Let’s Call it a Fruit Loaf.

Image

I’m a sucker for a good fruit bread.

On our recent travels down the south coast of NSW we stopped for a coffee and something to eat at the marvellous Heritage Bakery  in Milton. The array of breads and pastries and cakes was magnificent.

I limited myself to only one loaf of something and that something was a fig and cranberry sour dough bread. What a choice it was. It was one of the nicest fruit breads I’ve had in a very long time. Big juicy pieces of fig and little tart cranberries. It was perfect.

No, I haven’t got a recipe for that dreamy fruit loaf, yet…. but I’ll share when I do…

I found this recipe in Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery, which is The Cookbook Guru‘s book of the month.

It’s called Northumbrian Harvest Tea Cake, but once you look at the recipe it’s just a fancy name for Fruit Loaf.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, but these days we call it fruit loaf and here’s a simple version of the recipe.

For 1 big loaf you’ll need:-

450g bakers’ Flour

1/2 tsp salt

30g castor sugar

15g dried yeast

150g warm milk

75g warm water

60g butter – melted

1 egg – lightly beaten

40g currants

1 tsp mixed spice or nutmeg

 

In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, currants and mixed spice.

In a small bowl or jug mix the milk, water and butter together. Make sure it is still warm otherwise the yeast won’t work, then pour into the flour mix with the egg.

Mix until it comes together then tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6 – 8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Now tip the dough back out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes then divide into three equal pieces.

Roll the pieces into a long thin sausage shapes the same length and lay them side by side. Pinch the tops together firmly then braid the lengths.

ImageImage

Leave on a baking paper lined baking tray in a warm place, loosely covered, for about 40 – 45 minutes.

Bake in a hot 220oC oven for 15 minutes then I found I had to turn the loaf over and cook for another 5 minutes to cook the underside till brown.

Leave to cool for a few minutes before ripping into chunks and devouring.

IMG_1274

At least that’s how it went in our house…

Please Enjoy…

 

 

 

A Bloomer Loaf or Wholemeal Loaf.

IMG_1261

It was wonderful going for a walk this morning with my sister. The sun was warm but the air had a chill in it. Winter is most definitely here.
Time for warm comfort foods like soups and casseroles and roasts. I had some beef spare ribs in the freezer and today called for a casserole with the ribs and lots of carrots and onions and mushrooms.
The perfect accompaniment to this dish is fresh made bread. Yum.
Elizabeth David’s book English Bread and Yeast Cookery  is The Cookbook Guru‘s book of the month. How handy is that?
While the casserole is cooking away in the oven, warming up the the house – ahhh,  I set about looking for a recipe from the book for a simple loaf.
Well the recipe in the book includes lots of information and a few extra steps that could make the reader think “this is way too involved, I don’t really want to do all that.”  So I’ll use the ingredients and amounts from the book, but I’ll tell you how I made it, which was a lot more straight forward…

For 1 big loaf you’ll need:-
450g wholemeal flour
120g bakers or strong flour
15g dried yeast
20g salt
200g warm milk mixed with 200g warm water (400g total)

In a large bowl mix together the flours, salt and dried yeast. Pour in the milk and water and mix. Once all the ingredients are mixed well, tip it all out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 – 7 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave for 2 hours in a warm place.
After 2 hours tip the dough out onto the bench top and knead it for 3 – 4 minutes then put it back into the bowl, cover and leave for an hour. IMG_1254 Now, knead the dough again for 3 – 4 minutes, then shape into a short, thick loaf. IMG_1255 Loosely cover and leave to rise for about 30 minutes. With a sharp knife, make a few deep slashes across the top then sprinkle a little water. IMG_1257 Bake for 20 minutes at 230oC, then turn the heat down to 200oC and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you tap it underneath.

IMG_1260IMG_1262

(If the underside is still soft, turn the bread upside down and let it cook for another 5 – 6 minutes.)

The bread turned out really fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I think the only change I’d make to the ingredients is decreasing the amount of salt by half. It was a little too salty  but overall a great bread to go with the casserole.

