Name: Jenny

Posts by Jenny:

    Recipe: French Pumpkin Pie

    December 5th, 2014

    I think that this french pumpkin pie might be my ultimate baking masterpiece. As I have mentioned several times I have a bit of a hatred when it comes to making pastry. A few failed attempts when I first started baking and an entire genre of baking is expunged from my kitchen. The shame is that decadent fruit filled tarts are always the first thing to catch my eye at bakeries (and whilst whiling away my hours on pinterest). Whenever I pass a patisserie it reminds me of eating raspberry topped tarts on a whirlwind trip to Paris when Dan and I first started dating. I dragged my friends to the other side of Amsterdam to try what had been hailed as the best apple pie in the city. So the moral of the story is that I love pastry, so long as I have had no hand in it’s making (even after my pear tarte tatin turned out so well earlier this year). Sometimes days off call for baking challenges.

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    French pumpkin pie is not a quick dessert. It take a few hours of pottering around the kitchen warm cup of tea in hand, flicking through brightly coloured cookbooks whilst slowly stirring a simmering pan on the stove. The result is a subtly sweet flakey pastry holding a silken vanilla filling, closer to an egg tart than it’s strongly spiced American cousins. If I was serving this for dessert at a dinner party, I would pipe delicate rosettes of whipped cream around the crust as an elegant end to the meal. As it was it was, this incarnation of the french pumpkin pie was consumed in much the same way as it was created, whilst relaxing at home, with a steaming cup of hot tea in my hand.

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    One Year Ago: Lime Cake With Mango and Passion Fruit Curd
    Two Years Ago: Mexican Hot Chocolate
    Three Years Ago: Metropolitan Cocktail

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    French Pumpkin Pie

    recipe from Jamie Does by Jamie Oliver serves 12

    Ingredients

    for the pastry:

    250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

    50g icing sugar

    125g butter, unsalted, cold and cut into small cubes

    1 large egg, beaten

    a spash of milk

    oil for greasing

    for the filling:

    500g pumpkin, peeled and deseeded

    500ml fill fat milk

    200g caster sugar

    1 vanilla pod, split in half and seed scraped out

    2 large eggs

    Instructions

    1. I prefer to make my pastry in a food processor, as it’s the only way I have ever been able to make it successfully. Seive the flour and sugar into the bowl of your food processor, and add the butter. Pulse a few times until it forms a bread crumb like texture and there are no large lumps of butter left. Add the beaten egg and blitz for a few seconds until incorporated. Add a small splash of milk and turn the processor on low until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap the ball in clingfilm and squash flat, then leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes until it has firmed up.
    2. Grease and flour your pastry tin. When the dough is ready, sprinkle flour over your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out the pastry until it is about 1.5cm thick, turning the pastry occasionally as you roll to stop it from sticking. Gently roll the pastry over the rolling pin to make it easier to handle, then carefully unfurl it over the tin. Tear a small scrap of pastry (about the size of an almond) and use it to push the pastry into the curves of the tin. This stops you from unintentionally tearing the pastry. Use a sharp knife to cut away the excess pastry. Cover the tart case with cling film and pop in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan).
    3. Whilst you pastry is cooling in the freezer put the pumpkin, milk, sugar and vanilla (seeds and pod) into a pan over a medium heat. Bring to a low simmer, stirring regularly to prevent the milk from catching. Do this for about 15 minutes, then partially cover with a lid and cook for a further 15 minutes until the pumpkin is soft. Turn off the heat, remove the vanilla pod and then using a stick blender, or a glass jug smoother maker blend until completely smooth. Return to the pan (if needed) and cover with a lid (to stop a skin from forming) and leave to cool to room temperature.
    4. When the pastry has cooled, remove the clingfilm and replace with baking paper. Fill the dish with uncooked rice or baking beads, gently pressing down on them to make sure they fill every part of the case, but not so hard that you press into the pastry. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes, then remove the paper and beads/rice (the rice can be used again so don’t throw it away). Cook the pastry shell for a further 10 minutes then remove from the oven. Leave the pastry to cool to room temperature and turn the oven down to 160C
    5. When the pumpkin filling has cooled whisk the two eggs into it, until well combined. Pour the pumpkin into the pastry shell and bake for 30 minutes until the filling has set but still has a slight wobble in the middle. Leave to cool and then serve. This will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
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    Recipe: Aubergine and Pomegranate Bruschetta

