Rugbrød (Danish Rye Bread)

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Those of you that know me, know that I have a real love affair with the Scandinavian way of life. I love the food, the cooler weather, the idea of long summer days, the Fika culture of coffee and cake with friends and the lovely hues of the painted buildings. If I were to choose somewhere to live other than the UK, it would undoubtedly be in one of those countries.

I gifted my mum the cookbook ‘The New Nordic’ by Simon Bajada after our trip to Iceland a few years ago. On my last visit home I found myself flitting through the pages, noting recipes I couldn’t wait to try, when I came across this Rye bread. I love Smørrebrød (a traditional Scandinavian open sandwich), of which Rye bread is an essential part.

Traditional Rugbrød is made with a sourdough starter however, Simon Bajada’s version uses a pre-soak made 18-24 hours before the dough is made to give it that sour taste without the hassle of tending to a sourdough starter.

My first attempt was sunken in the middle and raw. I knew when I had made the dough that it seemed too wet so, for my second I decided to add a little more flour and it turned out perfectly.

Rye bread stays fresher for much longer than white bread and is packed full of goodness. Cracked rye grains, sunflower seeds and linseeds means this bread is really filling without being too heavy.

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Carrot Cake + Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

 

IMG_6805Sometimes I just want cake. A simple recipe with instant gratitude. Something that doesn’t take me days to make. I love mixing a cake batter, pouring it into the tin and it’s straight in the oven. I wanted to make something quick and easy this week. I opted for carrot cake because it fit with the sunny weather we’ve been having and its very swift to throw together. I didn’t want to faff with a sandwich-style cake; aiming for ease here I went for a single layer cake that would be lovely to pack and take for a picnic (which is exactly what I did.) It also allows for a delightful cake to frosting ratio.

Toasted pistachios, orange cream cheese frosting and a lightly spiced carrot cake are flavours that melt into one another. The ritual of coffee and cake is prominent in a lot of cultures and for me, it’s a small moment in a day that feels like pure comfort.

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Parsnip, Hazelnut and Stem Ginger Loaf Cake

Every week, me and my friend/colleague are tasked with coming up with three different desserts to put onto the Du Jour menu at work. This is by far, the best part of my job. It’s something I’ve had to earn; no more monotonous cookie dough rolling, cutting and baking for me! My role is so much more creative now; my imagination is let loose like an artist on a blank untouched canvas. The kitchen is my playground.

Yes, at times its stressful and draining having to constantly be conjuring up diverse ideas whilst trying to choose dishes that motivate and inspire me. I don’t want to just keep repeating the same ideas with different flavours. I need to choose things that aren’t only appealing and delicious for the customer, but also choose tasks that enable me to learn new techniques.

Last week, my friend and I decided to put carrot cake on the menu – fruity carrot cake with creme fraiche, crisp sweet carrot chips, coconut sorbet and caramelised roasted pineapple. Bright, bouncy dishes are back in along with breezy spring evenings.

While discussing this specific dish, my friend told me she’d recently made a parsnip loaf. As soon as she said ‘parsnip’ and ‘cake’; I was instantly intrigued. I had made carrot, courgette and even beetroot cake; but parsnip had never landed in my mixing bowl.

As soon as my days off came around, I was in the supermarket spying out my parsnips.

Don’t think that this parsnip cake is going to be anything like carrot cake. It’s not. Carrot cake has a fruity sweetness that emits from the vegetable whereas parsnips, though still sweet, are slightly more savoury. This is what has made this cake so great to me.

A slice of this loaf cake is versatile in both texture and flavour. The soft moist crumb is occasionally interrupted by crunchy roasted hazelnuts and luscious cream cheese. The crumb isn’t obviously sweet, however the topping and little hidden morsels of stem ginger make up for this.

An easy, quick cake that you cake whip up in an hour when unexpected guests arrive, or just for a mid-week treat to get you through to the weekend.IMG_0965 IMG_0990 IMG_1024IMG_1012

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Soft Cinnamon Rolls with a Coffee Cream Cheese Glaze

IMG_5257IMG_5245I know what you’re thinking right now, because I’m thinking it too. I went way overboard with that glaze. Theres enough glaze there for three times the amount of Cinnamon Rolls I’ve baked.

I read on the internet somewhere that smothering your cinnamon buns in glorious glossy glaze while still hot from the oven, made them irresistibly moist as it settled into the cracks. I obviously took this literally and smothered until my heart was content. Trust me, I’m definitely content.

I have to admit though, that glaze really makes these rolls enticing. Just look at that shine! Its captivating buttery smell and glistening top lures you into the kitchen like a kid looking for the leftover cake batter spoon.

Sometimes when I bake something, I have no idea what its going to turn out like. Other times I know its going to be a disaster from the outset. And on the rare occasion everything goes so perfectly, I know whats going to emerge from my oven is going to be great. Just the smell of these as they were baking away in my kitchen made a smile play on my lips.

One thing that made these so perfect was that I made them solely for me. I didn’t spend days thinking of what I could bake for the blog to make it more diverse, interesting or unique. I had a craving for cinnamon buns and I made them. Just the way I like them. Just for me. Rustic, simple and humble. No fancy presentation, just the cinnamon bun. So ordinary but so charming too.IMG_5171IMG_5177IMG_5209IMG_5262IMG_5198IMG_5268

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Happy New Year: Banana, Walnut and Gianduja Cake

Proud slice of banana cakeWhat better way to start the new year than with a beautiful piece of Banana Cake and a cup of freshly brewed coffee?

This recipe really reminds me of when I first started training to be a Pastry Chef. My days were filled with making trays of brownie and cutting shortbread like a robot. One of my favourite things to make was this Banana Cake. It was formed into loaf tins and adorned with a sprinkling of Walnut Crumble. The sweet scent of Bananas always wafted through the kitchen after they were taken out of the oven. I usually had to cut these loaves into slices to be displayed under a large glass dome, but always managed to sneak myself the end slice (inevitably drier, but still tasty.) Continue reading “Happy New Year: Banana, Walnut and Gianduja Cake”