Archive | Savoury Bakes RSS feed for this section

Home Comforts: Easy White Sour Cream Bread

4 Jul

When I went to New York I took a trip out to Ellis Island. I have always had an interest in the migration experiences of people given that I am the child of two migrants to this country. I like to think of myself as an exotic cocktail 😉

The display as you walked around the processing centres complete with photos of those seeking to migrate to the US was really touching and gave you an excellent perspective on how the people lived while they were waiting to see if they would be accepted and allowed to stay. One of the really interesting things was the food served. I can’t imagine the challenge of trying to feed all of those people with all those different backgrounds and ages. They had menus of the typical day on the walls, not an inspiring read. I bought the Ellis Island cookbook while there and then proceeded to read half of it while standing in line waiting for tickets to a Broadway show. One of the reoccurring themes was that many of the new arrivals to Ellis Island were both perplexed and besotted by some of the food they were served, including white bread and cereal or ‘morning soup’ as one arrival called it

Fresh Bread ready for buttering

Fresh Bread ready for buttering

Mutti often talks about the first time she ate white toast, something that was not served in her house, and how much she loved it. I of course was given white bread and toast as a child, but given that I more often than not have multi grain bread, white bread still affords a degree of comfort and pleasure, particularly slathered in too much butter, but we all know how much I love butter 🙂

I made this loaf on the weekend. It caught my eye while reading The Guardian online and it was easy to do and delivered an excellent soft result, particularly good when toasted. I made no real change to the recipe except to only add water as I thought I needed it and I added slightly less sugar. Served as a side to some baked eggs it was like a warming hug on a cold and miserable winters night.

Do you like white bread? What is your favourite comfort food?

Easy White Sour Cream

recipe by Dan Lepard at Sour Cream White Bread

  • 125g cold sour cream
  • 100 ml of hot water and 150 mls of cold water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1  7gm sachet dried yeast
  • 550g  white flour, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Oil, for kneading

1. Mix the sour cream with the boiling water, 100 mls of the cold water and the yeast, using a whisk or fork to combine.

2. Add the salt, sugar and flour to the cream/water mixture and use your hands to combine until a ball forms. Add the remaining 50 mls of water to ensure the dough comes together using only as much of the water as you need.

3. Leave the bread in a warm spot and cover with glad wrap and a tea towel for 10 mins

P1020036

4. Lightly oil surface with a neutral vegetable or rice bran oil and lightly knead the dough for 10 seconds. Leave aside again under glad wrap and a tea towel for a further 2x 10 min intervals with light kneading in between.

5. Then leave the bread aside for 50 -60 mins until the dough has at least doubled in size.

P1020037

6. Stretch out the dough with your fingers until 2 cm thick and then roll up tightly and place in an oiled and lined loaf tin and leave for another 60 – 90 mins under a tea towel until the dough has again doubled in size.

Dust the top with flour and place into a hot oven and bake for 40 – 45 mins. The bread should be hollow on the tops and sides when knocked.

Eggs and Toast

Eggs and Toast

Advertisements

Return to Blogging: Cheesy truffle pasta bake

17 Jun

Yes it is true I have been away for a long time dear readers.

End of last year saw me slaving away over the last of my masters degree, followed by some wrist surgery that took me out of the cooking game for a while, a lengthy trial followed and some further surgery a couple of weeks ago,  this time to remove my wisdom teeth.

While the limitations on my abilities to cook created by my wrist surgery tested my patience, the removal of wisdom teeth accompanied by the inability to eat anything not in liquid form for almost 2 weeks, was almost a killer. I could cook but I couldn’t eat it. Dante never described this level of hell.

The liquid diet has since stopped, but I am still on the softer foods until the gums are all healed. The only good to come from such severe food limitations is that you have an increased appreciation for even the simplest of things.

Macaroni and cheese is one of those classic comfort dishes and as the weather gets colder, comfort food comes calling. This isn’t the kind of mac and cheese you get out of the box, although there is always a place for that too, this is a pasta and cheese bake for a person who has glimpsed gastronomical redemption.

