Fadgies

Fadgies are a bread buns that are peculiar to Teesside. They are made with lard and are a simple (single prove) bread. They’re ideal for a beginner bread maker.

Put 675 grams of flour into a large bowl and mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. When it is mixed in well add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 2 1/2 teaspoons of dried or easy yeast and mix all this together. I use a hand mixer with the dough beaters on for this. Rub in 1 1/2 tablespoons of large but note that you won’t get the breadcrumb effect that you do when you make pastry. Add 400 millilitres of warm water (mix 225 mls of cold water with 75 mls of hot water) and mix in thoroughly before turning out and kneading for between 5 and 8 minutes. It will be smooth and elastic when it is ready to shape.

Mould gently into a squarish shape and cut into 3 length wise with a sharp knife then cut into triangles. This should make nine buns.

Place on a lightly oiled baking tray (you’ll need two) and leave in a warm place, covered in cling film, to prove for 45 minutes to 1 hour. They will double approximately in size. Dust liberally with flour and bake in an oven preheated to 230 C for 15 minutes until they are golden brown. When they are ready they will sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with a knuckle.

Place on a wire rack until cool. They freeze well.

Happy eating!

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Chilli bread

This recipe is made with white flour but can be made with other types too.

1lb/500 grams of strong white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Sachet of dried yeast (the one that doesn’t need activating)
15 grams 1/2 butter or spread
300 ml of warm water made by mixing 100 ml of boiling water with 200 ml of cold. I make a bit extra because flour isn’t predictable about how much water it will take
1/2 teaspoon of Scorpion Psycho Juice mixed with the water
Preheat the oven to 230/gas mark 8.
Put the flower in a large bowl then mix in the salt, sugar & yeast separately in that order. If you put them in all at once then there is a chance that the salt will deactivate the yeast and the bread won’t rise.
Finally mix the butter or spread in – grating it is best.
Make a well in the middle of the mix and pour in 300 ml warm water. Mix with a fork until to looks like a lump of dough and then dump it on a floured work top. Knead for about 8 minutes by bringing the top edge to the middle and pressing with the heel of your hand then rotating it around 90 degrees and doing it again. I set a time for 8 minutes and play music because the music makes the time go faster. If the dough starts to stick then put a little more flour on the work surface but not directly on to the bread.
Put the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl and place a piece of oiled cling film over the top. Leave it on top of the hob for about 45 minutes and it will have at least doubled in size then turn it out on to a floured work top again and knead as above.
Shape the dough roughly so that it fits into a 2lb loaf tin. At this point it doesn’t matter if the dough doesn’t reach the ends. Cover with oiled cling film & leave on the top of the oven to prove for about 45 minutes until it is at least doubled in size.
When it gets to that size sprinkle it with flour and bake for 15 minutes in the middle of the oven (230 degrees). After 15 minutes turn the heat down to 200/gas mark 6 and bake for a further 15 minutes or so. Put the loaf on to a wire rack (it will come out of the tin easily) to cool.
Happy eating!
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Corn bread

This is a recipe that I got from a friend who visited from Texas many years ago. It’s great with chilli (essential really) but can also be eaten as a savoury and very light scone.

To make the batter you need

4oz plain flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
4oz of corn (maize) meal or polenta
3 tablespoons of caster sugar
1/2 pint milk
2 medium eggs
2oz of melted butter

Grease and baseline an 8″ square cake tin with greaseproof paper. I leave about half an inch sticking up the sides as it makes for easier removal.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in to a mixing bowl. Stir in the corn (maize) meal or polenta and the sugar. Make a well in the middle of it and pour in the mixture of eggs, milk and melted butter. Beat well to form a smooth batter and pour into the prepared cake tin.

Bake on 220 C for 25-30 minutes, cool a little, turn out on to a wire rack and, when really cool cut into squares. You should get 9 decent squares from a batch this size. This freezes well and defrosts quickly.

Happy eating!

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Baked fruit with maple syrup.

This is one of those great recipes which is adaptable for virtually anything. I’ve cooked peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, apples, oranges, cherries and my personal favourite, which is rhubarb, like this.

The preparation time is minimal, there’s little clearing up to do afterwards and little waste.

Take as much fruit as you need for each person. It’s all about how much you eat. Peel fruit that needs peeling but just wash and core or de-stone the fruits that don’t.

Layer the fruit in a deep pie or lasagne dish. I’ve used this with peaches and cherries and keep them separate but they’re all going to end up going down the same way so mix them up if you want to.

