Price Points: Bucket barbecues

Bucket barbecues | H is for Home

What glorious weather we’ve been having – day after day of brilliant sunshine! It’s a bank holiday weekend, there’s only one thing for it BARBECUE!

If, like us, you only have a small garden or patio, bucket barbecues are a much more practical option than one of those super-duper barbecue grills. Much as we’d love one kitted out with quadruple gas burners, rotisserie, warming cupboard and instant ignition – we’d have no room for table and chairs… or us!

The Hema bucket barbecue (#1) is so affordable, we could buy two and have one each. One for Justin’s steak / burger / rack of ribs and the other for my vegetable skewers and veggie sausages. I’m not best keen on them being cooked side-by-side.

My favourite is the Fortnum & Mason eau de nil number. It’s not dissimilar to the budget Hema example and is almost 3 times the price. By way of justification, I really like the detailing of this one and the fact that you can lift the grill off by the handle – vital when my kebabs need rescuing quickly from certain cremation! Oh, and call me shallow… but I do love the classic F&M logo too.

  1. Bucket barbecue: £15, Hema
  2. Gentleman’s Hardware barbecue bucket – black: £26.91, Amazon
  3. BBQ bucket in Eau de Nil: £40, Fortnum & Mason

Cakes & Bakes: Halloumi herb bread

Home-made halloumi herb bread | H is for Home

We’re making an unusual real bread recipe this time, for our weekly Cakes & Bakes feature; Halloumi herb bread.

Cubed halloumi and extra virgin olive oil | H is for Home Halloumi mixed with chopped basil and extra virgin olive oil | H is for Home

Classic Halloumi is made with mint, and the original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint leaves and 4 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley leaves. I bought a pack of Halloumi from Lidl which was made with basil, so I tweaked the recipe accordingly.

Rolling the halloumi herb bread dough | H is for Home

Bakery Bits baked their Halloumi herb bread in a Pullman loaf pan, a bit of kit which I don’t own, so I just used a common or garden loaf tin.

Rolled Halloumi herb loaf proving in its tin | H is for Home

A delicious, hearty, intense flavoured loaf was the result. A suitable accompaniment for an endless number of dishes… meat, fish or vegetable based – rice, pasta, couscous or salad.

Baked Halloumi herb bread loaf on bread board | H is for Home

I had it again the following day, toasted on both sides under the grill – very satisfactory leftovers.

Click here to save the recipe for later!

Halloumi herb bread
Yields 1
Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 5g/0.2oz dry yeast
  2. 175ml/6 fl oz warm water
  3. ¼tsp caster sugar
  4. 250g/9oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  5. 25g/1oz strong wholemeal bread flour
  6. 4g/0.15oz salt
  7. 250g/9oz Halloumi cheese, cut into 1cm chunks
  8. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  9. 2 tbs finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  10. 3 spring onions, peeled and sliced fairly finely
  11. pinch of sea salt
  12. pinch of freshly ground black pepperHalloumi herb bread ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix the yeast with 15ml/½ fl oz of the water at 30°C/86ºF and the caster sugar
  2. Allow to stand for about 15 minutes, until it has developed a slight froth on the surface
  3. Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine
  4. Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the water and use your hand or a dough whisk to mix everything together until there's no dry flour left and you have a shaggy dough
  5. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and knead for 10 minutes. By this stage the dough should be smooth and elastic
  6. Form the dough into a ball and place it back in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave at room temperature for 1-1½ hours
  7. While the dough is rising, put the Halloumi into a medium bowl with the olive oil, basil leaves and spring onions
  8. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir, then cover and leave for at least 30 minutes
  9. Prepare a 500g/1lb loaf tin by lightly greasing the sides and base with butter and dusting lightly with flour
  10. When the dough has almost doubled in size, gently tip it onto the work surface and press it out to form a rectangle three times the length and slightly wider than your loaf tin
  11. Spread the Halloumi and herb mixture evenly over the top of the dough
  12. Working from one of the long sides, roll the dough up like a Swiss roll. Press gently on the seam with your fingers to seal
  13. Place the roll of dough in the prepared loaf tin, cover and leave to prove for about 30 minutes
  14. Preheat the oven to 190°C /375°F /Gas mark 5
  15. Bake for 1 hour or until the top of the loaf develops a golden brown crust and the base makes a hollow sound when tapped
  16. Remove the loaf from the tin and place on a cooling rack
Notes
  1. Serve with tomato salad
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Adapted from Bakery Bits
Adapted from Bakery Bits
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Price Points: Silicone cake moulds

