Archives for posts with tag: flour and water

yorkshire pudding foreign corr copy

Foreign Correspondent has been waiting for this moment. From the beginning of the project he wanted to show off his Yorkshire pudding skills. He has very fond memories of the times he went tramping in Yorkshire. Usually they are eaten as a side dish to the Sunday roast. That is something the Dedes don’t have often, which is the reason why it took so long for the recipe to be published. Due to their spongy texture they also go very well with a nice thick vegetable sauce.

Foreign Correspondent found out Yorkshire pudding is not very photogenic and neither is he. He looked pretty grumpy. Obviously he was unhappy with the result. All the other Dedes thought he was too critical of himself, like he usually is. Honestly, the puddings tasted yummy and they were gone in a flash. If you have never had them, you have to try them. They’re as simple as pancakes to make. It is basically a thick pancake batter baked in the oven. During the baking they rise like a soufflé. However, you don’t have to beat the egg whites separately and therefore the result is not quite as airy as you would expect a soufflé to be. It’s best if you have a muffin tray or ramekins to bake them in but you can also bake them in a bigger dish and cut into squares after baking.


1 cup of flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of milk (or a mixture of milk and water). Pinch of salt. Oil for the tray.

You also need a muffin tray or a loaf tin. Because the dough rises you need a tin with high sides.


Pour flour into a bowl. Add one egg after another, stirring well in between. Add the liquid in little dashes, stirring well after each dash. Continue until all the liquid is gone. It is like a thick pancake batter. Make sure there are no lumps. Let rest in the fridge for half an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 2100C.

Pour oil in the moulds of the tray and place in the oven to heat up. Once the oven and the tray are the right temperature, get the tray out, quickly half-fill the moulds with batter and place back in the oven.

Bake for 25 minutes or until well risen and crisp at the edges.

yorkshire pudding

crumb cake clown

It’s true. The Dedes are slowly getting over flour and water and are dreaming of mashed potatoes and dumplings and croquettes. Mouse has already allocated a corner of the garden for the potato patch. But she also has a list of recipes she wants to include in the Artist Survival Cookbook, and there are only three more recipes left to try. Today they decided they will forgo the puff for cream puffs as they are mainly made from egg, with only a little flour and water. So that brings it down to two recipes still to go. Yorkshire pudding and crumb cake. But then they got a recipe from Tony last night for Challah bread and that sounds interesting. So the final count puts it back on three again. That’s how it goes, a never-ending story :).

The weekend is the right time to bake a cake, but when Clown handed his recipe to Mouse they had to discuss whether crumb cake is actually an eligible recipe as it doesn’t contain water but milk. In the end they decided that yes, it could go in the book as it is a very cheap cake to satisfy a sweet tooth. Clown has a lot of experience making it and the crumbs are so delicious that he often picks them off the cake to eat and feeds the base to the chickens. Psst, please don’t tell Mouse as it isn’t the right way to eat the cake. It is very dry though. Clown often adds moisture by chopping a few apples to put on the base under the crumbs. It also goes well with a dollop of ice cream, or just simply cream, and it certainly fills you up.


2.5 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of dry yeast, 200ml of lukewarm milk, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 50 grams of butter.

Crumbs: 1 cup of flour, 3/4 cup of sugar and 100 to 150 grams of butter. Cinnamon (optional)


Pour flour in a bowl. Make a well in the middle, pour in the lukewarm milk and add the yeast and sugar. Let rest until the yeast is foamy. Melt the butter and let cool. When the yeast has developed a foam add the butter and knead everything to a soft dough. Knead well on a flat surface and then put back in the bowl to rest until the dough has doubled in size.

To make the crumbs mix all the ingredients for the crumbs together and knead until they form little balls.

Preheat the oven to 2100C

Once the dough has risen, knead again and roll out to the thickness of a finger. Place on a greased baking tray and sprinkle the crumbs on top. Allow to rise again.

Bake for 15 minutes.

crumb cake small

artist survival cookbook cover

Milky Bar Devil looked so cute with his hamburger bun the other day, that the Dedes decided they are making him the poster boy for the cover and L’Artiste played around with the arrangement today. Having arrived at this stage, the little light at the end of the tunnel is definitely in sight. I have three more recipes to add, and a couple other changes, the proof-reader is lined-up too…. So can’t be too long now.

