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Spelt Focaccia Bread

I’m no Paul Hollywood but I have to say I’m quite liking my bread making experience recently. For Christmas I got Ajay a bread making course. I thought it would be a nice brother sister bonding day making bread together…etc.etc. Although the class wasn’t as mind blowing as I thought but I did learn how easy Focaccia bread is to make!

Serving 2

For me this is one of those things to make on a Sunday when bored! The smell the bread makes whilst in the oven is incredible! I know it’s strange to say but personally I feel like an old Italian grandmother when making this. You seriously don’t need any special equipment just the tools god gave you (your hands)!

checking

I think you can add anything to this bread…from peppers to oregano, even to different infused flavoured oils…it’s one of those chuck it all in and see what we get types of dishes!

 

Yeast mix

The base to every bread is Yeast, Sugar, Warm water and salt…then you’re ready to go!

 

Flour

As you can see the post is called ‘Spelt’ Focaccia so I’m obviously going to be using spelt flour. You can use normal white flour just be careful how much flour you add. And don’t panic if you get carried away with the flour, just add a drop of water. I am one of those, ‘Organic is best’- but if you cant get it don’t worry tesco values is just as good (I’m lying).

 

And no I don’t think your dumb if you don’t know how to knead. There is kind of an art to it! once you mix the dough till smooth, plonk it on the table. Make sure you’ve sprinkled a little flour on the table!

Kneading 1

Push the dough, using the bottom of your palm away from you.

 

Kneading 3

Then pull the furthest tip back toward you and repeat the process for a good few minutes. This is if you using spelt flour. If using normal white flour knead for 10-15 minutes! By the end of it you’ll have a good set of guns!

 

Kneading 2

You’ll notice you’re folding makes layers. With White flour the kneading makes the dough more stretchy, that will be the gluten-Food Devil. Why I think its the devil is because that is what bloats you, making it a bad carb! Yes my mum is a health food addict! she is the reason I made this with Spelt flour-so she could eat it!

holes

To make that authentic Focaccia style. you literally just dab 2 fingers into the bread, to create those dimples. Obviously you start from one corner to the other.

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Ingredients:

  • 200ml of lukewarm water
  • 1tsp of dried active yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (this is to feed the yeast and help it grow!)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Spelt Flour or Flour (Now I haven’t given a precise amount because it can vary. Just have at least 1/2 a pack at your side)
  • 1 Sun-dried Tomato
  • 5 olives (either colour)
  • A Few sprigs of Rosemary
  • Olive Oil/Rapeseed Oil (I use basil infused oil. Try Garlic oil or even chilli oil)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning on top
  1. Add together the water, yeast, sugar and salt and whisk together. I would advise leaving it for a couple of minutes
  2. Gradually add the flour until a good consistency. You would rather add less flour to start so you can add more when kneading. Especially with spelt flour, use less flour and see.
  3. Now, use those guns and knead the dough for a good 3 minutes!
  4. Put in a bowl and cover with cling film. leave in a warm place for an hour. I usually leave the oven on and keep the door slightly open. that’s my warm spot!
  5. after 40 minutes place into square tray and flatten down. using your 2 fingers dab all over and sprinkle your delicious toppings and oil.
  6. Whack it in the oven on 200c for 30 minutes or until golden!
  7. leave to cool for another half an hour and enjoy!

 

serving 1

I love this literally cut up and served with Balsamic reduction and olive oil! you could even use chilli oil with some salt rocks in it!

 

The idea of this is to give you inspiration to jazz it up yourself. add more crushed salt, experiment with different herbs, go wild. Just don’t forget to mention me when you get asked for the recipe!

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Chocolate Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie is my all time favourite dessert – with ice cream = MY HEAVEN!

Arji requested this the other day, so I thought maybe I should also share with y’all my recipe. I have to admit…I did fuck up the presentation but this is what I get for trying too hard! Soz that it looked a little strange!

