Shortbread

Don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but this is a damn fine recipe! Honestly, I’m having to restrain myself from scarfing down the whole batch right now, they’re that good! I wish you could all come round and have some to see what I’m talking about. Guess you’ll just have to settle for giving it a go yourself. Take my advice, do. You won’t regret it.

vegan shortbread

165g (6oz) plain flour
85g (3oz) ground almonds
165g (6oz) margarine
85g (3oz) unrefined cane sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Mix the margarine and flour together in a large bowl by hand, until the mixture becomes like the consistency of breadcrumbs (kind of).

Add the sugar and combine softly until just mixed. Don’t over-work the dough.

Roll into a sheet about 5mm thick, then using an upturned tumbler cut out as many cookies as you can (approx. 15), repeating the rolling and cutting until all the dough is used up. NB: I did two roll-outs then made one big uber-cookie with what was left over.

With a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray (greasing the tray lightly will probably work fine is you don’t have any parchment paper available) bake in a pre-heated oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the edges of the outermost cookies start to go a little brown.

shortbread, straight out the oven

Remove from heat and leave to cool, sprinkling the tops of the cookies with sugar straight out the oven. Allow to cool completely before demolishing. 😉

Don’t mind admitting, I’m pretty damn pleased with this little creation of mine. These are some damn fine biscuits, soon to be one of six recipes I’ll be turning into a pack of recipe postcards that I’ll be making available to buy.

I have plans for four different sets – cakes & cookies, pastries, winter warmers and summer snacks – some of which I have most of the recipes for, one of which I have almost no recipes for (yet), but all of which will be hand packaged, numbered, and well worth your hard earned cash. Stay tuned for further developments.

Lemon Dribble Cake

Ok, so I know it’s normally ‘drizzle’, but this really is more of a dribbley recipe. It’s funny, coz you end up with a sort of wet patch down the middle (stop giggling) but it kind of works. You’ll just have to try it to see what I mean.

lemon dribble cake

200g plain flour
170g margerine
170g unrefined cane sugar
Egg replacer equal to 2 eggs
2 tbsp water
30g ground almond
rind and juice of 1 lemon
6 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 1lb baking tin with greaseproof paper.

Cream the marg and sugar. Add the flour and egg replacer, and 2 tbsp of water, and mix. Add the ground almonds and lemon rind and mix again.

Spread evenly into bottom of baking tin and put in oven for 50 minutes.

Once golden brown let cool slightly whilst whisking the icing sugar into the lemon juice (don’t worry about the odd lump).

Remove from tin, place on a chopping board (or something like that), and prick the cake all over before pouring over the icing sugar and lemon juice ‘dribble’. Let it soak for a second before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

lemon dribble cake, slice

With mine I found that there was a slight depression running the length of the cake, which allowed the sweet lemon juice to pool slightly before soaking into the cake. The creates the afore mentioned wet patch, which you can see in the slice above, but rather than being a problem I think it actually adds to the flavour/texture of the cake, setting it apart from others. I hope you do too. 🙂

Doing and Trying

There is a world of difference between doing and trying (and indeed not trying), and you should always know which is which.

It’s been a difficult week for me, though I didn’t realise it until I started telling someone else about it. Not that anything major has gone on really, it’s just work is full of so much bullshit at the moment, then I come home and have to deal with my neighbours and their machinations, that it feels like I have no place to rest. That’s why I’m often down the local coffee shop for hours with a good book, in an attempt to ‘hide’ from the world for a few hours.

At times like this you have to take pride in your accomplishments. To this end I offer you the following photo.

gleaming

“It’s just a cooker?” you say. Well how right you are. What it is though, is a damn clean cooker, in point of fact. Two hours and two brillo pads it took me to get off the inch of burnt on crap that had accumulated around the rings over the years. I’d been saying for months that I was going to sort it out, but until you actually do something to sort it out then it’s all just words. Now I keep going into the kitchen just to admire my handiwork. In fact, even though I just recently finished writing my second ever full length feature film script, I’m far more proud of this at the moment than anything else.

day 21 - peace

I’ve decided to start going to yoga twice a week. If I want to start teaching then the sooner I’m able to actually get my head on my knees the better. That’s what I was thinking anyway, but then I realised I’m trying so hard to relax that I never will. If you’re all tense and trying to force your muscles and tendons to stretch it’s like driving with the brake on; it feels like your doing something, but really you’re not getting anywhere.

Been thinking so much about teaching, and being able to quit work, that I’ve actually gotten in the way of my own progression. Like trying to meditate, or trying to calm a lake with your hands, the more you try the worse it gets. You just have to relax and let it happen. Or more to the point, you have to learn to not try. I’ve learnt that with meditation; I need to learn it with yoga. Don’t try and relax, just relax.

afternoon tea

It occurred to me today for the first time, as I looked at the stats for my blog and saw someone had been looking at some of the recipes, that there might actually be people out there making food from my ideas/recommendations. I mean that was always the idea, but for some reason I only just realised that it might be happening. That tickled me a bit. I’d love to know how they got on.