Tuesday, 14 April 2020 19:50

    Yeast

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    There's a baking frenzy at the moment and many people are making their own sourdough bread. I'm a fan of traditional yeasted breads and always use fresh yeast for my bread. I generally pick some up from the bakery department at the supermarket (just ask, they'll always give you a piece.)  Lot's of people have been asking me about the different types of yeast available; how to know what and how much to use in recipes. There are three main types but you bet your life that you will have a different type than specified in the recipe

    Fresh yeast which must be kept chilled, will store for a couple of weeks in the fridge and also freezes nicely. Fresh yeast needs to be activated in liquid with a little sugar in order to start the fermentation. If a recipe asks for active dried yeast and you only have fresh yeast then you must double the quantity. See below.

    Active dried yeast is a dried form of fresh yeast and will also need activating in the same way as fresh yeast. Active dried yeast does not need to be refrigerated.

    Instant or Quick dried yeast can be added directly to the dry ingredients in a recipe and does not need activating. It is best to check the manufacturers instructions if using this.

    Amount to use - 20g of fresh yeast = 10g of active dried = 5g of instant dried.                       

    1 tsp of Active dried yeast is 3.5g.

     

    Sunday, 05 April 2020 19:58

    Herbs for Spring Salads

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    As the weather is getting warmer and the nights are drawing out I start to get excited about summer, having fresh garden produce and forgetting about cooking warming winter soups and stews. Discover the difference that a few fresh herbs can make to your spring salads by either adding them into the salad, providing a nice contrast to the crunchy leaves of lettuce, or blitzing them into a simple vinaigrette dressing. As herbs begin to shoot in spring, or I’m lucky enough to find some that have over-wintered well, I spruce up even the plainest of salads with a few sprigs of fresh herbs. Be brave and experiment with different herbs adding vitality, texture and flavour to your meals. Make the bulk of the salad with mild flavour leaves such as Cos, Romaine, Little Gem or Lollo Rosso. Lovage – use the leaves sparingly as they add a very strong savoury flavour when raw. The first stems of spring provide the most delicate flavour. Try rubbing the salad bowl with bruised leaves to impart a milder flavour. Chives – the snipped stalks add a delicate onion (or garlicky if using Chinese chives) flavour. Hard boiled eggs, crumbled crisp bacon, watercress, steamed Jersey Royals, raw or steamed freshly podded peas all contrast well with chives and will liven up a leaf salad. Chickweed – or hip weed as I call it, now grown commercially for the restaurant trade and used in both salads and garnishes. Full of vitamin C and tastes slightly grassy, throw this in in abundance as it’s delicate, mild flavoured and if from your garden, free! Winter purslane – sometimes called Miners lettuce and grows rapidly in the spring. Add the narrow early leaves or the curious stem-wrapping leaves for a cool, mild flavour also providing a succulent and juicy texture into a leaf salad. It’s also very nice wilted as in the spinach recipe. Chervil – use the stem and leaf chopped into salads to add a subtle aniseed flavour. It complements eggs, fish and cucumber particularly well. Crab, goats curd and chervil is a favourite combination of mine.

     

    Sunday, 05 April 2020 15:44

    Creedy Carver Duck

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    The lockdown and subsequent closure of restaurants has proved a big problem for suppliers to the industry. Creedy Carver duck is just one that has found itself with a surplus stock and limited outlets. It's a superb free range product that generally only the Chefs get their hands on. I got mine from Field and Flower and ate duck breast with my spiced plum sauce made with plums from the freezer.

    Friday, 13 March 2020 17:37

    My Apocalypse COVID-19 Pantry

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    Oh let's stock up on toilet rolls, ibuprofen, hand sanitiser and pasta shall we? Mrs Madumbi, my favourite sister-in-law (yes I can have a favourite) would no doubt have amadumbe's and mulberry gin in her Zimbabwean pantry. I'm having Lindt Lindor chocolates and Cavalier rum in mine. The UK is not going to run out of food so COVID-19 panic buyers, stop punching each other in the toilet roll isle and consider giving a couple of your stockpiled cans to your local food bank.

    Right now, in what was once the breadbasket of Africa, is a country with an annual inflation rate of over 300%, where the staples of mealie meal and cooking oil are becoming unaffordable by most. No chance of panic buying or stockpiling in Zimbabwe, in fact alarmingly the country is facing a hunger crisis. A subject which I know has made my Zim based family discuss their apocalypse pantry seriously. If we faced an overwhelming cataclysm here in the UK then my survival pantry would have to include all of the following. Brown and white rice (brown to sustain although white rice stores for much longer), noodles (quick to cook and use less water), pulses and dried beans (to cook or sprout, high in protein), cornmeal and Masa harina (flour made with finely ground maize, already dried and cooked it reconstitutes quickly), canned meat such as Spam (calorific, fatty and high in protein, requires no cooking), canned veg (sweetcorn is high in calories and tinned tomatoes high in Vitamin C), stock cubes and dried herbs (for flavour and seasoning), honey (eternal shelf life and great healing properties too), dried fruits (protein, fibre, Vitamin C and one of your five a day), nuts and seeds (nut butters store well and can be eaten out of the jar), cocoa powder (improves brain function), ghee (basically butter, but sold in tins; has a long shelf life), milk powder to add to tea and coffee (required to keep sanity), and a whole Parmesan cheese to nibble on.

    Sunday, 09 February 2020 13:40

    A full English breakfast

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    All packed up and ready to leave for the airport and the flight cancellation crash lands into the inbox. So instead of staring miserably at the packed suitcases Mr SuffolkFoodie and I decided that a full English breakfast (£7.25 each) was the answer. Luckily the very well run cafe at Hillcrest Nursery is open on a Sunday and serves breakfast from 9am. Half English is also available.

    Thursday, 06 February 2020 17:50

    Heart shaped food for your Valentine

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    My worst nightmare on Valentine's Day is a meal out in a restaurant, crammed full of tables for two, with couples who have nothing to say to each other. So instead, if I'm in the mood, I'll cook something for Mr SuffolkFoodie from my repetoire of heart shaped meals.

    Saturday, 01 February 2020 17:25

    Jam Tarts

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    Jam tarts are going to be on trend this year apparently. Get your scraps of pastry out and start baking everyone!

    Thursday, 02 January 2020 17:46

    Game on at Mrs Portly's Kitchen.

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    I'm pretending to be packing as I'm moving house, but lost interest after box number 8 of tat that I've hauled from charity shops and I'm now returning. So instead I'm telling you about Suffolk's latest cookery school, Mrs Portly's Kitchen. Mrs Portly is the alter ego of food writer and recipe developer Linda Duffin. Linda is an expert cook and has teamed up with some of Suffolk's finest producers who will be joining Linda in teaching the cookery classes. A fabulous Tudor house setting awaits you and the chance to explore the kitchen gardens and orchard to glean produce for the classes. If it's too far to travel in one day then you can stay the night! Be quick and sign up for the next class on January 17th - Game, where Linda is joined by field to fork expert Steve Tricker from Truly Traceable. Learn about game prep and butchery, cook dishes to take home and ... drum roll ... there's the legendary Truly Traceable game pies for lunch. 

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