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Blueberry Oat Scones

I’m a big fan of Claire Ptak and her bakery in London. It was a delight to visit last time I was able to travel to the UK, pre Covid! I love her book “The Violet Bakery Cookbook”, and some of the recipes in it have inspired this one.

These tasty morsels are a cross between scones and biscuits. They are quite dense, with ground rolled oats and blueberries.

The mixture is very crumbly and will be difficult to bring together into a dough, particularly with the frozen blueberries. But don’t worry, just pat the mixture into shape and by resting it, you can cut the rounds from the mixture.

Here’s my recipe. This makes 12 smallish scones. You could double the quantities for larger, more substantial scones.

Ingredients 
100g rolled oats
150g plain flour
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
1/2 baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
50g raw sugar or brown sugar
Zest of half an orange
125g cold unsalted butter cut into 1 cm chunks
150g creme fraiche
125g frozen blueberries 

Method
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C fan forced. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Blitz the rolled oats in a food processor until finely ground. Mix all the dry ingredients plus the orange zest in a bowl or in a food processor. Cut in the cold butter by hand until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs, or you can continue to use a food processor on pulse, but be careful not to overwork the dough.

Quickly stir in the creme fraiche until just mixed in. Stir in the frozen blueberries.

Turn the mixture out onto a floured board, and pat into a square about 3 or 4cms thick. Rest for 5 minutes at least, even 10 minutes.

Using a 6cm cutter, cut out rounds and place onto the baking sheet. You will probably get 8 or 9 from the dough, then you will need to gather up the remains of the dough and pat together (don’t re-roll) before cutting out the last few rounds.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the rounds are brown on top. You could check after 20 minutes to see how they are coming along. Take out of the oven and wait until the oat scones are cool before serving.

Serve on their own – they are sweet enough – or with homemade berry jam and Greek yoghurt.

Blueberry and Blackberry Almond Tea Cakes

Spring has sprung in Sydney and I’m dusting off my recipes for little cakes perfect for afternoon tea. Berries are plentiful and cheap, so perfect to pop into a small cake and top with a lemon icing.

The recipe is an all in one food processor recipe too. Easy!

One of the issues I have experienced with my little cakes is the problem of cakes sticking to the molds and coming out in pieces.

I picked up some advice that buttering the molds and flouring them, freezing for half an hour then buttering again, gives you a pretty good chance of the cakes coming out whole. So that’s what I would advise that you do.

Here are two recipes, both based on the same basic cake mixture, one for blueberry, lemon and almond cakes, and one for raspberry and almond cakes.

Blueberry, Lemon and Almond Cakes

Ingredients

65g self-raising flour

60 ground almonds

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tblsp milk

125g fresh blueberries 

Lemon Icing

2 tbsp lemon juice

Enough sifted icing sugar to make a thick but spreadable icing

3 blueberries for little cake for decorating

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C fan forced. Butter, flour, freeze and butter again your chosen molds. I used popover molds, but muffin molds would be fine. You will get 6 cakes from the popover molds, probably 8 from the muffin molds.

Put all the ingredients except the milk  and the blueberries in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing the food processor to get a mixture that is not to stiff and of dropping consistency.

Carefully fold the blueberries into the mixture with a spoon.

Spoon the mixture into the molds, making sure you don’t fill more than  3/4 of the mold.

Place the molds in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cakes are cooked and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Once the cakes have cooled for about 15 minutes, carefully up end the molds and ease the cakes out of the molds.  Cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, mix the lemon juice with enough icing sugar to make an icing that will drip over the cakes. Ice the little cakes, adding 3 blueberries on the top of each cake for decoration.

Raspberry and Almond Cakes

Ingredients

65g self-raising flour

60 ground almonds

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tblsp milk

3 raspberries for each cake mold

Lemon Icing

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 or 3 pureed raspberries

Enough sifted icing sugar to make a thick but spreadable icing

1 raspberry for little cake for decorating

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter, flour, freeze and butter again your chosen molds as for blueberry cakes.

Put all the ingredients except the milk  and the raspberries in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing the food processor to get a mixture that is not to stiff and of dropping consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the molds, making sure you don’t fill more than  3/4 of the mold. Carefully pop 3 raspberries into each cake mold.

Place the molds in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cakes are cooked and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Once the cakes have cooled for about 15 minutes, carefully up end the molds and ease the cakes out of the molds.  Cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, mix the lemon juice and pureed raspberries with enough icing sugar to make an icing that will drip over the cakes. Ice the little cakes, adding 1 raspberry on the top of each cake for decoration.

Strawberry and Lemon Pudding

This is so easy! A strawberry and lemon pudding, a lovely hot “saucy” pudding for a cold night. It’s another version of my Peach Pudding I posted last year.

And you can make the pudding with lots of different fruit – apples and pears, with blueberries or raspberries.

