Category Bread

Green olive and rye sourdough

My weekly ritual of making at least a couple of sourdough loaves always fills me with excitement…..not to mention an almost uncontrollable urge to slice into the freshly baked bread! Costing pennies to make – a far cry from those very expensive sourdough loaves you can buy – and much tastier, it really is not that […]

Sourdough baguettes

Shatteringly crisp baguettes, full of flavour and with wonderfully open crumb structure: surely the epitome of baking simplicity! Don’t get me wrong, I love throwing in goodies such as olives, roasted garlic, fresh herbs and the like in with doughs, but the refreshing lack of embellishments here absolutely hit the spot. About this recipe I have […]

20-minute sourdough flatbreads

These flatbreads are so easy, so quick and so good with whatever dip or cheese is to hand. You can make a batch within about 20 minutes, including the baking, even going at a fairly sedate pace. The joy of these flatbreads is you simply take some sourdough starter (I use some of the starter […]

Types of olive oil, Jamie’s Italian & my recipe for smoked mozzarella focaccia!

This is a post in collaboration with Jamie Oliver and his Jamie’s Italian restaurants, demonstrating the different types of olive oil and how to use them in cooking. I have also included my recipe for smoked mozzarella and rosemary focaccia. I have long been a fan of Jamie Oliver: especially his no-fuss cooking style, his […]

Spiced pumpkin bread

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, I was allocated Amanda’s delightful Dancing Veggies blog. Amanda’s recipes are easy to make, they are quick and you don’t need tons of expensive or impossible-to-track-down ingredients to make them. I love Amanda’s frugal approach to her food: while some frugal recipes in books and online can have a tendency to […]

Garlic & rosemary fougasse bread

Fougasse is such a lovely bread, with a very crisp, shattering, crust and a soft interior. It is especially great as a tear-and-share bread, but I invariably find that once I get my hands on fougasse, sharing is a difficult option!  Rosemary and garlic are gutsy flavours that work well in fougasse. As I often do when […]

Cheese, olive & tomato sourdough

This is much a “use up the left-overs” bread, using up some spiced olives (the ones normally found in the chiller cabinet at the supermarket) and the end of a block of mature Cheddar. I added some chopped sun-dried tomatoes for that wonderfully intense umami flavour you get: sun-dried tomatoes are one of my must-have store […]

Simple fennel breadsticks – focaccia-style

These are very easy breadsticks to make. They taste wonderful and a large batch can be made at a fraction of the cost of shop-bought breadsticks! Perfect with any dip, although I have photographed these breadsticks with baba ghanoush, that wonderfully smokey aubergine dip (recipe here). I have used quite a lot of water in […]

English breakfast muffins

Updated Feb 2017: new photos of the muffins Perfect sliced, toasted and buttered, English muffins (well, “muffins” to those of us brought up in the UK!) are very simple to make and require very little attention. And as with most home-made breads, they taste so much better than any you can buy – and for […]

Easy seeded flatbreads with sun-dried tomato hummus

Two incredibly simple things to make that go so well together: a really perfect dip to share as a snack, a starter, part of a picnic…….. The hummus is made in seconds and will keep for a few days, covered, in the fridge. The bread can also me made in advance and frozen if preferred: […]

Very easy anchovy, onion & garlic focaccia

Focaccia remains up there in my top 3 breads, in terms of making and eating, and while a standard focaccia is a delight, I love experimenting with flavours. This focaccia, made with utter ease and minimal effort in a mixer, is laden with gorgeous salty anchovies and the lovely sweetness you get from roasted garlic and roasted onions. […]

Easy spiced brioche pudding in a lemongrass custard

Essentially this is my take on bread and butter pudding, using a spiced brioche loaf I had left over. I often make this pudding with left-over hot cross buns around Easter, which gives a very creamy and indulgent hot cross bun flavour throughout, but this works well with any bread, brioche, even stale croissants……. While this […]

Bruschetta: when simplicity reigns!

