Three weeks into the snow and whilst the children are still playing out a bit in terms of walks, sledging and igloo building – I kid you not someone in the village organised a team of five (including my son) to build a very impressive igloo - à la Ray Mears (or should it be au Ray Mears?).
However, the novelty is slightly waring off and I was greeted today with the recipe books, jars of spices, jelly crystals and a determined look in my daughter’s eye. Meanwhile, I was juggling childcare with cooking up a very traditional winter fare of vegetable soup and casserole.
So what did we create together à deux – delicious seeded rolls – we used sesame seeds, white poppy seeds, onion granules and nigella on the top – they worked really well and just needed time to rise near the radiator. The kids favourite was the onion granules and the nigella ones which is really weird because they claim to hate onions (except that we hide it in nearly all their food - aren’t parents just so mean!).
- 450g organic strong white flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 7g quick yeast (we used Doves)
- 1 tbsp organic sunflower oil
- 350ml warm flour
- flour (plain or self-raising will work) for dusting
- 1 egg, beaten for glazing
- seeds for the top – we used organic nigella seeds, organic sesame seeds, organic white poppy seeds and organic onion granules. You could also use cumin seed, caraway seed or blue poppy seed.
- Mix the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl. Add the oil and water. Stir to form dough
- Knead dough on a floured surface for 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic. We used a lot of additional flour at this point to make it smooth as it was too wet. Place in a bowl, cover with cligfilm and leave in a warm place to rise (we used just beside the radiator)
- When the dough has doubled in size (roughly takes an hour) knead on a floured surface until smooth. Divide into 8 equal pieces
- Either shape the dough into round balls or alternatively make into cottage rolls by making a small round shape on top of a flat round. Place onto a baking sheet.
- Cover rolls with a tea towel. Leave to rise for 30 minutes until it’s doubled in size again. Preheat the oven to 220 C or gas mark 7.
- Glaze the rolls with egg and the toppings. Bake inthe oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown ( when cooked if you tap the base of each roll, it should sound hollow!)
These rolls are ideal for adding ingredients to them as well such as tomato flakes, caraway seeds, cumin, onion, cheese etc. Experiment at will.
We also decided to experiment with the Just Wholefoods vegetarian jelly crystals that we sell at Steenbergs and some of our edible flowers – namely the Marigold petals and cornflower flowers. We layered different coloured jellies - raspberry at the bottom, lemon in the middle and strawberry at the top and flowers in the middle layer.
Having had a few slight hiccups in terms of moulds and jellies (the traditional Chivers cubes) recently, we put in a little less water than recommended and melted all the crystals with boiling water rather than some boiling water and then cool. We left them to cool to room temperature before putting them in the fridge – they had already set by then.
These jelly crystals are less sweet than the sickly sweet jellies that you normally get and work really well with the layers and the flowers – we were all delighted with the results…
Staving off winter blues with summer flowers and baking – cannot think of a better day to spend snowed in with the kids…