Hero No Knead Crusty Loaf – Poh Bakes 100 Gretas – Poh Ling Yeow

Poh Bakes_CVR

Images and recipes from Poh Bakes 100 Greats by Poh Ling Yeow (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99) Photography by Alan Benson

 

 

hero no-knead crusty loaf

 

‘Hero’ because it’s how you will feel when you haul this rustic beauty out of the oven. Every time I make this New York Times inspired recipe, I’m amazed at how technically undemanding this is. The main ingredient is time, but a cast-iron pot with a lid (a ceramic or glass ovenproof dish will also work) is also imperative. The resulting loaf feels somehow ancient and substantial. It has a serious crust, open crumb and a robust bite, with flavour that hints towards a sourdough. You will enjoy making and eating this over and over again.

 

No Knead Bread_pg15

Makes 1 LOAF

ingredients

450 g (1 lb/3 cups) plain  (all-purpose) flour + extra
for dusting

1/4 teaspoon instant dried yeast

11/4 teaspoons salt

380–400 ml (13–14 fl oz) water

Polenta (coarse cornmeal) or wheat bran, for dusting

 

method

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a medium–large mixing bowl. Mix together the ingredients quickly with your hands, then make a well in the centre and pour in the water. Using a circular motion, bring the ingredients together to form a sticky, wet dough.

 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest in a warm (if possible) and draught-free spot in the house for a minimum of 12 hours (but 18 is preferable), or until the surface of the dough is dotted with bubbles. (In winter, I’ve found this can be up to 20 hours.) If you tilt the bowl, the bubbles will give the dough a stringy appearance.

 

Flour your work surface well, scrape the dough onto it, sprinkle with a little more flour, then roughly flatten it with your hands. Give it an envelope fold: pull the front and back into the centre, then repeat with the sides. Sprinkle a generous amount of polenta (the size of a dinner plate) in the centre of a clean tea towel. Place the dough on it seam side up, and sprinkle more polenta on top, before loosely folding the sides of the tea towel to cover it completely. Allow the dough to rise for another 2–8 hours (depending on climate) until it doubles in size and does NOT spring back easily when prodded.

 

When you feel that the dough is close to being fully risen, preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F) fan-forced. Place a 25–28 cm (10–11 inch) cast-iron (or glass or ceramic) pot and its lid into the oven at the same time. When ready to bake, remove the pot from the oven—be very careful, as it will be ragingly hot. Uncover the dough, slide your hand under the tea towel and swiftly flip the dough into the pot.

 

Shimmy the dough a bit, so that it sits in the centre, then cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for a further 30 minutes or until beautifully brown. It should look on the flat side and make
a crisp, hollow sound as opposed to a dull thud if tapped. Cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack before eating. When you cut into it, the crust should be super crunchy, the air bubbles large and the texture a little chewy.

Post Script: Poh Bakes 100 Greats – Poh Ling Yeow

Poh Bakes_CVR

Poh Bakes 100 Greats

Poh Ling Yeow

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743366264

 

Description:

‘I love baking so much I’ve been known to park myself in front of the oven to watch a cake cook, like television.’

 

Poh first fell in love with food by learning to bake as a nine year old – she remembers vividly her mum showing her the art of folding flour into her first sponge cake ‘just like so’ and the skill in lining a tin meticulously. Now, years after Poh’s meteoric rise to fame through MasterChef, and hosting her own television shows, Poh’s Kitchen and Poh & Co, she returns to her roots, with wooden spoon and mixing bowl in hand. Poh owns and runs Adelaide destination cafe and bakery Jamface, with her bestie, Sarah. She describes the Jamface baking philosophy as the love child between a Parisian patisserie and the Country Women’s Association. Here, she shares recipes for 100 of her favourite baked delights.

 

So take the afternoon off, fire up the oven, and join Poh in the meditative process of baking something truly great.

