Biscuit Heaven with Lotus Biscoff

I was absolutely delighted when I received this box full of Lotus Biscuit goodness! Like most of you, I know and love the sweet little red biscuits that so often come with a cup of coffee – but I had never tried the now famous Lotus Biscoff Spread, or the new Chocolate Lotus Biscuits. So the last few weeks have been absolute biscuit heaven as I’ve munched my way through this box of biscuit joy.

Lotus Biscoff Biscuts and Biscoff Spread

A box full of biscuit treats

I’ve found that enjoying my morning coffee with a Lotus biscuit really brightens the day, making me feel like I’m somewhere far fancier than my home office.

The handy Biscoff Pocket Packs and little packs of Chocolate Lotus Biscuits have been fab to pop in my bag for busy days too. Here I am enjoying them on a recent train journey to London…

Lotus Biscoff with Chocolate

A treat for the train journey

I guess many of you will want to hear about the Biscoff spread, which is known to be so addictively good that I’ve even heard it referred to as ‘crack in jar’. After sampling both the smooth and crunchy varieties of the spread, I can indeed confirm that it is that good – you’ll go in for a tiny teaspoonful as a treat and it won’t be enough…you find yourself stopping at the third spoonful and that’s before you’ve even spread it on anything. It is super sweet, so works well on bagels and fruit toast, as well as on a pancake.

The ridiculously tempting Lotus Biscoff Spreads

The ridiculously tempting Lotus Biscoff Spreads

I was intrigued about possibilities for cooking and baking with the spread, that sweet caramelised flavour could work so well in a range of desserts…cheese cake, bread and butter pudding, tiramisu to name a few. I visited the Lotus Biscuits website and was pleased to find a whole range of recipes to choose from, so this weekend I got my bake on and attempted some chocolate brownies with Biscoff centres. I (loosely) followed this recipe from the website.

Brownie Mix, which you then add balls of Biscoff to!

Brownie Mix, which you then add balls of Biscoff to

I chose a nice simple recipe that I knew would go down well. Essentially it was a case of making chocolate brownies in the usual way and creating some Biscoff balls out of the spread to dot into the brownie mixture. You create the balls by adding powered sugar and I used a little flour too, so that they form a dough like texture. Once baked you get lovely gooey brownies with a tasty Biscoff centre! Mmmmm….

Tucking into a tasty brownie with a Biscoff centre

Tucking into a tasty brownie with a Biscoff centre

The biscuity brownie smell that filled the house was amazing!

There were plenty more recipes on the website, I particularly liked the idea of using it in cheesecake or cake icing. As I’ve still got some spread left (a real exercise in self control!), I’ll definitely be having a go at a few more recipes too. Watch this space for more.

Take a look at www.lotusbiscuits.co.uk to explore the full range of Biscoff goodies and where to buy them from.

…Right, I’m off for my daily cappuccino and Biscoff break now xXx

 

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Banana Oatmeal Cookies

The other day I was left with quite a few icky, overripe bananas. So in the spirit of waste not want not I turned to the internet for some banana recipes, I know that overripe bananas are supposed to be the best for cooking/baking with so I was hoping to find something tempting that would also magically fit with the random contents of my cupboards.

Firstly I came across Buzzfeed’s ’17 Delicious Ways To Use Up Old Bananas’  – this proved to an absolute treasure trove of nommy nana recipe inspiration! Do take a look – there’s everything from classic banana bread to cheesecake, smoothies and cakes.

However I was rather limited by my slightly bare cupboards but this recipe for cookies (well, to me they were more like flapjacks) was a perfect fit! Essentially mixing mushed bananas, oats, raisins with a tiny bit of butter, sugar and cinnamon. I also added honey.

So here goes….Banana Oatmeal “Cookies”
Taken from bionicbites.com Adapted from The Burlap Bag

Ingredients

2 large overripe bananas
1 cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
butter or oil to grease two cookie sheets

– I added honey to the mixture too!

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mash bananas with oats, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and butter.

3. Mix in walnuts and raisins.

4. Drop a tablespoon of banana-oatmeal mixture on a greased cookie sheet and then flatten with the back of a spoon. (Skip flattening if you like soft cookies). To make 16 flat cookies, you’ll need two cookie sheets.

5. Bake 35 minutes.

6. Flip cookies.

7. Bake an addition 10 more minutes.

My cookies were still quite moist and more like a flapjack in consistency but enjoyable and pretty healthy too – here’s a look at the results…

1362ef489feb11e397580a396403f9f8_8

 

I’d recommend this recipe – super quick and easy to prepare, pretty healthy and very satisfying.

Great British Bake Off Withdrawal…

I must be missing the Great British Bake Off because I’ve been thinking about baking, frequenting bakeries and even actually baking far more than than ever before. I  baked this last week….

Filo Pie

 

Yes, it’s a filo pastry pie! I’ve been craving filo pastry ever since  Kimberley’s filo pie on the Great British Bake Off.  Okay, so it’s made with shop bought filo. I’m not  exactly GBBO standard and I couldn’t risk my dinner going wrong so I had to use the pre-made filo pastry. However the filing idea was all my own – seasoned chicken and stir fried vegetables with roasted red pepper, feta, spinach and cous cous, kind of a Moroccan flavoured theme. Next time I may leave out the cous cous though as it did dry out quite a bit in the baking process.

I was surprised at how easy filo pastry was to work with and how simple it was to make a pretty design. If you fancy having a go, the above is made by simply laying out sheets of pastry and adding a line of filling, then simply rolling this up into a sausage shape, placing in  a round tin and repeating the process. So easy!

