Bread

I was getting fed up of paying nearly €4 for a loaf of reasonable bread that I wanted to make my own. The search for bread flour started. The supermarket sells all sorts of (expensive) bread mixes, but I wanted some ordinary strong flour so I could do what I wanted and I knew exactly what was going in my bread. If you watch Jimmy’s Food Factory on BBC1, you will know what I mean.DSC01244Eventually I found some large bags in the cash and carry and we haven’t bought a loaf of bread in about 6 weeks. It is so simple, so quick and delicious. Now I’m off to have some toast and homemade plum jam.

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Until next time………

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For my Birthday Boy.

birthday cakeMy little boy turned 7 recently. I really can’t work out where those  years have gone to. He is such a confident, and intelligent boy, and such a pleasure to be with. He has lived in 4 different countries and consequently knows he is British but doesn’t call Britain home. Home is where we live! I love that.

He loves Star Wars so there was nothing else for it, he had to have a Star Wars cake, and what a delicious cake it was. Yum Yum!

Yummy cookies

I have recently had a thing about baking cookies, I don’t know why. Apart from the fact I LOVE eating them. For a while it was cupcakes, followed by more cupcakes, but now it is definitely cookies.

Coconut cookies

These were the delicious ones I baked up the other day. The recipe was taken from the BBC Good Food magazine March 2007, and the basic recipe can be found on their website. All you need to do is add 100g dessicated coconut, roll the dough into small balls, push your thumb in the middle to make a dip and fill with a little jam. 

Cookies

Yum, Yum, enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

Recipe Box Swap Thursday


swap blogpost

This is the first Recipe Box Swap of 2009!  The Brain child of I have to say blog

This month’s theme is “Fun Foods”.   You know those foods, you don’t make often, but they are staples in your family’s menu just because they are fun.  Fun foods are usually sticky, salty, sugary or fattening, and we all love them! 

My favourite fun food is chocolate brownies. Whenever I need to think of anything for a party or just ‘because’, it’s these, they are sweet, deeply chocolatey, high in fat and 1 square is extremely satisfying with a cup of English Breakfast tea

The recipe I use is taken from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess.

I strongly believe that a good brownie is down to the quality of the ingredients, however I’m not a food snob, and if you dont have/can’t afford the best dont let it stop you making these, they will still be very good.

Because I have been feeling under the weather today I haven’t made any to show you (I will force myself into the kitchen tomorrow and photograph them)

Note: Nigella adds 300g walnuts to the recipe – I don’t because I don’t like nuts – they taste good without.

Ingredients

375g soft unsalted butter

375g best quality dark chocolate (I use 70% Lindt Excellence)

6 large free range eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

500g caster sugar

225g plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

tin measuring approx 33 x 23 x 5.5cm

Preheat oven 180c. Line brownie pan with parchment

Melt butter & chocolate together in a large heavy based pan. 

In a bowl beat eggs with the sugar and vanilla.

Measure flour into another bowl and add the salt.

When the chocolate mixture has melted let it cool abit before beating in the eggs and sugar, then add the flour. Beat to combine smoothly and then scrape out of the saucepan and into brownie pan.

Bake for about 25 mins. When ready the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle, but the middle still dark and dense.

Makes a maximum of 48

These freeze really well. Allow to cool, cut and freeze.

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Stollen for Christmas

Now, what to bake when you have an excess of delicious homemade marzipan? Mmmm? Stollen of course!

Stollen

I had never made it before but have eaten the Dutch version (many times). It just so happened that BBC Good Magazine, which my husband kindly brought back from London, had a Stollen wreath on the front. So of course I had to give it a go.

If I was making this as a centrepiece for a party then I would have made the wreath because it looks so pretty. But I wasn’t, because there is no party, but that won’t stop me making it, and so I divided the mix in half and made 2 scrummy loaves. All that needs to be done before they are served is sprinkle with icing sugar or make a glace icing to drizzle over the top.

Until next time….

Christmas Treats

Yummy treats from a friend in Minnesota

Just look at the fabulous goodies above, sent from a friend in Minnesota, yummy. I love the postman, well not LOVE him,  but love it when he rings the bell with goodies – you know what I mean! The little ones can not wait until we have time to make the gingerbread house, and neither can I, I am a child in an adult body.

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I have been busy today finally making the Christmas puddings. I have put off making them, and then was overcome yesterday with a desire and a will to get them done but after weighing out most of the ingredients I was missing 2 crucial items: sugar and eggs. How did that happen? Never mind, the local shop had the necessary items and ta-da I have 3 puddings. We don’t eat all 3 on Christmas day, I mean we do love this delicious traditional pudding but even we can only manage one on THE day. The puddings keep for quite a while so the other ones will be used up in the coming few months.

img_5370Then I had a bash at making marzipan because I couldn’t find what Brits call marzipan in Holland so I made some. I need to make the royal icing to cover it, but I can not find any glycerine to keep the icing from setting rock hard, so I will have to ice it nearer to Christmas Eve when we will have the first slice with the essential piece of cheese.

Until next time…..

Chilly Weather

The last few days have been really cold, it certainly feels that autumn is over and winter has arrived. At the rugby pitch on Saturday, some of the younger ones were crying because there hands were too cold, some of them are only 4 and they just couldn’t cope with the cold weather for an hour. I hope it’s warmer next week.

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Sunday saw an afternoon filled with snow. At around 4.30pm it was still snowing but i wanted to get the children out in it – as it never usually stays for long. We had a great time throwing snowballs at my husband, even Archie the puppy loved frolicking in it.

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I have been busy over the past few days trying to catch up with gift making, tidying the sewing room (again) and making the Christmas cake. I forgot to take a picture of the cake before wrapping it up for its few weeks maturing time, but when I decorate it I will show you. My Christmas cake decoration isn’t up to much because my husband likes royal icing and I can never get that smooth, so it is always a snowy mountain scene! I used Nigella Lawson’s cake recipe, which is a first for me, so I hope it is good, if i feed it enough brandy there shouldn’t be a problem though, or at least no-one will care.

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To fill my time in the evening so that i am downstairs to be near the puppy and not hidden away in the sewing room, I have been teaching myself to crochet. So far I have had a go at making a cover for a biscuit tin that holds my scissors and a few other essentials near my sewing machine. I didn’t finish it off as Lucy suggested because I only noticed that I did it wrong last night, but it still looks cute. I just need to graduate on to granny squares next, because in the new year i would love to make a throw like this.

Bread Rolls

img_5085I ran out of bread on Sunday, or more to the point I hadn’t been shopping for a week and the cupboards were bare. So I made some bread rolls for lunch, and they were delicious. I used a recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Family cookbook and they were delicious served with the dutch Gouda and yummy cranberry relish I made earlier in the week to accompany a roast chicken.

Children In Need

Friday was Children in Need day and at my children’s school they could wear what they liked and have crazy hair. This was great fun, my son has never been one for dressing up but he was very excited about having spiky hair. My daughter wanted to wear her Minnie Mouse dress and have 3 bunches in her hair. They both looked great as did the rest of the children including the teachers, and I believe they raised qute a bit of money.

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With the theme of a fun day I baked some cookies for the children, and for me, with Smarties in them. You would think that I never do those kind of things for them ever judging by their reactions. Suffice to say they were a huge hit.