Pecan Puffs

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When we arrived back from Hong Kong in the New Year we headed out to the countryside to stay with my parents in order to celebrate Christmas (part 2) with them, my siblings and their partners. The tree was down by this stage, twelfth night had long gone, but that aside my parents sweetly replicated the Christmas that they had had on December 25th again for us as we were back in the UK. Anyone passing by the house would have thought we had all gone completely mad as carols were playing and mulled wine was wafting through the house. We ate turkey, wore silly cracker hats and played parlour games. My mother went to town, as usual, on the food which we all greatly devoured.

It was whilst we were lazing away the hours that I stumbled across a little pot filled with the most delicious, crumbly biscuits I had ever eaten. They were completely heavenly as well as being very addictive and perfect to nibble away at whilst having a cup of tea (we English love our tea) by the fire in the late afternoon.

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It transpired that they had been sent from the US, lovingly made by a friend of my sister and her beau. Needless to say they did not last long as the whole family took a liking to them.

I urged my sister to track down the recipe so that I could try and make them myself. I had to do all the US conversions from cups to grams and somewhere along the line with my conversions they went wrong. They still tasted delicious but they were not as puff like as the originals as they were coming out of the oven a lot flatter.

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Finally after a few false starts I found the right balance of the ingredients and the delicious puffs returned. They are meant to be crumbly when you bite into them and certainly not the same texture as a biscuit. In as far as they are quick to devour they are also quick to make. Big A and Little Z love to get involved and prepare them with me as they are very straightforward to make.

I rather like the idea of putting them in little packets tied with a bow and given to friends and loved ones. How impressed will the receivers of such fancies be when they taste your pecan puffs. Trust me they will be begging you for the recipe. Send them this way of course. x

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Pecan Puffs

Inspired by Lainy in the US

Makes around 30 (depending on size)

240g unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature

120g pecan nuts, finely ground

240g plain flour, sieved

50g icing sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla essence

1. Finely grind the pecan nuts in a blender and place to one side.

2. Line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment and again place to one side.

3. In a large bowl add the sieved flour, icing sugar and salt.

4. Add the cubed butter to the flour bowl and using your hands begin to mix the ingredients together, softening the butter into the flour as you do so. Once it all begins to come together, add the vanilla essence and the ground pecan nuts.

5. Once all the ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together form a large ball and break off small pieces, a little smaller than a hens egg, but bigger than a quails, and roll in the palm of your hands into a ball and then slightly flatten, but not so much that it is completely flat.

6. Place each pecan puff on to a baking tray so that they are well spread out. I tend to leave a couple of inches around each puff . Whilst you are preparing the puffs preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade.

7. Place in the oven for 16 minutes and then leave to firm up before placing them on the cooling rack. When they are completely cool sift icing sugar over the top. Voila your pecan puff is ready to be devoured.


We are off to the island of the gods

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Our family summer holiday beckons. We are heading to the island of the gods – or as it is more recognisably known, Bali. Its been over a decade since Mr B and I have visited this wonderful island and we felt it was time to return, this time with big A and little Z in tow. Its a long way from London town, but we feel that the marathon journey is worth it when we get to this lush green island. We are heading for the jungle first for a week where we hope to be woken by the morning calls of unfamilar wild life. There will be lots to explore and the rhythm of daily life will change considerably. It will do all of us the world of good – well that’s the plan anyway.

I am not so sure how easy it will be for me to blog, so apologies in advance if it is not as frequent as you are use to. I am hoping to adopt some new recipes on my travels and any that make the grade I will certainly share with you.

When going on a journey it is comforting to have a few home comforts or in my case, home made morsels, to nibble on during the flight/drive/sail (delete as appropriate!). These parmigiano reggiano caraway (thats quite a mouthful!) biscuits should go down a treat with the girls and Mr B in moments of hunger on the flight. You can make the same biscuits with cheddar cheese as well, just use whatever variety of hard cheese needs eating in your fridge, and in my case its parmigiano reggiano. There are a number of potential ‘extras’ you can add to the biscuits, such as caraway, sesame or poppy seeds or chilli flakes on the outer rim so experiment and see which you like the best. Within the biscuits themselves I would also add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, but since the girls will be eating them, and we are going on a journey, I will keep them as plain and simple as possible whilst retaining their moreish quality.

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They are great to freeze – pre cooking – so make a large amount and bring out the rolls as and when you need them. I also find they are great as a little canape when hosting dinners.

Parmigiano-Reggiano Caraway Biscuits

Makes between 50-60 small round biscuits

125g parmigiano reggiano (or any hard cheese – cheddar works equally well), grated

125g cold butter

200g plain flour

1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper, optional

1 egg

pinch of salt

2 tbsp of caraway seeds

1. For speed and ease I tend to use my blender and I literally put all the ingredients in together and whizz for around 30 seconds and by this time all the ingredients have come together to create a dough like ball. If you are doing it all by hand then sift the flour and then mix in the butter, cayenne pepper and salt with your finger tips to create a bread crumb consistency. Then add the grated cheese and the egg, which should then help to bind the ingredients together. If it is too dry then add a tsp of water or if it is too wet then add a little more flour to bind it all together to create a ball.

2. Place on a floured surface and knead so that the ingredients are well bound together.

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3. Roll out your dough into a long sausage shape and cut in two if necessary. Then using either greaseproof paper or cling film place the rolled dough in the centre and spread the caraway seeds over the dough. It is best to gently roll then over the seeds so that they are spread as evenly as possible.

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4. Wrap the dough in the greaseproof paper or cling film and either put straight into the freezer to use at a later date or place in the fridge for few hours. You will find that it holds together and is better to cut once it has had some time to rest in the fridge.

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5. After some time in the fridge, unwrap the dough and slice it evenly into small biscuits using a sharp knife.

6. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and while it is heating up grease a baking tray and evenly spread out the biscuits.

7. Place in the oven between 8-10 minutes. They are ready just as they are beginning to bronze. Be careful not to overcook, so do check regularly. They are delicious warm or will store for a few days in an airtight container.

I couldn’t resist this last shot when little Z’s hand crept into the photo frame eager to try one of the biscuits.

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