Friday, 6 September 2013

Easy tray bake recipe

Isn't it funny how some conversations can give you energy and others leave you feeling drained?  I have had lots of lovely chats this week - with family, Mr Happy Larder but also with people I don't know or at least not very well.  And with the great comments here on the blog there is a real feeling of community which I love, so thank you to everyone who has made my week special - I hope I have been able to return the favour :-)

Talking of things that make me smile, how about this easy to prepare jam tray bake I made for the weekend?  I came across this recipe on Pinterest and simply had to try it - the original recipe can be found on Marie's fabulous blog "The English Kitchen".

This is a simple but very tasty cake and it'll definitely be featuring on our plates again :-)  I made half a tray's worth and froze a few pieces - just to stop us from gobbling up the lot.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Easy chicken burger recipe with a twist

Minding his own business
Doesn't he look cute, our cheeky dog?  No mishaps on this morning's walk, I am happy to say.

It's still quite warm and sunny here - the last few summer days.  I fancied something for my dinner yesterday that would somehow match the weather and made these lovely chicken avocado burgers.

Chicken burger
Packed with minced chicken, cubes of creamy avocado and crunchy tortilla chips, they had an additional kick from a squeeze of lime juice, a handful of coriander (cilantro) and  a bit of chilli.  Such an easy burger recipe but a nice change from the usual.
I think they would also work well with a bit of sweetcorn or black beans added to the mix, so I might try that next time.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Fluffy white sandwich bread

Isn't it great when your dog manages to completely embarrass you? :-)  Keith the dog decided to interrupt someone's personal training session in the park this morning by running off with some of the equipment they were using.  Luckily, I got it back relatively quickly but not without having everyone concerned in stitches with laughter.  Thanks Keith :-)

Soft white bread
Now, back to the recipe I promised to share for a fluffy white sandwich loaf.  It's probably my best attempt at making this type of bread so far.  I used a technique I hadn't heard of before but came across in my search for the ultimate white bread.  The unusual ingredient or technique is called "tangzhong" and is used in Japanese milk bread recipes.

Basically, it's a mix of water (and/or milk) and flour which gets heated to a custard-like consistency (like a roux but more liquid), then cooled and added to the bread dough.  I am not 100% sure why it works so well but it is helping to keep the dough moist and results in a fabulous texture.  I have since made a wholemeal version of this and it worked equally well, although it was slightly denser (but not much).  You could easily make this into soft rolls for burgers or a sweet cinnamon or raisin bread.  Yummy!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Sweet bread

I have to have a little rant today about sugar in unexpected places.  Well, what happened is that we fancied some soft brown rolls for our lunch at the weekend and as we were out doing our food shopping, we picked up a packet of wholemeal rolls.  Lunch was to be a roll filled with lovely ham from our deli with a bit of lettuce, a smear of mayo and lots of sugar. What?  No, the latter hadn't been the plan but you wouldn't believe just how sweet those bread rolls were.  When I looked at the list of ingredients, sugar was listed in third place, even before yeast and salt.  There is absolutely no need to add sugar to bread and especially not that much.  Needless to say that we didn't really enjoy our lunch that much :-(  What makes me really mad is that a lot of this stuff is labelled as healthy food - even those rolls had a big sticker on the packaging declaring the wonderful amount of fibre they contained.  I am sure they have a lot of fibre from the wholemeal flour but what about all that sugar? 

Next time you buy ready-made stuff from your supermarket or shop, have a look at the ingredients and you'd be surprised what items have been sweetened: soup, bread, so-called low-fat cereals and "healthy" yogurts.  Before you know it, you will have eaten several teaspoons of sugar without even realising you've done it.  Don't get me wrong, I love to have a sweet treat now and again and you will find plenty of cake recipes on my blog.  But the thing is that I'd like to decide myself when I have something sweet.

Anyway, rant over!  Guess I will just have to try to make even more stuff from scratch and where I don't or can't, I need to read the labels even more carefully.

The positive result of all of this is that I have since discovered a wonderful recipe for a fluffy sandwich bread that will satisfy when we crave soft bread - minus the sugar.  I will share the recipe for that tomorrow, so watch this's a picture to get you drooling :-)
Soft white sandwich bread