Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Kenwood KMX754H - Wholemeal Loaf with Cheese, Chilli and Sunflower Seeds

I love eating bread, but not making bread. You see, bread is something that you need a lot of patience and to have some good kneading skills. I would say I’m an ok bread maker, however I’m much more at the beginner level than advance but always welcome a new opportunity to try a new method for baking bread. One thing I love about my new Kmix stand mixer is that it has a wonderful dough attachment which makes the task of kneading bread so simple and easy.
I decided on making a relatively simple loaf bread with seeds and cheese to test out whether my Kmix could knead smooth, elastic dough, resulting in a delicious loaf.














You will need a 2lb loaf tin
450g wholemeal flour
7g dried yeast
1 tsp salt
½ tsp granulated sugar
340ml lukewarm water
75g extra mature cheddar cheese
1 tsp dried chili flakes
50g sunflower seeds
oil for oiling the loaf tin.

Method
Add the dry ingredients to the K Mixer first, 400g of the flour, yeast, salt and granulated sugar. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the ingredients on setting 1 for 30 seconds. Slowly trickle the lukewarm water into the mixing bowl, continue to mix on setting 1 – pouring all the water at once may lead to the mixture becoming too wet to form a dough. Once the water has been added leave the dough to form, this will take between 4 -5 minutes on setting 1.  When the dough is almost formed but also sticky, add the remaining 50g of flour. Mix for a further 2 minutes, be careful not to over mix as over mixing the dough will fall apart. Once the dough has formed, remove the dough and place in a large mixing bowl, cover with oiled cling film. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for an hour.

When the dough has risen, knock back the bread Add the 50g cheese, dried chili flakes and 30g of the sunflower seeds to the dough, knead well to form a dough ball and then leave the dough to rise for a second time, for around 30 minutes. After the second rise, oil the loaf tin, knock back the dough and mould the dough into a sausage shape. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with the remaining 25g extra mature cheddar cheese and 20g sunflower seeds. Bake on the top shelf for 30 – 35 minutes and the loaf sounds hollow when removed from the tip and tapped underneath.

xxx


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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Jamaican Bun Loaf Cake

Last year, I shared a Caribbean Christmas tradition that's popular in my household, Black Cake. This year, I'll be using the festive dried fruits to make Jamaican Bun. Many Jamaicans eat Bun - a rich, fruit soaked loaf cake over Easter, but more and more of my family members are eating bun over Christmas too. This year, I will be doing the same. Not being one for Christmas pudding or traditional Christmas cake, I'll be baking this load cake and topping with seasonal cheese such as Stilton and apricots or wenyesdale with cranberries. If you are feeling particular indulgent, the leftovers, if there's are any, makes a wonderful breakfast. 




Ingredients
Butter for greasing
75 g butter, diced
2 tablespoon treacle
100ml red wine (or semi-skimmed milk if you are going alcohol free)
75 g dark muscovodo sugar
350g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon gravy brownings
1 teaspoon ground ginger
75 g raisins
50 g mixed peel
1 egg yolk, beaten

Method
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a 900 g loaf tin using butter. In a mixing bowl, add the butter, treacle, wine and sugar heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. In a separate mixing bowl, add the self-raising flour, baking powder, mixed spice, all spice, nutmeg, gravy browning and ginger, make a well. Pour the wet ingredients in the well and mix well using a wooden spoon. Add the raisins and mixed peel – mix again. Transfer the mixture to a loaf tin and smooth over using a spatula. Brush the loaf with the beaten egg.  Bake on the top shelf for 40 minutes. To test whether the bun is cooked, insert a skewer if there is no mixture on there it is ready. Leave to cool slightly before turning over and slicing.

