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Featured Recipe: 35 Recipes to make the most of Asparagus Season

Hazelnut Lace Cookies

Friday, December 27, 2019

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Lace Cookies are thin, crisp, delicate and buttery cookies with a deliciously sweet taste and a toffee-like flavour. They are made with just a few ingredients and the batter comes together in just minutes. As they bake, they spread out to form a lace pattern, hence the name. Enjoy them as they are or sandwich two cookies with a layer of chocolate. If you prefer a less brittle consistency, use up to 35 grams flour.

  • 110 g Unsalted butter
  • 100 g Raw sugar
  • 12 g Spelt pastry flour
  • 80 g Hazelnut meal
  • A large pinch of sea salt
  • 30 ml Heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Finely grated orange zest
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Melt butter and raw sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and butter melts. Stir in spelt flour, ground hazelnut, salt and cream until incorporated and slightly thickened.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla extract and orange zest. Drop the batter by the teaspoon onto the baking sheet, leaving about 2-3 inches of space between each one.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies start to turn dark golden brown, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Remove from the oven and as soon as they are firm, use a wide spatula to transfer them to the rack to cool completely. | © 2019 | | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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Panettone with Poolish Sponge

Sunday, December 22, 2019

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Panettone is a typical bread of Milan, usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year around Italy, and one of the symbols of the city. This cake-like bread is typically baked into a tall, cylindrical shape (empty fruit cans work great as baking pans). Traditionally, panettone is made with raisins and candied orange and lemon peel. But you can choose the dried fruits you prefer. The bread is delicious eaten fresh and keeps well in an airtight container for about a week. It also freezes well for up to two months.
Poolish is a fairly wet sponge with baker's yeast, typically made with a 1:1 ratio of flour and water by weight, that means 100% hydration.

  • 1 package / 7 g Dry yeast
  • 60 ml Water at 43C/110F
  • 60 g German #550 flour ((AP or bread flour)
  • 100 g Butter, room temperature
  • 2 Eggs, medium
  • 4 Egg yolks, medium
  • 150 g Sugar
  • 110 ml Milk at 43C/110F
  • Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 540 g German #550 flour (AP or bread flour)
  • 1 tbsp Lemon zest
  • 200 g Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries or apricots)
  • 50 g Almond slices plus more for topping
  1. To make the sponge, dissolve the yeast in 60 ml warm water in a bowl. Add 60 g flour and stir to make a very loose dough. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the butter, eggs, yolks, sugar, milk, and vanilla seeds. Add in the starter dough. Gradually add the flour, beat on low speed just until dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl and pull together. Increase speed to medium, and beat until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it once to coat both sides. Cover bowl of dough with plastic wrap, and let rise on the kitchen counter until doubled in size (mine took about 5 hours). Or leave it in the fridge overnight. With your hands, flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle. Evenly distribute the lemon zest, raisins, apricots, and almond over the dough. Fold the dough to seal the fruit and knead to distribute the fruit throughout the dough.
  4. Line a 8-inch mousse ring or baking pan (or panettone paper case) with parchment paper that has been well buttered on both sides and set it on a baking tray. Place the dough in the mould, cover with a towel, and let rise for 1-2 hours in a warm place. The key here is to have the rise above the rim of the pan or case.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Make a cross on the top of the bread with a sharp knife and insert a cube of butter. Sprinkle some extra almond flakes if you desired. Bake the bread on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180C/350F. Continue to bake for 30-35 minutes until the surface is golden and crispy. The panettone is ready when a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Place the bread on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the mold. Dust the bread with icing sugar if desired. Be sure the bread has cooled completely before wrapping for storage.

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May your holidays be filled with lots of LOVE, HAPPINESS and PEACE!

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Chocolate Pear Cake

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

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Chocolate and pears make an excellent combination in this irresistibly moist, rich and indulgent cake. It's mildly sweetened with a mix of coconut sugar and erythritol. A perfect cake to entertain or end a satisfying dinner.

  • 45 g Unsweetened cocoa powder, lightly alkalized
  • 5 g Espresso powder
  • 10 g Baking powder
  • 150 g Refined spelt flour
  • 80 g Ground hazelnut
  • 150 g Butter, slightly softened
  • 50 g Coconut sugar
  • 100 g Erythritol granules
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 Large eggs, room-temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 100 ml Whipping cream, room-temperature
  • 5 Small ripe pears, peeled
  1. Grease and line a 10-inch / 26cm springform pan with parchment paper. Sift the cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and spelt flour into a mixing bowl. Stir in ground hazelnut. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Cream the softened butter, coconut sugar and erythritol granules together for 5 minutes with a pinch of salt, then beat in the eggs one by one and vanilla extract.
  3. Add in half of the flour mixture, roughly stir to combine. Pour in whipping cream and mix briefly. Now stir in the rest of the flour mixture until combined and smooth.
  4. Scrape the batter into the cake tin and level the surface. Peel the pears and place them in the batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check the cake with a skewer. If it comes out clean it is ready, if not give it a few more minutes in the oven.
  5. Drizzle with melted chocolate and garnish with the sprinkles if desired. | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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Sumac Rubbed Pork Roast with Crackling

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

Succulent pork, crispy golden crackling and tender roast vegetables...this is a meal, inspired by taste and bbc food, that's guaranteed to please. Please a crowd with this effortless one-dish pork roast with crisp golden crackling.
Sumac comes from the berries of a wild bush that is native to the Middle East. The deep red berries are dried and ground into coarse powder. It's a widely used spice, either as a rub, or marinade, or in a dressing, in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. Sumac has a pleasantly tart, tangy lemony flavour that goes really well meat and vegetables.