 

My View:
I think this has to be one of the best all round, accessible baking books of the year. It includes chapters on:

  • Savoury Starters
  • Bake Sale Beauties
  • French Fundamentals
  • Sweetie Pies & Tantalising Tarts
  • Oldies But Goodies
  • Thrills & Frills
  • Adventure Bakes
  • Trusty Tea Cakes
  • Must Knows.

 

Included in the 100 recipes are some of my favourite foods including:

*Hummingbird Cake

*Coconut Ice

*Pecan Cinnamon Scrolls

*Basic Nut Praline

*Bienenstich –Bee Sting Cake

*Turkish Delight

*Brioche Buns

*Baked Camembert with Thyme, Garlic & Red Wine

*Hero No Need Crusty Bread

*Smoked Salmon & Zucchini Slice….

 

And many many more. I am sure you will find your new favourite in this book J

 

PS and there is even a recipe for your favourite pet!

 

 

 

Post Script: I Am, I Am, I Am – Maggie O’Farrell

I Am I Am I Am

I Am, I Am, I Am

Seventeen Brushes With Death

Maggie O’Farrell

Hachette Australia

Tinder Press

ISBN: 9781472240750

 

Description:

A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

 

‘O’Farrell takes up a bow and arrow and aims at the human heart’ The Times

‘A life-enhancing two-fingers to death… mesmerising’ The Sunday Times

I AM, I AM, I AM is a memoir with a difference – the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman’s life in near-death experiences. Intelligent, insightful, inspirational, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life’s fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count.

 

A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. Shocking, electric, unforgettable, this is the extraordinary memoir from Costa Novel-Award winner and Sunday Times bestselling author Maggie O’Farrell.

It is a book to make you question yourself. What would you do if your life was in danger, and what would you stand to lose?

 

I AM, I AM, I AM will speak to readers who loved Cheryl Strayed’s WILD or Max Porter’s GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS.

 

 

My View:

I was tempted to request this book when I came upon fellow book blogger and reviewer (and book seller) Written By Sime’s review:  

https://writtenbysime.com/2017/09/13/i-am-i-am-i-am-seventeen-brushes-with-death-by-maggie-ofarrell/ and I was so glad he enjoyed the read and shared his view.

 

This is a remarkable read – what an incredible life Maggie O’Farrell has led (and not by choice) and yet…here she is, daughter, wife, mother and successful writer. Remarkable – I think that covers it all!  J

 

As the title informs there are seventeen chapters in this creative memoir, each chapter is heart wrenching and demonstrates the incredible resilience that is Maggie O’Farrell. For me I was profoundly affected by several chapters – the first, titled Neck 1990 – could be the stuff that a ripping work of crime fiction is made from- but it’s not.  If you have ever been the source of amusement to a bully, to a lunatic…or if you are female you will get chills down your spine, you will recognise the issue here, you too will know what lies ahead, you may have “the instinct for the onset of violence.” p. 12  I know I have it.

 

“Lungs” could have so easily been named #MeToo  – I am sure so many of you will identify with the 16 year old Maggie O’Farrell in this chapter.

 

And the chapter that talks about anaphylaxis…  so much that is personal to me, perhaps it will strike a chord with you too.

 

A wonderful read.

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: A Sea-Chase – Roger McDonald

A Sea Chase

A Sea – Chase

Roger McDonald

Vintage

Penguin Random House

ISBN: 9780143786986

 

 

Description:

Growing up in inland Australia, Judy, a young teacher, has rarely seen the sea. But when she flees a rioting classroom one dismal Friday, a dud and a failure, she gets drunk and wakes up on a boat. Overnight her life changes; she is in love with being on the water and in love with Wes Bannister who lives on the boat. Sailing was not something Judy had ever thought about wanting, but now she craved it. Wind was the best teacher she’d had, by far…

 

From then on, Judy believes that the one trusted continuation of herself is with Wes, and always will be, but then events at sea challenge their closeness. Must they become competitors against each other in the push to be equals? It seems they must.

