes | Serves: two people

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Add the sourdough to a blender and pulse to breadcrumbs, then stir in the ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Place the fennel, onion, tomatoes and jarred artichokes in a mixing bowl, season well and coat with the remaining olive oil. Spread out over a medium baking tray and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven, stir in the garlic and olives, add the salmon and cover the salmon and vegetables with the sourdough breadcrumbs. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15–20 minutes until the salmon is cooked through.

Serve garnished with the chopped fresh herbs and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.

Extract credit to: The Gut-Loving Cookbook by Alana and Lisa Macfarlane of The Gut Stuff (Pavilion Books). Image credit – Haarala Hamilton

Spiced green pancakes

Who said pancakes have gotta be sweet? I love these for a weekend brunch or a lazy late lunch. Excellent with a spicy Bloody Mary!

Ingredients:

Pancakes
• One garlic clove, peeled
• Handful of fresh coriander
• Handful of spinach
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp ground cardamom
• 100ml (3½ fl oz) milk or oat milk, plus extra if needed
• 125g (4½ oz) spelt flour
• Two large eggs
• 1-2 tbsp butter
• Salt and pepper

Topping
• One avocado, cut into chunks
• Two spring onions, finely sliced
• Two handfuls of spinach
• 2 tbsp milk kefir (homemade, or shop-bought)
• One 200g (7oz) can of sweetcorn, drained
• ½ tbsp chilli flakes
• Squeeze of lemon juice

Prep: 22 minutes | Cooking: 50 minutes | Makes: Two

Method

Put the garlic, coriander, spinach, cumin and cardamom in a blender and blitz to a smooth green paste. Add a splash of the milk or oat milk to loosen if needed.

Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and create a well, then add the eggs, slowly whisking them into the flour. Add a pinch of salt and stir, then gradually add the milk, followed by the green paste and whisk to combine. Leave to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Put all the topping ingredients in a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Melt the butter in a 20cm (8 in) non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.

Once hot, whisk the batter, then ladle 60ml (4 tbsp) into the pan. Cook for two minutes, then flip and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat, serve with the mixed topping.

Store any leftover pancakes in an airtight container in the fridge for three or four days.

The topping is best prepared and served immediately.

We have two copies of  The Gut-Loving Cookbook by Alana & Lisa MacFarlane, published by Pavilion Books to giveaway

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Jack & Beyond

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baking

Send some sweetness & light to loved ones with Jack & Beyond’s Christmas cakes & goodies available for delivery across the UK

Is it ever too early for the first mince pie of the year? We have decided that this year, most certainly not! We love food here at Round & About, which we’re showcasing in our jam-packed November & December magazines. So we have been trying to take the repeated warnings about food shortages in the run-up to the festive season with a pinch of salt!

Luckily, thanks to all the dedicated food & hospitality stars out there, we have found that there is much to celebrate… and tuck into! The bakers & makers at creative cake shop Jack & Beyond have wowed us, as well as the Great Taste award judges with their handmade artisan mince pies, generously filled with an immediate aroma of Christmas, earning them a two-star billing. They can be sent as gifts with a personal message or just as a treat for yourself (hey, we’re not judging!). There are also gingerbread mince pies and chocolate mince pies for the non-purists looking to shake things up.

The London-based Jack & Beyond team have expanded their Christmas range for 2021 – all available to order from their online shop for delivery nationwide. In addition to their divine mince pies, they have Christmas macarons, gingerbread and moreish truffles which make tasty Christmas gifts or simply a luxurious way to entertain your guests this Christmas.

New for 2021 are Christmas Macarons hand-decorated with quirky festive designs with four flavours raspberry, salted caramel, chocolate and lemon & elderflower all presented in a beautiful gift box. The new Christmas Gingerbread Cookies are packed with flavour and the fun decorations make them popular with adults and children.

