Lemon and Poppy seed cookies


(Audio description above for those who need it!)


I enjoyed making these, they were dead cute and tasted really nice! I hope you enjoy making them yourself.

Ingredients

  • 100g soft unsalted butter
  • 30g Icing Sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 175g of Plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon of Baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds

Method

Place the soft Butter and Icing Sugar in the bowl of your mixer, and cream them together using with the paddle attachment for at least 5 minutes on medium speed. You will know it is done when it goes nice and pale and fluffy.

Add the egg yokes 1 at a time. Do not worry too much if they curdle slightly at this point. They will bake fine.

Add your lemon zest and your juice.

Sift in the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt. Now mix until the dough starts to come together, stopping to scrap the edges of the bowl if you need to, then add the Poppy Seeds.

Transfer the dough over onto a lightly flour surface and bring it together into a ball and gently press on it to flatten it. Cover with a sheet of baking paper and roll into the desired thickeness with a rolling pin.

Now, try and put the flattened dough onto the baking sheet cover with another one covering it, so it’s like a baking sheet sandwich. Let it chill for 15 mins in the fridge.

Preheat the oven on 160’C/325’F.

Remove the top sheet of baking paper and transfer to a lightly floured work surface and use a Cookie Cutter to shape the shortbread.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cookies, or until the edges start to turn golden brown.

And that’s it! Very easy and doesn’t take all that long to make. Let me know how your cookies turned out!

Italy 2018, Part 2

So here is part 2 of our Italy series, I hope you enjoy!

Part one is here: Part 1

Day 5

15th June

Today we travelled to the city of Naples. I personally, wasn’t a massive fan of the city but I know others who have visited and said they enjoyed their experience.

This city is situated between two areas of volcanic activity: Mount Vesuvius to the east and the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields) to the northwest. Naples was bombed heavily during WW2 with it being quite a big port. In modern times, even though it is not the port it used to be, this city remains to be the centre of the nation’s southern commerce and culture.

On the way through Naples, we actually got an excellent view of Mt Vesuvius in the distance.

Click the link for the first short video: https://youtu.be/MuA7BxysWZ0

We travelled through Naples to get to the place called Sorrento. Sorrento is known for its love of lemons, and its absolutely stunning cliffside views of the bay that looks out over Naples.

We stayed at the hotel Michelangelo. We had a lovely relaxing evening in the Italian sun listening to the hustling and bustling sounds of Sorrento.

Day 6

16th June

The next morning we had a lovely breakfast to prepare for our day and then we set out onto the street! We set off in the direction of some limoncello shops. We stopped off at one and the guy was doing shots with the customers, who knows how many that guy had had before we’d gotten there.

Limoncello is a liqueur made in Italy, mainly the southern part of Italy, that uses Lemon zest. It is made particularly in Sorrento, Capri, and along the Amalfi Coast, so do not be surprised when you visit and find shops selling just Limoncello. It’s made by steeping lemon zest in highly concentrated vodka until oil is released, then mixing the resulting yellow liquid with simple syrup. I recommend trying it when you are there, the flavours are amazing!

We visited a farm which made Limoncello, they even made different flavours such as Mandarin and Liquorice. It was beautiful, and walking around with the owner of the farm, you could really see how much farming meant to him, the way he looked at his produce with joy. It delighted him to show others his hard work and wanted them to enjoy it too!

DAY 7

17th June

Our new tour guide Laura, (pronounced Low-ra), took us to visit Positano on the Amalfi coast. It was gorgeous! The sea was glistening and all of the coast line was gleaming. All the different colours of the various houses, blues, yellows and oranges.

Visit this link to see the video slideshow: https://youtu.be/FxJ269fm6eg.

We could see he coastline for miles and miles. Sometimes, the road would narrow a little and if you looked straight down through the window of the bus, you could see the jagged rocks below. It was often more than a 60ft drop the the sea from the road we were on!

On our way home, we travelled through the mountains. We came to a place called Ravello, (Picture 1). It was an adorable little village that overlooked Positano and the Amalfi coast. As you can see, we had a breath taking view of the coastline!

“When we got back to the hotel, I was shattered”

16 year old me

Comfort food!

(Recipe included for Allotment pie)

Why do we have comfort food? What is comfort food? When I searched for the definition of what comfort food is, it came up with this:

It is usually a food that provides a feeling of well-being, typically having a high sugar or carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.

This would make sense because it is food associated with the security of childhood, when you were young, had no worries and had someone looking after you. In fact, that is the main reason why, when under extreme emotional stress, adults turn to food for comfort. It brings back memories of when they didn’t have to worry about anything.

