Autumn Ramblings

I think Autumn is my favourite time of year. I love the colours and the light. Daylight is at a premium and maybe that is why when it is around, it is appreciated all the more.

It is now that the buildup to Christmas begins for me. I know as a parent I should be stressing out about getting the tree, buying presents, etc etc. I however have pretty much planned the cooking days. ordered the turkey and ham and I’m happily thumbing through cookbooks coming up with inspiring festive recipes. I’m not going to bang on too much about christmas now, however I will tell you about the most delicious Stollen Recipe I found. Stollen orginates from Dresden. Its a really old recipe dating back to the 1500s. I am not mad about fruit bread and to be honest I cannot stand candied peel but there is always an exception. I have brought it for many years and put up with the candied peel because for me it signifies that christmas is here. Its a staple in my house like gingerbread cookies made for the tree and mince pies.

I found a wonderful recipe from a former head chef at the Dorchester.  For me the best thing about making my own Stollen is that I can remove the candied fruit and peel and add my own variation of mixed fruit. I prefer currants to raisens but I totally don’t mind glace cherries.  I added a bit more marzipan (you can never have too much). I wish I had a photo of the finished article but it was late and to be honest it looked like a giant white slug!! My photographic skills are not so wonderful..yet. I did attempt to shoot it cut up the next morning, but I turned my back on it and the 7 yr old snarfed it….Oh well thats a good sign i suppose.

I leave you with my version of Stollen. Please make it, if not just to make your house smell divine. I also leave you with a few photos of our Autumn Ramble through leafy Hackney.

Rachelle

 

 

Stollen

Please feel free to amend the quantities of dried fruit etc to your taste. I did!!

Ingredients

Serves: 12
  • 2 teaspoons dried active baking yeast
  • 175ml (6 fl oz) warm milk (45 C)
  • 1 large egg
  • 75g (3 oz) caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 75g (3 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 350g (12 oz) bread flour
  • 100g (4 oz) currants
  • 50g (2 oz) red glace cherries, quartered
  • 175g (6 oz) diced mixed fruit
  • 200g (7 oz) marzipan
  • 1 heaped teaspoon icing sugar

Method

Prep: 2 hours | Cook: 40 mins

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the egg, caster sugar, salt, butter, and 3/4 of the bread flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition.
When the dough has begun to pull together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead in the currants,  dried cherries. Continue kneading until smooth, about 8 minutes.
Lightly butter a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Lightly grease a baking tray. gently turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. pinch about half an inch of marzipan at a time and dot all over the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it; pinch the seams together to seal.
Place the loaf, seam side down, on the prepared baking tray. Cover with a clean, damp tea-towel and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 150 C / Gas mark 2 and bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow loaf to cool on a wire cooling rack. Dust the cooled loaf with icing sugar.

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Aside

Run for Cover

The two year old has taken over. We are at his mercy. It is like living with a diminutive megalomaniac. Nothing is sacred, everything is thrown, broken, chewed and abused. The throwing, the throwing! Why oh why does he have to throw everything? The girls run for cover as soon as he has a toy in his hand. No amount of cajoling, bribing, asking nicely or just plain telling off will stop the madness.   The trouble is he is so cute, you have to forgive him within seconds…

Amongst the missile fire, I managed to bake a cake for the Pavlina’s birthday (the kids childminder) and I am pleased to say, all of the cake remained either on his plate or in his mouth. I made Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Malteser Cake. Its a staple in our house, I can practically make it in my sleep.

For Halloween the kids did a mountain of pumpkin carving and from the spoils I made a pumpkin cheese cake. I am not really a huge fan of pumpkin pie. As I am half American I feel I should attempt to like it but I find the texture quite cloying. I know a lot of recipes call for canned pumpkin, which is an ingredient that I have never really felt comfortable with.

I made a traditional biscuit base and then roasted squash with fresh ginger and brown sugar. I also added stem ginger too just to give it a bit of a spicy hit. I think this might become a part of our Halloween supper from now on.

I leave you with my recipe for pumpkin and ginger cheesecake and also a few photographs of my Thanksgiving side dishes which were featured in Fashion Affair Magazine this month.

Have a wonderful week!

Rachelle x

Butter wouldn’t melt…yeah right!

Naked Potatoes

Posh Green Bean Casserole

Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Malteser Cake

Pumpkin and Ginger Cheesecake

For the base

  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 100g butter

For the filling

  • 500g pumpkin or squash peeled and roasted
  • 60g fresh ginger grated
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 2tbs butter
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g stem ginger
  • 2tbs stem ginger syrup
  • 150ml double cream

Turn the oven on to 180c.

Peel and chop the squash roughly place in a roasting dish toss with the grated ginger, sugar and butter. Roast for 30 minutes until soft and cooked.

Whilst the squash is roasting put the digestive biscuits and the butter into a food processor with the blade attachment and whizz till the mixture resembles damp sand. Tip into a 9 inch pie dish and using your fingers or the back of a spoon press the mixture firmly down. Place in the fridge to cool.

Take the cooled squash and place in a food processor with the stem ginger and the ginger syrup. Puree and tip into a large mixing bowl. In a medium bowl whisk the cream to soft peak stage. Tip into the bowl with the squash add the cream cheese and mix thoroughly. Pour into the chilled biscuit base and using a spatula evenly spread the mixture over the base. Place in the fridge to chill for an hour or so. Serve with pouring cream.

 

 

 

 


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