Ladies that Lunch

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Last Friday my mum came over to Bath for the day so we could go to the ‘Great War in Costume’ exhibition at the Fashion Museum (it’s only on till this Sunday – 31st Aug) so go quick if you haven’t seen it!)

It was really interesting, not least because it had costumes from the tv programme ‘Downton Abbey’ as the main attraction. There was also a lot of information about women’s roles during WW1, and suffragettes. The war certainly seemed to help the women’s rights movement – women couldn’t just be the home-makers anymore when there were jobs in factories and on farms to be done. Their clothes changed too – particularly underwear. The old-style corsets couldn’t be worn to do manual jobs, so more fluid styles were created.

It must’ve been strange for women when the war was over and they were expected to go back to their lives at home, and also for the men coming back from the war…

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Some great posters about food during the war – and the dreaded alcoholic drinks!

Anyway, on to the food!

We wanted a nice lunch, but nothing too expensive, so I did a bit of research the day before and looked at lots of set menu’s for restaurants in Bath. There are definitely some good deals to be had, but it all depends on whether you like the look of any of the choices on the menu! More so, because set menu’s tend to only have around three choices per course.

I always like the sound of the menu at The Circus restaurant, but we’d eaten there the last time mum came over for lunch, so I thought somewhere different would be nice.

Allium Brasserie at the Abbey hotel came up with the goods.

Their set menu was £17.50 for two courses or £23.50 for three, and I would’ve happily eaten at least two of the choices on each course – luckily mum agreed!

I also knew the food would look great, having eaten there on my birthday in the past, and the dining room is spacious and attractive – with modern art hanging on the walls.

This is what we ate:

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For starter, I had the Chicken and leek terrine, with pickled mushrooms, a mustard & potato salad, a Caesar dressing (and a bit of crispy chicken skin). This was really tasty, the terrine went well with the pickled mushrooms, and I saved some of their lovely bread to have with it too.

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Mum had what would’ve been my other choice – broad bean and pea salad with feta, lemon, goats curd, and chargrilled courgettes. It tasted as fresh and summery as it sounds (and looks!)

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For the main course I had Pan-fried gnocchi, girolles mushrooms, peas and broad beans, baby artichokes, and a hazelnut & mushroom pesto. This was the standout dish for me – the combination of flavours was great – the freshness of the peas and broad beans with the earthiness of the mushrooms and gnocchi – I may have to try and recreate this at home sometime!

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Mum had roast chicken breast with bacon, peas, carrot, baby gem, and pasta tubes. This tasted almost like a summery stew – quite delicate flavours, but with the richness of the bacon coming through.

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Mum chose to have a glass of prosecco as her ‘dessert’, but I was feeling greedy and went for a proper one (I was also feeling a bit tipsy after the wine we’d already drank so didn’t need anymore alcohol!)

I went off-menu for my dessert and onto the ‘a la carte’ menu. I normally try not to look at the main menu in a restaurant if I’m eating from the set menu, because I always decide I want something from the more expensive one! I didn’t feel too bad doing it this time though, as we’d already got our first two courses for £17.50.

I had a ‘milk tart’ with white peaches and peach sorbet, cinnamon, grated chocolate and mint. This was approximately £8 (it’s not on the menu anymore so I can’t say for certain).

It looked beautiful and tasted good – although I didn’t think it needed all the extra bits. I would’ve been happy without the chocolate and mint, I felt they overpowered the actual tart a bit, as it had quite a subtle flavour. It wasn’t like a traditional tart, it reminded me more of a mille feuille with its very crispy layers of pastry.

As it happened, the dessert ended up being free because it took a long time to get to me in the first place, so that made it a bargain!

We were impressed with the service we received throughout the meal, and particularly when ordering the wine. We had ordered a half-bottle of wine that wasn’t available, and were given a ‘free upgrade’ to the next bottle up, which was delicious – hence the tipsiness…

It’s definitely worth trying the set menu at Allium, as the food looks and tastes lovely, and of course the a la carte menu too, if you’re feeling a bit more flush!