Bruschetta is one of those things that cannot fail to put a smile on my face when I eat it. Perfect as a starter, served with barbeque food or just as a light bite at any time of the day, one slice is never enough. Bruschetta is a very quick and easy to make: as […]

A sous-vide duck egg brunch!

This was a totally fuss-free brunch: freshly made sourdough (toasted), crispy pancetta and a slowly cooked duck egg, with a few fresh chives snipped over the top. A nice walk while the eggs were gently cooking in their water bath, returning to a perfectly cooked egg epitomises relaxed bliss! Sous-vide at home! I used the […]

Chocolate & cherry brioches

This is my chocolate and cherry version of a brioche: very rich, with a buttery interior that is actually very light to eat and practically melts in the mouth. A filled brioche might not be the done thing but I will not lose any sleep over that! As I wanted dark chocolate and rum-soaked cherries […]

Orange & vanilla rum babas

Surely it is time for a full-on revival of these fabulous 1970s dessert trolley staples? Rum babas should have a beautifully light texture, a rich buttery flavour and a real adult kick of indulgence from the rum. They are, I think, a winning end to any meal, a great sweet treat as part of an Afternoon Tea […]

The easiest & quickest smoked mackerel pâté in the world!

This is an insanely simple and almost instant smoked mackerel pâté that is seriously big on flavour – perfect spread liberally on hot toast or eaten with a baguette as part of a light snack. The pickled gherkins are quite wonderful in here and really lift the pâté somewhat: I tend use use the sliced […]

Spiced brioche boule

This is my spiced fruit version of a brioche: rich, well spiced with a buttery, citrussy flavour;tiny bursts of orange-soaked cranberries, apricots and raisins add sharp sweetness to the brioche. It is easy to make and, as with most breads, time is needed for it to rise: and it will be a very slow rise […]

Gooseberry chutney

This is my very simple recipe for gooseberry chutney made on this occasion with some frozen red gooseberries I had picked last year. It makes a great accompaniment to cold meats, cheese, smoked fish, to name just a few. It is sharp, buy with a nice level of sweetness. I also use it in my […]

Hot cross buns with attitude

These are soft, full-flavoured sticky buns that have had slow rises to give a far greater depth of flavour. Small pieces of dried cranberries, juicy raisins, ginger and vibrant bursts of citrus run through the sweet, spiced dough. I have turned up the flavour somewhat with the citrus and with the ginger, using crystallised fiery […]

Piccalilli: a prince among preserves!

Post updated August 2016: photos of new batch added Piccalilli is one of my favourite preserves and making a batch late summer is something of an annual ritual that I always look forward to. A good piccalilli should have crunchy, identifiable vegetables in a fairly thick sauce. The sauce should be almost velvety in texture […]

Bread: tips & ideas for the novice home baker and upwards!

Originally posted on bakingfanatic:
This post is part of my Baking tips page, along with tips for macarons, croissants, cake decorating ideas and pastry. Barely a day goes by when I am not either baking or proving a bread of some type, whether it is a sourdough bread or a bread using commercial yeast: it’s…

Cheese & onion sourdough crumpets

These particular crumpets arose from an idea that came to me late one night – as is often the way! While I adore crumpets that are toasted and eaten with butter and jam (surely one of life’s foodie pleasures?), I love savoury flavours, and so a batch of cheese and onion crumpets called out loudly to […]

Easy sourdough crumpets

I am of the belief that a hot crumpet, slathered with butter, perhaps with some excellent quality jam, is one of life’s greatest foodie pleasures. These are very simple crumpets, that are also relatively quick to make if you have an active sourdough starter: a batch can be made in about an hour. If you […]

The simplest, quickest sourdough flatbreads in about 20 minutes!

