Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Sultana Bread

I was recently told about Guernsey Gache, which is a yeast based bake, with sultanas and chopped mixed peel.  I looked at a few recipes for that and decided that the resultant bake would be denser than I like for a bread bake.  So I decided that I would make a sultana bread using the recipe I previously used for a milk bread.

The process is quite simple and doesn't require a lot of kneading of the dough.  It does take a little while to make though as you have to wait for be dough to prove a couple of times.   Adding the sultanas and mixed peel to the recipe didn't affect the bake, and certainly provided a wonderful flavour to what was already a nice loaf.

So I was very pleased with how the bread turned out and I have already enjoyed it just with butter and then I toasted a slice too and that tasted great as well.
                                                Sultana Bread

                                         Sultana Bread - Video
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 80ml cold water
  • 12g fast action yeast
  • 500g stong white flour
  • 5g salt
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 60g softened butter
  • 300g sultanas
  • 50g chopped mixed peel
  1. Heat the milk to almost boiling point and pour into a bowl. 
  2. Add the cold water to help cool the milk down. 
  3. When the milk has cooled to a gentle lukewarm(I had mine at 43C/110F) sprinkle the yeast over it and add a teaspoon of the sugar. 
  4. Stir the mixture and set aside for 5 minutes, to activate the yeast. 
  5. In a large bowl mix the flour, salt and remaining sugar. 
  6. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. 
  7. Use a spatula to stir everything together. 
  8. Once all the mixture has come together cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for 15 minutes. 
  9. Remove the plastic wrap and add the butter to the dough mixture. 
  10. Use your hands to mix it all together, giving a fairly vigorous knead for about one minute. 
  11. Very lightly oil the work surface and tip the dough onto it. 
  12. Knead for again to ensure the butter is mixed in thoroughly and then flatten the dough into a circle. 
  13. Sprinkle the mixed peel and the sultanas onto the dough and fold it in on itself. 
  14. Knead the dough until the fruit is evenly distributed throughout. 
  15. Roll the dough into a ball. 
  16. Grease the bowl and place the dough in it. 
  17. Cover with plastic wrap again and leave to rise for an hour, kneading for 20-30 seconds twice during the hour. 
  18. Butter a 2lb loaf tin. 
  19. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and shape. Either divide in two and form into balls and place them side by side in the tin, or form into a single sausage shape and place in the tin. 
  20. Cover and allow to prove until the dough has increased in size by about 50%(mine took 45 minutes) 
  21. As the dough proves preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F. 
  22. With a sharp knife slice the length of the dough about .5 inch deep. 
  23. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, until the top has browned nicely. 
  24. Remove and tip the loaf out onto a wire rack. 
  25. Tap the bottom to make sure there is a hollow sound(if not hollow sounding bake for a little longer). 
  26. Allow the loaf to cool before slicing.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Feta Cheese & Chive Scones

Now that my internet is back to normal, or at least I hope it is, I can post again.  So today I have Feta Cheese & Chive Scones.  I recently made some Raspberry Scones, with a North American type recipe.  These ones today are a more traditional scone texture, though with the feta and chives included.  I did test a recipe that I saw which used feta instead of butter in the scones but I wasn't happy either with the texture or the rise that I achieved with those.  So I resorted to a standard scone recipe with the added ingredients.

The recipe is simple to make and results in a lovely scone.  The texture is perfect and the inclusion of the feta and chives, and then a sprinkling of cayenne pepper on top really makes a lovely savoury treat.  Served warm, or at least on the day of baking is best.  I prefer mine halved and spread with some butter.  If the scones are kept for more than a day then it might be a good idea to warm them through for a few minutes in the oven(or a brief blitz in the microwave) to freshen them up again.
Of course they are also ideal for freezing so they don't all need to be consumed in one day.

