Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Kirstie's Rosemary Shortbread.

Hellooo. Did you watch Kirstie's Handmade Britain last week? I did, OF COURSE, we are, like, best pals don't you know...as in, I think she's great so I watch her on telly and ask for her books for Christmas and I want her house in Devon...and she's surely just as much a fan of mine in return. No? Not that last bit?

Oh well, the important thing is that she made Rosemary Shortbread. Who would've thought of such a thing. Not me, which turns out to be rather a large oversight because it is fABulous. It's so strange that it works; rosemary has always been such a savoury herb to me, but mymy it does, and so well. A revelation.

I'm afraid this may be the opening to a whole new 'baking obsession' chapter of mine, as pancakes have been. I have already thought of so many variations that I want to try. Chili chocolate shortbread anyone?

But for now let's stick with the Kirstie original. I'm sure my version won't win any prizes, I haven't followed any silly show rules, but I give it first prize for yummyness- and really, what else does one need from a biscuit? With Love and Cake.

Rosemary Shortbread
Inspired by Kirstie

A few notes:
  • I tend to make shortbread in a food processor in an attempt to save mess and avoid Kirstie's 'overworked' failing, but do feel free to rub in the butter with your fingertips and bring everything together by hand.
  • Of course you absolutely do not have to include rosemary, just leave it out and you have a wonderful standard shortbread.
  • Don't store these in a container with any other kind of biscuit, rosemary likes to pass her strong flavour around.
Makes 10-15
You will need

A baking sheet lined
a  cutter or upturned glass, around 10cm in diameter

200g plain flour
100g cornflour
100g caster sugar
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
200g butter
  • First things first, pulse both flours and sugar together in your processor to combine.
  • Whiz in the rosemary and then the butter until everything starts to come together.
  • Tip the crumbly mixture onto a floured surface and bring properly together to a soft dough with your hands.
  • Divide the mixture in half and roll one half out to a thickness of around 5mm.
  • Cut out rounds with your cutter, gathering the excess to re-roll and cut.
  • Transfer the rounds to your lined baking sheet and repeat the rolling and cutting for the second half of the dough.
  • Chill the raw biscuits it the fridge while your oven preheats to 170°c.
  • Bake the biscuits for around 12 minutes, they should only just be starting to change colour to a veryvery light gold.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Eat with a cup of tea and a chat with your real life best pal.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Cookie Dough Pancakes

Afternoon....so remember I told you to make extra cookie dough for a special something coming soon? Well here it is, and you will either take one look at it and judge me as a trashy glutton as you turn away and nibble at alfalfa sprouts, ooooooooor you will contact the Nobel Foundation immediately and insist that they add a new prize entitled 'Contributuion to Food Joy' just so you can nominate me for this GENIUS concoction.

I do hope it's the second one, I'd love a Nobel prize, and these immense 'joy-bringers' require some sort of recognition, if only a groan of satisfaction from you. It all started when a friend of mine told me about a hotel she worked at in the States that cooked an entire homemade cookie into a pancake. This sounded aMAYZENNN' to me and I knew immediately that I neeeeded my own version.

I couldn't really imagine quite how a cooked cookie would work inside a spongey pancake. But I cooooould imagine how the raw dough of the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, which is indeed the ultimate cookie dough, would work. And goodness heck I was right. From the outside, they look like normal, bland but brilliantly springy pancakes...it's just the odd chocolate shadow or ooooze of goooo from the side that hints at the fabulousness within.

Now this is not a breakfast for the faint hearted, in fact it doesn't have to be a breakfast at all. The first time I made these was with my lovely friend Alex and they made the perfect lunch following an Autumn walk and accompanied by Mad Men Season 3 (FYI Mad Men and pancakes, a match made in heaven). But they are a great breakfast if you know you need to be well fueled for they day ahead. I had them yesterday because I knew I wouldn't get a chance to have any lunch, and they kept me going right though, well of course they did, they're not exactly light on the calorie front, especially when served with marscapone and Nutella....but you can't eat lettuce and natural yogurt all the time, and these are definitely worth running a few (hundred) extra miles or swimming a few extra (million) laps for. So go on, dig in, and thank me after. With Love and Cake.