There are so many variations on this classic and the use of  truffle cream brie in this recipe is really just  decadent excess for the sake of it. I know I am usually so restrained 😉 The truffle  just adds a little extra depth of flavour and makes the whole dish feel more grown up and elegant, you could use truffle oil, or actual truffles if you could get your hands on them, but there are times I have just used a good creamy brie instead.

Cheesy Truffle Pasta Bake

An original recipe by The Legal Tart

Serves 2

  • 300 gms Penne
  • 80 gms truffle brief
  • 80 gms of cheddar
  • 100 gms of Mozzarella
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • Plain flour
  • 100 mls cream
  • 150 mls milk (reduced fat is fine)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Breadcrumbs for topping

1. Boil the penne until just tender and then drain and put aside. Keep in mind that the penne will be baked in the oven, so you don’t want the penne too soft.

2. Put the butter in a small sauce pan and melt,  then add approximately 2 tablespoons of plain flour. Start with one tablespoon and work it in to butter and then add some more until it comes together. Cook for 1-2 mins until the flour is cooked.

Flour and butter

Flour and butter

3.Add 100 mls of milk to break up the flour mixture and use a whisk until the milk and flour is combined and then add the cream. Continue to whisk until the cream thickens and there are no lumps.

4. Add the mozzarella and whisk into the cream mixture until melted and then add the other two cheese one at a time allowing each one to melt before the other one is added.

5. Use as much of the milk as need until the cheese sauce is thinned so that it has a loose dollop consistency that will easily coat the pasta. Season with salt and pepper.

Can be eaten greedily from the pan now.

Can be eaten greedily from the pan now.

6. Toss in the penne until all the pasta is coated.

7. Put the pasta into individual ramekins of a deep baking dish and top with breadcrumbs.

8. Bake for 20-30 mins or until bubbling at the sides and browned on top.

Crunchy and cheesy

Crunchy and cheesy

Newly Discovered Talents and Garlic and Parsely Hearthbreads

23 Aug

Anyone who has made bread will know that it requires a great deal of wrist action in the kneading process. I have been told I have excellent kneading technique. While I was of course completely flattered to be told that my kneading technique was superior, by a professional no less, it is rather disappointing to know that one of my few easily identified talents is unlikely to be much use to me in my chosen field of employment. I suppose at least I always have options if the law isn’t for me! 😉

Bolstered by the previously mentioned flattery and the fact that humiliation is a well known companion, I decided that I was going to overcome my fear of making bread. When I find myself in times of baking self doubt Nigella Lawson comes to me, bearing wisdom throughout her cook book ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’. Safe in the hands of my trusted brunette sister I embarked upon the recipe for her Garlic and Parsley hearthbreads, the recipe did not fail and I was able to produce two lovely loaves of gorgeous garlic and oil doused bread.

I can assure you if you are in anyway apprehensive about the baking of bread, this recipe will not disappoint. It is the most luxurious of garlic breads and can be scoffed while standing over the baking tray just freshly out of the oven, so even if it is not a complete success no one will be the wiser!

Who do you turn to for baking wisdom?

Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads

Recipe by Nigella Lawson

Serves 6-8

  • 500 gms of white flour
  • 7 gms of instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp of table salt
  • 300-400 mls of warm water
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (you can use regular olive oil).

Garlic and Parsley Oil

  • 3 Heads of garlic
  • Large handful of parsley
  • More extra virgin olive oil.

1. Combine the flour, yeast and table salt in a bowl and put aside.

2. In a jug or bowl place the warm water and olive oil.

3. Using a dough hook on the slowest speed add the water into the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is slightly sticky but combined and forming a ball.

4. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You should see real bounce back when you stretch the dough. You can do this part with the dough hook at a higher speed but I wanted to utilise my new found talent!

