Tag Archives: Baking

Ramadan Day 4


Felt rather tired today but personally I find keeping busy in the kitchen helps the time to pass quicker so I am happy to stay there making a few things.

Today there was Algerian shorba again, vegetarian as it was last time but this time with tiny Orzo pasta (or Tli-tli as the Algerians call it) instead of burghul or vermicelli. There were some leftovers as well as mini pizzas that came out soft as little pillows, vegetable samosas as I made a double batch yesterday and cheese and potato Borek. A tip for the potato borek that I picked up from my dear sister-in-law is to use instant potato! Yes… the powdered stuff in boxes – remember the adverts for Smash in the 1970’s or early 1980’s??! “For mash get Smash!” So, I used about 120g of Tesco instant potato and about 550ml of boiling water, stirred well with a wooden spoon and then added a knob of butter and about 150g grated cheddar. I used this to fill the spring roll pastry and folded into logs. I slightly over-cooked them as you can see in the photo. 🙄


Dessert was Eve’s pudding but made with strawberries and raspberries instead of apples – this was served with rich chocolate ganache. It didn’t turn out quite as planned because I took a shortcut and used a supermarket cake packet mixture which was a bit too runny for this recipe. It was very tasty though with the tart, tanginess of the raspberries and the soft, sweetness of the cake. I didn’t think it really needed the rich chocolate sauce but my 15 yr old and 13 yr old daughters disagreed. Nice to have pleased someone!


Choco-peanut butter pancakes


I was trying to think of a way of sprucing up the plain pancakes we often eat and noticed the peanut butter jar left on the counter top… it’s been a long time since I saw peanut butter chips in the supermarket so I thought I would try freezing blobs of peanut butter and making my own ‘peanut butter chips’! They pretty much melted when the pancakes were cooked but there were bits of peanut butter oozing from the pancakes as we bit into them. Delicious!


1 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
10g melted butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
50g smooth peanut butter

  • I started off by placing tiny lumps of the peanut butter onto a freezable surface and then placing the peanut butter in the freezer to firm.
  • Next, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar into a bowl. Beat in the egg and milk and then add the vinegar and melted butter.
  • Heat a non-stick pan (medium heat) with a tiny amount of oil and just before you start to cook the pancakes, empty the chocolate chips and peanut butter lumps into the batter and give it all a quick mix.
  • Drop tablespoons of the batter into the frying pan and heat until the top starts to become dry and the bubbles pop. Carefully turn over and cook for another minute or so. I made around 15 pancakes with this batter.
  • I served the pancakes with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Chicken and Broccoli Quiche


I’d been wanting to make a quiche and then, when browsing Leslie’s blog I noticed the recipe for Easy All-butter Pie Crust that she posted recently. With promises of  “…a recipe with a technique that will give you the flakiest all-butter pie crust you’ve ever dreamed of”, I had to bite the bullet and give it a go!

I have to confess that I didn’t have butter but wanted quiche right away so I just got on and made it with margarine anyway. I wouldn’t recommend using margarine as it made the dough a little sticky and difficult to work with but the pastry was still a success: nice, flaky and cooked well without going soggy under the quiche filling.

Easy All-Butter Pie Crust

Makes one 9″ double crust or two 9″ single crusts

2 cups/280 grams all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter
5 tablespoons cold water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

I halved the recipe since I was making a quiche and not a pie.

Start by sifting the flour and place into a freezer bag and freeze the flour until cold. Chop the butter into cubes and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Combine the water, salt and vinegar and place in the fridge.

Next dump the butter and flour onto your clean worktop and roll over it with a rolling pin until the butter is flattened into sheets. Gather up the butter and flour and place in a mixing dish, pour the water/vinegar mixture over half at a time in case you dont need it all and combine into a rough dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and press together into a more uniform ball of dough, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour before using.

More thorough explanation of the method here.

I rolled out and lined a 9″ lid of a Pyrex dish with the pastry since I don’t have a pie dish and my flan dish is a little too deep.

I refrigerated the dish with pastry for a further 30 minutes before baking blind at 375F for about 20 minutes. I covered the pastry with foil and some baking beans so prevent puffing up.

Ingredients for the quiche filling:

1 ready cooked chicken breast (approx 100g), finely diced
50g boiled and cooled broccoli, finely chopped
80g Cheddar cheese grated
60 ml cream
3 eggs, beaten

Combine the chicken, broccoli and cheese and then spread over the base of the quiche.

Beat together the cream and eggs and pour over the chicken, broccoli and cheese.

Finish off with a little freshly ground black pepper.

I found the cheese salty enough and didn’t need to add extra salt.

Bake at 375 f for 20-30 minutes; until the filling is firm and golden.

Recipe Review – Cinnamon rolls


I saw this recipe for cinnamon rolls on the Pioneer Woman website and couldn’t wait to try it but the quantities given are huge! I think I would have been eating cinnamon rolls for the next month with those quantities! I made just a quarter of the stated recipe which still made one large dish of rolls and one small dish.

