Winston Knot Bread

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Hello everyone!
As you know, I love baking bread at home and today’s bread is my favorite bread that I’ve made so far. It is so beautiful and eye-catching. Your friends and family will think you’ve put a lot of effort in making it,but in fact, it is not that difficult! After doing it once, you’ll get the hang of it quickly and you can make it again without even looking at the recipe.

SO without further adieu, I present to you probably the most stunning bread ever! :D

Ingredients:
3.5 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons light olive oil
Sesame/poppy seeds        

Method:
1. Pour 350 warm water in a jug and mix in the yeast. Then, add the oil and stir.
2. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
3. Add the water mixture to the dry ingredients and combine to form a rough dough.
4. Transfer to a table and knead until you get a soft dough.
5. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and let sit for 1 hr until doubled in size.
6. Transfer the dough to a table, punch it back and then divide it to 6 equal segments.
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7. Roll each segment into a 25 cm cylinder.
photo n1 8. Place the cylinders in cross shape like this:
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9. Fold the top left portion over the cross:
photo 3 10. Bring the top right portion under the cross, then over the shorter hand:
photo 4 11. Bring the outermost left hand over:
photo 5 12. Bring the outermost right hand under, then over:
photo 6 13. Bring the outermost left hand over:
photo 7 14. Pinch the remaining segments together so there aren’t any loose cylinders:
photo 8 15. Turn the dough over and VOILAAA!!
photo 9 16. Brush with water (or egg) and sprinkle some sesame or poppy seeds on top if you like.
photo 1017. Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
18. Preheat the oven to 220C.
19. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
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20. ENJOY!!!! ~~~~~ :)

Huevos Rancheros (Mexican Fried Eggs with Chilli and Tomato Salsa)

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Hello everyone!

Today is the first birthday of my blog! I’m so excited that I decided to blog one year ago, this day. It feels amazing sharing the food I like with all of my wonderful followers. So a big THANK YOU to you, I really feel flattered when you like or comment on my post, you make my day!
HUG

Now today’s post is a delicious Mexican breakfast recipe. I am in love with Mexican food. Whether it be desserts or main meals, Mexican food is full of color and flavour. My love of Mexico doesn’t finish at their food though! Their language, music, and dance is also so captivating to me. They just make me happy!

As you probably know, chilli is one of staples of the Mexican cuisine and for today’s recipe, the chillies come from my own humble pot! It’s only about 20 cm tall, but it gives chillies season after season, even in winter :D So much so that I give some away to my friends or family every now and then, there’s a limit to how many SUPER HOT chillies you can eat in a week, isn’t it?! :P

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“Huevos Rancheros” means “rancher’s egg” in Spanish. Its name comes from the traditional large breakfasts that Mexican farmers have on the ranch. It has a big kick to it because of the chillies, onion and the cumin powder. But, for me, even if my eyes tear up from all the hotness of chillies, I’d still say this breakfast is worth eating!!

I really hope you like today’s recipe, its something I will be making more often from now on, especially as a weekend late breakfast ;) If you decide to make this dish, put some Mexican music on full blast, I tell you you feel like you are in Mexico! :lol:

  ♫ ♫Cancion del Mariachi (From Deperado, Antonio Banderas)    ♫ 

 

Ingredients:

(Recipe from Elise Bauer)

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2 eggs
1/4 medium onion, diced
2 long green chillies, deseeded and diced
3-4 hot small red chillies (lessen depending on your hot food tolerance level), deseeded and diced
1/2 can (200 g) of whole or crushed tomatoes (or passata)
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
4 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
Parsley, to garnish
Tortillas to serve

Method:

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in pan and fry the onions until translucent.

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2. Add the tomatoes and crush them in the pan. Add cumin powder and simmer for 2 minutes.

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3. Add both chillies, continue simmering until reduced.

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4. Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil ( depending if you’re frying the eggs one by one or together) and fry the eggs.

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5. Heat the tortillas at the same time.
6. Once all elements are ready, its time to assemble!
a)Place the tortilla on plate first.
b)Top with egg.
c)Add the salsa on one side of the egg.
d)Garnish with pieces of avocado and parsley.

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Enjoy! ~~

Schiacciata con L’uva (Italian Grape Harvest Bread)

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Hi everyone!
Today’s recipe is from the beautiful region of Tuscany in Italy. “Schiacciata con L’uva” in Italian literally means “crushed with grapes”. This bread is baked and sold in bakeries across Tuscany during harvest season. The most authentic version of this bread is made with local Tuscan sweet and juicy dark grapes called “uva fragola” meaning “strawberry grapes”. If you can find these grapes where you live, then definitely use those. I could not so I used red seedless grapes instead.

