Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

An even better bread recipe!

In my quest for perfect bread, I’m starting to understand a little more about the science of bread making, spurred on by some disastrous loaves from my previously reliable bread recipe. The first main earning point is that all yeast is not equal. Originally we were using Sainsbury’s own brand yeast, but a move onto Allinson yeast proved a bit of a disaster I haven’t quite worked out what went wrong yet, but even after a lot of tweaking, the Allinson yeast is not giving us such reliable results. In playing with the recipe a little I realised that the extra yeast I was adding needed more sugar to reach its true potential!

So my new reliable bread recipe is this:

  • 310 ml of lukewarm semi-skimmed milk
  • 450 ml of strong flour (I use half white, half wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp sugar (I use golden caster sugar)
  • 25 g butter
  • Two 7g sachets of dried yeast

And here are the results:

It’s about another inch taller than my previous efforts, and is perfectly light and delicious – so maybe I can tick something else off my Aims and Achievements list.

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Eating Acorns

I never thought life would get this bad ūüôā but I’ve been looking for a resilient alternative to Wheat, as I’m pretty sure we’re not going to be able to grow enough in our garden to feed my Wholemeal Bread habit.¬†

Prompted by an article written by Janaia from Peak Moment called “Make Like a Squirrel” I’ve found out that you can eat acorns (after quite a lot of preparation!) They were a key food for Native Americans, and can be incorporated into a range of dishes including bread. The most comprehensive srticle I’ve found is one from Peggy Spring at the San Antonio Natural Area Parks, who¬†suggest these recipes:

 

Steamed Acorn Black Bread 
Mix together: 
1 1/2 cups Acorn Meal 
1/2 cup Acorn Grits 
1 cup white flour 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
Add: 
1/2 cup dark molasses 
1 1/2 cups sour milk 
2 tablespoons salad oil 

Wring out a pudding cloth in boiling water, spread it in a round bottom bowl and turn the batter into it. Tie the corners and suspend the bag over boiling water in a closed kettle for 4 hours. This should be served hot from the bag, and a steaming slab of this rich, dark, moist bread is just right with a plate of baked beans.


Apache Acorn Cakes 

1 cup acorn meal, ground fine 
1 cup cornmeal 
1/4 cup honey 
pinch of salt 

Mix the ingredients with enough warm water to make a moist, not sticky dough. Divide into 12 balls. Let rest, covered, for 10 minutes or so. With slightly moist hands, pat the balls down into thick tortilla-shaped breads. Bake on an ungreased cast iron griddle over campfire coals or on clean large rocks, propped up slightly before the coals. If using the stones, have them hot when you place the cakes on them. You’ll have to lightly peel an edge to peek and see if they are done. They will be slightly brown. Turn them over and bake on the other side, if necessary.

I can’t see these being a staple of our diet any time soon – but I’m dying to give this a go. I’d better keep an eye out for local oaks.

Chicken Soup with a Soul

I have often remembered the chicken broth my mother used to make when I was a child. In those days of frugality, making a broth was the best way to ensure that full use was got out of a chicken – that every last morsel of meat was gleaned off the bones and every ounce of goodness was extracted from the carcass, and was put to delicious use. And yes, it was delicious!

¬†Of course, in the fast-paced lives that we so often live in our young adulthood, making broth never seemed to be worth the bother. But my husband has recently been ‘educating’ me on the expected ravages that will descend upon the world post-peak-oil, and how we will need to become much less wasteful with our food. Plus, I thought, my two-year-old daughter will love it. So, despite the risk of irretrievably entrenching myself into the stereotyped stay-at-home mum r√īle, I decided this evening to have a go.

¬†So here’s a rough guide to how to make it:¬†

  • Put the chicken carcass into a pan
  • Add an onion, cut into eighths
  • Cover with water and bring to the boil
  • Season with salt and pepper and a good shake of mixed herbs
  • Boil for 3-4 hours until the carcass has fallen apart and all the meat dropped off the bones
  • Extract the bones (that’s the real fiddly part. There are no short-cuts to getting into it with your fingers)

¬†If you want, you can make a proper meal by adding chopped vegetables towards the end of the cooking time, but my mother’s version was always unadulterated.

 As I write, the wonderful aromas of chicken and onions are filling the house. The hard part is waiting for all that cooking time before you can eat the soup!

¬†I may try amending the recipe to give it a more modern, cosmopolitan flavour in the form of Asian-style chicken noodle soup (I’m sure that the addition of noodles alone will not be sufficient!). Perhaps a further post will be necessary. Must go now – tasting to do!

¬†PS – Of course! Here’s how chicken broth fits into our post-peak-oil lives. Picture our (as yet hypothetical) wood-burning stove, blazing away all day in the winter to heat our rooms, with a pot of broth simmering away on top…