Baking Bread (38), Lasagne and a Pie

Time to stock up before the next holidays hit us! I went into a baking frenzy… The oven was on for a good four hours…

I made Paul Hollywood’s Bloomer (fifth time this year!) for Mister Meike’s Kitchen. It’s his favourite bread, what can I do? I wasn’t happy with the rise but the bread turned out absolutely fine.

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Then it was time for lunch and I had already roasted and pureed a hokkaido pumpkin. I wanted to try out this Pumpkin Lasagne. It is a wonderful recipe, a very elegant pumpkin recipe.

There is a pumpkin-parmesan-cream mix:

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A spinach-and-onion layer:

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And a pumpkin-and-cream “sauce” for the top:

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I didn’t really get a good picture of the finished dish so you’ll have to make do with this, the leftovers on a messy plate:

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Make it! I think that’s the best way I have ever eaten pumpkin in a savoury dish.

In between all this I was also making Dan Lepard’s Alsace Loaf again (fourth time this year…). The recipe can be found here while I’m still working out on how best to make it. My sourdough starter is much wetter than his. I’m getting there though. I made double the quantity but instead of shaping it into sticks (that should have made ten), I made two proper loaves.

Here’s the better looking one:

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It’s my favourite bread. I love how the grains give it texture and at the same time keep it wonderfully moist.

And now for the pie. This is our New Year’s Even tradition. I’ve actually made it for the seventh time this year. It’s Mrs Whitlow’s Artery-Hardening Hogswatch Pie from Terry Pratchett’s Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook. It’s on page 30 of this PDF.

I only make half the quantity because it’s enough for us. And since Master Meike’s Kitchen has been eating proper food, I’ve made it without the port for the stock. I’ve also experimented with different seasonings for the minced pork over the years and it works also with cayenne and paprika and Italian herbs. I also sometimes put a layer of bacon between the pastry and the filling – if I don’t forget that I’ve bought bacon specifically for that…

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The pie is made the day before so the stock can set; therefore I can’t show you yet what it looks like inside, can’t reveal the meat feast… You’ll have to wait until next year for that.

Enjoy the last 26 and a bit hours (Central European time…) of 2014!

1. Advent

First Sunday of Advent. The first candle on the Advent wreath is lit.

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We had the first samples of our Christmas bakeathon with coffee after lunch. The kids had been asking to have gingerbread people for days now…

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The cookies you don’t recognise from my previous posts are my mum’s. She’s made traditional gingerbread after my paternal grandma’s recipe, Kokoskipferln (literally, “coconut peaks” – egg white, sugar and desiccated coconut), and Walnut and Date Buns, allegedly an English recipe.

We’ve had first Sundays of Advent before when there were no cookies whatsoever – we may have overcompensated this year….

This evening the advent calendar for the kids has been put in place. I’ve spent a fair few evenings this past week wrapping and tying those little presents. In case you’re wondering, yes, there’s only one calendar for two kids, and, yes, there are no numbers. They will have to come to an agreement each day which bundle will be opened… At least they’ll get one present each, I’m not that mean…

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Baking Bread 27

Saturday was my baking day. I haven’t got round to writing about it because I’ve only got peace to do so in the evenings and for the past three nights I was busy to start my new knitting project. I’m quite new to knitting and I’m making a scarf for Master Meike’s Kitchen. My mum made one for him when he was born and last winter it was already getting a short. I can’t tell you how many times I started and unravelled it again after a few rows. It was horrible! But you see, I had to work it out and get the project going before I had my mind free to start thinking about bread again… And yesterday evening came the breakthrough, suddenly it’s working. (I did one of those yarn over thingies wrong so of course it wouldn’t work….) It’s not much (yet) but I’m very pleased about it:

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But I wasn’t going to talk about knitting, was I? I had a baking day on Saturday morning, as I’ve mentioned. It keeps happening that I plan to make, say, two types of bread and while in the process I think to myself, why not make another one? The oven is hot… And there goes number three!

This happened again on Saturday. I’d planned to make a Rye and Spelt Bread I’ve made before and a Sonnenblumenbrot (sunflower bread) which I’ve also made before. I like them both a lot and it’s odd I don’t make them more often. I’m actually surprised I’ve made them only twice this year. And then I decided to throw in a Spotted Soda Loaf for good measure, I seem to be making this one a lot recently. The last time was just the other day

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