Caramelised Onion, Rosemary & Cheddar Quick Bread

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Here’s to my third Great British Bake Off inspired challenge – Quick Bread! I have made quick breads in the past and just never really knew they were called quick breads. I understood them more as a ‘lazy bread’ because when I first started baking I saw ingredients such as yeast as ‘effort’ – something I would need to go out and buy and have a stock of in my so called ‘larder’.  A few years later I have plentiful amounts of yeast in my cupboard and see myself as a fundamentally lazy baker back then. Turns out I was lazy, rather than the bread. So! This is my take on the third challenge from GBBO – I got the basic bread recipe online and added my favourtire flavours as taken from John Whaite’s caramelised onion and rosemary fougasse recipe – (click here to see my bake of this) It was utterly scrummy taken straight from the oven and slathered with butter. It’s safe to say that the entire loaf had disappeared by lunchtime the next day!

I hope you enjoy and please tag me if you make any of my bakes 🙂

Happy Baking! x

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of strong bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup melted margarine or olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary (or even better – fresh if you have it! Mine died in the garden a few weeks ago)
  • Cheddar (use as much as you like – I used a size about as big as a door wedge – specific as ever!)
  • 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Method:

  1. Chop your onion into small pieces and fry off on a medium heat with some olive oil
  2. Add the brown sugar and vinegar and cook until translucent – around 10 minutes
  3. Mix together the dried ingredients
  4. Mix together the wet ingredients
  5. Add wet to dry including the herbs, onion mix and cheese
  6. Bake for 40 minutes in a 200C oven

Enjoy hot from the oven slathered in butter and in front of the telly – I would recommend something like University Challenge 🙂 x

 

Seeded Couronne Loaf

 

I’ve been wanting to make this bread for weeks and simply haven’t found the time to bake – time without baking is time poorly spent!

Over the next four weeks I am going to be taking you on a baking adventure -sharing recipes that tell a story – my story. As you know from my other blog posts, I work in theatre – to be more specific, I’m currently Assistant Director of Central Youth Theatre, Wolverhampton’s longest established youth theatre. I have gone from an 11 year old member to Assistant Director of this company and therefore it is an organisation that I hold dear in my heart.

Over the next 4 weeks we are running a huge crowd funding campaign called CYT Heart that I hope I might be able to gather your help with as well as sharing a few lovely bakes along the way 🙂

So, here is the start of my CYT story…

From the age of two I have wanted to be involved in theatre. I met my friend Jessica at play group and we would make up stories and plays using our dressing up boxes, wearing all manner of weird and wonderful outfits. We would create invitations and tickets for our enormous audience of four, made up of our worn out parents. This continued for many years until Jessica told me that she had been going along to a youth theatre group at the Newhampton Arts Centre and she thought I would really enjoy it. At the age of 10 I plucked up the courage and went along to their ‘James and the Giant Peach’ themed summer school programme. I absolutely loved it and was given the lead part of James (no comments here about looking like a boy please)

11 Year old me as 'James'

11 Year old me as ‘James’

At the age of two I had a little seed of theatre enthusiasm, something which grew, proved (a little baking connection here for you!) and developed into something which CYT nurtured. I knew that I had to carry on getting my drama fix with this weird and wonderful company and so my CYT journey began…

So in honour of that little seed of enthusiasm here is my first recipe for #CYTHeart – A seeded loaf. I have used the lovely John Whaite’s recipe that he uses for a plaited loaf in his book John Whaite Bakes but in this recipe I’ve halved all the quantities and added poppy and sunflower seeds on the top of the bread.

Please get baking and let me know how your loaf comes out!

and finally please head over to CYT’s indigogo page to find out more about the campaign http://igg.me/at/cytheart please donate and share the word.

Thank you!

Holly xx

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 7g fast action yeast (1 packet worth)
  • 10 g salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with a pinch of salt for glazing
  1. Put the ingredients (except for the egg yolk) into a bowl and bring together into a rough dough. Knead by hand for ten mins or in a mixer with bread hooks for about 6 mins until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Place into an oiled bowl and allow to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
  2. Turn the dough out and divide into 6 balls and roll these out into long sausage shapes of the same length. Press all the pieces of dough together at one end and begin the plait starting on whichever side takes your fancy. Take the outermost strand and place it under the next two, over the next one and then under the final two. Take the next outermost strand (always from the same side!) and repeat. Then tuck the ends under to neaten them off. Leave the loaf to prove for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 230C or gas mark 8.
  3. When the loaf has doubled in size glaze with the egg yolk and bake for about 30 mins or until bronzed. Once cooked it should have a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.
  4. Slice, slather with butter and enjoy with a cuppa!

 

White Chocolate & Strawberry Cake

I looked in my fridge and saw a huge punnet of strawberries that was calling out to be baked in something. So I scoured through my cook books looking for the recipe that most satisfied me. Strawberry shortcake? Strawberry tart with crème patisserie? And then I found it….John Whaite’s white chocolate and raspberry cake. I already had white chocolate in the cupboard and figured that strawberries would do the same job as raspberries. The recipe was so easy to follow and the cake was so moist and moreish – I will definitely be cooking this one again (especially if the people in my office have anything to say about it!)