Bake-Off Wednesdays: Desserts

On the weekend, the OH and I walked some of the Bath Skyline Walk. This is a 6 mile walk around the outskirts of Bath, featuring hills, fields, woods, a ‘sham castle’ and views of the city. We only had time/energy for about half of it, but managed to fit in all of the above!

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Views of Bath and the ‘Sham Castle’ built in the 18th Century by Ralph Allen, to improve the view from his house!

We took a tub with us in the hope of collecting some blackberries, and we weren’t disappointed.

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Although a lot of the bushes weren’t quite ripe yet, we managed to fill the tub, and eat a couple… In a couple of weeks time I don’t think you’ll be able to move for blackberries on the walk – we may have to go back!

I’d decided to incorporate some blackberries into this week’s bake-off challenge, and because this week we are trying to be healthy-ish (to combat the excesses of the last couple of weeks!), I tried to find a dessert that wasn’t completely naughty.

I remember Crème Caramels were made by the bakers one year, and so decided on one of its distant relatives – the Panna Cotta.

Panna Cotta, the dessert made with mountains of double cream? I hear you. Not what automatically comes to mind when thinking of healthy desserts, but I had a thought it could be made with yoghurt, and a quick search of the internet provided me with a few recipes that seemed to agree with me.

Most seemed to incorporate greek yoghurt with some double cream and milk, so i bought both and had a go….

Now, this didn’t end up as healthy as I’d hoped, because I had to make them twice…  It all tasted lovely the first time round, but didn’t set properly, so was more like a very creamy yoghurt dessert than a set dessert – see photo below!

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I’d followed one recipe in terms of the gelatine to cream/yoghurt ratio, but looking at other recipes they all seem to have more than mine did. So I tried it again, and upped the gelatine content substantially.

This time things looked more promising!

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Flavour-wise, I decided to infuse the cream with some thyme that we had leftover in the fridge, and used honey-flavoured greek yoghurt to add a bit more flavour.The blackberries were great, I just left them fresh, but you could make a coulis with them if you wanted. I also crumbled up a butter galette biscuit to add some texture – a ‘biscuit crumb’, if you will 😉

We ate this for breakfast as it didn’t feel as naughty as a traditional Panna Cotta!

Thyme and Honey ‘Panna Cotta’ with Blackberries

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

3 Gelatine Leaves

175ml Milk

50ml Double Cream

250g Honey-flavoured Greek Yoghurt

20g Caster Sugar

Approx 4 sprigs of Thyme

Blackberries

Put the gelatine leaves into a bowl of iced water and leave to soften for five minutes.

Put the milk, cream, sugar and thyme sprigs into a small pan and bring slowly to the boil.

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Remove the softened gelatine from the iced water, gently squeeze out the excess water and stir into the milk and cream (discarding the thyme sprigs). Remove from the heat and stir until the gelatine has dissolved.

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Pour this mixture through a sieve to get rid of any lumps, and pour into the greek yoghurt slowly, whisking as you go. When thoroughly combined, pour the mixture into your moulds (I used tea cups), cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 5 hours.

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When ready to serve, run a sharp knife around the rim of the mould, and briefly dip the mould into hot water to help loosen the panna cotta. Jiggle it around again, repeat if necessary, and gently pull away from the sides with your fingers or a spoon. It will come out eventually! Alternatively, if you can’t or don’t want to get it out you can serve it in the mould/teacup etc – see photo below. It still looks pretty, just slightly less impressive! If turning out, do so onto your serving plate and garnish with blackberries, biscuits, and another small sprig of thyme (if desired).

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This dessert definitely tasted healthier than a normal Panna Cotta, I think the yoghurt gave it a fresher taste, and the thyme made it slightly more savoury. It still tasted good though, and I will definitely be making it again next time I want a ‘lighter’ treat!

Bake-Off Wednesdays: Bread

Panicky feeling, deep breathing, scared-looking…

That was me last week when I realised this week’s Bake Off is Bread week. I knew the day would come, I just hoped I would have a few more weeks to psyche myself up .

