The glorious days of summer have been all too short. Those leaves are tinging to yellow, and although we still have wonderful hot days, twilight is coming earlier, and the nights are getting chilly. The garden and fruit trees are overflowing with lushness that keeps me canning and preserving. A few peppers and tomatoes are actually ripening in the garden! (Not so common in our northern zone 3 climate.) I really do love this time of year. There's an excitement in the air that promises autumn thrills to come.
That big 'ol yellow schoolbus is lumbering by the house every morning now, and I'm making school lunches again (that's the only 'ho-hum' part of fall).
I'm still unpacking the gear from our week at the cabin in northern B.C. and what a wonderful week it was, complete with breathtaking mountain scenery, vehicle breakdown adventures on the journey, saunas in the sauna hut, cold dips in the lake, canoeing, berry picking, amazing fresh-air meals, and fun and laughter with family.
Yes, a great holiday and so worth it, even as I gaze at coolers to unpack, boxes and bundles of 'stuff' to reorganize, and mounds of bedding and sleeping bags to wash.
Before we left, I stirred up a couple pails of different muffin batters to take along - so convenient. We breakfasted on warm-from-the-oven muffins while cradling steaming cups of coffee and gazing out at the fish jumping in the early-morning lake. There's no better way to forget about worries and stresses. I made a big batch of chimichurri sauce from the bounty of parsley in the garden and we slathered it on pasta and potatoes and beautiful baked salmon. We feasted on big salads, roasted vegetables and meals of venison cooked over the campfire and of course, lots of roasted wieners and sausages and marshmallows.
Berry picking was great at the cabin this year:
The kids loved wrapping bannock dough around thick sticks and roasting it over the fire, then filling it with maple syrup and devouring the smokey sweet pastry. Every year at the cabin, my sister, Nancy, makes a big batch of bannock that lasts us all week long. The kids roll it into fat ropes and wrap it around thick, debarked sticks to roast slowly over the hot coals. Then they peel the flaky baked biscuit off the stick in layers and drizzle it with maple syrup to eat while it's still tongue-scorchingly hot.
And I tried again to make a gluten-free version of bannock to wrap around sticks and roast over the fire - but, alas, failure. The first batch was able to be molded around the stick, but melted and dripped alarmingly quickly into the flames. I doctored up the dough and the next batch lasted only slightly longer before plopping into the fire. Hmmm. What to do with the bowl of bannock dough now mixed up? Like before, with the leftover regular bannock dough, we rolled it into balls and pan-fried it in a little oil.
Wow - perfectly light and flaky biscuits, with a crispy outer crust and soft flavourful insides. No, you can't wrap them around a stick to roast over the fire, but you can split them and butter them and eat them warm with the melted butter oozing down your fingers, or slather them with jam and devour them with a cup of tea.
Yes, bannock biscuit heaven.
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Notes: This recipe makes a lot, but it can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days and you can make the bannock biscuits fresh as you need them.
Golden flax seed is a little milder flavoured than regular brown flax seeds and also keeps the biscuits lighter in colour. I have made a batch of these, since we came home, with regular dark flaxseeds and the biscuits looked a little more rustic, but that's not so bad. If you can't find the golden flaxseeds already ground into meal, it's easy to grind small amounts yourself in a coffee grinder or blender.
For the regular (with gluten) bannock recipe that works to wrap around the sticks, click here.
For the gluten-free flour mix, I used the proportions from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, and added guar gum:
*Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix
- 200 grams millet flour
- 200 grams sorghum flour
- 300 grams sweet rice flour
- 300 grams potato starch
- 1½ tablespoons guar gum
Place all the ingredients in a large container with a tight fitting lid and shake it back and forth and up and down until well mixed, or put ingredients in a large bowl and stir well with a whisk or spoon until mixed. Store in an airtight container.
- 5 cups (700gms) gluten-free all purpose flour mix* (see above)
- ½ cup (50gms) golden flaxseed meal
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup butter
- 2 cups water
- oil for frying
Mix flour, ground flaxseed, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Cut the butter into chunks and add to the bowl. With your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it is evenly worked in.
Add the water. Stir the dough, and work it with your hands if it gets too stiff. Form the dough into a ball and put it into a smaller bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a lid, and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour. It's even better if it sits overnight, as this gives the flax meal time to fully absorb water and do its job of holding the batter together.
You can let the dough rest in the fridge for up to about 5 days. . . .
. . . . and whenever you have a hankering for bannock biscuits, pinch off some egg-sized hunks of dough, roll them into balls and flatten them to about ¾ inch (1.5cm) thick. Fry the little disks in a heavy skillet in a bit of oil, over medium-low heat until golden-brown on each side (about 10 minutes per side does it on my stove, but it depends on the heat and the type of pan you use).
Eat them while still warm and wonderful.
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