Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Apple and Cinnamon Soda Bread: Guest Post by Ruby Tandoh


Since reaching the final of series 4 of the Great British Bake Off, Ruby has been writing for The Guardian and working on her cookbook, Crumb, which is due to be released in Autumn this year. I was lucky enough to meet her last year through my position with the London Student, and, as we stood nervously in line waiting to meet Nigel Slater together in December, she kindly agreed to write me and Zosia a guest post. So here it is!  

Made with bicarbonate of soda rather than yeast, this gently sweet, crumbly loaf takes just one hour to make. It relies on the near-instantaneous chemical reaction between the soda and the acidic buttermilk for its rise, so make sure your oven's preheated and ready in advance so that the bread isn't left waiting. If you can't find buttermilk (although most supermarkets should sell it), use 200ml of sour cream topped up with 100ml of milk.

- 300g wholemeal flour, plus extra to dust
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 small dessert apples, finely diced
- 300ml buttermilk
- 2tbsp honey

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, sat and cinnamon. Toss through the small cubes of apple then stir through the buttermilk and honey. You'll be left with a wet, sticky dough.
3. With floured hands, on a floured work surface, shape the dough into a rough ball. No need to worry too much about neatness here - it's a pointedly rustic-looking loaf (or so you can claim!).
4. Transfer the shaped dough to a baking tray, dust lightly with flour and score a deep cross into the top with a sharp knife. Bake for 50 minutes until golden.

More of Ruby's recipes can be found in The Guardian, or on her personal blog, Ruby and the Kitchen.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Lemon Yoghurt Cupcakes. For days when the weather is horrendous.

Thursday's hail
The weather has been absolutely horrendous lately.
Since that St. Jude's Storm back at the end of October, it feels like there's been no let up with all the wind, the rain, the hail (pictured above) and the flooding. Here in Egham, the flooding has been pretty bad - I've never been more grateful for Egham Hill, but our thoughts are definitely with those affected.

On a much much lighter note, I made lemon yoghurt cake yesterday. I was definitely in need of a pick me up, and as last night's storm began to kick off, cake was made. 

This is a Mary Berry recipe, which I've made before as Bryony's birthday cake, and it's seriously good cake. The first time I made it my flatmate Victor chewed the cake tin liners like chewing gum because apparently he reaaallly liked the cake. This time I made cupcakes, because my favourite thing about this cake was the crunchy, sugary, slightly caramelised surface that forms as it bakes, and cupcakes have more surface area.

I used Dove's Farm gluten free self raising flour, because that stuff makes life worth living for anyone who can't eat gluten. It's wonderful. Also I'm a big fan of baking with yoghurt, mainly because of these EPIC Blueberry Muffins. They're awesome.

Here's what you need:
300g caster sugar
50g softened butter (I use salted, because it adds a very slight savoury undertone to the sweetness)
3 large eggs, separated
225g Greek yoghurt
Grated rind of one lemon
175g self raising flour

For the icing: 
100g sifted icing sugar
About 1½ tbsp of lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. I now have a gas oven (IT HAS FIRE AT THE BACK, what is that even about?!) so for me, that's gas mark four.
2. Beat the sugar, butter, and egg yolks together in a bowl. Add in the lemon and the yoghurt, and beat until smooth. 
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites together to a soft peak, then tip into the mixture. Fold it in carefully and slowly, aiming to keep as much air in the mix as possible.
4. Tip into a deep cake tin (with the base lined with greaseproof paper or baking parchment), or if you're baking cupcakes, distribute the mix evenly between cupcake cases. I ended up making about twenty cupcakes from this mix (two of which I dropped as soon as they came out of the oven. Whoops. I ate them anyway - this cake is really good). 
5. Place in the oven. The cake will take between an hour to an hour and a fifteen minutes. The cupcakes will take around twenty minutes. The cake is done when top goes an even biscuity brown colour, and if you poke a skewer in it should come out clean. 
6. For the icing, mix the sifted icing sugar and the lemon juice together, and when the cake(s) are cooled, pour over the top(s). I then topped my cupcakes with popping candy and some curls of lemon zest. Definitely ate these for breakfast today...

Bryony (dressed as Tilly from Tots TV) and I (dressed as Little Red Riding Hood) eat the cake in Bryony's kitchen. We're looking surprised at how good it tastes. It's SERIOUSLY good cake.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Ten Minute Treat: Stir Fry

Much as I love spending hours standing over the stove, gently stirring a risotto, sometimes there just isn't time. This is perfect for a mid-week meal as it's ready to eat in under ten minutes - and is healthy and wonderfully flavoured to boot.

The key to this dish is preparation. None of it takes long to cook at all, so you really do need to make sure you have everything chopped and ready to go before you start to avoid things burning etc.

Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- thumb fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 red chilli
- 5 spring onions
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 1 red pepper
- 100g baby corn
- 100g mangetout
- 160g marinated tofu
- handful beansprouts
- 120g stir fry sauce (pick your flavour - I like the chow mein)
- 2tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1tbsp sesame oil
- juice of ½ a lime
- 300g fine egg noodles (substitute to make vegan/gluten-free)
- sprinkle of sesame seeds

For the mangetout and baby corn I'd recommend just grabbing one of the mixed packs you can get in supermarkets. You can vary the amounts, and can really add any veg you like - mushrooms, water chestnuts or savoy cabbage would all go well - the above is just a list of my favourites/what I had in at the time.

1. Start by putting a pan of water on to boil and thinly slicing all your veg. Put the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and spring onions together in a bowl to keep them separate from the rest - just because these go in first.
2. Put about 1tbsp olive oil in a wok and heat (think mid to high heat on your hob) - you can test if it's hot by dropping in a slice of veg and seeing if it sizzles. If it does, then go ahead and add the onion mix. Stir this for a minute before adding the carrot, pepper, corn and mangetout and tofu.

3. After another minute add the beansprouts; at this point you should also put your noodles into the pan of boiling water to cook. Make sure you're stirring everything A LOT, or it will just burn.
4. Add the stir fry sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice to the wok, along with the drained noodles once cooked (they shouldn't take more than 2 minutes).
5. Serve up and sprinkle with the sesame seeds (and some fresh coriander if you have some to hand). Voila!