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter, chopped into small cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g white chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 175g raspberries, fresh or frozen

For the cream filling:

  • 200g white chocolate, chopped
  • 250ml double cream
  • a little icing sugar, for dusting
  • (Although I just whipped up some cream and flavoured it with some vanilla extract)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base of 2 x 20cm round, loose-bottomed cake tins. Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl, set over a pan of barely simmering water and allow to melt slowly, stirring occasionally.
  2. When the butter and chocolate have melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool for 1-2 mins, then beat in the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk. Fold in the flour and raspberries.
  3. Gently pour the mixture into the tins and bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (the raspberries may leave a residue on the skewer, so don’t be fooled by their juiciness). Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack.
  4. To make the ganache, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with 100ml of the cream, set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted into the cream and you are left with a smooth, glossy ganache. Leave the ganache to cool to room temperature, then beat in the rest of the cream.
  5. When the cakes have cooled, sandwich them together with the chocolate ganache. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Enjoy and please share if you like or bake this recipe! xx

Carrot Cupcakes

This is again one of my favourites bakers recipes – Mr John Whaite. It is the same carrot cake recipe as featured earlier in my blog but I decided to do smaller cupcakes rather then one cake as inspired by the lovely Janes Patisserie recent carrot cupcake post . They turned out beautifully! So I thought I’d give you a little peak 🙂 Scroll down for the recipe and enjoy!

 

Holly x

English Muffins

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So for my mum’s 60th birthday we decided to treat her to a family outing of afternoon tea. To start the day off I hosted breakfast and served poached eggs on home made English muffins. The recipe is that of the lovely John Whaite whom I trust with all bread bakes!

I tweeted the lovely John and he tweeted back saying my English Muffins look spectacular! – I was a very happy bunny 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 500g Strong white bread flour
  • 50g butter
  • 10g fast action yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 50ml lager
  • 50ml milk
  • 170ml water
  • 30ml cider vinegar (I used white wine though and it tasted fine)

Method:

  1. Put the flour in a bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in the yeast and then the salt.
  2. Pour the lager, milk and water into a sauce pan and heat until luke warm but not hot. Add the vinegar then pour this into the dry ingredients. Bring together into a rough dough using a wooden spoon then turn out onto the worktop and knead until elastic (for around 10 minutes)
  3. Once kneaded place in an oiled bowl cover with a damp tea towel or cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour
  4. Once risen, tip out and roll to around 1.5cm thick. Using a cookie cutter cut out 10-12 muffins. Put these on a floured worktop and leave under a damp tea towel for another hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6. Place a non stick frying pan on a medium heat. When the pan is hot place 3-4 muffins in without crowding. Fry for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining muffins.
  6. When you take the muffins out of the oven wrap them in a barely damp tea towel to soften them. Then enjoy with some butter and a cup of tea!

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary Fougasse

This is another one of the lovely John Whaite’s recipes. They’re really easy to make and taste great. The recipe calls for white bread flour in the dough and wholemeal flour for dusting. But I did 400g of white bread flour and 100g of wholemeal to give them a bit more texture (that and I ran out of white bread flour! haha!) I tweeted my photo of this bake to John Whaite himself and he tweeted me back saying they look great! 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 500g white bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 7g (1 packet) dried yeast
  • 2-3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 350g tepid water
  • Wholemeal bread flour for dusting
  • Bottle filled with water for spraying

Method:

  1. Peel & finely slice the onion, fry the onion in the butter at a medium temperature and put a lid on for 15 mins. Then add the vinegar and sugar and cook for a further 5 mins uncovered.
  2. For the dough put the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl with the rosemary. Add the water in thirds and bring the dough together into a sticky mass.
  3. Tip out onto a surface and knead for 10 mins, then add the onions (once cooled) and knead for a few more mins. Place dough into a clean floured bowl, cover the top with cling film and leave until doubled in size (about 1 hour)
  4. Once proved, tip the dough out onto a surface and cut (with a dough scraper) into 4 quarters (it will look like fat pizza slices) and with each portion cut 6 slices in the middle of the dough.
  5. Prove for a further 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven at 230C and once proved place the dough on baking sheets under greaseproof paper and cook for 12 – 15 minutes. Just before closing the oven door spray a few sprays of water into the oven as it will crisp up the outside of the bread.
  7. Enjoy! x

 

Croquembouche

 

I have wanted to do this recipe in a long time, but didn’t have the confidence to start. I’m so glad I made it though as it was actually much easier than I imagined. The stacking the tower bit is still tricky, but you can always arrange a slightly more informal tower if its shared between friends! So the ingredients are:

1 quantity of crème patissiere (ingredients below)
1 quantity of Choux pastry (ingredients below)
For the caramel:
200g caster sugar
3 tbsp. water

You will need:
Piping bags
2 baking sheets – greased with butter
Large bowl of ice water
1 label free greased can of beans (to stack your tower)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/Gas 7
2. Make the crème pat according to the recipe and spread on a plate or in a bowl and cover with cling film. Allow to cool fully.
3. Make the choux pastry and fill a piping bag with it. Pipe small blobs of pastry onto the sheets.
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until puffed and golden. When cool enough to handle pierce a hole in the base of each bun and pipe in the crème pet.
5. Put the sugar and water into a sauce pan and let it dissolve. Then set it over a high heat and do not stir again. Allow the sugar to turn a ark amber then remove from the heat and plunge into the ice water. Let the caramel thicken slightly.
6. Place the can of beans on a serving place and dip the choux buns into the caramel using metal tongs. Stick them one by one up the bean tin and carefully remove once the last remaining buns are to be stacked.
7. Drizzle the caramel on top using a fork and enjoy!

(Crème Pat)

4 egg yolks
125g caster sugar
40g cornflour
500ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g unsalted butter

(Choux Pastry)
220ml water
80g butter
Pinch of salt
Generous pinch of sugar
125g plain flour
220g beaten egg