Easy Fruit Loaf

I have never been a huge Christmas cake or pudding fan, until recently. Or should I rather say, until I tasted the Christmas pudding Anne (my friend, Sarah’s mum) made! And now I am a convert!

Every year I think I will finally try my hand at making my own … or even my own fruit mince pies… but I never get around to doing it in time for Christmas.

But when I saw this Easy Fruit Loaf recipe in the Snowflake Book of Baking – I thought I could manage this and it didn’t have to be related to the festive season ūüôā

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It really is easy to make… and delicious. I would suggest checking it after an hour as I left mine in a little bit too long, making the outside a bit crunchy while the inside still remained deliciously moist and chewy with all that fruit (probably also due to the large amount of butter in it… hee hee). This is a definite make again (even HIM approved)

Easy Fruit Loaf

200g Sugar
250ml milk
250g butter
310g mixed fruit cake mix
1 egg, beaten
350g cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Place sugar, milk, butter & fruit mix in a saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2-3minutes
  • Remove from heat and leave to cool
  • Add beaten egg to mixture
  • Sift in dry ingredients
  • Mix well
  • Pour into greased loaf tin
  • Bake at 160C for 60-70min

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Herby Scone Bread

We hosted¬†some friends for¬†a little brunch in our new place at the beginning of January… when our apartment was still not 100% fully renovated (missing doors on kitchen cabinets & appliances; an empty living area as the couch will only be delivered tomorrow; a toilet in one bathroom and no basin, a basin in one bathroom with no toilet; half painted door frames… etc etc…)

But the oven works …¬† as seen with the banana yoghurt loaf that I baked => so I decided to also try my hand at this herby scone bread recipe from the *Recipes from a Royal Kitchen* – a cookbook gift from my mommabear long time ago!

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The secret with any scone mixture is not to work it too much, otherwise you don’t get a good rise. And normally I make mini individual scones, so I was eager to try leaving it as “one whole bread”

The Result? It¬†had a crumbly scone texture but very tasty … and would be taken to the next level with the addition of some strong cheese in the mixture! Would I make it again. Most Probably.

Herby Scone Bread

2 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
pinch of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon caster sugar
4 teaspoons dried herbs (or 1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs)
50g butter (melted)
1/2 cup milk
1 beaten egg with 1 Tablespoon milk for glazing

  • Sift flour, baking powder, bicarb & salt
  • Add caster sugar, herbs & melted butter
  • Add milk & mix lightly to form a soft, sticky dough
  • Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
  • press into a round shape approx. 3cm thick
  • Place on a greased baking tray and brush with egg/milk mixture
  • Mark into 8 wedges using a knife to cut lightly into the dough
  • Bake at 180C for 20min

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Banana Yoghurt Loaf

2016 was a crazy busy year (you can read our overview here) and 2017 has started off with a whole lot of *new-ness*… New apartment, newly fitted kitchen (still waiting for the scratched counter top to be replaced and the subway tiles to go up between the counters as a backsplash) and a new car!!

But obviously the most important in terms of this blog is¬†the new kitchen… and a new oven (brand spanking new!!) which obviously needed to be tested. So we baked a Banana Yoghurt Loaf¬†out of¬†the *Recipes from the Royal Kitchen* cookbook by Heilie Pienaar (South African food stylist).

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Easy to make and probably ranks up there with the best of the banana bread loaves that I have ever made! And still moist and delicious on day 3 if it lasts that long!

Would I make it again? YES

Banana Yoghurt Loaf

2.5 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
80g butter (room temperature)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain yoghurt
3 large bananas, peeled & mashed

  • Sift flour, baking powder & salt
  • Rub in butter with fingertips to make a fine crumb
  • Beat eggs & sugar together
  • Add yoghurt to wet mixture
  • Add wet mixture to dry ingredients
  • Fold in mashed bananas until combined
  • Bake in a grease-proof lined loaf tin for 50min at 180C

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Corn Bread

I absolutely love weekends… who doesn’t??

