Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Elderflower 'Champagne'

12 freshly picked heads of elderflower, remove the flowers with a fork
3 unwaxed organic lemons, zest and juice
550g golden granulated sugar dissolved in 1 litre of hot water, leave to cool.
2 litres of cold water
Container I used a bowl scalded first with boiling water. It came from an old Kenwood chef

Combine everything in the bowl and stir. Cover with a plate and leave for 2 days
If there are no bubbles forming after this time this may mean that the natural yeasts on the elderflowers are not cooperating in which case add 1/2 tsp dried bakers yeast. leave for another few days then strain and bottle put the tops on to keep fruit flies out.

 I use Grolsch bottles as they are strong. Ordinary glass bottles are reputed to explode!!
 I have used plastic fruit juice bottles. You can tell when the pressure is building as the bottom of the plastic bottle domes out. The pressure can be released a bit by unscrewing the lid. I prefer not to use plastic in case the bottles were meant for single use and start leaching chemicals.

It should be ready to drink after about 3 weeks. You can leave it for longer but it will get drier. After that put it somewhere cool. It keeps for months.

Serve over ice with a slice of lemon ro use it in a cocktail. Cheers!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Sri Lankan Mutton Rolls

Thank you to Shanthee for sharing this lovely recipe. These mutton rolls are delicious. The different textures of crispy crumb. soft pancake and luscious sauce work so well together. The filling is fragrant from the spices. The heat of the chillies is tempered by the pancake.


1kg mutton cut into small pieces (leg of mutton or lamb) or for a vegetarrian version use mixed vegetables instead of the meat. or use tuna or a firm white fish.
5 red onions peeled and chopped
2 potatoes peeled and cubed
chopped curry leaves
1 head of garlic and a finger sized piece of root ginger pounded to a paste
in a pestle and mortar
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds

Spice powder see  photo below contains red chillies, coriander, fennel seeds, cumin, mathe (fenugreek), black pepper and tumeric. Shanthee used 4 heaped teaspoonfuls or add to taste.
A close alternative would be Sri Lankan spice mix from Seasoned Pioneers here
2-3 tsp coconut milk .

for the pancake mix beat togther
500g flour
1 egg
milk, water 1/2 pint approx

cooking oil and breadcrumbs.

Fry the onions in a wok. Add the curry leaves, fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds. Add the meat and some salt, cover and cook till the colour of the meat changes then add  the curry powder and leave to cook for 15 mins. Give the curry a good stir till all the curry powder is mixed in well with curry and cook for a further 15 mins before adding the potato. Cover and cook then add the coconut milk and cook till the curry becomes dry and  the potatoes are just done and retain their shape.

The filling should not be too wet. Leave to cool before filling the pancakes.
(To make a slacker sauce to serve with rice add more coconut milk.)

  Make the pancakes and place some filling in a line from left to right. Pick up the left and right sides of the pancake and bring them together till they overlap a little.

Starting at the front, tuck the sides of the pancake in then turn over about 2/3 away from you and roll the rest of the way. The pancake should be made thick enough so that it holds the mixture without breaking.

dip in beaten egg and breadcrumbs and fry in some oil in the wok

the finished rolls.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Traybake Fruit Cake

Traybake Fruit Cake

12 oz mixed dried fruit soaked overnight in I mug tea plus 2 tbs Madeira wine and 2 tsp mixed spice.
6oz white SR flour and 2 oz wholemeal flour
4oz butter
3oz muscavado sugar  (or 2oz if you like it a bit less sweet)
3 eggs beaten
10 pecans broken into pieces

Melt the butter and sugar together and when cool add soaked fruit and surplus liquid. Mix and add the beaten eggs and then the flour and pecans and mix well.
Put into a traybake tin 10x8in.
Bake at gas 3 for 45 min.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Milk Kefir Sourdough and Buckwheat Blinis

above mug with MK, flour used to make the starter. Then dough for kneading.

