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Chocolate Bourbon Biscuits

28 Jul

Wowwy, what a month.

I haven’t written properly in quite a while, and though I’ve wanted to, I a) haven’t had the time to experiment in my kitchen and b) haven’t had the chance to write. So that’s that really. Boo.

But I am back. And today I have a recipe for you. Bourbon Biscuits.

Bourbons

Bourbons ready to munch!

I must say that bourbons happen to be my very favouritist biscuit. I have this nostalgia about them, but I can’t quite remember my 1st memory of them. We never had biscuits in the house when I was a kid, so I expect my love of these yummy things comes from visiting my grandparent in Lincolnshire in my early years. My grandmother (my dad’s mother) always has a biscuit or two in the house. They also always bought those mini breakfast cereals especially for when my sisters and I visited. But that’s beside the point.

Everyone has a certain way that they have to eat their biscuits. It’s habit right?

Some drunk in tea (the boy), others demolish theirs in 3 bites. Sometimes people even sandwich their digestive together with chocolate spread (OMG I am liking this idea). But I, along with a few select others, nibble. Okay, I know this only applies to the bourbon/custard cream/Oreo lovers out there, but wait. It’s not just any kinda nibble, it’s a whole different story.

Bourbons and Milk

I have to remove the top layer of biscuit first, to expose the chocolaty buttercream inside. I usually do this in a few small bites, chomp, chomp, chomp. Then I lick the buttercream and finish the rest of the biscuit, chomp, chomp. A little gross, so I am not allowed to eat bourbons if others are around (my own rule). It’s probably sounding like I have a weird bourbon fetish by now, no?

Anyways, I would love it if you would comment on what you’re favourite biscuit is, and how you like to eat it. I love a little discussion, especially one about food!

Chocolate Bourbon Biscuits

Makes aprox 18 biscuits

Biscuits

115g plain flour

30g icing sugar

25g cocoa powder

100g butter, cut into cubed

Filling

30g butter, room temperature

100g icing sugar

25g cocoa powder

Start by sifting the flour, icing sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Then add the cut up butter and mix together with your hands. Go on, get right in there, until it has some structure and forms a ball.

Place in cling-film or sandwich bag and put it in the fridge for 30 minuets.

While your dough is chilling you can make the buttercream filling.

Cream the soft butter in a bowl until smooth, add the icing sugar a tablespoonful at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the cocoa powder and mix until smooth. Set aside.

Set you’re oven at 160c/140c fan.

Once you’re bourbon dough is chilled, remove from fridge and knead on a floured counter until you are able to shape it. I rolled mine out into a sausage, then patted down the sides until I had a long rectangle shape, the classic bourbon. But you can shape yours however you like.

Then using a sharp knife, I sliced pieces off the dough, around half a centimeter in thickness. Place the uncooked biscuits on a baking tray lined with baking paper and chill again for 10 minuets.

Put these babies in the oven for 8 minuets. Cool on a rack, then when cooled, spread some buttercream on one side of a biscuit, and sandwich the other half on top.

Viola! Chocolate Bourbon Biscuits. So quick it’s easier than popping down the supermarket (unless you’re about to pop down anyways to pick up the ingredients) but the hell with it. You won’t find any nasties in them, just pure, homemade loveliness! Enjoy!

Oh, and don’t forget to tell me you’re fave biscuit!

Guilt-Free Breakfast. Gluten-free and delicious!

27 Jun

Over the last few months I have been testing new recipes for gluten-free/grain-free baking and cooking.
I wanted breakfast that was satisfying like toast and honey, and filling like a bowl of granola, problem is, I can’t eat any of those things because I’ve recently discovered that grains, of any type, are not my friend. I’m talking wheat, rice, corn, couscous, you name the grain, I can’t eat it. Which means I don’t get any of the ‘good stuff’ so to speak. I can’t even eat the gluten-free alternative as rice flour is used.
To be honest I’ve been pretty bummed out for the last few months over this.
Anyways, The Spunky Coconut pretty much saved my life.

Kelly and her family have been gluten-free/grain-free, sugar-free and the rest for some time now. I would check out her website for the full story, as I wont do it justice, but it’s all pretty inspiring. She reminded me that there were loads of grain alternatives, and with a little, tiny, weenie bit of effort (not much at all) you can have delicious baked and cooked yummies, that A) wont hurt you’re gut or give you crazy blurry vision (yep that’s what happens folks) and B) are really high in protein and all that good stuff.

So I’ve taken inspiration from Kelly and I’ve been making my own grain free pancakes! The recipe is one I’ve made up myself, and has worked well all the times I used it. And you don’t have to feel guilty eating them as they are almost completely carb free, no sugar and high in protein. This version is also dairy free, but not out of intention. It can be altered by replacing the coconut milk with cows or goats milk if you like.

Vanilla Almond Pancakes with Honey and Lemon drizzle

Serves 1

30g blanched almonds

20g tapioca flour

10g quinoa flakes

5g coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon of gluten-free baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

1 egg

A little coconut milk to thin.

Drop of vanilla bean essence

Coconut oil for cooking

1 dessert spoon honey

2 dessert spoons fresh lemon juice

 

Put you’re almonds and quinoa in a grinder, I use a coffee grinder myself, and find it works perfectly. Grind until you have a fine flour.

Put all the dry ingredients to a bowl and add the egg, mix until well incorporated.

Add coconut milk and vanilla to thin down you’re batter, depending on how thick you want you’re pancakes.  Alternatively you can have waffles by adding only a drop of milk. Leave for a few moments while you heat you’re frying pan to a high/medium heat.

