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Well this blog has been neglected somewhat hasn’t it!

The reason for my silence is I’ve been very busy setting up my new catering business Eliza Welsford food & events

It’s been an exciting few months building up the business, lurching from euphoria to despair with the joys of website development (I am a wordpress genius – ahem, honest!), branding designs, new menus, sourcing suppliers, building networks etc etc.

Come over and join us at our new home elizawelsfordfood.com. We would love to know what you think!

We’ve catered for intimate dinners, canape parties, business meetings, and birthday celebrations, and will be catering from our first wedding in May.

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And you can like us on facebook and follow us on twitter

See you there!

 

A sneak peak at some of our food:

wontongrcbbtofu

P&Papc_smalltunac

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Meringue Cuite, beloved by chefs due to it’s ability to keep it’s shape. It’s extremely stable and can be left out for hours without disintegrating, does not swell in the oven but is chalkier and more powdery than swiss meringue. Meringue Cuite is cooked meringue and requires a lot of whisking over a pan of hot water to get it to the desired stage – absolutely stable with no movement at all. It’s therefore ideal for making piped baskets and shapes, even if it isn’t as nice to eat.

When was the last time you saw the classic meringue cuite recipe; meringue basket? So long ago that I’ve failed to find an image of one through Google. I wasn’t that keen to make one in our creative meringue cuite session, but what to do with it instead? A search for “meringue cuite” came back with very few responses save a few seals and an albino hedgehog – I assume ‘cute’ was meant. But I had decided on an exotic fruit soup, and realising this might look like a lake I resurrected an old classic:

From swans to ducks. This was one of the most delicious things we cooked last week –  caramelised duck breast with honey and ginger, served with rice noodles, chili, coriander, spring onions, sesame seeds and lime.

 

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Liebster Blog Award

The lovely Rachel of Blissfully Scrumptious has bestowed me with a Liebster Blog Award which is given to talented and loved bloggers who have less than 200 followers. I understand it started in Germany to give small bloggers recognition for their efforts.

Rachel certainly deserves recognition for her lovely cakes and bakes, as well as healthy eating recipes. Do also look at her website  www.blissfullyvintage.com  and blog http://blissfullyvintage.wordpress.com for gorgeous vintage china.

The rules:

  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  • Link  back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  • Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  • Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.
  • Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

I suspect some of my chosen blogs have more than 200 followers but all deserve to be noticed:

Roswensian – beautiful baking and more

Limited Literature – very talented poet, influenced by all sorts, often found baking with a 2 year old

Pepper & Sherry – fantastic collection of recipes and anecdotes. I love Juls’ writing and honesty

Appledrane – a gorgeous food and photography blog

Footprints in the butter – scrumptious recipes

 

 

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Mr W was the main bread maker in our house until I signed up to cookery school. Now that I have to practice the job has fallen to me. He now gets exciting jobs… Like the washing up and manly DIY tasks.

When all goes according to plan I really enjoy making bread. I love the smooth, satiny feel as you knead it, the delicious smell as it bakes and the satisfaction of sitting down to eat something you made yourself that tastes sooo much better than anything you buy in the supermarket. When it goes wrong it is infuriating.

Until I started making white bread using the Leiths recipe I’d been pretty successful, but other than a lovely first loaf, my bread went from bad to worse. Bread became my nemesis. Stubborn refusal to rise … uneven crumb … cakey texture… You name it, it happened. My second to last attempt was the worst. A doughy brick that even birds wouldn’t touch. Was something wrong with the recipe?

Of course not.

As the brick was consigned to the compost heap I remembered what Paul Hollywood said in last weeks Great British Bake Off Masterclass – “Don’t use dried yeast, a load of rubbish” – an explanation as to why would have been helpful. Is it because you have to reconstitute it? Anyway, I realised that after making the first Leiths loaf I had switched from using fast-action dried yeast to dried yeast.

There are three sorts of yeast you can use in bread making; fresh yeast, dried yeast and fast-action dried yeast. Fresh yeast is mixed with water at 37 degrees to make a smooth cream. Dried yeast requires a slightly higher temperature (39 degrees) to reconstitute successfully. Fast action yeast is dried yeast that can be mixed directly with flour. It is easier to use and very reliable. If replacing fresh yeast with dried in a recipe, use half the amount in weight. If using fast-action use quarter of the amount.

So here we have a lovely little loaf made with fast-action dried yeast. Golden, chewy crust and a soft crumb.

Ok, so I need to make a few more loaves  to prove Mr Hollywood right, and I need to give dried yeast another go – My current theory is that I didn’t use water at a high enough temperature when reconstituting it – but for now I can say bread is no longer my nemesis.


What are your experiences of using fresh, dried or fast-action yeast? I’d be interested in your thoughts on what I might have been doing wrong. Do you agree with my current theory or have another suggestion?

Resources:
Leiths Techniques Bible: Susan Spaull & Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne

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