Category Archives: Recipe

Swedish cinnamon buns (Kanelbullar)

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Swedish cinnamon buns (kanelbullar)These are my absolute favourite when it comes to buns – they look pretty and taste heavenly, and are delicious with an ice-cold glass of milk, or a strong caffeinated brew. In Sweden they drink coffee so strong it’s sometimes like molten tar, but a good, strong brew offsets the fragrant spices in the buns, and complements the sweetness of the filling and the loaf/ pearl sugar sprinkled on top.

I tasted these for the first in a coffee shop in Haga, Gothenburg’s arty quarter, brimming with little shops and cafes. Anyway, I managed to find a fab recipe in a Swedish cookbook, which I’ve modified slightly.

Swedish Cinnamon Buns
Makes about 30 buns

50g fresh yeast (or equivalent of dried active yeast, according to the pack instructions)
1-1.2kg flour (or slightly more depending on moistness of dough)
100ml white syrup (or golden syrup)
100g butter
400ml milk
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp freshly ground cardamom seeds

Filling
120g butter, softened to room temperature
4-6 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds

To brush & decorate

1 egg, beaten
Pearl/ loaf sugar

32 bun/ large muffin cases

Method

If you’re using a block of fresh yeast, crumble this into a large bowl, or if you’re using re-hydrated dried active yeast, pour the mixture into said bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the milk and heat gently until hot to the touch. Add this to the yeast and mix well, then add the syryp and stir until dissolved.

Add the flour and salt a little at a time and mix well until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl. You may need to add additional flour at your own discretion if the dough is still a little sticky after the addition of the amount of flour the recipe calls for. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise for about 30 mins in a draught-free spot.

After 30 minutes, punch the air out the risen dough and knead for about 15 minutes until shiny and elastic. Divide into two balls and roll out into rectangles about 5mm thick. Make the filling and spread onto the rectangles with the back of a spoon. Roll these up lengthways, then cut into 16 segments per roll and place in the bun papers which you will have lined up on baking sheets. Leave these to rise for a further 30 mins (however, this step is not essential if in a hurry).

Brush with the egg and sprinkle with the loaf sugar. Bake for about 6-8 minutes at 250 degrees Celsius until buns are golden brown on top.

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Nutty Granola Muesli

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Granola muesli

The granola that favours our kitchen shelf is a reciped adapted from something I tasted years ago as a student at a healthy breakfast stall at an art and music festival held in South Africa’s Drakensburg Mountains. The rest comes from Nigella, the Barefoot Contessa and my store cupboard.

Indressa’s Granola Muesli

400g rolled oats
100g porridge oats
50 oatbran
50 dessicated coconut
50 sunflower seeds
50g pumpkin seeds
50g sesame seeds
100g whole skin-on almonds
100g walnut quarters
3 tbsp runny honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp golden syrup
pinch of maldon sea salt
1 handful each of sultanas, dried cranberries and chopped dried apricots

1. Except for the fruit, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well for a few minutes. I use a large spoon and fold it all through thoroughly.

2. Line a deep roasting tin with grease proof paper before evenly spreading the mixture out in the tin. Bake at an oven preheated to 350F for about an hour, stiring the mixture around every 20 minutes or so. This will ensure the granola browns evenly thoughout, rather than just on the top, bottom and sides of the tin.

3. Once golden brown all over, remove from oven and leave to cool. Once it is completely cool empty the granola into a large airtight container, and stir in the cranberries, chopped apricots and sultanas. Store in a cool place.

Pesto and Chilli Chicken with Cauliflower au Gratin

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Chicken is almost a stable in our hacienda. While we often end up making similar kinds of things for weekday dinners, finding two chicken breasts lurking about in the fridge, I was determined to try something different yet make it as quick and painless as possible.

 

There was a half-used jar of green pesto from earlier in the week, and decided to marinade the breasts in this for a few minutes, with a few grinds of dried red chillie and black pepper before wrapping them in foil, scraping the extra marinade over the top and baking in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.

 

Was also making a cauliflower au gratin, using up the pale-fleshed beast that has also been lurking about in the fridge, a few shelves below the chicken. Making the white sauce, or should I say Bechamel sauce, for this dish  I always think of my grandmother, seeing as this is one of the first things I ever made, following her instructions which she called out from across the kitchen, letting me arrive at a creamy, lump-free sauce all by myself. However, her technique was not as swift as the one I now use, courtesy of Delia Smith. Throw in all the ingredients – flour into softly melted butter, add milk; start to whist. Whisk constantly, turning the heat down once the milk heats up, and keep whisking until the sauce thickens. It’s almost like magic.

 

Anyway, I chucked in a generous handful of grated extra mature cheddar, and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Always white pepper. I poured this over the boiled cauliflower sitting in an oven proof dish, top this with more grated cheddar and pop it in the oven below the chicken. Seeing as most of it is already cooked, it just needs to be in there for about 15-20 minutes to bubble a little and brown on top.

 

 

Feeling Blue

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Broccoli, mushroom and blue cheese rigatoni.There are times in London when I miss my family and friends that used to live in London but have since moved back to SA or gone to live in other parts of the UK and the world. This makes me want to eat or cook or bake, or do all three at once.

Claire, a South African friend of mine, used to make a Broccoli and blue cheese pasta, and this is one of the most delicious things a pasta lover could eat, and I find  the dish intensely comforting and imbued with fond memories of a shared time in South London. So come Easter, when my family in SA had gathered for the weekend, and with the other half having had to work for most of it, I was craving some sort of company, and I realised this blue cheese pasta would be better than what any doctor or alternative health practitioner could order.

