Archives for posts with tag: Tortoise

Biscuit postcards

Wow, so it’s mid-February already, how did that happen? The weather has been blowing a gale here in London along side the non-stop rain. What else to do on rainy days other than experiment with new recipes and bake, of course?!

During January (notebly absent from my blog) I discovered a number of delicious veggie curry dishes as well as soupy/ stewy staples. Since it was Valentine’s day yesterday I thought I’d share some of the treats I made my sweetheart (cheesey, I know!)

First up and actually not for Valentine’s day but to sweeten up the people I am working with, some white chocolate and fresh raspberry cookies, which to be fair are red and white-themed.

Raspberry and white chocolate cookies

The recipe I used was another gem from the Carnation website, and these truly taste delicious. Soft, chewy, and full of chocolate and fruit, I think they are a tastier, fresher and preservative / junk free version of the ones you can buy in the supermarket in brown paper bags. They also stay fresh for quite a few days (if they last that long!).

Using this recipe I found that rolling the dough in to balls worked a lot better than trying to flatten it out. The cookies flatten and expand a lot whilst cooking so space them apart and only put a few on each baking tray. Patience is a virtue, plus you get to eat the early batches whilst the rest are cooking!

Also, use frozen raspberries if you wanted to, as they are a) cheaper and b) easier to squidge in to the dough. Unlike fresh raspberries they don’t fall apart under pressure.

So, cookies are good. Always good.

On to Valentine’s day. I had George the tortoise in the spirit of things…

Valentine's tortoise

…and was even given a belated tortoise birthday cake that week by my talented friend Steph. It tasted very chocolatey!

Cake

On to my Valentine’s iced biscuits. It took me a while to find a recipe that I was happy with, I wanted it to be interesting (not bland) and also not to expand too much so that the biscuits would lose their shape.

Using a spiced biscuit recipe not dissimilar to the one I used at Christmas from Ocado,  I then used roll out fondant icing to make these envelope biscuits, inspired by Domestic Sluttery’s efforts (http://www.domesticsluttery.com/2013/02/baking-for-beginners-valentines.html). I loved this idea, since I love things all stationery and letter-writing. Edible letter-writing!? Yes please!

The biscuit recipe is so easy, although I would recommend chilling the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge since this does stop the biscuits from spreading and losing their shape whilst cooking.

I purchased some edible icing pens online and admittedly could do with some practice, since this was my first attempt at using them. I rolled out fondant icing and stuck them on to a biscuits with a little glace icing.

Biscuits

I made a selection of biscuits with lemon glace icing, although again I think I need to practice my “flood icing” technique. After all, practice makes perfect right?!

Messy biccies

Since we are still in the Christmas spirit time of year, I reckon it’s not too late to write a little about some of the festive feats that I attempted in the build up to Christmas day. I can also introduce you to George, the latest addition to our family and the finest tortoise in all of Tooting, South London!

George

More cards

Taking inspiration from a couple of my favourite chefs I made some “edible Christmas cards” for friends and family. I love to give and receive home-made gifts and these are all straight forward to make. Positive feedback all round, and the biscuits and chocs looked pretty when packaged up in some Orla Kiely gift boxes.

Edible Christmas card Boxes

I needed recipes for biscuits that wouldn’t go stale within a day or two. Requiring a recipe for guaranteed success, I used Delia Smith’s shortbread recipe (http://www.deliaonline.com/how-to-cook/baking/all-about-shortbread.html) which I then spiced up with orange zest, dried cranberries and drizzled with white chocolate. See the heart and teapot shaped biscuits below.

Platter

Frances Quinn’s amazing Christmas creation for the Telegraph, which featured owls, pinecones, stars, and was simply beautiful. I used her gingerbread leaf recipe to create a much simpler, Christmas tree-shaped biscuit. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/10526360/Bake-Off-Frances-Quinns-12-Days-of-Christmas-recipes.html

Christmas tree

The little round cups are Millionaire’s Shortbread (https://lydiatoson.com/2013/12/08/millionaires-shortbread-for-mum/), making them in little cases makes them easier to pack up and prevents crumbly bottoms.

Packing up

The Carnation website also has a fail-proof coconut ice recipe (http://www.carnation.co.uk/Recipes/70/Coconut-Ice). I like to use the coarsely grated desiccated coconut (who knew it came in three grain sizes!?) from the Sri Lankan mini market around the corner from our flat. You have to leave the coconut ice to set for at least a few hours after assembly, so this is one to make in advance. I made mini bounty bars by double dipping the coconut ice pieces in good quality dark chocolate, melted over a bain-marie.

In addition to foodie bits, I crafted together some non-edible Christmas cards for those I wanted to correspond with via Royal Mail. I happened to lose my list of “cards to be sent”, resulting in some friends and family receiving no cards whilst others received two. Oops! I will send out New Year’s cards once I have worked out who received what!

Tree cards  cards Tree card

Each little envelope on this card contained a message on a tiny piece of paper, or some glitter and Christmas sparkle.

IMG00023-20121129-1746

Running out of time to make a card for everyone, I found these Tooting salutations at the Broadway market.

Tooting cards

I made a gingerbread house to take round to my lovely friend Lucy’s house over the festive season, which was good fun although some structural improvisation was required to get the roof to fit.

Gingerbread house

I also missed the opportunity to photograph George the tortoise with any edible treats, however I did lend my Christmas present to my friends at www.moorechampagne.com as they launched their online media campaign the week before Christmas. Check them out for unique and distinctive grand cru grower champagnes, perfect for celebrations and enjoyment at any time of year.

Moore Champagne

I think that’s probably all for now, although my next blog may well feature some Moore Champagne in the form of celebratory New Year cakes, and possibly George too.

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