OK, It’s actually Roman Onion Bread but that’s just not as catchy!
This is one of my favourite flavoured breads to make and it’s so simple. This bread is great for a lunch or supper or when your entertaining as a tear and share bread. We quite often have it as an accompaniment to antipasti or as our Kids call it ‘Picky tea!’
Fresh rosemary really does taste the best for this. If you haven’t got any growing in your own garden, ask a neighbour as I’m sure someone will have some. Rosemary has to be one of the most common herbs that people have growing in their garden, the sad thing is probably about 90% of those people never use it!
‘Ome ‘n’ Onion Bread.
500g strong white bread flour
A good pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil or olive oil plus extra for drizzling
2 heaped teaspoons dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large white onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 large sprig of Rosemary leaves removed and roughly chopped (or 1 tbsp dried rosemary)
Salt & Pepper
Dissolve the sugar in roughly 50ml of warm water. Add the yeast and leave to activate for 10 – 15 minutes.
In a large bowl combine the flour and salt and make a well in the middle. Add the oil and the activated yeast mixture. Combine the mixture, adding a little more water if necessary, to form a slightly sticky dough.
On a floured surface work the dough, stretching it away from you to make a pliable, springy dough then knead back to a ball.
Place the dough in an oiled bowel and leave to rise, covered, for an hour. After an hour knock the dough back and leave to rise for another hour (although if you are short of time the dough could be used straight away).
Pre-heat your oven to 230°C gas mark 8.
Oil a heavy baking sheet or shallow, ovenproof tin, it wants to be at least 30 x 40 cm.
Take the dough out of the bowel and give a quick knead. Flatten out the dough with your hands then place on your baking sheet/tin. Flatten, stretch and pull your bread to the shape you want it, It wants to be roughly a couple of cm thick.
Give the dough a little drizzle of oil rub over the surface. Lay the onions on top of the bread leaving a little space around the edge. Drizzle more oil over the onions then sprinkle your rosemary and seasoning over the top.
Place in the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes, resisting the urge to pick at the sweet, soft onion.
Slice, serve and enjoy!
Last year I posted a blog on Stir Up Sunday with a recipe for Christmas Pudding. Click on this link ‘Christmas Pudding’ if you want to see it.
This Year I’m giving a recipe for Christmas Cake. You may think it’s a bit early but this cake tastes better for a bit of maturing. Put it this way. Last year we made two cakes. We started the second in the Summer holidays it was superb and still lovely and moist (something to do with the alcohol content me thinks!). In fact this year I’m wondering whether to do extra so we have a cake for next Christmas too!
This recipe will give a large 10″ cake and a smaller one. Or you could try two 8″ size tins. It depends on what sort of depth you want on your cake.
You can use whatever dried fruit you like in your cake. I put mainly vine fruits in mine with a little currants and angelica. If you want to push the boat out a few dried Morello cherries and cranberries make a luxurious addition.
Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake
800g Mixed dried fruit
300g nibbed almonds
200g glace cherries
100g crystalized ginger (roughly chopped)
Soak the above in 350ml of port, 350ml brandy and 1 bottle of Kreik overnight (or whatever alcohol you like)
4 medium eggs beaten
zest and juice of 2 oranges
200g melted butter
2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a good grating of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of all spice (pimento)
200g Muscavado sugar
2 tablespoons of black treacle
300g self raising flour
Once your fruit has had it’s alcoholic bath simply put all the ingredients in a very big basin and give a very thorough mix.
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 4.
Grease and line your baking tins/moulds.
Fill your tins leaving at least 3cm gap from the top.
Bake in the oven for 2 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes.
If the top is browning a bit too quickly loosely cover with a little baking parchment.
Too check if the cake is done pierce the centre with a bamboo skewer. The cake is done when the skewer comes out virtually clean.
Leave the cakes to cool in the tin then take out.
Pierce the bottom of the cake with a skewer. Now you can feed your cake with whatever spirit you like! I find Brandy works the best but Whiskey also gives a great result. Simply spoon some alcohol over the cake and let it soak in. This can be repeated every 2 to 3 weeks or every week as it nears Christmas. Once the cake has had it’s first feed, wrap in greaseproof/baking paper then tin foil and then cling film. We keep ours in a cool box in a cool place.
We don’t ice our cake as we tend to enjoy it with a nice slab of vintage Cheddar and glass of wine, Port or Madeira but of course you can cover it with marzipan and icing of your choice or try glazing with some warmed apricot jam and decorating with nuts or glace fruit.
The only hard part I find about making this cake? Waiting until Christmas to eat it!
I wish I could have my cake and eat it now!