 

A Sea-Chase is a novel that vividly tracks ambition, self-realisation, and lasting love tied up in a sea story. The idea that nobody who sets off to do something alone, without family, friends, rivals, and a pressing duty to the world, ever does so alone, finds beautiful, dramatic expression in Roger McDonald’s tenth, and most surprising novel.

 

 

My View:

An evocative narrative that almost has me wishing I could sail and I do not like the water – unless it is the water in a swimming pool or the calm safe waters of the reefs around Mauritius.

 

The sea, powerful, temperamental and mesmerising and the landscapes – generally portrayed as isolated and harsh, domineer and control the fate of so many in this book. Country, small town, Australia and New Zealand are the depicted as both cloying and freeing…supportive and yet restrictive…’family’ much the same…supportive yet restrictive – complex relationships based on expectations, assumptions, wealth or lack of, education or lack of, support or lack of, social expectations, fulfilled or not. Where does family end and the individual start?  Where is the individual in ‘us’?  Can there be individuals in a loving relationship?  So much is explored in this narrative.

 

However passion is the emotion that controls and directs the drama in this read. How I have often wished to experience such passion – a passion that clearly illuminates your path in life, a passion that shapes your ambitions, your choices, a passion that provides the framework on which you build your life…there is passion in abundance in this book; the love of and affinity with the sea, the passion of first loves, of new loves, of enduring relationships… a passion that inspires a kind of gentle spiritualism encompassing ‘family’ in its many shapes and forms…the human connection.

 

This an evocative read about relationships…and the sea, simply and passionately drawn.

 

 

 

 

Heart-shaped Churros: Soulful Baker – Julie Jones

Soulful Baker

Soulful Baker by Julie Jones (Murdoch Books RRP $39.99)

 

Heart-shaped Churros

“Homemade churros are an absolute treat and they tend to be loved by all – children and adults alike. We try and make a batch during the school holidays when they are enjoyed as a mid-morning snack. They also make for a quirky and fun dessert, dipped into chocolate sauce and served with an extra pot of sprinkles for the kids. It’s best to make the chocolate sauce first so that you can eat the churros as soon as they have been fried.”

serves 6

75g (23⁄4oz/1⁄3 cup/3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter

250ml (9 oz/generous 1 cup) water

150g (51⁄2oz/generous 1 cup) plain (all-purpose) our

pinch of salt

3 eggs

1 litre (333⁄4 oz/4 1⁄4 cups plus 3 tbsp) sun flower or vegetable oil, for frying

coating 

100g (31⁄2oz/1⁄2 cup) caster

(super fine) sugar

1 tsp ground spices, such as cinnamon or allspice (optional)

sprinkles (optional)

 

chocolate sauce

50g (13⁄4oz) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

50g (13⁄4oz) milk chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 tbsp golden syrup (light corn syrup)

50g (13⁄4oz/31⁄2 tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

180ml (6 oz/3⁄4 cup) double (heavy) cream

To make the chocolate sauce, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set on top of a pan of simmering water. Add the syrup and butter and allow the heat to gently melt everything. Once melted, stir everything together to fully combine, then add the cream in 3 stages, mixing well with each addition. Once all of the cream has been added and the mixture is both smooth and glossy, remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.

To make the churros paste, add the butter and water to a large pan and bring the water to the boil, melting the butter as it does so. Mix the flour and salt together and add this to the pan, stirring well until the flour and water form a stiff paste. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes, beating occasionally to aid the cooling process.

When suitably cooled, beat the eggs together in a jug, then add a little at a time to the flour paste – mixing well between each addition. It may seem like the egg will not combine at first, but it will. Once all of the eggs are fully combined and your paste is thick and glossy, transfer it to a disposable piping (pastry) bag fitted with a star nozzle (tip).

Make the coating by mixing the sugar together with the ground spices (if using) and spread onto a large plate or tray and set aside.