In case you haven’t had dinner yet, here is a picture of the finished hamburger.




hamburger bun

How could we have missed this. All those flour and water recipes and no hamburger buns. We have pizza and pasta and some more obscure things, but no hamburger buns. Mouse and Devil’s Advocate are currently editing the book, while L’Artiste does the layout. It is strange how you often only see inconsistencies once everything is formatted. Anyway, last night they realised they have no hamburger buns. Milky Bar Devil laughed as this is what he wanted to contribute. “Why didn’t you say so?” Mouse asked a bit annoyed. “Ah well, I thought that everything has to be crunchy, the buns, the pizza base, the grissini… I thought you aren’t interested in a soft bun.” He gave Mouse a big elfish smile and it was immediately clear why he prefers the soft buns. He has a big gap in his teeth.

“No, you got the wrong impression there” said Mouse. “We always point out that tastes are different. Some people like a soft pizza base, others a crunchy one. It’s simply that I like it crunchy, but for the completeness of the book we definitely need hamburger buns. So would you please give me your recipe!”

Milky Bar Devil handed over his piece of paper and Mouse was surprised how quick they could be made. Despite it being a yeast dough, they only need to rise once. She shook her head in disbelieve. “Does this really work?” she asked. “Yes,” Milky Bar Devil said and grabbed the recipe back. “Give me half an hour and I’ll quickly throw them together for you.”


3 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of dry yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 cup of lukewarm water. 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Baking paper or silicon mat for the tray.


Put flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in water and add the yeast and sugar and sprinkle a little of the flour over the water (the sugar and flour will help the yeast to become active). Let stand for 10 minutes until the yeast is foamy.

Preheat the oven to 2200C

In a separate bowl whisk together egg, salt and oil with a fork. Then add the yeast and flour. Work everything into a soft dough and knead for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. To start with the dough is very sticky and will want to stick to the work surface and your hands. Do not add more flour, just knead until it is an elastic, non-sticky dough. Divide into 8 balls and place on tray lined with a silicon mat or baking paper. Flatten the balls lightly to form a disc.

Cover with a clean tea towel and let rest for at least 10 minutes or until the oven is heated to the right temperature.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.


advocate cracker

Devil’s Advocate is currently reading through the recipe collection for the Artist’s Survival cookbook. He held his hand up for the task as he couldn’t contribute a recipe, despite his love for food. He just doesn’t cook. Mouse was delighted to have found another pair of eyes to look over the work. It is a well-known fact, that you can’t see mistakes, when you are too close to the project. So she gratefully gave him the pile of paper and left him to it. He started at the beginning, as one does. You might remember, we did cracker recipes right at the start, as they don’t require many ingredients just flour and water and maybe a little oil or butter. After all the book is to show how many yummy staples you can make from very basic ingredients. Devil’s Advocate loves crackers. He normally devours an entire packet when he watches TV.  So he was amazed when he read how easy they are to make and as it was Sunday, he was keen to have a go himself.

But gee was he disappointed with the result. The crackers didn’t hit his taste buds at all. They reminded him more of crispbread, rather than the crackers he favours. His favourite ones are a tad richer and sort of friable. But on the upside the crackers weren’t difficult to make and had hardly any ingredients. The attempt made him realise how much money he would save, if he could make his favourite food himself. He asked Mouse if she has another recipe that might be more like what he was after. Mouse didn’t need much time to think and said: “Just add more butter and less water and maybe you want to add a leavening agent to make them more airy.” Devil’s Advocate looked blankly at her. “You have to be more precise” he said “I am an absolute novice!”

“Okay then” replied Mouse, “here is another cracker recipe. It might be a little bit too rich and it has more ingredients. That’s why I call them the rich man’s crackers.” She then explained to Devil’s Advocate, that you basically can use any combination of flour, water and butter/oil to create crackers. The baking soda and yoghurt in the following recipe is not really necessary, but it fluffs the crackers up a little. Keep track of any changes you make to the recipe, so you can repeat it when you get the the combination that hits the right spot on your taste buds.


1 cup of flour, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon of plain yoghurt, 4 to 5 tablespoons of cold water


Mix flour, baking soda and salt together. Add the butter and rub with your fingertips into the flour until it is well distributed and the mixutre resembles semolina. Add the yoghurt and also distribute well. Last add the water. Add one tablespoon at the time and knead into the dough. Add only as much as is needed that the dough sticks together well. Let rest in the frigde while the oven preheats to 2100C.

Roll out the dough thinly. It will rise a little during baking. Cut in squares or other shapes and place on a baking tray. The dough contains so much butter, that it is not necessary to butter the tray. Brush the surface of each shape with water and prick with a fork a couple of times.

Bake in the oven for 10 mins or until slightly brown.