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A vineyard in Tuscany

You can use almost as much grapes as you want, the more actually the better! You can also make the dough thinner to end up with a crispy bread.
Sprinkling of sugar on top of grapes make the bread sweeter and a bit sticky and oh so yummy! :D

This bread goes well with cheese , wine and of course some Italian music! You might like this one:

  ♫  RENATO CAROSONE- “TU VUO’ FA’ L’AMERICANO” (meaning “You Want to Be American”)  ♫ ♫

 

P.S. The flag in picture is green, white and red, but for some reaosn it shows up as blue in my camera!  :roll:

Ingredients:
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700 g plain flour
1.5 teaspoon active dry yeast
5 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
500 g dark sweet grapes
1 tablespoon rosemary (optional)

(Recipe from Caroline Betherton)

Method:

1. Place the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix well.
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2. Pour 450 ml of warm water in a bowl, and mix in the yeast. Then add the oil and stir.
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3. Make a well in middle of dry ingredients and add the liquid gradually. Stir to get a rough dough.
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4. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until you get a soft and smooth dough.
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5. Put the dough back in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
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6. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, knock it back and knead again gently. Then divide then dough into 3 equal parts.
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7. Take 2/3 do dough and flatten it with a rolling pin to the size of your rectangular or Swiss roll tin.
8. Line the tin with baking paper and rub some olive oil on the baking paper. Then place the 2/3 of dough from step 7 in the tin.
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9. Arrange 2/3 of grapes on top of dough and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar.
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10. Flatten the rest of the dough with your hands and place on top of grapes. Then arrange the remaining grapes on top.
11. Let rise again in warm place for 1 hour. Then sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of sugar and rosemary.

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12. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
13. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 C, until golden on top.
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Enjoy! ~~~ :)

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Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken

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Hello everyone!
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Today’s recipe is in spirit of the new Chinese New Year. Can you believe this is the first Asian dish I have ever made at home?! :lol: Well, having tasted this dish, I think I’m gonna try to learn more about Asian flavours and try more of them, ‘cuz this one was very tasty!

Sweet and sour is a very popular flavour in Chinese dishes and is not limited to chicken. You can make sweet and sour ribs, pork, fish and even shrimp. So, if you’re a fan of this flavour like I am, there are plenty of ways to cook with it!

My version of sweet and sour chicken is healthier than the other version, where chicken is deep fried and served with a sweet and sour sauce.

What is your favourite Chinese dish by the way?

Ingredients:
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1 (single) chicken breast, diced
1/4 cup diced red capsicum
1/4 cup diced green capsicum
1/2 cup pineapple pieces
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/8 cup chicken stock
1.5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1.5 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons corn flour
1 tablespoon light olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Heat oil in a pan. Then add the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and cook until browned.
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2. Add the red and green capsicum and cook for 2 minutes.
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3. Mix the rest of the ingredients , except the corn flour, in a bowl and then add to the pan with the pineapple pieces.
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4. Let simmer until the stock has just reduced.
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6. Mix the corn flour with 2 teaspoons of water in a bowl and then add to the pan.

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7. Let simmer until the sauce has thickened.

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8. Serve with steamed rice.
Enjoy! ~~photo 2 (2)

Other Sweet and Sour Chickens Around the World:

1. Sweet and Sour Chicken with Asparagus
http://josephineharrington.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/sweet-and-sour-chicken/

2. Jamaican Sweet and Sour Chicken
http://recafo.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/sunday-recipe-jamaican-sweet-sour-chicken/

3. Sweet and Sour Chicken with Ketchup and Soy Sauce:
http://offthecuttingboard.wordpress.com/chicken/sweet-and-sour-chicken/

Healthy Aussie Lamingtons- Kahlua + Chocolate + Coconut= YUM!

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Hello everyone!

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Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Here, we had the Australia Day holiday and with this sunny summery weather here, it was really a wonderful long weekend. If you’re in New York, you might have seen the Empire State Building lighting up in green and gold to celebrate Australia Day.

flinders2The iconic Flinders Street Station in Melbourne on Australia Day

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Empire State Building in New York lit up in green and gold on Australia Day

Have you heard of lamingtons? It is my favourite Aussie food and quite simple to make. It was the first Aussie food that I ate when I came here too and so it brings back a lot of memories! I made it this weekend and thought I share it with all of you who haven’t had it before :)

The lamingtons I’ve made are bite-sized, but you can make them as more traditional small rectangular cakes as well. Also, you can use any sponge cake recipe you want. Here I used a very healthy one, without oil or butter.

