Book review: One more slice, Leila Lindholm

This book was my first introduction to Leila Lindholm. She is a Swedish TV chef (I’m not sure that any of her shows have been shown in the UK but I could be wrong), author (this is her fourth book) and has be extensively featured in Delicious, Easy Living and Elle magazine.

This book follows on from her previous book, A piece of cake and includes recipes for breads, pizza’s, fresh pasta, brownies, cheesecakes,  ice creams, pies, pancakes and waffle. I love the photography throughout the book. It’s a wonderful book to pick up and flick through for the photos alone. But if you did you would be missing out as the recipes are really simple, use standard, easy to get hold of ingredients and look and sound delicious. Leila’s enthusiasm for baking is evident throughout.

There is something for everyone in this book. For each section there are basic recipes e.g. for pizza sauces and dough or for brownies and then Leila gives you lots of variations. If you like brownies then you might like after eight brownies or raspberry brownies or how about rocky road brownies or brownie cupcakes (to name just a few of the brownie recipes).

There are many recipes I want to try in this book but I went straight to the bread section “boulangerie” and tried out one on the nine kinds of baguette included in the book. I chose to bake birdie num-num bread, partly because I had all the ingredients in and partly as I just love the name! The recipe was simple to follow and the resulting baguettes delicious. I used my baguette tray to make two of them and had to make the other two on a flat baking sheet. The ones on the flat baking sheet didn’t work so well, they collapsed into a wide flat loaf of bread! The book talks about using a baguette tray or baking sheet I don’t know if anyone has had more sucess than me with using baking sheets but I’ll be halving the recipe next time and using the baguette tray! New Holland Publishers have kindly agreed for me to publish this recipe below. I can’t wait to bake another recipe from this book and I know this will be a well used book in my ever growing cookbook collection.

My birdie num num baguette straight from the oven

One more slice is available to buy now for £19.99. New Holland Publishers, are offering my readers a 25% discount and free post and packaging if you buy it direct from their website and enter the discount code purely. This offer is valid until 30th September 2011 to UK residents only. Discount cannot be used in conjunction with other offers!

Thank you to New Holland Publishers for my review copy of this book and for allowing me to share the recipe for birdie num num with my readers.

Delicious with cheese and tomatoes

basic recipe
makes 4 baguettes
dough one ( starter)
5 g (1/4 oz) fresh yeast
300 ml (10 fl oz) cold water
325 g (11 oz) strong bread flour

1. For the starter: crumble the yeast in a mixing bowl and dissolve it in the water.
2. Add the flour and mix it until the loose dough is smooth.
3. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let it rise for at least
4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

dough two
15 g (1/2 oz) fresh yeast
300 ml (10 fl oz) cold water
1 portion dough one (starter)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
450–550 g (1 lb–1 lb 4 oz) strong bread
oil for the trays
sea salt

1. For dough two: crumble the yeast in a mixing bowl, add the water and mix.
2. Add dough one, salt, sugar and then the flour until the dough holds together. Work the dough in a mixer at low speed for around 15 minutes.
3. Let the dough rise under a cloth for around 11/2 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/gas 9).
5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, divide it into four pieces and carefully press each piece into a rectangle with your fingers.
6. Fold in a long side of each rectangle, roll it up and shape the ends into points.
7. Twist the baguettes once and place them on a well-oiled baguette tray (or a regular baking tray).
8. Let them rise under a cloth for about an hour.
9. Brush the baguettes with water and sprinkle with sea salt. Make a few incisions diagonally across each baguette with a sharp knife and immediately put the tray in the middle of the hot oven.

10. When the baguettes have coloured a little, lower the temperature to 200°C (400°F/gas 6).
11. Bake until the breads have been in the oven for a total of around 30 minutes, then let them cool on a rack.

birdie num-num baguette

makes 4 baguet tes
1 portion baguette dough (see basic recipe below)
50 g (2 oz) mixed seeds – poppy, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin
oil for greasing
sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/gas 9).
2. Make the baguettes according to the basic recipe and let them rise on a greased tray.
3. Brush with water, sprinkle with seeds and sea salt.
4. Immediately place the tray in the middle of the oven.
5. When the baguettes have gained a little colour, lower the temperature to 200°C (400°F/gas 6).
6. Bake until the breads have been in the oven for a total of around 30 minutes, then let them cool on a rack.