And I have found that Monkey (who turns 1 years old on Wednesday) is starting to engage in more and more solo play… which gives me back my hands and a little bit more time to get back into the kitchen to cook up a few things!

This past weekend, I managed to put together a roasted pumpkin soup, a big pot of chilli con carne AND this lovely corn bread (aka *Mealie Bread* as my South African friends would call it)

I had a tin of KOO cream-style sweetcorn in my store cupboard and was eager to find another use for it (rather then my bog-standard sweetcorn fritters go to recipe) and lo-and-behold… I found this recipe on the YOU magazine website

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I adapted it by adding a cup of grated cheddar cheese and a full teaspoon of paprika… and next time, I think a few chopped chillies would also give it an extra zing! VERY tasty and still good on day 2 (when there was very little left anyway :))

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Corn Bread

1 tin cream-style sweetcorn
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
60ml warm milk
30g butter, melted (and another 30g for brushing after baking)
350g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup grated cheese

  • Mix all wet ingredient together in a large bowl
  • Fold in flour, cheese¬†& paprika to form a wet dough
  • Place into a greased loaf tin
  • Bake for 45min at 170C
  • Brush top of bread with 30g melted butter to keep it soft & moist

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Quick Soda Bread

One wintery Sunday afternoon (which also happened to be Valentines day), we shared the table with a few friends – eating, drinking, laughing (lots of this, especially Little Miss who decided that our conversation was hysterically funny) and essentially “breaking bread”!

Bread you say…. yes, served with a homemade pumpkin soup as a starter and only having about 2hr between church and their arrival, I didn’t actually have time to whip up a *REAL* loaf of bread… from scratch and all. So I decided to use what I had and make a quick soda bread… no waiting time for the dough to proof, no hard labour kneading… just a quick mix, quick knead and into the oven for 30min.

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I found the recipe on the BBC Good Food website and although I didn’t have wholemeal flour – I used only normal flour and the end result was more of a warm scone type bread … but still delicious with soup! (The loaf fed 6 of us as an accompaniment with our soup starter)

Would I make it again? Yes…

Quick Soda Bread

170g self-raising wholemeal flour
170g flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
290ml buttermilk

  • Place dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir to mix
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, stirring quickly with a fork to form a soft dough
  • Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly
  • Place into a greased loaf tin
  • Back for 30min at 200C

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Butter Dips (SRC)

I can’t believe how quickly time flies by… it was only the other day that I was getting ready to head off on Maternity leave and take a short break from blogging… 4 months later, I am back at work and back working on the blog… and of course, back to Secret Recipe Club reveals.

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For those who aren’t aware – SRC (Secret Recipe Club) is an online platform¬†for recipe swapping.. using a “secret santa” approach. I.e. you have no idea who will be making something from your blog until your groups reveal day! Exciting, eh?

This month, I got Little Bit of Everything as my blog to check out. Written by Julie who describes herself as¬†a 50-something¬†from Nebraska (that is in the USA :))¬†who loves cooking, travelling and her garden (The first 2 falling into a few of my favourite things!!). Plus I fell in¬†love with the fact that she has a Julia Child (my other obsession) idea of completing 50 recipes that she hasn’t yet made. In fact, I loved this idea so much, I might actually try to put together something similar!

I¬†thoroughly enjoyed¬†browsing her site – trying to decide on what to make… would it be¬†Honey beer Bread or Old Fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake (because I adore Rhubarb!!!) or this bubble up pizza?

But I realized that we are both big lovers of biscuits & all things bread… so when I saw this recipe for Butter dips… I was sold. (I could eat bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner… and all snacks in between….) and of course… butter… what more can a woman like me¬†ask for????

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OMG… these are delicious!!!! I made mine in muffin trays (made 10) and we scoffed half of them straight out the oven with cups of coffee for a late breakfast.