Cookie Dough Pancakes

A few notes:
  • When I first made these I added several little blogs of cookie dough to the top of each pancake while they were cooking, instead of embedding one big disc. This worked fine but the dough cooked a bit too much to achieve the goo I was going for. I like this method better, but feel free to experiment.
  • Of course you could use any cookie dough you like, I would imagine you could even by it ready made, you definitely can in America...whatever's best for you.
  • I like making my pancakes in a blender, but you could just as easily whisk everything together in a mixing bowl.
Makes about 10 giant pancakes
You will need

a non stick frying pan (or several if you're impatient like me)

For the pancakes
225g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
300ml milk

For the cookie dough
follow the recipe here, up until the baking part

  • First get you pan/s on a medium heat and grease with butter or flavourless oil.
  • Whiz the flour and baking powder together in your blender (that's the lazy girl's version of sieving).
  • Blitz in the egg and milk, stirring everything up a bit by hand so it gets properly combined.
  • Pour out the batter into pancakes in your pan, then grab a bit of cookie dough, roll and squash it in your hand to a disc, about 1/3 the size of your pancakes and pop it on top of one in you pan.
  • Pour a bit of extra batter over the cookie dough to cover it, like in the pictures above.
  • Do the same for every pancake and when the bottom half of them looks cooked and bubbles start appearing in the uncooked side, flip flip flip.
  • Cook this second side for a few minutes, and when both sides are golden and they have a springy texture, pop them in warm oven so you can carry on with the rest of the batter.
  • Serve warm with whipped cream or marscapone, Nutella and a big grin.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Everyone Needs These Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Hiii theeere, thanks for stopping by. Today we're talking chocolate chip cookies. Every person, no matter how much or little time they spend in the kitchen, needs a few fail-safe, easypeasy, tried and tested methods for deliciousness; your perfect mashed potato, your favourite way to make porridge, maybe even just the things you do to make beans on toast perfectly suited to what you like so much about beans on toast (too much butter and just 'cooked to a mush' beans for me, FYI).

This is one of those recipes. Everyone needs a perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Everyone needs a baking recipe to turn to when inspiration is lacking but 'bringing a dish' is required. Everyone needs a recipe for when time is short but homemade indulgence is required. This recipe is that, and that, and that.

With a crispy, crackling outside and just perfectly under-baked goo on the inside these are american stylee cookies which really feel more like dessert fodder than our British 'tea and biscuits' biscuits. But that is fiiiiiine with me. They are also, I think, the perfect treat to bring along to an 'event' that doesn't require the pomp and circumstance of a whole cake or any fancypants baking, but to which the addition of a tin of homemade goodness would be gratefully received.

So I'm off to make these to take along with me to a lazy night in at a friend's, it won't take me 2 ticks, they're easypeasy...in fact, they're so easy that I think I have time to recline for a little longer, yep, I've got enough time to catch up on Gilmore Girls...what more could you want from a biscuit. With Love and Cake.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
I'm afraid I can't remember where I got this recipe from, I wrote it down a good while ago, but I think it may have been adapted from a recipe which got really famous after being published in the New York Times...I hope so because that makes me sound like I read such high brow publications- yes, lets say its from the NYT.

A few notes:
  • This recipe makes A LOT of cookies, it even makes A LOT if you halve it. But it's SUCH good cookie dough that too much can be a good thing. It freezes well and can be defrosted and baked into more cookies. OOooor you can construct the ULTIMATE cookie dessert experience by serving a warm cookie with whipped cream and a splodge of raw dough. But do make sure you save a bit for a coming recipe which you. will. LOVE. 
  • The cookies should come out of the oven still a little undercooked and soft, that's how you get the gooeyness. They'll harden up as they cool so don't worry that they seem too bendy straight from the oven.
  • Of course it's up to you how big you make your cookies, I like a nice huge one as big as my hand almost, but just remember that the bigger the blobs of dough you put on your baking sheet, the more space between each one you'll need to allow for them to spread out.
Makes A LOT
You will need

A large baking sheet, lined

375g soft butter
333g soft brown sugar
250g caster sugar
1 splodge vanilla extract
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
500g  flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g chocolate chips or chopped chocolate of your choice (I always use dark)

  • Preheat your oven to 170°c.
  • Cream the butter and both sugars together with an electric hand whisk or a good strong arm until light and creamy looking.
  • Beat in the vanilla and all the eggs and yolks until well combined.
  • Fold in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, followed by the chocolate.
  • Transfer dessert spoonfuls of dough onto your baking sheet. you don't need to flatten them, they'll do that themselves in the oven. Just make sure you leave a good couple of inches between each blob for them to spread out.
  • Bake and check after 12 minutes. They're ready when they're slightly darker in colour and the top is set but they're still soft in the centre.
  • Leave to cool on the baking sheet for around 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely or, just devour while they're still warm.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

'Sorry Autumn' Toffee Apple Tart.

