Piped Viennese Biscuits

In response to Lauran’s request, here is a recipe I’ve used many many times to make really lovely and easy little biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 115g/4.5oz butter
  • 25g/1oz icing sugar
  • 150g/5oz plain flour
  • 75g/30z plain cooking chocolate (optional)

Method

Let the butter sit at room temperature for a little while, then beat it with a wooden spoon until it has softened. Then, mix in the sieved icing sugar until it is creamy in consistency. Stir in the flour (again, it needs to be sieved) and then put all the mixture in a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle. Pipe out finger lengths onto a pre-lined and greased baking sheet. Or, if you don’t have piping bags, or have no inclination to go to the effort, put small round dollops of the mixture onto the lined and greased baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for spreading. Then, cook at 190°C for about 12 minutes or until they have just started to go golden brown.

If you like, melt the chocolate once the biscuits have cooled, and then dip each end of each biscuit in. Return the biscuits to the baking sheet and pop it in the fridge to chill. Or, you could sandwich two biscuits together with the melted chocolate. Or, if you have just made a chocolate fudge cake and have some chocolate fudge icing to spare, you could use that to sandwich biscuits into a yummy, chocolate fudgy sandwich! Want a recipe for chocolate fudge icing? Coming right up!

Completed projects, 2009

Taking a leaf out of Mandi‘s book from the beginning of 2009, I thought I’d like to share with you details of most of the projects I completed in 2009. I was busier than I thought I was!

Missing are a couple of presents waiting to be delivered to the recipients, and a couple of gifts which I forgot to photograph before wrapping – oops! I shall track down the people they now belong to and ask if I can photograph them. I find it makes a handy record for next Christmas, so I don’t double up on presents!

So here is my pictoral review of my crafting year;

brown and gold scarfCassia scarfshortbread roundsblanketpink hatCrochet squares 1Cheese sconesChocolate truffle cakeHeart sconespotholder heat paddishclothspotholdersChocolate truffle cake slice with raspberries

So, 42 (plus a few I’ve not posted pictures for yet -call it 50) projects completed in 2009. Can I beat this for 2010? There’s a challenge – an average of a project a week!

You will be hearing more about some of these projects through January as I do my run down of who had what for Christmas. I’ve missed being able to blog about what I’ve been up to, so you’ll be getting the brunt of the catch up next month, I’m afraid!

I’m sure I’ll say it tomorrow as well, but happy new year to all my readers, and may 2010 be happy, healthy and a nice balance of peaceful and exciting for you all!

Cup of cake

cake in a cup

GG yesterday pointed out this link to me, linking to an online recipe for Chocolate cake, made in a mug, cooked in the microwave. I had the munchies last night whilst watching TV, and as we had no other form of chocolate in the house I decided to give it a go.

It was really really simple to do. I made that whilst GG made cups of tea, in fact. Simple instructions, basic ingredients which almost everyone would have in their house as standard, and three minutes in the microwave to cook. Fabulous!

cake out of a cup

It came out of the mug easily, and then we just split it between us to eat. It was a bit dry though, and I can see why, at the end of the recipe, it was recommended to serve it with cream or ice cream. I think I’ll have to do some experimentation; I’m thinking chocolate chips, or possibly chocolate sauce in the middle. Definitely a really nice vanilla ice cream with it, and maybe I’ll whisk the mixture next time before cooking it in order to get a lighter texture. Definitely something I’d like to experiment with!

Oh, and next time I wouldn’t use a flarey-outey mug either – made for a fairly weird shaped cake!

Valentine efforts

So, our Valentine’s Day was a little…unusual, given that we spent most of it with GG’s mother, sister and brother in law. However, determined not to ignore the festival altogether, I concocted a couple of little treats with a Valentine theme.

Heart scones

We had no bread in the house for lunch and so, rather than dashing out to buy a loaf of bread (as it was too late to start making any by the time I realised the lack of it) I made these cheese scones for us to have for lunch instead. Very yummy, especially as they were eaten within an hour of coming out of the oven.

