Sunday, 30 November 2008

Malt Loaf

This isn't like the sticky, dark, sugar loaded stuff you get in the shops. It is less of a cake and more of a bread. But a delicious snack - especially thickly spread with butter.

7 fl oz buttermilk or thinned yogurt
12 oz wholemeal flour
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp malt extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup raisins or other small pieces of dried fruit

Mix the buttermilk and flour and leave in a warm place for 12 -24 hours. Put the malt extract and honey into the bread machine pan. Place the flour mixture on top. Add the salt and butter in opposite corners of the pan. Put the yeast into an indentation in the middle of the ingredients. Run the machine on a whole wheat setting, light crust. Add the raisins 5 minutes before the kneading finishes (or when the beeper goes off to remind you to add extra ingredients - not all machines have this feature).

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Fried Mush

Another nourishing traditions recipe! The kids loved this and it was very easy to make from leftovers.

1 1/2 cups cooked porridge
1 egg
Cooking fat

Mix the porridge with the lightly beaten egg. Try in small cakes until golden on the outside and cooked through. Lovely served with honey or maple syrup. Could also be made savoury with porridge cooked in stock and served with ketchup or salsa.

Roman lentil soup

This is a recipe from Nourishing Traditions. We all really liked it - I can see it becoming a regular fixture.

1 cup red lentils (soaked for 7 hours)
2 leeks or onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 litre stock (beef or chicken - or veg if you are vegetarian)
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp crushed green peppercorns
Fish sauce or sea salt to taste
Splash of lemon juice or whey
Creme fraiche to serve (optional)

Gently fry the leeks and carrots in the butter and olive oil for half an hour. Add the stock and lentils and bring to the boil. Skim off the foam that rises and then reduce heat. Add the thyme and peppercorns and simmer for another half hour. Liquidize and stir through the lemon juice or whey. Season to taste and serve with creme fraiche.

Bean burgers

Finally beans the kids will eat! Other than sugar loaded tinned baked beans of course. ;0)

1 can beans (or equivalent of dried, soaked, cooked beans)
1 egg
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp curry powder
pinch salt (unless beans were salted in the can)

Drain and rinse beans. Place ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Fry batter in small blobs until set.
You can also add more veggies to this. Grated carrot and finely chopped broccoli are good. I have promised my daughter than next time I'll try them with cheese instead of spices so I'll update with how well that works (or not!).

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Potato bread #3 (soaked version)

I am totally in love with potato bread! I made a loaf yesterday with the flour soaked and using the timer on the bread machine (is there anything nicer than getting up to hot, fragrant fresh bread? OK - anything not involving Johnny Depp?). Soaking the flour overnight in something slightly acidic like yogurt or buttermilk helps to reduce the phytic acid content and unlock the minerals in the wheat. For more information this is a great place to look. If you can't eat dairy products then you could use water made acidic with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

7 fl oz yogurt or buttermilk
10 oz wholemeal flour
3 oz white bread flour
4 1/2 oz cold mashed potatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp raw sugar
1 tsp yeast

Mix the yogurt and wholemeal flour. If you use a food processor you could probably also mix in the butter but I didn't bother. Place in the bread machine pan. Put the mashed potatoes and white flour on top. Put the salt and sugar in opposite corners and the butter in the third corner (unless it is in the flour). Make a small indentation in the white flour (making sure it doesn't go down to the wet flour underneath) and put the yeast in it.
Leave your bread machine in a warm spot and set the timer so it will be ready when you need the bread.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Vanilla extract

I use quite a bit of vanilla extract and the price always makes me flinch! So I am having a go at making my own. Very similar to the blueberry gin instructions - put vanilla in vodka. Leave. Done!

1 cup vodka
2 vanilla pods (the recipe I read called for 3 but they are expensive! I'm hoping I can get away with 2 if I leave it a bit longer)

Cut the pods almost all the way along their length (leave them joined at the top). Put the vodka into a clean glass jar (clear lets you see how dark it has got). Push them down into the vodka so they are submerged. Leave in a dark place for 8+ weeks until it has developed a dark amber colour. Pour into dark glass bottles.

* Update *
This worked perfectly. The vanilla extract is dark and tasty. I keep it in a cupboard with the pods still in the jar rather than decanting it (unless I am giving some away). When I am running low I can just top up the vodka a few times. Eventually I will need some new beans but so far so good!

Potato bread #2 (wholemeal version)

I tried the potato bread with more wholemeal flour today and it has worked brilliantly again. It rose well, isn't too dense and is still soft and moist.
Today's recipe:

7 fl milk (at room temperature)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
10 oz wholemeal flour
3 oz white flour
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 oz mashed potato
1 tsp yeast

Put the milk, oil and honey in the pan. Cover with the flours and then add the mashed potatoes. Put the salt in one corner and the yeast in the middle and run your bread machine on a basic setting.