Hellooooo, how's things? Is it still Autumn? I hope so. I'm not quite sure what official season it is at the mo but am hoping Autumn is still around because I think I've been neglecting him recently. 

Since seeing mountains of fake snow appear in shop windows and hearing Wham! (that's right, I included the exclamation mark) as I wander around supermarkets, I think I've been swept away on a wave of Christmas excitement, meaning Mr Autumn, in all his glowey orange goodness, has lain a bit forgotten. 

So here is my final fling with good ol' pumpkin carving, leaf crunching, nose chilling Autumn before all things sparkling and snow topped take over, it is 'Stir up Sunday' today after all. This is a perfect pud for a dark November evening, and in fact was the perfect pud for our dark, chilly November 5th.

So sorry Autumn, for getting carried away and forgetting about you, because actually you're pretty lovely, especially when it comes to food. Please forgive me and keep being beautiful at sunset and delicious after dinner... because honestly, I'm not quite ready for leafless trees and 18 hour darkness, so please keep the glowey orange glowing for a bit longer.

Toffee Apple Tart
Adapted from Sainsburys Magazine

A few notes:
  • This is not a dainty dessert, its charm is in its wonkyness and the fact that it sticks to the grease-proof paper so you have to serve to straight off it. Just a warning, so you don't get disheartened by messy edges.
  • The original recipe calls for 100% eating apples but I used a mixture of both cookers and eaters, which means you get a filling that's got firm and mushy bits. Feel free to mix it up how ever you feel, but I think you need to include at least a few eaters, it's the sort of pie that needs a bit of bite.
  • As usual I made my pastry in my trusty food processor, but if you don't have one just mix the dry ingredients together, rub in the fat with your fingers and bring together to a dough by hand.
Makes one big pie, enough for at least 8
You will need

a large baking sheet, lined with grease-proof paper

For the pastry
250g plain flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon
100g caster sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
125g cold butter
1 egg

For the filling 
100g butter
150g soft brown sugar
splosh vanilla extract
150ml double cream
juice 1 lemon
3 medium sized cooking apples and 3 eaters, peeled, cored and sliced
50g ground almonds
1-2 tsp granulated sugar

  • First let's make the pastry by whizzing together the flour, cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest in your processor.
  • Next whiz in the butter followed by all but a tablespoon or so of the egg.
  • Bring together to a nice dough, shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge while you get on with the filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c.
  • We need to make a toffee sauce by gently heating the butter, 120g of the sugar and vanilla in a small pan so the butter melts.
  • Turn up the heat and bubble for a minute or so, then pour in the cream. 
  • Keep stirring until it looks smooth and toffeeish then add a squeeze of the lemon juice and remove from the heat.
  • In a nice big bowl toss the apple slices with the rest of the lemon juice, the rest of the sugar and half the toffee sauce.
  • Now it's time to roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a 35cm round.
  • Transfer to the lined baking sheet and sprinkle the almonds over the centre of the pastry.
  • Top with the apples, leaving a 4-5cm border.
  • Now fold and press the edges of the pastry around the apples to create a ramshackle looking pie.
  • Brush the pastry with the leftover egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  • Bake for 40min until the pastry is golden and the apples are soft.
  • Serve with the rest of the toffee sauce and something else lovely, we went for clotted cream.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Birthday Cake for Boys: Chocolate Guinness Cake.

What cake does one make for a boy's 24th birthday? It's a tricky one, particularly when the boy in question does not grant cake with great importance (I know *gasp*, but he's soso great in all other aspects of life that I tend to let it slide).

Sorry about the dodgy photo, I wasn't trying to be a food photographer extraordinaire back then. 

Last year I went for the one above, a nice and autumnal Cider and Apple cake; pretty perfect for this cider making Somerset native. Not froof or frill in sight, just moist, spiced and manly alcohol inclusive goodness. So I needed a tip top equivalent for this year, and after much deliberation it came in the form of this....Chocolate Guinness Cake. 

