Monday, October 27, 2014

Sweet pumpkin seeds: Halloween

Halloween approaches! Well you don’t need me to tell you that, but it sets the tone. I don’t like being a clichés but then what’s cliché and what’s just tradition??! I am referring of course to the grand food blogger ‘tradition’ (?) of myriad pumpkin posts in October and November. And who am I to stand against tradition? 

This week in preparation for this Friday we decided to have a little pumpkin carving competition, myself and the bf. We each got a pumpkin, perused google images for inspiration and set to work. I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do. I started out with one idea about a Halloween cat in a tree but this morphed into something that is a lot more Christmas than Halloween but hopefully still wintery enough. I guess sometimes you can feel like you’ve had enough scares for a while and then you want a soft focus. My boyfriend’s pumpkin came out really well. Again, it’s not traditional but if you live near a forested area in the states or up north then I’m sure this image on your back porch would strike fear into your heart.

My very family friendly pumpkin
With stars all around the back!

My BF's bear print pumpkin, I love it!

So lets move onto the next little cliché, er, er... I mean tradition. Roasted pumpkin seeds! Yes that’s right, why waste when you have to gut your pumpkin? make use of those seeds! I am taking these a slightly different direction too. Lots of people spice and salt their pumpkin seeds but I wanted to sweeten mine. My sister used to get these delicious vanilla pumpkin seeds around Christmas (I know the C word again, sorry). I thought those seeds were absolutely delicious and so inspired by them I have gone for a sweet vanilla roasted pumpkin recipe. 

Vanilla Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Step 1 – Remove from your pumpkin, carve your pumpkin, and then was your seeds.

Step 2 – Dry your seeds on a fresh clean dish towel

Step 3 – Bash with a rolling pin to crack the shells

Step 4 – Boil a saucepan of water with 2 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of salt, then put in your seeds and boil for 30 mins

Step 5 – Strain the seeds and return to the warm pan, shaking to dry a bit before adding a half teaspoon or vanilla bean paste and stir thoroughly

Step 6 – Put some oil on a baking sheet or roasting dish, I used almond oil but roasters preference and roast for 10 minutes on 200’c. Stir frequently. 

Step 7 - Once out of the oven move them to some kitchen paper adn sprinkle with a pinch or two or sugar and one pinch of salt. Let them cool completely and then enjoy. The shells can be cracked off or eaten. They make a delicious snack or party food.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Tiny Cinnamon Rolls: A snack you can feel ok with

My apologies for the lack of post last week. I made a delicious cinnamon roll bread but made a classic that Paul Hollywood would have eaten me alive for; I rolled the bread too loosely and there were holes, poor form! I also used an egg wash which didn't work well, so I learnt and brought the lessons into this weeks post. So check out these cuties

There's a short story to these so bare with me a moment. IKEA used to have amazing food, it still has some good things left but they removed some of the best. Namely, the Marabou Daim and  the little bitesize cinnamon rolls they used to do. Sure they still sell delicious big cinnamon rolls, either cooked instore or in freezer to go. But those things are a meal, or at least a sizeable desert. The little ones were the perfect snack, and I miss them terribly. Well lately I've been having the realization that I can just make what I can't buy and so I turned to making them myself. These are not mini cinnamon rolls in question but in many ways they are better. These are just miniature versions of the big ones, with a little bit of health kicked in, because well why not?!

Ok so lets start with the dough, it's half and half whole grain and white. There is not a lot of butter in these. Big full meal cinnamon rolls are full of butter and loaded with cups and cups of sugar. These have a small amount of butter in the dough and a couple of spoons of sugar in the whole batch and if you like your could use stevia. So they aren't a health food but they are good enough that you can afford a second one, and once you've had a bit you will be glad that you can ;)

Look at the fluffiness!
Mini Cinnamon Roll Snacks (dough adapted from Paul Hollywood recipe)

250g White Bread Flour
250g Wholemeal Flour
10g   Dry-Active Yeast
10g   Salt
300ml Milk (I used skim)
25g    Butter
1 egg

Milk for Brushing
2-3 tbsp Muscavado Sugar
2 tbs       Cinnamon

1 tbsp Honey
1tbsp   Hot Water
2 tbsp  Caster sugar to dip

1 - Whisk together the flours and then place in the bowl of a mixer.

2 - Pour the yeast on one side and salt on the other

3 - Melt the butter and heat the milk in a saucepan until it's lukewarm

4 - Pour the milk and butter mixture into the mixer and then slowly mix with the dough hook.

5 - Once the dough has come together turn up the speed and knead for 4 minutes exactly. If you dont
      have a mixer, just combine everything in a bowl in the same way and then knead by hand for 8

6 - Once the dough is smooth, remove from the mixer, grease the bowl, replace the dough and let it
      rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.

7 - Take out the dough and roll out thin. Then brush with milk ad immediately sprinkle with the
      sugar and cinnamon. Roll very tightly and cut with a bread knife into 1 inch pieces. Lie these on
      a baking sheet, cover with a damp tea towel and let rise for another 30 mins before baking at 200'
      for 10 minutes.

8 - Let them cool, then mix together the honey and water glaze, brush the cinnamon rolls and then
     dip quickly into the sugar, shake of the excess and there you go. A Swedish style snack time, well
     earned. Enjoy =)

So.........that went well......but I'm back with a bang!

At the start of the year I said that I would try to post more regularly and......yeah....that didn't happen =/ Finishing this doctorat...