cream scones

27 Nov 2017

I do love a good scone topped with jam. I haven't made scones in years so last weekend I decided to make a batch using Annie Smithers cream scones recipe. 

I tracked the recipe down on the internet and all I had to buy was some thickened cream as I had all the other ingredients at home, including home made raspberry jam. On Saturday I assembled the ingredients and set to work. 

When I was a teenager my parents bought me a little scone cutter in Hahndorf in South Australia and I've been using it ever since. I've been making scones for years and in the past I've certainly had my share of disasters. If you follow a few simple rules you should end up with a batch of fluffy scones every time.

When you mix the dough you need to do it quickly as you can, handling the dough as little as possible. You don't really knead the dough, you just pat it out with your hands before cutting the scones into circles or squares. The oven needs to be really hot and it's best to place the uncooked scones close together on the tray so each scone supports it's next door neighbour as they rise.

If you like your scones soft, place them in a clean tea towel for a few minutes as soon as they come out of the oven, otherwise just cool them on a wire rack before serving with a dollop of jam and some cream or butter or both!

Here's the recipe for you, adapted from Annie's recipe. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 gms and I use unsalted butter. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Cream Scones – makes 10

2 cups self-raising flour
pinch of salt
20g icing sugar
125 ml thickened cream
150 ml milk
jam and double cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Combine the flour, salt and icing sugar in a large bowl, then pour in the cream and cut in with a broad-bladed butter knife. Mix in the milk.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat together into a circle about 2.5 cm/1 inch thick. Use a floured 5 cm/2 inch scone cutter to cut out the scones, re-rolling the dough as needed. Place the scones close together on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Lightly glaze the top of each scone with some cream or milk. 

Bake the scones for 15 minutes at 220°C/425
°F or until the tops are a golden brown. Take the tray from the oven and wrap the hot scones in a clean tea towel for a few minutes. If you like a crunchy scone then omit this step.

Serve at room temperature with jam and cream (or butter, if preferred). These are best served the day they're made.

How were they? They were really quick and easy to put together and honestly, I think they were the best scones I've ever made. I'll definitely use this recipe again.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


mushroom tart

20 Nov 2017

I've been working on expanding my meat free options and decided to make another savoury tart from the Popina Book of Baking. Whilst leafing through the book I found this mushroom tart recipe which combines dried porcini mushrooms with fresh mushrooms. I love porcini mushrooms so was I sold.

I bought some button mushrooms and field mushrooms and would have bought some swiss browns as well except they were very expensive. You can use any combination of mushrooms.

The tart uses the same pizza dough base as the ratatouille tart.

I made the mushroom mixture the day before I baked the tart so it didn't take long to put together. I lightened the filling a bit by adding milk to the egg and cream mixture.

The tart came out of the oven just in time for my Sunday lunch.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 6 servings. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20ml tablespoon. I use 60g eggs and unsalted butter in all my recipes. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if you're oven is fan forced, you may need to lower the temperature by 20ºC.

Mushroom tart – adapted from The Popina Book Of Baking by Isidora Popovic.

You'll need an 8 inch square or round tart tin 

1 quantity Pizza Dough 
15 g dried porcini mushrooms 
1 large red onion, diced 
40 mls olive oil
2 tbs water 
¾ tsp salt 
½ tsp cracked black pepper 
1 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves plus extra for serving
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
150 g button mushrooms, halved if large
200 g field mushrooms, thickly sliced
100 mls cream
75 mls milk
1 egg, beaten

Put the porcini mushrooms into a bowl of warm water and leave to soak for 20 minutes. Drain, chop then set aside.

Put the onion, oil, and water into a frying pan and sauté for about 10 minutes or until soft and the water has evaporated. Remove from the heat and add the salt, pepper, thyme leaves, garlic and the porcini mushrooms and stir to combine.

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Put the button and field mushrooms into a baking tray; drizzle with oil then cover the tin with foil and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool covered for a further 10 minutes. Drain any excess liquid from the mushrooms, then stir them into the onion mixture.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC and while the vegetables are cooling make the pizza dough.

Pizza dough 
220g plain flour 
1tsp dried yeast 
½ tsp salt 
2 tbs olive oil 
1 egg 
80 mls warm water 

Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, egg and water. Mix together to form a soft dough. Cover the dough and allow to rest for 10 minutes before gently kneading on a lightly oiled surface. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Roll the dough to 3mm thickness.

