#figbarathome : Sour Cherry Red Wine Brownies

#figbarathome : Sour Cherry Red Wine Brownies

One thing that cannot be denied is that dark chocolate and red wine are a match made in heaven. So why does it seem so counter-intuitive to put them together in a recipe? These brownies are deep-dark chocolate with a punch from the sour cherries, and the wine cuts through the sweetness to introduce their tartness, and it's just perfection. To make these even more appealing, we've gone and made them gluten-free! Play around with the different coconut flour brands as some are a bit more refined than others. You won't get the flavour of coconut by using it in this recipe as it's quite a small amount!, but you can get the desiccated coconut texture with some varieties. Feel free to use plain flour if you aren't gluten-free as well.

As an extra bonus, take note of Steph's top-secret bolognese wine-pairing secret: cook with the same wine you serve to guarantee the pairing.  Because we can suggest that as the option here too. :-) That, or use up the bottle from a few nights ago that you don't want to drink but also don't want to waste. We always advocate to only cook with wine that you would drink for the same reason that we always advocate using the best quality chocolate that you can find or afford. It will elevate your recipes, and your tastebuds will thank you for it! :-) 

 

Sour Cherry Red Wine Brownies (gluten-free!)

Ingredients:

120g butter

150g dark chocolate chips (plus extra for top)

125g light brown sugar

200g caster sugar

70g cocoa powder

3 eggs

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

65ml red wine

30g coconut flour

150g sour cherries

Method:

1)   Pre-heat oven 165°C. Grease 8x8 inch pan and set aside.

2)   In a medium saucepan over medium heat, begin to melt the butter to brown, stirring gently. It will be ready when it gets little reddish flecks and begins to turn brown in colour with an aromatic nutty scent. (NB from Chef Jaime: play around a bit with this step if you haven’t browned butter before. You can take the butter lighter or darker and it will change the flavour. Just be careful not to burn it as it can change quite quickly!). Remove from heat.

3)   Add the dark chocolate chips to the browned butter and stir until chocolate is entirely melted into the butter and mixed together.

4)   In the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, and cocoa powder until combined. While on a medium speed, slowly pour the butter-chocolate mixture and whisk until well combined. It may look grainy.

5)   Add all 3 eggs at once and whisk again until glossy.

6)   Add salt, vanilla extract, red wine, and coconut flour and whisk again until just combined, being careful not to overmix.

7)   Fold in half of the sour cherries to the batter.

8)   Pour the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining sour cherries evenly across the top. If desired, sprinkle extra chocolate chips evenly across the top.

9)   Bake 35-40 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

10)  Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

#figbarcookbookclub : #RECIPESHORTS

#figbarcookbookclub : #RECIPESHORTS

I cannot help but love a good gimmick, and so this book jumped straight off the shelves and into my arms. I am so so glad that it did. Hot pink spine, bright orange cover, and every recipe guaranteed to fit into a 140 character tweet. I was sold. #RECIPESHORTS by Andrea Stewart is a go to favourite from our bookshelf because of the sheer joy of reading a recipe that concise. Though seemingly simple, I will warn you that this book isn't for those new to the kitchen (as you'll see in the recipe we've made below) because certain instructions just won't fit into the 140 character limit (for example, how high of heat or what to 'whiz' with, or even how to serve). There are a few cheats on the pages (as seen below "garnish with fresh lime"), little boxes that add a bit of extra info to the tweetable recipe, but I just consider it a reply from another user and call it a day :-)

You'll find breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, snacks, and sides. All relatively simple (only so many ingredients fit in 140 characters). There are beautiful pictures, strong typeface, and all around social media happiness. A great range of recipes that simply work. You'll also find a glossary for the inevitable abbreviations (I'm getting too old for text speak tbh <--- see what I did there? ;-)), so it's also a cool way to cook and keep up with the kids these days (without aging myself too much, but srsly, the new grammar and text is cray). 

As an aside, part of what I adore about this book is how it highlights the movement of the English language so beautifully. It's absolutely fascinating that we are able to watch the morphing and changing of our language in real time through social media. It's even more interesting that we are able to see the progression of emotion into print. For example, using a full-stop to answer a text question shows a bit of agitation and and indication that the conversation is over: "yes.".  Meanwhile answering the text "yes" without punctuation is a simple answer. There now are new uses for the ellipsis to encourage completion of thought: a reply like "OK..." instead of "OK".

I LOVE THIS STUFF SO MUCH! I could go on and on, but instead, the recipe from the talented Andrea Stewart.

 

SW.POT PNUT SOUP

Sweat 1 chop'd onion,1Tgrlic w/2t garam masala, +600g sw.pot&300g carrots &1.2L chix stock. Whiz w/60g pnut butt. S&P

(text box: garnish with fresh lime. Serves 4-6.)

