Thursday, 28 November 2013

# 384 Oat and bran crown

As many of you know I bake my own bread and have been doing so for a few years now. One of the advantages is that I'm not restritcted to the limited selection sold in the shops but can experiment with different types of breads. Some of these experiments end in disaster but fortunately that was not the case with this one. I hope you like it as much as I did.

Oat and bran crown

20g fresh yeast
400g strong white flour
50g bran
50g porridge oats
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
350ml water

Dissolve the yeast in the water.

Put all the other ingredients in the bowl of your kitchen mixer, open a well in the centre and pour the yeast mixture. Mix with the dough hook until all ingredients are well combined.

Tip the dough on to a clean work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Grease the same bowl with a little olive oil, shape the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover with clingfilm and prove until doubled in size.

Knock back the dough, knead for a few seconds and then cut into 7 equal portions.. Shape each into a ball and place at regular intervals in a non-stick tin with a chimney.

Prove a 2nd time until doubled in size.

Bake in a preheated oven to 220ºC for 10-15 minutes then reduce the temperatura to 180ºC and bake for 20-30 minutes more.

To check if the bread is baked tap the bottom, a hollow sound indicates the bread is done.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.



Monday, 18 November 2013

# 383 Tea loaf

The original recipe for this tea loaf is from one of those free recipe cards you often find in supermarkets. I can't remember which supermarket it came but I know it was for a specific brand of tea which I don't use. I made my loaf with my regular tea and the result was great. It's such a shame my husband and son don't like dried fruit in cakes or I'd be making this every other week.

Saying that, a bunch of us are meeting at the library on Wednesday morning for a cardmaking session for fundraising and it's the perfect excuse for me to bake this again.

It goes without saying that a slice of this loaf will go very well with a cup of tea :-)

Tea loaf

3 tea bags
60g mixed dried fruit
60g butter, softened
85g light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
100g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice

Make a small pot of tea with 3 tea bags and 250ml boiling water. Leave to brew for 10 minutes. Place the dried fruit in a bowl, pour over the tea and leave to soak for at least 1 hour. Drain and reserve the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, whisking all the time until well combined.

Fold the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture without over mixing.

Fold in the dried fruit and 4 tablespoons of the reserved tea. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from the tin and allow to cool.



Friday, 15 November 2013

# 382 Fundraising for the library

A year ago our small public library became a community library run by volunteers and as such fundraising is one of our top priorities.

Tomorrow another volunteer and I will be at our first craft fair selling handmade goodies to raise much needed funds, other craft fairs will follow over the next few weeks. Here's a sample of the things we've been making to sell.

Christmas cards made from used card fronts.

Crochet bookmarks.
 You can see more on my Flickr here.

 If you're anywhere near Berkeley, Gloucestershire, tomorrow we'll be in the Town Hall from 9.30 to 12 so why not come and say hello to us.


Monday, 4 November 2013

# 381 Sudbury Hall & Kedleston Hall

The last few weeks have been a little hectic round here. With Christmas fast approaching and with a few craft fairs to prepare for to raise money for the library I have been very busy. A. was also home the whole of last week enjoying his first half term of the school year.

As a surprise the husband decided to have 2 days off work as he still has a few holidays left and we set off to Derbyshire for a mid-week break. We were very lucky with the weather because although it was cold it stayed dry and sunny. We visited 2 National Trust properties we didn't yet know: Sudbury Hall and Kedleston Hall.

Back of Sudbury Hall.

Sudbury Hall also houses the Museum of Childhood and if you're a fan of Jane Austen and of the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (the one with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth) you may like to know a few of the rooms were used as interiors for Pemberley.

Kedleston Hall

As for Kedleston Hall, it was also used as one of the film locations for The Duchess with Keira Knightley.

We loved both properties but we thought the second was by far the best. Both houses have very interesting interiors but Kedleston Hall has very extensive grounds which I always like to explore.

On my next post I'll share some of the things I've been making for the upcoming craft fairs, meanwhile you can have a look at more photos from Sudbury Hall & Kedleston Hall here if you want.