It’s National Brownie Day today so I made a little film about how to make salted caramel triple chocolate fudge brownies for Metro.
For the film and full recipe and instructions you can check out the Metro posting here: Salted caramel brownies.
It’s National Brownie Day today so I made a little film about how to make salted caramel triple chocolate fudge brownies for Metro.
For the film and full recipe and instructions you can check out the Metro posting here: Salted caramel brownies.
Another of the recipes from my wild food in the kitchen talk at Old Dalby WI, this is a really simple quiche that you can chuck all your green bounty into.
Now once I’d admitted that I hadn’t made the pastry for this myself I thought I would have been politely escorted from the village hall by the WI ladies but they very generously did not revoke my speaker’s pass and allowed me to continue!
The amount of pastry from one block of Jus-Rol shortcrust pastry makes enough for one large quiche and 3 mini ones, just saying 🙂
Wild greens quiche:
1: Wash your greens and blanch in boiling water for a couple of minutes, drain, squeeze out any excess liquid and roughly chop.
2: Roll out your pastry and put into a tart tin with removable bottom, use a bit of pastry to push the sides and base down. Cover with some baking parchment and fill with baking beans and bake in an oven heated to 180C for about 15 minutes.
3: Remove the parchment and beans, gently prick the base with a fork and return to the oven for about 7-10 minutes.
4: Fry the onion in the butter occur a low heat until soft but not coloured, allow to cool.
5: Mix the flour together with one egg and a little of the milk to form a paste, add the remaining eggs, cream and milk and mix really well.
6:Add the cooled onions and butter and season generously, add nutmeg if using.
7: Arrange the greens over the tart base and then pour over the mixture,
8: Reduce the oven temperature to 170C and bake the tart for around 35-40 minutes.
9: Once the tart is baked, trim off the pastry edges to tidy it up ( I haven’t yet done this in the pic above) and serve either warm straight away of allow to cool.
Last night I was in Old Dalby giving a talk and cookery demo to the lovely ladies of their WI about incorporating wild food into the kitchen. Regular readers of this blog and those who follow my Twitter account will know I am a huge fan of raiding the wild larder for my recipes so it was wonderful to see so many people in the village hall who were keen to know more about it.
I brought along plenty of things to try and will be popping the recipes up on here over with the tag “Old Dalby WI” if anyone wants to find them all.
First up are these little wild garlic pesto ciabatta rolls. I always make a HUGE batch of wild garlic pesto when the season hits, I put plenty into jars and store in the fridge and the rest I portion off into ziplock bags and freeze flat allowing me to break some off throughout the year and stir into pasta, make more bread, serve with lamb, make hummus, basically I use it in most things!
Wild garlic pesto:
Wild garlic pesto ciabatta bread rolls: (makes 12)
1: Put your flour and salt into a mixer, give it a stir and make a well in the centre.
2: Add the honey to the warm water and stir to dissolve, add the yeast and stir then the oil. Pour into the flour.
3: Have the bread hook attached to your mixer, start the machine on slow speed then increase to medium high, mix for a good 10-15 minutes or until the dough has formed a soft, smooth ball (my mixer is a bit rubbish so it took a while but just keep an eye on it).
4: Put the dough in an oiled bowl (the mixer bowl is fine) and cover, allow to rise until doubled in size.
5: Roll and stretch the dough into as close to a rectangle as possible then cover with a layer of pesto.
6: Roll lengthways from bottom to top, stretching as you go to make a swiss roll kinda thing then slice into rounds and place these into an oiled muffin tin.
7: Cover and allow to rise for an hour or so in a warm place.
8: Sprinkle with some blue poppy seeds and bake in an oven heated to 180C for around 25-30 minutes, during the last 5 minutes brush the tops with more olive oil. The rolls are ready when you tap on the base of one and it sounds hollow.
It’s taken me a long time to try Peters Yard crispbreads but when a free box arrived in my goats cheese delivery from Brockhall Farm (best goats cheese EVER) just before Christmas I had a nibble and was immediately hooked. Those wafer thin biscuits are SO good with cheese and a dollop of chutney but MY GOD they cost a bloody FORTUNE to buy.
The only logical option was to make my own and by my second attempt I had perfected the art of getting wafer thin crisp breads that have the perfect snap to them and are boosted by a selection of my favourite toppings.
So the crisp breads are perfect and what about the topping? Well the fab folks at The Wasabi Company sent me some of their fresh wasabi rhizome that they grow down in Dorset, along with a plant for me to plant and grow myself (whoop!). I used to use lots of fresh wasabi when I lived in Japan, we would grind some on a piece of shark skin at my friend’s sake bar in Kyoto and sip sake in between doses of wasabi or miso paste.
The tubes of “wasabi paste” that you buy over here are made up mostly of regular horseradish and only a tiny percentage of actual wasabi so finding out that it’s grown right here in the UK was a revelation, thanks Pam Lloyd and Polly Akielan!
