Sunday, 23 November 2014

CHECK OUT MY RACK (No, my actual rack)


I'm going to attempt to type this over the cat, so if it is full of silly errors, that will be why (honestly: she's very very old, and no longer understands that sometimes she gets in the way. No, she says, The Universe is mine now. All will fit round me).
This blog is not about my cat, but it is about nice things. Not ranty things. For a change. I've been baking this weekend, you see, and of course being the SocMed Addict that I am (and I had to restrain myself from use of hashtags there) I uploaded pictures of yummy things onto Instagram*.

Inexplicably, people asked for recipes - which is tricky to fulfil, as I make them up. But you're welcome to give them a bash. Don't expect miracles, though. I don't, and I'm the fucking Pope.

Here is the flapjack recipe. Everyone knows how to make flapjack so I won't go into a list of instructions. Just grease the tin well, use a low-ish heat (180C) as the sugar content is high, and let them cool in the tin. Oh - before they go into the pan, put the cornflakes in a bag and hit them repeatedly with a rolling pin. That's fun to do.

BREAD - I love to make bread and I don't do it often enough. There's nothing clever or fancy or artisan about my ingredients or my method ('Artisan'. If you mean 'handmade', say handmade. Please); I'm not claiming that my results are spectacular or better than those of others, like her off telly and that; and I cheat and use this (left) because I don't like getting gooey dough under my ridiculously long fingernails. KitchenAid. I do love it. Sigh. And it's purple...

What is more, if I take a break and then go back to breadmaking after a long time, the first batch is always like bricks. Always. Fortunately my family like my 'Dwarf Bread' so it gets eaten up just as fast as the decent loaves. Check out those delicious little bastards on the right, though - those are Marmite pinwheels. I didn't invent them, I only attempted to emulate them.  Here's what to do: 
1. Make a quantity of bread dough (see below). After it's risen, roll or press it thick but flat on a floured surface. 
2. Spread Marmite all over that motherfucker. As thick as you like. Do it. Then sprinkle grated cheese all over it if you want to. Mmmm. Yeah.
3. Roll the dough up like a Swiss roll. Pinch the edge closed if you like; it's not an exact Science. Slice the roll into, I don't know, 3/4" or 1" slices, depending on how big you want the finished pinwheels to be. 
4. Arrange them in a floured tin - two floured tins, they need space - and bake at 200C for about 17-20 mins.
5. Cool on a wire rack. Prepare yourself for adulation.

BREAD DOUGH - do it in any way that works for you. My way is not especially wholesome or pure. But the end results never last more than a day before they're gone - so something's working.
1. Half a bag of flour. I use white. Don't judge me. In a bowl. Make a well. Drop two dessertspoons of sugar into the well. Fill it with warm water. Not too warm. Drop two teaspoons of yeast into the water and stir.
2. Cover the water and yeast with flour from the edges and leave it for ten minutes until the yeast is working. Sprinkle two dessertspoons of salt round the edge of the bowl - keep it away from the yeast for now.  You might want a bit more salt - up to you.
3. Mix up the flour, water, yeast etc with a knife. Add more water and incorporate all the flour. Add flavourings at this point if you like - herbs, fried onions, olive oil, seeds, nuts, mixed peel, anything.
4. Once the dough is formed, knead it on a floured surface. This is important and meditative. Yes, it's the bit I don't do because it's gooey. You can do this in a mixer with a dough hook for five minutes, or by hand for about fifteen. Roll, press, fold. Roll, press, fold. Until it's clean and elastic.
5. Let the dough rise in the bowl for 30 minutes. Bit of olive oil over it, cling film, and a tea towel. Warm place. It should double in size. 
6. Shape the dough and put it in floured baking pans. I make rolls or small loaves as they cook faster.
7. Into the oven for 20 minutes. Don't open the oven until the end (you know that though). Cool on a rack. Lie to your children about hot bread giving you indigestion. Help yourself once they've left the room. And don't burn yourself when you take them out of the oven. Ouch.

Bake. Balls it up. Have another go. Let me know how you get on.

*Do you follow me on Instagram? You really should. 

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