BAKE

Homemade Bread Series: Brioche Loaf

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This is the second installment in my new series about the wonder of homemade bread (you can read the first post on black olive bread here). Wonderful golden fluffy brioche, enriched with egg and in vogue bun for burgers. Brioche has pushed me to my limits on more than one occasion. The first time was not long after my 23rd birthday, on a whim Dan and I planned a trip to Paris, neither of us had ever been before. I was fresh out of art school was dying to see the Andy Warhol retrospective at the Grande Palais.

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Our mild grasps of GSCE level French had served us well, and thankfully most people we had encountered spoke at least a little english. Until one morning, with my Parisian food bucket list firmly in my mind, we set out to a tiny bakery across the road from our hotel to buy freshly baked brioche. Gleaming orbs of fluffy light bread topped heavily with sugar or oozing with chocolate, sat behind the window, nestled between croissants and pain au chocolat. In my best (yet still horrific) french accent I asked ‘Je voudrais deux brioche s’il vous plaît’ to which the baker asked me several probably completely normal questions about my request in perfect and eloquent French. To this day I still have no real idea what he said. Clutching firmly to the thought that I might have heard the word sugar I nervously replied ‘avec du sucre?’. After what felt like the longest wait, where I was sure I had just said something completely idiotic, which had me questioning how I’d ever passed any language exams, the baker lent down behind the counter and popped two immaculate rolls into a bag.

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^^^ looking fresh faced outside Notre Dame ^^^

I would love to be able to speak a second language but no matter how many times I try, anything I learn falls out of my head faster than it entered. In comparison to making myself understood to someone who doesn’t share a language with you, this loaf is a cake walk. It is very similar to a normal white loaf, but with the addition of an egg. The result is a fluffy rich bread, that makes the best french toast – recipe to follow later this week!

Previously on BAKE

One Year Ago- My Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Two Years Ago- Greek Basil and Walnut Pesto

Social Media Links

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Brioche Loaf

makes a 2lb loaf recipe by Jennifer Brown

Ingredients

50ml boiling water

150ml tap water

50ml milk

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 sachet/7g fast action yeast

420g strong white flour plus extra for lining the tin

40g plain flour

3 tbsp olive oil

1 egg beaten

flavourless oil for greasing the bowl

Instructions

  1. Stir together the hot and cold water with the milk and sugar, then stir in the yeast. If you add the yeast first the hot water can kill it, which will stop your bread from rising and leave you with something inedible. Leave this to one side for about five minutes until it begins to foam.
  2. Tip the flours and salt into a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment on, and stir on low for about 10 seconds, just to enough to combine the ingredients.
  3. Pour the yeast mix, oil and egg into the mixing bowl and mix at a medium speed (I use 6 on my KitchenAid) for 10 minutes, until it forms an elastic dough that springs back when you press it.
  4. Grease a large mixing bowl ready to prove the loaf in.
  5. This is a very wet dough so it’s worth greasing your hands with flavourless oil when you handle it or it will stick to you. Remove the dough from the stand mixer and roughly shape into a ball. Place it in the greased mixing bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave in a warm place for a hour to rise.
  6. When the dough has risen (this is the tricky bit to explain!) stretch the dough out until you have formed a thin sheet about 1cm thick. Fold into thirds - imagine you’re folding an A4 letter to go into a standard envelope. Starting at one of the thinner ends, roll the dough towards you, using your thumbs to tightly tuck the roll so it stays taut, you don’t want any gaps in the roll.
  7. Place the loaf in the tin, sprinkle with flour, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise a second time, for about an hour or until it’s doubled in size again.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200C and place a tray of water in the bottom of the oven, the steam helps to create the best crust.
  9. Place the loaf in the oven for 10 minutes. After the time has elapsed turn the oven down to 160C and bake for a further 20 minutes. When cooked the loaf should sound hollow when you tap on the base. If the top starts to catch during cooking (which mine did in my super dodgy oven) cover with foil when it starts to look like it’s about to burn, and leave covered in the oven until it’s finished cooking.
  10. Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire baking tray. If you leave it in the tin it can end up going soggy as the steam escapes.
  11. Enjoy with soft cheeses and sweet berries, or as the best french toast - recipe to follow on Wednesday.
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Around the Web – 3

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The past couple of weeks have been absolutely manic, with carnivals, birthday parties, food shoots for new companies, coffee dates with dear friends, and preparing for the Big Feastival and a commercial shoot this weekend. I get run down easily so I have been trying to sneak a few more colourful fruit and vegetables into my diet (do they still count drizzled in honey atop french toast?).

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^^^ What food photography shoots look like ^^^

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^^^ With Graham, Dan and Andrew at Notting Hill ^^^

Somewhere in amidst my ever expanding London bucket list was revisiting the tiny, bustling Maltby Street market in Bermondsey. I met friends for lunch there last Saturday, and gorged myself on the biggest box of puy lentils and spicy mango, much to the disgust of my peers, who chose thick meaty burgers and wraps stuffed with steak and chorizo. From their we lazily wandered through the back streets to the White Cube gallery, to catch the Gilbert and George exhibition being show there until late September. Then off across the river to Dalston to another exhibition (Comic Sans For Cancer now shut) and rather greedily to Street Feast for a late dinner.

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^^^ Attempting a Gilbert and George quirky pose outside the exhibition, it’s tougher than it looks! Those two 70 year olds have some posing skills! ^^^

This weekend, whilst fun, will be slightly less social, as I am working through most of it, but I should have some fun photos to share next week.

Catching my eye this week:

I want to do: well it’s not so much a ‘want to do’ as a ‘going to do’ here’s a fascinating recounting of behind the scenes at a food photography shoot by Matt Bites as I will be working on a Christmas advert on Saturday.

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^^^ French Toast with Melon and Nectarines ^^^

I want to eat: Before last October I don’t think I had ever eaten Vietnamese food before, but now I just can’t get enough of it, White On Rice Couple’s Vietnamese twist on an American classic, fried chicken, is the perfect dish for an end of summer party.

With this for dessert: I read Skye’s post on gelato with grappa soaked raisins and sugary pine nuts yesterday morning (even the title is so beautiful!), and it’s all I’ve been able to think about ever since, I will have to make that dessert in the next week.

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^^^ Banana and Ginger Cake ^^^

I want to go: to Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival, I’ll be there for a couple of hours tomorrow evening at the Supper Club Tent, hopefully next year I will be able to go for a little longer!

This was really interesting: Quick and dirty tips for SEO, something I can’t ever imagine getting my head around! but I will definitely be trying some out some of the Fresh Exchanges recommendations.

Fun Fact Of The Week: Artichokes bloom into beautiful purple flowers! That really surprised me when it happened to the ones at work.

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^^^ Artichoke Flowers ^^^

Previously on BAKE

One Year Ago- S’more Cupcakes
Two Years Ago- Julia Child’s Reine De Saba

Social Media Links

Tomato Free Jamaican Curry {Vegan}

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Last weekend I knocked another item off my proverbial bucket list – ‘go to Notting Hill Carnival’. I know for a lot of Londoners the mere idea of attending may cause them to shudder (my boss’s words were ‘really? good luck’) but I absolutely loved it. It was nothing at all like I imagined, first and foremost because we completely missed the parade. We did see some drummers, Dan excitedly took it upon himself to join in by tapping one of the musician’s drums, which they were surprisingly cool about. We spent most of our time on Portobello Road amongst giant sound systems blaring out garage and house music, which is not something I usually listen to but I love pretty much any excuse to dance, so I went with it. Along with drinking dripping cans of Red Stripe from a dingy carrier bag and tiny tubs of vodka jelly at 2pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the day was full of things I don’t generally do.

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We chose to go on Sunday, which is the ‘child friendly’ day (which would have me exclaiming ‘really? good luck!’ to anyone thinking of bring a small child – which many did), rather than the Monday, which is known slightly worryingly as ‘the stabby day’. Reading the news later, apparently it was unusually busy that day due to bad weather predicted on Monday. I was lucky, we didn’t see much trouble and stayed in the slightly less busy crowds. Some of our group got caught in a crush and were pushed down away from us in a wave of screaming people which sounded terrifying, and due to poor phone signal couldn’t find the rest of our party and ended leaving early.

^^^ photo of the crowds by one of the people I went with – it was absolutely packed! ^^^

One regret I have from the day is that I didn’t try out any of the plethora of food stands, which is very unlike me. I felt slightly cheated, but after reading several recipes and finding that quite a few are based around tomatoes (which I can’t eat) it was probably for the best. Like the other vegetarian dishes I have shared on here this summer (mexican baked eggs and sweet potato burgers) this recipe uses black beans, which is funnily enough not something I use as frequently as it would seem. This is a great recipe for after work as it can be made in around thirty minutes, and can use what ever vegetables you have lurking in the bottom of your fridge. For example, I had three lone new potatoes, so I scaled down the quantity of sweet potato and subbed them in (I hate food waste). Depending on the brand of Jamaican spice you use (I used Tropical Sun) and personal taste you may want to add extra spice in the form of a chilli. I have also omitted salt and pepper from the recipe, as both were in the spice mix I used, so it’s worth checking the label before adding seasoning.

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Previously on BAKE

One Year Ago- S’more Cupcakes
Two Years Ago- Julia Child’s Reine De Saba

Social Media Links

Tomato Free Jamaican Curry {Vegan}

serves four recipe by Jennifer Brown

Ingredients

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 onion diced

2x garlic cloves finely chopped

1 chilli finely chopped (optional)

thumb of ginger peeled and finely chopped

1 medium sweet potato (mine was 340g), peeled and cubed

500ml vegetable stock

½ tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp jerk seasoning

1 red pepper cubed

100g runner beans sliced

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup of your preferred rice (I always measure rice by cup)

75g frozen peas

handful of coriander

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan to a medium-low heat, add the onion and sweat for 5 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, chilli and ginger and fry for a further minute, stirring regularly to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
  3. Place the sweet potato in the pan and pour over the stock, stir through the jerk seasoning and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer, cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
  4. Whilst the sweet potato is cooking, boil the water for the rice. You want to start the rice cooking a couple of minutes before the timer reaches 10 minutes. Cook the rice as per the instructions.
  5. Here’s where I differ from how you should probably cook the rice, and how I will cook it because I will always try to find shortcuts in the kitchen. You should cook the peas in boiling water in a separate pan for a couple of minutes until they all begin to float to the surface. But that’s more washing up, so what I do is throw the peas in with the rice after about 5 minutes, then check the rice when the timer is up and if it needs it cook it for an extra minute or two. It’s always worked for me, but if you are unsure cook the peas separately.
  6. Roughly destem the coriander, hold the bunch in two hands and twist to break the coriander where the majority of the leaves start. Finely chop the stems, and put to one side. Reserve a small pile of leaves to decorate the curry and then roughly chop the rest.
  7. When the potato has been cooking for 10 minutes add the runner beans, black beans, shopped coriander stems and red pepper and cook for a further 10 minutes. You want to start trying to reduce the liquid slightly.
  8. When the rice is cooked, drain, and whilst still in the sieve pour a kettle of boiling water over it to remove any residual starch. Return to the pan and stir through the roughly chopped coriander leaves.
  9. Serve the rice and curry with a sprinkling of coriander leaves.
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Vanilla Salt Marshmallows

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It probably isn’t much of a surprise to those of you who saw the pictures I shared of my new apartment, or those who saw pictures of my last, that I am an avid reader, which my groaning book shelves can attest to. In all truth, that isn’t even the half of it, as I have said before, I now read most of my books on my Kindle. While quite a few of the books I read are thriller (anything by Gillian Flynn) or comical shorts (Sloane Crosley and Mindy Kaling) I have a special place for those who write about food. They capture my attention, inspire to be more adventurous with my cooking and make me wish I could be a better food writer.

Vanilla-Salt

When Alma books offered to send me a food fiction book, I instantly said yes, and it rocketed straight to the top of my summer reading pile. Vanilla Salt (hey that’s the type of marshmallow in this post!) by Ada Parellada is the story of a the failing restaurant of a stubborn, stuck in his ways chef brought back to life by the new, beautiful, vivacious foreign kitchen help. Whilst the over arching plot is the typical generic romance that you want when lounging around in hot weather, what really makes the book special is the love affair between the author and the food she writes about. As a chef herself she brings a life and magic to the scenes in the kitchen that make you feel as though you, yourself are standing over the pans stirring them. Like the movie Chef, I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, this book shows the importance of social media in the food industry, and how it has changed how people discover and share their experiences of food.

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As soon of I read the title I imagined up sugary pillows of vanilla-y marshmallow capped with a savoury twist of maldon sea salt. There is nothing quite like a homemade marshmallow, it is so much smoother and moist than it’s shop bought counterpart. With the help of a candy thermometer they are relatively simple to make, and you get to experience my favourite bit of kitchen magic. The moment when, as you slowly trickle hot sugar syrup into the bowl, the egg white goes from an unattractive foam to puffing up into something luxurious and thick.

Slight side note to this post. I finally found graham crackers in the UK (At Loon Fung in Chinatown)! Which meant I finally tried my first ever s’more and it was amazing!

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Previously on BAKE

 

One Year Ago- Sticky Chicken

Two Years Ago- Moules à la Marinière

 

Social Media Links

Vanilla Salt Marshmallows

makes 16 large mallows recipe by Jennifer Brown

Ingredients

1 egg white

½ tsp lemon juice

280g sugar

60ml water

5 gelatin leaves

1 ½ tsp glycerin syrup

Seeds of one vanilla pod

5 tbsp cornflour

flavourless oil

maldon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Leave the gelatin leaves to soak in a bowl of cold water.
  2. Wipe the inside of the bowl and mixer beaters with a piece of kitchen tissue dipped in lemon juice. This removes any trace of fat from the equipment which would stop the egg whites from holding any air and puffing up.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan mix together the sugar, water and glycerin. Put on the stove over a medium high heat, and using the candy thermometer boil until it reaches 120C.
  4. When the sugar has reached 105-10C start to whisk your egg white until it forms stiff peaks.
  5. When the sugar has reached 120C turn the beater down to medium-low, gently pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl, making sure not to hit the beater (this will cause the sugar to fly out of the bowl which is both dangerous and messy).
  6. Squeeze the water from the gelatin leaves and add with the vanilla to the marshmallow mix.
  7. Turn the whisk up to medium high and beat until the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature.
  8. Whilst the marshmallow is whisking generously coat the inside of your plastic tub with oil.
  9. Pour the marshmallow into the tub, cover lightly with clingfilm and leave to set for an hour.
  10. Using an oiled knife cut the marshmallows into squares and then coat them in the cornflour mix.
  11. To add the salt to the marshmallow, using either a paint brush or the tip of your finger dab a tiny amount of water in the middle of the marshmallow (this will help the salt stick). Press a few flakes of maldon sea salt to the marshmallow.
  12. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

Notes

specialist equipment: candy thermometer stand mixer or electric whisk plastic tubs

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Around the Web – 2

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^^^ breakfast/organic fruit from Wholegood at work

After deciding to skip last weeks round up as I was away, I am back with the second instalment in my new series. It’s been a fun foodie few weeks. Last Friday after months of cancelled plans I finally made it to Street Feast at Dalston Yard. It was a great way to cross off a couple of places on my London restaurant wish list as there was a great mix of established names as well as some smaller brands. I was so excited to see a tomato free option on Pizza Pilgrims menu, and they did not disappoint with portobello mushrooms and truffle oil over a roux sauce, definitely a combination I will be recreating at home.

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^^^ It’s only take 5 years to get a photo of the four of us together

The next day we headed off to Secret Cinema’s Back to the Future screening in Stratford. The level of detail in the recreation was incredible. In the weeks preceding we were given new identities and encouraged to dress up for the performance. I worked at the garage and Dan was a high school student. Apart from what felt like obvious cougar overtones it was fun to pretend to be someone else for the evening. I particularly loved the characters they had walking round interacting with the crowd (Lorraine told us that she was upset that her Mum would not let her on prom committee and Lou came up to ask us if we were enjoying the food from his diner) and acting out scenes from the film. We were lucky enough to see most of the scenes from up close (I have friends who missed nearly all of them) starting with seeing a commotion out of the corner of my eye that turned out to be the scene where Marty got run over. The whole thing culminated in a screening of the first movie on the town hall which we watched from the faux grass town square being lapped by a Delorean (!!!!!!) at appropriate parts of the movie.

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^^^ In our costumes (Texaco workers were told to bring a chamois cloth hence the one hanging from my belt)  for Secret Cinema before we had to hand in our phones

For the rest of the day I am going to be in the kitchen experimenting with recipes for the next few weeks content, so I shall leave you with a few things that have been inspiring me this week.

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^^^ beautiful chard/fennel panzanella

I want to do: more painted herb pots for my balcony, five was not enough! I have been obsessed with the idea of adding some colour to our tiny 2.4m² outdoor space ever since seeing Laura Gummerman’s painted outdoor rug. I just love her fun use of colour around her home, I can’t wait to get started on this fun coloured mat gallery wall project next!

I want to eat: smashed avocado and herbs with crepes posted by Shu on her stunning instagram and I have not been able to stop thinking about them. I love crepes, and I always think of savoury pancakes having something heavy and hearty as a filling so this light summery alternative really caught my eye.

With this for dessert: pistachio gelato, one of my absolute favourite summer desserts of all time.

I want to go: To Alexandra Palace. I can see it in the distance every time I stand at my kitchen sink, and after seeing Shiny Thoughts gorgeous photos from there we’ve decided to break out our bikes on Sunday and cycle up there for their farmers market.

Getting some serious kitchen envy: from Love Taza’s city apartment kitchen update, I just love those charcoal cabinets.

Foodie Fact of the week: marshmallows were originally designed as sore throat soothers, and they actually work!

Also around the web: one of my photos was included in a Huffington Post round up of rice krispie treats it’s so exciting to see something I made up next to some of my favourite bloggers.

Previously on BAKE

One Year Ago- Sunday Night Cake
Two Years Ago- Julia Child’s Madeleines

Social Media Links

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^^^ roasted strawberries and cream cheese bagels/fennel and ricotta foccaccia

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