The rise of the micro-bakery

Happy Monday folks,

The other day I was sent this on Twitter about a Radio 4 programme discussing the apparent increase in popularity of micro-bakeries in the UK.

This was something that I was considering myself a while ago and it seems that my gut instinct was right!

You can listen to the programme here and it makes for an interesting listen.

I have always said that you can’t beat home baked bread free from all the additives and junk that is packed into store bought bread and it makes me feel great that there is this resurgence in artisan bread making and, more importantly, that people are willing to pay the extra for it even in these austere times…

Everyone loves a pie!

Hi folks,

For a change from the usual big slab of meat for Sunday lunch I decided to make a pie. The next quandary was 1 big pie or individual pies and the family decided that they wanted individual pies – I am sure this is to spite me as they know it involves a lot more work!

Saturday afternoon was spent slow cooking the pie filling (beef, mushroom, carrot and onion) over 4-5 hours until the meat was melt in the mouth.

This morning I made a batch of crumbly short crust pastry which I placed in the fridge for an hour before assembling the pies:

Pies - in the making!

The mushrooms were actually a last-minute addition for me and my wife so to distinguish the pies with the added dreaded fungus I added a little moniker!

Pies- ready for the oven

After 30 minutes in a moderate oven the delicious pastry pockets were ready; cue everyone scrambling for the roast potatoes which is obviously the best part of a Sunday lunch!

Pies - baked to perfection :)

What did you do for Sunday lunch and do you too love the PIE??

Spicy Pittas

Hi folks,

Do you like pitta breads? I baked some up last week but pimped them by adding 1tsp of cumin and smoked paprika, and 1/2tsp turmeric and they were absolutely delicious 🙂

pitta

 

This is why I love to bake my own as you can have stuff that you will never find in the shops.

How have you pimped your breads, I would love to know?

 

Happy Christmas everybody

Hi folks,

Just thought I’d write a quick post to wish you all a Happy Christmas. I hope you all have a good one.

Now I want to share with you a recipe that has a lot of the traditional Christmas spices and is quite quick and simple to do. It is for a traditional German treat called Pfeffernusse and is quite delicious.

Pfeffernusse recipe
Makes 12
Ingredients

  • 200g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ground mace
  • A pinch of salt
  • 225g honey
  • 30g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 2 eggs

For finishing

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • A little plum jam
  • About 150g dark chocolate

Method

1.In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt.
2.Melt the honey and butter together in a saucepan then leave to cool until lukewarm.
3.Whisk the eggs into the cooled honey and butter, then add this to the flour mix and beat together with a wooden spoon. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, to firm up. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
4.Lightly grease a baking tray with butter. Take dessert spoonfuls of the mix, roll into balls using floured hands, and place on the baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
5.Whisk together the icing sugar and water. Melt the chocolate gently in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Dip half the pfeffernusse in the icing, and put them back on the rack. When the icing has set, dip again. Cut the tops off the other half, scoop out a little of the inside, and dab in a little plum jam. Replace the tops, and dip in the chocolate. Return to the wire rack.
6.Remove the pfeffernusse to a silicone mat or baking parchment before they set completely, to stop them sticking to the rack. Prepare them on Christmas Eve and eat within two days.

I hope you enjoy these festive treats. Next issue I will give you a recipe for a nice Christmas loaf packed full of fruit, a nice alternative to Christmas cake. Eat it warm with lashings of butter on a cold winter morning – heaven!

Well, that’s it for now so until next time…

Birthdays – the day after the weekend before!!

Well I am finally glad that the weekend is over – how often do you hear somebody say that?!!!!!!!

It was very hectic baking for 2 parties whilst nursing a bad cold/headache but it all went well.

My final batch of baked goodies consisted of focaccia and subs:

Focaccia, subs and olive oil dip!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are looking forward to the week ahead. And are you getting excited yet – Christmas is nearly here!!

Birthdays – cake update

Well as I said yesterday I am going to have a hectic weekend baking 2 cakes and pizza, focaccia and goodness knows what else.

I said that I’d post a picture of my first cake if it went well and I think it looks ok. It is a chocolate orange marble cake covered in chocolate buttercream and dark and white chocolate swirls.

Here is the photo:

Corinne's birthday cake

Not bad. It looks quite impressive (I think) and the only criteria was that it looked good so I hope it fits the bill.

Well better go as I have pizza dough to get ready for this evening…

Updated pic to include the inside of the cake as requested (it was quite delicious by the way and she definitely enjoyed the wow factor:

Corinne's birthday cake post party!!