Medieval Mince Pies with a Chestnut Pastry

It’s that time of year when everyone wants a good recipe. And I have been asked for so many recipes – which is lovely. But I can’t pay my bills by just giving out recipes.

So please do feel free to order food from me or come and visit me in London and pick up a few tasty treats to keep you going over Christmas  🙂

unspecified-1.png

 

Anyway. I have had a few conversations about Mince Pies. As an Italian I have my own specific desires about the kinda pie I want at this time of year. I don’t want an overly rich, super short, sweet pie. I like my pastry to be crisp and slightly saline, super light and perfect as a foil to the sweet, soft filling. Making it great for breakfast or to have with a coffee mid morning or when you get back in the afternoon with a cuppa tea.

I did get a little carried away about the food history so I will relay a tiny bit to you. Just cos it interested me and you may like to hear about it too.

The origin of the Mince Pie is 11th Century England and originally did contain mutton (I’m not putting any meat in these – lets say that straight off). Obviously  the winter offered little in the way of fresh fruit so dried fruit was used to extend the little there was and this was spiced and sweetened. All foods were presented as they became ready so these would be served straight from the wood fired ovens … just imagine that. Blisteringly hot sweet centre with the whiff of woodsmoke lingering on the crust. (These details makes me happy).

This is a little quote from English Heritage Food & Cooking In Medieval Britain by Maggie Black (1985) However, medieval people wanted more than just salt, pepper and mustard as condiments. Wealthy European cookery was aromatic and pungent with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cardamoms and cloves, and other spices we no longer use such as galigale, grains of paradise and cubebs’ 

Don’t you just want to know what grains of paradise and cubebs taste like? Me too. In the meantime here is my take on a delicious mince pie that people will want to keep eating – not just a token effort cos it’s Christmas.

Chestnut Pastry

140g Chestnut flour

100g plain gluten free blend (a mix of rice, potato and millet flour is also good)

60g coconut palm sugar

1/8 tsp xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

180g non hydrogenated baking fat, sunflower margarine (or butter if you eat dairy)

70 ml coconut milk (which ever you like)

10 ml oil (I do like olive oil as the peppery taste is beautiful with the sweet fruit)

1 tsp apple cyder vinegar (this is not essential but it helps with the ultimate crispness)

Add the vinegar to the milk.

Whisk all the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub in the solid fat. (I do this in a food processor – my hands are too warm for good pastry)

Use a butter knife to stir all the wet into all the dry.

Wrap and chill for 20 minutes to allow the dry ingredients to absorb the wet and make a firmer dough.

Once  chilled roll out on a floured surface and stamp out 2.5 cm rounds to fill your patty tins and a 1.5 cm lid (I like to do little hearts because I make everything with love and I want people to remember that)

Fill the pies with the following recipe. Then bake for 15 minutes in a fairly hot oven Gas 7 220 ˚C. Or until they are nicely bronzed and the filling is starting to bubble.

I like to dust mine with lucuma, but you can use icing sugar.

They are absolutely their best served impossibly hot from the oven.

Medieval Mincemeat Recipe

1lb peeled cored and chopped apples (eaters not cookers)

1lb currants

1lb sut

1lb large raisins

1/2lb sultanas

1lb demerara sugar

2oz almonds,blanched and finely chopped

1/2gill rum

2oz each of candied lemon, orange and citron peel all finely chopped

grated rind and juice of 2 large lemons

1/2 nutmeg finely grated

1/4 tsp each of ground cloves and cinnamon

1/8 tsp each ground ginger and mace

1/2 tsp salt

1/4pt brandy

Mix well and store in clean jars. Allow to stand for a minimum of 4hours before use.

If you can’t get hold of all the spices and flavours just press on away. That’s how your own unique take on these pies will come about.

How lovely  🙂

 

An Amazing Loaf Of Bread

This recipe is NOT one of mine – but I am totally bowled over by it. It is delicious, infinitely adaptable, has incredible keeping qualities (just consider any adaptations). It is so satisfying and a little slice can be wrapped in a napkin and tucked into a pocket to keep you going all day with put having to resort to poorly made, ill thought through snacks that claim much but are made without knowledge or consideration.

This couldn’t be easier ……

…..make it yourself……

….. you’ll save more than money …

….. reclaim yumminess one recipe at a time!

Screen shot 2016-04-18 at 16.41.23

This is from ‘My New Roots’ By Sarah Britton. The book is full of great recipes that you’ll use every day 🙂

1 cup/140g sunflower seeds

1/2 cup 90g linseeds

1/2 cup 70g almonds

1 1/2 cups 150g gluten free oats

2 tbsp chia seeds

4 tbsp psyllium husks

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp coconut oil

Use a 500g or 1lb silicon loaf pan. If its not silicon then use a strip of parchment along the base to make removal easier later.

