July 2nd 2013 · Read More · Comment(1)
I’ve been reading a lovely book called Friendship Bread by Darien Gee, based around baking Amish Friendship Bread and how it brings people together. So I was inspired to try it. I made my own starter using a recipe in the back of the book, and for 10 days of carefully tended to my starter. Rather than keeping it in the usual bag, I bought a plastic container to keep the starter in so it was easy to give it a shake daily.
After the 10 days, I decided to start with the basic bread loaves, so followed the recipe (also in the book) to create two wonderful smelling loaves.
And of course, I had to have a slice!
The hardest part of this was waiting the 10 days for the starter to be ready, but now it is I can bake more often. This is a sweet sourdough, and so can be treated as such, being used and fed. And if you want to give it away then it can be fed more. I was able to give away some of my starter today – some bread, some starter, and my instructions (download here: Amish Friendship Bread).
You can also check out www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com for the recipes, for over 250 other recipes that you can use your starter for, and for a community based around this amazing food. Oh, and if you want a starter, then let me know…I’ve got one that is looking beautiful!
April 24th 2013 · Read More · Comment(1)
Strawberries are one of my favourite fruits, and with rhubarb it is a perfect match!
A while ago, while making a crumble, I made a lot of the crumble topping and froze it in ‘small crumble’ lots:
My recipe is:
- 15o gm white flour
- 50 gm white sugar
- 50 gm butter
Mix the flour and sugar together. Rub in the butter until like fine breadcrumbs – or use your mixer to do this! Sprinkle onto fruit mix, or freeze until required.
We got some rhubarb out of the garden, so I washed it and chopped into small pieces and put into a pot with some orange juice and a sprinkle of sugar. Once it had softened, I added frozen strawberries, letting the heat in the rhubarb melt the strawberries. I tasted to make sure the sweetness was right, then put it into my dish.
Then sprinkled over the crumble mix and put in the oven at about 180 degrees until golden and bubbling. It was so good!
March 29th 2013 · Read More · No Comments
For us, one of the joys of Easter is Hot Cross Buns, and this year I got out my Mum’s Hot Cross Bun recipe – my copy is quite old (dated 1993!) but some things just don’t date. Mum posted this recipe on her website this year too, check out her version here.
This is my twist on her basic recipe.
First start out with getting your yeast going. Put about 1 tablespoon of honey into a heat proof jug or bowl and melt with 150ml of hot water; then add 150ml of cold milk. Your liquid should now be about body temperature, I put my little finger in to check (if it is too hot it will kill the yeast). Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of active yeast over the top and put in a warm spot to get going – I like using the windowsill on a sunny day. You’ll know it is ready once it is frothy on top, like this:
While you are waiting for the yeast to do its thing, start measuring out your dry ingredients:
- 300gm High Grade white flour
- 170gm Wholewheat flour (if you don’t like this, replace with more High Grade flour)
- 30gm Gluten flour - the gluten in the flour is what makes the ‘framework’ when the dough rises, so this helps it along
- 1 tsp salt
- 150-300gm dried fruit mixed – I prefer my hot cross buns to be more fruity so I add quite a lot, and it is just a mixture of what you like, this year I’ve been using raisins, sultanas, mixed peel and chopped dried apricots
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 2 tbsp sugar, rounded
Once the yeast is nice and frothy, add to the dried ingredients with one egg, slightly beaten, and approximately 1 tablespoon of neutral oil (I use Rice Bran).
Now mix the ingredients together to form a dough, adding more High Grade flour as required so it isn’t too sticky. Once the dough is formed it needs to be kneaded for about 10 minutes. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, you can use this to mix and knead the dough, it will take about 3 minutes of kneading in a mixer. You will be able to tell if it is kneaded enough by giving it a gentle press and it should bounce right back.
Leave in a warm spot for 15 to 30 minutes depending on how warm it is, it should start to rise. Then knock it down with a little more kneading, spilt into 12 equal parts and shape your buns. Put them on a tray, about a finger width apart, and leave to rise for about an hour – they need to be touching each other to be ready for baking.
Once they are ready for baking, you need to add the crosses. Mix together 2 tablespoon cornflour, 2 tablespoon white flour, 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt, and 3 tablespoons of milk. This should make a thick paste that can be piped onto your buns with either a piping bag or a small clean plastic bag with the corner cut off.
Once you have crosses on your buns it is time to make them hot! Bake at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until they are golden brown. As soon as they come out of the oven the need to have their glaze: mix together 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of hot water, and brush over they hot cross buns.
Leave them to cool for a short time (so you don’t burn your tongue), and then enjoy! Happy Easter everyone.
March 3rd 2013 · Read More · Comment(1)
I love roasted tomatoes with baked salmon, with steak, with mashed potatoes, pretty much everything, especially on cool evening. For some reason the weather here in Blenheim hasn’t been great this weekend, so we had salmon with mash for dinner, and I added roasted tomatoes with mine (The Soux Chef had peas, which I don’t like).
