8 Strand Bread Plait

Today I tried out an eight strand bread plait, inspired by The Great British Bake Off! I used the basic bread dough recipe that I’ve already published, did the first rise and then set about making my plait….

Divide the dough into eight equal portions and roll out with your hands into strands about 40cm long. Number the strands from 1-8 from left to right.  When you move a strand it takes the number of its new position.

Now the fun starts…

Step 1: Place 8 under 7 and over 1

Step 2: Place 8 over 5

Step 3: Place 2 under 3 and over 8

Step 4: Place 1 over 4

Step 5: Place 7 under 6 and over 1

Repeat steps 2-5 until all the dough is braided. Leave to prove for another hour, brush with an egg wash and then bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven at 200C.


Tarka Dhal

Dhal is a great source of protein and is usually served as part of a meal in an Indian household.  This is also great on its own with naan bread…..


1 cup red lentils

750ml water

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp salt

25g ghee or unsalted butter

1-2 medium onions, sliced or diced

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

fresh chilli or chilli powder, optional

coriander to garnish


Put the dhal, water, turmeric, cumin and salt into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes on medium, stirring frequently. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 -30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meantime melt the butter or ghee over a medium heat and fry onion until well browned.  This takes about 20 minutes.  Towards the end of the cooking time add the garlic (and chilli if using). Stir half of the fried onion mixture into the dhal and arrange the rest on top.  Garnish with fresh coriander and serve. This freezes really well and I usually make a double batch!



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I thought I’d start my recipes with bread.  That everyday food that we always seem to run out of at the most inconvenient time!  I’m the proud owner of a Thermomix which makes baking bread easy and it’s lovely aroma fills the house, making it warm and cosy and making me feel like a domestic goddess!

This is my go-to bread recipe for plain, simple, delicious white bread.


300g Water

600g Bread flour

2 tsp Dried yeast (one sachet)

2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Sugar

2tsp Bread improver (optional)

15g Olive oil


Place water, yeast and sugar into Thermomix bowl and heat 1 and half minutes/37C/speed 1

Add flour, salt, bread improver and oil.  Mix 5 seconds speed 5 to form dough. Knead for 6 minutes (Interval setting).

Place dough into lightly oiled bowl.


Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  This takes about an hour or up to two depending on how warm it is.

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Give the dough another quick knead by hand.  Today I made a selection of big and small rolls but it also makes one huge loaf or two small ones…… To make rolls, divide up into portions and shape and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Otherwise place into a lined bread tin. Leave to rise until they’re doubled in size again or the dough has reached the top of the tin.  Put the oven on at 200C to warm up.
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I like to brush with a little milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds to make them look pretty!

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Cook in the oven, the smallest rolls took 10 minutes and the larger 12 to 15….. The loaf takes a little longer, about 25 to 30 minutes.  I often take the loaf out of the tin and pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes which makes an extra crunchy crust.  It should sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom if it’s done.

They freeze well in a plastic bag for up to a couple of months if you can resist eating them all immediately!  We had ours with roast pork, crab apple and chilli jelly (recipe to follow) and some home grown lettuce….delicious….



All in one apple cake

It’s nearly winter and time for delicious warm from the oven apple cake.  Nice on its own or with ice cream, custard or cream if you’re feeling wicked!  This is the easiest apple cake ever, especially if you have a Thermomix.  If you don’t then you just have to chop the apple by hand to the size you want them, melt the butter and mix all ingredients by hand….


125g butter

3 large apples

180g caster sugar

300g self raising flour

1 egg


Preheat oven to 180C. Put butter in the Thermomix and melt at 60 degrees, speed 4 for 3 mins until melted.  Add remaining ingredients. Blend speed 5 for 40 seconds. Pour into greased and lined slice tin or square tin.Cook for 40 mins until done when tested with a skewer….yum……

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