Tasty Tuesday - Homemade Bagels & Ruth Dean

Yes its spring time again folks and this month's issue of Country Style is packed full of spring goodness. There is a great article on decorating with flowers which is featured on this month's front cover. Is it gorgeous or what. I have also been lucky enough to be able to interview a special person who has also been featured in this month's Country Style. Her name is Ruth Dean and she is the owner of the River Cottage which is located on the sparkling Tamar River in Tasmania.
Congratulations on your recent feature in this month’s Country Style.

Tell us a little about yourself, where you live and what you do for a living?

We live in a small town in Tasmania called Deviot. It is a very community minded town and we have lots of people who work to make the town community based.  There are lots of inspiring projects like a heritage orchard, sailing school, basket market and there are always people out walking, social nights and so on.

Wow that sounds like the perfect small town to live in. Why did you make the move from Sydney, where you originally lived to Tasmania?

We decided to move from Sydney because I grew up here and we could offer the children a different lifestyle.

That is so true there is nothing better than country living for kids. In your Country Style feature it said that you worked as a chef in Sydney, what inspired you to pursue a career as a chef?

I have always cooked, especially since I had a sweet tooth!!! I enjoy sitting around a table and eating with family and friends. I love the adrenalin rush from a busy service. These days I work in schools with children and help them to cook and garden!! That is even more rewarding as it is amazing how much processed food children eat. Also amazing that they don’t know where vegetable come from or how to grow them. I also have attempted to write a cook book which is a step to step guide to easy, fun and happy catering, however my husband and I separated when I was working on this and it has been hard to get going again so maybe a blog is the way to go.

Blogs are a great way to connect with people and to show off your recipes, we hope that you can get started on your book again and maybe one day The Whimsical Wife can feature it once it is published.
 What tips would you give to someone who would like to pursue a career as a chef?

Years ago if you had asked me that I would say don’t do it! The hours are shocking but after years as a chef I still love it, the people I meet and the new recipes I try all the time. Follow your dreams and do what you love.

What would your funniest moment in the kitchen be?
 Having a cream fight with one of the instant foaming cream guns.

Views to the Tamar River from Ruth's house.
Would you kindly share one of your all time favourite spring recipes?
Well it’s not a very spring recipe, I should do something with broad beans as they are nearly ready in the ground but they are just great raw and young out of the pods. All these recipes for broad beans sound great but you have to cook them twice and skin them, who has time for that. So my favourite recipe at the moment is this bagel recipe, we have made them with the kids 3 times in a week and they are easy, fun and taste great!!

Yum, Ruth has kindly given me the recipe and I made a batch up the other day. See below for pictures and recipes.

You not only work but you also manage and run a B & B from your home. You’re women of many talents. How do you juggle this with also raising a family?

I raise a family by myself, and I think the answer to that is I know how to juggle!! Got to get your priorities right... kids first! The kids are certainly enlisted to help. It helps that the kids and I don’t watch much TV. I might cook every second day and do a couple of meals and a cake all at the same time. Also I get the kids to bed early so I can work in the evenings. I also have a hands free phone so I walk around talking. I don’t always get it rough, but I try hard.

The inside of the River Cottage

The river cottage bedroom.
What motivated you to open a B & B?
When my friend who is the architect who designed our house, came to visit he suggested it to me because he said I make people feel welcome. Also the ex husbands family live on the mainland and it was nice to have somewhere for them to stay when they visit.

In your Country Style feature you also said you are an avid OP shopper and I love your mantra “Recycle, Reuse & Rejuvenate”. How do you implement this into your decorating style?

When you are on a serious budget you have to get creative! That is a good thing but you just have to think outside the square and think of another way to use things.

What tips would you give someone wanting to decorate on a budget?

Go with a colour theme, make sure it’s not just trashy and has some character to the piece. Less is more. Old and new go well together and keep it simple and make it a home.

Wow thanks so much Ruth for your input and advice today at The Whimsical Wife. I take my hat off to you and hope to one day see your cookbook finished and published! All the best for your future endeavours. 
To find out more about Ruth’s beautiful Bed & Breakfast, River Cottage, people can telephone 0410 541 144.

Additionally, to read more about Ruth, people can pick up the September issue of Country Style magazine – on sale now.
To join the conversation, they can also visit the home life website and facebook page.

 As I mentioned earlier in the interview Ruth kindly gave me her favourite Bagel recipe. I whipped up a batch the other day and boy oh boy were they scrumptious. They are so versatile and perfect for breakfast or brunch, smothered with cream cheese and smoked salmon or fresh mulberry jam. Don’t forget using them for lunch with sliced pear, blue cheese and rocket or what about afternoon tea slathered in homemade fig jam. 

Unfortunately I did not have any smoked salmon and cream cheese in the fridge to put on these little babies but I did have homemade mulberry and apricot jam. Oh was it a treat. My husband came home in the afternoon and devoured two whole bagels slathered with butter and these two types of jam on them.He has then proceeded to eat two for breakfast every morning for the past few days. So I think the recipe is a winner.

Homemade Bagels

Makes 8

4 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp instant yeast
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You don't have to worry about soaking the yeast when you use instant yeast (most yeast sold these days is instant yeast). The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff, or you can't get all the dry flour incorporated.
Plop the dough down onto the counter, and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth.
Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 220 Degrees.
Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant roiling hand. The dough rope should be wrapped so the overlapping ends are together at your palm, near the start of your fingers. Now take the two overlapping ends, and use your palm to squish/roll these two ends together. Once the dough is fused, you should have a perfectly circular bagel-to-be! This is the only part of the process that can take a little practice before your bagels will look really professional. Don't get discouraged if they don't look perfect, it just takes practice!

Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and grease a large baking tray lightly. You can just rub a splash of vegetable oil and rub it around.
After the 20 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it's time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out a let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.
Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they're done!

Let them cool for at least 20 minutes, get the cream cheese ready, and feast on what's got to be one of the best weekend brunch treats possible!

You can add any toppings you like to these. To make sesame, onions, poppy seed, caraway etc. etc. bagels just have a dry plate ready with the seed or spice topping spread out on it. After the bagels have come out of the boiling water, place them face down onto the seeds, and then place the seed side up onto the baking tray. Bake and flip as for plain bagels.
Recipe Adapted From: http://johndlee.hubpages.com

Don't forget to enter the $100 Gift Voucher Giveaway to Tempt Homewares & Jewellery. Click here to enter! Remember you got to be in it to WIN it! Entries close Thursday the 15th September @ 12pm

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