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!
If you are in the Southborough area today, please come along to try before you buy. I will be open between 11am and 1pm this morning and then between 4pm and 8pm this afternoon/evening.
I will have a selection of chutneys, jams, jellies, marmalades, cakes and biscuits available for tasting and purchase.
If you are looking for Christmas food gifts, I can make up gift boxes with 3 jars of your choice.
I look forward to seeing you later!
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.
This week I have been making more cranberry and orange compôte and mincemeat to sell at The Skinners’ School Christmas Fayre and Farmers Market.
If you want a cranberry sauce to go with your turkey or gammon that isn’t as sweet as many cranberry jellies sold, then try this one. It is made with a little sugar but the main flavour is cranberry. It would also go well with brie or a baked camembert.
The mincemeat recipe I use has lime juice and zest to go with the dried fruit. This gives it a fresh zingy taste. It is suitable for vegetarians.
I will have jars for sale on Saturday 3 December at The Skinners’ School –
£3.00 for a 190g jar of cranberry & orange compôte and
£3.50 for a 320g jar of mincemeat.
I have a table at The Skinners’ School Christmas Fayre and Farmers Market on Saturday 3 December 2016 on St Johns Road in Tunbridge Wells.
If you would like to try some of my chutneys, jellies, cakes and biscuits before you buy, please come along between 11am and 2pm.
I will also have Panforte, traditional Christmas cake and Christmas Puddings for sale along with gift boxes which can be made up with your choice of chutneys, jams, marmalades and jellies.
I look forward to seeing you this weekend.
PS Please bring cash with you as I don’t think my card payment machine will have arrived in time – sorry for the inconvenience!