Cranberry + orange

Cranberry and orange biscotti

I’m becoming a lot more domesticated in my advanced years! Biscotti, drizzled with milk chocolate, that I made last week for a charity bake off. While my chocolate drizzle was all over the show, and I didn’t win the Olly Murs tickets up for grabs (insert sarcastic sniff here), I was very happy with the flavour. The pairing of orange and cranberry is definitely my new jam. It’s very elegant, and feels quite right for autumn.

One day after making these, with leftover ingredients, I freestyled on a banana bread recipe – adding two handful of cranberries, orange zest, and using ricotta to replace the butter component. This twist was totally delish, as they say.

Orange and cranberry biscotti

1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
3/4 cup toasted and chopped almonds
Chocolate for melting (I always use buttons)

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees °C

2. Cream together butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat in eggs. Stir in the orange zest and juice. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, stir into the creamed mixture; then add in the almonds and dried cranberries, making sure every piece is swamped with the cake mix.

3. On a generously floured surface, divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 1 1/2 inches wide and 10 inches long. Set the rolls lengthwise on a baking sheet at least 3 inches apart, and shape.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the oven, until firm to the touch and slightly brown on the top.

5. Take out and cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then slice each log crosswise, at a diagonal, into 1/2 inch wide slices. Lay them cut side down on the baking tray and return to the oven for ten minutes, then turn them over and bake until golden.

6. If you are feeling fancy, wait for your biscotti to cool, then melt chocolate, and drizzle generously over the top. Put slices in the fridge to set for an hour.

Wine lines

Untitled

A very nice Valpolicella, enjoyed last night in a little Italian joint by the British Museum. The owner kept yelling downstairs at an unseen Massimo, while he charmed all the patrons on the floor. Signorina this, bella that, correcting my pronunciation of gnocchi. It was a lovely evening.

Anyway, I have realised the number one useful thing about having a camera phone is making notes to self. See a nice wine you like, take a snap of the label. Always forget which brand/size/colour widget to buy, use a picture to create a reminder. Menus, vacuum cleaner bags, prescriptions…

More clever suggestions at Apartment Therapy.

Plum-cake

I love plums. The smell of them takes me back to being a kid running loose in my aunt and uncle’s orchard. My tribe of cousins and I were forever in trouble for climbing the trees and attempting to scoff all the fruit before it was ripe (hello tummy aches). We’d tear strips of fluffy lichen off the plum trees, and fashion them as beards, and attempt to feed plums to the ponies in the next paddock. These delicious, juicy little fruits are in season now and what better way to make the most of their abundance than by making plum-cake? This recipe/video by Thomas Blanchard is particularly tasty – I love the floating typography.

Bon appetit

flute

“Even though I was on a budget, I could afford to go to the fresh food market and get baguette and cheese.
That kind of food is not really accessible to you in London. I really love that in Paris,
there is no division [in food] by social class.”

– Rachael Khoo, in an interview with the Guardian

A week-ish ago three glorious days in Paris. And certainly the theme of this trip was food, food, food. From watching Thom and his Dad tackle a plateau de fruits de mer, to another trip to Le Refuges des Fondus, and market trawling – we ate well and often. Every neighbourhood has its own little market, and there’s no stigma in buying just one or two pieces of fruit, or a bouchon de sancerre to snack on (it’s a tiny cheese named for a wine cork). Makes me hungry just thinking of it.

Biscotti

biscotti

This weekend’s baking adventure: chocolate and almond biscotti. It’s one of my favourite nibbles, but always seems too expensive to justify buying in cafes… so I decided to give it a go. To my surprise, it was really easy to make, even the part where I had to blanch a cup of almonds and pluck the skins off by hand.

The secret to biscotti’s crispness is double baking. Round one, you bake it in log form for 25 minutes, then take it out, rest it and slice it. The sliced biscotti are then put back in the oven for another 20 minutes to get nice and crunchy. The results were delicious – and even better the next day. I’m definitely going to make some more and experiment – pistachio and white chocolate sound good to me!

Alfa Beta – A Foodie Alphabet

I adore this tasty looking alphabet by Vidhya Nagarajan, especially her unusual and clever culinary choices. N for naan? Perfect! (By the way, I think Thom and I found the perfect East London curry last night – pillowy naans and onion bhajis as big as your fist. A feast for £18.60). M for Maldon almost glimmers, but my favourite of all the letters is the sweet little quail egg. See more of Vidhya’s work here.

Foodie Alphabet by Vidhya Nagarajan

Quail Q by Vidhya Nagarajan

[Via The Fox is Black]