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Tomorrow’s the day, and yet again I am quite unorganised. We have been feasting on mid week pancakes in the flat quite a lot recently so maybe we could just call the whole thing done? I will try and summon the courage to make some tomorrow, however I cannot guarantee anything… It’s been a bit manic my end as I am fast approaching the deadline for the book manuscript. I am spending all hours of the day cooking, testing, scribbling notes, washing the dishes and then come the night sitting on my laptop writing it all down. I really love it, but boy is it time consuming! My inbox is in a very sorry state also and lots of things have fallen off the endless to do list but we are getting there – one final push! And so I leave you with my very trusty “drop scone” recipe, one I have been using for all 20 of my years. The whipped maple butter is a lovely alternative to the hundreds of cheap sugary toppings normally on offer in the shops. It will also keep for ages in the fridge and is delicious on toast and scones. Happy flipping!

PS if you are looking for a more savoury version to enjoy tomorrow, I have a Courgette and Poppyseed Pancake recipe up on The Scotsman just now. And for those who like music in the kitchen as much as I do, here is the playlist I have had on repeat for the last month.

FAS_9703FAS_9696PANCAKES WITH WHIPPED MAPLE BUTTER

For the pancakes:

225g self-raising flour

40g caster sugar

1 tbsp golden syrup

150ml milk

1 large egg

butter for cooking

For the butter:

150g softened unsalted butter

50g maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

For the whipped butter place the ingredients in a free standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat for five minutes of so until light pale and fluffy. You can use a hand his but it will take longer. Set aside. For the pancakes weigh all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until the batter is smooth. Heat a little butter in a non stick frying pan and use a piece of kitchen roll to make sure the whole pan is covered. Spoon in dollops of the batter, making it as round as possible. The pan should be on a medium heat. Allow to cook for a few minutes or until bubbles start to form on the surface of the pancake. Flip and cook for a further few minutes. Serve warm slathered with the maple butter and more maple syrup if you fancy it.

 

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  • Elizabeth - I can’t never say ‘no thanks’ to pancakes, specially on a Saturday morning. Thank you for this recipe, Flora. Love your last overhead image. I’m sure you will get all done before your deadline. Have a great week. Keep in touch! :)ReplyCancel

    • Flora - Here is hoping I do! I sense the blog might be a wee bit quiet until then though!ReplyCancel

  • Adam Morris - Hi Flora. The pancakes were well received at last nights dinner table, thank you for the recipe. Next time I will attempt to reduce the sugar and maple syrup quantities by 50% and see how well this works after a miracle berry. Happy to send you a couple if you let me know.
    AdamReplyCancel

  • Eugénie - Hello Flora, thanks for the recipe. The butter is a thing of beauty ! I cannot wait for your book to be released.ReplyCancel

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Some poached ginger pears and some highlights from 2015:

  • This thing called GBBO. And this very entertaining review of the bakers. Written by an insider surely.
  • Blue Peter. And a SILVER badge!
  • Being described by the Daily Mail as being “pretty in a sturdy way”. You just can’t make that stuff up.
  • Ladz.
  • Wittertainment Bond Special. The dream.
  • Being listed as a chef – I got the giggles when it happened.
  • Also this. An absolute gentleman.
  • My apron.
  • A cringe worthy quote people still say to me on the street.
  • Moving to St Andrews.
  • You and Yours!! Radio 4 guys. I squealed.
  • Possibly the most entertaining man I have met.
  • Recipes in the Scotsman – look out for more next year!
  • Appearing in the Broons. Joe, you can visit with flour anytime!
  • Extra Slice loveliness – including this.
  • The foodie folk I have met.
  • A total honour.
  • This, obvs.
  • Youths eh?
  • all the insta love
  • Hitting 20 – and all the birthday love that came my way.
  • And Christmas.
  • And every single thing I have left of or forgotten. Sorry.
  • Many many more giggles, (BAFTA dinner, all the lovely folk that stop for a natter on the street, food demos, book signings to name but a few) so a mega thanks for all the laughs you lot. Its been a privilege.
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  • Kevin - Hello Flora,

    Wanted to let you know that my wife and I rooted for you all the way from Oklahoma during Bake-Off. Want to wish you and yours a great 2016 and look forward to seeing what you come up with this year!ReplyCancel

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If I am honest the days in between are probably my favourites. Christmas is fun – chaotic, booze fuelled and a lot to juggle and I do really love it – but I love a leftover sandwich more. I hope you are all enjoying an elasticated waistband currently. In the run up to Christmas it all got a bit manic at my end so I forgot to tell you about The Kitchen Cafe, which was on the radio on Christmas Eve. Sorry all. If you want to listen to me talking about the big day, post the big day you can still catch up here. I did, however, think I would share the recipe for my dish on the programme with you (despite it no longer being Christmas) as it will still make for a lovely winter pud or Hogmanay dish. I am really enjoying all of us being home with our crap wifi, disastrous weather and general slow pace lifestyle so I haven’t been cooking a huge amount but I will try and get back to you all with some Hogmanay thoughts and a wee look back at whats been a pretty quiet 2015, NOT! Enjoy the leftover chocolates, sherry and day time telly in the mean time.