 

THAT'S IT! Genius. (also... so.deliciously.good!) #dinnersorted

(n.b from Chef Jaime: Pictured here is our home go-to super simple easy flatbread recipe mentioned in the Hugh post with a variation from flatbread to crouton. 1 to 1 self-rising spelt flour to greek yogurt. Spoon drop balls of batter about 1 tsp in size into hot veg oil to fry till crispy. Scatter on top of the soup. Note reply from Steph- how did Andrea Stewart do it!? We couldn't even make a recipe with 2 ingredients that we've written here before fit in 140 characters! Go buy this book.). 

#figbarathome : Island Banana Bread

#figbarathome : Island Banana Bread

When I (Steph) was growing up, my mom used to make banana bread once every week or two. She'd bake it at night, and then she would allow it to cool under tea towels until breakfast in the morning. When I finally was gifted her recipe for my own, I shouldn't have been surprised to discover it was actually banana cake that we were lucky enough to eat for breakfast smothered in butter and honey. I have taken this entirely to mean: if we cook it in a loaf tin, we can call it bread and eat it for breakfast. 

This recipe is originated with my mother's, but Chef's jazzed it up to bring a bit of summer and brightness... and if we throw in extra fruit, we can definitely call it breakfast, right?

 

Island Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1 banana, mashed

250g self-raising flour

225g sour cream

115g coconut oil, melted

200g caster sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

The juice of 1 lime (about 1 Tbsp)

25g desiccated coconut

60g chia seeds

500g frozen mango, defrosted and drained

for top: flaked coconut, chia seeds, and sliced banana

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Butter and flour 2 loaf tins (or cake tins if you like, I used one loaf tin- for breakfast and one small 6-inch cake tin, for slices with my cuppa. The only variation to watch out for is the cooking time).

2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except desiccated coconut, chia seeds, and mango. Once combined, fold in desiccated coconut, chia seeds, and mango until even throughout.

3. Pour mixture into prepared tins about 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle the top with flaked coconut and chia seeds and decorate with sliced banana. 

4. Cook at 160C for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes (loaf tin). (nb: the 6-inch cake tin took 40 minutes in our home oven. Our recommendation would be to check every 10-20 minutes by inserting a sharp knife or cake tester. When the cake is cooked, the knife should come out clean).  

5. Allow to rest 10 minutes, then gently tip from loaf tin onto a cooling rack.

6. Serve slightly warm with butter or at room temperature (also with butter if you like! Or honey... or nutella... or maple syrup... or more banana!). 

#figbarcookbookclub : The French Laundry

#figbarcookbookclub : The French Laundry

We have a love of cookbooks; some may even call it an addiction to them. They are such a fascinating insight to the minds of Chefs, the creativity of different cooks, and the inside running of restaurants. When Chef Jaime and I eat at different restaurants, we tend to collect it's cookbook for our collection. After we had one of the top meals of our life at Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York City, we obtained his cookbook for his first restaurant The French Laundry. 

This beautiful book is a fine selection of images, recipes, and knowledge. It shows passion and participation in every process of the creation of a beautiful dish. The simplicity of the dishes is surprising, but it's the care and time that goes into every element that truly makes this collection of recipes phenomenal when you make them. Rest assured, none of these dishes will be ones you can make without dedicating a full day (or even weekend) to, but each bite will be worth the time and effort.

It can be a bit daunting to pick up a recipe from a chef the caliber of Thomas Keller (fangirling a bit- he's incredible), but the instructions throughout this book are detailed, thorough, and thoughtful. It absolutely does take time and patience to create these dishes, but they are achievable in your home kitchen. Sometimes special equipment is needed (an ice cream machine, for example), but generally not. We chose to highlight a lobster dish from this book (mostly because, yes please lobster every time!). You can see from the recipe it won't be repeatable here, as you have to refer back to other recipes to make it (I'll include where other recipes are found throughout the book with page numbers in the ingredients list itself if you are able to pick up a copy). You can get a good sense of this book's simplicity and an understanding of how this collection of recipes works by reading through it, and I hope it encourages you to peruse a copy or try it for yourself!  

 

"Macaroni and Cheese" 

Makes 6 Servings 

Ingredients:

2 cups creamy Lobster Broth (page 35)

1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

2 Tablespoons mascarpone

Kosher salt

Three 1 1/2-2-pound lobsters, "Steeped" and meat removed (see page 124; reserve knuckle meat for another use)

1 1/2 cups Beurre Monte (page 135)

1 Tablespoon minced chives

Coral oil (page 167, in a squeeze bottle)

6 Parmesan crisps (page 37)

 

Method:

Place the lobster broth in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the broth to a sauce consistency; you should have 1 to 1.25 cups. Set aside in the pan.

Cook the orzo in boiling lightly salted water until just tender. Drain the cooked pasta in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Shake the strainer to remove excess water and add the orzo to the lobster broth.

To Complete: If the lobster pieces have been refrigerated, bring them to room temperature.

Heat the orzo and lobster broth to a simmer. Add the mascarpone and season with salt to taste. Let simmer for a minute, then remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.

Meanwhile, place the lobster pieces in one layer in a large saucepan. Pour in the beurre monte: the lobster should be almost covered. Heat gently to warm the lobster.

Stir the chives into the orzo. Pipe a 2-inch circle of coral oil in the centre of each serving dish. Place about 1/3 cup of orzo in the center of the oil, allowing it to spread the oil out into a larger circle. Arrange a piece of lobster tail and a claw in the center of the orzo and top each serving with a Parmesan crips. 

#figbarathome : peanut butter cornflake bars

#figbarathome : peanut butter cornflake bars

We love a good mixing project in our household, and this non-bake one keeps our kiddos mixing until the sweets are ready to eat! We generally like to make every element of our treats, but for home cooking it's also nice to use what we have around the house (and things we just love to eat). Crunchy Nut Cornflakes are definitely a favourite. When I (Steph) first moved to England, I picked up a box because they claimed to be "moorishly good". Now, I don't think it says that on the box anymore, but at the time, I'd never heard the word "moorish" (we don't have it in American English), and it peaked my interest. Best decision I ever made.

This recipe combines a lot of loves: crunchy nut, dark chocolate. peanut butter, and honey, alongside a little homemade peanut brittle (my grandfather's favourite). It's pretty simple to make, but does require some patience between each layer while it sets. But that leaves plenty of time for mixing of the next layer, which my children definitely appreciate (those two could mix all day!).

These are super rich and sweet, and definitely moorish. That old ad campaign is still working it's magic!

Peanut Butter Cornflake Bars

Ingredients:

200g caster sugar

90g whole roasted peanuts

400g good quality dark chocolate chips (you'll use 200g x 200g for different layers)

60g + 1 Tbsp runny honey  

150g crunchy nut cornflakes (NB from Chef: regular cornflakes will also work here if that's what you have to hand... to be fair, so would any cereal really, though you may have to adjust the weight of cereal depending what type you go for)

85g butter

150g smooth peanut butter

220g icing sugar, sifted

10ml whole milk

Method

1. Make the peanut brittle crumble (n.b. from Steph: the "peanut sparkle" as our three-year-old calls it. That's probably a better name for it!). Prepare a baking sheet with a silpat mat (n.b. from Chef: parchment will not work here as the melted sugar will just stick to it. These non-stick mats are awesome and our kitchen wouldn't be complete without them!). In a medium saucepan, over high heat, cook caster sugar until it begins to melt and turn golden (around 3-5 minutes). It will turn from melting to dark caramel very quickly, so don't move from the stove! Remove from heat and immediately stir in the peanuts. Pour directly onto the silmat and spread out as much as possible. This is imperative: move as quickly as you can. You probably have about 30 seconds before the sugar sets and you can't pour it to the mat. Allow to cool then smash into a million tiny pieces (we used a thermomix blender, but a food processor will also do the trick or place into a plastic baggy and crush/beat with a rolling pin.). Set aside. 

2. Line a 9x9inch pan with greaseproof paper. Set aside. (n.b from Chef: This may complicate the matter, but don't stress about pan size. These bars aren't baked, so they can be as shallow or deep as you like. You can also put them in a round tin, a star-shaped tin, doesn't matter, they'll still work.). 

3. Layer 1: In a medium saucepan, stirring with a heatproof spatula, melt 200g of the chocolate and the 60g of honey together until fully melted. Quickly poor in the cornflakes and stir until the flakes are evenly coated in the chocolate/honey mix. Pour into the lined tray and smooth until evenly distributed in the tray. Place in the refrigerator until fully cool and set (about 20 minutes).

4. Layer 2: In a medium saucepan, stirring with a heatproof spatula, melt butter, peanut butter, icing sugar, and milk to a lovely tan pourable mixture. Pour the peanut butter layer over the cooled cornflake layer and evenly spread out over top. Place in the refrigerator until fully cool and set (about 20 minutes).

5. Layer 3: In a medium saucepan, stirring with a heatproof spatula, melt remaining 200g of dark chocolate with 1 Tbsp runny honey. Pour over cooled peanut butter layer and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with the peanut brittle sparkle. Place in the fridge until fully cool and set (about 20 minutes). 