Let cool on a wire rack.


fairy naan

Last weekend Fairy Godmother had a fit, because Punch Drunk had offered shortbread as a snack during the photoshoot. It is a far too unhealthy option for her taste. The Dedes were waiting all week for her to make something more suitable. As you can imagine a fairy godmother is pretty busy and nothing was produced.  Whenever she bumped into one of the Dedes she was asked, when she is going to make something. After the 50 oddth time she finally surrendered and made some naan bread to go with a soup last night.

Naan is usually made with yeast. Of course this method needs a bit of time as the dough has to rise. Fairy Godmother of course can’t be bothered to wait around and makes her naan with baking powder. Mouse was very curious as she couldn’t imagine that it would work, but was surprised when she tried the result. Now she is very happy to include this recipe, as the book contains a lot of yeast breads already.


2 cups of flour, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of baking powder and ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ cup of milk, 2 teaspoons of oil.

For the topping some sort of seeds (eg poppy seeds or sesame seeds) or chopped garlic and corriander

1 tablespoon of butter or oil to brush the surface of the bread before serving


Mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda) together in one bowl and make a well in the middle. In a separate bowl mix wet ingredients (milk and oil).

Pour the liquid mixture into the well. Then work everything into a smooth soft dough by gradually adding the flour from the edges into the liquid. Knead well for 8-10 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and let stand for 10 minutes. Make five or six balls from the dough.

Preheat the grill to medium and place a tray on the upper shelf under the grill to heat up.

Roll the dough balls out quite thinly, sprinkle with the desired topping. Wet your fingertips with water and press into the surface of the dough. (This creates the blisters in the naan). Place the pieces onto the hot baking tray and grill for just 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Brush with butter or oil and serve hot.

short bread copy

As you know, last weekend the Dedes worked overtime to get their pictures taken for the Artist’s Survival Cookbook. Even though they worked late, they didn’t quite finish and will have to continue in their spare time. It didn’t help that they had a heated discussion for a while, which kept them from working for some time.

Punch Drunk got the munchies while waiting his turn and he thought that while he waits he might as well whip up a treat for everyone to keep them going. The fridge was rather empty. They simply forgot to go to the shops to get food as they were so engrossed in the photoshoot. Anyway, he found some butter and sugar, and flour is of course  always in the pantry. So he decided to throw together some shortbread. He thought it was a good idea and that the treat would go down well.

Fairy Godmother shrieked in disgust when she saw him placing a plate with his baking on the table. She grabbed the piece of shortbread Punch Drunk held in his hand and shouted “That stuff is pure poison! It is made of butter and sugar only! Can you think of anything more unhealthy?”  The studio fell silent and everyone looked at her. Punch Drunk ducked, obviously fearing Fairy Godmother would hurl the cookie at him. But she didn’t. She just glared at him disapprovingly.

“I’ll have one” said Devil, who has a sweet tooth and helped himself confidently. “Me too” L’Artiste followed suit. He was running the show and had not realised how hungry he was. “Are you crazy?” said Fairy Godmother. She wanted to confiscate the plate but Devil held on to it. “It is a little treat to share around. At least when one reads the recipe one is fully aware of what’s in it” he said. “Get over it.” Fairy Godmother continued to point out out all the negative effects of sugar and fat. Of course some of the other Dedes sided with her.

In the meantime,  L’Artiste gulped down three more pieces and said: “You don’t have to eat it! But I can go for another hour now. Let’s get back to work. Chop, chop!”

Mouse grabbed Punch Drunk by the arm and said “I think for the sake of completeness, we should put the recipe in the book.” Punch Drunk looked at her gratefully and handed over the recipe.


4 tablespoons of butter, ¼ cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour


Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth. Stir in flour to get a smooth paste. (If the dough is too crumbly and doesn’t’ stick together, wet your hands with water and work into the dough until it holds together.) Heat the oven to 1900C While the oven is heating up, let the paste rest in the fridge. Then put it on a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is about 1 cm thick. Cut into fingers and place on a baking tray.  As the dough contains a lot of butter, there is no need to butter the tray. Prick each piece with a fork a couple of times. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.


This is a really busy weekend for the Dedes. They all lined up in the studio to get their pictures taken for the Artist’s Survival Cookbook. For a while they’ve been discussing with L’Artiste how to do the imagery in the book. The pics on the blog were only quick snapshots taken on the day when their recipe was baked. Mouse baulked at the idea of re-making everything just to get better shots. She is really annoyed that nobody listened to her when she said, “Do it once and do it right!” Why should she spend more time now, she asked, when she can use her time so much better for the design of the book.

“But don’t you want to have the best possible book?” asked Detail.

“Leave her alone” said Devil. “I can understand, she’s the one who does all the work! There is always a way around it.”

