The Magic of Yeast Water

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First they came for the hand sanitizer, then they came for the TP. Finally they came for…the flour & yeast? Yeah- The Time of Covid has been a stressful, testing and, let’s face it, downright weird one. Panic induced mob-mentality has led to mass line-ups outside grocery stores and bulk buying of household items in order to weather self-isolation orders and solitude. 

Whether it’s genuine creativity or social media induced compulsion it’s also led to an exponential increase in people home-baking. Despite the majority of grocery market shelves being repopulated with once scare items, a social distance complying stroll through any baking aisle will reveal barren, flour dusted shelves that once accommodated flour of all varieties and it’s habitual partner-in-crime…yeast.

Yeast shortage bedamned! Whilst I realized that I did NOT have the space to accommodate a domestic flour mill, what I could set about investigating was yeast and it’s production. I mean- I’d had already gotten a pretty solid hold on the process of Kombucha brewing -whatever else there is NO shortage of scobies at my house! That process involved yeast and it’s cultivation so how different could growing yeast for baking be? Turns out not so much. Use of a base fruit to cause a fermentation reaction (I use raisins here) and a few more steps. Said reaction then causes the production of yeast with which you can make use of in bread-making. Seems easy right? Well technically it is. BUT don’t expect it to be a speedy process. It takes almost a week to brew the initial yeast water- and that’s BEFORE you actually start on the bread production- which is slow. It seems that making bread by using naturally grown yeast, weather via a dough starter or yeast water, is a slower process than using your packet or jarred variety. 

Please don’t think that I’m nay-saying the process. Quite the opposite in fact. Is the slow lengthy process of brewing and proofing so bad after all? In world now fraught with anxiety and frustration, is spending time on things so bad? Basking in the mindfulness of a task or hobby is hardly disadvantageous. I mean- time isn’t one of those things in shortage right now? Although a lengthy effort to make and bake with yeast water I can definitely say it’s one heck of a rush of elation and satisfaction when cutting in to the final baked loaf.  And I will say it’s a delay well worth waiting for once you taste the final protracted fruits of your labour. Using natural yeast adds so much more character and dimension to your loaf that you’ll never get with the speedy but banal convenience of quick yeast again.

Another positive aspect (if more practical) is that once the initial yeast water is brewed there is minimal, if none at all, upkeep of it in comparison to it’s celebratory sourdough starter cousin. “Apparently” it’s just a process of just drain off the fruit, storing the yeast-rich water in the fridge, using it when needed. You only need to add more components when the source water runs low and you need to make more. (I say “apparently” as I’m in the middle of this process myself – so expect updates!)

I’m still testing out varying methods of dough proofing and crafting, and in doing so am trying a various hodge-podge of principles and methods “a little of this, a little of that”. Initially I used a sourdough method of using a starter and levain. As this method resulted in success (see the final video) it’s the one I detailed here.

*Later in the recipe I use a bench scraper to help with the procedure. Whilst not essential, you can use your hands, it does make the job easier.
I also make reference to something called  “50/50 mix”. This is a half and half mixture of bread flour and rice flour. The smaller, coarser grains of the rice flour helping to overcome dough sticking

 

Yeast water base
  • 4 Tablespoons raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup tepid water
  1. Add all ingredients to a 1 litre bottle (in the photogrpahs below I started off in a Kilner jar but later transferred to a bottle). I’ve used a spare SodaStream bottle but the main thing you want is something that can be sealed and airtight. Mix to shake and leave to ferment in a warm (room temperature) place. I leave it in my pantry. Over the next 4 days shake the bottle at least once a day to ensure than the contents remain mixed and to avoid mould growth on the fruit. Over this time you will gradually see the fruit starting to float and a layer of bubbles form on the surface of the liquid
  2. After the forth day release the cap carefully as the contents will be choc-full of carbonation and fizzing. You should also notice an odour reminiscent of beer/ over-ripe fruit. You’ll know it- it’s pretty distinctive. Once the contents have settled add an additional 4 cups of water and shake to mix the contents. leave overnight in your selected warm location
  3. The following day, again carefully release the cap and wait for the carbonation to subside. Add in a further 1 tablespoon of raisins and 1/2 cup of water. Shake again and set aside for at least 4 hours before initial use