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Butter Dip Quick Bread

1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup of buttermilk (or regular milk)

  • Cut butter into pieces and place into a microwave dish to melt
  • While the butter is melting,¬†mix dry ingredients¬†together in a large bowl
  • Stir in the buttermilk/milk (staring with 2/3 of a cup and adding more if necessary) to make a loose dough
  • Press the dough in the pan over the melted butter
  • using a knife, cut the dough into pieces
  • Bake for 12-15minutes at 225C (450F)

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Nutella swirled banana bread (SRC)

That’s right folks – it is Secret Recipe Club¬†time again!

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For those who aren’t aware – SRC (Secret Recipe Club) is an international blog swap concept whereby each month, a blogger is assigned another bloggers site with the intention of re-creating a recipe, blogging about it and sharing it on the same day at the same time as the rest of the group. It is great fun!

This month – I got 2 Cookin’ Mamas – a mother/daughter blogging team by the names of Linda & Christina, who focus on providing easy & healthy recipes for busy moms! Something that I can definitely relate to … especially now that Little Miss is 2months old and definitely keeping me busy!

They have co-authored a cookbook together and Mom (aka Linda) has 40years of cooking experience under her belt… but she keeps her svelte figure by being an aerobics instructor (as well as¬†working in Marketing) while Christina is a certified Nutritionist. So basically two skinny ladies with a love of food … I wasn’t even sure that this was possible ūüôā But trust me … it is.. and with delicious food!!

I was tempted by their Quick & easy Parmesan¬† bread rolls, double chocolate banana bread¬†, cheesy orzo with broccoli and and and and….¬†– but finally decided that I wanted (rephrase “needed”) to make the Nutella swirled banana bread! I made it without the chocolate spread as I am not a fan of frostings… but let me tell you this, it is delicious and sweet enough with it!

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SOOO delicious! Do yourself a favour… make this!

Nutella swirled banana bread

1.5 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 ripe banana’s (peeled & mashed)
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup Nutella (or whatever your favourite chocolate spread is)

  • combine dry ingredients together
  • in another bowl – mix banana’s, eggs and oil together
  • Combine wet mixture & dry
  • Separate evenly into two bowls – adding nutella to the one mixture
  • Drop spoonfuls of each batter into a greased loaf tin
  • Bake at 180C for 60-70min

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Stromboli

I tried to make the most of my maternity leave by whipping up a few recipes that had been sitting in my “must make”¬† pile before Little Miss decides to make her arrival. Plus the added benefit of the energy burst prior to her arrival makes getting things done much easier ūüôā

I had found this recipe in the Olive Magazine (issue August 2014) for Stromboli (a baked Italian stuffed bread) with a step by step process… and knew it was for “when I had time”. (Making your own bread … kneading, waiting, etc requires more than an hour from kitchen to table… and waiting for a new family member to arrive provides that much needed time)

Would I make it again? Yes… this would be a great party dish – either for a brunch or apero party… and HIM heartedly approved it! (We ate half of it in one sitting as¬†a meal – and am really looking forward to devouring the leftovers on day 2!)

Stromboli

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500g strong white flour
7g instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
350ml tepid water
6 Tablespoons passatta mixed with olive oil & dried herbs (or a good quality tomato pasta sauce)
4 large slices of ham
250g ball of Mozzarella, thinly sliced
Large bunch of basil

  • Mix yeast with warm water
  • Add to the flour and gradually work in
  • Add salt and then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface
  • Knead for 5-7min until smooth & elastic
  • Place in a clean bowl, covered in a warm are for at least 1hr to rise
  • Once doubled in size, knead briefly¬†on a lightly floured work surface
  • Then roll out into a rectangle (about 40x30cm)
  • Spread the sauce over the dough (leaving the edges free –¬† about 2cm)
  • Then layer on the ham, followed by the mozzarella and the fresh basil
  • Roll up like a swiss roll and place onto a greased baking tray
  • lightly brush all over with olive oil & leave for 15min
  • Bake at 190C for 40min and then leave to rest/cool for 30min before slicing (as it is much harder to slice when hot!)

