A week in my kitchen (including River cottage bread baking)

I can’t believe it’s a week since my last post. It’s not through lack of cooking/baking though so this post is a bit of a catch up with my River cottage bread baking experience and a few other things I have cooked and want to bookmark (plus share with you) for future cooking over the last 8 days.

Pizza

I’ve been baking my own pizza’s from scratch for some time now to the point where I know longer look at a recipe to make the dough or remember where the recipe came from. But in the spirit of baking my way through the River Cottage bread handbook I followed the recipe in the book last week. I’m so glad I did! The River Cottage recipe uses half plain flour and half bread flour making the resulting dough much softer than I am used to and the end result was a perfectly thin pizza base. I also used a recipe in the book for garlic infused olive oil to make a garlic pizza bread as well. The topping in the photo above was spinach, feta and prosciutto. This pizza dough recipe was previously published in the guardian here.

Sourdough

I baked my first full sourdough bread last monday following the recipe in River Cottage Bread. It started with making the sponge the night before and then the following day I followed the recipe to make the dough and let it rise as directed. You can find a sourdough recipe here on Belleau Kitchen. The bread turned out well, I’m just not sure we enjoyed the sourness enough to be worth the time it takes to make sourdough. I’m still keeping my started alive as I think I will use it to try some recipes from Dan Lepards the handmade loaf but I’m not sure if I’ll make another sourdough (even though there are several different sourdough recipe I haven’t baked in RC).

Simple pasta sauce

I shared my secret to delicious, simple pasta sauces here.

Malted and seeded loaf

I’ve updated my post on the malted grain loaf to include details of a very similar bread.

Pikelets

I baked a big batch of pikelets from the River cottage book. I love crumpets but don’t have any of the rings needed to cook them in. Pikelets are really simple to make and they taste delicious toasted spread with butter (the recipe made a lot so I froze most of them and I am happy to report they toast well straight from frozen). I can see these being baked a lot in my kitchen.

Smoked mackerel and pea risotto


In an effort to eat more sustainable fish, I cooked a smoked mackerel risotto. I just cooked a basic, plain risotto and added frozen peas and flaked up smoked mackerel with the last ladle of stock and finished it off with a squeeze of lemon juice. If your looking for more of a recipe to follow you can find one here.

Jordan’s Country crisp – muffins

This is a long over due blog post! Just before Christmas I was sent a couple of boxes of Jordan’s country crisp to try.I’m a great believer in having a good breakfast to set you up for the day. For me this usually involves a bowl of porridge (all year round!). I’m a bit strange when it comes to cereal as I don’t like milk! Weird I know but I never have (not even as a baby). This can cause problems at breakfast as I won’t eat cereals where the milk is obvious. Porridge fits the bill perfectly plus it’s healthy and I like to play around adding different toppings (mostly raisins or blueberries at the moment). I do sometimes wish that I liked milk so I could eat delicious looking granola, muesli and these country crisps.

Jordan’s country crisp are delicious oat clusters, made from UK grown, conservation grade oats and no preservatives, artificial colours or salt is added. I tried the strawberry and the chocolate varieties and thought both were delicious added to a bowl of natural yogurt to add a bit of crunch and flavour. My boyfriend also tried both in the traditional way (with milk!) and loved both. Chocolate for breakfast though did seem like something that should be saved as a weekend treat!

I also decided to try out one of the recipes supplied by Jordan’s and finally settled on these delicious muffins. Probably not the healthiest recipe but delicious as an occasional treat. They were moist but with bits of texture from the country crisp and the nuts and also tasted of caramel due to the butter and brown sugar being melted together.

Country crisp muffins
(find this and other recipes on The Country Crisp Appreciation Society website)
Makes 6
Prep time: 10 mins, plus cooling
Cook time: 25-30 mins

120g unsalted butter
120g light brown soft sugar
2tbsp milk
75g self-raising flour
50g pecans, roughly chopped
50g sweetened dried cranberries
2 medium eggs, beaten
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
100g Jordans Dark Chocolate Country Crisp

1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4/180C/160C fan. Line a muffin tin with 6 muffin cases.
2. In a small pan, melt butter and sugar over a medium heat until the sugar is no longer grainy. Add the milk and leave to cool for 15 mins before whisking in the eggs and if using the vanilla, add it now.
3. Mix together the flour, pecans and cranberries in a large bowl, then pour in the cooled butter mixture. Beat until smooth before folding through the Jordans Dark Chocolate Country Crisp.
4. Using two dessertspoons, fill the muffin cases about ¾ full with the batter. Bake for 25-30 mins until the muffins are springy to the touch. Remove from the oven. Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin, before transferring to a wire rack.