I’m scared of bread. Not eating it (maybe of eating too much of it!), but making it. We had a bread machine that never really produced the goods, the OH tried making it ‘free-hand’ and it didn’t come out quite right, I’m just glad Paul Hollywood hasn’t been around to see any of our bakes!

But it was time to try again… I scoured my pinterest boards to see if I’d pinned anything that would ease my way into bread-making, and found a couple of recipes that looked easy – but maybe too easy. No yeast and no kneading sounded good but a bit of a cop-out – if I was gonna make bread it had to involve at least some of the scary bread-making processes! (I will be trying them in the future though…)

So instead I made:

Truffled Potato and Goats Cheese Flatbread

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A recipe that sounded amazing – if carb-heavy! It involved yeast and proving, but not rising, so that was good enough for me. (I find the ‘will it, won’t it rise’ the scariest!)

And it came out pretty well 🙂 Nice crisp base, (no soggy bottoms here), tasty, made enough dough for two nights tea which is always a bonus, and made me interested to try out other bread recipes in the future – win win.

It’s a nice, quite luxurious-sounding vegetarian meal, but of course you can add meat if you want! We added sausage the second night (because it wasn’t unhealthy enough first time round…!) Also, if you don’t really like truffle oil then any flavoured oil would be nice – or just skip the oil and put some garlic or onions on it. It was like a posh pizza really.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

Truffled Potato & Goat Cheese Flatbread

Serves 2 – 3 (using half the dough)

Dough:
1.5 tsp Active Dry Yeast
Just under 300ml Warm Water
475 gms Bread Flour (I used white)
1.5 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Olive Oil

Potato Topping:
200 gms Small Potatoes, sliced as thin as you can make them! (about 6 to 7 potatoes)
2 tbsp Olive Oil, divided
120 gms Soft Goats Cheese
Fresh Thyme
Freshly grated Parmesan
Smoked Paprika
Salt and Black Pepper
White Truffle Oil

To make the dough, put the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes, until dissolved.

Mix the flour and salt in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. Add the olive oil and the yeast/water mixture. Mix on a medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, it should take about 3 to 5 minutes. (If  the dough seems very sticky at this point, add a tablespoon or two of flour.)

NB: If you don’t have a stand mixer, this can all be done by hand – just takes longer (and i’m lazy)! Put the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon, then knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until elastic (will roughly take twice as long by hand than mixer).

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Transfer the dough to a large bowl greased with oil. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm dry place to rise until it has doubled in size – this should take around 45 minutes.

DSCN0156I put the dough on top of the pre-heated oven near the back to keep warm when proving.

Get out any pent-up aggression by giving the dough a punch (also lets out some air…) and form it into a ball. Wrap the ball tightly in cling film and pop in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the flatbread, put a baking tray on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 230°C. If using all the dough you’ll need two trays.

If only using half of the dough (which makes enough for 2-3 peoples tea), the other half can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for 3 months.

Put the dough on a sheet of baking paper and roll into a thin, large rectangle (I made mine the same size as my baking tray – approx 30cms x 22cms). Brush the surface with olive oil and prick the dough all over with a fork to stop it from rising.

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Toss the sliced potatoes with a little more olive oil and overlap the potatoes over the dough, before seasoning with salt and pepper.

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Transfer the dough and baking paper to the baking tray, and bake until the flatbread is crisp and the potatoes are golden – this should take around 15 minutes.

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Remove flatbread from the oven. Now it’s time to add all the toppings! Sprinkle over some thyme leaves. Crumble the goats cheese over and add a handful of grated Parmesan. Sprinkle over some smoked paprika and any extra salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with the truffle oil.

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Slice and serve straight away!

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Let me know if you have any fool-proof bread recipes I could try 🙂

A little note on truffle oil: Don’t buy it from Waitrose! I made the mistake of buying their “A Drizzle of Truffle Flavour Olive Oil” and there is definitely no truffle in it or anything resembling ‘truffle flavour’. It is disappointing as Waitrose Chef’s ingredients range is normally fairly good, but i went online the next day and found bad reviews for it on Ocado – I wish i’d seen those before i’d bought it. I instead managed to find some white truffle oil from TruffleHunter which actually tastes and smells of truffle – it can be bought in Jamie’s Italian Deli (Bath) or Arch House Deli (Bristol) and is more expensive but definitely worth it!

