Tag Archives: baking

Oatbran fruit muffins – low cholesterol

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I’ll share what we’ve been up to someday soon, but for now let’s feed our bellies with goodness!

As I’ve already mentioned, my hereditary cholesterol is causing me issues and it’s likely to be be even worse after this next baby, so when baking I am trying to use only cholesterol-friendly ingredients.

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This has been easier said than done and to be honest I am resenting it! However, my guardian angel Smitten Kitchen, recently posted a recipe that was screaming to be adapted for me. So that’s exactly what I did!

Fat free greek yoghurt has replaced buttermilk, and cholesterol lowering oatbran and spelt flour are also used.

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These are absolutely suitable for breakfast, or snack time, and especially child-friendly given the minimal amount of sugar used.

They aren’t beautiful, but then very little of what I bake is (it’s not my highest priority), but they are wholesome and it makes me feel like I’m still allowed cake. Almost.

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Oatbran and fruit muffins
makes approximately 10 using small cases

Ingredients

300ml fat free yoghurt, thinned with 15ml milk
1 large egg
80 ml oil (such as vegetable, safflower, sunflower or olive oil)
50 grams lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or zest of citrus fruit of your choice
90 grams oat bran
125 grams spelt flour (can substitute plain flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
several teaspoons sugar – for topping the muffins
3/4 to 1 cup chopped mixed fruit (just about anything but citrus or pineapple will work, I used 10 strawberries but have previously used frozen raspberries and blueberries successfully)

Method

Heat oven to 200 degrees C and line tray with muffin cases.

Whisk yoghurt, milk, egg, oil, brown sugar and any vanilla or citrus zest you’d like to use in a small bowl. Whisk oatbran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir wet mixture into dry until just combined.

Spoon 1 tablespoons of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Add about 1 teaspoons fruit to each (dividing it evenly). Spoon remaining batter (about 1 tablespoon each) over fruit and sprinkle tops of muffins with about 1 teaspoon each.

Bake muffins for 16 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out almost clean. Do not overbake. Let muffins cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from tin.

The muffins keep for 3 days at room temperature, longer in the freezer.

Enjoy!

Bake

xoxo

Baked Vanilla Apricots with Rosé

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What’s the difference between a recipe and a method? This isn’t a joke, nor a trick question, but what comes to mind when I think about these apricots.

There is so little to be said and done here that I am almost hesitant to share. But Molly did, so here is my take on her apricot recipe/method/whatever:

  • Gather apricots
  • Slice in half, remove stone
  • Dip cut side into sugar of your choice and lay with sugared side up in a baking dish
  • Split vanilla pod, scoop and scatter the seeds over the apricots (or use vanilla sugar, as I did)
  • Grab a wine glass, fill with wine (I used this – it was GOOD), pour into baking dish
  • Place dish in preheated oven (180 deg C) and bake for about 35 minutes (or as Molly so perfectly puts it, until the apricots feel “heavy, slack, almost jiggly, like a slightly tired water balloon’”. Excellent!
  • Serve your apricots (warm or cold) with yoghurt, ice cream, nothing at all, but please don’t forget to splash some of that wine syrup over them.

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Enjoy!

Bake

xoxo

Bagels – Apprentice #3

Homemade Bagels

Episode #3 in my plan to work through every recipe in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

I’m not going to tell you much about bagels, but these are way, way, way more interesting than any bagel you can buy in an English supermarket.

They are a faff to make, but also quite a lot of fun if your weekend isn’t too busy. It’s not a task for a working weekday.

Here’s a version of the recipe with much better photos than mine, and a New Yorker’s take on their authenticity. I won’t join that debate… I have no credentials for an official opinion on bagels. But, having made them with my own hands, I’d feel much happier talking to a New Yorker about bagels.

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/09/bronx-worthy-bagels/

Be aware, this recipe makes a load of bagels (I made 24 of the size you would typically buy here in the UK) and they all need to proof overnight in the fridge. The day I made these I was unusually delighted to find our fridge was empty. I needed two-thirds of the total shelf space in our fridge. Don’t make these bagels just after your weekly food shop.

Also, you will need a bagel eating strategy. The 24 bagels this recipe made are awesome for two days at most.

I can’t shouldn’t eat 24 bagels in two days.

If you’re the same, you should plan for this.

Thankfully, we took most of this batch to a BBQ where they doubled up as fancy burger buns, and very few passed the two day mark when we established their basic life-span.

Shake out.

Artos Greek Celebration Bread – Apprentice #2

Artos Greek Celebration Bread

Artos Greek Celebration Bread

So, it turns out my plan to work through every recipe in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice may be awesome, but it’s not unique…

This big-old list of bloggers have already done exactly that under the banner of the BBA Challenge.

I’m late to party it seems.

A few years late.

Anyway, that means there’s a very good chance I can point you in the direction of all these various recipes as I’m trying them out.

