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Posts Tagged ‘Bread’

When you have good butter you really need some good bread to enjoy it with. In such cases bread and butter becomes a real treat. When I was little Mum would feed my brother and I bread and butter as a snack if we said we were hungry – it’s good wholesome food for growing kids but not exciting enough that we’d ask for it when we weren’t really hungry. I used to love having a piece of hot buttered toast with a glass of milk before bed and, although I’ve long since given up bedtime snacks, I still enjoy my bread and butter. I spoiled myself to some wonderful raw butter from Isigny-sur-mer, it’s so creamy, almost a little farmy in flavour, and is flecked with big, crunchy grains of sea salt from Guérande. I’ve been happily spreading it on the lowliest of bread including the scraps of crust leftover from my blackberry and sloe gin puddings but I can’t help but feel it deserves something more. Something with a little more sophisticated than a slice of Hovis. (more…)

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Summer pudding has long been a favourite of mine and it was a staple in the dessert rotation when I was growing up. My parents were keen gardeners and Mum still grows lots of her own fruit and vegetables despite not having much time to devote to the garden. On a Sunday afternoon I would often be dispatched up the garden to pick raspberries, strawberries, tayberries and blackcurrants for one of Mum’s spectacular puddings. I always find it a sad farewell to summer when the berries come to an end. This year, inspired by a Valentine Warner recipe, I decided to extend the Summer pudding into Autumn and make the most of the wild blackberries and the remaining little bit of last year’s sloe gin. I toyed around with calling these Autumn puddings but I like it when the name of the recipes tells you a little about what’s inside, especially when there’s gin involved. (more…)

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Back when I was spending my year abroad in Italy I was living in the heart of Emilia Romagna, smack bang in the middle of piadina territory. Piadine were one of the first local foods my flatmates took me out to try. We went to a little cafe, with a handful plastic tables and chairs under umbrellas, set in a large park all of 10 metres from our building. The cafe (or piadinaria) was a popular little place; all they sold were freshly made piadine and crescioni. Piadine are the Italian version of a tortilla, a simple flatbread cooked until just crisp, that is traditionally served as a sandwich filled with cheese or prosciutto. Crescioni are more like a calzone: before cooking the piadina dough you fill it with tomato and mozzarella (or my favourite roasted pumpkin, pancetta and asagio) and fold it over before toasting it in a hot pan to cook the dough and heat the filling. Visits to the piadinaria nel parco became a regular occurrence and before heading downstairs to the cafe we’d peep out the window to make sure there was a free table, squillo (Italian for drop call) our friends and rush over for lunch. (more…)

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For several years before I got married, my mum and I took summer holidays together, sometimes inviting my brother or my now husband to join us for a week or two. Our holidays always went along the same lines, observing our family traditions. We would rent a gite somewhere in rural France – Lac d’Annecy, Brittany, Normandy, Corsica – and spend our time visiting nearby markets, walking, having long relaxed breakfasts in the morning sun and cooking the sort of dishes that she and I love. Stuffed tomatoes is one such dish and would appear at least once or twice per holiday in various guises.

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Can you tell I’ve been on a bread-making kick since my course with Emma? Every weekend I’ve been baking something new and sitting on my bedside table is Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery with tags sticking out left, right and centre. And despite flagging up so many recipes to try; last weekend I went ahead and made a loaf without following a recipe, just using my “bakers instinct”. It actually turned out really well, I’m so pleased I made a note of the ingredients as I went because I know I’m going to be making this again. It is superb with cheese and wine, alongside a salad or simply smeared with a little butter and devoured.

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I expect a lot of people will have already seen recipes for this fabulous Estonian bread doing the rounds on the net. I first came across it on Pinterest and found the recipe on Romanian cooking blog Just Loves Cookin which has a great step-by-step photo guide on shaping . It’s such a pretty loaf that I couldn’t wait long before trying to make my own. As you can see from the pics, I need a little more practice shaping the ring but I’m still quite pleased with the result. The taste is, unsurprisingly, as good as any cinnamon roll – rich, buttery and caramelised. The layers you create by rolling the dough fan out as they bake and turn into crunchy, dark golden ridges hiding soft, sweet bread rippled with spice. (more…)

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Bread making has always been something I’ve enjoyed but not been particularly good at; I think it all stems from the dismal cookery lessons I had at school where our teacher instructed us to knead rock-solid little balls of dough that baked up so dense not even the park ducks would touch it. Salvation came in March when I finally got to go on an eagerly anticipated bread making course at the Real Food Store in Exeter.

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