That's right. Chocolate.Guinness. Cake. Now let's all stand up, so we can bow down to Nigella, for this is her creation, and it is GENIUS. Chocolate and Guinness in a cake!! Sorry if you think I'm over playing this but really, once you've made it and experienced the joy in brings, you will join me in my worship. Nige has always been my 'own personal Jesus' but this really cements her status.

For starters it's super easy to put together, a bit of heat, stirrystir, bake and done. Something so easy has absolutely no right to be as delicious as it is. Each bite is dense and smooth and chocolately, some provide a waft of stout and others even verge on the brownie style gooo. Heaven. And so very manly, it even looks like a pint of the black stuff. A winner on every level. Please don't wait for a boy's birthday requirement to make this cake. With Love and Cake.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
From Nigella's Feast- one of my all time favs

A few notes:
  • As always, make sure you wait until the cake has completely cooled before icing, melty icing would be no good.
  • I'm afraid I actually didn't use Guinness but a bottle of Scottish stout which I've been wanting to buy for a while, just because of the cute bottle. It worked perfectly.
  • I made the icing in a food processor; whizz icing sugar, then add cream cheese and cream and whizz to combine. But I'll write the recipe for doing it by hand.
Makes 1 23cm cake
You will need

a 23cm cake tin, well greased and the base lined

For the cake
250ml Guinness or dark stout
250g butter, cubed
75g cocoa
400g caster sugar
142ml sour cream
2 eggs
1tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the top
300g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double cream

  • Preheat your oven to 180°c.
  • Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan, with the butter and heat gently until the butter has melted.
  • Whisk the cocoa and sugar into the pan and remove from the heat.
  • In a bowl, beat together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla and stir into the pan of Guinness.
  • Finally whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda until well combined.
  • Pour the dark mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45mins to 1 hour, until risen and springy.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  • To make the topping, whip the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Sieve in the icing sugar and beat to combine.
  • Add the cream and beat until spreadable.
  • When the cake/pint is cold, remove it from the tin and spread the icing/foam in a nice smooth layer on top. 
  • Happy Birthdaaaay. 

Friday, 11 November 2011

Squashed Flies and Some Garibaldi Facts.

Helloo. How's things? Fancy a cup of tea and perhaps a biscuit or 2? Garibaldi? Maybe you're off on a winter walk and would like to pack a few up in some brown paper and nestle them next to your sandwiches and Thermos.

That's what's great about these old fashioned little chaps, they're sturdy and filling as well as being ever so good to eat; not like shop bought biscuits that give you sweetness without any substance and just leave you reaching for more.

I've done a little Garibaldi research and it turns out, as with lots of British favs, each bite of a Garibaldi is your own slice of (biscuit) history. Mr Garibaldi was an Italian (duuuh) general who led the war of Italian unification and he payed a visit to England in the 1800s. Some how or other this ended up in Scottish (don't tell the Scots, they will claim all biscuit invention as their own) biscuit legend John Carr, creating this squashed fly concoction. And we still love them. Good work Mr Carr.

Some more Garibaldi facts for you, because, well everyone loves a fact right? They're Gene Hunt's, as in Ashes to Ashes man, favourite (just ask Mum). They pop up in Anita and Me, Skins, Dinnerladies and The Young Ones. Aaaaand there are lots of 'Garibaldis' around the world that bear very little resemblance to our squashed flies; a Mexican sponge for example. There, go and impress your friends, and if your friends aren't the type to appreciate biscuit trivia, you need new ones. Harsh, but fact. With Love and Cake.

Garibaldi Biscuits
From Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer by Jane Brocket

A few notes:
  • This is a fairly tricky dough to play with, so I like to deal with a bit at a time; cutting off a chunk, rolling into a rectangle cutting in half and making into biscuits, rather than splitting the whole thing in half and having to roll each half out into a giant rectangle.
  • Squish in lots and lots of currant, the more the merrier....more that you think, it'll make a difference to the final biscuit.
  • You can make these as big and fat or small and dainty as you like. I like a sturdy but not too hefty size and thickness.
Makes a good biscuit tin-full
You will need

a baking sheet, well greased

200g self-raising flour
100 soft butter
125g caster sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
1 egg, beaten
150gish currants
a good sprinkling of granulated sugar

  • Preheat your oven to 180°c.
  • Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter with the tips of your fingers (ooor you could do all this in a food processor, adding and whizzing everything in the same order).
  • Mix in enough milk to bring everything together to a soft dough and turn out onto a floured surface.
  • Roll out some of the dough (see notes) into a long rectangle. Then trim the edges and cut tin half so you have 2 rectangles the same size, about the height of your Garibaldi's length.
  • Move one rectangle onto your baking sheet, brush with egg and sprinkle with lots of currants.
  • Push the currants down into the dough and then pop the second rectangle on top. 
  • Brush the top with egg and then sprinkle liberally with granulated sugar.
  • Slice into separate biscuits and shuffle them around so there is a gap between each one.
  • Repeat this process until you've used up all your dough.
  • Bake the biscuits for 12ish minutes, until golden and crisp looking and put the kettle on.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

'Hello November' Strawberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake.

