It’s been a doing things inside kind of weekend. Which in our house translates into a lot of baking. Here’s a run down of all the recipes and non-recipes I tried this weekend, with additional commentary from my eight year-old daughter, Milla.
Jack Munroe’s Peanut Butter Bread
I have a great fondness for a lot of Jack’s recipes as she’s all about what I call low anxiety cooking. Don’t have all the ingredients, use a substitute, not quite perfect, never mind, adjust it next time. While I love food made for pure indulgence of the senses, I also have to live in the real world, and Jack lives and writes there too.
I took the original recipe from her new book, A Year in 120 Recipes but substituted 50g of the 300g of flour with rye that is sitting unused in the cupboard, the rest as plain white, and also added some cranberries that were left over from Christmas. The addition of the fruit moistens the mix, and a further 15mins needed to be added to the overall baking time. As Jack uses a liberal tablespoon of baking powder rather than yeast, the bread has a slightly more scone-like texture than breadish. The result is a batter rather than a dough, and therefore is resistant to being rolled and cut into shapes.
The scone like crunch of the crust goes brilliantly well with the softness of the inside, and the tart taste of cranberries is contrasted by the sweetness of the peanut butter, with none of the claggieness of the original spread.
Milla’s opinion: “Disgusting”.
Polenta chips (with Jack Munros’ Butch Romesco Sauce)
I tried making polenta many years ago, and while the top of my polenta looked great, it always had a soggy bottom – so I gave up. A couple of times in 2015 I tried polenta chips when eating out, and I enjoyed them enough to feel I could give it another shot. I’ve also been keeping in mind that I’m going vegetarian for a month this year. I’m on the look out for more fun, vegetarian (or adaptable) recipes that I can get Milla into, so I was hoping Milla might enjoy this.
I made the polenta with 800mls water to 250g polenta. Simmered it in a pan until it started coming away from the sides. Took it off the heat and chucked in a couple of handfuls of grated cheese. I then poured the mixture into a shallow tin that was lined with cling-film and went to mend the washing machine.
Washing machine mended the polenta had set in a rubbery consistency that in no way looked appetising. Once turned out the tin could be cut into thin strips. Rather than frying, and in a rather un-vegetarian move, I coated them in left over goose fat from Christmas and baked them in the oven until crisp.
I loved the romesco sauce, which can also be found in Jack’s new book. It is full bodied, rich, sweet, sticky and sour. Paring both together makes for a highly indulgent, but healthy, alternative to chips and ketchup.
Milla’s opinion: “Ok-ish. But I’m not even going to touch that sauce!”
I made a chicken and tarragon pie for Sunday lunch, and after rolling out the shop bought puff pastry and putting it on the pie I had two large pieces of puff which had been trimmed off.
I rolled the puff again, spread it with left over romesco sauce and scattered some grated cheese over them. Then rolled up the pastry swiss-roll style, cut it into slices and baked in the oven at 200c for 20mins.
Milla’s opinion: “No.”
Amber Roses’ Cinnamon and Banana Cake
I went through a massive Amber Rose phase a few years back. I’ve rather fallen out of love with alternative flours and sugars now, for various coming to my senses reasons, but this cake and her polenta cake have remained staples of my baking.
When following this recipe I soak my sultana’s in rooibos rather than earl grey. I had run out of maple syrup so used honey instead, and rather than using wholemeal spelt had a half plain white and half rye mix. It still tasted great. The smell of vanilla and cinnamon mingling and wafting through your house is worth the wait alone.
Milla’s opinion: “It tastes different somehow. But I suppose it’s still good.”