On the second day of Christmas, Bake Good gave to me…Stollen! Yeah, not exactly how the song goes but you get the picture. Don’t worry, I won’t make that joke for all twelve posts, I don’t think anyway.
My mum had requested I make stollen when I’m back home for Christmas, so I thought I better get a practice run in beforehand to avoid disappointment. As usual, I brought this in to work to save eating the whole loaf myself, which could have happened because it tastes amazing! To my surprise, although it went down well, almost nobody had actually heard of stollen before. I assumed everyone had this in their cupboards at Christmas but perhaps it was just my family! Basically it is a dense, sweet fruit bread filled with marzipan. According to my sources (read: Wikipedia) it is originally from Germany.
There were various recipes, some using plain flour and some with bread flour, different levels of spice, different fruits, with and without nuts. Complicated. So I went with one of my kitchen idols Delia….and then went ahead and changed it to suit the ingredients I’d bought! As per a Nigel Slated recipe, I added cardamom which was a really nice touch of soft fragrant spice that seemed to pair very well with the sultanas, cranberry and apricot. This loaf is a little lighter than the shop bought alternative, which is a good thing in my opinion, and is further enhanced by a light toasted before serving.
If you’ve never had stollen before I hope you give it a try and an alternative baked treat this Christmas! (more…)
I always really enjoy making bread, or yeast based recipes I should say, even though I don’t make them very often. It’s always a bit of an experiment because of my lack of confidence and familiarity with bread techniques. It’s getting there though, practice makes perfect as they say!
One of my main problems is that I don’t stick to the basics enough. The best advice would be to start with a simple recipe, perfect it, and then start to play around with the flavours. Sometimes there just not enough time for all that and you just want to dive right in to combining two recipes with a dash of your own ideas.
Sometimes this is a disaster. Sometimes this is a success.
Now, perhaps if this focaccia recipe was presented to Paul Hollywood he would not be handing out any star baker accolades (sorry, I just finished watching the Bake Off) , but I thoroughly enjoy it. The bread has a slightly crispy exterior with a spicy, fruity, chewy interior and the maple glaze adds a perfect extra sweetness. It equally makes a great breakfast and bedtime snack served cold or warmed in the oven. (more…)
So last week we had homemade jam, which was totally delicious but even I can’t eat jam straight from the jar. What we need is some kind of vehicle to get the jam into our tummys…oh, bread! Duh.
So I made some tasty homemade bread to go with the homemade jam, and it’s healthy bread too so you can eat lots of it. I bought rye flour about two months ago and have never quite gotten around to making bread with it. I had looked at a few recipes but the thought of a pure rye loaf seemed a bit intense. Then I stumbled across a Nigel Slater recipe which sounded like a good balance of white and wholemeal bread flours.
This loaf is quite dense in texture but it has a lovely deep, nutty flavour that works especially well with the slightly tart gooseberry jam. I preferred this loaf toasted, especially after the first day or two , with the melting butter mixing with the jam.
It also tastes amazing with the chocolate peanut butter spread that I found in a deli in Perth (it can also be found in Wholefoods Glasgow). That’s right, chocolate and peanut butter together in a spread! It saves me mixing the Nutella and PB myself…
Does anyone remember The OC? Well, I sincerely hope you do or I have extremely young readers! I’ve been having a bit on an OC revival recently. One of my friends lent me the boxset, all four seasons on DVD! This week, whilst I’ve been on my own in the flat, I’ve been enjoying an episode of season 4 before bed. My love of Seth Cohen has come flooding back, I must say (his sarcastic, emo ways, checked shirts and curly hair get me every time) as well as my desire to upsticks and move to a California beach…sigh.
Anyways, the reason I’m rabbiting on about The OC is because my bedtime snack to accompany my DVD watching has been wholemeal rye toast (recipe later this week) and gooseberry jam. A combination destined to be together, just like Seth and Summer…ok, I’ll stop!
This jam is sweet but tart, the gooseberries hold their shape a bit to give just enough texture. I can only remember having gooseberries in yogurt before (Morrisons Gooseberry Fool is a-mazing) and have never cooked with them. This jam was a definitely success, I’ll have to try a gooseberry pie next I think.