Saturday 24 September 2022

Biscoff And Cookie Dough Tartlets

Forgive my ignorance, but I always thought Biscoff was a fairly modern, American invention.  How wrong I was!  It's Belgian, from the 1930s, as many of you probably know.  I had no idea what it was, but it seems it's like a speculaas biscuit - a lot spicy, and very sweet. 

Speculaas remind me of my younger days, when my sister was married to a Dutchman.  We lived in an area that had a big Dutch population - migrants who had escaped Europe after the Second World War.  He introduced us to many Dutch foods - salted liquorice anyone?, and speculaas biscuits (also Dutch).  Delightful, though his father's habit of smuggling native birds was not!

I was watching Barry Lewis, the English YouTuber chap the other day, and he made little tartlets with a bought cookie dough as the base, which he then filled with chocolate ganache.  I felt I wanted to make some tartlets too, but what to fill them with?  Let's try Biscoff, says I to myself.  And so I did.  And here they are.

caramel and chocolatey goodness here!

Makes 9-10 tartlets:


Butter for greasing the muffin tin holes

1 packet bought choc-chip cookie dough (450g./1 lb)

1 jar Biscoff spread (crunchy or smooth) - you will use about 320 grams/11.3 oz

2-3 tsp (or more) of mascarpone on each tartlet = c. 80g./3 oz all up

caramel sauce - I used Nestlé squeezy dulce de leche - amount is up to you

1/4 cup/32g. Honeycomb Maltesers, blitzed in a processor or bashed with a rolling pin till you end up with malty dust


Grab a muffin tray, grease the holes well with butter (esp. the rims!!) and press about 45g./1.5 oz of the dough into each hole

Find your smallest glass or wee container, and press the base into the doughy holes - you want to squish that dough down

Bake the cases at 180C/350F for 13 minutes, then take them out of the oven and squish the middles again with your tiny glass

Bake for another 2 minutes, take the tray out of the oven, and squish the middles again

Now let them cool right down

Spoon the Biscoff into each tartlet (go crazy if you want), then add a big spoonful of mascarpone on top (yep, go crazy again)

Squeeze the caramel sauce over the top, and throw on the honeycomb dust (well, sprinkle on)

Hand out to family and friends, and take a bow :=)


I made 9 tartlets, but next time I would make 10, as the dough was a wee bit too thick

Make sure you butter the rims of the tin well; my cases stuck to the top and I had to jemmy them out:=)

Use any sort of Maltesers you fancy, or whatever chocolate/malt type of sweets you have, or whatever you like or have available

oh my!  so much sugar ahead in my life :-)

squish the dough into your well-greased muffin tin holes

and squish the middles of your dough with a (very) small glass

and squish again after baking

ready for filling

filled and almost ready to eat

hand out to family and friends

sweet and delicious

I luv Maltesers!

Saturday 17 September 2022

Japanese Chicken Meatballs AKA Tsukune

There's a wonderful Japanese yakitori bar/restaurant not too far from us, which cooks up splendid chicken dishes.  We love their tsukune, but oddly I had never thought to make it myself - until I found this recipe in a Taste magazine recently.  It is simple and so delicious.  As regular readers may be aware, I have a thing about Japanese foods and ceramics, and homewares ...  Konnichi wa, my friends.  See what eighteen months of university Japanese language will do for you? :=)

I guess you could say this is a bit of a cheat's dish as there are some frozen components.  But still delicious for all that.  As an aside, I just read that tsukune is a generic term for any Japanese meatball, but that chicken is the most popular.  Yay to that!  But I do feel a bit guilty when going to the restaurant, realising how many chickens died for our dinners.  Sorry, chickens! :=(  

tsukune sizzling in a sauce of mirin and soy

Serves 4: (I made 17 balls!)


For the Tsukune:

500g./1.1 lb chicken mince

25g./½ cup panko breadcrumbs

2 spring onions/green shallots/scallions/green onions, finely sliced

2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated or chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

2.5 Tbs soy sauce

4 tsp wasabi paste - yes, really!

