Walnut Bread.

One of the culinary joys this time of year is the new season of walnuts, which Paul and I have been foraging along the lanes leading from the village of Daglan. The walnut trees produce nuts that have been awarded ‘Noix du Perigord Appellation d’Origine (AOP)’ and are grown in over 7,000 hectares, primarily in the Perigord Noir. Our area is known as ‘Route de la Noix’ because of the abundance of walnuts.

The walnuts are used in many delicacies and recipes such as walnut lacquer, which is delicious, walnut wine, walnut gateau, walnut biscuits, walnut flour, walnut bread, walnut oil, in fact the nuts can be cooked with almost anything and everything from the starter of the meal to the dessert.

Not only are they rich in fibres, an excellent source of manganese, vitamin B1, B6, B9 and E, high in arginine which contributes to a good blood circulation, low in sodium (ideal for a salt free diet), rich in in omega 6 and 3 lipids, but they are also ‘une pepite energetique’, a little nugget of energy, with a 20-25g portion providing 8% of the daily pep required for an adult.

This year I thought that I would try walnut bread which is gorgeous eaten with cheese.

Walnut Bread

Makes one small loaf and bakes in around thirty minutes.

250g (9oz) granary flour
1tsp salt, 1tsp sugar
75g (3oz) shelled walnuts, brake the walnuts in half or quarters.
2g (one sachet) dried active yeast
180ml (6) warm water
Baking tray lined with baking parchment
Roasting pan

1 In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar, add the walnuts, yeast and water and combine with a wooden spoon and then with your hands until it forms a dough. Cover and leave in the bowl for ten minutes.

2 Leaving the dough in the bowl, knead by stretching a portion of it up from the side and press into the middle. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat with another portion of dough. Repeat another eight times. The whole process should take about one minute and the dough should start to resist. Cover and leave to rest for ten minutes.

3 Repeat step 2 another three times. After the final knead, cover and leave to prove for about one hour.

4 Punch down the dough with your fist to release the air, then place it onto a floured work surface. Shape into a ball with your hands. Flatten the dough slightly into a neat round disc, then push your finger through the middle to make a hole. Enlarge a little, then place the bread onto a prepared baking sheet.

5 Cover the bread with the empty bowl and let it rise until just less than double its size, about 45 mins.

6 About twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 260C/fan 240C/gas 9 and place a roasting pan at the bottom of the oven to preheat. Fill a cup of water and set aside.

7 When the dough has finished rising, uncover it and dust with flour.

8 Slash a large square into the top of the dough, about 5mm deep, using a sharp knife.

9 Place the bread dough into the oven, pour the cupful of water into the hot roasting pan and lower the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas6. Bake for about 30 mins, or until it has turned brown.

10 To check if the bread is cooked all the way through, tip it upside down and tap the bottom. It should sound hollow. If not ready return to the oven for a few minutes. Place onto a wire rack to cool.

The walnuts add a wonderful flavour to the bread.

Bon Appetit.

Honey Lemonade

On a hot day there is nothing more refreshing than home made lemonade.

This particular variety is made with honey.

Honey Lemonade

Half a cup of water.
Two cups of fresh lemon juice (about 8-10 lemons depending on their size).
Two or three cups of honey depending on taste.
Zest of one un-waxed lemon.
6 cups of water.
4 or 5 sterilised empty bottles.

In a large saucepan, heat half a cup of water, lemon juice, honey and lemon zest.  Keeping the mixture just under a boil, stir constantly until the honey is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and let the lemonade cool. Add 6 cups of water or more according to taste, pour into the bottles and store in the refrigerator or in the pantry, the lemonade lasts for a few months on a shelf, once opened keep in the refrigerator.

Madeleines Cakes

This is my first attempt at making Madeleines, we have eaten them many times from supermarkets but I have never made them. So as a surprise for Paul I thought that I would have a go, and I am glad to say they were delicious.

Madeleine’s are small shell shaped cakes originally from Lorraine and traditionally baked in a special tin with shell shaped cups, which were made famous by Marcel Proust. They are best eaten on the day they are made, fresh from the oven, no problem there.

MadeleinesMade with the grated rind of two small oranges and their juice.

Makes about 12

165g of plain flour
5ml/1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
85g icing sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon or orange
15ml lemon or orange juice
85g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 Preheat the oven to 190C/375F Gas 5. Generously butter a 12
cup Madeleine tin or use a non stick tin.
2 Sift together the flour and baking powder.
3 Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and icing sugar for about ten minutes
until it is thick and creamy and the mixture forms a ribbon when the beaters
are lifted.
4 Gently fold in the lemon or orange rind and the juice. Alternately fold
in the flour and the melted butter in four batches.
5 Let the mixture stand for about ten minutes, then carefully spoon into
the shell like cups. Tap gently to release any air bubbles.
6 Bake the Madeleines for 12-15 minutes, rotating the tin halfway through
cooking, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
7 Tap out onto a wire rack to cool a little before eating.

Event :-

Sarlat 20th March from 2 o’clock Carnival of Fantasy in the Medieval Quarter.

Bread Day!

It is National Bread Day on the 21 March in France. Bread in all of its varieties is wonderful in what ever area of France you may be in. We love fresh bread and I bake at least one a week at home in England, particular French or Italian bread. So to celebrate Bread Day why not try Provencal fougasse. It is delicious warm out of the oven on its own or with cheese and wine.

Provençal Fougasse

Provençal Fougasse

The recipe for the above is to be found in the recipes section :- https://ourfrenchdream.wordpress.com/recipes/provencal-fougasse/