Cookie Dough Truffles

In need of a last minute gift? These cute little festive truffles fit the bill perfectly. With no baking time they’re ridiculously quick to make, and you probably have all the ingredients to hand in your kitchen!

Cookie Dough Truffles | The Hedgecombers

When baking I always prefer the taste of cake batter or cookie dough to the finished biscuit/cake. I think it must remind me of being little as it always seemed like such a big treat to be the one that licked the bowl out! Cookie Dough Truffles | The Hedgecombers

If your kids are the same, make up a batch of this and you don’t need to worry about them consuming the raw eggs left in the mixing bowl.

Cookie Dough Truffles | The Hedgecombers

Once you’ve made your dough, roll it into little balls between the palms of your hands and then roll in whatever toppings you fancy. I tried cocoa powder, dessicated coconut, chopped walnuts and melted dark chocolate.Cookie Dough Truffles | The HedgecombersOr why not try some other toppings. How about hundreds and thousands, popping candy or crushed pistachios? If you find a new favourite, do let me know in the comments below.

Cookie Dough Truffles | The Hedgecombers

Pour out the various toppings into little bowls or cake tins and get creative. Cookie Dough Truffles | The Hedgecombers

And if you are giving them as gifts, it might be an idea to double up the quantities so you get to indulge too :)Cookie Dough Truffles | The Hedgecombers

Cookie Dough Truffles

Ingredients

  • 50g butter
  • 60g sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoon water
  • Whichever truffle coatings you fancy

Instructions

  1. In a blender cream together the sugar and butter until smooth.
  2. Take out of the blender and continue with a wooden spoon to avoid overmixing it and making it too heavy.
  3. Add the flour and cinnamon and tip in the water one tablespoon at a time and mix until all elements are combined
  4. Measure out each truffle with a teaspoon and roll them in your hands that have been well dusted with flour. Roll each truffle into a coating and pop in the fridge to cool.
http://hedgecombers.com/2014/12/17/cookie-dough-truffles/

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Samsung Food Showcase ~ The Smallholders Dream Fridge Freezer

Last week we collected our pig from the abattoir and spent a full day butchering, curing and freezing the meat. Being the first time we’ve done all the butchery at home I was pretty nervous, but we were lucky enough to enlist the help of our good friend Derek who really knows his stuff.

Samsung Food Showcase

The other thing that helped massively was our Samsung Food Showcase, the mother of all fridge freezers. I’m pretty sure Samsung didn’t design it specifically for smallholders, but it was perfect for our home butchery day and it made my life so much easier. Actually, I’m not sure how we’d have managed without it.Samsung Showcase Fridge Freezer Review

It is a huge unit (please measure your kitchen & doorways first if you’re thinking of buying one!) which meant we had tonnes of room for bags, trays and joints of meat.

If you haven’t come across this fridge before, go take a peek at the Samsung website. It’s a top of the range model that certainly isn’t cheap, but is a brilliant piece of engineering with some unique design elements that looks stunning to boot.

Samsung Showcase Fridge Freezer Review

Derek started by cutting the back legs into lovely joints to make ham. I sprinkled one of these joints with curing salt inside a large food grade plastic bag and popped it in the inner fridge where it will get a nice massage every day until it is fully cured. Then on Christmas eve it’ll be ready to turn into ham.

Will ham have ever tasted better I wonder?Samsung Food Showcase

All the offal was cleaned, bagged and popped in the freezer. By pressing and holding the Power Freeze button for 3 seconds, it ensured the freezer temperature stayed consistent and the meat was flash frozen which not only keeps it safe, but also beautifully fresh when we come to defrost it.

When we stopped for lunch I just grabbed the entire door drawer that I’d already filled up with everything we could need – ham, beef and egg mayo along with the butter for the baguettes. Normally this drawer is Jonny’s and as I’m lactose intolerant he keeps all his cheesey milky things in there out of my way. For families with serious allergies this could be a great way to prevent cross contamination.

The great thing about the dual door system of the Showcase is that by opening the first door, you don’t interfere with the temperature of the inner fridge. Particularly useful when you’re looking to the contents of your fridge to inspire you for dinner time.

Samsung Showcase Fridge Freezer Review

After lunch, Derek cut everything up to our requirements, with any odd bits of meat going onto the sausage tray. Everything needs to stay as cold as possible not only to keep it safe, but also to ensure that the pork you want to turn into sausages will mince properly. If it’s not cool enough, it’ll mush up in your mincer and be a real pain to work with.Samsung Food Showcase

We opted for 3 different flavours of sausages, they all had plenty of white pepper and cooking salt (the grains of cooking salt are finer than in table salt so are more easily blended) and then were flavoured with various herbs – the oregano ones are my absolute favourite. We fried off a little of each mixture to make sure the flavouring were OK before stuffing the sausage skins. If you’ve never made sausages, you really must – it’s hilarious!

Once the sausages are made they needed to rest for 2 or 3 days and the Showcase is the next best thing to a butchers walk in fridge. During that resting time the rusk (we used a gluten free variety so my nephew can help us polish them off) swells and will fill any air gaps and the flavours will marry together perfectly.

Samsung Food Showcase

When they are all finished they can be frozen, and having an upright freezer is ideal for this stage as the sausages can go in large freezer bags and be frozen flat. When you want to defrost a few, just drop the bag onto a clean floor or work surface and they’ll break apart allowing you to take out as many as you need.

The Showcase freezer is really well designed, and although it’s not as spacious as the fridge it’s all very well thought through. It’s really well lit, and has handy little pockets on the inside of the door which are great to prevent smaller items getting lost.

If you choose to plumb the Showcase in, you can have chilled, filtered water on tap and an endless supply of ice on hand too. However, if that doesn’t appeal, you can easily remove the inner section of the ice maker and replace it with the supplied shelving section thereby giving you even more freezer storage.Samsung Showcase Fridge Freezer Review

And just to prove we didn’t waste a morsel of our pig, I simmered the head and trotters for 4 hours, picked the meat off and made this delicious brawn. Soft, tender meat and well flavoured stock made this a real treat that costs pennies and is bursting with nutrients.

Samsung Food Showcase

Next week, when all the pork is safely frozen and we’ve had a few days peace and quiet, we’ll be butchering a bunch of our Muscovy ducks so no doubt the Showcase will come into its own again!

Huge thanks to Derek & his wife Wendy for all their help, and to Samsung for the chance to review the Showcase. It’s a great product and has been a real life saver for us. If you’d like to see my earlier review on this model please visit this blog post, and visit fellow food blogger Ren Behan for her insight into this model too. And as always all views are my own.

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Baked Mackerel Salad with Hot Ginger Dressing

The piggies went off yesterday and in preparation for their return we have been eating out of the freezers for what feels like months. Among the weird and wonderful contents found (pigs trotters, dead rabbits for the ferrets still in their furry coats, and about 6 gigantic sacks of home grown tomatoes dating as far back as 2009) was a huge bag of mackerel fillets that either Jonny or I have caught over the past year or two.

Baked Mackerel Salad with a Hot Ginger Dressing |The Hedgecombers

In fairness we do have 5 freezers on the farm , but it still astounds me that I can lose an entire bag of mackerel.

Anyway, whether your mackerel are fresh or frozen (and defrosted) you want them filleted and all bones removed. This is the kind of salad that you just want to dive into without wondering if you’re about to choke to death on a pesky bone.Baked Mackerel Salad with a Hot Ginger Dressing |The Hedgecombers

The zingy ginger dressing means that this is one salad you can indulge in however cold it is outside.

