Thursday, 8 April 2010

Cheese and Bacon Rolls

My children love cheese and bacon rolls, which can be bought at any bread shop around Sydney (and probably all over the place, although not much comes up if you do a search, so maybe not - can you get them or something similar where you live?).

They're a good snack while you're out and about, and they're also good for lunchboxes.

I've been planning to try and make them for ages, and recently my friend Carol gave me a cheese and bacon roll recipe that she uses to make them for her children.

First make some bread dough and leave it to rise. (See this bread recipe if you need it to get to this stage.)

Push out the air from the risen dough, then divide it into several pieces - I made 12. Roll them into oval shapes, put them on baking sheets and cover them.

Leave them for half an hour or so to puff up slightly. (Ideally put them all straight onto baking sheets so you don't have to disturb them again. I usually do, but on this occasion my second baking sheet was already in use!)

Brush the tops of the breads with beaten egg, then sprinkle over diced bacon...

...and grated cheese.

Cook at 200 C for around 15 minutes until the bread is golden.

Best eaten still warm from the oven, but also pretty good the next day.

They freeze well, so you can make them, freeze them, and put them still frozen into lunch boxes, where they should defrost in time for morning tea or lunch.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Easy Bread Rolls

These are so easy that every time I hear someone say they can't make bread, I feel like bringing them into my kitchen and showing them how to make these rolls.

They are just basic rolls that I often make for lunch time sandwiches or to go with a meal. Sometimes I give my children a blob of dough each and they make their own bread roll to go with their dinner.

Put bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl. I also add a couple of tablespoons of oat or wheat bran to add bulk to the rolls and make them slightly more filling, but you don't have to do this.

Stir up the dry ingredients, then add 300 ml warm water (it should feel comfortably warm to your fingers) and 3 tsp of olive oil.

Stir it around with a spoon until most of the flour has been moistened, then put your hand in and finish bringing the dough together. It may need a few more drops of water to get the last bit of flour, but add gradually so it doesn't become too sticky.

Knead the dough for a few minutes until it's smooth and springy. I do this in the bowl (I have a 3L bowl so there's quite a lot of room) but if it's easier, get it out and knead it on a work surface.

Leave it to stand - in the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap over the top - in a warmish place for one or two hours. (Usually one and a half hours is fine.)

I left this dough standing for 2 hours as I was a bit busy - it doesn't always puff up this much. Push the air out and remove the dough from the bowl.

Divide into portions, give each one a quick knead around in your hands, then form into whatever shape you like.

Dust with some flour, then leave in a warm place for about half an hour, while you warm up the oven to 200 C.

Cook for 15 minutes until the tops are slightly golden and the bottoms of the rolls sound hollow when knocked with your knuckles.

My children made a roll each with the above dough. I sometimes make a whole loaf (on the tray, not with a loaf tin) but more often I halve the dough and make two 'batard' style loaves (see below).

500 g bread flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
(2 tbsp oat bran or wheat bran if you like)
300 ml warm water
3 tsp olive oil

Two unglamorous (but very useful) long loaves - great for slicing and sharing out at dinner time.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Big Jelly

This isn't a recipe, but it's something I make for family get-togethers.

I use a 3 litre Pyrex bowl, and buy six packets of jelly. I've found that lime and raspberry are the favourite flavours, so I always use two each of those, and add one or two other brightly-coloured flavours (here I used lemon/lime and orange).

I start the jelly at least one day before it's needed, by making up a double amount of one flavour (a total of 1 litre) and leave to set in the fridge. I prop a folded-up teatowel under one side to tilt it as this makes it look a little more interesting from the outside (mainly for me - I'm sure no-one else really notices!) - but for the last layer I allow it to sit flat so the top is even.

Every few hours, after each layer has set, I add the next layer until all the jelly is used.

A half-demolished Easter Sunday Big Jelly.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Hot Cross Muffins

I have made some hot cross buns this Easter, but I decided to blog about these Hot Cross Muffins instead. I found the recipe in Delicious magazine, and decided to make them for dessert today.

I was a bit short of dried fruit, so only used a tiny amount compared with the recipe - but I was quite happy with the amount I used, and would use this amount again.

First put dried fruit in a bowl with hot water and leave to stand for 10 minutes or so.

Put flour, bicarb, cinnamon, mixed spice and sugar in a large bowl. In another bowl or jug whisk together buttermilk, oil and eggs.

Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir in gently. Add (well-drained) soaked fruit and stir to combine.

Eeek! At this point I realized I had forgotten the sugar, so I stirred it in at the last minute. Whoops - luckily it didn't affect the muffins.

Put the mixture into muffin tins or cases. The recipe states that it makes 12 muffins - I made 6 large muffins and 12 small.

Cook at 200 C for 20 minutes or so, until golden on top.

Cool muffins on racks. The 'Delicious' recipe made the muffins look shiny like real hot cross buns, but I decided my children are sticky enough already, and I gave this step a miss.

For the crosses, add a drop of lemon juice to some icing sugar, then enough water to make a smooth paste. 'Draw' on icing crosses with a teaspoon.

I really liked these muffins - the cranberries give a nice tang, and they do taste a little like untoasted hot cross buns.

30 g dried cranberries
60 g currants
375 g (2 1/2 cups) self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb
1 tsp mixed spice
165 ml (2/3 cup) oil (I used olive oil)
250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk
2 eggs

The original recipe is here