This Week in Food

Welcome to this week’s round-up of all of our favourite foodie news!

1. The Guardian has posted its guide to the perfect chocolate chip cookies – using the original American Toll House recipe, of course! Cookies (as opposed to our British biscuits) tend to be more butter-rich, so they’re softer and chewier. The Toll House recipe is very simple – beat butter with two types of sugar and vanilla and blend the eggs. Add flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and choc chips and you’re there! But why is the Toll House recipe the best? The Guardian’s Felicity Cloake thinks it’s down to their buttery taste and just the right blend of sugars – soft brown sugar is often used in American cookies to create a caramel-like flavour. What’s your favourite cookie recipe? The famous Toll House recipe in its entirety is below:

Photograph: Felicity Cloake

120g salted butter, at room temperature
75g light brown sugar
75g granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
240g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
170g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Sea salt flakes (optional)

1. Using a wooden spoon, or (even better) a food mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until just combined. Add the vanilla extract, then the egg, and beat in well.

2. Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda, then use a spoon to add to the mixture, stirring until it just comes together into a dough. Fold in the chocolate pieces, then chill overnight, or for up to 72 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper, and divide the mixture into golf-ball sized rounds, spacing them well apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden, but not browned.

4. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt if using, and allow to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes, before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

2. Seaweed – do you, or don’t you? According to the University of Southern Denmark, we Westerners have ‘forgotten to eat seaweed’. Popular in Asia, seaweed has been eaten by coastal dwellers since prehistoric times and there are as many as 145 different varieties! Twenty species are common in Japanese cooking yet consumption is minimal in our island country, although there are a few well-known seaweed recipes including oatcakes topped with Laver seaweed (a Welsh delicacy) and Dover sole and beer sabayon with seaweed and pommes noisettes. We’d be willing to give it a go!

3. We’ve been mentioned – alongside other great British brands such as Multiyork, Marks and Spencer and Neal’s Yard Remedies – in this piece featured in The Guardian about how buying British-made products can help the country spend its way out of recession! We’re really passionate about our Made in Britain products and are supporting our sister company Stoves’ Made in Britain campaign. You can find out more about our products and the campaign on our website or Stoves’ Made in Britain page.

4. Are you a city-dweller wishing for your own growing patch? Fear not, author Tom Maggach and The Telegraph can tell you how to cultivate fruit and veg in your own urban garden! Tom’s new book, The Urban Kitchen Gardener, includes recipes using home-grown ingredients including honey, beetroot and home-laid eggs as well as tips for creating a perfect city garden, such as creating a pond in a disused bath tub! Here are Tom’s top tips for gardeners:

  • Understand your growing space – its sunny spots, dark corners and draughty bits.
  • Work out which bits get the most sun – use these areas for sun-loving crops.
  • Expand growing space with extra levels and shelves, grow vertically as well.
  • Windowsills offer warmth and protection for seedlings and tender plants.
  • Don’t worry about pollution if you are more than 3m (10ft) away from a main road.
  • If wind is an issue, create windbreaks using screening and trellises.
  • Patrol daily: weeding, checking water and harvesting. I do mine every morning with a cup of tea, and I use my mobile to remind me of chores.

5. And finally, here’s a tasty one for the weekend courtesy of The Guardian – the best garlic bread. Your ideal recipe will depend on how you most like your garlic bread. Is your favourite a pizza-style, dripping with cheese too; a baguette, crispy outside but moist and herby inside; or a traditional French-style thickly cut toast slice? We’re fans of a large garlic bread pizza (perhaps dipped in garlic mayo too, just to be sure) alongside a tasty bowl of pasta. Perfect!



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