Please Enjoy…

Spicy Bun Fun – Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns.

It’s Easter time so why should coeliacs miss out on  the  spicy bun fun?

image

I’ve been working on this recipe for a few years now. Last years batch was a hit with my sister but I’m hoping this years will be even lighter and fluffier. The taste is spot on, it’s the texture I’m dealing with now.

The recipe is really simple :-

450g gluten free plain flour (I use Orgran brand)

3 tsp instant yeast

4 tsp gluten free baking powder

4 tsp xanthum gum

1 tsp salt

2 tsp mixed spice

75g brown sugar

75g currants

120ml milk (full cream works best)

50g butter

150ml water

1 free range egg.

Hows this for simple?

In a bowl (I use a stand mixer but you can make these by hand, nothing wrong with a little elbow workout) mix together the flour,yeast, baking powder, xanthum gum, salt, mixed spice, brown sugar, and currants.

In either the microwave or on the stove, gently warm the milk, butter and water together until they are just warm. Don’t over heat the mix or you’ll kill the yeast. You should be able to stick your finger in without  burning it.

Stir the egg in with the milk, water and butter mix, then pour the whole lot into your dry ingredients. Stir until combined then knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

image

Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm room for about 1 hour until doubled in size.

image

Scrape out onto a floured surface and shape into a log. Divide into 12 even pieces, shape into smooth balls and leave on a baking paper lined baking sheet in a warm room for about 40 minutes. They should double in size.

Pre-heat oven to 210oC.

In a small bowl mix 1 Tblsp flour with enough water to make a smooth paste. Spoon into a sandwich or freezer bag, cut of the very tip and pipe lines along the buns.

image

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.

In a tiny saucepan mix 2tsp white sugar with 2tsp water. Bring to the boil.

As soon as the buns come out of the oven brush them with the sugar syrup.

If you can, let them cool for 10 minutes before stuffing yourself with them.Image

Yep…

Light and fluffy and spicy and oh so moorish.

My sister says  “Wow. Really real hot cross buns. Wow.” As she’s stuffing yet another in her mouth.

image

Please enjoy…

 

Fattoush (Lebanese Bread Salad)

image This is a great salad. It goes well with anything or it’s great on its own. I usually make Fattoush as a side when I make roast veggies for dinner. However, chicken breast is on the menu tonight and the tanginess of the sumac in the salad dressing will go brilliantly with it. Sumac is a berry that has been dried and ground into a course powder. at adds a letaste tang to whatever you use it on. Most supermarkets stock it in the herb and spice section now-a-days.

image

The thing with this salad is you can use whatever salad ingredients you have at hand. You can choose any or all of the ingredients I’ve used and as much or as little as you like. Just mix together the dressing ingredient and set aside. Toss the salad stuff in a large bowl, add the dressing and mix well.

Only add the bread when you’re ready to serve so it stays crunchy.

Salad: Lettuce leaves, chopped tomato, cucumber,  radish, capsicum, parsley,  spring onion, toasted Lebanese bread

Dressing: 2 tbs olive oil 1 1/2 tsp sumac 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 1 tbs lemon juice 2  cloves crushed garlic

image

enjoy…

Thoughts…..

You know, the one thing I love to hear is when people say they make things from scratch. image I met a cousin from overseas for the first time this week. We got to chatting, and she was showing me photos of all the lovely breads and pastries and pies she’d been making. Wow, they looked great. At first, she was making all these things out of necessity.  Where she was living, it was just to hard to come by things we see as staples and everyday foods. It didn’t take long for her to be hooked. Plain breads gave way to flavours of all  sorts.  The family were  cutting into pies  and tarts with delicious and healthy fillings.  There was freshly made biscuits and even cheeses. DSC02095 It really is great to get in there and get your hands all doughy  and messy. There’s nothing like kneading  yeasty dough into shapes and baking them. Watching them rise and slowly brown. The smell……wow! image True, the task may seem daunting at first, and there is always the time factor thing. But if you are able,  there is no limit to what you can produce. And you’ll always know whats going into what you’re eating. Very important. Very rewarding……. image image