When I get home from work, I’m usually so ravenous that the first thing I think of cramming into my mouth is a biscuit (or three). I find that the hiatus between lunch and dinner always seems more insufferably long than the one between breakfast and lunch. The other day I decided that enough is enough. So these flapjacks are a healthier snack to ‘keep the wolf from the door’, as you say if you were born in the ‘50s.
It had always mystified me slightly how flapjacks seem to be considered a healthy option – as they contain as much butter and probably also as much sugar as the average biscuit. Maybe it has something to do with the oats, with their slow-release energy wholesomeness. I decided to add fruit to my flapjacks, to make them even more virtuous, and use agave syrup rather in place of the traditional, tooth-achingly sweet golden syrup.
There is always a slight panic that sets in as we approach the end of summer- the need to gorge on all the fresh fruit you can, whilst simultaneously finding some way of preserving it. Stewing fruit with a bit of water and sugar – also called a ‘compote’ –is a good method. There is a bittersweet sadness to consigning bags of compote to the freezer, only to be bought out again when summer is a distant memory. This recipe uses apricot compote, made from fresh apricots, water and sugar, as a layer in the middle of the flapjacks.
Even though throwing dinner parties for my friends is one of my favourite things to do, I also look forward to cooking a meal that is just for me. I can decide exactly what I want to eat. I don’t have to worry about whether any of my dining companions are allergic to prawns, dairy, onions, or something else that they haven’t discovered yet, but will be present in the meal I cook.
For those of you to whom Manchego means absolutely nothing, it is a Spanish sheeps’ milk cheese that is something of an obsession of mine. It is just the right balance of nutty and sweet, with a firm texture. And, as I discovered while making this omlette, it melts. Which is always a plus.
I decided to team it with chorizo to make something approaching an authentic Spanish omlette. Also, if we’re being authentically Spanish, it should be pronounced ‘horitho’, with an over-exaggerated Spanish accent. Maybe put some loud flamenco music on too.
My job involves being around cake for eight hours a day. Apart from the occasional bit of cheeky ‘tidying up’, I try not to give in to temptation and eat any. If started eating cake at work, it would be an inevitable and terrifying downward slide into obesity.
However, I do get the occasional particularly intense craving to eat some cake myself, rather than just seeing it pass under my nose to a customer. Luckily, this craving was well timed, as it coincided with a tea party. I took the photographs when the cake was at its photogenic best – after having travelled in the back seat of my car for twenty minutes, the icing had started to slide off and the carefully arranged pecans had dislodged, making it look much less appetising. But it still tasted good, if I do say so myself.
This cake is a nod towards a ‘healthy’ cake, if any such thing exists. It started off well, with fruit and nuts, but then I decided to add caramel icing. I was going to be abstemious and leave off the icing, but I’ve got a bit of a thing for homemade caramel. So maybe not that healthy after all.