    November 24th, 2014

    On Saturday we headed down to Hyde Park to go to the annual Winter Wonderland.  It seemed so long ago that we were last there (though it was only a year) bemoaning the fact that we had to leave early to get back to Canterbury.  Excitedly, we planned how late we could stay the next year when we would be Londoners like all our friends – it closed at 10pm so not that late!  Unlike last year when we found a cozy bar and holed up for the night, this year we wandered round most of the attractions, buying German beer and mulled wine as we went.  The park is huge.  After four hours there I don’t think we covered all of it.  Each section has a different theme, from German market, to a mini Oktoberfest with light shows and a live Queen cover-band, and of course all the fairground rides illuminating the skyline.

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    As soon as the weather turns cold, and I start feeling festive, it seems like all my healthy eating plans go out the window.  I want live off a rotation of meats, bread, apple crumbles and hot chocolate.  Sneaking fresh produce into my diet becomes an uphill struggle against what I crave.  Aubergine is a brilliant vegetable for those seeking a substantial alternative to meat, with its spongy bite and savoury flavour caused by the charring. I usually throw it in to heavily spiced dishes like curries and burritos, but I was looking for something simpler as an easy lunch.

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    This Mediterranean inspired aubergine and pomegranate bruschetta is a little bite of sunshine in this cold, wet English winter weather.  Sweet pomegranate seeds burst with each bite and fresh mint brings a bright freshness to each mouthful.  Lemony yoghurt pulls all the flavours together, the citrus balancing out the umami of the griddled aubergine.  What I love most about it is that the hot toast and vegetable make this satisfyingly warming, which is exactly what I want at this time of year as I hide under layers of jumpers.

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    One Year Ago: Mulled Cider
    Two Years Ago: Unrefined Pancakes
    Three Years Ago: Marrakech

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    Recipe: Aubergine and Pomegranate Bruschetta

    makes 4 recipe by Jenny Brown

    Ingredients

    4 thick slices of good quality bread (I used this recipe with white flour instead of wholemeal)

    1 aubergine

    1 tbsp olive oil

    zest of half a lemon

    1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

    150g plain yoghurt

    pinch of salt

    seeds of half a pomegranate

    2 sprigs of mint

    Instructions

    1. Slice the aubergine into 7mm (approx) rounds and brush each side with a little olive oil. Heat a griddle pan to a high heat and lay the slices across it, making sure they don’t overlap. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each until the firm flesh has gone soft and lines are charred across it.
    2. Mix together the yoghurt with the lemon juice and zest and a pinch of salt.
    3. Lightly toast the bread, then assemble the bruschetta: generously layer aubergine, followed by a drizzle of yoghurt, a scattering of pomegranate seeds and a few leaves of mint.
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    Review – Uyen Luu’s Vietnamese Cooking Class

    November 19th, 2014

    One of the perks of being employed an immensely talented chef (and food stylist/food writer/author/photographer - you get it she’s amazing at a lot of stuff!) is that I get to eat more than my fair share of delicious meals and call it work. Sitting in her kitchen a few steps away from her stove, transcribing recipes, dictated as she industrially whips up incredible food, has taught me a lot. Enough to be able to pull together restorative chicken noodle soups when I feel under the weather, balancing sweet, salty, umami, sour and bitter in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to earlier this year. A few of Uyen’s recipes I now know by heart as they feature frequently on my own table, but I was lacking the basic foundation understanding of Vietnamese cuisine. When Uyen asked me if I would like to attend one of her popular cooking classes I jumped at the chance.

