Bread & butter pudding 

This takes me back to staying at my nana’s house on a school night. Good old nana.

 

Butter up and cut up whatever bread is hiding in your cupboard and drown it in vanilla custard. Sprinkle with currants, glacé cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Or whatever you have in, chocolate chips are a good shout too if you’re feeling it. Bake for 30 minutes on gas mark 4 until golden. Serve with a good dollop of pudding with lashings of double cream. 

Now that’s making memories or at least returning back to a favourite few. 

Vanilla custard :

  • 250 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 50 ml double cream
  • 35g sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

Heat up the milk  and cream with the vanilla and add to the beaten egg yolks and sugar slowly. If you do it too quickly the eggs will scramble. Return the mixture to the pan and whisk constantly until slightly thickened. It’s so easy to curdle the custard, so heat slowly and never take your eyes off it.

Cranberry & raisin loaf

  
I think this is the best loaf of bread I have ever made. It’s a sweet bread with a good crust. The cranberries and raisins give it a fruity punch which go well with nutmeg and cinnamon. This is a James Morton recipe amended to be a bit fruitier. 

  • 500g strong white flour 
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 yeast sachet
  • 10g salt 
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml warm milk
  • 75g raisins
  • 75g cranberries 
  • 1tsp nutmeg 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon and mixed spice

This bread is made like your average loaf but with a few extra additions. 

  • Mix up the flour with yeast, sugar and salt (try not to let the yeast mingle a lot with the sugar and salt at the start- this can inhibit the yeast)
  • Stir in the milk and eggs to make a wet dough
  • Prove for 1 hour
  • Add spices and fruit until well distributed
  • Prove for another hour
  • Knead it a little bit and pop it into a loaf tin
  • Pop it the fridge overnight to prove slowly 
  • Give the bread an egg wash (milk if you haven’t got any)
  • Bake at 210°C for 30 minutes
  • Turn oven down to 190°for another 15 minutes

There’s lots of proving in this loaf recipe but it’s well worth it because the flavour is spectacular. Definitely gonna make this again, might try dried apricots next time…. 

Walnut honey bread

kneadingTime for something delicious and savoury. I felt like kneading so I decided to make my favourite honey walnut loaf. I don’t know if you can remember James Morten from the Great British Bake Off Season 3. Well he essentially taught me how to make bread over the last few years via a book (Brilliant Bread), not in person – although that would have been lovely because I really like his choice of knitwear. This recipe has barely any ingredients in which is so convenient if you’re like me and don’t plan your shopping well in advance. I never know what I’m gonna feel like baking until I get hit by a craving and then my obsessive, compulsive nature usually follows through….
mixture
So I started off by making a lovely doughy mixture and then rested it for five minutes and proved it for 1.5 hours. I always oil some cling film to place on top of the bowl whilst it proves – otherwise the dough sticks to it and it gets a bit messy.
  • 200 g strong white flour
  • 300 g strong brown flour
  • 10 g salt
  • packet of dried yeast
  • a good squeeze of honey
  • 125 ml tepid milk
  • 150 ml tepid water
  • knob of butter melted

I then added a big packet of walnuts (200 g) to the mixture and left to prove for another hour. They are quite tricky to combine into the dough because every time you push down, some pop out. So it’s more than a ten minute job and good exercise!

proved dough
After the bread had proved I shaped it into a big ball and proved again for an hour. It’s really important to get your oven nice and hot for bread baking so you get a good crust. My oven is nuclear so after five minutes I wrapped it in foil to prevent it from becoming too dark. Baked it for just over half an hour and it came out all golden and sounded hollow upon tapping it’s base. Slice it, butter it, EAT IT! SOOOOO GOOD.
finished bread
Now that’s what I call NOMI-LICIOUS, yes I did just make that word up. One day that might be found in the dictionary. The toasted walnuts on it’s crust are very special and I could harp on about them all day. Why buy bread when you can make it fresh?