Sunday, 27 June 2010

Soda Bread and Elderflower and Blueberry Jelly

I'm rapidly becoming bored with summer. Oppressive heat, being unable to sleep at night, people who thinks it's ok to play loud music until 5am and my vitriolic hatred of feet and the sight of them in so many awful sandals all combine to make me grumpy, and consequently sound like some moany old person. Another downside of the heat is that the bread in my breadbin goes mouldy incredibly quickly, as I discovered this morning when I went to make my breakfast. So I decided to make my own. However, I was in no mood to be kneading and proving for 3 hours, so I decided to make some soda bread. This is yeast free, the raising agent being bicarbonate of soda instead and there's no kneading or proving involved and it's therefore difficult to mess up. You don't even need bread flour!
Brown Soda Bread
225g wholemeal flour
225g plain flour
1tsp salt
50g mixed seeds (optional)
25g butter (optional)
1 egg
375-400ml buttermilk/sour milk

-Preheat the oven to 220 degrees
-Sift together both flours, the salt and the bicarb in a large bowl and add the seeds. Rub in the butter (if using) until it resembles breadcrumbs. In another bowl, whisk the egg and buttermilk together.
-Make a well in the centre of the bowl of flour and pour most of the liquid in. Using one hand, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more buttermilk if needed. The should be soft and not too sticky.

-Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gently shape it into a round about 4cm deep and cut a cross into the top.

-Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200 degrees and bake for a further 30 minutes. When cooked, tap the base and a hollow sound means it's done. Slice whilst warm for true deliciousness.

I saw a recipe a while ago for elderflower jelly and whilst I love jelly, it requires forethought that I often lack and jelly requires a small amount of planning at least so it has time to set. It was the sight of a handful of blueberries in the bottom of my fridge that were beginning to look a bit wrinkly that reminded me of this recipe. It's cool, delicate sweetness was perfect for pudding today, and I finally got to use some of the leaf gelatine that seems to have been in my cupboard for an age. It's made using elderflower cordial, so you could use any cordial you have to hand.

Elderflower Jelly with Blueberries

7 leaves of gelatine, soaked in a little cold water and then dissolved in 125ml of hot water

10 tbsp of elderflower cordial diluted with 500ml of cold water

Handful or so of blueberries (or any fruit you fancy really)

-Stir the dissolved gelatine into the diluted cordial, pour into a mould, drop the blueberries in, chill until set and then enjoy!

It looks almost unearthly...

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