Apricot Crumble Bars

Prep Time : 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! Now that you have a haul of gorgeous sunny jam or if you just love apricot things lets get down to business. These bars have lots of my favourite things. Apricots. Jam. Oats. Sesame. They also remind me of a time and place. When I was younger I used to go to the corner bakery and get these trashy apricot squares. They were two layers of soft shortcake sandwiched with a tall layer of stiffly gelled apricot filling. There’s a good chance that nothing approaching a real ripe apricot ever went near them. But they were gooey and tart and I loved them. Today we are taking a soft shortcake base and slathering it in good jam before sprinkling it with chewy, nutty buttery goodness. I mean it’s practically cereal with all those oats and fruit… These bars are a breeze to throw together. I recommend getting an adjustable or loose bottomed rectangular pan if you can get your hands on one. It just makes life easier. When the bars are cold you just pull apart the two pieces and cut them up right on the cutting board. It work’s particularly well for slices that have fillings or delicate tops.

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Apricot Twist Jam

 Prep Time : 20 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Jam

Hello my lovelies! It’s jam season. I won’t shut up about it. Sorry not sorry. Apricot is my all time favourite jam. Today we are putting a zesty citrus twist on it. Sunshine in a jar. Apricots can be very sweet when cooked and need a bit of acid to perk them up. Oranges and lemons will do the trick. It will also help the jam to set because pectin loves acid. Right now fruit markets are full of apricots in NZ. Carefully choose firm ripe fruit that isn’t too hard. I know choosing a good apricot is a bit of a mission. I have a friend who insists that apricots are firmly in the category of better cooked than fresh. On the whole is this is probably true because the chances of getting a delicious fresh apricot can be low even though a good one is simply magnificent. And they’re always good in jam. If your apricots are a bit hard let them ripen for a few days before cooking them. I will have a recipe or two coming your way to help use up some of your jammy bounty so stay tuned. Or you can just make some pikelets… In the meantime let’s get this show on the road.

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LIFE: Heat + Sweet

Hello my lovelies! It is still hot. Too hot for cool weather creatures like me. I’ve been busy making preserves which is probably not helping the heat. I’ve been going mad with caramels. And I caught up with some friends I don’t get to see very often. Sugar featured strongly this week.

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Chilli + Lemongrass Jam

 Prep Time : 10 + 10 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 + 30 Minutes | Total Time : 2 hours | Difficulty : Preserves

Hello my lovelies! I love preserving season. I am going mad with all the jams and pickles I want to make. I have already made plum jam with some of my smuggled crop from back home. I’ve made feijoa and ginger with my freezer stash. I’m looking out for good apricots. Watch this space for that one. Right now we are making sweet and savoury crossover joy. Perfect for spreading on our crackers, dabbing on our dinners and gobbling with our cheeses. We are adding ginger and lemongrass to give this sweet, tangy, sticky, spicy chilli jam another layer of flavour. While this is called a jam it is technically a chutney. It’s on the soft spreadable side which we like. Don’t skip the roasting step. It really deepens the flavour of the tomatoes. Use good ripe flavourful tomatoes. I like to use the smaller ones as they roast and caramelise a little faster. Please don’t use low acid tomatoes as it can affect the acid levels and the keeping quality of this jam. Allons-y.

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Overnight Saision Baguettes

 Prep Time : 5 + 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : Overnight | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! We are just gonna jump in at the deep end. I couldn’t wait to share this with you. It’s so fabulous. And I know you can make a baguette even if it seems out of reach. Have faith. We are using some rye flour to give these baguettes flavour. We are also using special yeast. One of my experiments of the last little while has been using different strains of brewing yeast to see if it makes a difference. Well it does. It makes a delicious difference. For this recipe we are using Saison. A yeast for making fruit-forward french style beers. Totally appropriate. Any shop that sells supplies for home brewing will have small packets of different yeasts, usually in a chiller. It is a bit more expensive than regular baking yeast but we only need a teeny amount. That 1/4 teaspoon packs a big flavour punch though. If you can’t get your hands on it you can use the same amount of regular yeast and your baguettes will still be amazing. They’ll just have less hipster street cred. There’s five minutes work before bed then the active and passive time is spread over about 3 hours in the morning. There are a lot of pictures below but they’re there to help. Let’s jump in – it’s easier than you think!

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LIFE: Bittersweet

Hello my lovelies! It’s been a bittersweet week. I’m settling back into working with lots of ideas bubbling around. I’m making proper plans for the year ahead. I’m slowly regaining my fitness and trialling a standing desk. And sadly we lost my Nannie to pneumonia. A sweet and generous lady who will be missed dearly.

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Spiced Honey Cupcakes

 Prep Time : 15 + 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! Going back to work is hard. You deserve a cupcake. These spiced honey beauties are soft and sweet and filled with comforting spices. We’re not quite ready to let go of Christmas completely. I love this cupcake method. It’s so easy and impossible to fuck up. Yep we’re using strong language. We should all feel strongly about access to easy delicious cupcakes. I don’t know what else to say except to eat these cupcakes. Close your eyes and let a moment of fluffy spicy sweetness chase your troubles away.

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