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I don’t know why but I have a weird obsession with pecans. At least once a day I will have a ‘small’ handful of pecans with another ‘small’ handful of salted almonds. I know it strange but its sooo good! thought I’d share that with you for no apparent reason!

 

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As you can see at the beginning it started of well…just…once it went through that hell of an oven it got worse…and worse.

I know people find it offensive using shop brought pastry but I’m sorry I seriously don’t think its wrong to by a pack of ready made. So bite me if you think I’m being too lazy! just remember Gordan Ramsey said there is nothing wrong with shop brought pastry! Just sayin!

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So I seen this style crust done on Pinterest and thought I’d give this a go. Looks good here but just wait!

 

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See the Leaf thing really ain’t working! At least now you know don’t try this as pastry does shrink and it’ll look ridic!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack/500g of shortcrust pastry
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 250ml of golden syrup
  • 60g butter
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 20g Dark Chocolate (70% is a must!)
  • 3/4 tsp of flaked salt
  • a pinch of grated lemon zest (4 strokes against the grater will do)
  • 120g pecans, chopped & some for decoration (like 12 halves)

 

Recipe:

  1. Roll out the pastry till thin enough (I would the thickness of £1 coin-that’s what Nigella says) then set aside in the fridge. Trust me this will help it later.
  2. Heat up the syrup and sugar on the cooker until the sugar has melted and leave to cool
  3. Beat up the egg and slowly pour the ‘cool’ syrup mixture into the eggs. make sure its steady and not all in one go otherwise you will regret this!
  4. Add your butter, vanilla, lemon, chocolate, salt and nuts! Then pour into the cold pie crust.
  5. Now you can whack in the oven for an hour. Make sure the oven is preheated at 170c.
  6. I would recommend that you leave this to set for at least 2 hours then demolish with ice cream. ENJOY!

 

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I genuinely love this recipe and have used it for soo many years so this is one you can actually use because its an actual recipe and not just me making it up as I go along!

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Potato Croquets – Indian Style

I felt quite proud of myself for this little creation. So this is one of my “in the moment” recipes I made up as I went along on a Sunday after being asked to make dinner. Why I found this a struggle is because my Sundays have become ‘veggie Sunday’s’ for over 10 years in my house. We’re like vegans who can eat dairy products – only on Sunday’s! If it were more than once a week I think I would have died by now. Not like I’m a meat eating monster just that I love my sausages! This started as a religious thing, which everyone started getting tired of since we couldn’t understand how it was religious to not eat meat once a week. But now we’ve gone so used to it, we refuse to rebel against.

So Originally I made a plain butter sauce (which I keep meaning to share with you guys) with paneer but it looked a bit boring, so made a side accompaniment for the sauce. This is basically a citrusy mildly spicy mash in a crunchy/crispy batter. The idea came from my odd crave over mums crunchy pakoras and decided to try them my way!

fried croquets 2

Recipe:

Filling

2 Potatoes (cooked in the microwave like you would a jacket potato, 10 mins turnover, 10 mins again)
Juice of 1/4 lemon (fresh is best)
1/4 tsp of salt, or preferred taste
1/3 tsp Garam Masala
1 tbsp Dried Fenugreek

pinch of chilli powder

Pakora Batter

4 heaped tbsp of gram flour (chickpea flour)
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds
pinch of chilli powder
enough water to make thick paste, 6 tbsp or more.

Instruction

  1. Place the Potatoes in the microwave for 10 mins. Once the microwave pings turn the potatoes and redo the process and then a further 2 mins. Leave to cool on the side.
  2. Once cooled down scoop out the potato and mash with a fork.
  3. add the lemon juice, salt and masala and mix
  4. Form 12 balls the size of a ping pong ball. Or just use a teaspoon to scoop.
  5. Leave in the fridge and put the oil on the hob. That probably doesn’t make sense so-pour enough sunflower/vegetable oil to make 1/4 to 1/3 of a small saucepan. Now leave that on medium heat. Definitely not high!
  6. Crack on with the batter meaning chuck all the dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly add enough water to make a thick batter (pancake batter consistency).
  7. Dunk a ball at time in the batter and use a clean tsp and place in the hot oil.
  8. Fry 3 at a time for 2-3 mins on each side or until really golden. Once finished all 12 leave in the oven on 150c until ready to eat, or just eat straight away.
  9. Serve with a raita (cucumber, red onion and yoghurt), chutney or like I did with a curry sauce.

