Sourdough English Muffins

dsc00942-3-1Strictly speaking, these are made with the discarded part of your sourdough starter, which some careless people throw away. Because the starter has been lingering, unloved, in the fridge for a week or so, it has lost a bit of its ‘oomph’, so might struggle to provide a satisfactory rise for a loaf of bread (not that it’s ever stopped me in the past when I’ve forgotten to feed my starter). However, it is also brilliant for giving a tangy je ne sais quoi to English muffins, crumpets, flatbreads, and all manner of cakes and American-style muffins (more of which in the weeks to come).

If you don’t have sourdough starter, you can easily make these muffins with rapid-action dried yeast – directions are given in the recipe below. The flavour and texture will be slightly different, but they will still be delicious, and far superior to the muffins you buy in the supermarket. Continue reading “Sourdough English Muffins”

Sticky toffee muffins, salted caramel glaze

sticky-toffee-muffins

I haven’t posted here for a while – but I have bona fide excuses. They include: an in-built tendency towards procrastination, terminal idleness, and a pure reluctance to cook because it’s too flipping hot. (I’ve also been doing 1.5 km of laps every day while the pool is still warm enough to swim, as my shorts seem to have inexplicably shrunk during lockdown).

Yesterday I made these muffins, thinking they would slot in as an easy pud for when our friend Linda came over last night and a good thing to stash in the freezer for another day. None of them made it to the freezer, but a couple did leave the house with Linda (I only made half of the quantity in the recipe here, so we only started with seven), and we have one each to look forward to with a cuppa this afternoon. And yes, for those of you paying attention out there, making half of the quantity left me with half of an egg, which was not wasted, but used to seal the blind-baked pastry for an egg custart tart that is coming with us to our friend’s house this evening. Continue reading “Sticky toffee muffins, salted caramel glaze”

An outstandingly good potato bread

20200730_141005I’ve been planning to make potato bread ever since the Honey & Co cookbook landed in my Christmas stocking back when we were still living full time in Turkey. I’ve just checked and that was Christmas 2014. Ooops. A lot of loaves have been baked in both of our kitchens since then, but only this week have I finally managed a potato version.

I was swapping bread notes with some instagram bread-baking chums and Stefano Arturi from ‘Italian Home Cooking’ very generously shared the recipe that he uses – from the 1996 book ‘Baking with Julia’ by Julia Child. As ever, I felt the original recipe involved unnecessary faffing, so I’ve further simplified it. Continue reading “An outstandingly good potato bread”

Pizza bianca with potatoes, bacon & rosemary

IMG_20200619_122326_142It has to be said that lockdown is beginning to lose any appeal that it may have had in the beginning (the fact that it has rained non-stop for the last ten days may have had some bearing on that, I admit). I can’t remember whether we are 11 or 12 weeks in, I can no longer be bothered to count, and anyway I can’t see out from under my fringe. We remind ourselves daily that we and our families are incredibly fortunate – none of us has had Covid-19, nobody has lost their job, everyone has a secure home and we are all financially keeping heads above water – for now at least. Continue reading “Pizza bianca with potatoes, bacon & rosemary”

Vegan banana bread with candied walnut topping

Vegan banana bread (600 x 356) resizedI am fully stocked with flour again – a box containing five large bags of organic plain flour from the Cotswold Flour Mill arrived on my doorstep a few days ago. I am not intentionally stockpiling, but they are struggling with the sheer volume of orders, so are currently only delivering if you buy the entire box. Hopefully it will last me until the shops return to normal, whenever that will be. Continue reading “Vegan banana bread with candied walnut topping”

Toscakaka (Swedish almond cake)

Toscakaka cakeWell, these are strange times. I hope you and all your loved ones are well. We should have been going back to Turkey about now, but it looks as though we will be in Cornwall until after the summer.

I am very much aware that there are worse places to be – today we were out for our daily walk on the Bissoe Trail and I think it’s fair to say that spring has thoroughly sprung. Primroses, daffodils, tulips, camelias and rhododendrons are in full and beautiful bloom – a cheering site to say the least.

Continue reading “Toscakaka (Swedish almond cake)”

Lemon poppy seed drizzle loaf

IMG_3945Appalling dearth of recipes appearing on this site at the moment – tsk tsk. I’ve been busy doing other things and also trying not to eat too many cakes and muffins, bearing in mind that shorts season is just around the corner. Also, we had a wonderful trip to South Africa last month, where we visited Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape – we had a great time getting up at 5am (eek!) and spotting everything from groups of  beautiful nyala antelope, who visited our terrace every morning, to elephants, giraffes, zebras and a lioness with her three newly-minted cubs. Continue reading “Lemon poppy seed drizzle loaf”

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_20200517_124950_827 (600 x 600)Every 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”

Canadian Butter Tarts

IMG_3908.jpgTurkey seems to have forgotten to do autumn this year. October has been gloriously warm and sunny, with temperatures around 30 degrees during the day, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The jacarandas and bougainvillea are still in bloom, and our Seville oranges remain resolutely green, though the ‘donkey bees’ have finished the last of the figs that were out of our reach at the top of the tree, and have now disappeared themselves.

Today, with the arrival of November, we finally have something akin to autumn weather – breezy, a few spots of rain this morning and a definite change in the colour of the sky.

At last there are some decent greens in the market – perky broccoli, brilliantly white tiny cauliflowers, extra-long leeks, and huge bundles of dark green chard. I even found some beansprouts in the supermarket this morning, so a stir-fry is on the cards for tomorrow’s supper. Continue reading “Canadian Butter Tarts”