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Flatbread

Just putting this here ‘cos it’s something we’ve used a lot over the last few weeks of #isolation.

Thankfully we are able to usually just go and buy some bread*.  But we have found ourselves short a few times recently.  So we have made flat-bread dough which lasts a few days or more in the fridge.

Flat-bread is made with flourwater, and salt. Some types use yeast, some do not. Some are thick and some are thin.

It’s thought that flat-breads date from 1000s of years before the start of agriculture, these would have used wild grains.

The flat-bread we cook is thin and pan-cooked. It’s versatile, we’ve used it for breakfast with egg, lunch as a snack, and dinner with a curry.

Our flatbread:

  • 500g bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7g dried yeast  (I double the weight of yeast if using fresh yeast so; 14g fresh yeast- but don’t quote me on this – it works.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (fat helps it last longer)
  • about 300ml water

500g of flour in a large bowl – add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other.

Add the oil and half of the water. Mix together. Then add the remaining water a little at a time, until you have a soft, sticky dough.

With oil on the work surface. Knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will become less sticky and more smooth when ready. (I have not worked out whether dough or flour is better to stop it sticking, but if you add more flour then add more oil also.)

Put the dough ball in an oiled bowl. Cover and leave until the dough has doubled in size. An hour or so.

Lightly flour a surface and knock the dough back until it’s smooth. This can be cling wrapped and used whenever. Ours usually lasts a few days or more in the fridge!

With a floured rolling pin on a floured surface. Separate to a few balls and roll each out thinly to the size and thickness preferred. We prefer a thin pancake-like thickness.

Using a frying pan and a little oil, fry each flatbread for a few minutes on each side. Not too hot or the outside will burn and the inside will be not cooked. Brush with soft or melted butter mid-fry…  you know it makes sense!

Love it!

More bread here.

*We are so lucky to be in a situation where we can do this. We are thankful.

 

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It’s Mini Meat Pie time!! again!

Oh yus!! It’s Granny Annie’s Mini Meat Pies!

A bit of a tradition on the days leading up to Christmas – It seems every Christmas I remember from Cornwall included these mini marvels! But take my word for it they don’t hang around, soooooo morish – ansome me lover! From what I recall, this is me mum’s recipe with a few twists.

Here’s the recipe from other years: Mini Meat Pies!

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Sausage Plait – ‘cos u can!

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  • pack of sausages, we had cumberland but choose your faves – or two packs for a big one with some leftover for cold pack-up!!
  • large egg
  • mushrooms
  • red onion
  • cheese
  • puff pastry
  1. Heat oven to 200 – Grease a baking tray.
  2. Take skins off sausages.
  3. Slice mushrooms and slice red onion. Grate some cheese,
  4. Flour work surface and roll out the pastry into a rough square shape. Put pastry baking tray
  5. Lay the combined sausage meat down the middle of the pastry, leave gap at the ends.
  6. On top of meat, lay sliced mushrooms, then sliced onion, then cheese – and whatever you fancy – salt and pepper.
  7. Cut diagonal strips on the sides of the pastry. Brush the pastry with some egg wash.
  8. Tuck the top and bottom ends over the filling. Fold the pastry strips over the filling – alternate sides.
  9. Brush the top all over with the rest of the egg.
  10. Bake for 35-40 mins or until golden.
  11. Serve hot or cold with baked beans or whatever.
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Wok n Stew

WokWhen I was a student I fondly recall using a steel wok in my culinary experiments.

Then, since I pretended to ‘grow up’, we’ve always had a new fangled non-stick wok.

The non-stick’s never lasted… they always eventually scratched, and the coating came off and generally they were not as robust.  After going through 3 non-stick woks, while always pondering “should we have a steel one?”, we eventually plumped for a basic steel wok.  It was the poor relation on the shelf, hidden below the “super”, “new-improved”, “superb”,  must have’s that shouted “create oriental heaven” at you.

After a few months, we concur that it was the right decision! OK you need to give it an initial seasoning but, no more worries about scratching the poor thing. After the cooking’s done just scrub the thing clean and re-oil for next use.

I’ll never by a non-stick again!