Just a note – you don’t need to use lemon juice. Any fruit juice will do for the liquid.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

125g strawberries
100g self raising flour
50g butter cut into small pieces
100g caster sugar
200-250ml* lemon juice, 3-4 lemon slices

* The lemon juice quantity doesn’t have to be too accurate – more juice and the pudding might take a bit longer to cook.

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cut the strawberries in halves. Lay them into a cast iron pan or baking dish.

Tip the self raising flour, butter pieces and caster sugar into a bowl and rub together into a breadcrumb consistency, a bit like making pastry.

Add the lemon juice and roughly mix together.

The mixture should look curdled, but that’s fine as you’re not looking for a cake mixture consistency. Pour the mixture over the strawberries.

If using, place a few thin lemon slices on top. Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the pudding is brown on top.

Serve with thick cream or ice cream.

Blueberry Hazelnut Cake

 



This is one from the archives. A relatively easy cake that packs a real blueberry punch!  Because of all of the blueberries, it is a moist cake that keeps well.

Blueberries seem to be perennially in season here in Sydney and are relatively inexpensive. I have them permanently on hand for my breakfast granola with Greek yoghurt. But they’re yummy baked in a cake too.

This cake maximises the blueberry thing with fresh blueberries, dried blueberries and blueberry jam. The main hit comes from the fresh blueberries, and you could easily leave the dried ones out altogether- they’re not always easy to buy. Or substitute some raisins instead.

The “jam” is actually pretty simple – some blueberries cooked with sugar and water to make a rough preserve.

And a double hazelnut hit from the ground hazelnuts and the toasted hazelnuts.

It can be dressed up or down – great for afternoon tea or for a dessert.

Ingredients

125g softened butter

115g  caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 free-range eggs

1 heaped tbls sour cream

90g ground hazelnuts

1/4 cup toasted and finely chopped  hazelnuts

100g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

60ml milk

30g dried blueberries, soaked in 1 tblsp of water for an hour (or substitute raisins or leave out altogether)

200g fresh blueberries

75g caster sugar

Method

You can make this cake in a stand mixer, but I prefer to use a food processor. Either will work well!

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease a 20cm spring form tin and line base with baking paper.

Cream butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract in a food processor.  Add the free-range eggs and process until eggs are well incorporated. Pulse in the sour cream.  Sift the ground hazelnuts with the chopped hazelnuts,  SR flour and bicarbonate of soda. Stir in the sifted ingredients into the mixture with a spoon, then stir in the milk.

Fold in the soaked dried blueberries or raisins if using, and half of the fresh blueberries. Spoon into the springform cake tin.

Bake for  about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the remaining blueberries and caster sugar with 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved, the blueberries are slightly softened and the liquid slightly reduced. You can gently press on the blueberries with the back of spoon to help them release their juices.

Cool the cake completely in the tin before removing the ring of the springform tin. As the cake is quite moist and therefore a bit delicate, carefully remove it from its base using an offset spatula or indeed a ordinary metal spatula.

Pile the blueberry “jam” onto the top of the cake. Serve with more fresh berries and a sprinkling of sugar if desired, with whipped cream, creme fraiche or sour cream, any kind of cream goes well with this sweet blueberry baked delight!

 

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Blueberry and Marmalade Tea Cakes

With spring very much in the air in September in Sydney, the produce that is available in fruit and vegetables is amazing. We are seeing in particular lots of early summer berries, and at great prices too. The markets are full of big juicy strawberries and punnets of oversized blueberries, with both kinds of berries going for a song. So delicious, so tempting!

September is the also the season for blood oranges, and I have been buying these to cook with, or just to eat, as I love their ruby red fresh and intensely sweet juice.

With so much lovely produce on hand, I have been jam making madly! My current favourite jam I call “Ruby Sunrise”. It’s a marmalade made from blood orange, ruby grapefruit and mandarin. It’s got a great colour and that blood orange tang. Recipe to be posted soon!

These little tea cakes were just an excuse to use my Ruby Sunrise marmalade and to make a rich sticky blueberry compote, to adorn those little cakes.

The tea cakes are made from my go-to easy cake recipe featured in the last post – Yoghurt Cakes with Middle Eastern Flavours. This is such a great recipe as its easy to make in the food processor, the cakes turn out really well and they are light and moist.

I halved the quantities from the original recipe this time. I got 5 good sized tea cakes baked in my popover moulds. I could have got 6, if I’d gone a little smaller. If you used ordinary muffin moulds, I think you could get 6-8 little cakes from the mixture. Or you can use the original recipe quantities if you are cake making for a crowd.

Ingredients
125mls canola or vegetable oil
165g caster sugar
1 free-range eggs
140g Greek yoghurt
150g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon orange blossom water (or vanilla extract or almond essence if you prefer)
1 quantity blueberry compote
2 tablespoons any good marmalade

Method
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C fan forced. Grease and flour whatever moulds you are using – popover or conventional muffin tin.

