Friday, June 29, 2012

Homemade Crusty Bread.....oh the Possibilities !

I want to shout from the tallest mountain top......this is by far, THE EASIEST HOME-BAKED BREAD  METHOD EVER !!!!!!
Forget that my picture, [lets be honest] sucks ! But when you don't have your own [please Santa, please] digital camera [since I am just starting out on my blogging journey] you have to make do with what you have, and that is my LG 3year old phone ! So now your saying 'that's really not such a bad pic after all from a 3 year old cell phone' ! And there's more........
For this recipe, literally, all you do is mix flour, yeast, salt and water together, cover the bowl, leave it sitting out on a counter top and forget about it for 12-18 hours ! I left mine overnight with fabulous results !
 Now in the original recipe from 'Simply So Good', the part that makes this recipe so unique is the method of cooking. Janet says to use a cast iron pot with a well sealing lid, such as Le Creuset. In fact this is an adaptation of a recipe from Le Creuset. Well, I don't own one [another Santa request]. But I had a feeling about this recipe and wanted to give it a try anyhow. I ended up using an old glass 'Vision' casserole [remember them ?] that I bought from The Salvation Army a few years back for the pricey sum of $2 !!
Oh, and do you like my nice shiny black granite island ? I sure do, it's like a mirror, and I don't care that I have to clean and buff it each day, it is my pride and joy !
One other obstacle I had to overcome is that my MAYTAG CONVECTION WALL OVEN decided one day a couple of weeks ago, not to work.....that's what I get for not shopping wisely, I wanted an oven with all the bells and whistles and a touch screen dashboard. I could slap myself now, we have to get a MAYTAG SPECIALIST to look at it, our local appliance store won't touch it ! And you know how much they will charge just for stepping in the door, plus their mileage to get here.
Soooo, luckily I also got a GE Convection Microwave which I have been using to the limit for all my baking is a dream ! I just can't bake anything in a regular oven sized baking sheet or pan, it is just too small. So to have been able to bake this bread at all, is quite an achievement in my house !! 
The hardest part to making this bread is waiting for it to cool enough to slice and eat !! Just look at those lovely little air pockets. This bread is like a Sourdough without the 'Sour'. I thought there would have been that 'yeasty' after taste due to the lack of kneading or just the fact that it is so easy to make.....something had to go wrong ! But no.....delicious and crusty with the chewiness of the rustic variety. I then toasted a slice, oh my how it absorbed the butter and brought the flavour to new heights !
I have to say though, this bread may have it's limits as a sandwich maker, simply because of it's construction. But I have paid $4-6 for similar 'rustic' bread from a bakery, and now there is no way I can ever justify paying that kind of money again ! 
(My favourite sandwich bread to bake is from 'The Bread Bible' by Rose Levy Beranbaum - Pullman Loaf Sandwich Bread [Pain de Mie])
 My husband has had great fun with it....drizzling garlic olive oil over it and piling on olives, freshly harvested cherry tomatoes, grated Swiss cheese with fresh Watermelon and Cantaloupe on the side....the possibilities are endless. 
The dough also lends itself to added flavours too, such as cheese, garlic, cinnamon, raisins, roasted peppers, nuts, seeds and on and on ! Just fold in during the mixing process and you have a new creation  As I say....Oh the possibilities !!

So here is the recipe......adapted from 'Simply So Good'

Homemade Crusty Bread

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water

In a large [I mean LARGE...the dough needs lots of room to grow] mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-18 hours...I left mine overnight. Heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid [or in my case a glass casserole dish] in the oven and heat pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. It will be VERY sticky, flour your hands well also ! Cover with plastic wrap and let sit while the pot is heating. Remove pot from oven, remember it is HOT, and drop in the dough. You do NOT need to grease the pot, trust me ! Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes to brown the top [using my glass bowl I only needed 8 minutes]. Remove bread from oven and place on cooling rack to cool. 
That's all there is to it.....voila !!  
I would love to hear how this turns out for you and especially if you create your own flavours ! ENJOY !

