Summer days ……


This year, the summer holidays started very early in our household. We collected our youngest from university in mid-June and our eldest arrived home from working in Spain at the beginning of July. As no one had any holiday plans, I hastily arranged a family break in Portugal (warm, sunny and very relaxing) but this has meant we were back home at the end of July, having already had our break, with most other people still with their holidays to look forward to. Never mind, we thought. August at home can be lovely – warm, sunny, places to go. However, this has not been the case. 

After the deluge on Wednesday, Thursday had a distinctly autumnal feel to it. The plants in the garden look washed out and battered, as they tend to look in October just before the end of the season. The tomatoes on the plant on my patio are just not ripening. 

I have had a busy time baking cakes for The Earl Grey Tearoom – eight cakes and some flapjacks since our return from holiday. As these are freshly baked to order, there is no problem with having leftover cakes to sell. I have also started making more chutney as I delivered another order to Southborough Butchers last week which used up my stock. The autumn fruits are ripening much earlier than the last few years so I ordered two more huge boxes of jam jars ready to be filled with various chutneys – rhubarb & coriander made this week, plum apple & chilli, pear & apple, apricot apple & hazelnut and other flavours to follow over the next couple of weeks and spiced redcurrant jelly, apple & chilli and apple & mint jelly to follow. I have seen cobnuts, rosehips, elderberries, sloes and blackberries already waiting to be picked on my walks in the area. This must be at least 3 weeks earlier than the last few years. I even made a blackberry and apple crumble at the weekend with fruit picked that morning.

When I started ‘Too busy to make’, I hoped it would give me a chance to make foods that I enjoyed making and to sell them to people who would enjoy eating them. Since I have had the regular outlets, this has certainly proved to be the case. I am looking forward to a busy late summer and autumn, making foods to sell at Penshurst, at the Country Fair and Christmas Market at Chiddingstone, at Southborough Butchers and other local outlets.

Back to biscuit baking

This week I am back to baking biscuits to sell at the Penshurst Farmers’ Market this weekend, on Saturday 5 August.

These biscotti have flaked almonds and pistachio nuts – great for having with coffee or with dessert. The oat and walnut biscuits can be eaten with cheese – try with a blue cheese or ripe Brie – or with a morning cup of tea. The seeded biscuits go well with any cheese board. Both the oat and walnut and seeded biscuits are made with buckwheat flour so are fine for gluten-free and wheat-free diets.

Having baked all these biscuits, I now need to spend the evening weighing, packing and labelling them ready for selling on Saturday.

Ginger biscuits

The last batch of biscuits have been baked for Penshurst Farmers Market on Saturday 3 June – now they just need to be packaged. These are ginger biscuits, topped with stem ginger and would be delicious with ice cream, fruit, a cup of tea or even with a crumbly white cheese!

I have lost count of how many biscuits that is in total, but I think it is somewhere in the region of 1,000.

I will have tasters available for most of the biscuits so if you are near Penshurst tomorrow morning between 9:30 and 12:00, why not come along and try before you buy.

Savoury biscuits

This evening, I have made savoury seeded biscuits and cheesy biscuits – all are made with buckwheat flour so are suitable for gluten free diets.

These are being packaged up ready for selling at Penshurst Farmers Market on Saturday 3 June.

Tomorrow will be my last day in the kitchen for this event – more biscuits and maybe something different!

Chocolate butter biscuits

This afternoon, the kitchen has been filled with the aroma of chocolate biscuits baking in the Rayburn. Rather tempting! Luckily for my waistline, these will be packaged up ready for Penshurst Farmers Market this Saturday 3 June.

All my biscuits are made with organic flour and eggs. I use butter in most of them, as I think it improves the flavour.

Back to baking …… next batch is a savoury one. Watch this space!

Making biscuits

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I always make biscuits at Christmas and I make savoury biscuits regularly, but I haven’t made sweet biscuits for a while so I thought I would try out a few this afternoon.

Pictured here are vanilla, ginger and lemon biscuits. They may not have the shelf life of shop bought ones, but they do taste good! Try them with your afternoon cup of tea or perhaps with ice cream and fruit for a midweek pudding.

I will be selling these and other types of biscuit at the Penshurst Farmers Market on Saturday 3 June (market is open 9:30 until 12:00) – I hope to see you there!

Biscuits for cheese

 

Each Christmas, I make savoury biscuits for hampers sold by South Downs Cellars. Initially, I made oatcakes flavoured with fresh thyme or rosemary. Last year, I tried a different recipe for oat and walnut biscuits. These contain a small amount of sugar but are not sweet and go well with soft blue cheeses like Gorgonzola or Dolcelatte as well as other rinded soft cheeses like Brie or Taleggio.

As another experiment, I made a batch replacing the wheat flour with buckwheat flour. They are gluten free and taste delicious. The oats and chopped walnuts give them an interesting texture.

I will be adding these to my list of products available to buy – either with buckwheat or wheat flour, depending on your preference.

An experiment

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I have been making these cheesy biscuits for a few years – the dough can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge until needed. Then I bake as many biscuits as are needed, topping them with different seeds or cayenne pepper. They are quite crumbly but have a strong cheese flavour and are great served with pre-meal drinks.

I decided to try making a batch with gluten free buckwheat flour to see if they were as good and yes, they are. The dough didn’t seem to stick together quite as well, but after 24 hours in the fridge I could cut the discs as usual and the flavour is certainly as good as the wheat version. The buckwheat version is on the left, the wheat version on the right.

 

 

Open house 

 

I am holding two ‘Open House’ sessions before Christmas so if you would like to try before you buy, then please come along to 72 Prospect Road, Southborough on

Friday 9 December between 4pm and 8pm or on

Wednesday 14 December between 11am and 1pm or between 4pm and 8pm.

I will have a number of chutneys, jellies, jams and marmalades open for tasting as well as some biscuits and cakes. Most will be available to take away but I can make more Panforte or biscuits to order.

I look forward to seeing you soon!

Some of my chutneys and jellies are also available to buy at Southborough Butchers on London Road, Southborough.