Saffron & Pistachio Hot Cross Buns
13.04.17

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NOTE TO READER: (*I have written this entire recipe with a Cornish accent in my head. You must read this to yourselves only in Cornish accents, otherwise I don't think the Saffie buns will turn out very well*)

I’ve often noted that it takes roughly the same amount of time to get from London to Cornwall as London to Iran – about six hours, that is. Or at least whenever I’ve been driving it’s taken me that long. And whenever I do end up down Cornwall way, it always feels like I am extremely far away from anywhere. As well as liking the far awayness of the place, I’ve had some pretty good Cornwallian eating experiences over the years. Picking mussels off rocks, the whole ice cream with clotted cream on top situation, crab sandwiches, catching fish and eating them. And. Saffron buns. Toasted, the yellow dough slathered in butter. Yum. But also, how? I mean, I always associate saffron with the East. Persian rice puddings and Moroccan saffron chicken spring to mind when I think of this precious, luxurious spice, more expensive than gold. How the bloody hell did it end up in Cornwall? I looked into this. It was the Phoenicians (kids who hung around the Levant for a while) who shipped it over, swapping their saffron for Cornish tin. The Cornish loved it they did, and quite right, because it’s beautiful and eventually it started to be grown in Essex, Devon and Norfolk, all along the sea’s edge. Saffron buns and cake (or saffie buns and saffie cake) have been eaten around the coasts of the more southerly parts of the UK for hundreds of years now, originally just for celebrations. I was in the middle of my saffie bun making experiments when Easter cropped up, so I thought I’d decorate the buns with some hot crosses on top, as we often do during Easter time. If it’s not Easter when you’re reading this, you can do without the cross. Rather than just currants, my recipe uses more eastern fillings – pistachio, almonds, mixed sultanas, dried apricots and an apricot glaze to signify a little hand shake between those Cornish and those Phoenician fellers, who exchanged some strands of red, edible thread for shiny tin all those years ago. Enjoy!
Makes 16 saffie buns

Ingredients for the dough:
300 ml Jersey or whole milk
1 tsp of saffron threads
(If you want a deeper colour you can also had a pinch of turmeric or a tsp of yellow food colouring, but this will alter the flavour slightly so I don’t recommend doing this – it’s just if you’re saffron doesn’t end up so yellow and them being yellow is important to you)
100g cubed butter
140g unrefined caster sugar
2 eggs
200 g warm water (about 20 degrees)
3 tsp of vanilla extract
8g dried yeast or 16g fresh yeast
100g chopped dried apricots
100g toasted almonds
100g smashed pistachio kernels
150g mixed sultanas, raisins and currants
1 tsp cinammon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cornflower
8g salt
800g bread flour

For the egg wash:
1 egg
Splash of milk
Beat together gently

For the glaze:
400g apricot jam (homemade or otherwise, I won’t judge!)
200g water

For the cross:
150 g bread flour
150 g water
Yellow food colouring or a bit of turmeric

Directions:
1. Heat the saffron with the milk and butter until the butter has melted. Leave for about half an hour for the saffron colour to develop.
2. Add the eggs, sugar water and yeast to the saffron milk.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, nuts and dried fruit.
4. Slowly fold in the liquid to the flour until well combined. Leave for an hour to prove.
5. Line a square or rectangular tin with baking paper and divide the dough into 80g balls. Roll into balls and arrange in the tin with a small gap in between each ball. This is so that there is space for each bun to prove and grow.
7. Leave the dough covered under a tea towel for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 200 degrees.
8. If you are piping crosses over these, make the cross mixture now while the buns are proving and leave it to rest for a little while. Add a lot of food colouring or turmeric for a nice yellow cross or leave it white.
9. The buns should have proved so that they are touching each other. Brush them with egg wash, then pipe on crosses.
10. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
11. When still hot, slather on apricot glaze over the top of the buns a couple of times so that the buns are sticky.


Recipe & Image by Julia Georgallis

Sourdough 101 (How to make a yeast starter)
14.03.17

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(Above: Yeast up close)

Sourdough bread is bread made with a natural yeast (also called a sourdough starter) that has been fermented by the baker, rather than fresh or dried yeast which comes from a packet. I found making my own starter scary at first - What if I killed my yeast? Or what if I poisoned someone by making the wrong yeast? What if my starter took on a life of its own and formed some kind of illegal drug ring in my kitchen whilst I was out at work during the day? Over the last 3 years, I've tried to pool all the information that I’ve learned about creating, keeping and maintaining a sourdough yeast culture for you to glean – here it is, I hope it helps…

How to make a yeast starter
USE IF: You don’t have a starter and want to make one from scratch

Day 1 - In a clean, sterilized tupperware mix equal parts water and flour. You can use whichever kind of flour you like, wholegrains like wholemeal and spelt tend to speed things up a little bit, but you can use anything. I suggest, for your first step, use 200 g flour and 200 g water. Yeast bacteria lives on the flour – the water acts to kick-start the organisms into life, and then once they are awake, they feed off the sugars on the flour. Once you have mixed the flour and water together so that it is combined, cover the tupperware and leave it in a dry, warm and dark place.
Day 2 - Keep an eye on your yeast, it should start to form bubbles and the smells that it emits will change, from floury, to cheesy to alcoholy or fruity. Smells depend on many variables, so often using different flours, different temperatures of water, different temperatures in your kitchen alters the smell.
Day 3 - Your yeast should have started to bubble, but don’t worry if it hasn’t yet, it may be that the flour you have used doesn’t have very active little beasts in it. You are now going to give it a second feeding. Tip out half of the flour and water mixture down the sink. Then add in another 100 g of flour and a 100 g of water and mix well. Leave it out of the fridge once more, again keeping an eye out for smells and bubbles.
Day 5 - Give your starter another feeding, again by tipping out half of the mixture and adding in another 100 g flour and 100 g water.
Day 7 – Happy Birthday, your starter is a week old. Give it its fourth feeding in the same way by tipping out half and refeeding but this time, find it a home in the fridge.
Day 9 – Day 14
You will have started to notice changes, smells, bubbles and the fact you’re your yeast is growing, doubling in size with every feeding. Keep feeding it every other day and keep it in the fridge. After 2 weeks, you will have a lovely bubbly starter that is ready to use for sourdough.

How to feed your yeast starter
USE IF - If you’ve been given someone else’s yeast starter, are feeding the one you’ve made yourselves, your starter looks dead, you haven’t fed your starter in a while.

1. Tip your yeast into a clean, sterilized tupperware. Add in equal parts water and flour and mix so that it is combined. Cover the tupperware, leave it in a dry, warm and dark place.
2. Leave your yeast for 2 days at room temperature, then on the 2nd day, tip out a third of your flour and water. You can use this tipped out mixture for making bread, give it to someone so that they can grow their own starter or just tip it down the sink. Add more flour and water, in equal parts and mix.
3. Once you have mixed your flour and water together, pop the starter back in the fridge. Depending on how often you make bread, feed it by tipping out a third and adding more flour and water to feed. For tips on how often to feed your starter, see below…

Troubleshooting

How often do I feed my starter?
Your starter needs to be kept active for you to make a nice loaf of bread. The rule that I generally go by is that, if I want to make bread on Wednesday, I will feed it on the Monday before, so that the yeast has time to reactivate. However, this is only applicable for a starter that is being regularly fed, say once a week. If you haven’t fed your starter in a while, go back to the guide about ‘how to feed your yeast starter’ and spend a week feeding it up before you use it for bread.

What if I don’t feed it?
Remember – water wakes up the yeast that lives on the flour, the flour provides it with food. If you don’t add in water and flour, it will starve then go to sleep. (But it won’t necessarily die…)

Is it dead?
Probably not. Yeasts are tough cookies. If it looks dead (if it is mouldy, smells bad, grey etc. etc.), get rid of the nasty looking bits then try going back to the ‘how to feed your yeast starter’ recipe and feed it up for a week or so until it is bubbling and smells better.

Seriously though, I really don’t want to feed it.
If you aren’t going to make bread for ages or are going on holiday or really can’t be bothered to spend your life caring for miniscule organisms in your fridge, don’t worry. If we go by the priniciple that water wakes up the yeast and flour feeds it, then don’t add so much water into your mixture, so that it is less active, but still has something to eat. Therefore, rather than creating a mixture made from equal parts flour and equal parts water, make a mixture that is two thirds flour and one third water – you will end up with quite a stiff, floury mixture instead of a gloopy one. The stiffer it is, the less you need to feed it.