Comfort food is food that provides a nostalgic or sentimental value to someone, this nostalgic affect created when eating your favourtite comfort food may be specific to an individual, or it may apply to a specific culture

The food that you eat when in those circumstances, (comfort food), are believed to be a great coping mechanism for rapidly soothing negative feelings. The interesting thing is that the food that is considered ‘comfort food’ varies from country to country. For example, comfort food for Britain include: Cottage pie, Beef stew with dumplings, rice pudding (my comfort food), Custard, Bangers and mash, and Jam Roly-Poly.

You can’t beat a lovely tasty and filling and meal on a cold and damp day, and my own recipe of Allotment pie is just that! This is a warm and satisfying food, and in these cold and foggy December days, you need something that just hits the spot…

Allotment pie

(Great for freezing)

Serves: 6 people

Preparation: 30 minutes Cook: 1 Hour 55 minutes

(This meal happens to be vegetarian but can be easily adapted to accommodate meat)

For the filling, the ingredients you will need:

  • 50 grams’ butter
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 4 carrots diced small
  • 1 head of celery chopped
  • 4 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 150 grams’ pack chestnut mushroom, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 500 grams’ pre-cooked lentils,
  • 1.7l of vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 150 grams soya mince

For the topping, you will need:

  • 2 kg potato
  • 85 grams butter
  • 100 millitlitres milk
  • 150 grams cheddar, grated

Method:

  1. To make the sauce, heat the butter in a pan, then gently fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic for 15 mins until soft and golden. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms, then cook for 4 mins more. Stir in the herbs, then add the lentils. Pour over the wine and stock – it’s important that you do not season with salt at this stage. Add the soya mince. Now season to taste, take off heat, then stir in the tomato purée.
  2. Tip the potatoes into a pan of water, then boil for about 15 minutes until tender. Drain well, mash with the butter and milk, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. To assemble the pies, divide the filling mixture between the dishes that you are using, then top with the fluffy mash. Scatter over the cheese, heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5, then bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden.
  4. Enjoy!

Allotment pie is a very useful dish for using up a glut of vegetables, or it’s been a long day and it’s your turn to cook that day and you don’t want to make something complicated, but something warm and tasty. I really enjoyed making this dish and it definitely warms you up. I hope you enjoy making it just as much has I did!

Bacon, Brie and Cranberry sauce Palmiers


(Audio reading available for those above who find that easier than reading)


So restrictions have now been updated in the UK, meaning that we now can have 6 people in our garden. Having people round for association means a perfect opportunity to get baking! Shout out to Delicious Table who gave me this idea with their recipe.

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Ingredients

• 1 Sheet of Puff Pastry

• 7 ounces of Brie at room temperature. Depending on preferences, you can either remove the rind or keep it on. I personally removed my rind.

•½ Crispy Bacon bits.

• 2 Tablespoons of cranberry sauce, any brand

Recipe

  1. You need to preheat the oven to 200°c.
  2. Making sure it doesn’t rip, unfold the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface.
  3. Using a spoon, evenly blob cranberry sauce on the pastry, then use the back of the spoon smooth to spread it all about.
  4. Now, sprinkle your bacon and your brie all over, making sure every centimetre has a fair share of the brie and bacon goodness.
  5. Start rolling from each side, gently squeezing as you go, making sure it is nice and tight. Roll until both sides meet in the middle.
  6. Then, cover with clingfilm or greaseproof paper and let the roll relax in the fridge for 15 mins. This means it will be easier when you come to start cutting it.
  7. Once it has been properly chilled, take it out and start slicing it with a small serrated knife. It makes it easier if you first cut it in half and then slice those halves into quarters.
  8. Place the slices onto a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper. Bake for 10 to 15 mins until gloriously golden!

Great thing about these are they can either be eaten warm or cold! I hope you enjoy. Comment below how your Palmiers turned out x

Peanut butter thins

I know that whenever I have made these cookies they have always been a massive hit and it is rare that they last 4 days. Sadly, I have a nut allergy so I am not able to scoff them but it is safe enough for me to make them. I hope you enjoy making them and eating them yourself. Please comment down below what you thought of them!

Peanut butter thins

Makes: 23     Baking time: 30 minutes

Enjoy these thins whenever. Why not, as a variation, put a peanut in the middle or a chocolate drop.

 

Ingredients:

115g butter

1 teaspoon baking powder

115g peanut butter (obviously)

1teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

140g caster sugar

115g rolled oats

50g light muscovado sugar, (Warmed up in the microwave for 10 seconds)

1 beaten egg

1 teaspoon salt

100g sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon almond essence

Method

  1. Mix the butter, peanut butter. Castor sugar, muscovado sugar together. Add the beaten egg, vanilla and almond essence too. Preheat the oven to 140C.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt into the mix and blend well. Then add the oats.
  3. Grab a small handful of the dough, roll it into a ball then cut it in half. Roll both halves into balls, place onto a greaseproof tray and flatten a little with the back of a spoon. Do this until none of the mix is left in the bowl.
  4. Put them into the pre-heated oven for 30minutes on the middle shelf. Keep checking on them. When baked, leave them on the tray for 5mins before moving them onto a cooling rack, otherwise they may break in half. Replay this step until all thins have been naked.