Note : To me, bread is a very personal choice, we all have our favourites and those we wouldn't touch with a barge pole, but to create your own homebaked bread is one of the most satisfying baking experiences....if you have never attempted bread making before, put all your caution to the wind and give this a try....all you have to lose is basically 3 cups of flour, but I think you will enjoy the experience in itself !

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Lamb Feast from 'An Edible Mosaic'

While I am still frantically working on tweaks to my blog, I could not pass up the opportunity to share with you this Lamb Feast featured in 'An Edible Mosaic'. This site, entirely written and beautifully photographed by Faith, is a gem of a find ! As an extension of the posts, Faith has a book  'An Edible Feast', being released on October, 10, can pre-order the book here at Amazon.

This is a  perfect meal to plan for the first official summer week-end. Lamb was served often at my home when I was young, especially a Sunday Roast. The platter was simpler but the flavour will always be memorable.
Just look at this delicious platter of lamb with couscous and roasted vegetables, makes a mouth water doesn't it ? Pair this with a Greek Salad and you have a feast fit for a King and Queen, but I'm sure your family and friends will be the royalty at your table ! for dessert ! Usually my favourite part, but this entire feast has me giddy with anticipation ! A simple dish of yogurt with honey and nuts.....perfect conclusion to a perfectly memorable feast !
 The entire feast and recipes with full instructions on how to roast a boneless leg of lamb, can be found at 'An Edible Mosaic'

This entire post was written with exclusive permission by Faith @ An Edible Mosaic

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Father's Day Fun

Father's Day is this Sunday, so if you haven't yet made plans for your celebration, here is a great page for fun ideas to cook Dad some yummy food, and the kids can help out too. This is a great family website, with oodles of information at :
Cool Mom Picks  just click on this link to take you to the page. All of these scrumptious photographs are from this same page on the website. 
Manly recipes for Father's Day: meat and potatoes skewerFather's Day recipe ideas: Spicy Chipotle Meatballs

Father's Day recipe ideas: Tequila Watermelon PopsFather's Day recipe ideas: Pizza with fried eggs

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY all you great Dad's out there !
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Under Construction

No, I haven't jumped ship ! I've been trying to 'work out the creases' here on my blog, and I sure do thank you all in advance for your patience... I seem to have a case of the hiccups. I have yet to come across another blog that is in it's infant state like mine, and so I wonder how all of you seasoned bloggers  managed your first few weeks. 
My brain really does feel like a sponge as I pour over all the pages of tips, guides, how to's and technical stuff involved in building a credible blog. Funny thing too, I don't seem to need as much sleep. I get myself so engrossed in articles that I can't peel myself away. I guess that must be a sign that I'm really enjoying this adventure ! I must admit, I am not the world's top ranking organizer by a long shot, in-fact I'm going to self-diagnose and say that I'm probably a little bit ADHD, a little bit rock and roll ! haha. 
This journey is certainly highlighting the fact that I have certain character flaws, and the big doosie is self-discipline, or in my own words, stop humming and hawing Mary....make a decision and stick to it ! But there are soooo many - should I keep it pink or not; do I want to use this font not that one; how about the size...and on and on. 
My huge struggle though is whether to change the name while my blog is still so young. I have ruminated over this for days, my husband and daughter like the current name, 'mary mary quite contrary'. But I'm leaning towards 'Marmalade and Ginger' simply because I am a little sweet and a bit more spicy, with a mop of red hair to boot ! Any feedback here would be greatly appreciated. 
Anyhoo, what I really want to say, if I can stop blethering [Scottish meaning 'rambling'] for a minute, is that I'm going to be under construction for a few days, but I still want to share some fabulous links that I have come across in my travels.
The first one is from 'Cool Mom Picks' a great family blog. Father's Day Fun  - 6 'manly' recipes that the kids can help make. 
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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer Pudding