Wasabi cream cheese and smoked salmon topping:
This bit couldn’t be easier, simply grate your fresh wasabi and stir into cream cheese, yep that’s it. Spread your cream cheese on the crispbread, top with smoked salmon, a squeeze of lemon, some freshly ground black pepper, sea salt flakes, chopped fresh dill and cress. So easy and so addictive.
I’m not going to waste any superlatives describing this cake, it rocks in all the best ways, end off.
Limoncello lemon drizzle cake
For the cake: (makes 2 loaf tins)
For the drizzle:
For the icing:
So yesterday was my first day back doing BBC Radio Leicester’s Food Friday show with Ben Jackson since my knee operation last month. I’m still wobbly and having to use a crutch or two but by far the most agonising thing has been not being able to stand up to cook. It still hurts but my body feels completely out of kilter and my mind suffers if I can’t spend at least a small amount of time each day creating stuff in my kitchen.
One of the positives of being on crutches is that I’ve had to get a cleaner to come and help me around the house, she’s all kinds of ace and as it turns out an awesome cake maker who was telling me about a Black Forest cheesecake she made recently, a lightbulb flashed on in my mind and these rather kickass fudgy brownies were created.
You can hear me making this, it’s only 11 minutes long, by clicking on this link where you will also find the recipe. We always have a blast in my kitchen and yesterday was no different, although he did edit out my “only special people get to drink out of Lady Diana’s cup” line….
What I also forgot about was the “surprise” that I mentioned in the clip, this is simply to swap the cherries for Cadburys mini eggs, perfect for Easter 🙂
Black Forest Chocolate Brownies (makes 12)
For the glaze: (optional not essential)
For the topping:
My cottage is old, with thick walls and high ceilings, in the summer its wonderfully cool to the extent that during this August’s heatwave I found myself leaving the cottage dressed for a crisp spring day and would have to instantly turn on my heels once hit with the wall of baking heat and remove a few layers before attempting to start the day again. Where this is glorious during the longer days of the year it’s also pretty damn Baltic come the winter.
I have an open fire in the living room and a wood burner in the dining room, on cold days like today when I’m working from home I’ll get the fire lit as soon as I’m up and about and work from my laptop next to the hearth. Today was one of those days and not one to waste a “day fire” I decided to bake some bread and use the heat to help the dough rise.
I’ve never made a spelt loaf before but had a bag of flour kicking about in the pantry. I had to pop to Tescos to pick up cat food so went and spoke nicely to the bakers who kindly gave me a big block of fresh yeast “we only measure by handfuls, one or two?”.
I’m now a convert to spelt, the loaf is rich and nutty which works so well with the sweet aromatic honey plus, its almost got the texture of soda bread which I adore. Yep from now on this is the loaf for me. It’s not a sandwich loaf though this one, it’s definitely one for spreading with butter and jam or marmite with a nice cup of tea, preferably whilst still warm from the oven.
Spelt loaf recipe:
I scoffed about half the loaf instantly with salted butter and some homemade quince and vanilla jam. Laziest loaf ever.
Chocolate orange brioche has been my baking Everest. A few weeks ago I was asked to make a selection of pastries for Lord Hall, the Director General of the BBC, err.. hell yeah I’m going to do that! But what on earth was I going to make him?
I was working away for the week running up to the big day and only returned two days before it was all happening and I STILL wasn’t sure what I was going to make him. Then it all just popped into my head on the drive back to my cottage, he was going to be presented with Chocolate Chip Pecan Cinnamon Swirls (kickass), Banana and Bacon Mini Muffins (AWESOME) and…mini Chocolate Orange Brioche: basically food clouds of total JOY.
My lovely friend Amanda very kindly lent me her Kitchen Aid and I found a plain brioche recipe and away I went. I’m not used to using a food mixer, I always create my recipes using sight, taste and touch and a mixer removes the touch element of the dough so I put blind faith in the recipe I’d found. It didn’t work. I tried another recipe, that didn’t work either so I decided to go back to instinct and just make up my own quantities and hey presto, perfect brioche! I then tried my version a second time so I could write down quantities and made the loaf at the top of this post, perfect result so I feel I can now happily pass on my recipe. This is a fast brioche recipe, only let it prove for a maximum of 2 hours each time but it does mean you can have lovely brioche is super quick time.
Chocolate orange mini brioche (makes 24 muffin sized brioche)
If you want to make a large to make one batch of mini muffins and one large loaf then once you have divided the mixture into half lightly knock back the remaining half on a floured surface, sprinkle with extra flour to make it easier to work with then place into a lightly oiled loaf tin. Allow to rise covered in cling then bake at 200C for 10 minutes then 180C for about 45 minutes, if the top starts to brown too much simply cover with tin foil. If after 45 mins you remove it from the oven, let it sit for a few minutes for it to come away from the sides and gently lift the loaf out to check the base, if it needs more time simply pop it back in for a bit longer.
