After a particularly busy week today has been a day of cooking and baking, and that's a great way to destress. The radio is turned up a notch or two, I have the house to myself and I'm in the process of making a lasagne for tea and while the rosemary focaccia cooks I'm already thinking about what's potentially up next.
It's been a while since I made focaccia though and luckily I had some yeast that was still just about in date and willing to do its thing. If you've got quick active yeast at the back of the cupboard like me then it's worth knowing that salt kills yeast and sugar helps it. So if you're not sure if it's going to do anything mix it with warm water and a smidgeon of sugar, if it froths use it, if not throw it away and head to the shops for some more!
I've the rest of the packet to use up so there could be plenty more focaccia to come, or even better pizza oven pizzas. Making bread always amazes me, so few ingredients but such a lovely outcome. The kneading is therapeutic too, and go some way to counter the stresses of this week.
I mean, from this:
To this, about thirty minutes later:
It smells good, and I'm looking forward to tucking into it later on.
The bolognaise of the lasagne is cooking away and there's just the cheese sauce to make. In the local supermarket earlier I was feeling lazy so thought I'd buy some but it was not to be as they only had carbonara sauce on the shelf. I was clearly meant to make my own.
Finishing with something sweet
Now that I've got into the mindset of baking today, I want to continue. You may remember I have a penchant for cake and would happily eat cake for breakfast. They do in Portugal, and so that means it's allowed. It's probably also why I like Portugal so much, in fact I even know the Portuguese word for cake (it's bolo in case you need it)
Thinking about what cake I could make I remembered a cake my SIL made on our last visit - a gin and tonic cake. I know, it sounds delicious doesn't it, I can tell you hers was and the flavours have been stored away for future use. There was also a strawberry and prosecco cake which I'm hoping will also reappear when we visit in the future.
But gin and tonic cakes, they definitely work. But which gin? We already have a selection (as you can see) and I suspect that each will give the cake its own flavour, and there's plenty of scope to experiment. I think this is where miniatures, like these from Just Miniatures could come into their own. For example I think a more fresh and floral flavoured gin would work well in a cake, but we tend to be drawn to more robust, juniper styles to drink. Clearly I'd like all the gin, but that's not so practical.
In my quest to find a recipe I'd use, I've already found the following recipes:
- Gin & tonic cake, BBC Good Food
- Gin & tonic loaf, Good Housekeeping
- Gin & tonic tray bake, Delicious magazine
- Iced gin & tonic bundt cake, Sainsbury's magazine
But I'd be keen to know if you have recipe you stand by, or of course, ones to give a miss.
* This is a collaborative post but all views are my own.