Category Archives: Food

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO STOCK UP ON??

My favourite bay in Tesco’s

We shouldn’t go crazy and be selfish but it’s only sensible to check that we have enough of the essentials for when the dreaded Coronavirus rears its ugly head again. There are spikes all over the world, though we have to hope that the race between a deadly pandemic and the vaccine is won in our favour.

I have to admit that I was worried enough to pay a silly price on eBay for a giant pack of toilet paper when toilet paper completely vanished from the shops. We still have some left now, when the supermarket shelves are full.

The commodity I missed most was bread flour. We hate stodgy supermarket highly processed bread and, except for an occasional artisan loaf, I bake all my own. As an aged and vulnerable couple, we were able to book supermarket delivery slots, but week after week there would be bread flour on their product list, but my grocery would arrive with a ‘flour out of stock’ notice. Same for yeast and baking powder. I was able to buy bread flour from a baker in 2.5kg packages but being a 5 foot nothing lady I found it quite a thing shlepping 10 kg of flour. So, I’ll make sure I have a reasonable amount of flour in stock. I am only just finishing the 500gm pack of Fermipan dried yeast I found online and have a spare ready for the next few months.

I was delighted to read in Martynoga’ s excellent book ‘The Virus’ that soap is as good or better at killing the virus than sanitisers because it dissolves their essential outer membrane. I bought a packet of antiseptic wipes as well as a little bottle of sanitizer but prefer to use the antiseptic wipes to wipe down surfaces I must touch.

Our older son got us some pretty masks, but the elastic pulls out my hearing aids – apparently a common problem. I bought some extenders, but the elastic still caught.  I ordered a mask that goes over the back of your head, rather than over your ears. Silly me!! I then realised that I could alter mine by cutting the elastic that fits over your ears in half and re-joining it so that it slips over your head. Easy/ peasy!!

When we come home from our short outings, I wash my masks in hot soapy water and as an extra precaution use them in turn and I don’t have to stock up on disposable masks.

Read more of Abby’s previous posts in her book Abby’s Tales of then and Now. It is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a taster  for free.

 

 

 

 

 

Or read her memoir

Woman in a White Coat

O

FRUIT BREAD AND VEGGIE BREAD

Scrumptious Blueberry and Oatmeal Loaf

I’ve been making walnut and raisin bread and beetroot bread for several years now, but not being able to go to the Saturday market on Pimlico Green for specialist bread or to Artisan bread shops during lockdown, has made me look for something more interesting than my staple White, 50% Wholemeal or Granary loaves.

Baking other veggie bread started because the supermarkets only had carrots in bags of 1 kg that, having made carrot and orange soup, and courgette and carrot spaghetti as a vegetable, I still had too many carrots left. My favourite Bread Machine cookbook is by Jenny Shapter. I bought the paperback years ago at the reduced price bookshop in Southampton Row. Her book is now called The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook and seems to be only available as a hardback.

All her recipes have worked out well, even those that seem a bit strange. My Anadama recipe is hers and lately I’ve tried her Blueberry and Oatmeal and Cranberry and Orange loaves. The former, though it contains sugar, does not taste like cake and I’m sure would be great for a savoury sandwich. It seems strange having the whole juice of an orange in bread, but it tastes delicious.

I shall try some other vegetables and fruit but now we can go to the supermarket ourselves and don’t have to buy such large quantities I am less likely to have more vegetables than I need for our dinner.

Read more of Abby’s previous posts in her book Abby’s Tales of then and Now. It is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a taster for free.

https://amzn.to/3hX6z2D

 

BREAKOUT AFTER LOCKDOWN

Lovely to see a full supermarket and more being unpacked.
Just before lockdown, the fruit and veg racks were virtually empty!!

Yes, we were fortunate in that, being aged and vulnerable, after a couple of weeks we were able to get supermarkets slots. It was all very well, but inevitably, although they appeared on their websites, some items would be unavailable on the day. Flour, yeast and baking powder were particularly hard to come by. I was able to buy 10kg of bread flour in 2.5kg packets from eBay at a moderate price but was reduced to paying £7.99 for a £1.50 bag of self raising flour. There were plenty of profiteers out there.

