Lemon and Tahini Biscuits

There is nothing better than opening a new cookbook, and nestling down with it to explore the recipes and pictures hidden in its pages. Whenever I’m asked what I would like as a gift, for Christmas or my birthday, a cookbook is always on my list.

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These biscuits came from Crumb by Ruby Tandoh, which I received for Christmas this year, which is a really good cookbook. It perfectly balances photos and text, so you can either flick through it, only looking at the pictures, or delve more deeply, reading her explanations and little passages describing the different sections.

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It’s also just beautiful, which is, of course, a necessity for the perfect cookbook- has to look good on your kitchen shelves!

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These biscuits are delightfully simple- they take about 10 minutes to whip up and have no ingredients that you won’t already have in your cupboard. They are delightfully lemony, and not too sweet, with a nutty aftertaste. I added extra lemon flavour, in the form of juice, because I wanted to cut through the tahini, which is sometimes too rich, but if you want her pure recipe, only use the zest.

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Lemon and Tahini Biscuits (recipe adapted from Crumb by Ruby Tandoh)

120g butter

120g tahini

120g caster sugar

zest of 2 lemons

juice of 1/2 lemon

240g self raising flour

Cream together the butter, tahini and sugar. Then mix in the lemon zest and juice. Add the flour and stir.

Roll out little balls of dough, place on a greased and lined baking tray, and then flatten. You can use a fork to create lines or crosshatching if you want.

Bake for 12-15 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius, or until golden brown.

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xxR

Weekend Brunch Cinnamon Rolls

I absolutely love cinnamon rolls. You might already know this because I talk about them A LOT..

However, I’ve never got around to baking them. All the recipes seem to take hours, and involve leaving dough overnight etc etc, and I’ve never had the patience for that. When you want cinnamon rolls, you want cinnamon rolls now, you know? Where is the fun in baking something you have to wait overnight to eat?

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There is no fun in that. This recipe, however, is different. They can be whipped up on a Saturday morning and eaten on a Saturday morning, which is perfect because Saturday morning is when you want to eat cinnamon rolls anyway.

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Last weekend I had a few friends over for brunch, which, let me just say, is the absolute best time of day to socialise, and I made these cinnamon rolls. They were a huge hit. Whatever you’re doing this weekend, try to fit these in somewhere!

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Cinnamon Rolls (recipe adapted from Joy the Baker)

For the dough:

120ml milk

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons dried active yeast

190g plain flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg yoke

Begin by combining the milk, butter and sugar in a  saucepan and gently heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, then remove from the heat.

Put the milk mixture into a bowl and stir in the yeast. Leave it to sit for about 5 minutes, or until it is bubbling and frothing. Then add the flour, salt and egg yoke. Stir until the dough starts to come together- you can either do this by hand or in a machine. Add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough feels too wet. You probably shouldn’t need to add too much, you want the dough to still be fairly soft.

Cover and leave to rest for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, make the filling:

For the filling:

85g butter, melted

100g caster sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder

pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients together until they form a paste.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle and spread the paste over it. Roll into up into a long sausage and slice into rolls. Place them, swirl facing up, on a greased baking tray, leaving about a 1/2 inch between them. Cover and leave to rise for 30-45 minutes.

Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for about 18-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and have puffed up.

For the icing:

50g icing sugar

about 2 tablespoons milk, or enough to make a thick glaze

Mix together the milk and icing sugar, until you have a thick but pourable icing. You don’t want it to be too thin and runny- so go carefully with the milk!

Drizzle over the rolls and enjoy with a big cup of coffee.

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xxR

(Hot) Lemon (and Poppyseed) and Honey Mini Cakes

This is definitely cold season. Everyone (myself included) seems to have some sort of cold/sore throat/ cough or is just a bit generally run down.

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Everyone knows that the best (and probably only) way to truly combat a cold is a big mug of hot lemon and honey. Not only is it yummy and warm, but honey itself is also very good for soothing even the sorest of throats. There are also a whole host of other health benefits of drinking hot lemon and honey- it promotes weight loss, aids digestion and gives skin a healthy glow.

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These are the cake alternative. I wish I could say that they had as many health benefits as the liquid counterpart, but, alas, the amount of butter, sugar and flour in them probably cancels out any good that the honey and lemon might do.

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But they are yummy! So if you are feeling a bit under the weather- have one anyway, it will definitely perk you up. And maybe have a cup of hot lemon and honey on the side too…

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Lemon Poppyseed Cakes with Honey Icing

For the cakes:

225g butter

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

225g self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

6 tablespoons milk

zest and juice of 1 lemon

50g poppyseeds

Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Then stir in the milk, followed by the lemon juice and poppy seeds. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases or a greased muffin tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees celcius.

For the honey icing:

140g butter

280g icing sugar

about 2 teaspoons milk

about 4 teaspoons honey

Beat the butter and icing sugar together, then add the milk if needed to loosen the mixture. You don’t want it to be too runny so only add it if you think you need it! Then stir in the honey. Add more if you think it needs it, but use some caution- you don’t want a really sickly sweet icing!

I cut my cakes in half and sandwiched icing in the middle, or you could dollop it on top instead!

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Candied lemon to decorate (optional):

1 unwaxed lemon

about 1 cup of sugar

about 1 cup of water

(with both the sugar and the water, you don’t need to be very precise, so just use a normal size mug for these measurements- or don’t measure at all! You just need roughly the same amount of each.)

Boil the sugar and water together until the sugar has completely dissolved. Cut the lemon into thin slices, and put in the boiling sugar and water mixture. Simmer until the lemon pith has gone translucent and the whole thing is fairly soft.

Take the lemons out of the water and cover in some dry caster sugar, then leave, ideally overnight, to cool and harden completely before using. They will keep for about a week in an airtight container.

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xxR