Sunday, 23 October 2011

chocolate pollock flapjacks

Today marks the first day back in my flat after a 3 week absence.  The feeling is divine.
I've missed everything about this place, but particularly the Kitchen.  The flowery tablecloth, the cakeless cake stand, the empty vase and the breeze across the terrace when the french doors are open.  All of these things make this one of the best kitchens to cook in.  OK, so it isn't the greatest layout.  The kitchen area is big but the 'cooking' area is in a broom cupboard.  There is plenty of crockery, but nowhere to put the pans!  This place is all prep and no bake.  But you know what. I don't care.  It's home.

My baking station is just how I left it.  Plenty of pots containing different types of sugars, rolled up packets of 'almost finished' flours, half full old catering tins storing various shaped cutters and my kitchen aid.  Oh, kitchen aid, how I've missed you.

Having spent the best part of a month back at my mum's house, the recent distance between myself and my kitchen makes it seem a rather daunting process to embark on a recipe.  Especially on a Sunday afternoon.  But I know it must be done.  So, after reacquainting myself with my bedroom, unpacking my bags and separating my whites from my darks for a wash load, I contemplate the idea of something sweet.

The fridge is empty.  Crap.

On my walk to the shops I absorb everything about the day.  The sun is shining, but it definitely isn't warm.  The sky is clear, but there is a frosty mist desperate to hover about the streets.  Winter is on the way.  That means root vegetables, spices, citruses, alcohol and....mince pies.  Oh god no!  Don't panic, I haven't returned to my flat in late October to make some of the good ol' deep filled numbers, I'm not a lunatic.  Debatable.

My mind wanders to recipes that will be a 'good to go' in about a months time.  Carrot cake, gingerbread and, perchance, mince pies.  But for now, for today, I think I fancy something with chocolate.  Of course, I'm only human.  And, as usual, I am missing Scotland.  So I'll have some oats with that please.

350g butter
150g muscovado sugar
200g golden caster sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
150g good quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
500g oats (rolled / porridge)
100g finely chopped nuts - pecans or walnuts are the best

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 2.
Grease the base of a large baking tray or tin.
Place the butter, sugars and syrup in a large saucepan and slowly warm until melted.  Turn off the heat.
Break up 100g of the chocolate and add to the pan.  Stir the chocolate into the melted sugar and butter until combined.

Add the oats and nuts to the chocolate sugar mix and stir in thoroughly until all those delicious oats are covered in the glorious chocolate syrup!  Makes sure you take the wooden spoon into every edge and side of the pan to coat every oat.
Spoon the mixture into the baking trap and, using the back of the wooden spoon, press the mixture firmly into the corners and edges until evenly spread.
Place on the top shelf of the oven for 30minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the tray from the oven.
You may find that the mixture appears very fluid, possibly with some bubbles in the centre of the tray.  Don't worry, this is how it should be.
Leave the flapjacks to rest for 30minutes.  Then, leaving them in the tray, divide into portions with a sharp knife.
Melt the remaining 50g of chocolate in a non-stick pan or bain marie. Using a small spoon, flick the chocolate over the flapjacks as random or patterned as you like!  Place the tray in the fridge for 30minutes, then remove the slices and serve, with a smile, to a friend in need.

Katie x

Monday, 3 October 2011

peachy bundts . . .

Little peachy treats, perfect for a Sunday evening...

4oz butter
4oz golden caster sugar
2 medium free-range eggs
4oz self-raising flour
1-2 ready ripe peaches (or nectarines if you prefer)

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4.
We're going to make a basic sponge for this cake!
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer, if you have one, with a wooden spoon if not.
Lightly whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and then add, a little at a time, to the butter and sugar mixer until combined.
Sieve the flour into the mixture, a little at a time, and fold in with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
Set this cake mixture to one side and prepare your bundt tin.

I am using a mini bundt tin to make 6 mini cakes, for individual consumption!
Grease all sides of the bundt tin.
Sprinkle the inside of each cake tin with golden caster sugar.
Thinly slice the peaches and line the outside edges of each tin.
spoon the mixture into the tins, so they are around half full.

Place on the middle shelf of the oven for 15minutes, until golden brown, or until a clean skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack whilst warm and allow to cool before eating.

Katie x