To make the tart, grease the tin then line the tart tin with the pizza dough but don’t trim the edges yet. In a bowl mix the cream, milk and egg then pour half the mixture into the prepared tart shell. Spread the cooled vegetables over the tart before carefully pouring in the remaining cream mixture. Trim the excess pizza dough before baking.

Bake the tart at 180ºC for 30 min or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before serving. Garnish the cooked tart with sprigs of thyme.

This was another extremely delicious tart from the book. The pizza crust is so easy to make I can't wait to make another tart using a different filling, maybe something pumpkiny?

See you again soon with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


salted sour cherry chocolate and oat slice

13 Nov 2017

A few months ago I made a chocolate apricot and oat slice and I have to say I found the end product a little disappointing. The recipe had cocoa nibs as an ingredient and I discovered that I don't like the taste of cocoa nibs at all.

I decided to remake the recipe using toasted pecans and dried sour cherries.

Once everything is measured out, the recipe is quick and easy to put together.

The finished slice topped with chocolate and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 gram eggs. My oven is a regular gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20ºC.

Salted sour cherry chocolate and oat slice - makes about 16 pieces

150 gm (1 cup) plain flour
150 gm rolled oats
100 gm brown sugar
60 gm dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
50 gm toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt flakes
150 gm melted butter, cooled slightly

Easy chocolate glaze
200 gm dark chocolate (56%-60% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
80 mls boiling water
20 gm butter
Sea salt flakes, to serve

Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter a 20cm x 20cm square tin and line it with baking paper. Combine flour, oats, sugar, dried sour cherry pieces, chopped pecans, baking powder and sea salt flakes in a bowl, stir in butter, then press mixture evenly into the tin. Bake until golden brown (15-20 minutes). Cool to room temperature.

To make the glaze, combine the chocolate, boiling water and butter in a heatproof bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts until chocolate starts to melt and then whisk until smooth. Let stand until the chocolate mixture starts to thicken, then spread the chocolate glaze over slice, sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).

To serve, cut into portions with a sharp knife (heat the blade in hot water, then wipe it dry before cutting for a clean slice). Salted sour cherry, chocolate and oat slice will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

I took this in to work with me and a few people asked me for the recipe, which is quite unusual. I've just finished the last piece of slice and for something so easy to make it's pretty delicious.

See you again soon with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


lemon semolina syrup cakes

6 Nov 2017

I ordered Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh's book 'Sweet' as soon as it became available. I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to make anything from the book until now. I took a quick look through the book last weekend and came upon this recipe for lemon semolina syrup cakes. I checked the pantry and I had all the supplies so quickly put the cakes together.

Instead of sliced lemon as suggested in the recipe, I found a few slices of candied lemon in the fridge and used that instead to top the cakes. The candied lemon did tend to sink into the cakes so next time I'd either top the cakes halfway through the baking time or after they've come out of the oven.

To ensure the cakes are nice and moist 
they're doused in syrup as soon as they're baked.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 gram eggs. My oven is a regular gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20ºC.

Lemon Semolina Syrup Cakes – makes 8

100g almond meal
70g semolina flour
½ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
120g unsalted butter, room temperature
135g caster sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
20mls fresh lemon juice

60mls fresh lemon juice
50g sugar

½ lemon finely sliced into 8 or 4 candied lemon slices, halved

Candied Lemon Slices
1 small lemon thinly sliced and seeds removed
⅔ cup caster sugar
⅔ cup water

Candied Lemon Slices
In a frypan combine the sugar and water, place over a low heat stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 - 8 minutes or until the toffee starts to turn golden. Add the lemon slices and turn frequently until the lemon slices are golden and well coated about 3 - 5 minutes. Remove the slices and place on baking paper. Allow to cool at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line 8 cups of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk almond flour, semolina flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With motor running, gradually add eggs and beat until glossy, about 1 minute. Add dry ingredients and lemon juice and beat to combine, about 1 minute. Divide batter among muffin cups and top with a slice of lemon or a piece of candied lemon slice. Bake until cakes are golden brown and a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean, 25–35 minutes.

Make the syrup while the cakes are baking. Bring lemon juice, and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar; reduce heat and simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. As soon as cakes come out of the oven, brush or spoon syrup liberally over top. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cakes cool completely before turning out. Cakes can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature

I've made many Ottolenghi cakes before and they've all been delicious so my expectations were high. I wasn't disappointed. The cakes were moist, lemony and delicious.

See you all again soon. 

Bye for now,

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