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    Uyen’s home is bright and inviting, full of flowers and props with her two friendly dogs padding around underfoot. The class started sat around a table with warm cups of fresh ginger tea, informal introductions and a quick lesson on the key ideas of Vietnamese cooking. How to balance flavours, yin and yang in cooking and how food is used to help cure ailments. Through out the class she imparted tidbits of history, family stories and recommendations of the best products to buy. One of my favourite parts was the field trip to the local Vietnamese supermarket. Uyen showed us her favourite brands, which products she found haven’t worked as well, and highlighted the differences in label illustrations to make sure you pick up the right one in the future. I came home with a full bag even though I frequent that shop most weeks! There was a real emphasis in the class that these were achievable, healthy, economical dishes that you could make at home.

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    Uyen and her Mum (who Uyen says in her mind sets the bar for Vietnamese cooking) taught us so many recipes, thinking back to it makes my head buzz slightly. Ten dishes in one afternoon – yes you get to eat all of it and yes you get to take home a doggy bag too – which is a lot for four and a half hours on a Saturday. If I had to whittle it down to three favourite dishes (which is saying something as they were all delicious) they would be: Thịt Heo Kho Yrứng, a rich savoury stew with melt in the mouth chunks of pork, dotted with quails eggs. Served with fluffy white rice it is both exciting to the palate and the ultimate comfort food. Bahn Xeo, which are eggless rice flour pancakes studded with pork belly and giant prawns. To offset the fried pancake you wrap each strip in a blanket of lettuce and mixed herbs which you then dunk in a spicy tangy dressing. I first ate this for pancake day this year, and I have been saving it to make for friends next Shrove Tuesday. It is impossible to eat neatly, I always lose half my filling in my dipping bowl.

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    Finally, Saigon Summer Rolls, packed with a mixture of vibrant fresh herbs, pork, prawns and noodles, wrapped tightly in paper thin rice paper. This was one of my favourite dinners, served with an array of dips this summer (though they take a little practice!). They are so good that Jamie Oliver invited Uyen to make them as the starter at his Feastival Supper Club this year! Here’s a video we filmed last month on how to make them at home (click here for the recipe)

    How To Make Vietnamese Summer Rolls By Uyen Luu from Uyen Luu on Vimeo.

    Thank you again Uyen for inviting me, and for more information on classes, supper clubs and more visit her website.

    One Year Ago: Mulled Cider
    Two Years Ago: Chocolate and Ginger Cake
    Three Years Ago: Marrakech

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    Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Pasta {Vegetarian}

    November 17th, 2014

    I’m back, rested and rejuvenated after an unintentional month off. And what a month it has been! At the beginning of November I took a quick weekend trip to Amsterdam to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It is such a beautiful city, so picturesque and tranquil, which lulls you into a false sense of security. One step in the wrong direction to admire one of the plethora of canals and you almost meet your untimely demise at the hands (or more accurately wheels) of one of the millions of manic cyclists. The other side of the city is a lot less tranquil, and far fuller of inebriated tourists. We spent a hilarious night, two roads away from canals reflecting red lights, singing Maroon Five karaoke, fuelled by the local Amstel beer. In my mind we were definitely the best, but what can I say, I’m biased.

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    This pasta was born out of tiredness and accidental necessity, but in my experience some of the tastiest meals are. After reading Deliciously Ella’s post on ‘Healthy Eating On The Go’ I have been trying to keep my fridge stocked with roasted mixed vegetables, homemade hummus and a giant tub of home cooked grains or quinoa. A little prep on a Sunday evening and lunches for the rest of the week involve nothing more than spooning the contents of various tubs onto a plate on into a lunch box. Roast a little extra veg and you have the beginnings of several easy to throw together meals right there. This meal can be made in the time it takes to cook spaghetti, if you have a well stocked fridge. This makes it a favourite of mine after a long day on a photoshoot when the siren call of the local Turkish takeaway is particularly alluring.