This can be made in the loaf tin/pan.

In a bowl (or the loaf pan)  mix the dry ingredients

Whisk the wet in a jug and then stir into the dry.

Allow to stand on the side for the minimum of 3 hours and up to 12.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/ 180•C / 350•F

Bake for 20 minutes on the middle self (I had to bake mine for twice as long as I made additions and adaptations – so just bear that in mind)

Tip the half baked loaf onto a metal tray and put it back into the oven for another 40 minutes. Until the loaf starts to sound hollow when tapped.

It should totally be left to go cold before you slice it like the inventor says … But i couldn’t resist a warm slice with fresh sliced pear and a drizzle of tahini … I know, I’m so predictable!

Screen shot 2016-04-18 at 16.06.41

The adaptation on this loaf was 1 tbsp vanilla powder (make this by grinding a vanilla pod in a coffee grinder) 3 tbsp date syrup 3 tbsp of fennel seeds, 3 tbsp blueberries. 3 tbsp cranberries, 3 tbsp mulberries, 3 tbsp dried sour cherries, 3 tbsp golden raisins and I used hazelnuts

Screen shot 2016-04-18 at 16.06.56

The adaptation on this loaf was 1 tbsp sesame seeds 3 tbsp of caraway seeds, a cup of green olives, a cup of sun dried tomatoes 1 tbsp oregano.

 

Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.

email me scarletrositafood@gmail.com

phone or text 0792 310 9170

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ScarletRosita

https://twitter.com/ScarletRosita

https://www.instagram.com/scarletrosita/

Super Easy Tasty Bread

I don’t even try to make any sort of baked bread to sell commercially anymore as my kitchen is simply not set up for it. Sometimes I’m making raw foods, or chocolates and I don’t have the space.

Screen shot 2016-02-23 at 15.27.02

 

That doesn’t mean I don’t like bread and I want to be able to eat it but the stuff in supermarkets and sold by most bakers will do horrible things to my stomach. So when I want some bread to eat invariably I end up making it.

I know it sounds like a massive faff – but I have been doing this for over 30 years now and once you have your head set that this is how it will be done then you kinda just do it. Admittedly, a freezer bigger than an icebox would be great – but even that isn’t essential.

Straight away I will direct you to my sourdough starter recipe on here https://scarletrosita.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/biga-starter-grape-sourdough-starter/

Once this is fully on its way I freeze it. I then take it out the day before I’m baking and get it going again by adding more flour and water and I keep it going until the baking has been completed and then back into the freezer it goes until next time. It doesn’t let me down.

If you don’t want to use a starter then use 7 g of dried yeast, in a jug with a little date syrup and  warm water to activate it.

The addition of khorasan flour and spelt flour as well as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and hemp seeds in this bread makes an extremely tasty and nutritious loaf.

 

Screen shot 2016-02-23 at 15.27.09

 

Makes 4 x 1lb loaves – which sounds like a lot – but I always use one and freeze the others asap so they still have that out of the oven freshness when I need to use them. I just don’t have time to go through this process that often.

7 oz of your sourdough starter or
7 g dried yeast (this comes in a little sachet or its a heaped teaspoonful)  in 200ml water water and 1 tsp date syrup or another natural sweetener
100g a bread flour that you like – but one with wheat
450g spelt wholemeal flour
450g khorasan flour
1.5 tbsp fine seasalt
200g sesame more for the tin
200g sunflower seeds
200g pumpkin seeds
 100g hemp seeds
50 ml olive, hemp or flax seed oil
another 700ml of warm water
I honestly don’t think this could be simpler.
Either add the 200ml of warm water to the 7g of yeast or the 7 oz of starter you want the yeast to ‘bloom’ – it goes nice and frothy and smells like something you’d like to eat.
Mix the starter to slacken it.
Put the flours into a capacious bowl (I do use a stand mixer now as I have other things to do).
Add the yeast/starter and the other 700 ml of water (500ml if you are hand mixing) and start by slowly mixing it and then either give it a full 20 minutes of kneading by hand and 5 minutes on the highest speed on your stand mixer.
Cover with a damp cloth or cling film and leave it in a warm spot to get going. It is entirely up to you how long you leave it. You could leave it for a couple of hours or you can leave it for 24 hours.
Now add the seasalt, oil and the seeds as it needs to be knocked back (a good kneading) for a couple of minutes.
If you are making the bread on a stand mixer the bread should be a soft- almost pourable dough – that is correct.
Grease and flour your bread tins.
Divide the dough equally between the tins.
Set your oven to Gas 8 230˚C 450˚F
Stand the tins in a warm place and cover with a damp t towel.
Give it 40 – 50 minutes and it should fill the tins or double in size. Allow it to double in size. If its cold in your house it will take longer.
Once its double put the t towel in for a wash and put the tins into the oven – 2 at the top, and 2 in the middle.
Allow them 30 minutes then swap the levels over.
Give it another 20 minutes and check that they are cooked.
Turn them out of the tin and give them 10 minutes before you cut them.
I bet they are good enough for you to happily eat them just plain!

Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.

email me scarletrositafood@gmail.com

phone or text 0792 310 9170

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ScarletRosita

https://twitter.com/ScarletRosita

https://www.instagram.com/scarletrosita/

Barely Baked Superfood Sweet Biscuit

I know it’s not a very inspiring title but I really didn’t know how to describe these chewy, sweet, satisfying ‘biscuits’. The combination of ingredients is perhaps not what a classic biscuit would have, nor is the method, but these are super quick, very easy to make, taste really lovely and you can feed them to just about everyone as they as so ‘allergen low’.

Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 11.31.48

I used to love to cook with my daughters and their friends (much to other parents horror. We’d make everything from bread to cinder toffee – heyho they all lived). And even if you have tiny, barely walking toddlers I’d urge you to make these. The dough is entirely edible and a treat and you are getting some great stuff into your bubba’s body.

Another great one to make with small children (as long as they are not intolerant or allergic to sesame or gluten) is to mix equal quantities of tahini and malt extract (or honey if your child is coeliac). It makes an edible play dough rich in calcium and other nutrients you won’t find in shop bought confectionary.

Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 11.19.00

I highly recommend investing in small bags of the superfoods – you only ever use a teaspoon at a time and so it lasts ages. But the good they do you is beyond the money you pay. If you don’t want to buy them or you don’t want to buy all of them, either substitute one for the other – add more of the one you have bought or leave them out completely. Perhaps add a teaspoon of a good vanilla extract instead.

So – give these a try and let me know what you think and how you get on 🙂 (and if you are confused or worried I’m happy to help if I can)

Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 11.20.41

Dough Ingredients:

100g dried apricots, prunes or figs

100g organic sunflower seeds

40 g shelled hemp seeds

6 tsp xylitol or coconut palm sugar

1 tsp baobab powder

1 tsp suma powder

1 tsp camu-camu powder

1 tsp maca root powder

1/2 tsp kelp powder

1/2 tsp barley grass powder

1/2 tsp good quality sea salt (or else leave it out)

120ml filtered water

For rolling:

1 tbsp lucuma powder

Place all the dough ingredients, bar the water, into your food processor with the ‘S’ blade. Process until it is as fine as it will go – about 5 minutes.

At this point start to dribble in the water through the chute as the machine is running until the mix forms a pliable, firm-ish ball.

Tip it onto a clean work surface dusted with the lucuma. Roll the ball so its all covered with the Lucuma (or Maca Root Powder if you prefer – its absolutely my favourite – I stir it into warmed almond milk for a treat).

It’s at this point that you can leave the children to play with it, let them make shapes, figures, letters, numbers, eat it raw, roll it into snakes. Bake them as they make them.

Or roll it will a pin to 1/2 cm thick. Stamp out the shapes you like best and pop them onto a parchment lined tray.

If you have a dehydrator then you need to dry them at 38•C for about 6 hours. Or pop them onto your oven at the lowest setting and allow them to dry for 3 hours.

Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 11.27.06

I made a Purple Caramel Jam to top them with

60g inca berries or golden sultanas

150g agave or maple syrup

2 tsp acai powder

1 tsp purple corn extract

1 tsp raw coconut oil

Just blast these in the food processor straight after the dough is made – no need to wash the bowl.

Stores in a jar for a good 6 weeks.

– but they are far more delicious with a smear of cashew nut butter of dark tahini (I love this stuff)

Enjoy

Screen shot 2015-11-04 at 14.00.22

Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.

email me scarletrositafood@gmail.com

phone or text 0792 310 9170

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ScarletRosita

https://twitter.com/ScarletRosita

https://www.instagram.com/scarletrosita/

Italian Cardamon Chocolate Torte (soft and super yummy)

Well this is one of my best recipes that will be making it’s way into the recipe book, but a rather lovely customer is utterly desperate for it and so, as I am the ‘Queen of Customer Happiness’ I am sharing it for you all to enjoy.

This makes a nice deep uber chocolate cake which is utterly lovely with just a dust of icing sugar. But if you like and you fancy something a little more lavish I suggest you divide the mix between two pans before cooking (don’t even bother to try and cut the cake in two once it is cooked – you’ll end up with lots of very delicious choccy cake chunks) and once it is cool fill and top with 16 oz/ 450g of cream cheese mixed with 2 oz/ 50 g of icing sugar and 4 tablespoons of vanilla paste – no messing 😀

Screen shot 2014-08-06 at 08.13.31

Italian Chocolate Cake

Makes a good 10 slices

140g/5 oz butter or a non hydrogenated vegetable fat

252g/
9 oz chocolate (min 70% Cocoa solids), chopped

3 tablespoons water

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

105g/3.75 oz cocoa powder

5 eggs, separated

224g/
8 oz sugar

12 cardamon pods

2 teaspoon vanilla paste

1/2 teaspoon Sea salt

Heat oven to 350˚F 180˚C Gas 4

Roast the cardamon pods for 5 minutes until fragrant and starting to colour.

