Cranberry and Raisin Soda Bread

Really easy and went down a treat in my house! It was eaten very quickly haha. This loaf is perfect spread with salty butter accompanied with a cuppa tea.

You don’t need to be a pro baker to make this one!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 plain flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of bread flour for seedy bread.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda/ Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Raisins
  • Big handful of cranberries
  • 7 ounces soured cream
  • 1 teaspoon full fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Extra flour for dusting
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Method to the madness:

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a small bread tin with greaseproof.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cranberries and raisins and salt in a large mixing bowl.


In a medium mixing bowl whisk together sour cream and eggs until fully combined.


Add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a sturdy spoon until combined. Batter will be thick and sticky.

It might appear quite runny, almost as runny as pancake batter, do not freak out! Mine was the same!
Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Global Hunger

I had the idea for this post during my July project: Nature and Us. However as I couldn’t get it to fit in I wanted to make it a separate post all together.

Production of food and drink is a multi billionaire business. Eating is a basic human necessity and yet, despite all the food to go around, all of the food produced each year and the food available on the shelves, millions go hungry.

According to the BBC, as of 2020, 700 million people are going hungry. That number is increasing every year.

A meeting was held in 2019 by a branch of the UN and talks were held about food waste what needs to be done to make changes.

Our actions have consequences

The UN Environment Assembly met on the 11th to the 15th of March 2019. If you are interested in learning everything about this meeting, the records are public and posted here: The Fourth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly.

In this meeting, they said “

Deeply concerned that approximately one third of the food produced annually in the world for human consumption, equivalent to some 1.3 billion tonnes and representing an approximate value of 990 billion United States dollars, is lost or wasted, while 821 million people suffer from
undernourishment
.”

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Why is so much food wasted?

Well, many reasons could factor but one answer is it goes off before it is used. Life is busy so when you get home after a long day on your feet you are not in the mood to make food for yourself.

There are recipes out there that can use few ingredients and take no more than 15 mins to make.

Find some of these recipes below:

If we can cut down our waste individually, over time it would make a difference globally.


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Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are very moreish and you can never just stop at one. Sadly they are not vegan but they are vegetarian friendly. This recipe can make quite a few cookies depending on how big your cookie cutter is. I used the rim of a glass for mine as I couldn’t find my cutters and it did the job!

They do not take very long to make and are simple enough that they are quick and can fill your chocolate craving! I hope you enjoy making them. Let me know how your baking goes!

Ingredients:

  • 220g Plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 145g caster sugar
  • 120g salted butter
  • 1tsp vanilla, I used Madagascan vanilla for mine.
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 40g cocoa powder

Method:

Add the baking powder to the flour and the salt. Whisk it together and put this aside for a moment. Cream the butter and sugar together with either a machine whisk or a hand held whisk for 30 seconds. Pour in your vanilla and the egg, whisk.

Gently put your cocoa powder in without trying to get it everywhere and mix it all together.

Add half of the dry mix you made earlier and fold it into the wet mix. Once it has fully mixed, add in the other half.

Fold your mix into a ball, cover in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for no more than 15 mins. After that, lightly flour your surface, flatten and cut with whatever cookie cutter you desire! Be creative, don’t be boring like me and go for round *winky face*

Place on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes at 175C.

Lemon and Poppy seed cookies


(Audio description above for those who need it!)


I enjoyed making these, they were dead cute and tasted really nice! I hope you enjoy making them yourself.

Ingredients

  • 100g soft unsalted butter
  • 30g Icing Sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 175g of Plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon of Baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds

Method

Place the soft Butter and Icing Sugar in the bowl of your mixer, and cream them together using with the paddle attachment for at least 5 minutes on medium speed. You will know it is done when it goes nice and pale and fluffy.

Add the egg yokes 1 at a time. Do not worry too much if they curdle slightly at this point. They will bake fine.

Add your lemon zest and your juice.

Sift in the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt. Now mix until the dough starts to come together, stopping to scrap the edges of the bowl if you need to, then add the Poppy Seeds.

Transfer the dough over onto a lightly flour surface and bring it together into a ball and gently press on it to flatten it. Cover with a sheet of baking paper and roll into the desired thickeness with a rolling pin.

