Spelt pide perfection

Last week, I had a section of leftover lamb and a desire to get creative in the kitchen. I turned to a tried and true recipe, and got to work putting together one of my favourite dishes for dinner IMG_3895 Pide! But not just any pide – a spelt pide stuffed with lamb, tomato, olive tapenade and feta. But let me take a step back. This is not a difficult dish to make, but it does require a bit of time in its preparation – mainly to allow the pide dough to prove. To make the dough, I followed this recipe, which uses spelt flour, amaranth flour and brown rice flour as its base. IMG_3866 Into the mix went warm milk, yeast, egg, sugar, salt and oil. IMG_3867IMG_3868IMG_3869 Mixed until it resembled a dough… IMG_3870IMG_3872 Then kneaded until smooth… IMG_3873 Covered a left to prove for a couple hours, and stage one of this dinner extravaganza was complete. IMG_3874IMG_3875 While the dough was proving, I got to work on preparing the filling. I kept it relatively simple, and reheated the leftover lamb, with red onion and a sprinkle of Greek seasoning. IMG_3880IMG_3879 Later, when the dough had roughly doubled in size, I gave it another knead, then rolled it out between two floured sheets of baking paper until it was a large rectangle. IMG_3878 Then it was time to top! IMG_3881IMG_3882IMG_3883IMG_3884IMG_3885IMG_3886 Olive tapenade, mint, grated mozzarella lamb, onion, tomato and feta. The next part was probably the trickiest – IMG_3887 Drawing in the sides of the pide to form a boat shape. It doesn’t have to be perfect (see below) – just do the best you can. Before putting it into the oven, I brushed the top of the dough with a beaten egg, and sprinkled it with sesame seeds. IMG_3890 Into the oven for 20 minutes, then stand back in awe at the golden brown pide and pizza aromas that await you when you open the oven door! IMG_3893IMG_3892 We like to serve our pide with a side of hummus, but you could quite easily serve it with a salad (or nothing at all!). The only thing missing was a squeeze of fresh lemon over the top. IMG_3894 I promise that there will not be any hungry monsters in your house once you place this on your dining table. IMG_3895IMG_3896 Sliced, and served! IMG_3900 And my pide craving was thereby quashed! What about you? Are you a fan of pide?

Marinated lamb pizza

If I had to pick one meal to eat for the rest of my life, it would definitely be pizza. So easy, so versatile, and just plain tasty! While I normally make my own pizza bases using spelt flour, when I came across this pre made version I decided to give it a try (despite the heart-attack inducing price tag). IMG_0833 And, with a portion of marinated lamb leftover from our Father’s Day lunch, the pizza grew from there. Tomato paste and basil. IMG_0835 Lamb… IMG_0836 Sundried tomatoes… IMG_0837 And, of course, mozzarella! IMG_0838 Baked until golden brown. IMG_0840 Served with a dollop of minted yoghurt and alongside leftover pilaf. IMG_0842 The base was pretty good – chewy and dense. And was certainly more convenient than making dough, waiting for it to prove etc IMG_0843 But I think I’ll stick to my homemade version (if for no other reason than to save a bit of $$!) What about you? Do you prefer to buy pre-made pizza bases or make your own?

Spelt Croquembouche

The other day, Mr BBB joked about something. Something dangerous. When asked what he wanted for dinner the next night he joked, with gusto nonetheless, “croquembouche”. All I can say is “be careful what you wish for, husband dearest”. IMG_0131 Up for the challenge, I sought guidance from the pastry king himself – Adriano Zumbo, whose croquembouche recipe featured in the first Masterchef cookbook. Then, with a few substitutions, it wasn’t long before I had myself a batch of spelt choux pastry puffs… IMG_0120IMG_0121 Some delightful vanilla crème… IMG_0125 And got to work on building a masterpiece. The puffs were filled… IMG_0126 Dipped in caramel.. IMG_0129 And coated with some coloured sugar. IMG_0128 And, as I didn’t have a cone in which to build the croquembouche, I got creative and built a mini tower around a bowl that I had placed on a plate. IMG_0157 You get the idea…. Finished with a little spun sugar and some fondant flowers… IMG_0166 And I must say I was rather chuffed when I stood back and took a look at the result! IMG_0152 (And then proceeded to take 1000 photos of said creation!) IMG_0133 IMG_0149 I was really really pleased with how this turned out, given that I have never made choux pastry before (let alone spelt choux pastry), vanilla crème or spun sugar. IMG_0165 Perhaps it was beginner’s luck??? IMG_0163 I guess I’ll find out next time I make it – I’m thinking Father’s Day might be the perfect opportunity to try it again… What about you? Ever made a croquembouche?