So apprentice bread #2, Artos, is tasty! It’s basically like a giant somewhat more eloquent hot cross bun that’s worth eating any time of year. And it makes great toast for a Sunday morning.

In the photo above, the top of the boule looks sunken. That’s not a problem with the recipe, just some of my slap-dash decision making when trying to navigate our oven-thats-not-an-oven-that-is-an-oven. I proved the loaf in the base of a La Cloche and put the whole thing into the oven cold. The base of the loaf stuck to the cloche, in shaking it out the rest of the loaf got squashed while it was still hot. My bad, not the recipes.

Also, thinking back while writing this post. I should mention that I was out of white flour, and baked this with wholemeal which worked nicely too.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it out:
http://pinchmysalt.com/artos-greek-celebration-bread/

Shake out.

Anadama Bread – Apprentice #1

Anadama BreadHello blog readers.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. So long in fact, that my wife is threatening to demote me to guest blogger status if I don’t get my act together! :)

So here is a post for you…

I’m currently working on the following:

  • Learning more about bread
  • Extending my baking repertoire
  • Extracting as much value as possible out of the bread books I currently own 

And in order to this, I:

  1. Picked a bread book from the bookshelf, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
  2. Am working through it from cover to cover, testing every recipe, even if it doesn’t appeal to my usual taste for certain types of bread

The first recipe I have tried is for Anadama Bread, and if you follow this series of posts over the coming weeks, you’ll notice that’s because the book is in alphabetical order.

My first challenge was motivating myself to actually make this Anadama Bread.

I’d never heard of it before and quite frankly, from the photo in the book it looked boring. I had spent so long trying to perfect an open crumb, chewy sourdough that anything vaguely resembling a commercial sandwich loaf from a tin seemed like a waste of effort.

But as always when you try something new, you learn something new, and this bread turned out to be delicious (and has been made again since which is a good sign).

The molasses enriches the dough, and soaking the polenta/cornmeal overnight turns it from a coarse grain into a deep and subtle flavour.

I’m not going to type out the recipes from the book, as I’m working through every single bread I’d end up reproducing the whole book, which would look a lot like stealing!

But, if I find the recipes online, I’ll point you in the direction from each post.

Here is the Anadama Bread Recipe:
http://www.whiskblog.com/2009/05/bread-bakers-apprentice-anadama-bread.html 

Use the tag “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” to navigate all the posts in this series.

Shake out.

Favourite posts this week

Tuesday craft group tea break

:: I’m very lucky to be able to have lunch with my husband every day. With our budget we eat very little meat, but the baked squash with garlic cream sounds delicious!

:: Editing fairytales – something we should do for our boy too. Not just for girls, right?

:: Tuna sandwiches! Got to love them. Toasted bread, mayo (homemade) and lots of pepper for me. I can’t say I have a problem with sweetcorn though!

:: Fig newtons – don’t think I’ve had them, are they like fig rolls? Sarah’s version look amazing though, will try and make next week…

:: Chocolate caramel tartlets. Love the teeny, tiny size. Potential Christmas treat?

:: A very good friend of ours has just set off on an epic world journey with his girlfriend. I love his writing, you might enjoy it too.

:: This cake is similar to our chocolate guinness cake. Sharing simply because I loved the post, it made me miss my dad!

:: Twice baked potato pie – love that their daughter came up with the idea!

:: Aaaaah this is crazy! My mind is blown by these kids.

Wishing you a very happy weekend!

Bake

xoxo

Savoury Courgette Cheesecake

I know it’s November (November?!) and you’re all thinking about pumpkins and feeling snug and cosy with the heating on etc, but whilst I can still buy them, I am making the most of courgettes.

The truth is, I’m just not ready to move on.

When we have beautiful, warm weather like this…

…I don’t feel like wrapping up and eating something hot!

This recipe was inspired by a post I saw a few weeks ago. I think I shared it with you too?

I changed it up a little, as usual, and we are really enjoying the result – the lemon zest in particular just makes it taste extra special.

I made it during a baby nap, so you know it doesn’t take long to whip up!

It isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but it really tastes delicious.

Courgette cheesecake
- serves 4-6

Note: I used two tins, one of 18 cm and one of 13 cm (used in the photos). You could probably just use the large one and have a deeper cheesecake. Or use a bigger tin of course.

100g crackers/savoury biscuits, crushed – I use TUC, Ritz would probably also work well
50g melted butter
1 large courgette, grated
200g goats cheese
3 large tablespoons fromage frais/crème fraîche/natural yoghurt
2 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove – I used 2, but would use just 1 if serving to other people
small handful of basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons plain flour
Salt and pepper, as desired

Preheat oven to 170degC

Melt butter and add to crushed crackers. Stir to coat and press into cake tin.
You want a buttery biscuit base ;)

Bake the base in the oven for around 10 minutes. Remove and leave to cool.

