Crumpet French Toast, It Really Is A Thing.



Today is Father’s Day here in NZ and that requires bacon being consumed for breakfast. I don’t like bacon, really, really.

I keep a few bits of bread in the freezer so I can have French Toast when the bacon fans do their bacon thing. This morning I decided to be different and try French Toast made with crumpets. This isn’t a sponsored post, I got the damn fine crumpets from the supermarket the other day. This brand is fairly new to the Wellington region and their crumpets are square and taste as good as fresh made ones. Making crumpets is one of those things I can tick off my bucket list and never do again. Button Family Crumpets taste as good and are far less work. These crumpets are square and delicious, I really do recommend them. They made damn fine French toast too.

With the French Toast I did what I would normally do. I would recommend 2 crumpets person and one egg for the mix per person.

Crack an egg into a bowl, lightly whisked.

Added a splash of milk and 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence.

Place crumpets in mix and turn a few times

Melted about 20g butter in a fry pan.

Add crumpets and cook until light brown , flipping a few times.

Serve with fruit and your choice of syrup.

It didn’t seem to make a difference which way up they went in the mix or the pan. They tasted damn fine and did require lashings of maple syrup.I would certainly French Toast my crumpets again, they were very good.





Dug Out The Breadmaker, Fluffy Farmhouse Bread.


I dug out the breadmaker, dusted it off and did my old trusted farmhouse fluffy white loaf. I first published this recipe back in 2010 but I don’t want to touch that post so I am reblogging here.

This loaf is a lovely fluffy number, the kind that sends its crust crumbs every where and the crust ends get argued over. To cut, I actually turn it sideways and cut that way. It is a basic loaf and won’t last long. The sooner you eat it, the better. I used the French setting on my bread-maker and the highest crust setting.

Dig out the breadmaker and fill your house with the sweet smell of fresh bread.


Fluffy Farmhouse Breadmaker Bread -

  • Servings: 1 small loaf
  • Print

Check your Breadmaker instruction book, mine requires wet ingredients first.

1 1/2 c warm water

3 1/2 bread flour (strong flour)

2 tsp yeast (I use Edmonds Surebake Yeast)

3/4 tsp salt

Set to the required settings to get a good crusty.

An Updated 5 Minute Bread Post.

Back in the day, well 2010, I wrote a post about the brilliant Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.   I thought I would update the post and add some more detail about what to do. It really is as easy as it sounds.

I do have the book and there are various recipes for doughs. I have stuck to the basic one and use it to mainly make loaves for dinner, pizza and savoury scrolls. I am yet to try the pitta breads that others make.

Having this simple dough in the fridge saves us money and allows us to have simple, good, fresh and warm bread. Have a play around, learn as you go and enjoy.

Before I post the simple recipe  I just want you to have a look at a few photographs of what the dough looks like. The lidded container is what I use to both mix and store the dough. It is at its highest after time on the bench. In the second photo it has been used once and left in the fridge (lid not closed), then there is the amount of dough for a small loaf and the dough itself. The dough is on a tile as I find this great for kneading on. Use plenty of flour for kneading, you just need to get the dough to a non-sticky stage.


I find the traditional baguette shape best for a good crispy and sourdough like bread. I score it and make it as even as possible in width. This loaf was the size of a dinner knife then in dough form. It stretches as it cooks and ends up enough for the 3 of us. I have cooked longer baguettes and they cook fine. I sprinkle the dough with flour before cooking. I had to sneak in a photo of the wonderful pizza.

It is worth investing in a pizza stone. If you don’t have one use a baking tray and don;t worry about reheating it.

5 minute Bread Dough -

  • Print

3 cups lukewarm water
2 tbsp granulated yeast
1  tbsp salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour

Add the water, yeast and salt to your storage container and mix a bit.
Add the  flour and give a good stir until there is no visible flour.
Leave on the kitchen side and allow to rise and then fall back on its self.
Stick in the fridge or use some right away but make sure the lid of the container is not fully on, it needs air.

Place a pizza stone in the oven and heat to 220°

When it comes to using the dough grab a handful and knead in plenty of flour, you can add more dough if you think it will not be a large enough loaf/pizza base.

You want to knead it until it looses the sticky feel. It doesn’t take long, there is not a lot of effort involved.

Bread ~Roll until it is your desired sharp and score gently if making bread. Sprinkle with flour and place on pizza stone. Cook until brown, cool on a rack.

Pizza ~Roll into a pizza base shape using a rolling pin, it is good rather thin. I do the pizza base on a piece of baking paper and life it topped onto the stone.











