Tag Archives: Bread

Tomato and Bread Soup Recipe

Who doesn’t love a ripe tomato? Unfortunately those that you buy in a supermarket, with some exceptions, are just NOT nice AT ALL. This recipe should ONLY be made with the ripest of tomatoes. And in this case, not even tinned tomatoes will do.
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Tomato and Bread Soup

Ingredients
Handful of fresh basil
1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled
25g Parmesan with rind
3 slices thick day-old or stale country-style bread with crusts, torn into 1-inch pieces
75ml olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt, freshly ground pepper
1.5kg ripe tomatoes, cut into large pieces
Method
Pluck basil leaves from stems. Place stems and any larger or not-so-beautiful leaves in a large saucepan along with 2 or 3 larger garlic cloves; cover with 3 cups water. Set aside remaining smaller, prettier basil leaves. Cut Parmesan away from rind and add rind to pan; set cheese aside. Bring liquid to a bare simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat so mixture is steaming. Let ingredients steep while you start the soup. This step may seem like a lot of faff.  But is totally worth it.

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Preheat oven to 200°C. Spread out 1 cup bread on a small rimmed baking sheet, drizzle lightly with oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Toast until edges are crisp but centres are still chewy, 8–10 minutes; set croutons aside.
Meanwhile, slice remaining garlic cloves. Heat ⅓ cup oil in a medium pot over medium and cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until evenly golden brown and softened, about 2 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes to pot and cook, stirring energetically with a wooden spoon now and then, until tomato juices are bubbling, 6–8 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, then add remaining 3 cups bread.

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Stir to coat, then strain basil stock into tomato mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally, until bread disintegrates into a porridgelike texture and soup is velvety and thick, 10–12 minutes. (The whisk helps break the bread into smaller pieces; if you like your soup rustic, stick with the spoon. If you want it to be very smooth, use an immersion blender.)
Finely grate reserved Parmesan and whisk half into soup along with reserved basil. Cook, stirring, until soup is thickened and looks shiny, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
Divide soup among bowls and top with reserved croutons, remaining Parmesan, and a drizzle of oil. Divine!

Tomato and Bread Soup

Tomato and Bread Soup

 

Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding

I just love bread and butter pudding. And we have some gorgeous panettone bread left over to use in the best way possible- this recipe is as good with brioche as with panettone.  And really if push comes to shove, it’s good with any old white batch loaf type- just remove the crusts. Sure you can’t make it ALL into breadcrumbs…. and using up leftovers is COOL these days.

Bread and Butter Pudding

 

Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding

Ingredients:
8 thick slices panettone crusts, cut into 2.5cm cubes
50g butter, melted
300ml cream
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons dark rum (if desired)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
75g chocolate chips
2 tablespoons caster sugar
20g Icing Sugar
Method:

Bread and Butter Pudding

Beautifully light panettone bread

Preheat oven to 180oC. Place bread in large bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons melted butter and toss. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Bake until bread begins to colour, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Cool. Brush your baking dish with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Broken pieces of panettone tossed in melted butter

Heat the cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbling. Remove from heat. Whisk eggs and yolks in large bowl. Add rum, vanilla, and salt; gradually whisk in warm cream. Stir in bread cubes. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Soaking in the egg custard

Mix chocolate chips into custard mixture. Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and set in centre, about 35 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm, with some freshly whipped cream. Divine.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Best to get the photo before it disappears!

Pumpkin Bread- Halloween with a twist!

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere! They are literally in every shop, on every street.  And why not? Pumpkin pie is of course, on the agenda, with a secret recipe given to me by my great friend and blogging guru Evin. But for something different try these rolls. They use pumpkin puree, which, thankfully is getting more readily available. I get mine in Ardkeen Foodstores.

Pumpkin Bread Rolls- Halloween with a twist!

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

235ml warm water

20g fresh yeast (10g dried)

2 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
Pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoons salt

500g strong organic bread flour

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Method:

For the dough:  Pour the warm water into a jug and whisk in the yeast. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Bread

In your mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients then pour in your wet ingredients.

 

On slow speed, mix all the ingredients together.  Knead the dough until it comes together in a smooth and elastic ball. Coat this dough with oil and leave to prove for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Pumpkin Bread

Preheat oven to 220oC, and divide the dough into equal pieces. You may also freeze the dough for up to three weeks.

To create the rolls: cut off sections of dough 20g at a time and roll them into a ball shapes.  Snip them with a scissors to give the traditional indentation of a pumpkin. Set aside and continue with the rest of the dough.  Leave to rest until puffed up.  Brush gently with beaten egg yolks. Bake for about 15 -20 minutes until cooked.  While the rolls are baking, in a bowl mix together the 1/3 cup olive oil with, salt, pepper, and oregano. When the knots are done, toss in the olive oil mixture to coat.

Pumpkin BreadDivine!

Make Entertaining Easy

The good weather just begs you to eat outside.  Let’s face it, we eat in the other 363 days of the year.  So as soon as the sun comes out for at least 4 hours, we just want to get the wine chilling and the family over and start entertaining.

Entertaining

The Table outside is the first step

The impromptu get together initially started out as drinks and nibbles.  But we got a little* adventurous.  We had some fresh minced beef that we were going to make into burgers for our own dinner, so we changed that idea and made lots of mini burgers to share.  I had already made the pre-requisite brioche dough to make burger buns, so these were just made a little smaller.  

Mini Burgers

Mini Burgers

I decided to bake these in the oven, so as to avoid the messiness of the BBQ.  They are too small to cook without careful supervision, after all the time my better half spent shaping them, it would not do well to burn them! Course I don’t need an excuse to make the brioche.  One of my favourite breads.  I just love it.  

Brioche

Brioche after it’s first proving

Next on Nigel’s list was the focaccia and grissini. Both are perfect for a party, and went down extremely well.  He loaded the focaccia with lots of garlic and rosemary, which was really tasty, but if we’d been catering for a group that were not family- i may have cut down on the amount of garlic!   We also grilled some asparagus rolled with prosciutto, some sausages were also baked for the smaller members of the family.  

Entertaining

Fresh from the oven, the softest of focaccia

And although Nigel mentioned at one point that there were ALOT of sausages- they all were eaten. I thought I had a bottle of Pimms in the pantry.  But must have used it for entertaining at some other point.  So we went with a limoncello mixed with lemonade and some strawberries for the adults.  And some Naturally Cordial Lemonade mixed with the same white lemonade and strawberries for those not partaking in alcohol.  

Entertaining

Limoncello with strawberries and white lemonade

It’s then simply a matter of putting everything on the table and waiting for your guests to arrive. Something sweet isn’t necessary, but it’s a good way of signalling to the guests that their time is coming to an end, on this occasion I made a lemon scented sponge with a sugar syrup icing, and salted caramel chocolate brownies.  As it happens when I put them both on the table, I went to the other end of the kitchen to whip some cream as an accompaniment- when I cam back they were nearly all gone!

Entertaining

Something Sweet to finish the evening off

If you like entertaining, but don’t have the time to cater, call me for help! I’d be delighted to turn your party into a feast. 

 

Starting at the Start Day 4

I really enjoy making sourdough these days, and really really really (ok no more really in the post) was looking forward to my education with Richard.   and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  Mind you, as usual he wasn’t content with just one dough, we made several.

Although I think the one Nigel and myself were proudest of was the apple bread using a starter ferment that Richard had made the day before using Nigel’s cider.  It was liking introducing our children to the world, we were like nervous parents!

Starting with cider....

Starting with cider….

The smell was really good, and I learnt today that the fragrance of the starting ferment, will be mimicked in the finished bread.  Similar to using a beer in a poolish (also a type of ferment), you can use cider, and even Guinness.  Richard gave a nod to the Irish contingency today by adding some of the iconic Irish Stout to the brown dough in place of some water. This brown dough challenged us, we made stars and plaits and a myriad of shapes…

Brown Bread shapes

Brown Bread shapes

At this stage, you just can’t be notice the amount of dough mixed every day in the class.  You need to be organised, and certainly have your head screwed on.  But its such fun.  Our group are really starting to know each other, and I’ll be very sad to say goodbye tomorrow.  We literally broken bread together on a large scale!   Once again I found great comradeship with other like minded people who just love to talk about, and eat food- this week specifically bread.

Bread
And if I thought yesterdays lunch was good- todays completely took the biscuit…. or rather the cheese.  A huge brie cheese to be exact.  Honest to goodness it’s the first thing I’m going to make on Saturday (after my deliveries!)

 

Bread

Brie Baked in a dough crust. DIVINE

I actually thought it was the most divine combination ever.  And then we had doughnuts….

It’s good to be French – Bertinet Kitchen Day 2

Who doesn’t love a baguette, and I’m not talking about the type you buy in a petrol station in every county in Ireland.  I’m talking about the crust, that saliva inducing smell, and that recognisable shapely length of carbohydrate heaven.  Mind you I’m still struggling with the kneading and shaping. Anyway, I got my French on today.

 

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Richard imparting more nuggets of bread info

For me, the Baguette is the epitome of French bread, a little like the soda bread in Ireland.  And it evokes memories of smell, taste, flavour and most importantly a taste that is unique and not replicated in any other bread.  This is due to it’s crust, and more importantly, the “ear” or cut along the top of the bread that is made just prior to baking.

So not only do you have to contend with making the perfect dough, rising for the perfect time, shaping in the perfect way- there’s a very important slice to be applied to the top of the loaf.