If using a deep fat fryer, set the temperature to 180°C/350°F; if heating the oil in a pan carefully bring the oil to temperature. Check with a digital thermometer or test by dropping a little of the batter in to the oil – if hot enough, the batter should immediately start to sizzle.

The churros paste can be piped directly into the oil by squeezing the bag and snipping of lengths with some scissors. If you would like to make hearts, pipe the shapes out onto individual pieces of non-stick baking paper. Cooking in batches, carefully drop the churros (paper and all) into the hot oil. As soon as the churros start to cook, the paper will slip away and the piped shape will remain. The paper can then be removed with tongs. Fry for 2–3 minutes, turning once. The batter will turn golden and the exterior will be crisp when ready. Remove from the oil, allowing any excess oil to drip away, then immediately toss in the spiced sugar. Leave to cool for a few minutes before enjoying with the chocolate sauce and sprinkles, if using.

Churros

Chocolate Fondants – Soulful Baker – Julie Jones

Soulful Baker

Soulful Baker by Julie Jones (Murdoch Books RRP $39.99)

 

Chocolate Fondants

“The trick to getting chocolate fondants right is knowing your oven as they can difer so dramatically. I recommend using an oven thermometer for all of your cooking and baking, but especially when making these. It can be quite surprising how diferent the thermometer may read to that of which your dial is set. If you don’t have a thermometer it would be a good idea to test bake one fondant before cooking the whole batch – you 
can then adjust the baking time if needs be. And remember, peering into the oven biting your nails really isn’t necessary, they will work! “

makes 8 fondants

Use 8 small 180ml (6 oz) non-stick pudding moulds

150g (51⁄2oz) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

200g (7oz) milk chocolate, broken into small pieces

50g (13⁄4oz/31⁄2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

140g (5oz/scant 3⁄4 cup) caster (super fine) sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)

60g (2oz/1⁄2 cup) plain (all- purpose) flour

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan/220°C/425°F/gas 7 and place a baking sheet inside. Grease the insides of each pudding mould and place a disc of non-stick baking paper in the bottom of each.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl sat upon a pan of simmering water. When melted, remove from the heat and start to make the batter.

Cream together the butter and sugar using a free-standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the eggs in a separate jug, adding the vanilla if using. Slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar, continuing to mix as you do so, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needs be. Once all of the eggs are in, sieve over the flour and give a very brief mix, just until the our has been combined. Add the melted chocolate, then stir together using a spatula until all of the chocolate has been evenly incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Pour or spoon the batter equally between the moulds, place each on the pre-heated baking tray sheet and cook for 11 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave the fondants in the moulds to rest for 1 minute.

To turn out, place an inverted plate on top of the mould and carefully turn over, lift off the mould and remove the piece of baking paper that will be on top of each fondant. Serve straight away.

 

 

choc fondant

For the Baker In Your Life

Soulful Baker

Soulful Baker: From highly creative fruit tarts and pies to chocolate, desserts and weekend brunch

Julie Jones 

 Jacqui Small

Murdoch Books Australia 

ISBN:9781911127246

 

Description:

From apple rose and plum and frangipane tarts, to lemon madeleines and muddle cake, trampoline bread and grissini to chocolate ganache, delizia di limone to banana, pecan, and chocolate muffins and fluffy pancakes, this incredible bake book has all the recipes you need to create something beautiful, imaginative and impressive. Whether you’re making pies or cakes, bread or brunch, this stunning book is full of recipes that bakes that feeds your soul as well as your stomach.
Baking became a form of therapy for Julie Jones when her mother, who taught her to bake, was diagnosed with dementia. They began baking together again, and Julie started her Instagram account as a way to document this precious time and now her delicious recipes are available for the first time as a sumptuous cookbook that would make an inspired addition to any kitchen bookshelf!
Learn to cook crafted, beautifully styled pies, tarts, cakes and bakes, but be sure to cook with Julie’s secret ingredient – love.

