Welcome to my new blog!

 

Spring is now officially here. I love this time of year with everything growing anew in the garden and the thought of long warm summer days ahead. It always seems to be a time of new beginnings and in that light I’m excited to start my Recipes to Remember blog.

There are lots of recipe blogs out there, I know. So what’s different about this one?

Well, I have enjoyed cooking for my family for many years and now our four children have grown up and flown the nest. I have gathered quite a collection of recipes over this time from many different sources. And so they have been tried and tested many times!

Having lived in both England and Canada, I have had to deal with differences in things like terminology, weights and measures, and ingredients. So all my recipes list the appropriate ingredients for both U.K. and North America. It’s amazing how differences in the make-up of some ingredients can affect the success of a recipe and I have had to learn this – the hard way!

Along the way I have also collected tips and information on all kinds of culinary topics and will be adding these to the Tips section over time.

Also I have divided up recipes into the seasons. For example, we enjoy heart warming casseroles and puddings in the winter but in summer the dinners are lighter and quick to prepare, and desserts are defined by the abundance of local fresh fruits. I would rather spend warm summer days outside with our labrador, Shandy, than in the kitchen! So, as I gradually add recipes onto my blog, they will be representative of the time of year.

I hope you will enjoy the recipes I have chosen to share with you.

By the way, where it has been possible, I have written them up to serve four. I think it is easy to work from this. Generally, you can halve the amounts for two as easily as you can increase them to serve six or eight.

So, with Easter weekend fast approaching, I’ve posted a few of my favourite Easter recipes below for you to try. I hope you enjoy them and invite you to comment on them if you’d like to.

Angie

Crusty French Bread

Crusty French Bread

 

This crusty French bread is light and airy, with a beautiful crisp crust.

Baking bread isn’t difficult if you break the process down into 3 steps. Each step involves a ‘wait period’ during which you can get on with something else. For more information about the technique I use, here’s a link to my page on Breadmaking.

 

Crusty French Bread
Prepares: 1 loaf
 
  • Step 1
  • Preparation time: 5–10 minutes
  • Waiting time: 30 minutes
  • Step 2
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Waiting time: About 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Step 3
  • Preparation time: 10–15 minutes
  • Waiting time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 520g (1 lb 2 oz) strong white/all purpose flour (3⅔ cups)
  • 10g (1½ tsp) salt
  • 10g (1 tbsp) instant yeast
  • 345ml (12 fl oz) water (1½ cups less 1 tbsp)
  • olive oil for oiling the bowl and tin


  1. Method

  2. Step 1
  3. Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add most of the water and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a plastic dough scraper. If some flour is left in the bottom, add the remainder of the water. It may not need it all. Just make sure that all the flour has been taken up.

  4. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to stand for 20-30 minutes.

  5. In the meantime, prepare for the next step by weighing out the salt and yeast.

  6. Step 2
  7. At the end of the 20–30 minutes, add the salt and yeast to the mixture, making sure that the yeast doesn’t come into contact with a wodge of salt, and mix well.

  8. Cover the bowl with the tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.

  9. Lightly oil your hands and the work surface, and tip the dough out. Take the edge of the dough that’s furthest away from you and fold it towards you to meet the near edge. Push it into the dough with your fingers or the heel of your hand, stretching it gently away from you. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Do this 8 to 10 times, then rotate the dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl.

  10. Cover with the tea towel again, leave for 10 minutes, and repeat the fold and stretch.

  11. Cover again and leave for 10 minutes. While waiting, lightly oil another large bowl for the dough to rise in. Then fold and stretch the dough for a third time.

  12. The dough should now be smooth and silky. Tip it out and shape it into a ball. Put it into the lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film.

  13. Leave it to rise until it's at least doubled in size.* At room temperature, this should take a minimum of an hour but it's fine to leave it for 2–3 hours. The longer the better – it improves the flavour.

  14. While waiting, prepare a baking tray and line with baking parchment.

  15. Step 3
  16. Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out by folding it in on itself a few times. It should feel smooth. Then flatten it out into a rectangle, with a short side towards you. Lift the dough from the furthest edge and fold it down towards you about half way. Press the edge down with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough round and repeat. Then roll the dough up away from you making sure that the join ends up at the bottom.