Fresh from the oven, June challenge – a sandwich loaf

This month’s Fresh from the oven challenge was hosted by Jo from Jo’s kitchen. She chose a recipe for a sandwich loaf from the recent BBC TV series Great British food revival. I loved the show but never quiet got round to trying the recipe. After returning from Tuscany, without wedding planning taking up all my free time, this month’s challenge was the perfect way for me to jump back in to both blogging and baking bread. I just checked my archive and was surprised to find out that the last time I participated in a Fresh from the oven challenge was last September! I’ve still been enjoying running the group (with the lovely Michelle of Utterly scrummy food for families) but I just never seemed to find the time each month to participate. I love seeing all the fantastic breads everyone makes when putting together the round ups, it is very inspiring. I was pleased to find out this month that we have been featured on the channel 4 website in an article on the best bread blogs. A big thank you to all our members who take part each month. Clearly I’m not the only one who finds all your efforts inspiring.

Back to this month’s challenge. You can find the recipe here. I found the recipe very straight forward to follow. Although I found the dough quiet wet, using my kitchenaid mixer this was not a problem. I will be reading the other members post keen to find out if it was just mine and how those who knead by hand got on. The only adaption I made was that after about 20 minutes in the oven my loaf was looking brown enough for my liking so I cover it with tin foil for the rest of the baking time (but then I’m a bit fuss like that, my husband calls my toast warm bread as I like it fairly pale golden). We both loved the loaf, it made delicious sandwiches and toast. The only downside was that perhaps the bread was a little bit too sweet. As an occasional bread though I enjoyed it but if I was making this all the time for sandwiches I think we would get fed up of the sweetness. Having said that  I will definately be making this loaf again.

Wholemeal spelt bread

It’s been a few weeks since I updated you on my bread making challenge. This has mainly been because I haven’t tried any new recipes. I have cooked pikelets a couple of times now but the loaves I’ve been baking for sandwiches have been ones I have already blogged about. Spelt flour has been on my shopping list for several weeks now but my fiance always came home without being able to find it. This weekend I found myself in the supermarket so decided to look for myself and came home with a bag of  wholemeal spelt flour (and a bag of rye flour too, so rye bread will be next).

Yesterday I baked a spelt bread recipe from The River Cottage handbook (find one similar here). The recipe noted that spelt bread can be dense and heavy but doesn’t need to be and suggested an extra 5 minutes kneading and to rise the loaf in a proving basket. I followed the advice and the resulting loaf was perfect. The texture was great, not too dense at all and the flavour was delicious with a slight nutty flavour. We eat a lot of granary and wholemeal bread anyway but the flavour of the spelt was even better. I can see spelt bread becoming a firm favorite in this house.

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.


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.


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.


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.

Adventures in soda bread

We been eating homemade bread for the best part of 3 years now (started with a bread maker and then when I got a kitchenAid I moved on to using this to knead the dough) and I have found only one downside. The more you bake your own bread, the more you realise just how much better it is than mass produced bread. Yes you can buy good bread from small, artisan bakers but we just don’t have any near us and I’m sure we are not the only ones. There are times though when I’ve been too ill or busy to bake bread and we have bought bread from the supermarket. I plan to try and get ahead and always have some homemade bread in the freezer (all the bread I’ve tried freeze perfectly) but also I want to find a soda bread recipe that I can use when I don’t have time to wait for a yeasted bread to rise. I have to admit that so far I’m not a massive fan of the taste of soda bread but River cottage Bread handbook has several recipes and variations that I plan to experiment with.

