Posts Tagged ‘The Solitary Cook’

Yes, you read it right….. Birdseed Bread!  The original recipe is Cynthia’s over on The Solitary Cook.  Don’t you just love the colour of her bread…. it really is a golden colour.  Mine I’m afraid didn’t come out that beautiful colour – I can only blame the Spelt flour or perhaps the oil?

Birdseed Bread

Birdseed Bread

When Cynthia posted the recipe I thought that looks really beautiful and then one of her followers asked if they could have the metric/imperial measurements rather than the US cup system.  I volunteered to do the conversion, as years and years ago on a trip to the US I had bought a plastic jug with cup measurements on it.

I’ve made the bread a few times.  Served it to a number of people all of whom loved it, and they have asked for the recipe so here it is, in “European” format.

Birdseed Bread 2


  • 1 kg. Spelt Flour
  • 95 grams Millet
  • 95 grams Ground Flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons whole flax seed
  • 1 sachet active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 10 oz hot tap water
  • 10 oz milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 oz oil – I used sunflower oil


As always I have used spelt flour to make it.  I found the timings were a little different to Cynthia’s, so my advice is, if you are using regular strong flour follow Cynthia’s instructions.

Measure the dry ingredients into your mixer bowl, and use the dough hook to gently mix the yeast through the mix.

Put 10 oz of hot tap water into your jug, and add the 10 oz of milk.  According to Cynthia’s advice the temperatures will meet in the middle and be just right to activate the yeast.  Add to your bowl of dry ingredients, together with your egg, honey and oil.

Mix the dough on the lowest setting until it starts to come together.  It took about 10 minutes for the spelt flour and ingredients to come together and leave the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Turn off your mixer – put a lid on your bowl – or cover with a piece of cling film and leave to sit for 20 minutes.  (Cynthia gives an excellent explanation of the ‘autolyse‘ process, so do have a read of it.)

At the end of the 20 minutes, remove your plastic/lid (hold onto it you will need it again), turn the mixer back on.  You will now find that the dough will stick completely to the dough hook…. it is a completely different mixture.  Let it knead for about 7 or 8 minutes.  After that time, turn off your mixer, pull off a piece of your dough and stretch it.  If it breaks it needs more mixing.  If it stretches into a ‘windowpane’ your dough is ready for the next stage.

Briefly turn the dough out of the bowl.  Using a piece of kitchen paper rub the inside of the bowl with some oil.  Put your dough back in and cover with the cling film, or lid.

Now you have to wait for your dough to double in size.  I love Cynthia’s tip…. stick a piece of tape on the outside of the bowl so you can be sure it has doubled in size!  (I make this bread in the evening time when the kitchen is nice and warm, so this stage takes about an hour.)

When your dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured surface and divide it in two.  I made it into two round cakes.  Place each cake on parchment on your baking tray and let sit to once again double in size (about 45 minutes).

Preheat your oven to 375 deg. F/190 deg C.

When your final rise has completed slash the loaves with a good sharp serrated knife to a depth of about 1/2 inch.  Pop the loaves into the oven for about 45 minutes.

Your next challenge is not to devour it all when it comes out of the oven.  It smells wonderful and tastes delicious and is so so light.

Let me know if you try it!

Enjoy 🙂






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Yes, I have a new love.  Quinoa.

Minty, pea quinoa

Minty, pea quinoa

I don’t know where it has been for all of my life…. but this summer I have totally fallen in love with.  And I have to give MAJOR thanks to Cynthia at TheSolitaryCook for bringing this love into my life.  Cynthia is now my ‘go to’ person for anything in relation to quinoa.

Isn’t the blogsphere wonderful the way it can bring people from faraway places together?  Maybe one day Cynthia will come visit here, or I will get to visit her in Montana 🙂  A girl can dream.

I do remember having quinoa years ago – but my memory is of it being horrible!  Something to be avoided.

A couple of months back spurred on by Cynthia I tried her quinoa cakes – they were delicious.  I made a mess of making them in ‘cakes’ but the taste more than made up for my mess.

When Cynthia posted her lamb chops with minty quinoa of course I had to try it.  It is so so delicious.  It has become an ‘almost’ weekly dinner in this house – or will be while we still have a supply of our neighbour’s lamb chops.

I am reposting Cynthia’s recipe here…. with the adjustments of Imperial and Metric measurements to replace the cups.  Do also follow Cynthia’s instructions on cooking the lamb chops….. they are delicious too.

minty, pea quinoa

Minty, pea quinoa with lamb chops


  • 7 oz./200 grms  Quinoa – plain or rainbow
  • 1 pt water
  • 5 oz/140 grms peas – fresh or frozen.
  • Greens of 2 scallions (or I’ve used a large bunch of chives)
  • 2 tsp fresh mint
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2/3 ozs Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt & Pepper


Firstly rinse your quinoa under cold running water.

Bring your 1 pt of water to boil, and pop in your quinoa.  Reduce to a simmer and cook gently for about 12 minutes.  Don’t let it get mushy.  If there is any water left in the pot when the quinoa is cooked, just drain it off.  Put the quinoa in a bowl and fluff it up a bit.

Cook your peas.  Chop your scallions or chives, fresh mint and fresh parsley.  Add all to the quinoa.

Drizzle over your olive oil and the lemon juice.

Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!  You will eat loads…. and it is a ‘super’ food, so it is good for you too!

Am I the only person to have lived this long without quinoa?

And if you’d like to learn more about the history and benefits of quinoa check out this article by Helen Nichols

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