Well its’ been quite some time since I last posted anything, I’ve been really busy with my photography and doing bits with Radio Leicester (click to hear most recent recipe of chorizo sausage rolls and green tomato ketchup) and writing for Metro and then I acquired a stalker so this blog kind of took a back seat for a couple of months. But I’m back, and its Autumn so I’ve been busy foraging the hedgerows to make amazing blackberry and vanilla vodka and now this blackberry and hare pie.
We are very lucky here in Melton Mowbray to have a proper Farmer’s market, you can buy anything from a herd of sheep, a prize winning bull, a few ferrets, some shot game, foraged mushrooms, homemade butter and antiques and collectables. Its all there every Tuesday morning and costs very little indeed, except the prize winning bull that is.
I headed over on Tuesday morning with the intention of seeing what the game auction was like that day, its very hit and miss depending on what’s in season and what the weather was like for the shoots over the weekend. You can normally expect to see a couple of deer, plenty of pigeons, pheasants, partridge, rabbits, hares and wild boar plus mallards, geese, woodcocks and squirrels. This week though it was very quite, there were a lot of pigeon but they weren’t in top condition so I left those (they went at 20p/brace) and hung about for the mallard and hares. I was bidding against an old boy for the mallard but had set my max at £3.50/brace and it went on his bid at that so I came home with a couple of beautiful hares at just £5.
Skinning hares is very easy, if you fancy watching a brilliant video clip then I totally fell in love with this guy being all masterful with an axe in the woods:
You just need to be really careful whilst gutting them not to pierce anything as the smell is really pretty nasty. Go for hares with head shots so your meat is nice and clean and none of the internals have been punctured.
Two large hares left me with a great deal of meat that I butchered into legs and fillets and froze most of. I instantly fried off a bit of fillet nice and pink for a bit of a cook’s perk then got to work on this simple pie for tea.
Wild hare and blackberry mini pie (makes 2 mini pies that each serve one person)
Well my posts have been pretty much non-existent as I’ve been away travelling around the UK doing lots of photo shoots recently but I’m back at Wyldelight Cottage and back in my lovely tiny kitchen. Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Instagram (hazelpatersonphoto) will be familiar with my cats, Boris and Poppy Bumface. Poppy Bumface is a very strange little creature, mostly antisocial and with a voice like a drunken docker she’s more Oscar the Grouch than lovable kitty. She’s also never been allowed out of the cottage, up until last Monday that is.
The hot weather has meant that the cottage windows have been open and the ever resourceful PBF had managed to climb up and out of the living room window to the wilds of Melton Mowbray. For a couple of days she came back obediently when called, checking in every 20 minutes or so to make sure the cottage hadn’t upped and left it’s little spot tucked away in the town, all was good. Then on Thursday lunchtime she didn’t come back when I called her. I called and called but no little bell could be heard, no squawking meow. I went round the front of the cottage and could hear her crying. It took me a while to figure out where it was coming from but there she was, up in the big lime tree that grows in the park next to my cottage, she was about 17ft up and she was stuck.
I called, I rustled her biscuits, I put tuna at the bottom of the tree and she just wouldn’t budge, she just cried. Now PBF is afraid of being alone, she cries if someone leaves the cottage to pop to the shop and she doesn’t like loud noises. I kept popping out to call her and see if she had moved but nothing. I rang the RSPCA and was told she needed to be up there for at least 24 hours before they will investigate. It was getting dark, the wind was picking up, the tree began to rustle loudly and sway and Poppy Bumface went from crying to howling with fear, it really was awful. I went round to the park (at this point I’m now in my Pyjamas), I’m rattling her biscuits and talking to a tree, it wasn’t my most attractive moment, tears welling up in my eyes and obviously having just split up with my boyfriend that was the exact moment he called: “sorry I can’t talk now I’m being a crazy cat woman in the park” is basically how the conversation went…
I didn’t sleep, her terrified howls carried straight through my bedroom window, in the morning I went out to see her. She’d now moved higher up onto a branch, not just any branch though Poppy had found a nice comfy nest to bed down in and there was a rather angry wood pigeon that wanted it back. There really was no chance of her coming down of her own accord, she just kept going higher and higher.
I rang the RSPCA again, she’s only a kitten and hadn’t had any food or water for 24 hrs now and her little voice had gotten so quiet. I was told to carry on waiting. I decided to bake some cakes for whomever managed to rescue her.
Lychee, Almond and Rose cakes (makes 10)
Lychee Rose Buttercream: (really approximate quantities as I just kept tinkering unit it was right)
To decorate: edible glitter, gold shimmer spray, edible flowers.
So the cakes were made and Poppy was still up in the tree, except now she was so high I could no longer see her, I could tell she had climbed higher than the cottage roof as her cry was no so quiet. The old lager boys in the park came over to investigate clutching their cans of super strength beer, they wanted to climb up to get her, oh dear this was all going to end quite badly. I stood with them for about 20 minutes saying it was going to be way too dangerous, they were pretty adamant though. They all know mybothr cat Boris as he goes over and hangs out with them on their bench, Boris knows everyone, he has a better social life than I do.
