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Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Molasses Sultana Bread

In Baking, Bread, Cake on July 23, 2012 at 3:08 am

Ok, so this is yet another bread recipe – I know, I know. But this is more like a cake or a tea bread. I found the recipe when I first got into cooking, when I was about 13 or 14. I was particularly fond of it and have always loved molasses, yet I have not made this for a few years. I only unearthed it when looking through one of my scrapbook cookbooks made from magazine clippings from around the same period. So when molasses was on special last week, I knew molasses bread would be on the menu!

(Also apologies for the formal language but my apostrophe and backspace keys on my keyboard are not working)

From memory, the recipe originated from the NZ Home & Garden magazine.

500g sultanas (add more or less to suit taste – I bet dates would be great too)

1/2 cup soft brown sugar or cane sugar

1/4 cup (approx.) blackstrap molasses

1 cup water

fine grated zest of 1/2 an orange

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

 

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius (though I have used 180 degrees and that works too). Grease and line either 3 mini loaf tins or one moderate loaf tin, which is what I use. Place the sugar, molasses, sultanas, water and orange zest in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil,  simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for around 10 minutes. Add the beaten egg and fold in the sifted flour and baking soda. Divide mixture between tins or to the one tin. Bake until cooked through and an inserted skewer comes out clean and loaf sounds hollow when tapped. The original recipe suggests only 20 minutes baking (which may well be appropriate for cooking miniloaves) but I left mine in the oven for a good 50 minutes. It is very easy be deceived into thinking the loaf is cooked when actually it is still quite liquid in the middle! That said, once cooked – serve warm with butter or margarine. Perfect for those wintery evenings!

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French Rye Bread Mini Loaves

In Baking, Bread on July 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

I made these to accompany a roasted pumpkin and smoked garlic soup. I had intended to serve them as a light dinner for a friend, but ended up consuming them both with my mother instead – along with much delicious cheese and beer! This is a lovely hearty rustic bread that goes down well in winter. As always, I looked to my trusty bread book by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno for the recipe:

Ingredients for the starter:

2 tsp dried yeast

150ml tepid water

125 g white flour

For the dough:

75g white flour

300g rye flour

2 tsp salt

250ml water

 

To make the starter:

Sprinkle the yeast into the water in a bowl. Leave for 5 minutes; stir to dissolve. Add the flour and mix to form a thick batter. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 2 hours.

To make the dough:

Mix the flours and the salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the starter as well as half the water. Mix in the flour along with the remaining water, as needed, to form a moist, sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Put dough in a clean bowl and leave to rise until doubled in size, about an hour. Knock back and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape into long loaves, about 30 cm in length. Place the loaves on a well floured baking sheet and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Lightly dust the loaves with flour. Cut seven or six parallel slashes down the side of the loaves. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove, about 1 and 1/2 hours. The loaves should have doubled in size. Bake in a preheated oven (200 degrees) for 45 minutes until hollow sounding when tapped underneath. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Best Banana Muffins I have ever made!

In Baking, Muffins on July 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

This muffin may not look like much, but I can safely say my last batch of banana muffins were probably the most delicious that I’ve ever made. I wish they LOOKED more incredible, but there you go. I only slightly adapted the recipe which was for wholemeal flour from here. I ran out of wholemeal flour (or rather, discovered moths had infested it) so mine were made with ordinary flour. I’ve also taken to using treacle rather than golden or maple syrup, which I find is a delicious variant and provides a lovely richness to baking.

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda, salt and cinnamon respectively

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 large eggs, beaten

approx. half a cup of treacle

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

1/3 cup milk

1/4 vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract/essence

3/4 chopped nuts (I used walnuts, as pretty much anything else is too pricey for me)

Preheat oven to 190 degrees and prepare a muffin tray. I used a standard 12 muffin tray, but you could probably try other sizes. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, eggs, milk, oil, vanilla essence, sugar and treacle. Mix into the dry ingredients, trying not to over stir – be aware that this is a fairly wet mixture! Add the chopped walnuts. Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake until an inserted skewer comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. You won’t be disappointed!

I’m not usually in the habit of freezing my baking (it disappears so fast!) but these can be frozen. I just tried it for the first time! Pretty decent actually.

Goat’s Cheese Souffle

In Egg, Souffle on July 13, 2012 at 6:06 am

Sincerest apologies for yet another period of absence! What can I say, other than I have been busy as usual and quite without time to cook. I’ve been craving a souffle for a while, but kept putting it off. It’s one of those foods that you associate with entertaining and don’t bother to make yourself, even though it’s relatively straightforward. I got this recipe out of a new cookbook that belongs to my mother. It’s a beautiful gigantic thing put out by the Australian Womens Weekly. I couldn’t be bothered making the creamed spinach sauce which they suggest to go with it, but I imagine that would be a delicious accompaniment.

30 g butter

3 tbsp flour

approx. 1 cup milk

4 eggs, separated

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

approx. 150 g firm goat’s cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 220 degrees. Oil the souffle dish(es) and place on a baking tray. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add flour. Cook, stirring until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Gradually add milk, stir until thickening. Add cayenne pepper. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in egg yolks and goat cheese. Cool for 5 minutes. Beat egg whites in another bowl until soft peaks form, fold the whites into the cheese mixture in two batches. Be very gentle when mixing! Transfer the mixture to dish(es). Bake until the souffle is puffed up and risen and browned slightly.