I am surprised that some of my friends, many of them accomplished cooks and bakers, are afraid to bake with yeast. I find this slightly baffling and try to persuade them that now we have rapid action dry yeast, it is much like using baking powder, it just takes a little longer.
I think another reason many people shrink away from baking bread is that they think it will take up too much of their day – really, it won’t. The great thing about yeast is that it is pretty resilient as long as you keep it away from the very few things it hates – too much heat, too much salt or too much acid, so you can pretty much leave the dough to get on with things once it is mixed. Oh, and don’t feed it too much sugar or the dough will climb out of the tin and try to take over an entire floor of your house. Continue reading “‘Village’ bread”
Our friends Jean and Ian are arriving from the UK this evening, and will be staying with us for a couple of nights until the apartment they have rented is ready for them on Monday. In fact they have just called en route from the airport to say that they were slightly delayed by the police having to board the plane when they got to Dalaman, to arrest someone who had apparently sampled a little too much duty-free – unfortunately he didn’t just go for the usual old-fashioned drunk and disorderly behaviour, but decided to throw in a bit of indecent exposure to boot. I’m really not sure if I am ready for the gory details – I might have to get the brandy out for Jean’s arrival. I guess that’s what happens when you travel with Easyjet… Continue reading “Rye and oatmeal quick bread”
With Veganuary declared well and truly over in this household, we suddenly find ourselves faced with a huge variety of ‘new’ foods to eat. While I did enjoy my roast chicken last night, we only had a really small amount and I can’t say I am desperate for more meat any time soon. I cut the chicken in two and only roasted half of it – this was tons for the three of us, with a bit leftover for the felines. Continue reading “My favourite vegan snack”
We rarely eat bread from our local bakeries – I am sure Turkish bread is a novelty if you are a tourist, but it’s basically quite a lot of very sharp crust filled with quite a lot of air. Oh, and the only bits in the middle that aren’t actually air are horrible chemicals which act as yeast accelerators so that the bakers only have to give the dough one rise (very poor behaviour). Continue reading “Crusty cornmeal bread (vegan)”
We’ve just about recovered from our horrible Monday dinner experience, so Veganuary is back on track for now. We ate out with some friends last night and I managed to cobble together enough vegan-friendly items from the menu to form a very presentable meal. I may yet make it to the end of the month without giving in – at the moment, the only thing I am really craving is cheese. Luckily, the cheese choice here is not exactly exciting, so that’s helping my cause – if I were within a stone’s throw of Neal’s Yard Dairy or Paxton & Whitfield, it would be quite another story and very likely that I would be found face down in the nearest wheel of Brie.
Continue reading “Vegetable ‘Harira’ (vegan)”
We often have these flatbreads on a diet day, as they don’t tempt us to add butter and they are really delicious when freshly cooked. The leftovers are perfect to use as wraps for walking sandwiches or re-toasted, spread with hummus and sprinkled with toasted seeds or leftover chicken or lamb. They freeze perfectly when cooked, and you can also freeze half of the uncooked dough (knock it back after rising, then wrap tightly in cling film before putting into a freezer bag – this stops the dough from rising too much while it is thawing out). The dough can also be used as a pizza base. Continue reading “Hughie’s flatbreads (with added yeast)”
We had friends over for breakfast yesterday morning. It was a very rainy day – cats, dogs, and everything hoofing down, so we didn’t feel remotely guilty lighting the fire in the morning. Turkish breakfast encompasses everything from a bit of cheese, honey and bread, to a full-on meze experience. We went for something in between. I made some spinach and cheese börek (pies to you and me) – more on that later – with roasted peppers and tomatoes, village cheese, fried eggs, the usual cucumber and olives, plus plenty of fresh bread and homemade jam and local honey. Continue reading “Quick and easy Irish soda bread”
We had friends over for dinner on Saturday evening and I was trying not to sabotage our weight loss efforts too much. I rarely serve a first course these days, but I wanted something we could have with drinks pre-dinner. We recently visited some friends in the UK, who served some delicious hummus varieties they’d bought from M&S. Continue reading “Kind-of-healthy appetisers”