Anzac Biscuits; easier to bake than going to the shops

It was an autumnal Sunday afternoon and after watching Super Sunday, which was a disappointing match (that goal was never offside) I decided we needed cheering up with a cup of tea and a treat.  I could not be bothered to go to the shops for a pack of biscuits on this wet and chilly day so I reached for Mary Berry’s bible to find inspiration.

The first one I turned to was Anzac Biscuits.  It was fate as these are childhood favourites of mine and Mum used to make these moreish biscuits on a regular basis. I probably have not eaten these since I was in primary school. These biscuits are now all about comaraderie and the were originally  baked in Australia and New Zealand to honour the soldiers from the battle of Gallipoli. They were great to bake during rationing as the binding agent is syrup instead of eggs and they are super easy to make without any kitchen wizardry. 

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I fired up the oven and greased my fabulous Bake-Off baking sheet; I love this adonised aluminium baking sheet and really regret not buying another back in 2015.

The ingredients you will need are:

  • 150g (5oz) butter cubed (to speed up dissolving)
  • 1 dessert spoon of Golden Syrup
  • 1 dessert spoon of Maple Syrup
  • 175g (6oz) Sugar (split between Demerara and Golden Caster)
  • 75g (3oz) Self-raising flour
  • 75g (3oz) desiccated coconut
  • 100g (4oz) porridge oats
  • Equipment you will need are 3 baking sheets, small or medium pan, cooling racks and small palette knife or spatula.

The method is so simple, it’s easier than going to the shops to buy biscuits – just follow these steps:

  1. Turn your oven on to setting 160°c fan or gas mark 6
  2. Lightly grease 3 baking sheets
  3. Melt the butter, sugars and syrups in a pan and melt until melted / dissolved
  4. Add the dry ingredients (SR flour, coconut, porridge oats)
  5. Mix your dry into your wet ingredients and stir until combined well
  6. Spoon a heaped teaspoon onto trays (about 9 per tray) and pressing each one with the back of a spoon to flatten slightly.wp-1477239462139.jpg
  7. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Once baked (edges will be a golden brown) leave for 2 minutes to cool slightly before moving onto your cooling racks.

Store in an air tight container if you can resist eating them all before they have cooled.

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Louise x

 

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Thyme Bistro (Cannon Hall Barnsley); a refreshing change

Our first trip to the lovely Thyme Bistro at Cannon Hall was a refreshing change as so many times this type of venue with captive audiences fail; read more to find out why I rate Thyme Bistro.

We arrived about 1245 and were advised there was about a ten minute wait for a table and were shown to the patio area; where we enjoyed the views and perused the menu .

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We were seated close to the counter displaying their wonderful choice of sweet treats; which already had caught the Ord brothers eyes. The bistro has a lovely buzz and considering it is very child friendly you are not deafed by the excitement of little ones.  The bistro is clean, light and bright. The offer free WiFi throughout and a seperate dining area for those with dogs (clever idea).

Our waitress took the table’s order of five meals; two of which were specials and one kids meal and all choices were available.  Not long after two of the specials were removed from the blackboard (good to see this being updated for incoming diners).

Two of the five specials ran out by 1pm – this must be a good sign?

Our meals were served within 20 minutes and the first to arrive was David’s Battered Haddock which was setting the bar on  looks.  Served with hand cut chips and mushy peas (as sponsored by illy) and good portion of tartare sauce looked good value at £9.95.  The batter was golden and the fish was moist and flakey as were the chips which were superb; as good as you should expect in a gastro-pub. The only irritation was the peas in an espresso cup (nearly as annoying as slates instead of plates).

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My order of the Cajun Chicken Burger was topped with bacon, cheese served with and hand cut chips and corriander soured cream – an  impressive stack.  I would have removed the bacon to reduce the calories  but  it was encrusted in the cheddar which was in turn melted to the chicken so I enjoyed it in all its glory.  The chicken was moist, the only issue was it lacked spice this maybe due to the flavour being overpowered by the cheddar and bacon.  Yet again the chips were spot on just a shame the chose to serve a soggy and slightly rotting salad garnish.  If it was my choice I would have served the Cajun burger with less cheese and let the spices do the talking.

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A good choice of hot and cold drinks are available and for the real ale lover they offer,albeit bottled, Black Sheep.  I enjoyed a fantastic illy cappuccino.

Overall I think pricing is fair for the quality.  Service is with a smile although we did note some misunderstandings within the team and it would be interesting to see if they can handle the pressure on a sunny day when there are more dinners.  

My recommendations to the Thyme Bistro would be to lose serving peas in coffee cups, ensure your garnish is not decaying and be bold with your spices.

