Cardamom-spiced Fig and Plum Galette

fig-and-plum-galette-imageThe  French word galette seems to have a few definitions and interpretations – I have made a sautéed and thin-layered sweet potato cake – similar to a rosti – that some would call a galette. Bonne Maman, purveyor of delicious conserves and treats, has a butter biscuit that they call a galette. But usually – in the UK and US at least – galette denotes a flat-ish, open fruit pie.

I like to think of galette as French for lazy-person’s pie, a pie for the non-baker. With this rustic approach there is no awkward transferring to a pie dish, pricking, blind-baking, trimming, worrying about shrinkage, making a faffy filling, worrying about leakage (!), etc. Or even knowing what any of the aforementioned baking terms mean.

I admit that this fruit galette is not the most refined of pies – a bit of a gargoyle among pies really – but who cares if it tastes good.fig-and-plum-galette-image Continue reading

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Grilled Lettuce – on its own, and in a salad with potatoes, cornichon and peppered mackerel

DSC_0011Can you believe I am asking you to grill lettuce? Isn’t that the one vegetable that we can just leave the heck alone? I know it sounds bonkers, but it really is quite something. As different to raw lettuce as microwaved egg is to scrambled in butter. Another level. Continue reading

Carrot and Coconut Muffins

carrot and coconut muffinsI hope you don’t mind but this post will be a bit of a quickie. You see, I need to go and pack. And these tender little beauties are going in the hand luggage.

Some of you reading this may  be packing too, Perhaps you are jetting off to some island to laze around and sip rum punch, or maybe you and your family will be threading your way through the queues in some exciting theme park. I however am packing to go to London. Not to shop (although I will definitely squeeze a bit of that in) or go to the theatre. No, I am down to attend my second Food Blogger Connect, and I am SO excited. Last year I was scared-excited. This year I am just excited-excited. Which is the same thing, but with less nervous sweating. Not a good mental image in a food blog, but I like to tell the truth.

Any of you who were kindly reading me last October may recall a rather long post reviewing my weekend at FBC. It was beyond my rather pedestrian imagination. And this year promises to be even better. To wit, we are getting to press the flesh with Mr American in Paris himself, the wonderful David Lebovitz. There is the chance of winning a 15 minute one-to-one chat with David about how to improve one’s blog. Which sounds terrifying but probably a game-changer for the lucky winner.

Another highlight will be seeing fellow FBC alumni Ren Behan and Karen Burns-Booth on the podium sharing a panel discussion with Sarah Cook of BBC Good Food magazine on how to get published in magazines (I will be taking  furious notes: Why didn’t I do shorthand!). I adore these bloggers as people and as wonderfully good examples of how to run a compelling, must-read blog. And of course, there will be -ahem – serious and academically-rigourous attention paid to the art of eating. I have lost count of the number of folks and companies lined up to help us expand our waistlines. But I am especially looking forward to sampling from Ren’s pop-up Polish Kitchen. Her website is already making me want to book a second holiday to Krakow.

So, the muffins. Which I will sneak into my miniscule Easyjet handluggage, along with a little tub of my butternut squash and almond dip and some homemade pitta chips. Anything to avoid getting hungry enough to buy one of the airline’s extortionate ‘snack packs’ (full of cr*p and more cr*p). I just hope my little healthy snack pack doesn’t get confiscated!

By the time you read this I will have said goodbye to friends old and new and be on my way to meet Mr A for his birthday lunch. Another London food adventure awaits! Back up the stairs to add another pair of stretchy trousers to the bag…

What foods do you pack to avoid airline/train/service station ‘food’? carrot and coconut muffins

Carrot and Coconut Muffins

This is a riff on an old recipe of mine, Carrot and Marmalade Cake

This is an easy and delicious way of making a sweet treat healthy. Perfect for trips, picnics, brownbags and handbags. I make this recipe as muffins mostly, but it happens to make a fine ‘plain’ cake too. The decoration is all on the inside…

NB. Trade the coconut for plump raisins or, what the heck, put them both in.

100g self-raising flour*
125g wholemeal self-raising flour*
1 ½ tsp baking powder
100ml (3 ½ oz) rapeseed or coconut oil
100g coconut palm sugar OR other raw sugar, whizzed in food processor
2 eggs OR vegan egg replacer (such as Orgran)
200g carrots, finely grated
1 ripe banana, peeled and thoroughly mashed
50ml fresh orange juice (one orange), plus zest if liked (I do)
4 heaped tbsp best quality dark/tawny Seville orange marmalade (the nippier the better, IMO)

50g desiccated coconut, plus extra for sprinkling on top

*If you don’t have self-raising flour, just add an extra one and one-quarter teaspoon of baking powder (total) to the flour mixture.

Oil a 12-hole muffin tin (I tend to make them smaller and use an extra 6). You could also line the holes with squares of baking paper (so they look like the muffins you get in coffee shops) or regular muffin tin liners. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Sift together the flours with the baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir in any bran that remains in the sieve from the wholemeal flour.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs with electric beaters or stand mixer until light and fluffy, then whisk in the oil and sugar until thickened and leaves a trail when the beater is lifted. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Fold the wet mixture into the flour until the flour just disappears, and no more. Mixing any more may give you a tough muffin. Which sounds like an insult, or perhaps a strange compliment: “She’s one tough muffin!”

Fill each muffin hole evenly and bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until well-risen and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If you want to add coconut to the top, do this about halfway through the baking so as not to burn the delicate coconut, but just give it a lovely toasty tinge of gold. Let the muffins cool in the tin on a wire rack and eat immediately. Or store for a few days in an airtight container. You could always go a bit fancy and extra-sweet by spreading over your favourite cream cheese frosting, or one such as this vegan one from food.com; or a classic cream cheese one from cook.uk. I like to keep them ‘plain’ for my nutrition classes and serve with fresh fruit.

