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Caraway Seed & Lemon Cake

Caraway Seed & Lemon Cake




Most weekends I like to bake a cake or summat like that for Saturday Tea Time.  We will usually have some sandwiches or scrambled eggs on toast and then some cake for afters. Its what works for us.  A relaxing day with a relaxing supper.


This recipe I am sharing with you today was adapted from a cookery book by Tamasin Day-Lewis.  I love her recipes. They are all fabulous.  I used to love watching her television programs (Tamasin's Weekends and Great British Dishes), but I haven't seen her on the telly in a while. She is the sister of Daniel Day Lewis, and also writes regularly for a variety of magazines and publications.  She is also a film director and producer in her own right.  So, very accomplished. 



I love and trust her recipes. They are impeccable.  I have never cooked one of her recipes that didn't turn out or that wasn't delicious.



In her narrative to this recipe, she speaks of Victorian Seed Cake as being hideous.  On that point we will have to disagree I am afraid.


I baked a traditional seed cake on here several years ago and it was lovely.  You can find that recipe here.  It was said to be William Wordsworth's sister's favourite cake, and it is not hard to see why. Its beautifully delicious.



So is this cake, which like the other seed cake makes use of Caraway seed as a flavouring.  Do NOT be tempted to add more than the recipe asks for or you will be disappointed by the almost medicinal flavour of the cake.


The flavour of caraway should not be the predominant flavour here  . . .  but only a subtle hint  . . .



She used vanilla sugar, but I didn't have any, so added 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste to the recipe with perfect results . . .


I also channelled Dorie Greenspan's method of rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar first prior to using it.  This really brings out the flavour of the lemon.  I have been doing this ever since I learnt it from Dorie. It does make a difference.



Those are the only out of the ordinary ingredients, unless you call ground almonds out of the ordinary.  I think in America it might be called almond meal or almond flour.  In any case it is finely ground almonds.


You can make your own by grinding blanched almonds in a nut/spice/coffee grinder.  Grind only to the point where they are fine.  You do not want to release their oils.  They should be powdery like coarse flour but not moist. 



As you can see this cake has a beautiful fine and even texture . . .  flecked with caraway seed . . .



Tamasin enjoys hers with a glass of 20 year old Pedro Ximenez Sherry . . .


We enjoyed ours simply with cups of lemon tea  . . .

Caraway Seed & Lemon Cake


Yield: Makes 1 (1lb) loaf cake
Author:
A delightful cake to enjoy mid-morning with a hot cuppa. Serve thinly sliced plain, or lightly spread with butter.  It is also awfully good served with some fresh berries and a spot of cream.

ingredients:

  • 120g butter softened (1/2 cup)
  • 120g caster sugar (2/3 cup)
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 heaped tsp caraway seeds
  • the finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 170g self-raising flour (scant 1 1/4 cups)
  • 60g ground almonds (3/4 cup)
  • 2 TBS whole milk

instructions:

How to cook Caraway Seed & Lemon Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 170*C/330*F/ gas mark 3.  Butter a 9 X 4 inch loaf tin and line with paper. Butter the paper.
  2. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar until very fragrant.  Cream the butter in a bowl along with the lemon sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla and then eggs, one at a time. Stir in the caraway seeds.  Sift the flour over top and then add the ground almonds, folding all together well.  Stir in the milk.  Spoon into the prepared loaf tin.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes.  It should be well risen and golden brown.  A toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean.   Let sit in the pan for 10 hours then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
  4. Store in an airtight container.
Created using The Recipes Generator




I haven't buttered this yet to eat, but I strongly suspect that it would be awfully nice with some softened butter, or  . . . some honey butter  . . .  there I go again, my gluttony is showing.  Truth be told it is pretty darned tasty plain.



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Marie Rayner
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Peanut Butter Everything Cookies

Peanut Butter Everything Cookies



When I lived in Canada I used to love watching the cooking shows on Saturday afternoons . . .  well, anytime really. It was my guilty pleasure.  I used to watch Julia Child, and The Frugal Gourmet, Cooking from Quilt Country, Lidia's Italian Kitchen, and Martha Stewart of course (to name a few).  Another show I enjoyed was one starring Caprial Pence. I can't remember what it was called.  I've always been a fan of cooking television. It started with Take Thirty when I was still a teen at home and Madame Benoit, Wok with Yan and the Galloping Gourmet.


Nothing has changed, except at the start the cooking hosts were older and I was younger and now I am old and the cooking hosts are young!  How did that happen???  Somehow it did it without me noticing!