Also – what I am listening to this month.
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CHOCOLATE CHESTNUT TART

For the pastry:

100g cold unsalted butter

150g plain flour

45g cocoa

65g icing sugar

2 tsp cornflour

splash of whole milk

For the filling:

100g cooked and peeled chestnuts (the vacuum packed ones are best)

100g ground almonds

100g softened unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 – 3 large pears

50g dark chocolate chopped roughly

Preheat the oven to 170C. To make the pastry blitz all the in ingredients in a food processor adding the milk at the end to bring the dough together. Alternatively Rub the butter into the flour, cocoa, sugar and cornflour until it all comes together again adding the milk at the end to bind it. Cover and chill for 20 mins at least. During this time make the filling. Grate the cooked chestnuts using your finest grater and add them to a bowl with the almonds, butter and sugar. Mix well until you have a paste like batter then add the eggs baking powder and vanilla. Mix again until smooth. You can add a few tbsp of booze if you want at this stage. Finely slice your pears (skin on). To assemble, roll the chilled pastry out on a floured surface until roughly 3mm thick. Use it to line a 20cm fluted and loose bottomed tart tin. Press thoroughly into the sides then trim off any overhanging pastry. Place the filling into the tart and spread until smooth all over. Fan the pear slices over the top before finishing with the chopped chocolate around the edges. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the chestnuts filling is cooked through (it will not longer be soggy to touch). Enjoy with a big dollop of dairy (or if you have any left over some brandy butter – I won’t tell if you don’t!)

 

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  • Trevor Hearn - Great Radio programme. Are Asian pears easy to find? Hope you had a great Christmas. Happy New Year to you.ReplyCancel

    • Flora - I got mine from the amazing Roots and Fruits in Glasgow. I think they are pretty seasonal. Conference pears will work just as well though!ReplyCancel

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The first time I cooked artichokes was in the French Alps. We have been a few times and it’s normally in the middle of July, when the weather is promised to be hot and the tourist scene quiet (no snow, no go for some). What we went to however was 8C and pissing rain. We lit the fire in the chalet four times in one week. At home there was a heatwave and a water drought. Brits abroad eh? In an attempt to keep spirits high we tried not to dwell on it, ate plenty of ice cream, marched around lovely old castles in anoraks and visited the markets in the nearby village. It was here that I first spied globe artichokes, and of course bought them instantly. We returned back up the very foggy hill and lit the BBQ in shelter to prevent the drizzle putting it out. After I wrestled with the green flowers for a good hour, shed a tear over the wastage, then realised I should have soaked them all in lemon water, we set about charring them. This was a slow, damp process, outside in the dark. Mum cooked fish inside using an oven, prepared a salad, bread and some dressing, and did the cooking equivalent of lapping me. Twice. The result, however, was delicious and we gorged on a new found favourite. That was until dad lost a tooth on a very tough exterior leaf I had failed to remove. We have two weeks of holiday pictures with “toothless wonder”. Since then I have practiced my artichoke prep, and no one else has lost a tooth. I jump at any chance to get whole artichokes nowadays and picked up these lovely ones from Roots and Fruits in Glasgow on my last trip. We did, despite it all, have a very nice trip to the Alps. FAS_8649FAS_8645FAS_8661FAS_8658FAS_8681

CHARRED ARTICHOKE

4-6 globe artichokes

1 large lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

Begin by juice half of the lemon. Add to a large bowl of cold water. To prep the artichokes begin at the bottom of the “head” if you like. Clip the tough leaves of one by one working your way up until the softer yellow flesh is visible. Once you have reached this stage cut the greener top off so you have only a yellow head. When you cut the top off the bright purple centre should now be visible. Cut in half. Working quickly take the other half of your lemon and rub over the now exposed yellow flesh where you made the cut. This will prevent it browning. Take a teaspoon and scrape out the purple and furry “choke” from the centre, and discard. You should be left with cup shape. Squeeze a little lemon juice into the centre then submerge the whole thing into the prepared lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes. Once all the artichokes are prepped you need to boil them. Tip the lemon water, the artichokes and the lemon rind from before into a deep pan and place on a high heat for 10 minutes or until a knife can cut them easily. Drain and allow to dry off for a few moments (it won’t take long as they will be hot). Brush with the olive oil and charr them on a screaming hot griddle pan or BBQ that is also very hot. Enjoy with a little more lemon juice and pinch of salt.

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A warming salad on this stormy winters day. It took me a long time to love lentils but in the midst of early nightfall and stormy weather they make a salad all the more comforting.FAS_8539FAS_8590LENTIL and ASPARAGUS SALAD

150 g puy or green lentils

1 banana shallot

2 tbsp olive oil

450-600ml vegetable stock

200g asparagus

big handful of mint leaves

1/2 fresh red chilli de seeded

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

4 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

2 tsp black onion seeds

goats cheese crumbled

Begin by frying the lentils and finely chopped shallot with the oil in a deep medium pan. Once the onions are beginning to cook add 300 ml of the stock, place a lid on the pan and bring to the boil. Stir every five minutes adding more liquid as its required. They will take around 25-30 minutes to cook. Alternatively use pre cooked lentils. In the meantime boil the asparagus for no more than a minute or two – it should remain very green. Drain. Add the mint leaves, the chilli (finely chopped) lemon zest and juice, oil, seasoning and seeds. Toss to combine. Once the lentils are cooked add the greens. You shouldn’t have to drain any water from the lentil if you add the liquid and taste them gradually. Mix throughout and serve with a little goats cheese.

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