When you feed a sourdough starter, you discard some of the starter so that you can top the remaining starter with more water and flour: that way you get a fairly constant volume of starter rather than having litres of it in many containers all over the place! Waste-not, want-not! The discarding always seems something of a waste, […]

Apple & cinnamon kouign-Amann pastries

This is a variation on the Kouign-Amann (roughly pronounced “queen ah-marn”) I posted ages ago. This time I went for apple and cinnamon flavour which works so well with the caramelised sugar, giving a kind of tarte tatin – but a touch more indulgent! I have made the apple and cinnamon Kouign-Amann before, using a little bit […]

Walnut & raisin “tear and share” bread centrepiece with melted Brie

Cheese, bread, walnuts and apple: great culinary bed-fellows that revel in their modesty! While this particular bread arrangement is nothing new, this is my take on it, using a walnut and raisin bread, with the bread roll component filled with a sharp apple chutney. However, even just a few piece of chopped apples or pears as a […]

Treacle tart with a hint of orange

For me, a treacle tart is the epitome of comfort food, especially with the nights drawing in and the temperature outside dropping of an evening! This rich, sticky tart has just a hint of orange in both the pastry and the filling, and is a version of a recipe I have been making for decades. It has a […]

Simple black garlic bread rolls

A fairly new ingredient to me, I tried my first black garlic just the other day: I just peeled it and ate it as it was. I have to say, I had mixed feelings about the flavour:  concentrated balsamic vinegar with a hint of aniseed, with a sweet garlic flavour (more like roasted garlic flavour […]

Fool-proof bagels

Post updated: February 2017 – additional photos Even though bread making is one of my favourite things in baking, I have only made bagels a couple of times. Now, I adore them with cream cheese and smoked salmon,  but just toasted and buttered (and it really must be butter!) is a joy for me! It is something of a […]

Roasted onion, chorizo & Parmesan focaccia

I have posted several focaccia recipes on this blog, and while I make my roasted garlic focaccia many times more than any other flavour, I do like to play around a little. This time, I used ingredients lurking around in the fridge and the larder! Slowly roasted onions or shallots, with their delicious sweetness, salty […]

Beetroot & toasted walnut sourdough

Beetroot bread is nothing new but I like to add walnuts to the dough for added crunch and the lovely flavour they give, which is a great complement to the slight earthiness you get from the beetroot here. I gently toasted the walnuts here to really bring out the flavour. The beetroot here is not over-powering, […]

Mini savoury doughnuts with a red pepper chutney filling

When it comes to sweet doughnuts, my penchant is for those near-spherical doughnuts that are dusted with caster sugar and filled with fresh jam: ideally strawberry jam for me but I would hardly turn down any jam if it is in a doughnut! However, a savoury doughnut is a great thing eat; it needs to be […]

Chocolate, cranberry & orange sourdough

Post updated: August 2016 (re-baked & re-photographed, with tips for a non-sourdough version) This sweet sourdough loaf is stuffed with juicy dried cranberries that have been soaked in orange juice, and chunks of dark chocolate. While the aroma of the dough as you work with it is wonderful, the smells wafting through the house as it […]

Multi-grain bread made with smoked flour

A very simple bread with bags of flavour, courtesy of slow rises, a selection of seeds and different flours, with a hint of smoky flavour coming through the smoked flour I used. Mind you, if you can’t get hold of smoked flour you can replace it with standard white flour or wholemeal flour,  for example. […]

Chocolate & Orange Battenberg Cake

When I make a Battenberg cake I usually I go for a coffee and walnut one: my favourite cake flavours! This time, though, I’ve gone for orange and dark chocolate: not a million miles away, flavour-wise, from my jaffa gateau. How to make and assemble: The main recipe is as for coffee and walnut Battenberg (the […]

Local cheese & ale sourdough

A sourdough boule made from ingredients that are fairly local to me (Surrey). The cheese (Spenwood) is strong and nutty; the ale (Hogs Back Brewery) is so easy to drink! They do not take over from the deep tang of the bread but they are most certainly there as complementary bedfellows! Toasted and buttered, this bread is seriously heavenly; there is certainly […]

An insanely simple no-knead Chorizo & Parmesan focaccia

Post updated June 2016: new photos added Focaccia is up there in my top 3 breads, both to make and to eat. Characteristically bouncy, with many irregular holes in the bread itself, it tastes great and needs very little to accompany it. And it is VERY easy to make. A flavoured focaccia Spicy chorizo and […]