I actually don't want a lot of food television these days really . . .  I like the GBBO, and on Netflix those shows like Chef's Table and Chef's Table.  My guilty pleasure is the Pioneer Woman, but I have to watch that when Todd's not home. He can't stand her voice.  He says she sounds like a Duck quacking when she talks.  He has a point  . . .


So what does any of this have to do with peanut butter cookies???  Nothing really except that this recipe I am sharing is adapted from one I found in a cookbook I own by Caprial Pence. 


I picked it up when I was working at the Manor.  I always needed good desserts to cook for the dinner parties and luncheons.  I could justify buying cookbooks as a working expense.  😏 Not so much now.  Now they are just an addiction passion. 


Actually I don't buy as many as I used to . . .  there really is such a thing as having too many, and with the resources available on line that we have today, there is no need to own as many.  I don't buy cooking magazines much anymore either.   I only buy books that I know are filled with recipes I think I am going to want to cook and it is the same with magazines.  Yes, I am that annoying person who reads through cooking magazines before I buy them.


Anyways, this is a cookie recipe I have had flagged in Caprial's book for some 14 1/2 years now.  The book is filled with lovely dessert recipes from just about every dessert genre, but also adaptations for variations on the original theme.


I like that really  . . .  variations.  That is the way I like to cook  . . .  switching up and changing bits here and there.  Its more fun and works well.


The original recipe was for Mother's Peanut Butter Cookies, with this variation for Peanut Butter Everything Cookies.


The variation includes the addition of oats, orange zest, chocolate chips and  shredded coconut . . . all things that I love.


I actually cut the recipe in half as there are only two of us . . .  and I didn't want that much temptation hanging around my kitchen.


Smart move on my part because these are very incredibly MOREISH!!!!


They are delicious. If you bake them for the longer time you get crisper cookies.  Just saying. If crisp is your thing . . .  do bake for a tad bit longer.  I baked some at the shorter time and some at the longer time.  Both were very good, but I thought the crisper ones the best!

Peanut Butter Everything Cookies


Yield: Makes about 48 cookies
Author:
Moreish peanut butter cookies that are stogged full of chocolate chips, oats and orange zest.  An unbeatable combination!  Crisp and buttery!

ingredients:

  • 240g cold unsalted butter, diced (1 cup)
  • 190g granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 200g soft light brown sugar (1 cup, firmly packed)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180g peanut butter (1 cup) (you can use either smooth or crunchy)
  • 245g flour (1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 120g old fashioned oats (1 1/2 cups)
  • 180g bittersweet chocolate chopped (1 cup)
  • the finely grated zest of one orange
  • 75g shredded sweetened coconut (1 cup)

instructions:

How to cook Peanut Butter Everything Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Line a couple of baking sheets with some baking paper.  Set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and both sugars in a bowl of a mixer and beat on high speed  until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides.  Beat in the eggs, orange zest and vanilla. Add the peanut butter, mixing it in well.  Sift together the flour, soda and salt.  Stir into the creamed mixture until smooth.  Stir in the oats, chocolate  and coconut.
  3. Shape TBS into 1/2 inch balls and place on the baking sheets leaving plenty of space in between for spreading.  Press down lightly with a fork.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for  10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown on the edges and set.  Let sit on the baking sheets for  5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Repeat until all the batter has been used.
  5. Store in an airtight container.
Created using The Recipes Generator



These fabulous cookies are like a combination of all your favourite cookies in one . . .  oatmeal and coconut cookies, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies.  You can't go wrong.  Do use the orange zest. It really adds a wonderful layer of additional flavour! 



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Marie Rayner
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Perfect Scones with Clementine & Cinnamon Butter

Perfect Scones with Clementine & Cinnamon Butter



There are few things on earth as enjoyable as a nice hot cup of tea and something sweet to enjoy along with it.  Because of my religion I only drink herbal blends. We don't do regular tea or coffee.



There are some really lovely herbal blends available today  . . .  more than there have ever been.  You can buy it loose leafed, or in bags . . .  if I am doing a bag, I like the bio-degradable pyramid bags . . .

Perfect Scones with Clementine & Cinnamon Butter

But really the best thing for the environment really is loose tea if you can get it. There is nothing to dispose of when you are done, except for the spent tea, and that can go on the compost.  From the earth and back to the earth. That's the best way.



Scones are something I really enjoy with a nice hot cup of tea . . .  they are not hard to make and you can spread them with all sorts . . .  butter, clotted cream, jam, etc.  Hot tea . . .  something sweet.  You cannot beat the combination.