When you’ve got all your fruit nicely layered for evenness pour a small amount of water over it. We’re talking a tiny amount that looks a millimetre deep at the bottom of the dish. Drizzle over some maple syrup to taste. Rhubarb needs a little more but I find peaches and cherries need a little less. It’s all up to you though because you’ll be eating it.

Put a tight lid on the dish or cover it tightly with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 200 C for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the density of the fruit you’re cooking.

Leave it to cool for a few minutes before serving with a low fat greek style yoghurt or on days where you need the extra treat, some decent vanilla ice cream.

Happy eating!

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Bacon in cheese sauce

This is such a simple recipe but incredibly good and filling. It’s as inexpensive as you want it to be and involves nothing more complicated than making a cheese sauce.

Ingredients

Bacon – enough for as many people as you’re cooking for. I use bacon offcuts that you can get in supermarkets and prefer the smoked ones. At time of writing this blog they’re about 90p for 500 grams which would feed four people.

Sliced onions or leeks (fry the leeks a little or blanch them first)

Thinly sliced potatoes. If you use new potatoes then just wash them and cook with the skin on.

Method

Lightly grease a pie dish that either has a lid or can be tightly sealed with foil. I grease with a tiny drop of olive oil wiped round the dish. This isn’t obligatory but can help the food from sticking to the dish if it’s left in the oven a little too long.

Put the bacon in the bottom of the dish, next a layer of onions or leek and top it off with layers of potatoes. Repeat the layers if it’s a deep dish and you’re cooking for a lot of people.

Pour a cheese sauce over the whole dish so that it covers the potatoes. Cheese sauce is easy to make up by stirring a little flour into some melted butter over a gentle heat so it produces a thick good. Add semi skimmed milk a little at a time and so that the sauce is slightly thinner than you would normally have it. Add some really mature cheddar cheese as you will use less and so it will be lower fat. Add some mustard – English, French, Dijon – whatever you prefer. I add a single, tiny drop of Psycho Juice with mustard as I like the extra bite.

Bake in an oven (not forgetting to seal the dish tightly) for at least an hour on 200 C. I take the lid or foil off after an hour and leave it another 15 minutes in the oven so that it looks less anaemic. I have green vegetables with this, broccoli or peas being a favourite with me.

Happy eating!

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Poached Fish

The word poached when used with the name of any sort of fish used to fill me with dreadful visions of my mother poaching cod in full fat milk (no herbs or spices!) to be used in a bland fish pie.  I started experimenting with oils and vinegars and eventually hit on this one just this week.  It has subtle flavours, doesn’t overpower the kitchen with big odours and the fish is moist and perfectly cooked.  This is a low fat and low salt recipe but flavoursome.

You will need –

White fish fillets (I go for the denser fillet and not the tail ends)
Juice of half a lime
Tablespoon of olive oil
Smidgeon of greek honey
3 or 4 drops of Tabasco

Put the fish in an ovenproof dish. There is no need to grease the dish.

Combine the other ingredients – the above quantities will be enough for two good sized fillets – and pour over the fish.  Cover with foil and place in the fridge for at least four hours occasionally “basting” the fish with the liquid.

This cooks on 200 C for around 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet.

I had mine with new potatoes and broccoli.

Happy eating!

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Vegetable Soup

This is a simple soup and very easy to make.  We’ve been making it in my family for four generations.  It was first used by my great grandmother in Victorian times.

30 grams lentils
300 grams of carrots
100 grams of swede (this is called turnip at times but we’re talking yellow flesh)
150 grams potato
Medium Leek
Vegetable stock cube
A smidgeon of salt

Put the lentils in the bottom of a pan with the vegetable stock cube with the salt.  The pan should be big enough to hold the vegetables and the contents of a full kettle of water.

Slice the leek into slices about half a centimeter in width and add these to the pan.  In a food processor grate or mince the vegetables and add these to the pan.

Cover with the water from the kettle, bring to the boil and simmer for about four hours.  Stir well from time to time.  The pan should have a close fitting lid and the liquid will reduce to make a full flavoured soup.  It’s better if you can leave it until the second day and it freezes well.

If you’d like some meat to bulk it out then some diced chicken, bacon or gammon is good.  If you use gammon or bacon then don’t add the smidgeon of salt.  My family have always used brisket in the soup but this is a very fatty meat and doesn’t really go with healthy eating.  However I’ve often used some left over rare and lean roast beef and this works very well.

Try it served with the sourdough bread recipe that was posted on here recently.

Happy eating!

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