Naan

For Christmas (I know that’s an awful long time ago), we got a three-months spice box subscription from The Spicery but since they all required fresh vegetables that aren’t in season round here in the middle of winter we postponed cooking our curries until the veg was, more or less, in season.

We had a Madras Night and a Biryani Night and the last one, we had it on Sunday, was a Dopiaza Night. The ingredients were slightly different on our recipe but it was, once again, a fantastic curry. Even my mother, who is not a friend of Asian cuisine, enjoyed it very much.

With all the curries we found that they required quite a lot of prep work (but this can be done a day in advance) and the actual cooking process is lengthy too. But it’s all worth it! The curries are for four persons but they are rather generous and we always had leftovers.

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The Dopiaza comes with a Brinjal Bhaji (aubergine and tomatoes), a red lentil Dhal with a savoury Tarka (with garlic, chillies, curry leaves and cumin) and a green chilli Raita (with mint and fresh coriander). This is all served with chapattis or naan. I opted to make some naan as I’ve made it before and think I know what I’m doing.

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I’ve got an Indian cookery book called Cooking for Today. Classic Indian Cooking. Step-by-Step (Parragon, 1997) and I’ve cooked a couple of recipes from it which have all turned out well. It’s also my book of choice for naan. (And the dough can prove overnight in the fridge, definitely a good thing!) Master Meike’s Kitchen liked it so much, he took leftovers to Kindergarten yesterday and today.

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Individual Apricot Pies

Does it ever happen to you that you’re left sitting at the table after a meal, the family having gone off to do other things, and you’re idly leafing through a recipe book (as you do…) and you come across a recipe which tickles your fancy, you’ve got all ingredients at hand, and in between getting the children ready for bed (or whatever) you start prepping for your recipe?

Well, that happened to me last night. I was finishing my cup of tea while I was looking through Pies and Puds. Yes. That one. Again. And I came across his recipe for Individual Fruit Pies.

I had some lovely French apricots and decided I’ll try that filling. Some Amaretto was also left in the bottle so all was well. I cooked the filling before getting the kids ready for bed, and once they were in bed, made the dough. A chilling time of 15 minutes is also easy to fit in, the pies are easy to assemble – so they were done in no time.

I did reduce the sugar in the filling by a third but that left the pies quite tart. (Boom! Boom! I’ll get my coat.) So next time, I’ll put in the full amount. The other thing I noticed was that I really need a bun tray or something similar. I made these pies in my muffin tray (since this is all I got, poor me) and I’ve got a feeling they would have turned out much nicer. So this is now on my shopping list…

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They don’t quite look like Mr Hollywood’s:

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All in all another lovely recipe from this lovely book!

Baking Bread 22

Today I’ve got for you one of my staple sourdough breads and an experiment. The sourdough is this one and the experiment, well, you’ll have to read on.

However, I’ve got something to talk to you about: I’ve been wondering about rye flour for a while. When they are required in English recipes, there is only a distinction between light and dark rye flour. I’ve got four different ones in my flour box – so which is which?
Shipton Mill provide an answer, light rye corresponds to type 997 and dark with 1350. So I wasn’t quit right when I guessed dark was whole grain flour. And then there’s also type 1150. The type refers to the “amount of ash (measured in milligrams) obtained from 100 g of the dry mass of this flour.” What is left over is the mineral content of the grain.

It’s time for another Roggenmischbrot, which I’ve made before in different variations. This time, I’ve stuck to the recipe, only added some bread spice and used type 1350 for the sourdough and 1150 for the dough. There is also some strong wheat flour in the mix to lighten it up a bit. I added bread spice to give it a bit of body and put it in my springform ring for proving and baking. Otherwise it spreads out too much since you can’t shape the dough in any meaningless way and this way, you get at least a bit of height to your loaf even though it look rather artificially round.

I’ve made this for a family gathering tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes down (literally!).

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Now, my experiment. Last weekend, I made an Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce. I used it to marinate a chicken and then had quite a fair bit left which I put in a jar. As I didn’t want it to go off, I thought I could make a bread similar to this Pesto Bread I came along on Pinterest. So first of all I needed to drain the liquid off the herbs from the Chimichurri:

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Then I used a basic white loaf recipe and replaced the butter and most of the water with the sauce liquid. That didn’t work out too great, it’s quite a dense and stodgy loaf but I wanted to use all of the sauce up so, hey, for a one-off it’s turned out alright. Instead of rolling out the dough, spreading the herbs and then rolling it up again, I just shaped the dough into a rough rectangle, put the herbs on one half, folded it over, pushed my finger tips into the dough a few times, folded it over, pushed etc. I did this a few times until everything was rather well incorporated. I didn’t want to get the sort of separating layers that normally result from rolling up the dough. It tastes lovely with steamed cauliflower and melted butter or with tzatziki. It also smells fantastic. So definitely not a failed experiment!

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Apricot, Peach & Almond Cobbler

I’m very much in love with Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds book at the moment. Many of the recipes are more typical for the colder seasons but there are some wonderful summer flavours to be found too.

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Today we’ve had the Apricot, Peach & Almond Cobbler. I’ve never made a cobbler before, neither have I had one. I didn’t change anything about the recipe and it’s very nice. We all liked it. I was a bit perplexed by the texture of the ‘cobbles’ – I expected them to be very much like a scone but they are much lighter and a bit grainy. I don’t know whether the graininess is a mistake by me, due to the ingredients I used or is the normal texture. Anyway, big recommend! 🙂

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Baking Bread 21

And in between all the football and the topical baking I managed to make some bread. This time I went back to good old Paul Hollywood and his Bloomer and his Wholemeal Bread. I’ve made both of them before, have always been happy with the Bloomer but last time the Wholemeal Bread didn’t work out that well. This time both worked out beautifully and taste great too.

The loaves before they went into the oven, Wholemeal on the left, Bloomer on the right:

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The bread fresh out of the oven, Bloomer on the left, Wholemeal on the right:

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Wholemeal slices on the left, Bloomer on the right:

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A Wholemeal slice:

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A Bloomer slice:

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Yum!

Argentinian Empanadas

Last night was the World Cup final. Since we were playing Argentina, some symbolical snack was required so we could destroy them metaphorically… A couple of weeks ago, I had a minor South American pasty desaster but that didn’t stop me to make some for this big event. After all, empanadas seem to be the snack associated with Argentina, even our local newspaper ran a recipe (which I didn’t see till this morning…).

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I tried a different recipe though, this time I chose one from the Hairy Bikers’ Mums Still Know Best book. The recipe is also available here. I followed the recipe but we decided to make our empanadas smaller so we used a 7cm round pastry cutter. This left us with lots of filling leftover but I put that into the freezer so we can use that up at some later date. I also brushed the empanadas with milk because I baked them in the oven instead of deep-frying them (15 minutes at 200°C).

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They were lovely! So lovely in fact that Master Meike’s Kitchen, who had noticed that something was afoot and therefore wouldn’t settle and watched the first half with us, had a couple and really enjoyed them and also Miss Meike’s Kitchen, who woke up during the first half of extra time and wouldn’t settle again, had four and really liked them. There was about half a dozen left over and we had them this evening. I can only recommend this recipe. The filling isn’t hot, the raisins and the olives add an interesting touch when you happen to bite into one.

We had a fantastic evening!!!! 🙂

Blueberry Muffins

Muffins used to be a regular feature when Master Meike’s Kitchen first started Kindergarten but this somehow fizzled out. I’ve got my favourite, tried and tested recipe from BBC Good Food magazine (February 2005) which I’ve used as a basis for other recipes before. This was a double-page feature on muffins, giving a couple of sweet and savoury variations. I’ve not actually changed anything about the recipe (apart from reducing the sugar…) so I can’t really claim it as my own.

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Funnily enough, I’ve never made Blueberry Muffins before. I’ve eaten them before, yes, the ones you can purchase in well-known coffee shops… But for these, my very own muffins, it took me about a week to get the required amount of blueberries together since we’ve only got on blueberry bush in the garden. It was an effort well worth it.

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Lavender and Spice and all things nice…

I haven’t told you yet that Mr Meike’s Kitchen got me Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds the other week. It’s awfully nice of him, considering he always takes the mickey out of me for liking “that adulterer” (not my words!). Hohum. I love beautiful recipe books that you can just sit and peruse for ages – and this is one of them.

So, I’ve been baking again.

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I made Paul Hollywood’s Lavender Biscuits (even though I spelt them wrong in the above picture), which was a huge experiment. I’m not keen on flower tastes in cooking or baking. But for some odd reason I thought it would be a good idea to try these biscuits. The recipe is here and for once I haven’t made any changes whatsoever. I probably left them in the oven for slightly too long. But that’s about it. The first biscuit I tried, I wasn’t excited. It was that soapy lavender aftertaste. But that stopped being an issue after the next couple of biscuits. And my neighbour, who received the wrapped up goodies in the picture above likes them too. And the kids like them too, surprisingly. So now I’m a convert to putting flowers into baked goods…

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You’ve already seen them in the picture, I’ve gone back to my cinnamon rolls obsession. This time I made these Cinnamon-Cardamom Buns. Again, I didn’t change anything (this is now getting slightly worrying…) apart from leaving the buns in the fridge overnight before baking them in the morning, basically following the method of the Overnight Cinnamon Buns I tried a few weeks ago. The dough is much richer though so it didn’t rise much but they taste lovely. I’m thinking to mix up those two recipes to get a lighter dough but with the cardamom taste. I also like the idea of having a cinnamon-sugar-butter for the filling instead of just cinnamon and sugar. I also ran out of filling so one quarter of the buns got lemon curd which had been sitting at the back of the fridge for yonks. The buns were quite small so I didn’t dare putting them into the shape suggested in the original recipe and just stuck to rolls. They look nice and they taste lovely. I also think I prefer them without frosting. The kids most certainly do. So we won’t bother in future. I’ve got a couple of bags of these buns in the freezer but I’m already thinking about the next lot. That can’t be good… 🙂

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Lactation Cookies

Something quite different for a change…

I did mention shortly after Easter that my cousin just had her first baby and we finally got round to seeing the young family yesterday.

A little while ago, I came across a recipe for Lactation Cookies and it had never occurred to me before that something as nice as cookies could be beneficial for breastfeeding. I used to drink mugs and mugs of herbal tea – if anyone had told me about these (or, even better, made them for me) I would have been over the moon.

So I decided to try them out on my cousin, not that she’s got any problems in that department but as a nice gesture. I more or less stuck to the recipe… 🙂 I only used half the amount of sugar after comparing this recipe with my favourite Oat & Raisin Cookies. However, I used dark chocolate and if I make them again, I’ll use milk chocolate. The cookies could have done with a little more sweetness. Obviously I tried them and they are very nice. They make a lovely present for a young mum!

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I forgot a few ingredients on my label but I did put them in the actual cookies… 😉

We used the opportunity for a bit of sightseeing and had a look around the lovely town of Ladenburg so let me share a few non-baking related pictures with you.

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The picture in the middle of the bottom row shows guerrilla crochet. I’ve never seen it “live” before.