Apple Tea Bread and slurps of hot chai

apple tea bread 02 || cityhippyfarmgirl

Not super sweet, uses your favourite seasonal apples and is a little different to the regular cake like Apple Tea Loaf of times before. These apple baked goodies were eaten 77 times quicker than what it took to make them (or something like that anyway.)

Baked goods have long been a regular in my kitchen (and blog pages) with a steady stream of hungry bellies constantly on the look out for something else to eat, these were made to fill that role. If only momentarily. Something slightly different to my usual retort of…well if you are hungry, go eat an apple.

Or today, eat an apple tea bread!

Now, the traditional Apple Tea Loaf is something that conjures up imagery of proper tea cups, rainy afternoons and a little polite conversation.

Never one for convention, I thought I’d shake that up a bit. With waiting mugs, slurps of hot chai, coffee and cold milk. A warm sunny morning, celebrating another birthday gone by for a loved one. Snatched noisy conversations were had between mouthfuls of Apple Tea Bread, (this is more how we roll round these parts anyway.)

apple tea bread 01 || cityhippyfarmgirl

Apple Tea Bread

300g sourdough starter (*add an extra teaspoon of dried yeast if you aren’t using sourdough)

1 tsp dried yeast

4 1/2 (675g) cups strong bakers flour

375mls water (approximate)

100g softened butter

100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar

1 tsp salt

Middle Part

about four apples thinly sliced

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tblsp raw sugar

approx 50g extra butter into 16 small cubes

Add all ingredients together except softened butter and salt- either by hand or mixer. If using a mixer, do so for about ten minutes. You want that dough really worked before adding the butter in, the gluten needs to be well-developed.

Gradually add your cubed softened butter into the dough, also adding the salt. Continue to mix for a further ten minutes. If doing by hand, work it in well.

Dough should look smooth and coming together off the sides of the bowl.

Place a damp tea towel or plastic shopping bag over the top of the bowl. This creates a gentle humid environment for your bread to rise. Leave it for an hour or so.

On to a really lightly floured surface, give your dough a brief three-way fold or knock back. Back into the bowl for another hour or so.

Divide your dough into 32 equal portions, (this recipe makes roughly 16 apple tea breads.) Rolling 16 of them into balls, which are then flattened and rolled into round discs, placing them on to your baking trays.

Divide the other 16 portions in half again, creating 32, and roll each portion into long sausage type shapes. Gently twist the two snakes around each other, in a rope like fashion placing them around the edge of the round dough disc.

Place finely sliced apple in the middle and allow to prove for roughly another hour or so, (this really depends on the season, if it’s hot, it’s quicker!)

Place a tiny cube of cold butter within the circle of the dough and sprinkle with a little extra sugar and cinnamon.* Bake at 200C for approximately 20 minutes.

* If you would like to have these for breakfast, just make them up the night before, pop them on a tray, cover them, and leave them overnight in the fridge. All ready to be baked in the morning.

apple tea bread || cityhippyfarmgirl

 

 

 

 

 

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A story of currant buns, mice and permaculture

currant buns- cityhippyfarmgirl

currant bunsWhen I was a little girl I used to have a poster from Autumn Story- Brambly Hedge (by Jill Barklem). I don’t know where I got it from and I don’t know where it went, but it had embedded in my mind, and was still remembered fondly as an adult. I loved that picture. Every part of it spoke to me, on a level I couldn’t explain as a kid.

Decades later as a mother now, my own children have several of these books by Jill Barklem. I knew I still loved, and was more than happy to read them whenever I was asked to. But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when it all finally clicked.

I loved these stories, loved these pictures and was drawn in a sentimental way to the seasonal themes. Not because I wanted to be a mouse, with long held dreams of having a tail. But because they were living a life that I aspired too, (and strangely enough, seems I’ve always aspired to.) It was a kind of ‘duh’ moment, where I frowned a little, and the light inside my head clicked well and truly on.

brambly hedge

Autumn Story- Brambly Hedge

Let me try and explain…

First up a description of what the Brambly Hedge books are about, “…a community of self-sufficient mice who live together in the tranquil surroundings of the English countryside.” Self sufficiency on a community level…damnit, these mice were surely permaculturalists!

With adult eyes, I look at the beautiful pictures in these books. I see kitchens full of preserved goodies, dried seasonal foods hanging from ceilings and berries being collected to make sweet pastry lined pies. With busy tables full of bustling family members,   seasonal festivities, crafting, natural earth building, hell…they even had laden cake stand with hand made tea cosy.

brambly hedge

So many things I held dear, had interest in or aspired to, was right there…in a mouse book. It was hard not to smile and get a little bit excited when I explained it all to Mr Chocolate. By this time, I know he’s well used to odd thoughts and conversations flying from me, but even he agreed that yes, on closer look they did indeed seem to be living a life that I often speak of. With a happy heart, I suggested to my boys, that we read them, one more time before bed, and possibly again the next night. (I never know, it might in turn create a long held dream of their own to have an interest in permaculture, seasonal living…or at the very least, to grow a long tail and a pair of small pink ears.)

currant buns

So what do currant buns have to do with mice, permaculture and childhood books? Well if  I’m going to let myself get completely absorbed in the books, I should have the appropriate food on the table, don’t you think? Currant Buns seemed liked a good choice, and one that a small community of rural living little mice might also enjoy, don’t you think?