Starter dough

  • 30g Bread Flour
  • 30g Yeast Water (drained of any fruit)
  1. Mix these two ingredients together in a jar and set aside overnight in the same location as your yeast water. If you water is successful (ie alive!) the mixture should have increased in volume and be quite bubbly. If not I’m afraid it’s pack to the drawing board for you. Perhaps try fresh fruit instead of dried? I’ve read of some recipes where figs, dates, and even apples have been used. Also see my note below*

Levain

  • Rested Starter dough, as above
  • 60g Bread Flour
  • 30g yeast water 
  1. Transfer you starter mix from the jar to a large bowl. Add in the bread flour and additional yeast water. Stir to combine well (the mixture should be like a thick slurry paste). Leave this to rest for minimum 6 hours in the same location as your yeast water. The next step is were you’re actually going to make the bread dough! (A word to the wise here – select a bowl large enough to contain you’re final amount of dough after proofing)

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Bread dough

  • Rested levain, as above
  • 400g bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 350g tepid water
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using your hand in a “claw” shape mix them until they are well combined. Cover with oiled cling wrap or a plastic bag and set aside for 30 minutes (this is called the autolyse)
  2. After 30 mins remove the covering and again with your hand in a “claw” shape mix the dough. Continue for another few minutes until it gets to the stage where the dough is a roughly a single ball/ lump in the centre of the bowl and is “cleaning” the sides of the bowl of any residual mixture. It should still be quite sticky
  3. Transfer the dough from the bowl onto a counter top. I find there is no need to flour or oil it as this way helps it stick- enabling stretching and gluten strand formation. This are is where you’ll develop your own technique for kneading the dough. As a heads up while you knead the dough it will become firmer and dryer, sticking less to the surface. My method of kneading is to grab the dough by either side and pull it up, away from the counter surface, causing the centre to stick to the surface. If the complete doughball comes away slap it to the counter surface whilst still holding either end. Then fold either end back on top of the main body of dough and repeat. I think this part of kneading is quite specific to the person doing it- almost like a signature. I continue this for 15 minutes by which time the dough has become firmer, dryer and holds it’s shape a lot better. At this point transfer back to the large bowl for First Proof. Cover loosely with oiled cling wrap and leave in a warm location (you guessed it- same as your yeast water!) The proofing of this will be rather slow so I’ve left mine overnight until it has more than doubled in size. 

The following day

  1. Your next step in dough production! Tip the risen dough out on to a clean counter top lightly dusted wit a 50/50 mix of bread flour and rice flour. You don’t actually want to knock it back too much here unlike when you ‘re making a standard bread loaf. Using a bench scraper gently scoop up and fold the dough in on itself. You’ll want to do this all around the dough ball. I usually end up doing it at between 6 to 8 times. What you’ll end up with is a dough ball with a very smooth, tight bottom (!) and it’s seams gathered at the top. Gently scoop the dough ball up and transfer it to a prepared banneton (heavily dusted with 50/50 mix) or bowl lined with a heavy-dusted cloth. Cover the banneton/ bowl with oiled cling-wrap, return it to your “yeast water” place and leave to proof/ rise for a second time. I’ve had to wait up to 6 hours for this to happen. When it has risen and doubled in size it’s now time for the next step

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  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F at least 15 mins before wanting to bake. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Dust the top of your dough (in the banneton) with 50/50 mix. Place your lined baking tray over the top of the banneton/ bowl and quickly invert. The dough should fall out onto the prepared tray. If not it may take some gentle coaxing with flour dusted fingers. Once your dough has turned out onto the tray, slash/ score the top of it (as fancy or as plain as you like) and you good to go!
  2. Place the dough in your preheated oven and bake for 20 mins. After this time reduce the temperature to 390 degrees F and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes. Your loaf should develop a hard, crisp out crust and sound hallow when tapped from below. Remove from the oven and leave to full cool before cutting

