We have had a very busy baking weekend, culminating in the Sunday afternoon cafe. Apart from a huge array of bread that I had to bake I also found time to make Mince Pies, Croissants and Pain au Chocolat which I am happy to say were all sold out over Sunday and Monday. Today, Monday, I am totally exhausted. So much so that I had to reduce my gym work this morning to a fraction of what I normally do. For the rest of the day I shall be taking it easy.
I do like making pastries, but these need care and attention to detail. It is difficult for me to allocate the time required when bread-baking and therefore I do not get to make them very often. Recently I have been making (for internal consumption ) a variety of pastries.
Quiche. I made this because a few weeks ago I ordered a piece of Quiche from a well known cafe and it was horrible. Oily, soggy pastry and the filling was bland despite being made with Stilton cheese. How can that be? I suspect part of the problem was that the slice of quiche was warmed up in a Micro-wave (when will they be banned from the planet) which does not bake like an oven so the texture of the pastry becomes altered. I had to make my own to renew my faith in Quiche as delicious light lunch when served with my wife’s delicious salad. The pastry was made with cultured butter, Organic white flour, mixed with some wholegrain spelt flour and water. It was light and crisp and remained so even after being refrigerated. The filling was made with Cream and Crème Fraîche, Eggs, Tomato and Mushrooms with a hint of Nutmeg. I also made some Quichettes to be frozen and eaten later.
Mince Pies. These are a little different from the usual run-of-the-mill Mince Pies and some restraint should taken when eating them as they are quite rich. The bases are from a slightly sweet butter pastry that are pre-baked. Cooled, they are filled with a spoonful of MinceMeat (Strange name but there is no meat, just mixed fruits), and Almond paste and topped with roasted Almonds and re-baked.
Croissants. I have tried several recipes for making Croissants, some I am happy with and others not so. I think I have finally come up with a good one which is taken from an old traditional French recipe. They turned out light and crispy. When making pastries we always end up with scrap bits of dough and I usually do something with the bits by forming them into shapes or wrapping them around some chocolate scraps. These bits go to the baker and the baker’s wife. It was a good job I did make them or I would not have tasted this new recipe for they were all consumed by customers.
Next week? I do not know yet but maybe after sweetness we should think of savoury, so maybe Savoury Danish, Bean Bake ………
It is that time of the year again when we British start thinking about Mince Pies. Although I do like making them, I rarely have the time, so I have taught my daughter who lives in the UK to make them. Today she sent me a picture of the first batch out of the oven.
They will soon be on the shelves of the local department store in Bournemouth. It just goes to show you what can be done these days with the Internet. Information is so easily available that you can gain knowledge about almost everything. Buying her that Kenwood Mixer a few years ago was a sound investment. She has become a wonderfully talented chef and baker to her three wonderful children.
Over 40 years ago I spent some time in Karachi, Pakistan and stayed at a Hotel called the “Beach Luxury Hotel”. I cannot remember that it was all that luxurious and do not know if it still stands. One thing that stuck in my mind was that the food was fabulous. I returned about 5 years later and found the food had degraded. I was told that the chefs had all left for the Middle East.
When I much later went to Singapore I was taken to a restaurant called Bismillah that from memory only sold Biryani. Although good it was not a patch on the one in Karachi. In Malaysia I have been quite disappointed with the Biryani although many places produce it.
Alhamdulillah there is a new restaurant in Kota Damansara near Sunway Giza. It is located in the BIG Supermarket (formerly Carrefour) on the ground floor. Sorry I do not recall the name, but there are only two restaurants there. The other one is a Malay Food restaurant that has some quite nice dishes.
It may not be to Malaysians taste but to me it is the best I have had in over 40 years. I hope they do not change the recipe.
It is not often I go to the great Metropolis. Yesterday was an exception. Sitting in the jam, seemingly caused by the rain. Anyway there I was sitting in the jam and thinking this is really crazy, most of my companions in the jam do this everyday. Wasting at least three hours of their day traveling to and from where they are going to or coming from. I cannot offer any solution I am afraid, but perhaps we can make use of this time rather than listen to the horrible radio programs that fill the airways. It does not matter which language they are in, they all sound the same.
Perhaps if we takes some CDs, tapes or USB sticks containing something we would like to learn. For example the Qur’an or Languages. At least make some practical use of these precious hours, nearly an eighth of our day.
Mardia just sent me this link and it is well worth watching or at least listening to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtzZRVhODvk as it discusses what is wrong with our cities and suggests some ways that could make things easier for us and will definitely be needed for our children of the future.
