Archive | Nigella Lawson RSS feed for this section

Life in a bubble: Ultimate Macaroons

10 Jul

I have a tendency to live in a bubble. I call it my little world. It is a lovely place, happy, like munchkin land in the Wizard of Oz. Bright colours, jaunty tunes and maybe even a lolly pop guild. However sometimes, something intrudes into my otherwise happy world and ruins it. Usually poisonous people, not easily identified by being green and wearing a pointy hat. It is always a little soul destroying to find that some people insist on acting selfishly and manipulatively even when they know how much it hurts you. It is at times like this that a girl could lose all hope and trust in humanity. But it also at this time that people can show you their inner Glinda and make you realise that some people aren’t looking for a weak spot to exploit, but rather fiercely protect and support you. Now unfortunately my real life Glinda’s didn’t give me some shiny red shoes when they waved their protective wand over me, but they did do an exceptional job at reminding me not to lose hope.

Such kindness requires a kindness in return and so these little macaroons were made as a gesture of gratitude, for lending a helpful ear, shoulder and in one case a couple of strong cocktails. Please note these are actually macaroons not macarons. Yes I know I sound like a foodie wanker when I point out that people keep calling the French sweet delicacy by the wrong name, but I wouldn’t want to lead you astray with baking miscommunications 😉

P1020056

These are dense and coconutty yet still light enough to feel that you could easily have 2 and it wouldn’t stop you floating around in a bubble. They also keep very well in a container for a few days. They are sourced from my baking bible which I simply can never praise highly enough. Thank you Ms Lawson you are always welcome in my special world.

What do like to give as gifts of gratitude?

Ultimate coconut macaroons

Makes 12

Only very slight adapted from Coconut Macaroons by Nigella Lawson in How to be a Domestic Goddess

  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 100 gms of caster sugar
  • 30 gms of ground almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • 225 gms of shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

2. Beat the egg whites until frothy with an electric beater.

3. Add the cream of tartar and keep beating until soft peaks start to form.

4. Then add the sugar 1 teaspoon at a time until the egg whites are stiff when the beater is stopped and removed it holds to the beater

5. Add the almond meal, salt and vanilla and fold into the egg whites a couple of times before adding the coconut and folding in until completely combined

6. Using a soup spoon measure out the macaroon mixture and form into balls and place on a lined baking sheet

7. Place into the oven and cook for 20 mins or until coconut is turning golden

P1020059

The Perils of Sharing: Dried Blueberry, banana and coconut loaf

25 Jun

I am a sharer…. Ok I am often an over sharer 🙂 I think this compulsion comes from a desire to make people feel comfortable in my company and I really hate awkwardness. My sharing usually comes in the form of verbal diarrhoea, if I could force group hugs on people I would, instead I talk. I make self-deprecating jokes and even on occasions do a little comedy sketch, however my tendency to share doesn’t always connect. This disconnection occurred quite recently when meeting someone new at work. I was asked how I felt having my office so close to the Director, did I have to be really careful to be quiet and look efficient? I pointed out to my colleague that given I had no ‘inside’ voice being quiet was never going to happen. I went on to explain how the director is so focused on his work that I can tap dance right past his room and he would never even know. I then proceeded to do a little tap number complete with jazz hands…….. I was met with a completely blank face and I realised that my attempt at humour and warmth was clearly not translating well. My response, keep on talking at the person in a friendly upbeat tone until they capitulate. I am still waiting… 😦

Sharing morning tea

Sharing morning tea

Surprisingly sharing translates even worse with people I have just met in random public places. Recently I was standing next to a middle aged man at the bus stop when it was pouring with rain. He did not have an umbrella and I saw the rain literally stream down his face and down the back of his suit. In what I thought was an act of kindness and maybe even chivalry, I simply without saying anything moved my umbrella over a little so that he could get some protection from the rain. He looked at me peculiarly and I just smiled back at him and said you looked like you were getting a little wet. He didn’t respond but just shuffled a bit. We stood for a while longer cramped amongst other people waiting for the bus, not saying anything (serious self control for a person who abhors a silence) when a bus finally arrived and people started moving slowly towards the entrance of the bus. The stranger and I started to move with the crowd, I did my best in the jostling to try and continue to share the protection of my umbrella. He looked at the umbrella and at me as if I was clearly deranged and wielding the umbrella with a sinister purpose, maybe to steal his wallet or a lock of his thinning hair, finally he turned around and said’ I don’t want your umbrella’ and got himself lost in throngs of people before boarding the bus and continuously looking over his shoulder as if I might spring out and molest him with my spotted umbrella and charitable attitude.