Mackerel Salad with Hot Ginger Dressing

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2

Ingredients

    Baked Mackerel
  • Splash soy sauce
  • Splash fish sauce
  • Juice from 1/4 of a lime
  • 4 mackerel fillets, de-boned
  • Salad
  • Handful of salad leaves
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Coriander leaves
  • Dressing
  • 1" fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Juice of 3/4 of a lime
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180/350/gas4
  2. Place the fish into a baking dish, skin side down. Mix the soy sauce, fish and lime juice together in a glass and brush it onto the fish liberally. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Pile up your choice of salad leaves in two bowls, top with the avocado, coriander and spring onions.
  4. When the fish is cooked flake it into large chunks and tip over the salad leaves.
  5. In a clean glass mix the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over everything.
  6. If you're planning to have this dish as a packed lunch, let the fish cool fully before mixing with the salad bits and store the dressing in a small leak proof pot, and drizzle it over when you're ready to eat. You may want to omit the raw garlic from the dressing if you have to share office space with anyone after eating ;)
http://hedgecombers.com/2014/12/11/mackerel-salad-with-hot-ginger-dressing/

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Gluten Free Snowflake Cookies that Taste GREAT!

These really pretty gluten free cookies are a doddle to make and great fun to decorate. The recipe makes a big batch of them, making them perfect for a children’s party or to give as a gift.

Gluten Free Snowflake Cookies | The hedgecombers

There’s a cafe close to home that serves the most delicious gluten free & dairy free cupcakes. They honestly taste better than 95% of the (normal) cakes I have eaten out. They are ridiculously moist and a world apart from regular sponge cake or buns which I find mostly dry and uninteresting.

Gluten Free Snowflake Cookies | The HedgecombersAnyway, I haven’t managed to wheedle the recipe out of the cafe owner, yet, but when I do I promise you’ll be the first to know ;)

Gluten Free Cookies

In the mean time, these cookies are darn good and unlike a lot of shop bought GF products, you wouldn’t know they were ‘free from’, making them a godsend for families with allergies and also for children’s parties where you don’t want to single out the child with allergies.Gluten Free Snowflake Cookies | The Hedgecombers

I used Doves Farm Plain White Flour Blend, for those unable to source this flour, it is made with a mix of rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat.

PS I may have taken the whole no two snowflakes are the same a little too seriously, it’ll be much quicker if you ice identical ones :)

Janie x

Gluten Free Snowflake Cookies that Taste GREAT!

Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 30+

Ingredients

    Cookies
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 120g sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 300g Doves Farm gluten free plain white flour blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Icing
  • 1 egg white
  • 225g icing sugar, sieved

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until it is pale and smooth. Add the eggs, a little at a time and keep beating until all is well mixed.
  2. Sift in the flour and salt, and gently mix until everything is just combined. Try not to over mix.
  3. Bring the dough together into a ball. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for about an hour.
  4. When it has cooled and firmed, cut 1/3 of the dough off and put the remainder back in the fridge.
  5. Dust the work surface and rolling pin generously with more flour and roll the dough out to a 1/2cm thick.
  6. Cut out the cookies with a snowflake cutter and place on a clean (ungreased) baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  7. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or just until the edges start to turn golden. Slide off the baking sheet onto a cool, flat surface.
  8. Meanwhile make the icing by mixing the egg white and icing sugar together. Scrape into a piping bag and seal until the cookies have cooled completely. Decorate the cookies however you fancy, then leave them out unstacked overnight or until the icing has hardened. Keep fresh by storing in an airtight tin.
http://hedgecombers.com/2014/12/09/gluten-free-snowflake-cookies/

Ilavenderandlovage_teatime‘m sharing this recipe with Tea Time Treats which this month is hosted by Karen over at Lavender & Lovage. Decembers theme is all things sparkly, but when I tried to buy some edible lustre to dust on the cookies as they were drying, the only brand I could find had wheat in which was kind of useless on a gf cookie. So Karen, please use your sparkly festive imagination here :)

 

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Fifteen Days of Christmas

Oh boy, I’m a big ol’ bundle of smiles here – Fifteen Cornwall is running a cute series of Christmassy recipes on their blog which has recipes from some of the top chefs, and they’ve featured one of my recipes too! Eek!

Here’s the link to my recipe for Amaretti Biscuits. Enjoy!

Fifteen Recipes of Christmas