  17. Place the dough on the baking tray, shaping how you want the loaf to end up. Lightly dust with flour and cover with the tea towel or cling film and leave to prove for at least another hour. You can tell when it's ready when it's doubled in size again and the dough springs back readily if you poke it gently with your finger.

  18. Before the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F (gas mark 7).

  19. Dust the top of the dough with flour and slash the top diagonally with a sharp knife. Add about 250ml/½ pint of boiling water to a roasting tray and place it on a rack at the bottom of the oven to create some steam (this makes the crust crispy). Then bake for 35–40 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn out the loaf and tap it on the bottom – it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.



  20. Tip
  21. Many recipes recommend using warm water to make the yeast work more quickly. However, the flavour is improved if the process takes place more slowly. I use water at room temperature or even a little cooler.

  22. * Doubled in size means doubled in volume. This means that if the dough is in the shape of a ball, the diameter increases by about 25%.

Updated: March 10, 2017

Simply Apple Pie

Simply Apple Pie

 

An apple pie that is delicious, especially when the apples just come into season. The pie filling literally just contains apples and a little sugar so the full flavour of the apples come through. It has a sweet pastry lid that when cooked is buttery and crumbly. For a mouthwatering finish serve with cream or ice cream.

 

Simply Apple Pie
Prepares: 6–8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Standing time: 50 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40–45 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the pastry
  • 225g/8 oz self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 140g/5 oz cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch of salt

  • For the filling
  • 1.35kg/3 lb Bramley apples/Crispin, Mutsu, or Courtland
  • 110g/4 oz caster sugar/white fine sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 egg white, lightly whisked

  • Equipment
  • A 28 x 20cm/11 x 8 inch deep pie dish, sides and rim buttered
  • A pie raiser, buttered


  1. Method
  2. For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add the sugar. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of cold water together in a small jug and gradually pour onto the flour mixture while mixing in with a palette knife until it starts to form small lumps. Quickly knead by hand to bring the mixture together. Wrap in cling film/cling wrap and chill for at 20 minutes.

  3. Remove from the fridge and let the pastry return to a cool room temperature. Roll it out fairly thinly. Upturn the dish onto the centre of the pastry and use it as a template to cut out the lid, adding an extra 2.5cm/1 inch all the way round. Then cut out a 5cm/2 inch wide strip from the remaining pastry, enough to go round the rim of the dish. Apply this to the flat rim and insides of the dish, pressing into place and making joins where necessary. Put the pie raiser in the middle of the dish.

  4. For the filling, prepare the apples one at a time. Peel, cut into quarters and core. Cut each quarter into four and pile into the dish as you go, sprinkling some sugar between each layer. They should pile up high in the dish which will help to support the pastry lid.

  5. Brush the pastry covered rim with cold water and put on the lid. Crimp the lid and rim pressing together as you work your way round the rim.

  6. Cut 4 slashes in the lid and return the pie to the fridge for another 30 minutes (up to 2 hours).

  7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/375F/gas mark 5.

  8. Remove the pie from the fridge and brush the surface with the egg white, then sprinkle with sugar. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 40–45 minutes until pale golden brown.

 

Traditional English Pancakes

Traditional English Pancakes

 

These traditional English pancakes are served with lemon and sugar – easy to prepare and easy to eat!

 

Traditional English Pancakes
Prepares: 6–8 large pancakes
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 110g/4 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 large eggs (U.K.)/extra large eggs (N.A.)
  • 275ml/10 fl oz semi-skimmed milk
  • 25g/1 oz butter, melted
  • 25g/1 oz butter for greasing

  • To serve
  • granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, halved

  • Equipment
  • A 25.5cm/10 inch heavy gauge aluminium frying pan


  1. Method
  2. First, melt 1 oz of butter and set aside to cool.

  3. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.

  4. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then add the milk and cooled, melted butter. Gradually pour the mixture into the well of the flour while whisking with an electric whisk or a balloon whisk, incorporating the flour from around the edge of the bowl. Scrape any remaining flour down from around the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula and whisk again until all the mixture is smooth. Let stand for 20 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and place five plates in the oven to warm.

  6. Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to a medium setting.

  7. Melt the remaining butter in the pan then pour into a small bowl. After cooking each pancake, smear the pan with the butter to keep it lightly greased, using a wodge of kitchen paper. The pan should be lightly greased not running with butter.

