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I have always had a soft spot for jam tarts, and this crostata was really delicious, and easy to make. I made some jam as I had to use up some rhubarb and strawberries and I decided to add some hibiscus. The floral flavour of hibiscus pairs so beautifully with strawberries.

I wanted the pastry to be really short and crumbly, like a shortbread biscuit. Because of this I didn’t do a egg wash and dusted it with icing sugar afterwards instead. It really turned out so beautifully so I had to share the recipe with you.

The combination of the sticky jam that bubbles up with the crumbly pasty was so delicious. It is quite a soft dough to work with so that’s why I chose to make it like a traditional crostata with the simple lattice as it was easy to place the strips of pastry on with out it falling apart. It might have been harder to make anything more intricate with it.

I love this time of year when strawberries and rhubarb are in season. I have been brainstorming so many ideas.

My partner absolutely loved this bake, and ended up eating most of it himself, which I was so happy about. He usually turns his nose up and strawberries and rhubarb. I think it was the pastry that sold it for him.

It could be repurposed for so many tart and pie recipes.

If you don’t fancy making your own jam, then why not add some of your favourite jam instead.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.


For the jam

  • 300g rhubarb
  • 300g strawberries
  • 500ml water
  • 4 tbsp. dried hibiscus flowers
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the dough

  • 275g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 75g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp salt

To make the jam

Chop the strawberries and rhubarb and add into a large pan with the hibiscus and water. Boil until the liquid reduces by at least half.

I like my jam with out bits so at this point I strained it and poured the liquid back into the pan.

Add the sugar and vanilla and let simmer until it thickens to a jam like consistency. Pour into a large sterilised jar and let cool, then place in the fridge.

To make pastry

In a food processor add the flour, powdered sugar, salt, baking powder and mix to combine. Then add the butter and pulse a few times until the butter is incorporated. Add the egg yolks and mix until it comes together. Pour into a large bowl, or onto a clean work surface and press into a large ball. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180c 350f

Flour your work surface well so the dough doesn’t stick. Roll out the dough thinly with a rolling pin and line a shallow tart dish with it and trim off the excess pastry. Spoon in a layer of the jam. With the remaining pastry roll out a thin large piece and cut into strips and lattice on the top. Bake for 25, 30 minutes until the pastry has a light golden colour. Let cool and then dust with powdered sugar.

The post Strawberry rhubarb and hibiscus jam crostata appeared first on twigg studios.

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Hokkaido milk bread is pure joy, not only was it fun to bake, and so satisfying eat, but I really enjoyed experimenting with a new technique.

When I first tore this bread open and saw the pillow soft interior, I had to stop my self from shoving my face into it. I am not joking when I tell you it was like a puffy cloud. The texture was like cotton candy. It was feather light. I used a lot of adjectives there so you can tell I’m excited about it!

I instantly fell in love with this milk bread recipe from Cynthia Chen McTernan from Two red bowls book “A common table”. So I have baked it not stop since I discovered it. Cynthia kindly had a copy of her book sent to me at my hotel when I was in New York in November.

I have written “cook from a common table cook book” at the top of every list I have made in the months since, but just didn’t find the time. I’m so glad that I finally got around to it now. Do you still write your self lists of things to do? I use a note book that I carry around everywhere, or the notes app on my phone. I love writing to-do lists, but I am pretty slow at ticking things off of them.

The dough recipe was so perfect and incredibly soft, so I thought it would be great for using for other types of bread like cinnamon rolls.

Obviously it sparked a fire in me and I went about experimenting with the dough and using it for lots of other things. First was a hot cross bun loaf for Easter. I just added the usual fruit and spices that you would for a normal hot cross bun to it. It was the best hot cross bun I have ever had!, my dad has been demanding I make it again ever since.

Now I have taken it a step further and used it to make a laminated dough for morning buns.

Imagine that fluffy cloud like texture on the inside with a croissant like exterior! If that wasn’t making you hungry enough, I filled it with white chocolate gianduja (hazelnut white chocolate)

Cynthia’s book is truly beautiful, there are so many delicious looking recipes in it that I cant wait to try. She uses the milk loaf to make French toast, but we just ripped chunks off and had it with butter. We couldn’t face toasting that soft fluffy centre. I think I will make it again and again.

It was the first time I had tried the tangzhong method when making bread. I thought it would be really complicated but it was honestly so easy. It is basically a paste that you make with flour and water and add to the dough. This paste seems to help lock in the moisture which creates this incredible soft bread, and it helps it stay soft for longer.

Below I have shared the recipe for both the normal milk loaf and the morning buns that I experimented with. I would highly recommend you try Cynthia’s regular milk loaf first, just so you can experience that cloud like bread for your self. Then indulge and try the buns, they are a lot more time consuming, I cant stress enough that the gianduja is worth trying on its own, even if you don’t want the bread, I think you will like it. If you put it in the fridge for half an hour to an hour it firms up like a truffle. Longer then it becomes like a chocolate bar.

The addition of the white chocolate gianduja was inspired by my trip to Tuttofood in Milan last week.

Beforehand I knew I wanted to look out for inspiration for a new recipes and trends while I was there, so I packed my note book to jot down ideas.

I assumed it would be pasta or risotto that I would be inspired into making when I got home. However while I was there, I tried the most incredible hazelnut white chocolate that I just can not stop thinking about. Belen who I met at the show, tried it first and her face lit up and said I had to try it. I’m so glad I did, as it was the most amazing chocolate I have ever eaten.

Normally when I think of gianduja, its made with milk chocolate, but at the show there was a vendor that had some made with white chocolate. He was making some there with a little machine and pressing them into shape, so we could see how it was made. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever tasted. It had a truffle like texture as it was out at room temperature and melted in your mouth.

When I got home, I went on google to see if there where any recipes. As its usually made with milk chocolate rather than white I couldn’t find any, so I set out trying to recreate it my self. If you haven’t heard of gianduja then you are missing out, its basically hazelnut paste mixed with chocolate.

I hadn’t really discovered it myself until two years ago when I was in Tuscany and I had a chocolate gelato in this tiny little place in Lucca. It was gianduja flavoured. At the time I had only heard that term a few times discussed on Instagram, but I had no idea what it was. I was happy to discover that it was milk chocolate and hazelnut flavoured with chunks of chocolate in. That was probably the best gelato I have ever tried.

When I saw the display of all the gianduja chocolates at the exhibition, I was so excited. Its something that isn’t seen very often here in England. So naturally I ate quite a few samples, and went back the next day to try some more to make sure they where still as good lol.

My brain is still trying to process all the things I saw, tasted and learnt at the show. It was such an incredible experience. I’ve not been to a show on that scale before so it was a lot to take in, but I can honestly say it was so amazing.

The goal of this years show was to capture trends to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables. So I got so see a lot of exciting new recipes involving fruit and veg innervation. There where some new ideas, and some old favourites.

Its given me food for thought for how I can incorporate more fruit and veg in creative way into my recipes. I’m still at the brain storming stage so stay tuned.

I have not been anywhere with that amount of food in one place so it was like heaven for a food lover like me. I learnt so much, that I’m sure I will continue to share over the next few weeks. White chocolate gianduja was definitely a revelation that I just had to share right away though.

Tuttofood is already scheduled for MAY 17-20 2020, I hope I can return next year.

Creations keep popping up using croissant dough. It seems that it is really trendy at the moment. So I thought I would be a good experiment to turn that incredible fluffy dough into a laminated dough. The cronut and cruffin and other new creations are still causing queues at many bakeries around the world.

Hokkaido milk bread

To make the milk bread I used the recipe in the cookbook, A common table by
Cynthia Chen McTernan from Two red bowls


For the dough

  • 1/2 cup whole milk (I found I needed to add about roughly 1/4 to 1/3 cup more than this)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dried yeast
  • 2 and a half cups (320g) bread flour (plus more for kneading if not using a stand mixer)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tbsp. non fat dry milk powder (Cynthia says this is optional but suggests using condensed milk instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter

For the tangzhong

  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons bread flour (15g)


  1. The night before, or at least two hours before baking
    (I have always made it the night before) : in a small sauce pan bring the milk just to the boil, 2 to 3 minutes, or heat to the boil in a microwave, in a microwave safe bowl. About one minute. This scalds the milk and kills any enzymes that might prevent the yeast from working. Set aside to cool slightly. Pour through a sieve when ready to use If you find a film has formed on the surface.
  2. Now make the tangzhong: in a small sauce pan add the water and flour and whisk until no lumps remain. Heat over a medium/low heat whisking constantly until the mixture resembles a roux like gel, about 2 minutes. As soon as lines begin to appear in the mixture when it is stirred, remove from the heat and transfer to a small clean bowl and allow to cool down to room temperature.
  3. Prepare the dough: When the milk is just warm and no longer hot, about 100f to 110f, sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile in the bowl of your stand mixer add the flour, salt, sugar and milk powder and mix. (Cynthia makes it by hand, but I prefer to use my mixer. If you are making It without a mixer then click the link below for her instructions on food52)
  5. Once the yeast has foamed, add the egg and tangzhong and whisk together until well combined.
  6. Turn your mixer on and pour in the liquid and start mixing with the dough hook. I found that I needed a bit more liquid than the half cup stated in the recipe list in the book, so at this point I added a little more milk until it became a nice kneadable dough. I later checked her recipe for this bread on food52 and that recipe list called for 1/4 cup heavy cream, so maybe that is why as this wasn’t on the ingredient list in the book. So add cream if you prefer rather than extra milk.
  7. After the dough has been mixing for two minutes add the butter in small chunks a bit at a time and making sure it is combined before you add the next chunk. Turn the mixer up and knead for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Place the dough in a large bowl, so it has space to rise and cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge over night until it has doubled in size. (alternatively let is rise in a cool place for 2 hours)
  9. The next day: remove the dough from the fridge. when I do this over night method I like to leave the bowl on the work top for 30 minutes so it can get back to room temperature, but I’m not sure that step is essential.
  10. Shape the dough as desired. I rolled it out into a large rectangle and folded it in half and cut it into equal pieces and rolled it up and placed them in a lined baking tin. (see below) Cynthia suggests a tall 9×5 loaf pan.
  11. Leave to rise again for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  12. Preheat the oven to 180c 350f. Mix an egg with a tsp of milk and brush the top of the loaf.
  13. Bake for 30/40 minutes until golden brown, or an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle reads 200f (at 30 minutes it was quite brown so I covered the top with some foil so it didn’t burn.

This recipe is was also featured on Food52 find it here.

Laminated morning buns with white chocolate gianduja Recipe

For the white chocolate gianduja

I made this during the resting time between dough folding. I put it in the fridge for about half an hour and found that it was easier to spread at room temp so I flashed it in the microwave for 10 seconds. 

  • 80g toasted hazelnuts
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons double cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a food processor add the hazelnuts and sugar and pulse until they are very finely ground, then add two tbsp. cream and vanilla and keep mixing until you get a smooth paste. Melt the white chocolate with the other 4 tablespoons cream, then mix the with the hazelnut paste. This can me used to make truffles if you put it in the fridge. For this recipe it needs to be soft so its spreadable.

For the dough

I changed the dough slightly from above and used a extra egg rather then extra milk and added more sugar and butter.

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dried yeast
  • 2 and a half cups (320g) bread flour (plus more for kneading if not using a stand mixer)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. non fat dry milk powder (Cynthia says this is optional but suggests using condensed milk instead) I used milk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter

For the tangzhong

  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons bread flour (15g)

1 block of butter (250g)chilled and cut into slices for laminating

Chopped hazelnuts and pearl sugar and egg to brush top.

I rolled them in some hazelnut sugar, simply made by adding some chopped toasted hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor. I pulsed it a few times until the hazelnuts where finely chopped. I used about 2 tbsp. hazelnuts to 3/4 cup sugar.

  1. The night before, or at least two hours before baking: in a small sauce pan bring the milk just to the boil, 2 to 3 minutes, or heat to the boil in a microwave, in a microwave safe bowl. About one minute (I have always made it the night before) This scalds the milk and kills any enzymes that might prevent the yeast from working. Set aside to cool slightly. Pour through a sieve when ready to use if you find a film has formed on the surface.
  2. Now make the tangzhong: in a small sauce pan add the water and flour and whisk until no lumps remain. Heat over a medium/low heat whisking constantly until the mixture resembles a roux like gel, about 2 minutes. As soon as lines begin to appear in the mixture when it is stirred, remove from the heat and transfer to a small clean bowl and allow to cool down to room temperature.
  3. Prepare the dough: When the milk is just warm and no longer hot, about 100f to 110f, sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile in the bowl of your stand mixer add the flour, salt, sugar and milk powder and mix. (Cynthia makes it by hand, but I prefer to use my mixer. If you are making It without a mixer then click the link above for her instructions on food52)
  5. Once the yeast has foamed, add the eggs and tangzhong and whisk together until well combined.
  6. Turn your mixer on and pour in the liquid and start mixing with the dough hook. If you find you need a little more liquid add a tbsp. of milk or heavy cream. ( you want the dough to be quite soft)
  7. After the dough has been mixing for two minutes add the butter in small chunks a bit at a time and making sure it is combined before you add the next chunk. Turn the mixer up and knead for another 3 to 5 minutes.
    Place the dough in a large bowl, so it has space to rise and cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge over night until it has doubled in size. (alternatively let is rise in a cool place for 2 hours)
    The next day: remove the dough from the fridge. when I do this over night method I like to leave the bowl on the work top for 30 minutes so it can get back to room temperature, but I’m not sure that step is essential.
  8. Then all the folding begins: on a floured surface roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Place slices of butter on one half and fold over and press to seal the edges. Now roll out into a large rectangle. fold the edged in so that thy meet in the middle, then fold in half. ( see step by step photos below)
  9. Roll out again this time fold one edge over 3/4 and fold the other side over ( photo 6 ) cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  10. Roll out dough again and fold and roll four more times, then cover and chill again.
  11. Remove from fridge and fold and roll 4 more times, cover and refrigerate again for 30 minutes, then roll out into a large rectangle.
  12. Add dollops of gianduja over the dough and using a pallet knife or the back of the spoon spread out.
  13. Roll the dough into a tight log.
  14. Line a large loaf pan (or any shape pan you would like) and cut the dough into equal bun sized pieces. Place in the pan, cut side facing up leaving a little room between each one. I had some extra dough so I made a one big one and one small loaf with the cut side facing the side like milk loaf. (I didn’t get a photo of that as we demolished it straight away)
  15. Leave to rise for 1 hour.
  16. Preheat the oven to 180c – 350f brush a little beaten egg and sprinkle on finely chopped hazelnuts and some pearl sugar and bake for 30/40 minutes.

Note. This dough will colour fast so you can cover with foil once it is golden (after 20 mins)

Sprinkle with hazelnut sugar and enjoy.

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Gnudi are like little airy pillows, that taste as light as a feather. With every mouthful I smiled with amazement at just how delicious they where.

I thought this recipe would tie in perfectly with my introduction to tutto food Milano. I was invited to the event this week which is still being held at Fiera in Milan. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it was the biggest food event I have ever seen.
In the past I have attended a few food shows/conferences in England and they just took place in one large arena, well this was about 10 times bigger.
Every food or drink item that you associate or is produced in Italy was there, cheese, pasta, cakes and pastries, olive oil and of course wine. The list really does go on and on. Each exhibit hall had its own theme so it was easy to navigate your way around. The highlight was getting to sample the exhibits beautiful food.
They cooked up pasta, pizza and risotto for us to try as we where walking around and during live demos, and of course each stall had samples for you to try.
We munched on taralli from puglia, pistachio pasta and gelato, incredible chocolates and panettone and much much more.
I also got to see some of the chocolate being lovingly being made, and fresh pasta being prepared.
I spoke to some producers who told me their businesses had been in their families for years, it was quite heart warming to see the passion for food get passed on to the next generation.
If you have been following me for a while then you will know about my love affair with Italian food. So this show was like heaven for me.
Not only did we get to walk around the exhibits and see all of the produce but we got to watch demos on stage being prepared by Michelin starred chefs. There where also discussions about all the important factors for running a business. I don’t speak Italian so I didn’t get the full benefits from the shows but afterwards I was able to speak to them in English to find out what had been discussed. I got to try lots of different fresh ricotta that would have been so perfect for this recipe.
If you love Italian food and drink and you are in Milan this week then I would highly recommend that you go along as it’s still on until the 9th of May. Find out the details at http://www.tuttofood.it/it

Gnudi are completely different to gnocchi as they don’t have any flour in them. Basically they are like ravioli filling but with out the pasta, and instead they are covered in semolina and left in the fridge to firm up for two or three days. The semolina forms a protective layer so they can be boiled and then browned in the pan easily so they don’t fall apart. I suppose they are like little tasty ricotta dumplings, and the bonus is that are so easy to make.

If like me, you love gnocchi but haven’t tried gnudi yet, then I urge you to try them right now because,

  • They are a lot quicker to prepare
  • They taste like mouthfuls of heaven – I’m serious!
  • They can be made a few days in advance so you can cook them in a hurry on the day
  • They are so light and fluffy that you couldn’t possibly not enjoy them

I flavoured these with some wild garlic, parmesan, pepper and nutmeg and then served them in some wild garlic lemon brown butter with toasted pine nuts and asparagus.

A perfect treat for spring. If you cant find wild garlic then you can use ramps, or even sage would be amazing.

They look really fancy and complicated, but really they are not much of a fuss to put together at all. So they are perfect for wowing your guests or just simply enjoying by your self. I love them because they don’t require a lot of ingredients and can be adapted to suit any season.

I was lucky enough to be invited on a trip to Riverford farm in Totnes to pick some wild garlic in the woods, so I now have an abundance of it that needs using up. So expect quite a few more wild garlic recipes to come.

The woods we visited where carpeted with wild garlic as far as the eye could see. It was such a beautiful sight, the smell was so intense but in a wonderfully hypnotising way.

Wild garlic is my favourite spring time ingredient to go foraging for. Every year I look forward to going out and finding it.

Most of it has gone to seed now, which looks incredibly pretty but it means the leaves will start to loose their intense green colour and some of their flavour. This is because most of the plants energy is being used to grow the flowers so it can disperse its seeds. The garlic will still be tasty but maybe not as good as it was at the beginning of the season. Try and pick the smallest, greenest leaves if you can.

I like to pick it with a bit of stem still attached, so I can put it in a cup of water in the fridge to help in last longer.


They are really easy to make but need to be prepared at least a day in advance. Ideally up to three days.

This recipe served two hungry people as a main course, it made about 14 large dumplings.

If you where making it for a dinner party you could easily serve four if it was an entrée. If not just double the ingredients.

Gnudi ingredients
  • 250g ricotta (drained)
  • 1 cup – 70g finely grated parmesan
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 wild garlic leaves (stems removed)
  • salt – pepper
  • nutmeg
  • semolina flour

To make them, add the wild garlic and egg yolks in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is chopped.

In a bowl add the ricotta, parmesan, 1/2 tsp of salt, good pinch of pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg. I used a few scrapings on the grater.

Add the egg-wild garlic mixture and fold together.

Fill a tray or plate with semolina flour, then take two spoons and shape them in to quenelles or you can roll them.

Cover them with some more semolina flour and cover with cling film, or bee wrap (a plastic free-planet friendly alternative) and place in the fridge to firm up for one to three days, ideally three days.

After they have rested and firmed up, bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile prepare the butter sauce so you can toss them straight in.

To serve

I decided to serve them in a buttery sauce with lemon, asparagus and wild garlic, but you could just use plain brown butter with sage.

  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 6 wild garlic leaves
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts
  • 6 asparagus stalks (cut into smaller pieces)

Remove the gnudi from the semolina and dust off any excess and gently drop them into the water and boil for about three minutes or until they float to the top.

In a pan add the butter, garlic, lemon zest, asparagus and pine nuts and leave to gently simmer.

When gnudi are ready use a slotted spoon and carefully remove them and put them in to the pan of butter and toss to colour them slightly, Serve equally between two bowls (or four if you are serving it as a starter) and grate over some parmesan and some more lemon zest. I added some wild garlic flowers and lemon salt too.

If you are like me and love wild garlic then you can check out some other recipes that use it on my blog, and keep a eye for a few new ones coming soon.

These wild garlic pork pies where delicious.

Here is the link to some other wild garlic recipes.

The post Ricotta and wild garlic gnudi and Tutto food Milano appeared first on twigg studios.

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Orange blossom water adds a beautiful floral note to the rhubarb in this dish. The smell takes me back to the medina in Fez, the air in the narrow streets was filled with the delicate scent of the blossoms as we walked past busy stalls selling it.

There where huge baskets of freshly picked blossoms and shops full of bottles of orange blossom water at one part that we walked through. It was such an amazing experience to wonder around the maze like streets and see all the stalls.

The area that was selling the orange blossoms was definitely more pleasant on the nose than other parts of the market, the leather tannery being one of them, that was not quite as sweet!! I will write a post all about my trip to morocco at some point I’m sure.

It paired so well with the honey that I used, as it was a delicious orange blossom flavoured one, so it was a marriage made in heaven.

For this recipe I have used honey in three ways, in the labneh, to sweeten the rhubarb and for the nut clusters. I really love the delicate flavour orange blossom honey gives, but feel free to use any honey that you like.

Forced rhubarb is a little more tender than the out door grown variety, so when it is in season at the beginning of the year-until spring I tend to buy as much of it as I can. I just love that bright pink colour too. If your unfamiliar with forced rhubarb then it does taste a little different than the out door grown stuff.

To get a bit nerdy with you, It starts its life grown out in the fields. It is usually left for two years so it can store up carbohydrates in its roots. Then its moved inside, to a dark warm shed. This is usually done in November after the first frost. In the dark (pitch black) sheds the plants begin to grow in the warmth and the stored carbohydrate in the roots are transformed into glucose resulting in forced rhubarb’s sour-sweet flavour. Because its grown with out sunlight it changes the colour of the leaves and stems to a fluorescent pink and green. The farmers who grow it pick it in candle light so that no light gets in. I find it so fascinating.

It could work well for breakfast or dessert. I really love sweet things for breakfast, but if your not a fan I would suggest serving this as a pudding. Its simple and doesn’t take a lot of work, but looks really pretty so its perfect for serving guests.

You may have noticed that I am a bit obsessed with honey at the moment, so expect quite a few recipes with it.


Labneh is a strained cream cheese that is made from yogurt. Its often used in middle eastern recipes, so that is what inspired me to pair it with the orange blossom water. It is so easy to make, simply just two basic ingredients; yogurt and salt. Then you can add flavours to it and go from there. It is usually served as a savoury cream cheese, plain or sometimes with spices, but it can be sweetened and turned into a completely different labneh all together. Imagine a beautifully think yogurt. This was a sweet one so after adding the salt, I added honey and orange blossom water.

To make it:

  • Full fat Greek yogurt (a large tub approx. 500g)
  • half a teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water (or more to taste)
  1. To make it line a colander with a cheesecloth, place the colander over a bowl or in the sink.
  2. In a mixing bowl mix the yogurt, salt, honey and orange blossom water.
  3. Tip into the middle of the cloth and pull up the edges and tie with string. Squeeze out any liquid and then leave to hang in the fridge over night with a bowl underneath, or place it in the fridge in the colander with a bowl underneath.
  4. The next day, squeeze it again to remove any remaining liquid. Then its ready to use. It will be like a soft but spreadable ball of cheese now. For this dish I wanted it to be really smooth so I whipped it.

To do this, before serving I put it in a bowl and whipped it with a whisk and served it spread in the bowl and topped it with the rhubarb (scroll down for recipe), some of the juice from the rhubarb pan, some of the clusters (scroll down for recipe) and some honeycomb.

Roasted rhubarb
  • 5 large stems of forced rhubarb (or normal rhubarb)
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. orange blossom water
  • juice of 1 orange
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 180c 350f

Slice the rhubarb into chunks and place on a baking tray, drizzle over honey, orange blossom water, orange juice and zest. Slice the vanilla bean and scrape out some of the seeds and mix with the juice in the pan, add the pod to the tray and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the pan and bake for another 5, or until the rhubarb is soft but holds its shape.

Nut clusters

For nut clusters (I originally created them for the lemon ricotta cheesecake here)

  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 table spoon runny honey (this doesn’t have to be exact just enough to coat the almonds)
  • 1 tsp caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180c 350f

Mix all the ingredients together and spread on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes then toss and mix the mixture and then bake for another 2 minutes and stir them again so they will be evenly browned and bake for another 2 minutes. Once golden remove tray from the oven and while the mixture is still hot arrange the almonds into clusters and leave to cool. (serve as mentioned above)

The post Orange blossom water roasted rhubarb, labneh and honey appeared first on twigg studios.

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Honey, it glows like amber and glistens in the light. The overwhelmingly sweet, sticky, ingredient has long been a favourite of mine.

The aromas alone, with its strong fragrant scent are just so beautiful, but being able to just see the whole structure in its frame was incredible. It gives you a whole new appreciation for the hard work that bee’s go too to create it.

On a recent trip to Sydney I was lucky enough to be given a frame of this golden honeycomb, from another photographer Mel who shoots for Urban hum which is a artisan urban honey company in Newcastle. Thankfully it made its way safely across the world in my suitcase back to England.

I wanted to create a recipe with it that let the honey shine as the star ingredient. I settled on an Italian style baked cheesecake, and used honey three ways, in the cheesecake, for the nut clusters that decorated it and then some of the raw honeycomb placed on top.

The cheesecake was made with ricotta, mascarpone, honey and lemon and it was so smooth and luxurious.

The nut clusters which adorned the top where perhaps my favourite part of this recipe.  They where simply honey coated almonds with lemon zest and fennel seeds baked into delicious little crunchy morsels. I think those will appear again in some other recipes.

To finish the whole thing off I added some grated lemon zest and a sprinkling of the precious fennel pollen that I foraged for back in the summer, and some lemon thyme. The honey its self tasted so different to the European honey that I’m used too, and that’s all down to the nectar that the bee’s made it with.

I find it so incredible that the flavour changes so much just by the types of plants the bees get the pollen from, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Depending on its nectar source, honey can be floral, fruity, smoky, woody, spicy, nutty or earthy.

It’s flavours range from a gentle sweetness to a fragrant bitterness. Read more to find about the difference in flavours here

Beekeepers are placing hives in areas to create specific flavours of honey, like orange blossom or heather honey, this creates distinctive flavours. Post code varieties of honey have also become popular in England in recent years.

The London honey company has roof top hives in different areas of London and around the UK, all producing slightly different flavoured nectar. While researching food trends for 2019, I wasn’t surprised to see honey on the list of foods that is in the spotlight right now.

Honey overall is enjoying a renaissance. Among the world’s oldest foods, it has been rediscovered by consumers interested in natural foods or locally produced ingredients.
Another reason for this may be due to the bees decline due to climate change.

People want to do their bit to help protect the bees, so the number of beekeeping hobbyists has shot up in the last 2 years. In turn this has boosted the amount of honey producers selling their sweet crop.

British honey yields are currently at a four-year high thanks to 2018’s warm summer months.

So expect to see honey being used in more dishes and products in the coming year, its already being used in gin, and the drink mead that is made with honey is thought to be making a comeback.

For the cheesecake
The base

half a packet of digestive biscuits or amaretti biscuits
5 tbsp. ground almonds
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
100g butter melted

The filling

295g ( approx. 1 1/3 cups) caster sugar
250g mascarpone or soft cream cheese
500g ricotta
juice from half a lemon
4 eggs
half a cup of runny honey
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp. corn starch mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp. water into a paste


To make the base, preheat the oven to 180c 350f
Add the biscuits, sugar and ground almonds in a food processor and pulse until a fine crumb is achieved. Mix with melted butter and press into greased 20cm spring form pan lined with baking paper. Using the back of a spoon firmly press the base mixture into the pan and up the sides of the tin and bake for 15 minutes.
Turn oven down to 150c 300f and leave the door open for 5 minutes so it cools right down.

Make the filling

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese, ricotta, eggs, honey. sugar, lemon juice, zest and vanilla. Once whipped and creamy add the corn flour mixture and mix again.
Pour oven cooked base and bake for 40 to 60 minutes (I checked it at 40 minutes but it needed a lot longer almost 65 minutes)
it is ready when it is firm around the edges but has a slight giggle in the middle. Turn off oven and leave it in their with the door closed for 40 minutes.
Allow to cool completely and then place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Nut clusters

1/2 cup flaked almonds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 table spoon runny honey
1 tsp caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180c 350f
Mix all the ingredients together and spread on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes then toss and mix the mixture and then bake for another 2 minutes and stir them again so they will be evenly browned and bake for another 2 minutes. Once golden remove tray from the oven and while the mixture is still hot arrange the almonds into clusters and leave to cool.

To assemble the cheesecake

Place on a few chunks of honeycomb and a drizzle of honey and add the nut clusters then grate on some lemon zest and if you have some add some fennel pollen. Finish with some lemon thyme.
Alternatively you can dust it with icing sugar and serve it with berries.

This post was sponsored by Tutto food ” You are invited to visit or follow online #TUTTOFOOD2019 – Milan world food exhibition at Rho Fiera from the 6th to 9th
May 2019 – click here if you want tickets to attend the event. Its going to be amazing I’m sure.

The post Ricotta honey and lemon cheesecake with almond and fennel seed clusters and honeycomb appeared first on twigg studios.

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The beautifully perfumed scent of lilacs is what first attracted me to them. The smell is so hypnotizing and adds such a wonderful floral flavour to recipes. I made some lilac sugar and decided to use it with honey and rhubarb and create this spring inspired salty honey pie.
I tend to think of lilacs as a May time flower, but they have bloomed a little early this year, so I rushed out armed with scissors and a bag to collect some. The season is short, so I like to make the most of them.

They are a great flower to cook with as they infuse ingredients like sugar or milk well. For this recipe it was sugar I decided to infuse. Normally I would layer the little flowers in a jar of sugar and put the lid on and patiently wait for it to get flavour. This time I decided to try some other methods and tried bruising the flowers with a pestle and mortar to help speed up the process, then I tried adding the sugar and flowers in a food processor.
The latter created a more intense flavour, so that’s what I ended up using. However, that process means you must use it right away or it will turn sour, whereas the slow process can keep for a while.
Even though lilac flowers are edible, its always best to eat them in moderation. So that’s why this tart is so good, because it’s so sweet that you could probably only manage a small slice at a time.
Please also be careful to not use the leaves or stems of the lilac, as those are not edible.

I have tried many methods of using lilacs in my recipes. From infusing milk with it for crème patisserie, making syrup, to simmering it in butter to infuse it for a cake.
I felt that the flavour was always a little on the delicate side, you really had to search for it to find it. I didn’t want that this time, so blending the petals with the sugar really helped add an intense flavour. The other methods meant that the beautiful scent often got lost and you had to concentrate to find it with each mouth full.
If you want to use regular infused sugar that’s fine also, its all down to your own taste. I love to have a notable floral flavour when I use flowers, so this recipe was a real dream for me.

You will find the lilac flowers fill the room with such a wonderful aroma. This pie also kept that beautiful smell, as I opened to fridge to get my self a slice the floral scent hit me in the face, it was magical.

The sweet floral nectar from a jar of blossom honey seemed like the perfect partner for this beautiful flower, so that’s where the inspiration for this recipe was born. That and the fact I still have what seems like a years’ worth of honeycomb to use.

I had baked the rhubarb for another recipe and didn’t use it all so that was a last-minute inclusion, but I very delicious one. It could be easily left out if you’re not a rhubarb fan.
Forced rhubarb, which is in season now. I prefer it a little more than the outdoor grown rhubarb as it has a more delicate flavour.

I have made quite a few salty honey pies using four and twenty blackbirds pie book. The book is amazing and its become by go too book for pie recipes. The salty honey pie is a very sweet one, so that’s why I thought the tart rhubarb would pair really well. If you leave out the rhubarb and just use regular sugar then you will see what their tasty version is like.

Adapted from the four and twenty birds pie book

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold buttermilk

To make the crust
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers (or a potato masher), work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Use a fork to bring to dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. Add a bit more buttermilk if necessary, but you want to mixture to be shaggy and not outwardly wet.
On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That’s perfect. Gently knead into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator will help rechill the butter and distribute the moisture.
To roll out the pie crust, on a well floured surface, roll the crust 1/8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan Fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.

For rhubarb
2 large stalks of rhubarb ( I used forced rhubarb)
2 tbsp. honey
Juice and zest from 1 orange
(I also added some orange blossom water when I roasted this for another recipe which worked really well to boost the floral flavours).
Preheat the oven to 180c 350f and slice the rhubarb into chunks, drizzle with honey and orange juice/zest and roast for 10/15 minutes until soft. Leave to cool.

If using the quick method for lilac sugar
Grind 1/3 cup lilac petals and 3/4 cup caster sugar in a food processor until the petals are finely ground. NOTE – this must be used immediately or after 1 day or the flavour will loose its intensity and turn sour.

If using the slow method for lilac sugar
Take a clean jar and add a little sugar then add a layer of lilac petals, then repeat this and add some more sugar. Layer up the jar with sugar and petals and place a lid on so its air tight. leave to infuse for at least 2 days but preferably up to 1 to 2 weeks, the longer you leave it the more flavour there will be.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup lilac infused sugar or granulated if you don’t have it
1 tablespoon white cornmeal
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
3/4 cup honey (I use blossom honey)
3 large eggs or 4 medium
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

To finish
1 to 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt
lilac blossoms
cut comb honey (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a rack in the centre of the oven.
To make the filling, in a medium bowl whisk together melted butter, lilac sugar, cornmeal, and salt. Split vanilla bean and add the vanilla bean scrapings (or extract, if using) into the butter mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in honey.
Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine.
Whisk in heavy cream and vinegar.
Place chunks of roasted rhubarb in to the prepared pie crust then pour in the filling. Bake pie for 45 to 55 minutes until pie is deep golden brown and puffed around the edges and set in the centre. Open the oven and rotate the pie halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, and sprinkle with sea salt just before serving.
I added some honeycomb and lilac flowers for more decoration.

You can use flaked salt or be more elaborate and use chunks of cut comb honey and lilac blossoms to turn this into a show stopper.
I used some lemon salt, but I have many varieties of flavoured salt at home, so its hard to decide which one to use sometimes. If you know me then you will find I have quite a big salt obsession and collect it. When I travel salt is often the thing I buy to take home. Smoked salt is my favourite, but I got some really beautiful ones from Iceland and Italy like green basil salt, pink berry salt and a pretty light blue Parisian one.

The post Lilac sugar salty honey pie with roasted rhubarb appeared first on twigg studios.

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Spring time walks in the woods deliver a pleasing treat at this time of year, the punchy aromas of wild garlic hit you before you even spot the delicious crop, making it easy to find. Wild garlic is one of those ingredients that I look forward to going out too forage for each year and I always make the most of the season.
Armed with a basket or a bag, we love to head off to the woods with the dog to collect handfuls of it, it makes for such a lovely weekend activity together.

I find myself picking as much as I can while it’s in season and creating new recipes with it, or just simply chopping it up and adding it into old favourites to boost the flavour.

The warm dappled light that dances through the branches in the wood’s glistens in such a beautiful way, its like magic. A golden glow of the low spring time sun hits the ground through the trees and for the first time in months after the grey dull light from winter the woods seem to come alive. The warmth of the sun and the trees covered in pretty blossom always fills me with so much optimism and inspiration for the coming year. It’s almost poetic.

Just being able to leave the house with out a coat for the first time since autumn is possibly another reason that I feel so happy during spring.
We don’t tend to get really cold winters in Devon compared to the north of England or other countries who have to endure snow and ice for a large part of the year, but I seem to really feel the cold so I long for the warmer months.

Sun, spring flowers popping through the grass colouring the park with yellows and blues like a painting always put me in a fantastic mood, it’s probably my favourite season along with autumn. Maybe it’s the warmth, or the pleasure from just being able to go outdoors and gather something to cook with but spring foraging is always a joy.
The flavour of wild garlic is an incredible mix of sweet, tangy, garlicky flavours with a hint of chive that work well in place of normal garlic in so many recipes. It really packs a punch, but in an amazingly delicious way.

A foraging trend and a British classic

There has been a revival of interest in Foraging in recent years, it wasn’t so long ago that only a select few had heard of wild garlic or three corner leeks, but those times are long gone. Even Michelin starred restaurants are serving foraged ingredients on their menus now, why? because wild or to use the trendy term – foraged food is so fashionable.

Its quite a serious business, with restaurants even hiring a specialised forager, who go out and find what they need for the weeks dinner service. Foraging would have once been a part of daily life for most, but with the rise of farming techniques and supermarkets stocking everything you could ever need it became a past time.

It is such a big trend now that people are teaching workshops about it, and even offering foraging days – where they take people out for a day or weekend to hunt for wild ingredients and cook with what they find. I am actually going on a day trip next week where we will do just that.

However the trend for foraging has caused a sudden spike in the number of people flouting bans on picking wild produce in London’s Royal Parks. There has been a 600 per cent increase in the number of incidents of foraging within a year, with 35 police warnings issued in 2017. According to an article in the Telegraph.

I have always loved foraging for ingredients, there is something so special about being able to go out and pick something from the land. I have become quite knowledgeable on what is edible, but its something I would love to know more about.

The foragers season here in England tends to really kick off for me in spring with the arrival of morels and wild garlic, but there are a few winter ingredients that can be found. If you are interested in finding out more about whats in season and when, then you can find this handy foraging guide here. We are quite lucky in England as there is such an abundance of produce that can be foraged often right on our doorsteps.

I think the reason why wild garlic has become so popular to forage for is that it is so easy to find. I find that the flavours are better early in the season when it at its most vibrant, so that’s when I tend to go out and pick it. For more information on how to find and identify wild garlic see this article here.
Three corner leeks are another favourite of mine to forage for at the same time and the two are often growing not far from one another. It seems to grow everywhere here in England. It’s a weed that some people despise in their garden, as it has a strong onion like smell. It spreads like crazy if planted in the ground, but it really is a delicious little weed that works perfectly in recipes with wild garlic, so I often use the two together.
It’s called three corner leek because its stem is triangle-shaped, helping you identify it when you are out picking. Though I’m sure its smell would give it away first.

I decided to pair the wild garlic and three corner leeks with another old favourite, a pork pie. It seems to have stepped back into the limelight recently.

The humble pork pie is also facing a revival. Once it would have been thought of as a cheap snack, but now it’s having a bit of a moment. With new pork pie flavours, and the rose of artisanal butchers they are popping up in bakeries and farm shops again. Some of London’s trendiest restaurants are adding it to their menus.

The reinvention of old classics in general seems to be popular at the moment here in Britain.  It’s not just pork pies that are back in fashion after a makeover, but other classics like the Cornish pasty are becoming incredibly popular again. This article about how the pork pie has become reborn as a luxury artisan foodstuff was quite interesting.

I wanted to put a spring time spin on the British classic pork pie, so wild garlic seemed like the perfect choice. It works beautifully with the flavour of the pork.
Pork pies are a long-time favourite of mine, we used to eat them all the time growing up. Melton Mowbray pork pies where always my favourite, they always seemed that extra bit special.