Now at about 23 hours and after another call to the RSPCA Inspector Keith Ellis arrived, I could have hugged him, the CAVALRY! We stood in the garden and tried to spot her, after about 10 minutes she appeared, she was SO HIGH up now, perhaps 40 – 50ft, well above the height of my chimney on the roof, she was now out on a branch. Inspector Ellis called the duty fire chief from Melton Mowbray fire and rescue to come and have a look.
The chief arrives, he can hear her but not see her, he calls the truck to come to the park and the boys get out. They can hear her but she is so high up they can’t see her, they go and get the thermal imaging camera…
Then, they spot her. The chief thinks she is too high up to reach but they get the ladder anyway.
It’s pretty rare they do this kind of thing so they were saying that its actually a really good training exercise for them, this made me feel much better.
As thunder started to rumble a fireman named Dex suits up into a climbing harness and the rescue mission is underway. One of the guys (bottom left picture) mentions to me that when they are called out to talk down someone sat on the edge of a roof they send a fireman that smokes up, apparently most jumpers are smokers and the act of sharing a cigarette bonds the pair together which helps talk them down. He jokes that they should adopt a cat that climbs up and talks down other cats from trees, a smoking cat preferably. Boris volunteers himself by heading over to their equipment and watching on…
Dex comes down the ladder for the grabber then heads back up feeling pretty confident he can get her. It was actually incredibly sweet as I could hear him meowing at Poppy Bumface 🙂 Then I heard her bell and then very slowly Dex started to climb all the way back down clutching a very frightened kitten to his chest, I very nearly burst into tears.
And then after 24 hours stuck up a tree, little Poppy Bumface is down!
Hurray for Dex! Hurray for Keith, hurray for all the guys from Melton day shift Fire and Rescue, total stars!
So Poppy Bumface was rescued and the wonderful day shift from Melton Mowbray Fire and Rescue went off heroically with a tin full of the lychee rose cakes covered in edible glitter and flowers (and with 25% off a photo shoot if they wanted one for them and their families, although I’m totally up for taking pictures of semi naked firemen *if* thats what they really want!). Poor Inspector Ellis missed out on a cake though so I owe him one, everyone really was wonderful and yes Poppy Bumface is well and truly grounded for the foreseeable future….
I love chocolate mini eggs and I REALLY love the fact that Easter means that they’re usually on special offer, I even love them enough to want to get the pastry out and get baking.
If you haven’t bought the book Bread Revolution by Thoughtful Bread yet or borrowed it from the library then I highly recommend it, thanks to that ace book I made the best cinnamon swirls ever which were my inspiration for these little beauties.
Instead of making a dough I just bought a pack of ready made, ready rolled puff pastry, it cost just £1 and was brilliant, life’s too short for making your own puff pastry I reckon.
Ingredients: Makes about 10 swirls.
5. Bake for 15minutes on the middle shelf then reduce temp to 180C and continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes or until pastry is lightly golden. My oven is really temperamental so just keep an eye on the first batch. Once cooked transfer onto a cooling rack, dust with vanilla icing sugar whilst hot then once again when cold if you have any swirls that made it that long without being snaffled.
Yesterday was Glen’s 40th birthday and as he has been dreading this for the last 10 years I decided to make him a rather special cake. Now I hate baking cakes and I REALLY hate baking sponge cakes, they are fickle things that don’t like to be fiddled with and the science behind getting them to rise and stay there often goes against all my natural “bit of this, dollop of that” instincts.
Cakes for people who hate baking have got to be pretty kickass in some way as an incentive to actually bake the bloody things. For me this is usually achieved by packing them full of booze and making them ridiculously easy to make, unfortunately I had no booze and all I had decoration wise in the pantry was some crystallised flowers and edible glitter, not exactly the butchest of decorations, so I popped out and bought a bag of toy soldiers instead, aces.
This cake wasn’t without its disasters though, the first one I accidentally made using plain flour instead of self raising so I ended up with an extra flat cake layer (see below pic) to stick on the top (bonus).See, nothing bad really happens when you screw up a recipe as long as the ingredients are nice, and cooked then it will be fine 🙂 . Halfway through baking I also realised I had no icing sugar for the fudge topping so whizzed up my own by sticking some vanilla pod caster sugar in my trusty coffee grinder- forget regular icing sugar, this is the way forward. Now vanilla pod icing sugar does have a brown “heroin-y” tint to it thanks to the dark sticky vanilla seeds and it’s probably just as addictive (not really, and I don’t advise substititing smack for icing sugar either).