Today I had traffic light tomatoes! I had green and orange tomatoes out of my garden, and some purchased red ones.
After cutting them in half, I sprayed them with olive oil and put on salt and pepper, then into the oven with the salmon.
They were juicy and sweet, and a perfect side dish.
February 20th 2013 · Read More · No Comments
As as child, my mum regularly made fresh bread for our family – I have many memories of making bread shapes to be cooked and eaten for lunch. I recently decided to make a sourdough starter and start making my own bread.
A sourdough starter needs to be made at least 4 or 5 days before it can be used, and it needs to be stirred daily.
Then it replaces some of the yeast in the bread dough – I still add some yeast to help it along, as well as some gluten flour to assist the rising.
And I ended up with a beautiful loaf for dinner, which also made fantastic sandwhiches for lunch!
February 15th 2013 · Read More · No Comments
Last weekend was the Marlbrough Wine & Food Festival, this year there was a greater focus on food with a Culinary Pavilion, part of which was cooking demos. The first one we saw was the three Masterchef winners: Brett McGregor, Nadia Lim, and Chelsea Winter making recipes from Regal Salmon. They all looked and smelt fantastic, and the taste we had of Chelsea’s Regal Salmon Tartare with Lime Mayonnaise was so good.
After watching this demo (in the hot tent!) we went off to find some lunch, our Food & Wine Match choice was from Cloudy Bay & Figaros Cafe: “A taste of two porks”. Braised pork and puha rice pepper roll, and crispy muso pork belly with a apple and haropito salsa. Matched with Cloudy Bay Blanc de Blanc. Very tasty.
The second demo we saw was Al Brown cooking with Cloudy Bay Clams, he did some raw ones as well as some fresh clams on the BBQ, Char Grilled Tuatuas with Horseradish and Fresh Herb Butter. Another recipe for me to try.
It was a great festival, and I feel inspired to try these new recipes – and be assured I will blog about them.
February 7th 2013 · Read More · No Comments
One of the advantages of living in Marlborough is the beautiful fresh salmon that is so easily accessible. Our local butcher had fresh salmon in last week so I picked up a beautiful piece for dinner.
First I marinated it in:
- 50ml local olive oil
- 50ml verjuice
- 2 cloves local garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- salt and pepper
I marinated it in a shallow dish, skin upwards, and I rubbed salt into the skin to help it crisp up.
After leaving this for 30-45 minutes, we heated the BBQ, and then put the salmon onto the plate skin down to crisp.
Add the marinade during cooking to keep moist and add flavours. When the skin is crispy, turn the salmon over to get some colour on the other side.
When finished, serve with a fresh green salad and warm crusty bread, and perhaps a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
February 4th 2013 · Read More · No Comments
A typical sunny Marlborough day, perfect for a BBQ.
Local supplier Premium Game do wonderful wild vennison patties, just needing some equally good ingredients to do them justice.
On to a pre-heated BBQ plate go the patties, with chopped shallots and mushrooms (unfortunately we don’t have anyof our own mushrooms at the moment), local free range eggs, and halved capsicums on the grill.
With avacado, home made garlic aioli and freshly picked lettuce from the garden already on the inverted tops of the buns, some cheese on the base ready to be melted by the patties and the shallots and mushrooms. Stack the eggs and grilled capsicum on the pattie, then sliced tomato and gherkin. Flip the lettuce aioli and avo lid on top!
Served with a lightly chilled glass of Riesling from Mud House Wines, an enjoyable outdoor meal.
February 1st 2013 · Read More · No Comments
I was given some smoking boards as a gift, to be used on the BBQ – soak them and then put under the lid of the BBQ with your food to create a delicate smoked flavour. Our favourite way to do this is with free-range chicken legs. First soak the board – I usually used white wine for this, but you can use water or juice, chop up some onions or shallots (I use locally grown shallots), add a little bit of juice to the chicken legs then cover with a Cajun spice mix and rub in. Put into a moderately heated BBQ: first the soaked board, then the shallots, and the chicken on top.
Cooking usualy takes about 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken legs; during this time add small amounts of the soaking liquid to keep board damp and chicken moist.
I like to serve this with a fresh green salad and a potato salad with homemade garlic aioli, boiled free-range eggs, and capers for an easy and tasty dish on a hot evening.
January 18th 2013 · Read More · No Comments
Okay, so it sounds flash and expensive, but it isn’t really…and it is also easy. One of our favourite summer salad dinners is Venison and Mango Salad, based on Annabel Langbein’s recipe.
First job is to make the venison marinade and the dressing, I have been using a strawberry, honey and balsamic vinegar instead of Balsamic Glaze, it worked really well. Once the venison is marinating, BBQ is switched on, and pot is boiling for the noodles, it is time to get the greens ready and chop up the mango. Then cook the venison and serve on plates for dinner.
Venison in Marlborough is easy to come by, either wild or farmed, and is approximately the same price as a piece of beef. And in summer mangos are not expensive, so while it sounds expensive, it really isn’t too bad. And it is so good!