For chocolate fans, Jack & Beyond’s range of smooth gooey brownies are made with luxurious dark Callebaut chocolate and finished with beautiful patterns, they achieve the perfect balance of sweetness and intense chocolate. Choose from white chocolate and pistachio; red velvet; salted caramel; peanut butter; and vegan chocolate and raspberry brownies and new for this year Bailey’s chocolate brownies fans – a classic chocolate chip brownie topped with a generous layer of indulgent Bailey’s & chocolate ganache. Ideal for gifts for colleagues, clients or teachers, Jack & Beyond has attractive gift bags of brownies, shortbread, fudge and new for 2021 Chocolate Truffles  – Champagne, Dark Chocolate, Gin & Tonic, Raspberry & Champagne and  Salted Caramel Truffles

For cake lovers, Jack & Beyond’s Christmas Yule Log and Fruit Cake Loaf are perfect treats or gifts and can be delivered nationwide. The Yule Log is an indulgent chocolate sponge cake roll with a swirl of spiced chocolate ganache, while the Fruit Cake has a lovely soft texture and packed with flavours of mixed dried fruits, spices and ground almonds.

JACK & BEYOND 606 Fulham Road, London, SW6 5RP Web: Jackandbeyond.com/ Instagram: @jackandbeyond  • Facebook/jackandbeyond

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Delicious chocolates for Mother’s Day

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Make mum’s day with these delicious chocolates

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday so why not show her how much she means by making these sweet treats packed with healthy ingredients and love

DARK CHOCOLATE CHILLI & ORANGE FLOWERS

Sugar free and vegan

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Chilling time: 3 hours
Servings: 15 chocolates

You will need: Silicone moulds***

Ingredients:

OPTION 1 – COCONUT OIL
Coconut Oil gives a creamier texture and tends to melt more easily in warmer weather if left at room temp. Cheapest option and easy to prepare.

• 100 g coconut oil
• 25 g raw cacao powder
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol sugar alternative ground to a powder in a coffee grinder (available as Total Sweet)
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

OPTION 2 – 100% DARK CHOCOLATE
100% dark chocolate is becoming more widely available in supermarkets and shops. This recipe is mid-price, of the three options, is easy to prepare and gives a nice, hard consistency for finished chocolates.

• 100 g 100% dark chocolate
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol ground to a powder in a coffee grinder
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

OPTION 3 – CACAO BUTTER
Cacao Butter is more expensive and harder to source (health shop or buy online) but can be kept in the freezer and melted down as needed. Best bought in button-sized pieces for ease of using the quantity needed. Gives a harder consistency than coconut oil for the chocolates once prepared.

• 100 g cacao butter
• 25 g dark cocoa powder
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol ground to a powder in a coffee grinder
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

Method:

1. For all options, begin by melting the Coconut Oil / Dark Chocolate / Cacao Butter in a bain-marie (place a bowl over the top of a pan which has two inches of water in it. Heat the water over a medium heat until the ingredients have melted, stirring continuously. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.

2. Once the coconut oil / dark chocolate / cacao butter has melted, remove the bowl from the pan and turn off the heat. Place the bowl on a heat proof surface and stir in the raw cacao or dark cocoa powder (NB: you do not need to add chocolate to the 100% dark chocolate option).

3. Next, add the powdered xylitol and a pinch of chilli powder and stir until combined.

4. Place the chocolate silicon mould on to a moveable flat surface (a baking tray or chopping board works well).

5. Sprinkle a small amount of orange zest into each mould.

6. Now spoon the chocolate mixture on top until each mould is full.

7. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours before removing each chocolate from its mould and storing in a suitable airtight container.

8. It is best to eat these within 4 days of making them (not that they will last that long) as the chocolate can start to crystallise after then.

SUPERFOOD TRUFFLES

These little chocolate nuggets are supercharged with chlorella to energise the body. A perfect healthy treat for this Mother’s Day.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours
Makes: 16 truffles

Ingredients:

• 115g cashew nut butter or tahini
• 60g maple syrup
• 2tbsp cacao powder
• 60g melted dark chocolate
• 60g dried cranberries or cherries
• Pinch of sea salt
• 1tsp vanilla extract
• 1tsp Sun Chlorella powder
• 30g shelled hemp seeds

Method:

1. Place the cashew nut butter, maple syrup, cacao powder and melted chocolate in a food processor and combine. Add the remaining ingredients and process to form a dough. Chill in the fridge for several hours until firm enough to roll into balls.

