Sunday, 25 September 2011

Flower Pot Bread

A bit retro but flower pot bread is still an exciting project and the end result is very impressive.  The following recipe is for a white bread with seeds scattered on top before baking but the topping possibilities are endless, Red Leicester cheese and red onion, poppy seeds, rosemary, sundried tomatoes and olives, to name but a few.

Make sure your terracotta pots (buy new ones) are cleaned thoroughly then coat the inside with olive oil and bake at 180C for 45 minutes.  This will season the inside and make your bread less likely to stick.  Line the base of the pots with parchment paper to cover the hole.

This recipe makes 2 good sized loaves in 6" pots.  You can use any size you like and adjust the baking time accordingly.


1lb strong white bread flour
2 tsp dried yeast
3 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pint tepid water
1/2 oz butter
2 oz mixed seeds

Stir 1 tsp sugar and the dried yeast into the tepid water and leave to stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt and the remaining sugar, add the butter and rub into the dry ingredients.  Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl and mix till a dough forms.

Place the dough onto a floured surface and knead, using the heel of your hand to push forward and fold back until the dough is smooth.

Break off 2 small balls of dough then cut the dough into 2 pieces and put 1 piece inside each pot.  Brush the dough with a little milk place the small balls of dough on top and scatter over the seeds.

Leave in a warm place for 45-60 minutes until doubed in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 230C

Bake the bread for 10- 30 minutes depending what size of pot you are using, the bread should be golden and sound hollow when tapped.

Cool on a wire tray then put back in the pots.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Spicy Plum and Ginger chutney

Chutney lovers will love this recipe for plum and ginger chutney.  I made double the recipe because it is so popular with the family, it is eaten liberally with pizza, cold cuts of meat, indian food, breads, terrines and of course, anything that involves cheese.

Its up to you whether you spice it with mild, medium or hot chillies, 2 medium sized red chillies with seeds results in mild/medium in the following recipe.


2 lb plums, stones removed then roughly chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium size red chillies, finely chopped
6 oz sultanas
1 lb demerara sugar
1 pint malt vinegar
1" piece of root ginger, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
8 cloves (for easy removal tie them in a piece of muslin)
2 tsp salt

Place all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil.

Boil rapidly for 35-40 minutes until the chutney is thick, stir often.

Heat the jars up with very hot (not boiling) water then pour in the chutney.  Place a wax-paper disc on top and put the lid on.  Label when cool.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Banana and Sultana loaf

Make this banana and sultana loaf for a delicious, tea-time treat for the weekend, I can guarantee it will be a regular favourite.

Great on it's own or spread with a little butter.

4 oz soft margarine
4 oz sugar 
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas, roughly chopped or mashed
8 oz SR Flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
5 oz sultanas

Cream together the margarine and sugar.
Add the beaten eggs.
Mash or chop the bananas, add to the butter and egg mixture and stir to mix.
Sift and fold in the flour, bicarb, spice and sultanas

Bake in a greased loaf tin for 40minutes at 180 C / Gas 4. 
Leave for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a wire rack.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Stuffed Squash

For the stuffed squash

3 small squash
200g basmati rice, cooked for 5 minutes with 1 tsp salt, 1/2" cinnamon stick
3 green cardamon and 3 black cardamom.
1 tbsp sultanas
6 chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped and cooked in 1 tbsp oil
1/4 onion fried with 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp cumin then add 4 tbsp coconut milk.

Serves 6

Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F/ gas 5

Halve and de-seed the squash, score the flesh and brush with oil, season with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
Remove the spices from the rice.

Mix all the stuffing ingredients together, check the seasoning and spoon it into the squash, return it to the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Seafood Paella

Paella is the taste of Summer for me.  As soon as the sun is out so is the paella pan. I cooked this one on the hob, using two burners but i...