Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gooseberry jam...

This year, particularly this summer, has been very good for me in the department of jam making and preserves in general. I have hardly any space in my cupboards to store all the jam, chutneys etc. and hardly any spare jam jars left... But still, I'll make more! There's something very comforting and a sense of achievement when I see all the jars, next to each other in my pantry, and on top of each other at this stage ;) I made gooseberry jam for the very first time ever, using a recipe I got from my work colleague (that's why it's in pints and pounds this time ;) as that's how I got it and didn't want to change anything). That's also the very same work colleague I got the gooseberries from in the first place! Nothing more to say, add now, but - happy jam making! :)



How to make it...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

White toast / sandwich loaf...

I love sourdough bread and that's our everyday bread at home. But even the best bread can be too much if that's all the bread you eat day after day and don't bake any other bread things ;)
So in need of change, of breaking the routine - something amazingly quick to bake and easy, to add to that. This recipe came from a flour bag, Hovis super strong white bread flour to be exact (which by the way is one of the best flours to make bread with, that you can buy here in Ireland). It was a little weird for a bread recipe, as it said to prove it only once, not twice which would be normal for bread making. The result was fantastic - nice, soft crust, light crumb and very pleasant taste. I used to buy sandwich/toast bread in the supermarket, but it never lasted long - and not because it was eaten so quick, but because it would go bad! Whatever they're adding to the dough, made it go moldy rather than stale very quickly! The taste wasn't great either, it was something tasteless really... If the shop bought toast bread wasn't eaten within 2 days from the day I bough it - we usually ended up throwing away the rest - and wasting food is on top of my list of things that I hate the most!
This bread, our own sandwich bread, was baked before the 1 pm (advantage of having to prove it only once!) and come evening - it was already almost all gone! :) Perfect for a sandwich and even better for a toast! This Hovis' bread recipe is definitely a keeper!





How to make it...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Polish dill pickles / half-sour cucumber -> ogórek małosolny...

This is an ultimate taste of mu childhood, more specific - my summers when I was little. This one thing "ogórek małosolny" is a must have, a staple in each and every Polish family, every summer. Once the cucumbers start to appear on the markets and in the shops Poland makes pickles. All kinds! This is the very quick version to make and use almost straight away. This way cucumber is still crisp and bright green in colour, whereas when it's fully sour - it's softer and dull in colour. Very popular as a side dish during BBQ and summer parties. I know it may not sound very appealing, with all the talk about fermentation and very distinctive smell - but I'd say try it! Give it a go at least once! :)


"The Polish-style pickled cucumber (ogórek kiszony/kwaszony) is a variety developed in the northern parts of Europe. It has been exported worldwide and is found in the cuisines of many countries. It is sour, similar to kosher dills, but tends to be seasoned differently. It is usually preserved in wooden barrels. A cucumber only pickled for a few days is different in taste (less sour) than one pickled for a longer time and is called ogórek małosolny, which literally means 'low-salt cucumber'. Another kind of pickled cucumber, popular in Poland, is ogórek konserwowy ('preserved cucumber') which is rather sweet and vinegary in taste, due to different composition of the preserving solution and the addition of vinegar." - by wikipedia.org



How to make it...

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Blackcurrant muffins... The Hummingbird Bakery

You know my love affair with muffins and cupcakes :) I will repeat myself here saying that they are very quick to prepare, usually quite easy, usually no complicated or expensive ingredients needed and usually you'll have all of it at hand at home! Not to mention the fact that your little ones can help you with making them (eating them goes without saying ;) ). This recipe is taken from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook "Cake Days", I think it's the first one where I didn't have to cut down the amount of sugar (which in my opinion is usually in "abundance" in their recipes...). The original recipe is for "mixed berries muffins", but seeing as my blackcurrant bush in the garden was literally leaning over because of all the fruit hanging from its branches, it was blackcurrant muffins for us :) The addition of flaked almonds on top is mine - sprinkled evenly by my two little helpers ;) They gave another dimension to the very soft muffins and taste of mellow, sweet almonds worked really well with sharp blackcurrants.





How to make it...