I am very please with how mine turned out and will be making them again I am sure. I did check them after 15 minutes as I thought that would be long enough in the oven, but they weren't brown enough and seemed a bit soft to the touch, so I actually left them in the oven for 20 minutes.
Feta Cheese & Chive Scones

                                           Feta Cheese & Chive Scones - Video
  • 380g plain flour
  • 12g caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 170g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 medium egg(large in USA)
  • 180ml soured cream
  • 20g chives, chopped finely
  • 125g feta cheese cut into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • cayenne pepper for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F
  2. Line a couple of baking trays with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  3. In a food processor add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper and process for a few seconds to mix together(you can do the entire process in a large bowl instead)
  4. Add the butter and process until the flour and butter is mixed to a coarse breadcrumb like texture.
  5. Mix the soured cream, egg, and water together and add to the flour mixture, then process or mix until it starts to clump together into a dough.
  6. Tip out onto the work surface and spread out a little.
  7. Sprinkle the feta and chives over the top and then fold everything together, kneading 10 to 15 times to pull the dough into a single clump, with the feta and chives evenly mixed in.
  8. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough to an inch thick.
  9. Using a cookie cutter( I used a 2 1/2 inch cutter) cut out the scones, making sure not to twist the cutter at all as you press down.
  10. Place the scones on the baking tray leaving a gap between each one.
  11. Beat the egg and brush over the top of each scone.
  12. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper on the top.
  13. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the tops are a nice golden brown and when pressed the scones seem quite firm to the touch.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  15. Then can be served warm.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Moose Cookies (Basic Cookie Dough)

Firstly let me apologise for the length of time since my last post.  This was due to a failure of my internet connection, and courtesy of lamentable service by Virgin Media to get me reconnected.  What was supposed to take no more than 48 hours ended up taking more than 5 days, and there is still some question as to how robust my connection currently is.

Anyway, rant over, today I am posting a very basic cookie, shaped with a Moose cookie cutter.  I 'stole' this cookie cutter from my niece who wanted me to make some of the cookies.  I used the recipe which came with the cookie cutter and it is a very basic one.  But that is no bad thing.  Of course the thing to remember is that having made the dough it can be used with any cutters to make the cookies.

They tasted very good, and I frosted some which gave them an even better taste.  This basic recipe will be my 'go to' one for cookies.  In fact I shall probably make some dough and freeze it to always have some on hand.
Moose Cookies

                                        Moose Cookies - Video Ingredients:
For the cookies:
  • 225g softened unsalted butter
  • 320g plain flour
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg (large in USA)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For the frosting:
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 15g softened butter
  • 1 tbs milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 drop of lemon extract(optional)
  1. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy( I used my hand mixer)
  2. Add the vanilla extract and egg and mix to combine.
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined and clumping together nicely.
  4. Turn the dough out onto some plastic wrap and form a disc.
  5. Wrap it up and chill in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F
  7. Line a couple of baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  8. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
  9. Cut out the cookie shapes you wish and transfer to the baking trays.
  10. Roll remaining dough again and cut out more cookies as before.
  11. Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are just beginning to colour.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cook, transferring onto a wire rack after a couple of minutes.
  13. If required make some frosting by mixing together all the icing ingredients until you have a nice, thick paste.  
  14. Spread the icing on the cookies and allow to set.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Raspberry Scones

While I was visiting family in Canada I made some raspberry scones for my niece as they are a particular favourite of hers.  These scones are not quite how we know scones in the UK, but the texture is very similar, just the shape is rather different. That said the batter for these is rather wetter than we would have for a British scone.  Those tend to be much more crumbly and less cake-like than these.  Nevertheless these scones are simply delicious.  In fact while I was in Canada I made three separate batches of them as they were enjoyed so much. 

Scones are quite simple to make just a few ingredients, and they don't take long from start to finish.  You can be eating warm scones in less than 30 minutes,  if you wish.

My did turn out very well indeed, even though the shapes were not quite uniform.  Subsequent efforts were more triangular in shape as I had mastered the cutting technique.

I recommend these to anyone who wants a simple but very tasty treat.
Raspberry Scones

Raspberry Scones - Video
  • 260g plain flour
  • 65g granulated sugar
  • 85g ice cold butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g fresh raspberries(frozen is fine too)
  • 180ml buttermilk( I used milk and added 3/4 tbsp lemon juice and left for about 5 minutes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract(optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F
  2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone mat.
  3. Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt to the flour in a bowl and mix to combine.
  4. Add the butter and cut into the flour until you have achieved fine breadcrumb texture(I did this in a food processor, for quickness).
  5. With the flour and butter mixture in a large bowl add the sugar and whisk to combine.
  6. Add the raspberries and gently stir to mix in.
  7. Add about 160ml of buttermilk and stir until all the flour has been combined into the mixture.
  8. Add a little more buttermilk if necessary.  The mixture will be sticky.
  9. Flour the work surface and tip the mixture onto the flour.
  10. Gently ensure the mixture is coated with some flour and form into a disc about 7 inches in diameter.
  11. Cut into 8 wedges, flouring the cutting blade to ensure no sticking.
  12. Transfer to the baking tray and brush the tops with the remaining buttermilk to help with browing.
  13. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the tops have browned and the scones are spring to the touch.
  14. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Amish Friendship Bread

It was suggested to me that I might like to try to make Amish Friendship Bread.  I hadn't heard of it so I did a little reading.  It seems that the particular recipe, or variations of it, are not really what Amish people really eat.  Rather, it is the process of making a starter dough over ten days that can then be used to make the bread, or cake, and the leftover starter can be shared with friends so that they can also make some. 

The process is long-winded, since to make the starter dough takes 10 days, though it doesn't take more than a minute or two at the start and then a few seconds each day.  On the 10th day it is then ready to make the loaf/cake.  I followed the process documents on The Friendship Bread Kitchen

The actual loaf or cake can be of any flavour, and I am going with a fairly basic cinnamon with raisins and pecans. Another unusual element which is called for is something called 'instant pudding'.  This is common in North America but not readily available in the UK.  So I used Angel Delight instead, and a strawberry version of that.  One important thing is that I read everywhere that no metal should be used in making this recipe.  So ceramic, silicone, glass is what I used.

The recipe below shows how to make the starter dough and then to make the Amish Friendship Bread.  It actually makes two loaves and I must say mine turned out great.  I really did enjoy it immensely.  So I shall be making this again for sure.
                                        Amish Friendship Bread

                                 Amish Friendship Bread - Video
For the starter dough:
  • 7g (one packet) active dry yeast
  • 60ml warm water (about 43C/110F)
  • 128g/1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 200g/1 cup white sugar
  • 240ml/1 cup milk
  • day6 128g plain flour
  • day6 240ml milk
  • day6 200g sugar
For the Amish Friendship Bread:
  • 240ml/1 cup of starter dough
  • 3 medium eggs (large in USA)
  • 240ml/1 cup oil
  • 120ml/½ cup milk
  • 200g/1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 256g/2 cups flour
  • 1-2 small boxes instant pudding (any flavor)( I used 2 packets Angel Delight - Strawberry flavour)
  • 100g/1 cup nuts, chopped (optional) ( I used pecans)
  • 120g/1 cup raisins (optional)
  1. Place the yeast into the warm water and add a little of the sugar and stir in.
  2. Leave to activate for ten minutes.
  3. In a large bowl place the sugar, flour and milk.
  4. Add the activated yeast and whisk until all is combined.
  5. Place the mixutre into a large ziploc bag, or other container that can be sealed.
  6. This activity is the completion of day 1.
  7. On days 2, 3, 4 and 5 open the bag and allow the gas to escape.
  8. Close the bag again and mash the mixture about for a few seconds.
  9. On day 6 add the day6 milk, sugar and flour to the bag and mash to combine.
  10. On day 7, 8 and 9 release the gas and mash the dough again.
  11. On day 10 it is time to make the bread.
  12. Preheat oven to 165C/145C Fan/325 F
  13. Mix a little flour with the raisins
  14. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients in the order listed above.
  15. Grease two lIarge loaf pans.
  16. Dust the greased pans with a mixture of ½ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
  17. Pour the batter evenly into loaf or cake pans and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture on the top.
  18. Bake for one hour or until the bread loosens evenly from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
  19. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving.
  20. Share the remaining starter dough, or freeze in 240ml  amounts for future use.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Lemon Icebox Cheescake

I saw a recipe for an icebox or, as we might call it, a refrigerator cheesecake. The recipe was on Cook's Country and it looked very good, so I thought I would give it a try.

The only baking is of the biscuit crumb base.  For flavour there is lemon juice and lemon curd, mixed into a cream and cream cheese filling.  It is easy to make, but does have to be left to set for about 6 hours before cutting and eating.

For mine I used leaf gelatine, rather than powdered gelatine to set the cheesecake and it worked well.  In fact I love the texture, and of course the sublime lemon flavour.  Although the recipe calls for home made lemon curd I am sure that any quality shop bought curd would be just fine.

So this is a recipe that works well and is very tasty, I heartily recommend it to all.
Lemon Icebox Cheesecake

                       Lemon Icebox Cheesecake - Video
For the base:
  • 220g of lemon sandwich biscuits(or digestives or graham crackers)
  • 28g of melted butter
  • Zest of one lemon

For the curd:
  • 1 medium egg(large in USA)
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 14g butter
  • 15ml double cream
For the filling:
  • 5 leaves of gelatine  ( or a packet of gelatine powder)
  • 500ml cold water( to soften gelatin)
  • 60ml lemon curd
  • 60 ml lemon juice
  • 680g cream cheese
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • Remainder of lemon curd for piping on top.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F
  2. Put the biscuits into a processor and mix until they are finely crumbled.
  3. Add the melted butter and mix again until combined.
  4. Place the mixture into a 9in/23cm springform cake tin.
  5. Level the crumbs over the base and press down firmly to pack the crumbs together, level.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the base has firmed up and is golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  8. In a saucepan put the 50g caster sugar, the egg and egg yolk and the lemon juice.  
  9. Whisk together until all mixed.
  10. Heat , very gently, stirring all the time with a whisk to avoid the egg cooking, until the mixture has thickened up.
  11. Remove from the heat and add the butter and double cream and stir until melted and mixed in.
  12. Pour the curd into a bowl and refrigerate to cool down and thicken more.
  13. Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl with the cold water and leave for 5 minutes.
  14. Remove the softened gelatine leaves and squeeze out the excess water.
  15. Place the gelatine leaves in a saucepan with the lemon juice and gently heat until the leaves are dissolved(do not allow to boil)
  16. Pour the lemon juice and gelatine into a bowl and allow to cool.
  17. In the bowl of a stand mixer(you can do this all by hand or with a hand mixer and a large bowl) place the cream cheese and sugar.
  18. Beat with the paddle attachement until the cream cheese has incorporated the sugar and is nice and smooth.
  19. Add the double cream and mix again until all is combined.
  20. Add the cooled lemon juice mixture and the 60ml lemon curd and mix until combined.
  21. Pour the mixture over the cooled biscuit base and shake the tin gently to allow the mixture to level out.
  22. Pipe the remaining lemon curd onto the top, gently, in any pattern you want, and use a skewer to swirl around if you wish.
  23. Refrigerate for 6 hours.
  24. Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the cake tin and then release the cheesecake.
  25. Cut and serve.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Lemon Shortcake Biscuts(Cookies)

Shortcake, as opposed to shortbread, biscuits are popular in the UK.  The usually come in an oblong form, flat in the middle with a pattern around the edges.  I have looked for a recipe to make those but have never found one.  Most of the time when I search for 'shortcake' I am presented with recipes of the US type of shortcake, which is more cake-like.  So I decided to try to make my own.  I also had just bought a nifty little gadget that I wanted to try out for pressing a pattern onto biscuits.  So killing two birds with one stone seemed like a good idea. 

For mine I decided upon lemon shortcake biscuits, but only with lemon zest to give just a subtle hint of lemon in the biscuit.  These biscuits are less heavy on the butter than shortbread but, in my opinion, are just as nice and ideal with a cup of tea or coffee.

The recipe is simple, easy to make and has only a few ingredients.  You do have to wait a couple of hours, to chill the dough enough to form the biscuits, but that is no particular hardship.

Mine turned out very well, they taste wonderful, and are nice and crunchy, just as a shortcake biscuit should be.

Lemon Shortcake Biscuits
Lemon Shortcake Biscuits - Cookies - Video

  • 350g plain flour
  • 130g softened butter
  • 120g icing sugar (150 g if you dont use the vanilla sugar below)
  • 30g vanilla sugar(that is caster sugar that I had stored with an empty vanilla bean pod to infuse the sugar with a vanilla flavour)
  • 2 medium eggs(large in USA)
  • Zest of lemon(I used two small lemons the zest weighed 4 grams)

  1. In a bowl sift the icing sugar and cream with the vanilla sugar and the butter, until nicely smooth.
  2. Add the eggs and lemon zest and mix until fully combined.
  3. Add the flour and mix until combined and the biscuit dough is smooth.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap shaped into a rough square flat disc and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/320F
  6. Line some baking trays( I used 4 but I baked in two batches, so two would be enough), with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  7. Take the dough from the fridge and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness(I cut my dough into 4 and did each piece separately, keeping the remainder chilled).
  8. Using a cookie cutter of about 2.25 inches cut out the cookies( you should get 40 plus extra from cut off dough re-rolled).
  9. Place on the baking tray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the biscuits are just beginning to change colour.
  10. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.