Chocolate Tortillas – a work in progress.

Photo 23-11-15, 5 53 21 PM

You can now find the recipe here.

I was lucky enough to win a  competition on the Equagold Facebook page. The prize was that lovely pot of Premium Dutch Cocoa and the competition involved what you would do with it and some kiwi fruit. My idea was for chocolate tortillas and I have been trying and working on the recipe.

My first batch were just OK, not great. We did eat them all and the consensus was that they needed to be a bit sweeter. This batch were made with regular flour and I am going to try with masa (corn) flour as it has a natural sweetness. I will also remove the baking powder because I would like them to be a bit flatter.

Hopefully I will get to try them out at the weekend and if you have any idea please feel free to comment. Meanwhile here are some more photographs.

Photo 23-11-15, 5 55 32 PMPhoto 23-11-15, 5 54 57 PM



Iced Buns, Iced Finger or Sticky Willies, call them what you will.

Photo 9-11-15, 6 28 05 PM

If you grew up in the UK you will know these ready delights as Iced Buns, Iced Finger or Sticky Willies.

Yes, sticky willies, a friend nearly spat her cocktail everywhere hearing that name, she grew up in a much posher place than me. Sticky Willies is what I knew them as. I remember the dinner ladies rolling out a trolley into the playground full of baking and buying a Sticky Willie for 10p. I always ate the bottom bread layer, leaving just enough bread to support the icing and then ate the last marvellous bit.

I miss Sticky Willies and New Zealand doesn’t seem to have them. There are iced finger buns but they don’t have the right icing or taste. It has taken me a few years and few attempts to get the right recipe to make me smile. I used my bread maker on the dough setting. I am sure you can work out how you could do the recipe by hand.

When they rise in the oven you do want them to touch just in the middle. When you part them they have a lovely exposed bread  bit in the middle.

Photo 8-11-15, 6 36 12 PM

The recipe is adapted from Annabel Langbein’s Sticky Bun recipe which I halved and added an egg to.

Sticky Willies -


1 cup warm milk (microwave it for a minute)

2 tsp dry yeast granules

90g melted but not hot butter

1 egg lightly whisked

3 cups high-grade/bread flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

For Breadmaker– add liquid first (Check you bread maker instructions). Set on the dough setting and let it do the work.

Kneading by mixer

Add yeast to warm milk, stir and leave until gets slightly frothy

Add butter and egg to milk mix

Place flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of the mixer (with a kneading hook) and give a quick pulse to mix

Slowly add liquid to flour and knead for 5-8 minutes.

You will see it come together and form a nice ball.

When this is springy and looks like a dough allow to rest in a lightly oiled bowl until doubled in size.


Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Break into roughly 10 pieces, each piece weighing 90g.

Roll each piece into a ball and then a sausage shape.

Make sure each sausage is the same length and width.

Place on a greased baking sheet with a gap of 3 cm between them.

Leave to rise covered with a clean damp tea towel for 20-30 mins.

Heat oven to 200

Bake for 10-15 minutes .

Allow to cool on a wire rack.


2 c icing sugar

1/3 c just boiled water

Slowly add the water to the icing sugar, you may need more water but you do want a thick icing.

In your hand hold a bun vertically and starting at the top spoon a dessert spoon of icing down the centre of the bun.

Place on a wire rack to dry the icing.

Continue until you have iced all of the Willies!

Cherry Turnovers – Using My Make Ahead Bread Book.

The Book.

The Book.

I love making bread, it frightens me how easy I find it. I hear other people say they have issues and often fail. I have had a couple of failures which I have blamed on old yeast and the weather. It has still been edible, but a little flat. If you are frightened, start with 5 minute bread to find your feet and you can use it for various things.

My latest bread making cook book is the one above. I have made a few basic things and they have been good. I do love the idea of doing a little work a few times and then cooking something wonderful. I have been looking for a reason to bake some pastries and use the method that takes 3 nights. As Friday is Mr Muffins take baking to work day I have the perfect opportunity.  The pastries I have chosen are…….. drum roll …………. CHERRY TURNOVERS. Some will actually be apricot and I will be using jam rather than pie filling. I have to change something.

Over the next few days I will update on the step and results.

Cherry Turnovers – from Make Ahead Bread by Donna Currie

Day 1

Day 1

Day 1

2 1/4 tsp active yeast

3/4 c milk at room temp (can microwave for few seconds to reach room temp)

1 large egg

1/3 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 1/2 c bread flour

1/2 c ground almonds (almond meal)

1 tsp salt

225 g cold butter (2 sticks)

Whisk together yeast, milk , egg, sugar and extract in a medium bowl.

