bread

All posts tagged bread

Theatrical Thursday: Dramatic Plates and Impressive Tarts

Published May 29, 2014 by The Feminist

ascension

Today is Ascension Day. Although I am not a religious person (wow, that’s an understatement!) and hence do not really feel the desire to commemorate the bodily ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, I am grateful that I now have an extra day off and can do whatever I feel like doing.

amy-5

Yeah, something like that.

Although I would skip the Chinese food and replace it with something more theatrical this time.

The following dishes are the most delightful vegetarian dishes imaginable. (If you’re not careful, you’ll be ascending into heaven just like good ol’ Jesus did.) They are yummy, astonishingly comforting and embrace a certain sense of drama quite appropriate for a day like this.

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Grilled vegetable platter with Homemade garlic and cumin bread

This dish is ridiculously easy to make but  -holy moly!- sure as hell packs a punch! The grilled Mediterranean vegetables were topped with tangy feta cheese, sweet-and-sour barberries and a fresh sprinkling of coriander, and were served in a huge pan which was put in the middle of table, ready for everyone to dig in. Moreover, I baked some incredible garlic and cumin bread to go with this. The breadcrumb was light and fluffy and the caramelized garlic gave the bread a heavenly sweet and pungent scent.

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Ingredients

For the vegetable platter (serves 4)

  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 aubergine, cut into 0,5cm slices
  • 2 round courgettes, cut into 0,5cm slices
  • 200gr feta cheese, crumbled
  • Handful of dried barberries (or dried cranberries, if you can’t find barberries)
  • Lots of fresh coriander

For the garlic-cumin bread (makes 2):

  • 500gr strong white bread flour
  • 10gr instant yeast
  • 10gr salt
  • 30gr butter
  • 300 ml cool water
  • 12 cloves of garlic
  • 2 – 3 tbsp cumin seeds

Method:

  1. For the bread: put the flour, salt, yeast and butter together in a bowl (but make sure the yeast does not touch the salt in the beginning). Gradually add the water and mix with your fingers until it starts coming together.
  2. Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes until it is lovely and smooth. Put it in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave the dough to prove for at least 2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves, put them on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 200°C until they are golden brown and mushy. Let them cool slightly before chopping them up.
  4. Tip the risen dough out onto your surface and fold in the caramelized garlic. Divide the dough in two and stretch each piece out into a semi rectangular shape. Let the breads prove for another hour.
  5. Sprinkle on the cumin seeds and drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes in the oven on 200°C.
  7. Meanwhile, for the vegetable platter. Grill all the vegetables in a hot griddle pan. Toss all the vegetables together in a large pan and heat through gently. Top the vegetables with feta cheese, barberries and lots of coriander.

 

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Apple, Cheddar and Caramelized Onion Tart

Hallelujah! This was one seriously delicious tart! Heavenly sweet apples and caramelized onions in perfect harmony with salty cheddar and fragrant thyme… truly an angelic food combination you have got to try!

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Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 3 apples, cut into segments
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 150gr matured cheddar
  • Generous splash of Calvados
  • 3 tbsp fresh thyme

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Make the caramelized onions by heating a knob of butter and frying the onions until golden brown and soft.
  3. Unroll the puff pastry and put on a layer of caramelized onions.
  4. Heat a knob of butter in a pan and fry the apples together with 1 tbsp of thyme and a good drizzle of honey. Make sure they have a lovely golden brown colour but don’t let them get soft, because they still need to go into the oven. Finish with a splash of calvados (make sure the alcohol is evaporated before you put the apples on the pastry.)
  5. Grate the cheddar cheese on top of the caramelized onions and now arrange the apples onto the cheddar. Sprinkle lots of fresh thyme over the top.
  6. Fold over the edges of the puff pastry and put in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes.

Maneesh Mania: Delicious Middle Eastern Flatbread

Published April 13, 2014 by The Feminist

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Some use a knife and fork, some use a spoon and some use chopsticks, but the best way by far to enjoy a dish, is if you can eat it with an edible spoon. This awesome Middle Eastern Flatbread is one of those edible eating utensils that make any other type of cutlery seem superfluous. Maneesh is a super easy, deliciously comforting flat bread topped with Za’atar (or other seeds and dried herbs you like) and is the perfect accompaniment to a mezze. Whether you’ve made some hummus, baba ganoush or a spicy harissa-yoghurt dip, everything will taste divine on this homemade bread.