What should it smell like?
Starter is a ferment, so it should smell similar to other fermented things like cheese, beer, wine, champagne. It can also smell quite floury at times or like fruit. If it smells like feet or death, don’t bake with it. Instead, feed it until it smells acceptable again.

What’s this brown goo?
Very often, you will end up with a thin layer of brown or grey liquid sitting on top of your starter. It looks terrifying but, essentially, it’s hooch, or, pure alcohol that the yeast excretes. Yeast wee, basically. Don’t drink it, don't panic, just tip it out and throw it away.

How much yeast starter do I need for a loaf of bread?
Recipes vary, but I generally use between 100 – 200 per cent yeast starter. For those not familiar with the baker’s percent, that means for every 1000 g of flour, I would use between 100 g and 200 g of yeast starter.

How long will my starter last for?
Sourdough starters can live for decades, some even say centuries. They are living things that change all the time. If you feed them and look after then properly, they will go on giving you bread for years to come, they might even end up becoming heirlooms!

*If you would like to learn more about making sourdough and using different yeasts, my ferment focussed bread-making classes are running until May 2017 in Leyton, London. Book here.*

Writing and images by Julia Georgallis

The Accidental Cake: Cocoa and Cardamom Fika
30.10.16

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(Above: The last Fika. Cocoa and cardamom cake)

This is the easiest cake in the whole wide world and I discovered it totally by accident whilst cooking for Designers on Holiday in Sweden this summer. On one of the last days of the trip, I looked in the fridge to find a little bit of left over cream, a dash of milk, Swedish sour cream called Fil Mjolk and half a pot of yoghurt. We also had half eaten chocolate bars lying around. So I decided to do a fridge spring clean and mixed the various dairy product remnants in with some cocoa powder and cardamom to make a cake. I then used the leftover chocolate for the topping. We had it one day for our Fika (Swedish version of high tea) with a big pot of coffee and some grapefruit and it was voted cake of the week by 20 hungry campers.

Ingredients for the cake

200 g plain flour
140 g caster sugar
40 g cocoa powder (drinking chocolate will do, but good quality dark cocoa powder will be better)
2 tsp cardamom
A pinch of sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
175 g soft butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
200 g sour cream, yoghurt, or cream (a mixture of these amounting to 200 g also works)
2 eggs


1. Grease and prepare a round baking tin.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
3. Measure out all the dry ingredients and then throw all the wet ingredients and cream together until you have a nice smooth mixture.
4. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for between 35 – 45 minutes until a knife comes out of the cake clean. (Check it every 15 minutes).

Ingredients for the ganache

200 g double cream
200 g broken up pieces of chocolate. I like using milk chocolate but you can use whatever you like really.


Bring the cream just to the boil and immediately take it off the heat (don’t let it boil for too long or it will curdle and make sure you stir it continuously). Throw in the chocolate (it melts better if it’s white or milk chocolate). Stir until there are no lumps left and you have a nice, glossy mixture. Spoon the ganache onto the top of your cake. Dust with cocoa powder, grate some chocolate or maybe even some cinnamon over the top if you like.

Recipe and photo by Julia Georgallis

Old Clothes & Hot Dough
26.10.16

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(Above: Munching on a chivirico)

Food in Cuba was difficult to navigate, swinging between the mediocre and the delicious. However we were NEVER hungry. Ever. Every country has their version of ‘poor food’ – that is, dishes that are cheap to make masses amounts of and fill up on, quickly and a lot of the food we encountered fell into this category. Using this premise of cooking food that can be made on the cheap and longing it out for as long as possible over the week was my mission when cobbling together these 2 Cuban style recipes. I’m not saying that these are authentic recipes, mainly because I am absolutely not Cuban, but it’s a nod to Cuba’s hearty, affordable and easy eats. I hope you enjoy trying these out.

Recipe: Ropa vieja (Cuban stew)

Literally translated as ‘old clothes,’ most Latin American countries have a version of this pulled meat dish cooked in an earthy, spicy sauce. This is very much like a tagine, and it does indeed have some Arab roots. The brilliant thing about this dish is that you can get a couple of different meals out of it – using the broth that cooks the meat as a soup or gravy base and also eating the stew over the course of a few days (in fact, it’s better a day or two after cooking) with rice, pulses, in a sandwich or just with a simple salad.

