Posted by: mariawl | 2011/05/15

Walnut Bread

Posted by: mariawl | 2011/05/07

Guacamole

Another tasty dip and it’s actually an extremely healthy choice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe Avocados
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 Red Chilis, deseeded and diced
  • Fresh coriander, diced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and diced

Method:

  1. Cut out the flesh of the avocado and place into a bowl. Mash it up with a fork. Then add the onion, chilis, coriander, lemon juice and seasonings. Mix well.
  2. Add the tomato just before serving.

Tip: Add a bit of soured cream or cottage cheese for a twist on the original!

Posted by: mariawl | 2011/05/07

Sour Cream, Spring Onion & Garlic Dip

So easy to make, and an absolutely perfect with tortillas, baked potato or potato wedges!

Ingredients:

  • 300ml Soured Cream
  • 3-5 sprigs of Spring Onion, diced finely
  • 2 large cloves Garlic, smashed & diced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • a dash of Paprika

Method:

  1. Whisk the soured cream in a bowl briefly. (If it is too thick for your liking then you can add a splash of milk).
  2. Now add the spring onion, leaving some of the green parts to garnish later. Add the garlic and as much salt and pepper as you desire. Mix well.
  3. Garnish the top with the left over spring onion and a sprinkling of paprika.
Posted by: mariawl | 2011/05/07

Graham Crackers

I found a Graham Crackers recipe on 101 Cookbooks. I have never actually had Graham Crackers before so I have no idea how much like the original they are! Also, mine were slightly burnt and don’t nearly as nice as hers! They still went down a treat though, and are great to dunk in your tea!

Posted by: mariawl | 2011/04/25

Mississippi Mud Pie

The addition of coffee (or Camp Coffee) gives a delicious twist on a classic. Ever since I was young I’ve been a great fan of Camp Coffee. If you haven’t tried it (a lot of my friends have never heard of it!) then I suggest you give it a go. It’s delicious! I would also use only Princess Marshmallows (or make my own), since these are the highest quality Marshmallows I have found on the market.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 200g Digestive Biscuits
  • 75g Butter

For the filling:

  • 200g good quality Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
  • 100ml strong coffee, cooled (or Camp coffee)
  • 4 tbsp Milk
  • 200g Marshmallows
  • 600ml Double Cream

Method:

  1. Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. Gently melt the butter in a pan, add the crushed biscuits and mix together. Now tip the mixture into a 25cm flan dish (or cake tin) and press down well. Set aside to cool.
  2. Break the chocolate up into chunks and place in a bowl over simmering water. Once melted, stir in the coffee. In a separate bowl whip the cream into soft peaks, taking care not to over-whip.
  3. Place the milk in a pan and add the marshmallows. Stir continuously over a very low heat until the marshmallows have melted, making a gooey mixture. Remove from the heat and stir in the melted chocolate, a tablespoon at a time. Mix well.
  4. Now whisk the cream into the mixture, and pour it all over the biscuit base. Leave in the fridge to set for 8 hours or overnight.

Posted by: mariawl | 2011/04/25

Mayonnaise Brownies

At first sight, you may think mayonnaise brownies sounds disgusting. However, these are truely chocolatey and decadent. Give them a go!

Makes 16

Ingredients:

  • 40g (1 1/2 oz) Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 25g (1oz) Cocoa Powder
  • 140g (4 3/4 oz) Good quality, Plain Chocolate (broken into small pieces).
  • 3 Eggs
  • 225g (71/2 oz) Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 100g (3 1/2 oz) Mayonnaise

Optional: 55g (2oz) Walnuts, finely chopped.

Method:

  1. Grease and line a 23cm (9 inch) square brownie/cake tin. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
  2. In a small bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder and cocoa. In a separate bowl, melt the chocolate over a pan of hot water.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until slightly thickened. Whisk in the chocolate, then the mayonnaise. Gently fold in the flour mixture and walnuts (if using). Don’t over mix.
  4. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares.
Posted by: mariawl | 2011/04/25

Hot Cross Buns

What perfect way to celebrate Easter with these wonderful Hot Cross Buns. Much better than store bought ones, and definitely worth the effort, these buns give the correct amount of sweetness, with a good amount of fruit in each one. Perfect served warm and buttered, or topped with various jams, marmalades or even some sliced banana. Don’t forget to breath in through your nose as you pour the “yeast sponge” into the flour mixture – the smell of the yeast is intoxicating!

Makes 8-10

Ingredients:

For the buns:

  • 475g (15oz) Strong White Flour
  • 1 x 7g packet Dried Yeast
  • 1tsp + 50g (20z) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 250ml (8floz) lukewarm Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 50g (2oz) Butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2tsp Mixed Spice
  • 150g (5oz) Dried Fruit
  • 1 Egg, beaten

For the crosses:

  • 4 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp Water

For the glaze:

  • 1 tbsp Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1tsp Milk

Method:

  1. Make a “yeast sponge”: In a small bowl, mix 100g (3 1/2 oz) of the strong flour with the yeast and 1tsp golden caster sugar. Whisk in the milk. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for around 20-25 minutes, until it has risen and looks bubbly.
  2. Meanwhile, put the remaining (375g or 11 1/2 oz) of flour into a large bowl, along with the salt. Rub in the butter with your fingers. Now stir in the mixed spice, 50g (2oz) of the golden caster sugar and the dried fruit.
  3. Pour in the egg into the yeast sponge mix, and then pour this into the flour and fruit mix. Mix well to form a soft, light dough. Tip the dough onto a work surface and knead for 5-8 minutes. Put the dough back into a lightly floured bowl and leave, covered with a damp tea-towel or some clingfilm, in a warm place for an hour (or until it has doubled in size).
  4. Gently dip the dough back onto a work surface and knead gently. Cut the dough into 8-10 equal pieces (you can weigh the pieces to make it accurate). Take one piece at a time and shape into round buns by folding the edges into the centre. Turn them over so the smooth side is on top, and lay the buns on 2 lined baking sheets, leaving enough space so the buns have room to rise.
  5. Cover the buns again with lightly oiled clingfilm, or damp and floured tea-towels, leaving to rise for 45 minutes – 1 hour (or until they have risen by at least half again). Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan).
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the mix for the crosses. Make a small piping bag out of a piece of baking parchment (cut into a triangle) or out of a small sandwich bag with a hole cut in the corner. The hole should be about the diameter of a wooden skewer. Whisk the plain flour with the water to make a thick, smooth, piping paste (see Tips, below). Once the buns have risen, pipe crosses over each bun (again, see Tips). Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath.
  7. Remove the buns from the tray, trimming off any excess piping mixture from the bottom of each one. Place on a cooling wrack and brush with the glaze (which is made by just mixing the caster sugar with the milk) whilst the buns are still warm.

Tips:

  1. The amount of water used for the cross mixture is not exact. I used 2 tbsp but found it was a tad too runny, so it’s worth experimenting for the type of cross you want.
  2. When you pipe the crosses, it is best to pipe the paste all the way to the bottom of each bun so it touches the baking sheet. Then, after baking, trim off any excess.
  3. An alternative glaze could be honey, which you can just brush over the top after baking.

Storage: Best eaten on the day they are made, but they will last for a couple of days before going stale. Well wrapped, they can also be frozen for up to a month. Any slightly stale hot cross buns can of course be used to make a bread and butter pudding!

Posted by: mariawl | 2011/04/14

Somerset Cider Bread

I don’t drink alcohol, but I thought this bread would be a nice treat for a friend who was visiting. Four loaves is a lot though! I got rid of 2 of them at Climate Cake, and then had to give another 1.5 loaves to a couple of homeless guys. They seemed to appreciate them though! I thought the texture of the bread was very good, and the balance of bread taste to cider ratio was just right.

Makes 4 loaves

Ingredients:

For the ferment:

  • 200g Strong White Flour
  • 50g Dark Rye Flour
  • 5g Yeast (fresh if possible)
  • 5g Salt
  • 175g Tepid Water (this is 175ml, but weighing is more accurate!)

For the dough:

  • 10g Yeast (fresh if possible)
  • 750g Strong White Flour
  • 250g Dark Rye Flour
  • 20g Salt
  • 450g Dry Cider (I used The Orchard Pig, dry, which I bought from Chando’s Deli in Exeter)
  • 150g Tepid Water

Method:

For the ferment:

  1. Mix the two flours together and rub in the yeast using your fingertips (for fresh yeast especially, rub it in like you’re making a crumble). Add the salt and water and mix.
  2. Lift out the dough and knead for 5-10 minutes on an unfloured surface (this can be achieved with the correct kneading technique. Perhaps a future post on kneading is in order!)
  3.  When the dough is springy, form it into a ball by folding each “edge” into the centre.
  4. Cover with a damp tea-towel and leave to rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
  5. “Knock back” the dough gently. Wrap in cling-film and leave to ferment for 4-6 hours, or in the fridge overnight.

For the dough:

  1. Add the ferment, all in one piece, to a large bowl. Now add the rest of the ingredients (adding the cider with the water) and mix and knead as usual.
  2. Shape into a ball, put into a lightly floured bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and leave to rest for 45 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and reshape into a ball. Place back into the bowl, cover, and leave to rest for another 45 minutes.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface again, but this time divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Lightly flour a couple of tea-towels. Shape the dough into loaves and place two on top of each tea-towel (making sure there is a fold in the frabric between each loaf, to stop them touching when they rise). Cover them with another damp tea-towel and leave to prove for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours, or until they have nearly doubled in volume.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 240°C. Turn the loaves over, and place on a baking tray. Make one cut lengthways along the top of the loaves with a sharp knife.
  6. Either spray the inside of your oven with water, or place a roasting tin with some water at the bottom of your oven just before you shut the door.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200°C and bake for about 35 minutes, until well coloured. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  8. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack.

Posted by: mariawl | 2011/04/14

French Lemon Cream Tart

Richer and more velvety than lemon curd, this Lemon Cream Tart is yet another wonderful Dorie Greenspan recipe (well, technically it’s Pierre Herme’s). An excellent copy of the recipe be found on Crumbly Cookie. Note that, as mentioned there, if using a glass bowl (as opposed to a metal one) the temperature will only get to around 155°F, (as opposed to 180°F) on the sugar thermometer. I think this can be made without the use of a sugar thermometer though. Just keep stirring for the full 10 minutes and you will see the mixture thicken dramatically. Beautiful! The lemon cream is then placed inside a Pâte Sablée tart on the day of eating.

Posted by: mariawl | 2011/04/14

Pâte Sablée

Sablée is French for sandy, and that’s what this sweet pastry is. It reminds me a bit of shortbread actually. This is not the kind of pastry that’s easy to roll out by any means (but it can be done between sheets of plastic). However, I find it’s best to shape it straight into tin. As you can see from my photos, the top of the sides came off once I’d baked the tart.

This tart base can be used for many recipes, for example a French Lemon Cream Tart.

Makes one 9 inch tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 ounces (9 tbsp) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg yolk

Method:

  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in.
  3. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses – about 10 seconds each -until the dough forms clumps and curds.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped the mixing.

To press the dough into the pan:

  1. Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
  2. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed: press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.
  3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To bake the dough:

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, it can be baked without weights). Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.
  3. Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

To patch a partially or fully baked crust, if necessary:

  1. If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.

Storage: The dough will last in the fridge for up to 5 days. Well wrapped, it can be frozen for up to 2 months. Don’t bother defrosting it before baking – just add an extra 5 minutes to the baking time.

Going into the freezer.

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