'Tis the season ! The beginning of steamy hot summer days. I must say though, as much as I enjoy sunshine, even after 23 years of living in the USA, my wee Scottish internal thermometer still cannot handle the heat and humidity of a Maryland summer. Add to that 'the vapors' or as you probably know them 'hot flashes', and you have a dangerous combination of a steaming, red haired, glow in the dark Scottish 'wuman' who is a force to be reckoned with ! I yearn for a downpour of Glasgow rain, seven days out of seven. The rain over here in summer time, seems to always be accompanied by Warner Bros. type thunder and lightening, the likes of which I had never before experienced.
That being said, I do love living here, and am fortunate enough to live by the river in a town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It's the same distance to the sea as it is to Washington, DC, but during the summer, the day trip destination is always the beach. How lucky I am !
Now the recipe I'm sharing with you today, is a favourite British summer dessert. When I lived in Scotland, I made it several times when the berry crops were in season. I have also made this with success using frozen berries at other times of the year.


5 cups of mixed berries [blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries even cherries or currants]
1/2 to 2/3 cups of sugar
1 small dense white sandwich bread [such as Pepperidge Farm] crusts removed; or brioche also works well


Select a 2 pint bowl and cut sliced bread to completely line the bowl, with enough left to seal the top. Make sure there are no gaps.
Next, put all your berries in a heavy saucepan along with 1/2 cup of sugar. I tend to keep some strawberries and raspberries out to add later in order to keep them all from becoming soft. I like some texture in my pudding !
Gently heat the mixture for about 5 minutes, but DO NOT BOIL. Test the sweetness and add extra sugar if desired. BE CAREFUL IT IS HOT ! You want the sugar to dissolve but you don't want to break down all your beautiful berries. If it takes longer than 5 minutes to dissolve your sugar, that's ok, just don't rush it, be gentle.
At this point you can add the strawberries and raspberries if you kept some aside. Warm them through for a couple of minutes.
Now immediately strain your fruit into a bowl. Do not press, just let it drip. Put the fruit aside in another bowl for now. Here is a trick you won't find in many Summer Pudding recipes : To avoid having white patches in your final creation due to the bread not soaking up the juices, dip each slice that you have cut, in the juice, and return it to it's place lining the bowl. You can also line the bowl with cling-wrap before replacing the bread to assist when inverting it on to a plate to serve.
Now spoon all your succulent berries into the bread lined bowl, and pour some reserved juice in to fill. Keep the rest of the juice chilled to pour over pudding before serving.
Place enough soaked bread slices on the top [or bottom as it will be when inverted] to completely seal the pudding [it doesn't matter how they look as long as there are no gaps].
Place bowl in a basin to collect drips if it overflows. Now place a small plate over pudding and put a heavy can on top to weigh mixture down. 
This is a picture of a pudding where the bread has not been pre-soaked.
Refrigerate overnight but it turns out best if it sits for 24 hours before serving.
To serve :
If you did not line your bowl with cling-wrap [ I have never had any trouble releasing the pudding], run a spatula around the bowl, place your serving plate on top and flip entire bowl over to release pudding. If you use cling-wrap, you do not need to run spatula round bowl.
Pour over reserved juice and serve with lightly whipped sweet cream or ice-cream.....ENJOY !  
NOTE : This pudding can also be successfully made in individual bowls, very impressive for a dinner party, plus the longer they are refrigerated the better.....leaving you to enjoy your own party !

Main Photograph by Anthony Blake

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Summer Pudding Recipe is in the works for today ! A sumptuous British dessert that is both easy and quick to make, although you have to wait 24hrs to cut into this gem of a dessert ! When you do....a medley of aromatic, juicy berries come tumbling out enveloped in a rosy sweet sauce. I've got you now haven't I ?? Check back later for the full recipe and hints.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

More about The Glasgow Cookery Book
Again, click on the above link for the full story.....parents of children attending a local Nursery School, will take part in the Cook and Eat Project, which will promote healthy eating habits through workshops and cookery courses. All this is funded by the impressive sales of the Centennial Edition of The Glasgow Cookery Book.