People tend to lump North American Biscuits together with Scones, but they are really not the same thing at all.  North American baking powder biscuits generally use all vegetable fat, and sometimes cream . . . scones usually use all butter, and sometimes butter and cream.  The two things are not the same thing at all, no matter how similar they might look.  Scones are sweeter as well, which makes them perfect for enjoying with a hot cuppa.


Scones are not all that difficult to make really.  You just need to remember a few basic rules to ensure scone perfection.  The first thing you will want to do is to sift your flour baking powder and salt into a bowl  I find that aerating the flour in this way makes for a lighter scone, and sifting it together with the baking powder and salt ensures that all are mixed together evenly.  I do this from about 6 to 8 inches above the bowl, which really helps the air to get in there.  I also always use self raising flour. You can buy it ready made or make your own. (I give instructions on how to that on the main page.)



Make sure your butter is really cold and cut it into cubes quickly.  I just measure it and then using a sharp knife cube it right into the bowl.  Remember you want it to stay as cold as possible. Once you have the butter in the bowl take  your thumb and first two fingers on each hand and rub the butter into the flour using a snapping motion.  When you are done it will look like fine bread crumbs. Its actually okay to have a few larger bits as they will help with the rise also, creating little pockets of air as the butter melts.  It is then that you can take a round bladed knife and stir in the sugar  . . .  and then the milk/buttermilk and any other bits you are adding.  Today these scones are just plain.


Perfect Scones with Clementine & Cinnamon Butter

You should have a soft and tacky dough that holds well together. It shouldn't be overly dry.  If it is you should add a bit more milk or buttermilk. Tip onto a well floured board, knead gently a few times to really bring it together.  DO NOTE - don't overhandle the dough as this will toughen your scones.


Pat the dough gently out to a 1 inch thickeness and then using a sharp round cutter, and a straight up and down tapping motion cut out your scones.  This ensures an even rise, without any lop-sides.  I also try to get as many scones as I can from the first cutting.  You can of course bring the scraps back together and cut out more, but do be aware that every subsequent cutting will result in a tougher scone.  I do have an excellent pictorial tutorial here.


Today I created a lovely flavoured butter to go with our warm scones.  I did cut the scones out rather small this time, so as to get more., and I brushed the tops with a bit of buttermilk before baking.

Perfect Scones with Clementine & Cinnamon Butter


Yield: 6 - 10 (depending on the size you cut the scones)
Author:
These are anything but plain. They have a lovely light texture and a delicious buttery flavour. I'd call these the perfect scone!

ingredients:

For the Scones:
  • 230g self raising flour (I like to use organic flour) (Scant 2 cups)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 65g lightly salted butter, quite cold and cut into small bits (1/4 cup)
  • 2 1/4 TBS soft light brown sugar
  • 120ml buttermilk (1/2 cup)
  • 4 TBS whole milk
  • extra flour for dusting, or more milk for brushing on the tops
For the Clementine & Cinnamon Butter:
  • 200g unsalted butter (7 ounces/scant cup)
  • the finely grated zest of one clementine
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 TBS soft light brown sugar

instructions:

How to cook Perfect Scones with Clementine & Cinnamon Butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/Gas mark 7. Measure out the flour and then tip it into a bowl along with the salt. Drop in the bits of butter. Rub it into the flour using the tips of your fingertips. You want a fairly reasonably fine crumb. Lift it up into the air as you rub so that you get lots of air into the mixture. Add the sugar and stir it in.
  2. Measure the buttermilk in a small beaker and then add the milk. Mix well to slacken it. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and tip in most of the buttermilk mixture, holding some back just in case it's not needed.
  3. Gently work it all together with a fork or a round bladed knife, until it forms a soft dough. Add as much of the remaining milk as you think you will need, working in any loose dry bits of the mixture. Try hard not to overwork the dough as this will toughen your scone.
  4. Tip it all out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 3 or 4 times until smooth. Pat the dough gently out to a 1 inch thickness. Dip a round fluted cutter into some flour and cut the scones out by giving the cutter a sharp tap directly down onto the dough with the palm of your hand. Don't twist the cutter as you lift it or you will end up with lopsided scones.
  5. Place onto a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough, cutting out more scones. Gather the trimmings, pat down lightly and cut more until you have used it all up. Sift over a light dusting of more flour, or brush lightly with milk, just on the tops. Don't let it run down the sides.
  6. Bake in the heated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool, uncovered if you want crisp tops, covered loosely if you prefer soft.
  7. To make the cinnamon butter, cream together the butter, clementine zest, cinnamon and brown sugar until thoroughly combined.  Do this while the scones are baking so that it is ready when they come out of the oven.
  8. Spread the cinnamon butter onto the warm scones if desired.
Created using The Recipes Generator


This Clementine & Cinnamon Butter is really nice . . .  you can use any leftovers on your toast tomorrow.  Its quick and really simpl to make and the flavour is beautiful.


