This month our European Bakes theme celebrated the ‘love it or hate’ Eurovision song contest, which hadn’t taken place at the time we met – although I don’t think any of us were surprised with our subsequent poor showing! Despite it all feeling slightly ironic amidst the current Brexit chaos our bakers managed to cover a good spread of European countries with their bakes both sweet and savoury. This time, for the first time in our nearly two-year history, we didn’t have any actual cakes! (Jan’s Polish Apple Cake actually being more similar to a pie or tart.) We also had a last minute change of venue due to a staff shortage at our usual home, and were kindly welcomed and made to feel at home at the Hyde Tavern.
A good spread of savouries included lamb kebabs with homemade flatbreads (Greece),
a Tartiflette pizza (combining the Italian classic of pizza with a traditional French Alpine recipe), a Quiche Lorraine – chosen because that was the most exotic thing Faye’s family used to eat when she was growing up – and an Irish Guinness Wheaten Bread, made to Naomi’s Mum’s own secret recipe. It was delicious with a good spreading of butter. Naomi had worried that she wouldn’t meet her Mum’s high standard, but she said it was a good one and we all agreed, many of us going back for seconds. Bonus points for the Irish flag too – lovingly made by Naomi’s housemate.
Then it was onto the sweet treats.
A thickly iced indulgent tray of Nordic Cinnamon Buns from Tina, working with yeasted dough for the first time in a long time, a Ruffled Milk Pie (a sort of baked custard affair with filo pastry) from Vicky, an intriguing Szarlota (Polish Apple Cake) from Jan which uses grated frozen pastry on top to create a crumble like texture, and a true labour of love from Michelle with a Povitica; a Croatian bread flavoured with walnuts and spices and layered into beautiful swirls. This had to be rolled out to the length of one metre and the recipes advised doing this on a bedsheet to facilitate the rolling up. The metre long dough sausage is then layered into a loaf tin to create the pretty swirled sections of the bread. (Apparently, on his return from school, Michelle’s son wanted to know why his dinosaur duvet was downstairs and covered in flour!) This recipe was once used as a Technical Challenge on the Great British Bake Off so it was a brave bake to attempt, but Michelle definitely gave the Bake Off contestants a run for their money. Just look at those beautiful swirls:
We next meet for our Love Local event on 11th June – each bake should feature at least one ingredient made, grown or produced in Hampshire. Luckily, there’s A LOT of choice!
Here’s the full run down of European Bakes:
Faye – Quiche Lorraine (France)
Jayne – Lamb Kebabs with Homemade Flatbreads (Greece)
Chelsea – Tartiflette Pizza (France/Italy)
Naomi – Guinness Wheaten Bread (Ireland)
Vicky – Ruffled Milk Pie (Greek)
Jan H – Szarlota Apple Cake (Poland)
Tina – Iced Cinnamon Buns (Norway)
Michelle – Povitica Walnut Bread (Croatia)