Few things define my ideal home as much as the smell of fresh baking. This is pretty universal as far as I can tell, as supermarkets typically waft the smell of their own bakery departments throughout the store.
Bread, Quickbread, Flat Bread
Cakes, Cookies, Biscuits
Pancakes and Waffles
Most home-made bread goes stale and even sour very fast, and is really for same-day consumption. Specialty bakers make very good bread, and so do supermarkets for that matter, and that's where I get my daily stuff apart from what arrives via the Lord's Prayer.
The recipes here are for bread you will not find in the shops, and mostly it will be gone same day.
Dutch Oven Bread: This is a very simple bread, and one of the very best, but it needs plenty of time. You start it the day before you want it for lunch. You'll need a dutch oven or cast iron pot.
Bread In A Hurry A cross between a dutch oven loaf and a Doris Grant / Ballymaloe loaf if you're in a hurry. No knead. Excellent taste and texture. Two hours go to whoa.
Drury Oatmeal Bread: I used to make this in the early seventies in Drury. Another reliable standby, moist and chewy, best with jams, honey, etc, but fine with cheese or anything else you want to put with it. Excellent for toast on day two if there is any left.
Dave's Chocolate Bread: Decadent. Will do as a lunch dessert with just a little butter on a warm slice to go with your coffee, or with just a little imagination, say whipped cream and passionfruit pulp piled up on it, you can watch the bathroom scales wincing in anticipation. Not a good keeper.
Ballymaloe Bread A famous recipe which, with total disrespect for its origins and like every other baker who has used it, I have fiddled with. Good fast track yeast bread for when you've been away and come home to a house with no bread in it.
Ciabatta: The original of this recipe is from the website of Joe Pastry and has been adapted to my own eccentric practice. The results I have had for this recipe have been excellent, but it is at the opposite end of the energy spectrum from the Dutch Oven bread. The recipe is simple to follow, but is energy- and attention-intensive over several hours.
Vienna: This began as a variation on my ciabatta - same ingredients, slightly different preparation and baking method, generating a slightly denser crumb. Again, a relatively simple recipe, but fairly energy- and attention-intensive.
Focaccia I don't know how a bread dough can absorb so much olive oil. Very simple and quick. Makes two loaves about 35 cm across, or a dozen or more smaller ones. Good flavour. Excellent fresh, but still very much edible next day. Wonderful dipped in olive oil and garlic, or in Dave's Pumpkin Dip, or in the Alison Holst Green Pea Guacamole.
Focaccia - Alternative recipe. This one originated from a change of direction and what started off to be a ciabatta finished up getting the focaccia treatment. Successful enough to be worth recording.
Ciabatta: A classic Italian loaf. The original of this recipe is from the website of Joe Pastry and has been adapted to my own eccentric practice. The results I have had for this recipe have been excellent, but it is at the opposite end of the energy spectrum from the Dutch Oven bread. The recipe is simple to follow, but is energy- and attention-intensive over several hours.
Pizza This is a simple and tasty alternative to the bland frozen pizza bases that the supermarkets provide, complete with Dave's thoughts on toppings and directions for cooking.
Dave's Naan Bread Short of building my own tandoori, I reckon I've finally cracked the secret of good naan. All the recipes I originally found had them baked in an oven, and while this can produce a good flatbread accompaniment, especially for soups and dals, they were just not the same as the ones from my preferred Indian restaurants. These are cooked on a blacktop or in a cast iron or other heavy base pan.
Dave's Barbecue Bread This is a development of the Naan Bread above. It goes wonderfully with just about anything else that is barbecued and with a wide range of spreads and dips. I once even served this up for 100 guests at a birthday party - with a team of helpers.
Tortillas Begin about an hour before you need them, as dough ideally needs to settle for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Simple and excellent served still warm with beans or whatever. Also handy for these is a cast iron or heavy base frying pan. Recipe makes 16.
Quick Bread and Scones
These typically employ baking powder or baking soda as rising agents and therefore do not need the proving time required by yeast breads. Cultural note: What I call a scone is known in the USA as a biscuit, as in, "Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed..." (Kinky Friedman)
Dave's Homebrew Bread This one is a beauty. If you are pushed for time this one takes an hour from go to whoa, and comes as close in flavour and texture to a yeast bread as any quickbread I've ever seen. Excellent straight from the oven with soup or the like, and just as appetising chewing the cold stump smothered with butter and honey later on.
The Waiheke Scone Recipe: the original legend in its own lunchtime, famous for being famous and all the rest. Like the population of Waiheke Island itself, an unorthodox collection of ingredients combined to produce a very fine version of the classic New Zealand scone. Waiheke also produces some of our very best red wine.
Auntie Woof's Banana Bread:
For years Auntie Woof ran a marvellous website dedicated to culinary comfort food, until she and her husband decided to go walkabout in a trailer home and she was no longer able to maintain the website. Unhappily, I had not downloaded much of her stuff at all, believing, naively, that websites were forever. However, I did get this one.
Pancakes and Waffles
"Waffle House" Waffles: A slight variation on the recipe that used to be available from www.topsecretrecipes.com.