It’s that time of year again! It seems like the Kids have only just gone back to school and then the next thing you know Halloween is here!
We normally let the kids stay up a bit later on Halloween. They don’t go out trick or treating but they love it when other children come knocking on our door.
We have our own bag of tricks and treats to give out… we have a bag full of sweet things but lurking within are a few unpleasant surprises that I have made. In the past we have had chocolate coated sprouts, last year it was chocolate coated Fishermans Friends! This year… Ahhh, that would be telling!
Kit will have used her artistic skills to make them all masks. A task which needs a lot of patience! For those that haven’t got as much may want to head over to The Amazon Halloween Store
I’m sure we will have to have a pumpkin carved out. I can’t wait until the kids are old enough to do it themselves!
We tend not to cook something special for Halloween. If anything we’ll have some jacket potatoes and fillings. Easy to prepare and fuss free. Although we quite often have baked beans with them.
Now there’s nothing wrong with the tinned variety but you just can’t beat ‘Ome Made!
It’s really quite easy to make your own baked beans and of course it’s loads cheaper. You really can customize your recipe.
Here’s a recipe that I’ve used many times. I used to make these when I was working at a Bar opposite the Sheffield Crucible and Lyceum. There was one gentleman that used to come in especially to have beans on toast (even though it wasn’t on the menu!) because they were so good!
‘Ome Made Baked Beans
500g dried Haricot beans (soaked overnight in cold water).
800g of chopped tomatoes (tinned or fresh)
140g tomato puree.
250ml of water.
2 teaspoon of veg bouillon.
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of chilli powder.
2 teaspoons of paprika.
2 teaspoons of dried basil.
2 teaspoons of dried oregano.
2 teaspoons of dried parsley.
3 teaspoons of sugar.
Drain and rinse the beans. Place the beans in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for ten minutes. Turn down the heat and simmer for another twenty minutes.
Drain the beans and then put in a casserole dish or oven proof pan along with all the other ingredients. There should be enough liquid to cover the beans, if not add a little more water. Put a lid on the pan and place in an oven preheated to 160°C (140°C if fan assisted). The beans should be ready after 6 hours but could happily left for 8.
This basic recipe could easily be customized to your own liking. You could try adding some fried onion, bacon, a bit of diced pork or even sausages. A little diced carrot and/or celery gives your beans a bit more depth.
If your really brave you could make your own curried beans… just don’t blame me for the after effects!
Things really could go ‘Pump’ in the night!
Last term at school I got roped into going into MissT’s class to talk about healthy food, where our food comes from and do a demonstration. So I cooked pizza from scratch and the children all made their own. It was great fun for the kids… and me! Although I think the cleaners are still finding bits of pizza dough in the carpet!
This term I got asked if I could give Dj’s class a simple recipe because they were working on following instructions. So the idea was that they would make something and then write down what went in it and how they did it.
I emailed the class teacher, Miss H, a recipe for Tobouleh as I though it was a simple recipe and it didn’t involve too much cooking… the thought of Dj and hot things just scares me!
The thing is, after they had made the Tabouleh at school I ended up with Kids and parents asking me for the recipe. So I thought I may as well put it on the blog because to be fair it is a great recipe. It’s healthy, a little goes a long way, it’s not time consuming and it’s great for Kids and adults pack-up.
Now this isn’t exactly how they made it at school. For one thing you use bulgar wheat in Tabouleh. At school they used couscous which is fine, it works well but I do recommend trying it with the cracked bulgar wheat. I prefer it so much more and it is a little more healthier.
Unfortunately I have no picture of the finished result. I will put one in at a later stage.
500g Cracked Bulgar wheat
5 tablespoons oil (olive, sunflower or rapeseed)
1 medium red onion finely diced
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon of dried mint
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (or more or less to suit your taste)
1 teaspoon salt
Good grind of black pepper
1 red pepper diced
A handful of frozen peas
600ml of hot stock (vegetable or chicken)
Juice of 1 lemon or a tablespoon of fresh
Some chopped fresh herbage if you have any (coriander or parsley work well)
Gently heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and add the onion and garlic stir for a minute and then add the spices, dried mint and stir again. Add the red pepper, peas and seasoning to the pan and stir in. Now add the bulgar wheat and stir through to coat with the spices. Add the stock so that it is just above the level of the bulgar wheat. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid or tinfoil and turn off the heat. After twenty minutes the bulgar wheat should have absorbed all the water and be ready. Before you serve it add the lemon juice and fresh herbs. It can be eaten straight away or left to cool and refrigerated to eat another time. It also freezes well if frozen in plastic containers.
