Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter spiced currant biscuits

After all that chocolate, I thought I would bake something fruity and traditional. What better than a lovely buttery currant biscuit, not too sweet, not too spicy.

Currant biscuits are a traditional English Easter treat, but  they are frankly great at any time of year. Biscuit baking is much more forgiving than cake baking and  is something I should do more of.

These bakes expand only slightly whilst baking and store well in an airtight tin, they would also make a fab gift in a pretty basket or box for any celebration.

What you need
  • 300g plain flour (gluten free works ok, just watch the texture)
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 175g butter, cold and diced
  • 1 egg - beaten and mixed with 1tbsp of water
  • 125g currants
  • 1 egg white
  • caster sugar for sprinkling
Prepare a couple of baking trays - lightly brushed at oil

You will also need a 6cm ish cookie cutter

What you do

  • In a food processor whizz the flour, icing sugar, spice and diced butter until the texture of fine breadcrumbs, a mixer or even by hand would work too
  • Add the egg/water mixture to the processor and mix until it clumps.
  • On a floured surface turn out the mixture, pull the mixture together and knead in the currants
  • Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or so
  • Pre heat the oven to 160c 
  • Flour the worksurface again and roll out the chilled dough to approximately 4mm thick, cut out round and place on to the prepared trays, keep rolling out until all the dough is used up.
  • Brush with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with a little caster sugar before baking for 10 - 15 minutes until lightly golden and sparkling.
  • Remove carefully from the trays to a wire rack to cool fully.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

We Should Cocoa Round Up - Eggs !

Wow, 27 enteries for this month's We Should Cocoa, thanks to everyone who took the time to link up to this month challenge. Our theme was EGGS, in all there forms, including chocolate eggs, which alot of our participants used in creating their delicious entries.


Hopefully the theme I chose worked well for you all, eggs are such a versatile ingredient in all there forms, I am always amazed at the level of creativity from my fellow food bloggers and once again they didn't disappoint, I want to eat them all......

                                                           We Should Cocoa Badge
Next months linky is being hosted by none other than Helen at Casa Costello, so go join in the fun and find out what theme she has in store for you all.

So onto our round up, just be prepared for the sugar rush !

                                                     Fudgy, rich chocolate loaf cake topped with a chocolate glaze and Cadbury Creme Eggs. Easy, quick and simple to make! Creme Egg Chocolate Loaf Cake     

First up we have a Creme Egg loaf cake from Kerry Cooks a delicious decadent bake featuring the seasonal creme egg.

Next, non other than yours truly - Lancashire Food with a Marbled banana and chocolate hazelnut loaf cake decorated with crispy chocolate eggs, it has the added bonus of being gluten free.

                                                 Easy Peasy 5 Ingredient Creme Egg Chocolate Tart     


Another creme egg recipe - Easy Peasy 5 ingredient creme egg chocolate tart from Easy Peasy Foodie

A very moreish Mini Chocolate  and orange marble bundt cakes from Dom over at Belleau Kitchen.



Next up we pop across to The Gluten Free Alchemist for some scrummy Gluten Free Choc Cross Buns

A fun cute Banana Choc chip cake hiding as a Minion Cake from Green Gourmet Giraffe was our next link up.

                                                        3 layered raspberry & white chocolate cake presented as an illusion cake with jelly beans        

                                               Creme Egg & Malteser Chocolate Tiffin Bundt Cake

An amazing Illusion Cake was linked up by Only Crumbs Remain, so clever. Hiding underneath is a Raspberry and white chocolate cake.

This cute no bake Creme Egg and Malteser Chocolate Tiffin Bundt cake is from Karen over at Lavender and Lovage.


                                                     Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins

Creme Eggs also feature in our next two recipes , Gluten Free Alchemist is back with a decadent Easter Creme Egg Mousse Cake. We also have Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins from Plate to Pen.

                              Easter chocolate cakes

Next up is We Should Cocoa co founder - Choclette with some very tasty treats of Spiced Rum Easter Chocolate Cakes 

                                                          Hot Cross Bun Microwave Mug Cake, all the delicious flavours of a traditional Hot Cross Bun ready in minutes in your microwave    

                                                Easter Galaxy Golden Eggs Chocolate PiƱata Cake - Jo's Kitchen

Clever Janice at Farmers Girl Kitchen has managed to create a Hot Cross Bun Mug Cake which can be whipped up in a flash. I am a great fan of mug cakes.

