I haven’t baked quite as much this year as last but I have tried to stick to my goal of a different loaf each time I bake. This loaf was an experiment which turned out so nicely I may find myself having to repeat it before the year is out. With a warm, rich flavour from the heather honey I used, this is a comforting loaf for cold, damp days.
To make a medium loaf
- ¾ teaspoon dried yeast
- 10oz strong wholemeal flour
- 4oz strong white flour
- ½oz butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 280ml water
- 3oz walnut pieces
Add all the ingredients except the walnuts to the bread pan of your bread machine, in the order specified by the manufacturer.
Select the Whole Wheat Raisin setting.
Add the walnuts at the raisin beep.
Enjoy the aroma that fills your kitchen as the bread bakes, try not to eat it all in one go!
The baking experimentation continues; May has seen three loaves baked (so far), with at least one more likely before I summarise them all at the end of the month. This loaf though was so good it deserves it’s own post, and as it was one I dreamt up for myself I can share the recipe.
This was one of those ideas born of what I had in the kitchen and felt I should try throwing together, baking without needing to shop first. I had some walnut pieces I felt needed using up, and walnuts are always good in bread, so that was my starting point. There was a pot of basil on the windowsill, sadly needing replacing now after being eaten by a ginger cat, and I felt that would go well with walnuts. From deciding to use basil it was a short step to pulling the jar of garlic purée out of the fridge, as the two go so well together. Initially I was going to make this a wholemeal loaf but realised I was lacked wholemeal flour so had to use white instead; I think this was a happy accident as I don’t think the finished loaf could be improved on.
Almost a meal in itself this was a good bread for any non-sweet purpose. Mushroom pate or cheese and salad sandwiches were deliciously satisfying and I’ve never made such tasty eggy-bread before. So, without further ado, here’s the recipe…
For a medium loaf
- ¾ teaspoon easy bake yeast
- 14oz strong white flour
- ½oz butter (use 1 tablespoon sunflower oil for a vegan loaf)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic or garlic purée
- Approx 12 fresh basil leaves, roughly shredded
- 280ml water
- 1½oz walnut pieces
Using the Basic Raisin setting on your bread machine, put all the ingredients except the walnuts into the machine in the order specified by the manufacturer (mine is dry ingredients first, water last but I know some makes reverse this). Add the walnuts at the raisin bleep.
The tricky bit is allowing the bread to cool before tucking into it as it smells so delicious!
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.