29 Apr 2014

Irish Soda Bread, No-kneading wholemeal and oatmeal bread

This week's post and recipe are dedicated to my partner in crime The Entertainment Co-chief Executive, aka Little Bunny, aka Secret Santa.
When I first met you, I couldn't understand either your English accent nor your dry humour, which I've both learnt to love since. 
You have been the kind official banana provider for all the banana breads I've baked for the past 5 years. 
You've supported all my crazy entertainment ideas, and we've had such a good time putting them together.
You were one of the very first people to encourage me to make a blog out of my baking, and so many time did we have fun dreaming about me turning it into a cake shop and you becoming my official British products importer. God knows, maybe one day we'll do it? And even if we don't, the dreaming part has been a great pleasure in itself.

Thank you for everything. I wish you all the best in your new adventures!

recipe oatmeal and wholemeal no kneading bread

Irish Soda Bread 
 (no kneading wholemeal and oatmeal bread)

I absolutely love the crumbly and cakey texture of soda bread. I only recently discovered that it is a bread which dough doesn't require kneading, which makes it really easy and quick to make. With a food processor, it really is a matter of minutes, but by hand, it won't take much longer!  

30g butter
450g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
115g oatmeal (I didn't have oatmeal so I processed rolled oats in a food processor for 30sec, which worked perfectly)
11/2 tsp cream of tartar (or baking powder)
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
425ml milk and water (half and half. I used skimmed milk)

Make the Irish Soda Bread

1/ Preheat the oven a 180deg C

2/ In a large bowl, mic flour, salt, oatmeal, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda

3/ Using your fingers or in a food processor, rub in the butter until the mixture resemble fine crumbs. add the milk and water, then mix to a soft dough

4/ Turn into a slightly floured surface and knead briefly to a loaf shape or slightly flattened round ball. Deeply score the bread with a sharp knife (I made a cross)

5/ Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet, place at the bottom of the oven a dish with a few tbsp of water at the bottom (this will create some steam and ensure the bread has a lovely crust) and bake for 30-35min

6/ Eat warm or cold, with sweet or savoury accompaniment.

recipe oatmeal and wholemeal no kneading bread (soda bread)

23 Apr 2014

Self-saucing butterscotch pudding - super quick version of a golden syrup pudding

The early dates of life together as a couple are somewhere between an ad for Center Parks and an ad for Kinder chocolates: 
  • we cycle home together hand in hand (and The Man, his attention drawn into your beautiful eyes, rides into a lamp post in the park. Actually a true story)
  • we sent each other messages in the middle of the afternoon "What would you like for dinner tonight honey pie?" "I'm popping down to Borough market, would you like me to pick some nice cheese for your lunch box?"
  • we hang clothes up to dry together and we share house chores with a smile
Let's be honest, these days we're so deep in the honeymoon phase that, compared to us, my self-saucing golden syrup pudding seems light in sugar!

Self-Saucing Butterscotch Pudding

I've come across a few self-saucing pudding recipes, and they all call for this surprising flooding of the pudding mix under a mix of water and sugar, which, as the pudding bakes, sinks underneath the pudding itself and turns into a delicious sauce.
Even though it sounds a bit strange, the magic does work every time and the results are fantastic. 
The sponge is light and the sauce rich...with a dollop of fresh cream, I can assure it will blow your mind away!

(for 4 larg-ish individual puddings or 1 big pudding for 4 to 6 people) 

3/4 cup muscovado sugar
1 1/4 cups (190g) self-raising flour
100g butter, melted
1 egg
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
4 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 1/2 cups (375ml) boiling water
Double cream, whipped to soft peaks, to serve

Method to make the self-saucing butterscotch / golden syrup pudding

1/ Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish or 4 large individual pudding moulds. Combine 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and all of the flour in a bowl. Add the melted butter, egg, milk and 2 tablespoons of the golden syrup and stir until combined. Spoon into greased dish(es). 

2/ Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and cornflour. Sprinkle over the pudding mixture.

3/ Combine boiling water with the remaining 2 tablespoons of golden syrup. Pour over the top of the pudding mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Serve warm with a good dollop of unsweetened cold whipped cream.

Tip: if you don't eat the pudding straight out of the oven, plan to re-heat it for 15-20min in the oven at 120deg C before serving. Cold, the sauce could set and that's not what you're looking for!

Recipe adapted from http://www.taste.com.au

10 Apr 2014

Caramel Pretzel Brownies

This is a message in a bottle.
Call it a cathartic blog post.
I have to put it out there: Great Britain has plug socket issues. 

Firstly, for sure on/off switches on the sockets are great at preventing any toddlers from getting hurt if they stick their tiny fingers in the plug holes. But, as long as you don't have a child at home, what's the point of turning the plugs off everytime you leave the room?

"It's hazard protection" says the British Man. 
Well, surprisingly in my country, we don't have switches on our plug sockets and hardly anybody dies from sticking their fingers or being electrocuted by their TV by accident.

Secondly, how are we ladies, supposed to dry our hair in a country where it's considered highly dangerous to equip bathrooms with plug sockets?
"Of course nobody would build a house with sockets in a room that has a bath and sink" says the Man, looking at me like I'm some kind of lunatic.

As hard as it is to believe, my people tend to remember to step out of their bath before drying their hair (apart from a certain Claude François, maybe).
Great Britain, I love you, I truly do, but your plug sockets (or absence of them), drives me insane.

brownies with caramelized pretzel crust recipe

Salted Caramel Pretzel 

I adapted this recipe from the How sweet it is, one of my favourite blogs, which I admire because Jessica's recipes look both evil and delicious, and also because of her beautiful photos.
The brownies are so good they would be amazing on their own, but the pretzel crust (which I adapted to caramelise it) takes them one step further, much further.

Sweet and salty sounds like one of the biggest trends of the moment in baking, and lots of US bloggers add pretzels to cakes and biscuits these days, and I have to say that it totally does it for me. The sprinkles of salt on the pretzels works wonderfully at enhancing the flavours of both the caramel and the chocolate. 

If I had to choose to only eat one chocolate cake for the rest of my life, it could very well be this one.

makes about 12 bars
For the brownies: 
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar + 1/2 cup light muscovado sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
For the pretzel crust:
1 3/4 cups crushed pretzel pieces
2 tbsp golden syrup 
40g unsalted butter melted

Preparation of the salted caramel bretzel brownies

1/ Preheat oven to 180degC. 

2/ Grease and flour rectangular/ square baking dish and set aside.

3/ Melt the butter and the golden dyrup in a small pan over low heat or a bowl in the microwave and mix to combine. 

4/ Combine melted butter, golden syrup and pretzel crumbs in a bowl until moistened. With the back of a spoon, press pretzels into the cake tin pan making a crust. If pretzels seem loose, drizzle some additional melted butter over the top.

5/ In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Add in cocoa, flour and salt, mixing until combined. Using a spatula sprayed with non-stick spray, evenly spread brownies dough on top of the pretzel crust. 

6/ Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until brownies are baked through.

7/ Refrigerate brownies for 1-2 hours, then cut into bars and serve. 

Brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days

Brownies with caramelized pretzel crust recipe

brownies with caramelized pretzel crust recipe