Sunday, 26 March 2017

Welsh Cakes

My Granny was Welsh, she made great Welsh Cakes... and I remember making them with her.   However, Welsh Cakes are usually made on a griddle, a flat iron plate, which I don't have.  Having a new 'ceramic non-stick' frying pan, we needed a recipe to try out its non-stick properties and Welsh Cakes fitted the bill nicely.

I don't have my Granny's recipe but I do think the one I made up is pretty close... apart from using gluten free flour (which I don't think existed back in Granny's day!)

The ingredients we used were:-

225g self raising flour  (we used Dove's Farm gluten free)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice
110g butter (Granny used to use lard)
75g caster sugar
75g mixed currants
1 large egg beaten

Using a bowl, we mixed the flour, salt, spice and butter.  We used a hand balloon whisk to get a breadcrumb-like texture (and this also 'saves' my ailing fiingers from too much effort)

Next the sugar and currants were added and mixed through.

Finally the beaten egg was added.  At this point, the mix it may be a bit dry still, so if needed, use a little buttermilk or yogurt, to make the dough soft enough to be able to brought together (we did add yogurt to ours).

Once the dough came together and wasn't too wet or dry.  We lightly pressed it out, then rolled to about 5-7mm thick.  The dough was then cut in 5cm rounds.

Heating the pan, the cakes were cooked - you can use a heated griddle, lightly buttered frying pan, or as we did in a ceramic coated frying pan (it worked very well.

Cooking till browned on one side, the cakes were flipped/turned and cooked on the other side (about 3 mins a side... but depends on heat, thickness and the level of 'cook' you're aiming for).

Once cooked on both sides, the cakes were removed, placed on a plate and drizzled lightly with caster sugar.

Eaten warm, they were delicious.  They were also very tasty with a cup of tea and, surprisingly, kept well in an airtight container.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Flat Bread

Having bought a ceramic frying pan (finally convinced because a/ J can't stand the smell from 'traditional' non-stick coatings, b/ pal had been raving about the wonders of ceramic coated pans, c/ it was on offer and below £10 and d/ it was YELLOW!)  we've been trying out its thermal transfer prowess, non-stickability and easy cleaning.  Also, we've been going to make a flatbread for, decided to give it a go (to accompany tonight's Bean and Pepper Chilli).

Ingredients -

200g self raising flour (we used Dove's Farm #glutenfree)
150ml plain yogurt/water mix (we used about half and half, mixed in a jug)
1 Tablespoon oil (we used olive oil)

This is the simplest of 'bakes'. 

The flour was weighed into a mixing bowl.

The wet ingredients were added and mixed through thoroughly using a silicone spatula (making sure to incorporate all the flour from the bottom of the bowl)  [a little more liquid MAY be needed to allow the dough to form... add small amounts of cold water, if so...]

Next we divided the dough into three 120g balls (because there are three of us... but you could halve the dough or quarter it... it's up to you and how you do this will depend on the size of the breads you make in the end). 

Using a silicone sheet and a dusting of flour, the dough balls were then rolled out into roughly cirular shapes, about 5mm thick. 

Each dough circle was cooked in a pre-heated DRY ceramic frying pan for 3-4 mins on each side (the time needed to cook your breads will depend on the thickness of the dough and the temperature of your pan... keep an eye on them and SET THE TIMER!)  The breads is done when the underside is starting to turn golden brown in places and holds together when you lift them carefully with a spatula... at which point we flipped the bread over and repeated cooking on the other side.

Once cooked the breads were kept warm in a covered dish until all three were ready to be served.

These would be good brushed with butter, or spread with garlic butter, but we ate them plain with our chilli dish. 
We'll definitely make these again because they were warm, moist and Sous Chef J polished his flatbread off before starting on the chilli!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Choc Nut Babka Loaf

We made a batch of enriched dough (same as for Pain ua Choc Fingers and Cinnamon Buns) using the following ingredients -

175g bread flour (we used Dove's farm gluten free which includes xantham gum - of yours doesn't you'll need ¼tsp xantham gum)
2¼tsp fast action dried yeast
50g caster sugar
2tsp baking powder (we used Dr Oetker gluten free)
50ml olive oil
50ml warm water (you may need more)
1 medium egg
1tsp vanilla extract

Putting the liquid into a bowl, we used a hand mixer with dough hooks to incorporate all the dry ingredients a spoonful at a time... and then mixed for about 4-5mins till binding well.

The dough was placed in an oiled bowl, covered with oiled cling film and put in the airing cupboard to prove for about an hour.
Once proved, the dough was rolled out to a large rectangle (roughly 35cmx25cm) and covered with  the warmed choc nut spread using a silicone spatula (we used about two Tablespoons of spread, which had been warmed in a small pan so it was more pliable).  Next a handful of chopped nuts (macadamia, pecans, hazelnuts all work) were sprinkled over. 

The dough was rolled from the LONG side to form a cylinder. 

This was then cut down its length leaving one end in tact.  The pieces were then twisted over one another (doesn't matter if this is messy... it likely will be!)  and the 'plait' was placed in a non-stick loaf tin.

Putting the dough, in its tin, to prove for another 45mins to an hour (again having covered the dough with oiled cling film)

The oven was heated to 170C (fan) and then the loaf was baked (having removed the clingfilm) for about 25 minutes, checked and then returned to bake until golden brown (you'll have to adjust this based on your oven and tin size... a more compact cake will require a longer bake).

It was left to cool in the tin and turned out when completely cooled.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Trilobite 'tatoes

We are always on the look out for really simple 'dishes' to make.. and these potatoes, a variation on Hasselback, work out well every time they are made.

Starting with some mid-sized potatoes (we used King Edward), they were cut in half along the 'long' axis. 

Placing the potato, cut side down, on the work surface next to the chopping board, a sharp knife was used to slice finely without going through to the surface (the chopping board ensures the knife doesn't cut all the way through.)

Once all the potato halves were sliced, they were put in a pot, drizzled with oil (we used sunflower) and shaken to ensure an even coating.

The potatoes were transferred to a baking tray (cut side down), seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, and roasted in a pre-heated oven (170C fan) for about 20 minutes.  After this time, they were checked, and returned to the oven until they were thoroughly cooked.

When cooked, the potatoes open up slightly and have a lovely, fluffy interior with a crispy base.  We find this is a quicker and more reliable way to make crunchy-enough potatoes for J to eat!