Currant Buns

300g starter

2 tsp dried yeast

150g currants

100mls hot water

300mls cream

750g (5 cups) flour

50g brown sugar

250mls water

2 tsp salt

Soak your currants in 100mls of hot water for an hour or so beforehand. Add all your ingredients together except your salt. Mix well, and leave for 40 minutes. Add salt and mix again, (I use my mixer) or knead on a lightly floured surface until well incorporated and dough is smooth. Leave to prove for a couple of hours, with a couple of knock backs in between.  Shape into rolls and place on a lined tray, allow to prove for another hour or so.

Bake at 220 for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Everyone loves Parfait- Frugal Friday

mungbeanandyogurt

‘You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait”? Parfaits are delicious!’ {Donkey}

Donkey was right of course, parfaits really are delicious.

The Monkeys were watching Shrek one rainy weekend recently and I was in the kitchen wondering what inspiration was going to fall upon me for the container of sprouted mung beans on the bench. I kept mentally adding ingredients to my bowl but I was also furrowing my brow a little at the same time as quite frankly, sprouted mung beans, honey and yogurt… I really wasn’t sure about it.

What the hell. I started to construct, pulled out a spoon, and tentatively tasted. Yep… Yep, I think that works. Even works quite well. I made it again several days later and then again just to make sure my taste buds weren’t playing tricks on me.

Nope, still works.

Mung beans, honey and yogurt DOES work in a parfait like kind of fashion, and I would even go as far as saying… it’s delicious.

Mung Bean Parfait

organic sprouted mung beans

linseed meal

local sunflower kernels *

sultanas

home made greek style natural yogurt

local honey

* I found some locally grown sunflower kernels recently at Newcastle Farmers Markets– I can’t tell you how happy I was to find this, as up until now all I had found was imported. Very happy!

eggs in baskets- Frugal Friday

I always thought Toad in the Hole was an egg cracked into a slice of bread and then fried. Turns out I’m wrong. (Thank you for the correction wikipedia) Apparently Toad in the Hole involves a sausage and instead my fried egg is called Egg in a Basket. I’m not sure that’s got quite the same ring to it, but it will have to do until I think of something else. I always liked the sounds of Toad in the Hole… makes me think of Wind in the Willows.

What you’ll need is some

small round bread rolls and

free range eggs

hollow them out, enough to hold a whole cracked egg

into a low oven (they are a good thing to pop in on your second shelf of the oven while something else is cooking up top)

eat them when you think they are ready

and serve with a little capsicum chilli sauce

(For me an egg is ready when it’s cooked right through, Mr Chocolate likes ’em runny.)

 ******

As for a new name…any ideas?

Bunnies in Burrows?

Fat Cat on a Cushion?

Golden light rye rolls

Breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day.

Travelling overseas, it was always breakfast time that excited me the most. What did the locals eat? How did they start their day?

Germany was always my favourite. A substantial rye bread, cheese, meat and muesli. I read once that the German breakfast was the best way to start the day in terms of low GI and giving lasting energy through out the day. Compared to their neighbouring companions in Italy, who often start the day with a strong coffee and some sweet biscuits to dunk in. Not that I didn’t like that breakfast as well, however I would quite often be hungry two hours later. By lunch time I would be chasing my tail, eyes looking vague and softly muttering oh please feed me.

Malaysia I was also happy with. Eggs and roti (roti telur) being readily available, a little sambal on the side with some tea laced with condensed milk to wash it all down. There’s quite a lot to like of condensed milk early in the morning.

Bagni di Lucca had posted recently on eating breakfast in Finland. While smoked salmon and I are not friends, the picture of the rye bread rolls, remained at the fore front of my brain until I just had to have a go at baking the little fellas.

I enjoyed them so much, there have been at least four batches since. Just the thing to start your day with. It’s not a bowl of cafe au lait, or a straight off the hot plate roti telur. But teamed up with some tarty marmalade and cheese or some avocado/black pepper and tomato and I’m a happy mama. Giving me lots of energy to think about my next meal…


Golden light rye rolls

200g starter (100%)

250g strong bakers flour

100g rye flour

50g golden flaxseed

200mls+ water (approx, may need more.)

1 tsp dark malt flour

1 tsp salt

extra

1 tbls rye flour

80mls boiling water

Mixing ingredients together. Resting period of about 40 minutes before adding the salt, mix again plus a quick fold. Prove. Shape. Now make up the rye water mixture. (I first did this for this 100% rye, and wanted a similar soft top.) Slowly adding your boiling water, while quickly whisking your rye flour. Once mixed together just leave it until the bread is finished the final prove. Just before the bread rolls go in to bake add a good spoonful of the rye mixture to the top, smoothing it over. Squirt with water and pop in the oven at 240 with steam.

This post submitted to yeastspotting.