  8. Use about 4 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. It is easier to measure this into a ladle first to give a guide for the amount for each pancake. Quickly tip the batter from the ladle into the centre of the pan and at the same time tip the pan from side to side to get the base evenly coated. Cook the pancake for about 1 minute until the surface dries and the underside is golden.

  9. Flip the pancake over with a palette knife. Again, cook until the underside is golden which will need less time. Then slide out of the pan onto a warmed plate.

  10. Continue until the batter is finished. Overlap the pancakes on the warmed plate as you go. Keep them warm in the oven, covered loosely with foil.

  11. To serve, squeeze lemon juice over each pancake and generously sprinkle with sugar. It can then can be rolled up.

 

Mini Ciabatta Pizzas

Mini Ciabatta Pizzas

 

These mini ciabatta pizzas are made with ciabatta halves topped with tomatoes, cheese, bacon and onion, cooked in olive oil and garlic. Perfect for a light snack.

 

Mini Ciabatta Pizzas
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 bacon rashers, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 ciabattas, halved horizontally
  • 1 × 400g/½ × 28 fl oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 110g/4 oz cheese, grated


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  3. Fry the bacon in 1 tablespoon olive oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes until crispy. Set aside.

  4. Lower the heat and fry the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Set aside.

  5. Meanwhile, put the four ciabatta halves in the oven, cut-side down, for 5 minutes to crisp the outer sides.

  6. Top the cut side of the ciabatta halves equally with the tomatoes. Sprinkle over the cheese then top with the bacon and onion mixture.

  7. Cook the ciabatta pizza in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted, or cook under a medium-heat grill for 2–3 minutes, taking care not to burn the onions.

 

Steamed Treacle Sponge Pudding

Steamed Treacle Sponge Pudding

 

Black treacle or molasses added to this syrup sponge pudding gives it a more intense flavour. It really is a delicious pud.

 

Steamed Treacle Sponge Pudding
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1½ hours

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup, plus 2 tbsp to serve
  • 85g/3 oz self-raising flour
  • ½ rounded tsp baking powder
  • 85g/3 oz very soft butter
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 85g/3 oz light brown soft sugar
  • ½ tbsp black treacle/fancy molasses

  • Equipment
  • 600ml/1 pint pudding basin, buttered
  • A steamer


  1. Method
  2. Spoon 2 tablespoons of golden syrup into the bottom of the pudding basin.

  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl and add the butter, eggs, sugar and black treacle. Beat the mixture for about 2 minutes until it is thoroughly blended using an electric hand mixer or a food mixer.

  4. Spoon the mixture into the basin and level the top.

  5. Cut a piece of foil large enough to cover the top of the basin and come halfway down the sides. Make a pleat in the foil to allow for expansion of the mixture, then place the foil over the basin folding it down the sides. Take a piece of string and tie it round the basin under the lip, then take it over the top and tie it on the other side to make a handle. This makes it easy to lift from the pan. Bring 2 inches of water to the boil in the pan. Place the pudding in the steamer over the pan of boiling water, cover and steam for 1½ hours.

  6. To serve, loosen the pudding all round using a palette knife. Invert the pudding basin onto a warmed plate and pour 2 tablespoons of golden syrup over.

  7. Serve with custard or chilled crème frâiche.

 

Soda Bread

Soda Bread

 

Soda bread is delicious in its own right with soup or stews, with cheese, or just spread with butter. And it’s also a quick and easy solution if you want a homemade bread and you suddenly find you’re out of yeast.

 

Soda Bread
 
  • Preparation time: About 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) plain white/cake & pastry flour* (3½ cups)
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 400ml (14 fl oz) buttermilk (1⅔ cups)


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

  3. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and then stir in the buttermilk. Once all the flour has been taken up by the liquid, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop, fold it in on itself a few times and shape it into a ball. It doesn’t need kneading.

  4. Place on the baking tray and flatten it slightly. Then cut a cross deeply into the dough, almost cutting it into quarters. A deep cut is essential to get the heat into the loaf. Lightly dust with flour.