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    Butternut squash is one of my favourite roasted vegetables. It is high in antioxidants, and carotenoids (they cause it’s orange colour) which can help protect against heart disease and breast cancer. The delicate flavour of the squash helps balance out the sweetness of the roasted carrots. I prefer to use thyme as I love it paired with mushrooms, and as it grows the most abundantly on my balcony – despite my best black thumbed attempts at nurturing which usually ends in the early death of most of my plants. If you don’t have thyme then any woody herb, like rosemary or sage would work just as well.

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    One Year Ago: Mulled Cider
    Two Years Ago: Chocolate and Ginger Cake
    Three Years Ago: Marrakech

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    Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Pasta {Vegetarian}

    serves 2 recipe by Jenny Brown

    Ingredients

    for the roast vegetables:

    3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks

    ¼ butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks

    8 chestnut mushrooms, washed

    2 tbsp unsalted butter

    for the spaghetti:

    120g dried spaghetti

    1 tbsp unsalted butter

    4 sprigs thyme

    20g parmesan/pecorino

    salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 170C, cover the bottom of two tins with (preferably unbleached) baking parchment. Spread the carrots and butternut squash on one and dot around with the butter. Place the mushrooms in the second tin, and put both in the oven.
    2. At 10 minute intervals, use a wooden spatula or spoon to move the squash and carrots around, this makes sure they are equally coated with butter and cook evenly. The should be cooked through with brown edges after about 35-40 minutes.
    3. After 15 minutes (or maybe 20 if they are larger) remove the mushrooms from the oven. When they have cooled enough to handle cut into 5mm slices.
    4. Once the vegetables have been in the oven about 25 minutes, put the pasta on to cook according to the packet instructions. When soft, drain and leave to one side.
    5. In a large pan melt the butter, and add the leaves of the thyme, discarding the tough stalks. When they are sizzling slightly, and the oil from the herbs has infused with the butter, add the roasted vegetables and mushrooms. Fry for 1 minute stirring constantly to coat everything in the fragrant butter and to stop from sticking to the pan (if using preroasted vegetables this stage takes about 3-5 minutes until everything is warmed through).
    6. Add the pasta to the pan, and season with generous amount freshly ground pepper and a small pinch of salt (the cheese will be quite salty, so you don’t want to add too much salt at this point). Stir everything together until thoroughly mixed. Serve into dishes and top with freshly grated cheese.

    Notes

    I have given the quantities of vegetables for the two portion recipe, but it really is worth throwing in as much extra veg as you can and keeping it for later.

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    Favourites From The Web #5

    October 17th, 2014

    Last weekend I had the pleasure of joining a food shoot hosted by the incredibly talented Tara with her brilliant baking friend Nikoletta.  Tara is one of the most driven people I have ever met, and I feel constantly put to shame when I hear the amount of effort she puts in to achieving her dream career. She has the most beautifully curated collection of props, and a fantastic eye for style. Just check out her beautiful pinterest boards, so inspiring. Over the next few weeks I will be posting a few of the extra photos from the shoot, and of course will be sharing the recipes of the dishes I contributed.

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    The changing of the seasons has sent me into a bit of a fitness mode. My summer forgotten running shoes have been dusted off and I’ve been hitting the park, enjoying glimpses of skyscrapers through the treeline. After quitting my gym when I left Canterbury, I have dabbled in a few online fitness classes, with little luck. Xbox Fitness doesn’t register properly in our city sized living room and the Youtube videos where quite frankly terrifying! When I stumbled across Blogilates I was so excited. I can actually make it to the end of her videos! I may be shaking and sweating profusely but they are actually achievable for the average girl (ok I’m probably of sub average fitness!). I really hope I can hold on to this fitness streak, I have the slightly lame ambition of being able to run to London Bridge and back before the end of winter. It will also help me work off this ton of bread from the shoot this week.

