Baking · Bread · Nation Cake Challenge · North America

The United States of America: Chilli Cumin Cornbread

Cornbread s described by the Hummingbird Bakery (from which this recipe is taken) as the ultimate cheats bread – it’s quick, needs no rising and can be on the table in under an hour. I love standard cornbread, but this one is a step above. Flavoured with chilli and cumin, and with the addition of sweetcorn to add texture, this loaf is excellent to eat as an accompaniment to chowders or soup, with cheese as part of a salad lunch or just on its own, warm from the oven with melted butter.

Chilli Cumin Cornbread

Chilli Cumin Cornbread


  • 20g ground cumin
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 60g polenta
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of groud black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 90g sour cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 120g sweetcon (defrosted if frozen)


Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 and grease and line a a loaf tin with baking parchment.

Mix the dry ingredients together until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, milk and eggs and then add to the dry ingredients. Beat the mixture together until a batter forms. Add the sweetcorn and mix briefly to ensure an even spread.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Take it out of the oven and cool briefly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack  and cooling further – if you can wait that long!

Baking · Bread

10 Minute Weekday Bread!

Now this recipe is  a complete winner for days like last Wednesday when (like me) you have the following conundrun:

  1. You need some bread. I mean, really need it! I don’t keep bread in as I don’t eat the plastic sliced stuff and the rest goes off too quickly.
  2. You have no strong bread flour. Sad to say that I just don’t keep it in most of the time.


Anyway this recipe fills the need. It takes ten minutes to make, and whilst it takes an hour to rise, lets face it – you don’t have to spend that time attached to the bread! If you are lucky enough to have a warm house, your bread will hopefully rise of its own accord. If though you are like me and not so lucky, preheat your oven to Gas Mark 3 and leave it for 10 minutes. Place your dough in the oven and then turn it down immediately, this will help the bread rise.

I would apologise about the Instagram photo, but it was 9pm at night, it was delicious, steaming hot – and I really wanted to eat it!

10 Minute Bread


  • 4 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of cold water


Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the cold water. Stir until it forms a dough, adding a little more water if you need to in order to bring it together. Knead it until it becomes smooth and form into a round loaf. Score with a cross on the top, cover and leave to rise for an hour.

Place the loaf on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6 and bake for 30 minutes, until it is golden and crispy on top.

Baking · Bread

Ireland: Soda Bread

English: Irish Flag

You know those days when you start to make a recipe, find you don’t have half the ingredients in your cupboard, but make it anyway, adapting as you go? This was one of those recipes. The original recipe was by Oliver Peyton (from his book British Baking), however, it asked for wholemeal flour and buttermilk, neither of which I had in my possession. I started by substituting plain bread flour, until I ran out andhad to top it up with self raising flour – not ideal. For the buttermilk, I had read that you could substitute milk soured by lemon juice. Al well and good until I looked in the cupboard to find only lime juice. Again, not ideal.

Soda Bread

However aside from that, the recipe worked well and was a great success – the photos attest to that, it was eaten far too quickly! It is delicious both on its own with butter, or as an accompaniment to my butternut, ginger and orange soup (coming up in the next post!) Enjoy!

Soda Bread


  • 500g strong plain flour (or if you are like me, any variation on this!)
  • 140g porridge oats
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 500ml buttermilk OR 500ml milk soured with 1 tbsp lemon juice


Preheat eh oven to gas mark 8 and line a flat baking tray with tinfoil. Mix the dry ingredients together and make a small impression in the centre of the bowl. Pour in the buttermilk and use your hands to mix the dough. Once it has come together, Turn out the dough onto a floured worksurface and shape into a round loaf. Place on the baking tray and score with a large cross. Bake in to oven for 20 minutes before turning down the oven to gas mark 6 and baking fora further 15 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack. This bread is best served hot with butter.

Baking · Bread · Muffins · Savoury Cakes

Carrot and Coriander Muffins

Another lunchbox delight here, in this case a reimagining of the traditional carrot and coriander soup into a bite size muffin. These include grated carrot, chopped fresh coriander and cumin, whilst chopped walnuts add some crunch to the muffin. These are best served warm on the day of baking, served with a good cheese, preferably Cheshire or Wensleydale. Bake and enjoy!

Carrot and Coriander Muffins

Carrot and Coriander Muffins


  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 175g carrots
  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200ml milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tbsp olive oil


Preheat the oven to 190C/fan170C/gas 5, and grease a 12-hole cupcake tray.