Broccoli, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Rigatoni
(2 servings)
100g creamy blue cheese (Dolcelatte or St Agur)
8 large broccoli florets, broken up into smaller florets
6 medium button mushroom, sliced finely
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
125ml fresh single cream
250g Rigatoni
Olive oil

1. Boil the rigatoni in generously salted water until al dente.

2. Fry the garlic in a little olive oil in a large pan or wok, add the bacon first, fry this a bit then add the mushroom and broccoli and fry gently until softened. If you like broccoli with a bit of crunch, only add this only once mushrooms have had a bit of a go in the pan. 3. Once these are done, turn the heat down, cube the cheese and crumble it into the pan.

3. As the cheese starts to melt, pour in the cream, and let it simmer gently on a very low heat for about 10 minutes. If it looking a bit dry, add a dash of milk, or hot water even to thin the sauce slightly.

4. Season to taste and enjoy with some crusty bread.

Seedy Cheese Scones

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Seeded cheese sconesWhile my other half and I are partial to sweet scones, but as part of some kind of ‘afternoon tea’, we are not that fond of the sweetness in breakfast scones, so I use this recipe from Rachel Allen, adapting slightly, by adding cheese (parmesan or a strong cheddar), and preferring poppy and sunflower seeds to her sesame and linseed.

 

Three Seed and Parmesan Wholemeal Breakfast Scones
(makes 10- 12 large scones) 

225g wholemeal flour
225g plain white flour
25g poppy seeds
25g pumpkin seeds
25g sunflower seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g butter
1 egg
400ml buttermilk (or plain low fat yogurt mixed with a little milk)
Large handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese 

1. Preheat the oven to 220C. In a big bowl, mix together the brown and white flour, seeds, salt and the bicarbonate of soda. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Now add the cheese and mix this through evenly.

2. Whisk the egg with the buttermilk, and pour most of the liquid into the flour mixture. Bring everything together in a soft, but not sticky dough, and turn out onto a floured surface.

3. With the palm of your hand, flatten the dough to about 4cm thick. With a sharp knife, cut into square scones, and, if you like, brush any leftover liquid over the top of each scone before sprinkling with extra seeds.

4. Place the scones onto a lined baking tray and place in a hot oven, baking for about 15-25 minutes (depending on the size). If the scones look as if they’re browning too quickly, turn down the heat a bit. Cool before serving.

Chapati chips

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chapati chipsThere were three chapatis left over from dinner tonight. I made about 12 paper thin ones which, now cool, have gone all crispy. So I’ve broken them up into segments and store these in an air tight container. These will make fabulous crunchy chips, ready for a delicious dip.

Making chapatis is so easy, especially if you have the special chapati flour which is wholewheat-flecked yet silky smooth.

Chapatis
(makes 8-12, depending on size)

2 cups chapati flour
1 tbsp of butter ghee or softened butter
3/4 cup of tepid water
1/2 tsp salt

1. In a large bowl mix the chapati flour, butter and salt. Rub in with fingertips as if you’re making scones then add the water and mix well.
2. Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and knead until you get a sofy, pliable dough, springy to the touch. cover with clingfilm and set aside for about 10 minutes.
3. After the dough has rested for 10 mins, divide into eight golf ball-sized pieces. Flatten each ball into a patties, dust them with dry flour and roll out until about 15cm in diameter.
4. Heat a heavy griddle or frying pan, rubbing a little ghee over the surface and place chapatis in one at a time, 1 1/2 minutes per side should do it until small bubbles form. Remove from pan, brush with a little ghee and serve hot.

Muffins for Health Nuts

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health muffinsHow can I be a passionate lover of food and a health nut at the same time?!! It pains me when I have to limit my intake of gorgeous morsels of all the tastiest things in the world. Actually, all the tastiest things in the world are not always the wisest health choices – cheese, crackling, Nigella Lawson’s extra rich and creamy New York baked cheese cake (I can never stop at just one slice), gooey dark chocolate brownies, all kinds of pastries, need I go on? But I gain weight so quickly that I have to try and make healthier choices in the kitchen. So I figured some health muffins would do the trick.

Walnut, Poppyseed, Carrot and Coconut Bran Muffins
(makes 6 large muffins)

175g self-raising wholewheat flour
50g oat bran (or wheat bran)
140g light muscovado sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 grated carrot or apple or pear (small)
1 handful dessicated coconut
1 handful of poppyseeds
50g chopped walnuts, some for sprinkling over top
a sprinkling of sultanas and cranberries
1 large egg, beaten
200ml buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tsp extra virgin rapeseed oil (or sunflower oil)

1. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan. Line 6 muffin tins with muffin cases or baking parchment.
2. Place dry ingredients (except nuts, carrot or fruit) in a large bowl and mix with fingers to ensure everything is combined evenly.
3. Beat egg then stir in all the wet ingredients, lightly mixing this into the mixture. Mixture should remain lumpy so don’t over do the mixing.
4. Carefully fold in the nuts, carrot and fruit into the mixture without bashing out too much of the air.
5. Divide between the muffin cases, sprinkle with walnuts and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Delicious with a glass of cold milk.

The light nuttiness of the rapeseed oil adds beautiful flavour and a delicious smell, while the distinct yellowness stains the muffin slightly.