6. Cut into shapes and eat at will! Since it's made with cereal we can have some for breakfast, right? :-) Or, it's just perfect with a mid-morning cuppa (or afternoon one at that!). Hope you enjoy! 

#figbarcookbookclub : River Cottage Veg

#figbarcookbookclub : River Cottage Veg

Vegetables! We love 'em. One thing I didn't really anticipate in running a dessert bar (weirdly, I know), is quite how much sugar I'd start eating! I mean, someone has to be the official taste tester, right? But that does mean both Jaime and I quite often crave salt, protein, and vegetables. Lots and Lots of vegetables. 

One great cookbook that satisfies any veg craving we have is River Cottage Veg everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. BBQ corn on the cob? Yup. Lemony Guacamole? He's got it. Beetroot Hummus? Why, yes please! Brussels Sprout winter stir-fry? Don't mind if I do!

Although- I must admit our love for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and River Cottage runs deep (so deep, he is in fact referred to as "Hugh" in our household), so we would recommend any of his books/shows/restaurants anyway, but this one is a pretty solid 'go to' in our house when we want variety. With over 200 recipes, it's hard to get stuck in a rut of making the same old, same old!

Last night for dinner, we made one of our favourites from this book: Mexican Black Bean and Tomato Soup. YUM. Chock full of veg, lovely beans for protein, and a dollop of sour cream so you feel a bit naughty, this hearty soup works through all the seasons and is generally made of staples in our household: tomatoes, black beans and red onion. It's easy to alter based on your fridgeful (for example, sometimes we roast the tomatoes first, other times we use a leftover jar of pasta sauce instead of passata, or sometimes we even throw in bean variations, extra vegetables, or toss a few tortilla chips over the top). We also tend to leave this soup pretty chunky and take the 'finely chopped' suggestion with a grain of salt (see what I did there? ;-), so if you do go ahead and make this recipe, chop it your way! 

All I know is that vegetables are great, this soup is magical, and this cookbook is often used in our house and highly recommended!

Mexican Tomato and Bean Soup

Hugh Fernly Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg everyday!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 red onions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1-2 medium-hot green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

600ml veg stock

200ml roasted tomato sauce or passata

400g ripe tomatoes, cored, deseeded, and finely chopped

400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed

a handful of oregano, chopped

a pinch of sugar

juice of 1 lime

small handful of coriander, roughly chopped

sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

To Finish: sour cream, chopped coriander

Method:

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium-low heat, add most of the onions (reserving a little to finish the soup) and salute for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic, chillies and cumin and stir for a minute. 

Add the stock, roasted tomato sauce or passata, tomatoes, beans, oregano, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice and coriander. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve the soup topped with dollops of soured cream, if you like, and scattered with the reserved red onion, chopped coriander, and freshly ground pepper.

N.B (from Chef Jaime): We like to top our soup with a bit of grated cheddar and some chopped avocado as well. In these images you can see the homemade bread we made- simply mix 1:1 greek yogurt to self-raising flour with some olive oil, roll out, and pan-fry in a non-stick pan! Perfect for dipping and the tang of the yogurt in the bread accompanies this soup particularly well.  

#figbarathome : churro muffins with pear chocolate jam

#figbarathome : churro muffins with pear chocolate jam

With two little figs running around our house (ages 1 and 3 years-old), we love recipes that involve a bit of a 'project'. Filling these muffins with pear chocolate jam is just the ticket for a little bit of extra fun (and mess! I can't lie!). Plus, the left over pear chocolate jam is a great 'special treat' (as our girls say) on rice cakes for snack times later on in the week. With a bit of freshly sliced pear layered over top, you can also enjoy 1 of your 5 a day!

Churro Mini-Muffins with Pear Chocolate Jam

Pear Chocolate Jam

Ingredients

700g peeled & cored pears in a small dice

2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp cold water

275g caster sugar

big pinch cinnamon

85g best quality dark chocolate chips

Method

In a wide mouthed pan over low to medium heat, cook pears, lemon juice, & water for about 5 minutes until the pears begin to soften. Add the caster sugar and cinnamon and stir to dissolve.  Leave to cook down for about 20 minutes, until the liquid is a bit gooey. Cool for about 10 minutes. Using a stick blender or food processor, blitz to consistency desired (note from Chef Jaime: we like to leave a bit of texture in our jam, so it’s not completely smooth).  Stir the chocolate into the warm mix until melted. Set aside.

 

Churro Mini-Muffins

(makes 24)

Ingredients

350g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

100g caster sugar

110g brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly whisked

240ml whole milk

85g butter, melted

 

Butter & Sugar Bath

6 Tbsp melted butter

100g caster sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon

 

Method

1)   Preheat oven to 170°C. Butter and flour mini muffin tin and set aside.

