8 Sep 2016

GBBO: Bread Week

I have a very checkered past when it comes to bread and its only in the past year the i have become more confident in trying it out. I can't eat much bread, as much as I love it. I keep meaning to try baking with rye flours etc and see if they make a difference - but these are often quite pricey in our weekly budget.

I tried out the sweet enriched bread dough and made a filling of brown sugar, mixed with butter and then sprinkled with a mix chopped nuts - a mixture of walnuts, cashews, walnuts and almonds.

I used a sweet bread dough from The Great British bake off How to Bake cook book - they had a monkey bread recipe. The dough was made with butter and  milk. It made a soft silky dough which rose well and was able to deal with handling.

I rolled out the dough into a rough rectangle and brushed on my melted butter and sugar mixture (I also add a good helping of cinnamon) I coated the whole thing. The along the long edge in half I sprinkled on the chopped nuts. I folded the dough in half and gave it a good squish. Before chopping it up into long rectangles to twist into little buns.

They cooked great  -accept I didn't have room in the oven for them all on in one tray so the bottom ones were not as good as they should of been. We were rushing out straight after baking, but I think they would of benefited with a good drizzle of icing to help them not be so dry. I'm thinking they might be good turned into a bread pudding. Full of yummy flavours I am overall please with the bake and the flavour.

Linking up with Mummy Mishaps and the #GBBOBloggers2016

7 Sep 2016

What we ate last week : Bank holidays and quick dinners.

This week has flown past again (and late in posting and life has been busy!!)  Last week we headed out to celebrate my birthday with friends plus a bank holiday thrown into the mix. Lots more family time and playing together.

Saturday: Freezer meals - Salmon, cabbage and new potatoes

Trying to keep the freezer stocked with yummy things we can through together to make a quick healthy meal. Tesco do a bag of 4 frozen salmon fillets which cook from frozen - and means were not diving for the fish fingers. I have also discovered they do frozen savoy cabbage - we do enjoy cabbage but I find if you don't use it quick after cutting it in half it can turn. This frozen one is great - I find cooking frozen veg is great as you can steam it as it defrosts in the pan and cook down with a nice glaze.

Sunday: Bagettis Italian - Salmon, Wild rice and spinach

A meal out with friends and family to a bit more fancy restaurant than usual. This Italian restaurant is lovely and a wide range of food. I was avoiding too many carbs after over indulging across my birthday so opted for wild rice, more salmon and a yummy wilted buttery lemon spinach. They brought me out a birthday tiramisu (my favourite dessert!!) 

Monday: Bank Holiday BBQ

My in laws had kindly offered to have the boys over night so we could go party like we were young again. Which meant we later descended on their house and was treated to champagne and a BBQ feast of all things good about the summer. Burgers, corn on the cob, chicken, steak... a little bit of everything. 

Tuesday: Peppered beef steak with sweet potato mash

We love steak and buying the diced casserole steak is a cheap buy of large amount. I do like to do this in the slow cooker usually - but I had time as the hubby was going to be later home. I used a seasoning mix from Coleman's (I LOVE SEASONING PACKETS) I can stand in that aisle in the supermarket for ages.... This was a peppered steak casserole. I added extra peppers to the meat and popped in some sweet potatoes to bake alongside it while it all cooked - Any meal I can put it all in the oven and forget about it. I'm sold.

Wednesday: Bacon pasta bake 

I've started buying cooking bacon to keep in the fridge as a back up meal base. We don't have bacon rashers usually (as much as we love bacon sandwiches we try and be good) and the cooking bacon is fine to snip and trim the fat to added into other things. Today's concoction was brown pasta, courgettes, peppers and a little cheese and milk. Made enough to have an extra portion for lunch the next day.

Thursday: Burrito Chicken and Tacos (chicken nuggets with rice and tacos for the boys)

Yes, another seasoning mix. This time from Maggi. This was one of the cook in the bag sachets which produce really tasty tender meat. I used boneless chicken thighs, brown rice, peppers and half a tin of kidney beans. It made a lovely meal which we had with some crunchy tacos. The boys ate earlier had crunchy chicken nuggets, with some steamed rice and broccoli - plus the crunchy tacos.

Friday : "takeaway" curry from Tescos.

I had a terrible day waiting in and being let down for our shopping order. we had been rushing from place to place to make sure I was back in time and it was all cancelled. In my grump I still had to go and get a food shop - but I also picked up a supermarket takeaway curry (and wine!) which is really tasty. For £5 two curries, a large rice, 2 naan breads and 4 onion bajjis - you can't really complain.

4 Sep 2016

GBBO: Biscuit week

Did you watch it? Did you see the sticky pub carpet and the scotch bonnet biscuits? The crumbly Viennese whirls and the collapsing churches? How can you get so much drama in a tent with people baking biscuits - the magic that is the Great British Bake Off.

This weeks line up of challenges - iced biscuits, Viennese whirls and ginger bread creations. Being a little bit mad I thought I would try Viennese whirls - I have never made these before and never made any type of piped biscuits. I used a recipe of the BBC Food site - and it a Hairy Biker recipe.

This is a simple recipe in its premise -its flour, mixed with butter, icing sugar and corn flour. The actual mixing was fine. I used the food processor which seemed to blend the ingredients into a smooth paste that was easy to spoon into a piping bag. But it seems at this point I didn't read the recipe properly and I end up making my biscuits double the size they needed to be.

Making them so big led to problems in the construction of the sandwiches as the biscuits were so large they just cracked and crumbled when trying to put them back together. I was not happy as they just fell apart in my hands - but they tasted good. My buttercream needed to be softer as this did not help when putting them together (but I was being lazy and didn't get my stand mixer out)

After the disaster that was Viennese whirls, I also gave the gingerbread a go ( I have had many failed attempts in the past of gingerbread houses and did not have time for that drama on a Saturday afternoon) so I combined the icing challenge - to make iced gingerbread biscuits. I used a recipe from previous winner of Bake Off Francis Quinn "quinntessential baking" which is fabulous and full of amazing ideas. It has 15 basic recipes from vanilla cake, to ginger cake, to shortbread and meringues - all recipes given in different quantities to scale up or down. Then you have ideas on how to turn that basic chocolate into a chocolate forest cake. The book is full of advice on ideas to really get creative with some strong basic recipes. The gingerbread came out lovely and was nice and soft to use but baked with a good crunch.

My icing skills need work, and I need a smaller nozzle but i'm pleased with the overall effect. I love the look of glossy iced biscuits and have a few birthdays on the way I can practice my skills a bit more.