2. When the mixture is firm use a spoon to scoop out walnut size balls. Roll into balls and place on a sheet of baking parchment. Roll the truffles in a little shredded coconut or dust with cacao powder.

Every Mum is sure to love these treats for Mother’s Day – and there’s nothing quite like a homemade gift (especially an edible one!)

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Barking to baking

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baking

Cook up some peanut butter cookies for your four-legged friends!

The award-winning team behind The Big Bakes are helping dog owners across the nation turn Barking to Baking with their new free online classes as part of a mini series helping owners make simple dog treats at home.

The Big Bakes is the UK’s first and only live baking competition, where guests take part in live bake off events in fully decked out marquees in London and Birmingham. Whilst we are all isolating at home, they are hosting an array of remote tutorials across their instagram and facebook channels to get the nation baking.

Keeping us humans company during our new indoor time is hard work for our four legged friends, so to say thanks, homeowners across the country can now bake their canine companions some special treats to say thank you.

Eloise Frank, co-founder at The Big Bakes said: “My dogs Luna and Freddie have provided me unconditional love and friendship, making life in lockdown infinitely more manageable which is why it is great to be able to return the favour and spend time together baking their favourite dog treats!”

The new mini pet baking series, available now, will see recipes launched twice weekly for an array of pets in the home. The baking team will be sharing two pet treat bake-at-home classes each week across their social media channels, airing on IGTV every Monday and Friday – make sure you look out for the cuteness overload making a guest visit in the Peanut Butter Dog Cookie recipe airing today, Monday, 6th April. All recipes use day-to-day ingredients and standard kitchen equipment found in the home.

To take part in these digital sessions, all people need to do is visit @Thebig_bakes on Instagram or The Big Bakes on Facebook where they will find a list of all the necessary ingredients needed for their up-coming class. And the good news is, there are also plenty of free baking classes on the channel for us humans too. Once people have completed their home made creations, they can share a photograph with @Thebig_bakes, in order to be in the running for a prize. Each week, the team will choose the winning amateur baker, who will receive vouchers to attend a live session later in the year.

The Big Bakes is all about bringing people together through a love of baking (and eating!) so they thought why not extend this to all members of the household, including those with four legs as well as two!

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Cookies  

Ingredients:

 ⅔ cup or 85 grams fruit puree e.g. pumpkin, banana, apple  

• ¼ cup or roughly 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter (Do not use peanut butter spread that contains sugar, or additives, this should be an all natural whole nut butter suitable for animal consumption e.g. Meridian or Pip and Nut as Xylitol, the sweetener most often used in peanut butter with sugar is toxic to dogs).  

• 2 large eggs  

• 3 cups or 384 grams plain flour wholemeal or rye  

Method:

Begin by preheating your oven to 180c degrees and line a large flat baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone baking mat.  

2  Take your large mixing bowl and crack in your eggs and then add the peanut butter and fruit puree. Now mix the wet ingredients until combined using an electric whisk with the paddle attachment or with a wooden spoon. Remember to give it a good mix if you are using a spoon! 

3  Once combined, gradually add your flour about a quarter at a time and fold into the wet mixture. If you are using an electric whisk then beat this slowly until just incorporated. Then repeat to add the rest of the flour quarter by quarter until the dough is no longer sticky.  

4  Now, form your dough into a ball TIP: you may need to use your hands to do this, so dust them with some flour first.  

5  Then, once your dough is bound together in a ball, dust a work surface with flour and then knead the cookie dough (use your knuckles to press firmly and turn the dough a few times) until it comes together. If you are finding the dough to be sticky just sprinkle on some more flour. 

6  Then, using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about the thickness of a £1 coin.  

7  Once rolled, take your cookie cutters (you can also make these by choosing some stencil shapes online and printing and cutting these out using a piece of card) and cut out your desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet leaving a little space between each cookie.  

8  Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until they start to turn a golden brown and they are firm to touch.   

9  Once ready, leave to cool completely before treating your 4 legged friend to a delicious peanut butter treat! 

See our other recipes (for humans)

Tuck into Cornish Pasty Week

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baking

Yesterday marked the start of Real Bread Week and today it’s the turn of Cornish Pasty Week.

