I spent a good part of Saturday afternoon watching PBS.
It's quickly become a popular channel in my house with the Downton Abbey episodes, occasional Masterpiece Theater programs (did you catch Emma?), and the weekend cooking shows that are reminiscent of what used to air on the regular food channel.
Not to get all rant-y or anything, but I am honestly so over the competition based programs that now fill up our Food Network. What used to be a brilliant blend of Canadian and International cooking shows is now battle-based entertainment fraught with teary contestants and diary room confessionals, critical judges, product placements, and very little cooking. I've been looking for another place to get my food TV fix, and PBS is the answer.
There's Jacques Pepin, Lidia Bastianich, Rachel Allen, Ming Tsai, America's Test Kitchen, and Rick Bayless just to name a few. There's programming with Scandinavian chefs, and Italian ones. Even Julia pops up over there every once in a while.
This newfound knowledge is all thanks to my friend, Tess, who pretty much knows what's what when it comes to this stuff. I'm so glad she's shown me the way.
Until last weekend I had never heard of Rachel Allen, but I like her! It took one recipe for me to be hooked on her show, and less than 24 hours before I replicated it myself. She's a little Nigella-esque in her mannerisms, and her effortless cooking style is right up my alley.
Take for example this seed bread here. It's loaded with good for you ingredients, doesn't require kneading, and rises in the dish it bakes in. We ate it along with a bowl of hearty sausage soup and I can't think of a more perfect pairing.
Whole-Wheat Loaf with Oats and Seeds, from Rachel Allen
I love that the recipe measurements are in metric. It's such a simple and accurate way to portion out the ingredients, and I hope more recipes use this method in the future. Grab a digital scale and bowl and leave the measuring cups and spoons behind!
- 7oz whole-wheat flour
- 3oz all-purpose flour
- 2oz oats
- 1oz wheat or oat bran
- 1 tsp salt
- 5oz mixed seeds (any combination of poppy, sesame, flax, sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
- 350-400ml warm water
- 7g yeast
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp sunflower/olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and liberally grease a 2lb loaf tin.
In a large bowl, mix together the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, oats, bran and 3 ounces of the seeds (reserving the rest for later).
Combine 100ml of the warm water with the yeast and honey and allow it to stand until it turns frothy (takes about 5 minutes). When this happens add another 250ml of water and the oil, and stir well. Pour it into the dry ingredients. The mixture should be runny, and if not, add some more water.
Pour the bread into the tin and top it with the remaining seeds. Allow it to stand in a warm place until the bread mix rises to the top of the tin, about 1 hour.
Bake for 50-60 minutes – if it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom of the loaf, then it’s cooked, otherwise put back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.