Over at Jo's Kitchen we have a Easter Galaxy Golden Egg Pinata cake, a perfect easter treat if I ever saw one.

                                                             Creme Egg Chocolate Cookie Bars        


Baking Queen - Lucy got creative and created with Cadbury Creme Egg Chocolate Cookie Bars

Mainly Baking - came up with the inspired idea of marrying hot coss buns and chocolate custard to make the ultimate bread and butter pudding dish - Chocolate Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding



Kat at the Baking Explorer linked up with these cute Chocolate Meringue Easter Nests, which I am sure would be popular at any Easter get together.

A Chocolate Easter Cake hopped up next from The More Than The Occasional Baker, so cute. Love the Chocolate Ducky on top.

                                        Malteser Malteser Bunny and Mini Egg Chocolate Cake

I loved Frys Chocolate Creme's as a child and Cakeyboi has stuffed his brownies full of them, for this decadent treat of Frys Chocolate Creme stuffed  Fudgy Brownies. Save me a piece please !

Mummy Mishaps created this delightful cake - Malteser Malteaster Bunny and mini egg cake for a friend (I want to be your friend), I just love the combination of the dinky bunnies and eggs used to decorate the cake. 

                                             Cute, simple and fun Easter Nest Cupcakes, great for getting your little ones involved in the kitchen this Easter.    

                                                         Raw Cacao Cupcakes - A slightly more healthy Easter treat

Some very Spring celebrating cupcakes were linked up by Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Easter Nest Cupcakes , perfect for parties.

Another cupcake up next, but probably are healthiest bake of this round up from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary in Shetland, her Slightly More Healthy Easter Cupcakes use raw cacao.

                                                        Chocolate Orangw Curd |        


Bake n Quilt, cooked up some lovely looking Chocolate Orange Curd.

Caroline's Makes made some cute seasonal Chocolate Easter Cupcakes

                                                              easter caramel meringue nests     


Easter chicks, everywhere ! How to Cook Good Food presented us with some Easter Caramel Meringues, here chocolate being the mini eggs and eggs being the star ingredient.

More chicks, this time as actual cakes clever Caroline at Caroline Makes used a special cupcake kit from Lakeland to create these Easter chick Cupcakes.


                                        Smarties Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

And lastly two brownies receipes both featuring chocolate eggs, we have Broken Easter Egg Brownies from Dom at Belleau Kitchen and Food Feasting and Fun with their Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies.

Phew, think I need something savoury now....

Thanks to everyone who linked up and with such fabulous recipes, remember next month is over at Casa Costello.

Also why not check back to Tin and Thyme for loads more "We Should Cocoa" inspiration.

Back to your roots ! Clandestine Cake Club at The Clog and Billycock, Pleasington

Our latest meeting of South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club had the theme "Back to your roots" - root vegetable cakes or cakes from  your past.

We were lucky to have our event hosted by The Clog and Billycock (the only pub in the country with this name) and we were made so welcome at this pub famous for its food and drink. The pub is situated in rolling Lancashire countryside just outside Blackburn and is part of the Ribble Valley Inn's Group.

A billycock by the way is a type of bowler hat, very popular in Victorian times. The pub is cosy and the welcome warm.

We had a fabulous time and the staff were amazing looking after our every need, munching our way through some truly wonderful cakes from our lovely members it was a great way to spend an

Lemon Parsnip Cake

Retro Birthday cake

10p mix cake

Chocolate beetroot cake

Lemon Drizzle cake

Cumbrian Gingerbread

Rhubarb and parsnip cake

Spicy Sweet potato cake - gluten free

Thanks again to everyone at the Clog and Billycock, I have eaten at The Clog on numerous occasions and the food and welcome has always been great, part of the Ribble Valley Inns chain, the focus is very much on local seasonal ingredients and great hospitality.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Inn at Whitewell - A Review

On a beautiful spring day we travelled to one of Lancashire Hidden treasures, The Inn at Whitewell.

The Inn is situated deep in stunning rolling Lancashire hill country in the heart of the Trough of Bowland, reputed to be a favourite of none other than HRH (Duke of Lancaster - The Queen), nestling cosily on the banks of the anglers favourite river - The Hodder, the Inn is a favourite of all who visit.

