Tag Archives: spelt flour

Spelt yule log (bûche de Noel) and an unidentified thigh thief

buchenoel

I can’t believe I’m admitting to this, but our Christmas lunch was stolen by an unidentified creature. We had put the guinea fowl, which had been slaughtered, plucked and frozen by our neighbour in November, to defrost on top of a very tall fridge in the grange. At the time, it was the proud owner of two wings and two thighs. Anyway, bad plan because when I went to get it the next morning it was minus a thigh. As we don’t have a cat, I can’t imagine what sort of animal could have climbed a slippery surface that high; it definitely wasn’t Hugo because he suffers from vertigo. My money’s on a carnivorous giraffe. Admittedly there aren’t many in Southwestern France, but it’s the only thing that makes sense. Luc, my husband, was all for cooking and serving it as an amputee delicacy, claiming that the cooking process would kill any lingering giraffe germs, but I put my foot down and we located a beautifully intact capon in a shop in the village, conveniently open on the 25th December no doubt in case of such incidents.

This ‘bûche de Noel’, which is similar to a roulade, is the traditional French Christmas dessert. It should be kept under lock and key IN THE HOUSE until you’re ready to eat it!

For the sponge:

Ingredients

4 free-range eggs

180g cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

160g spelt flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Raspberry jam to fill

Preheat the oven to 200°C and prepare a Swiss roll tin by lightly greasing and lining the base and sides with a large sheet of greaseproof paper, pushing it into the corners. Beat the eggs, vanilla extract and sugar together until thick and creamy and then add the spelt flour and baking powder, incorporating well. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake in the preheated oven for nine minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and immediately roll into a spiral on a floured-surface. Unroll and spread generously with raspberry jam. Roll again and set aside.

For the butterceam icing:

Ingredients

125g butter, softened

60g cane sugar

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons of coffee powder, diluted in two teaspoons of water

Pour the sugar into a saucepan, lightly moisten with a few drops of water and cook for about six minutes, stirring constantly. Stop just before the mixture caramelises. Beat the egg yolks and add the hot sugar little by little until the mixture whitens. Beat the butter well and gradually add the egg yolk/sugar mixture. Finally, add the coffee, incorporating well. Cover the rolled cake with the buttercream, spreading with a spatula, decorate with walnuts and glazed cherries and leave to cool for at least an hour in the fridge before serving.

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Leek crumble and Hugo’s story

savourycrumble

by Hugo, 
Canine Correspondent

hugo

I’m not a naughty dog. I do have my limits though and when Bossy and Noisy recently loaded their bags into the car and made it clear that I wasn’t going to accompany them, I reached mine. I dragged my rug out to the car and made myself a little nest amongst the suitcases, but they ended up leaving without me all the same. The trouble is this: no Bossy, no proper meals! (He gets invited to eat with the neighbour). Worse still, no camembert at lunchtime (I have my own special supply). So I ran away. Actually I ran further than I meant to and ended up getting lost. Apparently I was about 6 kms away. A very nice lady found me and made me a big bowl of pasta — I must have looked very thin, sad and hungry, which was almost certainly due to ACD (acute cheese deprivation). 😦 The kind lady also took lots and lots of photos of me and kept stroking me and saying how handsome I was. It took her quite a long time to track down Bossy’s husband, because I’d also lost my collar with my ‘phone number on it. Anyway, Bossy and Noisy reappeared quite soon after I had arrived back home and, going by the look on Bossy’s face, she’ll think twice before heartlessly abandoning me in a camembert-free environment again *manipulative snigger*.

This savoury crumble is an adaptation of a Marcus Wareing recipe. It’s a meal in itself really, although it could also be served as an accompaniment.

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 red onions, quartered

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

4 leeks, washed and sliced into 2 cm rounds

4 mushrooms, peeled and sliced

50g butter

50g spelt flour

200 ml chicken or vegetable stock

200ml milk

50g roquefort cheese, crumbled (any blue cheese will work)

1 tablespoon French mustard

Sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

For the crumble topping:

100g spelt flour

75g chickpea flour

25g butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

100g comté cheese, grated (or another hard cheese)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Gently fry the onions, garlic, leeks and mushrooms until lightly cooked (about 5 minutes). Place in an ovenproof dish and set aside. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan and then add the flour, combining well to form a paste. Gradually add the stock and then the milk, whisking well all then time to prevent lumps from forming. Continue to cook until,the sauce is quite thick and then add the mustard, seasoning and cheese. Mix well until the cheese has melted and pour over the vegetables.

