Prune and Pink Peppercorn Rye Loaf

This recipe is for the serious bakers among Squidbeak readers. It is based on a rye sourdough recipe by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, the author of the award winning How to Make Bread, published in 2011 by Ryland Peters and Small. Emmanuel gives simple instructions on how to make a rye sour dough which takes 5 days. There after you have some forever if you look after it like a pet.

This loaf is an example of exquisitely flavoured rye sour dough. I was delighted with the result which was a softer, lighter loaf than I had been expecting. The dough requires very little kneading but it does need a long period of fermentation. This bread making project needs to be started a couple of days before the loaf is required and uses a rye sourdough starter.

Makes one small loaf



150g dark rye flour

100g rye sourdough starter

200g water

200g dark rye flour

1tsp salt

150g hot water

200g pitted prunes, chopped

1 tbsp pink pepper corns


Grease a loaf tin measuring 21cm x 12cm loaf tin.

In one bowl mix the 150g dark rye flour with the rye sourdough starter and 200g water. Cover the bowl with either another inverted bowl or use a clear plastic shower cap and leave to ferment overnight.

The following day mix 200g of dark rye flour with the salt and tip over the fermented rye sourdough mixture prepared the day before. Pour the hot water over the dry mixture and mix well.

Add the prunes and pink pepper corns and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf tin. Wet a plastic scraper or pallet knife and smooth the surface of the loaf. Dredge the surface of the loaf with rye flour, cover and allow the loaf to rise for two hours.

Keep an eye on the dough to ensure it does not rise over the tin. If it does just wipe any extra dough away from the loaf tin.

Preheat the oven to 220°/425°F/ gas mark 7.

The dough should rise about 2cm during proving after which it should be placed in the oven for about 30 minutes. Check whether the loaf is cooked by turning it out of the tin and knocking the base. If it sounds hollow the loaf is cooked and should be placed on a wire cooling rack to cool.

See more of Joan’s recipes and photographs on

Orange and Tahini Semifreddo with Crushed Pistachios

This is a forgiving recipe that requires very little skill. Don’t worry about whether the eggs whites or cream/yogurt mix are whipped up enough – if they are white and fluffy they will do. If all the ingredients are mixed together and given enough time to freeze the recipe will taste delicious regardless of what order you put the ingredients together.

The combination of sweet, tangy orange juice, nutty flavoured of tahini and crunchy pistachios are set against the creaminess of enriched Greek yogurt is a winner. Beautiful served with stewed damsons, plums or sliced figs.

Joan Ransley: Photographer & Food Writer

Serves 10 – 12

4 large eggs
200g caster sugar
zest and juice from one large orange
150ml double cream
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
100g light tahini
2 tbsp shelled salted pistachios, roughly chopped

To serve:
1 tbsp shelled salted pistachios, roughly chopped
Grated orange zest

Line a large loaf tin (approx.25cm x 13cm x 9cm) with a double layer of clingfilm. This will make turning out the frozen semifreddo easier.

1.     Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Place all the egg yolks in a bowl with the caster sugar and beat with an electric mixer for about three minutes until they are light and fluffy. (The egg whites can be frozen, or stored in the fridge to use later e.g. to make meringues or amaretti biscuits.)

2.     Add the orange zest, half the orange juice and tahini to the egg yolks and sugar. Mix thoroughly.

3.     Beat the double cream until stiff, fold in the Greek yogurt and then stir both into the egg, sugar and tahini mixture. Mix in the remaining orange juice. The mixture will be quite runny.

4.     Finally fold the crushed pistachio nuts into the mixture and pour it into the loaf tin lined with Clingfilm. Give the loaf tin a little bang on a solid work surface and place the semifreddo in the freezer for at least four hours.

To serve:

5.     Remove the semifreddo from the freezer half an hour before you want to serve it. Place it in the fridge to defrost slightly.

6.     Turn the frozen semifreddo upside-down onto a serving plate and remove the Clingfilm.

7.     Sprinkle with the remaining crushed pistachios and serve fresh fruit or fruit compote..

You can find this and more of Joan’s recipes on her website:


Mixed Grain Summer Salad with Grilled Vegetables

I had some mixed grains left over (barley, black rice and red quinoa) and so I put them together into a salad with baby courgettes from the garden, tomatoes, peppers, mange tout… everything seasonal The fresh pesto really makes it. M & S sell a fresh pesto which is quite nice but not as good as freshly made. I hope you like it…

Take a handful of pearl barley rinsed in cold water and pop it in a pot and cover it with water. Place a lid on the pot to shorten the cooking time. Lower the heat to a simmer and wait for 20 minutes until the beads of barley are soft but not chewy to bite.

