A new favourite gadget
A few weeks ago I was given a bread maker, a very generous and gratefully received early birthday present. Since then we’ve been happily testing the different bread recipes from the leaflet accompanying the bread maker. The Railway Modeller likes the white sandwich loaf because it’s soft, though I find that hard to slice evenly, the tastiest loaf I think I’ve baked was 2/3 wholemeal spelt to 1/3 wholemeal wheat flour, but our joint favourite (so far) is the white French style loaf. There are plenty more recipes still to try and I’ve a few ideas of my own to experiment with, so it’s safe to say my bread maker is going to stay a busy machine. I was interested to see that I can also bake cakes in the bread maker so last week I gave that a try.
American Coffee Bread
I’ve been given The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Bread Machine Baking, to encourage me to make the most of my wonderful new gadget, so many tasty breads and cakes to try. I wanted to bake a birthday cake for someone who likes their coffee almost as much as I do so this looked a perfect recipe. As I didn’t have pecans in the cupboard and was using almond milk as the milk, I substituted chopped almonds for the chopped pecans called for in the recipe which worked perfectly well. I think I need to practice lining the bread pan with greaseproof paper, I ended up with a few creases which the cake tried to stick to, or track down some bread pan liners; but that’s a minor niggle and didn’t impair the flavour of the cake in anyway. The cake went down well and I’m looking forward to baking the next one.
5 out of 5 for a well written recipe and ease of making
4 out of 5 for flavour (I’d up the coffee content a little if I bake it again)
We seem to have gained an extra cat. We’ve tried to help her find her way home but visits to local vets, listings on lost and found pet websites, local posters and all the other sensible or slightly barmy ideas we’ve had to try and trace her owners have drawn a complete blank. We’re starting to think she might be here to stay and are gradually trying to introduce her to the rest of the feline family.
When she first showed up she had wax all over her head, neck and tail. This was taken when we were about two thirds of the way through brushing it out, it’s not a brilliant picture but you can see the pale streak of wax remaining on the top of her head.
The wax is all gone, and hopefully forgotten by the cat, now and she’s started to regrow fur where she’s been left with a bald patch on her neck. She’s not an easy cat to photograph, if you’re looking at her she wants you to fuss her, but this is her in her bird watching spot.
And this is her deciding that red cats are safe to ignore if there’s a meal to be eaten.
Having used all of my frozen soup supply I decided it was time I tried another soup. I wanted to try something different, something I would have minimal preconceptions about, and something that wasn’t going to be too heavy given current heat and humidity. I also wanted a soup that had a reasonable protein content as I was going to be eating it as a main meal rather than as a starter. I hadn’t used The Book of Vegetarian Cooking for a while, so I decided to look at it’s soup section first; I didn’t need to look any further, there were two interesting sounding options on the very first page.
Fennel and walnut soup
I considered making watercress and almond soup but, on reading through both recipes, decided on the fennel and walnut, The recipe book recommended serving it with sage derby puffs but, since I can’t think of a good sheep or goat’s alternative to sage derby and I’m having a lot of fun with a new bread maker, I opted for a rustic French style bread instead.
This was a really simple soup to make. The challenge was in the way the recipe is written, as the instructions for the sage derby puffs and the instructions for the soup are interwoven; personally I’d have written it out in four paragraphs, rather than the two used in the book, to make it easier for a less confident chef to follow. I probably shouldn’t complain, my soup making went without a hitch and the end result was delicious. This is a delicate, slightly earthy soup with almost a mushroomy hint to the flavour.
The recipe suggests it makes four to six portions, I’m assuming they must mean as a starter. I got two portions eating this as a main course which I followed with a portion of gooseberry crumble. I’m about to make another batch to put in the freezer.
4 out of 5 for ease of making (it would have got five if better written).
5 out of 5 for flavour.
I found last week’s new recipe (I’m a bit late writing about it) nestled in the page of The World Vegetarian Cookbook. I like aubergines, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve eaten in our local Turkish restaurant, I thought I should give this dish a try. For some reason I thought it would be fiddly to make, it wasn’t; I confess I made my life easier by not bothering to peel my tomatoes but, despite the recipe calling for peeled tomatoes, it doesn’t look like they were peeled for the illustration of the finished dish in the book.
Simple made special by spice
Basically Imam Bayildi is aubergine stuffed with aubergine, onion, tomato and a few pine kernels. It doesn’t sound the fullest flavoured of dishes but a bit of allspice lifts it from nice but uninspiring to delicious. The aubergine shell had a delicate flavour, mild with a hint of olive oil, while the stuffing was rich and fruity. I polished off two portions and would happily have eaten more but I’d halved the quantities given in the recipe so didn’t have more to eat. I will definitely be making this again and next time I’ll be making the full four portion version, maybe even more. The recipe book suggests Imam Bayildi can also be eaten cold so leftovers won’t be a problem.
4 out of 5 for ease of making.
5 out of 5 for flavour.
A guest cat
This pretty lady is the reason I missed a week and am late writing about this week’s recipe.
More about her next Sunday!