Friday, 18 July 2014

Roti Flatbreads for Curry

Strictly speaking, this isn't baking. It doesn't go in the oven at any point, so it doesn't actually bake.

But it is a bread, they do flatbreads on the Great British Bake Off and it makes the perfect accompaniment to a curry. So there.

This is a quick, easy recipe that produces a lovely, fluffy bread that is just begging to be used to scoop up hot, fragrant dal or any other tasty Indian dish.

You need so few ingredients and they are all really things that anyone who bakes on occasion should have anyway. This recipe makes six.

You will need:
225g self raising flour
140ml water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing and frying

1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and sprinkle over the oil.

2. Add the water a little at a time, stirring with your hands as you do. You want a soft dough that is not too sticky, so you may not need to use all the water.

3. When the dough has come together, tip it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how to do that, but just in case I do:

4. You will knead to need (haha, get it?) for about ten minutes, until the dough is soft, stretchy and easily malleable. When you stretch it you should be able to see long strands developing - these are the gluten strands. When the dough reaches this stage cover it and leave to rest for 30 minutes. You can have a rest too if you like.

5. Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Roll a piece out until it is about the size of a small plate and the thickness of a 20 pence piece. Brush both sides with oil and fold into thirds, then into thirds again. Set aside and repeat with other 5 pieces. Rest for 10 minutes.

6. Heat a little oil in a large pan and roll out the rotis to the same size and thickness as before. Fry each one on each side for a couple of minutes - when the underside is speckled brown it's ready to be flipped. You may need to re-oil the pan in between rotis.

7. Serve with your favourite homemade curry or dal. And probably a beer.

You may be able to see that my friend Alice, who I was cooking for, took a bite out of her roti before I'd taken a picture of it or even given her any curry. That's how good they are.

And that's it. Tasty, quick bread without all that faffing around waiting for it to rise. I'm not even convinced the second rest is necessary so I would leave that out if I was in a hurry.

Keep baking, begrudgingly or otherwise,


Monday, 7 July 2014

Lemon and Poppyseed Cupcakes

I know, I know. I'm a terrible person. I haven't blogged for over a month and the irony is, I've been baking like a mad thing.

Mostly brioche. Industrial quantities of it. Don't ask.

So by way of appeasement I am offering you this lemon and poppyseed cupcake recipe.

This was yet another recipe where I opened a trusted recipe book, looked at the recipe and thought: Nah, I'm not going to do it like that. Having been an obsessive baker for going on three years now, I often think I know better than the meticulously researched books I look to for inspiration.

I'm not always right, but you win some, you lose some and with cakes, you can usually eat the evidence.

So I decided that a blend of light brown soft sugar and caster sugar would make these cakes more interesting, as would poppyseeds, some natural yoghurt and more lemon juice than the recipe dictated.

This recipe makes 16-18 small cupcakes, 12 muffins. Here you go, enjoy:

You will need:
1 tsp crushed cardamom seeds, pods removed
200g butter
3 eggs
50g plain flour
200g self raising flour
100g light brown soft sugar
100g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
2 tbsp poppyseeds
zest of one lemon

To glaze:
125g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
handful of mixed candied peel (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with paper cases.

2. Beat together the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar, then beat in the eggs one by one, adding a little of the plain flour with each to prevent the mixture curdling.

3. Beat in the lemon juice, zest, poppyseeds, yoghurt, cardamom and then sift and fold in the self raising flour.

4. Distribute evenly between cases and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and the tops spring back when pressed lightly.

5. Set aside to cool. When completely cooled, beat together the lemon juice and icing sugar and drizzle over the cakes, then scatter over the mixed peel before the icing sets.

6. Devour.

These were very much appreciated in the office and in fact the boss had two and said he'd buy me a coffee.

He never did and now has to suffer me radiating silent resentment whenever he passes.

Judging by his complete lack of a reaction, he hasn't noticed.

I'll write again sooner this time, I promise.

Bye bye bakelings,