2)   Place flour, backing powder, salt, caster sugar, and brown sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk to combine.

3)   Add eggs and milk, whisk again. With the whisk running on low, slowly tip melted butter into the batter. Whisk until fully combined.

4)   Fill muffin tins ¾ full and bake for 12-15minutes until the edges begin to brown.

5)   Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Push the back of a spoon into the top of the muffin to create a small hole and wiggle around to create space in the center of the muffin. Using a piping bag with a small tip, pipe the pear chocolate jam into the middle until the muffin feels heavier and you cannot fit any more jam inside without the muffin exploding. Immediately dip top into melted butter and then directly into the cinnamon sugar mixture.

6)   Eat and enjoy!

 

#figbarcookbookclub : A New Way of Cooking with Chocolate

#figbarcookbookclub : A New Way of Cooking with Chocolate

It's my favourite post of the month! This year, we have started the #figbarcookbookclub where we will share one of our favourite cookbooks from our home collection (of over 120!) and cook one of the recipes here along with you! Last month was the brilliant Victuals, and if you missed that post, definitely check the archives for it and the biscuit recipe.

This month's pick may seem a bit surprising to you, or maybe not! Either way, I'm super excited to share Hotel Chocolat's A New Way of Cooking with Chocolate as February's cookbook club pick. We received this book as a gift a few years ago and have turned to it for inspiration to add chocolate to literally e v e r y t h i n g. The beauty of this book is helping turn sweet into savoury in a delicate way. Yes, there is a 'dessert' section that, of course, utilizes chocolate in every recipe, but just wait till you flick through the unconventional chocolate uses: black pepper cocoa nib beef jerky, not-so-scotch egg, beetroot carpaccio, rump steak burger with cocoa beer-braised onions, cocoa brine roast turkey, citrus salad with white chocolate dressing, portobello mushroom risotto.... have I enticed your tastebuds enough? If that doesn't, then the gorgeous pictures definitely will. The book also is a lovely introduction to the Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia, Hotel Chocolat's beautiful cocoa estate, with a bit of it's history and ideals of sustainability (brilliant news since I recently read an article that the cocoa plant may be extinct by 2050!!!!! But more on that tangent another time...). As mentioned in a little footnote at the start of the book, "falling in love with Rabot Estate was easy". If this book and it's elegant dishes say anything, it's that I love the Rabot Estate too! 

But, alas (said for increased dramatics), if we can't all go to St. Lucia to eat chocolate, let's use this book to bring the warm islands to our cold February, England! 

One dish in particular has become Jaime's & my go-to for one-upping our friends in the pot-luck appetizer game (now they'll read this and know our secret!), which is this brilliant recipe for 'Smoked Mackerel Ganache'. Oh. My. Goodness, you guys. When I first made this, I thought it would be tasty, but believe me when I say, "It is tasty.". Make sure that you use only the best quality ingredients you can find for this recipe, especially the smoked mackerel, and pair it with really good quality bread. There's a recipe for cocoa nib crispbread in the book that is a great complement. 

Recipes taken from "A New Way of Cooking with Chocolate" from the Hotel Chocolat

Purchase the book here

Smoked Mackerel Ganache

Ingredients:

125g peppered smoked mackerel

100g cream cheese

zest and juice ½ lemon

2 Tbsp White Chocolate Horseradish (recipe follows)

salt and pepper

Method:

Skin the mackerel and make sure there are no bones in it. Break into smallish pieces. Place in a bowl along with all the other ingredients and use your hands to mix everything until completely combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days (note from Steph- the only reason it lasts in my fridge for 3 days is if I make it ahead of time for a party. I’ve never ended up with leftovers!).

 

White Chocolate Horseradish

Ingredients:

50g white chocolate (at least 30% cocoa butter content)

110g creamed horseradish

Method:

Gently melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t actually touch the hot water. (chef note from Jaime- this is called a ‘bain marie’).

While the bowl is still sitting over the pan, add the creamed horseradish and mix until fully combined with the chocolate. Remove the bowl from the pan and beat for 1 minute further. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge until needed- it will keep for up to 2 weeks. (Note from Steph – eat this for breakfast to up your avocado and salmon toast game!).

 

Breakfast in Bed!

Breakfast in Bed!

Did you see the new Vanilla Magazine? It's a gorgeous collection of reasons to 'love your locals': fashion, beauty, homes, and (of course) food! Chef Jaime Garbutt features this month in their article 'Yes Chef!' with a recipe that will woo your honey or impress your mummy... Valentine's Day, Pancake Day, Mother's Day... we've got you covered! Breakfast in Bed anyone?

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 18.39.42.png

Here's the rest of the recipe to complete the cake featured in Vanilla. It's time consuming, but so adorable! 

