Friday 12 October 2012

Beautiful bakewell & some things we've been eating...

So long since my last foodie post! I think that since I stopped supplying The Coffee Tree with daily treats, I seem to have been struggling to find a focus for this blog. But I think I've found the answer! It will now be subtitled: What we're eating now...and feature more of the food I cook everyday, as well as the baked treats I create for customers. I hope you approve!
First is one of the top favourites on my monthly Farmer's market stall...Bakewell Shortbread. Bakewell Tart (or pudding, depending on your origins) is a wonderful traditional dessert originating from Derbyshire. I've adapted it to make a slice that can be sold by the keeps beautifully and can be gluten-free as well, if required (I just substitute polenta/cornmeal or gluten-free flour for wheatflour in the shortbread and frangipane layers) First I make an all-butter shortbread base and bake for around 10 minutes until lightly coloured...then spread with plenty of jam. In this case it was raspberry - but any flavour will is a frangipane layer, made from butter, sugar, ground almonds, eggs and a little self-raising flour together with some pure almond extract....

this is spread over the jam layer.....

and sprinkled with flaked almonds before returning to the oven for around 30 minutes until risen, set & golden brown...

it's important not to overbake, needs to be lovely and squidgy! Serve warm (best, I think!) or cold with plenty of hot tea...

Delicious, absolutely. Recipe will be in my book...(aren't I a tease?!) It's coming, it's coming!
Yesterday was dark, blustery and rainy...I had a spare 20 minutes so I thought I'd make a quick batch of...

Double Chocolate Chip & Pecan Cookies. My Dad is currently in hospital, so a little box of these will find their way to him this weekend! Nothing like some good home baked treats to lift the spirits, I always think...and tell someone how much you love them.
Talking of love....there are two new cook books that I absolutely adore! There has been much publicity about them already...but in my view it is all deserved! The first is the second volume of the adorable Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries...

Nigel isn't a chef...he's a self-confessed "home cook who writes about food"...and how beautifully he writes! His books are the kind that people who love food and eating take to bed with them! I rarely use recipes any more...but his, I do. I have cooked so many meals already from this gorgeous book but a stand-out was...

this broad bean, feta and spinach pie. The original recipe used filo pastry...always having to tweak something, I used puff! But it was absolutely gorgeous...incredibly comforting, with big and generous flavours. Just as good cold for breakfast the next morning (a habit of mine!) as was...

this fabulous Parsley & Barley Salad with marinated feta from my other new acquisition...

I am very lucky to count Yotam as a dear friend, so this book is doubly special to me...but it is a truly wonderful addition to anyone's cookery library, I promise! Sami is Palestinian & Yotam Jewish, but both grew up in Jerusalem and this book is a joyous celebration of the differences and (many) similarities that result from the diverse cultural mix of the city. It contains many beautiful stories and memories, in addition to the inspirational recipes. As well as the salad, I made...

Chicken with caramelized onion and cardamom looks fairly similar in this picture (I blame the herbs!!) but I'm assured that the flavours were quite different!
The beauty and sunshine in these two books is lending much inspiration to my cooking, now that the nights are drawing in and it's such a pleasure to be in the warmth and light of the kitchen again! Highly recommended.
Have a brilliant weekend xo


  1. Happy Friday, dear Rachel! I am so glad to read a new food post from you. I've missed them so! I definitely approve of the new addition to your blog. It is lovely to see what you are cooking and baking outside of work. Your bakewell tart looks divine! I've never tried anything like it. I can't wait for your book! I will be first in line to purchase it as soon as it is released. Those chocolate chip cookies for your dear Dad look scrumptious. I am sure they will lift his spirits! I am thinking of him today and sending good wishes your way. Looking forward to more of your food posts. Have a wonderful day, sweetheart! xo

  2. I'm so glad to see this post. Those cookies look wonderful! I love pecans but can never get a chance to eat nuts in this house because my husband and daughter hate them. Poor me. I hope your dad does well and is out of the hospital very soon!

  3. So nice to read about what you are cooking and baking. Your Bakewell Tart looks delicious.
    I think Nigel Slater is a wonderful presenter and his recipes look so delectable and comforting. I must look for his books.
    I'm sure your Father will enjoy such a yummy treat. Hope he will soon be home from hospital.
    Look forward to more of these new styled posts:)

  4. It's very nice to have you back and to read about everything you're cooking. It all looks amazing and of course the cookies are taunting me right now. How fun that you're cooking through some new fave books. My cookbook collection is now so immense I forget what I have but say once a week I should try a new recipe instead of just cooking. Maybe one day. Sending good thoughts out to your dad and I know that if cookies could heal and surely they can, he would--will--be 100% the moment he eats them. Here's hoping. ♥

  5. Welcome back, Rachel, I've missed your foodie posts and I miss your cakes that I used to enjoy at the Coffee Tree. Your Bakewell looks mouth wateringly good and so glad to hear it's going to be in your book. Hope it's published soon. Will I be able to add it to my Christmas wish list?
    Ann x

  6. I know that those biscuits will make Dad all better! Just lovely, that salad looks deeeevine as does the pie, I would have used puff pastry instead too, although that's not much comfort seeing as I dislike cooking as much as you love it!

    Love love love

  7. Oh Rachel, I've missed your food blog posts so very much!! I love the fact that the recipe could be tweaked for GF foodies--so wonderful!! You are so adventurous with's inspiring.

    I'm so unhappy to know that you are having your Dad in the hospital right now. We've been gone for more than a week, so I've been out of contact with things that have changed. I will be sending good thoughts for all of you....and love (always) xoxo


  8. Such yummy things, Rachel. The cookies look scrumptious, and I'm sure your father loved them!


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