This cake will encourage all to enjoy your generous spirit and even forgive you the occasional impromptu tap dance. I made a few modifications because of what I had in the cupboard and fridge. The cake was deliciously moist and had a host of complimentary flavours that made it a great mid morning snack with a cup of tea.

Are you a sharer? Would you have offered your to share your umbrella?

Dried Blueberry, banana and coconut loaf

8- 10 slices

adapted from Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

  • 110 gms unsalted butter
  • 15 gms of crème fraiche
  • 4 small ripe bananas
  • 150 gms caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 gms plain flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ bi carb soda
  • 80 gms of dried blueberries
  • 80 gms of shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Butter and line a loaf tin

2. Process or mash the bananas and crème fraiche together.

Banana and creme fraiche

Banana and creme fraiche

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Allow the butter to cool a while and then add the sugar.

4. Once the sugar is combined and dissolved in the butter, it should be a thick  mixture, add the mashed bananas and eggs.

5. Fold in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and coconut.

6. Finally lightly fold in the dried blueberries.

7. Spoon into the loaf tin. It will be a very thick.

8. Bake in the oven for 40-50 mins until skewer comes out clean and the cake has come away from the sides of the tin.

P1020031

Newly Discovered Talents and Garlic and Parsely Hearthbreads

23 Aug

Anyone who has made bread will know that it requires a great deal of wrist action in the kneading process. I have been told I have excellent kneading technique. While I was of course completely flattered to be told that my kneading technique was superior, by a professional no less, it is rather disappointing to know that one of my few easily identified talents is unlikely to be much use to me in my chosen field of employment. I suppose at least I always have options if the law isn’t for me! 😉

Bolstered by the previously mentioned flattery and the fact that humiliation is a well known companion, I decided that I was going to overcome my fear of making bread. When I find myself in times of baking self doubt Nigella Lawson comes to me, bearing wisdom throughout her cook book ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’. Safe in the hands of my trusted brunette sister I embarked upon the recipe for her Garlic and Parsley hearthbreads, the recipe did not fail and I was able to produce two lovely loaves of gorgeous garlic and oil doused bread.

I can assure you if you are in anyway apprehensive about the baking of bread, this recipe will not disappoint. It is the most luxurious of garlic breads and can be scoffed while standing over the baking tray just freshly out of the oven, so even if it is not a complete success no one will be the wiser!

Who do you turn to for baking wisdom?

Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads

Recipe by Nigella Lawson

Serves 6-8

  • 500 gms of white flour
  • 7 gms of instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp of table salt
  • 300-400 mls of warm water
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (you can use regular olive oil).

Garlic and Parsley Oil

  • 3 Heads of garlic
  • Large handful of parsley
  • More extra virgin olive oil.

1. Combine the flour, yeast and table salt in a bowl and put aside.

2. In a jug or bowl place the warm water and olive oil.

3. Using a dough hook on the slowest speed add the water into the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is slightly sticky but combined and forming a ball.

4. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You should see real bounce back when you stretch the dough. You can do this part with the dough hook at a higher speed but I wanted to utilise my new found talent!

5. Oil a large bowl and place the kneaded dough into the bowl covering with oiled glad wrap. Place in a warm spot to rise for approximately an hour or until you can tell it has doubled in size.

6. Once risen, take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down using your knuckles to release any air.  Leave it to rest for a further 10 minutes. Divide the dough into two and roll the dough out until about 5 cms thick. Put each loaf on a lined baking tray and then try to stretch the dough a little further using your fingers.

7. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

8. Cover the trays with tea towels and put aside to allow to get puffy, this takes about 20 – 30 minutes. Use your fingers to make little dimples across the bread, the oil, garlic and parsley will pool in these little dimples.

9. Pour the garlic parsley mixture over the breads and place in the oven. Bake for 20 – 30 mins or until golden and the parsley mix is dark. Top with some Maldon salt and serve.

Garlic and Parsley Oil

1. Trim the garlic head and place on a small square of alfoil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap the garlic in the foil and then wrap the package in another layers making sure to allow space around the garlic. Place in a preheated oven on 190 degrees and bake for 45 mins.

2. Place a good handful of parsley leaves into a food processor along with the garlic that has been squeezed from its skin and add olive oil while processing the parsley. The oil dressing should be runny and easy to pour. So just keep adding oil until you get the right consistency.

%d bloggers like this: