Barbeque Bowl

A tasty bowl for making in stages when I’m at home all day.
Pulled Pork Jackfruit (or my version here)
– beans – cannelini, aduki, haricot, whatever you fancy
– steamed broccoli with sesame seeds
– brown rice
Veganomicon Barbeque Sauce
– corn on the cob (for kids instead of Jackfruit)


For extra decadence, put sourdough battered onion rings on top!

Jackfruit Irish Stew

Not remotely Irish of course, but Young Green Jackfruit is a perfect replacement for the meat here. Savoury and toothsome, like the finest falling apart stewed lamb. It’s also rather better for you and indeed the little lambkins. Good for St Patrick’s day, it’s about as Irish as he was.

2 tins green jackfruit, drained and chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 parsnips, peeled and sliced
3 medium potatoes (I omit these if I’m serving with mash, like today, but if I was a real Irish girl I wouldn’t balk at two sorts of potato in one meal!)
1-2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 pints liquid- I used half not-beef stock (not a usual staple but marigold powder would work), a quarter Bisto Favourite, and a quarter white wine. Play around with this though if you like.
1 bouquet garni
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several good grinds of fresh pepper

Fry the onion in the oil till translucent, then add the rest of the vegetables and cook until the carrot is almost tender. Break the jackfruit up with the spoon as you go.
Add the liquid, seasonings and herbs and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. At this point I usually turn it off and leave it with the lid on until we’re ready to eat. If you’re cooking to eat straight away then let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
Stoo isn’t photogenic!
Taste and adjust seasonings, fish out the bouquet garni and serve over mash, as a pie filling, with baked potatoes or chips… Or most authentically with wheaten bread.

Water Kefir

Well I made about eight batches, in various flavours. It was fine, I thought it was pleasant but the husband and kidlets didn’t like it. Ultimately I don’t have much faith in the health benefits and the taste isn’t exciting enough for me to keep those grains fed and watered. They’ve gone to live on a farm where they have plenty of space to run (cough composted cough).

Original post:
I’ve started brewing Water Kefir, it’s supposed to be good for you and provide vitamin B12 (disputed here), though I couldn’t vouch for the science of probiotics either. If I’m honest I just want another pet ferment to go with my sourdough starter and my yoghurt! I’ll keep it for flavour and a vague approval of fermented foods!
I’m on day two, so I write with unimpeachable authority on the subject….

Here is what I’ve been doing.

Into a jar:
1 litre boiled and cooled water with
2 tablespoons cane sugar dissolved in it
Kefir grains (about 4 tablespoons?)
1 pinch bicarbonate of soda
About 6 raisins

Leave for 24 hours under a tea towel on the counter.

Strain off grains, pick out raisins and start a new batch.

Mix liquid with flavourings (so far berries in one and lime juice in the other) and bottle. Leave for two days under the tea towel, then strain if necessary and refrigerate.

Sourdough Bread in the Machine

A quick guide to sourdough baking in your machine. You’ll need to adjust for your own starter, flour, machine, environment… But I’ve got a lot of people started this way.

Your Starter
Keep your starter in the fridge, in a Tupperware container with a lid. The starter should usually only fill it about one third. Don’t worry about it, it isn’t a pet. You can neglect it for about two weeks without any repercussions and it will come back from almost anything. I’ve seen a starter black and fuzzy white with mould, it had the top scraped off and was refreshed. Fine and bubbly!

That said, mine does have a name!

To bake
Pull the starter out of the fridge and pop in on your scales. I keep approximately 300g as my basic amount- doubling your starter when you refresh is ideal. Set the scales to zero.

Add half strong white and half rye flour, then the combined weight again in water- to add up to the amount of refreshed starter you need in your recipe. The rye is important, it makes your starter happy.

For a basic white loaf you need 300g refreshed starter. So add to your starter container:
75g strong white flour
75g rye flour
150g water

Stir this in well, you now have a pot if refreshed starter. 300g will go into your bread, the rest will go back into your fridge. Scrape down the sides to keep it tidy and discourage mould.

Now get your bread machine pan and pop that on the scales. Reset the scales to zero between each addition… Add:

300g of refreshed starter
500g strong white flour (up to about 300g could be wholemeal, more than that and the loaf will be quite heavy)
250g water
Pinch of salt

Put the pan into your machine and set it to a four hour wait (or more for overnight) and a basic white bread cycle of about four hours. I sometimes use my machine’s wholemeal cycle if I’m using a lot of brown flour, but I’m not sure how much difference it makes.

Wait, remove from machine, cool on a rack, scoff.

Adjusting the recipe
Every starter, every flour, every environment, every machine is different.

If your loaf isn’t how you like it…

First try increasing the water by 50g. If that makes it worse then you’re still on to something! Decrease by 50g next!

If that doesn’t work try increasing the delay on your machine by half an hour…. If that makes it worse… You get the idea!

If you’re still not happy try refreshing your starter a few days in a row without baking (compost the excess), then try again starting with the basic recipe.

Then try a higher proportion of rye when you refresh, try organic flours, try keeping your starter in a warmer part of the fridge- or a cooler- or on the counter, try different brands of flour

Once you have a basic loaf recipe you are happy with you can play!

Try adding seeds, substituting part of the liquid for your favoured milk, adding a little oil, adding garlic or herbs…

Garlic Bread of Joy

Eat it with soup, stew or ratatouille.

200g refreshed sourdough starter
200g soy milk
500g strong white flour
1 tsp salt

2 tablespoons Tesco Baking Fat
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp coarse sea salt
Pinch of dried rosemary (optional)

Mix the dough ingredients and knead well.

Shape into a long loaf and cut deep slices. Mix the gatlic and fat, and smear into the slices. Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt, some dried rosemary would be good too.
Rest for two hours, or up to four..
Bake at 180c for about half an hour, or until well risen and browned.
Allow to cool on a rack for another half hour.

This is best served warm, but very nearly as good toasted the next day… But don’t expect a kiss after!