Across the 175+, heavily illustrated pages, you’ll find chapters on:

Fruit Tarts and Pies, containing recipes like apple rose tart and plum and frangipane tart, plus pastry decoration techniques
Cakes, Bakes and Treats, with dipped lemon madeleines and muddle cake, as well as tips for getting cream fillings right every time
Bread and Yeasted Dough, with trampoline bread and grissini
Chocolate, including a stunning triple chocolate celebration cake and chocolate ganache
Desserts, with delizia di limone and a meringue sharing nest wreath
Weekend Breakfast and Brunch, with banana, pecan, and chocolate muffins and fluffy pancakes.

 

This is the ideal Christmas present for the baker in your life – regardless of their skill level they will find something in this recipe book that they can conquer and share with those they love, because isn’t that what baking is, sharing food made with love, for those you love? That’s how it works for me anyway. 🙂

And this book is gorgeous!  I love the images (even if you don’t bake you can sit and ohh and ahh at the wonderful creations within this book), and creations/work of arts they are!  Buy this for yourself or for someone you love and get baking today 🙂

 

**I look forward to sharing a few of the recipes and the glorious art that is the finished product, with you soon.

 

 

Post Script: Force of Nature – Jane Harper

Force of Nature

Force of Nature

Jane Harper

 Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781743549094

Description:

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

 

The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

 

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – in just a matter of days she was to provide the documents that will bring down the company she works for.

 

Falk discovers that far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. But does it include murder?

 

 

My View:

I think I created a problem in my own mind when I kept comparing this book to The Dry – a book I absolutely loved. Force of Nature is  Jane Harper’s second book in the FPA Aaron Falk series and whilst the protagonist is the same character, he is back in a more reflective way  – I feel his story here is one of healing, the crimes in the narrative forming a backdrop to Falk’s inner turmoil that is resolving/ healing as the pages turn. Whilst I did enjoy this read, the tempo was much slower than I had anticipated.

 

Further  I could not but help thinking Belanglo State Forest and the infamous Milat crimes each time I turned a page, I don’t know if this was an unintentional or intentional memory that the author was using to build drama – but it didn’t work for me – maybe the association was too fresh in my mind, too well known?

 

Despite the slower pace this was an enjoyable but not a breathtaking read.  I do however look forward to seeing the next journey the author takes the protagonist on.

 

Post Script: Two Kinds of Truth – Michael Connelly

Two Kinds of Truth

Two Kinds of Truth

Michael Connelly

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 781760630775

 

Description:

Harry Bosch searches for the truth in the new thriller from #1 NYT bestselling author Michael Connelly

 

Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of pill mills and prescription drug abuse.

 

Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren’t keen to protect his reputation. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison.

 

The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.

 

 

My View:

A night in with Harry Bosch is never disappointing. This is a dual storyline narrative – one a cold case that has returned to bite Harry on the … and one a terrible crime that is set in current times (a crime that sheds light on serious, complex, social and criminal issues) this aspect of the narrative is very illuminating and the crimes frightening in there ease of execution.

 

The cold case is a riddle about how not who – because of course we never doubt Harry. Join Harry in solving the riddle, cheer him on, we readers will never give up on you Harry. The reason I love this series so much is all about the characters; the characters that reach out to you, that befriend you, confide in you, characters’ whose journeys you share and look forward to.

 

More please Mr Connelly.

 

Post Script: Broken Bones: DI Kim Stone #7 – Angela Marsons

Broken Bones

 

Broken Bones

D I Kim Stone Book 7

Angela Marsons

Bookouture

ISBN: 9781786813022

 

Description:

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

 

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

 

As more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

 

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

 

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

 

A gripping new crime thriller from the Number One bestseller – you will be hooked until the final jaw-dropping twist.

 

 

My View:

The short and the oh so sweet – if you are a fan of DI Kim Stone (and if you’re not you should be) this is without doubt the best in the series thus far.   At book six I thought there was nowhere left for this author to write her character that hadn’t already been explored or plot line already wrapped up – I was wrong! This book is brilliant and has a deserving place on my Best of 2017 reads.