Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Plum Jam and Poppyseed Thumbprint Cookies

This year on our annual visit to the Czech Republic there were more than a few trays of plums hanging around just waiting to be baked or preserved. So inspired by a rainy afternoon and a recent visit to The London Borough of Jam I made a couple of jars of this simple recipe. It's so easy to make and will also give you an excuse to bake some poppyseed thumbprint cookies. These buttery little vessels will show off your jam in all it's sticky, richly coloured glory. I'd love to try it as an alternative filling for my Blackcurrent & Vanilla Linzer Cookies from trEATs too.

For the jam:
1kg plums
Juice of one lemon
750g caster sugar

For the cookies:
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons poppyseeds
4 tablespoons jam (see above)

For the jam, half and de-stone the plums and juice the lemon. Mix the plums, lemon juice and sugar in a heavy bottomed, large saucepan (make sure that you use a large pan otherwise your jam might boil over the sides). Cover and set aside to macerate for at least an hour to allow the sugar to extract some of the juice. Bring the mixture slowly to the boil and then continue to boil for around 20 minutes until thickened. Transfer to two hot, sterile jam jars (washed in hot soapy water, rinsed and dried in a low oven at around 120C or washed in the dishwasher) and seal. Once cool, store in the fridge for up to a month.

For the cookies, heat the oven to 170C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and then mix in the egg until well combined, followed by the vanilla. Sift in the flour, salt and poppyseeds and mix until just combined. Bring the dough together with your hands and kneed briefly until smooth. Roll walnut sized pieces of dough into balls and place on the lined baking sheets. Using the handle end of a wooden spoon, press indentations into each ball. Chill for 20 minutes to help the cookies to keep their shape. Bake for 10 minutes then remove the cookies from the oven and use the handle of the wooden spoon to re-define the indentations. Fill each cookie with a 1/2 teaspoon of jam and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes around 2 jars of jam and 24 cookies.

Jam recipe adapted from here.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake on Cup of Jo

This week, I am so excited to have my lemon poppy seed cake recipe on the New York based blog Cup of Jo. I've been reading Joanna's blog for years and it's one of my all time favourites with posts on fashion, beauty, life in New York and lots of nice recipes from other bloggers. 

This recipe is part of their picnic seriesHave you baked anything for picnics yet this Summer? My book, trEATs has lots of other picnic friendly recipes like savoury fig and goat's cheese cakes, cheese straws with caraway seeds and mini cherry and cinnamon bundt cakes. 

I chose to share this cake recipe in particular as I find loaf shaped cakes so much easier to transport and slice. It's really easy to throw together and stays fresh for at least 3 days so it's also great for making ahead. Just wrap it up in some baking paper and pop in into a paper bag - no need to carry sticky tuppperware home at the end of your picnic.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

For the cake:
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
¾ cup (170g) caster sugar
1 ¼ cup (190g)  all purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
¼ cup (60ml) milk
¼ cup (30g)  poppy seeds
Zest of 2 lemons

For the glaze:
1 cup (150g)  powdered (icing) sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
Poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 350F (180C) and butter and line a one pound (4½ x 2½ x 8½ inch) loaf tin with baking parchment. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, poppy seeds and lemon zest and beat until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as you go.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the baking parchment.

While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. Use a spoon to beat the powdered sugar with enough lemon juice to form a runny but opaque glaze. Set the cooled cake on a wire rack and drizzle over the glaze. Sprinkle over the poppy seeds and allow the glaze to set for a few minutes before packaging up. 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Spiced Hot Cross Buns on Design*Sponge

Happy Easter! It's been a busy few months writing and recipe testing for me, not to mention completing my second term at Leiths so it's been nice to take a few days off leading up to Easter to catch up with friends and do a bit of relaxed baking. I'm a long time reader of Design*Sponge so I'm REALLY excited so have my Spiced Hot Cross Buns recipe featured on their 'In he Kitchen With...' series. It doesn't stray too far from the traditional recipe with the addition of honey and cardamom. Of course, like any hot cross buns, they are are best eaten toasted with plenty of butter. A good break from all of that chocolate that we'll inevitably be eating.  

(Photo: Kristina Gill for Design*Sponge)

Friday, 28 February 2014

New book!

It's all been a bit quiet on the Rhubarb & Rose blog over the last couple of months but I have a good excuse - I'm working on a new book! I can't say too much at the moment but it will follow in the sweet footsteps of trEATs and I'm lucky enough to be working with the very talented Danielle Wood again. In the meantime I'll be popping in to the Manchester Cake & Bake Show this Spring to demo cake pops and sign a few books. I'm also being kept very busy by the Leiths Food & Wine diploma (highlights this week have been wine tasting, genoise cake and a visit from food writer Ursula Ferrigno).  

Monday, 16 December 2013

Book signing and gingerbread decorating at Waterstones this week

Last week I was at Waterstones for a Christmassy author evening decorating gingerbread and signing copies of trEATs. It was great fun, we made lots of mess with icing and sprinkles and even Darcey (who was also signing copies of her book) iced some gingerbread snowflakes with me. 

This week, on Thursday 19th, I'm over at Waterstones Covent Garden for their Christmas evening from 6pm (check out the link for the full list of authors who will be there). Come and pick up a Christmas present or two and decorate your own gingerbread decorations!   

Thursday, 28 November 2013

House Beautiful feature

It's been so exciting to see trEATs being featured in magazines and online over the last few weeks. Here is my mince pies recipe in this month's edition of House Beautiful (photos by Danielle Wood). This feature is part of a baking special so I'm in good company with Mary Berry and Annie Rigg a few pages away.

Salted caramel trEATs

Some salted caramel trEATs from my book. I made these for kind friends that lent me their backpack for my big trip to South America and Mexico this summer. I made salted caramel brownies paired with extra sauce to warm up and pour over ice cream - a cosy Autumnal treat. The cute jar is from Le Parfait


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