A bread recipe you really knead

This recipe is simple and very easy to follow.  It uses just 5 ingredients and doesn’t need any fancy kneading or dough shaping skills.
The only thing you do need is a bit of time, as instead of kneading, the dough is developed through a long rise and proving period – I tend to prepare the dough just after breakfast and then let it do it’s thing all day, and pop it in the oven after dinner when the oven is still hot. Alternatively it can be done in the evening and left overnight and cooked in the morning.
The other key is having something to cook the loaf inside – the lovely crust is created by cooking the bread inside an enclosed space which creates steam from the moisture in the dough.  In my experience, modern fan ovens are not good for baking bread, as the hot circulating air dries out the skin of the dough, restricts the rise in the oven, and gives a very poor crust.
Almost anything with a lid would do the trick. I’ve used a large stainless steel stock pot with a glass lid and metal handle in the past, and now use a terracotta ‘chicken brick’ as it gives a more loaf shaped loaf. Whatever you use, just needs to be able to stand being in your oven at maximum temperature as you will be cooking it at 240-250c
Right, the ingredients.

600g bread or plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 teaspoon of dried instant yeast
1 teaspoon of salt
390ml (390grams) of warm water

Notice that this is quite a lot less yeast and salt than you would normally have in this much dough. That’s because the flavour develops throughout the long rise period.

You can scale this recipe up or down quite easily, just adjust the salt a bit. The quantity of yeast doesn’t seem to matter that much either.  The only bit that is important for consistency, is the ratio by weight of flour to water.  Personally I’ve found that 65% works well. Much less makes it harder to combine the dough initially, much more makes the risen dough very sticky and a bit of a pain to handle.

First get your yeast woken up by mixing it with the warm water. The water temperature isn’t critical, just make sure it’s not cold or too hot.
Add the flour and salt to your mixing bowl and stir to distribute the salt through the flour.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and start mixing.  There’s no special technique here, you’re just looking to end up getting all the flour and water combined into a roughly even looking lump without any obviously dry bits.  Personally I like to use a strong silicone spatula (my blue ‘spudger’ as I call it) to do all the mixing. It’s good for working around the bowl to get everything scraped down and the dough doesn’t stick to it to badly. Just work around the bowl (I just gradually turn the bowl) turning the mixture into the middle by scooping the outside up, over and into the middle.  Eventually you will end up with a roughly even looking ball.
That’s it, no kneading as such, no need to make a mess of your counter top, and if you are good with your spatula, your hands will even stay pretty clean.
Cover the bowl with cling film and just leave it alone for a good few hours. I usually leave mine all day from just after breakfast until around 6pm, so around 10hrs.

Next you do your shape and final prove before baking.  Flour a working surface and scoop your dough out onto it. Shape the dough by simply folding the outside edges into the middle so the sticky surface is turned inside and the outside is slightly floured. Turn it over so the bits you have folded over are underneath and pop it into a proving basket.  I line mine with parchment paper which I scrunch up and flatten back out as this makes it shape to the basket better. You can them lift the dough using the paper and pop the whole lot into whatever you are using to bake it inside.

Bake your loaf covered with your oven on its highest setting 240-250 centigrade for about 70mins before turning it out to cool.
I’ve experimented with taking the lid off whatever container I’m using and to be honest, I find I get just as good a result leaving it covered for the whole of the cooking time, plus of course you reduce the risk of burning your loaf.

That’s it. Turn it out, try and resist cutting into it for at least an hour to cool, and then enjoy with some butter!!

All photographs ©teaandtiffindesigns

Pimm’s anyone?

Cocktail makingNothing says summer like a glass of Pimm’s, it always reminds me of Wimbledon, The Chelsea Flower Show, weddings and happy times with friends.
So as it is definitely a fun drink, it needed to be made with the help of a friend.

For each glass
ice cubes
1 measure of Pimm’s No1
1 measure of gin
2 measures of lemonade
2 measures of ginger ale
cucumber slices,blueberries, strawberries and orange wheels to garnish.Cocktail garnishFill a highball glass with ice cubes (we used these vintage beer glasses as our highball didn’t look the part). Add each ingredient one by one then decorate with cucumber, strawberries orange and blueberries.

This is the first time I have added a measure of gin, it tasted good but did make it a lot stronger. Pimm’s is a dangerously refreshing drink so for a lighter (but still alcoholic) option leave out the gin.Pimms cocktailPimmsCocktails in the gardenProceed with caution, may cause wobbly legs. Drink aware etc.

All photographs ©teaandtiffindesigns

Mojito time


For one cocktail
1 shot of white rum
1/2 measure of sugar syrup
6 mint leaves
1 lime
crushed ice
soda water to top up

The famous Cuban cocktail, a Mojito is made by first “muddling” the mint and lime. This bruising releases the essential oil from the mint and juice from the lime.

If you looked very closely, I rolled the lime, which helps to get the maximum juice. I then sliced the end off, cut a thick slice, which I then quartered.  I added the lime and small mint leaves to the glass. Using the end of a metal grater I ‘muddled’ away.
When I was all muddled, then I added the crushed ice, rum and sugar syrup which i gently mixed together. A top up of soda water and a touch more ice and cheers


Proceed with caution, may cause wobbly legs. Drink aware etc.

All photographs ©teaandtiffindesigns

Sling me a gin


This week it is time for a Singapore Sling or Gin Sling. When researching cocktails it seems, as usual, there are many recipes for a gin based sling, so I used my copy of the The Savoy Cocktail Book for mine.
The Master of the Cocktail, Harry Craddock, doesn’t include the Grenadine and Benedictine that more modern recipes do. I feel less is more.

The juice of  1/4 lemon
1/4 of dry gin
1/2 of cherry brandy
soda water to top up and  ice cube

1 measure = 2oz
1/2 is a generous 1 oz
1/4 is a generous 1/2 oz

Add lemon, gin and cherry brandy to the cocktail shaker.
Shake well and strain into a highball glass.
Top up with soda and add 1 lump of ice.IMG_4392

After tasting, my husband  felt that more gin was required, probably a bit too much soda too. So less, was in fact less and more was in fact required.

Recipe taken from Cocktails The Present from the Past, which includes a reprint of the original Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930.

Proceed with caution, may cause wobbly legs. Drink aware etc.

All photographs ©teaandtiffindesigns




This rum based cocktail, named after the Cuban town Daiquiri, created by Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer who was working there in 1900. Rumoured to have run out of gin, he used rum with sugar and lime to create a new drink for his guests.
It still remained unfashionable as a drink until 1940s thought of as only a drink for sailors. At this time, whiskey and vodka were rationed, new trading and travel with Caribbean and Cuba, meant rum became readily available and it’s popularity changed.   It became the favourite drink of the writer Ernest Hemingway and US president John F Kennedy, so clearly must give it a whirl then (please note interest in the Lost Generation in my first cocktail post).

Ice cubes
3 measures of white rum
1 measure of lime juice
2 teaspoons of caster sugar
slice of lime to decorateDSC_8098
Half fill the cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
Add rum, lime juice and sugar.
Shake well and strain into a well chilled cocktail glass.
Decorate with slice of lime.

Proceed with caution, may cause wobbly legs. Drink aware etc.

All photographs ©teaandtiffindesigns

Making a Bloody Mary

Obviously we always are drink aware and never suffer the after effects of a heavy night. But just incase, in the back of my favourite retro cocktail book, Booze, there are some tips if feeling a bit rough.

1. Drink a coke out of the bottle as fast as possible.

2.  Recipe for a Prairie Oyster
1 jigger Brandy
2 or 3 dashes Vinegar
2 or 3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
1 dash Tabasco
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
Mix everything except egg yolk. Float yolk whole. Drink without flinching!!

3. Place a cube of sugar in a saucer & pour half a measure of Brandy over it. Ignite the brandy (please be careful if you do try this at home, fire etc) let it flame until it goes out. Drink the remaining liquid and eat the rest of the sugar as hot as possible.

 I have NOT tried the above suggestions and apart from the Coke really never will. The book was written in the 60’s when health and safety didn’t exist

So as we may need a “hair of the dog” at some point, this weeks cocktail is a Bloody Mary, or minus the vodka, a Virgin Mary. The morning after the night before drink, that was created at the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in the 1920’s by Pete Petoit.

bloodymary c

Bloody Mary

1 parts vodka
Dash of lemon juice
Worcestershire & Tabasco Sauce
Tomato juice to top up
Ice cubes
Salt & pepper
Celery sticks to decorate

bloodymary d

Place ice cubes into a highball glass, with the vodka & lemon juice.
Add Worcestershire sauce to taste & top up with tomato juice.
Splash of Tabasco sauce & season with salt & pepper.
Stir then decorate with celery stalks.

bloodymary b

Images from  Booze illustration by John Astrop and Eric Hill.

I have used this amazing 1960’s cocktail book called Booze, with it’s brilliant psychedelic design and illustration as the inspiration for my cocktail post.
Booze – by June Dutton and Edith Vanocur, illustrated by John Astrop and Eric Hill (Determined Productions Inc., 1967).

Proceed with caution, may cause wobbly legs. Drink aware etc.

Harvey’s Wallbanging

cocktail 2 copy
The 1960’s Harvey Wallbanger cocktail, a modern day classic, has quite story behind it. It seems to be named after a Californian surfer who drank so many he literally banged and bounced off the walls. Maybe the orange juice made the drink seem less intoxicating so clearly don’t do a Harvey and drink responsibly.

1 measure vodka
3 measures fresh orange juice
1-2 teaspoons Galliano
orange wheels to decorate
6 ice cubes
Put half the ice cubes into the cocktail shaker, add vodka and orange juice. Shake until frost appears on the outside of the shaker. Add remaining ice cubes to a highball glass and strain contents of the cocktail shaker. Float the Galliano on top.
Decorate with orange wheels and straws.

While researching this cocktail, I came across  this youtube clip, which tells a slightly different tale.

harvey wallbanger

Proceed with caution, may cause wobbly legs and avoid walls. Drink aware etc.

Recipe and information from The Classic Cocktail Bible

I’m just an old fashioned girl

As usual, I looked through my cocktail books comparing
various recipes for an Old Fashioned cocktail before making
this week’s cocktail. Sugar cubes or syrup, orange bitters
or angostura, optional splash of soda etc, so I settled on
this one.
The ingredients in this 19th century drink, which I found
a tad strong to be honest, are muddled together.
My husband, however had no complaints!


Old Fashioned
2 parts Bourbon
1 teaspoon of sugar syrup
4 dashes of bitters
ice cubes and orange peel

Pour bourbon into a short glass, add some ice cubes.
Pour bitters and sugar over the ice.
Decorate with an orange rind twist.



Books featured in the post include my vintage cocktail book
‘Booze’ and my lovely new cocktail book ‘Cocktails The Present
from the Past’.

Proceed with caution, may cause wobbly legs. Drink aware etc.

All photographs ©teaandtiffindesigns