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Chilli coriander naan bread

As some of you remember – I got to try out a spice pack from Flavour Delivered a few months ago (read the post here)

One of the things that I was really impressed with was how relatively easy it was to make home-made naan bread… (although time consuming)… where I had always steered clear of making it as I thought it would be too complicated! And lets be honest… a good curry becomes great, when you get to soak up the extra juices with naan!

Homemade chilli & coriander naan bread

Homemade chilli & coriander naan bread

Chilli coriander Naan

450g flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
250ml milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 fresh red chillies (chopped)
15g fresh coriander (chopped)
25 butter (melted)

  • Sift flour, sugar, salt & baking powder into a large bowl
  • Whisk egg & milk together
  • Form a dough by gradually stirring into the dry ingredients
  • Transfer dough to a floured work surface
  • make a well and add the oil
  • Knead for a few minutes until dough is smooth & pliable
  • Wrap in cling film & rest for 1hour
  • Divide dough into 8 pieces, form into balls & flatten into thick cakes
  • Cover with cling film and rest for 15minutes
  • Preheat grill to high, line a grill pan with foil and brush with oil
  • roll each flattened cake into a 10cm round and pull the lower end gently
  • Carefully roll out again making a teardrop shape until 20cm long
  • Mix chilli & coriander together and spread over the naans.
  • press in gently so that it sticks to the dough
  • Transfer naan to the grill pan and cook both sides until slightly puffed and brown
  • Remove from grill and brush with melted butter
  • For best results – keep warm while you cook the others!
Introducing... Flavour Delivered

Introducing… Flavour Delivered

Ciabatta Bread

As some of you already know… I have done a few workshops at La Cucina¬†Delle Zie in Brussels before (a cupcake decorating course & a pizza making course) and I have also attended one of Arianna of Un Altro¬†Colore‘s focaccia making courses¬†through Bookalokal as well.

So when I saw that Arianna & La Cucina¬†Delle Zie had teamed up to provide a “natural baking” series – I was quick to convince HIM that we needed to attend one of them. Sadly – we couldn’t attend all 4 of them due to calendar clashes – but we did manage to find one Sunday that worked for us…. which happened to be the CIABATTA SOURDOUGH workshop.

We were in for a treat… in just over 2 hours – we made our¬†sourdough ciabatta, watched a previously proofed ciabatta get slipped into the oven… and then stood back to nibble our way through 2 different types of freshly baked bread… *sigh*… before walking home with our own bowls of ciabatta dough proofing…

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Ciabatta

220g water
250g white strong flour
50g sourdough
6 g salt
Extra virgin olive oil

  • Mix water & sourdough together until sourdough has dissolved
  • Add wet mixture to flour and using a fork, gently stir until combined
  • Add the salt & using a fork, stir through
  • Add some olive oil around the edge of the bowl and make sure that the dough separates from the bowl with the help of this oil
  • Place a towel over the bowl and leave for half an hour
  • lightly oil your fingers & stretch/fold over the dough, turning the bowl 90 degrees after each fold
  • do this about 4 times

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  • Place the towel over the bowl & leave for half an hour
  • Repeat the stretch/fold action at least another¬†2 times (3-4times in total)
  • Leave the dough to rise – either in the fridge overnight (to slow down the process) or for an hour in a warm area
  • Well flour¬†a work top – and gently stretch dough over it – you can then cut the dough into as many pieces of ciabatta that you wish (it can be left as is or can be folded over gently) and then placed onto a floured plastic film

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  • Leave for half an hour
  • Place on a baking tray
  • Bake at 250 degrees for 10minutes, then turn down the temperature to 200 degrees for a further 15-20minutes

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