Tonight I think I’m actually going to bake bread to go with my home made Halloween pumpkin soup. The GBBO mourning continues!

xXx

 

Classics for British Food Fortnight

It’s British Food Fortnight! So what better time to celebrate some of the food we’re famous for? In this post I’m rounding up my favourite, traditionally British things to eat, along with the details of some great local producers too.

Scones…

Scones are definitely a delicious British classic, whether you enjoy a fruity one with cream and jam or warm cheese scone with butter, they’re a well known accompaniment to our national drink, a nice cup of tea. Scones are good fun to bake but if you don’t fancy re-enacting the Great British Bake Off, then there’s plenty of ready made scones around. Locally, my favourite scones are from The Baker Boys market stall in Winchester. Their hearty scones are a generous size with some lovely varieties including apple & date and blueberry & pear. The Baker Boys are in Winchester High Street in on Saturdays and I believe they also sell their deliciously baked wares in Romsey, Christchurch, Alton and Lymington too.

scones

Cheese…

We have some wonderful cheese in Britain, from Cheddar to Double Gloucester and Red Leicester…I could go on!  And at most farmers markets you’re spoilt for choice with lovely local cheeses. I certainly always come away from Hampshire Farmers Market with armfuls of locally made bread and cheese to scoff! From a cheeky bit of cheese on toast, to a ploughman’s lunch or a full on post dinner cheese course – it’s a fine food for any occasion! One of my local favourites is Lyburn Farm’s Old Winchester Cheese.

cheese

Toasted Tea Cake…

Back to the baked goods now and you can’t beat a toasted tea cake with a mug of tea. A tea cake means different things in different countries but in Britain it is of course a fruity, bread-like bun served toasted with butter and possibly jam too. Really the tea cake is like the less religious cousin of the good old hot cross bun and is perfectly acceptable to consumer all year round. Locally you can get a good toasted tea cake and a nice pot of loose leaf tea in Winchester’s Forte Tea Rooms.

half-toasted-teacake

Roast Dinner..

We definitely know how to do a roast dinner in Britain, whether it’s the traditional joint of beef or a roast pheasant (as was traditional in my household!), this is hearty British comfort food at its best. There are of course many local outlets serving up roast dinner on a Sunday but my two favourites are The Bugle Inn, Twyford and The Old Forge in Otterbourne.

Roast

Cheese Straws…

It must be an after affect of too much Great British Bake Off but I’m back on the British baked goods again! I absolutely adore cheese straws, which I believe were originally a British invention, although they’re apparently quite popular in the US too.  Cheese straws are comforting treat that remind me of childhood and Christmas time all at once. For me, the best ones locally are from Reeve the Baker in Winchester High Street.

cheese straws

The Cooked Breakfast…

We Brits are of course known for enjoying a cooked breakfast once in a while. You certainly can’t beat a good old fry-up when suffering the after affects of too much alcohol the night before! Personally I’m more of a scrambled eggs on toast kind of girl but I can be tempted by a well made fry-up with good quality ingredients. My top local recommendation is Bean Below, the tucked away cafe and restaurant underneath Twyford Stores – they always use plenty of locally sourced ingredients from the free range eggs to the British bacon and sausages.

cooked-breakfast

…So, who’s hungry? I’ll admit it’s not exactly the healthiest list but hey, it’s still the weekend and we’re half way through British Food Fortnight, a time to come together and celebrate all the great food we produce!

You can find out more about British Food Fortnight and how to take part on their website: http://lovebritishfood.co.uk/

Birthday Celebrations

This has been my birthday weekend (yes I ususally like to dedicate a few days to the celebration of my birth!)…I have to say it’s been lovely, I have some amazing friends and family who made it very special.

Happy Birthday to me!

For a family outing we paid visit to the Jane Austen house museum in Chawton, which was wonderful. I’ve lived not far from Jane Austen’s home for a long time but never actually stepped inside it. I’m sure many people have been to the house, so will know how well preserved it is and how magical it is to see and touch possesions that belonged to Jane herself, but it took me somewhat by surprise. I didn’t realise how moving an experience the visit would be, it felt strange to be moving through rooms that she would have once wandered though and I couldn’t get over being in the presence of her actual little writing table! I have so much respect for Jane Austen, she’s cleverer than many people give her credit for. Her books are not just silly romance and marriage – they really expose the difficult situation that women of her time faced!

Beautiful day for a trip to Jane Austen’s house

I’m in Jane’s bedroom! Imagine the dreams and thoughts this room has seen…

We finished our visit off with some much needed refreshment at Cassandra’s Cup, the tea room opposite. I enjoyed  lovely pot of lapsang and my favourite, a prawn marie rose sandwich. All in all a lovely day out!

Probably the best place to open a tea room in England!

In the evening I was treated to dinner at the Black Rat, which was fabulous. The food simply could not have been better, from start to finish the whole experience was a delight. Beautiful food and wine followed by a bit of bubbly in one of the cosy upstairs rooms – splendid!

Spot on!

All the over indulgence did lead to me falling asleep before any post midnight pressie opening could take place, but I was up bright and early the next day to rectify that! I got a whole host of lovely things from those I love…

My beautiful birthday hoard!

From the beautiful birthday cake baked by my wonderful sister…

Looks good, tastes good!

Through to the  amazing selection of birthday cards currently decorating my lounge…

Like bunting for the window sill…

A big loving thank you goes out to everyone who made my birthday special!

LOVE YOU ALL xXxXx