Tag Archives: afternoon

Fig, Date and Hazelnut Cardamom Spelt Scones

2 May

The Washer Up demanded scones yesterday. Yes, actually demanded I make scones. He pouted and said “I want scones” in a little boy stamping feet type way. Very strange behaviour indeed.

I obliged but decided I would try to veganize the recipe as he would only eat one and then I would be left staring at the rest, trying not to eat them. Veganizing scones is a little bit strange, I know. The whole point of scones is that they are buttery, and stuffed with cream and jam. These are a little bit different. They have roots in moorish Andalucia rather than a Devonshire tea room. That’s my excuse anyway.

I went to the weekly market in Alhaurin last Thursday with my friend Caroline. She told me about the amazing Frutos Secos stand there. They sell all sorts of dried fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs for reasonable prices. I wanted to get some dried figs for this pizza and needed some more pine nuts for our weekly favourite, this recipe.  I couldn’t resist taking a picture of these beautiful fresh garlic on the veg stall next door too.

I bought, figs, dates, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and Moscatel raisins. They also sell this lovely local fig bread/cake (below left) that we used to serve at the restaurant with the  chicken liver pate.

You can see where I am going with this now can’t you. I had some figs left over from the pizza recipe as well as the dates and hazelnuts. Cardamom seemed to go well with all those flavours but it could have just as easily been cinnamon. The Moscatel raisins would have been nice too.

A lot of the vegan scone recipes I looked at used olive oil or a butter replacement. I would definitely like to try it with olive oil next time, maybe in a savoury version of the scone with some fresh rosemary but I wanted this to be sweet. I went with coconut oil as my choice of fat as it has a slightly sweet coconut flavour and a buttery texture when it’s cold out of the jar. I wanted to see how it behaved in baking too. It turned out really well. You don’t miss the butter at all.

Fig, Date & Hazelnut Cardamom Spelt Scones

Makes 6 (easily doubled), vegan, wheat-free

Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time 15-20 mins

  • 220 gr wholemeal spelt flour (or any flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  •  1/4 tsp salt
  •  1 tsp ground cardamom (or cinnamon)
  • 4 tbsp cold coconut oil (or very cold butter/ replacement, diced or olive oil)
  • about 75 g-100 gr dried figs & dates roughly chopped
  • 30 gr hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • the zest of half an orange
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave syrup
  • 115 ml oat milk (or other milk)
  • 1/2 tsp cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 200 C and line a baking tray with parchment.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, cardamom and baking powder. Rub the coconut oil/butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles crumble mix. Then stir through the dried fruit, nuts and orange zest.

In a small bowl whisk together the honey, oat milk and cider vinegar and add this to the flour bowl. Stir together until just combined and clumps start to form, don’t over work  it or the scones will be tough.  Bring this together with your hands to make a ball.

Flour your worksurface and tip the dough out. Using you hands, pat this into a disc about 2 or 3 cm thick. Cut out circles using a floured cutter and place gently on the baking sheet. Do not push down or flatten. You will have to remould the excess dough into a 2-3 cm thick disc a few times to cut out all the scones.

If you like you can gently brush the tops with some oat milk and a sprinkling of sugar. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 15-18  minutes until golden brown and cooked all the way through.

Leave to cool slightly then serve warm or at room temperature with some butter/replacement.

These would be nice with my Arabian Fig Jam too, if only we hadn’t eaten it all. Roll on summer and the glut of fresh figs, I can’t believe I don’t have any jam!

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Mini Orange and Almond Wholemeal Bread Cakes

1 Mar

The inspiration for this recipe came from Denise at Bread Expectations. She made cute little sweet bread cakes using Panko breadcrumbs rather than flour and topped them with berries and sugar. This idea really appealed to me as I had just made a huge amount of wholemeal breadcrumbs in my new food processor. I save the ends of the wholemeal bread that I buy and freeze them. My food processor broke ages ago and I have only just replaced it so I had a huge bag full of bread waiting to made into breadcrumbs.

So what do you do with three, one litre ice cream tubs worth of wholemeal breadcrumbs? Well, I used some to make my Veggie Burgers, froze a load and I just had to try these breadcrumb cakes. It seemed like fate. I didn’t have any berries to use but what I do have is oranges. At times it seems like I have the whole of Andalucia’s orange harvest in my kitchen. Not that I’m complaining…..

The trees are beautiful to walk past every day and the oranges I have at the moment that were given to me by Rhian are so sweet and delicious. I want to make the most of them. The other trees that always seem to be growing side by side with the oranges are almonds. They obviously like to be around each other so I need no more inspiration than that……

Also Denise’s recipe called for vanilla extract. I have run out and you have no idea how difficult it is to get vanilla here. You can’t even buy that nasty vanilla essence. So I used almond extract instead and added in some ground almonds for good measure.

These little cakes are made with yeast. Now, me and yeast have issues. As in, it never does it’s thing for me. I called these cakes “mini” because they didn’t rise but I still wanted to share them with you because they are really moist, light & delicious. Denise thinks it may be because of the wholemeal breadcrumbs having less gluten than the white Panko. So, feel free to use panko or homemade white breadcrumbs if you want a rise. (Not the fine store bought kind). Whether they rise for you or not these little sweet bread cakes are definitely worth the risk…..