Hello. Apologies for the lack of seasonality I have for you today. You see I felt it was time to properly let go of summer so I could get on with embracing Autumn's lovelyness. So here we have a sort of final farewell to hopes of summer times.

I'm usually quite grumpy towards the dark seasons but these last few days have just been such perfect Autumn days; all crisp and bright and egg yolk orange, that it was hard to be annoyed at it. I think Edinburgh is at its best in sunny Autumn. It makes me want to live there in a ginormous Georgian town house even more that normal.

So as a sort of 'Hello November' ritual I defrosted my last stash of strawberries and made a rather summery dessert- a rather summery, rather delicious cheesecake.

(LOOK at this lovely little vase, it's so teenytiny...a hand me down from Nana Jean).

I realise that you might not have a strawberry stash but I thought you'd like to see the cake anyway so you could vicariously do some summer farewell-ing yourself, or maybe you could stash the recipe for next year. Happy Autumn, I'm off to kick some leaves and make dragon breath. With Love and Cake.

Strawberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted from 'One More Slice' by Leila Lindholm

A few notes:
  • I baked my base before adding the topping but I don't think this is necessary, that and the huge amounts of butter the recipe asked for made for a bit of a disappointing bisciut layer to be honest, so I've made tweaks so you get a good one.
  • Definitelydefinitely only eat this after a night in the fridge, the cake that is not you. It's worth the wait.
  • Because my strawbs came out the freezer they made loads of juice before I even squished them. I boiled it all up with some sugar to make a syrup to serve with the cheesecake. If you don't have much juice just pop it in the freezer and I'll tell you what to do with it some day sooooooon.
Makes 1 large cake
You will need

a 23cm cake tin, greased

70g butter, melted
300g digestives
100g caster sugar + 1 tbsp extra
600g cream cheese, at room temperature
250ml quark cheese (you find it in the cheese aisle)
1 big splodge vanilla extract
50g cornflour
3 eggs
100ml double cream
200g white chocolate
400g strawberries

  • Preheat your oven to 180°c .
  • Crush your biscuits to sand in a food processor (or by hand with the end of a rolling pin in you've got loooads of patients) and whizz (stir) in the butter.
  • Press in to the bottom of your cake tin and leave to set in the fridge while you get on with the filling.
  • Squash the strawberries up a bit with the 1 tbsp sugar and leave to drain through a seive while you mix the rest of the base.
  • Beat together the 2 cheeses in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, then stir in the 100g sugar, cornflour and eggs, one at a time.
  • Finally add the cream and give everything a good stir to combine.
  • Melt the white chocolate either veryVERY gently in a microwave or in a bowl over barely simmering water.
  • Fold the chocolate through the creamy cheese mixture followed by the strawberry pulp.
  • Pour everything over the base and bake for 45 minutes until the top is slightly golden and there is just a hint of wibblewobble. If you check it and it's getting too brown too fast, pop some foil over it.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the cake inside to cool without the top cracking.
  • Eat remembering summer fun and looking forward to cosy winter times.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Toffee Apples

I had a helper in the kitchen today. I have a friend visiting and this is how today, her first full day in Scotland went.....autumn walk along the sea, pancakes for lunch (soooper doooooper spesh ones, recipe coming soon), watch 2 episodes of Mad Men, bake a pie, make toffee apples.

Really...can you think of a better day way to spend a day. I don't think I can when confined to Kirkcaldy in November, though we were going to swim in the sea but ended up not having a wetsuit each, and neither of us was keen to brave it without. That would have been the cherry on the sundae.

When someone visits you do you come up with an itinerary before hand? I do. And tomorrow evening, it being Guy Faulks night and all, we're taking our visitor to a fireworks party. That meant toffee apples were of course required and thankfully, she's someone that appreciates a couple of hours in the kitchen as part of an itinerary. 

