Buckwheat pancakes

Buckwheat pancakes with caramelised apples
and salted honey butter

If you’ve never tried buckwheat pancakes, weekend brunch is the ideal time. Buckwheat flour has a nuttier, more distinctive flavour than regular wheat flour and these French-style crêpes (typical in Brittany) are perfectly complemented by golden caramelised apples and salty-sweet honey butter. This recipe is a doddle to whip up, but you’ll need to make the batter the night before to allow the buckwheat to soften and the flavours to develop. Oh, and also, there’s no sugar in this recipe as all the sweetness comes from the fruit and honey.

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Feeds 4

for the pancakes:
100g wholegrain organic buckwheat flour
¼ tsp fine sea salt
300ml whole milk
1 egg
50g unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil or clarified butter, for frying

for the caramelised apples:
3 medium Bramley or Granny Smith apples (tart varieties work best)
30g unsalted butter

for the salted honey butter:
80g honey
40g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and at room temperature
½ tsp flaked sea salt

for serving:
4 generous tbsp crème fraiche

Step 1:
Start by making the pancake batter. Sift together the flour and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Add this to the flour and whisk until it’s lovely and smooth. Next, whisk in the melted butter. Transfer to a jug, cover with cling film and rest in the fridge overnight.

Step 2:
To make the caramelised apples, remove the cores and pips (no need to peel them) and slice each apple into 8 wedges. Heat the butter in a frying pan and when foaming, tip in the apple wedges. Cook until golden brown and caramelised, turning each wedge over once. Set aside and cover with foil to keep warm.

Step 3:
Next up is the salted honey butter. Warm the honey over a low heat for 2 minutes, making sure it doesn’t boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the softened butter, a piece at a time, to create a glossy emulsion. Sprinkle in the salt and keep warm until ready to serve. If it cools and starts to solidify, just gently reheat until liquid again.

Step 4:
To cook the pancakes, heat a heavy-based frying or sauté pan over a medium heat. Add a little oil or clarified butter, tilting the pan so the base is evenly coated. Give the batter a stir if necessary and then pour in just enough to coat the base of the pan – you want the pancakes to be paper-thin. Cook for 2 minutes until golden, then flip the pancake with a spatula and cook for another 2 minutes. Slide the pancake onto a warm plate and continue with the remaining batter. You should end up with a pile of 16 pancakes.

Step 5:
Lastly, to serve, take each pancake and fold it in half twice to form a triangle. Serve 4 pancakes per person, overlapping them in the centre of each plate. Arrange six or so apple wedges on top, add a scoop of crème fraîche and finish with a generous drizzle of warm honey sauce. Now, all that’s left is to tuck in and enjoy your hard work.

 

 

Spring Cooking with our Bakers

Shakshuka

We think this breakfast makes the perfect start to a weekend. It’s simple to make and the shared nature of this dippy dish gets the whole household involved.

shakshuka

Feeds 4

50ml olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp smoked, hot or sweet paprika to taste
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp caraway seeds
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
8 eggs
50g feta, crumbled
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 whole loaf of good white sourdough

Step one

Start by preheating your oven to 200C then grab a large, oven-proof frying pan and warm it up over a medium heat. Toast the caraway seeds until they’re all lovely and fragrant then add the olive oil and let it warm through, frying the toasted seeds for another minute or two.

Step two

Next up, add the onion and pepper. When it’s all soft and jammy – 10 to 15 minutes – stir in your chilli flakes, cumin and paprika and cook for another couple of minutes. Tip in the chopped fresh tomatoes, give it a good stir and cook for five more minutes before adding the tinned ones. Bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper, then cook for two minutes more.

Step three

It’s best to turn down the heat at this point and let it simmer for around 15-20 minutes for the sauce to thicken. When it’s a rich, dark red, turn off the heat let it cool down a bit.

Step four

Next, take a wooden spoon and hollow out eight little wells in the surface of your sauce to crack the eggs into. Taking care not to break the yolk, use a fork to gently bury the egg whites under the sauce but leave the yolks on show.

Step five

Crumble the feta everywhere but the egg yolks, drizzle with olive oil then place in the oven. After five minutes, the yolks should be just set. If you like them completely hard, give it another five minutes before sprinkling with coriander and drizzling with a touch more olive oil.

And that’s it. All that’s left is to rally the troops and tuck in with a fresh loaf of crusty white sourdough. Enjoy.

Roy’s spelt & seed loaf recipe

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This gorgeous South African recipe sits somewhere in between a bread and a savoury cake – which isn’t a bad place to be. The spelt flour (an ancient variety of wheat) and the seeds (full of good fats) make it particularly nutritious, and together they create a complex, nutty flavour that’s underpinned by treacle’s natural and savoury note.

You’ll find this makes more of a batter than a dough: that’s how it’s meant to be, so don’t panic if your mixture looks runny.