I’m not an expert in the art of baking bread, but I can honestly say that this Maneesh recipe (adapted from baking God Paul Hollywood) is absolutely foolproof. The dough doesn’t need too long to proof, baking it into the oven requires only 15 minutes but transforms the house into a Middle Eastern Walhalla and eating it is even more gratifying. Soft in the middle, crunchy on the outside and the aroma of spice as the ultimate cherry on the cake. (Or in this case “the topping on the bread”)

So gather around some delicious dips, salted olives, refreshing salads, crumbly cheese and some friends to share it with, and start dunking your Maneesh!

You don’t even have to sit at a table. The only thing you need to start your dinner party are your fingers and your maneesh (and maybe possibly some napkins 😉 )

Ingredients (makes 4 flatbreads)

  • 500gr strong white flour
  • 10gr salt
  • 25gr caster sugar
  • 10gr instant yeast
  • 20ml olive oil
  • 360ml tepid water

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp oregano

Method:

  1. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add the olive oil and 250ml of water. Mix the ingredients together with your fingers. Gradually add the remaining water until all the flour has come away from the sides of the bowl and you have a soft dough.
  2. Pour a little oil onto your work top. Place the dough on top and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will be wet in the beginning (that’s completely normal so don’t panic!) but will form a smooth dough once kneaded.
  3. Place into a clean oiled bowl, cover and leave to double in size. (This will take approx.. 1-2 hours.)
  4. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
  5. Tip the dough onto an oiled work top. Knock the dough back until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth. Split the dough into four and roll into large circles/ squares/ whatever shape seems suitable.
  6. Mix the topping ingredients with a little olive oil until you have a thick paste and spread the topping over each of the breads.
  7. Place onto the lined baking trays and leave to rest for another 20 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 230°C.
  8. Bake in the oven for approx. 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

 

Cheers For Chapati: Lime and Chili Chapatis With Vegetable Curry

Published March 5, 2014 by The Feminist

chapati

I still have to meet the first person who doesn’t like chapatis. I mean, what’s not to like? The soft gooey texture is insanely satisfying and it is the perfect edible utensil to sop up all those delicious curry flavours.

99% of the people on this planet -too consumed with social networking and making a career- just microwave a store-bought packet of chapatis or order some Indian take-away. There is nothing wrong with that –I mean, you have the right to have a life!- and those vacuumed chapatis will still give you that satisfying indulgence of sopping up gravy…

But dear readers and fellow food lovers, if you ever want to experience the full chapati experience, you have to make them yourself! And before you start screaming in total fear of the daunting process of having to transform your kitchen into a flour-exploded palace, remember this: making chapatis is dead easy. And it does not make a mess at all!

Making your own chapatis is not only incredibly gratifying, it also gives you the opportunity to experiment and add flavours to the dough that you normally wouldn’t find in a store-bought stodgy packet of chapatis. (At least not in my supermarket.) I added some finely chopped chillies and lime zest to give the already splendid chapatis a zingy and spicy dimension. But other great flavour combinations would be: coriander and mint, turmeric and nigella seeds, desiccated coconut and green chillies,… The possibilities are endless so have fun with it!

When you make chapatis, you of course need something to sop them in: a good curry. This vegetarian curry was the best I ever made. Even my brother, who normally hates all things meat-free, loved it! What makes this curry so special is the truffle potatoes, which have an exuberantly purple colour. It is absolutely fine to use regular potatoes are sweet potatoes, but I saw these purple beauties in my supermarket and I just had to buy them! Other ingredients in this curry are chickpeas, Chinese cabbage and red pepper. And loads of spices of course.

Lime and Chili Chapatis

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Ingredients (makes 6):

  • 250gr strong white flour
  • 160ml water
  • 20ml olive oil
  • 5gr salt
  • 2 chillies, finely chopped
  • Zest of one lime

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until combined. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth.
  2. Put the dough into an oiled bowl and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into  equal pieces. Roll each one into a thin disc, about 20cm in diameter.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. When the pan is hotter than hot, cook the chapatis, one at a time, for 1-2 minutes on each side until browned and somewhat bubbly.

