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La Fête du Pain/Bread festival is an annual celebration, hosted by Les Moulins de la Concorde, in honour of St Honoré, the French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. The theme of the 2014 edition is “Le Pain, Savoureux et Sain” around which activities are to be held in schools, social centres, town halls and major supermarkets on the 16th and 17th May. The main event, held at the Caudan Waterfront, is a bread baking competition among the finest hotels on the island; results are on display at La Place de La Fontaine on the following day.

Store-bought bread is by one of the most consumed staple food by people in Mauritius. Going to the bakery or nearby shop early morning is part of the routine of nearly every Mauritian who cannot do without his daily pain maison or baguette. This year I baked a very simple, and relatively healthy, sandwich bread, adapted from Kurry Leaves. It blends all-purpose and wholewheat flour with the sweetness of full cream milk to create a light, airy crumb that even the most inexperienced bread baker will have no trouble achieving.

SWEET MILK BREAD

Ingredients:

1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 cup lukewarm full cream milk

2 tablespoons caster sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/8 teaspoon table salt

Method:

  • Brush a 8-inch x 4-inch loaf pan with butter and line base and sides with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 180oC.

  • In a bowl, combine together yeast, milk and sugar. Keep this aside for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt. Add melted butter and mix well.

  • Slowly add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix well until combined. The dough will be soft and a bit sticky.

  • You can add few tablespoons of flour if you are finding it difficult to handle. Transfer the dough to a floured surface.

  • Knead well for 10 to 12 minutes. The dough should be soft and elastic. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl.

  • Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm place until it is doubled in volume for about 1 hour.

  • Punch down the risen dough using your fist. Form it into a loaf shape and place in prepared pan, seam-side down.

  • Cover and let rise in a warm place until it is doubled in volume, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes.

  • If the top browns too quickly, cover it with foil. Lightly brush the top and the sides with melted butter after baking.

Sweet Milk Bread

I believe that at least once a week one should make pancakes at home. The combination of basic pantry ingredients mixed with liberal amounts of love and some perseverance [waking up early] will breakfast time with your family all the more special. It takes nothing more than yogurt, oats and whole wheat flour to conjure this batch of absolutely delicious pancakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction so there is no reason to deprive yourself of the simple pleasures of life. For my more weight conscious friends, you can always substitute the chocolate with fresh or frozen berries but if you feel that it might be too “healthy” for you, feel free to keep a dish of butter or maple syrup on the side.

YOGURT & OATMEAL PANCAKES

Ingredients:

1 cup (123g) whole wheat flour

1/2 cup (40g) quick oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)

1 cup (240ml) milk

2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar

1/4 cup (63g) unsweetened yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk chocolate, chopped

Method:

  • Toss the flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Set this mixture aside.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk egg and milk together. Whisk in sugar and yogurt until no lumps remain.

  • Whisk in the vanilla until combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in.
  • Stir gently until just combined. Do not over mix the batter or your pancakes will be tough and very dense.

  • Add any mix-ins you prefer, but again, do not over mix the batter. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat.
  • Coat generously with cooking spray, oil, or butter. Once hot, drop about 1/4 cup of batter on the griddle.

  • Cook until the edges look dry and bubbles begin to form on the center or sides of pancake, about 1 minute.
  • Flip and cook on the other side until cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Coat griddle for each pancake.

  • Keep pancakes warm in a preheated 200F degree oven until all pancakes are cooked. Serve immediately.
  • Pancakes taste best right after they are made. Pancakes freeze well, up to 2 months. Makes 7-8 pancakes.

Yogurt & Oatmeal

As we are gradually slipping into the spiritual mood of Maha Shivratree, the country prepares itself to host one of the most important annual pilgrimage with people flocking to Ganga Talao in thousands. Many of them complete the trip to the sacred lake on foot as it was done decades ago by priests who first discovered this serene location nested within the confines of a volcanic crater. The place has preserved its sanctity which seems more pronounced on the pious occasion of Shivratree, the Holy Night of Lord Shiva. Several socio-cultural and non governmental organizations have engaged themselves in the planning of this event requires the mobilization of a large amount of resources and volunteers.

Like for every religious festival, offerings abound and fruit like coconuts, bananas, apples and oranges are among the most common to be presented to deities. Since I always tend to accumulate more than one coconut in the freezer during this period, I find the best way of dealing with them is to grate the flesh finely and roast it under low heat until dry and fragrant. This homemade desiccated coconut keeps for weeks and lends a delicious aroma to cakes and cookies which call for extra flavour. The whole wheat coconut cake from Kurry Leaves, which I turned into mini muffins, is proof that cakes can be just as delicious if you have to bake them without eggs.

WHOLE WHEAT COCONUT MUFFINS

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup toasted coconut

1 cup light muscovado sugar

1 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan with baking spray, line with paper cups.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, toasted coconut and sugar.

  • In another bowl, mix coconut milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and vinegar together and pour into dry ingredients.

  • Mix gently with a wooden spatula until just combined. Do not over mix. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

  • Bake them for about 20 to 25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Whole wheat Coconut Muffins

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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