Recipe of the Week: Harry Eastwood’s Parmesan and Paprika Scones

Harry Eastwood's Parmesan & Paprika Scones

 

It’s been a while since the baking bug last struck me. But a lazy Sunday afternoon with the rugby on telly persuaded me to get out my mixing bowl, pastry cutters and rolling pin and make something yummy. Time to re-kindle my love affair with Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache. After baking my way through a fair amount of the sweet stuff in this book – my copy of which is now looking incredibly well-thumbed – I decided to try my hand at something savoury.

Made with butternut squash as a main ingredient, the Parmesan and Paprika Scones (page 134) are, like everything else in the book, a healthier way to enjoy the things we love. Having a body that doesn’t really agree with wheat, it’s fantastic that most recipes in this book are wheat or gluten-free. This particular one uses spelt flour. An ancient relative of modern wheat, spelt does contain an amount of gluten, so unfortunately it’s not suitable for those with coeliac disease. However, as it contains significantly less gluten than common wheat, most people with wheat intolerances are fine with it. Seeing as this is the first time I’ve baked with it, I’ll have to let you know if this is actually the case.

The recipe calls for white spelt flour, but because I like my scones with a bit o’ rough I opted for wholegrain (plus it was all that Sainsbury’s had). And although the book suggests you use a food processor, mine is teeny-tiny so I only used it to blend the squash, honey and cheese together. Then I shoved everything in a mixing bowl and got stuck right in with my hands – my favourite kind of baking.

If you do a lot of baking, re-usable silicone mats are a brilliant (and far less wasteful) alternative to baking parchment. You can pick them up for pretty cheap: here on eBay they’re under £3 including postage. Completely non-stick, you can cook anything on them and they’ll save you all that scrubbing at your baking trays. I just lightly rubbed some flour onto one and cooked the scones straight on top.

Being entirely impatient (and pretty hungry after neglecting to eat lunch) I decided to tuck right into mine while they were still warm. Slathered in plenty of cream cheese with a nice mug of Twining’s English Breakfast Tea proved the perfect means of enjoyment.

Slathered in plenty of cream cheese. Mega-nom.

 

If you think this recipe sounds totally delicious (and trust me, it is) you can pick up a copy of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache here. Massively recommended if you need a regular baking fix without the diet-related guilt.

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Recipe of the Week: Harry Eastwood’s Cinnamon Banana Bread

Harry Eastwood's Cinnamon Banana Bread. Batch #10 or 11... or maybe 12?

Harry's Cinnamon Banana Bread Batch #10 or 11... or maybe 12?

Yes I know, two Harry Eastwood recipes in a row, but I just cannot get enough of this woman at the moment. When I got her book Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache last Christmas, the Cinnamon Banana Bread (p. 97) was the first recipe I tried. Since then, I’ve made it about ten times and my latest batch (above) was definitely the best one yet.

Absolutely packed with bananas, nuts and courgettes, it sounds ridiculously healthy for a cake and quite honestly far too good to be true. A cake that’s full of slow energy release foods that keeps you FULL UP? Damn right. This cake makes an absolutely brilliant morning snack, satisfying (and quashing) my regular-as-clockwork 11am sugar cravings. I can’t think of anything that goes better with my cuppa.

Harry’s book is an absolute must for anyone who loves cake (which is just about everyone, right?) She has perfected the art of the light, moist texture and the best thing is that they can be enjoyed by anyone as they’re entirely wheat-free. In her own words: “I have tested all the recipes in this book using white rice flower as well as plain flour. This is partly because I like its lightness of texture, but also because I didn’t want those with wheat intolerances to miss out on the fun.”

Isn’t that nice of her? Now, if only more catering establishments thought that way…

Recipe of the Week: Harry Eastwood’s Lemon, Sunflower Seed & Blueberry Muffins

My muffin and my cup of tea. Lovely.

I cannot describe how delighted I was to receive Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache last Christmas. After developing a severe intolerance to wheat and gluten, cakes were something that were suddenly closed off to me. No more would I enjoy a Starbuck’s muffin with a vanilla latte or a belgian bun with a cup of tea. This made me very, very sad.

Until that is, I discovered this book and placed it firmly at the top of my Christmas list because pretty much every recipe in it is entirely gluten-free. I’m not the most experimental or experienced baker, so working my way (very slowly) through this book has been somewhat of a revelation. The premise is simple: cakes don’t have to be once in a while treats to be enjoyed amidst feelings of guilt. They can actually be good for you. No, I’m not joking. Take the muffins for example: the nutritional info for your average muffin puts the calorie content at around 380 calories (way more if they contain chocolate), whereas the ones in this book range from around 180-260. That’s a saving of more than a large glass of wine! Brilliant.

Some more of batch number three...

Anyway, my favourite recipe so far (I have a long way to go to do the whole book) has got to be these Lemon, Sunflower Seed and Blueberry Muffins (p. 96). Harry (of Cook Yourself Thin fame) has taken the humble blueberry muffin, a favourite coffee-shop breakfast snack and totally revamped it. The lemon taste comes through with an unexpected strength, which adds a surprising twist when you bite into one for the first time. The secret “alternative” ingredient? Well, all the cakes contain vegetables. Yes, vegetables. A mound of grated courgette in this case. Combined with the use of wonderfully light rice flour (which Harry says is actually far better for making cakes with than wheat flour), the use of vegetables means that these cakes stay incredibly moist for days. I normally do a batch of muffins or a big cake at the weekend which still taste delicious at the end of the next week.

This recipe can be a little fiddly in places (I absolutely hate grating lemon zest) and I had to invest in an electric whisk for fear of developing repetitive strain injury from all the whisking, but it is SO worth it, trust me. Now, all this writing about it has made me want to go and make my fourth batch…

Happy muffin-eating!