  • 1.5 -2 kg Pork shoulder, or butt, skin-on
  • 1 tbsp Lard, melted or oil
  • 4 tsp Sumac
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 Large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 400 g Green beans
  • 100 ml Chicken broth or water
  • 1 tbsp Spelt flour
  1. Remove the pork from the fridge for 1 hour before you want to cook it, to let it come up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
  2. Dry the roast with a paper towel. With a small sharp knife, deeply score the skin at 1cm intervals, without cutting into the meat.
  3. Rub the roast with lard or oil, lemony sumac and sea salt. Make sure the lard and seasonings are worked into the scores. Turn it over and season the underside of the meat with sumac and a few pinches of salt.
  4. Place the pork, skin-side up, in a roasting tray and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the skin has started to puff up and you can see it turning into crackling. Turn the heat down to 180C/350F and cook for a further 2 to 2.5 hours, or until cooked through.
  5. In the last 30 minutes of cooking time, add the onion and green beans into the roasting tray and mix with the fat in the tray.
  6. Carefully move the meat to a serving dish, cover again with tin foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes while you make the gravy. Transfer the green beans to a warm plate and set aside.
  7. Scrape up all the sticky bits and onions from the tray and pour into a skillet. Stir broth and spelt flour together and add to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Let it simmer for a few minutes until thickened. | © 2019 | | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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Friday, December 06, 2019

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A cruffin is simply a muffin made out of croissant dough. The pastry is made by proofing and baking laminated dough in a muffin mould or a popover tin would be even better. You can fill them with jam, cream, or curd. We prefer ours just plain or with a light dust of icing sugar because these croissant-muffins are rich enough to be savoured just as they are. These buttery, flaky cruffins are great for brunch or an afternoon snack and they are easier to make than you think.

  • 300 g All purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp Dried yeast
  • 3 tbsp Raw sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 175 ml 3.5% Milk
  • 200 g Butter, softened
  1. Mix the flour, dried yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of your mixer fitted with a dough hook. Warm the milk and 50 grams of the butter in the microwave on medium-high or in a pot over stove until the butter melts and the mixture lukewarm.
  2. Add the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Stir the mixture on low speed for 5 minutes until a rough dough comes together. Increase the speed and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 -7 minutes.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Cover with a plastic film or a clean kitchen towel. Set aside in a warm place for one hour until it doubles in volume.
  4. Grease a jumbo 6-hole muffin pan with butter. Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 3 even portions. Roll out each dough into a 40x15cm rectangle. Next time I will roll out to 60cmx15cm, so that you have more layers.
  5. Spread 50 grams of butter all over the rectangle. Starting with the shorter side, roll up the dough tightly. Slice the roll lengthwise into two. Roll each half up from the side that was cut so that you can see the layers of dough. Place it into the prepared muffin tin. Repeat the same process with the remaining pieces of dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Bake for 25-30 minutes on the highest rack in the oven until golden brown. Serve, dusted with icing sugar, immediately. | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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Chocolate Curd Spelt Cookie Cups

Monday, December 02, 2019

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These nutty spelt cookie cups filled with smooth, creamy chocolate curd and topped with chocolate covered macadamia nuts make for a festive holiday dessert or a treat for any occasion. Instead of chocolate covered nuts, you can garnish them with some chantilly cream.

DoughChocolate Curd
  • 150 g Refined spelt flour
  • 30 g Ground hazelnut
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 115 g Unsalted butter, softened
  • 150 g Raw sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Large egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Lightly grease a 24-hole mini muffin pan with a bit of melted butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, baking soda and sea salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and raw sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until combined.
  3. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place in the muffin pan. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Remove from oven and use the back of a shot glass to press down into the center of each cookie ball, creating an indentation deep enough for the filling. Cool completely before removing from the pan.
  5. For the filling: Whisk egg yolks, evaporated milk, and raw sugar in a medium saucepan until combined. Add in butter and cook on medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick. Turn off the heat. Stir in vanilla extract and chopped chocolate until smooth and well-blended. The curd will firm up more when it's cold.
  6. Fill the cookies cups with chocolate cream and top with a chocolate coated macadamia nuts and some sprinkles if desired. You won't need the whole batch of chocolate filling. Save the rest in a jar in the fridge for up to about a week. | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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