The filling

Excuse the dirt on the plate. At least you know I made them!

fried croquets-square

Don’t judge the perfectly placed potatoes. I’m experimenting with the camera!

the butter sauce

And this is my Famous Butter Sauce. I will give you guys the recipe – Don’t worry I’m just still trying to perfect it, well note down exactly what I put in!

PS garam masala- you can find at supermarkets (surprisingly) BUT I will share with you guys our house recipe. Damn I got a lot to share with you!

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Cheddar and Dill Scones

I know I’ve already posted a recipe of scones but these I feel are so much better! I was inspired by the local farmers market near my work place where they sell baked goods for £1! Yes this is where my Indian side screams out “ by the whole stall!” but I have tamed myself to buying 2 items a week. So one week I brought cheesy scones where I was recommended to heath them up in the oven for 15 minutes and they’ll be all gooey inside. Well I forgot to take them home and had one whilst I working hard in the office. So I never did get to eat them warm which then made me think a lot about what they would have tasted like.

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  • 300g of plain flour
  • 150g room temperature butter
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp of natural yoghurt
  • Dash of milk
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 200g cheddar cheese grated
  • A handful of chopped dill
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c and c rumble the butter and flour between fingertips and baking powder, salt, pepper
  2. Add yoghurt and mix with spoon
  3. Add herbs and 3/4 of the cheese and if a little dry add the milk
  4. Pour mixture onto floured surface and flatten slightly (2 inches thick) cutting out 7-8 pieces
  5. Brush the scones with milk and top each scone with finely grated cheddar and dill and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes.
  6. These I would say are best served on the side of a hearty stew or as a bagel with salmon and cream cheese.

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Notice the specs of green from dill and the mountain of cheese, you just know its going to be delish out of the oven. Remember to keep the scone thick, so they don’t turn hard out of the oven.

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I can’t cope with how dark the cheese got whilst in the oven. my mouth is still drooling just looking at it.

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And another one.

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Ta-Dah!

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If you like Pina Coladas…

So d’you remember this song. Because it was stuck in my f***ing head all night whilst baking this cake. So I come home from cake Dec class (9pm) and get cracking on with the Halloween cake for Arji. And for some random reason, mum pops in the kitchen and starts talking about pineapple upside down cake. Where did that come from? And then this look on her face, full of delight as she asks, “Neet, are you making pineapple upside down cake?” and usually mum NEVER asks to me to make her a cake because it’s too many calories! And to be honest I was so determined to make Arji’s Halloween cake I kind of at first said I was just gonna make Arji’s cake BUT I’ll make the pineapple cake instead. And you know how mums are, the whole: “oh no don’t worry about me, you just carry on.”
Come on, you can’t do that to your mum can you? So like the good daughter I am incorporated mums favourite things into 1. So mums favourite fruit and cake of all time is pineapple upside down cake and pina coladas are her favourite cocktails. So I made a pina colada cake! 2 upside pineapple cakes with coconut butter cream with a splash of rum.
So I kind of experimented with the cake recipe. Recently I’ve fallen love with the Great Mary Berry recipe, of just bunging everything in the bowl and mixing in the mixer. But I don’t know; d’you ever get that feeling where you want to make the cake like by scratch where you make it with love, I mean are always…kind of. But then I guess I got a little lazy with the mixer and could really see what was going on I guess. I don’t know but I just had a moment I guess with my hand mix. Oh and I tried something else which I used from Great British Bake Off!

