Black treacle and Guinness bread

A simple and full-flavoured bread that is perfect with some salted butter, perhaps with seafood (it goes particularly well with crab) or as part of a Ploughman’s platter.  Continue reading “Black treacle and Guinness bread”

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The easiest chicken liver pâté

I absolutely adore pâtés, whether coarse or smooth, layered or the same all the way through, and a rich chicken liver pâté, with all its flirtations with retro food, is up there as one of my favourite starters.

This is my easy version that is packed full of flavour and always goes down a storm when I make it. Continue reading “The easiest chicken liver pâté”

Chocolate and cherry focaccia

A sweet focaccia is a joy to eat, and my chocolate and cherry focaccia gives a lovely twist on a classic bread – it is also very easy to make. This focaccia is particularly great served in slices with a cup of tea, especially when spread with salted butter or with a dollop of tangy crème fraîche. Continue reading “Chocolate and cherry focaccia”

Crumpets and pikelets: cheese & onion flavour

Savoury crumpets and pikelets are particularly wonderful things to eat when toasted and buttered – whether or not you then want to dress them up further with cream cheese or a poached egg or any manner of adornments. Continue reading “Crumpets and pikelets: cheese & onion flavour”

Chocolate and cherry pastries

 

Kirsch-soaked Morello cherries and dark chocolate encased in a crisp, buttery croissant pastry – what is not to love? Continue reading “Chocolate and cherry pastries”

Focaccia bicolore

This two-coloured flavoured focaccia is the result of an idea that came to me after making the bicoloured croissants a while ago. The result is a plain focaccia dough mixed with a tomato and red onion focaccia dough. After all, why not have focaccia with different and clearly defined flavours within? Continue reading “Focaccia bicolore”

Sourdough croissants

While I make croissants using commercial yeast fairly often and sourdough bread frequently, I am fairly new to making sourdough croissants. But boy have I been missing out: not only is the flavour even better than using commercial yeast, you get even crispier croissants that truly shatter as you break into them. Continue reading “Sourdough croissants”

Panzanella: arguably one of the finest salads in the world!

Great food does not need to be at all complicated or time-consuming. Sometimes the combination of humble ingredients can become something quite majestic.

Continue reading “Panzanella: arguably one of the finest salads in the world!”

Chocolate & orange bi-coloured viennoiserie

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Bi-coloured croissants and the like have been doing the rounds for a few years and has been on my “to make” list for some time, especially as they can look striking. In essence, you have a croissant dough with a second, coloured dough running through it.

Continue reading “Chocolate & orange bi-coloured viennoiserie”

Easy chocolate & ginger viennoiserie

If you have ever been daunted by pastry, particularly for croissants and the like, these rich chocolate and ginger pastries are actually quite easy to make. Certainly compared to making croissant dough the traditional way. Continue reading “Easy chocolate & ginger viennoiserie”

Tomato and basil English muffins

This my savoury twist on classic English breakfast muffins: these are wonderful toasted and liberally buttered: the butter has to be liberal, and low-fat spreads and the like do not do justice to these muffins! Continue reading “Tomato and basil English muffins”

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. Continue reading “Sourdough baguettes”

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. Continue reading “20-minute sourdough flatbreads”

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. Continue reading “Types of olive oil, Jamie’s Italian & my recipe for smoked mozzarella focaccia!”

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!  Continue reading “Garlic & rosemary fougasse bread”

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 cupboard ingredients! Continue reading “Cheese, olive & tomato sourdough”

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). Continue reading “Simple fennel breadsticks – focaccia-style”

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 a fraction of the cost. Continue reading “English breakfast muffins”

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…….. Continue reading “Easy seeded flatbreads with sun-dried tomato hummus”

Very easy anchovy, onion & garlic focaccia

Focaccia remains up there in my top breads, in terms of making and eating, and while a standard focaccia is a delight, I love experimenting with flavours. Continue reading “Very easy anchovy, onion & garlic focaccia”

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. Continue reading “Easy spiced brioche pudding in a lemongrass custard”

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. Continue reading “Bruschetta: when simplicity reigns!”

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. Continue reading “A sous-vide duck egg brunch!”

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. Continue reading “Chocolate & cherry brioches”

Orange & vanilla rum babas

Surely it is time for a full-on revival of these fabulous 1970s dessert trolley staples? Continue reading “Orange & vanilla rum babas”

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. Continue reading “The easiest & quickest smoked mackerel pâté in the world!”

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. Continue reading “Spiced brioche boule”

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.

Continue reading “Gooseberry chutney”

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. Continue reading “Hot cross buns with attitude”

Piccalilli: a prince among preserves!

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. Continue reading “Piccalilli: a prince among preserves!”

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

updated with further ideas & some newer photos

Baking Fanatic

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 a wonderfully tactile and intensely therapeutic process. There are certainly few greater pleasures in baking than the evocative smell of bread as it is baking, followed by eating warm bread that has been spread liberally with good quality butter: simplicity at its very best!

This post is about the basic, but nonetheless majestic bread loaf, made with commercial yeast as opposed to using a sourdough starter, although I dip into pre-ferments as a wonderfully simple way to add even better depth of flavour to bread. I have also posted guidelines for different types of bread, such as focaccia, one…

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Cheese & onion sourdough crumpets

These particular crumpets arose from an idea that came to me late one night – as is often the way! Continue reading “Cheese & onion sourdough crumpets”

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. Continue reading “Easy sourdough crumpets”

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! Continue reading “The simplest, quickest sourdough flatbreads in about 20 minutes!”

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! Continue reading “Apple & cinnamon kouign-Amann pastries”

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

Cheese, bread, walnuts and apple: great culinary bed-fellows that revel in their modesty! Continue reading “Walnut & raisin “tear and share” bread centrepiece with melted Brie”

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! Continue reading “Treacle tart with a hint of orange”

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 initially had mixed feelings about the flavour:  concentrated balsamic vinegar with a hint of aniseed, with a sweet garlic flavour (more like roasted garlic flavour than raw garlic) just coming through. Continue reading “Black garlic bread rolls”

Fool-proof bagels

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! Continue reading “Fool-proof bagels”

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! Continue reading “Roasted onion, chorizo & Parmesan focaccia”

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. Continue reading “Beetroot & toasted walnut sourdough”

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! Continue reading “Mini savoury doughnuts with a red pepper chutney filling”

Chocolate, cranberry & orange sourdough

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 bakes is out of this world! Continue reading “Chocolate, cranberry & orange sourdough”

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. Continue reading “Multi-grain bread made with smoked flour”

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. Continue reading “Chocolate & Orange Battenberg Cake”

Local cheese & ale sourdough

A sourdough boule made from ingredients that are fairly local to me in Surrey, UK. 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! Continue reading “Local cheese & ale sourdough”

An insanely simple no-knead Chorizo & Parmesan focaccia

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. Continue reading “An insanely simple no-knead Chorizo & Parmesan focaccia”

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. Continue reading “Roasted cauliflower cheese tart”