Gluttonous Goings-On

Confession: In the past week, I have eaten out five times. Five times! That’s greedy, I apologise…

It was a special week though; 30th birthday celebrations for the OH, seeing an old friend, trying a new restaurant… it was a good week 😉

Here’s some of the places I went and ate:

Saturday 9th Aug

DSCN0083DSCN0073The Walled Garden at Mells

We went on a little excursion last Saturday to Mells – a pretty village not too far from us in Somerset. It has a 17th walled garden with lots of pretty flowers (they do wedding flowers too), and a cafe. In the summer there is also a wood-fired Pizza oven. We sampled a couple of their pizza’s (after a 45 minute wait – it’s a popular place), and they didn’t disappoint 🙂 Mine was a fairly traditional ham and mushroom, but the ham was local, and the mushrooms were porcini. There was also black olives on it. It was a really thin, crispy base – very authentic!

The OH went for a more eclectic mix of ingredients – capers, black olives, raisins and red onion on a cheese and tomato base – strange but delicious (we swapped two slices!) The pizza’s were about £8.50 each which we thought was pretty good. They also serve sandwiches, cakes, tea, coffee etc in the cafe, and I had a Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade.

The garden is really pretty (as is the village in general), definitely worth a visit …

The Walled Garden at Mells

Rectory Garden

Selwood Street

Mells

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Sunday 10th Aug

IMG_20140816_121719 IMG_20140816_121851Bath Artisan Market

We have a couple of friends with pitches at the Bath Artisan Market so popped down to see them- Pitch Twenty Six, Ruth Thorp and (occasionally) StudioQi – all of whom sell great artwork/illustrations/photography so check them out!

Whilst there we got distracted by the smell of food and found Eat Like a Greek – a food stall serving greek food (funnily enough). I had the Halloumi pita wrap which came with salad, balsamic and olive oil, and was delicious. The OH had the pork pita, which came with tzatziki and red onions, and was possibly a bit more delicious than mine – I had to have a few bites to make sure…

The Artisan market always has interesting stalls, and this month didn’t disappoint. I had heard of Henny & Joe’s Chai syrup but hadn’t tried anyway, so when i saw them giving out free samples i pounced. It was predictably tasty, and i had already been seduced by the beauteous bottle it comes in, so I didn’t need much convincing to buy a little bottle. The fact that it is handmade in Bath is a nice thought too!

Bath Artisan Market

Green Park (2nd Sunday of the month)

Bath

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Monday 11th Aug

IMG_20140816_121618Hall & Woodhouse Bath

On Monday I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages 🙂 I took her to hall & Woodhouse in Bath because they do good drinks, pretty good food, and the building is an old auctioneers which is beautiful! I had their special summer cocktail ‘English Country Garden’ (Tanqueray Gin, St Germain elderflower liqueur, cloudy apple juice and fresh mint) which was very refreshing, and did look a bit like a garden in a glass 😉

Food-wise I was greedy and had ‘Whole roasted poussin with roast garlic, fries and anchovy mayo’ for £13.50 which was good (if a teeny bit dry in parts) – and pretty sizeable – but I managed to finish it which i’m not sure I should admit!

Hall & Woodhouse Bath

1 Old King St

Bath

BA1 2JW

Tuesday 12th Aug

IMG_20140816_121349#1 IMG_20140816_121528#1Grillstock Bath

I had been meaning to visit Grillstock in Bristol for about a year but somehow never got round to it. Luckily they very kindly opened a branch up in Bath especially for me (pretty sure that was the reason anyway)… So I finally lost my Grillstock virginity hoorah!

For those that don’t know, Grilstock is a southern-style american bbq restaurant (and takeaway). They smoke everything over hickory wood and the menu features pulled pork, burgers, ribs, beef brisket, chicken, hot dogs, and no veg whatsoever – except fries and slaw – this is not a place for vegetarians!