You can eat the bun with butter, jams or if you want the traditional, slices of butter with cheddar cheese.

xxx
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Friday, 7 October 2016

Seasoned Creative Baking Class Review

I recently received an invite from the lovely people over at Seasoned Cookery School to visit the school and participate in one of the cookery classes. I instantly jumped at attending a class as I love learning new cuisines and techniques. Having attended a few cookery classes from different schools already, I had high standards. Scouring through the website, there is a comprehensive range of classes such as Italian, Chocolate Courses, The Best of British Meat, Middle Eastern Cookery Class and Fish and Seafood Class. I chose to attend Creative Baking Class by Season 1 Great British Bake Off Ruth Clemens. During this class, I learnt to master three essential bakes: bread, cakes & pastry. I'm more of a cook than a baker and when I do bake, I tend to stick to what I know: chocolate cakes, quiches and well, that's about it. I was more than excited to expand my somewhat receptive baking repertoire with three new bakes: 6 Strand Plaited Loaf, Raspberry and Rose Batternberg and Leek Potato and Cheese Mini Pasties.



I was a little nervous attending in a baking class with someone who was from the Bake Off and worried that everyone participating in the class would be like professional bakers. I need not to worry, Ruth was lovely and all the participants were very friendly too.

Bake to the baking, the class started off with the classic Battenberg cake but with a raspberry and rose twist. Now, I have eaten many a slice of a batternberg cake but I haven't actually baked one myself. Why? I had an overwhelming fear that the cake is too tricky, plus I never had a special tin. Thankfully, Ruth showed attendees a trick on how to separate the the cake batter in a normal square tin. It basically involved folding baking parchment a few ways to create a wall in the tin. The batter was easy to make, as it is a sponge batter. The flavour from the rose extract was quite strong, a tad to strong for my liking (I've never baked with rose) but other attendees appeared to really enjoy this exotic twist. I found the assembling of the cake, to make the iconic chequered pattern to be quite difficult. Not because the method was difficult, but after we made the cakes, we moved onto the other bakes and returned to assemble later on in the day. This meant that my brain was slightly frazzled, so by the time I layered up, I layered the cakes wrong meaning their was two vanilla squares on the top and two rose squares on the bottom. However, I must say that although I made a slight error, this was completely forgotten about by me and my family once I had a slice. The sponge was super light, the lightest I've made and I loved the raspberry.



After we baked the batternberg we mastered the notoriously difficult 6 plaited loaf. I actually made a 3 plaited loaf before, it was a disaster, so I was hoping that this would be much better. With this bake, you need to have patience and a lot of time too but once you get the hang of it, it's quiet easy to do. This loaf needs to be left to prove on two occasions. There was a handy technique that Ruth shared to make it easier to plait the loaf. I will definitely be making this again.






Most importantly, Ruth was there to answer the attendees including mine many questions and was also able to provide a helping hand when needed. I now can upgrade my pastry and bread game and implement these techniques at home.

The leek and potato pies was another wonderful bake, perfect to serve  as a party appetiser or to make one large pie. After we made the pies, we began to plait the loaf. Although it was recommended that we work in pairs, as I wanted to recreate this at home, I attempted to make this on my own. I got slightly confused and thankfully Ruth was on hand to guide me through the tricky plait.


As the course ended, we were able to ask any additional questions and take back our recipe cards.






The Creative Baking class costs £175 and is a full day (10am – 4pm).

Disclaimer: I attended as a guest of Seasoned Cookery School.

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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Plantain Loaf

I adore plantain, in particular yellow plantains (there are two types, yellow and green). I'm sure you are aware of that, the starchy vegetable which tastes so sweet is tropical, yet so comforting. There seems to be more and more ways where I am able to in-cooperate plantains in my recipes and eaten widely in African, Caribbean and Latin American communities. Overripe yellow plantains (where the plantains are blackened all over), have such a versatile use other than frying them and when I recently had some over-ripe plantains, I decided to use them in this delicious and easy loaf. 
The topping of my Plantain loaf can either be dressed up and made sweet with a sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg or raisins or can remain as a savoury loaf served with lashings of margarine or slices cheese.  What’s the difference between an ordinary banana loaf or plantain loaf – it’s simple the plantains have a much more robust texture and favour, which I adore.
My plantain loaf is a beautiful, moist and delectable  loaf is to make and is ready in around an hour,  perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast. What's more, I make the mixture in the food processor to make my life a little easier, saves on washing up and arm work.
This is a delightful loaf,  perfect weekend loaf for all the family to enjoy. 

