Yeah! You did it! You made it through January. I don’t know about you but my January was 178 days long and I’m pretty sure that it rained every day. But it’s February now which means that it won’t be long before we can start […]
As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot […]
You just can’t go wrong with a Chelsea bun. Soft enriched dough crammed full of rich, sweet fillings and covered in finger-licking sticky glaze. Always a winner!
I love these warm for wintry breakfasts or with a cup of piping hot tea on a chilly afternoon. The soft sweet apple and tart, chewy, jewel-coloured dried cranberries are a perfect combination for this time of year.
150g strong white bread flour
80g wholemeal flour
7g easy blend yeast (1 sachet)
1 tsp sugar
big pinch of salt
125ml warm milk
250g(ish) cooking apples
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
35g soft butter
75g dried cranberries
pinch of ground allspice
icing sugar and milk or warmed honey to glaze
Sift the flours into a large bowl and mix through the salt, sugar and yeast. Rub the butter into this mix. Warm the milk a little (so it’s just tepid) and use a fork to beat the egg into it. Gradually pour the egg/milk mixture into the dry ingredients and bring it all together to form a soft dough. Remember that the flour may not be able to absorb all of the liquid, so it’s a good idea to add the wet ingredients a little at a time.
Once you have a nice soft ball of dough, turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead it for a few minutes until if feels smooth and springy.
Wash and dry the bowl you mixed the dough in so that it’s nice and warm and lightly oil it. Pop the dough in the bowl, cover with oiled cling film and put it somewhere warm for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.
Whilst the dough rises you can prepare the filling. Peel and core the apples before chopping them into quite small pieces. Whisk together the sugar, cornflour and allspice in a large mixing bowl and then toss the apple and cranberries in it.
Once the dough has risen take it out of the bowl and knead it again for a minute or two on a lightly floured surface. This means that all the air bubbles will be evenly distributed throughout it. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, a little bigger than a piece of A4 paper. Spread the surface with the butter and then scatter over the filling mixture. Roll the dough up tightly, starting at the long edge. Cut it into eight even-sized pieces and place these, cut-side down into a generously buttered baking dish. Re-cover with cling film and put the dish back in a warm place for another hour until the buns have risen and are sitting quite snugly in the tin.
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c. Bake the buns for about 30 minutes until they are golden brown.
Make a simple glaze by combining a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar with a splash of milk and brushing onto the buns or simply warming some honey and drizzling it over them.
When you get really good ingredients it’s worth using them in a recipe that really shows off their full potential. That’s how I feel about these beautiful heirloom tomatoes anyway. So often the fruits you find in supermarkets are insipid and disappointing but if you […]
When other women go to New York they head to 5th Avenue to buy designer shoes and handbags. Not me. I head to The Bowery and trawl through the restaurant supply stores. When we went recently Mr Colonial Cravings treated me to a tortilla press (in my world this totally counts as a romantic gift!) I used to see these all the time in our local thrift store when we were living in Maryland but I never thought to buy one because ready-made tortillas were always pretty cheap and pretty good. Something I really regretted when we moved back to the UK.
I realise that I don’t actually need a tortilla press to make my own tortillas but it does make the process a bit more fun! I’ve also been using it to make some delicious flatbreads for summer picnics and barbecues.
Freshly made flat breads really are so much nicer than anything that you’ll buy in a supermarket and they really are so quick and easy to make, with or without a fancy-pants tortilla press.
makes about 8
225g plain flour
75g wholewheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp seasalt
2 tbsp mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
30g butter, melted
Sift together the flours and baking powder. Whisk in the salt, crushed garlic and finely chopped herbs. Combine the melted butter, milk and water and then use this to bring the dry ingredients together to form a soft dough. Add it a little at a time, you may not need all of the liquid and you don’t want the dough to be sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and briefly knead it. Divide it into eight equal chunks and then roll them into thin flat discs with a rolling-pin, or if you’re fancy like me then squish them into shape with a tortilla press!
Set a heavy based frying pan over a low heat and dry-fry the flat breads until the outsides are golden. It’s easiest to do this immediately after you’ve shaped them as they do tend to spring back a bit. Serve warm or cooled with your favourite dip, they’re especially good with this channa dal hummus!
After so many years away I’d forgotten how erratic the weather during British springtime can be. It actually snowed on my birthday last week. Snow in April. In the (almost) South West of England. Crazy. Admittedly it was quite sleety and only lasted for about 20 minutes but I think you get my point. We’ve had a few days of glorious warmth and sunshine too mind you. It just can’t seem to make up its mind.
So I don’t know if I should be making hearty warming food or lighter spring flavours. I’m in quite a pickle! Hence this pie, which is a mix of orchard fruits and summer berries and is equally delicious served hot or cold. The buttery, flaky, lemon infused pastry is really delicious and the fruit combine really well for both flavour and texture.
The amount of apples and pears that you’ll need really depends on how deep your pie dish is, mine is very deep so you may not need quite as much filling as I did. There should be plenty of pastry here to make a full top and bottom crust if you don’t like the idea of fiddling around with a lattice top.
300g plain flour
175g fridge-cold butter
pinch of salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
4-5 dessert apples
2 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 beaten egg and white sugar to finish off
Cut the cold butter into small pieces and gently rub it into the flour with the tips of your fingers, until it resembles bread crumbs. Mix through the ginger, lemon zest, salt and sugar with a fork. Use just enough cold water to bring the mixture together to form a soft ball of dough. I usually find 4-5 tbsp is enough. Flatten the ball of dough a little and wrap it in cling film. Pop it in the fridge to chill and relax for at least 30 minutes but you can leave it over night if you need to.
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and lightly grease a 20cm pie tin.
Take the pastry from the fridge and cut off about a third of it. Roll the larger piece out so that it’s a few millimetres thick and large enough to line the pie tin. Do this either on a lightly floured surface or on a piece of parchment paper. I prefer to do it this way as it makes it easier to transfer it to the tin later.
Carefully place the rolled pastry into the pie tin and gently push it into the corners. Leave a little over hang at the edge.
Peel, core and slice the apples and pears quite thinly. Whisk together the sugar, salt and cornflour in a large bowl and then toss the fruit, including the berries, into this. Tip the fruit into the lined tin and spread it out.
Roll out the remaining dough, again so that it is a few millimetres thick and a little larger than the size of the pie. If you want to do some fancy cut outs on the top of the pie then now is the time to do it. Brush the edge of the pie with a little of the beaten egg and carefully place on the lid. Gently push it down around the edges to seal the pie. Trim and crimp the edge however you like. Add any extra pastry embellishments you like (made from any leftover scraps of pastry), using the beaten egg as a glue. Brush the whole pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the pastry is golden brown. If your pastry starts to brown too much during baking then just cover the top of the pie with a piece of kitchen foil.
Leave the pie to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving so that the juices can thicken.