I’m almost certain that homemade bread is good for the soul. The process of making the dough, the smell as it bakes and that first taste when it’s fresh from oven – it really does make me feel good. I love making a batch of […]
I know that for the last couple of years (whilst I was living in the USA) I’ve offered you recipes for sweet treats to celebrate St Patrick’s day, but this year I thought that I might go down a more traditional route.
I’ve only made soda bread once before, a long time ago, and if I’m honest, I wasn’t a massive fan of it. It was a plain recipe and with no other flavourings I found the taste of the baking soda to be a bit overpowering. Thankfully though that’s not the case with this one! The buttery leeks and rich, tangy cheddar make this a delicious loaf. It’s wonderful for mopping up soups and stews and all manner of hearty meals.
makes 1 loaf
1 medium leek
150g spelt flour
150g whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g grated cheddar
mixed seeds (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and if you have a baking stone then put that in the oven to pre-heat.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and then set aside two-thirds of it. Thinly slice the leek and gently fry it in the remaining butter until it is just starting to become golden. Set aside.
Whisk together the flours and raising agents in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the leeks and grated cheese (keep a little cheese back to top the loaf).
Combine the melted butter that you put aside earlier with the buttermilk and then use this to bring everything together to form a soft ball of dough. Give this a very brief knead on a floured surface before shaping it into a neat ball. Cut a cross in the top of the loaf and then sprinkle on the reserved cheese and the seeds if you’re using them.
Transfer the loaf to either the hot baking stone or a lightly greased tray and bake it for about 40 minutes, by which time it should be crusty and golden brown.
Can anyone resist a warm toasted teacake dripping with melted butter? I know I can’t. Home made teacakes (like most things) are far superior to their shop-bought cousins. The fruit is more juicy, the spices are brighter and the texture is less spongy. All in all they make a pretty delicious treat.
I use malt extract in my recipe in place of sugar and really like the extra depth of flavour that it adds. These don’t have the full on sticky richness of something like malt loaf (although that is one of my favourites), there’s just a nice little bit of extra sweetness from the malt.
These are delicious for breakfast or as an afternoon pick-me-up.
350g strong white bread flour
1 sachet fast acting yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
30g malt extract
150g dried fruit (I used sultanas and apricots)
a little flavourless oil
Sift the flour and spices together into a large mixing bowl and then mix through the salt, sugar and yeast with a fork.
Combine the butter, milk and malt extract in a pan and gently warm them a little so that the butter melts (or just do it in the microwave) but don’t let it get too hot.
Add the warm liquid to the dry ingredients, a little at a time, bearing in mind that you may not need all of the liquid, until you have a soft but not sticky ball of dough.
Lightly oil your hands and the work surface and then knead the dough for 5 minutes or so until it becomes smooth and springy.
Wash and dry the mixing bowl (to warm it) and then lightly oil it and a piece of cling film. Place the dough in the bowl, cover it with the cling film and then put it in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
Mix together the fruit, chopping any large fruit so that it is all a similar size. Once the dough has risen scatter the fruit over the surface and start to work it into the dough. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it for a minute or two to ensure that the fruit and air are well distributed through it. Divide the dough into nine even pieces and shape each one into a ball. Place them on a lightly greased baking tray, spaced a little apart and flatten each one slightly. Recover them and put the tray back in a warm place until the buns have doubled in size again. Pre-heat your oven to 200°c.
Brush the teacakes with a little milk and then bake them for 20 minutes, so that they are nice and brown. Leave them to cool on a wire rack and then enjoy them toasted and smothered in butter!
Do you ever get into that pre-holiday (vacation) situation where you need to empty the fridge before you go away but you seem to have a pretty random collection of ingredients in amounts that seem too small to actually be of any use?
Well that was how this came about, hence the tiny amount of mascarpone and ham listed and the approximate quantities I’ve used. I stood staring at the contents of the fridge, half thinking about what I should be packing for our trip to Cuba, half wondering what on earth I was going to do with the food that was staring back at me.
It acually turned out to be an amazing weekend breakfast, I’ll certainly be making it again. I realise that the words savoury and bread pudding don’t sit entirely comfortably together but if you prefer you can think of it as a bread fittata. Either way it’s pretty delicious!
serves two really hungry/greedy people
1 tbsp butter
leeks (about 8″, trimmed and thinly sliced)
small sweet red pepper (sliced)
175ml whole milk or 100ml milk and 75ml cream
salt and pepper
baguette (about 6″)
3 tbsp grated cheese (whatever you’ve got sitting in the fridge)
1 tbsp mascarpone (optional but makes it lovely and creamy)
3 slices of serrano ham or similar (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and slice the bread into rounds, about 1 cm thick.
Melt the butter in a frying pan, brush a little of it around your chosen baking dish and then brush some of it onto the slices of bread (on one side only). Use what’s left to gently sautee the leeks until they start to brown a little. Add the peppers and cook to 2-3 minutes more.
Beat the milk, eggs and seasoning together in a jug or mixing bowl and then beat in the mascarpone if you’re using it. Don’t worry if it isn’t completely blended. Stir the leeks and peppers into this custard and then pour the whole lot into the baking dish.
Arrange the bread and ham (if using) in the dish, pushing them down into the custard so that they soak it up nicely. Sprinkle the cheese over the whole lot and then bake it for 35-40 minutes, until the eggs have set and the top is deliciously golden.
These are so insanely good. Mr Colonial Cravings calls these Aztec rolls, which I suppose is a little bit less of a mouthful than ‘chocolate-chili-cinnamon-rolls’. Just as well, because if you make these your mouth will be way to busy scoffing them to do anything […]