So there you go! Easy. If the Kids of St T of C year 3 can follow it then you parents should have no problems!
Let me know how you get on!
So apparently Fusion Food is now a dirty word with those that are in the know… or care! It’s now called ‘Modern cooking’.
So ‘Modern Cooking’ consists of taking flavours from one country and mixing them with another. For instance Korean seems to be a modern trend at the moment along with American style BBQ flavours which means there are a lot of burgers being served with a side of Kimchi at the moment. And why not?
Apparently in China British/Spanish combinations are all the rage!
I personally love experimenting with different flavours and experimenting with spices and herbs so I don’t see it as a particularly bad thing, providing it’s done tastefully and not just for the sake of it. I mean there’s nothing wrong with some Chicken Tikka on top of a pizza if you have some to use up but cook it to go on a pizza especially… erm, NO!
The thing is though what makes using different influences in food ‘Modern’?
Surely cooks and chefs have been doing that for years,decades and even centuries?
Think about Christmas. A traditional English Christmas Pudding, Cake or Mince Pie just wouldn’t be the same without a touch of nutmeg and cinnamon. So 300 years ago were chefs and cooks going about saying they were into ‘Modern Cooking’ or ‘fusion food’? I don’t think so.
I think adding new flavours and techniques to classic dishes is great! It’s just the terminology and the way that food writers and chefs go on about it as if they’ve created the wheel!
Anybody is capable of experimenting with food. You might not always get a fantastic result but it’s all good fun and makes food a little more exiting.
Don’t think that it is only the place of Michelin starred chefs to tell you what x & y go with… have a go yourself, the general public have been doing it for years!
What are Your favourite fusion… sorry, modern cooking dishes?
Or have you tried some combinations that really didn’t work?
Let us know, we would love to read your triumphs and disasters!
So what’s been happening on the ‘Ome Made front?
The ‘Ome Made products have started to be seen on shelves in certain outlets and I did my first Food Fair, which was great fun and I had some fantastic feedback on the products. I also met some great fellow local producers and MissT & Dj ate nearly all of their samples! It’s a food fair Kids… not an all day buffet!
During the summer holidays we played host to a girl from Belarus as part of the CCLL Sheffield link. Unfortunately that is probably the last time we will be involved with that particular charity.
I went for a trip round the local park with the Kids and we came back with another chicken, as you do. The Kids decided to call it leia (as in princess leia off Star Wars!), madness!
And then it was the usual pottering about with the kids. Picking bilberries and blackberries. Eating pots of curry sauce with French Bread on the top of Blackamoor (you should try it!).
Then to cap the summer holidays off we went and got a puppy!
Yes I know, four children (8,7,6 ,5) five chickens, three ducks and two skinks why would we want to go and do that?
Erm… because that’s just how we roll. Conventional? NO WAY!
So yes we now have a puppy called, a-hem, Withnail (as in the film Withnail & I, if you haven’t seen it please do. It is fantastic!).
Withnail is adorable and so far has been very well behaved. After only a few weeks she feels like she’s been part of the family forever.
So what’s next?
Well, getting the ‘Ome Made Business well and truly established. Writing more Blogs and possibly some guest Blogs for another local business.
And that’s about it. Although I have a few ideas buzzing around my head…
I can’t see any other furry or feathered friends being added to the household in the near future! Ha! Famous last words!
Now if you’ll excuse me Whitnail & I are going for a walk…
Sometimes, not very often but sometimes we have a meal which is quite simple and not spicy. Well, not that spicy!
Shepherds pie is one of those dishes. We don’t have it that often at all, so when we do it’s a real treat.
It’s one of those really comforting foods. Perfect for when the weather turns a bit cooler… like it did… in August!
Oh and it has to be lamb. None of this using minced beef and passing it off as shepherds pie, that’s Cottage Pie!
This recipe is a very basic recipe for Shepherds Pie. Proper Shepherds Pie. Like your Mum used to make but better! Not curried Keema Shepherds pie. Not Clapshot Pie and not Shepherds pie where you’ve ponced about slow roasting a leg of lamb, used the juices to make the gravy and with anchovies in etc. Plain and simple Shepherds Pie.
This recipe will give six to eight portions so you could halve it if you don’t want to make so much. Or why not get some foil containers so you can do some individual portions which can be put in the freezer for another day.
