Bakewell flapjack

The blog has become quite a foodie one recently as I seem to have done quite a bit of baking both with and without Andrew, and of course there was the Shrove Tuesday pancake fest! Last week we went to our local National Trust house and gardens, Anglesey Abbey, for the umpteenth time since we’ve lived here. We never tire of its beautiful gardens, where Andrew can run around or ride his bike, and the spacious cafe never fails to entice us in for a cuppa and cake. It wouldn’t be a NT location without a gorgeous selection of cakes – the only trouble is you have to decide which one, and that inevitably leads to me holding up the queue of other cake pilgrims awaiting their turn to deliberate as I um and err and um again and err a bit more! And I can’t forget the kids’ play table, a veritable treasure trove of books, toys, crayons and other random paraphernalia that keeps Andrew amused for hours, and there are even two, count them TWO, toy Brum cars from his favourite TV programme.

After much deliberation, last week I went for a Bakewell flapjack as my cake. It was, as you might guess, a cross between a Bakewell tart and a flapjack – a pastry base with jam on, but for the filling there was an almond flavoured flapjack instead of an almond flavoured sponge. I wasn’t disappointed, it was amazing (not that a NT cake has ever failed to deliver for me). So this week, instead of baking one of my usual flapjack recipes (blogged about here and here) to replenish my snack box – all in the name of breastfeeding of course – I made my own Bakewell flapjack inspired by the NT one. The base is a basic crunchy suet pastry, which I filled with strawberry jam and almond flapjack. It was simple to make and turned out really well; dare I say it, was good enough to rival the one that inspired it. Not that I’m planning on competing with the NT – I would surely fail.

Here’s the recipe if you fancy having a go yourself…..

Ingredients

Base

  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 50g vegetable suet
  • cold water

Filling

  • jam
  • 90g margarine
  • 90g sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 120g oats
  • 2 tsp almond essence

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (fan) and prepare a round cake tin or tart dish by greasing it.
  2. First make the pastry, by mixing the flour and suet together in a bowl, then add some cold water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together into a dough ball.
  3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to just a bit bigger than your tin/dish, and put the dough circle into the tin/dish, pressing it into the corner where base meets side.
  4. Spoon some jam onto the base and spread around until evenly distributed and generously thick.
  5. Then make a start on the flapjack, by melting the margarine, sugar and honey in the microwave.
  6. Add the oats and almond essence and stir until well combined.
  7. Pour the flapjack mix onto the base and spread around until it’s all covered.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before cutting into slices.
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Trust the National Trust for a great family day out

Just a quick post to say what a lovely time we had at Ickworth House and Gardens near Bury St Edmunds this weekend. It’s a National Trust property, and as usual we couldn’t fault the location for a fun family day out.

Snow drops

We’re lucky that quite a few of the 512 NT locations are within a half-an-hour-ish drive from us. Before Andrew came along we were members for a year (whilst one of us was still at the under 25 years old price), and almost every weekend we went for a walk in the gardens/fields around one of the properties near us. We decided that we wouldn’t renew our membership when a year was up because (a) we would have to pay two adult prices, (b) with me being on maternity leave and a baby to budget for it was one of those things that no longer fitted within our budget, and (c) we thought we wouldn’t make it too far every weekend when baby was very little, so instead would go for very local walks from home.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that he walked all the way from the steps you see in the background to here on his own!
More walking/running

Since then we’ve been a few times with each of our sets of parents, either near their houses or near us. This weekend we decided to take Tom’s parents to a NT place they haven’t visited before. We all like walking, and Ickworth has miles and miles of walking paths of various difficulties and surfaces. They even have a designated family mountain bike track, which we’d love to take Andrew on when he’s older. We walked a nice round route through fields and a bit of woodland, nearly getting blown away by the gusty wind at times, but it was enjoyable all the same – made us feel like we’d blown away the cobwebs for sure.

Can't catch me Daddy!

Of course no trip to a NT place would be complete without a trip to their tea room! They always have scrummy lunches and cakes on offer, all freshly prepared there. This time was no exception, and we all enjoyed our food, including Andrew who chose beans on toast from the lovely kids menu (and put the 5-ish-year-old on the table next to us to shame by eating all his when she didn’t finish hers!), and my mum-in-law, who is wheat intolerant, had soup with a wheat free roll as well as a shortbread biscuit (there is usually at least 1 gluten-/wheat-free cake on offer).

Sitting on the big boys' chair (and being caught by Pop when lunging forward!)

Have you ever thought about joining the NT? Are you already a member? Which properties do you like in particular? We’re thinking about joining again at some point, when we think we’ll make good use out of it for the amount of money we’d spend on it.

Playing with stickle bricks in the visitor centre