29 December, 2006

Savoury Carrot & Cinnamon Rye Bread

Since I'm downstairs with baby during the day, I figured I'd really get into the role by doing something creative in the kitchen. So, I whipped out the bread machine my ex-company gave me as a gift a while ago and started experimenting. It was surprisingly easy to make great bread. I'll share the 'keepers' with you.

Savoury Carrot & Cinnamon Bread
This bread is wonderfully aromatic and makes the house smell fantastic. If I ever decide to sell up, I'll be baking this when people come around few viewings. Oh, and it tastes fab too.

Just throw the following ingredients into the bread machine and bake on the wholemeal bread cycle. This recipe makes a 1.5lb loaf and I recommend a dark crust.

1 cup strong white flour
2 cups rye flour
1 cup water
1 large carrot, finely grated
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp yeast

07 December, 2006

Tahina, Pecan & Cardamom Cookies

I don't usually bake cakes or cookies, so I thought I'd share one of my few baking recipes. These cookies are just so quick and easy to make, and taste so good, that even I make the effort every once in a while.

1/2 cup unsweetened tahina paste
110g butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup pecans
2 whole cardamom pods
1/2 tsp baking powder
Greaseproof paper baking sheets

1. This recipe goes very quickly, so start by preheating the oven to 160C (325F).

2. Cream together the butter and the sugar (easier if the butter is at room temperature first).

3. Add the tahina paste and vanilla.

4. Seive in the flour & baking powder.

5. Chop the pecans into small pieces (or you can put them into a small sandwich bag and bash them about a bit with a rolling pin) and add them too.

6. Split open the cardamom pods, to reveal the black seeds inside. Grind the seeds into a fine powder with a pestle and mortar (discarding the outer green husk) and add to the bowl.

7. Mix everything really well until a dough is formed. Divide the mixture into 30 small balls.

8. Line a baking try with the baking sheet and space out the balls 3-4 inches apart. You'll probably need to bake them in batches.

9. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before moving them on to a wire rack to cool. If you touch them before this, they will fall apart.

10. Allow to cool (they really do taste better cool!) and enjoy. They really are wonderful!

06 December, 2006

Hairum Scarum

For the past three weeks my hair has been falling out. It's everywhere! I'm constantly picking hairs off baby and sweeping up dusty hairballs. After hubby picked out a few from dinner the other night, I started wearing a headscarf around the house. I'm now wearing it out and about as well, since I've gone extremely thin on the top. It is upsetting. I have read that some hair loss is normal 3-4 months after giving birth, but I think my case is a little more extreme. The doctor prescribed Zinc & B6 but it doesn't seem to be slowing down the shedding. Every time I run my hand through my hair, 4-5 hairs come out. I really hope it all grows back, even though it's bound to take months.

I have an appointment with a dermatologist next week which I hope will allay my fears about my hair staying this way. While I'm still at home with baby it's not too much of a problem, but I will need to start job-hunting in 2 months time and I don't think bandanas will give the right impression at a job interview. I've been debating whether or not to try wearing a wig until my hair grows back. There are some gorgeous ones out there that would probably look better than my own hair (which always curled the wrong way even when I had a head-full!), but I'm not sure how I'd explain the change from a fabulous wig back to my normal hair (or vice-versa).

If anyone has any tips, advice, experience of after-birth hair loss or wearing a wig, drop me line!