Welcome to Tips Tuesdays, a weekly blog feature where I impart tips on anything that crosses my mind :). There will be recipes, book/film/TV recs (not full reviews, those are for another day), things I discovered by accident, links to websites, basically anything and everything that might be useful.
Today I have a recipe for you that I invented a few years ago, but I have never gotten around to posting here and a book recommendation. I hope you enjoy both.
Stilton, Pear and Walnut Bread
I never had much luck with making bread until I watched a Paul Hollywood vid and he explained about letting it rise twice. It is his general techniques I have detailed below.
- 500g Strong White Bread Flour
- 200g Pear purée (my Morrisons didn't sell pear purée in a can so I bought a can of pear halves in juice and blitzed the halves with a hand blender)
- 7g (1 sachet) Allinson's easy bake yeast
- approx 100 ml warm water (1 part boiling to 2 parts cold - I used the pear juice from the can as the two parts cold)
- 1.5 tspn salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 50g Blue Stilton cheese (or any other strong blue cheese with the same soft wax type texture)
- 50g chopped walnuts
- Large mixing bowl
- large baking tray
- measuring equipment
- eating knife
- Sharp knife
- If you do not have another warm place to prove the dough, put the oven on to about 160C/320F and place a baking tray in the bottom with just a little bit of water in it
- In the bowl mix the flour and the salt
- Add the easy bake yeast and sugar and stir in (if using yeast you have to mix with warm water and sugar, do that now, but leave the adding until step 5 - only use about 60ml or the water with the yeast and keep the rest in case you do not need it all)
- Crumble in the Stilton cheese and then rub through the flour until it has almost disappeared
- Make a well in the flour and add the pear purée, mixing through with a knife
- Add some of the water (or water and juice mix) and begin to bring the dough together, keep adding water until you have a slightly sticky, but firmish dough (you may not need all the water)
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least ten mins (until the dough is elastic) - you can use a dough hook and a mixer if you like and this reduces the time from somewhere between 4 and 5 mins. If you are going to prove the dough in the oven turn it off with about 5 mins to go on the kneading and leave the door open. For the last couple of mins of kneading, knead in the walnuts.
- Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel, then put in your warm place to prove for about an hour
- Reflour your surface lightly and empty the proved dough onto it, then punch it for all you are worth to knock it back. (This bit's fun)
- Divide your dough into two parts (using the sharp knife is easiest) if you want two med loaves and shape into mounds (tuck the edges under and pat until circular), or make one big loaf if you wish.
- Lightly oil and flour your baking tray and place the loaves on it as far apart as possible, but equidistant from the edge of the tray.
- Brush the loaves with a little salt water and flour them lightly.
- Put them back in the warm place to prove for between 30 mins and an hour, until they have risen to twice their original size.
- If using the oven to prove, when they are almost there take them out of the oven and place them in another warm place (I used the grill, I put it on for a min or two to warm up, then turned it off and popped them in). Pre-heat the oven on to 240C/460F
- When the oven is hot cut an X in the top of the loaves and bake them for 8 mins
- Open the door of the oven and bake them for another 2 mins
- Turn the oven down to 180C/360F (fan/convection) or 190C/375F (normal) and bake for between 20 and 30 mins until the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack (or dive in and eat while hot ;))
This was a recommendation from my sister Sophie and she was right on the money. I would have read this book all in one sitting if my tablet hadn't run out of charge. It is a lot of fun and it is free on Amazon. I have already bought the other books in the series. Well worth a read.
A Gift of Ghosts (Tassamara Book 1)
by Sarah Wynde
All the logic and reason in the world can’t protect her from the truth—she can see and communicate with spirits. But Akira is sure that her ability is just a genetic quirk and the ghosts she encounters simply leftover electromagnetic energy. Dangerous electromagnetic energy.
Zane Latimer believes in telepathy, precognition, auras, and that playing Halo with your employees is an excellent management technique. He also thinks that maybe, just maybe, Akira can help his family get in touch with their lost loved ones.
But will Akira ever be able to face her fears and accept her gift? Or will Zane’s relatives be trapped between life and death forever?
Do you bake bread? What is your favourite recipe?
Do you have any ghostly book recs to share?