Se here we are. Perfect day. I thought these would be a bit of a stress to make, particularly as I'm a control freak at the best of times, put me in a kitchen with a pan of boiling sugar and you can imagine the monster that could induce. But it went smooothly and the toffee set perfectly. Hurrah. Have fun tomorrow night...eat, drink, go oooh and aaaah. Just don't burn any body parts and create a 'safe space' for your dog, you can have that one for free, heard it on the news. With Love and Cake.

Toffee Apples
Adapted from BBC Food 

A few notes:
  • The original recipe for these adds nuts to the toffee...we had some chopped and all ready to be sprinkled but the toffee'd apples looked so lovely and shiny we didn't want to spoil them, but maybe you fancy that, or maybe a few mistakes need hiding....
  • If you don't have a sugar thermometer, you can test the toffee by putting a teaspoon of it in a glass of cold water and if it goes hard immediately it's ready. I'd do this after 10 minutes of boiling and if it's not ready boil for 5 minutes at a time, test again and keep going until ready. This took us longer that we though...a good 15 minutes.
Makes 8 small apples
You will need

greaseproof paper
lolly sticks

8 little apples- I used half russets and coxs
225g granulated sugar
110ml water
30g butter
2tbsp golden syrup

  • Stick a lolly stick into the middle of each apple, from the stalk end to about half way through.
  • Dissolve the sugar in a pan with the water over a gentle heat.
  • Add the butter and syrup and bring to the boil.
  • Boil until the mixture reaches 140°c and remove the pan from the heat.
  • Dip and twizzle the apples in the toffee to cover and place on the greaseproof paper to set.
  • Eat at bonfire party with a sparkler in the other hand...be careful though.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Granola- an Anytime Staple.

You need to make this. You need to make this, then eat it, then make it again, and again, and again. Not because its fancy pants or impressive to make your own cereal, not because breakfast is the most important meal of the day and not because I'm telling you to. You just need to make this because it's bloomin' marvelous.

It is the peeeeerfect student staple food; something to rely on on days when you only have a potato and curry paste left in the fridge. With yogurt and fruit for breakfast on days that start in the rush that they continue, in a big bowl with milk for a desk picnic (much nicer than a 'working lunch'), or as dry clusters absent mindedly poppoppopped into an open mouth as a standing-up snack to accompany a kitchen catch up.

However you work this into your life it will remain crispy and crunchy with surprise chewy bits here and there, it will be faintly spiced and toasty tasting...and would you credit it, rather healthy too.

This was indeed one of my staples as a student and I have only just rediscovered its glory. The smell that seeps out of the oven is one of my student-time smells, that and Malibu.
I've made granola from other recipes since my obsession with this one but will return to Nigella for ever and ever. She is another staple. With Love and Cake.

Tweaked from Nigella's Feast, one fabulous cook book.

A few notes:
  • For the apple compote part, I tend to get out a few slices of cooking apple that I've kept in the freezer as leftovers from pies etc and zap in the microwave until cooked and mushy. I even leave the skins, they become lovely and chewy in the granola. Or of course you could use already cooked apple or even buy it in a jar.
  • This recipe is open to endless interpretation, add what you like...I've recently seen a recipe that rather festiv-ly adds dries cranberries and crystalised ginger. Coconut is a nice one. Nig also suggests a chocolate and peanut version. But like I said I will always return to this one as a basic.
  • The original recipe requires brown rice syrup but I've never seen that anywhere, so I use malt extract which I get from Holland & Barrett. I love malt, it's what Edinburgh smells like.
Makes about 1 litre
You will need

a baking sheet, lightly oiled

250g rolled oats
90g apple compote
1tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp ground ginger
60g malt extract
2 tbsp runny honey
50g light brown sugar
250g your fav nuts- I like a mix of pecan, brazils and almonds
pinch salt
1 tbsp sunflower oil
150g sultanas
  • Preheat the oven to 170°c.
  • Mix everything, except the sultanas, together thoroughly. It might look like it wont come together but it will eventually, promise.
  • Spread the oaty mix out onto the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. 
  • Then stir and rejig anything around a bit and the return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Leave to cool in the baking sheet for 5ish minutes, and then stir around again to make clusters and crumbs. It might feel a bit soft at this point but will crisp up as it cools.
  • When it's all cooled down completely stir through the sultanas and keep in a nice airtight jar or tub.
  • Eat whenever. where ever, just eat.