Step 1:
Sponge Recipe:
ingredients

75 g caster sugar
75 g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut cream
Raspberry jam

1. Beat the eggs and sugar for 10 minutes, until you get a thick foamy mixture.

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2. Fold in the flour and baking powder, do not over mix or you will lose the air you incorporated in the previous step.

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3. Pour in a baking pan lined with baking paper.

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4. Bake in center of oven for 25 minutes at 180 C, until a skewer inserted in centre of the sponge comes out clean.

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5. Once completely cooled, crumb the whole sponge in a large bowl.

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6. Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and mix well.

Step 2:
Assembling the lamingtons:

1. Place enough sponge crumbs in each mould to fill it halfway.
2. Place a layer of raspberry jam on top.

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3. Fill in the rest of mould with sponge.

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4. Let it set in the fridge for at least an hour.

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Step 3:
Chocolate Kahlua Coating:

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1/2 cup Kahlua
1 teaspoon chocolate powder
2 tablespoons coconut cream
Desiccated coconut to coat

1. Mix the first three ingredients.
2. Dip each layered sponge in the coating and the roll it in the desiccated coconut to cover completely.
3. Place aside on a plate.
4. Once all lamingtons are done, place in fridge to let them set until serving.
ENJOY!~~ :)
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**Christmas Pomegranate and Pistachio Bread**

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Merry Christmas everyone!

Just a note before I go further, I ate half of this loaf in one day :D

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This was hands down the most delicious bread I’ve ever baked! It doesn’t need anything like jam or honey on top, and you can eat it as breakfast, with morning or afternoon coffee/tea, or just as a healthy snack.

It is also somewhat of an nontraditional food for Christmas time. I was thinking of making a cranberry loaf the other day,but I thought why not try something more exciting?

This delicious pomegranate and pistachio loaf has colours of Christmas in it and it’s something everyone would love. I really encourage you to try it, I’m already thinking of baking it again :P

The recipe is so easy you’ll memorize it after making it once, and there’s no proving time either, so it’s super quick to make.

I wish all of you a happy and safe holiday season and a wonderful new year ahead. I can’t wait to share more of the food I love with you next year. :)

Ingredients:(Recipe from pomwonderful.com )

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1 POM pomegranate
1/2 cup pistachio kernels
1.5 bananas (enough to make 1 cup mashed)
2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra light olive oil (or vegetables oil)
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:
1. Add all the dry ingredients except the pistachios to a bowl and mix well.

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2. Seed the pomegranate and set 1 cup of the arils aside for this bread. You can use the rest for garnish in step 7.

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3. Roughly chop the pistachios.

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4.
Mash the bananas in a bowl. Then, add the oil, milk and egg. Stir to combine.

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5. Add the wet ingredients to the flour bowl, with the pistachios and pomegranate arils.

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6. Stir briefly to combine the ingredients.

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7. Pour the mixture into a pan lined with baking paper. Garnish with extra pomegranate arils if you like. Then, bake in the center of a preheated oven at 180C for 50 minutes.

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8. The bread is done when the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Enjoy!! ~~

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I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award!! :)

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Hello all my beautiful readers!

I was so excited last night to find out that a lovely lady, called Colleen, of Royal Icing Diaries , has nominated me for a Liebster Award, my first ever blogging award!!! :) I’m so thankful to her, this just encourages me to blog more and bring you more recipes that you all enjoy cooking and eating!

Colleen is magnificent in cookie decorating. Honestly, I had never seen cookies made so impeccably, they’re almost too pretty to eat!

Liebster award recognizes emerging blogs with less than 200 followers, and aims to attract more attention to them. Liebster is a German word meaning “dearest” or “sweetest”, so you definitely feel special receiving it! :P

It was only a couple of months ago that I thought I give blogging a go and to be honest, I was a bit intimated by the idea!  But, I have come to find it as my favorite hobby. As they say, “Love only grows by sharing” and when I share a dish that I truly love, and see how much other people have liked it too, it just makes my day and makes me want to learn more and cook more !

Now, there are three rules in accepting this award: I have to answer 10 questions asked by the person who has nominated me, nominate 10 other blogs, and submit 10 questions for each of them to answer.