5. Oil a large bowl and place the kneaded dough into the bowl covering with oiled glad wrap. Place in a warm spot to rise for approximately an hour or until you can tell it has doubled in size.

6. Once risen, take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down using your knuckles to release any air.  Leave it to rest for a further 10 minutes. Divide the dough into two and roll the dough out until about 5 cms thick. Put each loaf on a lined baking tray and then try to stretch the dough a little further using your fingers.

7. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

8. Cover the trays with tea towels and put aside to allow to get puffy, this takes about 20 – 30 minutes. Use your fingers to make little dimples across the bread, the oil, garlic and parsley will pool in these little dimples.

9. Pour the garlic parsley mixture over the breads and place in the oven. Bake for 20 – 30 mins or until golden and the parsley mix is dark. Top with some Maldon salt and serve.

Garlic and Parsley Oil

1. Trim the garlic head and place on a small square of alfoil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap the garlic in the foil and then wrap the package in another layers making sure to allow space around the garlic. Place in a preheated oven on 190 degrees and bake for 45 mins.

2. Place a good handful of parsley leaves into a food processor along with the garlic that has been squeezed from its skin and add olive oil while processing the parsley. The oil dressing should be runny and easy to pour. So just keep adding oil until you get the right consistency.

Irish Soda Bread Rolls

3 Aug

In Food technology (home economics) class I distinctly remember making beer bread. Beer acted as the yeast component so the bread was easy to make. I am not sure if you can have beer in a food technology class anymore given it probably violates some education department rule, but I doubt the teachers worried about us girls secreting the beer away for later consumption given that we thought beer was for boys.

When I took the formerly sticky dough out of the oven I was delighted to find I had successfully created bread and immediately christened myself a girl genius.I insisted Mutti allow me to make some bread at home for Dad. I was sure that he would enjoy another vehicle for the consumption of beer. My memory is he wasn’t that fussed, probably preferring his beer liquid and with a foam head.

My bread skills have not improved much and although I no longer make beer bread I do on occasion make Irish soda bread. I had a hankering for some baking, but Miss Wallflower had declared cake baking verboten and so I decided I would make some soda bread instead. I usually make one large loaf, but saw this recipe for soda bread rolls and thought this may be a nice change.The only change I made to the original recipe was to use half wholemeal, half white flour. But you can of course use all white or all wholemeal. The consistency is like a cross between a savoury scone and a damper. The bread doesn’t keep that well, it is best on the day baked or the next day. But it sure fills you up and is lovely warm, with slatherings of butter

Warm Rolls

Do You bake bread?

Irish Soda Bread

Adapted from a recipe by Angela Nahas from BBC Good Food Magazine July 2012 edition

  • 1.5 cups of plain flour
  • 1.5 cups of wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp of bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

1.  Pre heat oven to 210 degrees

2. Line  a flat baking tray

3. Put flours, cream of tartar, bicarb and salt in a large bowl

4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk

5. Mix together. I find this easiest to do with my hands.

6. Once combined turn on to a floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes. Remember you are not trying to activate gluten so it does not require extensive kneading.

7. Break the dough off into 6 balls and using your hands make into rough balls.

8. Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 mins. The bread should sound hollow when knocked top or bottom.

Reworking an Italian Classic: Pumpkin, Spinach and Goats Cheese Cannelloni

28 Jul

I had a cooking mistress in a class one day lament the acts of terrorism being committed against Italian cooking. Don’t worry no one is hijacking Cannoli for nefarious purposes or dropping gnocchi like missiles from planes, though quite like the idea of gnocchi dropping from the sky 🙂 What she meant was that much Italian food had become reinterpreted and short-cutted to such a point that the craft of the food was undermined. I totally put my hand up for committing some horrible acts and the following recipe is likely to be one of these.

