Smoked mackerel paté & quick-pickled cucumber

20200401_151858 (2)With the end of Week Two of temporary ‘lockdown’ fast approaching, we are starting to get the hang of it. This week we should have been in Warwickshire and had planned to meet some friends for lunch – instead we had afternoon coffee and buns and a surprisingly satisfactory chat via Zoom. Continue reading “Smoked mackerel paté & quick-pickled cucumber”

A very good gluten-free loaf

IMG_4024I promise I am not on a mission to simplify other people’s recipes, but I saw a recipe in this weekend’s Guardian newspaper that I was keen to try, but didn’t actually have all the ingredients to hand. However, I couldn’t see anything in the list of ingredients that couldn’t be replaced with something I already had lurking in my pantry, so threw caution to the wind and gave it a go. And the result was excellent, even though I say so myself.

And before you think ‘uh oh, bread, complicated and time consuming,’ think cake mix rather than bread dough. For this loaf, you literally have a bowl with some (gluten-free) flour in it, plus a jug of wet ingredients, then you pour one into the other and mix with a spoon. No kneading or stretching, just a quick mix, then a little wait while it proves and you get on with something else. Continue reading “A very good gluten-free loaf”

33p sourdough loaf

IMG_3997.JPGEvery time I switch from Cornwall to Turkey, and vice versa, I give away my sourdough starter to other bread-making friends and neighbours, then begin a new one when I get to the other end. However, when we went back to Turkey last September, and having managed to produce a particularly potent batch, I decided to take some with me. Unfortunately, despite being in a sealed plastic pot inside two zip-lock freezer bags, it sort of exploded while in the hold of the plane, and then got out into my suitcase. Ooops. This was not ideal, as we had a two-day stopover in Göcek on our way back to Kaş, so I had to sit and pick lots of little concrete-like blobs of dough off the least-affected garments, so that I had something to wear. The other slightly unexpected outcome was that all of my clothes had a vague whiff of a brewery about them. Oh dear.
Continue reading “33p sourdough loaf”

Oven-bottom bread (and my life as a water spaniel)

IMG_3401Raining. Again. And I’ve been in the country less than a week and I’ve got a cold. How did that happen?

My life at the moment is a whirlwind of ibuprofen (throat/headache), pholcodine (irritating cough), Strepsils (anything not covered by the above) and gallons of water and tea. The upside is that I don’t have to go out for anything, there are no urgent jobs to do, there’s plenty of firewood, we’ve got English telly and I’ve got about a squillion second-hand cookbooks to work my way through. Continue reading “Oven-bottom bread (and my life as a water spaniel)”

‘Village’ bread

IMG_2325I 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”

Rye and oatmeal quick bread

IMG_2282.jpgOur 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”

My favourite vegan snack

img_1711-600-x-450With 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”

Crusty cornmeal bread (vegan)

IMG_1628.jpgWe 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)”

Vegetable ‘Harira’ (vegan)

IMG_1581.jpgWe’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.
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Hughie’s flatbreads (with added yeast)

IMG_0687 (600 x 482).jpgWe 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)”