Mini Orange & Almond Breadcrumb Cakes

makes 12, vegetarian. Adapted from a Bread Expectations recipe

  • 1oo gr soft butter
  • 100 gr caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oranges
  •  a few drops of almond extract
  • 100 gr wholemeal breadcrumbs (or Panko)
  • 50 gr ground almonds
  • 1 packet dried yeast 7 gr
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Butter/oil a muffin tray or use muffin cases. Zest 1 orange. Segment both oranges over a small bowl to catch any juices. First peel the oranges with a knife on a board by cutting off the peel & pith from top to bottom all the way around. Hold the orange over the small bowl and segment the orange by cutting out each segment  in between the membranes. When you have cut out all your segments  and set them aside, squeeze the remaining membranes to release the juice into the bowl.

Add the yeast to the orange juice (there should be about 6 tbsp juice) stir it around and leave for 10 minutes to froth. Cream the softened butter, caster sugar and salt together until light & creamy then beat in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated each time. Add a few drops of almond extract, 3/4 of the orange zest, the breadcrumbs, ground almonds and the yeast mixture when it’s had 10 minutes. Mix everything together well until you have a sticky, porridge like batter.

Half fill the 12 muffin cups with the mixture, top each with 2 orange segments and sprinkle over the brown sugar and ginger mix. Finally put some of the remaining orange zest on top. Leave the muffin tray in a warm place for an hour or until almost doubled in volume (Hopefully)!

Preheat the oven to 190 C. Bake for 15 -20 minutes until golden.

Leave to cool slightly then remove from the muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.  These little cakes are perfect for afternoon tea. So get out your best china tea set dust them with icing sugar and invite your friends round for a chat..

You can ask them how they get on with yeast……..!

Blueberry and Lemon Tartlets

2 Nov

It has been a while since I posted a dessert recipe and I wanted to make something gorgeous with the blueberries that were in danger of going off in my fridge. The craving I had for fruit over the summer has suddenly gone and cooler evenings have replaced the stiffling heat. My stomach is now craving soups, comfort foods and I have a yearning to make pretty afternoon teas. Although I still haven’t bought a vintage three tiered cake stand its only because I haven’t found the right one, a vintage jade green china with pretty handpainted flowers, slightly faded glory. This only exists in my mind, I think, unless anyone knows differently…..

I decided not to go down the blueberry muffin route, too Starbucks! But I do remember making some lovely lemon & blueberry muffins a while ago with a pinch of ground cloves that worked really well so I’ll try those flavours in a tart. The recipe below includes The Washer Up’s sweet pastry recipe but you can buy a precooked pastry case if you like.

Blueberry & Lemon Tartlets

Makes  8/10 individual or a 9 inch big tart  

Vegetarian 

For the Sweet Pastry (Pate Sablee) 

  • 200gr plain flour
  • 120gr butter cold
  • 60gr icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • egg white for brushing
  1. Put the butter, sugar & egg yolks into a food processor & work together quickly
  2. Then blend in the sifted flour & work into a paste
  3. A soon as it forms a ball wrap it in clingfilm & refrigerate it for at least an hour ( The longer the better it will be easier to work with )
  4. When the pastry is really well chilled cut it into 8 equal portions keep 1 portion out & put the rest back in the fridge.
  5. Get 2 big pieces of clingfilm & lay one on your work surface & dust liberally with icing sugar.
  6. Put the piece of pastry on the cling film, dust it with more icing sugar then top with the 2nd piece of clingfilm. Push it down into a flat round shape.
  7. Roll out the pastry (in between the 2 bits of clingfilm to stop it sticking to the rolling pin)to a size a bit bigger than the tart tins
  8. Peel off the cling film carefully & push the pastry into the tart tin(Push it in don’t stretch it)
  9. Trim off the edges & use the excess to fill any holes.
  10. Now put the tart in the fridge & take out the next piece of pastry. Continue until all the tarts are in the fridge.
  11. If you make a big tart you only have to do it once obviously(much less work!!)

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  2. Line the tarts with baking paper & fill with dry baking beans or uncooked rice.
  3. Cook in the middle of the oven for 6mins for individual tarts. 10 mins for the large tart.

  1. Remove the baking paper & beans, prick all over the pastry bases with a fork.
  2. Put them back in the oven for another 6 mins. 10 mins for the large until it is starting to dry.
  3. Brush with pastry bases with egg white & put back in the oven on the bottom shelf for 2 mins to harden slightly
  4. Take out & leave on a rack to cool slightly while you make the filling.
  5. Turn the oven down to 170 degrees

For the lemon & blueberry filling 

  • 170gr caster sugar
  • 185ml double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 125ml fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 punnet blueberries washed
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  1. Whisk the sugar, cream & egg yolks in a bowl to blend well.
  2. Mix in lemon juice & zest. Transfer to a jug.
  3. Sprinkle the washed blueberries with pinch of ground cloves and toss to coat evenly
  4. Put the tart cases on the bottom shelf of the oven & pull the shelf out slightly
  5. Pour the lemon filling into the tart cases(not up to the top)tumble in some blueberries & carefully slide the shelf back in.
  6. Bake for 15 -18 mins until set round the edges & a slight wobble in the centre.(About 30 mins for a large tart)
  7. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before taking out of the tart tins.

Serve for afternoon tea with friends, they really are delicious. The clove is genius, but only a pinch or you will ruin them!

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