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When you miss your mama… (make mama’s homemade bread)

One of the first things I did when I found out that I was going to have to watch my spending this semester, was to ask my mother how to bake bread. I’ve never been a huge bread eater, but it’s reasonably healthy, one loaf lasts a long time and it sure beats having to pay triple the price at the store.

Here’s what you need:

400 grams all purpose flour
100 grams whole wheat flour (if you don’t have any, you can just use 500 grams of all purpose)
110 grams of rolled oats
110 grams of rye flour
30 grams of crushed linseeds
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
25 grams of active yeast
5 deciliters of water heated to skin temperature
1 tablespoon of oil (I use olive oil, but you can use whatever you have handy)

And here’s what you do:

I like to start by heating my water, so that I’ll be ready for when I need it. Just remember to keep an eye on it, so that it doesn’t get too warm. Then it’ll kill the yeast bacteria and you’ll end up with a brick instead of bread. Though arguably, my mother’s bread is a bit of a brick regardless of what you do to the yeast. But that just means it’s good for you!

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add a tablespoon of oil and set aside while you crumble your yeast into a measuring cup.

Use your finger to test the water temperature, and if it’s not too cold or too warm, pour a little more than 4 deciliters into the measuring cup with the yeast. Depending on how accurately you’ve measured your dry ingredients, you might not need all the water that you’ve heated up, but it’s always good to have a little more than you think you’ll need, just in case, and this way, you’re using all the yeast even if you don’t end up using all the water.

Use a fork to stir until the yeast is completely dissolved, then add it to the dry ingredients. With your hands, mix everything together into a firm dough. If you feel like it’s too dry, add in a little water. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.

bread

Once you’ve got your dough all nice and firm, transfer it to your baking surface and knead it a little bit before shaping it into an oblong roll. Get a oven proof pan (I think mine is a 2 liter) and coat it with oil (butter works too, if you want that). Gently lift your dough into the pan and stab it a few times with a fork. Give it a thin coating of oil, then let it rise for half an hour.

Bread

After about fifteen minutes, you can turn on your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Let the dough rise for the remaining fifteen minutes, then bake for around 40 minutes. Smells great, doesn’t it?

Once it’s done, put it on a rack and let it cool for a bit, then enjoy!

Bread

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always play around with the ingredients. For instance, my mother’s original recipe didn’t contain cinnamon or cardamom, but I wanted to give my bread a little bit of a spice cake taste (because I love spice cake), so I decided to add those. You can try with different spices, or you can add nuts or dried fruit; just use your imagination!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2011 in recipes

 

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“Enchiladas”

One of my favorite cheap dinners is actually one that I started making years ago, after getting tired of all the usual suspects on my and my roommates’ menu. I went online to search for new ideas, and decided that enchiladas sounded interesting enough. I found a recipe… and went on to change it completely, removing things that I either didn’t like or thought were too expensive and tweaking the procedure a little bit to suit me. I don’t know if the dish can rightly be called enchiladas anymore (hence the quotation marks), but it tastes great and since I don’t have roommates anymore, I have dinner for six days every time I make it.

Here’s what you need:
400 grams of ground chicken (I’ve never tried, but it can probably be replaced by ground beef, ground turkey or whatever meat/meat substitute that floats your boat).
2 jars (460 grams) of premade taco sauce (or you can make your own, if you’re not as lazy as I am)
1 container (300 grams) of creme fraiche
1/2 leek
6 wheat tortillas

First you brown your ground chicken in a pan until it’s cooked through completely. While keeping an eye on the chicken, chop up the leek and make sure to rinse it off because leeks tend to have dirt jammed in between the layers. Then you add the taco sauce; I usually put a little water in the jar after I’ve emptied it, to get out as much sauce as I can. Mix in the creme fraiche, then add in the leek and stir.

Take the mixture off the heat, and find an oven proof dish. This part can get rather messy because the mixture is so runny, so I prefer to set it up so that the pan and the dish are touching each other. Place one wheat tortilla in the dish and add as much of the mixture as you want, but make sure you’re not just getting sauce. Roll it up as best you can – it doesn’t have to be pretty – and push it to one end of the dish. Repeat the process with the rest of the tortillas, and don’t worry about using all the mixture. Whatever is left when you’re done, you spread evenly over the tortilla rolls, making sure that every tortilla is covered.

Top it with grated cheese and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for around thirty minutes. While you’re waiting, you can make a quick salad to serve along with the enchiladas.

Enchiladas

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2011 in recipes

 

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Lentil casserole

I read somewhere that lentils are super cheap and also rather healthy, so I searched the world wide web for recipes that might wow my palate. I’m generally a picky eater, and in addition to that, when I have had lentils in the past, I can’t say I’ve been a fan. But I did find a couple of recipes that didn’t look half bad, so tonight, I decided I would give lentil casserole a go. I found the recipe here, but the link is just so I can say that I gave credit where credit is due; it’s actually in Norwegian, so unless you understand that, you’re better off with my English translation, which you will find below.

Here’s what you need:

350 grams sprouted green lentils (edit: I originally said red, but well… feel free to call me unknowledgeable about lentils. They looked red enough to me, but upon further inspection of the packaging, I found out that they were actually sprouted green lentils.)
1 dl water
5 dl vegetable stock
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 ts grated ginger root (which I skipped because my local store didn’t have any)
2 tbsp tomoto purée
1 ts turmeric
Basil
Cayenne pepper
Curry powder
Salt

You start by chopping the onion and the garlic. When you’ve finished chopping up the onion and are moving on to the garlic, this might be a good time to put a pan on medium to high heat and put a splash of butter or oil in it. While it heats up, chop your garlic, and then put both the onion and the garlic in the pan and let it simmer until it’s soft, not brown. This is also where you would add two tablespoons of grated ginger, but I couldn’t get a hold of any, so I just skipped it.

Add in two tablespoons of tomato purée, about a teaspoon of turmeric, 5 dl of vegetable stock, 1 dl of water and then finally your lentils. Stir the casserole while bringing it to a boil, then let it simmer on medium heat for half an hour.

Add about a teaspoon of basil, a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of curry powder and some salt to taste. Leave it on for five more minutes, then serve with bread or rolls. And if you want to be exactly like me, pop in Across the Universe and watch it while you enjoy your dinner!

Here is my finished result:

Lentil Casserole

To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for this one. I thought it looked rather dubious before I allowed it to simmer, and like I said, I haven’t been a fan of lentils in the past. It turned out that the spices masked the lentils very nicely though, and while it still doesn’t look pretty, it was actually quite tasty!  I will definitely make this again.

If you’re interested, my calculations (which may or may not be accurate) say that one serving of this is 127 calories, and this recipe makes four servings of about 300 grams each, or 44 calories per 100 grams.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2011 in recipes

 

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