Leftover Pastry Biscuits

This is a very simple, easy way to use leftover pastry after making a pie.

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I found a slab of pastry in my freezer that I’d made a while ago in a burst of pastry inspiration and sort of forgotten about. But then, last night I had people coming over for dinner and had completely forgotten about dessert! I know, I know, cookies really aren’t dessert material, but I was in a pinch!

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If you already have pastry made, this really is simple- cut, bake and ice.

If you don’t, don’t panic! Pastry is really easy (and fun- probably my favourite!) to make! Also, deceptively, pastry is the same as a very basic biscuit dough- butter, flour and sugar. What more do you need?

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Leftover Pastry Biscuits

For the biscuit dough:

60g butter

125g plain flour

50g caster sugar

1-2 tablespoons cold water, if needed

Rub the butter into the flour either with your fingers or in a food processor until the mixture resembles yellow breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar. Then, begin to work into in a ball. If needed, added a small splash of the cold water, but not too much that the mixture becomes too wet and sloppy. Once it has formed a ball, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least 20 minutes.

After it has rested, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. I often find that the easiest way to do this is between two sheets of cling film. This prevents it sticking to the surface, and it also means that you don’t have to keep adding flour to it, which can make the dough too tough and not crumbly when it is baked.

Cut out circles of dough using either a pastry cutter or, if you don’t have one, a normal sized drinking glass. Place on a greased baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes at 180 degrees or until they are starting to turn golden brown.

While they cool, make the icing.

For the decoration:

juice of half a lemon

about 6 tablespoons of icing sugar

Mix together the lemon juice and icing sugar until you have a thick, opaque icing. You want it runny enough that it is easy to spread but not too watery that it just runs off the biscuit. Add the icing sugar slowly and keep mixing well. If you need to add more to get it to the perfect consistency, definitely do so.

Once it is runny and white and your biscuits are cool, spread the icing over half the biscuit and allow to set slightly. Decorate with whatever you fancy! I used some rose flavoured sugar and dried flower petals.

Enjoy!

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xxR

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First Day of Spring Lemon Cake

Today is the official first day of Spring. Apparently. In London it is nothing but grey and cold. But the first day of Spring is something to celebrate, sun or no sun.

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It is also the International Day of Happiness. So despite the heavy cloud covering all of London, I am feeling pretty good! Spring is on its way, even if it isn’t that apparent today….

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This cake is perfect for injecting some much needed sunshine into an otherwise very grey day. It has two whole lemons in it, which makes it not only the colour of pure sunshine, but also gives it a citrus flavour that screams summer.

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Whole Lemon Cake

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For the cake:

2 unwaxed lemons

275g butter

275g caster cugar

275g self raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 eggs

1 tablespoon milk

Place the lemons in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the lemons are very very soft. Cut them in half and remove the pips, then put the whole thing, skin included in a food processor and blitz until it is fairly smooth. Put the lemon mixture in a small bowl.

Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs and milk, then add half the blitzed lemon.

Divide between two greased and lined baking tins and bake at 180 degrees celcius for 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

For the icing:

250g icing sugar

125g butter

splash of milk, if needed

Whisk the butter and icing sugar together until it is light and fluffy, adding the milk if necessary to loosen the mixture. Add the remaining blitzed lemon and mix well.

Sandwich the cakes together with plenty of icing in the middle and on the top. Decorate in the most spring-like way you can (I used dried rose and cornflower petals- be creative!)

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xxR

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

(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

Happy 2nd Birthday Chocolate Cake and Oil Paint!

Today is my blog’s 2nd birthday!

What better way to celebrate than share with you my favourite recipes from the past two years? (Apart from eating cake, of course!)

Rainbow Cake (Feb 15, 2013) was a huge hit- delicious and beautiful! Perfect for a party.

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Surprise Inside Cake (March 25, 2013) is another crowd pleaser. Maybe not the most highbrow cake ever baked, but sure to get a great reaction!