The bliss of being allowed out to shop in person!! We went to a large Tesco’s very early on the first Monday vulnerable people were allowed out. There were hardly any other shoppers and the store was immaculate. Couldn’t believe my eyes when I approached the Baking aisle. Such a variety of different flours! And being able to choose just the size and kind of fruit and vegetables we like.

OK – I’ve been to the Uffizi, glided down the waterways in Venice, seen a giant hippo on the lawn in Malawi, but that Tesco store was right up there with them!! Absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder.

Read more of Abby’s previous posts in her book Abby’s Tales of then and Now is£2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a taster for free.

https://amzn.to/3hX6z2D

NEW PANASONIC BREADMAKER – YES! BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT

Anadama bread

 

 

 

 

 

The centre groove is where the machine paddle rests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, I didn’t really need a new breadmaker. There was nothing wrong with my old one, but I fancied a newer model. Because of the coronavirus buying frenzy, and so many of us deciding to bake our own bread, Panasonic breadmakers vanished from Amazon and Panasonic UK, only for a few to appear on eBay at profiteering prices.

Our daughter Louise, who lives in the Basque Country, found one on Panasonic (Spain). She’d had her old one for at least 15 years and it had begun to leak around the spindle. She tried putting in a washer but it didn’t help. As in the UK, the local electrical stores and Amazon es were empty of Panasonic breadmakers. However, before any re-appeared in the UK at list price, she found one on Spanish Panasonic.

Of course, I had to have the same model but none was available except at a silly price. Finally, my search for a breadmaker resulted in a pop-up note from Amazon offering one at a sensible price from Belgium. I ordered one at once, but when I looked at the site again, to check that my order had gone through, they were once again unavailable. Luckily, my motto is carpe diem and I had seized the moment!!

But it was some sort of con!! After 2 weeks, I contacted the seller who said it had been despatched and then that he had asked UPS to send me a tracking number. I heard nothing more and contacted him again only to be told it hadn’t been sent and did I want a refund!! Fortunately, I had ordered via Amazon who are excellent about refunds and I have already had the money refunded.

I put the code for the breadmaker into Google and was delighted to find that John Lewis had online stock. It arrived today. It bakes beautifully and has the advantage of a window that lets you see at what stage your bread is.

Anadama bread is a traditional New England bread whose yellow colour comes from the addition of molasses and cornmeal. I used polenta, which is a cornmeal made from otto file corn.

It is said to have got its name from a hungry fisherman saying ‘Anna, damn her’ after being served by his wife nothing but cornmeal and molasses for supper, day in day out. In desperation, he (or maybe she) threw in some flour and yeast and so made Anadama bread.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

Recipe for Anadama Machine Made Loaf

Basic bread program

360gm white bread flour                                                                    

75gm wholemeal bread flour

65 gm polenta

Continue reading NEW PANASONIC BREADMAKER – YES! BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT

RACKETEERING AND BAKING POWDER

As soon as it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic was here to stay, staple items vanished from supermarket shelves. Wherever you went, there were long shelves empty of toilet paper and sanitisers and bacterial hand-washes. The two back-to-back produce stands in the local Tesco were empty except for one watermelon. I bought in in desperation, but it lasted forever. I don’t think I ever want to eat watermelon again.

On eBay, someone was selling a £10 pack of 24 rolls of toilet paper for £49.99 + postage and you could buy a £3 sanitiser for £30.

When the vulnerable were finally allowed to meet one other person outside, we met with our elder son in our courtyard. He had asked for my recipe for Rock Cakes previously but had unfortunately used bicarbonate of soda instead of baking powder. They tasted so awful he had to put them on the compost heap.

I thought I would make him some Fruit Scones using the same recipe I’d been using for years. It calls for soaking the raisins in orange juice for at least 30 minutes beforehand and I used some juice from some rather sour oranges delivered by the supermarket a few days before. I left one of the scones out for my husband Josh to have with his coffee and caught him spitting it out.

‘It’s vile,’ he said. ‘Tastes of bicarbonate of soda.’

I tasted one. He was right. It was awful but I thought it was the sour orange juice the raisins had been soaked in. I binned the scones and made another batch. They were just as bad. Then I realised that when I reprinted the recipe, I doubled the amount of baking powder to be added to the self-raising flour.