The Inn at Whitewell is an old fashioned rural inn, welcoming to all, providing 23 glamorous bedrooms, seriously good local ingredients cooked well and a noteworthy selection of drinks. They aim to offer a relaxed and friendly service that, whilst being sophisticated and indulgent, is ultimately enjoyable and not too expensive. The Inn is perfectly located for a whole host of activities and they can organise fishing, walking, tutored wine tastings and much more.

The Inn at Whitewell deservedly has a good reputation and has many awards for its food. Head Chef Jamie Cadman, now in his fourteenth year at the Inn, runs a crew of ten producing brilliant local food. His ethos is to use only the best of local ingredients, cooked simply to let the real quality shine through. Seasonal grouse from Lancashire Moor, pheasant and partridge from Dunsop shoot (Dunsop Bridge is just down the road), Bowland beef and Lonk lamb from Burholme Farm are staples on the menu and can all easily seen from the Inn’s windows. In the bar, they have carefully sourced a range of fabulous drinks from local cask-conditioned ales to organic ginger beers and soft drinks. With their in-house vintners they are able to offer an extensive and interesting range of wines, with several available by the glass.

For those keen to stay a little longer in Lancashire's Shangri la , there is The Piggeries, which is a newly finished holiday house with 3 double bedrooms. This stunning cottage is a perfect base for families or groups of friends wanting to explore the glories of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Located in the grounds it offers the space and freedom of a home-from-home, but with the convenience of the Inn on your door step.

The inn is relatively easy to find if you follow the directions as recommended by the Inn, at the moment due to the recent floods there are a few roads still out of action in the area, so check before you travel if you aren't local. Parking is available outside the inn and on the adjacent riverside car park.

The Inn at Whitewell also has been featured in various TV programmes over the years including the Trip with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan.

We were warmly welcomed for the lunch service and seated in the "Orangery" but we were also given the choice of several tables in the cosy hunting lodge style bar area, which was quickly filling with diners who had been persuaded by the beautiful sunny weather to venture in to the Trough.

The lunchtime menu is less formal than the evening menu but still demonstrates care and attention to some stunning local ingredients. There were also several seasonal specials chalked up in the bar to add to the menu choices, one of which I chose as my starter. You are spoilt for choice for drinks too, I chose my usual lime and soda, but Mr LF chose a local brew from the Bowland Brewery - Hen Harrier as is befitting our location.

The Orangery overlooks the stunning Hodder Valley and the  slightly more formal dining experience provided stunning light for photographing the food and also 180 degree amazing views.

I started with the Isle of Man Queenie's with cream, garlic and cheese, served with homemade bread and farmhouse butter. A beautiful dish, I love queenie's and their combination of sweet scallop meat with fresh salty flavours, nice also to see them being served in their shells.

Mr LF ordered the Prosciutto, bruschetta and rocket feta salad with a tomato sauce off the standard  menu, he particularly enjoyed the rocket salad who's savoury spike complemented the sweet salty prosciutto. The tomato sauce was wonderful and tasted of warm ripe tomatoes.

On to our mains I chose the Goosnargh chicken, shallot and bacon sauce, filled potato boats, celeriac puree dish which was very tasty, the chicken moist and flavourful if being rather beige in appearance. May be the addition of a green vegetable (spinach, cabbage) would have lifted the appearance of the dish.

Mr LF's choice was the Char-grilled sirloin of beef, hand cut chips, flat mushrooms and grilled tomato, he ordered rare and it was, the generous piece of steak was well seasoned and cooked to perfection.

As is usual for us by this stage we were being to feel a little full, but given the standard of food on offer we decided to plump for desserts to end our lunchtime experience.

My rice pudding with poached plums, was stunningly simple, moist, creamy vanilla rice, offset by poached tender plums. Delicious but very filling.

Mr LF's Rhubarb and amaretti biscuit trifle, homemade butter shortbread looked amazing and disappeared quickly considering he was supposed to be full, he loved the traditional trifle style dish including the slightly jellied rhubarb and biscuit layer, rich creamy vanilla custard and crunchy crumbly shortbread.

Fully sated and a little full we settled our bill and left satisfied to drive home through more stunning Lancashire countryside. The inn is a great location for that special lunch or dinner so if you are in the area why not pay a visit.

We found the service was attentive and very efficient, everything was hot / cold and well presented for all the dishes we ate.The cloakroom facilities impeccable and fragrant in all the right ways, including Moulton Brown toiletries which are always nice.

Our meal was provided free of charge for review purposes, we were not compelled to right a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are our own.

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