I went for half a rack of ribs (£11) which came with fries, slaw, smoked sausage, and pickles – again i somehow managed to finish it, and it was blinking tasty, the ribs were smoky, sticky and chewy, and i had an alcoholic iced tea to wash it all down with. Good, dirty fun…

The OH and a friend went for the burger (£8) which came in a bun with pulled pork, cheese, pickles and ‘fry sauce’, and also had fries and slaw on the side. I tried this (for research purposes) and it is definitely worth the bargainous £8.

Two guys next to us went for the ‘Grand Champion Challenge’  (‘All Four Meats – Pulled Pork, Brisket, Ribs & Chicken, Burnt Ends, Hot-dog, Bbq Beans, Brisket Chilli & Cornbread’). If you can eat it all in one hour (just one person), you win a bottle of BBQ sauce and Grillstock ‘Grand Champion’ t-shirt. We left before they finished so may never know if either of them were crowned ‘Grand Champion’, but the food was absolutely ridiculous! Made me feel sick just looking at it all – good luck to anyone trying that out in the future…

Grillstock Smokehouse

The Vaults, Southgate

Unit 4

12 Brunel Square

Bath

BA1 1SX

Wednesday 13th Aug

IMG_20140816_121109 IMG_20140816_121212 IMG_20140816_120820Menu Gordon Jones

Now for something a little more refined…

Menu Gordon Jones is a little restaurant in the Wellsway area of Bath, and it is the best restaurant i’ve eaten in, in my 30 years of being. The building itself is an unprepossessing former cafe, it is quite casual inside but with quirky touches – animal skulls on the walls, old chemist’s bottles on the bar. It only has 14 covers a night, so you have to get in quick if you want a table – especially on the weekend!

The menu is non-existent, you state any dietary requirements when booking, and that is all the say you get in what you eat 😉 Gordon Jones conjures up amazing dishes out of whatever food he has from his suppliers that day, and if there in the evening, you get six courses for £50. (For lunch it is five courses for £40).

We have been five times now, and every time I have had a new ingredient, or a new combination of food that i would never have thought of putting together… it’s an experience as well as a delicious meal.

This time it was the OH’s 30th Birthday so we had the wine flight as well (a glass of wine chosen to suit each course) – great experience, but not so great on a school night!

A selection of the dishes we had:

Top photo – Sea Trout, Cauliflower Beetroot Cous Cous, Sour Cherries, Popcorn, and Tomato water.

Middle photo – Tandooi Monkfish, Sea Fennel, Quinoa, Marmalade, Broad Beans, Crispy pastry, and i think Gooseberris!

Bottom photo – Almond Tart with a Creme Brûlée top, Mirabelle (a type of yellow plum) sorbet and soufflé, chocolate orange drops, mini meringues, and slices of Mirabelle plums.

The only thing i don’t love about this restaurant is they serve flavoured water which i’m not a fan of (although i’m sure i could’ve just asked for plain if i was that bothered) – but that’s mega-picky. If Gordon Jones doesn’t get a Michelin Star in the near future I will be v surprised!

 Menu Gordon Jones

2 Wellsway

Bath

BA2 3AQ

Let me know if you’ve eaten anywhere good recently!

Happy Weekending…

Bake-Off Wednesdays: Biscuits

This week on the Great British Bake Off the theme is biscuits – and what a lovely theme it is. Who doesn’t eat biscuits? Not the healthiest of snacks but certainly a tasty one, we always seem to have a packet in the tin at work which is dangerous, but quite helpful when the afternoon 3pm slump looms.

At home, we are fairly good and don’t often buy biscuits – i do make them sometimes though. Last week i made some condensed milk cookies because we had half a can of condensed milk left over (from drinking vietnamese coffee) and didn’t want it to go to waste. The recipe for those is here if you’re interested…

This week, i decided it was savoury biscuit time!

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Blue Cheese and Poppy Seed Biscuits

I LOVE CHEESE

This will not come as a shock to anyone who knows me, if there was a cheese-aholics anonymous i would probably be a member (although i have no intentions of giving up my addiction, maybe just rationing myself a bit more!)