  5. Bake for 30 minutes until nicely browned. Turn over the loaf and tap it on the bottom – it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

  6. Soda bread doesn’t keep as well as yeast bread, so either eat the same day or freeze.



  7. *An alternative is to use 250g/9 oz plain/cake & pastry flour and 250g/9 oz wholemeal/whole wheat flour (shown above)

Updated: March 10, 2017

Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Bread

 

Baking a wholemeal, or whole wheat, loaf is very similar to White Bread. It just needs a little more water, as wholemeal flour absorbs more liquid than white flour. You can use wholemeal flour alone, which I prefer, but you can add white flour which gives a slightly less dense texture (about 425g wholemeal/75g white).

Baking bread isn’t difficult if you break the process down into 3 steps. Each step involves a ‘wait period’ during which you can get on with something else. For more information about the technique I use, here’s a link to my page on Breadmaking.

 

Whole Wheat Bread
 
  • Step 1
  • Preparation time: 5–10 minutes
  • Waiting time: 30 minutes
  • Step 2
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Waiting time: About 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Step 3
  • Preparation time: 10–15 minutes
  • Waiting time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) wholemeal/whole wheat flour (3½ cups)
  • 10g (1½ tsp) salt
  • 10g (1 tbsp) instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp Demerara sugar
  • ½ × 500mg tablet of vitamin C
  • 55g (2 oz) unsalted butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 335ml (12 fl oz) water (1¼ cups + 2½ tbsp)
  • olive oil for oiling the bowl and tin


  1. Method

  2. Step 1
  3. Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add most of the water and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a plastic dough scraper. If some flour is left in the bottom, add the remainder of the water. It may not need it all. Just make sure that all the flour has been taken up.

  4. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to stand for 20–30 minutes.

  5. In the meantime, prepare for the next step by weighing out the salt, yeast, sugar, and butter. Grind up half a tablet of vitamin C, either with a mortar and pestle or between two teaspoons.

  6. Step 2
  7. At the end of the 20–30 minutes, melt the butter and add it with the salt, yeast, sugar and vitamin C to the mixture, making sure that the yeast doesn’t come into contact with a wodge of salt, and mix well.

  8. Cover the bowl with the tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.

  9. Lightly oil your hands and the work surface, and tip the dough out. Take the edge of the dough that’s furthest away from you and fold it towards you to meet the near edge. Push it into the dough with your fingers or the heel of your hand, stretching it gently away from you. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Do this 8 to 10 times, then rotate the dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl.

  10. Cover with the tea towel again, leave for 10 minutes, and repeat the fold and stretch.

  11. Cover again and leave for 10 minutes. While waiting, lightly oil another large bowl for the dough to rise in. Then fold and stretch the dough for a third time.

  12. The dough should now be smooth and silky. Tip it out and shape it into a ball. Put it into the lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film.

  13. Leave it to rise until it's at least doubled in size.* At room temperature, this should take a minimum of an hour but it's fine to leave it for 2–3 hours. The longer the better – it improves the flavour.

  14. Depending on the kind of loaf you want, prepare for the shaping while you wait. If you want a classic rectangular shape as shown in the photograph, prepare a loaf tin. (For this amount of dough, I use one which measures 23.5 × 13.3 × 7cm /9¼ × 5¼ × 3 in. Lightly oil the whole of the inside to prevent the loaf sticking.) If making a natural-shaped loaf, say a cob or a boule, line a baking tray with baking parchment.

  15. Step 3
  16. Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out by folding it in on itself a few times. It should feel smooth. Then flatten it out into a rectangle, with a short side towards you. Lift the dough from the furthest edge and fold it down towards you about half way. Press the edge down with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough round and repeat. Then shape the dough.

  17. For the classic shape
  18. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, short side towards you, with the width about the length of the loaf tin. Roll the dough up away from you making sure that the join ends up at the bottom. Place the dough in the tin, moulding as necessary to make sure it's even along its length.

  19. For a natural shape
  20. Rotate the dough into a ball and shape appropriately. Place on the baking tray.

  21. Cover with the tea towel or cling film and leave to prove for at least another hour. You can tell when it's ready when it's doubled in size again and the dough springs back readily if you poke it gently with your finger.