In the evening, we ate a meal with GG’s family, in order to celebrate his sister’s birthday (which is actually today, so Happy Birthday, L! Not that she reads this blog, but she might feel some sort of psychic warmth from my wishes!). L’s partner, M, cooked the meal, which was absolutely delicious. Chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella and basil, wrapped in streaky bacon and served with roasted potatoes, mangetout and baby corn. As he was taking the time and effort to make this I volunteered to make the dessert, and as it was for a birthday meal I wanted to make something extra special.

Chocolate truffle cake

Et voila! My Chocolate truffle cake, with hand made milk and white (dyed red with food colouring) decorations. I was really pleased with how this turned out.

Chocolate truffle cake slice with raspberries

It easily gave about fourteen slices (we had it for pudding two days running) as it was very rich and tasted extremely luxurious! We served it with raspberries, which helped to counteract the richness a little, I think. Anyway, everyone was very impressed, so I think I’ll be making it again before very long! Mmmm!

Sunday high tea

high-tea

Yesterday evening, we had high tea at my mum and dad’s house. It was lovely! GG made a cake, I made cheese scones and Mum made fruit scones along with cooking all the other things that we ate. I’m sure we ate far too much, but then again we enjoyed every morsel!

Jam and cream scones Cheese scones Lemon Layer Cake

And as the photo below shows, I wasn’t exaggerating at all when I said we enjoyed the food! We hope to make this a regular occurrence, although I suppose the table may be a little lighter on cake next time, and might include something approaching a vitamin!

Aftermath

Snow day!

So, my children’s school has eventually given way and closed for the day. We have less snow on the ground than we did on Tuesday (not enough to play in :-() but apparently the forecast is for heavy snow later today and I think they were worried about people getting home.

So I get to have an extra day with my kids – our views are inverted because they are cross that they can’t play with their friends, while I’m happy that they’re staying home. Surely there’s something awry there?!

I’ve got to go out at some point as my voice is fading in and out in quite a comedic way (so no phone call today, Mum and Dad) and I need to buy some throat sweets. I think I’ll do something creative today, although I’ve not decided whether it will take a culinary or a crochet-y direction yet! I got an amigurami book with my knitting magazine recently which has been looking at me invitingly ever since, so maybe I’ll do something from that. And then my wonderful mother in law is cooking my dinner tonight, so I don’t have to think about that – bonus!

I foresee a good day ahead!

Onion, garlic and cumin bread

As requested by Suzy, here’s my recipe for garlic, onion and cumin bread rolls. It’s very easy to make, and very delicious! I’m planning on trying some variations to the flavours in the near future, so stay tuned for further developments!

I originally made these as we were making a curry for tea and had no naan bread. Now, while these are obviously not naan bread, the cumin, especially, as well as the other ingredients, combine to provide a very acceptable substitute if you have no naan bread in the house and the curry cravings are getting out of control!

Garlic, onion and cumin bread

Ingredients

  • 2lbs/908g strong white bread flour, plus extra for use when kneading
  • 2x7g sachets of yeast
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 24 fl oz/ lukewarm water
  • 1 onion, finely diced (or grated)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed, pureed or VERY finely diced
  • Couple of tablespoons of cumin seeds
  • Sunflower oil for greasing and for frying

Method

  1. Fry the onion and garlic until the onion is starting to turn brown. Add the cumin seeds for a minute before the end of the frying time. Set fried ingredients aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt and yeast. Add the onion, garlic and cumin seeds and mix well. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and gradually add in the lukewarm water until you have a slightly sticky, elasticky dough.
  3. Knead the dough for five or so minutes, then put into a large greased bowl and cover with a damp teatowel. Put in a warm place (I use either the airing cupboard or the top oven after the bottom oven has been on) for up to an hour and a half or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Divide the dough into roughly small roll-sized pieces, place on a couple of greased baking trays, cover and return to the warm place for another quarter of an hour.
  5. Place in a preheated oven at 190°C for 20 minutes or until starting to go golden brown on the top.

Et voila! Very very simple, and the only thing you need to do then is enjoy them before anyone else finds out they’re in the house…

…Mmmmm! I’m going to be nice and share these – I’m making a meatball casserole this evening, the recipe for which I found on the Sainsbury’s website. I’m making a couple of modifications to their recipe, but some nice bread rolls with it will be just the thing, I think!