Stew

One more thing I don’t understand why the sell woks without lids!? You need a wok lid!

Beef and mushy’s seared: and stew the slow cooker all day! Emma’s slow-cooked stew is divine!

Em’s Stew: (slow cooker from Asda last year £8! bar-gain?)

Seared cubed beef (or summint)

Mushrooms, onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, and things… We don’t put spuds in, we have them as a side, roasted or summint. *I don’t like soggy potato.

Garlic, herbs of choice (we like to include oregano and chilli)…

Stock cube, Red Wine, and whatever u want to experiment with… balsamic, Worcestershire sauce, beer, etc etc

Chompus Maximus!

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Homemade Pizza – cos u can!

When your weary, feeling small… make a pizza!

kneedpizza

 

Traditional bread base (makes 2 pizzas):

  • 375g of bread flour
  • 235 ml of water
  • 1 pack / 7g dried yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Mix it all together in a bowl.
Knead until you ‘re happy! Go for it, take out your frustrations!
Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with cling film.
Stick it in the airing cupboard for half an hour.
Divide the dough into 2,3 or 4 pieces, roughly finger flatten and put on greased baking sheets.

Spread tomato puree over the pizza bases, sprinkle with oregano and/or fresh chopped basil.

Top with grated cheese and WHATEVER you have in the fridge!

Bake at 200 C for 15 to 20 mins.

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Choc Orange Fruit Brownies

Sunday afternoon therapy: make the below and then watch Tales from the Wild Wood.

Heat oven to 180ºC. Line an 8 in square cake tin with baking paper.

Over a simmering pan of water melt the butter, sugar, and choc in a large glass bowl. Stir it occasionally.

Remove the bowl from the saucepan and leave to cool.

Zest the orange and juice. Whisk these together with the eggs, vanilla, and salt.

Whisk the orange and egg mix into the cooled chocolate mix.

Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking powder onto the choc mix and fold it in. Fold in the white chocolate chips and juicy raisins too.

Pour into the baking tin and bake for 25-30 minutes.

  • 225g butter
  • 275g soft brown sugar
  • 200g Green & Blacks dark chocolate
  • zest of a large orange
  • juice ½ orange
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp  vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 110g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 110g white chocolate chips
  • Good handfull or two of juicy rasins
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No Crust Coconut Pie

Our choir, Global Harmony, sings a ‘warm-up’ song about Coconut Pie.
This is the pie, thanks to Mary – with my added twists.

Ingredients.
4 eggs
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar – I’ve reduced the amount of white and added some soft brown sugar and tangy honey also!
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2 cups milk
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
and I’ve added a teaspoon of ginger.

Method:
Mix all together. Pour into 10- inch buttered dish. Bake at 180 C / 350 F for 50mins. approx.

It’s NOT supposed to look like this, but it tastes goooooood!

 

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Yog(h)urt!

OK, latest fad that might become routine – Yogurt*.

It’s one of those things we’ve always thought about but never ventured into.

We’ve been given an Easiyo Yogurt maker, and have started ‘growing our own’.

 

We have previously spent about £4.50 a week on yogs for the four of us.

We now make a kilo of yog for £2.50 – that lasts us the week.

The processed yog we bought previously might contain:

  • Modified food starch, corn starch: Used as a stabilizer, thickener and emulsifier. This gives yogurt an extra creamy texture.
  • Gelatin or Pectin, used as a thickener.
  • Potassium sorbate: A preservative.
  • A significant amount of sugar.
  • Aspartame: An artificial sweetener.
  • Fructose syrup (HFCS): A sweetener.
  • Tricalcium phosphate: A calcium supplement.
  • Whey Protein Concentrate.
  • Sodium Citrate.
  • Malic Acid.
  • Colourings? and flavourings?

The yogs we are now growing contain:

  • Each sachet contains only milk powder and live yogurt making probiotic strains of bacteria.
  • Then… whatever fruit and honey etc. we put in it. (Rhubarb from the garden this week)

The milk powder is spray dried which means that only the water content is removed. Once you add water, it is the closest thing you can get to pure fresh milk.

Your yogurt is made over a range of temperatures so that each bacteria has its “moment in the sun” when the temperature is just right for optimum growth of that particular bacteria.