If you’re not familiar with a pork pie then it’s basically a small snack sized pie that’s served cold and made with hot water crust pastry. We tend to eat them on their own as a little snack or with salads.
I’m really interested in the food trends for the coming year and that’s why I’m excited to be heading to the Tutto food exhibition in Milan this may.

Recipe Hot water crust pastry

375g (13 0z) plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
100g (3 1/2 oz ) lard
40g (1 1/2 0z) unsalted butter
150ml (1/4 pint) water

Cut the butter and lard into cubes and add to a pan with the water and heat over a medium heat, while the pan is on mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Once the butter/lard has melted turn up the heat and bring to the boil.
pour into the bowl with the flour and mix in using a spoon until it forms a soft dough, once it’s cooled enough to handle knead together.


pork mince
3 slices of smoked bacon
6 wild garlic leaves, washed and dried
3 leaves of three corner leek (if you can find wild garlic or three corner leeks you can use ramps, or garlic scrapes or leave this out and use half an onion)
3 sprigs of thyme
fresh nutmeg


In a food processor add the bacon wild garlic and three corner leeks (or onion if using) and pulse a few times until finely chopped, add the mince and pulse again to combine.
Mix in the salt, pepper, thyme and a little fresh nutmeg (I grate this freshly and use about 5 or six scrapes on the grater so only a small amount).
I like to make the filling first so its ready to use right away once the pastry is made as I find the dough is easiest to work with before it cools down too much. A lot of recipes tell you to chill the dough but I find it too hard to roll out that way.

To make the pies
On a floured surface roll out and cut with a circle cutter and press it into a small muffin mould, or little high sided tart tins, press in the filling so it’s tightly packed and cut another piece for the top, pinch the edges to seal and then make a hole in the top, (generally this hole is made as traditional pork pies have some meat gelatine poured in once they are baked, but that’s the one part of a traditional pork pie that I dislike so I left that part out, I will include the link to a recipe for that it you like it though).
Brush the tops with a beaten egg and sprinkle on some salt and pepper and bake for about 50 minutes until golden.

If you want to add the traditional gelatine layer you can find the recipe here.
Once the pies have cooled put them in the fridge to chilled and enjoy them cold.

This post was sponsored by Tutto food – You are invited to visit or follow online #TUTTOFOOD2019 – Milan world food exhibition at Rho Fiera from the 6th to 9th
May 2019 ” click here if you want tickets to attend the event. Its going to be amazing I’m sure.

Food and drink trend predictions for 2019
I spent a bit of time researching this subject and reading so many articles on the trend reports for the coming year. To my surprise there where a lot of predictions that I wasn’t expecting, one being Ethiopian food – which I’m excited about. There where a few that I knew would be on the list.
Gin being one of them, it is so popular in Britain right now. So many distilleries are popping up and creating a whole host of new flavours.

Honey was one trend I wasn’t expecting, Its been around for hundreds of years and a staple in most people’s kitchens, but it never really seemed trendy before. It actually makes a lot of sense. With bee numbers dwindling due to climate change, people have swarmed to the new trend of back yard beekeeping.
There are a few ingredients that are becoming really fashionable at the moment too, like Argan oil, So I’m feeling pretty happy that I got some while I was in morocco last month.
Other trendy ingredients are Stracciatella, bitter greens, seaweed and sea vegetables, unusual herbs like -lovage, ground elder and chickweed.
Flavours of the Pacific Rim (Asia, Oceanica and the western coasts of North and South America) are also a strong trend so stock up on fish sauce, wasabi, lemongrass, star anise, pandan leaves, black sesame, soy sauce.

There where a lot of websites with lists of trends for 2019 but I felt this article summed it up best, it was written back in January and so far the suggestions are definitely playing out.

The post Foragers wild garlic pork pies and a look at trends appeared first on twigg studios.

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Pasta, a humbly delicious creation made from a mixture of grain and eggs, or sometimes water, that has different versions in many different cultures cuisine’s. For this post I want to focus on Italian pasta, as trying to delve deeper into the actual origins of pasta proved so diverse, it was impossible to link it to just one country.
When I think of pasta, I tend to think of it as Italian, but in fact there is little proof that it was created there first. (think noodles in asia, dumplings in india, Greece ect)

During my research for this post I read up on the history of pasta from one of the all-time greats Antonio Carluccio, and he said that “The Etruscans, a pre-roman civilisation in the Italian peninsula, are thought to have been one of the first to make pasta. Reliefs in the Tomba bella in the Cerveteri illustrate what looks like a pasta board, a rolling pin and a pasta wheel. But this proves nothing, as texts at this date suggest that any alimentary paste where more likely to have been baked than boiled”.
There are so many varieties of pasta, generally dried or fresh and I am going to be discussing how to make fresh pasta at home.

I find the process of making pasta so therapeutic and such a joy. It pains me when people say that they are too intimidated to try making it at home as they think its too hard. I would hate to think people are missing out on something that is actually a lot easier than it looks, so I hope this post will convince you how simple it is, and also how enjoyable it is to make.

There are two main types of fresh pasta, Pasta Fresca all’Uovo (fresh egg pasta) and Pasta Fresca di Semolina (fresh durum wheat semolina pasta)

Pasta Fresca all’Uovo (fresh egg pasta)

Fresh egg pasta seems to be the most common one to make at home, and its the one I make most often. Probably as I usually have eggs that need using up, but really its because pasta is always a good idea!. It is really easy to make your self. This one is great if it is your first time making it.

Just the combination of two humble ingredients of eggs and flour create such a heavenly dish. I love it when simple ingredients come together and make something so incredible. Its silky and delicious served with a variety of sauces.

What you need to make the dough

There are so many recipes for egg pasta flying around but generally the common thread is the use of Tippo 00 flour. But normal plain all purpose flour will suffice if you cant get tippo 00 flour. I have been told that the mixture of tippo 0 and tippo 00 flour is also common in Italy, but I’m not experienced with this flour combination, and tipo 0 flour is not as easy to find here in England.

My simple recipe for egg pasta is

300g tippo 00 flour 3 eggs (usually medium)

To make it, sift the flour on the table into a mound, and using your hands make a well in the centre so it is like a little volcano. Then crack the eggs into the centre and with a fork start mixing the eggs. Mix it until a paste is formed then start bringing in a bit of flour from around the edge a little at a time until its combined, then use your hands to mix the rest and knead it into a ball. You can add more flour if the dough is too sticky or a few drops of water if it’s too dry.

If I’m being honest, I’m not that precious about making it by hand, I often use a food processor for that step on days when I’m in a rush. Just add the flour in a bowl of a food processor and add the eggs and pulse a few times until it comes together and then knead it.

Knead the dough with clean dry hands using the heel of your hand, basically as you would with bread. Working the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth to touch and elastic.
You can even knead it with the dough hook on your kitchen aid mixer if you are feeling really overwhelmed by the process of making it by hand, but I would suggest you try the hand mixed/kneaded method at least once or twice first so you can get used to how the pasta should look and feel.

My tip for knowing when its ready, which was shown to me by a wonderful lady in Puglia is to hold out your hand flat and using your finger on the other hand press the palm of your hand just under you thumb. It feels springy and that is basically what your pasta should feel like. It needs to bounce back after being pressed.

Because I make pasta so often, I find that I don’t need to weigh the ingredients out and I just tend do it by eye, I just make a mound of flour on the work surface and add a couple of eggs and then if I need too I then add more flour or beaten egg to it until I get a soft workable dough. There doesn’t have to be an exact science with pasta, you just need the dough to be the right consistency. You can always add more flour or liquid to it.

Because its just the two of us eating, I often make half the amount of dough stated for these recipes here, or I make a big batch and then freeze the extra pasta on a flat baking sheet covered over night. Once the pasta is frozen I tip it into a zip lock bag and keep it in the freezer until I need it and cook it from frozen.

I find it freezes better once its shaped into pasta rather than just freezing the ball of pasta dough.
Its also hard to give exact measurements as different brands of flour absorb liquid a little differently and egg sizes vary, But this is a good bench mark to start with.

