Yesterday Mike went out for the day to work on his car at his parents so I was home alone. I made the most of the day, sewing, sorting through some letter writing supplies, watching a film & experimenting in the kitchen.
I recently saw an ad for Not On The High Street where one of the featured items was a beer bread mix. It looked interesting. I like beer, I like bread, surely I would like beer bread! I ordered a starter kit which comes with four mixes; Original, Garlic and Herb, Chilli and Garlic & Italian Cheese. The idea is the kit contains all the required dry ingredients, you just at 330ml of beer (or cider or soda water), mix & bake. The mixes are nicely packaged in hand-sewn calico bags & just look really appealing. I can see them making nice gifts for foodie friends.
|Beer Bread mix and Innis & Gunn Rum Finish|
I decided to start with the original mix & team it with a beer I really enjoy – Innis and Gunn Rum Finish. It’s a really flavourful beer, fruity, warming & spicy so I didn’t want to mix it into anything where it would overpower or be overpowered hence just going with the original mix. I dumped the mix into the bowl of my Kitchenaid, added the beer & set the mixer going on the lowest speed, just long enough to make sure all the dry ingredients were fully incorporated. The dough was then scraped into a lightly greased loaf tin, ground salt & pepper on top & into the preheated oven it went for 45 minutes.
|Ready for the oven|
Oh my, the smells coming out of that oven! When the bread came out it took all the restraint I had not to just tear into it, smother it in butter & eat it there & then. As it was, I did manage to restrain myself & instead took it with me when I went to join Mike at his parents in the evening for dinner. The bread had a good crust & a really enticing scent as I cut into it. The taste of the beer was certainly there, though if you were not a fan of beer you wouldn’t have been put off. I was really pleased - it was all around lovely!
|Fresh from the oven & smelling fantastic|
Not only did I make bread yesterday I also had a go at making ice-cream. I have been lusting after an ice-cream machine for some time so a couple of weeks ago I bought one! I haven’t gone overboard on the machine – it is from the lower end of the price options but I thought for a first machine it would do the job. I really want to experiment with dairy free, vegan ice-creams so that was my plan yesterday. I followed a recipe from ‘The Vegan Scoop’, a book filled with wonderful sounding dairy free ice-creams, for a coconut milk ice-cream.
|All I needed for lots of yummy ice-cream|
The recipe was simple enough & the churning went well. After 30 minutes in the machine I had a passible coconut ice-cream! I separated off half of the ice-cream & stirred some chocolate chips through by hand, popped it into a cute cardboard ice-cream tub & into the freezer. The remaining half I decided to go a bit avant-garde & mixed in 2 tablespoons of Hot & Spicy Mango Chutney. I am always drawn to sweet-savoury treats & love chilli in chocolate so I was fairly confident I would like this combo. I was right – I really like it! It’s probably not to everyone’s taste but I didn’t make it for everyone, I made it for me!
|Coconut Choc Chip and Coconut Hot & Spicy Mango|
I took the fruits of my kitchen experiments with me for dinner at Mikes parents house. The bread was lovely alongside the ‘clear the fridge’ dinner Mike’s dad had prepared & the Coconut Choc Chip ice-cream was lovely with the gooey chocolate pudding that I must admit came from the supermarket! Even my spicy experiment received good reviews & was likened to something you might get in a top flight restaurant; a savoury ice-cream that might surprisingly accompany a main dish. I’d be just as happy to have a scoop of it in a waffle cone!