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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Easy Peasy Jammy Biscuits

Thumbing my way through a back issue of Good Food magazine from March 2006 that I'd obtained via Freecyle, I came across a recipe for some simple looking jam biscuits. Having made a fresh batch of raspberry jam yesterday I decided to give the biscuits a go today. Goodness me they were easy and made a batch of biscuits as pretty as a posy of poppies. Took me about 10 minutes to whip them up and 15 minutes to cook. Mind you, they were even quicker to eat!

Easy Jammy Biscuits (makes 12)

4oz (110g) butter
8oz (225g) self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
4oz (110g) caster sugar
A little milk
Jam (flavour of your choosing)

Preheat the oven to 190°C (gas 5) and grease a large baking tray. Chop the butter and place in a bowl. Sift in the flour and salt then rub the fat into the flour until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Stir in the caster sugar. Splash in a little milk until it is moist enough to bind into a dough. Use hands to roll the dough into a large sausage shape about 5cm in diameter. Cut the sausage into slices about 2cm thick and put the slices well spaced out onto the baking tray. Use the end of a wooden spoon to make an indentation in the centre of each biscuit. Spoon about half a teaspoon full of jam into each indentation (don't worry if it overflows the hole). Bake the biscuits for 15 minutes until golden then cool on a rack.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Easter Treats

Only a few days to go until the long Easter weekend. Did you know that it is traditional to plant your seed potatoes on Good Friday? Actually, I think this is a historical event because it was one of the only days off that workers used to get so they would make the most of it and plant their potatoes. As it happens, I have planted all my potatoes already - I think I got carried away by the glorious weather we've just had but that's probably a good thing as the weather for the weekend isn't looking too great. Having said that, the garden is certainly in need of a good watering so rain is welcome (just not too keen on sleat and snow and I don't want my fruit blossom to get frosted!).

So what are your plans for your Easter feast? Will you go for the traditional roast lamb? How about a lovely garlic and rosemary lamb leg? Before you put the lamb in the oven, stab it several times with a sharp knife and poke slices of garlic and sprigs of rosemary into the holes. We still have some garlic left in store from last year, although it is starting to sprout now, and the rosemary plant is just putting out new growth and is soft and fresh. You could smear the joint all over with Garlic and Ale Mustard too. If you haven't got a jar of Jammy Cow mustard to hand then you can quickly whip up a similar mustard yourself. Mix a little mustard powder with a dash of real ale (I would recommend Concrete Cow Brewery ale, obviously!) instead of water to form a paste then stir in some crushed garlic. Of course, Jammy Cow mustard is matured for 6 weeks before going on sale to let the flavours develop but letting the mustard mixture stand for an hour before use does the world of good. Once cooked, allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before carving then serve with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables. At Easter that means purple sprouting broccoli, leeks and asparagus.

But what about dessert? After a big roast dinner I like to have something sweet to finish the meal but not so huge I feel bloated. Now, here's an idea that is stupidly simple to make and just great to do with your kids. Mini chocolate Easter cheesecakes. Ever since their first visit to Red Hot World Buffet my girls have loved diddy little desserts, where they can happily be allowed seconds (or thirds) so I bought some suitable containers and have invented a few dishes of my own. This one is probably the easiest yet, thanks to the take-over of Cadburys by Kraft Foods in 2010 which suddenly made the amalgamation of Cadburys chocolate and Philadelphia Cream Cheese a possibility!

Mini Chocolate Easter Cheesecakes

4 digestive biscuits
25g (1oz) melted butter
1 tub of Chocolate Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Cadburys Mini Eggs

Blitz the biscuits in a food processor to reduce to crumbs then mix with the melted butter. Divide the biscuit mix equally between 10 to 12 mini contains (foil tart cases or plastic shot glasses work well). Put these into the fridge to harden for a few minutes then dollop 2 teaspoons of chocolate cheese on top of the biscuit base and top with a Mini Egg. Serve chilled.