Further Introductions to Bake Love.

Over the next few days, weeks and months I will be introducing you into my world.
The recipes I will be giving you will need some basic skills, techniques and methods, so here are some easy basics to get you started. I got excited by Autumn, so went all out with chutneys and jams in the first post. But back to the beginning.

I am going to start you off with a basic soup base, a basic pastry, a basic bread and a basic cake.
I will also give you a seasonal recipe to use with each of the basic recipe staples.

The first and easiest is a soup, I use a basic base then add seasonal vegetables, stocks and meat as I like. It is a great way to use up left overs and older vegetables.

Soup Base.

A basic soup base consists of onion, celery and carrots.
Sweat onions then add celery and carrots.
For lighter coloured soups such as mushroom I omit the carrots for small cubes of potato, as the carrots leave orange bits. Not a huge problem, just a little thing I like to consider.
I also add garlic to most as well as dry herbs.
Add dry herbs at the start and add fresh herbs at the end is a general rule.

For soup for about 6 people use,
x 2 onions, sliced
x 6 sticks of celery, chopped
x 4 carrots, chopped
x 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

sweat ( sweating is when you have oil in the pan and cook food slowly without browning the food)onion for 5 minutes, add garlic, carrots and celery and sweat for another 10 mins.

You are then ready to add herbs, spices and the rest of the desired ingredients for the soup flavour.

Heart warming Chicken Soup.
This warm, nutrient filled chicken soup will make you feel a million. or at least a million times better.
Full of all the goodness of vegetables and the magic chicken. I always have this or get my Mum to make it when I’m feeling run down and have the sniffles.

I like mine blitzed up a bit so its a bit more creamy, but if you cut all the vegetables the same size then you can leave as a lovely chunky broth.

To get the stock you can use bought. There are some good ones on the market now.
Or I poach the chicken whole or half in a large pan or water, peppercorns, bay leaf , on a boil for about an hour or 2 depending on the size of your chicken. Take the chicken put and leave to cool, enough to handle.
keep all the stock, but sieve it to remove the bits.
A lovely stock, you probably need most of it to feed 4-6 but if you’re making a small batch you can freeze the stock for another time, or for risottos and other recipes.
When the chicken is cool enough strip of all the meat. Discard skin and bones.
I would use over ¼ of the whole amount depending on how much chicken you want. Either freeze the rest or keep for sandwiches for the week.

Ingredients
Soup Base with garlic
x 4 Leeks
x 3 fresh sweet corns, dekurnelled by cutting away corn with a sharp knife, or 1 tin drained
x 3 Potatoes, either white,or sweet, diced or even little new potatoes cut in half
x 300 g Spinach
Approx 300 g poached chicken
x 2 litres of stock/ water
x 1 tablespoon of bouillon powder or stock cube (optional) for me this just gives the stock some body.
Handful of parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Start with the soup base with the garlic.
Chop all vegetables so they are the same size. This way they will all cook evenly and hopefully at the same time.
Keep out the sweet corn, spinach and parsley.
Add to the base stock and sweat down for 15 minutes.
Add ½ the chicken if blending.
Add bouillon/ stock cube
Add stock/ water
Season

Bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer for around 20 minutes that way all the flavours get all mixed up and yummy.
Add the spinach and sweet corn and simmer again for 5 minutes more.
Add Parsley and serve.

When blending pulse the blender for a few seconds at a time, until it reaches the consistency you are looking for. Then add the remaining chicken so you still have some chunky bits in it when you serve.

Best with crusty buttered bread and a hug!
You could add any veg you like.

I add the sweetcorn, just because I love it, The carrots and potatoes (the root veg) gives the soup body and carbohydrates. The spinach is iron rich. The chicken itself provides the protein and the stock /water is rehydrating.
Thus giving you the perfect round meal with it also easily eaten and digestible.
Plus the is actually a little bit of magic in every bowl.

 

Onion and Apple.
One of the first soup I made.
For the base, do not add the carrot as it is a light coloured soup the carrot can change the colour and smooth texture.
Add
x 1 kg White Onions, chopped
x 2 Apples, eating, peeled and cored
After adding these to the base, cook for 40 minutes then whiz until smooth, season.
To serve drizzle a swirl of cream to the top.
A great Autumnal feast. It was traditional a peasant dish as apples and onions were cheap and freely available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastry
I love making pastry! I love sweet, savoury. puff, wholemeal, herb.
Its all good!!!
Pastry makers are a proud breed and everyone has their own special recipe.
Some people use butter, some use lard, others put an egg in, and some like me use different flours and herbs to make it their own.

Now to show you my very quick simple shortcrust pastry.
You could vary the amount of butter and lard used.

Shortcrust Pastry
10 oz plain flour
5 oz cold butter cut into cubes
pinch of salt
cold water
This can easily be halved for 4 people or pop half in the freezer for another time.

