You know how I said in my last bread post that I’d found a new favourite bread? I was wrong. Or at least, I’ve found a new new favourite bread. This, this is the bread to end all other breads, the kind of bread that dreams are made of…Hokkaido milk bread is quite simply the fluffiest, softest, lightest, most pillowy cloud of deliciousness I have ever eaten. It’s better than brioche…there, I said it. I’m not going to kid you, it’s not the easiest or the quickest bread to make (that’s not to say it’s difficult), but boy is it worth the effort; in fact, I thoroughly recommend that you double the recipe and make two loaves in one go, it’s not really that much extra work and you Will. Not. Regret. It….
I think this may be one of the prettiest cakes i have ever made…it is certainly a good deal more attractive than my last post! It is the perfect cake for spring, delicately flavoured with fragrant elderflower and sweet strawberries. I love elderflower, I remember when I was little helping my parents pick elderflowers to make wine; we had an elderflower tree in our garden and the scent was glorious; unfortunately now, living in inner Birmingham, elderflower trees are rather more difficult to find, and despite much searching while out dog walking I haven’t come across any….
I debated for a while as to whether I should actually publish this post or not…I just wasn’t entirely happy with the appearance of the tarts, I couldn’t help but feel that the pears turned out looking somewhat slug-like…In the end though taste won out. What they lack in looks they make up for in flavour. Sweet pears poached in a spiced red wine syrup are baked with rich chocolate frangipane in a crisp chocolate pastry crust. When topped with a dollop of ice cream and an extra drizzle of spiced red wine syrup they are heavenly….
For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch
This months Daring Bakers challenge was an easy one for me – focaccia, which is one of my favourite breads and one I have made many times. Focaccia is a traditional Italian flatbread made with olive oil; it should be tender and chewy with a crisp crust and an open crumb – lots of little holes inside. It is infinitely customiseable, you can top it with pretty much whatever you want – olives, cheese, tomatoes, onions, nuts, herbs, grapes, roasted peppers etc. but I prefer it with a simple topping of herbs and sea salt. I like to serve it with a selection of dips and antipasti, it also makes fantastic sandwiches, mozzarella and avocado being my favourite….
I’ve had a couple of jars of tahini sitting in the back of my cupboard for at least a year now; beyond making houmous I’m not too sure what to do with it as I don’t really like it by itself, if anyone has any suggestions as to what can be done with it please let me know! I figured that I could use it in the same way as peanut butter, so used some up making this sesame take on the classic peanut butter biscuit. I think i may like the result even more than the original! They are perfectly crisp and melt in the mouth with a delicate sesame flavour….
I had a load of limes left over from making mini lime yoghurt loaf cakes – I had needed lots of the zest but not the juice; so seeing as the weather has been quite warm and sunny recently I decided to put them to good use in some ice cream. I’ve also been given a new (secondhand, slightly battered…) ice cream maker – one of the ones where you don’t need to pre-freeze the bowl, so now I can have ice cream on a whim, without having to remember to put the bowl in the freezer the day beforehand!…
This post is part of Nielsen-Massey and Baking Mad’s Easter baking campaign, where they asked baking bloggers to try one of their twenty four delicious vanilla based recipes. They asked me if I would like to take part and I jumped at the chance as I love Nielsen-Massey vanilla so was very happy to be sent some for free!…
Caramelised red onion and goats cheese tarts – crisp parmesan pastry filled with balsamic caramelised red onions, egg custard and goats cheese.
Something that you may not know about me is that for a year and a half I helped to run/manage a village pub……
The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.
This months Daring Bakers challenge was to make Siopao – Asian filled buns. We could fill them with any sweet or savoury filling we wanted, but the filling recipe given with the challenge was for pork. Being vegetarian, I was initially planning on making a veggie filling for mine, but after hearing that the challenge was for pork buns, my not-remotely-vegetarian fiance gave me puppy-dog eyes and pleaded with me to make pork ones for him (I may be exaggerating slightly about the pleading…). I relented as the poor man is forced to eat a vegetarian diet roughly 90% of the time as I do most of the cooking (he doesn’t complain). I don’t mind cooking a bit of meat for him every now and again and will occasionally make a batch of meat pies to store in the freezer for when he gets a craving. I figured I could do the same with the buns (I doubt he’d be able to eat twelve of them within a couple of days!)….
I don’t fast. I believe that life is too short for unnecessary self-deprivation; I also have never given anything up for Lent, firstly because I am not remotely religious, secondly, because I am not dangerously addicted to anything; and if I were, I should really be giving it up for life, not for just for Lent. I am however (funnily enough…) more than happy to partake in the feasting that often precedes or follows a fast. Shrove Tuesday, or pancake day, is one of those such occasions that I am willing to revel in. Pancakes, in all of their many forms, are one of the most simple and satisfying foods you can make, and are the best way to create an impressive breakfast or brunch (or dinner!). As much as I love the classic British pancake with lemon and sugar, or a stack of fluffy American ones drizzled with maple syrup, if you want to make an impressive breakfast with minimal amount of effort (no standing at the stove flipping endless pancakes) then it’s got to be a Dutch baby. …