Now, try and put the flattened dough onto the baking sheet cover with another one covering it, so it’s like a baking sheet sandwich. Let it chill for 15 mins in the fridge.

Preheat the oven on 160’C/325’F.

Remove the top sheet of baking paper and transfer to a lightly floured work surface and use a Cookie Cutter to shape the shortbread.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cookies, or until the edges start to turn golden brown.

And that’s it! Very easy and doesn’t take all that long to make. Let me know how your cookies turned out!

The perfect chocolate chip cookies!

Biscuits are amazing. Everyone loves an odd biscuit now and then, with maybe a cup of coffee, tea or even milk. I have a recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookies that will make your mouth water. They’re so incredibly easy to make, and they don’t take long in the oven, so when you have a cookie craving, you can have them in minutes; that’s my type of biscuit!

Where did biscuits originate from and when?

The earliest biscuit style cakes were made back in 7th century Persia A.D. (now Iran), which was one of the first countries to cultivate sugar. The name cookie is derived from the Dutch word koekje, meaning small or little cake.

As people started to explore the globe, biscuits became the ideal traveling food, because they stayed fresh for long periods of time. It was a portable food that had a long storage life and was perfect for traveling.

What are they called around the world?

In America, this “small cake” are called cookies and are called biscuits in England and Australia. In Spain they’re galletas. Germans call them keks, and in Italy there are several names to identify various forms of biscuits including amaretti and biscotti and many more. Biscuit comes from the Latin word bis coctum, which means, “twice baked.”

These Chocolate chip biscuits make a good companion on a plate with those peanut butter thins. But that’s not the best thing about them. These crunchy chocolate chip biscuits are low in calories, and so cheap to make. And they freeze brilliantly for whenever your cookie needs arise again.

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Chocolate chip cookies!!

Baking time: 12minutes

Ingredients:

60g butter

60ml oil

150g sugar,

1 free range egg,

240g plain flour

Half a tsp bicarb,

200g chocolate, chopped

  1. First dice your butter and leave it to come to room temperature, or pop it into a microwave-safe bowl and ping for 10 seconds to cheat it. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together with a fork or wooden spoon.
  3. Add the oil and the egg and mix thoroughly. Now the bicarb. Now the flour to form a dough, and mix well. Fold through the chocolate chips.
  4. Lightly grease a baking tray. Add golf-ball sized pieces of dough, flatten slightly with the prongs of a fork, and place very far apart as they will flatten and spread as they cook.
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 12 minutes or until the edges are golden. Remove from the oven and just like the thins, allow to cool for a few minutes before moving.

Enjoy!

Bread through the ages

This week I’d like to talk about bread.  Bread is considered as a staple and is viewed as important all around the world. Bread has even been used to stop wars, (The Dampfnudel, Germany. I Learned that thanks to Mel on the Great British Bake Off, bread week). Bread is still important today, why? It’s simple, wholesome and it fill a hole.

The ancient Greeks were baking more than 80 types of bread in 2500 B.C. There was serious rivalry between bakers about who baked the best bread. The Greeks ate Barley bread, griddle cakes, Pitta, and honey and oil bread.

Bread Traditions

There are also traditions. Scandinavian traditions hold that if a boy or girl eat from the same loaf they are bound to fall in love. In Ukraine It is forbidden to throw bread away as bread is considered a gift from God. Even if a slice of bread fell on the floor by accident, it should be picked up, kissed by the one who picked it, and put back on the table. This tradition is rarely followed nowadays, despite the 5 second rule!

Even with all of these traditions and rivalry, no one knows specifically when the first loaf was baked, however, it is thought round about 10,000 years ago that the first loaf was made. The first bread produced was probably cooked versions of a grain paste, made from roasted ground cereal grains and water.

Victorian poor families’ week’s money was mostly spent on bread, leaving little for any other daily essentials such as milk, cheese and potatoes. The bread they ate would be have been Honey and Wheat bread. They only ate this bread because it was what they would have afforded at the time or available. Bread was not as processed as today.

In 1918, (during WW1) ration books were introduced for butter, margarine, lard, meat and sugars especially for bread as Britain’s supply of wheat decreased to just 6 weeks’ worth of grain. British people love bread, especially sliced bread. Otto Rohwedder of Davenport, United states, invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread slicing machine. He built a prototype in 1912, then in 1928, he had a fully working machine ready to feed the nations with sliced bread!