Put flour, ground almonds and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix.

Cut butter into roughly 4 cm cubes and add to flour.

Pulse into flour mix until the butter is baked bean sized.

Stir flour mix into the liquid mixture, stir gently until combined.

The mix should be on the wet side, add more milk of flour to get to desired consistency.

Cover and place in fridge over night.

Day 2- folding

Day 2- folding

Day 2

I took the buttery dough like mass out of the fridge and followed the instructions. I really enjoyed rolling the dough out and folding it. Therapeutic it was. I used plenty of flour on the surface and the dough.

Flour your work surface and turn dough out, flour that too.

Roll dough into 45cm (18 inch) square.

Fold the left side of square into centre of dough and then right side (like a letter).

Fold the top 1/3 down to centre and bottom 1/3 up, you will have a fat square.

Roll this square into a 40 cm (16 inches) square and repeat above.

Do another 16 cm square and repeat one last time.

Wrap in glad wrap and place in a bag in the fridge.


Not looking too shabby?

Day 3

I must say, I have looked forward to finishing these babies off all day. The dough was easy to roll, handle and shape. I did find that as they cooked the butter did melt out of the pastry and next time would consider doing the last rise in the fridge over night. They would freeze well at this stage like the boxed frozen ones in the supermarket, now my mind is ticking. My pastries were smaller than the book stated and I’m going to write the steps as I did it.

For fillings I used Barker’s of Geraldine Morello Cherries, Barker’s of Geraldine Apricot Jam and Whittaker’s Dark Cocoa Chocolate. The sausage roll looking pastries were the chocolate version. For those I cut the pastry into long strips about 4cm wide, put a piece of chocolate along the top and rolled. I sealed it with a bit of water.

* Keep the rolling and patting gentle so you don’t knock the layers out.

Line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Remove Dough from fridge and cut into 3 equal pieces, place 2 back in the fridge.

Pat dough into a square and roll out to roughly 5mm thick, cut into even squares (mine were roughly 7cm Squared)

Put 3/4 tsp jam on the centre of the square.

Dampen the edges and pull over one side to make a triangle.

Press a fork around the edges.

Place on the baking sheet, leave a gap to allow for rising between pastries.

Carry on until all the dough is used.

Brush with egg glaze and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until brown in a 210c oven.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

PicMonkey Collage

Herby Garlic 5 Minute Bread


Just look at that beauty. Oh how lovely it smelt and tasted too. I had one of those food moments where I loved being me !

I have blogged about 5 minute bread before , follow the highlighted words and see how easy it is. I never believed in it until I started making it 4 years ago. A while ago I stopped having this perfect mix in the fridge, recently we have made friends again. It makes the best pizza dough too and many other things. The best thing is that you too can use your imagination and it is never going to take you hours. I often make a little cinnamon roll for the daughter and it keeps me in the good mummy books.

I made a loaf which is enough for 4, I have found that the dough cooks best when it is no more than about 12cm wide, any wider and it doesn’t cook so well in the middle. The pasta sauce is homemade too.

Preheat the oven to 200 and if using, put the the pizza stone in as it warms up.

For the filling-

1 tsp rock salt

1-2 cloves garlic

handful of basil

1 tbl olive oil

Put rock salt and garlic in a mortar and pestle , mash, add basil , mash some more stir in olive oil

With this Herby Garlic bread I simply made the filling-

Grabbed a large handful of dough from the tub in the fridge.

Kneaded it until it got bouncy and made it into a circle about 5cm high. I use a mix of flour and cornmeal to stop sticking.

I put the filling on half the bread and pulled the other half over, as you would with calzone and tapped on the sides to make a sausage/bread shape.

I put it seem side up and did 3 slashes on a diagonal. I let it rise on baking paper for about 3/4 hour.

I sprinkled on some flour/cornmeal mix all over the top.

Put on the pizza stone in the preheated oven (or baking tray)

Cook until it looks nice and tanned.

In my new oven (which needs cleaning- damn) , and is quite frankly, flipping fantastic, I used the vent setting at 200 until I could see a crust had formed then switched it over to fan bake on the same temperature. So glad I went with the Fisher and Paykel one, it really is exceptionally good and even Mr Muffin is impressed.