But anyway…

These biscuits are buttery, crumbly, cheesy and delicious. I like the extra texture the polenta gives them too. They are perfect with a glass of red wine, and they would make a cute present for someone who likes cheese!

If you’re not a blue cheese fan, firstly what’s wrong with you? (Joking), secondly, feel free to swap the blue for some cheddar or other semi-firm cheese and i’m sure it will taste (almost) as good 😉

Recipe taken from Delicious Magazine

Makes approx 25 biscuits

Ingredients

150g Blue Cheese (I used Stilton), roughly chopped

100g Unsalted Butter, softened and roughly chopped

1 Medium Egg Yolk

100g Plain Flour (and extra for rolling out)

75g Quick-Cook Polenta

Poppy Seeds for sprinkling

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Preheat the oven to 200C.

In a bowl or mixer, combine and mash together the cheese and butter.

Add the egg yolk, sieved flour and polenta, and mix until it forms a stiff dough.

Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer to firm up for approx 10 mins.

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When ready, roll out onto a floured surface until approx half a centimetre thick.

I did this in stages, as i found the dough wouldn’t stick together if i tried to roll out the whole lot in one go.

Cut with a cookie cutter – i used a 58mm one. Scoop up the offcuts and roll them into a ball, to roll out and use up as much of the dough as possible.

If you don’t have cookie cutters use a cup, or roll the dough into a log shape and cut into slices instead!

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Line a tray with greaseproof paper and put the discs on.

I managed to fit about 16 on one tray…

Sprinkle each disc with poppy seeds and press down lightly so they stick to the dough.

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Put in the oven for 12-15 mins, until golden brown

 they smell so good in the oven, you may try to get them out early!


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When ready they will look a bit like this! Place on a wire rack to cool.

we managed to leave them for about 2 minutes before diving in – they are really nice warm though…

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Enjoy!

N.B. I have kept some of the dough from this in the freezer to make on a different day, as i didn’t have time to do two batches. If you do this, let it defrost and warm up a bit before you try to roll it out!

Bake Off Wednesdays: Cake

Mel & Sue, Queen Bezza, scary Paul, custard disasters, style over substance, ovens not heating up, ridiculously tasty looking cakes, biscuits, bread, tray bakes, tarts, pies…

…It’s back! I am a little over-excited about the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ starting tonight (8pm BBC1).

To commemorate this I thought I would aim to do a post every Wednesday of recipes that fit in with the episodes theme – tonight’s is cakes!

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Lime, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake

I made this cake at the start of the summer – it feels like a really summery cake because the yoghurt and olive oil gives it a light texture, and the limes and sugar make me think of mojitos! It also goes well with a gin & tonic by the way…
I hadn’t made a cake using olive oil and yoghurt instead of butter before, but was really pleased with the outcome. It’s pretty simple to make – no fancy kitchen paraphernalia required – only a wooden spoon, a cake tin, and an oven… This cake will be made again!
It looks really pretty with the extra lime and sugar sprinkled on the top too.
Recipe nabbed from Souvlaki for the Soul – i just changed the measurements from US to UK
 
Ingredients

285g whole full fat Greek yoghurt

79ml of olive oil

225g caster sugar

zest of one lime

4 tablespoons lime juice

2 eggs

220g of sifted plain flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Extra lime zest and golden granulated sugar for topping

 

 

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C

Grease a 22cm springform baking tin

Mix the yoghurt, olive oil, sugar, lime juice, zest, and eggs in a  bowl until well combined.

In a separate large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Pour the wet ingredients mixture into the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix until just combined. Don’t overwork the batter.

Pour into the baking tin and cook for approx 45-50 mins. The cake is ready when it has browned on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave it to cool in the cake tin for five minutes and then invert it onto a cake cooler.

Once cooled, combine one tablespoon of lime zest with two tbsps of the granulated sugar and sprinkle liberally on top.

 

Sit down with a cup of tea (or a mojito) and enjoy the fruits of your labour – it’s worth it.