Let me know in the comment section below what your cookies turned out like! Feedback welcome!

Italy 2018, Part 1

Audio reading: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2RjXDLWcgyT2LpceujMN9x

So three years ago me and my family took a coach holiday and toured around Italy. If you don’t know what a coach holiday is, it is a holiday where you get on a fancy bus with 30 to 40 strangers and spend either a week or 2 with them staying at different places. It can either be a living hell or it can be fun! This holiday back in 2018 was a fantastic holiday and lasted 11 days, touring all over the place.

My mum, in preparation for this holiday, made each of us 5 a journal to write in each day. It had a schedule of the days, where we were going, doing and staying. It also contained a handy little phrase page so if we needed to find a loo or the nearest restaraunt we could refer to it and ask a local Italian.

16 year old me wrote extensively in this little journal, sticking postcards, bus tickets, train tickets and even ferry tickets in this thing making it look like a little scrap book of memories. I thank my younger self because I now have a very detailed account of what we got up to…of which I’ll share with you now in a 3 part series.

DAY 1

11th June

We had an early 5AM start, ( pahah can’t believe I used to think that 5am was early), and the taxi came at 6am to the house and it took us to Liverpool John Lennon airport. We rushed around to get our luggage ckecked and my nan had to have a pat down. We then sat down in a comfy lounge and waited what felt like forever for us to be called for departure. We were finally called to gate 3 for the Ryanair flight to Rome!

When we landed after flying for 5 hours, the company we were travelling with were waiting for us and took us to Pinewoods hotel. We spent the rest of the day basking in the warm Italian sunshine and unpacking.

Day 2

12th June

The coach driver took us into Rome and parked somewhere near The Vatican City. Little bit of interesting information about The Vatican City. It is a city-state surrounded by Rome, and it is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It’s home to the Pope and a treasure trove of iconic art and architecture, for example in the Sistine Chapel, there are the beautiful frescoes such the famed “Laocoön and His Sons” as well as the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling.

The tour guide took us to a place called Caffè San Pietro in the Vatican and told us that this would be the meeting point for that day later on. Some went into the Vatican but we decided to do a little exploring of our own on our first proper day in Rome.

We decided to visit many places such as: Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Navona, Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, Trevi Foundation and the Spanish Steps.

DAY 3

13th June

A guide called Rita took us on a tour around different parts of the city, such as the Roman Forum, The Constantine Arch and the famed Colosseum. We also went into the Pantheon. The Pantheon is a big monument that is one of the best preserved ancient buildings in the world. It is truly beautiful if you get to visit. Now here comes the tasty bit hehe. Rita the tour guide took us around different areas tasting coffee and tiramasu.

The Sant ‘Eustachio Il Caffe goes all the way back too the 1800s, and is a stones throw away from Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. From their website, they have said of their history: “ Since 1999 the restaurant is owned by the Ricci brothers, who keep the tradition intact with the first goal of always serving a quality product, using organic and fair trade coffee, coming from sloow food principals, for a fine blend of 100% Arabica coffee. imported directly from South America.

I can honestly say it is some of the best coffee I have ever tasted and it was made even better recieving it from the hands of the experts.

Next up: Tiramisu! Ria took us to a prestige Tiramisu shop called Pompi. The Italian Pompi family is the sole owner of the brand and the company, keeping alive the passion of Giuliano Pompi, the founder of Pompi. it was founded 60 years ago when Giuliano opened a small dairy making icecream. Fast forward to modern day and they have been satisyfying many with their sweet treats. My tiramisu was Strawberry and cream! Very nice!

DAY 4

14th June

Now on this certain day of our holiday we went and visited the markets. These markets were so interesting to visit as they were so full of life. You had people bartering all over the shop with different market stallholders, family heads shopping for food with their family and young children. Stall holders shouting out deals for their wares. So bustling with life. I cannot help but think how much those communities have suffered during Covid with so many dying in the towns and cities.

https://www.romeing.it/food-markets-in-rome/

We made our way to the Roman Forum, but sadly we were rained off as a flood of rain came upon us. This site is located at the center of the ancient city of Rome and it was the the location of important religious, political and social activities. In modern day times it is now a massive tourist attraction that millions of people visit every year.

Even though we weren’t able to go and see the Roman Forum in person, we were able to peer in from the pavements around the ancient site.

…and that is a wrap on part 1! Next part is about our journey through Naples and the beautiful Sorrento! I hope you enjoyed reading this. It has been fun researching the places we visted those years ago and sharing my expericnce with you. Part 2 will be up soon so make sure you follow my blog to recieve an notification. Take care!