*If your initial yeast water doesn’t come to life another factor that may be effecting it is your choice of dried fruit. I’ve read in a few places that using organic dried fruit can result in a speedier process. This is due to the lack of potassium sorbate which an be used in some dried fruit to stop it spoiling. It’s a preservative that stops yeast from reproducing, and prevents any renewed fermentations from other yeast or bacteria.

Soft Bread Pretzels

Makes: 8

Ingredients

Pretzel dough

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Quick-rise yeast
  • 320ml warm water
  • 65ml olive oil

Soda Bath

  • 3 litres water, boiling
  • 1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda

To finish

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • Sea salt flakes

Method

  1. Lightly oil a large bowl and set aside for the dough later
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, salt (to one side), yeast (to opposite side) and brown sugar
  3. Add in olive oil and 250ml warm water and mix on low setting to combine the ingredients. Add in remaining water, if needed, to achieve a soft, slightly sticky dough. Continue to knead in the machine for a total of 7 minutes. (if you’re mixing the traditional way, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir using your  hand (in a claw shape) until the all come together. Tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and continue to knead for 10 mins until the dough is soft and slightly sticky)
  4. Tip the dough from the mixer bowl into the prepared oiled bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place to proof for at least 45 minutes, or until doubled in size
  5. Before you start working on the dough pieces, bring the 3 litres of water to a rolling boil in a large pot and add in the bicarbonate of soda
  6. Once the dough has finished proofing, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and, in turn, divide each piece into 4 equal pieces. This will give you 8 equal pieces of dough to work with
  7. Roll each piece of dough into a long strand/rope approximately 30 inches in length. Take each end of the dough “rope” in the opposite hand and cross over simultaneously. Cross them over again to bring back the ends back to their original sides whilst bringing the tips down to the base of the loop. You should end up with a rough “heart” shape with the overlapping stands inside. Press the ends of the strands onto the loop so they stick
  8. Preheat your oven to 400°F
  9. This next bit is fiddly and a little patience & perseverance may be needed. Carefully pick up and drop the assembled pretzel to the pot of boiling soda solution (I use a slotted spatula) Take caution as there may be some splashing. Allow the pretzel to boil for 20 seconds (it should rise to the surface), the using a slotted spatula flip the pretzel on to it’s oppose side and continue to boil for another 20 seconds. Remove with the slotted spatula, drain and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough pretzels
  10. Brush each of the pretzels liberally with the melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt flakes to personal taste
  11. Bake in the your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and brush with any remaining butter if desired. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly
  12. The pretzels are at their best enjoyed warm or fresh on the day of baking

 

Southern Comfort Dinner

I’ll say it now- I’m not a big fan of cheese dishes. Now that’s out of the way I will admit to having cravings for them on occasion. Specifically one dish- Mac and Cheese. The stalwart comfort food that’s good enough to dissuade even a turophobe like me. One evening I took a fancy to make mac and cheese. Along with fried chicken. Along with Southern buttermilk biscuits!
Pairing the cheesy pasta dish with fried chicken and how could I not be on board? Whilst doing my research on fried chicken I came across “Comeback Sauce”. Originating in Mississippi this dipping sauce is a spicy condiment guaranteed to have you licking your fingers and indeed “coming back” for more.
When put together all of this dishes are for me the ultimate comfort food dinner and well worth the effort. After posting about it on my social media I was surprised by the interest in it and after much feedback from you- here it is! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

