On the menu: poppy seed bloomer and a complete meal

 

Saturday

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I’d been craving a decent poppy seed bloomer for ages, they can be quite hard to find, the ones in my local supermarket have a weird after taste and the ones at my local bakers tend to be burnt, so I thought, I’d better have a go at making one myself. The recipe is from Gail’s Artisan Bakery Cookbook and is unusual in that it requires you to make a poolish first, the day before. A poolish is sort of like a sourdough starter except it uses yeast to give it a bit of a boost. You mix together almost equal parts water and strong white bread flour, add some fresh yeast and then stick in the fridge overnight. The result (pictured above) has some bubbles in the next day (if it’s worked). When you make the actual bread it’s obviously more flour and water, plus more fresh yeast and the poolish.

The actual making went well enough, although I wasn’t convinced it was rising enough, in part probably due to a cold kitchen, but I thought, as I stuck it in the oven it would hopefully be edible enough but oh, when I took it out of the oven, wow, if I do say so myself. It had risen so nicely and it looked just like something from the bakers (although in the case of my local bakers, less burnt).

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The crust was again beautiful (the secret to that, as with the roasted garlic bread I made the other day, which also had a good crust, is to make sure you add a small amount of water to your oven to create steam) and the inside again would have definitely passed the Paul Hollywood press test.

Taste wise, it was nice, in that unlike a lot of commercially made bread it actually tasted of something. It had a slight sourdough taste which must have obviously come from the poolish. It’s made me wonder if the poppy seed bloomers I don’t like from my local supermarket are also made in a similar way, except the sourdough taste with their bloomers is more obvious (I’m not a massive fan of sourdough, it’s okay though). I think I will have to have another go at making a bloomer, this time with a different recipe, so that I can compare and contrast, as I have a feeling that as well as taste, the poolish may have helped given the loaf such a nice texture too.

Also made on Saturday (but not pictured), was a disastrous attempt at homemade chips. I went off piste with a recipe from My Street Food Kitchen but instead of cutting the chips into 2cm thicknesses, I cheated and used my spiralizer on the thickest setting. The result spiral chips were nowhere near 2cm thick, but I thought all I’d need to adjust was the cooking time. Hmmm, the chips ended up either burning to an instant crisp or steamed and went all soggy, all on the same baking tray. I will have to try again, as the recipe with various salts and flavourings sounds lush.

Thursday

Although I like cooking (obviously), I rarely cook a complete meal from scratch, I don’t have time, my kitchen is too tiny, etc. etc. etc. Anyway today, for some mad reason, when I was already feeling a bit knackered, I decided to do just that. And the actual cooking of it did wake me up quite nicely but the result of having done all that and feeling rather well fed means I could now fall asleep in an instant and I’m working later tonight. Anyway, this all sounds like I’ve just cooked Sunday lunch on a Thursday evening, when actually all that I really did was make some quesadillas, some coleslaw and a nice pudding, the pudding wasn’t even made this evening, I made it in advance this afternoon. But there you go, I am working on batteries half charged at the moment.

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The quesadillas and the coleslaw were from My Street Food Kitchen and were luckily a lot more successful than the chips (perhaps because I didn’t muck around with the recipes so much). The quesadillas were the chorizo, cheese and pickled jalapeno quesadillas recipe, although I didn’t use jalapenos, I used green chili instead as that was what was in the house (I think it would have been nicer with jalapenos though). I make quesadillas quite a lot, not following any particular recipe and I found it weirdly stressful following a recipe (maybe simultaneously helping with homework and trying to prevent Boy Lacer from eating all the bread he made in school today didn’t help). The result was nice but, like I say, would have been nicer with jalapenos but, to be honest, the recipe wasn’t widely better than the quesadillas I normally make and with a lot less effort too. As for the coleslaw or to be precise, creamy lime, chili and coriander coleslaw, that was nice, the recipe (for 4 to 6 people) made loads though, so I have a lot of coleslaw to get through now and whereas all those vegetables are good for my waistline, not so much the mayonnaise.

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Dessert was chocolate chip cookie dough pots from Simply Nigella, I’ve been meaning to make these for ages. Like I said, I made these in advance this afternoon, although they’re pretty simple. The only change I made was to just use 100g of chocolate chips, as I wasn’t going to stretch to buying two packets and 100g was honestly more than enough. The result was really nice and very popular, particularly with the nearly teenage contingent of this household, I am under strict instructions to make more, so luckily for Girl Lacer, this recipe makes 6 portions and we only ate 3 of them tonight, the other 3 are in the freezer (one of the many, many things I love about the Simply Nigella, all the make ahead and freeze instructions!). The recipe for these pots of heaven is here.

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