Tag Archives: recipe

Peyton & Byrne “British Brownies”

From Peyton & Byrne: British Baking by Oliver Peyton (Square Peg, 2011)

Although most of my jubilee weekend was given over to the Stoke Newington Literary Festival (as mentioned in my previous post), I couldn’t resist fitting in a bit of bank holiday baking. I took the easy/occasion appropriate route and opted for some British Brownies. The rationale for including these in the British Baking book is laughably weak – “brownies have long been a favourite in Britain” – but they hit the spot on a grey day off. How could they not – they contain three, yes three, bars of dark chocolate…


300g dark chocolate, chopped

100g unsalted butter

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 eggs

50g light brown sugar

150g caster sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

100g plain flour

100g chopped walnuts (I didn’t have any so substituted with macadamias, but they were somewhat overpowered by the chocolate)








Preheat oven to 180 oC. Butter 20cm square baking tin, line with baking paper.

Place chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl, add salt and melt over pan of barely simmering water.

In another bowl, break up eggs, add sugars and vanilla until incorporated.

Whisk egg mixture into melted chocolate, then gently fold in flour and walnuts until just mixed.

Pour into baking tin.

Bake for 25 mins or until set. Leave to cool completely in tin before cutting into squares (I totally ate one before it had completely cooled).








Verdict: Quick, easy, delicious and kept well. Will bake again.

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River Cottage “Leek and Cheese Toastie”

From River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury, 2011)

Of all the cookbooks I have ever bought, which isn’t an astounding number but is steadily growing, none has found the instant acclaim in my kitchen of the latest Hugh F-W volume.

Full of simple, tasty and more often than not quick recipes that sate even the carnivore in my household.

Having made this cheese and leek number one Saturday, it is now a weekend regular and I can never go back to plain old cheese on toast ever again. Yes, it takes a bit longer and marginally more effort than directly grating some cheddar onto a bit of bread, but the result is well worth it. In fact, it’s quite astounding what a difference the addition of a bit of cream and some sweaty leeks can make to this humble dish.

See here for an almost identical version of this recipe. In this case, cheddar was used instead of blue and marginally smaller quantities of butter and cream. 

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Peyton and Byrne “Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies”

From Peyton & Byrne: British Baking by Oliver Peyton (Square Peg, 2011)









100g whole hazelnuts

140g unsalted butter, softened

90g demerara sugar

80g caster sugar

1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk

170g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g dark chocolate chips

Makes 12 large cookies

Preheat the oven to 180 oC. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and lay the whole hazelnuts on one of them. Toast them in the hot oven for about 10 mins. Turn off the oven and empty into clean tea towel and rub together to slough off skins, then roughly chop.

Meanwhile, place the butter and eggs in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add the egg and then the yolk, mixing well. Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together and gently mix into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the dark chocolate and the chopped, toasted hazelnuts.

Lay out 2 pieces of baking parchment and place half the dough into the centre of each, shaping it into a log about 4cm thick. Roll the parchment paper up around the cookie dough and wrap this is cling film. Freeze the dough for about 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180 oC. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Unwrap one log of the dough and let it sit for about 5-7 mins to soften slightly. Use a sharp knife to slice the first log into 6 pieces, each about 2cm thick, then place these on the prepared tray about 6cm apart. Bake for 15-18 mins, until golden in colour but still soft in the centre. Repeat with second log. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.








Verdict: Hmm. A lot of effort and baking parchment origami went into these and whilst they looked rather handsome, their texture was disappointingly cake-y. I followed the measurements exactly, but it seems the bicarb made them puff up rather than spread out in this instance. Making the 2 logs meant it was easy to cook one batch and keep the second log in the freezer until needed. Will be trying out lots of other cookie recipes before I go back to these.

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Perfect “Pesto”

From Perfect: 68 Essential Recipes for Every Cook’s Repertoire by Felicity Cloake (Fig Tree, 2011)








Makes 200g

2 tbsp pine nuts

A pinch of salt

125g fresh basil leaves (pick off as much of the stalk as you can, as this discolours faster than the leaves)

15g Parmesan, grated

15g pecorino, grated

125ml extra virgin olive oil

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan on a modertae heat, stirring regularly and being careful not to let them burn, and then allow to cool completely. Lightly crush in a pestle and mortar, along with a pinch of salt.

Add the basil leaves a few at a time, and, working as quickly as possible, pund them into the mixture until you have a thickish paste.

Work in the cheesse, then gradually incorporate the oil, reserving a little for the top.

Spoon the pesto into a jar, and cover the top with oil. Refrigerate until use.


Verdict: very easy to make at home and store in the fridge until required. The book, as Cloake’s column does, explains in just the right amount of detail exactly why the ingredients and method have been chosen.

Read more of Cloake’s ‘Perfect’ recipes on the Guardian website.

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