Friday, 20 November 2015


OMGosh, I'm addicted to these biscuits, I made them for friends as a gift when we went for dinner and now I can't stop making them. I have a feeling that everyone will be getting a parcel of these from me this christmas.

Because they are made with just almonds, icing sugar and egg white they have a light crisp outer shell and a soft chewy middle a bit like a macaron, what's not to like?  As they are so irresistible this batch makes quite a lot but why mess about, lets face it they'll get eaten before you can give them away.

Give them a go and you too will be making small hampers of them as gifts this year.

Makes 30

300g Icing Sugar
230g Ground Almonds
2 Egg Whites
1 tsp Almond Extract
100g Flaked Almonds
Icing Sugar to Dust

In a bowl combine the icing sugar, ground almonds, egg whites and almond extract.  I use my free standing mixer.  It will come together into a thick paste.

Scoop out a large teaspoon of the mix and roll in your palm to form a ball, about the size of a walnut. Now role the the ball in the flaked almonds and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Repeat until you have used all the mixture.  I found it easier to make all the balls then role them in the almonds as you get a but sticky.  Give them enough room on the parchment to spread a little.

Once they are all made, give them a liberal dustin with icing sugar and bake for 15 minutes.  Leave them to cool a little on the baking tray before transferring to a cooling rack.  try to resist having one straight away, ok, maybe just one :)

Thursday, 12 November 2015


I must confess that as a child, if we were ever fortunate enough to have the opportunity to select a cake from the cake shop, I would quite often opt for the bread pudding.  Mainly because it appeared to be the largest cake available.  I realise now that it was probably a great money spinner for the bakers giving them a new lease of life for the unsold stale bread.

Bread pudding is a proper comfort food with its warming spices and stodgy texture and perfect for this time of year.  I made some after our halloween party when we had lots of hotdog rolls left over and it reminded me of christmas pudding so I thought I'd take it a step further and give it a bit more yule tide pimping.  So here we have my christmas bread pudding which we ate warm with cream and custard. I think it tastes like christmas but a lot quicker to make than the usual pudding.

1 Litre Milk
130g Sugar
300g Dried Cranberries
200g Sultanas
75g Butter
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mixed Spice
Zest of 1 Orange
1 tsp Orange Extract
700g Bread (made into bread crumbs)
2 Eggs
2 tbsp Demerara Sugar
40g Flaked Almonds
2 tbsp Granulated Sugar

Butter a large baking dish (30cm x 20cm).  Heat the oven to 160C fan

Warm the milk in a large pan with the sugar, cranberries, sultanas, butter, cinnamon, mixed spice, orange zest and extract.  Heat till the buyer has melted then pour in the bread crumbs and stir till combined.  Now mix in the eggs.

Tip the mixture into the baking dish and gently spread it out evenly.  Don't squash it, you want a rough top with texture.  Scatter the flaked almonds and Demerara sugar on top and cover the whole dish in foil.  Bake for 40 minutes then remove the foil and give it another 15 minutes uncovered.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with granulated sugar.

Thursday, 1 October 2015


This summer I discovered these heavenly sweet rolls in Finland where I also learned that Finns love cardamom as much as I do.  On my first day at the breakfast buffet I tried a bit of everything I wasn't sure about and discovered Voisilmapulla - Butter Eye Buns.  They are a sugary sweet bread, a cross between brioche and bath buns with a warming flavour of cardamom. Butter because they are packed with the stuff and eye because of the dimple in the middle which is filled with even more butter.

Don't be scared of the amount of melted butter you have to knead in, a bit like focaccia, you think it's never going to happen, but it does and it's what gives it a light airy texture. I used my freestanding mixer to start it off then finish it by hand.

I've sprinkled mine with sugar nibs but that's optional, I know they're not easy to get in shops here - you could try the internet. We had them with and without in Finland. In the recipe it says 2 tsp of cardamom but you could add more depending on how much you like the stuff, I put 3 in the next time I made them.

This is the recipe my Finnish friend Linda gave me, it makes 18 healthy sized buns, don't worry they freeze well and if you're going to go to the effort of making them, why not make lots. I divided mine in half and made a loaf too which we had toasted with cinnamon butter.

550g Milk, warmed
175g Sugar
2 Eggs
900g Strong White Bread Flour
2 Heaped tsp Ground Cardamom
20g Dried Yeast
200g Butter, melted

50g Butter
1tbsp Sugar
Egg Wash to glaze
Sugar Nibs to finish (optional)

Warm the milk and sugar till the sugar has just dissolved, you don't want it boiling. Now add the eggs and whisk together.

In a large bowl or free standing mixer combine the flour, cardamom and yeast.  Slowly stir in the milk.  If you're doing this by hand, use a knife till it starts to come together.  Once the milk is completely combined with the flour, pour in the melted butter.

This is where it gets really messy, there is a lot of squelching before it starts to resemble the smooth sticky dough you are aiming for.  Once all the butter is incorporated into the dough start kneading.  It will be sticky but try not to add flour,  dust your hands lightly with flour instead.  I always knead for 10 minutes to ensure a good result.

Divide the dough in two and place into floured bowls, cover with cling film or a shower cap and leave  in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.

Once the dough has doubled in size, knock it back and divide into 100g balls.  Shape them and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment with enough room to rise again.  Cover the buns with a clean dry tea towel and leave for 30-45 minutes to prove again.

Whilst they are proving, melt the remaining butter and sugar and leave to one side.  To finish the buns (no pun intended) press a deep dimple into each using your thumb, it will spring back a little, then fill with the melted butter, brush over with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar nibs if using them.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200C / 180C fan for 15-20 minutes.

Hyvää ruokahalua  Xx