Saturday, 8 August 2015

Baking Coconut Biscuits

It was the return of Great British Bake Off on TV in the UK this week.  We'd seen on twitter that @HBFreeFrom were running a competition called Big Free From Bake Challenge - each week a different free from bake will be given.  We entered and were selected for week one which was gluten free baking... and our bake was BISCUITS.

Here's what we said as part of our entry -

We decided to bake a recipe that we make regularly, that is really simple and uses a small amount of ingredients whilst still making tasty biscuits.

Our recipe is printed on yellow paper (for easy reading) and laminated so Sous Chef J can use a white board pen to tick off the steps as they’re completed.

It’s a good beginner’s recipe and, as its steps are detailed clearly, is something that anyone can bake… you most definitely do not have to be a Master Baker to make this!

Here's  a link to the video we submitted... now uploaded to youtube

and this is the recipe
Take a look at the video... we hope you like it.  It really is how we bake... we shot exactly what we do and then had fun with our first ever foray into mp4 files and editing.... quite a lot of editing to get it down to 2 minutes (ish!)

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin wrapped in ham

This is a dish that has been in the family for years... so long, in fact, that it's not even in my ancient, handwritten recipes book!

The ingredients we used were 6 slices parma ham (could also use serrano or proscuitto), about 85g blue cheese (we used gorgonzola), 2 Tablespoons of sundried tomatoes (ours had been preserved in oil), a generous handful of spinach (ours were fresh baby leaf, but frozen is also fine - use about three blocks) and a loin of pork in a piece (ours was about 450g).

The pork loin was prepared by carefully removing the sinew from the outside (we used a sharp knife for this - makes it easier to slice close to the tough bits that need removing).  Then the loin was cut along its length but NOT all the way through.

It was then opened out and, with a piece of baking paper on top, was bashed with a rolling pin (or you could use a meat tenderiser) to an even thickness of about 1cm.

Whilst the pork was being prepared, the tomatoes and spinach were heated through in a pan on a medium heat.

As soon as the spinach had wilted, the blue cheese was added and mixed through.

The spinach, cheese, tomato mix was then placed along the length of the loin and the edges were gently pulled together (this can be a bit fiddly and you may have to adjust the amount of filling needed depending on how thinly the pork has been beaten out).

Carefully wrapping the filled loin with ham, the edges were covered and then the meat was wrapped, as tightly as possible in greaseproof paper.

Placing the meat in the fridge, it was left to cool for an hour (longer is fine, can be prepared to this stage the day before).

To cook, the meat was placed in a roasting tin and put in a pre-heated 170ºC fan oven.

We cooked ours for 35minutes as it was very well chilled before going into the oven.  The meat was checked for level of cook by inserting a metal skewer, making sure it was warm at the tip, and seeing if the meat juices ran clear.  If it's not done enough, return to oven and set timer for another 3-5 minutes until cooked to your liking.

The meat was then rested on a carving board for ten minutes.

Carving the meat, it was served with vegetables and roasted mixed potatoes.

When cooled completely, it carves well and we often use it as a cold picnic meat.

Friday, 24 July 2015


Looking through ingredients, we needed something quick and easy to fill the oven whilst we made a double batch of choc chip nut butter cookies.  It had to be a bake that wasn't fussy or requiring kit like a mixer...

Grabbing 160g room temperature butter, 250g Dove's Farm Plain flour, 85g golden caster sugar (plus a little less than a Tablespoonful for sprinkling) and a teaspoon of baking powder.  This is what we did -

The sugar and butter was 'creamed' (mixed by squeezing with ONE clean hand - always keep the other free for answering door/tweeting/whatever). 

Then the dry ingredients were included and mixed until it came together in a sort of dough.

Lining a rectangular baking tin, the dough was pressed out to cover the tin. 

Placing the shortbread into a pre-heated 160ºC fan oven (top shelf) it was baked for 25 minutes, checked then returned to the oven for a further 20 minutes.  You may need to check your bake depending on your oven... we were also baking cookies at the same time so the oven temperature varied a little throughout the baking time.

Checking for baking, you can see a thumb print left in the shortbread... it was too soft at that point!

Once thoroughly baked and just starting to brown, the shortbread was removed from the oven, sprinkled with a scant Tablespoon of caster sugar and allowed to cool in the tin for five minutes.  The
shortbread was then scored (we used a metal palette knife) to make portioning easier later.

After cooling fully in the tin, the shortbread was lifted out on the greaseproof paper and cut through (we used a cheese knife from a set that's never been used on cheese!) to make bite sized pieces.  We made 18 biscuits with this amount of ingredients.

Some biscuits were stored in airtight containers and a couple were taste tested with an espresso after a damp dog walk.  The shortbread was judged as "wow" and I was told "you *need* to eat this".  Success on a plate.