Banana and honey spelt loaf

I think I have found my new favourite baked loaf. So much so, that thanks to some overripe bananas in our fruit bowl, and this recipe I found online… IMG_7774 It has made an appearance in our household not once but twice in the past week. IMG_7777 I was drawn to the recipe when I saw that it also featured two other favourites of mine… IMG_7771 Walnuts and dates. And the overall result was rather tasty indeed. IMG_7854 A moist, tasty loaf, with just the right amount of sweetness from the dates and honey. IMG_7855 And with a little crunch from the walnuts, scattered throughout. IMG_7856 Sliced and served with a little butter. IMG_7872 And I was one happy girl! I recommend that you try this for yourself. I know I will – well as soon as I leave some bananas in our fruit bowl too long again… What about you? Are you a fan of banana bread?

Memory loss & muffins

IMG_6853 I have never been someone who has a particularly good memory. So much so that photographs, diaries and blogging have really been my saviours when it comes to keeping track of what I did yesterday, last week, last year… You get the drift. Then I fell pregnant. And  ‘baby brain’ kicked in. Then my daughter was born. And sleep deprivation kicked in. And it seems that my memory is now completely gone as a result, with me  forgetting even the most obvious of things. Take this week’s forgetfulness by way of example:

  • I forgot to call my Dad on his birthday. He didn’t seem too fussed when I called the next day almost in tears, but I still get sad just thinking about it.
  • I put a load of washing on, and completely forgot to add laundry detergent. Twice. In a row.
  • I mailed a letter to my Mum, and forgot to write the postcode on the front. Here’s hoping it still reaches its destination.
  • I stared at my computer for a good 10 minutes trying to remember my password to log in.
  • I dressed Charlotte after her bath in a singlet and jumpsuit. Then realised it is probably a good idea to go back and  put a nappy on her too…
  • I have put my sunglasses down somewhere. And I have no idea where.
  • I forgot to eat up the bananas in our fruit bowl, that were rapidly nearing the end of their life.

So although I couldn’t take back many of the things I forgot this week, I could fix the final one in the list. For overripe bananas mean only one thing…. IMG_6845 Baking time! IMG_6846 In this case… IMG_6847 Banana raspberry spelt muffins. IMG_6848 Fluffy on the inside, and with a hint of tartness from the raspberries. IMG_6849 Perfect comfort food when one is starting to lose their mind. IMG_6852 Banana raspberry spelt muffins (makes 12)

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs apple sauce
  • Frozen raspberries- for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line a 12 muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then make a well in the centre.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Pour into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.
  4. Divide among the muffin cases (about 3/4 full), and push 4 or 5raspberries into the top of each muffin.
  5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool on a baking rack.

What about you? Do you have a good memory?