While you wait, mix together the honey and lemon in a small bowl or cup. Set aside.

Add a touch of coconut oil (or a little butter) to your hot frying pan, and add a couple of spoons of batter. Cook one side for about a minuet,  flip and cook the other side. Repeat until all your batter has gone. Personally I have mine quite small, more like waffle size, but they work just as well if you want a thin pancake, just add more milk and spread across the pan.

Pour on your honey and lemon drizzle, and ta-dah! You have yourself a healthy stack of Almond Pancakes! Enjoy!

 

A french weekday in London.

30 May

This week I embarked on my little trip up to London.

I only had 2 days, and I had a lot to do, places to visit, and dear friends I wanted to see.

I had a quick lunch with a friend who just moved up to London. A little salad bar in Victoria was the setting for our catch up. Chatter about his new job, home, friends, business ideas etc. We managed to cover a lot of ground in that short hour. The salad was also good, especially as I hadn’t eaten all day.

Then on to Soho to meet some people I haven’t seen in almost a year. It was so good to see them. You start chatting and it doesn’t feel like a year has passed. More chatter about ‘whats going on in Soho’, family, music, new business ventures, bubble tea…once again, there’s never enough time.

Off to Covent Garden to meet my grandma for macarons and tea at Bougie Macaron and Tea.

We were greeted by the waitress who gave us a seat next to the window, lovely. The first thing that hit me when we first walked in were the decadent colours. The walls were painted in a metallic gold, and with the dark wood this could have been too dark, but they have a lovely big window which floods the place with light that dances off the painted walls.

They had a good menu, not just serving macarons, in fact, not just serving patisseries. With salads and light bites on the menu this is the perfect cafe for long lunch time catch up’s.

Their macarons mirrored Bougie’s metallic walls, each one was dusted with edible lustre. I did marvel at how the jeweled colours suited Bougie down to the ground.

We decided we would share 4 macarons between the 2 of us. It took us a little while to choose, but in the end we went for pistachio, raspberry, rose and salted caramel on recommendation. I had a lavender tea and grandma had an orange blossom.

The tea came in all sorts of unusual teapots, the aroma subtle but distinctive.

The flavour of the macarons was lovely, my favourite was the rose macaron.

Grandma and a rose macaron

Hello!

But the texture was not good. They were quite crisp, and the pistachio was so hard I couldn’t even cut it in half which was a shame.

In general I would visit Bougie again, maybe have a spot of lunch and a pot of tea, but I don’t think I would have their macarons.

 

The next day was a bit of a blur. It rained so hard all day. But we whizzed around London in the haze.

First to the Pierre Herme counter in Selfridges. It was beautiful, unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take a photo, but I sneaked this one in from afar.

I chose a Milk Chocolate and Passion Fruit macaron. Even though I only had the one macaron they still packaged it beautifully.

The colour was so vibrant and enchanting. Almost saying “Eat Me, I will change you’re life”.

And boy, did it!

As I bit through this beautiful morsel the shell softly crumpled into the centre exposing the moist yet structured almond interior. The ganache was UNBELIEVABLE! It was sweet and sour all at the same time. This experience was something else.

I finally popped to Laudree in Harrods, I didn’t have long as I had to catch my coach, but I quickly flew in. I hadn’t realised but they have a full-blown cafe there. It was gorgeous, extravagant. Once again I couldn’t get a photo, but I really recommend a visit.

I chose Laudree’s Cherry macaron.

The first thing that hit me was the scent. Cherry orchards in mid summer. Sweet and full-bodied, rich and light. Also the colour was fabulous.

Once again the centre was moist, the thin shell was deadly delicate. The flavour was sublime.

I ate this one on the coach on the way home, and when I took my 1st bite I couldn’t help but let out a long ‘mmmmm…’ The people sat near to me were looking over with curiosity as I enjoyed this moment, their eyes transfixed on this bright pink little piece of heaven.

It was different from the Pierre Herme macaron. In structure this macaron practically melted in my mouth, and the moister centre meant that it almost completely gave way to itself on my 1st nibble, but O-MY. Have you ever tasted flavours like this before, I can guarantee you no.

All in all it would be very hard to compare the two. Both unique, which seems complex when it comes down to it. They are just macarons, both almond, sugar and egg whites, both equally as good as one another, but somehow different.

I now know where I strive to be on my macaron journey, so even if I manage to capture 50% of a Pierre Herme or Laudree macaron in my own creations I will be thrilled to pieces.

The desperation to buy Pierre Herme’s book Macaron, and Sucre by Laudree is now at an all time high.

Until then, back to the kitchen!

I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures from the fish counter at Selfridges, they are currently supporting Project Ocean which is a fantastic cause.


My 1st phone post

24 May

I’m on the move. Sat on the bus on the way to a business meeting. I’m excited actually. I always feel really motivated after one, and get loads done. Then I am off to get me some Jack Sparrow!

I’m also off on my trip to London tomorrow. It’s a business trip you know…ok only a little business, mostly research.
I must go check out the local bakery scene in London. See what’s new, buy a few bits (must test) and take some pictures. I can’t wait! I’ll probably spend a good potion of time in Covent Garden, I want to go to Boogie Macaron and Tea. Then Selfridges for some food shopping. There are ingredients in some of the big department stores in London that you don’t get down here in the south, so that will take a good few hours.
I doubt I’ll even have time (or money) to set foot in a clothes shop, but honestly, I’d rather be looking at cakes all day!

I will look forward to posting some pictures on Friday. But you might get a few cheeky uploads off the old mobile phone!
Have a great few days xx