Rest your dough!! You just mixed two completely different ingredients together and kneaded it into submission, give it time to rest and let it figure out it now has a totally different structure then it did 10 minutes ago.
Cover the dough in plastic wrap and leave to rest for at least half an hour. If you try to roll it straight away it will tear and not roll out smoothly.

Now its time to shape your egg pasta and there are so many options here.

Rolling the dough
Traditionally, it would have been rolled out with a very large rolling pin, and you can do it that way if you like, it just takes a lot of time, and a large area to work in. I prefer to use a pasta machine as my kitchen and workspaces are so small.

Using a pasta machine

You can buy pasta machines for a reasonable price now and they all pretty much do the same job so just pick one at a price point your happy with.
Start with the machine on its widest setting, cut your ball of dough into four pieces. Cover the rest of the dough while you’re working so it doesn’t dry out.

Press the dough flat with your hand and sprinkle it with flour so it doesn’t stick, then roll through the machine, take the dough and fold in half and then roll through the machine again, I then fold the dough again and roll through. I do this three times on the widest setting before I start to turn the width down to the next setting. This just ensures the dough will be silky smooth and an even width so its worth doing.

Put the dough through the machine turning down the setting each time until you reach a beautifully thin dough. I tend to go down to number 7 on my pasta machine but different machine models vary (it is one or two above the thinnest setting that my machine goes too). I roll it Even thinner for filled pasta.

Types of pasta

Long pasta – pasta lunga

Long pastas consist of shapes like spaghetti, tagliatelle, chitarra cut pasta called spaghetti alla chitarra, pappardelle and fettucine and many many more. However these are the ones I generally tend to make at home my self.

I love long pasta, but it never seems like a very ladylike pasta to eat, I usually end up spilling some down my top. I prefer the wider pastas like fettucine and tagliatelle over spaghetti, if I had to choose. But in all honesty there isn’t a pasta I wouldn’t eat. Pasta’s with more edges like the flat pastas hold the sauce better than a smooth pasta like spaghetti, so that might be why I prefer them.

I make spaghetti, tagliatelle, fettucine with an attachment that fits on my pasta machine. Once the dough is rolled nice and thin I roll it through the attachment to cut it. Then I dust the cut pasta with flour and either leave it to dry flat or hang it on a coat hanger, or I arrange it in a little nest,

Spaghetti and tagliatelle alla chitarra are made with a chitarra cutter, whereby you place the rolled piece of dough on the strings and roll it with a rolling pin to cut it (see photo below). I also have several rolling pins with indentations that cut the pasta into several widths. You can find both on amazon.

To make pappardelle, flour the rolled out dough well and then roll it up tightly into a log shape. Then cut strips using a sharp knife. I cut it into 2 cm wide strips. I normally dust my pasta with a mixture of semolina and tipo 00 flour so it doesn’t stick.

Hand shaped short pasta’s – pasta corta

Short pastas include fusilli, farfalle, garganelli, maltagliati

There are many hand fresh shaped pastas, but a lot of the ones I tend to make myself are made with the durum wheat semolina pasta (below) I use a lot of dried short pastas for home cooking.

These are the ones I make with egg pasta,

Fusilli – This can be made at home by using a knitting needle. Cut the pasta into squares, usually about 6cmx6cm and then cut that into four strips. Roll the strip of dough around the needle in a spiral, then slip it off the needed and place it on a floured tray to dry.
Farfalle – This is the beautiful bow-shaped pasta (below) and is one of my favourites to make, and goes really well with lots of sauces. The dough for that one had chopped herbs in it.

To make this you cut the pasta into rectangles using a serrated pastry wheel, then pinch the centre to create the butterfly shape, then place the shaped farfalle on a floured tray to dry out a little. It is a really easy shape to make at home, you cant really go wrong with it.

Garganelli – This one is a bit like penne (see below) , but larger and rolled, its made using a special wooden board that has indentations in it and a small roller. I picked up my roller really cheaply from amazon. To make it you need to cut the pasta into 6 cm squared pieces and place a piece at an angle and roll up with the little rolling pin and slide off and place the shaped pasta on a floured tray.

Maltagliati This is pasta that is cut into large oblong shapes with a knife or flat pastry wheel. I don’t have any photos of this one but its super easy and great in soups or stew like sauces. Just imagine flat triangle shaped pasta.

Filled pasta – Pasta fresca ripiena

Some of these include ravioli, tortellini, agnolotti, caramelle, cappelletti, Sardinian culurgiones

These are all little parcels of dough, stuffed with a filling of some kind, like little dumplings. There are lots of different filled pasta you can make at home, and they come in all different shapes and sizes, this is just a few of them.

The filling possibilities are also endless, the most common filling tends to be a mixture of ricotta and parmesan but my favourite is pumpkin or meat.

Raviloi are the most common, and very simple to make.
To make them, roll out the dough into a long sheet and place the filling in little mounds along one side of the dough leaving a space in between each one. Then brush around each mound with water and fold the dough over and press down around the mound and press out any air and seal it and cut into squares using a fluted pastry cutter. You can also cut it into circles.

Agnolotti is another simple one, that is quite similar to ravioli just smaller and it looks like a little parcel.

To make it, cut the wide rolled strip of pasta in half length ways using a fluted pastry cutter so you have two long strips. Place the filling in a piping bag and pipe small dots along one edge in a line. Brush the other side with a little water and roll up into a tube. Press down in between each mound of filling to seal them, then cut them in the middle of the seal between each one. See my recipe here


These are made with round cut pasta, for tortelloni use 6cm, or square and for tortellini use 5cm.

To make them place the filling in the centre and brush one edge with water and fold over and press to seal. Then bring the corners to the middle and pinch together. (anolini are tiny versions of tortellini (3cm square)

I tend to make all of these using a pasta machine first rather than a rolling pin. I have made it with a rolling pin in Puglia, but I just find the use of a pasta machine that bit easier.

Some other filled pastas;

To see Sardinian culurgiones see my recipe here (its one..

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Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on good Friday at Easter, but here in the UK you can find them in supermarkets pretty much all year long.

I have made them quite a few times but I normally try to create new flavour combination, but this time I wanted to go back to basics and make some really good traditional ones.
obviously I had to make them my own in some way so I soaked the raisins over night in chai tea and lemon.

The best way to eat hot cross buns has to be toasted in the oven and served warm and slathered with butter. We buy so many of them leading up to Easter, so I really wanted to make some hot cross buns at home that tasted just like one ones we buy from the shops. I hadn’t managed it before, there always seemed to be something missing.
I’m so happy that I managed to finally get it right, my partner said they tasted just like/if not better than the ones we usually get.

Any bread recipe can be time consuming, but its always worth the labour of love when you get to enjoy them in the end trust me.
To make them I use my stand mixer with the dough hook as its easier, if I make them by hand I end up making the biggest mess and get flour everywhere. Plus using a stand mixer helps the fruit be more evenly distributed too.

Enriched dough can take a bit more time to rise, and needs a little more yeast so I used 14g rather than the 7g that I would use in a regular loaf.
I decided to make some orange whipped butter to spread on them too, it basically consisted of orange zest whipped into some softened butter, it was heavenly.

The amount of flour I used ended up being a bit more than 500g. I added a little more flour because I wanted it to be more workable when I added the fruit.
You don’t want the dough to be too stiff and adding more flour can really effect the consistency of the dough so just add a spoonful extra at a time if you need it until you get a really nice soft dough.
Certain brands of flours all react differently to liquid so you may find you don’t need to add any or you may find you need to add quite a bit, its hard to give an exact measurement with bread.

