… a couple of weeks back Niamh from Eat Like A Girl, Kate from Veggie Desserts, Helen from Food Stories and myself took part in a couple of brilliant live Tribes To Table cooking events for Leisure Range Cookers. They split us into cooking tribes and we each whipped up a dish based on these tribes in front of a live audience of media and The Guardian newspaper readers. We each used a different range cooker from the collection so the audience could also see how well the products worked. As you know from previous posts, I baked my sugar-free banana and fennel seed brownies. Niamh was the head of the Fish Tribe and she cooked the most incredible razor clams and oysters under a silky bed of motoyaki mayonnaise. I adore shell-fish and razor clams are one of my favourites so this was a huge treat for me… as head of the Vegetable Tribe, Kate baked us a beetroot pizza with beet leaf pesto. Kate is keen for us to use the veg from ‘root to tip’ and this was a really tasty and very colourful example of how to do that… and then finally Helen, as head of the Meat Tribe, made a rather fabulous shawarma spiced lamb, influenced by her travels to the middle east. This really was a ‘main event’ dish and I loved that it was served with pitta bread and yoghurt as it made it all feel very hands on, which when eating is my favourite way!
It was a fun couple of days and whilst I’m always a little nervous about cooking live in front of an audience, once I got into my stride I really enjoyed myself. Each demo ended with a glorious sit-down meal where we feasted on the food we’d just cooked, which was both excellent for its indulgence but also a little scary as the good people of the media tucked into our cooking… it seems everyone departed with smiles on their faces and of course I got to spend time with some of my favourite bloggers and eat their food of course!
shortbread biscuits with chocolate, mixed seeds and fruit
there are times when a fast cookie is the only way to happiness… it doesn’t have to be a thing of beauty but of course the eyes being the gateway to the brain, it helps. These shortbread biscuits are ideal to satisfy a sweet craving and whilst all that butter and sugar is devastating for the calorie counter you’re really only going to have one or two right plus the fruity and mixed seed topping has the appearance of a healthy snack so you can always fool yourself into thinking these are good for you! I adore shortbread and there are many recipes out there that include all kinds of bizarre ingredients but for me, these are the classics. They’re excessively crumbly and beautifully moreish, even if, like The Viking, you brush the topping off to get to the main event… the fool.
225g unsalted butter – room temperature
110g caster sugar
225g plain flour
a pinch of salt
line a large tray with parchment paper – i squished all my biscuits onto one tray because i’m lazy and don’t care about perfectly round cookies but if you care then use two trays
place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and cream together until light and fluffy… I used my glorious meg stand mixer but an electric hand-held whisk or even a wooden spoon would work.
when you’re ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 170C, unwrap the sausage from the clingfilm and slice it into biscuits, lay these out onto the baking tray and sprinkle with your selection of chopped nuts, seeds and dried fruit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until just beginning to turn golden, then set aside on a wire rack to cool
to make the chocolate drizzle, simply add a dash of milk or water to the cocoa powder and icing sugar and gently stir to combine into a thick paste… then thin down slowly with more milk to reach the desired consistency