Pineapple and carrot spelt cupcakes

IMG_5849 Wanting to contribute dessert to our recent Good Friday lunch, but also being mindful of the chocolate overload that inevitably occurs over the Easter weekend (well for me anyway), I went in search of a non-chocolate baked treat. And with a newborn taking up most of my spare time, the dessert also needed to be relatively quick and easy to prepare. Enter….cupcakes. Pineapple and carrot spelt cupcakes to be precise. Just mix… IMG_5835 Spoon… IMG_5836 And bake. IMG_5838 IMG_5839 But we all know that cupcakes are really about the icing. I had initially planned to top the cupcakes with a lemon cream cheese icing, however as I was making them quite a few hours in advance, I wasn’t convinced that the icing would hold its shape when travelling to our lunch destination. I knew that vanilla buttercream, on the other hand, was a good stable icing that would travel well. IMG_5841 So buttercream icing it was. Coloured with a splash of pink food dye, piped onto the cupcakes, then topped with a pre-made fondant flower for no other reason than they looked pretty. IMG_5845 And who doesn’t love pretty?? IMG_5846 I really quite enjoyed the addition of the crushed pineapple, which added both a hit of pineapple flavour but also kept the cakes moist. IMG_5850 And, although the cakes themselves were not overly sweet, the icing certainly was – and provided the requisite afternoon sugar rush. IMG_5848 Good Friday dessert….success! Pineapple and carrot spelt cupcakes (makes 12)

  • 3 eggs
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 350g grated carrot
  • 180g drained crushed pineapple
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbs vanilla essence
  • Few drops food colouring
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. Combine eggs and oil. Add flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, carrot and pineapple, and stir until just combined. Divide among cases.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely.
  4. To make the icing – beat the butter until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla, food colouring and the icing sugar (half a cup at a time) – and continue to beat until smooth. Pipe or spread onto the cupcakes.

White chocolate and cranberry cookies

IMG_5160 While there has not been a lot of baking in the BBB household in the last few weeks, certainly when I was awaiting Charlotte’s arrival I made the most of my spare time by getting creative in the kitchen. Actually, I made these cookies the day before I woke to find that my waters had broken! IMG_5151 Using my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe as a guide… IMG_5154 It was easily adapted to create this white chocolate and cranberry variety. IMG_5155 IMG_5157 Resulting in… IMG_5160 A big plate of cookies that were crunchy on the outside.. IMG_5164 Chewy on the inside… IMG_5170 And with the cranberries offering just the right amount of tartness. IMG_5171 White chocolate and cranberry cookies (makes approx 20)

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 90g brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 250g spelt flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 120g white chocolate chips
  • 120g dried cranberries
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C, and line two trays with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla until light and creamy. Add egg, and continue to beat until well combined
  3. Sift flour and baking powder together, then add to the butter / sugar mix, along with the chocolate chips and cranberries. Stir until combined.
  4. Roll heaped spoonfuls of the dough into balls, and place on the baking trays about 5cm apart (the cookies will spread while in the oven).
  5. Bake for 13 minutes or until golden brown (they will still be soft), rotating the baking trays halfway through.
  6. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes on the trays, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will become firmer / crunchier as they cool.

Hmmm, typing this has now made me hungry for cookies! I must make another batch of these cookies sometime soon… Any flavour suggestions? I am thinking something with ginger perhaps?

Spelt chocolate chip cookies

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This morning was quite a utilities FAIL when my telephone company left me waiting for 4 hours at home, only to later inform me that no technician was actually going to arrive. Keep in mind that this is the third time in 2 weeks that I have sat at home for 4 hours with no technician showing up, and you will no doubt understand that I was rather frustrated. And grumpy. I decided, however, to “reclaim my mood” and head out for a walk in the sunshine. And, as always, it was the perfect cure. As was a second batch of chocolate chip cookies that found its way into my oven at some point during the day. The batch I made last week were…ok. Just a little too cake-like.  Instead, I wanted to find a version that had just the right amount of crunch factor, while still being a little chewy in the middle. And today seemed to be the perfect day to experiment in the kitchen.

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For even if I don’t have a new phone line (or any indication of when said new phone line is likely to be installed) at least I have chocolate chip cookies to keep me buttered up. And, I am pleased to report, that with a few tweaks to the sugar / butter ratios, the soft cookies of last week went from this…

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To this!

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Crunchy on the outside and a little chewy on the inside…

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Just the chocolate chip cookie texture I was looking for.