Coarsely grate the carrot and place in a large bowl, along with the chopped walnuts, cumin and coriander. Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to this mixture and beat lightly until just mixed. Spoon into the cupcake tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm and risen. Cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Baking · Bread

Provence: Olive and Rosemary Fougasse

Flag of France

I found out how to make bread rise! This may not sound like much, but this has been a major issue for me recently – there just isn’t anywhere warm enough in my house! However, thanks to a tip-off, I found that by turning my oven to Gas mark 4 for 5 minutes and then turning off, enough heat is generated to all my bread to rise! Result!

Fougasse 2

This recipe is another from the cookbook of Le Cordon Bleu, and is for a delicious, flat loaf flavoured with rosemary. (The original recipe calls for thyme, but I had fresh rosemary in the garden and just couldn’t resist! The fougasse is a form of flat bread baked in a wood-fired oven, and was used to check the temperature of the oven was correct. Fougasse is from Provence, and often includes other ingredients such as cheese, olives and anchovies. The Italian foccacia is from the same family of breads, and is made in a similar way.

Fougasse 1

This bread is simple to make, and great for summer picnics and outdoor meals as it has quite a dense texture which doesn’t crumb easily. Just be warned – it is very moreish, and won’t last long!

Olive and Rosemary Fougasse


  • 300ml warm water
  • 15g yeast
  • 500g strong plain flour
  • 5g salt
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 60g olives, stoned and sliced
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped


Make your starter dough, by dissolving the yeast in the water, before adding 120g of strong plain flour. Mix briefly before covering and leaving in a warm place until doubled in size.

Place the remaining flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the salt, 50ml of water, olive oil and the olives before mixing in the starter dough. Start to knead the mixture until all the flour is incorporated, before shaping into a ball and scoring with a large cross. Again, cover and leave in a warm place until i has risen to double its original size.

Preheat the ovento 445°F/230°C/Gas Mark 8 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the risen dough out to about 4cm thick and place on this sheet. Cut slits in the dough, pulling slightly to create a gap in the dough. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle over the salt and rosemary. Bake about 35 minutes until golden brown (cover with foil if it starts to burn)

Bread · Europe · Nation Cake Challenge · Uncategorized

France: Pain Brié

Flag of France

Much as I hate to say it, there is only so much cake that you can eat. Particularly as a baking blogger, the question of what to do with the remaining cakes. I’m lucky in that I have a very hungry younger brother who is a willing tester for many of the recipes when he is back from university, but otherwise it can come down to just Max and I to eat it, which can leave you feeling very fat. The problem was partially solved when my mum provided me with some lovely small round baking tins which belonged to my grandmother, but even so!

Every so often then I make something else, and today that something is bread. I have mixed feelings towards bread – I love tiger bread and could quite happily eat half a loaf in one sitting, but as much of the bread around these days is plastic white sliced sandwich bread, I don’t tend to eat much of it. Homemade bread is a different matter, but my house is not made for baking bread, and I find it almost impossible to make it rise! The only way I’ve managed to successfully get dough to rise is to place the bowl on a pile of books stacked under the bathrooms heated towel rail – not the best situation to be in!


However, when I make bread, I remember why it’s worth all the hassle! This loaf is a prime example of how good proper bread can be – a Normandy-style bread, filled with both black and green olives and rosemary. Delicious for a picnic, and very simple to make! It can be served either hot or cold, and does not need any topping to improve it – the ultimate one hand snack! The recipe is taken from Rachel Khoo’s book The Little Paris Kitchen



Pain Brié


Fermented Dough:

  • 10g yeast
  • 10ml warm water
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 generous pinches of salt

The bread:

  • 5g dried yeast
  • 4 tbsp warm water
  • 85g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • a knob of butter
  • 300g fermented dough

The filling:

  • 50g green olives, chopped
  • 50g black olives, chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 20ml olive oil


First make the fermented dough, something that must be done the night before. Mix the yeast and warm water and stir until all the yeast has dissolved. Place the flour and salt in the bowl and quickly mix before adding the yeast mixture. Stir to combine before turning out onto a floured surface and knead until it forms a smooth dough. Place in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight before continuing.

The next day, dissolve the yeast in the warm water, before mixing the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, fermented dough and butter before bringing together to form a ball. On a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes until smooth, and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Make the filling by mixing together the olives, rosemary and oil. Roll out the risen dough so that is it 1 inch thick and about the size of a piece of A4 paper. Spread the olive mixture on top of the dough, and roll up lengthways into a long roll. Place join-side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Us a sharp knife to cut deep slits in the dough (ensuring that you d not cut all the way through!)  and cover with a damp tea towel before allowing to rise for 1 hour (it should have doubled in size).

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 9/240°C/475°F with a baking tray in the middle and a roasting tin in the bottom. Once hot, slide the roll (still on the baking paper) onto the hot baking tray, and pour a galss of water into the roasting tin. Bake for 5 minutes before reducing the heat to gas mark 7/210°C/425°F and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.