It’s quick and easy! No pre-heating of milk. No electrics, just make use of boiling water.

I guess we’ll see how long this fadtine lasts.

 

Note: Every day, 1.3million unopened yogurt pots are dumped…

*In English, there are several variations of the spelling of the word, including yogurt, yoghurt, yoghourt, yogourt, yaghourt, yoghurd, joghourt, and jogourt. In the United Kingdom and Australia, yogurt and yoghurt are both current, yoghurt being more common while yogurt is used by the Australian and British dairy councils, and yoghourt is an uncommon alternative.

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Something different, hasselback potatoes… Nice!

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Speaks for itself… chop, garlic, butter, oil, salt (and whatever)…
40mins baste a tad. Niiiiiice.

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Coffee!

And so, coffee has been my drug of choice since January. I don’t smoke, I drink alcohol minimally, my prime-vices are cheese and coffee.

Dipping my toe into the shallow end of the coffee pool, in January I started using a DeLonghi Icona ECO310 Espresso Machine. The once (occasionally twice) daily hit seemed to work well in conjunction with my other daily imbibes.
Last month I started using a Krups Twin Blade Coffee Mill to mill roasted coffee beans rather than pre-ground.

A few weeks ago I thought  I’d try a selection of beans and see what all the fuss was about.
As I say, I’m new to this coffee malarkey and come from NO position of expertise, talent or experience.  I discover what I like and what I don’t like.  Yes, there are many variables that might alter a cup of coffee’s taste etc like heat and pressure of water, grind of beans, amount of milk, type of milk, what you’ve eaten before the drink… etc but hey I’m no scientist.
So this is just a man on the web’s humble opinion.

The lovely people at Tank Coffee were my first stop – a friend had told me about them.

I tried six of their offerings, making my coffee using the machines above, with just a dash of milk:

We found this of medium strength, smooth, mild and sweet. We found the grind gave off an almondy sniff. A single large cup gave me a medium afterglow and found it very drinkable.
Tank say: This sweet and chocolatey coffee comes from the hills of Musema in south west Burundi. It has a delightfully well-rounded body with hints of cocoa and caramel. As it cools, you get a few hints of blackberry too.

We found this of medium strength, but we found it a bit bitter and with a strong black tea flavour. It was harsh and smokey. A single large cup gave me a strong afterglow.
Tank say: Mild in body, Hosnia Special has subtle and rather sweet notes of chocolate. You may well detect some lemon and black tea flavours. And if you’re tastebuds are finely-tuned, delightful herbal flavours will be dancing around there too.

We found this very drinkable! It was smooth mild and sweet.
Tank say: “You’ll love this Ethiopian beauty. Nicely rounded, moderate acidity with a decent body. You’ll discover some gorgeous floral tones in this amazing coffee and many people say, it’s the perfect start to the day.”

Again we found this very drinkable! It was smooth mild and sweet and yes I have to say a choc resonance.
Tank say: “Mmmm…beya. A coffee with an excellent body. Oh yes, this is a soft, sweet and mild coffee with wine and chocolate notes and a berry finish. It’s from the villages around Mbeya in southern Tanzania.”

My notes say medium in strength and taste, but with warm smooth cuddly afterglow.
Tank say: Fruity. That’s the word we’re using to describe this light and refreshing morning coffee grown in the red volcanic soils by the Thangaini co-operative. Delicate lemon tea aromas coupled with a smooth, silky body and subtle blackcurrant notes offer a refreshing and a rather genteel start to the day.

The last on the list and the last coffee we tried: was “a good cup of coffee”. We found it was just right, not too strong and not too smooth, we could not pin a specifc character to it. Just good.
Tank say: The tankcoffee espresso blend boasts deep chocolate and berry flavours, with some light floral notes, so it’s perfect for a smooth latte, a full-bodied cappuccino or of course, an espresso that promises a polite kick with every sip. What’s in the blend?  Our Kickstart Espresso is the perfect blend of Kenyan Thangaini, Burundi Musema, Ethiopian Sidamo and Cameroon Hosnia to get you moving in the morning!

We will be ordering our favourite in due-course – thanks Tank Coffee.