Take a handful of black rice and do as above. Black rice should be cooked in a separate pan as it colours the water and everything it comes in contact with. Finally, place four tablespoons of quinoa in a pan of water, as above, but limit the cooking time to 12 minutes once the water has come to the boil. Little white tails emerge from the seed coat as quinoa seeds cook and indicated when it’s ready to eat. It should be a little bit crunchy!

Mixed grain salad_lgeTo complete your salad, mix together a selection of roast vegetables – slow roast tomatoes work really well; put a chopped yellow courgette in the oven too. Then flame roast peppers and steam some purple mange tout if you can get hold of them – luckily I’ve got some in the garden at the moment! Finally assemble the whole lot – mix the grains together with a tiny drizzle of oil,lemon juice and salt. Add the cooled roast veg and dot the whole lot with pesto – make yourself, or cheat and buy some from M&S!

Find more of my recipes go to






Looking after Your Gut

Joan Ransley, who writes our recipe column (below) and supplies her stunning food photographs (she’s won awards at the Pink Lady Food Photography comp.), has just had her first book published. Congratulations to Joan and her partner Nick with whom she co-wrote the book.


Salmon & quinoa salad 01Cooking for the Sensitive Gut is not the catchiest title, but it tells you just what’s inside.  If anyone knows about guts it’s Joan and Nick who are both nutritionists, proper qualified ones, not the so-called nutritionists who turn up in newspapers and magazines urging us to drink more water and eat superfoods. Joan holds a Masters and PhD in Human Nutrition, Nick is Professor of Integrated Medicine at Sheffield Uni. and chair and medical adviser for the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Network.


The introduction explains all about gut problems and goes on to explain what you can eat rather than what you can’t, what to eat in small quantities and what alternatives there are. Importantly they stress the value of having a rich and varied diet and explain how even people with gut issues can enjoy their food without cutting out whole food groups.


But it’s the recipes that seduce: good everyday dishes, beautifully photographed, using ingredients to hand but deliciously tempting. You may have gathered from the amount of eating out Mandy and I do that we have iron-clad stomachs and no gut issues but that hasn’t stopped me cooking from this book. I’ve tried salmon with spinach and lemon and the shakshuka: spicy baked peppers and tomatoes with baked eggs. I’m tempted by the aubergines topped with quinoa, feta and herbs; the gluten free pancakes made with banana and blueberries and the beautiful lemon, cardamom and polenta cake.


You will find their recipe for salmon, quinoa and crispy potato salad with blueberry and maple syrup dressing,  in our recipe column below, but for the rest of the recipes you will have to buy the book.

Cooking for the Sensitive Gut by Dr Joan Ransley and Dr Nick Read is published by Pavilion Books and available from Amazon, Waterstones and other major book shops. For more information about managing your sensitive gut go to:

Salmon, Quinoa and Crispy Potato Salad

Salmon & quinoa salad 01One in ten people suffer with a sensitive gut and experience symptoms of pain and bloating but with a bit of careful dietary management symptoms can be managed well. This recipe is great because it does not contain any of the foods which we know trigger symptoms in most people such as the white part of onion, wheat and excessive amounts of pulses. It is also a nourishing recipe that can be enjoyed by the whole family and  is adaptable.  The salmon can be substituted with smoked salmon, mackerel, trout or chicken and the dressing can be simplified. The warm crunchy potatoes really make it taste good…

This recipe is taken from Cooking for the Sensitive Gut by Dr Joan Ransley and Dr Nick Read and published by Pavilion Books and available from Amazon, Waterstones and other major bookshops.

For more information about managing your sensitive gut go to www.cookingforthe


Serves 4
Takes 30 minutes to prepare and cook


200 g/7 oz new potatoes, rinsed
1-2 tbsp olive oil
300 g/ 10 oz fresh salmon

For the dressing:
100 g/ 3 ½ oz blueberries
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp maple syrup
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
4 handfuls of watercress and rocket leaves
1 red chicory, leaves separated
¼ cucumber, halved and sliced diagonally
4 salad onions, green leaves only
60 g/ 2 oz quinoa*, cooked
30 g/ 1 oz canned lentils, rinsed well
micro salad leaves like purple radish or cress
1 tablespoon shelled hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
Steam the potatoes until tender, cool and cut in half. Using a potato masher crush the potatoes and place in a roasting tin with 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix well. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the potatoes and place in the oven for about 30 minutes to become crisp and golden brown.