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

See Vanilla Magazine Feb/March 2018 pg. 82 for Recipe (available at Figbar if you need!) 

 

Maple Milk

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp buttermilk

1 Tbsp maple syrup

Method:

Place buttermilk and maple syrup into a small bowl, whisk with a fork to emulsify. Set aside until required.

 

Maple Icing

Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter

75g maple syrup

250g icing sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

Method:

1)   In the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk butter and maple syrup together until well combined.

2)   Sift the icing sugar into the maple mix. On a low speed, incorporate the sugar into the maple mix. Add the lemon juice, and mix again

3)   Turn the speed to high and whisk for about 5 minutes until the icing is light and doubled in volume.

4)   With a spatula, decant the icing into a piping bag. Set aside.

 

Maple Candied Bacon

 Ingredients:

4-6 strips of good quality bacon

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar

Method:

1)   Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tray with aluminum foil.

2)   Place bacon strips in a single layer row on the tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until crispy.

3)   While the bacon is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and brown sugar until the brown sugar dissolves into the maple syrup. Set aside.

4)   Remove from the oven and, using a pastry brush, immediately coat the bacon pieces with the maple syrup mix. Flip the bacon and coat again. Use all of the mix.

5)   Set aside and allow to cool completely. Break the crispy bacon into small pieces. Set aside.

 

Vanilla Buttermilk American Pancakes

Makes about 25 bite-size pancakes

Ingredients:

125g  plain flour

2 Tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp nutmeg

pinch of salt

240g buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

60g melted butter

1 tsp coconut oil, for frying

Method:

1)   In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together plain flour, caster sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.

2)   Add buttermilk, vanilla extract, beaten egg, and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the mix to rest.

3)   In a non-stick frying pan over low heat, melt coconut oil.

4)   Using a dessert spoon, spoon small rounds of batter into the frying pan. 

5)   Once bubbles begin to form in the frying batter, flip the cakes over.  Cook until lightly browned on both sides. Making the perfect pancakes is an art form and may require some practice. Don’t panic if the first set is overdone, turn down the heat and go again.

6)   Place cooked pancakes on a plate to cool. Continue with steps 4-5 until all the batter is used. Set aside to use for decorating.

 

To Decorate:

On each cooled cake, pipe maple icing in small rounds to build a beehive shape base. Sprinkle candied bacon pieces atop of the icing, paying particular attention to the sides. Place 2-3 mini pancakes on the top of the icing, gently pressing to create a solid foundation. Add two small pats of butter and just before serving, if you feel particularly fancy, drizzle with a little maple syrup so it drips down the edges of the pancakes. 

#figbarathome : Adnams Earl Grey Lager Bread

#figbarathome : Adnams Earl Grey Lager Bread

The most winning combination I can think of? Beer and bread. There is some yeasty magic behind how beautifully the flour and beer bubble together that cannot be topped. You can make a simple beer bread with just 3 ingredients (beer, self-raising flour, and sugar), or you can exercise your right to experimenting by adding extra elements. This beer bread recipe below does that, twice. We've taken one of our favourite lagers from Adnams (Earl Grey Lager, which we also have our our menu at Figbar) and upped the ante by creating a beautiful little beer bread bundt with it (we only did that for the alliteration, any bread tin or cake tin will do). The brilliance of beer bread (sorry, I love alliteration!), is that you can create so many flavors just by changing the beer you use in your basic recipe. What I love about this particular recipe we are sharing here is that the honey prevents the sweetness from distracting from the beer.

If you have ever tried the Earl Grey Lager by Adnams, then you'll remember the tea that lingers on your palette. This bread barely hints at the strength of the tea, but instead lends itself to a slight acidity with lovely buttery tang. We've included a variation with the ingredients to give more of an earl grey kick, but do try it each way and see which you prefer.

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Adnams Earl Grey Lager Bread

Ingredients

400g plain flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

80g honey (reduce to 75g if including optional ingredients)

1 x 330ml bottle Adnams Earl Grey lager

100g butter, melted

1tsp lemon juice (optional)

1 earl grey tea bag, contents only (optional)

 

Method

1.     Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease a 6 hole bundt tin with butter (see n.b for other options of bread tin).

2.     In a large bowl, place flour, baking powder, salt, and honey (if using lemon juice and tea leaves, add them now too)

3.     Pour Earl Grey Lager directly over the other ingredients, and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix until all ingredients come together. Do not over mix.

4.     Pour half of the melted butter evenly into the bottoms of the bundt tin. Use a pastry brush to push the melted butter into all the crevises.

5.     Evenly split the dough into each hole in the bundt tin. (It will about double in size, so try not to overfill your particular tin).

