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.

signature
Aside

In Sickness and In Health

I’m sitting at the breakfast bar, having dragged my sick tired body out of bed. I have been floored by a horrendous virus. It literally knocked me sideways and I did not get out of bed for three days! Anyway I am actually out of bed. Its amazing, My lovely child minder (and nursemaid for the duration) is bustling around gathering coats ready for the school run.  Lola gives me a hug goodbye and then looks at me. “Mummy, when we get back from school can you not be wearing, socks, pants, vest…” she then gestures with a look of disdain on her face, “and this” “This” is a very comfy very oversized cardigan “Can you please wear a dress”

Having been told, I got dressed and stepped outside for the first time in days. It took me five times longer to do anything but I managed to shop for my Mexican Class.  I really enjoyed teaching this class. A really lovely couple who were enthusiastic and very able. We cooked an authentic chilli, no kidney beans in sight here, just good quality beef and a ton of Mexican dried chilli’s. Its so simple and so delicious when you make it you will not make chilli any other way.  We made salsa by charring the vegetables and the chillies and whizzing them with lime and garlic. Its surprising how different the salsas tasted when each person made their own. We also make Churros. Its a donut  Deep fried batter dipped in chocolate, how can that be wrong?

Due to my incapacitated state I haven’t really cooked anything this week. Next week I will be recipe testing and also baking a birthday cake for my childminder…Shhh don’t tell her.

I leave you with a recipe for chicken noodle soup..It was the first thing I ate when I began to feel better. It is totally simple and so comforting and f I am ever feeling, under the weather or in need of comfort this is the recipe I always turn to.

Have a wonderful week.

Rachelle x

A simple chicken quesadilla

Spicy charred veg salsas

Churros

 

 Chicken Noodle Soup

Not really a recipe more of a list of four things and you heat them up. Simple and restorative the best kind of healing food. This recipe is for one person.

Ingredients

  •  A handful of cooked chicken, shredded off the bone
  • Good quality chicken stock, but don’t beat yourself up if you use a stock cube
  • A handful of Gigli pasta noodles. You can use your favourite noodle.
  • Salt and Pepper

Heat up the stock in a small saucepan, add your chicken. When the stock is hot and simmering add the noodles. Simmer until the noodles are cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 


signature
Aside

Quando Quando Quando…..

I feel like its been an eternity since I have put fingers to (very broken) keyboard.  I have had the busiest two weeks with work and kids. I will never complain of course, but wow last week was a perfect storm of all my income streams.  I assisted Lisa with a shoot on Monday then taught a Thai Class on Tuesday and then made a ton of flowers for a wedding at the weekend…

Due to my crazy schedule this week I found myself making really quick suppers, literally chucking things in a pan for the kids. One pot dishes are a saviour in times like this and luckily my kids are always keen to see what concoction mum has thrown together. I made a great chick pea and cabbage dish this week. I know it sounds odd but savoy cabbage shredded and sautéed in olive oil and garlic with a pinch of fennel seeds is divine. I then threw in some chick peas (for carbs mainly) and some chorizo which was knocking about in the back of the fridge. You can use anything really, ham, or bacon would be wonderful too.

I also found myself in auto pilot on my one free day and made some pizza dough. I then threw a tin of tomatoes into a saucepan and reduced them down a little. I spread it on the dough and add whatever is in the fridge. As long as there is cheese you can pretty much make up any kind of topping.  The left over dough (if there is any) can be turned into a flat bread. I just roll it into thin ovals press some caraway seeds on one side. Then put it in a very lightly buttered frying pan and dry fry it for 3 mins on each side then brush with butter. We had them with a lamb tagine, another simple one pot dish.

I leave you with the recipe for the lamb tagine. I also hope you have a wonderful rest of the week.

Rachelle x

 Lamb Tagine

It looks like a ton of ingredients they all just get thrown in the pot. Do omit the dates and the almonds if you wish.

  •  Shoulder of lamb diced  (1kilo)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions (300 g), finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (=curcuma in French)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 375ml chicken stock
  • 250 ml water
  • 85 g seedless dates, halved
  • 60ml honey
  • 80 g blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves

 

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in pan, add lamb in batched, cook, stirring, until browned; drain on absorbent paper.
  2. Heat remaining oil in same pan, add onions, garlic and spices, cook, stirring, until onions are soft.
  3. Return lamb to pan with stock and water, simmer, covered, 1 hour.  Remove lid, simmer about 30 minutes or until mixture is thickened slightly and chicken is tender.  Stir in dates, honey, and nuts; sprinkle with fresh coriander.
  4. Serve over rice or couscous.

 

 

 


signature