Archives for posts with tag: Basil

I have been away, without any proper excuse other than the fact that I have been filling my evenings with watching Downton Abbey on DVD, several months behind the rest of the nation.  It has become something of an addiction and it is not without some relief that I say that I am about to watch the last available episode (The Christmas Special) this evening.  I am hoping that there will be some resolution but I fear it will not come.

So, with that important distraction almost over I am making a return to baking (before you ask, I haven’t forgotten to feed the children during this time) and a visit from some lovely friends this afternoon was a perfect opportunity to show off the cake stand my parents bought me for Christmas.

The brown sugar cupcakes with malty frosting, lemon and basil mini-meringues and cheese scones seemed an appropriate ‘cake stand-christening’ menu (the left-overs might be an appropriate accompaniament to Downton viewing too)!


I first began to appreciate the merits of allowing bread dough to slowly ferment and mature after a particularly long, hot and traffic-jammy journey from Canterbury to Danbury.  My friend and I were jointly cooking a barbecue for our families at her parents’ house and I was responsible for the Chickpea Moroccan Flatbread which we were planning to cook on the barbecue.  I needed to set off early in the morning so I made the dough the previous evening and then put it in the fridge in a large bowl with a cover (a lovely Bodum bowl with a teal-blue that later met a terrible end in a jam-making disaster, but that is another story).

I set off early the next morning but the journey took a lot longer than expected and I worried the whole way there that the dough would be unusable by the time I arrived at my friend’s house, partly because it kept threatening to escape from the bowl as it rose so much!

I made the flatbread again today (allowing the yeast and some of the flour and water to ferment overnight before making the dough) to go with barbecued lamb burgers (of the laziest kind – just squashed together, thrown on the barbecue and brushed with garlicky olive oil), sausages, yoghurt and barbecued tomatoes.  There was meant to be some aubergine too but it manage to go AWOL somewhere between the shop and home.  I think they are hiding out somewhere in Waitrose carpark along with some new season green beans.  Despite this we had cooked too much food for the four of us so we took the opportunity to invite our friends from next door to join us.

We had barbecued nectarines for dessert in the dark (it might be hot but those nights are definitely starting to draw in), drizzled with a light syrup of lemon and basil and some yoghurt on the side.  The idea for the syrup came from this (divine) recipe for Basil Ice Cream with Nectarines.

It has been such a lovely day but this weather is confusing me.  Twenty-eight degrees on the first of October: it is no wonder I haven’t managed to put together a meal plan for the month yet!