6.     Evenly brush the remaining 50g butter along the top of the dough.

7.     Bake for 20-30 minutes until the bread is golden and a knife inserted to the middle comes out clean. (Fair warning here, this is the trickiest part of the entire recipe and does take a bit of practice. A toothpick can come out clean, but you’ll slice the bread only to find the texture doughy to eat. Next time, add 5 minutes to your cooking time. If you do find this, I recommend slicing the bread and popping it into the toaster and then slathering with butter. J).

8.     Serve immediately from oven (though it’s still good for days in the bread drawer and makes a killer sandwich bread).

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n.b.

A few notes:

* You can use any bread tin your have, you’ll just have to adjust the baking times. For example, a 9x5x3inch standard bread tin will take 40-50 minutes to cook properly. I made this recipe in a large bundt tin and it cooked in 35 minutes. If you feel unsure, set your timer for 20 minutes and then every 5 thereafter until the bread is done. The sheer amount of butter drenching the top of this bread helps keep the browning turn to burning.

* It may help to ‘melt’ your honey a bit in the microwave so it cooperates when mixing.

* Try this same recipe with any brand or style of beer and taste the results! It’s super fun experimenting with flavours and styles (ale vs. lager, pumpkin vs. clementine,  American craft vs. British craft, etc.), and also great to know you can have good bread quickly just with a can of beer on hand!

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#figbarcookbookclub : Victuals

#figbarcookbookclub : Victuals

New Year, new things to cook! Or in this case, for me anyway, old things, memory-type things. Each month here on 'Crumbs' we are going to be recommending and sharing one of our favourite cookbooks on our home kitchen shelves. To start, I wanted to feature a beautiful cookbook that hit the shelves in 2016: Victuals: an Appalachian Journey, with Recipes by Ronni Lundy, a US author and editor. The book won the prestigious James Beard Media Awards in April 2017 for Best American Cooking as well as the top book award for Cookbook of the Year. If that doesn't indicate it's going to be a stunning collection of recipes, I don't know what will! 

As many of you know, I am from the USA- East Tennessee to be exact, and this book focuses on all my childhood favorites (I'll spell like an American for this :-). There's unashamed use of buttermilk, cornmeal, and sorghum. There are stories and words that only those from Appalachia will recognize or be able to pronounce. And there are flavors, ooooh my goodness are there flavors!  Every recipe we have made from this book in our kitchen has brought out a new story from my youth, my tastebuds filling my head with memories.

The recipe I'm going to share with you from the book is for the 'Bigger isn't Better Buttermilk Biscuits'. After I made the recipe and took a bite of one hot from the oven, I did one of those incredibly cliche closed-eyes, full-mouthed sighs of 'ooh, yeah...'. They are everything from my youth: biscuits and sausage gravy (a breakfast food), fried chicken, pork chops with applesauce, afternoon snack... It's one of the first things you learn to make because they are quite easy, but delicate, and you use your hands to mix so to really get to know the dough and the power of mixing the ingredients. They also whip together quickly without much fuss, so you can have fresh biscuits for breakfast or dinner in 20 minutes. Perfection.

Bigger isn’t Better Buttermilk Biscuits

from Victuals

Ingredients:

8 Tbsp (113.5g) butter, cold, diced plus extra for the cookie sheet

2 ½ cups (400g) of plain flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda in the UK)

1 tsp salt

1 cup (215g) buttermilk

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly butter a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together twice. Cut the butter into the flour mixture and use your fingers to flightly mix the flour and butter together until they form pea-sized clumps. Add the buttermilk all at once. Quickly and lightly mix it in until the dough just holds together.

Turn the dough out on a well-floured surface and gently pat it down; then fold it over and gently pat it down again. (Gently. Really.) Lightly roll the dough out to a thickness of about ¾  inch and cut out biscuits with a straight-sided 2- or 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter. Cut straight down, without twisting. Place the biscuits on the prepared cookie sheet with space between them and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are just turning golden. Serve immediately.

NB: Watch your biscuits, when I made this recipe, they cooked in 10 minutes. Remember all ovens are different! After cutting the biscuits, take the scraps and gently mush together dough the size of a large egg and round it into a dome shape. Place them onto a prepared cookie sheet. They will be ugly, but just as tasty, and you can’t say fairer than that. 

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#fillourtable : Jaime & Stephanie Garbutt

#fillourtable : Jaime & Stephanie Garbutt

It's Christmas Eve Eve! And you guys asked for it, so we are delivering- Jaime and I have answered the questions we dished out below :-) 

I cannot enough thank all the beautiful souls who supported our #fillourtable Christmas Party invitation. We absolutely adored getting to know this brilliant collection of people that little bit better, and we cannot wait for more with each of them in the year to come.