1.2 Kilo minced lamb
2 medium onions diced
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
4 medium sized carrots diced
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce (dark)
2 tablespoon plain flour
2 litre of hot stock (chicken or beef)
For the mash
2.5 Kilo potatoes (I find red are good for mash, or Maris Piper)
1 large egg
25 gram butter
1 tablespoon milk
To make the filling heat a little oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and add the onion, garlic and carrot. Fry for a couple of minutes until the onion is translucent and beginning to colour. Add the minced beef, stir to break it up add the seasoning and spices and fry until the meat has browned. Add the soy sauce and stir. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Put back on the heat and add the stock a little at a time stirring all the time until the mixture comes to a simmer. This now needs to cook for at least 45 minutes. Don’t worry if it looks a lot of liquid. You strain the meat to go in your pie dish so you are left with a lovely gravy to accompany your meal.
To make the mash. Peel the potatoes and 1/2 or 1/4 them depending on size. The bigger the size the fluffier your mash will be. Put in a pan and just cover with cold, salted water then put on to boil. Once up to the boil your potatoes should take 30 – 45 minutes to cook. Once cooked drain and put back in the pan. Give the potatoes a quick blast of heat from the hob and then leave them until the steam reduces to nearly nothing at which point you potatoes should be nice and dry. Throw in the butter and then mash your potatoes once broken up add the milk, beaten egg and seasoning and mash until smooth. Don’t overdo the potatoes otherwise you will end up with something resembling wall paper paste!
Now to assemble the finished dish. Strain the filling from the gravy using a slotted spoon, small sieve or colander into a deep baking dish or two. Reserve the leftover sauce to use as a flavour filled gravy to go with your pie. Don’t leave it next to the sink though or your better half may think you don’t want it and throw it down it! Once you have strained all the meat and veg into your dish carefully place the mash potato on top of the meat and gently spread out with the back of a spoon. Use a fork to put some ridges in the topping and if you want put a little sliced tomato on top.
To cook put in a pre-heated oven at 190°C or 170°C for fan assisted for around 50 minutes or until the topping is nicely browned.
Serve with the reserved gravy and whatever veg you fancy (peas go great!)
We don’t do diets in our house. Or at least I didn’t think we did. Then I Googled ‘diets’ out of interest.
We have the 5:2 diet, Dukan diet, Paleo diet, Atkins diet, Alkaline diet, Cambridge diet, South Beach diet, Slimming World diet, Slim-Fast diet, LighterLife diet, WeightWatchers diet, Rosemary Conley diet and Jenny Craig diet and that’s just for starters
I then Googled ‘Eat what you want diet’. I was surprised to find page after page of differing ‘Eat What You Want Diets’!
Now I have nothing against diets. I’m sure for some people they are the right thing and possibly the only way they will lose weight.
However the people that seem to be on a never ending circle of diets do make me laugh. Because that’s the thing. They do one diet, lose some weight, start eating ‘normally’, put weight back on and then start another diet. And then there’s someone making a lot of money out of these people!
The funny thing is we eat what we want. No. Not the eat all what you want diet. We just eat what we want.
However, we hardly eat any processed food. We don’t eat ready meals… at all (even the microwave has been shut away in the loft!) and if we or the Kids want to have something to eat between meals it’s usually a piece of fruit, not a chocolate bar, bag of crisps or bag of sweets.
We saw a video that someone had posted on You tube. It was a talk by Michael Pollan. If you are interested in food and diet I recommend looking at some of the things he has written.
Michael Pollan Books
One of the things he says is “you can eat as much junk food as you want… as long as you make it yourself”
And it’s a really good train of thought. It’s easy to go and buy chips, pizza, burgers and southern fried chicken from the take-away, you could go every day. However to make these things at home requires time, effort, quite a bit of mess and subsequent cleaning up! Which is why we only have these things occasionally as a treat, even then chips are usually baked in the oven as opposed to deep-fried. Making them yourself also means you don’t get the hidden nasty ingredients in there.
The other thing that Michael Pollan mentions is the amount of sugar, salt, chemicals and hidden fats in processed foods and ready meals. Again something which we don’t really eat.
So it’s funny when you look at the different diets and see that the majority of them say to cut down on processed food and eat more fruit and vegetables.
Well that’s what we do and it’s also what Michael Pollan advocates (although I have given a very simplified version of his advice).
We enjoy food. We cook nearly everything we eat from scratch. We eat fruit. We eat vegetables.
We don’t eat ready meals and we don’t eat a lot of processed food.
We eat what we want… does that mean we’re on a diet? If we are we’ve been on it for over eight years and still enjoying it. Now that must be some diet!
Just please, please don’t give it a name… I would be mortified to Google diets again and find ‘The ‘Ome Made Diet’!
Those that know me will know I have always been a bit rebellious. Not for any reason. I just didn’t like doing as I was told or what was expected of me. A rebel without a cause!