For the soup broth:

450 g of pork shoulder (I’ve used pork but you can use lamb or beef… beef seems a lot more authentic, but pork shoulder was cheaper.)
3 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
1 white onion
50 g of butter
1 vegetable stock cube
A handful of mushrooms (this is my addition – it’s not very Cuban but mushrooms really bring out meaty flavours in stock.)


1. Heat the butter gently and add in the chopped garlic and the onions until slightly browned.
2. Brown the pork shoulder for a couple of minutes.
3. Pop the stock cube on top of the meat before pouring over some boiling water.
4. Bring the water to the boil.
5. Simmer on a low heat for at least 4 hours (leave it longer if you can!). This will ensure that the pork is easy to pull apart.
6. Once the soup is ready, remove the meat and shred.
7. Drain the soup into a pot or Tupperware and discard the vegetables. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week.


For the sauce:

The key to this dish is layering flavours slowly over time. You want to essentially make a pasta sauce base AND THEN add in the herbs AND THEN add in the meat so that the flavours develop over time. It’s a simple recipe but it requires a little bit of patience.

The shredded meat from the broth (including the fat)
2 tins of tomatoes
2 sliced red bell peppers
1 medium spiced chilli
1 large red onion
2 cloves of garlic
A good helping of oregano
1 heaped tsp powdered cumin
2 tsp of cumin seeds
Salt and pepper to season
Olive oil for cooking


1. Add a glug of olive oil or butter to your pan and fry chopped garlic and onions until browned.
2. Add the tomatoes, bell peppers and chilli and turn the heat up. Cook until the vegetables have started to go very soft, probably for about 15 minutes or so (careful that they don’t burn – you want to keep stirring them).
3. Add in the oregano and a generous amount of cumin, cook on a low heat for another 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
4. Next, add the meat and season to taste, cooking for another 15 minutes.

Chiviricos (Fried Dough)

So, I appreciate that the idea of crispy, fried bread is not the most exciting of dishes - it kind of sounds like a really bad version of a doughnut. But, many, many cultures have a version of this and if you think of chiviricos as the sweet version of a tortilla chip, eaten with ice cream or dipped in mashed bananas, then that changes things dramatically eh? This recipe is a REALLY good way of using up any flour that you have in your cupboards (which you shouldn’t leave lying around fyi, because it can actually go stale).

Ingredients:

For the dough:
200g flour
70 g of water
A pinch of salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of oil

For the topping:
200 g of sugar
4 tablespoons of finely ground cinnamon
Grated peel of 1 lemon
Grated peel of 1 orange.



1. Measure the water and add the flour, salt and sugar. Knead for a few seconds until combined.
2. Make a well in the middle of the mixture.
3. Beat the egg and oil together, then pour into the middle of the well.
4. Knead gently for a minute or so.
5. Leave to rise for at least an hour (2 hours if you have time).
6. Roll out into thin strip (about 3 mm deep) onto a floured surface.
7. Heat some oil to 180 degrees.
8. Drop the strips of dough into the oil and fry for 3 minutes.
9. While still hot, roll the chiviricos into the cinnamon & peel sugar.

Serve with ice cream, or with mashed bananas.

Recipe and photo by Julia Georgallis

Recipe: Alfajores y Empanadas de Argentina
23.08.16

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(Above left, my first alfajor. Above right, a batch of empanadas)

Here are the recipes for two delightfully doughy Argentinian snacks – savoury corn and paprika empanadas and fluffy dulce de leche and coconut alfajores… I've used corn flour for both these recipes, but you can use plain flour if you can't get your hands on the stuff.

Alfajores de Maizena
(Makes 16 alfajores)

For all intents and purposes, alfajores de maizena are a cross between a giant, Latin American macaroon and a dulce de leche burger. Literally the dream. Two corn flour biscuits sandwich a delicious filling, usually made from dulce de leche or some other kind of cream based sugary treat. They’re everywhere in Argentina (and South America for that matter but became fewer and further between once I left Peru. Usually I don’t like to publish complicated recipes – alfajores are not hard to make, but they ARE fiddly because they’re so delicate. However, the faff time it takes to make these is totally worth it because they’re delicious and you just can’t find them in the UK.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
230 g sugar
230 g butter
5 egg yolks
270 g corn flour
3 tsp of liqueur (I used amaretto, you can use whatever you like really, as long as it’s sweet and alcoholic)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt

For the filling:
Dulce de leche (A bit tricky to find, but it's worth hunting it out on Ocado or a speciality deli. You can also use caramel, but the Argentinian version is always better!)
Dessicated coconut


1. Whisk the butter, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract and liqueur together until light and fluffy.
2. Add the mix to baking powder, salt and flour and combine with a spoon. You should have a very fluffy, buttery dough that is quite sticky. It will be a bit difficult to manage, but don't panic.
3. Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge to set for at least an hour. I find it better to leave it overnight.
4. Once the dough is set, take it out of the fridge and roll into biscuit shaped rounds. As the dough is so buttery it tends to come apart so I have found that the best way to shape is to roll it into balls with your hands and squash it into a circle, then cut using a pastry cutter or cold glass. The rounds must be quite thick, I would say about 1 cm is perfect. If they are too thin, the biscuit will fall apart.
5. Line a tin with baking parchment and lay the rounds on. Bake at 190 C for 10 - 12 minutes. They will still be relatively raw, so on taking the biscuits out of the oven, wait for them to cool before moving them so that they don’t fall apart.
6. Add a thick layer of dulce de leche to every other biscuit, then sprinkle the dulce de leche with coconut.
7. Stick the un-dulced biscuits on top of the dulce de leched up ones.
8. Eat! And enjoy!

Empanaditas Humitas
(Makes 24 little empanadas)
Just as the alfajor reminds us of macaroons, empanadas, to me, are just more delicious South American Cornish pasties. These have corn and paprika in them, which are not a traditional Argentine recipe, but once you have the dough down you can pretty much fill them with whatever you like.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
600 g of plain or corn flour
300 g butter
150 chilled water
2 eggs
A pinch of salt

For the filling:
500 g of sweetcorn
A handful of spring onions
Paprika
Chilli, salt, pepper and any other seasoning you might like to put in.
1 red onion


1. Combine the butter and the flour until the mixture looks like crumbs.
2. Whisk together egg and water. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and, little by little, add the eggs and water to the middle until the dough has combined. Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge for an hour.
3. After it has chilled, roll onto a floured surface until it is quite thin. I would advice 2 mm thickness. If the dough is too thick, it will end up being quite dry.
4. While the dough is chilling, chop the onions and fry onions and sweetcorn together then season with lots of paprika, chilli, salt and pepper.
5. Cut into rounds, ideally using a glass tumbler width for small empanadas, although you can make them bigger.
6. Coat the dough with melted butter and add a teaspoon of filling.
7. Fold the dough over so that you end up with something that looks a bit like ravioli. Seal with a fork and coat generously with the remaining egg and water mixture so the empanadas are nice and shiny.
8. Place on a baking tray and bake for 12 - 15 minutes at 180 C or bake until browned and shiny.

Recipe and photos by Julia Georgallis

Recipe: When life gives your tuna... Make ceviche!
Tuesday 28.06.16

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On a hot day in the sleepy surfing town of Puerto Escondido, some friends of mine followed some dolphins and stole some of their snacks. These snacks happened to be 8 kilos of tuna. I decided to make a feast of guacamole, carpaccio and ceviche with this copious amount of fresh fish for the 20 people in our merry band of travellers. We ate everything with our hands and tortilla chips and washed it all down with beers. Here is a guide to recreating part of our fishy feast, complete with homemade nachos, ceviche and how to drink like a Mexican…

Homemade tortilla chips
(Makes 15 large tortillas or millions of small ones)
All tortilla chips are, unsurprisingly are dehydrated tortillas. Therefore you can either reuse any tortillas you have in your house and stick them in the oven for 7-10 minutes at full temperature until they are crispy and then break them up into small pieces. Or make them yourself. This is a faff, but the nicest thing about this is that you can stick whichever herbs and spices you like in them and make them extra tasty – and they have no nasties in them!

Ingredients:
700 g Corn flour
The most important part of this recipe is the flour – you will need to look for corn flour or, ‘masa harina.’ The biggest brand is called ‘Maseca.’ Tortillas and tortilla chips are made from corn and therefore are a great, gluten free snack, if you’re that way inclined. You can get the flour from South American supermarkets, Holland and Barrett or you can order it online. You can use other other flours, but they're not as... well... corny.

