Have you been following the Summer Olympics? We’ve really enjoyed watching the events and rooting for our favorite athletes—in fact, we’re a bit sad that the games are almost over. Delectable recipes always cheer us up, though, and this British cookbook from our friends at Ryland, Peters & Small is not only full of tasty treats, it’s also fun way to commemorate the London Olympics.
Ryland, Peters & Small is a book publisher dedicated to capturing, “in words and pictures, those elements of life that give the greatest pleasure: sharing the perfect meal with friends, baking a batch of cookies with your children on a lazy Saturday and a home that makes you happy every time you open the front door.” When they reached out to us with this new book from their line, we loved it and thought you would, too—so we’re going to give away a copy!
Classic Artisan Baking by Julian Day compiles recipes for the most popular baked goods from Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery, a renowned British bake shop. Artful photos of delicious desserts fill the book, which is divided into sections for cakes, cookies, bars, breads and tarts. Each section is introduced with photos of English manors, farmhouses and countryside, setting a mood that perfectly complements the recipes—classic and crisp with a touch of rustic charm. Though there is definitely an emphasis on traditional English confections (tiffin, parkin, treacle tart and Banbury cakes, to name just a few), you’ll also find recipes for classic tarts and cookies from France and Italy, as well as solid renditions of universal favorites including brownies, carrot cake and banana bread. The difficulty level ranges from quite easy to rather challenging, and there are goodies for almost any occasion, whether you’re looking for an everyday snack like hearty muesli bars or a Christmas pudding for a special holiday meal. One thing we especially appreciate about this book is that the author helpfully provides American measurements and oven temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about converting from grams or Celsius.
Here’s a sample recipe to give you a taste of what Classic Artisan Baking has to offer.
Lavender has been used for centuries as a flavoring for food, and it takes just a tiny amount to transform this simple cake into a delicately flavored delight, perfect for summer eating.
- 1 stick plus 2 Tbsp Butter, soft
- 2/3 cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- grated zest of 1 Lemon
- 3 Tbsp ground Almonds
- 3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/3 cup Self-Rising Flour*
- 3 tsp dried Lavender flowers
1-lb loaf pan lined with loaf-pan liner
Serves about 8
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the lemon zest, ground almonds and flours and beat to a smooth batter. Finally, add the lavender and stir through.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, spread level and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. A skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
This cake is best eaten on the day of baking, but will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container or frozen for up to 2 months.
Tip: If using homegrown lavender, be sure to wash it thoroughly and dry it in the oven on low heat. Alternatively, you can buy dried lavender online at www.thefrenchybee.com.
*To make your own self-rising flour, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt.
Want to win a copy of Classic Artisan Baking? To enter the contest, leave a comment on this post telling us which kind of baked good is your favorite to make with Bob’s Red Mill products. Cake, cookies, brownies, bread? We want to know! We’ll pick a winner from those of you who comment by 11:59 pm on 8/16. In addition to this wonderful book, the winner of the giveaway will receive a package of our Organic White Flour and a bag of Baking Powder, so you’ll be ready to try out a classic artisan recipe right away.
We hope you’ll enjoy the book as much as we do. We only have one copy to give away, but if you aren’t the lucky winner and you’d like to get one for yourself, it is available for purchase on the Ryland, Peters & Small website.
Recipe and photos copyright Ryland Peters & Small $24.95; www.rylandpeters.com
Photography by Steve Painter