I got the bread bug back in the spring. For weeks I lovingly made my dough, kneaded it, let it rise, knocked it back, let it rise again, shaped it, baked it and devoured it. But then, as quickly as I’d got into the habit, I fell out of it again. The usual story – busy at work, busy at home, and frankly it was all taking a bit too LONG.
Fast forward to the autumn and I wanted to try again. I wanted to know what was actually in my toast at breakfast time (no preservatives or E-numbers, thanks very much), I wanted to experience that feeling you get when you turn flour, yeast and water into a lovely springy dough by hand, that calm that descends as you knead, that feeling that you are partaking in something that humans have done for centuries; ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ I wanted that therapeutic bread-making experience (man).
But I also needed to keep it real. I work. I have a family. I have a lot of boxsets to watch and blogs to read. I needed the simplest bread recipe IN THE WORLD. I consulted my cookbooks and found lots of differing opinions, lots of chat about precise water temperatures and thermometers, lots of mentions of spelt flour. I just wanted something easy that worked.
And where, dear reader, did I end up finding this recipe? ON THE YEAST PACKET. Of all places. Yup, the good old Allinson’s 6 x 7g Yeast Sachet packet has the winning bread recipe. It works Every Time. It is very easy. The bread tastes great. I like it. I am sharing it here. Try it. You will thank me. Your other half will thank me. Your offspring will thank me.
In return, I thank you for reading and sharing
Allinson’s Easy Bake Bread Recipe for Hand Baking (the name says it all, really)
650g (1lb 7oz) Allinson Strong White Bread Flour (or other SWBF)
10g (2tsp) salt
5g (1tsp) sugar
15g (½ oz) soft butter or 15ml vegetable oil
7g sachet of Allinson Easy Bake Yeast
400ml (14floz) warm water (1 part boiling, 2 parts cold)
What to do:
- In a bowl mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Rub in the butter, or stir in the vegetable oil.
- Add warm water and mix to form a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes on a floured surface or until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Shape as desired and place into loaf tins* or onto warm greased baking sheets.
- Preheat oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8 (or do this in about half an hour)
- Cover dough with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for around 45 minutes, or until double in size. (At this stage you can brush top of your loaf with milk and sprinkle seeds on top – pumpkin and poppy work well, I find.)
- Place in the centre of your preheated oven and bake for around 30 minutes (around 15 minutes for rolls). When ready, the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire tray.
For wholemeal bread, follow the recipe above, using Allinson Wholemeal Bread Flour and add an additional 50ml (2floz) warm water.
*My top tip here is to pre-warm your loaf tins if you can; it seems to make a difference – just put in a v. low oven to warm through.
This post was not sponsored, not anything, just hopefully helpful!
So, Littlest has started nursery school and has settled in a treat, thank goodness. She has got her little group of friends, old and new, and I hear about them every day, and the games they get up to. Because of work I don’t get to pick her up every day, but on the days I do collect her, I noticed she was very thirsty at the end of the session. She’s grown out of her Tommee Tippee beaker, but whenever I gave her a normal plastic water bottle, half of it would end up down her front. I needed a solution for my thirsty girl!
Thanks to the lovely folks at Oxo Tot who make gorgeous colourful products, we have found the answer! The all-new and super-stylish Twist Top Water Bottle – designed especially for children aged 2+. It’s just the right size, at 350ml, so it fits nicely into small hands. When you turn the top, the straw pops out – perfect. My little one cannot manage to twist the top herself though – I have to do that for her – but she can close it. The top is nicely rubberized, there is a handy carrying loop, it is leakproof (yes!), easy to wash, and all in all is a good quality bit of kit – as you’d expect from this family-friendly brand.
Those same lovely folks at Oxo Tot have given me three to give away on the blog – one in Aqua, one in Green and one in Raspberry! So, if you’d like to win one, please comment on this post. To be in with a chance of winning a Water Bottle, you have to a) follow @onehandedcook on Twitter AND b) RT my tweet about the giveaway!
THE DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES HAS NOW PASSED AND THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN SELECTED! THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED.
The small print:
1. Entry in to the prize draw will be deemed as acceptance of these rules.
2. The prize draw is open to any UK resident, aged 18 or over, who follows the @onehandedcook Twitter account AND retweets the tweet about the prize draw referencing the prize of an Oxo Tots Twist Top Water Bottle.
3. The competition ends at 09:00am on the 25th November 2013.
4. One winner will be drawn at random from all valid entries.
5. One entry per person.
6. The prize is one Oxo Tots Twist Top Water Bottle.
7. The prize is non-negotiable, non-transferable, and there is no cash alternative.
8. The draw will be made by random selection within seven days of the competition ending and the prize posted to the winner’s home address within 30 days.
9. The winner will be notified by direct message on Twitter if they have won.
10. If a response is not received by the winner within 30 days they will forfeit their right to the prize.
11. No purchase necessary.
12. This prize draw is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Twitter and Twitter shall not be liable in any way whatsoever to the Users.
For an 18-year window, it’s ALL about being a mummy…
Loved Mumsnet Blogfest. I was so lucky to win a ticket! Thank you, Mumsnet.
I came away inspired – inspired to write, inspired to keep up my blog, inspired to read more blogs, inspired to be funny (it’s all about the LOLZ), inspired to be a positive role model for my children, inspired to wear pink wellies, and inspired to make my blog the best I can (in the time I have available!).
Join me. Get inspired. Go to http://www.mumsnet.com/bloggers-network and get reading. You will be opening a door onto a whole new world of brilliant blogs…
I have fond memories of Bonfire Night as a child, when we’d go up to the local playing field in our village for the annual fireworks display, and stand huddled with my friends and all the mums and dads, waving sparklers around and oohing and aahing at the fireworks. My most powerful memory, however, is of the food we ate every year without fail: sausages and jacket potatoes. To me, Bonfire Night equals sausages and jacket potatoes. And so it will for my children too!
And so, when the lovely people at Denhay Farms sent me a Bonfire Night box of sausages, bacon, delicious-looking condiments and other delicious bits, it seemed only natural that we should devour the sausages on Saturday along with (you’ve guessed it) jacket potatoes.
I love Denhay’s Spoilt Pig sausages because they are made using outdoor reared pork approved by Freedom Food to strict RSPCA standards. They also taste completely delicious. My box of goodies also contained Tracklements Spiced Honey Mustard, Tracklements Spicy Tomato Ketchup and some rather phenomenal Chilli Bacon Jam, made from Denhay Farm bacon by Walthamstow-based company Eat17. I know. Jam made of bacon. Who would have thunk it?
The pork sausages were glazed in the Tracklements Spiced Honey Mustard. Simply mix together mustard, honey, balsamic vinegar, smidgen of oil, and a teaspoon of tomato purée in a small roasting tin – so your sausages fit in snugly – and then add your sausages and roll them around in the mixture. Cook in a hot oven, turning them once or twice, ensuring they are piping hot before serving. We loved ‘em, the kids loved ‘em. Ta da:
Serve on paper plates with jacket potatoes doused in butter, salt and pepper, around the bonfire, watching the guy go up in flames. (Yes, we even made a guy – something I hadn’t done in about 25 years…)
The Denhay Farms bacon is fantastic – it’s dry-cured by hand, and again from pigs that have lived a happy, healthy life. It makes literally the perfect bacon sandwich. The twist? Butter the bread, and then spread on some Chilli Bacon Jam and top with bacon. A taste sensation, and a great way to liven up a bacon sarnie.
We had a great Bonfire Night – and the food certainly helped. We <heart> sausages.
Happy Bonfire Night all – stay safe.
Disclaimer: I was sent the box of Denhay/Spoilt Pig goodies to review on the blog. All opinions are my own!
This week’s highlight was winning a ticket to the 2013 Mumsnet BlogFest (for more details, click here)! I really was in shock! I went last year when my blog was but a month old, and was bowled over by the amazing group of bloggers I met, and the quality of the panels for the various topics up for discussion, so I am thrilled to be going again this year. I am looking forward to catching up with blogging friends, and meeting some more lovely people (if you are going, let me know, so I can say hi!) and hearing speakers such as Tanya Byron, the inspirational Jack Monroe from A Girl Called Jack and a whole host of fellow bloggers. Yippee!
So, from BlogFest to, er, mince! (nice segue there…) I recently discovered that there are recipe books devoted entirely to mince. I kid you not. From Favourite Mince Recipes and Marvellous Meals with Mince (by cookery doyenne Josceline Dimbleby no less) to the imaginatively titled Mince! it would appear that us Brits genuinely love the stuff. Certainly, it’s versatile, and children do tend to love it. So is there life beyond spaghetti bolognaise, which I make quite often (i.e. all the time)? I felt compelled to try something different… and so, I bring you chile con carne! It is so easy to make, I hope this will fast become a tea-time hit in your house, too.
I was particularly keen to try chile on the children, because kidney beans are a great source of fibre, protein and B vitamins and provide slow-releasing energy – perfect for active kids (and super heroes…), and I want them to eat more pulses. But I was conscious that adding chilli would make it instantly spicy, and hence a risky option, so I just use cumin and coriander.
So, don’t panic, it’s not spicy – it just has a lovely rich, warming flavour, primarily from the cumin, which gives it that Mexican chile-style hit. Initially I was a bit nervous about the reaction I’d get to the kidney beans, so rather than serving the chile with rice, I served it in tortilla wraps to hide the kidney beans (I know, I know), with a bit of rice, grated cheese, cut-up avocado and a dollop of sour cream. No complaints about kidney beans. In no fact complaints about anything – they loved it. And, alongside the good old faithful spag bol, this has become a family favourite.
You do need time to make it – while it’s dead easy to throw together, and hence the perfect recipe for a busy parent, it needs 1½ hours in the oven so make sure you have a window of time available. You also need a decent pan which will transfer from the hob to the oven. It freezes really well and makes an easy meal when friends come to play.
Perfect for bonfire night, served with jacket potatoes, or boiled rice (with a dollop of sour cream and some grated cheddar), or go the whole hog and do the tortilla wrap option – it’s delicious, I promise. Oh, and for the grown-ups, add a nice glass of red. In fact, I even asked lovely Helen from The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club what wine she’d recommend, and she suggests La Posta Argentinian Malbec from Majestic or Tesco Finest Chilean Carmenere.
Don’t say I’m not good to you.
Chile con Carne
Makes 8–10 child-sized portions
You will need:
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped*
400g beef mince
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
What to do:
- Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/320F
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed oven proof pan (I use my Le Creuset) and sauté the onions, peppers and mince allowing the meat to brown a little.
- Add the cumin and coriander and stir well.
- Add the kidney beans, tomatoes and water, season well, and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Cover with a lid and put in the oven for 1½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
- Skim off any excess fat before serving.
* Note, if you don’t have a red pepper, I’ve also used courgette and carrot in its place, and it still worked a treat.
Enjoy round the bonfire