Part 2: https://talithastravels.com/2021/04/15/italy-2018-part-2/

Indian cuisine!

(Photo from my Instagram)

When you investigate into the food of India, it’s plain to see that there is no stereotypical Indian food, as it varies from region to region. For example, the cuisine in Kerala is different to that of Gujarati. What is grown in the area has a big influence on cuisine, but religion also plays a big part in it also!

In Gujarati, food culture is dominated by the main religion: Jainism. Jainism is a religion that regards all life as so sacred that every dish is vegetarian, and is made without anything that grows below in the ground, such as garlic and onion. Staple foods in Gujarati consist of Rice, buttermilk and pickles. For the people in Gujarati, they get the majority of their carbohydrate, daily intake from rice, whereas those who live in Britain get theirs from bread, potatoes and the like.

Did you know that Kerala is the home of pepper, turmeric and cardamom? Due to large spice ports on the Arabian Sea, Arab,Jewish and oriental traders travel from all over India to Kerala, and have done for hundreds of years.

Chicken Jalfrezi

Did you know: ‘Jal’ means pungently spicy and ‘frezi’ means ‘stir fry’

Origin

Jalfrezi is a popular type of Indian cuisine that involves frying marinated chunks of meat, fish or vegetables in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce.

In South Asia, chicken jalfrezi is considered an Indian Chinese, as it has a mix of Chinese and Indian cooking techniques used in its preparation.

Jalfrezi was created because people didn’t want to waste leftover food from the meal the previous day. It’s likely it was created by Muslims as this would have deeply displeased the Hindus.

Here’s what you’ll need it:

  • 1 large bottled red pepper
  • 2 onions, 1 chopped the other sliced
  • 30grams root ginger chopped
  • 230grams chopped tomatoes
  • 700grams diced chicken, {Or vegetables}
  • Fresh or dried coriander
  • 4 large Garlic cloves
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper sliced
  • 2tablespoon Ga ram masala
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree.
  • 1 chicken stock cube

How to make it:

  1. Put bottled red pepper, chopped onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor and blend until it’s smooth.
  2. Spray a large frying pan; add the sliced onions and peppers fry for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the pepper puree along with spices, spices, chopped tomatoes, stock cube and 350ml of water; simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the chunks or meat or vegetables and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Stir through chopped coriander, fresh or dried, and taste to adjust the seasoning if needed.
  6. Plate up and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy giving this recipe a try as it’s super tasty and quick to make. Comment down below what yummy food you’d like to see on here and I’ll see what I can do!

(I try to make sure my information is correct but I might occasionally get something wrong so please forgive me!)

The perfect chocolate chip cookies!

Biscuits are amazing. Everyone loves an odd biscuit now and then, with maybe a cup of coffee, tea or even milk. I have a recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookies that will make your mouth water. They’re so incredibly easy to make, and they don’t take long in the oven, so when you have a cookie craving, you can have them in minutes; that’s my type of biscuit!

Where did biscuits originate from and when?

The earliest biscuit style cakes were made back in 7th century Persia A.D. (now Iran), which was one of the first countries to cultivate sugar. The name cookie is derived from the Dutch word koekje, meaning small or little cake.

As people started to explore the globe, biscuits became the ideal traveling food, because they stayed fresh for long periods of time. It was a portable food that had a long storage life and was perfect for traveling.

What are they called around the world?

In America, this “small cake” are called cookies and are called biscuits in England and Australia. In Spain they’re galletas. Germans call them keks, and in Italy there are several names to identify various forms of biscuits including amaretti and biscotti and many more. Biscuit comes from the Latin word bis coctum, which means, “twice baked.”

These Chocolate chip biscuits make a good companion on a plate with those peanut butter thins. But that’s not the best thing about them. These crunchy chocolate chip biscuits are low in calories, and so cheap to make. And they freeze brilliantly for whenever your cookie needs arise again.

img_20160727_160441
Chocolate chip cookies!!

Baking time: 12minutes

Ingredients:

60g butter

60ml oil

150g sugar,

1 free range egg,

240g plain flour

Half a tsp bicarb,

200g chocolate, chopped

  1. First dice your butter and leave it to come to room temperature, or pop it into a microwave-safe bowl and ping for 10 seconds to cheat it. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together with a fork or wooden spoon.
  3. Add the oil and the egg and mix thoroughly. Now the bicarb. Now the flour to form a dough, and mix well. Fold through the chocolate chips.
  4. Lightly grease a baking tray. Add golf-ball sized pieces of dough, flatten slightly with the prongs of a fork, and place very far apart as they will flatten and spread as they cook.
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 12 minutes or until the edges are golden. Remove from the oven and just like the thins, allow to cool for a few minutes before moving.

Enjoy!