These days I still like doing my own thing. Not following the crowd. Not following the latest trends.
Kit is the same and I guess it’s rubbed off on our children too.
And as for commercialism… Grrrr!
The constant bombardment on what we should be buying, wearing, watching, listening and… EATING!
I am very proud of my Kids. They are not constantly demanding we buy them this, that and the other. One Direction? You’ll not hear any of that in our house!
Sure they like their Vans and Converse shoes but at least they are a little alternative.
As for food, well to put it simply… they love it… all of it. They will eat absolutely everything!
However suggest(jokingly) to them that we go for a McDonalds or KFC and we get a resounding NOOOOOO!
We have explained to our children how fast food is made and the type of ingredients that go into it. They have even watched ‘Supersize Me’, they loved it and even demanded to watch it again and again. It really put them off McDonalds.
MissT tucking into a ‘Ome Made burger
The thing is, are we depriving our children? They have home-cooked food on a daily basis. Plenty of fruit. Plenty of vegetables and salad. They have sweet treats occasionally and the odd bag of crisps now and again. If they are hankering for something between meals they usually help themselves from the fruit bowl.
No they don’t eat from fast food establishments but they have freshly made pizza, home-made burgers, kebabs and even Southern style coated chicken. Not to mention the curries complete with pilau rice, popadums, chapattis and Nan bread.
And can they eat! They absolutely love their food. Sometimes they haven’t even finished breakfast before they’re asking “What’s for tea?”
Deprived? I don’t think so!
They are outside a lot too. On scooters, bikes or just larking about. They walk to and from school every day. It’s not far but it all helps. Then there’s the swimming at the weekend and more recently a bit of a run on Saturday mornings (yeah! That one’s killing me!). Yes. They get plenty of exercise.
The thing is, they are a healthy weight, even skinny by todays standards. They look like me when I was younger (Yes I was skinny once!).
So when did not eating a proper balanced diet of home-cooked food and not getting plenty of exercise as a child become the norm?
Well I’m still a rebel because I don’t want myself or any of our family to be normal if that’s what being normal consists of these days.
Maybe now I’m a rebel with a cause!
It was a nice sunny day in the summer holidays. We had said our good-byes a few days before to our child from Belarus that had been staying with us for a few weeks healthy respite. So it was just Us and our Kids. Time to chill out and relax.
Our Kids had been eager to get their bikes out and have a ride around the local park. And that’s exactly what we did!
Off we set along with a bag of stale bread to throw to the ducks.
Our Kids had a good ride, plenty of exercise and fresh air on their bikes and the ducks were well stuffed.
On the way back home we decided to do a bit of foraging. On the way into the heart of the park we had noticed a patch of brambles with a few Blackberries peeking out that maybe warranted further investigation. And I am glad we did. After 30 minutes of scrambling about in the bushes and us shouting the kids “Don’t pick the ones near the ground… a dog may have peed on them!”, we returned home with just short of a kilo of plump, juicy blackberries.
Blackberry crumble seemed like a good idea but then I remembered I had a bit of leftover shortcrust pastry in the fridge but only enough for a base. Hmmm, what to do?
I’m pretty sure someone (Kit!…She has all the good ideas….) mentioned ” Bakewell tart but with blackberries” and there it was. Decision made.
I can’t call it Blackberry Bakewell tart though because to be honest it bears no resemblance to a Bakewell Tart!
So here is my recipe for:-
Blackberry Frangipane Tart.
Ingredients for 1 large or 2 smaller tarts
Shortcrust pastry (500g/1lb) Click the link for a recipe.
Strawberry Jam (enough to coat the bottom of your tart… Ooo er!)
Blackberries (700 – 800g)
Caster sugar for sprinkling over the tart.
For the Frangipane:
100g/4oz butter at room temperature
100g/4oz caster sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
100g/4oz ground almonds
30g/1oz self raising flour (a traditional frangipane uses plain but I wanted mine to rise into the blackberries)
Roll out your pastry to about 1/4″ thick and line a well greased flan tin/dish with it.
Slap on a good dollop of strawberry jam and spread to cover the base of the tart.
To make the frangipane cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and then stir in the ground almonds and flour.
Spread the frangipane on top of the jam.
cover the frangipane with the blackberries and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/gas mark 6 for 40 – 50 minutes.
Let the tart cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. We had ours with some ‘Ome Made vanilla and Strawberry ripple ice cream. The leftover tart was nice cold, straight from the fridge.
I’m writing this and It’s making me realise… we are very, very lucky in this country.
Sometimes I don’t think we realise just how lucky we are?