  22. Before the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F (gas mark 8).

  23. Dust the top of the dough with flour and slash the top lengthways with a sharp knife. Add about 250ml/½ pint of boiling water to a roasting tray and place it on a rack at the bottom of the oven to create some steam (this makes the crust crisper). Then bake for 20 minutes, turning the oven down to 200°C/400°F (gas mark 6) for a further 20 minutes, or until nicely browned. Turn out the loaf and tap it on the bottom – it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.



  24. Tip
  25. Many recipes recommend using warm water to make the yeast work more quickly. However, the flavour is improved if the process takes place more slowly. I use water at room temperature or even a little cooler.

  26. * Doubled in size means doubled in volume. This means that if the dough is in the shape of a ball, the diameter increases by about 25%.

Updated: March 10, 2017

Religieuses

Religieuses

 

Religieuses – a classic French pastry made up of two choux buns filled with crème pâtissière, topped with a rich chocolate ganache and decorated with a whipped cream collar. These take a while to prepare but the result is quite charming for a special occasion.

 

Religieuses
Prepares: 8
 
  • Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Chilling time: About 30 minutes

  • Equipment
  • A piping bag with a 1.5cm/½ inch plain nozzle, a small star nozzle, a long thin nozzle (or a jam syringe) and a skewer.

  • Ingredients
  • For the choux buns
  • 60g/2¼ oz butter, cut into cubes
  • 75g/2½ oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)

  • For the crème pâtissière
  • 500ml/18 fl oz full-fat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.),
  • 70g/2½ oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 20g/¾ oz cornflour/cornstarch
  • 
25g/1 oz plain flour/all purpose flour

  • For the chocolate ganache
  • 142ml/5 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • 
170g/6 oz good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces

  • For the collar
  • 142ml/5 fl oz double cream/whipping cream


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

  3. Draw eight circles 5cm/2 inches across and another eight circles 2.5cm/1 inch across onto a sheet of baking parchment. Turn the paper over so the drawn side faces down and place on a baking tray.

  4. For the choux buns
  5. Heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat with 150ml/5 fl oz of water until the butter melts. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then immediately remove from the heat.

  6. Quickly tip in the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a soft ball. Return to the heat and cook over a low heat for 3–5 minutes, stirring constantly. Then leave to cool slightly. Gradually add the eggs, beating well between each addition to form a smooth, shiny paste.

  7. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with the 1.5cm/½ inch plain nozzle. Pipe to fill the inside of the marked circles on the baking parchment, pressing down in the centre as you pipe to form round discs. Using a damp finger, smooth over the top of each disc and make a slight depression in the centre of the larger ones (this makes it easier to sit the smaller ones on top of the larger ones).

  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 and cook for a further 10–15 minutes until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole into each choux bun with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. Return to the oven for 4–5 minutes to dry out. Then leave to cool on a wire rack. 


  9. For the crème pâtissière
  10. Pour the milk and vanilla extract into a heavy-based pan and gradually bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, about 30 seconds. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale in colour, then whisk in the cornflour and plain flour. Pour milk onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan.

  11. Bring back to the boil, over a medium heat, whisking constantly, and cook for one minute. Pour the crème pâtissière into a bowl and cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool. Then refrigerate to chill. 


  12. For the chocolate ganache
  13. Bring the cream to the boil in a small pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and stir until melted and shiny. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Then refrigerate the ganache until it has thickened to a spreadable consistency. 


  14. To assemble the religieuses
  15. Remove the crème pâtissière and the chocolate ganache from the fridge. Spoon the crème pâtissière into a piping bag fitted with a long thin nozzle (or a jam syringe). Pierce a small hole in the base of each choux bun and fill them with the crème pâtissière.

  16. Dip the top of the filled buns into the chocolate ganache to coat half-way down the sides. Sit the small buns on top of the larger ones. 


  17. For the collars, whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with the small star nozzle. Pipe lines of cream around the join where the small bun sits on top of the large bun to form a collar.

 

Simple White Bread

Simple White Bread

 

A basic white bread to start with, if you’re just getting into baking.

Bread isn’t difficult if you break the process down into 3 steps. Each step involves a ‘wait period’ during which you can get on with something else. For more information about the technique I use, here’s a link to my page on Breadmaking.