Damper, an emergecy bread that got my heart


Here in Wellington we have weather. I know everywhere has weather but we have the maddest weather ever. Last week when my new oven was being fitted it was cold. I put the fire on. One week later, we are all in short sleeves and hot. This kind of change can happen in a day. You can tell someone who has lived here a while as they have mastered the art of layered clothing and have a windproof jacket some where close by. Now to the point, the pitta bread I had bought to go with our chilli went moldy and I only discovered this 20 minutes before dinner. Mr Muffin is a bread man and I saw this as an opportunity to have a “ta da” moment and of course, to use the new oven (yes, I have a new oven). I did a quick search on the wonderful net and pieced together and shrunk a few recipes. The bread that came out was perfect for the chilli and was like an old fashioned dumpling that sits on top of stew. I whipped a portion away to have later with butter and jam so I could use it for a scone. My testing result was- yes, perfect.

This recipe made easily enough for us 3 and would stretch to 4.

1 1/2 c Self raising Flour

40 grm butter

1/2 c cold water

Heat oven to 180 and line a baking tray with baking paper

Sieve flour into a bowl

Cut butter into cubes and rub into flour until it resembles bread crumbs

Slowly add water and stir the mix with a table knife

Give the dough a light knead on a floured surface (I did it on the baking paper to save mess)

Make 4 cuts in the dough, deep ones

Sprinkle flour on top to cover

Bake for 20- 30 minutes or until golden and base is cooked (brown, knocks hollow)

Supermarket must haves – Alamir Bakery Pita

I love other peoples cupboards/pantries. I love the quick glance you get when they take something out and the things you get to see. I bet I am not alone and have some odd bits in ours. I was thinking about this and considered it a good idea for a post once in a while. I guess that similar products would be for sale around the world.

As we didn’t grow up in New Zealand (English) we have very little brand loyalty. We don’t have the buy a certain make of baked beans thing because they taste like childhood. Over the past 12 years in NZ we have found brands of things we prefer and have a few pantry basic.  In those 12 years it has been great to see the supermarkets become far more international and makes it so much easier for shopping. That leads me on nicely to my first must have, Alamir Bakery Pita.


These pita are incredibly versatile and very economical. They don’t come in the flashest packaging and have only just been sold in the Wellington region Countdown stores but have been available in New World for a while. They come in a pack of 5 and in different sizes. You can get either white or wholemeal. We have either and like both.

I brush them with olive oil on each side, grill and cut into triangles. They make a great accompaniment for sauce based dinners and things like pasta or curry.

In this photograph I have used them as a pizza base and used up bits from the fridge. We often have this as a weekend tea and it sure makes a change from cheese toasties or cheese on toast.  I spray one side of each base with oil, grill to just crisp, turn the bread over and cover with any toppings we fancy. As you can see from the photo, they make a lovely thin crust pizza, better than many pizzas I have had out.

Here we had- cheese and tomato

pastrami and BBQ sauce

bean based dip, fresh tomato and jar chilli

They have a rather basic but good cafe in Miramar, it is worth a visit.

Friday- BBQ chicken pizza, Feed The Family for $15 or Less, Sophie Grey

20130830_171555OK, so I didn’t do very well in sticking to this recipe, I did try. I will just write out the basics here as everyone has their own favourite pizza dough and things to put onto pizza.

1 Small boneless chicken breast, skin removed and cut into thin slivers

1/2 cup store BBQ sauce

2/3 Pizza sauce (primo recipe on p111 of book)

1 quantity of All purpose pizza dough

1/2 red capsicum diced

1/2 grated cheese

Oven 220c

Combine the sliced chicken and half the BBQ sauce

Mix the remaining BBQ sauce with the pizza sauce

Roll out the dough to roughly 34cm circle

Place on baking tray

Spread sauce over the dough, scatter on the chicken, capsicum and cheese

Bake for 15-20 mins.


I used a different dough recipe, I love the Paul Hollywood pizza dough recipe and I stick it in the bread maker on dough setting. I time it to finish about an hour before we plan to eat.  For pizza sauce I do cheat a bit and use the squeezy tube stuff, I think it is Gregg’s. It gives a nice taste and doesn’t go soggy. I roll my dough out on the baking sheet I plan to cook the pizza on and I dust it with a cornmeal/flour mix. I have got good at getting it nice and thin. With the chicken, I couldn’t bring myself to put raw chicken on it, I cooked it first and it still took on lots of the BBQ flavour.


Gave me new ideas for chicken and BBQ sauce.

Just had to add a photo for me of the Bread making king- Paul Hollywood. One day he will answer me on twitter.

Paul Hollywood