RECIPE:
Cake;

  • 125g Butter, room temperature
  • 125g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 50g Ground Almonds
  • 4 Eggs
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Splash of milk or golden rum
  • 2 ¼ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tin of Pineapple rings  in juice
  • 2 tbsp. sugar

Buttercream;

  • 90g Butter
  • 50g cream cheese
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup of Shredded coconut
  • Splash of golden rum (entirely up to you-from 1 tbsp. to 4 tbsp, just ad 2 tbsp. more of icing sugar if adding 4)

STEPS:

  1. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  2. Add all the eggs, vanilla and rum in and carry on whisking on high until really pale and thickish
  3. Sift in the flour and ground almonds and baking powder and fold in.
  4. Whack the whisk on high and whip batter until real thick and pale. If you want the batter a little looser then add rum (which is what I did).
  5. Line the tins and sprinkle sugar on the bottom of the tin first, then arrange the pineapple
  6. Spoon over the cake mix evenly and pop in the oven on 170c for 35-45 minutes or until golden and bouncy

Whilst cakes in the oven start on the butter cream:

  1. Whisk all ingredients until thick and smooth. DONE.
  2. Then WASH UP!
  3. Once cakes are done leave to cool for 30 minutes or until slightly warm, then take out and sandwich together the cream and cakes. The butter cream will melt but it meant to. Trust me when its warm like this… you can’t beat it.

batter whiskI was so impressed with the batter. Not sure if you can tell how pale and fluffy it is to normal. As you can see I dusted out of the cupboard my good friend, Mr. Handmix. i honestly believed i baked this cake with love. Like i usually laugh at some mugs who think that’s a key, but I guess i’m joining the crew!

cake liningSo this is how i lined my cake tins. i was watching GBBO and saw a lot of the contestants line their tins like and thought i’d give it a go. So i make the base as you would normally do. BUT then measure, roughly (add more length), 2 inches tall. Wrap round the inside of the only sticking the ends together, so NOT TIGHT. i know you’ll probably laugh but i actually used sellotape to stick together. Only a little so it wont kill. I will look into how they really stick it together, but this was my way for now.

pineapple arrangement close upLiterally its as simple as can be. throw a tbsp. of sugar on the bottom and place you tinned pineapple rings cut in half.

green batterDon’t laugh at me but we didn’t have any glace cherries in the cupboards, so I tried make it look like it was green cherries in the cake? Now i’m writing it back to yous’ i feel like it makes no sense. At the time it did, just not now! Anyway I think i saw Nigella used green cherries somewhere that why. Just don’t laugh at me please. Clever idea though, no?

cake in ovenI was soo fascinated with the way it had risen in the oven. Remember to take out when firm. ALWAYS wait till it looks firm. So about 35 – 40 mins. From experience DO NOT take it out the oven before. Trust me, you end up wrecking the rising process. You just have to have Faith and Patience in the Cake! Look how lovely and golden they are! when you stick a clean sharp skinny knife through and comes out clean and glossy from the butter, you knwo its done. EVEN if you find the smallest smudge on the knife, IT AINT DONE! so give it 10 minutes.

close up pineapple cakeSo my plan with the cherries didn’t go so well as you can see. didn’t make a difference in the taste thank god! but i tell you what i liked about the cake; i always usually get a bit of a crust on the edges, which tends to soften up after a couple of days. But this time it didn’t do that! IT WAS JUST SOFT MOIST AIRY CAKE THROUGHOUT!

pina colada cakeDon’t Laugh but I thought it would be pretty funny to do one of those cheesy shots, you know like when you see you holiday pictures. I thought it was cute but Ajay just laughed and said it looked Naff. I was a little insulted but I guess you learn from it. And from that I learnt Ajay can be a knobbish brother at times. moving on-As you can see I served it with whipped cream sweetened with a little icing sugar and rum sprinkled with a little coconut. Surprisingly mum really enjoyed it and ate most of it herself. Took some in to work and Carol absolutely loved it. so that was nice to see that not just mum enjoyed it. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Give it a Go and tell me what you think. But maybe try using real glace cherries.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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