 

Simple White Bread
 
  • Step 1
  • Preparation time: 5–10 minutes
  • Waiting time: 30 minutes
  • Step 2
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Waiting time: About 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Step 3
  • Preparation time: 10–15 minutes
  • Waiting time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 35–40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) strong white/all purpose flour (3½ cups)
  • 10g (1½ tsp) salt
  • 10g (1 tbsp) instant yeast
  • 30g (1 oz) unsalted butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 325ml (11 fl oz) water (1⅓ cups)
  • olive oil for oiling the bowl and tin


  1. Method

  2. Step 1
  3. Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add most of the water and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a plastic dough scraper. If some flour is left in the bottom, add the remainder of the water. It may not need it all. Just make sure that all the flour has been taken up.

  4. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to stand for 20–30 minutes.

  5. In the meantime, prepare for the next step by weighing out the salt, yeast, and butter.

  6. Step 2
  7. At the end of the 20–30 minutes, melt the butter and add it with the salt and yeast to the mixture, making sure that the yeast doesn’t come into contact with a wodge of salt, and mix well.

  8. Cover the bowl with the tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.

  9. Lightly oil your hands and the work surface, and tip the dough out. Take the edge of the dough that’s furthest away from you and fold it towards you to meet the near edge. Push it into the dough with your fingers or the heel of your hand, stretching it gently away from you. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Do this 8 to 10 times, then rotate the dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl.

  10. Cover with the tea towel again, leave for 10 minutes, and repeat the fold and stretch.

  11. Cover again and leave for 10 minutes. While waiting, lightly oil another large bowl for the dough to rise in. Then fold and stretch the dough for a third time.

  12. The dough should now be smooth and silky. Tip it out and shape it into a ball. Put it into the lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film.

  13. Leave it to rise until it's at least doubled in size.* At room temperature, this should take a minimum of an hour but it's fine to leave it for 2–3 hours. The longer the better – it improves the flavour.

  14. Depending on the kind of loaf you want, prepare for the shaping while you wait. If you want a classic rectangular shape as shown in the photograph, prepare a loaf tin. (For this amount of dough, I use one which measures 23.5 × 13.3 × 7cm /9¼ × 5¼ × 3 in. Lightly oil the whole of the inside to prevent the loaf sticking.) If making a natural-shaped loaf, say a cob or a boule, line a baking tray with baking parchment.

  15. Step 3
  16. Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out by folding it in on itself a few times. It should feel smooth. Then flatten it out into a rectangle, with a short side towards you. Lift the dough from the furthest edge and fold it down towards you about half way. Press the edge down with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough round and repeat. Then shape the dough.

  17. For the classic shape
  18. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, short side towards you, with the width about the length of the loaf tin. Roll the dough up away from you making sure that the join ends up at the bottom. Place the dough in the tin, moulding as necessary to make sure it's even along its length.

  19. For a natural shape
  20. Rotate the dough into a ball and shape appropriately. Place on the baking tray.

  21. Cover with the tea towel or cling film and leave to prove for at least another hour. You can tell when it's ready when it's doubled in size again and the dough springs back readily if you poke it gently with your finger.

  22. Before the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F (gas mark 8).

  23. Dust the top of the dough with flour and slash the top lengthways with a sharp knife. Add about 250ml/½ pint of boiling water to a roasting tray and place it on a rack at the bottom of the oven to create some steam (this makes the crust crisper). Then bake for 20 minutes, turning the oven down to 200°C/400°F (gas mark 6) for a further 20 minutes, or until nicely browned. Turn out the loaf and tap it on the bottom – it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.



  24. Tip
  25. Many recipes recommend using warm water to make the yeast work more quickly. However, the flavour is improved if the process takes place more slowly. I use water at room temperature or even a little cooler.

  26. * Doubled in size means doubled in volume. This means that if the dough is in the shape of a ball, the diameter increases by about 25%.

Updated: March 10, 2017

Real Orange Jelly

Real Orange Jelly

 

Real orange jelly is simple to make and full of flavour. All you need is orange juice, a lemon, a little sugar and gelatine. Decorate it with slices of orange and serve for a refreshing dessert.

