We needed some treats for our biscuit barrel so that was the subject for today’s Cakes & Bakes… but which kind of biscuit?
Justin started reminiscing about Gypsy Creams – and commenting on the fact that they seem to have disappeared from the shops. I have to admit that growing up in Trinidad, I’d never heard of Gypsy Creams – but they certainly sounded good enough to try.
My numerous baking books didn’t offer a single recipe, but fortunately I found one available online.
They incorporate flour, butter, oats, golden syrup and most importantly chocolate. Two crisp biscuity layers sandwich a moist chocolate buttercream layer.
Apparently coconut can be added to the recipe too. These are often called Romany Creams, but Justin thinks that the packet Gypsy Creams from his youth had something ‘coconutty’ about them.
I have to say that they’re absolutely delicious – and are now a firm favourite of mine having missed out for nearly 50 years!
Fig, almond and walnut loaf
- 100g/3½oz dried figs
- 100ml/3½ fl oz water
- 60g/2oz walnuts
- 175g/6oz ground almonds
- 3 large eggs
- 80g/3oz melted coconut oil or unsalted butter
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt
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- Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
- Line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
- Roughly chop the figs and add them with the water to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer gently until most of the water is absorbed
- Blitz the figs in a food processor until they form a coarse paste
- Add the ground almonds and process again until damp crumbs form
- Add the walnuts and salt and process again briefly until they're coarsely chopped. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat eggs and bicarbonate of soda with an electric hand whisk until frothy
- Whilst still beating, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil/butter in a thin stream and continue beating until the eggs are pale, thick and doubled in volume
- Sprinkle vinegar over the eggs and beat briefly to distribute evenly. Work quickly as the vinegar will activate the bicarbonate of soda
- Tip the nut mixture onto the eggs and fold in thoroughly with a metal spoon until the nuts are evenly distributed
- Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean. Give the loaf more time to bake and perhaps turn the temperature down if it browns too fast
- Cool on a wire rack before eating
- You can store the loaf in an air-tight container in a cool place for up to 3 days - or slice & freeze for up to 2 weeks
Adapted from River Cottage
Adapted from River Cottage
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
You only need a short break to make this traditional Scottish shortbread as it takes about 15 minutes preparation and a mere twenty minutes or so in the oven. Delicious, home-made buttery biscuits in less than an hour. It also gives us the opportunity to use some of our favourite household objects.
The first is this lovely vintage wooden shortbread mould. It makes the perfect-sized round to last a couple of days with just a nice, simple touch of decoration around the edge.
The second object is this gorgeous vintage 1960s Jacob’s biscuit tin. We really love the stylised thistle decoration made up of various Scottish tartans – and the biscuit round fits perfectly inside.
And last but not least, a favourite spotty mug – filled with strong afternoon tea of course – the perfect accompaniment!
Here’s the Scottish shortbread recipe we published last year if you fancy giving it a try.
This fabulous vintage biscuit barrel featured in our recent ‘Forthcoming Attractions: mid-June’ post.
What an amazing, psychedelic landscape!
The range is called Country Lane and it was designed by Robin Cody for Crown Devon Pottery.
There’s something very homely and comforting about a nice biscuit container – especially a full one!! The smell when you open it up and the treats held within!
We’re currently using tins designed by Sanna Annuka for Marks & Spencer to store ours.
We’ve sold some lovely examples over the past couple of years – they’re always steady sellers…
…and here’s a link to all the biscuit barrels, tins, pots & jars currently in the H is for Home shop
Marks and Spencer are selling these Christmas biscuit selections…
…with gorgeous tins designed by Sanna Annuka.
Future classics with their vintage Scandinavian folk art feel.
She was responsible for this Swiss biscuit tin last Christmas – it’s currently changing hands for £15-£20… without the biscuits!
We’ve bought ours early this year – they’re sure to be popular again.
We’ll be giving a few tins as presents – but some will have to go under our own tree!!
They’ve also got a butter shortbread tin with a sweet little Scottie dog on the front.
We recently posted a blog featuring illustrations by Miroslav Sasek – we don’t know who designed this tin – but it also has a vintage feel is very reminiscent of his work.
Here are the actual illustrations from the book…
…published in 1961.
It’s not only going to be a tin-tastic Christmas in our house – looks like it’s going to be biscuit-tastic too!
We think this is a future classic… having said that, it probably already is!
This biscuit tin was sold through Marks & Spencer only this Christmas gone. They’re already being resold for £15-£20 (without the Swiss biscuits!).
It’s a special commemorative tin celebrating 125 years of Marks & Spencer. It was designed by Sanna Annukka. She’s half English and half Finnish – and the illustration has a real vintage Scandinavian feel.
It reminds us of this original 1960s travel poster we had framed to display in our Picture House Antiques centre pitch.
Not only the general style, but also the landscapes and even the colours.
The poster entitled Carefree by Coach is signed by ‘Bigg’. We have to confess, we’ve not been able to find out anything about him or her… but it’s a fantastic illustration.
We might have been tempted to pack a flask & sandwiches… and hop on board for our ‘carefree’ trip through the countryside!