Silicone cake moulds | H is for Home

I’m a fairly recent convert to silicone cake moulds. I picked up a six-hole silicone muffin ‘tin’ in a charity shop a few years ago and was really impressed with its ease of use and cleaning.

The hemisphere moulds (#1) allow you to make fun and unusual cakes. Edible tennis or  footballs? Sweet hamburgers? Pretend Christmas puddings!

What I like about the cupcake cases (#2) is that you can reuse them again and again – no need for paper cases… and they’re heart-shaped!

I recently discovered this jigsaw-like silicone mould (#3) whose 8 pieces slot together to form all sorts of shapes. It doesn’t even need a bottom, so makes traditional loose-bottomed and spring-form tins redundant. And not to mention requires a lot less space to store!

  1. Hemisphere silicone cake mould: £4.49, Betterware
  2. Silicone heart cupcake cases (set of 6): £7.50, Divertimenti
  3. 8-piece silicone cake baking mould: £8.99, Amazon

Cakes & Bakes: Apple and sultana crumble

Home-made apple and sultana crumble | H is for Home

When I was buying ingredients for last week’s apple and raisin puff pastry tart I needed two cooking apples. However, the Bramley apples in the supermarket were being sold in packs of four. I’m making an apple and sultana crumble this week to use up the two that were left over.

Chopped apples, demerara sugar and sultanas in a saucepan | H is for Home

I may have mentioned before that fruit crumble isn’t one of Justin’s favoured puddings – he thinks the crumble topping is too often soggy, floury and not very nice – especially if too thick or a bit undercooked.

Crumble ingredients | H is for Home Crumble ingredients combined | H is for Home

I think my crumble topping recipe is none of those things; it forms large, crunchy, nutty morsels.

Home-made apple and sultana crumble prior to going into the oven | H is for Home

Sprinkle granulated sugar over the top of it just before it goes into the oven for extra sweetness and crunch. You can serve it with thick, cold cream, hot creamy custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream – they’re all good!

Home-made apple and sultana crumble with little bottle of pouring cream | H is for Home

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Apple and sultana crumble
Serves 4
Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the fruit filling
  1. 2 Bramley (or other cooking) apples, peeled, cored & roughly chopped
  2. 25g/¾oz butter
  3. 100g/3½oz sultanas
  4. 50g/1¾oz Demerara sugar
For the crumble topping
  1. 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  2. 50g/1¾oz porridge oats
  3. 50g/1¾oz flaked almonds
  4. 50g/1¾oz Demerara sugar
  5. 75g/2⅔oz cold butter, cubedHome-made apple and sultana crumble ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, melt the 25g of butter
  3. Add the chopped apples, sultanas and Demerara sugar and stir until the apples are just beginning to soften (about 5-10 minutes)
  4. Put the mixture into a greased baking/pie dish
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, oats, almonds and Demerara sugar
  6. Add the cold, cubed butter and rub into the dry ingredients - but not to much - you want the mixture to have quite large lumps
  7. Spoon the crumble evenly over the apple and sultana mixture so that it's completely covered
  8. Sprinkle a little golden granulated sugar over the top for added crunch (optional)
  9. Put the dish into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crumble topping turns a lovely golden brown
Notes
  1. Serve with custard, thick pouring cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Apple and raisin puff pastry tart

Slice of apple and raisin puff pastry tart with vanilla ice cream | H is for Home

We are ‘pudding’ rather than ‘starter’ people and always have a sweet ending to our daily evening meal.