Place the salmon on a sheet of foil, season well and fold the foil into an envelope. Place the salmon on a roasting tin and cook in the oven with the potatoes for 10 minutes. Remove the salmon from the oven, leave to cool. Flake the salmon when cool enough to handle.

To make the dressing for the salad, crush half of the blueberries in a pestle and mortar and add 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Season the dressing with a little salt and pepper and mix well.

Place the watercress, rocket leaves, red chicory leaves, sliced salad onion leaves and sliced cucumber on a serving dish.

Remove the potatoes from the oven when really crunchy and well browned and arrange on the salad leaves, together with the flaked salmon. Sprinkle the salad with the quinoa and lentils and dress with the blueberry, lemon and maple syrup dressing. Scatter the remaining blueberries over the salad together with any foraged nuts and sprigs of micro herbs.

*To cook quinoa. Place 30 g / 2 oz quinoa in a pan and cover with water. Cook for 12 minutes until the little tails appear from the grain.

Blackberry and apple muffins

Blackberry+and+apple+muffins-6This is such a colourful, romantic and interesting time of year if you like to be outside enjoying the last few rays of late summer sun. Blackberries, elderberries and windfall apples are everywhere. When I go running in the mornings I try to remember to take a plastic bag with me to gather any edible fruit or nuts I see.

Today I made something with them – just simple muffins spiked with chopped apple, blackberries and some lemon rind.

I made a dozen bite sized muffins and drizzled them with honey as they came out of the oven. You could add a pinch of cinnamon to the mix or even vanilla essence would be nice.


150g self raising flour

half tsp baking powder

25g cold unsalted butter cubed

75g of blackberries and apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2cm cubes

1 eggs, lightly beaten

110 ml milk

Finely grated zest from half a lemon

Honey for drizzling


Preheat to overn to 200c/400f/gas mark 6.

Line a tin with 12 mini muffin cases.

Mix the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, lemon rind and the apple and blackberries.

In a separate bowl mix the eggs and milk then pour the mixture all at once into the dry ingredients and mix quickly.

Drop the batter into the muffin cases and bake for 10-15 minutes or until risen and golden and firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for ten minutes.

After ten minutes transfer to a cool rack and drizzle with a little warmed honey.



‘Canned’ Red Peppers

'Canned' red peppers


This is an incredibly useful recipe. It is simple to prepare and everyone loves it for lunch with some halloumi or feta cheese and fresh bread to mop up the juices. The prepared peppers have the silky smooth texture of bottled or canned peppers. They can also be served as part of a mezze with humous and labneh.

The recipe is adapted from a gorgeous cook book called Honey & Co by Itamar Srulovich and his wife Sarit Packer and if you get to eat in their cosy London restaurant they do jolly nice cakes too.





2 long peppers

3 sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano

2 cloves fresh garlic (do not use any that is sprouting)

sea salt

2 tbsp fruity olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar (I used sherry vinegar and it was perfect)


Char the peppers over a gas flame or under a grill until black all over.

Leave to cool and then peel the charred skin and remove the seeds.

Do not wash the peppers. You need to preserve the smoky flavour of the charred skin.

Cut the peppers into long strips and place in a bowl.

Peel and slice the garlic and muddle up with the pepper strips.

Add the olive oil, garlic and vinegar. Strip the leaves from thyme or oregano, chop up finely and scatter over the peppers.


Timothy Taylor Landlord Cake

TT Landord Cake  702It’s just the weather to hunker down and make Joan’s Landlord Cake.  It’s dead easy and uses Timothy Taylor’s Landlord for a lovely moist cake singing with spices.