So far this year I have made the basic white soda bread with a mixture of milk and water for the liquid element (the book recommends buttermilk, yogurt, milk or water) which was ok but didn’t win me over. I plan to try it with natural yogurt next and buttermilk after that (there is also information included for making your own buttermilk which also provides you with homemade butter, that I may try at some point). I’ll spare you a picture of the basic white soda bread, lets just say it looked rustic. You can find a recipe for white soda bread from River cottage here (although its not the same one as in the bread book), I like the sound of the six seed soda breadthough in the variations at the bottom of the recipe so will have to add that to my list. This morning this recipe appeared in my google reader for oat soda bread from 101 cookbooks which I’m going to have to added to my list of soda bread recipes to try.

We went away visiting family for the weekend and got back late sunday afternoon. With no time to bake yeast bread I tried out a recipe for wholemeal soda bread with honey and walnuts. I was really looking forward to this bread but I was disappointed by the end result. For me the bread was far, far too sweet and it completly over powered the soda bread flavour. I have used honey in bread baking before with delicious results (wheatgerm and honey was delicious but I can’t find my recipe for this, if anyone has one can you please let me know) but only a couple of tablespoons for a 500g loaf. This recipe is availble for walnut and honey soda bread online here if you would like to bake it. I think that I’ll will experiment with much smaller amounts of honey in a wholemeal soda bread with and without walnuts in the near future.

Sourdough update and oaty wholemeal bread

My starter is now over 7 days old. I’m continuing to feed it daily and hoping to use it to bake sourdough bread soon. The recipes I have will require me to be around for the best part of a day and I just haven’t been home long enough for that yet. Hopefully this weekend.

I baked a loaf of bread from River Cottage bread yesterday afternoon. I decided to bake a wholemeal loaf but wanted something to push me a little out of my comfort zone. I picked the oaty wholemeal recipe on page 79. The book is very good at offering variations for each recipe such as extras that can be added to the dough. One recommendation that is included in all the loaf recipes is to use a piece of old dough or ladle of sourdough starter (as well as dried yeast) to add flavour. This is something that I have not tried before so I decided today was the day. I only used 4 tablespoons of starter though as I was a little apprehensive of how sour the bread would be. The loaf is baked and cooked following the river cottage basic method which I introduced you to yesterday and before baking the loaf is coated in a mixture of pinhead oatmeal, medium oatmeal and oat flakes (I only had porridge oats so I put a handful in my pester and mortal and produced a mixture of textures).

The end result was a success. The texture of the bread was just right with a good crust, the oats added a nice contrast and the sourdough starter did add a small extra flavour to the bread (I will be going for the full ladle in my next loaf). A definite bake again recipe.

Sourdough starter day 1

I’m feeling almost back to full health today so I decided to start as I mean to go on and jump back in to the kitchen and back to blogging more frequently. I decided to start simply with a sourdough starter.

I watched a River cottage Bites on sourdough this morning where they used a mix of spelt and white bread flour with water (although they said the spelt wasn’t necessary and you could just use all white). Simple enough but the instructions were a little vague and since I owned the River Cottage bread handbook I pulled it off the shelf and had a good read of the sourdough chapter. Confusingly it said to use wholemeal instead of white bread flour as it will ferment quicker and more vigorously. I pulled Dan Lepard’s The handmade loaf off the bookshelf too as I wasn’t keen on doing a wholemeal starter as I felt a white flour starter would be more versatile. The starter Dan Lepard’s book involved rye flour and live yogurt neither of which I had in the house but it did also use white flour. I really wanted to make the starter today before I lost my enthusiasm. In the end I used white bread flour and water as recommended by a Fresh from the oven member Dom at belleaukitchen since he appears to have had good results with this ratio and it’s not that dissimilar to the River cottage Bites recipe.

Day 1

  • mix one cup of white bread flour and one cup of water in a jar.
  • Stir well to incorporate lots of air.
  • Cover loosely with cling film and put it some where warm.

Sun dried tomato and pesto bread

This is one of the first recipes I tried in my bread machine after getting bored with the basic white and wholemeal. Here we are a couple of years later (the bread machine long gone) and again I’ve slipped in to the rut of baking a basic white or wholemeal loaf a couple of times a week.  The original recipe was from a bread machine book I borrowed from my local library and unfortunately I can’t remember which book. I’ve adapted the recipe based on the principles I’ve learned from The river cottage bread handbook. I can’t recommend this book strongly enough to anyone who wants to bake there own bread (without a bread machine).