Although pre-sliced bread is popular. Simpler and purer loaves have become popular again. I dabbled with some traditional soda bread. It is so nice to eat and, it works very nice with soup, maybe even with the Cod and tomato chowder soup recipe I posted.

History of Irish Soda bread

Soda bread was introduced in the 1800s and it meant that you could make bread without an oven. Instead, they cooked the bread in what’s called a bastible—a big cast-iron pot with a lid on it, that would have been put right onto the coals or onto the turf fire. And it was another plus because soda back then was relatively inexpensive. They would also have used the buttermilk from the cows on the farm, and flour from the wheat. Butter was not put into the bread in the making, however when it’s come out of the oven and it’s cooled, you would slather the butter on then.

I have a lovely recipe for a tried and tested Soda bread that is delicious and, in my experience, will disappear in seconds.

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Wholemeal Irish Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf.

Ingredients:

  • 275g Wholemeal bread flour
  • 275g Plain white flour
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 450ml buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 230c/450f/Gas mark 8. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the buttermilk. I suggest pouring the buttermilk in slowly and gradually. You don’t want to swamp your dry ingredients. However, if it is the complete opposite of swamping and it appears to be too dry, add a little more. Mix it all together to make a soft dough. Turn the mix out onto a lightly floured surface and knead LIGHTLY and very BRIEFLY into a round. Flip the dough over, and keep in a round shape.
  1. Lightly dust a large baking sheet with flour, place the dough on it and then using a large knife, cut a large X on the top, cutting almost all the way through. Put the bread, that’s on the baking sheet onto a baking tray.
  2. Bake the loaf on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 200c/400f/gas mark 6 and bake for a further 40-50 minutes/ until it sounds hollow when you tap its bottom.
  3. Remove from the oven and enjoy when cooled.

I had a baking day the day I made the Soda bread and decided to make also some sweet potato buns. These are just some of the best buns you’ll ever taste, and you can have so many variations with the seeds on top. Just delicious! Use them for sandwiches, or maybe even with a slathering of butter and a cup of tea!

Sweet potato buns

Makes 10 healthy sized buns (Read paragraph below)

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I said that when I started this blog, that I would include in my blog post any mistakes I made, and unfortunately, I made a mistake when I first made them these balms. For the 1st batch of balms I made, I used 450g plain flour, and as you’ll read, the recipe states that you should use strong white BREAD flour. Fortunately, it didn’t ruin the bread itself, but actually made it better!! When I made the 2nd batch, (which contained bread flour), I compared both of the batches and saw that the balms with plain four had a much better rise than the ones with the bread flour. You can, if you choose to, use plain flour instead of the bread flour if you’d like to or have no bread flour in. It makes no difference in the colour or taste, but it gives a better rise.

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces’ sweet potato, (I put it into ounces because it was easier to calculate better than 225g.)
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 100ml milk
  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 7g yeast
  • 1 egg beaten, until it cries for mercy, and beat one more egg at the end to wipe over the buns before they go into the oven.
  • 1 tbs Oatmeal

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 400f/Gas mark 6, 15 minutes before baking. Peel the sweet potato and cut into small chunks. Cook in a big saucepan of boiling water until tender.
  2. Drain and mash with the butter and nutmeg. Stir in the milk slowly, being careful not to swamp the mash. Leave until barely walk.
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast. Make a well in the centre.

Add the mash and beaten egg and mix to a soft t dough. Add a little bit more mil if needed.

  1. Turn out he dough onto a lightly floured surface and for about 10 minutes, knead until smooth and elastic.
  2. Put into an oiled bowl, cover with Clingfilm or a food bag, place in a warm place to rise for an hour.
  3. Turn out he dough and knead again until soft.
  4. Divide into 10 or 16 equal pieces, shape into rolls and place onto a large baking sheet. Cover with oiled cling film or food bag and leave for 15 minutes, to rise in a warm place.
  5. Brush the balms with beaten egg, then sprinkle half with Oatmeal and the other with whatever seed of your choice.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until well risen, lightly browned and sound hollow when their bottoms have been tapped. Transfer to a wire rack an immediately cover with a clean tea towel to keep the crusts soft.