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Bready, steady, go

31 May

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I think I may have mentioned the Hoxton Bakery before. They do fan-ruddy-tastic Brownies. They also do bread pudding. It’s pretty fine too. Dense, squidgy, rich, packed full of dried fruit & candied peel, tooth-achingly sweet (this is a good thing people), and eco friendly (because its recycling yesterday’s leftover bread, yeah?)

Bread pudding is not to be confused with bread & butter pudding. It’s more of a tray-bakey-cakey type of thing, to be served sliced and cold with a big cup of tea. You could try Nigel Slater’s bread pudding recipe.

I did some baking this week, a semolina lemon drizzle mash-up, but this bread pudding was far superior so you get a picture of it instead*, and a plea to seek out the Hoxton Street Bakery to try some.

*photo taken from the Hoxton Bakery’s twitter feed

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Slate and Soya

23 May

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First triathlon of the year for the boys, first spectator event for me. It was the Snowdonia Slateman in and around Llanberis last weekend. A quick dip in the icy Llyn Padarn, an undulating cycle round and about, followed by a sunny sprint up and down the local slate quarry. It did look fun, but I had to settle for ringing my chain reaction cycles cow-bell for all I was worth to cheer on the athletes. Well done one and all!

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Seeing as I was in a support role I provided baked goods for the weekend, a pear & chocolate upside down pudding to fortify the troops the evening before, and the delectable Dan Lepard’s soya and linseed loaf for breakfast. Mr Bakes and I have been big fan of Vogel’s soya and linseed bread for many a moon, until we discovered we could make our own, with Dan’s recipe. Seriously, if you like Vogel, you’ll love this. Try it!

Bun fight

22 Nov

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It’s another Dan Lepard post! This time, his Soft honey seed bread, cunningly fashioned into rolls.

It’s simple, after the first rise divide the dough into 100g balls. Pat down lightly onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Cover with a tea towel and leave for the second proving.

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan, and bake the rolls for 20-25 mins until nicely browned. If you place the rolls fairly close together before baking you’ll get a lovely set of batch rolls.

Rain stops play, but not the awards

16 Jul

I was hoping to tell you all about my swim in the Thames from Hampton Court to Kingston today. I was going to tell you how, after 7 months of swimming coaching and weekly pond swimming visits to the Kenwood Ladies Pond with Mog (who won the wedding bake off, remember?) paid off. I was hoping to recount race perfection, an easy 200 metre warm up before a good (for me) paced race for the rest of the 2.25 mile swim. I would have told you how I didn’t panic in the open water and swam front crawl the whole way. But I can’t, because the Hampton Court Swim I was due to take part in on Sunday was cancelled. Bah humbug!

Thank heavens, then, for not one but two “One Lovely Blog” nominations that came my way last week.

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award

The first was from Amy at Snazzy Biscuits, and the second from Ester at Pies & Cookies. Thanks ladies, you rock!

With nomination comes great responsiblity, here’s what I happens next…

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you – yup
  • Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere. – mmm hmm, in triplicate
  • Tell us 7 facts about yourself.
    1. I was christened on Christmas Day.
    2. I can play 3 musical instruments “officially”, and many more unofficially.
    3. I have the old Channel 4 Tour de France theme tune as my phone ring tone.
    4. My surname isn’t really Cakes…
    5. I don’t really like chocolate cake.
    6. I’m a pedant, or I would be if I were clever enough.
    7. I can swim 100 metres in 1m50s
  • Nominate 15 other blogs you like for this award.
    1. Dave Johnson’s Photography– Dave is my brother-in-law, cyclist, and photographer. His photography blog is a bit of alright! (and he did the wedding photos for me & Mr.Cakes)
    2. Carla Kirste – Carla is an amazing seamstress, and she made my wedding dress!
    3. Wild Woman Swimming – One woman’s wild swimming adventures in the west country, I wish I was there!
    4. Rhubarb & Rose – the source of my cake pop fascination.
    5. 10k Marathon Swim – if you like open water swimming, read this. Inspiration.
    6. Planet Byde – Rosemary’s amazing tales of adventure racing, more inspiration.
    7. Skinny Freezer Meals – some yummy eats right here.
    8. San Diego Fitness Diva – Asia is on a journey to completing her first Ironman triathlon – go girl! Even more inspiration.
    9. Avocado and Basil– hummus and black cherry jam in a sandwich? If anyone is going to convince me, it’s this blog…
    10. The Bubbly Baker – adventures in baking? Yes please!
    11. The Thankful Heart – more delightful cooking. Thank you.
    12. 400 days til 40 – one blogger’s quest to figure out life by age 40.
    13. London Review of Breakfasts – the most important meal of the day? Too right.
    14. All Seasons Cyclist – helpful advice to keep you cycling all year. Much needed in this biblical summer weather.
    15. Pitfield London – cakes, eats, gorgeous homewares. And all on my doorstep. I die!
  • Post a comment on each of your nominees’ blogs telling them about the nomination. – consider it done!

Well done nominees. If you fancy taking part, please do. If not, no worries.

And now, back to business. Swimming. Oh what could have been! If only it were still May, sunny, and Mr Cakes and I were back in Padstow swimming in the Doom Bar (and later downing pints of it…) And this weekend’s bread – a Sour Cream sandwich loaf, Dan Lepard style.

doom bar swimming padstow

Dan Lepard Sour cream Bread

Rude awakening

9 Jul

Rude Health Morning Glory Bread

Porridge is my favourite breakfast, I could eat it every day – even in the height of summer (especially this november-esque summer we’re having right now.) At the weekend I feel obliged to have something else – a bacon sandwich perhaps, or a couple of poached eggs on toast. Tasty breakfast fodder, but just not porridge.

rude health morning glory

rude health morning glory

On most Sundays during the summer Mr Cakes and I have some kind of sporting pursuit planned – a training cycle ride, a triathlon, or the Hampton Court Swim we have planned for Sunday this week. The best thing about these weekend physical jerks? We get to eat porridge for breakfast!

Rude loaf before baking

The king of porridge is Rude Health’s Morning Glory Porridge, a blend of 5 grains and 5 seeds. It’s good for you, and deeelicious. I love it, so much so that I decided to bake it into a bread, so that even on the bacon sarnie/poached egg days I could still get my oats.

Rude loaf after baking

Rude Awakening Loaf

Ingredients
75g Rude Health morning glory porridge, plus extra for sprinkling on top
450g strong white flour
100g strong wholemeal flour
1½ tsp salt
1½ tsp brown sugar
1½ tsp instant dry yeast
50g unsalted butter, melted
Oil, for kneading
Milk, for brushing

Method
Mix the oats with 375ml boiling water. Let it sit for 15 minutes, until the mixture has cooled slightly (but still warm) and looks like porridge. Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in another bowl, then add the porridge mix and the melted butter and mix well. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Then use Dan Lepard’s tried and tested 10 second kneading technique – oil your hands and work surface, knead the dough on it for 10 seconds, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Repeat this twice at 10 minute intervals. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a tea-towel and leave for 30 minutes. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, roll up and tuck the ends underneath the loaf shaping into a bloomer. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Cover and leave for 90 minutes until risen by half.

Preheat the oven t0 220C. Brush the top of your loaf with milk and then sprinkle on some more Rude Health morning glory porridge. Cut some slashes on top of your loaf. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200C and bake for a further 20 minutes. The loaf will sound hollow when you tap the bottom when it’s done

Eat with bacon, eggs, or maybe some home-made gooseberry jam (recipe to follow soon). Oatally brilliant!

Rude health loaf

Rude health loaf with gooseberry jam

Golden Brown

28 Jun

Dan Lepard Wholemeal bread

First of all, if this post has you humming The Stranglers, get your lug-holes round this Stylophone Council version of Golden Brown

dry ingredients wholemeal bread

secret ingredient

wholemeal bread ingredients

Now, down to business. Adventures in bread baking continue in the Bakes household. At the moment I’m trying to perfect the overnight fridge proving. First time round I made a lovely seeded bloomer, but made the mistake of putting the dough in the fridge overnight for the 2nd proving. It didn’t work as planned and the resulting loaf, although very tasty, was very dense. Must try harder!

Before proving

after prooving

freshly baked

Cooling the bread

More succesful was this Dan Lepard recipe for Wholemeal Bread. The dough went into the fridge for the 1st proving and left overnight. The following morning out came the dough to be shaped and left to prove for a 2nd time. Have you spotted Dan’s secret ingredient? It surely wouldn’t be a Dan Lepard recipe without a secret ingredient – 1/2 a 500mg Vitamin C tablet this time. It’s scientific, so I won’t can’t explain, but apparently it stops the bread being too heavy. I’m not sure how, but it did work! A proposal for keeping your freshly baked loaf in tip-top condition – wrap and store in a *clean* tea towel (preferably linen), or you could make yourself a bread bag like this one.

sandwich bread

There you have it – a light, fluffy, crunchy crust wholemeal loaf. Perfect for a cheese and pickle sandwich if you ask me.

bacon eggs and wholemeal bread

Or toasted to have with your eggs and bacon on Sunday morning. Tick!

Loafing around

12 Jun

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Loafing around? As if! The forecast downpour didn’t arrive which meant only one thing for me & Mr Cakes on Sunday morning. CYCLE RIDE! Up & out the door by 6.30 meant we had cycled out of Shoreditch to deepest darkest sunniest Essex by the time most people are only starting to *think* about getting out of bed. Smug much?

white loaf

After Greater Anglia trains’ best efforts to prevent us getting home, we did get back – and just in time for lunch bread baking. After the BBQ bun success of recent weeks, it seemed appropriate to go back to basics with Dan Lepard’s failsafe white bread recipe found, again, in the Guardian complete with tips & tricks to help your loaf succeed!

Dan Lepard White Bread Ploughmans

I reckon it worked, what do you think? And yes, that is big sis’s Damson Chutney you can see there – an excellent accompaniment.

Dan Lepard White Bread sandwich

Not bad toasted with butter & jam either. Although – a word of caution. We scoffed the lot pretty quick! Thanks again Mr Lepard.

Dan Lepard bread butter and jam

BBQ Custard Buns

9 Jun

Dan Lepard Slider Buns
You wouldn’t know it now, but sometimes the sun comes out in the UK, and we can do fun things like sit outside & have BBQs. Yup, it’s true – a couple of weeks ago, the sun shone, Shoreditch heated up, and out came the coals and burgers.

Custard Powder for Bread
I haven’t done much in the bread baking department, but after the success of Dan Lepard’s hot cross buns at Easter, I thought – why not try some of his burger buns, following this recipe for his “Slider buns” found on the Guardian website.

custard bread
Imagine my surprise when the first step in Dan’s method is to make custard. Yup, you heard. Custard. Admittedly it’s a very savory custard, but a custard nonetheless. Made with custard powder, and milk and everything. Crackers!

Dan Lepard burger buns
Then it’s the usual drill. Add flour etc, do the minimal Dan Lepard kneading trick, prove the dough, roll into balls and prove again.

bread rolls after proving
Bit of egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake until golden. Don’t they look good? Another success, thanks Dan!

baked bread rolls
Good enough to wrap up with brown paper and butchers twine to take to the BBQ you’ve just been invited to.

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And don’t forget about Big sis’s corn relish, a perfect burger condiment. Don’t mind if I do!

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