10 February 2013

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

This year, the fabulous and delicious pancake day falls on Tuesday 12th February. I love big fluffy American-style pancakes, traditional English pancakes tend towards a runnier batter producing a thinner pancake that is rolled up to be eaten.

There are a plethora of pancake recipes around, the one I used for these came from Sophie at The Cake Hunter via the Company weekly edit which I get through my wonderful clever iPad which I love. Sophie has a great blog packed with recipes and  baking tips coupled with fantastic photos which is definitely worth checking out.

I managed to make 6 massive, thick pancakes from a recipe that should yield around 10....I suspect my additions to the batter didn't help.

Blueberries are a superfood and are packed with antioxidants, stick them in your pancakes and you get a huge health whammy, I promise!

Cover them in peanut butter and it ups the protein content....

For the second batch I mixed plain chocolate chips through the batter which was a brilliant idea. I am a food genius. I used agave nectar to top mine because I'm not a big fan of honey.

I did make a few changes to the original recipe, such as using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil for the batter and to fry the pancakes up, and using almond milk to thin the batter out as I'm cutting back on dairy. Use an alternative if you wish, they will still taste wonderful.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes 
190g plain flour
60g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 large egg
284ml buttermilk
50ml coconut oil
glug of almond milk
fun things to add to the batter such as blueberries, chocolate chips, cinnamon or ginger.

1) Mix all ingredients together, add the almond milk slowly and mix through until batter becomes thinner.
2) Heat the pan over a medium/high heat and use 1 tsp coconut oil to fry the pancakes.
3) Blob 1 tbsp of batter into the pan and spread it to a pancake-shape; cook until top side bubbles before flipping and cooking the other side.
4) Eat warm and enjoy.
5) The next day, give up chocolate, sweets, smoking, alcohol and general fun for Lent.

9 February 2013

Peanut Butter Protein Bars

This weekend I have mostly not left the house because I am so tired from my first week interning in London - I'm interning for Trace Publicity to help out during London Fashion Week and its the most awesome experience for me to get because its my first fashion internship - so far it hasn't been too busy, but that will all change come Monday as Fashion Week is at the end of next week.

The journey for me takes just under 2 hours, I don't mind it too much but I do get peckish - I get peckish almost every hour on the hour and where I'm working is a multitude of deliciously tempting eateries offering a selection of delectable snack-type items, particularly flapjacks which I cannot resist. However, these are all jammed with sugars and, as always, I am trying to learn to be more 'healthy' and make better choices regarding what I put in my stomach, and so spent my Friday night internet surfing for ideas - I am puppysitting this weekend and am not a housebound loser I swear, my friends will vouch for me!!

I figured I'd need something flapjack-y in appearance and texture so I can pop it in my bag, but lower in sugars and possibly higher in protein to help keep me full and make me feel virtuous - the recipe I've tried out is a combination of oats and crunchy peanut butter, which is easily one of the best things in the world.

The website I grabbed the recipe from is full of fitness advice for women covering diet and workouts and has a heap of 'clean' recipes - in my ongoing quest for inner-health-peace I'll be spending more time surfing this site for tips!

I cut the mix into 8 bars and wrapped each one in clingfilm so I could grab they easily on my way out the door in the mornings - fingers crossed I remember because I have a terrible habit of forgetting everything to do with myself.

They're a little crumbly because I adapted the recipe slightly, chiefly because I was paying too much attention to the tiny puppy and not enough to the recipe and so forgot the almond milk, but as I'd added coconut oil anyway I think I've saved myself any grief there!

Peanut Butter Protein Bars (adapted by mistake from Miss Fitness Life)
2 cups oats
5-6 scoops of protein powder
4 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup flaked almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1) Mix the dry ingredients together.
2) Melt together the peanut butter and coconut oil - I blasted it for 30 seconds in the microwave - and mix thoroughly through the dry ingredients.
3) If your mix is looking very dry and crumbly, add some almond milk gradually and mix through until the mix softens.
4) Press into a lined 8x8 tin, cover and place in the fridge with the mixture pressed flat - mine was covered with condiment jars!
5) After an hour, cut into bars and wrap to store in the fridge.

2 February 2013

Chelsea Buns

The last time I made chelsea buns I was at secondary school and made them in food tech; they were such a success that I went home clutching the recipe and insisted Mum take me to the supermarket immediately so I could make them again. I remember being given fresh yeast for free by the supermarket, my teacher told us they couldn't sell it to you so I wonder if dried yeast wasn't available over 10 years ago.

This time around I used dried yeast, but did make some other tweaks of my own, entirely due to eagerness to bake and lack of ingredients.

When Mum said she fancied something 'cakey and raisiny' this morning, I did my usual google images search for ideas and settled on making chelsea buns; the inside is filled with brown sugar and raisins, and pulled out my trusty 'Great British Book of Baking' for a fail-safe recipe.

It was only once I'd melted the butter into the milk (see recipe below) that I realised I only had 340 grams of wholemeal bread flour, not 450 grams of white bread flour. Cue a mild panic and decision to supplement the bread flour with plain white flour to make up the amount needed. This combination of flours, and the heavier quality provided by the wholemeal flour, which often doesn't rise as much as white flour, and not enough time for the dough to prove first time around meant the buns were dinky, but I prefer to call them 'bitesize'!

When I wrote up this post, I realised that I rolled by dough rectangles from end-to-end, i.e. from the short end up, but the recipe states to roll them from one long side like a Swiss roll - this is very likely another reason they were so teeny!  

Chealsea Buns (from 'Great British Book of Baking)
175ml milk
50g unsalted butter
450g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
3tbsp caster sugar
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
1 medium egg
For the filling:
50g unsalted butter
75g dark muscovado sugar
150g dried vine fruits (raisins, sultanas, currants)
For the sticky glaze:
2tbsp milk
2tbsp caster sugar
2tbsp runny honey
*a roasting

1) Gently heat the milk and butter together until the butter has melted, then allow to cool until lukewarm.
2) Meanwhile, combine the dry bun ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
3) Whisk the egg into the milk and butter mixture, and pour into the well of the dry ingredients.
4) Using your hand, slowly work the flour into the liquid to make a soft, not sticky, dough.
5) Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead well for ten minutes - then return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave somewhere warm to prove, it should double in size and take around an hour.
6) After the proving time, punch the air out of the dough and split it into two equal parts. Roll these into rectangles measuring roughly 38 x 13cm.
7) Sprinkle the rectangles with the sugar, followed by the dried fruits and roll the rectangles from one long side like a Swiss roll, being gentle but firm to make tight scrolls.
8) Cut each scroll into 8 even slices and arrange in the tin for further proving - try not to let them touch and use extra tins if needed as, during the next 40 minutes or so, they'll almost double in size. Re-cover and allow to prove for around 40 minutes.
9) Heat the oven to 200C and uncover and bake the buns for 20-25 minutes until golden in colour; 5 minutes before they are due to 'finish', remove the buns and brush over the glaze (see next step).
10) Make the glaze whilst the buns are baking by gently warming the ingredients together without allowing the liquid to reach a boil.
11) Allow to cool before attempting to eat.