Monthly Archives: November 2011

Fresh Bread

“Was your dad a baker? ‘Cos you’ve got hot buns!”

Well, baking bread is not only about them hot buns (even though it really is). It’s actually pretty fun and extremely rewarding. When that batch of freshly baked bread rolls come out of your oven, you’d be smiling from ear to ear.

I made some bread with Sarah that day and we got our recipe from Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef.

  • 30g/1oz fresh yeast or 3 x 7g sachets dried yeast
  • 30g/1oz honey (or sugar)
  • 625ml/just over 1 pint tepid water
  • 1kg/just over 2lb strong bread flour
  • 30g/1oz salt
  • some extra flour for dusting
  1. Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in half the tepid water
  2. On a clean surface, make a mountain of the flour. Then make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Use a fork to introduce and mix the flour into the mixture, until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the remaining tepid water in and mix everything together gradually in the same way. You want to do this until you have a moist dough. (Some flours may require more water than others, so don’t be a afraid to adjust the quantities.)
  3. Knead away! Whack, smack, punch and work at the dough to activate the gluten. Do this for about  5 minutes. Great way to relieve any pent up frustrations. Hah. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, rub them together with a little extra flour.
  4. When you’re done kneading, make the dough into a roundish shape and flour the top of it. Deeply score the dough with a knife, allowing it to relax and rise with ease (and with yeast). Then, flour a deep mixing bowl as well and place the dough in. Cover with clingflim and let it rise till it doubles in size. Jamie says, “Ideally you want a warm, moist, draught-free place for the quickest prove.” This should take about 40 minutes.
  5. When the dough has grown twice its size, get it out and bash it about for about a minute or so before shaping it to whatever form you want. Then let it sit and rise again for other 40 minutes or so. This second proving is extremely crucial as it’s the time your bread becomes delicately soft and lovely.
  6. Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  7. Cooking the bread now requires tender handling and patience. No more hard bashes and violent grabbing. You want the air in the bread to stay inside, so gently place the bread into the preheated oven, without slamming the door.
  8. Monitor the baking, take it out when the bread’s beautifully bronzed and hollow-sounding when tapped. Leave them on a rack to cool.

Here’s what we made with this batch of dough:

Bread Rolls

Ham Rolls

Chocolate Buns

Cinnamon Rolls

Get your hands into some flour and yeast, and knead away today.

Advertisements

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs.

Awesome Breakfast.

Everybody’s Favourite.

Ramblings:

  • 2 eggs, cracked in a bowl, unbeaten
  • ¼ mug of milk
  • small knob of butter
  • small handful of finely grated cheddar
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Scrambling:

  1. Everybody’s got their own method of scrambling eggs but here’s how I like mine done:
  2. A small knob of butter goes in on a skillet, on high heat.
  3. Once the butter melts, put in the eggs and turn down the heat to low.
  4. Using a spatula, break the yolks and scramble the eggs erratically.
  5. Add the milk, cheese and oregano. Stir about till done.
  6. Season with salt and pepper accordingly.

I like my scrambled eggs with chunks of white and yellow, as opposed to having everything mixed thoroughly into a single colour. Then again, do it any way you like.

The scramble for scrambled eggs ends here. Hah.


Couscous, Cheat

This is a great lazy cheat for awesome slurpy food when you’ve got some soup leftovers. (Note: This only works for clear soups, mostly the Asian sort. And of course, minestrone soup.)

I know I’ve sorta made a post about this before but hey, this is specifically for Coucous in Chinese Chicken Soup. You might say it’s a level up from Couscous, Stocked.

  1. Get your chicken soup leftover into a bowl and chuck it into the microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Yes, that’s TWO minutes on high heat; you want it piping hot.
  3. And then in goes the couscous, right into the blistering hot bowl of soup. TIP! The ratio for this a little tricky. But basically, you need enough liquid to cover the coucous. Since you’re doing the reverse i.e. adding couscous to liquid, add the grains just so that there’s still enough water to cover the coucous. In this case, it’s okay to put less than more. (When the couscous is done, the grains would have been completely swollen with tasty goodness.)
  4. Cover with a plate or lid for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Have it hot, like you would with chunky soup.

Lush.

Photography: Sarah Lee