How to Brew The Perfect Cup of Tea 

1. Always use high quality loose leaf tea, and store it in an air-tight container at room temperature. Use 1 rounded teaspoon for each cup you intende to serve.

2. Use freshly drawn water - that way it will contain lots of oxygen to give your tea the best flavour. 

3. Put the tea into a warm pot. Add freshly boiled water to the pot, dump it out and then refill with more freshly boiled water.  Add your tea leaves.  Brew for 3 to 4 minutes, then serve. 



See those bubbles on the top of my cup. My mother always called that "money."  She said if you had that in your cup you were going to come into some money.  I like to think that's true.  Mayhap I should buy a lottery ticket . . .


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Marie Rayner
3 Comments
Old Fashioned Baked Hash

Old Fashioned Baked Hash



Sorry more leftovers to share with you here today, but never fear, I promise you this is the last of them!  The roast beef is now finished . . .  but what a tasty way to go!


I have often made pan fried roast beef hash with my leftover meat and potatoes . . . this version of hash is a tad bit different in that it isn't really fried, but baked. 



It makes use of your leftover cooked roast beef, and any leftover potatoes you might have languishing in the refrigerator. 



You begin by sauteing (without browning) some chopped onions, red and green bell peppers and celery in a bit of bacon fat.  Mmmm . . .  bacon fat . . .


Do you save your bacon fat???  I have for years, and let me tell you it comes in mighty handy when it comes to things like this.  You can strain it and keep it in a jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for quite a while. 



Don't worry if you haven't got any bacon fat.  Just use some oil or butter in it's place.   Bacon fat does make for a nice flavour however. 



Once your vegetables have softened you can add your potato and your beef.  They cook for a few more minutes.  You won't be so much browning them as you will be heating them through.



At that point you will add your leftover gravy.  Don't worry if you haven't got any leftover gravy. You can use gravy made from gravy powder if you must.  Or you can use a tin of soup, but I would use gravy over soup any time.


Into this mixture stir in some tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and some seasoning. Taste it.  Remember your gravy is probably seasoned already from when you had it the other night and your bacon fat will be a bit salty also.


So do taste it and if you think it needs more seasoning, then add it. 



This then gets spread into a buttered shallow casserole dish.  Mine is about 7 inches by 11 inches.



Slice some ripe tomatoes and place them on top in a decorative manner.  These also get seasoned lightly and sprinkled with some dried basil and dotted with butter.  Mmmm . . .


Into the oven it goes for a little less than half an hour.  Just about enough time for you to cook some vegetables to serve on the side or make a salad, or both!



I cooked some carrots today, seasoning them with a tiny knob of butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  I then chopped them up with an clean and empty tin can that I keep just for that purpose.  Works a charm


We also had some corn niblets.  This went down a real treat!

Yield: 4 - 6
Author:

Old Fashioned Baked Hash

Simple and incredibly tasty. Your family is sure to love this tasty combination of leftovers and fresh vegetables.

ingredients:

  • 2 TBS bacon drippings
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 small green pepper, trimmed and diced
  • 3 TBS finely chopped red pepper
  • 1 stick of celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 325g chopped cooked potato (1 cup)
  • 300g diced cooked beef (2 cups)
  • 360g leftover beef gravy (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 heaped dessert-spoons of tomato ketchup
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil, crumbled

instructions:

How to cook Old Fashioned Baked Hash

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark4.  Butter a shallow casserole dish, or individual sized  casserole dishes.
  2. Heat the bacon drippings in a skillet and saute the onions, green and red peppers and celery for two to three minutes.  Add the potatoes and meat and cook for about two minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the leftover gravy, tomato ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to the boil then pour/spoon into the prepared casserole dish.
  3. Place the sliced tomatoes evenly over top of the meat and potato mixture.  Sprinkle with the basil, and more salt and pepper.  Dot with the butter.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until browned.  Serve hot with your favourite vegetables, pickles or salad on the side.
Created using The Recipes Generator




Being able to create delicious main dishes with your leftovers turns your leftovers into delicious options that nobody turns their noses up at.  In fact my family always used to look forward to the leftovers.  With a bit of thrift and ingenuity you can make a silk purse from a sows ear! 




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Marie Rayner
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