  • 500g strong plain flour plus 5 tbsp
  • 14g fast action yeast
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5g salt
  • 150g raisins soaked in boiling water with a chai teabag and half a lemon for a few hours or over night0
  • 65g mixed peel (you can find this in the baking section of most supermarkets)
  • 45g candied ginger finely chopped
  • 65g unsalted butter
  • 1 and a 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 and a 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest
  • 1 egg
  1. Add the milk in a pan with the cinnamon sticks and gently simmer.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes then remove the cinnamon sticks and add the butter and leave to melt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add 500g flour, spices, sugar and salt, then add the yeast on the opposite side of the bowl so it not touching the salt.
  4. Pour in the milk mixture and add the egg and mix at high speed for 5 minutes.
  5. Mix the peel, stem ginger and zest in a bowl, drain the raisins and add those and mix together, add 2 tbsp. flour to the mixture.
  6. Add the peel mixture to the bowl and add three more tbsp. of flour and knead for another 2 minutes, the mixture should be soft but not unworkable, so add more flour if needed, take the bowl off the mixture and stretch the dough a few times to make sure the gluten has built up nicely.
  7. Once the dough is nice and elastic place in a oiled bowl and leave in a warm draft free place until it has doubled in size (about 1 hr 30 minutes)
  8. Once the dough has risen, knock all the air out and cut into 12 equal pieces, I weighed each one to make sure they would be the same size.
  9. Take one ball and fold the edges of the dough in on them self and pinch together, then place the pinched part flat on the surface and roll into a tight ball.
  10. Place on a lined baking tray leaving space between each one and leave for 1 hour until they have risen back up.
  11. Preheat the oven to 200c
  12. Make the batter for the crosses by mixing plain flour with a little water until you get a thick paste.
  13. Pipe on crosses and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  14. While they are baking warm a few tbsp. of marmalade in a pan once they are baked and still hot from the oven brush on the marmalade glaze
  15. TIPS
    >Don’t over work the dough or it will become tight and the buns wont be soft and have a nice texture, 5 to 7 minutes in a stand mixer and high speed should be enough,
    but at the same time don’t underwork the dough or there will not be enough gluten, start at 5 minutes and take the dough out and stretch it, if it easily stretches with out tearing its ok.
    >Make sure you leave the dough to rise until its doubled in size, you can do this in a cool, warm place for 1 and a half to two hours or over night in the fridge.
    >Don’t skip the second rise.
    >If you don’t have a stand mixer and you are making them by hand I would suggest 8/10 minutes of kneading.

Enjoy them toasted with butter. NOTE (toast under the grill in the oven or a griddle pan they will burn in a toaster because of the glaze)

The post Very best hot cross buns appeared first on twigg studios.

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Delicious slow cooked braised lamb shanks in a rich tomato sauce fills these little ravioli parcels. You all know how much I love ragu and pasta so this is like an inside out version of that, but made even more special as they are tossed in brown butter and topped with rosemary bread crumbs.
I was asked to take part in a contest with millesima.co.uk to create a recipe and choose wine that pairs with it perfectly from their amazing collection.

To make things even better there is a contest where one of you can win £100 to spend on their website to purchase some wine for your self !! I will be running that competition over on my Instagram account here. Come over and enter if you want to be in with the chance of winning. For an extra chance to win you can also leave a comment here and let me know what wine you enjoy the most. If I get through to the second round I will be giving away a weekend for two to Bordeaux!!!!. In order for me to get through I need to have the most entries for the first part of the competition, so share this with you friends and you could win.

For my part of the completion I had to create a perfect pairing and then Millesima will choose their favourites to go through to the next round. Fingers crossed.
I chose to go with a meaty pasta dish, so the choice of red wine seemed obvious to me.

Pairing wines with this dish was so interesting, I think I have found a new passion.

I really wanted the wine to be Italian to match the cuisine and I found a few chiantis which are perfect, along with a few others. After some research into wines and reading descriptions of some on their website, I gave the recipe some consideration first and as the pasta filling has slightly sweet with acidic tomatoes, punchy garlic and fragrant herbs and a rich flavour from the lamb, this led me to decide on a emboldened red. I wanted a more fruit driven wine such as a younger red, like a chianti or Bordeaux or even a cabernet/merlot blend. I have narrowed it down to 5 wines.

One a Syrah, Jean-Luc Colombo : La Louvée 2012, as it has a taste of blackberry, pepper and thyme. This wine has a dark fruit intensity with smoke, cured meat and spicy tobacco flavours. I thought this would pair perfectly with the rich flavours of the lamb.
My second choice an Tuscan classic, a chianti Antinori – The 2012 Tignanello of Antinori is a classic chianti. It has a velvety texture, dark fruit flavours, with spice and smoky aromas of thyme and tobacco. I loved that this was from the region that inspired the dish and felt the flavours would pair really well.
My third choice is the Gaja Ca’ Marcanda : Camarcanda 2013, I picked this as It has plump berry notes with the flavours of smoke and leather.
The next wine I like to pair with this dish with is the donnatella cinelli colombini, this is a great Tuscan red that pairs really well with pasta so its ideal.
The Antinori-Pèppoli 2014 another chianti would go beautifully also.
It was really hard to only pick a couple of wines to pair with this dish with as their collection is so vast, which was excellent. I had so much choice and I was able to narrow down my search to about 10 orginally  by typing in the petametres that I wanted. You can get a wine tasting crate with 6 wines from their website so if you are indecisive like me its  perfect.

I love nothing more than spending an afternoon making pasta at home, I find it so relaxing. I think I’m happiest when I’m covered in flour and busy cooking.

The smells coming from the kitchen whilst the lamb was in the oven where delightful. Ragu style dishes are my favourite kind to eat and cook, it amazes me how much flavour you can get.


1 1–1¼-pound lamb shank
salt, freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped (about 1½ cups)
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
4 rachers of smoked bacon or lardons finely chopped
2 sticks of celery finely chopped
2 carrots finely chopped
1 small leek finely chopped
8 mushrooms finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tin of tomatoes
1 cup red wine
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar

  • Preheat oven to 180c  350°. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Add some olive oil in a medium ovenproof pot (I use a large lidded cast iron pot) sear lamb, by placing in the pan and turning occasionally, until evenly browned.
  • Remove the lamb from the pan and transfer to a plate.
  • Add the carrot, leek, mushrooms and celery in a food processor to chop really finely.
  • Reduce heat and in the same pan add the onion and garlic and stir over the heat until the onions are softened.
  • Add the bacon and simmer until cooked then add the leek, carrots, celery and mushrooms and stir over the heat for another 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste and cook until heated through and darkened in colour, about 2 minutes.
  • Add wine to deglaze the pan, then add tinned tomatoes, and bring to a simmer.
  • Add stock, bay leaves, 2 thyme sprigs, and rosemary replace and reserved lamb shank; return to a simmer.
  • Cover, transfer to oven, and braise, turning lamb occasionally, until meat is falling off the bone, 2½–3 hours.
  • Remove meat off the bone and add back into the sauce.
  • leave to cool. To make pasta and assemble scroll down.

Make the pasta

  • 400g tipo 00 pasta flour
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • To make pasta, add the flour in a mound on the work surface and make a hole in the centre and pour in the eggs and oil (the oil is optional). Then using a fork start mixing the eggs while gradually mixing in the flour, knead for about 5/10 minutes until smooth. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
    roll the dough through the widest setting on your pasta machine then fold and roll again, then fold again and roll through again, then turning the width down each time roll it through until it is thin,
    this folding and rolling through a few times before turning the width setting down will ensure it I nice and al dente.

  • Place the pasta sheet on the work top and cut in half so you have two strips.
  • Spoon on mounds of filling making sure there is enough space around each one.
  • Brush around each one with a beaten egg then roll the second sheet through the machine one more time to make it a bit bigger than the first sheet and place on top of the first sheet and push any air bubbles out.
  • Cut into squares to resemble ravioli with a fluted pastry cutter.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil, then add some salt and boil the pasta for about 4 minutes or until it floats.
  • In a pan add 5 tbsp. butter with 2 tbsp. of oil simmer until the butter turns brown and pour through a sieve and pour over the pasta.
  • In another pan add some oil, bread crumbs, and rosemary and gently toast. remove from the pan and add some salt and pepper.
  • serve the pasta and spoon over some extra brown butter. sprinkle on the rosemary bread crumbs and add some grated parmesan.

The post Braised lamb raviloi with rosemary bread crumbs and wine pairing suggestions appeared first on twigg studios.

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