4 Cheese & Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced bacon
  • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 4 cups dried macaroni elbow pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 ground white pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup Velveeta processed cheese product
  • 2 cups freshly shredded Gouda (smoked can be used)
  • 1 cup freshly shredded sharp red cheddar
  • 1 cup fresh shredded Jarlesburg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesean
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly grease/ butter a large casserole dish ( I used 11″x 11″x 2 1/2″)
  2. In a frying pan or skillet fry the chopped bacon until lightly brown. Add the maple syrup and continue to fry until crispy. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plate and allow to cool. (When cool the bacon may stick together. Break up to smaller pieces if needed)
  3. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain and return to pasta pot to keep warm. Lightly toss in olive oil to prevent clumping
  4. Combine the shredded cheeses and set aside until needed
  5. In a separate small bowl stir together the Parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs and melted butter. Set aside until needed
  6. Prepare the cheese sauce base. In a large pot melt the butter. Add in the flour and stir to coat in butter. Cook over a medium heat until golden.
  7. Gradually add in the milk, stirring constantly with a small whisk to prevent lumps
  8. Once all the milk has been added cook the sauce over a medium heat until bubbling. Cook for 2 minutes, again stirring constantly, until thickened
  9. Add in salt and pepper, and stir to mix
  10. Reduce heat to low, add in the Velvetta and stir to melt
  11. Once the Velveeta has melted, add in the shredded cheese mix in stages stirring between until each addition is melted. Once all the cheeses have been added continue to stir until smooth. Remove from the heat
  12. Add the prepared macaroni pasta and crispy bacon pieces and stir well to combine ensuring all the pasta is covered in the cheese sauce. Transfer to your prepared casserole dish
  13. Sprinkle the top of the pasta mix with the breadcrumb mix
  14. Bake in the prepared oven for between 20-25mins or until the crumbs are golden.

Southern Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Place the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl and stir to well combined
  2. Add the cubed butter and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs form
  3. Make a well in the centre of the mixture. Pour the buttermilk on top. Stir everything together until just about combined– don’t overwork the dough. The dough will look like very crumbly
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently mould it into a rough looking rectangle using your hands. Next fold one side into the centre, then the other side. Turn the dough so it’s long horizontally. Gently flatten. Repeat the folding again. Turn the dough so it’s long horizontally once more. Gently flatten. Repeat the folding one more time
  5. Gently roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 3-inch circles. Re-roll any scraps until you have 9-12 biscuits
  6. Arrange close together on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure they’re touching
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top.
  8. Remove from the oven and, if desired, brush with melted butter. Enjoy warm. When cool, cover tightly and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

Buttermilk fried chicken

Ingredients

  • 12-16 chicken breast fillets
  • Canola oil for frying

Marinade

  • 4 cups Buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Flour seasoning

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Method

  1. Whisk together the buttermilk and dry ingredients and place in a shallow casserole dish
  2. Place the chicken pieces into the marinade and gently stir to coat. The pieces should at least be semi-covered in the liquid
  3. Cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge
  4. In another shallow dish or plate mix together the seasoned flour ingredients
  5. Remove the chicken pieces from the fridge, remove from buttermilk (do not remove any excess marinade) and dredge one at a time in the flour mixture. Press the mixture into the chicken whilst dredging. Again do not remove or shake off any excess. Leave the coated pieces to rest on a plate to one side whilst you heat your oil.
  6. Pour canola oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pot or pan, so that oil only comes halfway up the pot. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F (180 C). Add 4 pieces of chicken to the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Fry chicken for 4 minutes per side, adjusting the heat so it hovers between 280 F (145 C) and 300 F (150 C)
  7. Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain (and check for doneness by opening chicken or using a probe thermometer to read 175 F). Cover with foil to keep warm and continue frying other chicken pieces *if oil temperature drops due to frying process, simple reheat to original temperature
  8. Keep chicken pieces warm until ready to serve

Comeback Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2/3 Cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth and well combined
  2. Keep refrigerated until serving

#Recipe Cajun Chicken Alfredo

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

Something a little different for you all now, and not a baked good in sight! One of the few pasta dishes I actually enjoy eating, this a perfect comfort food dish in my view. A one-pot wonder dish thats great on so many levels. No fuss no muss and easy to prepare. It’s great if you want something indulgent in front of your favourite TV program or equally as good for al fresco dining with a chilled white wine. Hope you enjoy!