Overal I recommend you dine at Thyme. We will be returning for seconds and hope that next time it deserves full points.

 

If you’d like to read more of my food adventures you can follow me on Twitter @EatBakeBlogGB  or Instagram with my reviews published on TripAdvisor as Louise Winder.

Louise x
http://www.LouiseWinderFoodAndTravel.com

#EatBakeBlogGB

 

Bill’s Breakfast Breakdown (Dale Street Manchester)

This has always been our go to place when travelling around the UK.  So far we have been to Bill’s at Brighton, Cheltenham, Durham, York, Leeds and now Manchester.

We went here for breakfast on Sunday morning instead of having the £20 full English at the Lowery Hotel; we just could not imagine how they could deliver such an outstanding breakfast when the hotel is lacking in its former glory, but that is another review.

We arrived at 10am and were promptly seated.  The restaurant was very quiet; we must have missed the Sunday rush!

We ordered a pot of Tea for one, an Americano,  two of Bill’s Breakfast £7.95 (one with a side/extra of Crispy Potato at £1.25 and one a side/extra of Black Pudding at £1.50) which we would  share.

Drinks arrived soon after with our breakfasts following about 5 minutes later.

When we first started going to Bill’s I am sure you got two of each of  your extras with regards the potato and black pudding (and David assures me it was the case and my memory is not failing me). I’m not sure that at £1.50, a slice even with overheads that is a fair deal for a slice fat!  Especially if it is killed through overcooking!

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The more I think, the more I do not see Bill’s as being good value.  If you took off the black pudding we are paying £8 for two eggs, effectively one sausage, 3 pieces of streaky bacon (the cheapest cut of bacon) the smallest tomato  half, and two pieces of small-ish toasted bread (the eggs are small; so use this as a guide if you require more evidence).

We regularly have breakfast at two beautiful farm shops in Yorkshire that have won awards for their quality and they charge £9.00 for their full english – with no extra’s to pay for (see picture 2).

Quality is hit and miss. Sometimes you get crispy bacon and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you get soft eggs and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you get a soft and juicy tomato and sometimes you get an unripe under-cooked version but most of the time you do get overcooked Black Pudding!

On a positive note the staff were friendly and the toilets are generally spotless.

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Picture 1 Bills Breakfast and Picture 2 Farm Shop Breakfast the latter is cheaper.

My final observation we always have to wait for a table at our local establishments (they both hold about 50 covers) unlike Bill’s which in the last year I have not seen busy at breakfast…now that may be coincidence but I doubt that considering how many branches we have been to.  What is consistent is Bill’s inconsistency which is quickly relegating this from being our  go-to place for breakfast.

 

Cost £22.70 (before service) as at March 2016

If you’d like to read more of my reviews then you could follow me on Twitter @EatBakeBlogUK

#EatBakeBlog Lush leftover luncheon fuels a blog

How annoying is it when you throw out of date food away?  I’ll be honest, the first thing that crops up in my mind is how much did that cost, what else could I have spent that money on?

For me it would probably have been a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, chilled of course.

Of course it bothers me that it will end up in landfill (I have no compost bin right now) and anyone who knows me well understands that recycling matters to me and I hope it matters to you too.

So today I foraged (well I am a blogger got to use the odd creative word) around the wilds of our fridges and found some baked salmon, kale, broccoli and some cream that all needed using today – so rather than the lush beef sandwich I really wanted, I got my trusty Tefal pan out and started chopping.

20160119_Roast beef from Thorncliffe

I diced half an onion (organic, hey that’s how I roll), crushed a clove of garlic, split the remaining broccoli into a handful of florets, grabbed a handful of kale, flaked the salmon fillet (fending of Leia – our tabby – with my steely glare)  and the remainder of the Elmlea double cream (I know a DCA hardly a foodies go to but I know I had no choice).

I sweated the onion, added the garlic, and the broccoli frying it for 3 minutes, followed by  a generous glug of dry white wine.  Letting it reduce slightly before I added the cream  I next flaked the salmon into the sauce.  Meanwhile the kale was steaming on the spaghetti, once done I tossed this into the pan and grated some parmesan over the top.

Hey presto, within under 10 minutes I had a delicious and creamy, although slightly naughty, dish using leftovers.

20160119_ Leftovers for Lunch

Thanks for reading and if you like my blog then please show your support and comment below or maybe you could retweet if you follow me on twitter.

Louise x

 

 

#EatBakeBlog won’t jack on Flapjacks

It has been a while since I made these sticky oaty bars and in my efforts to use up the sugar in the house and continue with my attempt to remove it from my daily life it seemed like a good use of  our cupboard staples.

