Foodie Friend serves up elevenses

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I hadn’t really given much thought as to what I would feed my Word Birds.  A plate of croissants and some muffins had crossed my mind.  But that was as far as I had got.
So, when Foodie Friend stepped in with delight – all of a sudden –  I only had to think about tidying up my house and choosing my favourite books.
She immediately scribbled down a food list with already a tons of festive food ideas, while I just looked on… in relief.  And awe.  Because I’m often admiring (and writing about) those I DON’T know but to see one of my besties at work… well, that’s just a proud moment.

my Foodie Friend’s cranberry oatmeal bars looking Christmasy with icing sugar snow

This post is full of MY photos of HER food.  Why?  Because it was simply outstanding (ask any of my Word Birds for an unbiased view) and here is an interview with her (before I find she’s too famous for Life Of Y):
Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze (on a Richard Brendon Paternity plate)

Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze (on a Richard Brendon Paternity plate)

what makes great elevenses food – and why?

The food has to have a mildly healthy feel to it, almost as an extension of breakfast.  So, we have to feel comfortable enough to indulge while not beating ourselves up about cake before lunch.  Fruit and nut based breads or pastries, cinnamon buns, flapjack or oat bars, muffins, yoghurt or soured cream cakes such as typical American coffee cakes are always winners for elevensies.

which themes did you follow when choosing the food?

I try to stay as seasonal as possible, and often choose my meals by what is available at the farmers’ market, but truthfully I follow my mood more than anything else.  I am a compulsive purveyor of cookbooks, and try to make at least 3 new things a week from any of the new bibles on my shelves.

@hannagellergoldsmith's gingersnaps

@hannagellergoldsmith’s gingersnaps

I also love celebrating with food, so have adopted festive treats and dishes from ALL holidays, hence the use of pumpkin and cranberries for Life of Yablon’s December Work Bird Book Bash.
which is your favourite meal?

My favourite meal to eat is breakfast as without it I am a bit of a disaster!  So much so that I often find myself cooking breakfast for dinner!

I am happiest when I’ve gathered a group of people around my table.  The year is punctuated by holiday feasts which I love to prepare but, all in honesty, nothing beats comfort food such a roast chicken dinner for family and friends.
how much did you prepare in advance?

I always like to plan in advance.  For me that is the main prep, as all my decisions have been made and I don’t change my mind on the menu at the last minute!  Pacing myself, particularly when baking is the key.  I made the dough for the Linzer hearts two days before and left it in the fridge overnight, and made everything else the day before.  The only “day of” job was assembling the Linzer Hearts the morning of the event so that they would not be soggy!

Buckwheat Linzer Heart Cookies

Buckwheat Linzer Heart Cookies

how many mouths do you feed on average each weekend?

On an average weekend I can feed anywhere from 30-50 mouths.  I usually make friday night dinner at home for a crowd, and then there are the lunches and the teas…

how many cookbooks do you have?

I have never actually counted them, but glancing at my shelves, there are about 250 in my kitchen, more in the study, and the stacks next to my bed, I am not sure I want to know myself!

would you say that you are food obsessed?

COMPLETELY!  Obsessed, passionate, consumed, fanatical…

what would your last supper be?

Easy!  The best sourdough bread with salty french butter

finally, please please please can you share one of the Book Bash recipes with us?

I love my Fruit and Nut Bread (recipe below) for elevensies (or tea, or cocktails…..) as it is savoury and not too sweet, and is just as good with goats cheese as with butter and jam.  It is also a great festive treat and  I always include it in my Chrismas holiday baskets that I frantically deliver at this time of year.

Fruit and Nut Bread with Nut Knowle Farm Goats Cheese

Fruit and Nut Bread with Nut Knowle Farm Goats Cheese

Foodie Friend can be found @hannagellergoldsmith on Twitter. Follow her foodie thoughts & design ideas.

Hanna’s Fruit & Nut Bread

Makes 3 small breads or 2 large

I tend to use any combination of dried fruit and nuts, depending what is on hand at any given time.  I think figs add to the beauty of the slices and I always try to use pistachios for colour.  Just make sure that the quantities are the same when substituting fruit and / or nuts.

I have also used gluten free flour (Bobs Red Mill makes a good one) on occasions when I make these for those who prefer to steer clear.

1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed, light muscovado sugar
3 cups walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios, toasted
3 cups roughly chopped apricots, pitted dates, figs, handful of dried cherries

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 160c

Lighly oil and line base of loaf tins with parchment or foil

In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar

Add nuts and fruit and mix together with your fingers making sure every piece is coated in flour mix

In a small bowl whisk eggs and vanilla.  Add to dry ingredients and mix well

Pour into loaf tins and cook for 35-40 minutes until golden brown

Cool completely in pans.

Once removed cut into thick slices with sharp bread knife.

I love these best either with goats cheese or lashings of butter but feel free to experiment with toppings or just au naturel!

Adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

Foodie Friend (Hanna Geller Goldsmith) at the Book Bash

Foodie Friend (Hanna Geller Goldsmith) at the Book Bash


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