So here are my answers to Colleen’s questions:

1. What is your favorite dish that you make at home?
Tahcheen, which is a layers of Saffron rice and marinated chicken, complete with tahdig on top! It’s a dish that you definitely can’t find it in any of the restaurants here in Melbourne.

2. If you could pick one person to spend the day with who would it be and what would you do?
Living on the other side of the planet to most of my relatives, I’m gonna be a bit greedy in answering this question!! I’ll pick that day to spend it with all of my relatives who I haven’t seen in a very long time! I think we’ll have plenty to talk about!

3. If you could pick one person to cook/bake with for a day who would it be and what would you make?
Jamie Oliver, he has a way of cooking, that makes you hungry! You can see his passion for cooking, that’s the style of cooking that I like, without complications, and mouthwatering!

I would love to make a whole feast, not just one dish, and maybe Mexican, since that’s my second favorite cuisine :D

4. What is your favorite type of cuisine?
That has to be Persian/Iranian. After all, it’s in my DNA to like it! It’s the food I grew up, and thanks to amazing cooking of my mom and grandma.

5. What is your favorite tool or gadget in your kitchen?
My oven! I bake breads quite often with it and when the smell of fresh bread fills the  house, in my opinion, that makes any house more “homey”.

6. Do you prefer to entertain at home or go to someone else’s home, and why?
I love both! I like cooking for other people, because I enjoy hearing them oohing and awwing over what I’ve cooked for them :D I also love going to other people houses, because I’m curious to see how different they cook and maybe learn a thing or two :D

7. Do you like to cook, bake, or both?
Both, I cook everyday and bake bread quite often too. As for baking sweets, I try to watch what I eat, so that’s the only reason keeping me from baking a dessert for each day of my week! :lol:

8. Do you have a go-to ingredient that you always keep on hand?
Saffron! I use it in a lot of main dishes, such as rice and stews. You can also use it to make desserts, and drinks.

9. How did you learn to cook/bake?
From my mom and grandma, they are amazing cooks, my mom cooks more multicultural dishes, and my grandma’s Iranian sweets are just so heavenly!
I’ve also learnt quite a few turkish dishes from my dad’s side of family.

