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.

Try before you buy

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On Wednesday 16 November, I will have a stall at the Nizels Golf and Country Club ‘Christmas Beauty Evening’, near Hildenborough in Kent.

I am planning to take along a selection of preserves, biscuits, cakes and savoury nibbles which can be given as Christmas gifts and many will be available for tasting on the night. I will also be taking orders if you would rather wait until nearer Christmas to receive your foods.

I am also hoping to sell my foods at other locations in the run up to Christmas so watch this space for further information.

Email me at toobusytomake@btinternet.com or call me on 07787 963896 if you want to place an order or find out more.

 

 

Seeded savoury biscuits

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I have been experimenting with savoury biscuits this year hoping to find some that tasted good while not taking too long to prepare. There are two variations shown in the photo – the lighter biscuits on the left are made with spelt flour while the darker ones on the right are made with buckwheat flour. They both contain a mix of pumpkin, sunflower, linseed and sesame seeds. The texture is fairly crumbly as they are made with butter but the biscuits are strong enough to be topped with cheese and chutney.

The buckwheat version is wheat free and gluten-free while the spelt version is not but may be easier to digest than a wheat version.

I will continue to experiment with other flours, fats and seed combinations – watch this space!

Just add cheese!

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One of our family Christmas traditions is the trip to Neals Yard in Borough Market to buy our selection of cheese .

It started many years ago, going to the Covent Garden branch, queueing outside in all weathers to buy some Stilton and maybe a couple of other cheeses. In recent years, we have switched to Borough Market because a change in job meant a different location. My husband used to make the selection on his own but nowadays it’s a family outing, often with workmates and friends tagging along.

We always buy half a Stilton which is eaten over the following month. There are a couple of family favourites which have to made with the stilton – a broccoli and stilton soup and pear and stilton bake, which my grandfather first made for us more than 35 years ago. It is worth tasting the individual Stiltons as if they are too ripe before Christmas, they won’t last until the end of January.

Other favourite cheeses include Cotherstone, Sparkenhoe Leicester, Applebys Cheshire, Hawes Wensleydale, Montgomerys Cheddar, Lincolnshire Poacher and Keens Cheddar. Soft cheeses like Innes Log are also excellent but we tend to favour the hard cheeses as they last longer.

To accompany the cheese, try a Spiced Damson Chutney flavoured with allspice, ginger, cloves and cinnamon, and some Damson Cheese – which is like a thick fruit jelly and goes really well with all the hard cheeses mentioned. Homemade oatcakes with thyme complete this selection. All can be ordered ready for Christmas – these three items would cost £8.50.

 

A busy week- and a busy weekend

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Last Saturday, I went to Frant Primary School to sell preserves and Christmas food gifts at their Christmas Fair. It was my first opportunity to sell to the general public so I was interested to see how it went. I had 2 chutneys, a jam and a marmalade open to taste as well as samples of Panforte and Christmas cake. It was good to get such positive feedback and I was delighted to sell several jars and cakes.

Then on Sunday, I delivered an order to http://www.southdownscellars.co.uk for their hampers – oatcakes, almonds, biscotti, Panforte, chutneys, mincemeat and compôte. I hope the food will be enjoyed with the excellent wines.

There is still time to order a Christmas cake or a Panforte to enjoy at Christmas and I still have some jars of mincemeat if you want to make your own mince pies. Please email me at toobusytomake@btinternet.com with your requirements.

 

 

 

Thyme oatcakes

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You might ask whether it’s worth the effort making your own oatcakes but I have been converted and it seems so have my family. These are made with fresh thyme leaves and are a great addition to a cheeseboard. They can also be made wheat free. They make a delicious quick lunch when served with a good cheddar from Neals Yard and my damson cheese.

Parmesan and walnut wafers

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These delicate wafers are gluten free but full of flavour. I had been reading through various recipe books, looking for gluten free savoury snacks to make for a friend’s birthday but could only find ones using flour substitutes which were not in my larder; so these were an experiment using what I had to hand. They were very popular and I shall keep making them regularly as well as trying out new variations.