The virtue of this one is that even if you use it straight away, you still get an acceptable waffle. Better if left overnight though.
Never made this one myself but it was one that Charlie used often when he had mates around. He couldn't be bothered cleaning the electric waffle iron either unless it was first heated and applied to his person.
Galettes de Sarrasin: This is my favourite pancake bar none. Easy to prepare, but needs to be mixed about five hours minimum before cooking. A savoury buckwheat and egg pancake from Brittany, traditionally filled with mushroom sauce, bacon, ham and cheese or smoked salmon, though sour cream and jam are more common at our place. Similar in texture to dosai (see India), even though ingredients are very different. Can accommodate Indian fillings just as well - or even sweet fillings.
Dosai: A savoury crisp pancake made from rice and urad flours, lending itself to a variety of fillings to be either a snack or a more substantial meal. Needs a little planning ahead, but no more so than soaking beans.
Angel Pancakes: Trickier than some others. Start the night before. A feathery soft and light yeast and baking powder pancake that goes with any sweet filling, especially something like cottage cheese and home made Billington Plum jam. Needs a little care in preparation to keep the combination of crispness and softness. Charlie and Josh disposed of a whole bowlful of batter between the two of them first time I made these.
Submitted to an internet site as a family recipe by the Schwartz family - no other information, except a few pointers in the English to a foreign user - so I am assuming Germany in the meantime.
Crumpets: Recipes for these range from minimalist to highly exotic and, dare I say it, precious, and throw in a few regional twists as well. This is as simple as I can get it without losing anything important and it's a touch faster than most recipes, again without losing much if at all. This is important if you're planning on having them for weekend breakfast and don't want to be up at 5 am.
Hoppers: These are Sri Lankan in origin, but my friend Doreen who grew up in India around eighty years ago remembers them as a favourite treat then. You need a wok or two - cast iron for preference - and a little time to spare.
Oatmeal Pancakes: Another one from Alison Holst. Treat them as a variety of pikelet rather than as a pancake like those above. Very tasty for a cold weekend breakfast, with mushrooms and bacon, or with jam and sour cream, or the traditional syrup.
Cakes and Biscuits
(What we call biscuits are known in the USA as cookies. In the USA the word biscuits refers to what we call scones.)
Nancy's Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies : Before I opened my Father's Day present one year and found a grunty electric beater, one of the main considerations about whether I tried a new baking recipe was whether it involved creaming the butter and sugar first. This was one of my early favourites. Pile all the ingredients in together and mix by hand. Tastes wonderful.
Tahirua Biscuits: (They give Tararua Biscuits the old one-two.) Tramping tucker adapted by Miranda from an internet recipe as a somewhat (considerably, actually) more palatable alternative to NZ tramping's famous Tararua Biscuits.
[Tararua biscuits will not go soft on you, even during river crossings. They are made from wholemeal flour, salt and cement, and travel well, for one thing because they are too hard to eat quickly, and second, because the scroggin in the other bag is far more appealing anyway.]
1-2-3 Shortbread: In the same way that a basic marmalade recipe can be turned into dozens of different tasting results, this holds with shortbread. Start here, finish up anywhere you want
Wholemeal Shortbread: With an oatbran component,
this has a nutty taste, and plenty of healthy fibre. The family refer
to it as "sawdust shortbread", but it goes just as fast as the
regular sort and is excellent for dunking, soaking up quite a bit more
tea than most, with decent structural integrity. (From The Great New Zealand Baking Book) Did you know that you can now obtain viagra in teabag form. It keeps your biscuits from going soft when you dunk them.
Spiced Rum Biscuits: Simple to make, wonderful taste, excellent accompaniment to coffee of a morning. The original from a library book which I regrettably neglected to note the title or author of.
Tollhouse Biscuits: Another teenage favourite, relatively straightforward to make in that both the boys have produced successful batches at various times. Coffee and chocolate go together and more often than not when I fill the tins, it's chocolate biscuits of one kind or another that I make.
Anzac Biscuits: Not my own recipe. There are other versions around, slightly more elaborate, and maybe even better, but this one is straight out of the Book of Political Correctness, and, unlike much of the contents of that book, this is excellent. Thanks to http://anzacbiscuit.net/anzac-biscuit-recipe.html
Gran's Fruit Cake This one sustained me through my university years - Gran sent up regular supplies. The most forgiving of all fruit cake recipes, and will not break the bank. (Needs to be eaten within a few days of baking or it will dry out somewhat. Not quite fruity enough to preserve with brandy.
Felicity's Christmas Cake Somewhat more demanding than Gran's in the making, but nothing to beat it for the final result. A supremo among fruit cakes.
Dave's Favourite Fruit Cake: This one is a little richer and fruitier and nuttier than Gran's, and lends itself readily to fortifying with brandy
over a month or two for taking on long trips in the van.
John's Carrot Cake: For all of you old hippies and homesteaders who ate so much carrot cake in the seventies you couldn't stand the thought of it, this will revitalise the relationship.