Ok, so we’re a long way from the West Country here but who doesn’t love a pasty, but did you know:

No meat other than beef can be used and no vegetables other than sliced or diced potato, swede (turnip), onion and salt and pepper should be used in the filling.

There must be at least 12.5% beef and 25% vegetables in the whole pasty. All the ingredients must be uncooked when the pasty is assembled and then slowly baked to develop all that famous Cornish pasty taste and succulence.

Pasties traditionally went down the mines, across fields and out to sea, so they had to be able to withstand rough treatment. Once created, the edges should be sealed by crimping – if it’s not crimped it’s not Cornish.

Most importantly it can only be called a Cornish pasty if it’s produced west of the Tamar, in Cornwall.

The Oxford English Dictionary indicates that the pasty was identified in around 1300 and at that time was enjoyed by the rich upper classes and royalty.

In the 1700s it became a staple of poorer working families in Cornwall and in the 1800s came into its own as an important art of the lives of many Cornish families.

The week, which runs until 29th February, will be celebrated with a competition to find the world’s finest crimper and the world pasty championships at the Eden Project. All are welcome to join in the fun, taste one or two and have a go yourself.

The 2020 World Pasty Championships take place on Saturday, 29th February.

Have a go yourself with the ultimate pasty recipe from the Cornish Pasty Association:

FOR SHORTCRUST PASTRY

(rough puff can also be used):

• 500 g strong bread flour (it is important to use a stronger flour than normal as you need the extra strength in the gluten to produce strong pliable pastry)

• 120 g lard or white shortening

• 125 g Cornish butter

• 1 tsp salt

• 175 ml cold water

FOR THE FILLING

• 400 g good quality beef skirt, cut into cubes

• 300 g potato, peeled and diced

• 150 g swede/turnip*, peeled and diced

• 150 g onion, peeled and sliced

• Salt & pepper to taste (2:1 ratio)

• Beaten egg or milk to glaze

*The vegetable to use is the yellow-fleshed swede, not a white turnip. This is known commonly in Cornwall as the turnip. It’s also known as the yellow turnip/Swedish turnip in some places and in North America it is called rutabaga.

METHOD

Add the salt to the flour in a large mixing bowl.

Rub the two types of fat lightly into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add water, bring the mixture together and knead until the pastry becomes elastic. This will take longer than normal pastry but it gives the pastry the strength that is needed to hold the filling and retain a good shape. This can also be done in a food mixer.

Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 3 hours in the fridge. This is a very important stage as it is almost impossible to roll and shape the pastry when fresh.

Roll out the pastry and cut into circles approx. 20cm diameter. A side plate is an ideal size to use as a guide.

Layer the vegetables and meat on top of the pastry, adding plenty of seasoning.

Bring the pastry around and crimp the edges together (see our guide to crimping).

Glaze with beaten egg or an egg and milk mixture.

Bake at 165 degrees C (fan oven) for about 50 – 55 minutes until golden.

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Real Bread Week

Round & About

baking

Rise up together and support Real Bread Week

Did you know this week is Real Bread Week? It’s the annual celebration of additive-free loaves and the people who make them.

#RealBreadWeek 2020: Together We Rise! Runs from today (22nd February) until 1st March and aims to help people to bake a better future, one loaf at a time.

Launched by the Real Bread Campaign in 2010 it has three main aims:

• Buy Real Bread from local, independent bakeries
• Bake their own Real Bread at home
• Join the Real Bread Campaign

Each year, bakeries, baking schools, mills, schools, care homes, youth and other community groups hold classes, feasts and other events and activities.

People bake at home, with their families, colleagues and other friends, and share photos of themselves and their loaves on social media.

The week also wants to big up little bakeries and support small, independent, locally-owned bakeries which in addition to supporting skilled jobs and keeping money circulating in the local economy, help to keep the high street alive.

They may also offer social benefits, from being a place where older people at risk of isolation can see a friendly face and stop for a chat, to those that are set up to offer training and employment opportunities for people facing one of a range of challenges.

Get involved and help the charity Sustain by making a donation of £10 or whatever you can; join the campaign; buy the mug, T-shirt, apron, recipe book or dough scorer and if you’re in the business why not collect dough-nations from customers to help too.

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