Why I am doing this today after stepping on the scales since before Christmas is beyond me, as the news was as grimmer than I’d expected. Not since ten days in Vegas back in 2010 have the scales creaked as much.

This time I used this recipe from my recently purchased book Mary Berry’s Baking Bible see page 191 for her Fast Flapjacks.   I made same minor tweaks as I had no demerara sugar so I used the following ingredients:

  • 225g / 8 oz Butter (unsalted)
  • 100g /  3.5 oz   Caster Sugar
  • 125g / 4.4 oz  Soft brown sugar
  • 275g/ 10 oz  Porridge oats (organic)
  • 100g (3.5oz) Sultanas

With the butter and sugars melted, the oven hot and ready to go, I mixed in the oats and sultana’s into the greased tin, flattened and popped this sticky buttery mix it into the oven.

Now our favourite baker tells us to cook for about 35 minutes, so knowing our furnace of an oven (which would incinerate you, as soon as look at you) and I took them out at 30.  But alas it was too late –  the Flapjacks are beyond what I call golden (think the dress – we all have our own colour charts)

Now, I know David will tell me they are perfect (he is too kind plus I am sure worries if he critiques I may give up)  but I know better so next time it will be 25 minutes and I will invest in a thermometer to try and seek a more golden offering.

Flapjack by EatBakeBlog
Flapjack by EatBakeBlog

Thank you for reading if you like my blog then please follow me on twitter @LouiseWinder

Louise x

#EatBakeBlog

 

 

Ego at The Beverly Arms

It’s no Ego trip (Donaster Road, Ackworth)

This review focuses on our first impression of Ego at the Beverley Arms  and a few comments on our subsequent visits.

We booked in on day 3 of trading at the newly opened Ego at the Beverley Arms.   We arrived at 730pm and were quickly seated our drinks order was taken about 15 minutes later.  There is a lovely buzz about the place with a hint of chaos from a new team which added to the excitement and anticipation.  I am craving an excellent restaurant locally and hope this fits the bill.  However they clearly can seat over 100 covers so I hope they have the experienced team to handle this with their extensive menu.

Around 745pm we placed our order from the a la carte menu ordering the Chicken and Rosemary Pate and Moules Marinieres to start. Followed by Moroccan Lamb  Tanjine and Iberian Belly Pork, served on a bed of spinach with black pudding.

The starters arrived around 15 minutes, they were nicely presented (although no finger bowl for the Moules!). The Pate was very chilled so the flavour was lost and the toasted bread  was not really toasted.  The moules, a starter portion was served in a main course bowl #disappointment. The upside was they were juicy and the mariniere sauce was creamy with just enough garlic so they can be forgiven what I see as teething problems.  I do hope the Head Chef orders some small pots to avoid disappointing their diners.

The main course arrived an hour after our initial order.  The Moroccan Lamb was well presented in the Tajine.

Ego at The Beverly Arms
Lamb Tajine

The was no shortage of olives in this dish, the cous-cous, as promised was lightly buttered (and very fluffy), the vegetables were tasty in the rich sauce, the lamb however as tougher than you’d expect for a slow cooked dish.  There was plenty of tzatziki and corriander to compliment.  Overall this dish was tasty – however – I think it is overpriced at £15.95 considering the lack of provenance and the average quality of the lamb.

David enjoyed his belly pork – the sauce was rich and pork was tender and had a wonderfully crisp top. Again though the pricing is high, you can find similar dishes and more plentiful plates for less (consider this is not served with any vegetables or carbohydrates).

The Dauphinoise Gratin was a fraud it was more like Lyonnaise Potatoes; in summary it was cheesy potatoes – not the wonderfully rich creamy garlic dish you’d expect.

Dauphinoise Potatoes
Dauphinoise Potatoes at £3,25 (that’s a desert spoon for reference)!

It was quite late by the time we finished our mains so we did not order a further course or coffee.

Overall we were not bowled over by Ego at the Beverley Arms, I think  the Ego brand may think they are stronger than they are. In my opinion they have some evolving to do.   We paid over £50 (inlcuding a small carafe of red wine) and in my experience I have paid less for more.  In future, we will dine on their special nights as their main course prices match that of a an established city restaurant with great service.

Our second experience was on the steak night this improved upon our first visit. The latest visit was for a family meal for 8 which was better than our first trip but still a long way off, stronger service is needed again the gap between starters and mains was noticible with no apologies and we were left alone far too long with regards to drinks orders as not all the party were wine drinkers.

I give Ego 3 out of 5 and hope that this soon will improve and would recommend you try but if you are too a keen cook you may wish to book in for a specials night first.

If you like my reviews you will find more on Trip Advisor or follow me on Twitter @LouiseWinder

Louise x

#EatBakeBlog