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Students shaping French Bread

 

The French Lame
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The baguettes ready to be judged

This blade, makes a far superior cut to the top of the dough than the sharpest of knives.  And after the obligatory- don’t touch these or you will surely die- talk from Richard, he showed us how to use one. And showed us again, and again.  And the group got more and more nervous.  It was like a group of brain surgeons operating for the first time.  The sweat was pouring off us, and not just due to the heat. The lame used to cut the long baguette is curved- the blade is held with the concave surface facing up, and used in one continuous and confident slice. A flap of dough is created then in the oven that will lift up to create an “ear” as the loaf expands and, by lifting gradually, slows the expansion of the loaf. This prolongs the time during which new areas of dough are exposed to the direct heat of the oven and results in greater overall expansion – a larger “bloom.”
A better crust, and tastier, and more importantly easily digested bread.  Its the chewing of the crust that makes our saliva activate, this in turn gets our stomach juices flowing, making this beauty the most easily digested bread you’ll ever eat. The shallow cut, interestingly, creates a better flap than a deep cut, which would result in the flap being too heavy to support it’s own weight. Also if the cut is vertical, the bread opens too quickly exposing too much of the crust at once, and this bread is also more evenly coloured indicting the incorrect cut. Sounds complicated? Well it is.  And a little like a child learning to write there name, I think I’ll be practicing my bakers signature for a while to come.

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Bread in the basket- very satisfying

 

Books and their covers

I was very happy to receive a number of books for Christmas, specfically cookbooks.  To be fair I am an easy person to buy for.  I like books and horses.  Cookbooks are easier to wrap.

 

Cookbooks

I haven’t decided which to dive into yet.  I did flick through Allegra’s “Big Table, Busy Kitchen”.  I was delighted to meet her the the Lit Fest 2015 (by the way the tickets are on sale for LitFest16– buy some- you won’t regret it.)

Her style is very easy to read and I look forward to trying out some of the recipes.

This year I would like to try cookery courses in other countries, maybe the Italian cookery course will give me a head start!  I’m heading to Bath in March to do the “intensive” 5 day bread course with the esteemed Richard Bertinet.  Nigel did this course 5 years ago and it completely revolutionised our bread making.  Even when I was in Ballymaloe the teachers raved about his techniques.  I am just dying to get there and get started.  And of course will have to make time for coffee and prunes- a staple of any cooking course.

Since we got a loan of a kindle at home I change between reading on it, and reading an actual book.  Unfortunately the cookbooks are a little too heavy read in bed last thing at night, so hopefully when the aftermath of December has died down I’ll get to sit down with a cup of coffee and devour them.

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I’m a big Lee Child fan.  Have always enjoyed the Jack Reacher series, and really loved the film with Tom Cruise, although I reluctantly agree with my better half, he was FAR too short to play the lead.    This one was a little disappointing.. which breaks my heart as I really do tick off the days until the next release.  Not that he’s the only one. I love all the Karen Rose books. I must remember to check if she has any new ones out.  These days I very rarely visit shops- even bookshops so don’t get to see the new releases. I also love looking at travel books.  I’ve one for touring America, but that’s slightly wistful thinking so I think that I’ll re-visit this in the near future.

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And like when I’m choosing food, the covers on the books appeal to me first.  But often with cookbooks, especially the more generic- 1000 best cakes- and the like, the pictures can be deceiving.  And often, a little like entering a cake shop, the eyes are drawn to colours and patterns.

One of the books I got this year, which I just know will be my favourite, is simply called Patisserie.  Nothing fancy, not even one picture inside.  But the recipes- wowsers.  I nearly had to go for a run to combat the calories I put on looking at the recipes!

So books will be in my future for a while- and hopefully I will garner some new ones this year.  Am thinking the Back roads of Italy might be nice…..to go with my cooking courses of course.

As a very important addendum- this piece from the New Yorker, puts beautifully into prose about reading cookbooks that I just cannot.  So please take the time to read it (and don’t, then, berate me for my appalling style next to his!!!)

 

Cottage Cheese and Beetroot for Lunch?

I was perusing a magazine, in which there was the usual “back to school” lunch ideas.  I don’t know about yours, but mine wouldn’t touch Cottage Cheese with Beetroot. No thank you.  Wouldn’t touch it myself to be honest, but I’m not really a fan of cottage cheese- reminds my of weight watchers.

My eldest when asked every day in Primary school what he wanted in his sandwich, always gave the same reply- ham and cheese.  Jords went through stages of wraps or rolls, but in the end, in the majority of cases it was some sort of meat and cheese.

Feed the Parents Xmas 2012

Posh Nosh at the weekend

I am funny when it comes to lunch, I either want a really good sandwich (good bread, then not too much filling), or something as simple as an apple and a yoghurt.  Other days I am just ravenous- and could eat everything put in front of me.  But unfortunately, unless it’s a late lunch, I find I am just as hungry again in the evening.