I wasn’t going to risk another batch, so I made some Rock Cakes instead. Josh likes them because they don’t contain sugar, just have a little demerara sugar sprinkled on top.

By now, of course, I had run out of self-raising flour and neither of the supermarkets we can get slots for had any. I looked on eBay. A 1kg bag of self-raising flour costing £1.50 in supermarkets was listed at £11.99 + postage!! Finally, Tesco listed it but every time I put in on my order, when our grocery arrived it was UNAVAILABLE.

I still have some baking powder left but I thought it possible it had ‘gone off’ and put it on my order. Needless to say,  when our order was delivered it was UNAVAILABLE.

I so wish we weren’t elderly and vulnerable, and could go shopping for ourselves. I know we should be grateful we can get supermarket delivery slots but like everyone else, I wish it was all over!!

Roll on the Covid-19 vaccine!!

At least this batch of Rock Cakes worked

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

Recipe for Rock Cakes

Makes 24

Bake at 200°C 15-20 mins Continue reading RACKETEERING AND BAKING POWDER

BIG PACKS AT THE SUPERMARKETS

Yes, we are fortunate – being elderly and vulnerable we can get slots at supermarkets but we do miss being able to choose our own fruit and vegetables. The two of us can cope with a 2.5 kg bag of potatoes if we keep the potatoes cool and in the dark but 1 kg of carrots is just too much.

OK – so I’ve made carrot and orange soup, had sliced carrots as a vegetable and spiralized some with the remains of a courgette to make a pretty combination of carrot and courgette spaghetti as a vegetable but there was still 1/3 of a bag left. You can order some single fruits and veggies but you can’t choose the size. I ordered a leek and the one I was sent was a foot long and nearly 1½” in diameter. Almost half was composed of dark green earthy tough leaves. I would never have chosen it, had I been able to go to the supermarket in person.

My English granddaughter is a great Vegan cook and sends me images of her very professional looking bread. Not to be outclassed, I got down my Bread book by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter to look for something new. To my delight I found their Carrot and Fennel Seed bread. Absolutely delicious. I reduced the amount of seeds to 1 teaspoon but I think when I make it again I’ll omit the seeds.

My Carrot Bread will now join my Beetroot Bread and Square Challah fun loaves.

 

Love the orange carrot flecks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99 http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

 

CARROT AND FENNEL SEED BREAD   

Made in breadmaker on Basic Program

500 gm strong white flour                                                                                    Continue reading BIG PACKS AT THE SUPERMARKETS

IS A ‘SQUARE’ CHALLAH OK?

My delicious ‘square’ Challah

 

Well it’s actually not square – it’s rectangular. I have in my time made a conventional challah plaited and tapering to both ends, as well as a round challah, but now there are only the two of us we prefer our bread to be loaf shaped.

It started when we first got married in 1956. I was a medical student, working a couple of evenings a week as a school dentist, and Josh was working as an assistant in a dental practice in North London. After a quick breakfast, we would each hurry off, not meeting until the evening. It wasn’t until dinner that we had time to sit down together. I had lunch with my fellow medical students in the medical school refectory while Josh would make do with a couple of sandwiches. Even when I had qualified as a doctor, had 4 children, and with Josh had set up an educational toy shop and become a consultant pathologist, dinner time was our time together. To begin with, I had lunch in the consultants’ dining room but the food was so good and the deserts so delicious that I started to put on too much weight. Finally, I gave up lunch altogether.

Even when we both retired, dinner was our main meal and Josh went on having a sandwich for lunch. A rectangular loaf is most convenient for that, and surely a plaited loaf is still a Challah – even if the shape is unconventional. You just have to say or think the word ‘Challah’ and you can imagine the delicious smell.

BTW – I love Poppy Seed cake but I don’t like poppy seeds on Challah or on beigels!!

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

RECIPE FOR ‘SQUARE’ CHALLAH

Bake 220°C 20 mins

500gm strong white flour

Continue reading IS A ‘SQUARE’ CHALLAH OK?