Using a blender put the flour butter and salt into machine and pulse until the mix has turned into breadcrumbs.
Then trickle in small amounts of the water until the mixture comes together and form a ball.The pastry is done. Flatten, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to rest.

A mix of this size should do a pie for 4 or around 6 pasty shapes.
To make the discs for a pasty, roll out the pastry to about half a cm.
Use a side/cake plate place on pastry and cut around plate.
Put disc on a new floured plate. Cut as many as you can and pile on the plate. Make sure you flour between each one, which will stop the discs sticking together.
Once cut cover with cling film and place in the fridge to chill.
Chill for about an hour
when ready to use take pasty shape and roll again with a rolling pin, this will give you a slightly larger pastry and will produce a lovely thin crust for whatever fillings you like.

Before cooking always cover with a milk or egg wash.

This is when you use either a beaten egg or milk to glaze the outside of the pastry. It created a lovely golden crust. It will make your pastry delights look amazing.

I always use milk, just because its cheaper, but the egg wash is a bit better. Try each one and see which one you prefer.

Using your basic shortcrust pastry I am going to show you yummy, easy, cheese and onion pasties.

Ingredients
The pastry you have just made rolled and cut into 4-6 side plate size circles.

x 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
x 100 g of cheese per person, I love a mix of good string cheddar and a crumbly Cheshire cheese, grated
x 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Sweat the onions down in a knob of butter for 5 minutes until starting to soften, add the fennel seeds, cook for another minute or so.
Take off the heat and add the cheese so it just starts to melt in the hot pan. season.
Leave to cool. You can not put hot products in pastry. The heat will cause the fat in the pastry to melt and you will get big holes. Not good.

Once cooled, place filling into a D shape in the circle of pastry.
Milk or water wash the edge of the circle, fold in half and pinch round the edges of your pastry. You can do this with a finger and thumb or simply with a folk.

You want a nicely filled D shape pasty. Snip a little hole in the middle with scissors or a knife. This lets the hot air out and should keep your edges sealed. Milk/egg wash when on the baking tray, then cook in a hot, 200 C oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with a nice salad and wedges or enjoy on their own. Simple and scrummy!

 

 

A basic bread.

Our daily bread. A nice easy loaf to start you off, no kneading, yippee!
Wholemeal loaf. To make one big loaf, you’ll need.

Ingredients
x 550 g wholemeal flour, I like an organic one.
x 2 teaspoons salt
x 1 teaspoon of sugar, this can be left out
x 2 teaspoon, 1 packet of dried yeast
x 400 mls tepid water
tepid water is quite hot water. It should be warm enough to put your fingers in for a few seconds.
I use half boiled water and half tap cold water.
You may not need all of the water and the general rule is the wetter is better. The mix should just form and clean the bowl.
when this happens, take out and on a floured surface, stretch the dough.
Then fold over one edge into the middle and the other edge over this, like a envelope.
No kneading.
Pop this into a greased 2lbor 900g  loaf tin. Put the fold on the bottom, so the top rises nicely
Pop a bit of flour or some seeds on top. I like sunflower seeds on top, just to add some crunch.
Put a damp tea towel over the tin and leave to rise until the loaf has doubled in size.
This can take a while but can be speeded up by putting the loaf in a warm place.
I just leave it to rise naturally now, as the longer you leave it, the better the loaf.
Bake at 200 c for 35-40 minutes until the bottom of the loaf is hollow sounding when turned out.
You can pop back in the oven upside down for a crispy all over loaf.
Enjoy.

Nothing beats the smell of a freshly bakes loaf.

Basic Cake mix.

x 250g self raising flour
x 250g caster sugar
x 250g butter, softened
x 4 eggs
x 1 teaspoon baking powder

Method

In a mixer, mix the softened butter and sugar until pale.
This usually takes 2-3 minutes,
Add the eggs and mix again.
Add the sifted flour and baking powder.
Divide the mix between two lined cake tins.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180 c.
The cake should be golden and springy toi the touch.
Cool on rack.

This recipes gives you two even cakes to fill and decorate, you can of course cook the entire amount in one large tin, cool, then cut in half, but I like the look of two cakes rather then a divided one.

For a nice seasonal cake, use the elderberry  jam from the firs post and whipped cream.
x 1/4-1/2 jar of your own home made elderberry jam
x 400 ml of double whipping cream, whipped to  firm but not over whipped peaks.

Assemble by putting elderberry jam on the top of the bottom cake, then putting whipped cream on the bottom of the top cake then lightly sandwith the jam side and cream side together. Decorate top with dusted icing sugar.

Lovely!

Use the k beater for cakes. The dough hook for breads that need kneading and the k whisk for whipping cream.
Use your home made elderberry jam for a great twist on a victoria sponge cake.
Bailey says Hello in his pirate attire.