Next experiments - soaking the flour and enriching with egg!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Blueberry gin

Making fruit gins is so easy and they make great presents. Sloe gin is the most famous but as there are no sloes or damsons to be had around here (badly timed frost in spring) I am making blueberry gin. Might try black berry gin too as I still have pounds of them in the freezer waiting to become jam.

1 75cl bottle gin
1 cup blueberries
6 tbsp sugar

Mix in a large sterilised jar or bottle (or two) and leave for a couple of months. There - told you it was easy!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Potato bread

This loaf is a great option for sandwiches and helping fussy kids get used to wholemeal and homemade bread. It is soft and keeps really well. I made it with half wholemeal and haven't experimented yet to find out how much wholemeal the recipe can stand but I will update when I have tried more combinations. But my kids really liked this bread - my daughter even ate the crusts which is unusual!

3 1/2 fl oz potato cooking water (make up with tap water if you haven't got enough)
3 1/2 fl oz milk
2 tbsp oil (I used olive)
6 oz white bread flour
7 oz wholemeal bread flour
4 1/2 oz cold mashed potato
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp raw sugar
1 tsp yeast

Put water, milk and oil into the pan. Sprinkle over the flours and add the mashed potato. Put the salt and sugar in opposite corners and the yeast in the middle. Cook on a basic or normal setting. If you like then glaze the loaf with milk at the beginning or half way through the cooking time.

If you use left over mash then you might need to add a little less liquid (because of the milk and butter mashed into the potatoes). If making the potato for the bread, use about 6oz raw potatoes for this recipe.

Thursday, 6 November 2008


Pizza is a big favorite in my house and the number one cause of me buying expensive junk food in our local shop. Sigh. And the really stupid thing is it is easy to make and I like the taste of homemade, wholemeal crust better. So I got all industrious today and made 25 pizzas for the freezer (that sounds like a huge amount but most of those are tiny child size ones).
To make life easy I used my bread machine to make the dough and used an organic yuck free jar of bolognaise sauce. The recipe for the crust is a French style one, with egg and butter rather than olive oil. No particular reason - just a change!

Makes 1 large pizza base (or two if you like a very thin crust like me)
3 1/2 fl oz water
1 egg
1/4 cup white bread flour
6 oz wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp yeast

Put the water and egg into the pan. Put the flours on top and the salt and butter in opposite corners. Put the yeast into the middle and run the machines dough cycle (or a pizza one if it has one). When it has finished knock the dough back gently and roll out to the right size and thickness. Spread with sauce and top with your favorite toppings.
Either bake straight away or freeze. I freeze mine on their baking tray, then remove the tray and wrap them in greaseproof paper and a plastic bag when they are hard. You can also freeze the bases without toppings in the same way.
This recipe doubles just fine if you are making a lot of pizza!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Wholemeal bread in a machine

I like this recipe that I've been using in my machine lately very much. It makes a tasty loaf with a good texture.

7 fl oz liquid *
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp polenta or oats
325g freshly milled wheat flour **
1/4 cup white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp butter
4ml yeast (nearly a tsp)

* this can be water, yogurt, buttermilk, or a combination. I like to use all buttermilk or half yogurt, half water. If your machine doesn't have a resting phase before kneading then make sure you bring the ingredients up to room temperature.

** it is better to weigh fresh flour as it has a lot of air in it. This is about 2 1/2 cups.

Add the liquid and honey/maple syrup to the pan. Put the flours and polenta/oats on top. Put the salt and butter on the top of that, in opposite corners. Make a small indentation in the middle of the flour (not down to the liquid) and add the yeast.
Set the machine to a wholewheat cycle.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Anadama bread

I found this recipe in a bread machine recipe book I got off the market a while ago. My bread machine has been languishing in the back of a cupboard for a while but I got it out to knead some dough for me a couple of weeks ago and I'm in love with it again!
I wouldn't normally make a bread with this much white flour in it but the story was so good I couldn't resist. It goes that a man in America came home to find his wife, Anna, had gone out. All that was left for his dinner was a few spoonfuls of cornmeal and some molasses so he mixed them with some flour to make a bread, all the time muttering "Anna, damn her"!
This makes a small loaf.

7 fl oz water
3 tbsp molasses
2.5 cups white bread flour
generous half cup wholemeal flour
1/3 cup fine cornmeal (polenta)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp quick yeast

Put the water and molasses into the pan of your bread machine (unless you have one where the yeast has to go in first, in which case reverse the order the ingredients go in). Sprinkle over the flours and cornmeal. Place the salt and butter into opposite corners of the pan (not sure why but that is what the recipe says. Perhaps they fight....). Make a small indentation in the middle of the flour (not down to the liquid) and add the yeast.
Set the machine to a basic cycle, medium crust.

We all really liked this bread. It isn't one I'd make regularly because of the white flour, but it was a tasty change.