2 Tbs veg. oil (I used EV olive oil, 'cos I'm a rebel)

60 mL/¼ cup mirin or mirin seasoning

2 tsp mixed sesame seeds, toasted (but I forgot to toast 'em)

125g./½ cup Kewpie mayo - yes, it has to be Kewpie!

For the salad:

400g./14 oz baby potatoes, steamed or microwaved till tender

1/2 cup frozen veg. (I like a mix of corn, capsicum and peas), thawed in boiling water for five+ minutes

2 spring onions, finely chopped

2 radishes, finely chopped

1-2 Tbs fresh chives, snipped

1-2 Tbs lightly-dried parsley (or fresh, snipped)

2 Tbs sesame seeds

freshly ground black pepper

For the salad dressing:

2 Tbs Kewpie mayo

1 tsp wasabi paste

To serve:

1 packet (400g./14 oz) frozen edamame, boiled and podded


Whack on some plastic gloves (or with very clean hands) gently mix together the chicken, panko, spring onions, ginger, egg, 2 tsp of the soy sauce and 2 tsp of the wasabi in a medium mixing bowl

Grab tablespoons of the mix, and roll into balls, then whack 'em into the fridge on a tray for 20-30 minutes to firm up

You can then simply fry these in the heated veg. oil over medium heat for 6 minutes before adding the mirin and soy sauce - or do what I did - bake them first at 190C/375F for 10 minutes, which makes the frying quicker and easier ('cos I hate frying, my friends)

So, Mr P. heated the oil in a grill pan, then plopped in the semi-baked meatballs for 3 minutes

We then added the mirin and the rest of the soy sauce to the pan, and Mr P. cooked the balls for another 3 minutes 

And ... sprinkle on the sesame seeds

Mix the Kewpie mayo and the rest of the wasabi in a small bowl, and serve with the tsukune (which you serve with the salad and edamame)

Throw all the salad ingredients into a serving bowl, mix the salad dressing together, spoon onto the salad and give it a gentle stir to coat all the ingredients


Just in case it's not clear - if frying them, you cook for 6 minutes, then add the mirin and soy sauce, and fry for another 3 mins.  If baking and frying, bake for 10, then fry for 3 mins., add the seasonings and fry for another 3 mins.

ingredients gathered

tsukune ingredients ready for rolling

ready for baking at 190C/375F for 10 mins.

out of the oven after the 10 mins.

into the frypan with the seasoning

gloriously green edamame

potato-ish salad :-)

ready to serve and eat

Yay!  Dinner is served

© Sherry M.

Friday 9 September 2022

College Puddings

College puddings?  Yes, an odd name for these funny, fruity little fritters.  I'm a member of a Facebook group called Lambs' Ears Cookbook Club; last month our book was Pride and Pudding by Regula Ysewijn.  The book is a history of British Puddings, Savoury and Sweet - and there seems to be a lot of suet involved :-)  Fortunately I have bags of suet mix in my freezer thanks to the botched dumplings I tried to make some months ago.  Remember that saga? :-)

But here we have a recipe with suet that worked out just fine - delicious and moreish.  They didn't last long at all.  And I still have copious amounts of suet mix in the freezer, ready for another batch of these plumptious morsels.  I think they're called College Puddings because they were served at an Oxford College for supper, the original recipe appearing in a book by Eliza Smith The Compleat Housewife, 1737.  And still delicious!

cute, sweet morsels

Makes 9-10:


100g./3.5 oz fresh breadcrumbs (bought or homemade)

50g./1.75 oz shredded suet - see Notes below

50g./1.75 oz raw (caster or white) sugar

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

a pinch of sea salt

2 SMALL eggs or 1 large egg, lightly beaten - see Notes below

2 tsp Sherry (or Madeira or spiced Rum)

10g./⅜ oz/ or 1 very heaped tsp currants or sultanas, along with 1 tsp (candied) mixed peel or lemon peel; soaked in a big 20 mL/⅔ oz brandy or rum for 20 minutes, then drained off  (drink the rum - tee hee)