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Blueberry Lemon Cake with Poppyseed Icing  (September 25, 2014) was also a winner. Blueberries are without a doubt my favourite fruit, and poppyseed icing is a complete revelation. This is the perfect cake for a summer day.

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Lime Cake with Pomegranate Icing (May 15, 2014) is another lovely cake for a birthday, or even just a weekend afternoon. It’s light and fresh and zingy.

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These Creme Egg Inspired Cupcakes (April 2, 2013) are really fun to make and even more fun to eat!

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Raspberry Frangipane Tart  (June 12, 2014) HAS to be on this list. It is my go-to dessert for any occasion. So simple to make and perfect every time! It can also be given a Christmassy twist- as I did only a few a weeks ago with this cranberry version.

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Apple pie is of course a classic, and these Mini Apple Pies (October 14, 2014) are a wonderful new twist on an old favourite.

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 Foccacia (November 3, 2013) is the perfect bread for a cold winter lunch.

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Cinnamon Swirl Loaf (October 12, 2013) was and still is the best thing ever. Seriously, ask anyone who tried it.

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Cinnamon Spiced Courrone (January 17, 2014) is basically a giant cinnamon roll. What’s not to love?!

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It’s all about blueberries for breakfast. Pancakes, buckle, on their own…

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Chocolate Fondants (July 16, 2014), need I say more?

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I love Sugar Cookies (December 6, 2014) for any occasion- but especially Christmas. Try making  hearts for Valentine’s Day or eggs and bunnies for Easter if you just can’t wait that long (I can’t)!

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Mexican food is my all time favourite. This Mexican feast (July 29, 2013) is honestly the best in vegetarian Mexican.

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BBQ Pizzas (July 7, 2013) are the perfect summer supper. You have to try them. It will change your outlook on pizza forever.

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Thank you all so much for baking with me for the last two years, and continuing to do so!

All my love,

xxR

 

Sunshine Lemon, White Chocolate and Parsley Biscuits

We are currently experiencing a bit of a heatwave. I’m no weather expert, but I’ve heard that currently we are soaring high above the average temperature for March. Apparently over the weekend, it was hotter in London than it was in Greece!

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Which is fantastic.

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We have been trying to spend as much time out in the sun as we can. (In England, you really have to make the most of it while its there- because you never know how long it will last for or when it might be back!)

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Unfortunately, in our skinny terraced house that is sandwiched in on all sides, we don’t have much of a garden. The tiny courtyard space in the back is barely big enough for a washing line- and sun there is scarce! So we have taken to sitting outside the front of our house, in the foot of space between our front door and the pavement. We set up camp there first thing in the morning, and refuse to move until the sun has finally disappeared. Also, its south facing- and for some reason, it’s never windy, so we have our own little sun trap.

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Also our absolutely adamant approach to being outside is definitely entertaining our neighbours!

These biscuits are the perfect outside in the sun treat. They are ridiculously easy to whip up, and taste just like sunshine.

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Lemon Biscuits with White Chocolate Icing and Crystallised Parsley

for the biscuits:

200g butter

100g sugar

300g plain flour

zest of 2 lemons

Mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gently mix in the flour until it is incorporated but be careful not to over mix. Add the lemon zest. Use your hands to bring the mixture into a ball of dough.

Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick, and using a pastry cutter (or a smallish drinking glass if you don’t have one (like me!)) cut out round biscuits. Put onto a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius and bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden.

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To decorate:

1 bar of white chocolate

a small handful of parsley leaves

Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.

Once the biscuits are cool, spread some of the melted chocolate on top, then leave to harden slightly.

Crystallising things is really fun and very easy- you can do it will all sorts of leaves or edible flowers so feel free to experiment!

All you need is a beaten egg white and some caster sugar.

Using an artist’s paintbrush, brush each leaf with egg white. Then sprinkle generously with caster sugar. Leave in a dry place overnight to harden. They can be stored in an air tight jar and used to decorate, well, everything!

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xxR