Makes 24 pieces


75g raisins

75g sultanas

75g currants

75g dates, chopped

25g candied peel, chopped

175g dark muscovado sugar

25g tbsp black treacle

juice and zest from one medium orange

225g unsalted butter

200ml Timothy Taylor Landlord pale ale

3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

250g self raising flour

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

½ tsp each cardamom, fennel and coriander seeds, ground

50g whole blanched split almonds to decorate

2 tbsp warm sieved apricot jam to glaze the top of the cake


Grease a 20cm square cake tin and line with baking parchment

Place the raisins, sultanas, currants, chopped dates, candied peel, muscovado sugar, treacle, orange zest and juice, butter and pale ale into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted. Simmer for five minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Leave for at least two hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 150°C/Gas mark 2.

Stir the lightly beaten eggs into the fruit and beer mixture and gradually fold in the flour, baking powder and spices. Mix well. Spoon the cake mixture into the cake tin and place lines of almonds along the top of the cake. Bake the cake for 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly, cover with a sheet of foil or brown paper. Cool the cake in the tin and brush with warm, sieved apricot jam to make the top of the cake glisten.


Our Pink Lady

Pink Lady AwardWe’re absolutely thrilled that our recipe writer (and photographer) Joan Ransley was an award winner at last night’s Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Awards. (Pink Lady is the trademark for the Pink Lady apple variety, in case you were wondering).

She was runner up in the Food For Celebration category with her photograph of Christmas geese. Isn’t it great? Amazing when you think Joan only took up photography a couple of years ago to accompany her food writing.

Remarkable also when you learn that 6000 images were entered for the awards, reduced to a shortlist 400 by a prestigious team of judges that included David Loftus, Donna Hay, Yotam Ottolenghi and Jay Rayner.

Last week Joan was telling me she hadn’t a hope in hell, but at the Mall Galleries last night in her posh frock and with champagne in hand, she heard her named called. Talking to her today, she was busy praising all the other winners: ‘It’s such an intelligent exhibition’, she said, ‘the Food Politics category was really fascinating.’ She also noted that the Food in its Place was won by Jonathan Gregson for his photographs of coffee in Rwanda for Taylors of Harrogate. The overall winner Tessa Bunney, whose image of noodle making in Vietnam  is full of movement and vitality was a worthy winner and she is, by coincidence from North Yorkshire.

Joan’s own photograph was taken on a smallholding in Lower Austby, near Ilkley, near where she lives. She remembers getting very muddy as she chased the geese and the geese chased her.  ‘I was really pleased I got a sharp image because I was running around and getting low down. I was on the move all the time.’ She converted the image to black and white and then ‘colour popped’ the feet and beaks. ‘I didn’t do anything to the colour, that’s just how orange they were. I just ‘popped’ the colour back in’.

Of course we always knew she was good photographer, that’s why we invited her to join us to write and photograph the recipes for Squidbeak.

If you want to follow Joan she has her own website and if you want to see her recipes on Squidbeak and all the news on Yorkshire food then follow us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter.

Queen Scallops with Ham and Hazelnut Pesto

This is a lovely recipe from Green’s in Whitby. It is simple to prepare and cooks in a flash. The only tricky part is sourcing the tiny scallop shells which you need to cook the dish.  I asked Rob Green’s advice on where to source them. Apparently fishmonger’s are not allowed to sell the tiny scallop shells but you can buy them on the internet or from seaside shell shops.

Serves 6

Queen scallops with ham & hazelnut pesto-1Ingredients:

18 scallops, cleaned and shells reserved

2 slices of York ham (Parma will do), cut into small strips

4 tbsp freshly made hazelnut pesto

25g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated



Preheat oven to 200°C/ Gas 6.

Place 18 small scallop shells on a baking tray.

Place a queen scallop in each shell and top with a few shreds of ham, a teaspoon of hazelnut pesto and a pinch of finely grated Parmesan cheese.

Place in a hot oven for 3 – 5 minutes or until the scallops are cooked and the Parmesan cheese is bubbling.

Serve garnished with a delicate sprig of chervil or other salad leaves and warm, fresh bread.


Hazelnut Pesto


50g hazelnuts

50g Parmesan cheese

Large bunch of basil

150ml olive oil

2 cloves garlic

Sea salt and ground black pepper


Place the hazelnuts in a small, hot frying pan and toast until they are dark brown.

Shake the pan from time to time to prevent the nuts burning.

Finely grate the Parmesan cheese and place the toasted hazelnuts and the remaining ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.

Season the scallops with salt and pepper.


Squidbeak Blog

© Copyright SquidBeak 2012 Contact usDisclaimerPrivacy PolicyMaraid Design