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!
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!
This week, I have tried making a new chutney with rhubarb, flavoured with coriander and curry powder. It looks delicious but needs to mature for a month before tasting! Making chutneys is always a time consuming task, not just with the long slow cooking but also allowing it time to mature in a cool, dark place. If you are tempted to taste it too soon, it can be too vinegary or too spicy. However, after a month or two (depending on the recipe) the flavours have mellowed and the chutney is ready.
I delivered a batch to Southborough Butchers last week which were made in January but which are now ready to eat. If you are local to Southborough, they have 4 variations available as well as my apple and chilli jelly :
- Apricot apple and hazelnut
- Plum pear and apple with chilli
- Pear and apple
- Spiced damson
All these chutneys go well with cheese, cold meats, sausages and even with curries. We have also used the spiced damson chutney as a sauce for pan fried duck breast and as a gravy enhancer.
If the rhubarb chutney passes its taste test, I will make more and market it. Watch this space!
In order to make space for new chutneys and other preserves, I am having a stock clearance sale . All items are available on a first come first served basis, so if there is something you particularly want, please contact me as soon as possible.
Stock available : 300g jars
1 x Apple and sultana chutney £2.50
1 x Pumpkin and raisin chutney £2.50
1 x Apricot apple and hazelnut chutney £2.50
5 x Victoria plum jam £2.00 each
5 x Raspberry jam £2.00 each
7 x Luxury apricot and brandy mincemeat £2.00 each
4 x Seville orange marmalade £2.00 each
8 x Dark Seville orange marmalade £2.00 each
Stock available : 200g/190g jars
18 x Spiced Damson chutney £1.50 each
12 x Blackberry jelly £1.50 each
4 x Cranberry and orange compôte £2.00 each
1 x Spiced redcurrant jelly £1.50
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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.
The Seville orange season is short, so in January or February when they make their brief appearance in our shops, I buy some to make marmalade and a couple of family favourite puddings.
However, like many, I don’t usually eat toast in the mornings so jars of marmalade accumulate! This year, I decided to try using marmalade in other recipes to see whether they would taste good.
First, I made a bread and butter pudding by spreading marmalade on panettone that was left over from Christmas, and baking with a mixture of eggs and cream. It was so delicious that it was eaten before I could photograph it! I made a second and the same thing happened. The fruit in the panettone meant I didn’t add any extra but I chopped the strips of orange peel in the marmalade into small pieces before adding them to the pudding.
Second, I tried a marmalade drizzle cake, using my normal lemon drizzle cake recipe and replacing the lemon zest in the sponge with Seville orange zest and spreading a mixture of marmalade and Seville orange juice over the top of the cake as soon as it came out of the oven. I think the cake works very well – the bitter orange tang comes through the sponge making a delicious variation on drizzle cakes.
I usually freeze the zest and juice of Seville oranges to use later in the year and will report back on future experiments with marmalade and the zest and juice.
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.
The beginning of the new year has been a good time to do a thorough stock take and to start making more chutney.
Thank you to everyone who bought food from me in the run up to Christmas. I lost count of the number of Panforte and biscuits I made! Thank you also for the lovely comments – it is pleasing to hear that you enjoy eating the foods I have made as much as I have enjoyed making them.
I have made three chutneys so far this year
Apricot, apple and hazelnut which has cardamom seeds, ginger and mixed spice giving a crunchy texture and spicy fruit flavour
Plum, pear and apple with chilli and pepper giving a hot flavour
Pear and apple which is a classic chutney flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
All three chutneys are maturing and will soon be ready to purchase. Those of you who are local to Southborough can buy a selection of my chutneys and jellies from Southborough Butchers on London Road. They all go well with cold meats and cheeses and can also be used to enrich casseroles and gravies.
I have finished making all the food ordered this Christmas and the final deliveries are scheduled. Many thanks to all of you who have bought from me – I hope you enjoy your food and come back in 2017.
Now I can concentrate on Christmas with my family and friends. There are several traditions to observe, like baking mince pies while listening to the Festival of nine lessons and carols on Christmas Eve, a trip to Borough Market to stock up with delicious foodie bits and pieces (including the pilgrimage to Neal’s Yard to select our cheese) and decorating our tree, which is always left until the last minute! I will be taking a couple of weeks off over Christmas and the New Year but will be back testing our new recipes and making new preserves in 2017 – watch this space.
Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2017!