DELICIOUS HOME MADE BEIGELS/ BAGELS

 

Not as perfect as those from Beigel Bake but they taste fine

Having written about my grandmother selling beigels on the corner of Wentworth Street and Goulston Street, I just had to have some. As an 88 year old self-isolating, I can’t go and buy themfrom Beigel Bake in Brick Lane, so I got out the Lekue Silicone Beigel moulds I bought ages ago. They are brown perforated moulds rather like Witch’s Hats with a very narrow point you push the balls of dough over to give a neat central hole. You prove them and then boil them on the moulds.

My English granddaughter, Becca, not to be outdone, rolled her dough into sausages, curled them into a ring, moistened the ends and stuck the ends together. I just glazed mine with milk and left it at that, but Becca who, like her brother Luke, is Vegan, glazed hers with Oat Milk and decorated some with poppy seeds and some with sesame seeds. They look fabulous on her Whatsapp message.

She and her partner got the corona virus early on, fortunately quite mildly, so Becca has been able to go back to working for the charity that distributes unwanted food from supermarkets and restaurants to the needy. Would love to be able to see the family again in the flesh. Zoom is great but there’s nothing like a hug from the family.

Can’t say my beigels taste exactly like the professional ones but they’re pretty good– and they freeze well. It’s an important consideration when you are just two very old people desperately trying not to put on too must weight!!

BAGELS 

Bake 220°C 15-20 mins

For 12 bagels

Continue reading DELICIOUS HOME MADE BEIGELS/ BAGELS

RYE BREAD AND BEIGELS/ BAGELS (TOMATOES/ TOMATOES)

A traditional tasting rye and caraway loaf but not the traditional shape

Living in Petticoat Lane opposite the Kossoff and Grodzinski bakeries, a slice or two of rye bread and butter accompanied every meal – without butter if it was a meat meal. My grandmother, who lived with us until she died in 1937, had long since given up her pitch on the corner of Wentworth Street. She sold beigels there until my parents got married in 1918 and she moved with them to Old Kent Road.

It’s always lovely having my daughter Louise and her Basque husband Mark come to stay and one of their special treats is to buy us a couple of sliced rye loaves and some beigels from the Beigel Bake shop at the end of Brick Lane. My hip is still too sore for me to walk far and parking is difficult around Brick Lane, so we’ve given up going ourselves.

They were due to come for Easter, but who knows when air traffic will resume?

So, it’s down to making my own. The rye and caraway loaf I make in the breadmaker tastes fine and authentic, but it isn’t an oval glazed loaf like the traditional one. I haven’t made any beigels for some time – it’s a bit of a faff having to boil as well as prove the dough – but just writing about them makes me long for some. Maybe tomorrow.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

RECIPE FOR RYE/ CARAWAY LOAF

Bake 220°C 30 mins

BASIC RAISIN DOUGH setting Continue reading RYE BREAD AND BEIGELS/ BAGELS (TOMATOES/ TOMATOES)

STICKY BUNS – MODIFIED FROM MARY BERRY’S HOT CROSS BUN RECIPE

Scrumptious sticky buns

I’ve no idea who taught me this, but it was my party piece as a young child, recited with a suitable lisp!!

‘Johnny bought a penny bun

In the baker’s shop

It was such a pretty bun

Sticky at the top.

Came a hungry doggy by

Says Johnny ‘Ave a bit’

The doggy liked it very much

And soon the bun was gone.

Came a fine fat gentleman

Watching all the fun

‘Here y’are Johnny. Here’s a penny

Buy another bun.’

These buns are modified from Mary Berry’s Hot Cross Buns Recipe – now Hot Nought Buns. On my daughter Louise’s advice, I made the dough in the bread maker and proved and baked the buns in my fan oven. I’m thinking of using the same recipe to make a fruit loaf – when there’s a bit more room in the freezer. That’s the trouble with time on your hands – it’s more fun to cook and freeze something than write up more memories or catch up on my Ancient Greek.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

Recipe Modified from Mary Berry’s Hot Cross Buns

Makes 12- 16 – large or small buns

Bake 220°C 15mins

Continue reading STICKY BUNS – MODIFIED FROM MARY BERRY’S HOT CROSS BUN RECIPE