Place the oil, caster sugar and egg in the bowl of a food processor. Process until well combined. Pulse in the yoghurt, followed by the flour. Stir in the orange blossom water to the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the popover or muffin moulds.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If you’re cooking in muffin moulds, you might like to check after 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and cool for 10 minutes then turn out the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Spoon over some blueberry compote and some marmalade onto each cake while they are still warm. The quantities are up to you, but a good teaspoonful over each little tea cake seemed about right to me.

To make the blueberry compote:
Place a punnet of blueberries (125g) in saucepan with 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir gently till the sugar dissolves. Simmer for a few minutes only until the some of the blueberries have broken down, the compote is slightly reduced and is thick and syrupy.

Serve the little tea cakes more Greek yoghurt, or cream, with a spoonful more of the compote or marmalade if desired.

Jamie Oliver Smoothie Pancakes with Berries, Banana, Yoghurt and Nuts

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Super food, super easy and super good! Jamie’s latest book Everyday Super Food is a bit of a revelation, crammed full of beautiful, colourful, easy recipes that are really healthy.

The research, the nutritional information, and the carefully planned and written recipes make this book a must-read and a must-cook. I’m big on flavour, and what I’ve cooked so far is bursting with it …I can’t  wait to cook more!

If you love cooking, love really tasty food, and would like to feel that you are doing your bit to eat healthily, then get Everday Super Food. It’s common sense, not faddish, and do-able!

I made Smoothie Pancakes with Berries, Banana, Yoghurt and Nuts today. I went for blueberries, next time I’ll try raspberries. I didn’t realize till I was making the recipe that there was no sugar – the blueberries are sweet enough – even for the sweet tooth of this quirky writer! The drizzle of honey on the pancakes themselves when serving adds that little extra sweetness which is nice. Here is Jamie’s recipe very slightly tweaked.

Ingredients

320g blueberries or raspberries

1 ripe banana

170ml semi-skimmed milk

1 large free-range egg

250g wholemeal self raising flour

To serve

4 tbs natural yoghurt

Sprinkle of ground cinnamon

30g mixed unsalted nuts, chopped

Drizzle of honey

Method

Blitz half the berries, peeled banana, milk, egg and flour in a food processor or blender to make a smooth pancake batter. Fold in the remaining berries. Place a large non-stick frying pan on a medium high heat. When hot, put some batter into the frying pan to make large pancakes or small ones. I went for smallish. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side, or until crisp and browned. Jamie suggests flipping them for an additional 30 seconds each side to ensure they are super crispy. This seemed to work for me.

You can serve whole, or slice the pancakes in half so you can see the fruit. Serve with a spoonful or two of yoghurt, a sprinkling of cinnamon, some chopped nuts and a drizzle of honey over the whole lot. Delish.

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Cream Horns

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I love cream horns – an old fashioned treat, full of cream and a smattering of jam.

I wanted to recreate these retro treats, making them a little smaller than the original. I filled them with whipped cream and my homemade berry jam.

Using bought puff pastry and some cone shaped molds, it was really easy! While I agree that making your own puff pastry can be time consuming, I would encourage everyone to make their own jam. I made a quick jam in the time it took to shape and bake the horns, 20 minutes or so. That’s fast, and the beautiful mixed berry jam is so worth it!

And because I love the idea of a “cornucopia” – horn of plenty – I made a large puff pastry horn as well, filling it with berries. A pretty centre piece and you can eat the contents.

The recipe below makes 6 small horns.

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Ingredients

2 sheets of puff pastry partially thawed

Milk for brushing

Caster sugar for dusting

325 mls pure cream

1 quantity mixed berry jam (see recipe below*)

Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C fanforced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the sheets of puff pastry into 2cm wide strips. Spray the molds with non stick spray. Wind the strips of pastry around the mold, starting from the tip. Make sure there is a little overlap with each turn so that the mold is completely covered. It’s really easy to do, especially when the pastry is still cold. Try to get all the joints on the one side, but don’t worry too much, these horns are meant to look little rustic!

Place the horns join side down on the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush with a little milk. Scatter the horns with a little caster sugar. This gives the horns a nice sugary crunch.

Bake for 10- 12 minutes or until the horns are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool before gently sliding the horns from the molds.

Whip the cream until soft peak stage, but not stiff.

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Filling the horns

Spoon or pipe the cream into each horn. Carefully add a teaspoon of berry jam to the cream horn, swirling into the cream or just leaving as is.

Serve with mixed fresh berries and more jam and cream for that extra lusciousness…

*Mixed Berry Jam

Ingredients

250g mixed berries – I used raspberries, blueberries and strawberries

150g sugar

Juice of a lemon

Method

Place the berries in a saucepan and cover with the sugar. Squeeze over the juice of a lemon. Heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When all the sugar is dissolved, boil on a moderate heat until setting point is reached. Mush the berries, if still whole, into a jam like consistency. Take off the stove and allow to cool.