Soda Bread Chicken Sandwich

Soda Bread Chicken Sandwich

So until the weather gets colder and it’s soup time, lunches will consist of cheese and tomato.  Boring you might say? Not at all… the tomatoes are perfect at the moment, and there is nothing better than pairing them with a good cheddar cheese, or a nice French Camembert.

So, what do you like for lunch?I’d love to be organised enough to have something slightly different every week, but alas due to the fact that I am not a morning person- that’s never going to happen!  And as you know from previous posts, finding a good lunch can be very hard.  Sometimes only a toasted special with chips is your only man!

Of course most lunches are improved when on holidays and a small glass of vino is included…..

 

 

 

 

Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb- Forgotten Veg

Technically fruit I know, but how many people still have rhubarb growing in their back garden?

Rhubarb in situ

Rhubarb in situ

Rhubarb is a very very old plant.  It has been recorded for medicinal use in China since 2700BC, when it was classed as potent, and used for purgative effect!  Possibly introduced into Europe by Marco Polo, it has records of use in Italy in 1608.  Most of the rhubarb today is Rheum x hybridum.  And when introduced to Britain in the 14th Century, it cost more than opium, saffron and cinnamon.

Rhubarb stalks

Rhubarb stalks

Hannah Glasse is attributed with what is believed to be one of the first recipes for rhubarb in print in 1760, 13 years after her other famous ‘first’ – the recipe for Yorkshire Pudding. Her recipe in the Compleat Confectioner tells of taking the stalks of English rhubarb, cutting to the size of gooseberries, sweetening and making as you would a gooseberry tart.

Jam is a great use for rhubarb, especially towards the end of the season.  And very simple, but takes planning as the fruit is left overnight to macerate in the sugar.

Fruit and sugar ready to soak overnight

Fruit and sugar ready to soak overnight

and the next day it looks like this…

rhubarb jam in the making

rhubarb jam in the making

Once boiled and jarred, remember it’s best to boil the bejaysus out of it to the right consistency to keep the colour and flavour as good as possible.

Freshly made Rhubarb jam on Nigel's poolish bread

Freshly made Rhubarb jam on Nigel’s poolish bread

Another favourite, and old recipe is that for Rhubarb fool.  The phrase, “are you having the fool, fool?” is often bandied around the table.  In Ballymaloe there was much discussion on the contents of fool.  When we were growing up, it was stewed fruit added to equal quantities of custard and whipped cream.

Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb Fool

But whatever way you have it, it’s delicious.

Granny’s Bread

Rory O’Connell introduced us to the Ballymaloe Yeast bread, and while doing so to the “Grant” loaf A Grant loaf is a wholemeal bread, invented by accident in World War II by baker Doris Grant to encourage workers to eat well on their rations. The loaf was subsequently named after her. It is peculiar amongst breads made with a yeast in that kneading is not necessary.  We learn to cook the Ballymaloe version, which I am quite sure is far tastier than poor Doris Grants.

My Brown Yeast Bread

My Brown Yeast Bread

I however, was eating this bread before I had even heard of Ballymaloe, as this was the bread my mum in law made, nearly every day up until about a year ago when the thermomix arrived.  So since I was about 16 I have loved this bread.  I often said if I opened a restaurant she would have to make the bread.  I loved it every single time I had it.  Both of my children would rush into their house and look for the bread with homemade jam or honey.  And she never said no, even making extra loaves when she knew they were coming.

One time, when the kids were quite small, Jordan must have been about two, we were travelling back from visiting a friend in Cork, and were dropping into Mrs Allen in the house, to collect the turkey.  They were closing for Christmas that day and we were invited to stay for lunch.  I tentatively accepted, and quickly spoke to both children about the absolute necessity of being on their BEST behaviour, no running around, no noises etc, and to eat everything. So we sat down to soup, and all was going well until Jordan was offered bread, and said in a VERY loud voice.. “What, they eat Granny’s bread here too?”  I nearly died of embarrassment, but it was just laughed at, and soon the kids were playing with Rachels’, sliding down the stairs on trays. So now in Ballymaloe I am learning to make Granny’s bread, and many more.  From sourdough

The third stage of the sourdough- adding the sponge to the flours

The third stage of the sourdough- adding the sponge to the flours

My first loaf of sourdough

My first loaf of sourdough

To white yeast rolls,

White yeast bread rolls

White yeast bread rolls

to white soda bread

White soda bread

White soda bread

 

to sunflowers.

The sunflower prior to baking

The sunflower prior to baking

My finished sunfower

My finished sunfower

 

And loving it, mind you I think Nigel will still be the main bread maker in the family.  But it’s always good to have a back up.