Sunday, 28 October 2012

A Personal Bake Off Challenge

I'm reading this book at the moment. I'm only half way through but I'm loving it. There is something in Julie Powell's obsessive personality that I recognise in my own... plus that need for a challenge...
 
 
and I got to thinking it would be fun to work my way through all the recipes in one of my own cookbooks (but without the time limit!) So given my slight obsession with all things "Bake Off" I decided to try  and cook everything in this book .Although there are some things I just don't like the sound of so may well miss them out which does kind of defeat the purpose of cooking every recipe (if there is indeed a purpose).

 
One recipe that did catch my eye was this Pecan Loaf... so pretty.

 
I perservered with a very sticky dough, kneading it by hand as I don't own a  fancy machine with a dough hook. I confess that it had less than the 2 tablespoons of black treacle required in the recipe... because I had almost run out... nor did it have pecans as I didn't have any in the cupboard, so walnuts were substituted.

 
And the end result looked pretty much like it should.

 
Sliced whilst still warm...

 
And eaten for lunch with our Sunday soup (Pumpkin with melting cheese, since you ask)

 
But despite appearances, I wasn't very happy with my bread. I don't think it was cooked properly (a slightly soggy middle) and there were far too many walnuts giving it an oily, slightly bitter flavour. And although no one else complained and there is not much left, already I want to try it again with the proper ingedients. I think pecans would work much better in the quantities in the recipe so I guess Paul Hollywood does actually know what he is talking about. Making all the recipes from this book and getting them perfect could be a very long process!

 
 
Of course there was cake too, a fruity Harvo loaf... but baked in eight little loaf shaped cases instead of the usual loaf tin. This is another one of those family recipes passed down from my Mum that also uses black treacle... but as I'd used the last scrapings from the tin in my bread I substited golden syrup.

 
And this time the substitution worked... delicious sliced in half and buttered!
 
Harvo Loaf
Stir together in a large bowl... 2 cups self raising flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup sultanas (or raisins), a scant cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons black treacle (or golden syrup if you've run out of treacle). Mix until combined, pour into a lined loaf tin and bake at 180 deg C for about 1 hour. Cool in the tin and eat sliced and buttered with afternoon tea!
 
I think it is quite likely that I've given this recipe on my blog before but I make no apology as it is quite the easiest and one of the tastiest cakes ever!

24 comments:

  1. Wow, what an exciting challenge! I have the 'Julie and Julia' dvd which I have watched a couple of times.
    The Paul Hollywood book looks great, I may have to add it to my Christmas wish list and also must give your Harvo Loaf recipe a try.
    Happy baking!

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  2. Now that sounds like a recipe I could cope with! You never know - one day!

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  3. love those cute little loaf tins Gina. they look scrumptious. I'm either way too lazy or in too much of a hurry to make bread, much as I love it lol. Yours looks wonderful.

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  4. I read the book in the summer and liked the is of working my way through a book to actually learn from it rather than the usual flick and put aside I seem to do. I am not vowing not to buy more books but I am trying to use them as more than just inspiring pictures.

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  5. Do you think the cake is easy enough for me?
    I might try that with a cookery book, maybe "100 Easy Cheese Sandwiches" or "100 Simple Ways to Snack on Sweets".

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  6. I loved Julie and Julia, but am too much of a flibbertigibbet to ever consider undertaking anything similar.

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  7. Will have to try that loaf, thanks for sharing. Your bread looks fab. Have a good week. :)

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  8. That's a very do-able little cake I'll have to try it. I do love those cute little loaf tins. :)
    Vivienne x

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  9. I loved the book and the film and there is something deliciously obsessive about the idea of working through a recipe book in that way. Does this mean you are spending some happy hours with Paul and his baking skills? I shall definitely try out the Harvo loaf. Thank you Gina!

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  10. Blimey Gina, I can't keep up. We're still eating our way through our batch of bread pudding (your recipe!). I loved the film of that book; like you I recognised my own obsessive personality and quest to find the "ultimate" set of recipes. Years ago my Dad got frustrated with Mum's collection of cookery books, asking why she had so many if she never cooked anything from them. From then on he would pull a book and recipe at random and get her to cook it: didn't try to cook it himself, no, just tried to organise her! I don't remember it going down well...

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  11. What a great idea to work right through a cookery book.
    Your loaves all look so tempting and I'm sure Paul Hollywood wouldn't be too critical. I have a couple of his recipe booklets from a recent newspaper supplement. They are excellent and I imagine his book will be the same.

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  12. OMG I'd worry for my waistline if I did that!!!!

    C
    xx

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  13. Loved the film! My mouth is watering, just reading your blog, plus with the cooking you put many of us to shame.

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  14. Oh Gina, I am so looking forward to your upcoming baking reports. (I an not much of a walnut fan, but really, really love pecans...and so I fully expect the pecan pecan loaf is going to be a real winner.)

    Treacle and golden syrup can actually be found at my local market...there's a special rack for lots of UK faves, and other racks for other international foods as well.

    xo

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  15. I was quite surprised how many times Paul Hollywood didn't knead on a floured surface, but an oiled one last week......... I found it a great week of telly and it was a delight to watch him and Mary Berry execute their own recipes. It was also great to see and hear what the contestants had felt during the filming.

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  16. I'm very sorry to hear about your soggy middle but at least it wasn't a soggy bottom

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  17. Even I could probably manage that recipe. It looks very nice and cute in the little tins.

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  18. Boy Gina - it looks lik you've been really busy in my absence. Those cakes look Yummy!!!!

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  19. Wow, Gina, I am just catching up after coming home, my mouth is watering from reading about all those yummy cakes. the bread pudding earlier is very like my grandmother's recipe, and I love the bags your students have been making. I must pull out that book again. Cheers

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  20. I am exhausted reading your blog - where do you get all your time and energy!! Angela has made bread pudding today yummy.
    Love the little tins and they look really gorgeous.

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  21. Delicious! Dot is doing a bit of a bake off challenge too - she is creating a cookbook as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Silver award and is basing it on River Cottage Veg Everyday - but with a Weight Watchers twist! We plan to get it printed when she finishes it so she can take it away to University in a couple of years. lucy xx

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  22. Can I just stare longingly at the cover rather than try the recipes? On last week's masterclasses I picke dup some good tips from both PH and MB. When it comes to bread he certainly knows his stuff but if I had to pick a favourite cook it would either have to be Hugh FW or Nigel Slater - he just seems to make it up as he goes along. That's my type of cooking!

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  23. When you've worked through the Hummingbird recipe book I can recommend 'Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery' - a woman's work is never done!

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