Archive for June, 2013

Foodie Penpals: June 2013

This month’s package comes from the lovely Annika at Annika put together a great package for me while on holiday in Canada – so it’s all new to me! Thanks to Annika, and please check out her blog 🙂







If you fancy joining our wandering band of gastronauts, meander on over to: if you’re in the UK/Europe, or if you’re in the States. 🙂


Police seek help tracing missing student

Yulia is a friend of friends, and has been missing for nearly 2 weeks. If you’ve seen her recently, please contact the police – her family and friends are desperately worried.

Live Edinburgh News

Police Scotland Edinburgh Division is appealing for information in tracing a Russian student who has been missing from her address in the capital for a week.

Twenty – two year old Yulia Solodyankina, who has been studying Physics at Edinburgh University, was last seen at the Wee Red Bar in Lady Lawson STreet on June 7.


Yulia, who speaks fluent English albeit it with a strong Russian accent, is of medium build with long dark brown hair. She is about 5ft.6ins in height and has a small mole on her left cheek. Her ears are pierced and she wears a number of rings on her fingers, in particular a distinctive thumb ring which is shaped like a small spoon.

When last seen Yulia was wearing a a dark jacket, dark trousers, white trainers and carrying a large dark coloured rucksack which appeared to be full.

Inspector Barry Darling, of Police…

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Guest post: Biscotti, by Clarinda @Highland Diary

My OH’s Mum has very kindly agreed to guest-post on Interestingthymes again – her sourdough baps post last year has been very popular (and rightly so)!

This Biscotti recipe is based on Paul Hollywood’s recipe – and sounds lovely 🙂 My OH made a chocolate and hazelnut version quite recently, and I know from that batch that the texture and crispness are perfect, so I really recommend you try this recipe out!

Anyway, enough from me, and over to Clarinda – thanks for this awesome post!

BISCOTTI – Little Pieces of Italian Heaven


I feel very honoured to have been asked by yuppiebaker to write another guest post for this exciting blogspot. It is not just because I am the SO’s mother that I find this site so stimulating, it is more because I know how busy these young folk are with work and life in general, but they still find time to cook and bake for themselves. An example to us all! I am a bit of an inveterate, blogger having two sites of my own – and and I enjoy writing for both of them, but this week I have abandoned them so that I can write this post which is on the subject of Biscotti – those deliciously crunchy Italian biscuits.


I had never made Biscotti before, but I had recently bought Paul Hollywood’s excellent book on baking and the recipe in the book looked fairly straight forward. Of course, when I looked in the cupboard, I had very few of the ingredients mentioned recommended in the recipe! – but I also thought that it didn’t really matter what the added fruit and nuts were as there must be as many recipes for Biscotti as there were ever cooks to bake them! Paul had made three sorts: pistachio and cranberry, hazelnut and dates and chocolate, almond and orange. I only had enough flavourings for two varieties, but found that dividing the dough into two made life easier – so no regrets! The biscuits looked perfect when finished, were not difficult to do and were much enjoyed by Himself and the ladies of my spinning group. Here is what I did:-



Start by making the base dough:-


250g plain white flour

½ tsp baking powder

250g caster sugar

2-3 medium eggs, beaten


Heat the oven to 140° for a fan oven or 160° for conventional. Paul recommends a conventional setting for these biscuits, but I found that they worked fine in our fan oven.


Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar together in a bowl. Stir in the beaten eggs, a little at a time, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Continue until you have a firm dough; it may not be necessary to add all of the egg. The dough shouldn’t be at all sticky. Kneed it a wee bit and divide it into two (or three) if you intend to make different sorts.


Now it’s time to add your chosen flavouring and really there is little necessity to be too careful about weighing these ingredients out. I used roughly 60 gm cranberries and 110 gm almonds for one half chopping them up into reasonably small pieces, and a tablespoon or so of cocoa powder, 25 gm chocolate chips and 60-65 gm chopped walnuts for the other half, but really you can use what you like.


Work these ingredients gently into the halves of dough and turn them out onto a floured surface. Roll each piece into a long log, roughly 2 ins in diameter. Place both logs on the lined baking tray, spacing them apart as the mixture will spread a bit. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Leave the logs to cool on the tray for 10 minutes to allow the dough to firm up slightly, then transfer to a board. Cut the logs, on an artistic diagonal, into slices approx 2 ins thick.


Place the slices, cut side up, back on the lined baking tray. Return to the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the biscotti are dry through to the centre, turning them over halfway through. Have faith that they wont burn! Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. They keep well in an airtight container. ENJOY…

What I’ve been making lately…





Recently we’ve had quite a few parties, so we’ve been making and baking a fair bit. Here’s a few of the tasty treats we’ve been making:

  • Peanut butter truffles: really simple – peanut butter, 70% chocolate, and dulce de lech.
  • Hazelnut Truffles: ditto above, except with hazelnut butter
  • Couscous salad with mint, orange and hazelnuts
  • Elder-flower and Lime Vodka: I made this a couple of years ago – a nice Summery tipple
  • Chive-flower vinegar: We’ve a flowering chive plant on our window-sill, and I found a nice simple way of using the flowers – hopefully it’ll go nicely on a salad.
  • Vanilla Gelato: We had a few eggs left from our trip up North, and some cream which needs used up, as well as some dulce de lech – so vanilla and caramel gelato!
  • (And Tim made Wholewheat Soda Bread with Stout – and very successful it was! Very tasty!)

Pimp My Jaffa Cake!


Look what I made at the weekend! A bloody enormous jaffa cake with other jaffa cakes in it! With booze in it! I feel like Dr Frankenstein – except with vast quantities of sugar! (Can anyone spot the sugar-high?)


Pimp My Posh Jaffa Cake


  • 125 g softened unsalted butter
  • One half cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbs orange liqueur
  • 6 jaffa cakes
  • One whole orange
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g unsalted butter


  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add one egg at a time, and mix well.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Stir in vanilla and orange flavouring/liqueur/orange zest into yogurt.
  4. Gently add flour and yogurt mix alternately to butter mixture.
  5. Soak the jaffa cakes in the orange liqueur, sponge side down.
  6. Pour half the batter into 23 cm greased and floured cake tin. Place the boozy jaffa cakes on top, then cover with the remaining batter, and smooth over.
  7. Bake in preheated oven 180°C for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven once cooked and allow to cool on a wire-rack.
  8. In a heavy-bottom pan heat the water and granulated sugar together, and add 1/4 inch half-moon slices of the orange. Keep it simmering gently until the zest goes tender and easy to cut (but not to the same point as you would for candying the slices). Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a non-stick surface.
  9. Either in the microwave, or in a double-boiler, melt together the chocolate and the butter until smooth and glossy. Put to the side and allow to cool and thicken slightly.
  10. Once the cake and orange slices have fully cooled, arrange the orange slices in the middle to form a circle. Once you are happy with the shape, pour over the chocolate sauce and make sure it fully covers the orange slices and cake. Smooth out, and put in the fridge to set.
  11. Enjoy a bloody huge Jaffa Cake!
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