 

Real Orange Jelly
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 20–25 minutes
  • Standing time: 30 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: At least 5 hours, or overnight

  • Ingredients
  • 140ml/5 fl oz water
  • 50g/2 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 4–5 oranges, or
  • 1 orange plus 425ml/15 fl oz orange juice from a carton, without pulp
  • powdered gelatine, enough to set 565ml/20 fl oz of liquid
  • orange slices to decorate

  • Equipment
  • 565ml/1 pint/20 fl oz jelly mould


  1. Method
  2. Thinly pare the rind from the lemon and one orange and place in a saucepan with the water and sugar. Over a medium-low heat stir to dissolve the sugar and then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from the lemon into a large bowl.

  4. If using the whole oranges, squeeze out the juice until there is 425ml/15 fl oz and add to the lemon juice. If using a carton of orange juice, add 425ml/15 fl oz to the lemon juice.

  5. Strain the sugar syrup into the bowl and stir into the juices.

  6. Dissolve the gelatine. Follow the instructions on the packet of the gelatine to set 20 fl oz of liquid. Then thoroughly stir the gelatine into the orange mixture until evenly distributed.

  7. Wet the jelly mould, pour in the jelly and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, or overnight, until firmly set.

  8. To serve, dip the jelly mould up to the rim in very hot water for 5 seconds, place a flat serving plate on top of the mould, then invert the mould and plate together. Holding both plate and mould firmly together, give the jelly a good shake to free it from the mould. Remove the mould, then decorate the jelly with oranges slices.

 

Cheat’s Crêpes Suzette

Cheat's Crêpes Suzette

 

I call these Cheat’s Crêpes Suzette because they aren’t flambéed just before serving. The crêpes with orange segments in orange sauce flavoured with Cointreau still make them sublime. (To flambé them, just follow the last steps of the method.)

 

Cheat's Crêpes Suzette
Prepares: 4–6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 30 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the crêpes
  • 110g/4 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 large eggs (U.K.)/extra large eggs (N.A.)
  • 200ml/7½ fl oz semi-skimmed milk mixed with 75ml/2½ fl oz water
  • 50g/2 oz butter

  • For the orange sauce
  • 50g/2 oz icing sugar
  • 3 oranges
  • 100g/3½ oz butter
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau

  • Equipment
  • A 22.5cm/10 inch heavy gauge aluminium frying pan


  1. Method
  2. For the crêpes
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

  4. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break in the eggs. Using an electric whisk or a balloon whisk, whisk the eggs into the flour gradually adding the milk and incorporating the flour from around the edge of the bowl. Scrape any remaining flour down from the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and whisk again until all the mixture is blended in and smooth. It should be the consistency of thin cream. Set aside for 20 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and place five plates in the oven to warm.

  6. Melt the butter in the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons of it into the batter and whisk it in. Pour the remainder into a small bowl and use it to smear the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper, between cooking each pancake.

  7. Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to a medium setting.

  8. Use about 2 tablespoons of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first and use this to tip the batter into the pan in one go. Using the ladle or cup, hold it so that the base is very close to the bottom of the pan in the centre and then pour it in. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with the batter. If there are any holes, just fill them in with the batter using a teaspoon. It will take less than a minute to cook. Lift the edge with a palette knife to check the underside is golden.

  9. Flip the crêpe over with the palette knife. The other side will need less time to cook. Then slide it out of the pan onto a warmed plate.

  10. Continue until there are 12 crêpes. Overlap them on the warmed plate as you go, keeping them warm in the oven, covered loosely with foil, while you prepare the sauce.

  11. For the sauce
  12. Squeeze the juice from one orange into a small bowl and add the icing sugar. Stir to dissolve and then pour into the pan with the butter. Heat over a gentle heat to melt the butter and then simmer for 2 minutes.

  13. Meanwhile, zest the two remaining oranges and set the zest aside. Remove all the pith and segment the oranges, removing any pips. Fold the crêpes into quarters, placing one or two orange segments in each. Add the crêpes to the pan along with the remaining orange segments, the zest and 1 tablespoon of the liqueur.

  14. Cook for 2 minutes to heat the crêpes through.

  15. Note
  16. If you want to flambé the crêpes just follow the steps below.

  17. To flambé the crêpes
  18. First mix together 3 tablespoons of Grand Marnier and 3 tablespoons of brandy. Then pour them into the pan and set alight. This has to be done very quickly or the alcohol will evaporate and won’t light. Carefully swirl the pan around so that the pan flames evenly. Serve when the flames have extinguished. Be very careful when doing this.