I was recently given some milk kefir grains and have made several batches of milk kefir to put on breakfast fruit, muesli. porridge etc.
I used one batch to make buckwheat blinis, delicious!
So next I thought I would experiment with making sourdough bread. I used to make it using a sourdough starter but found the dough very sticky and unmanagable . The results were variable.
I looked online and found that you can make a starter using milk kefir (MK)
So I experimented. I mixed a cup of MK whith a cup of strong wholewheat flour and left it at room temperature till it bubbled up. (1-2 days) 

I found this recipe and based mine on it but with some changes. I used sugar instead of honey and after 12 hours put the dough in a container in the fridge to ferment for another 24 hours.
The dough was a bit sticky to start with but easier to handle and much easier to get off hands and worktop and bowl than my previous sourdough. (see photo at the end of the post!)
After fermantation it was elastic and not sticky.

my MK sourdough starter as above
4 1/2 cups strong white breadflour
1 1/2 cups water
2tsp sugar
2tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil

I took off enough dough for 4 rolls and put them on an oiled Le Creuset in a warm place to prove for about 30 min. I put the rest back in the fridge for another day.
They were cooked at Gas 6 for about 15 min. There was a container with some water at the bottom of the oven to make steam for a crispy crust.

The rolls were delicious, slightly sweet rather than sour with a nice crisp crust and a good flavour.
They were rather flat looking but the texture inside was good. Next time I will try to make them taller and maybe give a little longer to prove.

 here are the results.

Would be lovely for a pizza base.

It is suitable for the FODMAP diet as the fructose/oligosccarides are fermented by the micro organisms in the milk kefir.

Update Dec 3rd
I used the rest of the dough for a pizza and it made a nice thin crispy base.
I made another batch of dough substituting I cup of white flour with I cup of rye flour.
The flavour was different. The rolls didn't rise much as before.

 Previous sourdough made with a traditional starter

 Very sticky dough dificult to handle and clear up after. This was one of the better batches!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Apple Peeler Slicer Corer

This sturdy and ingenious piece of kit has a suction cup at the base to secure it to the worktop. The apple is pushed on to the prongs lining it up along its core. Turn the handle and ribbons of peel spiral off like spaghetti while the apple is sliced and cored in just seconds. Great for apple pies. The thickness of the peel can be adjusted.

The slicing and coring bit can be moved aside if you only want to peel. Ideal for getting ribbons of orange zest.

Available  here This is the cast iron and stainless steel version. It is based on an original Victorian design.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Two Magpies Bakery Southwold

 The Two Magpies (for more info click here )  is an artisan bakery in Southwold. and a little gem not to be missed. There are a few seats inside and one small table outside, altogether room for about 16. The seats were all taken so we waited till something became available, we sat at the table outside.

The coffee was excellent and accompanied by the most delicious buttery plum frangipane tart! Well worth the wait.
If I was staying in Southwold I would probably be in there every day. Everything is available to eat in or take away.
There are GF options available.

A few passers by stopped to look in the window and commented on the prices being too high. I thought the prices we justified given the quality. Maybe they were used to something mass produced from a chain.
I returned late in the afternoon and most things were sold. I left with a chocolate hazelnut brownie.

Beautiful selection of sour dough breads

                         and savoury treats,

Supersize (rose and pistachio?) meringues and triple choc roundies, so spoilt for choice!

On leaving I noticed that the tiled floor at the entrance tells what this was before it was a bakery.

We climbed over 200 steps to the top of the lighthouse which should have helped to work off some of the calories.

Southwold pier from the lighthouse.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Nonsuch Mansion Cheam

Nonsuch Mansion is a Geogian gem built in a Tudor-Gothic style with walled gardens. It is in beautiful Nonsuch Park 
On open days you can visit the Service Wing that has been restored and is shown in the Victorian-era There is a dairy, sculleries, kitchen, larders and  laundries. It is well worth a visit. There's lots to see and plenty of information about the people who lived and worked here. For more details please click  here

Nonsuch had a supply of ice from its own ice house. Below are 2 ice cream makers from that era.



 I like the designs of these iron stands.

 Several irons could be kept hot.

 The Orchid room in the Mansion