Vegetable curry

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For the curry paste:

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large chillies
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

For the vegetables:

  • Approx. 5 truffel potatoes (or regular potatoes or 3 sweet potatoes), diced
  • ½ Chinese cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 500ml tomato passata
  • 500ml coconut milk
  • 2 heaped tbsp. of garam massala
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • Juice of a lime
  • Lots of fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the curry paste together in a blender. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil or ghee in a large pot and sauté the paste until it starts to smell heavenly.
  2. Add the diced potatoes and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato passata and coconut milk and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cabbage, peppers, garam masala and fish sauce and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes until everything is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Stir in the chickpeas and finish with some lime juice.
  5. Sprinkle on some fresh coriander.
  6. Sop away with your chapati!

No need for kneading: No fuss sundried tomato whole-wheat loaf

Published August 31, 2013 by The Feminist

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I have a confession to make, dear readers: I’ve never baked bread. (*gasp*)

There. It’s out.

The fact that I haven’t so much as touched yeast must be terrifying for you all (for which I’m terribly sorry. Please take a deep breath). I’ve been bombarding you with delicious cakes and super sweet desserts ever since I gave birth to my precious little blog here, and I do consider myself a bit of a cake snob (My sarcastic remarks thrown at some of the Great British Bake Off contestants- when they for instance accidently put in salt instead of sugar- are Oscar-winning, Pulitzer-prize-deserving material) but when it comes to bread… nothing.

In fact, The Bake Off’s “Bread Week” is probably the only time when I’m not yelling at the telly and just staring in utter amazement- and fright!- at the screen. The whole process just seems so incredibly daunting: the kneading, the proofing, the baking,… So many things can go wrong and I’m simply too scared to spend hours and hours of my time to try to bake something that will eventually turn out to be one big failure.
Lately, however, I’ve been haunted by the image of Paul Hollywood in my head. I can literally see him with a very harsh and judgy look on his face, his eyebrows menacingly high on his forehead. I can hear him tutting.

“You’ve never baked bread?” Tut.

“Not even an easy white bread?” Tut.

“Cinnamon buns?” Tut tut tut.

With his disapproving look engraved in my mind, I decided to do something about it. I baked bread!

Well, sort of, anyway. (I thought it would be advisable to take baby steps first, before attempting a, let’s say, Eight-strand plaited loaf.) This bread contains no yeast (Why does yeast creep me out so much??), hence requires no proofing whatsoever (hurrah!), and hardly any kneading (double hurrah!).

It tasted heavenly! The Mediterranean flavour of the sundried tomatoes, rosemary and garlic added a summery touch to a very butchy and filling whole-wheat loaf and the entire baking experience wasn’t frightening at all! So maybe, when I have some spare time (and feel like I can concur the world!) I might even attempt baking a “real” loaf of bread! With Yeast!

Not tutting now, are you Mr. Hollywood? 😉

This very yummy Italian-inspired bread was served alongside an incredibly healthy and flavoursome Summer Minestrone with homemade pesto. It simply was the perfect meal in every possible way!

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For the sundried tomato whole-wheat loaf
• 100gr sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
• 2 eggs
• 150gr coarse whole-wheat flour
• 225gr strong white bread flour, sifted
• ½ tbsp baking powder
• 2 tbsp, fresh rosemary, finely chopped (plus some extra for the top)
• 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
• ½ tsp ground pepper
• ½ tbsp coarse sea salt (plus some extra for the top)
• 75ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
• 1,5 dl milk
• 1 tbsp honey

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and grease a loaf tin with olive oil.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients for the dough together.
3. In a separate jug, mix together the eggs, olive oil, milk and honey.
4. Mix the chopped sundried tomatoes, rosemary and garlic into the dry ingredients. Pour the liquid in and mix on a slow speed until well incorporated.
5. Spoon the dough into the loaf tin and sprinkle some extra sea salt and rosemary sprigs over the top of the unbaked loaf.
6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean of dough. Allow to cool before serving.

For the Summer Minestrone:
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 yellow courgette, finely diced
• 1 green courgette, finely diced
• 1 romanesco, cut into florets
• 1 can of chickpeas
• 2 bay leafs
• Pinch of chilli flakes
• 2 l vegetable stock
• ½ tbsp dried oregano
• 3 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
• Homemade pesto, to garnish

Method:
1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook until they start to soften. Add the romanesco florets and cook for a few minutes more.
2. Add the stock, oregano, chilli flakes and bay leaf. Let it simmer on a low heat for about 5-10 minutes before adding the courgette dices.
3. Add the courgettes and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
4. Add the chickpeas, heat through and season with salt and pepper.
5. Right before serving, stir through the finely chopped basil to give the soup a bright green colour.
6. Serve the soup with a good dollop of pesto and the notorious sundried tomato bread.