what? bread?

a blog about making bread at home

Archive for the tag “nigella”

Chocolate cupcakes with beetroot

At this time of year the veg boxes that Riverford Organics deliver tend to have beetroot in them. I’m OK with beetroot, but the rest of the household aren’t that keen. So being, mostly, a good mummy I thought I’d try to find a cake recipe with beetroot in that they’d accept.

There are plenty available on the web:

Nigel Slater on the BBC – which looked a bit plain.

A community recipe on Nigella’s website – which needed cream for the topping which I didn’t have.

BBC Good Food – 100g of cocoa and 100g of chocolate – well no wonder you can’t taste the beetroot!

Then I found one for cupcakes on the goodtoknow website and thought that would do the business. Being somewhat risk averse in the kitchen I did a half measure for the first attempt, and it made 7 cakes. I also didn’t bother with quite so much topping, I had about a tablespoon of mascapone cheese and gave that a beating with some icing sugar and vanilla extract. Result – without telling the offspring, he snaffled 4 of the 7 cakes over the next couple of days. He did say it was too much chocolate so I will be reducing the cocoa content in the next attempt, and balancing with extra flour.

So for version two we have sifted plain flour, cocoa, caster sugar and some baking powder


Then you whizz the beetroot, eggs, oil and vanilla – I only have a stick blender and that was OK, and not all of it went up the wall!


And then mix with the dry goods – it was quite a firm mix for me,

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but it baked out evenly.


Today topped off with some icing sugar, butter, orange flavouring and colour and some chocolate curls

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The offspring has eaten one and says it is OK. (Damned by faint praise!)

Paul Hollywood’s pitta bread

Still working my way through his TV series recipes. This one is over here.

Pittas are often the first bread that people try to make at home because they are essentially easy and don’t require much effort. I remember making them back in the dark ages, as a student in the late 1980s I can even remember making the pancakes that go with Peking Duck, although I’m not sure I ever did the duck to go with them. Back then I used the pitta recipe in Arto der Haroutunian’s Yoghurt book. Back in those days yogurt had an ‘h’ in the middle of it and the book had no pictures. If you can get one second hand on under the Penguin imprint I commend it to you. I never thought much about the author back then, but the book reads like he knows what he’s talking about from personal first hand experience. It also contains a fantastic banana gateau recipe which I may try again sometime soon. Checking out his website today you’ll see he’s been dead a while but as he was born in Syria of Armenian parents under difficult circumstances, he’d probably not be happy about what’s going on in Syria today.

Nothing particularly tricky in there, nigella seeds can be got from the supermarket, but note that there’s quite a lot, so if you take to them you’ll be spending about 75p per batch just on seeds if you get the Bart ones from a supermarket (like I did – idiot!) I’ll be getting some Kalonji seeds from an Indian grocer or the ethnic bit of the supermarket they have them, not spending another £1.69 or whatever it was in Waitrose for 45g of Bart’s seeds. I’m not entirely sure why they are in the pittas when they normally turn up in naan breads.

There’s quite a lot of yeast for a small amount of flour and also the salt is high at 1 tsp for 250g of flour. Other recipes may vary, like Dan ‘ over here, so let’s see how it turns out. I’m still fascinated by the idea that ‘professional’ bakers can give such different recipes for essentially the same thing.

OK – pictures below. Nothing particular to complain about there. We ate some with some curried chicken leftovers, mango chutney and yoghurt, in deference to the almost naan bread flavouring the nigella seeds give them.

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