As for the icing, I don’t like cinnamon rolls drowned in icing so I used just one scant cup of icing sugar beaten together will a splash of milk and maple syrup and poured this over the warm rolls.

The rolls were the best I have tasted! Very soft texture which stayed fresh the next day. This recipe is for keeps and will make this again for sure!

I used less butter, sugar and cinnamon for the filling and added a scattering of milk chocolate chips.

The printable recipe is available on The Pioneer Woman website here but I used:

  • 280 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon instant Yeast
  • 2 cups (Plus 1/4 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Melted Butter
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
  • Milk chocolate chips


The finished rolls with their glaze. I just kept the glass lid on the dish and the rolls were still fresh and soft the next day.

Daring Bakers – Donuts


I joined The Daring Bakers quite some time ago with all good intentions of diligently making the monthly challenge but as everyone knows, life has a habit of getting in the way and then I forgot all about it until this month. I decided to jump on in and see if I can keep up from here on.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious. Download the printable .pdf file with all recipes here.

It seemed that a lot of people were raving about the Alton Brown recipe so I decided to pick that recipe. I have followed a couple of his recipes in the past and they were successful so I had full confidence in this recipe also!

Instead of milk in this recipe I used laban which I believe is similar to buttermilk. It is a Middle Eastern yogurt drink; it seems to me that it is thinned down unflavoured, unsweetened yogurt for drinking. I also increased the sugar to 1/2 cup as 1/4 didn’t seem adequate for sweet doughnuts.

I omitted the nutmeg since I am unsure about whether this spice is Islamically acceptable (search here).

Overall I was very pleased with the results and so were the children. They are very fond of Krispy Kreme donuts but decided that these were actually nicer!

Recipe from the Foodnetwork website:


Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil depends on size of vessel you are frying in – you want three inches of oil (can substitute any flavourless oil used for frying)


Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.

Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

(I did all of the above steps in the breadmaker instead)

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole.

Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.


Myself and many other Daring Bakers are particularly grateful to Audax at Audax Artifex for his tips in making the Alton Brown’s doughnuts – check out his post and the information he has provided.

After having looked at the blog posts of fellow Daring Bakers who made this months challenge I loved the idea over at Candied to add orange zest into the dough. When I make brioche I add lemon zest into the dough so I am sure that orange zest would be a delicious addition.

I found it messy filling some of the fried doughnuts with jam/Nutella/lemon curd but Marcellina over at Marcellina in Cucina filled her doughnuts when shaping (before frying) and they turned out perfect.

No knead Ciabatta


I discovered this recipe shortly after buying one of the Ikea cast iron casserole dishes and was really excited to get on and make this. I doubled the original recipe because at 5l, the casserole dish I have is pretty huge. If you have a smaller dish, go with the original quantities for this bread (360g flour). I was a little over zealous when it came to flouring the tea towel so there was a little too much flour on top of my bread nevertheless the results were stunning. Crunchy exterior and beautifully aerated interior that was all the more delicious with lashings of butter that melted into my still warm slice that I couldn’t wait to taste test.

You must plan ahead with this bread as the dough needs to sit for a good 10-12 hours before shaping into a loaf, wrapping in a tea towel and leaving for a further 2 hours before baking.


720g strong white bread flour
2.5 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
660ml tepid water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in water and olive oil. Mix together quickly with fingertips and then knead for a minute or two. Cover and leave in a dry place for 12 hours


The risen, aerated dough after a few hours:


After 12 hours, you’ll find it more than doubled in sized and very bubbly. On a well floured surface, knock back the dough and form into a ball. Place on a tea-towel sprinkled with flour (I slightly over did it in fear of the bread sticking), bring the edges of the tea towel up and cover and leave for 2 hours.


Place cast iron cooking dish with lid (Dutch Oven) into the oven on 450F/230C to pre-heat.

Flop the dough out into the cooking dish, place on lid and bake for 25mins. Remove lid and cook for further 15 mins to crisp up the crust.


Enjoy with a good quality butter or as a delicious accompaniment to home-made soup.


Wholemeal brownie


I’ve discovered that you can use all wholemeal flour in brownie and there is absolutely no difference in taste. With all that sugar in there, it’s nice to add something slightly healthy into the mix! I’ve also reduced the sugar that was required in the original recipe.

You need:

  • 200ml melted butter or margarine (190g)
  • 1 cup sugar (220g)
  • 150g chocolate – milk or dark (or 1/2 a bag of Hershey’s chocolate chips)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup wholemeal all-purpose flour (140g)
  • 150g chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Melt the sugar, butter and chocolate together – I use the microwave – and mix well.

Allow to cool slightly and then beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Finally stir in the sifted flour.

Transfer to a 9″x9″ (23cmx23cm) square baking tray and bake for 30 mins or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean.