30 October 2013

Rye Bread

You can't beat the smell of a hearty loaf of bread baking in the oven, or let's face it we all love a gadget so it's probably in the break maker. But since going wheat free I've struggled to get a good, fluffy loaf until I tried a 100% rye bread. Now rye bread is heavy, dense and filling so it's great for open sandwiches and dunking in some soup on a rainy and wintry day. 
Here's how I make mine, you'll need:
  • 500g rye flour
  • 10g salt
  • 10g dried yeast
  • 350ml warm water
I love proving to people that baking is so super easy and this is perfect for that. First, stick all the dry ingredients in a bowl and give it a good stir, then add the warm water. I make my warm water but adding some boiled water to cold but you could use a microwave like a normal person (I don't have one). So now you need to really mix the water into the flour mix until it looks like a dough and here's the best bit.... Put it straight on to an oiled baking tray, that's right, NO KNEADING!

This bread is bread as a round loaf or as individual rolls, today I've gone for a loaf. The loaf needs to prove (or rise) for around 35 minutes in a warm place, I just bung mine on top of a radiator. Then bake the loaf in a preheated oven at 250c for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200c for another 20-30 minutes until it's smells awesome and looks lovely and crunchy. Then simply cool on a wire rack and try your very best to not to devour it in a oner...

27 October 2013

Banana and Pumpkin Bread

I'm still not bored of pumpkin, are you? If you are, I'm sorry but not sorry enough to stop, especially as I found tins of pumpkin purée in my local Tesco. So this weekend I thought I'd make use of those browning bananas in my kitchen because they are perfect for banana bread and how could I make that better? Why with pumpkin obviously. This recipe is a cup measured recipe, which in my book is the best type as long as you've got measuring cups, I was given these babes from a very good friend of mine and they have made cooking a total dream. Now I'm all I need are some equally adorable measuring spoons...
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of rye flour
  • 1 cup plain flour (Doves Farm of course)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2/3 cup of pumpkin purée
  • 50g chocolate chips
  • 50g seeds (I used pumpkin and sunflower but use whatever you prefer)
  • sprinkling of oats and sugar for the top
This is another recipe that is amazingly simple and yet oh so tasty. First, get yourself ready, oil a loaf tin and pre-heat the oven to 180C. Now mash the two bananas in a mixing bowl with a fork, then mash in the sugar and oil. Sprinkle in the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and both types of flour and give it a good mix until all of the dry ingredients become wet. Then get the pumpkin purée, chocolate chips and seeds in the bowl and keep stirring so that the mix is goes an orange colour and the chocolate and seeds are evenly mixed through the batter.

The batter is now ready to be eaten, wait, no, bake it (although if you do feel the need to lick the spoon, go for it, it does taste good). Pour the orange, pumpkin batter into your oiled loaf tin so that it's even then just sprinkle a few oats and some sugar on the top. Now you just need to get that tasty loaf in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until it's golden. I always do the cocktail stick test, just to be sure - stab the centre of the bread and if the cocktail stick comes out clean, your bread is ready to come out of the oven, cool on a wire rack and be eaten preferably with a good cuppa.

20 October 2013

Pumpkin Pie with a Twist

My obsession with pumpkin is totally out of control during October, but it's so versatile, tasty and a lovely bright colour. After making my pumpkin loaf (see it here) I had some left over pumpkin but I didn't fancy another sweet pumpkin food so instead of a traditional pumpkin pie, I decided to make a beef, potato and pumpkin pie.
Here's what you need:
  • 300g minced beef
  • 1 x onion
  • 3 x carrots
  • 2 x bay leaves
  • Tomato purée
  • 1 x cup or beef stock
  • 250g peeled potatoes
  • 200g peeled pumpkin
  • 1 x knob of butter
First you need to dice the pumpkin and potatoes and boil them in some seasoned water. In a frying pan cook the mince until brown then scoop it out and leave on a plate, try to leave as much a the beef juices in the frying pan because now you're going to cook the chopped onions and carrots for about 5 minutes, add the bay leaves and whack the mince back in. Heat and stir this little mix until the mince is warm again then add a cup of beef stock. Finding a good gluten free beef stock can be troublesome but, fear not, Knorr stock cubes are totally gluten free! Now, add a good squidge of tomato purée, it really isn't too important how much and simmer for 30 minutes, just be careful not to let the bottom stick and burn so stir it every now and again.

Now you're ready to assemble your pie, you can either do one large or individual pies, my ramekins are pretty small so I made three scrummy little pies. Add the mince filling to your ramekins or pie dish, mash the pumpkin and potato with some salt, pepper and a knob of butter and smother it over your mince then bake until golden at 180c.

Serve with peas or in fact any vegetable you love.

13 October 2013

Pumpkin Loaf Revisited

Some of you will have all ready come into contact with my overpowering obsession with pumpkin... Last year I posted a recipe for pumpkin loaf (see it here) but since then I discovered that I have a wheat intolerance, so now I've adapted it this year into a tasty wheat free loaf that's perfect for autumn.
  •  350 g peeled pumpkin
  • 150 g clear honey, plus 2 tsp to glaze
  • 150 g rye flour
  • 150 g Doves Farm self-raising white flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 150 g butter, cut into small pieces and cold
  •   3 tbsp pumpkin seeds  
 Now this is crazy simple, honestly. Preheat you oven to 180C or gas mark 4. Peel and chop your pumpkin, boil it for around 15 minutes, it needs to be lovely, soft and mushy. Once the pumpkin is boiled, drain it and stick it back in the pan, use a potato masher and go to town on it, you want a gooey mush of pumpkin. Then stir in the 150 g of honey - I'm sure golden syrup would work just as well.
In a separate bowl mix together the rye flour, Doves Farm flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, then dice the butter and rub it into the flour mix - it's a pretty messy job but there's no way around it and I quite enjoy getting my hands in there. Keep rubbing the butter into the flour mix until it's all combined and looks like breadcrumbs. All you need to do now is tip all that bright orange, sticky pumpkin into the flour and give it a good old mix with a wooden spoon.

Finally, bung this whole bowl of goodness into a greased loaf tin and bake for about an hour. Like I said in my previous post, you'll know when it's done because it'll smell too good. You really want a golden crust on the top, but try to just peak through the oven door, like a sponge cake you really want to avoid opening the door until it's done. Now, don't worry if it's still a little big wobbly in the centre, it will set as it cools, I promise! So leave the loaf in the tin for 10-15 minutes then carefully turn it out on to a wire cooling tray and try your very best not to scoff it immediately, I won't lie, it's tough. While you're waiting for it to cool, smear more honey on the top of the loaf and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on the top. 

Now, this is super tasty if you eat it warm, or with ice cream - enjoy!

Obviously, if you wanted to make this but didn't want a wheat free version simply switch the rye flour for wholemeal and the Doves Farm self-raising white flour for regular self-raising flour.

The Photographer and the Bunny Ate Some Food

I've returned! And I've been collecting some of my favourite recipes and decided to share them with the internet, be it quick lunches, extravagant puddings or hearty dinners. However, while I was preparing for them and taking a few photographs of the food that I've been getting ready for you, Cupcake (my lovely but very disruptive house rabbit) decided she wanted in on it...
So stay tuned for recipes and undoubtedly some appearances from my troublesome bunny. And yes, I am starting with some of my favourite ways to eat pumpkin.