I posted the recipe for my Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake over on DomesticSluttery.com, it’s dead simple so you can have lots of fun with the decorating 🙂
Follow the recipe on Domestic Sluttery to get the cake to this stage then get all creative…
I picked up a bag of toy soldiers from Co-op for 50p, they have little plastic bases that just needed a camouflage smear of fudge icing before being positioned, a few more Minstrels served as rocks…
Then I gradually built the terrain with freshly grated Willies solid cacao bar as soil/leaves…And then a dusting of the vanilla icing for snow…
My mind created entire scenarios and personalities for them by the time the cake was finished…
I may have gotten as little carried away with my iPhone…
So there you go, ways to make cake making more fun…cover them in still life scenes.
Savoury profiteroles are my new friend. Yesterday I picked up a kilo of spring onions from the reduced section of the supermarket for just 65p which suddenly meant I needed to make lots of spring onion recipes. Cheese and onion is one of my favourite pairings and as I was looking along the spines of my cookbooks for inspiration I clocked my Secrets of Eclairs book, eureka! Savoury Choux bites! I spent the entire day making lots of different variations, the base of this recipe I created for my Chilli Cheese Bites recipe for Domestic Sluttery and then tweaked it to make these profiteroles.
Now this filling is rather special. Yesterday I also picked up half a dozen skin-on chicken thighs for a creole curry, on a nod *ahem* to healthy living I put a bit of butter in the base of a deep frying pan added a few caraway seeds then put the seasoned thighs, skin side down into the pan and gently fried them (without moving them at all) so the chicken fat rendered out into the pan. The thighs were then lifted out, the crispy skin promptly scoffed as a cook’s perk (all healthy eating notions go right out of my kitchen window the moment crispy chicken skin is about) and the fat poured into a bowl and set to one side whilst I carried on making the curry. This deeply flavoured, seasoned fat also had the added bonus of a gentle caraway flavour and was to form the basis of a seriously naughty porcini béchamel filling.
These awesome bites are best eaten straight away and cooked in batches as you need them but you can also reheat them gently if you need to by popping them in the oven at 190C for a few minutes and they will go nice and crispy again and the filling will warm and ooze….
For the smoky chilli choux:
For the filling
*how to make the rendered chicken fat is described in the introduction
Oh brownies how I love you and your squidgy, gooey wonderment. Yesterday I headed into the BBC Radio Leicester studio to see presenter Ben Jackson with whom I do the Food friday radio cooking sessions with and gardening guru, chilli head and all round ace guy Ady Dayman. I decided to bake them something using goodies from my tiny garden and despite managing to set fire to the baking parchment TWICE during cooking the brownies turned out pretty damn awesome.
I managed to get to the studio whilst they were still warm and joined Ben and Ady for the Gardening phone-in, you can listen to us giving seasonal gardening and food tips by clicking here. It was a fab afternoon and the brownies went down a storm, even with Ben’s producer Nam who is somewhat vegetable averse! That’s the secret to people who don’t like vegetables, cover them in CHOCOLATE 🙂
They are really easy to make too:
I use a mug to measure everything out in, my mug holds 350ml water.
People are divided over raw milk but I am a big fan and I am lucky enough to live near to Lubcloud Organic Dairy who not only sell raw milk but also have chosesn not to homogenise any of their products. When I was little I had to be quick in the mornings getting to the milk bottles on the doorstep. The birds were wise to the sight of Malcolm, our milkman back on Anglesey, and would peck through the foil lids to get to the cream that had risen to the top of the bottle. I always used to sneakily pour a glass of that amazing creamy milk before putting it back in the fridge as a reward for being good and bringing the bottles in!
These days milk is homogenised as standard, so the fat is evenly distributed and not only don’t you get that wonderful creamy layer at the top of your pint but you also don’t get those glorious little dots of fat on the inside of your glass. Personally I think that the taste really suffers as a result of both pasteurisation and homogenisation so it’s no contest for me when it comes to flavour.
Raw milk from an organic herd really can’t be beaten for flavour so I decided to see how many things I could make from 2 litres of the stuff. I started with mozzarella…
A quick look around the internet and I found Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s recipe for mozzarella and set to work.
The curds and whey quickly separated once the citric acid and rennet were added and the curds removed and left to drain. I should point out that this really does make your house smell like baby sick and it left me feeling quite dubious that something nice could be made from something that smelt so awful. Nevertheless the curds were removed with a slotted spoon and left to drain for a bit in a sieve.
I wanted smallish balls of cheese, so the mozzarella curd was thickly sliced, put back into the hot whey then stretched and folded back on itself a few times before being rolled into balls and plunged into ice water.
A quick shout out on Twitter for suggestions for the leftover whey brought a resounding call for ricotta. Another quick look online for a really simple method resulted in me finding this method which seemed by far the easiest.
The remaining whey was strained through a coffee filter and left to drip in the fridge before being turned out onto a board.
I really couldn’t wait to try the ricotta, I wasn’t disappointed. I guess I’m used to bland, mass produced stuff because the flavour really took me by surprise – there was so much of it! I was now really excited about my bumbling foray into the world of home cheese making.