Soaking raisins in tea | H is for Home

Sometimes, I’ve got to the day and haven’t had the time to make a dessert. At times like this, there are a few quick sweet dishes that can be rustled up in about half an hour. One such is jam and coconut slice which is one of Justin’s favourites from his childhood – and also great for using up pastry scraps.

Putting apple and raisin filling on to ready-made puff pastry | H is for Home

Another is an apple and raisin puff pastry tart – using a sheet of ready-made puff pastry, of course.

Putting ready-made puff pastry lid on apple and raisin tart and brushing with melted butter | H is for Home

All it takes is a couple of cooking apples – peeled, cored and chopped; a handful of raisins (pre-soaking them for an hour makes them more juicy and adds another layer of flavour – strong tea, brandy or armagnac perhaps – so recommended but not a necessity if your in a rush); a pinch of ground spice and aforementioned packet of puff pastry.

Home-made apple and raisin puff pastry tart | H is for Home

Delicious served with cream, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Apple and raisin puff pastry tart
Serves 4
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 75g/2⅔oz raisins
  2. 2 Bramley (or other cooking) apples
  3. 20g/¾oz butter
  4. 50g/1¾oz demerara sugar
  5. ¼tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 1 packet of ready-made, ready-rolled puff pastryHome-made apple and raisin puff pastry tart ingredients
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If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Soak the raisins in a cup of hot, strong black tea for at least an hour
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  3. Peel, core and rough chop the apples
  4. In a large saucepan, melt the butter
  5. Add the chopped apples, soaked raisins, sugar and ground cinnamon
  6. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the apple just begins to soften
  7. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into two equal lengths
  8. Grease a 20cm/8-inch round or square baking tin and lay one of the lengths of pastry evenly into the tin allowing some overlap over the edge
  9. Spoon the apple and raisin mixture evenly on to the puff pastry
  10. Lay the other length of pastry over the top and brush with a little melted butter
  11. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of golden granulated sugar over the top if desired
  12. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top of the puff pastry is a lovely golden brown
Notes
  1. Serve with vanilla ice cream or thick pouring cream
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Prune and almond fruitcake

Slice of home-made prune and almond fruit cake | H is for Home

The first bag of Agen prunes I bought didn’t last me very long at all. I ate three a day, every day, from the day they arrived. I also used a handful or so of them in a prune and Armagnac tart. I’ve reordered the prunes from Amazon and this week and have made a prune and almond fruitcake; something a bit different to the traditional ones made using raisins, currants, sultanas and candied peel.

Home-made prune and almond fruit cake mixture | H is for Home

Justin, once again, requested an afternoon fruitcake to accompany a cup of tea. He likes to stop work for a short break about 3pm before charging back into his daily chores!

Prune and almond fruit cake mixture in cake tin | H is for Home Prune and almond fruit cake in cake tin | H is for Home

I had about 100 grams of marzipan leftover from my recent batch of simnel cupcakes so I sliced it into little cubes and spooned it through the cake mixture; a deliciously successful addition!

Home-made prune and almond fruit cake | H is for Home

As with most fruitcakes, if you can resist the temptation of slicing and eating it straight-away, the texture and flavour improves if left for a day or two.

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Prune and almond fruit cake
Serves 8
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 115g butter, softened
  2. 115g soft brown sugar
  3. 2 eggs, whisked slightly
  4. 175g self-raising flour
  5. ¼tsp almond extract
  6. 200g pitted prunes
  7. 1tbsp flaked almondsHome-made prune and almond fruit cake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas mark 3
  2. Grease a deep 18cm/7-in spring-form or loose-bottomed round cake tin and line base & sides with baking parchment
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  4. Pour the eggs over the mixture, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add a tablespoonful of the flour between each addition to help prevent the mixture curdling
  5. Mix in the almond extract
  6. Fold in the rest of the self-raising flour and combine well
  7. Gently fold the prunes, stirring with a wooden spoon until well distributed through the mixture
  8. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level off the top with the back of the spoon
  9. Sprinkle the top with the flaked almonds
  10. Bake for 1&frac;12 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
  11. Once done, remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in its tin
Notes
  1. Store in an airtight lidded cake tin or plastic tub
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/