We have some flour to sell for home bakers. This flour is from Hard Red Organic Australian wheat. Our flour is stone-ground in a traditional Austrian Stone Mill right here on the premises. We supply three grades: 100% Whole Grain (the whole grain is milled and nothing is taken out), Bolted flour Mix (this is a 50/50 mixture of the middlings and the fine white flour, the bran is sifted out), Fine white flour (most of the bran and middlings is sifted out but the flour is not bleached and so you notice that the dough is a creamy color).
To order please give 2 days notice. We want you to get the flour fresh. If you do not use it immediately please keep in the fridge. Three recipes are provided with the flours.
I come from a town in England called Bournemouth. Located on the South Coast, it is a major tourist beach resort and also host to many English Language Schools. When I am in England, which is not very often these days, I like to drive along the South Coast and stop off in some of the small towns and villages. One of my favorites is Lyme Regis. When my children were young we used to go there to search for fossils along the beach and visit the fossil museum.
A few years ago I returned there with my now grown-up daughters. We discovered the Town Mill Bakery. The bakery makes Organic bread the way it wants to and serves good honest freshly made meals, cakes, biscuits, tea and coffee. Everything is made on-site or sourced from local artisans from produce grown within a thirty-mile radius.
If you are in the UK and have the chance, please go and visit them; it might help you to understand us.
We are now supplying a limited amount of our Bread to all branches of Justlife (Penang, The Gardens, Seremban, Malaka and Puchong), not just Ikano. Currently this will only be on a Monday, while Ikano branch every other day. All of these branches will have Gluten-Free bread made from Green Peas or Quinoa with Brown Rice, Seaweed and less than 1% Salt.
“Whoever builds a Mosque for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will build for him a house in Paradise.” (Reported by Bukhaaree and Muslim).
I recieved a message last week from the Salafi Bookshop in Birmingham, UK. An opportunity had arisen for them to purchase a building to support a 2000-worshipper mosque. They needed 600,000 Pounds. Alhumdulillah within the space of a week our community gathered an amount of £541,700. Almost the entire amount and with another 4 days to go to the deadline Insha Allah we will gather the the entire amount. It was wonderful to see people young and old rushing to donate for the project.
If anyone is interested in learning more about the project http://www.wrightstreetmosque.com/
Insha Allah I shall be able to visit the Center on my next visit. For those that do not know the Salafi Bookshop is a great place to buy authentic publications and the approximate 25 websites operated by them provide a good web presence for distributing knowledge.
By the end of this month, September 2013, I shall discontinue making Spelt Bread. I started making this some months ago as a special request for someone who could not tolerate Wheat Flour. As it is extremely expensive for me to make and the uptake has been poor, I will discontinue it as I do not like to see such a special grain having to be thrown away.
For those that do not know Spelt, it is an ancient grain that has not been messed about by man and although it has gluten, it is tolerated by many who are considered to be gluten-intolerant. This is a good thing because Gluten-Free Bread does not really taste like bread and therefore not popular. Spelt is an original form of wheat and does taste like bread, so it is preferred by those who can tolerate it.
The grains we use are organic and the ferment we use for this bread is Demeter (a standard above Organic), made from the honey of Bees and Green Pea Flour. The amount used is extremely small and is less than 1% of the loaf.
We shall be replacing this bread with Green Pea and Quinoa Flour Bread, which are also Gluten Free.
I have been a Muslim for nearly 50 years. My first introduction to Islam came much earlier. When I was about 7 or 8 years old I used to help my father in the garden or in his garage. As a reward, I got to sit in his shed and listen to the shortwave radio through a pair of headphones. I would sit for hours turning the dial to find sounds that I liked to listen to. I say ‘sounds’ because much of what I liked was “foreign”. I could travel the world by radio. One station I liked in particular was a recitation of the Quran from either Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Of course in those days I did not know that it was the Quran, I just liked the sound. Remember these were the days before many people, in Europe, knew what Islam was. Later my Father pointed me in the direction of a Victorian Explorer by the name of Sir Richard Burton. Although not a Muslim, he did join a Group from Afghanistan and made the Haj to Mecca. I was an avid reader of all his books.
Shortly after my 17th Birthday I joined the Navy and my first posting was to South Yemen. It was here where I became interested in Islam. The sounds I had heard and books I had read all those years ago came to life. In later life I made most of the trips that Sir Richard Burton did in the Middle East and North and East Africa. Unfortunately I did not take the opportunity to learn Arabic (except for some very rudimentary phrases). I have spent the last 10 years or so trying to learn the language. Although I am progressing, the progress is slow.
Learning the language is the key to learning the truth about Islam, as much misinformation is spread about Islam in other languages. I just want to encourage parents to try to get their children to study the language when young in order to make it easy for them to obtain a firm grounding of their religion.
Mardia and I are looking into finding a way to provide some help with young people to study Arabic.