Sunday afternoon baking – biscuits

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This morning the weather took a distinctive turn towards wintery coldness with the first frost laying a glistening, delicate white sparkle through the fields. With winter fast approaching I was in the mood for biscuit baking, something which always brings back childhood memories of the festive season! I chose a basic biscuit dough recipe and went heart shape crazy…

Ingredients:

250g softened unsalted butter, 140g caster sugar, 1 egg yolk, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 300g plain flour

How to:

Mix the butter and the sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla extract, beat to a smooth mix. Sift the flour in and stir until the mixture is combined, you may need to knead the mixture towards the end. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and use your chosen cookie cutters to create your biscuit shapes. Place onto a greased baking tray and cook in the oven at 180C for 15 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.

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If you wish decorate the biscuits with icing or melted chocolate. I chose dark chocolate.

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Baking – banana and chocolate chip mini cakes

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Monday evening has meant it’s time to do some baking. Possibly the best way to start the week, most definitely the most calorific way to start!

I just had to share my all time favourite – banana and chocolate chip mini cakes, delicious and oh so simple to make. I chose to keep mine simple and not decorate them, but if you are feeling even more creative you can top them with chocolate or buttercream icing.

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Ingredients:

100g caster sugar, 100g unsalted butter, 140g self-raising flour, 2 eggs, 2 ripe bananas, 100g milk chocolate chips.

How to:

Heat a fan assisted oven to 180C or 160C for gas. Line a fairy cake tin with fairy cake cases. Mix the sugar, butter, flour, eggs and bananas in a mixing bowl. Use an electric whisk to beat the mix until smooth. Add in the chocolate chips and give a final mix. Divide the mix between the cases. Place in the oven for 20-22 minutes.

Ta-daaa !
                               Ta-daaa !

Chickpea, Feta and Sundried Tomato Salad

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Chickpeas

Sundried Tomatoes

Feta Cheese

Finely Chopped Salad Leaves

Mixed Herbs, Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar for seasoning

This concoction has fast become my favourite salad this year. Mix together chickpeas, sundried tomatoes and feta cheese in a bowl. Chop salad leaves and add in (mine came fresh from the garden, this year I grew ‘Rouge d’Hiver’). For seasoning drizzle balsamic vinegar, sprinkle mixed herbs and add crushed black pepper.

Clinging on to Summer!

'Russian Giant'
‘Russian Giant’ from Chiltern Seeds

The past week has given us glorious sunshine and brings memories back of spring and early summer. It’s nice to finally see the sun especially as we have had a bit of a wash out since mid July.

I sowed Sunflower ‘Russian Giant’ seeds in June (a little late in the year) but in the past two weeks have had an abundance of happy yellow faces beaming at me. Coupled with this weather it is easy to forget we are actually in October, until of course you walk the dog at the crack of dawn and feel that crisp autumn chill.

As the evenings are drawing in I am starting to think and plan about what to sow next year. Sunflower wise I am going to opt for a couple of shorter and more unusual varieties including ‘Sonja’, ‘Velvet Queen’ and ‘Chocolat’. These will be slightly easier to place in the borders and to use as cut flowers.