Baking Like Mad

Golly gosh. Haven’t Fred and I been busy lately?

Here are some highlights of all the tasty things we created over the last month.

1. One of the latest bestsellers on the Bred by Fred stall: our Courgette Tea Cakes. These little sweeties are sandwiched with a blop of tangy lime curd, which seem to go down a treat with our customers.

DSC02388

2. My latest, greatest Favourite Breakfast Ever: a banana sourdough loaf. Nothing to do with new-found commercial baking necessities. Purely for my own breakfast pleasure. (Adapted from here.)

Sourdough Banana Loaf

3. Possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever created in my life (although, during the process of its making, it did resemble something akin to a meat grave): my rabbit and ham hock terrine.

Rabbit & Ham Hock Terrine

4. And finally, one to watch out for at the next Local to Ludlow on Thursday 24th September: our Apple, Fennel and Rapeseed Cake.Apple, Fennal & Rapeseed Cake

Well Done Fred

Bred by Fred Launch

Glorious thanks to all the wonderful folk that attended the Bred by Fred Launch Party last night.

Bred by Fred Launch Party

Colossal thanks to all those that unwhipmeringly pitched in and made it run (to all outward appearances) without hitch. It truly wouldn’t have happened without your help.

Bred bt Fred Launvh Party

For all you non-attendees, here’s what you missed:

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Lavender, raspberry or rose bubbles

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Homemade Pork Scratchings

Pea’d Broad Bean & Mint on Fadge*

Little Urn Ewe’s & Sorrel Frittata

Chicken Liver Pâté on Fred’s White Toast

Onion and Marjoram Tartlets

Egg Mayonnaise on Soda Bread

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Lemon & Blackcurrant Leaf Curd Tartlets

Rhubarb Jelly & Orange Thins

Rose & Pistachio Marshmallows

Chocolate Truffles with Crystallised Fennel Flowers

Egg Mayonnaise on Soda Bread

*Or, plain old, non-Irish potato cake.

Rejoicing Everyday

Melon, Raspberry and Goat's Cheese Salad with Rose Syrup

Breakfast this morning was pretty darned special.

Yesterday I made two things (well, actually I made rather a lot of things – but there were two in particular) that I was really quite pleased with.

The first was a batch of twelve teeny Fredspawn (sorry, that’s the not-so terribly attractive name I’ve taken to giving the offspring of Fred) and the second was something of a fluke.  Well, a semi-fluke.

It began with a daydream about cakey possibilities for my next market stall.  My mind, as is often its wont, had become fixated on a flavour: rose.  And so off stormed my thought processes, examining potential methods of adding said flavouring to this hypothetical cake.

My mind made itself up.  It was going to be a syrup cake.  A cake drenched in rose syrup.

Excellent.  My mind congratulated itself.

This just left me to come up with a recipe.

After a spot of internet research and a fairly extensive cookbook trawl, I hatched my rosey plan.  It went like this:

Rose petals (the most fragrant you can lay your hands on) – half a large bowlful

Boiling water – enough to just cover the rose petals (in may case, about 600ml)

Caster sugar – 500g

Water – 300ml

Lemon juice – half a lemon’s worth

Carefully wash your rose petals, removing all the insects you come across (and there will be many).  Place the petals in a clean bowl and pour over enough boiling water to just about cover them.

Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave until the liquid has cooled completely, then drain the petals, reserving the liquid (but ditching the soggy floral matter).  Place this liquid in a small saucepan and warm over a low heat, while you make a sugar syrup.

In another pan, add the water, sugar and lemon juice, and place over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Once this has happened, turn up the heat (don’t stir it anymore) and simmer until the syrup has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

When the syrup reaches this stage, add the warm, rose-infused water and bring back to the boil.  Then remove from the heat straight away and strain the syrup through muslin into a bowl, or jug.

Again, cover the receptacle with clingfilm and allow to cool.  Once cold, pour into bottles and refrigerate until needed.

“So you had Fredspawn and syrup for breakfast?” I hear the masses balk.

No, no, don’t be sill… well, actually, in a word: yes.

Fredspawn

I had the best toast in the world (which can only be made from wonderful, chewy sourdough bread) with my raspberry jam and some leftover lemon curd, and then I rounded off with this. (Or, at least, my version of.)

Oh, happy day.