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

Serves 2

Mirepoix vegetable base

1 red pepper, halved

5 sticks celery heart, roughly chopped

200g onions, roughly chopped

Main chicken dish

2 chicken breast fillets, cut in to cubes

2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, I use Barts

4 cloves garlic, crushed

150g button mushrooms, halved

50g streaky bacon, chopped and fried until crisp

1 litre Chicken stock

125ml Milk, semi-skimmed is fine

50ml Double cream

250g fettuccine pasta

Salt and Pepper, to season

To serve

Parmesan cheese, grated

Mire Poix

To make the “Mirepoix”

  • Blitz the red pepper, chopped celery and chopped onion in food processor until combined and well chopped.
  • Remove and place in a bowl. Cover until needed.*
  • Heat some oil in a large pan, or wok, and add the chicken pieces. Fry until lightly browned.
  • Sprinkle on the Cajun seasoning and fry for another 2 -3 minutes.
  • Add in 4 tablespoons of the mirepoix and the crushed garlic cloves. Saute for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and crispy bacon and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour in the chicken stock, milk and double cream. Stir to combine all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Break the fettuccine in half, add to the chicken mixture and stir so that the dried pasta is mixed well into the other ingredients.
  • Cover and simmer over a medium heat for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Remove cover for last 5 mins of cooking. Cook until the sauce has thickened and the pasta cooked until al dente.
  • Remove from the heat and transfer to serving bowls.
  • Sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

*This make more than enough mirepoix base. I keep mine in the fridge covered and use it whenever I need a quick season base for dishes. I don’t just use it for Cajun or Creole dishes either – it goes rather well in a Bolognese too!

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

#Recipe Chilli Chocolate Panna Cotta with Sriracha Cinder Toffee, Fenugreek Clusters & Raspberries

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This is pretty much my most ambitious recipe yet with a number of components to make and finally assemble into the completed dish. It came about as a result of a number of hankerings of mine:

The use of fruit vinegar in a dessert. I’d tasted Wormersley fruit vinegars at a food show and was utterly blown away by them. Fruity, tart and utterly delicious these vinegars are well deserved of their awards and of a place in anyone’s pantry. I’d always envisioned using them in some kind of brownie dish with the cheek-puckeringly beauty of the vinegar serving to foil the richness of the brownie. But on developing this recipe I knew the panna cotta would provide a great canvas on which to highlight the vinegar’s pudding pimping properties.

The use of a smoking gun. My latest kitchen toy that I was itching to be use and this was more than a convenient excuse. I had never used one before and was intrigued as to how well actual smoke would work with a sweet dish. Suffice to say I was not disappointed.  Whilst it’s not necessary to the overall dish it does lend an extra “Wow factor” and an interesting talking point. A word to the wise though. It only needs a short space of time for smoking (2-3 mins) and if you do decide to use it make sure you turn your smoke alarm off! I learned this the hard way – #RookieFail. As small as the amount of smoking chips used are, they still produce a heck of a LOT of smoke from the gun. Use it sparingly and near an open window is my advice.

The use of Sriracha hot sauce. Yes the very same condiment that seems to set Buzzfeed alight had been my carving for a long time. I’d just about used it in every savory application from dim sum to fries, to cold cuts and bacon- the one thing that had alluded me had been a sweet use. To be perfectly I can’t explain why but in my head the pairing of sweet cinder toffee (otherwise known as honeycomb or hokey pokey) and tongue-tingling heat of the sauce made sense. By now you probably know there’s nothing I like better than taking two extreme, opposite flavours and “smashing” them together to see what results from the gustatory debris. Here is another perfect example.

