Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Cakes & Bakes: Fruit and nut soda bread

Thursday, November 26th, 2015


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Home-made fruit and nut soda bread via @hisforhome

This week has been quite busy, so today’s Cakes & Bakes is going to reflect this – it’s a fruit and nut soda bread loaf. Soda bread is delicious. It’s not an emergency or last resort loaf, but having said that, it’s a real godsend if pushed for time.

flour and cubed butter in a mixing bowl flour, butter and buttermilk in a mixing bowl

It was my birthday on Tuesday, so I had a lovely lie-in while Justin took the dog for a walk. In the afternoon, he took me for a pub lunch locally at the Staff of Life.

Fruit and nut soda bread in a loaf tin before going into the oven

We stayed indoors during the evening but we shared a bottle of bubbly and caught up on some Scandi drama on television.

Freshly-made fruit and nut soda bread cooling on a wire rack

Yesterday, I went into Manchester city centre for yet another after-birthday lunch with a friend. Alas, after the whirlwind couple of days of being wined & dined, I’m getting back into the daily work schedule…

Fruit and nut soda bread
Yields 1
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Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. 350g/12oz plain flour
  2. 50g/1¾oz wheatgerm
  3. 1tsp salt
  4. 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  5. 1tsp cream of tartar
  6. 2tbsp caster sugar
  7. 40g/1½oz cold butter, cubed
  8. 250g/9oz buttermilk
  9. 50g/1¾oz currants
  10. 50g/1¾oz chopped walnuts
  12. fruit and nut soda bread ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven and grease a 450g/1lb loaf tin
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, wheatgerm, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar and sugar and mix
  3. Rub in the butter
  4. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the buttermilk
  5. Using a bring the mixture towards the middle, mixing until it just comes together into a ball of dough
  6. Add the currants and walnuts and knead just a few times until the fruit and nuts are evenly distributed throughout the dough
  7. Form into a loaf shape, add to the tin and make a single deep cut along the long side
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden and the bottom sounds hollow when knocked
  9. Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing and eating
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Boozy bread and butter pudding

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

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Home made boozy bread and butter pudding | H is for Home

The secret to this boozy bread and butter pudding is all about getting soaked. No, not in the getting drunk sort of way!

Buttering slices of bread

Slicing buttered slices of bread into triangles

You need to soak the currants for a few hours or even overnight in the alcohol. Melt the butter in the microwave for a few seconds before spreading it on the bread with a pastry brush so that it soaks in. Allow the bread to soak up the custard liquid for half an hour before putting the dish in the oven – ‘soaked’ in a bain-marie.

soaked currants sprinkled on to bread slices

glass measuring jugs of beaten eggs and milk, sugar and lemon zest

I like using slices from a stale Warbies Toastie loaf. If you want to be fancy you can substitute the bread for panettone, brioche, challah, hot cross buns if it’s Easter time or stollen if it’s Christmas.

bread sprinkled with custard mix, currants and lemon zest

bowl of boozy bread and butter pudding with cream

The results were a delicious, warming, comforting pudding – perfect for the chilly autumn and winter months.

Boozy bread and butter pudding
Serves 4
My twist on Delia's classic bread & butter pudding!
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Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. 100ml/3½fl oz Baileys (or rum, whiskey or Tia Maria... whichever you have to hand)
  2. 8 slices bread
  3. 60g/2oz butter
  4. 60g/2oz currants
  5. 275ml/10fl oz milk
  6. 60ml/2½fl oz double cream
  7. 50g/2oz caster sugar (I used home-made vanilla sugar)
  8. grated zest of ½ small lemon
  9. 3 eggs
  10. freshly grated nutmeg
  12. boozy bread and butter pudding ingredients
  1. Soak the currants in the alcohol for a couple of hours (or overnight if you're forward planning!)
  2. Grease a 1 litre/2 pint rectangular Pyrex glass or enamel baking dish
  3. Butter the bread and cut each slice of buttered bread into quarters leaving the crusts on
  4. Arrange one layer of buttered bread over the base of the baking dish, sprinkle half the currants and liquor over, then cover with another layer of the bread slices and the remainder of the currants and liquor
  5. In a measuring jug, measure out the milk and add the double cream
  6. Stir in the caster sugar and lemon zest, then whisk the eggs, first on their own in a small measuring jug and then into the milk mixture. Stir to combine
  7. Pour the liquid over the bread before sprinkling over some freshly grated nutmeg
  8. Leave for about an hour, allowing the bread to soak up the liquid
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
  10. Put the dish on a bain-marie
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes
  12. Serve warm with pouring cream, ice cream or custard
Adapted from Delia Smith's Cookery Course: Part One
H is for Home Harbinger

Gimme Five! Slow cookers

Friday, September 25th, 2015

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Five slow cookers

Autumn marks the arrival of hearty stews. Those light, summer salads just don’t cut the mustard come October! What better then, than a slow cooker? The ingredients go into the pot in the morning – and as if by magic – a delicious, warming stew or casserole appears in the evening.

Preparing a meal in a slow cooker means flavours have time to mingle and evolve. You’ll find hundreds of recipes and tips in books, magazines or the internet. There’s usually enough to last a couple of days. All you need is crusty bread… or throw in a few dumplings to maximise the joy! 

  1. 5L Digital multi cooker with stirring paddle: £55, Tesco
  2. Russell Hobbs Creations multi cooker: £89.99, Argos
  3. Crock-Pot digital slow and multi cook: £119.99, Lakeland
  4. Giles & Posner 5.7L sous vide slow cooker: £69.99
  5. 6.5L brushed digital sear and stew slow cooker: £59.99, Morphy Richards