 

Street Food (and Coffee): Italy

When I think of places to get great street food, Italy doesn’t immediately spring to mind for some reason – i automatically think of Asia. After our recent trip however, Italy will be a close second to Vietnam in my top street food countries!

Here’s some of the Street Food (and coffee) we sampled…

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Arancini

Balls of Risotto rice, traditionally stuffed with mozzarella, meat ragu, & peas, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried – these are a meal in themselves! For about 1 euro you can’t go wrong… Arancini at the top is from Naples, on the bottom from Sicily – both tasted awesome, it was only really the shape that differentiated them.

An Arancini recipe that i really want to try is this one – Arancini stuffed with Truffles and Dolcelatte Gorgonzola – not as rustic as the original arancini’s but still sounding delicious!

There’s a neapolitan street food restaurant in Bath that i haven’t been to for a while called Yammo! Will have to go back to sample their arancini’s…

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Italian Fish & Chips

When in Amalfi, we spotted a street vendor selling lots of things in cones to the locals and were intrigued… We found out it was all variations on Fish & Chips! Little whole fried fishes, calamari, mixed seafood, or wedges of lightly battered cod and mini potatoes. We both went for the latter to see how it compares with the english version. You get a huge cone filled with lots of little potatoes, two hunks of white fish in batter, a big wedge of lemon, and a stick to skewer the food on. Apart from the potatoes not being particularly hot, it was pretty tasty – the fish was great and tasted really fresh, and it felt a little healthier than the english version (although i love me some proper F&C!)

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Panelle and Crocche

Palermo is known for its street food and has lots of different scary sounding options, such as Pani ca Meusa (bread rolls stuffed with beef spleen) or Stigghiola (goat intestine filled with onions, cheese and parsley)! Unfortunately for us, when wandering the food market we didn’t come across those two options 😉

We did instead find some street food we had wanted to try – Panelle (Chickpea fritters) and Crocche (mashed potato croquettes flavoured with mint and a hint of cheese). These were filling and quite more-ish, despite being very simple ingredients.

A recipe for Panelle that i’ve had on my pinterest for a while is this one – which turns the fritters into fries and serves them with a dipping sauce. Must try!

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Cannoli and Gelati

Sweet stuff! Sicily is known for its pastries, and the Cannoli is one of the most popular. Made from Pastry dough shaped into a tube and fried, it is then filled with a sweetened ricotta mixture, and studded with pistachio’s at either end. There were other variations of this available, but this one was tasty – couldn’t eat more than one though as they’re pretty sweet.

Gelati needs no introduction, the fabulous italian ice cream is everywhere and in any flavour you can think of. The one in the photo above is Tiramisu flavour, but my favourite was probably cherries & ‘fior di latte’ which literally translates as milk’s flower, and is a very creamy milky vanilla flavour – delicious with the cherries and some kirsch 🙂

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Coffee

I’m not sure you can really go to Italy and not drink coffee (although my dad will protest at this statement!), it’s just so readily available, in many different forms, and makes me feel a bit italian – apart from when drinking the crazy iced cappuccino with whipped cream in the last photo!

Apparently italians tend to only drink cappuccino’s as a breakfast drink, and it is then replaced with the espresso until the next day. We tried to stick to the italian way as much as possible… the top two photos are of Caffe Freddo (Iced coffee) – a bit different to the iced coffees of Starbucks and co, these are just espressos shaken with ice, in a champagne glass – very sophisticated 😉

The next two photos are of an espresso on the beach (they really are everywhere) and a ‘espresso to go’ a travel pack of tiny cartons of espresso and chocolate with a little straw – in case you can’t get your coffee fix any other way…

And finally the aforementioned Cappuccino – it was before lunch so i think we got away with it! This was more like an iced coffee you’d get in the UK, but that’s not a criticism  – it was blinking tasty – just needed to do an awful lot of walking to work off that and the complimentary biscuits…

20140726_112539We purchased a little stove-top espresso maker as a souvenir as we’d enjoyed using them in our airbnb places – we can now make coffee in many different ways, including vietnamese, but never instant – i’m a coffee snob…