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3 June 2014

My own recipe

for my final assessment on cooking, i decided to make something fair trade. i decided on making an energy bar, inspired by the health bars called "nakd". All my family love them and always have them after something tiring or when they need an energy boost, my mum has them with a nice cuppa tea! i thought i'd share the recipe and wondered if you could all try making them and give me feedback on how i could improve! its uses lots of fairtrade ingredients, if you are all for that!! Ingredients: 500g of dried fruit- (i have made several combinations but the best so far has been dried apple, mango, figs and dates!) 1 big banana or 2 small ones 200g oats 1) Preheat the oven at 170 fan oven. 2) Blitz all the dried fruit and oats together until smooth. 3) Add the banana and mix in with oat and fruit mixture. 4) Now, you may want to bake for 10-15 mins and then cut into slices. but i like to mould the mixture with fun shapes in cookie cutters and then bake until firm but not to crunchy, a bit like a frusili, if you have ever heard or had them! These bars are brilliant because they are easy, fun, energising, tasty and great for the chance to use local fruits, nuts and seeds! ENNNJOOOYY! please try them and leave comments! what flavours did you try?! :) my other flavours have been currants, sultanas, cranberries, almonds, walnuts and whole pumpkin seeds. I did do another, but i have forgotten! very sorry! I'm thinking of doing a bakewell style bar with cherries, ground almonds and almond essence and fresh, pressed raspberries, instead of banana!
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3 May 2014

Increasing food efficiency - having your cake and eating the leftovers too

Currently I am practicing macaron recipes in preparation for a friends wedding at the end of May. For a day of celebration that is every bit in their character we are going to be partying in a Yurt somewhere south of the city with no wedding cake, but a tower of biscuits and cookies supplied by the guests! I once made macarons for a friend several years ago with a perfect turn out (if I say so myself) on my very first try. Now, two attempts in, and I've still got cracked domes, hollow shells, and too much buttercream filling (quelle horreur!)... BUT, this makes for an interesting conversation about food efficiency. Macaron shells are essentially meringues that require only egg whites, almonds, and sugar, leaving behind a good deal of unused egg yolk. Stuck with what to do about this I researched the fillings for macarons. A traditional buttercream filling is just that, creamed butter with powdered sugar; however, if I had taken this route I would have been left with a bowl full of egg yolks that I would inevitably put in the fridge and forget about. Instead, I found a recipe for French buttercream filling (apparently a variation on Italian buttercream filling, who knew?) that involves warming egg yolks with sugar over a bowl of simmering water and then whipping with soft butter. The result is a glorious (and, of course, dangerously calorific) bowl of thick, shining buttercream - the perfect filling for macarons. Having said this it transpires that if you use 6 egg whites to create your macarons, 6 egg yolks will make roughly two times as much buttercream as you need to fill them (hence my over-filling issues).On my second attempt this left me with 3 egg yolks doomed to a short life on the top shelf of the fridge before a swift slide into the trashcan afterlife. But all is not lost, since if you happen to be making these close to, or on, the weekend as I do, you can turn those egg yolks into a homemade Hollandaise sauce by similarly whisking over a bowl of hot water until they thicken before taking off the heat and whisking in some melted butter. Pour over poached eggs and bacon for a Benedictine breakfast! And remember to put your egg shells into food waste recycling, whether that's your own or the council collection service (you can request one for free here http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/bins-recycling-and-street-cleaning/order-new-bins-boxes-and-nets).
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