Sunday, 5 March 2017

Flapjacks

I love a quick and easy tray bake. With life being super busy at the moment, I haven't had the chance to make any elaborate baking. I, however, always have time to make a quick and easy tray bake. I've made the recipe before and it's incredibly easy and quick to make.



Makes 16
175g butter
350g jumbo oats
a pinch of salt
175g light brown sugar
100g dark chocolate (optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 20x 20 x 2cm square tin with non-stick baking parchment. Take half the oats and process them in a blender or food processor until they are reduced to a coarse powder. Tip them in a bowl. Add all the remaining oats and the salt, and mix well.
Heat the butter, sugar and syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. Pour into the oats and stir well to combine.
Tip into the prepared tin and level the top carefully, using the back of a spoon to press it down well. Make the surface as even as possible, especially along the edges and in the corners.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffy, but check periodically to make sure the mixture is browning evenly. It should be evenly golden, bubbling a little have a wonderful nutty, buttery smell.
Leave to cool a little in the tin, then and cut into 4 along each side. Cool completely in the tin.
If using the chocolate, melt it in a heat bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
Pipe or drizzle the chocolate in lines back and forth across the pieces, or dip each one to coat half the top. Leave to set, and store in an airtight tin. These are best eaten within a day or two of baking.
Share:

Saturday, 5 December 2015

My Favourite Cookbooks of 2015 plus Christmas Giveaway #4

This is a post that I have been looking forward to for many months. In fact, it's my first post where I am sharing my favourite cookbooks in a year. Cookbooks are very close to my heart, not least because it really opened my eyes to the diversity of cooking when I was a student, but also with every dish created, a memory of your own is created. It seems that almost everyone has wrote a cookbook  this year from celebrity chefs, bloggers and TV presenters. But, what makes a good cookbook for me is not just one which the recipes work (this is of course incredibly important), but also where there is real passion shown across each page and a story. I love a good food story, I want to know why you have decided to include this recipe in your cook book, what makes it work and whats the history behind this. There has been a bumper collection of cookery books this year, one of the perks of being a blogger is that I am often sent cookbooks to review. I also treat myself every pay day to a cookbook or three. Oh and when I go abroad, I always have to buy a cookbook from that country. Needless to say, I have a ridiculously growing collection of cookbooks. But this year there has been some gems, beautiful food writing, inventive and colourful recipes and most importantly dishes that taste sublime. So without further ado, here are my favourite cookbooks of 2015 (in no particular order).


The Picnic Cookbook
I love the idea (and in a ideal world I would spend my spare time) of having a picnic, but this something I rarely do. But why is this one of my favourite cookbooks of the year, entitled The Picnic Cookbook, considering I don't really do picnics: I love how Laura Mason has revolutionised the concept of picnic, of which many think involves sandwiches. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the history of picnics from the Victorian era to today. For every occasion, there is a picnic dish to prepare and eat with loved ones. I also loved the recipes which incorporated world foods such as the delicious Cypriot feast and also Koftas and Naans. The photographs are simply stunning and the food looks mouthwatering. 


A Lot on Her Plate
Rosie Birkett is one of the UK most exciting voices in food. I knew that she would be releasing a book as I follow Rosie on social media. There was extensive of media coverage upon her book release back in April. What makes this cookbook and become one of my favourite this year, is that her recipes are incredibly inventive, versatile and comforting. In an era were a lot are focusing on "clean eating", Rosie shows the reader how to make wholesome, fulfilling and inspiring dishes. I also like her frugal/flush approach, showing that good food can be eaten whatever your budget may be. Rosie's book also shares her story and her food experiences from a child up until now. As shared in my review post, this a cookery book for the seasoned cook and one to stretch your imagination. Of all the books in this round up, this is the one that I have cooked the most from.

Vanilla Table
Perhaps it's my naivety or not really understanding the power of vanilla, but I was positively astounded with the versatility of vanilla. It helps that this cookery book is elegant in design and the photographs are stunning. Prior to this book, I have primarily used vanilla in sweet baking. However, with 9 chapters from starters to drinks, to brunch and to snacks, vanilla can be included in every meal, any time of the day. I love reading Natasha' love affair of Vanilla, alongside the chefs contributions to this cookbook manual. The Spiced Lime Smoothie that I made is one which I have revisited on many occasions, alongside many of the brunch recipes. 

Mamushka
I'm sure the debut book for Olia Hercules will be featured on many cook book round up posts this month. Olia has shared the cuisine of her culture and heritage which is shared through her evocative food writing. Ukranian food is not something that is, well, exactly popular in the UK, but in Mamushka, the diversity of recipes eaten across the Ukraine and beyond are beautifully shared. I love the vibrant and exotic recipes and you will be pleased to know that the majority of the ingredients can be found in supermarkets. From the Georgian Garlicky Poussins to the Prague Cake or the Pork Ribs and Dumplings, I wanted to bookmark every recipe and I'm sure you will too.


Caribbean Modern
A round up would not be complete without a Carribean cookbook, I always like to read recipes from other Caribbean islands. This one, by Shivi Ramoutar showcasing lighter, brighter and colourful recipes. I loved the inclusion of many Trinidadian recipes, the accessible recipes, the easy to follow recipes. Above all, I've made a number of recipes, all of which tasted delicious. I loved the bag baked sea bass with black bean salsa. 


The lovely people at Octopus Books and Pavillion books are giving one reader a copy of Mamushka and a copy of The Picnic Cookbook. Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.
  • Follow the instructions on the rafflecopter widget
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the site and join using Google friend connector) This is an ESSENTIAL Requirement.
  • For additional entries, subscribe to my Youtube channel, follow me on Instragram, Google PlusFacebook and Twitter. 
  • All entries will be checked and verified.
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 05/12/15 - 31/12/15.
  • Winners will need to respond in 5 working days.
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xxx
Share:

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Picnic Cookbook Review and Interview with Laura Mason

I love the idea of having a picnic. Nothing quite says that Summer is here than preparing and packing for a picnic. I have fond memories of eating sandwiches outdoors as a child whilst on a picnic, however I am embarrassed to say that I have not been on many picnics as an adult. But what sort of foods are you supposed to carry on a picnic: egg sarnies, scotch eggs, mini sausage rolls? The Picnic Cookbook by Laura Mason revolutionises certainly my idea of what foods can be brought along to a picnic. Laura starts by giving a comprehensive overview of the history of picnics in the UK from the Victorian era to today. Laura also gives key changes in the growth of picnics such as the introduction of barbecues.
There are 22 chapters, 17 which contain recipes. And because the book is so comprehensive I'll share all the chapters in this book. 

                 
  • An Afternoon Tea Picnic
  • Children's Picnic in the Park
  • The Big Family and Friends Picnic
  • Picnics for Special Events
  • Bonfire Night Picnic 
  • Packed Food for Long Walks
  • Picnics on the Road
  • Using Fire
  • An Easy and Delicious Barbecue for Four
  • A Cypricot-influenced Barbecue
  • Kofta and Naan: Some Indian Food
  • Sunday Roast on the Barbecue 
  • Casual Barbecue for Family and Friends
  • At the Seaside
  • Travelling Light
  • Forager's Fare
  • Around the Campfire
There were so many recipes that I bookmarked to make and devour: I am slowly working my way through this list. I usually share one recipe when reviewing cook books, however I quickly tried the Flapjacks, Oriental Filling Sandwich and Baked Banana with Brown Sugar, so thought I'd share how I got on making these.
Flapjacks


Flapjacks in the making. 

Flapjacks pre bake.

Oriental Sandwich.

Oriental Sandwich.

Oriental Sandwich

Baked Bananas with Brown Sugar.

Bananas and West Indian Cake.


The recipe I chose to share, Flapjacks  is from the Packed Foods for Long Walks, but before I do that,  let me the interview with Laura Mason, the author of this fabulous book. Many thanks to National Trust books for arranging this.

I  I love how you have shared the history of the British love for picnics in your cookbook, it is very informative. What was your inspiration behind writing this book?


Laura) Food always seems to taste better outdoors, and the British seem to love eating al fresco, even though the climate is so unreliable.  I like the optimism behind the idea of planning to eat outside, perhaps a long away from home, even if the reality turns out to be a chilly day with mist obscuring the view.

      You have covered different styles of picnics in your book, which picnic occasion (or gathering) is you favourite?

Laura) This is a bit like asking someone to choose among their children. If pressed to make a choice, I'd say the Food for Long Walks - I love to go for a walk in some beautiful landscape with family or friends, taking a pack up to eat halfway round. From the barbecue section, I'd go for the Sunday Roast and make beer can chicken and eat it with some salads and lots of bread.

     If you have to choose your favourite recipe what would it be?

Laura) Again it's a difficult choice, but chicken satay is also a winner, and damper dogs are fun to make for a simple, impromptu campfire snack. I'm also very fond of the buttermilk posset - it's easy to make and a lovely dessert for a special picnic or barbecue.

    Your photographs in your book are stunning, how important is it to have visible appealing picnic.
     Laura) They are lovely, aren't they? They were actually mostly taken by Yuki Sugiura, who works for other publications, such as the Guardian's Cook Magazine. Wei Tang did the styling and Valerie Berry was the home economist who cooked them to perfection.  Food should always look as good as possible, but this can mean careful packing especially if one has to carry things for some distance. Plastic boxes have their uses and the food can be nicely arranged within them. But when I was researching the book I played with the idea of using vegetables and fruit as containers too.
      For those who have never prepared a picnic, where would you suggest they start?
  Laura) Choose something simple which can be made well in advance. Pressed sandwiches can be made the night before, are delicious and travel well. Brendon's bacon and egg pie is another option which is simple and good (don't forget the ketchup to go with this). If you can keep things cool, also take some green goddess dip and some raw vegetables to dip in it.  For something sweet, try banana and ginger cake, flapjacks or granola bars. Add fruit and something to drink and you've got an outdoor feast.


Recipe for Flapjacks - Children and adults will love you once you make this. I promise you.
Makes 16
175 g butter, plus extra for greasing
350g jumbo oats
a pinch of salt
175g soft light brown sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
100g dark chocolate (optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 20cm x 20cm x 20 cm square tin with a non-stick baking parchment. Take half the oats and process them in a blender or food processor or until they are reduced to a coarse powder. Tip them into a bowl. Add all the remaining oats and the salt, and mix well to combine. 
Tip into the prepared tin and level the top carefully, using the back of a spoon to press it down well. Make the surface as even as possible, especially along the edges and in the corners.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffy, but check periodically to make sure the mixture is browning evenly. It should be evenly golden, bubbling a little have a wonderful nutty, buttery smell. 
Leave to cool a little in the tin, then and cut into 4 along each side. Cool completely in the tin. 
If using the chocolate, melt it in a heatproof over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
Pipe or drizzle the chocolate in lines back and forth across the pieces, or dip each one to coat half the top. Leave to set, and store in an airtight tin. These are best eaten within a day or two of baking.

Overall, a beautifully written and comprehensive book which shares several easy to follow recipes for the perfect picnic. 

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of The Picnic Cookbook for review purposes, as always all opinions are my own.

xxx


Share:
© Charlene Flash | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig