Spicy moreish flapjacks

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  • 250 g unsalted butter, *plus extra for greasing
  • 200 g soft brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons runny honey or maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 100 g mixed nuts (eg pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios etc)
  • 60g desiccated coconut, gently toasted in a dry frying pan until golden
  • 50g flax seed
  • 150 g mixed dried fruit (eg as cranberries, sour cherries, blueberries, apricots, dates etc)
  • 375 g rolled porridge oats

How to make

Now before you start just a word about the quantities. This recipe is based on Jamie Oliver’s Ultimate Flapjacks recipe but I’ve freestyled on it a little bit. The amount of butter he calls for (250g) produces a really rich tasting, soft textured flapjack but I don’t like things mega sweet or too greasy so I’ve reduced the sugar from 250g to 200g to allow for the sweetness of the dried fruit and upped the amount of oats from 350g to 375g. Also I wanted to add some more flavour and texture to the mix which is why I’ve been quite heavy on the spices while the addition of coconut and flax seed were intended to make me feel less guilty about eating them. (Yes I know I’m kidding myself).

Anyway, here’s how they’re made.

  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/gas 2. Grease and line a rectangular cake tin (roughly 20cm x 30cm) *If you’re using a silicon container don’t bother greasing it at all.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, honey, ginger, mixed spice and salt in a medium pan over a low heat, then allow the butter to melt, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, roughly chop the nuts and any larger dried fruit, then stir them into the pan along with the oats.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin, smoothing it out into an even layer. Place in the hot oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Leave to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.

As well as tasting amazing the other good thing about these flapjacks is that they’re incredibly quick to make so you could knock up a batch right now and be eating them with a cup of tea in a little over an hour.

Enjoy

J x

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Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb

RhubcakebigeyepicsThis is a short and sweet blog post. Short because I’ve got a tonne of design and magazine work on my desk craving for my attention and sweet because there’s a cake recipe involved.

Like a lot of kids who grew up in 1970’s Britain I’m not a huge fan of rhubarb. My Bajan Mum didn’t cook traditional English puddings so when I experienced my first school pud covered in lashings of creamy custard I was instantly smitten…that is of course until the day we had rhubarb and custard. And my first impressions?….What?… Why?!…. What the heck is this?! I made a mental note to self and learned to pass on pudding the next time it reared it’s sour although deceptively pretty pink head.

Fast forward more years than I care to mention and apart from the rare occasion when I dipped back into my childhood with the odd (sugar encrusted) rhubarb and custard sweet from the local pick ‘n mix I haven’t gone near rhubarb again. That is until a couple of years ago when Sam & I were at the Brighton Foodies Festival and came across a stall selling a rhubarb gin liquer. It may be that my palette has matured or perhaps that now as an adult I’m a regular gin drinker but even I was a convert. So this week when I was visiting a friend who’d been given a handful of homegrown rhubarb but no idea what to do with it the greedy cow in me thought, ‘well I hate the stuff but I’m not seeing that lot go to waste’. I did think of going the rhubarb gin liquer route but to be honest I didn’t have the patience to wait for the results so instead, with the memory of that morning’s hardcore 500-calorie-burning spin class still in my head, of course  I decided cake was the way to go.

I decided on Sarah Cook’s Rhubarb Crumble Cake on the BBC Good Food website. Ths was mainly because I already had every ingredient in my store cupboard but having made it I’d probably tweak it by adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the main cake mix rather than just to the crumble topping. I also thought, as I was munching my way through my second slice, that given my normal disdain for rhubarb that I’d like to try it with other fruit like raspberries or even pears.

So here my lovelies is the original recipe. As Sam remarked when he tasted it, it’s more of a grown up cake as it’s not overly sweet which counters the sour of the rhubarb perfectly.

That said next time I get offered fresh rhubarb I think I’ll be making the gin liquer…

 

J x

 

Rhubarb crumble cake by Sarah Cook (the link to the original recipe is here)

Prep time : 25 MINS

Cooking time : 1 HR, 15 MINS (Mine took an extra 10 mins so check after an hour and cover if necessary)

Number of portions: Cuts into 8 slices (to be honest this depends on how greedy you are)

Ingredients

  • 250g pack of butter, softened
  • 250g golden caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • 300g plain flour, plus 7 tbsp
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 300g rhubarb, washed, trimmed and finely sliced

 

Method

  • Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and grease and line the base and sides of a deep 20cm round cake tin with a little of the butter and baking parchment. Put the butter, 250g sugar and vanilla into a big mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy with an electric whisk.
  • Beat in the eggs, one by one, then fold in the 300g flour and baking powder. Spoon out 85g of the batter, and stir the extra 7 tbsp flour and cinnamon into this with a cutlery knife so it becomes crumbly.
  • Fold the rhubarb into the rest of the cake batter and scrape into the prepared tin. Scatter over the crumble mix followed by 1 tbsp sugar. Bake for 1 hr 15 mins, until a skewer poked in comes out clean – you’ll need to lay a sheet of foil on top after an hour if the cake is browning too much. Cool for 15 mins in the tin, then finish on a wire rack.

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