Bread, Savoury

Baking rosemary bread rolls in Italy

I love Italy, I love the food, people and atmosphere, I feel very at home there which is good as this year will probably be my 28th time I’ve been there to the same place in Italy for holiday. A few years ago my dad inherited a family house, a very old house which is stuck in the 1950s with no boiler or hot water. We cook on a gas stove but I think it’s great.

This year I decided that I wanted to make the bread for our lunch times (as the crusty dry loaves we eat every day hurt my teeth). I bought the yeast with me from the UK but everything else I got when I was there.

I made 3 different types of bread with varying degrees of success, though I was pleased with any success since I had no scales to measure my ingredients with!*

The recipe and pictures today are from my bread rolls. They are so very simple but I managed to get them to work and we ate them all up very fast.

*How I measured the flour without scales was to buy 1kg bags of flour and guess that it’s half of it. Simples.


Rosemary bread rolls

  • 500g bread flour
  • 2 tsp dry fast acting yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Chopped up rosemary (or you could substitute for any dry herb, I used fresh rosemary)

In a bowl add all of your dry ingredients, except the rosemary,making sure that the salt is on the otherside to your yeast.

Make a well in the middle and pour most of the water and the oil into the centre.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture till it starts to come together then add in the last bit of water and mix.

Tip onto a clean work surface and start to knead the bread. At first it will be very sticky and you’ll want to add extra flour…don’t! Trust me, it will start to come together into a dough.

Keep kneading till it looks like dough and doesn’t stick to everything like glue. This will take at least 10 mins by hand.

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave till the dough has risen well (in Italy this was about an hour as it was so hot, in UK temperatures it’s probably closer to 2 hours)

Once risen put back onto the work surface and ‘knock back’ which is to knead the dough a bit more. Now add your herbs at this point.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces and roll into ball shapes. Put them close but not touching on your baking tray. I’d line a baking tray with non-stick paper and flour generously. Cover very loosely.

Heat the oven to 220c and let the dough rise for another hour.

Bake for 15 minutes until lovely, golden and happy to see you.

Cake, Sweet

Earl Grey Tea Bread

Surprisingly for someone who loves tea as much as I do, it took me until my 32nd birthday to try tea bread.
I don’t know why I never had this before its lovely! And as you’d expect from the name it goes perfect with my copious amounts of tea.

My boyfriend bought me my first ever one as a birthday present and it came from an expensive artisan shop so when I tried it it was beautiful. The next one I tried was from Aldi – I never noticed it in there before but now I suddenly saw it.

Now, had I tried the Aldi one first I’d have loved it but as I had the Buxton tea bread it just didn’t taste anywhere near as good.

As usual this prompted me to try and make my own version. I used this recipe but changed the tea.

Good to know – Tea Loaf

This is the recipe I have used for my base but instead of Roobios I have used a lovely loose Earl Grey tea to infuse my fruit. I left it for about 5 hours to soak and I also added some extra mixed spice and some cinnamon. To top the cake off, for the last 20 minutes I have sprinkled the cake with a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon.
Unfortunately I can’t tell you how this has come out yet because although the cake looks and smells amazing, it says to wait at least two days!

I’m stuck looking at a lovely hot cake which I can’t eat. I really hope it’s worth it because I don’t have much restraint for resisting cake but if it makes it special then it’ll be worth it.

Chocolates/Truffles, Sweet

Dusted Cherry Truffles

Cherry Truffles

Due to the usual Christmas lull I’ve reduced the amount of sweet making and baking down to a minimum but after I made a Black Forest Gateaux inspired cake I was left with 300ml of double cream.

I decided that it was a sign, a sign to make chocolate truffles! Not that I really needed a sign but you know, inspiration comes in many forms and this time it came in exactly 300ml of cream.

I love to make truffles but the part I don’t like is the rolling and shaping, it is messy and I never seem to do a really good job of it. This time I am going to try different methods one day – rolling in cocoa, coating in chocolate and piping into chocolate moulds.

I have found the ones coated in a dusting of cocoa powder to be the most successful ones to eat so far but they are not the prettiest. I think this is because the truffle mix was a little too soft when I tried to shape and because I am not very good yet at tempering chocolate.

Rolling them in cocoa powder is the easiest to do.

I flavoured the inside of the truffle mix with cherry and rolled in cherry cocoa powder, from the company Sugar and Crumbs. Although these are a little bitter (maybe some icing sugar added next time) they look more like truffles and are easier to shape.

I might be a long, long way from master chocolatier but these look a lot more impressive than the skills required to make them.


Dusted Cherry Truffles

Ingredients

  • 300g Dark Chocolate
  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 50g Butter
  • 1 tablespoon cherry liquor
  • Cocoa Powder (ideally cherry flavoured)

Method

Chop up your chocolate and put into a large bowl and set aside

In a pan heat up the cream and butter slowly till the butter melts and the cream begins to simmer. This is where you start to get a few gentle bubbles on the top, try not to boil it!

Immediately pour over the chocolate and stir until it the chocolate has melted

Add in your cherry liquor, or any other flavour you fancy. Add it a little at a time and taste as you don’t want to add too much and make it too strong.

When the mix has cooled a little, refrigerate for at least 4 hours

Take the mix out of the fridge and either using a teaspoon or a melon baller, spoon out truffle sized pieces and working very quickly roll them in your hands till they are ball shaped

Once you have the shape roll them into the cocoa powder and set aside

After all of them are finished, keep them in the fridge in an airtight container and they should last a couple of days (if you don’t eat them all in one night and feel completely sick)

Sweetshop

Old Fashioned sweet shop: Lemon and Orange sherbet dips

Sherbet Lollypops

The first month of a whole new year and I am hoping that this year will be another exciting year.

I love making and eating sweets so I decided to start my 2019 with something that I was excited to try for a while, both because of its simplicity and because there really is nothing more that epitomises a classic sweet shop item – Sherbet dip lollies!

When I was a kid, I usually bought these for 20p from the local shop (from that you can probably work out whether I am younger or older than you) although honestly age is very irrelevant with sweets anyway, just ask my dad!

For these I used a recipe from The Vintage Sweet Book by Angel Adoree to create both the lollies and the sherbet.

For flavouring I went for a classic lemon sherbet, though I decided not to colour it yellow and for the lollies I made them orange flavoured and coloured them using a peach gel colour. Orange and lemon, you can’t really go wrong with that can you?

I have an idea for a fun children’s party – bowls of different flavour sherbet, sugars and lolly pops.

Different colours and flavours with scoops and bags so people can mix and match to their liking. The flavours and colours could be endless and they would beautiful to display.

Although the lollies aren’t fragile, I have not found a way of storing them easily as they tend to go a little sticky. I’m sure that there are ways to do this but I need to look into it more.

Just a little word of warning – although these are simple and cute to make they do involve boiling sugar to a very high temperature so aren’t suitable for kids to help out with.

You may not have the book I used so here are some links to good recipes:

Peppermint lollies

Sherbet dips

Food Ramblings

New content coming soon

I’ve abandoned this blog for years due to a big change in my personal life but years on I have decided to revive The Happy Little Baker blog “yay”.

I’ve tried and failed so many times to start a new blog as much as I loved this one but it never happened and a few posts in I became bored or unhappy with it. I have posted lots of recipes over different blogs I’ve never continued with so I’m going to bring them all together here.

So this blog is going to be revamped with new recipes and content coming soon – I’ll be back in 2019!