500 g Water

Spices – Add what you like – I like a bit of lime, paprika and salt but you can experiment. Rosemary tortillas anyone? Don’t put too much in, a couple of pinches of each is enough.


1. Mix the water slowly into the corn flour until it is the consistency of playdough. This particular type of flour dries out very quickly. You might need to keep adding more water. Keep the dough covered with a wet towel at all times, and keep your hands wet.
2. Shape. You would usually use a tortilla press to shape the tortillas but, in the absence of one, roll them into a ball, then roll out onto a floured surface so they are roughly 2 -3 mm thick. Personally, I like very small tortillas so I cut mine with pastry cutters, but you can also roll them out as big as you like.
3. Coat a skillet or non-stick pan lightly with some cooking oil (I always use rapeseed), and fry the tortillas on a medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes on each side.


Ceviche
(Serves 5-6 people as a light snack or starter)

Ingredients:
400 g Tuna (you can also use any other meaty fish like salmon, trout or white fish).
2 small Mangos, 2 red onions, 15 g of fresh ginger
Chilli flakes, salt, pepper, paprika
Lots of lime (You’ll need about 16 limes for this - you can use lemons a cheaper, more accessible alternative)


1. To prepare the fish: You must, must, must use sea-fresh fish or ‘sushi grade’ fish to make ceviche or you might give yourself something nasty. The best way to do this is to buy the freshest fish you can and pop it in the freezer over night. Defrost before use. The cold kills any bacteria on the fish.
2. Chop up the tuna, mango into cubes, dice the onion and slice the ginger into thin strips.
3. Mix it together in a big bowl.
4. Add a handful of chilli, a pinch of paprika and salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, squeeze all the limes and then pour over the fish and veg.
5. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for at least an hour. Season to taste.
6. Scoop it up with your tortillas and fill your bellies.

Drink like a Mexican
Mexican beer was good and refreshing and I also took to Tequilla’s tough little cousin, Mezcal. In Mexico, these two go together like ham and cheese. Here’s how to drink them.

Ingredients:
A bottle of Mezcal and a Pilsner-style lager, something quite light like Sol or Corona will do. Lime, coarse salt, chilli flakes and a pinch of pepper


1. Cut a lime in half and spread it evenly around the rim of the glass or bottle.
2. In a shallow plate, mix the salt, pepper and chilli flakes then either dip your glass into use a spoon to coat the rim.
3. Squeeze the lime into the beer and pour yourself a shot of Mezcal.
4. Drink the Mezcal (in Mexico, FYI, they sip it rather than shot it) and then wash it down with your spicy, salty beer.

Recipe & Image by Julia Georgallis

Recipe: Swedish Loaf
(Rye flour, flax, sunflower and pumpkin seed with prunes)

Thursday 20.08.15

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This summer, I travelled to Sweden to cater at a campsite (or actually, let’s call it a glampsite) for 20 hungry designers over the course of 2 weeks. I generally cooked humungous one-pot meals paired with some kind of carby joy. Most of the carbs, unsurprisingly ended up being baked goods and bread. This recipe for RAGBROD (rye bread) was by far my favorite loaf that I made during the trip. It worked perfectly in both sandwiches, as a sweet snack, with breakfast, lunch AND dinner. This recipe uses Ragsikt, which is very finely sifted rye and wholemeal flour I bought in Sweden (I ended up loving Swedish flour so much, that I stuffed my suitcase full of the stuff on my return journey). Using prunes gives the very savory rye a nice sweetness and a mixture of the seeds and chopped rye give the bread a sneaky crunch. You CAN buy the same fine rye from Scandi Kitchen, but that’s quite a lot of effort for a loaf of bread, so the recipe works perfectly well by mixing English rye and wholemeal with strong, white bread flour.

Here you go, campers:
Makes 2 small loaves, or one big one.

IF YOU’RE GOING SWEDISH: 300 g Ragsikt, 200g Mjol
IF YOU’RE GOING ENGLISH 150 Rye flour, 50 Wholemeal, 300 white flour
10 g rock salt or salt flakes
10 g fresh yeast (or 7g dried yeast and 30 g wild yeast)
350 g water
2 tablespoons of chopped rye
1 tablespoon of flaxseed
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
A generous handful of prunes.