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Profits from the sale of The Glasgow Cookery Book are being used to fund cooking courses to promote healthy eating in a Glasgow Housing Estate
Please click on the above link to read the whole story.....makes me proud !

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Eve's Pudding from The Glasgow Cookery Book

While browsing through all my older, dusty cookbooks which I brought over to America 23 years ago…good Lord, has it been that long ?…I came across my Notre Dame High School cookery book. I then remembered that a dear neighbour of our family, had given me her copy which was published in the late 1920’s to early 1930's. It was simply named ‘The Glasgow Cookery Book’, and it was used primarily for ‘Students in Training as Teachers in Cookery’ at the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science, always affectionately nicknamed the 'dough school'. Are there any ‘Colleges of Domestic Science’ in the 21st Century ? Sadly I think not. The curriculum still exists, but is now part of Glasgow Caledonian University.

I took the best pic possible of one of the pages to let you see [if you can] the PRICES ! This was well before decimal currency and the price of the book was 3/6…that was 3 shillings and 6 pence, and the postage was 5d…5 pennies. 

While doing a little research and reminiscing, I happily discovered that The Glasgow Cookery Book is still a force to be reckoned with today. In recognition of it’s 100 year anniversary of the first publication, the newest printing rolled off the presses in 2010 for the current student generation and general public to enjoy and learn basic cooking techniques. The passion of the Alumni to pursue the publication of the 100 year anniversary edition, earned them the silver award for Alumni Marketing by the Heist Foundation. The book now has it’s own Facebook page [link above]….oh my, and aprons for sale, the times they are a changing!

The content of-course has been adapted for today’s kitchen, as it should be, considering the impractical and archaic advice of pre-WW11 publications. The recipe for Sheep’s Head Broth requires one sheep’s head and trotters. The cook is advised to ‘get a singed head and trotters, and get the former cut open by the butcher. Take out the brains and rub the head and feet well with them, and allow to lie all night….for serving…remove the flesh from the bones and place neatly on a dish. Skin the tongue and split it in two : place in the middle of the dish.’ What a treat !! Do I have your attention yet ? I know you are all drooling and eager to try out this recipe in your own kitchens, haha. Suffice it to say, the current anniversary edition, relegates recipes such as these to the Introduction due to ‘changes in health and safety laws’ and ‘shifting public taste’. Thank you Lord ! For the most part, the book continues to offer basic skills for any kitchen, and the recipes that remain are tried and true.
Here is one for “Eve’s Pudding’, a dessert of my childhood. What a comforting treat it is, especially slathered in warm custard ! Vanilla ice cream on top is another favourite pairing. 

Eve’s Pudding


8oz Peeled, sliced Apples
2oz Sugar [regular]
1 or 2 Cloves
2oz Butter
2oz Castor Sugar [fine]
1 Egg
2oz Self-Rising Flour
Castor sugar for sprinkling

Serves 3 to 4     Time :45mins to 1 hour
Oven Temp : 375 F    Position in Oven : Middle
Size of Pie Dish : 1 Pint


Grease a fireproof dish and place in half the apples. Add the sugar [regular] and cloves, then place rest of apples on top.
Cream the butter and sugar [beat mixture until pale in colour and creamy], add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, beating until incorporated. 
Add sifted flour, folding gently as you go. Spread over apples and bake until the sponge is firm and lightly browned.
Sprinkle the top with castor sugar as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Serve warm with custard [link to a lovely recipe]
or a dollop of your favourite vanilla ice-cream.
Adapted from 'The Glasgow Cookery Book' 1970 edition
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