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    Inspiring me this week:

    I want to do: A capsule wardrobe, Caroline from the blogging bombshell Un-Fancy’s  starter guide is so simple and clever. A spreadsheet and a giant pile of clothes and I am well on my way to my perfect fall/winter 37 items of clothing. It’s also a perfect excuse to go out a buy this and this.

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    I want to eat: This beautiful breakfast in bed from My Name Is Yeh, because not being the first one to brave the cold morning to put on the kettle is the ultimate form of winning.

    My Sweet Tooth Wants: Pretty much anything that involves cooked apples and cinnamon, I seriously cannot get enough of them! These spiced apple waffles from Vegetarian Ventures really caught my eye.

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    I want to go: Food prop shopping at Battersea (as recommended by Hemsley and Hemsley)

    This was really interesting: This guide to October produce in the UK by The Dinner Bell, it reminded me I need to make cauliflower cheese ASAP!

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    One Year Ago: My Vietnamese Kitchen Book Launch
    Two Years Ago: Halloween Cookies

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    3 Comments "

    Recipe: Herby Wild Mushrooms On Toast

    October 15th, 2014

    There is a cafe within hungover stumbling distance of my flat called Lazy Social. During a particularly party-filled weekend over the summer I ended up there for breakfast, head throbbing and dry-mouthed, twice in 24 hours. In part this was because I was craving their large plate of garlic and parsley butter mushrooms on sourdough, which I foolishly overlooked in favour of pancakes on the first visit. It’s not to say that I purposely went out of my way to imbibe in order to make the correct hangover brunch choice. But sometimes life presents you with opportunities and you just have to lean into them.

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    After my second breakfast there, the one I had spent the previous 24 hours obsessing over turned out to be a garlic and herb butter-devoid disappointment.  So since then I’ve made sure to keep a stock of ingredients, because even in my most incapacitated, frying a few mushrooms and tumbling them over toast is well within anyone’s grasp.

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    This version is a slight departure from my midsummer cravings, because lets face it, sometimes it’s kinder not arriving to an event surrounded by an allium haze. Most greengrocers are now stocked with the beautiful wild mushrooms that have just come into season. The earthy flavours of mushrooms pairs beautifully with woody herbs like thyme, which happens to be one of my favourites. That may have a little to do with the fact that it thrives in the UK and therefore I alway have an abundance growing on my balcony.  I love the slight tang of sourdough, but I think the flavours of the mushrooms really shine next to the nutty undertones of wholemeal bread.  This is a really fun way to use up those last few slightly stale slices from a really good quality (maybe homemade) loaf.

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    One Year Ago: My Vietnamese Kitchen Book Launch
    Two Years Ago: Halloween Cookies

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    Herby Wild Mushrooms On Toast

    serves 2 recipe by Jennifer Brown

    Ingredients

    10 mixed wild mushrooms

    1 tbsp olive oil

    4 sprigs of thyme

    1 tbsp butter

    salt and pepper to toast

    half a ball of mozzarella

    2 thick slices of bread lightly toasted

    Instructions

    1. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Clean and slice the mushrooms, and add them to the pan in a single layer making sure they are not too crowded (crowding stops them from browning properly).
    2. Shake the pan occasionally to stop the mushrooms from sticking. After 5 minutes or when they are golden brown on the underside, turn them over and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until they are brown all over.
    3. When the mushrooms are browned to your liking, add the butter to the pan and the leaves of the thyme. Using a wooden spoon stir the mushrooms until they are coated in the herby butter, for two minutes until the butter has slightly reduced. Season the mushrooms to taste.
    4. Spoon over the toast and top with torn mozzarella and serve hot.
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    Cookbook Review: The Fabulous Baker Brothers and Fresh Yeast Wholemeal Loaf

    October 6th, 2014

    My love of baking my own bread started with one book: The Fabulous Baker Brothers. Whenever I have a bread baking question it is always the first place I turn to for answers, like last weekend when I proudly returned from the Spence Bakery with a brown paper bag of fresh yeast and then realised I had no clue what to do with it; how to store it, how to use it, how long it would last.

    I picked the book up after a seeing a live cooking demonstration. Their cheeky-chappy nature and unfussy approach to ‘good old fashioned English grub’ appealed to me. Being written by a butcher and a baker it is full of classic dishes often overlooked, like homemade scotch eggs and my personal favourite: bread and butter pudding. The photography throughout is absolutely stunning, which I find all the more impressive as raw meat and bread are two of the things that I find most difficult to style. What comes through most of all is not the unpatronising manner to which they impart generations of knowledge, but their real passion for the subject of food.

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    Without this book I would not know that making my own bread at home every week is achievable, easy, delicious and cost effective. The recipe for burger buns is splattered and stained from preparation for summers of barbecues. I’ve made their simple loaf recipe so many times I know the quantities by rote. Their recipes have never failed me, and the results are always fantastic, I would unapologetically call it the most influential book in my collection, which is why, pungent paper bag in hand, I reached for the grey covered well worn copy to instruct me.

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    And so to fresh yeast. How do you use it? Basically exactly the same, but you use double the weight of fresh yeast as you would dried. Theoretically, fresh yeast gives a better flavour, but I can’t say I noticed. This is probably due to the fact that wholemeal bread has a stronger, nuttier taste than white. This weekend I will be experimenting with white flour instead, and I will let you know the results via instagram. The recipe for wholemeal bread is almost identical to white, but the dough absorbs water more easily which can make it slightly dry. The recipe recommends adding at least 10% more water (which I did) and feeling it from there. It will also need a few minutes longer kneading as it doesn’t contain the same gluten forming potential. The resulting loaf is thicker and less fluffy that a white loaf, but with far more flavour, and is particularly delicious toasted as it takes on a crunchy crust with a firm satisfying centre.

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    One Year Ago: Wholemeal Cornbread Loaf
    Two Years Ago: Canterbury Food Festival

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    Cookbook Review: The Fabulous Baker Brothers and Fresh Yeast Wholemeal Loaf

    makes a 2lb loaf from The Fabulous Baker Brothers

    Ingredients

    560g wholemeal flour

    10g fresh yeast

    330ml tepid water

    1 tsp salt

    20ml rapeseed oil

    extra oil for greasing

    Instructions

    1. In a jug mix together the 300ml of the water, yeast and oil. It will take a bit of stirring with a fork to dissolve all the yeast.
    2. In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer sift in the dry ingredients.
    3. Pour over the liquid, then use the last 30ml of tepid water to rinse any yeast stuck to the side of the jug and add that to the bowl too.
    4. Knead at a medium speed (about 4 on a KitchenAid) for 14 minutes until springy, this means that if you press into the dough to create a little dent it will slowly spring back.
    5. Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a ball. You do this by first pinching a small section of the side of the dough, stretching it out slightly then pressing it firmly into the middle of the dough, repeat the step to the immediate side of your first, then again until you’ve worked your way all the way round. Then flip the ball over, and using gently cupped hands quickly and lightly pull your hands over the side of the dough and underneath repeatedly, rotating as you go to create a smooth ball. Oil the mixing bowl liberally and place the dough back in it. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for an hour.
    6. When the dough has risen 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 a very well floured proving basket (I have this one), 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. About 30-40 minutes in, turn your oven on as high as it will go (or about 240C) - you want it screaming hot. If you have a baking stone – I used my pizza stone – put this in the oven now too. If you’re using a regular baking tray this can be left out until you need it.
    9. 10 minutes before your dough is ready put a tray of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.
    10. Remove the clingfilm, gently turn the loaf out onto the tray that you are using, with a sharp knife score along the top to prevent the crust for cracking, place in the oven and for and set a timer for 10 minutes.
    11. When your alarm goes off, remove the water tray from the oven and let some of the steam out, and turn the oven down to 210C, and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden and it sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom.
    12. Allow to cool, and keep in an airtight container to stop from going stale.
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    Recipe: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

