Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cream-filled Brandy Snaps

With their luscious whipped cream filling, these dainty treats will be the focal point of any afternoon tea party. They can also be served for dessert. Recipe makes 12-15 brandy snaps.


2 ounces (60 g) unsalted butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
8 teaspoons golden syrup
1/2 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring essence
150 ml fresh or thickened cream


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease two baking trays.
2. Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a heavy-based saucepan and melt over a low heat. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl.
3. Sift the flour and ginger onto the butter mixture. Add the vanilla and mix well.
4. Spoon heaped metal teaspoonfuls of mixture onto the prepared baking trays, leaving at least 4 inches (10 cm) between each to allow room to spread.
5. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the brandy snaps are bubbling and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 minute.
6. Loosen the brandy snaps from the baking trays with a palette knife and quickly roll round the handle of a wooden spoon. Gently twist the brandy snaps off the spoon and put on a wire cooling rack to set.
7. Before serving, whip the cream until it holds firm peaks. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star pipe/nozzle. Pipe the cream evenly into the snaps.

Tip: If a brandy snap sets before you roll it round the spoon handle, return it to the oven for a minute to warm through.

Pea Risotto

Although not a true risotto, this dish made with fresh green peas is equally delicious. It is very tasty and easy and a complete meal in itself. Recipe serves 6.


1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 ounce (25 g) butter
2 ounces (50 g) bacon, chopped
2 pound (1 kg) fresh peas, shelled
31 fl oz/900 ml chicken stock
12 1/2 ounces (400 g) Italian Arborio rice
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 ounces (60 g) Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Saute onions in butter until softened. Add bacon. Cook for a few minutes and add peas and stir.
2. Add 3 cups (26 fl oz/750 ml) stock, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add rice, parsley and remaining stock. Cover and cook over low heat until rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Stir in half the cheese. To serve, add Parmesan cheese separately.

Golden Honey Cookies

These sweet and easy-to-make cookies have a wonderfully light, cake-like texture. Recipe makes 20-25 cookies.


3 1/2 ounces (100 g) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring essence
8 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease two baking trays.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer or wooden spoon until light and creamy.
3. Add the egg, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and honey.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Gently fold into the creamed mixture using a large metal spoon.
5. Put heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays, allowing room for the cookies to spread. To make decorative grooves, press the top of each cookie with the prongs of a fine fork, dipping the fork into flour to prevent the mixture from sticking.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden, swapping over the baking trays halfway through the baking time. Cool for 2-3 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tip: For a different flavor, add 1 teaspoon ground ginger instead of the cinnamon. For a citrus tang, add the grated rind of 1 large lemon or 2 limes.