Wednesday, 22 April 2009

No-Knead Bread

I read about this bread on Coby's blog and I had to try it because it looked so delicious - a serious, no-messing around Italian type of bread (that I am lucky enough to be able to buy for $2 at our local Italian bakery, but still always wanted to be able to make myself!)

After reading Coby's blog entry (in which she provides metric conversions for the recipe) and watching the video link, I started by mixing 410 g bread flour, 1/4 tsp instant yeast, 1 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl, and then added 430 ml cold tap water, stirring it to a soggy dough with a palette knife.

It looks like this, sort of like a thick paste. Cover it and stand it somewhere at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours. I left mine for about 16 hours in the pantry, after which it looked like this...

...bubbly and very wet-looking.

I put it on a tea towel (with baking paper because I thought it might stick to the cloth) covered with plenty of wholemeal flour. Coby uses polenta, or you can use bran. Fold it into some kind of round shape - which is very difficult as it feels like a flour-covered jellyfish - and cover it over for 2 hours to rise.

I wrapped mine up in the paper and tea towel.

After 2 hours mine seemed to have spread a little and got a bit bigger, although not in an upward direction!

Half an hour before the end of rising time, set the oven to 230 C and add a big pot with a lid to heat up aswell. I used my 7 litre Scanpan casserole.

Somehow get the dough into the (very hot) pot - I ended up half throwing it in off the paper because it was so soft and blobby - then quickly put the lid on and put it back in the oven. Cook for half an hour.

After half an hour, remove the lid and cook for 15 more minutes. (Longer if you want a crunchier, tougher crust.)

It tastes wonderful, and has a slightly 'gluey' texture which must come from the steaming effect on the dough caused by cooking it in a pot with a lid. I was surprised how soft the loaf was and the crust was not brittle or particularly tough - I assume this would change if you cooked it for longer without the lid.

Thanks Coby!

Monday, 20 April 2009


These are 'Chocohotopots' from 'Feast' - but I cooled them quite a lot before we ate them to avoid burnt tongues, so it was more accurate to call them just 'chocopots'. (Or chocowarmopots!)

They are like runny chocolate brownies - the top looks a lot like a brownie, with soft chocolate underneath. Very easy to make, delicious, rich and filling, and everyone loved them. (I have to admit though that I'm not the hugest fan of chocolate desserts, and I'd rather just eat the chocolate un-tampered-with!)

First you melt chocolate and butter over simmering water. The recipe calls for 'semi-sweet' but I couldn't find any - I did find another type of chocolate which is a combination of milk and dark, so I used it instead.

Let the choc/butter cool down a bit, then in another bowl whisk together eggs and sugar, and add some flour. Fold the chocolate mixture in, then divide between four (I used 5) buttered ramekins or oven-proof cups. Stand the cups on a tray and cook for 20 mins at 200C.

125 g semi sweet chocolate (I used milk and dark mixture)
125 g unsalted butter, soft
2 eggs
150 g caster sugar (I used 100 g)
3 tbsp plain flour

Monday, 13 April 2009

Oaty Chocolate Cookies

I was looking for a quick and easy recipe for my 10 year old son to make, and he asked if it could include chocolate chips.

I found this on the choc chip manufacturer's website, and they were very easy to make, just mix everything in a bowl.

I like cookies that include oats because I think it makes them more filling, and they were a great snack for the boys after swimming thismorning.

I have to admit I would have liked sultanas in them, but I'd have sultanas with almost anything! I might add them next time.

Just mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, and put blobs of the mixture on a baking tray. Bake at180 C for 20 - 25 mins or until golden.

180 g butter, melted then cooled
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar (this makes a pleasantly un-sweet cookie - add a bit more if you like)
1 cup choc chips (I used milk choc)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Beef Casserole

I saw this casserole on 'Nigella Feasts' although I can't find the recipe in the book 'Feast'.

I've never used Guinness or orange in a casserole before, so this recipe appealed to me. Normally I would add lots of other vegetables too, but I decided to follow the recipe exactly today.

In a casserole, fry the onion and carrot gently in some oil for several minutes until softened a little.

Meanwhile, shake the beef in the seasoned flour. Remove the veg from the pan and fry the beef in batches in some more oil until browned (more or less) then remove the beef from the pan.

To the pan, add the water and Guinness, the herbs and the orange zest and juice. Increase heat, add the vegetables and beef and once it has come to the boil, put a lid on and simmer for 2 1/2 hrs either on stove top or in oven at 150 C or so. (Once my Scanpan casserole is heated through I can simmer stews at 110 C.)

Richly flavoured with a slightly bitter tang, although pleasantly so - and it was the first time my children all ate up their casserole without fuss!

Next time I'll be adding more vegies (green beans and sweet potato would be nice).

1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
1 kg chuck/stewing steak, diced
1/4 cup flour, with salt, pepper, good sprinkling of allspice
1 cup water
1 cup Guinness/stout
1/2 orange (zest and juice)
2 bayleaves, couple of leaves of sage or sprinkling of dried sage

Friday, 10 April 2009

Hot Cross Buns

This is the first time I've made hot cross buns, and they turned out quite well!

I have to admit I wouldn't have bothered with any decoration if I hadn't been taking photos, but I think the crosses worked out reasonably well too! I just 'drew' them on in flour paste with the edge of a small palette knife.

I normally would use fresh yeast but I ran out, so I used the instant yeast and it worked fine.

500 g bread flour
2 tsp easy blend yeast
100 g sugar
pinch salt
2 tsp or more of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (mostly cinnamon)
3/4 cup sultanas, soaked
40 g butter, melted
250 ml milk, lukewarm
2 eggs, lightly beaten

paste for crosses:
1/3 cup flour
4 tbsp water

Happy Easter!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Milo Biscuits

I originally found this recipe on the internet after doing a search, because I had a tin of Milo that was well past its use-by date and was trying to find ways of using it up. I've changed it slightly since, and these biscuits are worth making even if your Milo isn't a bit old!

Cream together butter and sugar, then add an egg and some Milo. Stir in oats (and some sultanas if you like), then flour to make a slightly crumbly dough.

Make little balls of dough, put on a baking sheet not too close together, and flatten slightly with a fork. Cook for 12-15 mins at 180 C. Leave to cool on tray for a while to become firm before moving to a cooling rack.

125 g butter, soft
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup Milo
1/4 cup porridge/quick oats
1 1/2 cup self-raising flour

For another way of using Milo in a biscuit, see Oaty Cranberry and Milo Cookies