Yearly bread update and goodbye 2019

Hi everyone, it’s been a while since my last post… so here is a long-due update about my baking! I got to bake bread #107 last week!

I have a few favourite recipes, but also like to try new ones or add some extra ingredients. Baking has been one of the hobbies I enjoyed most this year, and by far the most relaxing.

I wish you all a great start in the new year, a bunch of fresh energy for your plans and projects, and memorable moments with your dear ones. Take good care of yourselves!

Bread update: #71 to #80

Long time with no bread updates! It took me many months to bake ten bread loaves, as I don’t have the chance to bake that often anymore, and not every weekend has enough free time to take care of the whole process. Here are all the loaves:

More to come, hopefully soon 🙂

Bread update: breads from #61 to #70

Here’s a visual update of the last results:

Some are missing because they were eaten before I could take a picture 🙂

I keep baking with the same procedures and setup since a long time. The only changement is the addition of a sandstone that heats up in the oven, stores heat and therefore keeps the temperature more stable. I got it from a friend who was throwing away a grill/raclette set, so I’m sure it’s OK for food use. I am not yet so sure how it changes the baking process, as I don’t see much difference in the results, except maybe that the crust doesn’t get that golden (that could be because I don’t let the stone get hot enough before putting the bread in the oven, so that it keeps eating up heat for a while).

I am baking more than once a week, so next update will come really soon!

Rhubarb-ginger-lemon jam

From a visit to the local library I brought back this intruguing little book about ginger:

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Publisher’s page

The title translates roughtly to “Ginger – health and taste” and is a collection of interesting recipes with ginger, with an informative introduction about the plant, its history, and its many culinary and medical applications. From the many recipes I picked the one for rhubarb jam, that included gelling sugar (that I bought last year but didn’t manage to use), lemon and of course ginger juice. I went grocery shopping and I came back with a kilo of rhubarb, in the form of three huge stalks (really huge! I had never seen such large stalks in Italy!). At home I washed and cut the stalks in small pieces, and removed only the largest fibres. I put the rhubarb pieces in a plastic container, poured the sugar, put a lid on and put everything in the fridge overnight. The day after, the rhubarb had let out a lot of juice. I asked my friend to taste a piece of rhubarb, to know whether to filter the fibrous parts away, but he said they were quite soft, so I blended everything in a purée and transferred it into a pot. I cooked the jam until it started gelling, and then added the juice of a lemon and a lot of ginger juice (it’s sold in small bottles here, and it’s so practical). I stirred the jam and poured it into little jars.

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I’m not that fond of ginger flavour, but my friend is, and this jam has become a fixed part of our breakfast 🙂 It goes especially well on the dark bread that I just baked, and is #59 in my bread count:

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Food blogs I follow

I wish to thank the food bloggers that inspire me with their stories, recipes and pictures, I hope you find joy from their posts too. It’s a long post, because I wanted to show a picture from each blog, I hope you enjoy them!

I start with Papaya Pieces: admire her wonderful berry cupcakes…

BBC Food Programme: 28-minute podcasts, funny, interesting, about ingredients or places or people, all around food. There are gems like: The Apple – how British a fruit?

Cookies and Chemistry: I love Cindy’s motivational posts, food photography tips, and life thoughts:

Charismatic Baking: nice balance of recipes and meditations around life!

Der Brotdoc (in German): worth a visit, even only for the pictures:

Cooking without limits: clever food photography tips and wholesome recipes:

The Little Vegan: lots of ideas for vegan versions of common recipes, and many vegan-from-the-start recipes:

frauke’s delicious fritid: mostly dessert recipes, simple and tasty:

My Lighthearted Kitchen: bilingual posts (English and French) about cooking and motivational thoughts:

Ricette Veg: my friend Madi’s food blog, where she posts traditional Italian recipes:

Green Cooking Blog: a 17-year-old foodie shows a great mix of creativity, cooking and photo skills:

Happy food-blogging everyone!

Book recommendation: “Vegan to go” by Attila Hildmann

Today’s book review is about this collection of vegan recipes from Attila Hildmann:

Source: attilahildmann.de

I like the style of this book, the gorgeous pictures, the simplicity of the recipes and of the layout. You can see a preview of the book yourself. Vegan to go is currently only available in German, while two other books from him are translated to English (Vegan for fit and Vegan for fun) – I hope this one gets translated soon, because it has so many useful ideas for lunches and picnics! He also gives a ton of tips about how to optimise cooking (cook a larger amont and use it in other recipes, reuse leftovers, cook several side dishes and combine them in a tasty, varied lunchbox…)

Attila explains the basic principles of veganism in the introduction. I liked how he didn’t try to mass-convert the readers, or worse, to make non-vegans feel guilty about eating meat and dairy, and use that as a moral crowbar. He is great in telling his story and sharing his thoughts about his way of eating. I liked how he shows how vegan recipes don’t have to be boring or ascetic or the normal-recipe-without-meat, and that many recipes in Mediterranean cuisines are already vegan. I also liked how he talks about his hobbies on Facebook: fast cars, sports, vegan recipes… he doesn’t fit the description of the usual vegan, but then I got a revelation: does he have to in order to be considered a proper vegan? Shall we expect that all vegans have everything else in common? I think that he is building a bridge towards all people who are not interested in how vegans dress, have fun, shop and so on, and therefore assume are not interested in how they eat; he shows that eating vegan doesn’t involve the rest of your life, if you don’t make explicit, separate decisions to do so.

Thanks, Attila, for being a great ambassador, for your recipes and your positive vibe!

In the kitchen: moelleux

Yesterday I had a bit of inspiration for baking. I fancied something chocolatey and muffin-like, so I browsed my cookbooks, especially “La ciliegina sulla torta” from the famous Italian blogger Jessica Leone. This book is a present from my mum, who bought it after reading her blog, tried her recipe for Belgian waffles and adopted it as her default one. That’s huge. My mum used the same waffle recipe for decades (with unanimous approval) and went so far as swapping it for a new one. So when I found a soft chocolate cupcake recipe, I was sure it would come out great.

Moelleux is the French name for a chocolate cake with soft center (see this page [in French] for a great description). It became the favourite word of my geeky friends when we attended FOSDEM earlier this year and feasted on moelleux at our reunion dinner.

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I edited the recipe a bit, because I didn’t want to use butter. I used coconut oil and coconut paste instead. I added too much flour and I compensated that with a spoonful of soya yoghurt and one of almond mousse. The recipe suggested to bake them for 15 minutes for a soft centre, or 20 for a firmer texture. They ended up in between a moelleux and a brownie, with a hint of coconut.