While I like cheese sauce on many things, sometimes I feel that it can overcome the otherwise fresh flavours of foods and those cannelloni dishes I was served as a child in Italian restaurants were often so loaded with cheese sauce they could have filled the cannelloni with anything and you wouldn’t have been able to tell. For this reason I have tried to make a lighter version that is packed with lots of flavour but is also satisfying. I can not emphasise enough how roasting the pumpkin increases the flavour. Boiling it simply isn’t the same, and I quite like anything I can bung in an oven a leave for 30 mins while I get on with a glass of wine and a book, I call it time management. The red onions become sweet from being roasted and the goats cheese adds enough creaminess that you don’t feel that you need a béchamel sauce to cover it. Best of all you are getting a good dose of your vegetable needs in one dish!

Do you sometimes commit crimes against Italian food?

Pumpkin, Spinach and Goats cheese Cannelloni

A Legal Tart recipe

Serves 10-12

  • 1 butternut pumpkin chopped into chunks
  • 1 red onion cut into segments
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 100 gms goats cheese
  • 300 grams of chopped spinach(frozen) defrosted and squeezed of water
  • 100 gms of pinenuts toasted
  • 1 Egg
  • 250 gms Onion and Garlic Pasta sauce
  • Grated mozzarella

1. Roast the pumpkin with the red onion and some olive oil until soft and burnished. Cool the pumpkin. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin

2. Mash the pumpkin and garlic until slightly smooshed but with some texture. Then add the spinach, goats cheese pinenuts, egg and onion and combine with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste

3. Spoon pumpkin mixture into the cannelloni sheets and roll then place in the baking tray. Repeat until all the cannelloni sheets are used.

4. Top with tomato pasta sauce and as much grated mozzarella as you prefer. I used about 2 handfuls.

5. Bake until skewer detects a tender pasta sheet and the cheese is golden and melted, about 30 mins.

*I did have some mixture left over. I used this in wonton wrappers to make ravioli. You can freeze the cooked cannelloni.

Adventures with Eggs: Pancetta, Ricotta and Spinach Bake

15 May

They say if you have an egg you are wealthy. At the moment I have 25. I have tried buying shoes with them, I have tried paying for my bus ticket with them and well visa apparently doesn’t accept eggs as payment. So I assume I am only wealthy nutritionally speaking. There goes my cunning plan to pay for my cocktails with a carton of eggs and some killer charm 😉

How does one end up with 25 eggs I hear you ask, well I was clearly having a seniors moment when last week I went to the grocery store and thought ‘hmm, I don’t think we have many eggs left, I should buy a dozen, they never go to waste.’ Needless to say to live up to the challenge of an egg not going to waste I have really had to put my brain into action. This post will be one of a few in the coming weeks based around eggs and the wonderful things you can do with them…I hope.

I made this dish to take to a friends house. She is currently moving house and pregnant which is just an awful combination. This made a lovely lunch with some crusty bread. I only very slightly adapted the original recipe by adding pancetta and pine nuts. You could of course keep it completely vegetarian friendly by omitting pancetta, but let’s be honest eggs and bacon a match made in heaven!

Do you ever buy things you don’t need? What are your favourite ways to use up eggs?

Pancetta, ricotta and spinach bake

adapted from BBC Australian Good Food Magazine August 2011

Serves 4

  • 150 gms of pancetta sliced
  • 250 gms of low fat ricotta drained of excess liquid
  • 1 box of frozen chopped spinach defrosted and squeezed of water.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan
  • 1/2 cup of pinenuts
  • 2 Tomatoes sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

2. Squeeze spinach between a clean tea towel until all the water you can remove is squeezed out.

3. Fry off the pancetta until slightly crispy. Turn of the heat and add the pinenuts to the same pan. Watch the nuts to make sure they don’t burn.

4. Mix together ricotta, eggs and parmesan with salt and pepper in a bowl.

5. Add spinach, pancetta and pine nuts to the ricotta mix.

6. Pour into a baking dish and top with sliced tomatoes.

7. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until set and golden on top.

8. Serve with crusty bread and a salad.

%d bloggers like this: