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Hazelnut Lace Cookies

Friday, December 27, 2019

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Lace Cookies are thin, crisp, delicate and buttery cookies with a deliciously sweet taste and a toffee-like flavour. They are made with just a few ingredients and the batter comes together in just minutes. As they bake, they spread out to form a lace pattern, hence the name. Enjoy them as they are or sandwich two cookies with a layer of chocolate. If you prefer a less brittle consistency, use up to 35 grams flour.

  • 110 g Unsalted butter
  • 100 g Raw sugar
  • 12 g Spelt pastry flour
  • 80 g Hazelnut meal
  • A large pinch of sea salt
  • 30 ml Heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Finely grated orange zest
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Melt butter and raw sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and butter melts. Stir in spelt flour, ground hazelnut, salt and cream until incorporated and slightly thickened.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla extract and orange zest. Drop the batter by the teaspoon onto the baking sheet, leaving about 2-3 inches of space between each one.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies start to turn dark golden brown, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Remove from the oven and as soon as they are firm, use a wide spatula to transfer them to the rack to cool completely. | © 2019 | | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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Panettone with Poolish Sponge

Sunday, December 22, 2019

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Panettone is a typical bread of Milan, usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year around Italy, and one of the symbols of the city. This cake-like bread is typically baked into a tall, cylindrical shape (empty fruit cans work great as baking pans). Traditionally, panettone is made with raisins and candied orange and lemon peel. But you can choose the dried fruits you prefer. The bread is delicious eaten fresh and keeps well in an airtight container for about a week. It also freezes well for up to two months.
Poolish is a fairly wet sponge with baker's yeast, typically made with a 1:1 ratio of flour and water by weight, that means 100% hydration.

  • 1 package / 7 g Dry yeast
  • 60 ml Water at 43C/110F
  • 60 g German #550 flour ((AP or bread flour)
  • 100 g Butter, room temperature
  • 2 Eggs, medium
  • 4 Egg yolks, medium
  • 150 g Sugar
  • 110 ml Milk at 43C/110F
  • Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 540 g German #550 flour (AP or bread flour)
  • 1 tbsp Lemon zest
  • 200 g Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries or apricots)
  • 50 g Almond slices plus more for topping
  1. To make the sponge, dissolve the yeast in 60 ml warm water in a bowl. Add 60 g flour and stir to make a very loose dough. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the butter, eggs, yolks, sugar, milk, and vanilla seeds. Add in the starter dough. Gradually add the flour, beat on low speed just until dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl and pull together. Increase speed to medium, and beat until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it once to coat both sides. Cover bowl of dough with plastic wrap, and let rise on the kitchen counter until doubled in size (mine took about 5 hours). Or leave it in the fridge overnight. With your hands, flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle. Evenly distribute the lemon zest, raisins, apricots, and almond over the dough. Fold the dough to seal the fruit and knead to distribute the fruit throughout the dough.
  4. Line a 8-inch mousse ring or baking pan (or panettone paper case) with parchment paper that has been well buttered on both sides and set it on a baking tray. Place the dough in the mould, cover with a towel, and let rise for 1-2 hours in a warm place. The key here is to have the rise above the rim of the pan or case.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Make a cross on the top of the bread with a sharp knife and insert a cube of butter. Sprinkle some extra almond flakes if you desired. Bake the bread on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180C/350F. Continue to bake for 30-35 minutes until the surface is golden and crispy. The panettone is ready when a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Place the bread on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the mold. Dust the bread with icing sugar if desired. Be sure the bread has cooled completely before wrapping for storage.

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May your holidays be filled with lots of LOVE, HAPPINESS and PEACE!

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Chocolate Pear Cake

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

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Chocolate and pears make an excellent combination in this irresistibly moist, rich and indulgent cake. It's mildly sweetened with a mix of coconut sugar and erythritol. A perfect cake to entertain or end a satisfying dinner.

  • 45 g Unsweetened cocoa powder, lightly alkalized
  • 5 g Espresso powder
  • 10 g Baking powder
  • 150 g Refined spelt flour
  • 80 g Ground hazelnut
  • 150 g Butter, slightly softened
  • 50 g Coconut sugar
  • 100 g Erythritol granules
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 Large eggs, room-temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 100 ml Whipping cream, room-temperature
  • 5 Small ripe pears, peeled
  1. Grease and line a 10-inch / 26cm springform pan with parchment paper. Sift the cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and spelt flour into a mixing bowl. Stir in ground hazelnut. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Cream the softened butter, coconut sugar and erythritol granules together for 5 minutes with a pinch of salt, then beat in the eggs one by one and vanilla extract.
  3. Add in half of the flour mixture, roughly stir to combine. Pour in whipping cream and mix briefly. Now stir in the rest of the flour mixture until combined and smooth.
  4. Scrape the batter into the cake tin and level the surface. Peel the pears and place them in the batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check the cake with a skewer. If it comes out clean it is ready, if not give it a few more minutes in the oven.
  5. Drizzle with melted chocolate and garnish with the sprinkles if desired. | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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Sumac Rubbed Pork Roast with Crackling

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

Succulent pork, crispy golden crackling and tender roast vegetables...this is a meal, inspired by taste and bbc food, that's guaranteed to please. Please a crowd with this effortless one-dish pork roast with crisp golden crackling.
Sumac comes from the berries of a wild bush that is native to the Middle East. The deep red berries are dried and ground into coarse powder. It's a widely used spice, either as a rub, or marinade, or in a dressing, in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. Sumac has a pleasantly tart, tangy lemony flavour that goes really well meat and vegetables.

  • 1.5 -2 kg Pork shoulder, or butt, skin-on
  • 1 tbsp Lard, melted or oil
  • 4 tsp Sumac
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 Large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 400 g Green beans
  • 100 ml Chicken broth or water
  • 1 tbsp Spelt flour
  1. Remove the pork from the fridge for 1 hour before you want to cook it, to let it come up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
  2. Dry the roast with a paper towel. With a small sharp knife, deeply score the skin at 1cm intervals, without cutting into the meat.
  3. Rub the roast with lard or oil, lemony sumac and sea salt. Make sure the lard and seasonings are worked into the scores. Turn it over and season the underside of the meat with sumac and a few pinches of salt.
  4. Place the pork, skin-side up, in a roasting tray and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the skin has started to puff up and you can see it turning into crackling. Turn the heat down to 180C/350F and cook for a further 2 to 2.5 hours, or until cooked through.
  5. In the last 30 minutes of cooking time, add the onion and green beans into the roasting tray and mix with the fat in the tray.
  6. Carefully move the meat to a serving dish, cover again with tin foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes while you make the gravy. Transfer the green beans to a warm plate and set aside.
  7. Scrape up all the sticky bits and onions from the tray and pour into a skillet. Stir broth and spelt flour together and add to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Let it simmer for a few minutes until thickened. | © 2019 | | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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Friday, December 06, 2019

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A cruffin is simply a muffin made out of croissant dough. The pastry is made by proofing and baking laminated dough in a muffin mould or a popover tin would be even better. You can fill them with jam, cream, or curd. We prefer ours just plain or with a light dust of icing sugar because these croissant-muffins are rich enough to be savoured just as they are. These buttery, flaky cruffins are great for brunch or an afternoon snack and they are easier to make than you think.

  • 300 g All purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp Dried yeast
  • 3 tbsp Raw sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 175 ml 3.5% Milk
  • 200 g Butter, softened
  1. Mix the flour, dried yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of your mixer fitted with a dough hook. Warm the milk and 50 grams of the butter in the microwave on medium-high or in a pot over stove until the butter melts and the mixture lukewarm.
  2. Add the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Stir the mixture on low speed for 5 minutes until a rough dough comes together. Increase the speed and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 -7 minutes.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Cover with a plastic film or a clean kitchen towel. Set aside in a warm place for one hour until it doubles in volume.
  4. Grease a jumbo 6-hole muffin pan with butter. Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 3 even portions. Roll out each dough into a 40x15cm rectangle. Next time I will roll out to 60cmx15cm, so that you have more layers.
  5. Spread 50 grams of butter all over the rectangle. Starting with the shorter side, roll up the dough tightly. Slice the roll lengthwise into two. Roll each half up from the side that was cut so that you can see the layers of dough. Place it into the prepared muffin tin. Repeat the same process with the remaining pieces of dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Bake for 25-30 minutes on the highest rack in the oven until golden brown. Serve, dusted with icing sugar, immediately. | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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Chocolate Curd Spelt Cookie Cups

Monday, December 02, 2019

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These nutty spelt cookie cups filled with smooth, creamy chocolate curd and topped with chocolate covered macadamia nuts make for a festive holiday dessert or a treat for any occasion. Instead of chocolate covered nuts, you can garnish them with some chantilly cream.

DoughChocolate Curd
  • 150 g Refined spelt flour
  • 30 g Ground hazelnut
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 115 g Unsalted butter, softened
  • 150 g Raw sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Large egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Lightly grease a 24-hole mini muffin pan with a bit of melted butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, baking soda and sea salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and raw sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until combined.
  3. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place in the muffin pan. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Remove from oven and use the back of a shot glass to press down into the center of each cookie ball, creating an indentation deep enough for the filling. Cool completely before removing from the pan.
  5. For the filling: Whisk egg yolks, evaporated milk, and raw sugar in a medium saucepan until combined. Add in butter and cook on medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick. Turn off the heat. Stir in vanilla extract and chopped chocolate until smooth and well-blended. The curd will firm up more when it's cold.
  6. Fill the cookies cups with chocolate cream and top with a chocolate coated macadamia nuts and some sprinkles if desired. You won't need the whole batch of chocolate filling. Save the rest in a jar in the fridge for up to about a week. | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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The Mill Loaf With Natural Leaven

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

This almost no-knead bread recipe uses a mix of white, wholemeal, spelt flour and a rye sourdough starter, though the recipe could use any other flour or combination. The method is almost identical to the white leaven bread in The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard
, however the result is a bit different, with a dark, nutty sour taste to the crust and crumb thanks to the use pure rye sourdough starter.

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the leaven with the water. Add the flours and salt. Mix the ingredients together to form a sticky mass. Cover and leave 10-15 minutes to stand, to allow gliadin and glutenin proteins in the compound gluten to hydrate and bond.
  2. On a lightly oiled work surface, place the dough and knead briefly, 20 to 30 seconds will be enough. Shape the dough into a ball and put it back into the mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Next day, scrape the dough on to a lightly oiled work surface and pat it out to form a rectangle, roughly 40cm x 20cm. Fold one end, a third of the length, back to the centre. Fold the other end back over it, so we have 3 layers of dough, like folding puff pastry.
  3. Pat it out again and fold it once more. Leave one hour at room temperature and repeat. Leave another hour and repeat. The dough should be rising nicely. To check, slash the dough with a sharp knife. It is ready to shape once bubbles formed in the dough. Otherwise leave the dough a further hour to check again.

  4. Divide the dough into 3 smaller dough. Shape into balls on a lightly floured surface and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Form dough into a baton or round. Turn the shaped loaves into the floured baskets or tins with the seams up and leave them to finish rising. They're ready for baking when doubled in size, about 3 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F. Upturn the loaves on to floured baking trays and slash a few times across it. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling wire.

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Lamb Shanks with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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This heartwarming, delicious lamb shank served with a low carb califlower mash makes a wonderfully hearty family meal. The shanks are first browned, then simmered slowly with a roasted red pepper sauce in a low heat until tender and falling from the bone. I have also reduced the braising liquid by one third to make a thicker sauce, but it's completely optional. Browning gives a beautiful rich colour to the meat and the browned bits at the bottom of the pan add extra flavour. So don't skip it.

  • 3-4 / 1.5 kg Lamb shanks
  • 2 tbsp Beef dripping
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp Moroccan spice blend
  • 4 Roasted red capsicums, pureed
  • 500 ml Homemade beef stock
  • Black salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley leaves, chopped
  • Cauliflower mash to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 160C/320F. Heat beef dripping in a large frying pan over high heat. Add lamb shanks. Cook, turning, for 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer to an ovenproof dish. You can brown the lamb shanks directly in a cast iron casserole too.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft. Add pureed roasted red capsiums and beef stock. Bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over lamb. Cover the dish.
  3. Place lamb shanks in the oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the lid and baste shanks. Cook, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes or until meat is tender. Transfer shanks to a large bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm.
  4. Simmer the sauce until reduced by one third, then return lamb to pan and heat through, about 5 minutes. Serve lamb shanks over mashed cauliflowers and sprinkle some chopped parsley leaves over. | © 2019 | | © 2019 | | © 2019 |

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Black Sesame Spelt Muffins

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Great as a lunch box filler, for potlucks or really any time, these simple muffins are moist, tender, flavourful and relatively healthy too. Using toasted black sesame adds distinctive flavour and aroma to them.

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a 6-hole muffin tin with paper liners. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Beat butter until soft. Beat in sugars until fluffy and light. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
  2. Fold in 1/2 of the flour mixture with a rubber spatula to combine. Now mix in almond milk. Then add in the rest of the flour mixture and black sesame seeds. Fold until the batter is combined. Divide the batter among 6 muffin liners. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean.

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Poppy Seed Spelt Loaf With Old Dough

Monday, November 11, 2019

Bread made with an old dough / pâte fermentée has a more complex flavour and texture. Use an old dough (Pâte Fermentée) saved from the previous baking, or simply mix together 105 grams of flour, 70ml of water, 2 grams of salt and tiny tiny bit of yeast until a dough forms and leave it, covered with a plastic film, at the kitchen counter overnight. You can double the portion and save the rest in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Aromatic bluegray tiny Poppy Seedsangiesrecipes are used to flavour breads, cakes, cookies, and many other dishes in European and Middle Eastern cooking. Poppy seed is generally recognized as safe for human consumption as a spice or a natural flavoring.

Another loaf baked with an old dough and wholemeal flour.

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast. Add in milk, egg and olive oil. Mix the ingredients until combined. Add in old dough in portions and baking soda. Knead until a soft and smooth dough ball forms. Stir in the two thirds of poppy seeds and mix on the slow speed until incorporated. Alternatively sprinkle all the poppy seeds over the bread before baking.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap and let proof until doubled in size. Press the dough down and divide it into 4 or 6 even portions, each about 260 grams or 175 grams. Shape each dough into a ball and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. One alternative is to divide the dough into 16 even portions for the individual buns.
  3. Flatten each dough and roll out into an oval shape. Fold it into thirds, overlapping them in the center, press the dough down firmly. Turn over and roll out into a 30-cm long strip. Turn over, roll up and pinch seam to seal. Place 3 rolls, seam side down into a greased and floured loaf pan or lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise until almost to the seam of the baking pan.
  4. Once the dough has risen, brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle the rest of poppy seeds over. Bake in the middle rack of a preheated 200C/400F oven for 15 minutes. Adjust the oven temperature to 175C/350F and bake 18 minutes further or until done. Immediately remove loaves from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

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