A Bloomer Loaf or Wholemeal Loaf.

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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.

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(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…

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Cauliflower and Leek Soup

What’s for dinner tonight…..?

Well, nearly had cheese sandwiches actually.

There I was chopping veggies, getting things ready and the electricity goes out. My stove and oven are electric.

A massive power outage  took out the electricity grid for most of the inner west of Sydney and then some. Who knew if it was going to come back on any time soon?

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There was no telling when my husband was getting home – trains weren’t running on the line he catches.

I had bought a loaf of sourdough bread from the local bakery this morning so fresh bread slices with cheese and tomato would be a easy dinner to prepare in the dark.

However, the electricity did come back on with plenty of time to continue with my plan of making soup.

So…..

Chop up a head of cauliflower (mine ended up being about 600g), throw it into a large saucepan and then fill with water. Bring to the boil. Then turn the heat off and leave to sit for about 5 minutes and strain. (They’ll only be partially cooked at this stage)

In the same saucepan melt about 40g butter with 2 tbs olive oil. Add 1 large leek that you’ve washed and sliced very thinly. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes on a medium heat, then add 1 large diced potato and the cauliflower.

Top up with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of stock (I used beef because its all I had in the kitchen), cover, bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (I love adding fennel seeds – about 1/2 tbs).

Once the veggies are tender, whizz up in a food processor, blender or with a stick blender. Taste, adjust seasoning.

Serve and eat.

Not many ingredients but full of flavour and because of the potato, it ends up being rich and creamy – no need to add any cream. Bonus.

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Enjoy…