Thursday, 7 November 2013

Hot chocolate, ginger-nuts, cake.....the cold nights are now upon us and I am fighting a nightly temptation of filling up on hot chocolate and ginger-nut biscuits which are my favourite or going into the kitchen to make warm puddings to tuck into late at night!

I have a supply of Libbys Pumpkin and several jars of I know pumpkin things and mince pies will be coming out of the kitchen shortly.  

I made this cake last week for a first birthday.  It was three layers of chocolate cake filled with vanilla cooked flour butter cream and chocolate ganache, then covered in fondant.  It looked so cute once I had finished, although rolling all those "bubbles" were rather tedious.  

Saturday, 2 November 2013

It's been a while.  The lovely in laws that travelled for nine days to see us over the summer months,  made the return journey home in mid September and are now back on the island.   I had made a planned not to bake much over the summer as I wanted to make sure that time was spent with them and the family so baking wasn't on the top of the agenda.  I did however make a few giant birthday cake, some cheese straws, a chocolate cake for friends and a carrot cake.

I have picked up the baking over the past weeks and determined to cook different relatively healthy things for our evening meals, to stop the rot of "whats for dinner today?" ...hence this week some home-made bread to go with our smoked bacon and vegetable home-made soup.  Now I am not the best bread maker.....firstly even though it smells excellent when it is cooking, I am not patient enough to wait around for the whole, rise, bake etc process and also the fear of it not rising is another story!

However, I enjoyed making this bread, the dough was left to rise as I whizzed of to the local I didn't have to wait was shaped an allowed to rise while I prepared the ingredients for the soup, and then it went into the oven, while the soup was cooking.  It turned out to be so tasty and it went down a treat in our house on a cold and wet evening this week.  I am on a bread baking watch this space!

Onion and Cumin Pull Apart Bread.  
(oops bad pictures....I took them on my mobile)



500g strong white bread flour
2 tsp fast action yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
300ml warm milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 gloves garlic crushed
1/2 tsp chopped red chilli or dried chillies
1 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 medium onions chopped
100g grated strong cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil
1 table spoon melted butter (keep to use later)

Mix the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil or butter, garlic and chilli together in a large bowl.  Rub the ingredients together to resemble breadcrumbs. Pour in the milk to form a dough, which will be sticky, but will become smooth once kneaded.  Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth.

Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave the dough in a warm place to rise and double in size (around an hour).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions until they are a light caramel colour.  Add the cumin seeds and stir for a minute to bring out the flavour.  Set aside to cool.

Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and place on a lightly floured surface.  Roll it out into a 12 x 12 square or near enough to this size.  This maybe a bit difficult to do, so use your hands to help stretch the dough.  

Brush the dough with melted butter, then sprinkle over the onion and cumin mix and the cheese.  Cut the dough into six equal strips.  Stack the strips on top of each other with the filling facing upwards.  Now cut the stack into four equal pieces.  

Place the stacks vertically in the loaf tin (so when the bread is baked, you wont need to slice it, you will be able to pull the slices apart).  Don't overcrowd the pan.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius during the next rise of the dough.

Cover the dough and allow to rise for another hour.  After an hour, brush with milk and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.