Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Iguacu falls

 Last week I was lucky enough to go to Iguacu falls in Brazil for the anual IADR conference, we took an afternoon off from the poster session and went to see the falls. The weather wasn't stunning but there was a lot of water coming down the river! We met a few critters on the way round - including the quati, of insatiable appetite, and several beautiful butterflies - one of which thought my trousers where the place to hang out!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Avoncroft & GWL

On Friday I took the day off and went with Dad to the Avoncroft museum - which I have known about for years and only just got round to visiting! We had a super day dodging in and out of the rain bursts. They have quite a collection of rescued buildings from the local area - including several 500 year old ones, which was quite impressive. Mum was off volunteering at the RHS stand at Gardener's World live and Dad and I joined her on Saturday for a jolly good potter about - in fact we left as they were announcing the closing of the halls, we could have been there all night! The floral marquee was spectacular and we came home with a couple of new heuchera varieties. But one of my favourite exhibits was Pest of British - which was entirely knitted like the lovely bee below!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Mango & Pistachio Biscotti

We got a paper accepted today (yippee) so in lab tradition I have made cake, or rather biscuits. Adapting last week's biscotti recipe I have used 100g pistachios and 125g dried mango instead of the almonds and figs. I didn't put in any lemon zest and I used a teaspoon of rose water instead of the vanilla but I reckon I could have used a bit more! They are very yummy, even more moreish than the figgy ones!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Raspberry friands & Figgy biscotti

This week at work we have had a couple of Jubilee celebrations. On Thursday we had a bake sale for ST Mary's hospice and I made some delicious little friands and some figgy biscotti. Then on Friday we had a picnic for which I made cheese straws (just Blacksticks cheese and puff pastry but highly effective).

For the friands (above) sift together 75g plain flour, 225g icing sugar, 100g ground almonds and a pinch of salt. In another bowl lightly whisk together 5 egg whits until just about holding soft peaks. Add the egg whites with 135g melted and cooled unsalted butter to the dry ingredients, along with the zest of 1 and a half lemons. Mix together until combined and then divide between 12 silicon muffin or friand holes. Place 5 raspberries on the top of each friand and scatter with some flaked almonds. Bake at 180C for 15min. Cool in the tin before carefully removing and dusting with icing sugar!

For the biscotti, which I packaged with my little porcelain tags, sift 225g plain flour, 150g caster sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Add 75g chopped blanched almonds, 100g chopped dried figs and the zest of a lemon. Mix together. Whisk together a whole egg and an extra egg yolk, 50g melted and cooled unsalted butter and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Add all this to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. Divide in two and make into two 20cm sausages. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake at 180C for 35 min. Cool and then slice into 1cm diagonal slices. Lay flat in one layer on a lined baking sheet or two and cook at 170C for 10min, flip them all over and cook for another 10min. Cool and enjoy!
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