I don’t exactly keep it a secret that I love Chelmsford market.
It’s based under a huge (terrifying) multi-storey carpark and it’s a proper old school market that sells everything you’d expect: second-hand bikes, plants, fake perfume, pick & mix sweets, haberdashery and a surprising amount of people willing to thread your eyebrows for a fiver. There’s also a great cheese stall and a butchers where last weekend I got shoulder of pork and some extra crackling for just £7.50. Market shopping is just friendlier than normal shopping and not just because it’s usually full of chatty old people (the elderly love me). Another big plus is that it’s SO CHEAP.
My absolute favourite stall is Steve’s Wholefoods, right at the back between the pet stall and the key cutters (see? Everything!). This stall sells any spice, grain, seed, nut or dried fruit that you can think of, as well as extras like manuka honey, green teas or super-hot tomato ketchup. It’s all much cheaper than a supermarket and as you buy in weights, you can get as little or as much as you want.
And now Steve’s Wholefoods has got even better- he’s started to put out free recipe cards, for cakes and biscuits using ingredients that you buy on the stall. They’re even laminated. Great idea!
I grabbed a card the other week for the recipe below, Apple and Oatmeal biscuits. I made these on Tuesday night to eat during the Great British Bake Off (team Kimberley) and they went down a storm. I followed the recipe exactly, except I added a cup of sultanas in with the apples, because everything is improved with sultanas, don’t you think?
Apple Sultana and Oatmeal Biscuits
- 1 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup white caster sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar (I used soft light brown)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 plain flour
- 2 tsps ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 cups porridge oats
- 1/2 cup dried apple, chopped finely
- 1 cup sultanas
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then stir in the egg and vanilla.
- In separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, mixing well.
- Stir in the porridge oats and dried fruit, making sure it’s properly mixed in.
- Arrange small dollops of batter on a lined baking sheet, making sure the biscuits aren’t going to touch when cooked. I got 9 to a sheet.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, then take out and move to a wire rack to cool.
These are the first successful biscuits I’ve ever made, I think the trick is to take them out as they’re just starting to colour, but still seem a bit raw in the middle. They should last around a week in an airtight container (or pretty biscuit tin!) but, as they’re pretty soft to begin with, a little staleness won’t hurt them.
A few points:
- These are really cheap to make, I bought the sugar, apples and sultanas in the market, which came to about £2.00 for the lot.
- About 125 calories a biscuit.
- This recipe makes LOADS of dough; I made about 25 smallish biscuits and I had dough left to keep in the freezer for next time.
- Dried apple is really hard to cut with a normal knife, either try and buy it already chopped, or maybe cut them with a demi-lune knife?
- Don’t get your eyebrows threaded at the market, go to Superdrug on the High Street instead.