Roasted cauliflower cheese tart

If you love cauliflower cheese you really must make this tart! I have been making this particular tart for well over a decade, inspired initially by a savoury crumble I ate at a restaurant. Essentially this tart is a wholemeal pastry case filled with cauliflower cheese and topped with a savoury crumble. Perhaps the topping makes this […]

Easy fennel seed & smoked garlic sourdough grissini

These crisp grissini are easy to make and have bags of flavour. I like to make them using some sourdough starter that I had discarded prior to feeding the main starter, just adding more flour and water to give a dough that handled well. To be honest, you really do not need to be at all […]

Tiger bread: with bakingmad.com & Allinson

I just cannot stop making bread of all types, shapes and sizes: it is, unashamedly, something of an addiction! While there are many breads I bake most happily over and over again, I love encountering breads that I have not baked before. So when I was contacted on behalf of Baking Mad to bake one of the bread recipes […]

“deconstructed pesto” sourdough loaf

  This is officially my favourite of the many types and flavours of breads that I make. It arose by wanting to flavour some of a batch of sourdough dough I had made and looking at ingredients I had in the kitchen for ideas. The result was a simple twist on pesto bread! I make traditional pesto […]

Roasted garlic, red pepper & parmesan bread “flower”

This is my savoury version of the classic Fiore di pan brioche, this time using a standard bread dough into which roasted puréed garlic and olive oil are added prior to kneading. Packed with flavour, it is great fun to make and is excellent as a tear and share bread. I had red peppers in the freezer from […]

Ciabatta with a touch of rye

Although I am an unashamed bread addict, I will confess that until fairly recently I have never got excited by ciabatta; I have tried many ciabatta but have never really been blown away by the flavour – and particularly with bread, I like to be blown away! This recipe, however, is a revelation to me in terms […]

Smoked ham focaccia with confit onions

Another focaccia variation, this time using up some left-over hams after Christmas. I used a mixture of Parma and Black Forest, taking off the fat and chopping it into smallish pieces. The salty-smokeyness of the hams adds a lovely flavour to the focaccia. To the main focaccia recipe here, I worked in 130g chopped ham […]

Brioche Stollen with a citrus marzipan

I have gone for more of a spiced brioche-type dough here, resulting in a stollen that leans more towards a cake in terms of texture than a bread, which I prefer here. For me a stollen does need a buttery, rich flavour that crumbles away and melts in the mouth, which is precisly what this brioche-style […]

Roasted garlic, rosemary and Parmesan focaccia

A rustic, but immensely satisfying focaccia, using three of my favourite savoury flavours: Parmesan, garlic and rosemary – very much a case of allowing simple ingredients to shine. This is a bread that is hard not to devour; it is great either by itself, dipped into balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil or eaten with a gutsy, vibrant soup: roasted […]

Bread: tips & ideas for the novice home baker and upwards!

This post is part of my Baking tips page, along with tips for macarons, croissants, cake decorating ideas and pastry. Introduction The best tip I can give Ingredients for standard bread loaves Mixing & kneading (and the “stretching and folding” approach) Rising Shaping (free-form, baguettes & bâtards; rolls; flatter breads) Baking Adding a pre-ferment (poolish) […]

Quicker & easier croissants: 20-minute lamination!

Updated February 2017 A batch of croissants, made traditionally, can take the best part of a weekend with all the resting and chilling in between the turns and at other stages. Don’t get me wrong, making croissants the traditional way is one of the top baking pleasures for me, but there are certainly times when effective shortcuts are […]

Kouign-Amann pastries: shortcut method

This is my easy version of this wonderful Breton pastry, Kouign-Amann, roughly pronounced “queen ah-marn” which loosely translates as buttery cake. And these are indeed buttery and flaky, with terrific caramelisation. There is also very little hands-on time when it comes to making them. I have been making Kouign-Amann, on and off, for just over a […]

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