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And just the type of cookie that makes it hard to stop at one Winking smile

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Although I am not sure whether that is a good or bad thing…

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Spelt choc chip cookies (makes 24-26)

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 90g brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 250g spelt flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 100g white chocolate chips
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C, and line two trays with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla until light and creamy. Add egg, and continue to beat until well combined
  3. Sift flour and baking powder together, then add to the butter / sugar mix, along with the chocolate chips. Stir until combined.
  4. Roll heaped teaspoons of the dough into balls, and place on the baking trays about 5cm apart (the cookies will spread while in the oven).
  5. Bake for 13 minutes or until golden brown (they will still be soft).
  6. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes on the trays, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will become firmer / crunchier as they cool.

What about you? How do you deal with frustrating situations? Exercise and baking are definitely my “go to” solutions!

A cookie kind of day

Happy last day of Summer!  Although, you would never guess that it was, with the dark clouds lingering and rain falling steadily outside for most of the day. IMG_4996 Happy leap year also! It seems that baby BBB does not wish to only celebrate her birthday every 4 years, as she well and truly stayed put today. Looks like we will still have a March baby on our hands… Perhaps it was an attempt to brighten up the dreary day, or perhaps I just had a sugar craving, but I declared today a “cookie kind of day”. IMG_4984 Spelt chocolate chip cookies to be precise. IMG_4985 Any excuse to turn on the oven and make our house smell like a bakery too. IMG_4986 They were not perhaps my finest bakery creation… IMG_4988 But were a tasty treat nonetheless. IMG_4989 Sampled while still hot, straight out of the oven! IMG_4990 Recipe to follow… it just needs a little more work. What about you? What is your favourite cookie?

Banana maple spelt muffins

IMG_4917 Slowly but surely I am getting used to being on maternity leave. Although, truthfully, it has taken the better part of the week for me to really start to settle into my new routine.  I guess going from working 10+ hours per day over the past 8 years, to working…well…. zero…does require a certain adjustment. I’ve found that my mornings remain fairly productive…breakfast, blog reading, checking work emails (*I confess*), chores and any little house projects I feel like tackling. After lunch, however, I try to spend my time doing very little. An afternoon walk to the shops, nap time on the couch, some baking perhaps, and a healthy dose of reading or tv watching. Mr BBB arrives home shortly thereafter, and I pounce on him for conversation and “news” from his day. Poor guy doesn’t get a moment to himself (hey a gal needs conversation after spending the day alone!) During one of my many ‘potters’ around the house today, I came across a very sad sight. IMG_4900 Well sad for my morning breakfast porridge, but perhaps not so sad for my baking mojo. IMG_4901 For what better way to use bananas that have reached the end of their life than by using them in a baked treat? IMG_4903 IMG_4907 IMG_4909 Banana maple spelt muffins to be precise. IMG_4911 The thing I love about muffins is not only how versatile they are, but also how quick and easy they are to make. IMG_4912 Just take your dry ingredients, mix them with your wet ingredients… IMG_4914 Pour and bake. IMG_4916 Then around 20 minutes later, not only does your house smell like a bakery, but you have a tasty treat to enjoy warm straight out of the oven… IMG_4913 IMG_4920 Or let them cool, pack them up, and send them along with your husband when he heads to the rugby (while you dine with the gals!) IMG_4924 Either way, they never really last long Smile  Banana maple spelt muffins* – makes 12

  • 1.5 cups spelt flour
  • 0.5 cups GF plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 2tbs rolled spelt (for topping)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line a 12 muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then make a well in the centre.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Pour into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.
  4. Divide among the muffin cases (about 3/4 full), and sprinkle with rolled spelt flakes.
  5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool on a baking rack.

* these muffins are not gluten free, as they contain spelt flour. I am, however, able to tolerate spelt flour quite well, and opt to use it in my baking quite often. If you wanted to make a GF version, I would substitute the spelt flour for a GF baking flour mix. What about you? Do you have a favourite muffin variety?