Plantain Loaf

Plantain loaf

Plantain loaf

Plantain loaf mixture

Plantain loaf, pre-bake
You will need 900g loaf tin and a food processor.
Recipe for plantain loaf
50g butter
50g sugar
2 overripe plantains, peeled and sliced.
30ml natural yoghurt
30ml semi-skimmed milk
1tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
180g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Fry light (for greasing the loaf tin)

Method
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C/350F, grease the loaf tin using fry light spray

In a food processor, add the butter and sugar and blend. Add the plantains, alongside the natural yoghurt, milk, cinnamon and 2 eggs. Blend again. Finally, add the flour, pinch of salt and baking powder. Give the mixture another quick blend and transfer to the loaf tin. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for around 45 minutes. The loaf should be ready when after testing with a skewer it comes out clean.


xxx
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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Bank Restaurant Review.

I haven't been to Bank  restaurant for a good few years now. I first discovered this restaurant after visiting with an ex, one Saturday evening many moons ago. I vividly remember that the starter that I ordered was amazing (duck rolls, not like what you get an all you can eat Chinese restaurant) and in my opinion, an overpriced chicken and coconut curry. Although I visited a few years ago, the fact that I remembered the menu, means that the restaurant made a positive impression on me. The location, located in the trendy Brindley Place attracts the trendiest of crowds and for  some is the place to "be seen".
I fancied an impromptu visit to Brindley Place and after visiting the nearby Ikon Gallery, my cousin and I took our seat to dine Al Fresco on the comfortable heated sofas outside with blankets and outdoor heating, I was instantly sold. As we visited at lunchtime, we ate from the Quick Lunch menu, which is more affordable than the main menu. For £15 you receive, sourdough bread and oil and two courses. For my starter, I chose Potted Beef and Piccalilli and my cousin chose Chilli Squid, Thai Herbs and Noodle Salad. The Potted Beef and Piccali was rich, luxurious and delicious with sourdough toast. My cousin stated that Chilli Squid was delicious, which I promptly took a squid piece, which was was crunchy on the outside, tender in the inside and I loved the texture of the chewy squid and spicy chilli.
Bank restaurant - image from the website.

Sourdough bread

Cocktails. 

Potted Beef.

Chili Squid
There was a considerable wait for our main courses: Fish and Chips and Steak and Chips. After 40 minutes of patiently waiting for our main course to appear, I enquired whether the dishes were on it's way and I was informed that the mains were not sent through to the kitchen as the waiter forget to press the send button, brilliant! So after another 15 minutes (a whopping 55 minutes in total) our main courses, arrived. The Fish and Chips was the BEST fish and chips I have ever eaten, the batter was crisp, tasty and well seasoned, the fish was beautifully cooked, tender and moist in the inside. The chip were delicious, much more than chips placed in the deep fryer, I suspect they were twice fried, they were crisp and fluffy in the inside. My cousin spoke highly of her Steak and Chips, which was beautifully presented.
Fish and Chips.

Steak and Chips.

Steak and Chips.
I refrained from ordering a dessert as I was so full from eating my main course, my cousin, however had other ideas and ordered the malteser chocolate sundae. I managed to have a mouthful (I rarely show such restraint) and it tasted amazing, I had to take out my phone to ensure that I didn't take the sundae away from her. 
Malteser sundae.
Overall, this is a wonderfully located location, a trendy and glamorous restaurant, offering exceptional modern European food. I so wanted to give this restaurant a 5 star rating as the food was amazing, location perfect and the restaurant is beautiful. However, due to the mishap with the mains, Bank restaurant gets a 4.5 star rating from me.


Bank on Urbanspoon
Square Meal xxx
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