Makes 12-18 muffins or two small cakes (I don’t think this would be as good if made as a big fat cake).

As usual, I am sending this over to Mark at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin’ W/Luv Made With Love Mondays. I got lucky as last week his theme was mango, but as this week’s is basil I am glad his themes are optional. I am not sticking basil in these!carrot and coconut muffinscarrot and coconut muffinscarrot and coconut muffinscarrot and coconut muffins

Peach Melba and Frangipane Scones

*peach melba frangipane sconesLiving in Scotland, a place known for its love – nay, worship – of homey baked goods, fresh fruit scones are not common. Actually, in all the twenty-something years that I have lived here, I have yet to encounter one. I’m assuming someone here makes them, maybe sells them. But I don’t get out much. Maybe in Glasgow you can hardly get down the pavement without  tripping over fresh fruit scones. Continue reading

Spring Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus and a Lemon Thyme Butter and Caper Sauce

spring ricotta gnocchi with caper butter sauceBecause this is a rather detailed recipe I will keep my usual rambling preamble brief-ish. But take heart, it is only long because I have lavishly described the ins and outs of the gnocchi-making process, and given three ways to roll it out. In fact,  I think it may take longer to read this post than it will to make this dish. If you heroically read through to the end of the recipe you will see that gnocchi is quite a playful, fun thing to prepare. Not at all daunting, unlike a souffle or creme brulee, or any one of a number of dishes we foodies/gourmands/greedy guts feel we should tackle in our lifetime. Once you get the rolling out down-pat the whole process shouldn’t take much longer than 20 minutes, not including an optional timeout (the dough, not you) in the fridge. It’s just that my  ramblings only make it seem like the War and Peace of recipes, rather than the Very Hungry Caterpillar recipe that it is. Continue reading

Cashew and Three-Ginger Biscuits

cashew & triple ginger biscuitsWe aren’t really biscuit eaters here at food to glow. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t averse to them. A  Hobnob biscuit and a cup of tea is a simple pleasure that I wouldn’t say no to, if offered (hint, hint).  Let’s just say we don’t have a biscuit barrel full of the things. Or indeed usually any packets of them lurking in cupboards. Mainly this is because none of us has a big sweet-tooth but also because most bought biscuits are full of things we could all do well with avoiding – trans-fats, bleached flours, multiple incarnations of sugar (including the recently-notorious-but-now-just-another-sugar high fructose corn syrup), too much salt. And then there are the so-called ‘flavourings.’ We are not saints – I would happily arm wrestle you for a bag of salt and pepper Popchips – but biscuits just aren’t our thing. Usually. Continue reading

Golden Apple Pie Pancakes (gf/df) with Salted Caramel Sauce (easily veganised)

apple pie pancakes with slated caramelA few months back I eavesdropped on a Twitter conversation. This is unusual for me as I’m not normally prone to eavesdropping. Unlike in real life, where I am shy and retiring (cough), on Twitter I have no qualms about twanging a conversation thread with an unasked-for opinion or observation. Most people are pretty polite, as long as you don’t insult them. But in this case I wanted to know more. And I didn’t want to look foolish about my lack of experience.

Before you jump to all kinds of inappropriate conclusions, I was in fact eavesdropping on a conversation about chestnut flour. I know, how exciting is that? Other folk are meeting friends for drinks, or trading bonds and whatnot and I’m lurking on Twitter following a convo about flour. Continue reading

Crispy Fennel Seed Flatbread Crackers

fennel seed flatbread crackersThe past week has seen a lot of spring related posts and articles popping into my inbox: recipes flaunting tender young vegetables, some pastel-tastic decorating ideas. Even a white (!) tarmac-scraping trouser suit stared back at my disbelieving face. But I really shook my fake fur hat-wearing head at this one, allegedly taken in Stockholm – a city not really known for its floaty miniskirt-friendly weather. Yes, I am wearing a hat indoors.

I think you will have surmised by now that it is snowing here in Edinburgh. March ruddy 19th and we have horizontal snow and sleet. Continue reading

Eggcentric – Lentils, Poached Egg and Paprika-Spiked Yogurt Breakfast

lentils, eggs yogurtI love breakfast. No, make that I LOVE BREAKFAST. It is without question my favourite meal. As you can tell from this blog I love other meals too. A lot. But breakfast is sine qua non to my daily happiness. Although it is rarely elaborate, and often involving no equipment other than a knife and hot overhead grill – or bowl and spoon – any sustenance is gratefully received. If ever I have to skip breakfast (I can’t remember when that last happened) I get seriously grumpy. Dropped pacifier, burst football, home team lost kind of grumpy. Stay the heck away if that happens is all I can say. Continue reading

Marbled Peanut Butter and Jam Banana Bread

pb and j banana breadAs an ex-pat American living in Scotland, peanut butter and jelly is something I occasionally have a hankering for. It must be in my DNA. I can’t say I give into that craving very often, but when I do I have to say that it is not on nice seeded whole meal bread, or using posh jam. If for whatever reason I need to buy white bread – for Christmas stuffing, or bread and butter pudding – I always nick a piece. I then proceed to smear it with a good quarter inch of peanut butter, top with a crimson dod of Lidl morello cherry jam, and fold in half. Then I proceed to shove it in my gob with two hands, like a ravenous toddler. Again, a childhood/DNA thing. With today’s recipe I think I may have grown up. A bit.  Continue reading