In the end they decided to take new pictures in the studio and present the existing ones as selfies. They asked Mouse to quickly mock a page up to show everyone. She acted coyly at first, as she doesn’t want to show work in progress. She has a long list of things she still has to solve. But the others were adament that the readers need to know they are still working on the book. In the end she succumbed.


cool cat hot cross bun

Originally Pavlova wanted to make hot cross buns today.  The buns are a tradition in England as well as in Australia and New Zealand. Having settled in a new country Pavlova is overzealous in her attempts to perfectly fit in and has been talking for weeks about making the buns though she has never made them before. She has also been complaining that you have been able to buy them in the shops almost from Christmas. It came to a head today when Harvey gleefully told her the buns are actually eaten on Good Friday rather than Easter Sunday.  Pavlova doesn’t get facts wrong often. When she does, she is most upset and mopes for weeks. So it didn’t come as a surprise that she left in a huff after Harvey had enlightened her, leaving the other Dedes annoyed that they didn’t get their promised treat. Of course they could have bought them from the shop, but not today. Today is one of only three days in the year when all the shops are closed.

Fortunately Cool Cat stepped forward and said she could make the spicy buns. Like Harvey’s yeast plait, they don’t fit the ingredients list exactly, but because it is such a tradition Mouse turned a blind eye. Apart from raisins you also need cinnamon.

Ingredients for 18 buns:

7 cups of flour (2 cups of whole meal and 5 cups of white flour), 1.5 cups warm milk, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons yeast, 100 grams butter, 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of raisins (or other dried fruit eg cranberries)

Cross: 1/2 cup of flour and 6 tablespoons of water

Glazing: 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon water


In a big bowl mix the two types of flour together with a fork. Make a well in the middle. In a pot heat up the milk a little then pour into the well and add the teaspoons of sugar and yeast. Let sit for a 10 mins until the yeast is foamy. Melt the butter in a pot then add sugar and cinnamon.  Then add this mixture to the yeast and flour. Mix to a dough. Transfer to a flat surface and knead well for 5 minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise for an hour or so.

When it has doubled in size, add the raisins/dried fruit to the dough and knead again until the fruit is well distributed through the dough. Form 18 balls and place them on a baking tray dusted with flour, leaving a little gap between the balls.  Preheat oven to 2000C. Let the buns rise again while the oven is heating up.

For the cross, mix the flour and water and carefully draw a cross with the side of a teaspoon on each of the balls.

Bake in the oven for 20 mins.

Just before they are done, mix the sugar and water for the glazing. Brush on as soon as the buns come out of the oven while they are still piping hot.

harvey easter plaid

Harvey, the rabbit, knew all along that his time to contribute to the Artist’s Survival cookbook will come at Easter. For months he had told the Dedes he is going to make a yeast plait. His mum made one every year, as it was traditionally eaten where his ancestors came from. Where exactly that is, he doesn’t know. “Somewhere in the East” his mum would say. ‘East of what?’, he still wonders, as every place is East of somewhere else.

“You live in New Zealand now” said his partner Pavlova snobbishly. “You should make Hot Cross Buns as it is the custom here”. Pavlova is obviously not from around here either but is very keen to fit in. Harvey choose to ignore her, as he has done more and more often lately. They have been together for a little over a year now and it is so sad watching Harvey slip back into his old habits. But that aside.

Last night when everybody had gone to bed he set out to do his job. He even organised a few raisins to add, an ingredient that is usually not on the list, but they are important for a hint of sweetness. It is Easter after all. As the dough is a yeast dough it needs time to rise. This wasn’t a problem as Harvey could use the down time to hide the Easter eggs around the house. Still, he only finished in the wee hours. And as a result he slept in this morning. Oh, what a surprise when he came into the kitchen …half the plait was gone.

“Please don’t get angry” said Mouse.” We were all so curious and couldn’t wait any longer.”

“And,” Harvey asked nervously,” is it good enough to be included in the book?”

“Of course it is!” said Mouse. “Where is the recipe?”

“In my memory!”

Mouse looked at him and wanted to say something, but she kept her mouth shut. She has an inkling that Harvey is dyslexic. She has never seen anything in his handwriting. Though he claims he writes regularly to his sponsor Mr XL, Mr XL  complains bitterly that he hardly hears from his buddy. Mouse doesn’t quite know who to believe.

“Well” commented Pavlova with a snide untertone, “that thing is not too different from Hot Cross Buns. So what’s the big deal?”

Harvey threw his arms in the air. “Leave it out then!” he shouted and left.

Mouse looked at Pavlova. Why do some have to make their lives miserable when they fall out of love? she asked herself and said to Pavlova “I will get his recipe and it goes into the book.”

“No need for me to make Hot Cross Buns today then?”