Dry ingredients:
55g white spelt flour
55g stoneground wholemeal spelt flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp fine sea salt
40g rolled oats
4 tsp poppy seeds
4 tsp sesame seeds
4 tsp linseeds
1 tbs pumpkin seeds
1 tbs sunflower seeds
2 tsp nigella seeds

Wet ingredients
180ml butter milk
20ml rapeseed oil
4tsp poppy 50 g treacle

For the topping:
A handful of mixed seeds
A pinch of flaked sea salt

 

Preheat your oven to 155C. Grease a 1lb loaf tin and line with baking paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until completely combined. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and gently combine the two with a wooden spoon until no dry patches of flour remain. Don’t over-mix.

Pour the batter into the tin (it will level out as it cooks, so don’t worry about smoothing the top). Sprinkle over the topping of salt and seeds and bake for an hour, or until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean.

 

 

Chocolate and Marmalade Tart

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Use your favourite marmalade here – one with a decent, grown-up bitterness. If it’s very thick-cut, chop the pieces of peel roughly so that it spreads easily.

The pastry recipe makes enough for two 24cm tarts, but is difficult to make in a smaller quantity. You can chill or freeze the second half of the pastry to use another time. Use a tin with a loose base so you can remove the tart easily before serving.

For the tart shell:
150g butter, at room temperature
65g plain flour
95g icing sugar
35g ground almonds
1 egg
½ tsp fine sea salt
190g plain flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and creamy. Scrape down the bowl, then add 65g of the flour, the icing sugar, the almonds, the egg and the salt. Mix at medium speed until a soft paste forms, then scrape down the bowl. Add the rest of the flour and mix until just combined. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least an hour before using, or for up to three days.

To form the tart shell, lightly flour your work surface and roll the pastry out to a 3mm disc, just slightly larger than the tart tin. Carefully wrap the pastry disc around the rolling pin. Sit the tin right in front of you, then lift the rolling pin over it and allow the pastry to unroll neatly in.

Press the pastry gently down into the base of the tin, making a neat, sharp angle between the sides and the base of the tin, but don’t push or stretch it too much. Gently press the pastry evenly up the sides of the tin, then use the blunt edge of a knife to trim neatly all around the top. The pastry should be exactly level or almost imperceptibly higher than the tin. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180C.

Line the pastry case with heavy aluminium foil or baking paper and fill it with baking beans.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through – peek under the foil to check that the outer edge is done. The centre won’t be quite ready yet. Take out the oven, allow to cool until you can handle it, then carefully remove the weights and foil. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more, until the pastry is an even golden colour in the centre, and cooked right through.

Allow to cool completely before filling.

For the filling:
300g dark chocolate, chopped
200g butter, at room temperature, diced
2 medium eggs
2 medium egg yolks
50g soft brown sugar
¼ tsp fine sea salt
150g marmalade

Combine the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl and sit the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring regularly until they melt smoothly together. Set side to cool slightly. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, yolks, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and use the balloon whisk attachment to whisk together until very pale and tripled in volume – this will take around 10 minutes.

With a large metal spoon, mix a third of the chocolate mixture into the whisked egg mixture – no need to be too careful about this – then fold in the remaining chocolate very gently and carefully.

Spread the marmalade evenly over the base of the tart shell and slowly pour over the chocolate filling, allowing it to settle and reach its own level.

Bake for 15 minutes, until just set. The edges of the filling will rise and then crack a little, and the centre should still have a slight wobble to it.

Leave to cool completely before serving, with a dollop of crème fraîche and a teaspoon more marmalade.

Our gingerbread recipe

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With Halloween on its way, we thought it about time to share our gingerbread recipe with you all…enjoy baking at home, or come along to GAIL’s from 24 October to pick up some of our Halloween treats.

Makes around 30 large gingerbread men (or other gingerbread shapes of your choosing)

75g butter, at room temperature
75g caster sugar
35g treacle
25g golden syrup

3 tbsp whole milk
1 egg yolk
225g plain flour
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
a pinch of ground white pepper
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine sea salt

You’ll need to begin making these biscuits a day before you want to bake them to give their complex, richly-spiced flavour time to develop and meld.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar together thoroughly until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the treacle, the golden syrup, the milk and the egg yolk until completely combined.

In a third bowl, sift together 200g of the flour, along with all the other dry ingredients. Set the remaining 25g flour aside in case you need it later.

Add roughly a quarter of the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar and mix in briefly, then add around a third of the milk mixture and stir gently. Repeat, alternating dry and wet ingredients and mixing only gently each time and finishing with the dry ingredients, until everything is are combined and you have a slightly sticky dough. Avoid overworking the mixture. You can judge at this point whether you’ll need the reserved flour – the dough should be rather tacky, so try to add only as much flour as is necessary to make it relatively easy to handle. It will firm up once chilled.

Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle, wrap well in cling film, and chill overnight (or for up to three days). Alternatively you can freeze the dough for up to two weeks and defrost it overnight in the fridge before using.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 170C. Dust your work surface and a rolling pin very lightly with flour, and roll the chilled dough out to a thin sheet 3-5mm thick. Dip your chosen cutter lightly in flour and cut out as many shapes as possible, regrouping and re-using the dough as you go. Transfer the biscuits carefully to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and bake for 10-15 minutes – adjust the time depending on the size and shape of your biscuits, and how crisp you like your gingerbread.

Once baked, these keep brilliantly in an airtight container for up to a week.

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