Beat goats cheese in large bowl until softened. Add garlic, fromage frais, eggs, plain flour, lemon zest and mix together until combined.

Add the basil, grated courgette and season. Stir so that courgette is evenly distributed.

Pour mixture onto buttery biscuit base and return to the oven for about 40 minutes. The cheesecake should start to colour but not be completely brown. You don’t want it to jiggle too much either.

Serve warm, or cold from the fridge.

Enjoy!

Bake

xoxo

 

Macarons part deux

Coffee and chocolate macarons

I don’t know if you follow us on twitter, but if you do you’ll know that I managed to sneak in the second attempt of macaron making today.

Mixing on baby’s floor a.k.a multitasking

Those of you with babies will know that this is a minor miracle, especially when baby is napping less and moving more!

Nevertheless, I had my points for improvement from last time and was therefore focused and efficient.

Coffee macaron mix

I decided that whilst I’m still learning, I will reduce my quantities to just one egg white. I can’t stand waste! I didn’t weigh it though, so next time I will.

I made a few more folds when mixing than last time (although it was technically fewer as I had a larger volume then…but you know what I mean!). I think I should do more folds still next time as the mix was still a little pointy.

Time to rest

I also let the macarons rest for the full hour before baking, although I found some advice today saying 20-40 minutes is plenty…hmmm. Please ignore the fact that I didn’t fill my circles – laziness? lack of time? I just wanted to make more!

Some cracks did form, but only on half of the macarons – the ones at the back of the oven. Next time I might turn them around halfway through cooking.

Nicer bottom eh? This time only one stuck to the baking paper! I baked them for 15 minutes and then left them in the oven for another 2 minutes with the oven switched off.

Macaron “feet” starting to form

So the infamous macaron feet did start to form, which is much better than last time! Maybe with a little more folding the feet will improve. I’ll also reduce the resting time.

I filled the macarons with a chocolate buttercream, too generously according to just one person ;)

They were gone within an hour!

Bake

xoxo

Favourite posts this week

Intense clouds from the front door

:: Answers about Felix Baumgartner’s skydive. Incredible video!

:: We all need a classic chicken stock recipe.

:: Beautiful photos. Beautiful pie. Anyone else fancy a pie party? We could have these pot pies too.

:: We were given some basil the other day from a friend, but I think this mustard green pesto would be delicious.

:: Boy do I miss mature cheddar. I want these crackers, but will need to use something french instead. Poor me ;)

:: My comfort food? Pie – fish, chicken, whatever. How about you?

:: What a clever idea! Might be something I could do for Christmas gifts.

:: Love this Onion Tale. Adding the book to my wishlist now.

:: Cheesecake courgette & chèvre - looks delicious. On next week’s meal planner!

Wow – lots of links this week. Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.

We are going to pop to Spain today or tomorrow – well, why not?

Wishing you a happy, healthy weekend!

Bake

xoxo

Macarons in the making

Coffee macarons – first attempt.

I was tempted not to write this post. I definitely didn’t want to include any photos, but here we are!

For our anniversary (first year is paper) Shake bought me a little french book on making macarons. He always manages to pick something I have been thinking about without having told him! 

Today whilst baby napped I decided to make my first batch. I was really strict about measuring the ingredients accurately (very unlike me…) and borrowed an electric whisk for the egg whites as I wanted to make them as best I could.

I actually had to whisk the whites in the spare room so it didn’t wake the boy up – that’s one disadvantage of his room being next to the kitchen!

People seem to be daunted about making macarons, and having tried now I can see why! So, the purpose of this post is to document what went wrong and what I will change for next time.

Macarons resting

I am happy with my measurements, but having carried out some research after I made my mix, it is suggested to use egg whites that have been left out for at least 24 hours! Oops. Well, next time I will plan in advance.

Another factor I can change is that I think I needed to mix the mixture?batter? a little more as when piped onto the tray the macarons had little peaks (you don’t want to know what Shake said they looked like…!). I used a damp finger to smooth them down before baking, but this is apparently a sign of under-mixing.

Cracked macarons

I’m not 100% sure what was wrong with the shells above, but it might again be due to the mixture not being mixed enough? Or I didn’t leave them out for long enough before baking? Or they were in the oven for slightly too long? Hmmm….who knows!

Interestingly, these shells came off of the paper very easily, whereas the shells from the shelf above stuck to the baking paper. I say “interestingly”, but actually this was annoying!

I used a tip I read here (from the Macaron Queen :) ) and put some water under the sheet for a few minutes and they did mostly come off.

I made a coffee buttercream to fill the shells and we did sample a few.

They tasted pretty great, but obviously not as good as these (yet!).

If you have made macarons before and have any suggestions/hints for me I’d love to hear them!

Bake

xoxo