Tuesday, 17 January 2017

A Recipe For Florentines, And I Did Something Really Stupid









I've been doing a lot of baking recently. I got a great book from Mottisfont which has lots of charming regional old recipes from the National Trust's great country houses, I splurged on the January edition of Delicious (seduced by the header Comfort Food), and of course I rely heavily on Queen Berry for inspiration too. As a result, the kitchen is groaning under the weight of assorted brownies, lemon and poppy seed cake, cherry Bakewells, sticky marmalade cake, Cornish Splits, Bath Buns, doughnuts, camembert melt pastries, green Thai curry, vegetable and cheese bakes, Eccles cakes, raspberry ripple ice-cream. 

And Florentines.

Oh My.

Here's the recipe (only don't cook them in fairy cake cases because they like them so much they refuse to come out. Grease a bun tray instead and pop the mixture in there direct).

55g butter
45g brown sugar
2 teaspoons honey
25g flaked almonds
handful chopped hazelnuts
handful chopped almonds
handful mixed raisins, sultanas and cranberries
some glace cherries, roughly chopped
40 g plain flour
120g chocolate (I do both milk and white).

1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
2. Melt butter, sugar and honey in saucepan until well combined but not boiling.
3. Take off the heat and stir in all the other ingredients.
4. Drop small spoonfuls of the mix into the bun tray moulds and flatten the top a little.
5. Bake for 10mins till golden brown.
6. Cool in the tray then cool completely on wire rack.
7. Transfer to fridge for half an hour until cold. and set hard.
8. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.
9. Spoon teaspoons or more of the melted chocolate over each individual Florentine.
10. Return to fridge to set.
11. Remove the Florentines from the bun tray and keep in a sealed container in the fridge (if they last long enough)

All this baking is to keep up with my increased food intake requirements courtesy of the running. Now fully recovered from the 14 mile run, I set off for last Saturday's Parkrun focused on obliterating my previous PB of 23:22. My goal for 2017 is to get into the 22 minute bracket, that seems like a respectably fast 5k time to me. I don't mind if I come in at 22.59, I just want to get in under 23 minutes. 

There were over 900 runners in the park on Saturday. I put myself about a quarter of the way down the field for the start, set off fast and pushed all the way round. No chatting to friendly old chaps for me this week :o). I ran my legs off and my lungs out. I knew the time was good, until I got to the final half k when I realised far from being up, I was in fact 40 seconds down.

Not quite sure what had happened, I had a quick mental conversation with myself that ran along the lines of there's no point running myself ragged for a slow time, so I took the accelerator off and slowed down, more or less trotting over the line. I had a chat with the guy behind me in the funnel, bemoaning my slow time, then I saw M and started to tell him I'd ended up slower than the last PB despite really pushing it, except I realised as I was talking and looking at the GPS that I wasn't slower at all: I was actually 16 seconds up. My finish time was 23:06. I was absolutely furious with myself. If only I'd kept running I'd have come in in under 23 minutes and got my goal of 22 minutes something. I don't think I've ever been so cross with myself. It was all I could talk about for most of the rest of the day (pity my poor family, eh?). It didn't even register that I'd taken 16 seconds off the last time and set a new PB. I've never been so disappointed in a faster time before!

M, of course, was typically sanguine. You've learnt something new: never stop racing in a race, and: you'll smash the 22 minute barrier next week, was his confident verdict. I'm just cross I let the opportunity go and now I have to do it all over again this Saturday and what if I'm slower?

M grinned at me fuming all the way home and when I asked him what was funny he said well, it puts paid to the myth you've been peddling that you aren't interested in racing times, doesn't it? 

Every cloud, eh?

Hope you're all well. L got his place at the A Level college he wants to go to, so we are all breathing sighs of relief :o)

CT

27 comments:

  1. I did get into the 22s at our rather smaller Parkrun here - 180 runners makes it easier than 900 jeez!

    Lovely goldfinch shot!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hurray for L's college place, that's brilliant news. I hope he enjoys it there. How annoying about the race time, I feel your pain, I'd be furious too. Thank you for the florentine recipe, and the long list of delicious things. They all sound utterly scrumptious. I'm in the most ridiculous all round slump here. Can't even summon the energy to go into the kitchen and cook. I think I'm fighting something off (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it), but honestly I've been useless the past few days. Which in turn makes me cross with myself and dejected. I am making a crumble later if it kills me. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope it doesn't kill you- I'd miss you :o)

      Delete
  3. We are still finishing off the stollen etc from Christmas but all those tasty recipes sound great. I'll have to start running before I can eat them though. Well done on the nearly pb and the A level college. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've finished off the C stuff, so I feel OK cooking more :o)

      Delete
  4. I'm smiling because it's what runners do. I remember when I bought my first Casio digital watch with stop watch function c.1979. It was my faithful friend throughout my triathlon and rowing days and nowadays lives in my allotment bag so I don't overrun with the weeding! It's stuck on BST but it's never needed a new battery which is pretty amazing. Probably find it's stopped now! I am so impressed with the times you are posting CT - you really are superwoman!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They don't make 'em like they used to. I had a feeling you'd get my annoyance from Sat!

      Delete
  5. Florentines - I adore them, but shall not try making them as I would eat every single one of them and I am desperately trying to keep my weight down (succeeding so far).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats on the weight loss. I am limiting myself to two Florentines a day :o)

      Delete
  6. oh...just reading the names of all that lovely stuff makes me dribble. i'm trying to be Very Good, so won't indulge in making the florentines....yet.

    that is indeed very exasperating about your time snafu...but M is right, next week will be a doddle. a walk in the park, you might say. or run.

    yay for college placing! hard work rewarded!

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Big relief re L's place, now he can concentrate on his exams :o) Furious about the time :o( Silly, silly woman.

      Delete
  7. You crazy (fun and cute) runners !
    My goal is to walk down and back up my driveway without my walker !
    Yey Me.

    cheers, parsnip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like a perfectly fine goal :o)

      Delete
  8. Cakes and running...now what a choice...I know my personal best would be devouring a whole cake in under 22 minutes.
    Well done anyway for achieving a faster time..and well next time you will run like the wind and get a 21 something.
    Well done to L on A level college - Claudia just got offered her first choice Uni here in Melbourne...over the moon, as are we.
    Keep on keeping on...hoorah for Mottisfont, cake, running and eating.... xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the BEST response to a post about running times, I am chortling :o) Yay for Claudia- clever girl! Send her congrats from us x

      Delete
  9. Your recipes all sound delicious! Well done to L on getting into his preferred college and to you on your running times - I can only dream of doing 5K as fast! xx

    ReplyDelete
  10. You have made me feel VERY hungry CT! It's no good, time to do some baking. I too have a set of marvellous National Trust cookbooks on my shelf; will have to give them a peruse. Good luck next week with your parkrun. Remember. FOCUS! B x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's nothing nicer than sitting down with a cuppa and perusing a recipe book or four. I'm going to do Mary Berry's Goats cheese tarts with walnut pastry next...

      I will hold that word FOCUS in my head all round the Park this Sat :o)

      Delete
  11. Oh my god, you are torturing me! I'm on a strict diet after totting up my calorie intake and almost fainting. Out for a 7k run/walk today, almost feeling like a 'real' runner. Congratulations on smashing your PB, your parkruns sound excellent fun. Good luck for this week but you won't need it! And many congratulations to L, A level studying will need lots of cake and buns. Have a great week! Xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After 7k I'm sure you'll have burnt a goodly number of kcals :o) Do they not have Parkruns near you? I think you'd love them. x

      Delete
    2. I have three! A growing movement in Ireland. Beautiful they are too, but they are all on Saturday morning when I work at my volunteering job.

      Delete
  12. Things always happen for a reason, you know you can do the run under 23, so next time if everything is on best conditions you will get there.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well, it went well and that is good!!! Enjoy the baking!

    ReplyDelete
  14. We cannot run or walk outside, as ic and snow conditions prevail. Congrats on college result of hard work. I am now walking on track at our Arena. have a great day.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your kitchen sounds very appealing with all of those wonderful home bakes. Sarah x

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x