Allow to cool then grind in a coffee grinder, liquidiser, food processor or pestal and mortar.

Parchment line a 23 cm or 9″ cake pan, but make the sides at least 4 cm 2″ high.

Line the bottom of the baking pan with a round of parchment paper.

Melt fat in a large bowl over a saucepan of hot water (don’t let the bowl sit in the hot water)

As it melts stir in chocolate until melted and then remove from heat.

Stir in the water, set to the side.

Whisk together the baking powder, salt, cardamon and cocoa until just combined.

In another bowl, whisk egg yolks with half the sugar and the vanilla paste until pale and fluffy.

In another very clean larger bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, then add the final sugar and beat again.

Now everything gets folded into the chocolate, keep going until well mixed.

Tip into the waiting pan (pans)

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, it should look shiny on the top and feel firm at the edges. If you’ve done as I’ve said it should be ready – you aren’t getting a dry toothpick out of this cake 🙂

Remove from oven and allow to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before you turn it onto a cake plate.

Dust with a little icing sugar or fill with the cream cheese as I suggested earlier.

Eat warm or cold.

Do not refrigerate this cake – it will go hard and only popping into the oven will retrieve that lovely tender crumb.

Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.

email me scarletrositafood@gmail.com

phone or text 0792 310 9170

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ScarletRosita

https://twitter.com/ScarletRosita

https://www.instagram.com/scarletrosita/

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

This is a big cake – remember I was using all that pumpkin! So I have given measures that will make 2 x 2lb loaves or the one big cake. If you want you can just halve the amounts and make the one loaf. But these freeze like a dream!

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 07.21.15

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

Ingredients
• 600g / 20 oz GF SR flour
• 420g / 14 oz brown sugar
• 1 salt
• 1 tbsp cinnamon
• 1 tbsp ginger
• 600g / 20 oz roasted pumpkin puréed in a food processor
• 250 ml sunflower oil
• 9 tbsp Agave Nectar

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F/180˚C/Gas4.
Parchment line a 24 cm spring form cake tin. Or 2 x 2lb loaf tins.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, and spices.
In a jug whisk together the oil and agave.
Add wet mixture to dry with the pureed pumpkin then mix until well combined. This is a stiff batter, don’t worry, the pumpkin will make it a really soft cake 🙂

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 07.18.33

Pour into prepared pan and level it off.

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 07.19.08

Bake 45-50 minutes or until top is starting to brown and it feels firm to the touch. For the loaves allow 35-40 minutes 🙂
Let it to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then open the pan or tip them out and allow to cool on a rack.

Pumpkins’ Are Enormous – And What To Do With Them

As you know, I do like a seasonal bit of produce and there are lots of enormous pumpkins around and most are bought (here in Blighty) just to make lanterns.

I have had an intrigue and fascination of pumpkins for way too long (considering I am an adult) and it is all down to Linus and his obsession with the Pumpkin Patch in Peanuts (I want to be Snoopy). But I am not exactly successful at growing them myself, however they are plentiful and cheap at the moment.

So I bought some and thought I’d make a sensible attempt at seeing what I could make to feed a family of 4 from one pumpkin.

There was more pumpkin than I could cook dishes with in the time I had but I did get 3 good ones 🙂

Preparing the Pumpkin 🙂

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 07.17.15

I wanted to cook it in a way that would get rid of some of the moisture and intensify the flavour, so I knew I would roast it.

Cut the pumpkin in quarters and take out the seeds.

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 07.18.07

Wash away the membranes and any sticky juice and allow them to dry on a tray. The seeds can be roasted with soy sauce or spices to make a tasty topping or snacking food.

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 07.17.46

I did cut away the skin, but I know some people like to leave the skin on as they roast. I can’t see any benefit to leaving it on unless you want to scrap the skins of all flesh once it has finished cooking.

As you can see, I got a lot of flesh from the one pumpkin. Put it in a single layer on the tray and roast at 425˚F/220˚C/Gas7 for about 20 minutes – until the flesh is tender.

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 07.18.17

Allow it to cool – ready for what ever it is you want to cook.

And here are the recipes 😀

https://scarletrosita.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/autumnal-pumpkin-stew/

https://scarletrosita.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/pumpkin-savoury-cakes/

https://scarletrosita.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/spiced-pumpkin-cake/