Bred by Fred

Bred by Fred Logo

I am very excited to announce that Fred and I have gone public: we’ve started a catering business!

Currently, we’ve signed up to sell tasty wares at the Local to Ludlow market (which we’ll be attending on the 4th Thursday of the month only) and we’re looking into a couple of other farmer’s/local produce markets in the area too.

However, markets will only be the customer-facing side to Bred by Fred. We’re hoping to get our name out there (by me force-feeding customers business cards, as well as baked goodies), so that the private catering events will eventually become the main element of the business.

So, to last week’s market.

Bred by Fred Does Local to Ludlow Market

Fred was a sell out.

Oh yes. We sold:

- Sourdough loaves

- Soda bread loaves

- Cornish splits (the original and superior accompaniment to Cream Tea)

- Cocoa and hazelnut meringues

- Mini lemon meringue tartlets

- Mini rhubarb and ginger tartlets

- Chocolate and raspberry cake

- Small raspberry heart tarts

- Small fruit tarts

- Blackcurrant crème brûlées

- Mini onion and marjoram tartlets

- Mini beetroot leaf and Little Hereford (a local, unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese) tartlets

- Raspberry ‘Sweet Ladies’ Tongue’ biscuits

- Gooseberry and elderflower ‘Sweet Ladies’ Tongue’ biscuits

Bred by Fred Does Local to Ludlow 2

I’m now brimming with ideas for the next one, so I’ll see you there – stall (this time) overladen with treats. Be there or be, um… hungry.

Birthday Barbie

My brother turned 30 last week.  We decided that this was reason enough to get drunk and throw a few things on the barbeque.  (Although thankfully for him, not quite in that order.)

If you’re me, these few things can range from anything like roughly minced steak to soft, wobbly pigs’ ears, so as such, his birthday menu went like this:

Canapés (Served with elderflower fizz)

Chicory & Crispy Pigs' Ear Canapes

Chicory leaf boats filled with capers, sorrel and parsley, topped with crispy pigs’ ears.

Herbed Goats Cheese Bites

Herbed goats cheese on homemade wholemeal bites.

Mains

Homemade chuck steak burgers, served with sweet cucumber pickle, mustard mayonnaise, good ol’ Heinz tommy k. and Alan’s green tomato chutney, on homemade burger buns.

Grilled feta and marjoram-stuffed vineleaves (pilfered from our vine in the greenhouse) with orange and mint salad.

Also on the Table:

Seasonal leaf and herb salad.

Sourdough

Sourdough loaves.

Dessert

Gooseberry and Elderflower Birthday Stack

Four-stack gooseberry and elderflower cake.  (With candles.)

Bittersweet (and Sour)

Sourdough Loaves

Well, here they are. Feast your eyes on these babies.

Plump, healthy and weighing in at around 800g each – I couldn’t be more proud. The first loaf popped out of the oven at around 12.10pm this afternoon and the second followed a little later, at around 12.45pm. And isn’t is strange, even though they came from the same starter and were kept in pretty much identical conditions, they both look (and feel, as well as smell) different.

And I’m hooked. Making sourdough takes time – a lot of time – but during that time you’re seeing something grow and change and then you bake them and (sniff) when they come out (blub) and they’re all perfect, with that chewy crust and adorable sweet-sour flavour (sob), it just (gag) makes it all worthwhile.

Sorry, I think I’m going to have to leave it there. I need a tissue.

An acknowledgment:

Special thanks to Pa for conjuring up a faultless bread paddle in record time this morning. I’ll have my Pizzaiola technique perfected in no time, you wait and see.

Hello Fred

Fred

Meet Fred. Fred is 6 days old and very much alive.

I’ve been feeding Fred a strict diet of flour and water everyday and as a result, he’s been growing and frothing. And growing and frothing.

And now he’s ready.

Fred is my sourdough starter. Tomorrow I’m going to feed him up for the final time and then I’m going to put his bulked mass to prove until the following morning (by which time he should be well sprung and swollen).

Then (and this is the really exciting bit): I’m going to stoke the woodburning oven up until it’s as hot as I can get it; slide in my fully risen loaves onto the base of the oven; and – after one last longing look – gently close the door.

If all the above goes to plan, after 35 minutes of anxious waiting, I’ll be the proud mother of two beautiful bouncing sourdough loaves.

Don’t congratulate me just yet, though.