The Flour Chronicles : 3

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After a relatively successful first batch of sourdough (made using the rye in my valentines day basket of interesting ‘flours’) I let the starter die. Was it the travel to Brisbane and back? Or the salt added too early? Perhaps my not discarding any of the starter as I fed it meant it didn’t stay fresh. Whatever it was, I’ve restocked up on rye flour and will need to begin the sourdough project again soon, my rudimentary success and the price of a decent sourdough loaf urge me on!

In the mean time, I had a go at using one of the other ‘flours’ this week. Millet flour. I did some Pintrest searching and mostly came up with gluten free bread loaves and flat bread recipes. I wanted to bake something that was good as a take-to-uni-or-to-work-as-a-healthy-snack rather than a loaf of bread so hunted around for a muffin or biscuit recipe. I found one but, as the recipe author suggested, found that millet flour can sometimes leave a bit of a funny aftertaste in your mouth. The muffin recipe was also very (very) dry. I actually felt mean sending it off to uni with my brother the other day (he was desperate for some extra things to nibble on). I needed to come up with an innovative way of using them up without wasting them … so I dreamed up a cross between energy balls and cake pops. ‘Muffin mouthfuls’ maybe? I give instructions below for how to turn mildly sweet muffins into little chewy morsels perfect for morning tea!

Ingredients:
12 unsweetened muffins (mine were millet based, and therefore gluten free, but I’m sure wheat/spelt/another type of gf would work. A for flavour, the ones I used had 1 cup of grated sweet potato in them but any flavour you like would work, just adjust added ingredients depending on moisture content of your muffins)
250-270g roasted sweet potato
4 1/2 Tbs date paste (this is the sweetener, feel free to add more, you’ll just need to add more ‘drying ingredients’*, see below, to compensate).
2 1/2 Tbs oat bran*
1 1/2 Tbs chia seeds*
1 1/2 Tbs psyllium husk*
2 Tbs cacao nibs

Method:
1. Bake the muffins up as per the recipe.
2. When cool, place them in the bowl of the food processor with half the sweet potato, pulse to combine. Add more sweet potato as needed, ideally the mixture will stop looking like bread crumbs and start looking like dough.
3. Add in the date paste, check sweetness.
4. Add in ‘drying’ ingredients and cacao nibs. Check texture. If wet, add more of your chosen ‘drying ingredient’, if dry, add a little more date paste.
5. Roll into balls and freeze till needed! I’m sure they could also be rolled in something tasty, perhaps cacao or coconut, cinnamon sugar … but I’m going to enjoy mine plain this time!

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Pita Crisps

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These are a relatively healthy snack food, quite reasonably priced and easy to do. They can be varied depending on your taste. Nick likes vegemite and butter, while Asher likes olive oil and chicken seasoning better. They are great for serving with dips like hummus and tatziki.

Ingredients:
pita bread/Lebanese flatbread
Olive oil spray
Chicken seasoning (ours was a blend of lemon, roast garlic and oregano but other spice blends would work fine too!)
or
Butter
Vegemite

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 200˚C.
2. Line baking trays with baking paper.
3. Chop bread into 8 triangles (in half, in half again, and then again …) and lay pieces on baking tray.
4. Spray lightly with oil and sprinkle lightly with spice mix.
Or
4. If you are doing the butter and vegemite version, spread a thin layer of butter and vegemite over the bread before chopping into the 8 pieces.
5. Bake in the oven till golden and crispy, this usually takes between 8-12 minutes depending on the oven and temperature.
6. Allow to cool before serving with dips or eating plain. Store in an airtight container.

Pikelets

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I have to admit that cooking this particular blueberry pikelets made me begin to doubt the holiness of ordinary things. This batch were the first I’ve made on a new gas stove and when they said that gas was fast … well, they were right. I managed to get it in the end, with the help of a patient husband and after a wash out of sizzled brown pots. The actual recipe itself is from my cousins (and originally a friend of theirs) and is very, very yummy! It is great with blueberries added before flipping to the second side, but if you are feeling like making them even more special, choc bits work well too! Happily eaten by brothers, husbands and cousins alike, this particular batch nourished a bunch of young, hungry musos 🙂

Ingredients:
2 cups self raising flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs beaten
butter for frying
Optional: Blueberries (or any other berry) or choc bits

Method:
1. Add the dry ingredients to a big mixing bowl. Mix well.
2. You can then mix the buttermilk and eggs together and whisk gently to combine. Or you can just make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.
3. Heat a fry pan (or two if you are impatient) and melt butter, ready for frying. A medium heat is good.
4. Add spoonfuls (size can vary depending on appetite, but they do puff up while cooking so don’t make them too big!). Ensure you add your extra special ingredients (berries and chocolate) if you want before flipping to the second side.
5. Enjoy on their own or with some butter or cream cheese and jam! We find they disappear quite quickly and a double batch is often required …