Whilst it may take some time to make and finally assemble, the completed dish is definitely a show-stopper and one that I’m indeed very proud of. There’s a wonderful array of textures and flavours at play in this dish- sweet, sharp, smooth and crispy. It’s wonderful example of just how much I like flavour experimenation in the kitchen and for me takes my “Falvour Maths” to the next level.

Makes 5

Panna Cotta

Sunflower or Corn oil for greasing

200g Green and Blacks dark chocolate

2 leaves of gelatine

190ml fl oz whole milk

250ml oz double cream

100g caster sugar

1 tablespoon Nielsen Massey vanilla extract

1 large dried Ancho chilli 

Sriracha Cinder Toffee

200g caster sugar

4 tablespoon golden syrup

1 tablespoon sriracha sauce

2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Fenugreek Oat Clusters

200g Jumbo rolled oats

250g quick oats

375g chopped roasted nuts

3 tablespoon fenugreek seeds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

175g dark brown sugar

8 tablespoon honey

125g butter

8 tablespoon maple syrup

100ml water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To finish

Fresh Raspberries

Womersely Raspberry Vinegar

5 teaspoons bee pollen

Smoking gun with wood-chips (optional)

Equipment of Note

5 ramekin dishes (150ml apx capacity)

20cm square Silicone baking tray

Lipped baking tray

Food Smoking Gun (optional)

To make the panna cotta

  • Lightly oil five ramekin dishes (appx 150ml capacity) with the sunflower or corn oil.
  • Roughly chop the chocolate, and place in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, don’t let the base of the bowel touch the water.
  • Once the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
  • Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for about 5 minutes.
  • Place the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla extract and Ancho chilli in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and leave to infuse.
  • After 5 minutes pass the liquid through a sieve and squeeze the soaked chilli on to the melted chocolate. Stir well to combine.
  • Squeeze the gelatine to remove the excess water and add to the mixture, stirring as you do so. Make sure all the gelatin has been dissolved.
  • Pour into the oiled ramekins and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

To make the cinder toffee

  • Mix the caster sugar, syrup and sriracha sauce deep saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has melted. Don’t let the mixture bubble until the sugar grains have disappeared.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat a little and simmer until you have a deep amber coloured caramel.
  • Turn of the hat and tip in the bicarbonate and beat in with a wooden spoon until it has all disappeared and the mixture is foaming.
  • Scrape into the silicone immediately but be careful as the mixture will be very hot and may still be bubbling.
  • Leave the mixture in a safe place to rest about 1 hr- 1 hr 30mins, by which time the cinder toffee will be hard and ready to break into pieces.
  • (This recipe makes more than need for this dish but the finished cinder toffee can be kept in an airtight container and used for dessert/ cake decoration or even as a treat!

To make the fenugreek clusters

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine the jumbo oats, quick oats, nuts, cinnamon and fenugreek seeds.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, honey, butter, maple syrup and water and heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Stir in the salt and vanilla extract.
  • Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
  • Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet oiled with sunflower oil and press it down.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven, let cool, then using a spoon or spatula break up the oat mixture into clumps. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool completely on the tray then break it up into clusters.
  • (Again this recipe  makes more than needed for this recipe but the finished clusters can be stored in an airtight container and used as a granola substitute.)

To assemble and complete the dish

  • To serve, place the ramekins into warm water )just up to the top) for 1 minute then quickly remove and invert out on to chilled plates. If the panna cotta doesn’t come out return to the warm water for a few seconds and repeat.
  • Top the each panna cotta with fresh raspberries and sprinkle a teaspoon of bee pollen over each.
  • Drizzle around each panna cotta with raspberry vinegar, and sprinkle around with a mixture of cinder toffee pieces and fenugreek clusters.
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • Optional: For a final touch before just before serving, place the complete dish underneath a bell cloche and insert the hose of a smoke gun. Ignite the smoke gun and inject flavoured smoke to fill the chamber, leave for 2-3 mins, remove dish and serve. (PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT USE IN AREAS WITH A SMOKE ALARM!)

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