To make the crumble topping, mix the flour and seasoning together and rub in the butter and then stir in the olive oil. Add the grated cheese, mixing well and spread over the leeks and sauce. Bake for about 25 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

Spelt flour crêpes and the chaos theory according to Hugo

crepes3

by Hugo, 
Canine Correspondent

hugo

In the interests of transparency (have you noticed the trendy lingo I’m picking up?), I asked to write today’s blog because I don’t think that the Bossy One is always very honest with you.

The way she presents her recipes would have you believe that she’s a domestic goddess (I heard that on the television), when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The havoc she creates in the kitchen is quite something. Not that I’m not complaining because the more the food ends up on the floor, the happier I am. 🙂

Today’s recipe, for example,  should really read something like this:

Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl, use a large shovel to scoop up the ingredients that somehow landed outside the bowl, whilst simultaneously trying to recover from violent coughing and sneezing fit caused by inhaled flour. Make a well in the centre and break the eggs into it, mutter obscenities and pick the broken bits of eggshell out with your fingernails. Whisk the eggs, little by little incorporating the surrounding flour. If you use an electric whisk, you can be sure that a substantial amount of mixture will end up on the surrounding walls, sometimes even the ceiling. Combine the almond milk and water and add little by little to the flour/egg mixture. Turn the whisk to SLOW before pouring in liquid, otherwise it will ricochet alarmingly which isn’t good because it causes more mad muttering (I can also do alliteration :-)). Once all the liquid has been added, continue to whisk until you obtain a smooth batter, the consistency of thin cream  (yeah right; in her dreams!). Push back messy hair, smothering small amount of  ‘smooth’ ( 😆 ) batter over face.

I won’t go on because she can be a bit sensitive when it comes to criticism, even if it is constructive, and I’d like to continue this writing lark.  I will leave you with this thought though:  this is a simple recipe – just imagine the scenario with a complicated one 😉

paws

Thank you for your kind words Hugo, I think I’ll take over now. This is based on Delia Smith’s recipe for ‘basic pancakes’, which I have adapted to use with spelt flour and almond milk.

Ingredients (makes about 10 crêpes)

110g spelt flour

pinch of salt

pinch of bicarbonate of soda

2 large eggs

200ml almond milk

75ml water

butter or coconut oil for cooking

Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and break the eggs into it. Whisk the eggs, little by little incorporating the surrounding flour. Combine the almond milk and water and add little by little to the flour/egg mixture. Once all the liquid has been added, continue to whisk until you obtain a smooth batter, the consistency of thin cream.

To cook the crêpes you will need a shallow frying, or preferably a crêpe pan. Melt the butter or coconut oil making sure that the base of the frying pan is coated. Pour a small amount of batter into hot fat in the pan, tipping from side to side to distribute evenly. Cook until golden brown on both sides.

crepes

 

Spelt bread

speltbread

I envy mothers who disingenuously exclaim ‘I have such problems with my childrens’ eating habits: they just can’t get enough caviar/oysters/organic broccoli…’. Obviously when I say envy, I mean it in a thoroughly irascible, need-to-suppress-violent-urges sort of way. My son is passionate about bread (he’s partial to ketchup too actually, but I don’t think we really need to go there ;-)).  He’s been besotted with bread since his first teeth appeared and his enthusiasiam shows no signs of abating. This spelt bread meets with his approval and believe me, he’s something of an expert in the matter.

Spelt is a tasty and healthy alternative to wheat and has a delicate nutty flavour. It’s actually an ancient grain that has come back into favour as more and more people have problems digesting wheat. Spelt has a tough outer husk, meaning that it can protect itself from attack and making it a very suitable candidate for pesticide-free production. Not only does it have more vitamins and minerals than wheat flour, it also has a higher protein content. Although spelt contains gluten, it is in a more fragile form and therefore easier to digest than wheat gluten, which is why people with a wheat intolerance are often able to eat spelt flour.

Ingredients (makes one small loaf)

250g spelt flour

5g active dry yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

150ml lukewarm water

Begin by diluting the yeast in a few drops of water. Add to the flour and salt and then add the lukewarm water. Add the olive oil and mix well with a wooden spoon and then either knead by hand or mechanically for about ten minutes, until the mixture becomes like plastic. Leave to rise in a warm (25-35°C), draft-free place, covered with a damp tea towel for 45 minutes. The dough should double in volume. Knead again and shape into the desired form. Place on greaseproof paper, cover with the damp tea towel and leave to rise again for about 1h 15 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled baking tray and bake in a hot (225°C) preheated oven for 30 minutes.