We here at Figbar wish all of you an incredibly happy and merry holiday season filled with good food, good friends & family, and lots of love. We are so grateful to you all for allowing us to sweeten your days and hearts with our treats. You sweeten ours more than you could imagine! 

We close tonight (December 23rd, 2017) at 10pm and reopen again in the New Year on Tuesday, January 9th. We cannot wait to see you all again soon for a good catch up and smile! Wishing you all so much joy and love!

xoxo

Steph & Jaime

So here we are, the last two to sit down at the sharing table. We have so loved having everyone here to help #fillourtable and cannot wait for another party next year! 

Name: Stephanie Garbutt

What you do: co-own Figbar and CakebyFigbar with my gorgeous hubby Jaime
A bit more about Steph: My family is from the USA, and I moved to Norwich 10 years ago to complete my MA in Creative Writing at the UEA. During this time, I met Jaime, and the rest is history! We have two beautiful daughters (the 'little figs' Ella & Ariele) and a lovely little dog named Figgy Pudding. 

(Side note- Check out my poetry collection that I wrote based on my MA thesis. It's called Metrophobia - then buy a copy or two. It makes a great present!).

#fillourtable

1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from the fab guests you already invited, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

I LOVE a huge dinner party with a strong mix of characters. I would love to chat to Coco Chanel, Giovanni Boccaccio (he wrote my fav book The Decameron), Walt Disney, Bing Crosby, Audrey Hepburn, and Richard Branson.

2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

All of them. But seriously, all foods from our garden because it's magic watching things grow. In that same regard, I love all home cooked foods (breads, roasts, cakes, etc) because the energy and commitment that goes into creating a meal is beautiful. I am incredibly thankful for Jaime's focaccia bread, stout mocha cake, and porridge (because he makes this every morning for our daughters and that means I don't have to cook breakfast!).

3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

Thanksgiving. I love every part of the tradition it contains (particularly my grandmother's vintage plates with turkeys on them). I also love a tradition that my parents started for my siblings and my birthdays- we were allowed to choose any meal that we wanted to eat and the rest of the family would make it for the birthday kid. Through this, my three siblings and I learned so much about food and its preparation. One birthday it would be lobster, the next kale with lemon, sometimes chicken parm. It's such a charming collection of our eating habits and how we changed and grew into adults. 

4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

I am forever grateful to my parents for instilling in me the value of an education and a love of reading. So while it is an ongoing act and not a single one, the act of kindness that has made the biggest difference is my parents encouragement, support, and demand for my best. Thanks, Mom and Dad! I hope I can be as awesome as you at this parenting thing!   

5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Definitely when Jaime asked me to marry him (in Iceland under the Northern Lights!)- what better compliment than someone saying they like you enough to be with you forever? 


6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

I would use it to buy a tired and stressed out mum a cup of coffee or a chocolate bar the next time I was in a coffee shop to say "you're doing a great job!". I love the idea of paying it forward and making someone's day in an unexpected way. It's really hard being a mum and, especially when it's new, it's overwhelming. Often, many of us feel like breaking down frequently or like we're only just holding it together (another shout out to We Got This! (sometimes)!). So even without my dollar to buy you the coffee, please hear me when I say: "Hey mama who may be reading this right now- YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!!!" 

 

 

Name: Jaime Garbutt

What you do: co-own Figbar and CakebyFigbar with Steph
A bit more about Jaime: I love to travel, to eat, and to explore. I love my wife, my kids, my dog, and good food. 

#fillourtable

1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from the fab guests you already invited, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

Aside from Family I think it would be exciting to share the table with chefs I admire: Pierre Koffman, Thomas Keller, Jordi Roca, and Fergus Henderson are currently at the forefront.

2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

Working with pastry and sugar all day means in my down time, salty and savoury is the name of the game. Bacon is definitely up there, but also potatoes, the classic english roast, and curry. 

3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

With a new family it's a chance to start creating traditions of your own. Making pancakes for my girls on Sunday mornings is something we've been doing for over a year now, so it's pretty special.  

4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

My wife, my family, my friends, my staff and my kids, putting up with me as well as helping us through, without question or hesitation, through all the crazy challenges the last 10 years has thrown at us.

5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Winning EDP best new comer was a honour.

6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

I'd give it AREDS, an Indian NGO who I worked with for many years and who are like a surrogate family to me. Samy and Christi's work, dedication, personal sacrifice, and total unquestioning support of the people they work with and help to protect is, unfortunately, a rarity in this day and age. I love them dearly. 

 

Thank you all again so much for joining us at our sharing table this Christmas to #fillourtable!! We feel so lucky to have gotten to know everyone!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!