So now I had my beautiful cheeses I needed some pizza dough to showcase them on. I made a batch of plain and polenta flour dough using 650ml of the leftover whey. I hadn’t intended to use polenta flour but I hardly had any other flour so substituted it in and from now on I will always do this as it was amazing! It was about 1/3 polenta and made for a beautiful golden dough with great texture. Fingers were crossed whilst the pizzas cooked that the mozzarella behaved as it should…
It worked perfectly! The mozzarella melted and oozed and developed a lovely brown crust and most importantly it tasted wonderful, I was so happy!
I then made a polenta and bread flour whey loaf…
This loaf was eaten almost immediately topped with salsa verde from The Good Fork’s deli box and was seriously good!
So what to do with the rest of the whey? I still had about 2 pints of it left. Another shout out on Twitter went out. I was told by @pukkapaki that whey is wonderful for the skin and hair so I made a homemade face pack and added a ladle of whey.
Just mix them all and add more oats until you get a consistency you like then apply to a clean face and leave on for 10 – 15 minutes then remove with a warm cloth. I’ve been so impressed with the effect that its had on my skin that I’m also using this as a cleanser morning and night as the porridge oats gently exfoliate the skin. All of these wonderful beauty tips fall on deaf ears for my fella though who just calls it “that hippy shit in a bowl”.
*Update: from this morning (3 days later)
Glen: I wish you’d stop washing your face with porridge the bits get everywhere.
Me: It’s not porridge its a homemade face pack and cleanser dear.
Glen: It’s porridge with tea bags in it, you are essentially washing your face with breakfast.
Well he does have a point there but my skin is so soft and my rosacea is clearing up so breakfast face-washing will continue!*
I still had some more whey left so I decided to try Carl Legge’s suggestion of using it to lacto ferment vegetables and I gave Kimchee making a go. It’s still fermenting away though so I’ll do a separate post on this when it’s ready. The final bit of whey has gone to my chickens as a bit of a treat as it helps keep their eggshells hard and is a good all round tonic for poultry.
So from 2 litres of raw milk (which cost £2.40 delivered to my door) I made the most meltingly wonderful mozzarella, the best ricotta I’ve ever tasted, 2 wonderful pizzas, a loaf of delicious bread, lots of face pack/skin cleanser, Kimchee and a special dinner for the chickens, not bad going really.
*Thanks for all the lovely messages on Twitter/Facebook/here about raw milk, I am updating this post with a list of dairies (cow,sheep,goat) that offer raw milk, if you know any please let me know so I can add them*
Raw Milk Dairies:
Lubcloud Orgainic Dairy (cow) www.lubclouddairy.co.uk
The South East
Ellie’s Dairy (goat) www.elliesdairy.blogspot.co.uk
I have totally got my baking mojo on at the moment! In addition to my being a writer and recipe creator for Great Food Magazine I’m also a food writer for Domestic Sluttery, and so when we were asked to get our thinking caps on for Easter recipes (that weren’t hot cross buns) this is what I came up with.
I normally only make cheesecakes that you just leave to set in the fridge but my baking confidence has really been boosted recently thanks to a series of awesome successes that I’ve made from my Bread Revolution baking book. Now I know you’re not meant to mess around experimenting with baking as it’s more of a science and you really should follow a tried and tested recipe but I can’t help myself. I wanted a cheesecake that despite being made from really rich ingredients actually felt silky, light and fluffy in the mouth but still had,well, a bit of balls behind it if you know what I mean? I had a look online for recipes but nothing really lit my fire so I threw caution to the wind, bought a selection of creams and soft cheeses and made it up as I went, bit of a risk as I only had enough ingredients to do it once but no guts no glory right?
It was a really anxious wait as the cake needed to cool for a couple of hours before releasing it from its tin. I could only do this once after all, and if it collapsed I would have cried, and Glen would have found me sobbing over a collapsed cake and would have said something along the lines of “it’s only a cake”, and I would have thrown the floppy cake of sadness at him. Luckily he actually found me crying tears of joy as I stood in the kitchen, holding the freshly released cake tin aloft and pointing proudly at my masterpiece, “it’s only a cake” he said, harumph. “But its not only a cake its a Hot Cross Baked Bloody Cheesecake!” I shouted triumphantly still waving my empty cake tin as if it were an Oscar, nothing was going to piss on my cake bonfire. Then I realised something…
I had lost the natural light and so the cake needed to go back in the fridge overnight so I could photograph it first thing in the morning. This meant that I didn’t yet know what the inside was like, it could be an awful scrambled eggy mess for all I knew. I had a large rum to steady my nerves that night before bed.
First thing the next morning I headed to the fridge, took out my cake and carefully sliced a triangle out. Looked good so far, but how did it taste? AWESOME! Tears of joy! I quickly took a couple of shots of the inside of the cheesecake then celebrated with a very triumphant Hot Cross Baked Bloody Cheesecake Breakfast!
So if you fancy trying something a bit different this Easter then my recipe is here. Have a look around the site though there are loads of kickass recipes there and lovely things to fill your home with too!
I had a really crap night last night so this morning I decided I needed cheering up and what better to cheer the soul than freshly baked bread. I turned to my new favourite baking book Bread Revolution by The Thoughtful Bread Company for Patrick’s recipe. Marvelous, I thought, I have all of that except the red wine vinegar so out came the big bowl, in went the dry ingredients (including the wonderfully coarse Whissendine organic wholemeal flour) and then I realised we were almost out of milk. Arse. I did however have Buttermilk in the fridge that I was saving for scones so I used that instead and swapped red wine vinegar for some Womersley Golden Raspberry and Apache Chilli vinegar.
Whilst mixing the sloppy dough (it’s meant to be that way) I realised that my loaf tin was out on loan so ended up adding extra flour so that the dough could be shaped and baked without a tin. I then kicked myself for ONCE AGAIN starting a recipe without checking to see if I had all the ingredients and equipment (another reason I don’t really use recipes or bake much!).
Luckily it turned out really well, if a little more crumbly than it perhaps should have due to my substitutions but oh my it tastes so good! It has absolutely cheered my morning and I can now see soda bread being a much welcome and more frequent addition to the table. I used to eat quite a bit of soda bread as a kid, my Dad is Irish and so it was almost a staple loaf of the bread bin but for some reason I have just kinda stopped eating it, until now that is. Next time I am going to try Thoughtful Bread‘s recipe to the letter though and you never know, I might even check to see if I have everything I need before ploughing in!
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Recently I visited the ultra lovely folk of The Thoughtful Bread Company at their pop-up cafè in Bath. I love these guys, their attitude, their bread (and cakes!) and now their book too. “Bread Revolution – Rise Up & Bake” has been in my possession for less than 48 hours now and I am already smitten. It was my fella’s birthday yesterday and I felt bad that the only package that the postie delivered was my copy of Bread Revolution so I told him to pick out absolutely any recipe he liked and I would make it for his birthday (I’m nice like that see).
Now, I don’t really do baking. I’m not one for weighing and measuring anything and much prefer to rely on my instinct. I’m a bit odd, I see tastes in terms of shapes and colours (recently I found out it has a name and is called Synesthesia), it’s totally normal for me and I grew up thinking everyone was the same – it actually came as a real shock to find out that other people weren’t manipulating triangles when cooking! Anyway, Glen picked out their recipe for Cinnamon Swirls which was really handy as I already had all the ingredients in the pantry. I’ve never made a sweet dough before and wasn’t entirely sure about whether I should keep flouring the worktop as I was kneading the dough (it was really sticky), but I did, and probably shouldn’t have as the dough was a bit tight as I went, but I carried on anyway.
I decided to try their Sugared Raisin version. I’m not a huge fan of raisins in any food (heaven forbid I find a raisin in a pot of curry sauce) but I had some jumbo sultanas and raisins set aside for making more smoked tea booze concoctions so I used them and threw in a load of flaked almonds too for good measure.
So I rolled up my dough creation, and after some Twitter reassurance from Thoughtful Bread that a water sprayer wasn’t essential (massive relief as mine were all still full of last year’s Black Fly beating mix of washing up liquid and water), I sliced it and left them to prove for about 90 minutes. My intention was to pop most of them in the fridge overnight but I could only fit one tray of 4 in there (damn) so I had to cook the rest, all 12 of them (double damn!).
Just 15 short minutes later and the first batch of 6 were ready. I decided to add a good dose of cinnamon to the sugar glaze that was bubbling away on the hob (I love cinnamon), glazed them then waited for them to cool before scattering a few more flaked almonds on them and drizzling with icing.
I can honestly say I was pretty shocked by the result, they tasted even better than I imagined, in fact they tasted amazing! The dough was so soft and light, the buns sticky and sweet, and the filling was just wonderfully sweet/soft/cinnamony/crunchy. I have a new addiction. The buns that went into the fridge overnight were brought to room temp today and baked off – they turned out to be even better. I think the overnight cold prove helped the dough become even lighter and if I can manage to resist eating them all on the same day I will from now on always do it that way.
I have completely fallen in love with this recipe and for the first time ever I am actually really excited about working my way around a baking cook book. Bread Revolution’s sweet dough has been quite the bread revelation (sorry) for me and I can’t wait to experiment more. I don’t own a food mixer, which they recommend in order to make their brioche, so it looks as if it may be their Bacon Fougasse next, or their Nettle and Chive Flowerpot Breads, or doughnuts, or rye crackers – there are just SO many I want to crack on with, but seeing as though I have eaten nothing but cinnamon swirls today perhaps a bit of a foraging walk first for ingredients…..
I was born in Bath and whenever I head back for a visit I become so terribly homesick for many reasons, but one of them is the abundance of fantastic bread there. I don’t know why but great bread is really thin on the ground round my way. The upside of this though is that I bake quite a bit of my own, which I love doing, but my oven has a mind of its own (and its a bit of a nightmare) so it would be so lovely to have fantastic sourdough bread readily available.
I first heard about The Thoughtful Bread Company last year through BBC 2’s The Big Bread Experiment in which founder Duncan Glendinning and head baker Patrick Ryan help a Yorkshire community set up their own bakery. I knew that they had a stall in Bath’s Green Park Station so vowed to visit them. I did just that last year and was not only really impressed by their amazing breads and cakes (oh my god their cakes!) but by the guys that make up the company itself. Ross was running the stall that day and we got chatting about the company and their eco-friendly business. Not only are they absolutely lovely guys but their passion for bread is really inspiring.
So when I headed off to Bath last week for my big sister’s birthday I made sure I popped over to see them once more. It was only 12:30pm by the time I got to the Farmer’s Market at Green Park Station and met up with Ross but he was already sold out. Gutted. All was not lost though because Thoughtful Bread had a pop up cafè in The Guildhall for 2 weeks during the Bath Literary Festival – HOORAY!
Ross and Duncan were busy behind their counter and their cafè was a quirky mix of mismatched crockery, hay bale seating and trestle tables all surrounded by their gorgeous breads.
How beautiful do these loaves look? They make so many variations of loaves depending on what’s in season – cider, beetroot, walnut, wild garlic – all beautifully made and most importantly tasting amazing.
Oh and their cakes really are something special. “Try our gluten free spiced orange cake” said Ross. For some reason I avoid gluten free cakes but I won’t anymore. The wheat flour had been replaced by ground almonds and the sweet, sticky orange cake was absolute heaven. Their Guinness cake, although I didn’t try it, completely inspired my Guinness free Guinness cake that I made for my Domestic Sluttery posting on Friday and those chocolate and raspberry tarts are just beyond delicious.
They even have a book so you can make their breads at home!
I bought one of their sourdough loaves to take back to my sister’s later that day.
I stopped off on my way back that afternoon to pick some wild garlic so I could have my favourite Spring treat…sourdough, wild garlic and cheese sandwiches – hell yeah! Plus my gorgeous niece Nyla tried wild garlic for the first time and loved it!
Nyla gave their sourdough an almighty thumbs up too!
So if you find yourself in Bath make sure you head to see the fab fellows of The Thoughtful Bread Company, say hello from me, try their goodies and stock up. Oh, and if you happen to be heading up to Melton Mowbray, bring me a loaf too!
And no, they haven’t paid me to say all these lovely things about them!
This is not a traditional dauphinois, it’s just been adjusted to for our tastes. I know it’s really naughty so my concession is to use Elmlea 50% reduced fat double cream, yeah I know that’s like people ordering a huge takeaway meal and having a Diet Coke on the side but I don’t care! Garlic powder is something I also love. I use it in so many dishes, sprinkled on homemade oven chips/roast potatoes it gives a sweet garlicky taste without any bitterness or harshness and you control exactly how much you use as its in such a fine powder form. We have our own chickens that are ex-battery farm girls so we use a great deal of eggs, the yolk in this recipe just adds that extra bit of luxury. I never peel my potatoes for this as apart from their being so much goodness in the skin I just like it that way, I prefer waxy but it’s entirely up to your preference. My oven is really quite rubbish (actually its a bloody nightmare) and temperature fluctuates massively so the timings are what works for me.
Preheat oven to 180C. Combine everything except the potatoes in a bowl, mix thoroughly, leave to sit for 30 minutes (not entirely necessary but really does help bring out the flavour). Keeping some creamy mixture to one side combine with the potatoes and give a good mix to make sure its all well coated in the tray then pour the remaining cream over the top, grate over some cheese, cover with foil and roast in the oven for about an hour or until thoroughly cooked. Remove the foil then cook for a further 10-15 minutes to brown. Dead easy and really tasty!
I really hadn’t intended to make any pancakes at all today but I needed to buy some milk so popped to the shop only to discover a pack of blueberries reduced to 99p. Well I took that as a sign that actually yes, I should make pancakes, lots of pancakes to celebrate this little find and, as my love affair with salted caramel reigns strong, it seemed a natural pancake buddy. You can buy jars of salted caramel in the shops but they’re, quite frankly, way too tiny and you don’t get those lovely flakes of sea salt in them so its nice to make a big jug of your own, that way you can guzzle it whilst your pancakes are cooking and still have plenty left for drizzling.
Salted Caramel Sauce:
Paul’s Soyfoods are entirely organic and in addition to delivering fresh fruit and veg around the country also bake 6 days a week. I spent an hour one morning watching the two bakers at work, it was fast, unrelenting and beautifully coordinated work and I was really struck by how tactile the whole process was. There are quite a few more photos to come over the next couple of days as I get around to it and I will be heading back to photograph them making their own tofu and tempeh soon.