If you want to make the Cornucopia, that’s easy too. Make a cone shape, whatever size you like, using cardboard covered with baking paper. Wind strips of Pampas puff pastry around the mold until completely covered.

Bake on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes in a 200 degree C oven. Cool before removing the mold.

Fill with fruit, flowers or anything else that signifies abundance.

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Mixed Berry Muffins

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Lots of mixed berries make these muffins moist. I varied my usual recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook by adding some ground almonds to the dry ingredients. This gave the muffins a softer texture. Cooking the muffins in flexible silicon molds lined with muffin papers gave the muffins a nice high shape.

Ingredients – Base Mixture

1 and 1/4 cups plain flour + 1/2 cup ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bi-carbonate soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
Demerara sugar for sprinkling on tops of muffins

Mixed Berries

3/4 cup fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced. Line 6 silicon muffin molds with muffin papers. If you don’t have these molds, use an ordinary muffin tin. If you use the muffin papers and three quarters fill them you will get 6 muffins.

Mix the dry ingredients for the base mixture with a spoon in a bowl until well combined.  In another bowl mix the oil, beaten egg and milk.

Gently fold in the mixed berries.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin papers.  Sprinkle the tops with a little demerara sugar for extra crunch. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Remove from the oven – eat  warm or cold.

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Blueberry and Marmalade Cake with Sugared Pecans

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I am revisiting a recipe I posted in 2013. It’s a moist butter cake made even more moist by the addition of sour cream and marmalade.

Blueberries and pecans through the cake give both fruitiness and crunch.

You could easily substitute blackberries for blueberries and either walnuts or almonds for the pecans.

Ingredients
125 gms softened butter

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

2-3 tbls citrus marmalade

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp bicarabonate of soda

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup caster sugar

To serve: a handful of blueberries, a sprinkling of caster sugar (optional) and thick cream.

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C or 150 degrees C fan-forced. Grease a 20cm spring form tin and line base with baking paper.

Cream butter, caster sugar, vanilla paste and eggs in a food processor until thick and pale. Beat in sour cream and cumquat marmalade, reserving a good teaspoonful, then add alternately SR flour and milk in 3 batches. Combine the bicarbonate of soda, remaining marmalade and 1 tsp water in a small bowl, then pulse into the cake mixture.

Spoon into the cake tin using a spatula, then scatter the blueberries (reserving a handful), and chopped pecans over the batter. Lastly sprinkle over the brown sugar, making sure the nuts are well covered. The nuts will caramelise nicely during baking.

Bake for 45 minutes, then gently open oven door and scatter remaining blueberries and caster sugar over cake. This is to ensure that some of the blueberries sit on top of the cake – some will have sunk into the mixture during the initial cooking.

Close oven door and cook for a further 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the tin before unmoulding.

Serve plain or with whipped cream, creme fraiche or sour cream.

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Very Blueberry Cake with Toasted Hazelnuts

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I’m very keen on blueberries at the moment and they are relatively inexpensive at the markets. This cake does blueberries 4 ways! Dried blueberries and fresh blueberries in the batter, blueberry “jam” on top of the cooked cake and more fresh blueberries as a garnish. The cake has quite a nutty taste from the hazelnut meal and the toasted hazelnuts.

It’s a very moist cake too, and is great for dessert.

Ingredients

125 g softened butter

115 g  caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 free-range eggs

1 heaped tbls our cream

3/4 cup hazelnut meal

1/4 cup toasted and finely chopped  hazelnuts

3/4 cups self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 cup milk

30 g dried blueberries, soaked in 1 tblsp of orange liqueur  for a hour or so  (any liqueur will do)

200 g fresh blueberries

1/3 cup caster sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease a 20cm spring form tin and line base with baking paper.

Cream butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract in a food processor.  Add the eggs and process until the mixture is thick and creamy. Beat in the sour cream.  Sift the hazelnut meal with the chopped hazelnuts,  SR flour and bicarbonate of soda. Stir the sifted ingredients into the mixture with a spoon, then stir in the milk.

Gently fold in the soaked dried blueberries and half of the fresh blueberries.  Spoon into the cake tin using a spatula.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the remaining blueberries and caster sugar with 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved, the blueberries are slightly softened and the liquid slightly reduced. You can gently press on the blueberries with the back of spoon or the bottom of a cup to help them release their juices.

Cool the cake completely in the tin before unmolding. Pile the blueberry “jam” onto the top of the cake.

Serve with more fresh berries and a sprinkling of sugar if desired, and serve with creme fraiche or sour cream, which offsets the incredible sweetness of this cake.

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