1. Chop the prunes into halves, and mix with the flax, cracked rye and seeds.
2. Mix your flours in a bowl and add your salt.
3. Cover the salt with the flour then add yeast. If you’re using the fresh variety, mix it into the flour as if you’re making a crumble topping.
4. Add water and knead until you’ve formed an airy, well-combined dough, for about 10 minutes by hand, 5 minutes in a mixer.
5. Fold in the seed and prune mix. Fold the air back into the dough by stretching each ‘corner’ once every half an hour for 3 hours.
6. If you are making smaller loaves, separate the dough now. Shape your loaves (pop them in a bread form if you like). If you would like to the bake them on the same day, leave them for roughly 2 hours before baking. Or pop the form in the fridge to retard the dough and bake in the morning. Both these methods work a treat, it really depends on how much time you have.
7. Just before you put your loaf in the oven, with a sharp knife, make an incision about 1/3 of the way into the dough. You can slice whatever patterns you like, but an easy option is a slice down the middle or a cross in the middle. This is so the dough doesn’t explode into a weird shape as it’s baking.
8. Bake for 24 minutes at 220 degrees. (You will need to adjust this depending on your oven. In my wood fired oven, the loaves bake for about 27 minutes at 200 degrees, and I turn them after 15 minutes to make sure each side is baked. My home fan oven bakes them in 24 minutes at 220 degrees.)

Recipe by Julia Georgallis
Photography by Featuring Featuring

Recipe: Beer Bread
Tuesday 05.05.15

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It’s good to start from the beginning sometimes. As are many things that get to be this old, beer bread seems like a bit of a myth to me. I have seen quite a few recipes for it and have read a good many articles about it, all with slightly different information. It was invented in the Middle East about 7,000 years ago - making it one of the oldest ways of making bread by using yeasty beer as a raising agent. I have been perfecting this very simple recipe for a while and have had an absolute riot experimenting with different beers. I’m not sure what our ancestors were using, but a good dark ale - even a Guinness - works very well. But try and use home brewed beer or artisanal beer, rather than mass manufactured stuff. This is mainly because the yeastier the beer is, the more flavorful the bread will be and there isn’t as much yeast in the big breweries’ bottles. I have been using Nightwatchman by the East London Brewing Company, but have fun experimenting! So enough chat from me, here’s the recipe:

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Proving time: 1 hour
Baking time: Depending on which oven I’m using, I cook the loaves for between 10 – 12 minutes as hot as my oven will go. But test this out and adjust if you need to.

Makes 3 x medium flatbreads

Ingredients:
500 g strong bread flour
300 g good, yeasty dark beer/ale/stout
50 g olive oil
5 g dried yeast (or 7 g of fresh yeast)
10 g salt
15 g of herbs, spices or anything else you’d like to add. This is just a recommended measurement guide, you can use as much or as little as you like.
A handful of semolina (or white flour) for dusting


1. Measure out the flour in a large bowl and cover the salt. (Covering the salt with flour before adding the yeast protects the yeast)
2. Pour in the alcohol (always weigh your liquids, it is more accurate). If the beer you are using is particularly bubbly, make sure you wait until the bubbles have burst so that you get an accurate measurement.
3. Mix together to form a dough. You know it’s ready for kneading when there sides of the bowl are clean.
4. Add in the olive oil and mix until the dough is sticky but not oily.
5. Tip your dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for a couple of minutes until your dough is firm. At this point it shouldn’t be sticky and if you’d like to add herbs and spices, fold these into the dough at this point.
6. Put the mixture back into the bowl and cover. Let it prove for 1 hour and in the meantime, switch on the oven.
7. Flour your hands so they don’t stick to the dough and lightly flour the surface that you will be working on. Separate your newly proved mixture into 3 pieces (about 290 g each)
8. Roll each piece out into a circle, like a pizza. The thinner it is, the airier it will be.
9. Flour a flat baking tray or baking stone (preferably use semolina, but white flour will do) and pop the flatbreads in the oven for about 10 minutes.
10. Once it is ready, your beer bread should have a plethora of consistencies – bubbly in some places, chewy or crispy in others. It should look nice and brown. Wait for it to cool down and then enjoy! To make it last, cover it in brown paper and toast when you want to eat it again.

Recipe by Julia Georgallis
Image by Marine Duroselle