28g./1 oz glacé ginger, chopped finely (optional)

28g./1 oz/4 Tbs almond meal (if needed)

butter and oil for frying

icing sugar for dusting 


Grab a large mixing bowl, and tip in the breadcrumbs, suet, sugar, nutmeg and salt; give it a good stir to combine

Add the egg(s) and Sherry; if a thin mixture, just mix it all together well.  Regula says this is a dry dough, but will come together with a bit of kneading (my 'dough' was a right old soupy mix)

Leave your dough/batter/porridge to rest for 15 minutes

Fold your currants/sultanas, peel and glacé ginger into the mix

Add the almond meal if needed

Then tease out golf ball-sized amounts, which you flatten slightly (or sling into the pan with a spoon depending on your dough's moisture content :-) )

Heat 20 grams butter and 1 tsp veg. oil in a large frying pan - or just use clarified butter alone if you have that (I didn't)

Fry your balls till golden-brown, and cooked through - see Notes

Serve as a side dish, or with a dusting of icing sugar (says Regula) - I am curious as to what you would serve this with as a side dish :-)


It can be difficult to get actual suet (try your local butcher) but as I had mega amounts of suet mix in my freezer I used that instead - so instead of the 50g. of shredded suet, I used 30 grams of butter, and 30 grams of the suet and flour mixture I made up ages ago

As my mixture was so wet, I just used a tablespoon to dollop it into the frying pan, and cooked on each side for several minutes

Regula mentions a similar recipe by William Kitchiner from 1822; he says he prefers them baked in patty pans, so I tried that too.  I put a few in the oven to bake at 185C/365F for about 12-15 minutes - both sorts equally delicious!  But you can feel virtuous when eating the baked version, if that's your jam :-)

Regula actually joined our Cookbook Club, and told us that in her next book, she has/will give grammage for the eggs, as more than one person has mentioned that this was a very wet mixture rather than a dough :-)

first grab some bread

and blitz till you have breadcrumbs :-)  (Or buy some)

gather your ingredients

I used a pastry cutter to cut in the butter and suet mix

stir in the fruit

into the oven they go (there were 3)

frying up in butter and oil

or baked!  I love the heart-shaped one at the bottom

and we demolished the dusted fritters/puddings :=)

Princess Pia wrapping up a couple to take home

© Sherry M.

Thursday 1 September 2022

In My Kitchen - September 2022

September??!  What the?!  Yep Spring has sprung already.  Hard to believe, and hard to believe that it has been a year since I had my fall and broke ribs and wrecked my ribcage, seemingly forever.  And then in July this year, I fell again and turned my foot black!  Just coming out of that now.  Several friends have had falls and accidents and terrifying medical diagnoses this year.  Just praying that better times are around the corner, for all of us.

But my kitchen is still going strong!  I even managed to get blog posts up while injured (thank heavens for having a couple of recipes already made).  And Mr P. has helped me with a recipe or two.  Thank goodness for handy husbands who can cook.  He even taught his female flatmates to cook over the years.  We were all pretty much vegetarian back in the day so it was all rice, and cheese, and vegetables, and lots of beans.  Good (if farty) times :-)

In My Kitchen:

a get-well gift from my childhood friend who broke her wrist two weeks after my fall!

a beautiful Japanese whale plate by Minoru Japan

a cute little plate by Donna Sharam called Tiggy & Tiny

more Herbie's herbs and spices (silver coated fennel seeds at front)

pickles and olive oil from Mount Zero Olives

there were many double yolkers! (and even more)

a corner of my pantry - seeds, nuts and quinoa (and beans) and keyrings!

a lovely tumbler from Magnolia Mountain 

and the curveball: 'Fishy Express'

Another painting by our friend Catherine from Reason Gallery.  Our walls (and plinths) are happily adorned with many of her artworks.  I keep saying there's no more room on our walls, but somehow I find some!  

That's it for this month; please join in everyone!  And here's how:

Tell us about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg. in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  And a curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related.  

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In My Kitchen posts:

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