This bread worked just as well, if not better baked in the oven rather than the bread machine. The flavours were just as delicious as I remembered and the smells from the oven as it baked were mouth watering. I’ll certainly be baking this bread again and hopefully it has got be out of my basic bread rut/boredom. I’m submitting this to yeastspotting over at wild yeast.

Sun dried tomato and pesto bread

  • 500g Strong white bread flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp fast acting dried yeast
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbs pesto
  • 275ml warm water
  • 75g sun dried tomatoes, finely sliced
  1. Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a food mixer if using). Add the water, oil and pesto and mix to a rough dough if not using a mixer. If you’re using a mixer, attach the dough hook and switch the mixer on to the recommended speed for kneading bread (speed 2 on my kitchenaid). Knead for 10 minutes by hand or 3-5 minutes in a mixer (add a little flour or water as needed to make a soft, easily kneaded dough. Add the sun dried tomatoes a couple of minutes from the end so that they are dispersed throughout the dough.
  2. Shape the dough in to a round and place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in  a warm place until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour but it will depend on the warmth of the room).
  3. Knock the dough back by tipping on to a lightly floured surface and pressing all over with your finger tips.
  4. Shape the loaf as desired for baking. I decided to bake this loaf in a tin so I shaped the dough in to and oblong and placed in a tin. Cover and return to a warm room to prove (around 30 mins).
  5. Pre heat the oven to 250C/gas mark 10.
  6. Once the loaf is ready for the oven, slash the top with a serrated knife and place the tin in the oven. After 10 minutes turn the heat down to 200C/gas 6. After 15 minutes I covered the loaf with tin foil as it was browning quickly. Bake for 30-40 minutes. You can tell when the bread is ready by turning the bread out and tapping the base, if it sounds hollow the bread is ready.
  7. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Polenta bread – Fresh from the oven, September challenge

This months Fresh from the oven challenge was hosted by Becky from Fraxknits. She chose polenta bread from Bread by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter.

It’s been a while since I took part in a Fresh from the oven challenge. I was a bit unsure about this challenge but knew I need to get back to participating regularly so I baked it anyway. I was reluctant because I have tried polenta recently and I didn’t enjoy it. I’ve also tried baking with it and didn’t enjoy the flavour it gave to the cake. There was also the time demands of three rises! However I am pleased to report that I really enjoyed this months challenge and the bread was delicious, flavourful and it had a fantastic texture. I certainly know how I’ll be using up the rest of my pollenta. I didn’t include pine nuts in my bread as we had none in on the day I found time to fit in all the rising stages, i still included the melted butter though. The only negative, it only lasted 2 days! I’ll have to bake two loaves next time!

Polenta Bread Recipe

50g polenta
300ml lukewarm water
15g fresh yeast or 5g dried active yeast
1/2 tsp clear honey
225g white bread flour
25g butter
3 tbsp pine nuts
1 and 1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water
pine nuts for sprinkling

Makes 1 loaf

  • Lightly grease a baking sheet. Mix the polenta and 250ml of the water together in a pan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring continuously with a large wooden spoon. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, or until just warm.
  • In a small bowl, mix the yeast with the remaining water and honey until creamy/frothy (depending on the yeast being fresh/dry). Sift 115g of the flour into a larger bowl. Gradually beat in the yeast mixture, then gradually stir in the polenta mixture to combine. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  • Cover the bowl with lightly oiled cling film and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until it has doubled in bulk.
  • Melt the butter in a small pan add the pine nuts and cook over a medium heat, stirring, until the pale and golden. Set aside to cool.
  • Add the remaining flour and salt to the polenta dough and mix to a soft dough. Knead in the pine nuts cooked in butter (and the butter). Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
  • Knock back (punch down) and turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into two equal pieces and roll each piece into a fat sausage about 38 cm/15 inches long. Plait (braid) together the two pieces and place on the baking sheet. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F/ Gas Mark 6.
  • Mix the egg yolk and water and brush over the loaf. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and sounding hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack.