Monday, 23 April 2012

Guest Post - Shrewsburys

Today's post is all the way from my mum in New Zealand! She's a great baker, and we love to compare notes on one of our many phone marathons. When she mentioned that she had made some Shrewsburys for a friend I was so excited as they are a very NZ biscuit - they don't have them in Australia and the UK version is almost unrecognisable to us Kiwis.

Shrewsbury biscuits were originally made in the town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire, England. They were a plain biscuit similar to shortbread, flavoured with lemon zest and sometimes currents or caraway seeds.

In the 1970's New Zealand's confectionery company Griffin's started to produce their version of Shrewburys. Two plain but sweet biscuits with a crinkle cut edge stuck together with strawberry jam and with a star or heart shape cut out of the middle.

A5878 Shrewsbury Twin 3D LR (WEB).jpg
Now, over to mum:

Hi Amber,

Here is the recipe for Shrewsbury biscuits. It comes from the Edmonds cookbook.

    4ozs. butter
    4ozs. sugar
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence if no lemons)
    8ozs. flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    Raspberry jam

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and lemon rind. Beat well. Add sifted flour and baking powder.
Put onto floury surface and roll out. Cut into rounds making a small hole in the middle of every second biscuit.

Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 F. Watch carefully and take out when biscuits start to colour.
When cold put together with raspberry jam. Overcooked gluey jam works well here.

Makes 15 biscuits. Biscuits without the jam freeze well and stay crunchy. They soften up with jam by the second day.

Mum's Shrewsburys with home-made raspberry jam!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Thai Workshop at Leiths School of Food and Wine

If you live in London and want to buy someone the best present ever, give them a Leiths School of Food and Wine gift voucher! I was lucky enough to be given one as a Christmas gift from my work mates (whom I had strategically gifted with home-made relish a week earlier).

Leiths are known as one of the best (if not the best) cooking school in London, and it certainly lives up to it's reputation. Situated in a leafy residential suburb of West London it's a haven of all things culinary. The range of courses is astounding - from making the perfect macaroon to knife skills, they have it covered. However, perfection doesn't come cheap and a one-day workshop will set you back around £140 upwards!

It took a lot of soul-searching to finally settle on the one-day Thai Workshop. Thai food is probably my favourite food in the world, but I have never been able to master it at home - the few attempts I made have been disastrous and made me lose confidence in my abilities to reproduce this delicious food from my own kitchen. I needed some professional help!

The first thing we learnt about Thai cooking was the enormous range of flavours and ingredients, which when combined together in exactly the right way produce the subtle blend of fresh flavours so special to Thai cuisine. We were then given a demonstration which included Sticky Pork Salad with Green Pawpaw and Chilli Lime Dressing, Phad Thai and Beef Massaman Curry.

We then got to don our aprons and cook up a feast: Chicken Panaeng Curry, Summer rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Duck Salad with Citrus and Star Anise Dressing and a Green Curry Paste were all on the menu. The best part of the day (apart from lunch) was leaving with a heavy bag full of delicious food and curry pastes.

The strange and wonderful ingredients in Thai cooking 
L: Sticky Pork Salad with Green Pawpaw and Chilli Lime Dressing
R: The classic Phad Thai
Getting hot in the kitchen: cooking up some Chicken Panaeng Curry 
To take home: Summer Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Duck Salad with Citrus and Star Anise Dressing and Deep Fried Noodles

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Monday, 2 April 2012

Raspberry Oat Muffins

I'm back from an unplanned 2 week break - namely a terrible bout of flu. It was so bad that my usual cooking and baking went out of the window and I ate 2-minute noodles for the first time in years. 

I had a brief respite about a week in (I though it was over - I was so wrong) and whipped up these muffins. Muffins are one of the easiest things to make - mix the dry ingredients together, mix the wet together, then mix both together until just moistened and whack in the oven. One small trick I use is to leave a couple of the muffin cups empty, and pour water into them. This creates steam whilst the muffins are baking, which plumps up the muffins beautifully.

Adapted from the always entertaining Joy the Baker:

Raspberry Oat Muffins

Makes 12-15 muffins
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, milk, sugar, oil and egg. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in raspberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 16-18 minutes.