    October 1st, 2014

    Somewhere in my attempts of embracing the change of seasons I have become somewhat obsessed with chocolate chip cookies. There is something so cheering about shedding your winter coat as you walk through your front door and warming up with a hot cup of tea and a sugary biscuit. I’ve shared a couple of recipes for chocolate chip cookies here before (Cupcakes and Cashmere’s recipe and For Me For You’s recipe) but my recent habit has been of the rolls wrapped in metallic red plastic variety. My Maryland obsession aside, I made these cookies as a fun dessert for a comfort food-themed dinner party I hosted at the weekend. Served warm and gooey from the oven paired with cold glasses of a boozy milk-based cocktail to dunk in.

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    I’ve made a few alterations to Joy The Baker’s recipe for Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies. This was based around personal preference (and what I had in my kitchen). I subbed vanilla extract for the seeds of one vanilla pod, swapped brown sugar for white caster and upped the treacle (molasses) quantity. That’s one of my favourite tiny kitchen tips, you can recreate/fake different brown sugars by adding varying amounts of treacle to white sugar until it’s about the right colour. You would not believe how much space you save not having a selection of bags of different sugars. I only have 1 ½ food cupboards, so I will take a food cheat where I can get one. Back to the recipe, I also prefer the only crunch of my chocolate chip cookie to be from the firmer outer diameter of the biscuit so I ousted the nuts and added a little more good quality dark chocolate (Tesco’s 74% Cocoa is amazing, and a really good price too).

    I learnt a few baking lessons making these cookies. Firstly halving the size of the cookie dough balls does not make smaller, cute, Maryland sized ones. It makes them thin and flat and crunchy. About 2 tbsp per serving makes the most perfect crunchy around the outside, soft and chewy on the inside biscuits. Also, they are way better the next day, rather than eaten straight away (I know this for a fact as I’m eating one as I’m writing this, the day after baking). Leaving them overnight allows the butter to cool (they are a little greasy when warm), the chocolate to set, and the overall texture to become exactly what you would hope it would be. My last lesson was not to trust my oven, which is a hard truth when you are a baker. The first batch I made came out burnt to a crisp (my smoke-filled flat will not win me hostess of the year awards!). I’ve given Joy’s timings in the recipe, but my cookies took between 5-15 minutes depending on where it was in the oven. If you’re unsure, it’s worth checking their progress about every 5 minutes until they are golden brown around the outside but still light in the middle.

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    Recipe: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

    makes 36 recipe by Joy The Baker

    Ingredients

    225g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, and separated into equal halves

    1 ½ cup caster sugar

    1 tbsp treacle

    1 large egg, plus one yolk

    1 vanilla pod

    2 ¼ cups of flour

    1 tsp salt

    1 tsp baking powder

    200g good quality high cocoa % dark chocolate, chopped.

    Instructions

    1. Put half the butter into a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat and melt. To brown the butter, keep heating it until it starts to sizzle and crackle, keeping stirring to stop the bottom from burning. The butter will start to smell richer and nutty as it browns. The butter solids will separate out, when these turn golden brown pour everything (including all the solids) into a bowl and leave to cool for 20 minutes.
    2. When the brown butter has cooled it’s time to start making the dough.
    3. Cream together one cup of sugar and the remaining half cup of butter, for about 4 minutes until it is light and fluffy and has puffed up. Add the seeds of one vanilla pod and the treacle to the bowl and continue to mix.
    4. Pour the brown butter and the rest of the sugar into the bowl and beat for a further 2 minutes, then add the eggs and beat for another minute.
    5. Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and beat until it’s combined. Using a wooden spoon stir through the chocolate. Wrap the dough tightly in clingfilm, flattening to a disk once wrapped and leave to cool in the fridge until it feels firm, about two hours.
    6. 15 minutes before you want to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 175C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
    7. Scoop 2 tbsp portions of dough, roll into balls, and place at 2 inch intervals on the baking tray, flattening them very slightly as you lay them down.
    8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they are golden brown around the outside. Leave to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving, but I recommend at least 12 hours.
    9. After they have cooled to room temperature store them in an airtight container, where they will keep for a couple of days.

    Notes

    I’ve used a mix of cups and gram measurements here. Joy only uses cups, but I like the ease of measuring butter on a scale. I also omitted adding extra salt at the end, as I thought the taste of salt in the dough was strong enough.

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    Recipe: Welsh Rarebit

    September 29th, 2014

    Any day that involves Welsh rarebit from a food market is the best kind of day in my book. My sheer inability to stay indoors at the weekend (even if it is wet and/or chilly) has lead to some of the best kinds of days. Wandering around bustling food markets at lunch time, hungry and overwhelmed by choice is like crack to me. I have spent more than my fair share of weekends in that glorious state this summer.

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    The Real Food Market at Waterloo is my favourite by far. It’s a mixture of fragrant, steamy stalls, with a wide selection of cuisines and artisanal producers selling their lovingly made wares for you to take home. Not to mention that being a short stroll from the South Bank means that you can enjoy your meal overlooking the Thames whilst being serenaded by a plethora of street performers.

    I completed two full laps of the market before going with my initial gut reaction and ordering a pickle-topped slice of creamy cheese on sourdough toast from The Little Welsh Rarebit. It was crunchy and gooey, with the rich, buttery cheese cut by the sharp, miniature pickles.

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    I have a special place in my heart belly for cheese on toast, to the point where I have had to enforce a temporary embargo on it now that I spend more lunchtimes home alone – my over-consumption was bordering on a problem! My usual ‘poison’ is thin strips of strong Cheddar on thickly sliced white bread, with a side of sriracha to dip in. The Welsh rarebit I eagerly devoured at the market was made with a beer-based bechamel, flavoured with bold cheese and traditional English condiments stirred through. It was only a matter of time before I recreated the recipe in my own tiny city kitchen.

    rarebit

    ^^^ welsh rarebit from the market ^^^

    One of the things I love about Hackney is there is no shortage of local producers, so in the spirit of food markets I selected ingredients from my own doorstep. For the beer I looked no further than London Fields Brewery. They make the most amazing beers and ales (Hackney Hopster is my favourite), and its bar the Tap Room is the right mix of hipster and relaxed, such that anyone can feel at home there. Whilst I should have made my own bread, I am completely addicted to the sourdough from Spence Bakery. I would buy a loaf a week if it wasn’t for my homemade bread series!

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    Recipe: Welsh Rarebit

    serves 4 recipe by Jennifer Brown

    Ingredients

    25g butter

    25g flour

    200ml local dark beer (I used London Fields Brewery - Love Not War)

    1 tsp English mustard

    2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

    100g strong cheese (I used 50g strong Cheddar and 50g Double Gloucester)

    1 egg yolk

    8 slices of sourdough

    pickles to serve

    Instructions

    1. In a small pan warm the beer to a lukewarm temperature, this is especially important if the liquid is cold from the fridge. Return to the jug you measured the beer in.
    2. In the same (now empty) pan, melt the butter. When completely liquid add the flour and stir constantly until it goes golden brown, about one to two minutes.
    3. Add the beer to the pan, about 40ml at a time, stirring well between each addition, until completely absorbed and the sauce is smooth before adding the next splash of liquid.
    4. Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and cheese, and remove from the heat to cool slightly. Don’t worry if the cheese doesn’t completely melt, it will when it’s grilled.
    5. Whilst the sauce is cooling toast the sour dough bread on both side.
    6. Once the sauce is lukewarm stir through an egg yolk, the temperature can be above room temperature but you want it cool enough that it won’t cook the egg at this point.
    7. Spoon the rarebit sauce over the bread and return to under the grill until golden brown.
    8. Serve hot with pickles on the side.
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