10. If you could give one bit of advice to a new food blogger what would it be?
Write about what you love to cook and enjoy eating. If you can, use pictures for each step. I think in cooking, that’s really helpful, compared to just reading a series of instructions and that’s why I do it on my blog too. Apart from that, just have fun and everyone will love it!

~~~
I hope you enjoyed reading my answers. I feel like you all know me a bit more now!
Now, the ten blogs I am nominating for the Liebster award are:

1. My Cooking Instinct by Sylvie
2. Rise of the Sour Dough Preacher by Lou 
3. Amore, Zuccherro, e Cannella by Alessia
4. Amal Kitchen by Aryana
5. Bonne Table by Julie
6. Pleadings and Pasta
7. Honeybee’s Patisserie by Melissa
8. Melbourne Food Files by Sarah
9. Dried Red Chillies by Salama
10. Jo the Tart Queen by Jo

And my questions for each of these bloggers are:

1. Why do you love cooking/baking?
2. How young were you when you first learned how to cook/bake?
3. Have you ever taken any cooking/baking classes, or is your cooking/baking skills self-taught?
4. What is your one favourite thing that you will eat, morning or night, any day of the week, without hesitation?
5. What is the one food that you won’t ever want to eat?
6. What is the most interesting dish you’ve ever eaten/cooked?
7. Of the popular TV chefs/cooking authors, who do you follow most?
8. Do you like experimenting with cuisines of other cultures, or do you stick to your own cuisine?
9. Do you cook/bake everyday?
10. What is a dish that you would like to learn how to cook/bake?

Thank you all for reading my post. I can’t wait to bring you more recipes of delicious food and hopefully inspire you to try them for yourself too.  If you have time, please check out Colleen’s blog here.

Have an awesome day everyone! :)

UPDATE-Saffron Rice with Morello Cherries (Albaloo Polo)

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photo 17Hi guys!

I have added step-by-step pictures to this post, so now it is much easier to follow the recipe ;) Hope you like this dish as much as I do!

You can find it here: http://parisaskitchen.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/saffron-rice-with-morello-cherries-albaloo-polo/

Marbled Pumpernickel Loaf

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Hello Everyone!

Today’s recipe is another well known German bread: pumpernickel. I hadn’t tried this bread before, and its funny name was always intriguing to me :D  So I gave baking it a go and I was impressed by how tasty it was! I thought I make it a bit different, and so I made a marbled loaf of pumpernickel.  If it looks like it takes a lot of work, it really doesn’t! You just need to make two bread doughs and before the final rise, just roll up the doughs together (similar to baking a Swiss roll).

I love the distinct flavor of this bread; the caraway seeds add a beautiful aroma to it when toasted. Don’t forget to drizzle it with a bit honey! ;)

Ingredients:

(Recipe adapted from Step-by-Step Baking by Caroline Bretherton )
photoDOUGH 1:

Starter ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
75 g rye flour
30 g live natural yoghurt
Dough ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
1 tsp coffee powder
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
130 g wholemeal flour
30g rye flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

DOUGH 2:

Starter ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
75 g rye flour
30 g live natural yoghurt
Dough ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
130 g wholemeal flour
30g rye flour
1 teaspoon salt

Method:

The methods of making both doughs are the same. For dough 2, there are no coffee powder, espresso powder and caraway seeds, so you just skip those ingredients.

1. Starter: dissolve the yeast in 100 ml warm water.

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2. Place rye flour, yoghurt, and yeast mixture in a large bowl and mix to combine. Let rise, covered, in a cool place for at least 12 hours. ( I let it rise for 36 hours and it was fine! )

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3. For the main dough: dissolve the yeast in 4 tablespoons of warm water. Add coffee powder (if present), and stir to dissolve. Add the oil and stir.
image4. Place the starter, flours, cocoa powder (if present), and caraway seeds (if present) in a large bowl. Then add the liquid yeast mixture.
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5. Mix the ingredients to make a rough dough.
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6. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
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7. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, covered, and leave to rise in a war place for a maximum of 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
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8. Turn the dough to a floured surface and gently knock it back.
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9. Shape into a ball, put it back in the bowl and let rise again for 1 hour.
10. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and knock it back again. Knead it for a minute, then make it into a large rectangular shape.
For the chocolate/coffee dough: make it slightly smaller than the plain dough, leaving a 1 cm gap around the edges of plain dough.
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11. Place the chocolate/coffee dough on top of the plain dough.
photo 112. Start rolling the doughs together. Tuck the ends in as you go.
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13. Place the final bread dough into a loaf tom, lined with baking paper, and let rise for the final time, covered, for another 1.5 hours, until almost doubled in size.
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14. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
15. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, BE CAREFUL IN THE FINAL MINUTES: when the bread sounds hollow when tapped on top, it is done.
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Enjoy!  :)
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Note 1: Make sure you use exact same amount of yeast in both doughs, and knead them the same amount. Otherwise, the inner dough might rise more than the outer dough, and hence you will have cracks in the side of the bread (which is what I had in my bread too :oops: )

Other pumpernickels around the world:

1.Soup in Pumpernickel Bread Bowl
2. Pumpernickel Bread (with dark molasses, cocoa powder and espresso powder)
3. Rye Pumpernickel Bread
4. Pumpernickel Biscuits
5. Pumpernickel Domino Sandwiches

Strawberry and Rose Jam

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Hello everyone!

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Spring has officially started in beautiful Melbourne & I’m loving it!! Some days are so sunny, it’s perfect weather for spending all day out in the sun,even at the beach! After the cold, wet & windy months of winter, it feels like heaven!

To celebrate spring, I thought I post a simple & delicious strawberry jam recipe. I know it might not be classified as a celebratory food, but this jam is a bit special because it has a bit of rosewater in it, and because of this, it has a very delicate taste. I am so in love it, it’s not overly sweet, and the rosewater is not overpowering at all. It is just beautiful, like what Melbourne is looking like right now!! :D

photo 2St Kilda Beach

photo 4Yarra River, with views of Melbourne CBD in the distance

photo 1The iconic Flinders Street Train Station

Ingredients:
Recipe (from here)

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  • 500 g strawberries (better if they sweet & sour)
  • 320 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • Juice & zest of 1/2 lemon
    (You also need sterilized jars)

Method:
1. Separate the large strawberries from the small ones and put the large strawberries in a pot.

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2. Mash them, or put them in a blender and blend until you get a mixture similar to this:

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3. Add the sugar and lemon juice and zest.

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4. Turn the heat on low and let simmer until it starts to thicken.
Note: Skim the foam formed during simmering off every few minutes.

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5. Add the large strawberries and let simmer for a further 15 minutes.

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6. Pour the jam into sterilised jars and seal.

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Enjoy!!!~~~ :)

Other strawberry jams around the world:

Strawberry and lavender jam
Strawberry and rhubarb jam
Strawberry and chia seeds jam
Strawberry and pomegranate jam