Friday, 13 August 2010

Baking - hasty bread and teisen lap

The making
After a particularly bad day at work yesterday, I decided I wanted to do something completely different and something I hadn't done for ages, i.e baking. So this morning I had a look through my cookery books to see what I fancied doing. I decided on a quick bread recipe I'd found in my Mum's 1965 copy of Marguerite Patten's 'Bread and Scones' called 'hasty bread' that uses baking powder as the raising agent.(Secondhand copies of this book can usually be found on Amazon and Ebay.) The recipe uses 8oz (I'm afraid I'm still imperial when is comes to weights) of plain flour, as I have some spelt flour, I replaced half of the plain flour with this. I rubbed 1oz of butter (this helps to keep the bread moist) into the flour, added a pinch of salt and two level teaspoons of baking powder and mixed it all together with a quarter of a pint of milk. After kneeding it for a short while, I formed it into a round loaf about two centimetres thick and brushed the top with a bit of milk. It went into the oven at  gas mark 8 for 15 minutes and then for another 15 at gas mark 4.
While the bread was in the oven, I started on the cake I'd decided to make, teisen lap. The name means 'moist cake' in Welsh and is a lovely concoction of mixed spice and dried fruit. This recipe comes from Sue Lawrence's 'On Baking' book, my first port of call when I want to make cakes or biscuits. This is another simple recipe consisting of..., oops before I start that I need to remind you to put the oven on to gas mark 4 to preheat. Back to the recipe, sift 8oz of self-raising flour with one heaped teaspoon of mixed spice into a bowl. Rub in 4oz of butter and stir in..., well the recipe says 3oz of castor sugar, but I don't like things too sweet so I added 2oz and 4oz of dried fruit. Again, I had to amend the recipe slightly as it says to use raisins and currants, going to the cupboard I found I didn't have raisins, so it was currants and sultanas. Mix in two beaten eggs next and then one tablespoon of milk, stirring in until it's a soft consistency. Spoon into a 20cm buttered sandwich tin, levelling the surface. Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for couple of minutes so it's easier to get out, then carefully turn out onto a cooling tray.
The eating
We had some of the bread with our dinner of quinoa, olive and feta cheese salad. It's a lovely flavour with a slight nuttiness due to the spelt flour. It is a little crumbly, with more of a 'cakey' texture due to the raising agent being baking powder, but it is really delicious and, as its name suggests, is really quick to make. You could make it if you run out of bread or want to make a quick loaf for breakfast.
The cake was also delicious, and, as it's name suggests, very moist. Tomorrow we're going to try it with some fresh cream as a dessert.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Purple knitted cushion

Purple knitted cushion
This is my latest knitting project, a purple cushion in 4-ply sock.

My previous knitting project was a large throw made out of Aran wool using 4.5mm needles and I fancied doing something on finer needles. I'd got some Peruvian sock wool that I'd bought from Whitmore and Hamilton in Oban (a great shop for wool if you're ever in Oban) and fancied making a cushion. So I had a look through my collection of knitting patterns for inspiration and came up with a lacey pattern for the front, with a plainer back but with lace detail. When I make a cushion, either in fabric or in wool I like to make the back as interesting as the front.

I've converted the pattern into a PDF so it can be downloaded and printed easily.

Purple cushion pattern