Thursday, 28 February 2013

Ciabatta Bread

Apologies for the lack of posting.. final year panic has started to kick in and I'm in the library all day every day. I made this a few weeks ago and have only just got around to posting it.

My nan got a 'How to Bake' bread making book by Paul Hollywood for Christmas so we decided to try some out.  I don't really eat bread apart from Vogels but I love ciabatta and pita bread (especially with olive oil and dips!) It was so successful, and so easy - much easier than the tin loaf we also made which was far less exciting and delicious (in my opinion!).

Makes 2
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10g salt
10g instant yeast
40ml olive oil
400ml tepid water Lightly oil a 2-3 litre square (or if not rectangular) plastic container. In a electric mixer, put flour, salt and yeast (without putting yeast and salt directly on eachother) and then start mixing while adding oil and three quarters of the water. When it starts to come together as dough, add the rest of the water a little at a time and mix on a medium speed for 5-8 minutes. It should be smooth after this time, but still sticky.

Put into a square or rectangular oiled container with a tea towel covering to rise in a warm place for at least an hour - 2-3h is recommended (at least until it doubles in size).  Mine went huge!

Preheat the oven to 220C degrees and cover 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Heavily flour a work surface and transfer the dough onto the flour trying not to push it down at all and trying to keep the square shape, trying to keep as much air in it as possible and in the same shape. Cover the top with more flour then cut into four equal pieces. Stretch each piece and place on a baking tray covered with baking paper.

Leave the rolls for a further 10 minutes then bake for 25 minutes until golden and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Place on a wire rack to cool or eat hot and fresh. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Spicy New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp

For Valentines Day, some girlfriends and I had a night in and cooked dinner. I offered to bring the main as I had pinned a recipe I really wanted to try out from Return to Sunday Supper.  It did not disappoint! This is a really great recipe if you don't have a lot of time that evening to cook and so easy! I made it all in the morning and left it to marinade in the fridge all day. All I had to do in the evening was pop it in the oven with a baguette. It went down very well and all went - quickly!

Some of the ingredients I couldn't get as you can't get them in the UK so I have amended the recipe to what I used as substitutes. I was quite accurate in my measurements at first but as I was cooking for 6 people instead of 4 I added more of everything, taste-tested, then added more of things I thought it needed.

Warning! If you are not a spice-fan, half the cayenne pepper! My amended recipe is below.

Spicy New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp
Serves 6
1.25 kg king prawns, peeled and deveined
3/4 C butter, melted
2 tbsp Chili Sauce

2 tbsp tomato salsa
6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh parsley + 2 tbsp at end
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tbsp woodsmoke/hickory BBQ sauce
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp oregano
6 cloves minced fresh garlic

Dash of tabasco
[1 large baguette heated in oven to serve]

Peel and devein the shrimp. Add all of the other ingredients in a saucepan, stir and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and let cool. Arrange the shrimp in an oven- proof casserole dish and pour the sauce over the shrimp.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Preheat oven to 200C/400F and bake shrimp for 20 - 25 minutes.

Serve immediately sprinkled with the remaining 2 tbsp parsely and with a crusty baguette (baked for 5 minutes in oven at 150C).


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Bow Tie

Happy Valentines everyone! For the February part of my Stashbusting Sewalong pledge, I made a cute bow tie for my little Valentine D who lives in New Zealand.

I followed a really great tutorial from delia creates - so good in fact that I won't try to top it or simplify it here but simply send you there!

I did make one small change however - as I couldn't measure D's neck so I added elastic to the collar instead of velcro. 

Hope you all have a great day!

Friday, 8 February 2013


After a heavy Christmas, I was really feeling some salads. One of my friends Kate pretty much only eats salad (okay, and seeds and nuts..) so I turned to her for some delicious recipes. Here are two that are simple but were really great and one is even a little winter-y if you're one of those people that don't like eating salad in the winter [I am not!]. Both go well with a dressing of 3:1 oil and balsamic with a tsp or so of smooth mustard.

Cranberry Walnut Salad
Mixed leaves
Walnuts, halved
Apple slices soaked in lemon juice
Mixed seeds
Cucumber, finely sliced
Mixed seeds

Pomegranate Mint Salad
Mixed leaves
Finely chopped fresh mint
Carrot, peeled
Pomegranate seeds


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Courgette & Chocolate Chip Muffins

I've seen many recipes for courgette (zucchini!) bread and muffins and finally got around to making some. I found this recipe on Alyssa B. Young and had most of the ingredients already.

They are really great. The recipe is simple and they turned out better than my cakes usually do with very little effort! The cinnamon especially really worked with the chocolate and they are really light.

My modified version is below - I made a few changes. I'm not a huge nut fan so I took away the walnuts and I didn't have any vanilla so I left it out, and I'm not sure it would add anything. I didn't want to put as much oil in as she suggested but then it seemed dry so I added another egg - worked perfectly! I tried two batches, one with 1C courgette and one with 2C courgette and both were really good so I would recommend doing it with 2C. Pictures are with 1C.

Courgette and Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 12
1.5 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp baking/bicarbonate soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 C milk
1 tbs lemon juice
1-2 C shredded corguette/zucchini (approx 1-2 corguette)
1/4 C dark chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Combine the egg, oil, milk, lemon juice; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F/175 degrees C for 25-35 minutes or until muffins test done.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Heat Packs

As part of the Stashbusting Sewalong January Itty Bits, I managed to make, along with my pocket warmers, heat packs {I did finish in January - just!). There are many tutorials out there for heat packs but I really liked this one from fellow fellow with the split compartments and stop stitching around the sides. It was an easy project apart from the end trying to sew together the hole with loads of rice in the pack already! I made a bit of a mess with my thread but it's small and white so not wholly noticeable :)

It's not worth me writing out the tutorial as the one I followed was so good - so head there! The bags are filled with rice - easy to get and cheap!

So for January, I managed pocket warmers and heat packs - pretty fitting for the weather! I think I will continue January's theme throughout the challenge as I really love short projects and have plenty of small scraps left.