November 29, 2013 § 2 Comments
Piri piri sea bass, feta and coriander sweet potato, spinach salad and Portuguese custard tarts:
I’ve had a copy of Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals for a while now, but have only ever picked dishes out of the menus, rather than trying to tackle a whole meal in one go. They’re really well designed if a bit frustrating as you need to plan in advance so that you’ve got all the right things in – e.g. I don’t normally have feta in, or ready-made puff pastry.
We decided to set ourselves the challenge of making a meal in 30mins, from start to finish we managed 35, which I am quite pleased with, even if the kitchen did look like a bomb site afterwards!
This recipe from Jamie Olive’s 30 Minute meals, was originally supposed to be made with chicken, but we didn’t have any in, and the butcher was closed as it was a Sunday, so we make it with some rather lovely sea bass – and I think it worked very well!
See if you can beat our time!
Piri Piri sea bass -
Start off by turning the oven on to 200°C and putting a large griddle pan on a high heat.
Put two large sea bass fillets on a plastic chopping board, flesh side down, and slash the meat on each one a few times. Drizzle with olive oil and season, and then put on the griddle pan that is heating up, skin side down. Cook until the skin is crispy and then take it out and pop it on a plate.
Slice 1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper into strips and add to the griddle pan. Turn the heat down to medium and keep moving the peppers around.
For the piri piri sauce, peel and roughly chop half a red onion and add to the liquidizer with 2 peeled cloves of garlic. Add 2 red bird’s eye chillies (stalks removed), 1 tbsp of sweet smoked paprika, the zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½ a lemon. Add 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a good pinch of salt and pepper, the bunch of basil and a glug of water. Whizz until smooth.
Pour the piri piri sauce you’ve just made into a snug-fitting roasting tray. Lay the peppers on top and put aside. Add the fish to the roasting tray with the sauce. Scatter over the sprigs of thyme and put the tray into the middle of the oven at 200°C for about 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked (it all depends on the thickness of your fillets).
Get the tray of fish out of the oven, sprinkle over a few coriander leaves and serve straight away.
Wash the potato and sweet potatoes and halve lengthways. Put them into a large microwave-safe bowl with ½ a lemon Cover with cling film and put into the microwave on full power for 15 minutes (or if, like us, you don’t have a microwave, boil these for 25 mins before you start the timer for the rest of the meal!).
Finely chop a red chilli and most of a bunch of coriander on a board, mixing as you go. Add 50g of feta and keep chopping and mixing.
Check the potatoes are cooked through, then use tongs to squeeze over the cooked lemon. Add the coriander mixture from the chopping board and mix everything together. Season and serve.
Quickly dress a bag of rocket, still in its bag, with a slug of extra virgin olive oil, a good pinch of salt and pepper and the juice of ½ a lemon. Tip into a bowl and serve.
Portuguese(ish) custard tarts –
Dust a clean surface with flour. Unroll a 375g pack of puff pastry, then cut it in half so you end up with two 20 x 20cm squares of pastry (put one in the fridge for another day). Sprinkle over a few good pinches of ground cinnamon, then roll the pastry into a Swiss roll shape and cut into 6 rounds. Put these into 6 of the holes in a muffin tin, and use your thumbs to stretch and mould the pastry into the holes so the bottom is flat and the pastry comes up to the top. Put on the top shelf of the oven and cook for around 8 to 10 minutes at 200°C, or until lightly golden.
Spoon 125g of crème fraîche into a small bowl. Add one egg, 1 tsp vanilla paste, 1 tbsp of golden caster sugar and the zest of 1 orange and mix well.
Take the muffin tin out of the oven, and use a teaspoon to press the puffed up pastry back to the sides and make room for the filling. Spoon the crème fraîche mixture into the tart cases, and return to the top shelf of the oven cook for a further 8 mins.
Put a small saucepan on a high heat. Squeeze in the juice from the zested orange and add 4 tablespoons of golden caster sugar. Stir and keep a good eye on it, don’t let it burn!
Pour some caramel over each tart, serve, check the timer to see how you managed and put your feet up!
August 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
This dish is perfect for those summer weekends, quite quick and the fact that it makes a big tortilla is all the better as plenty for Monday’s lunch box!
This tortilla is called kuku in Iran (where it comes from) and is a really light yet filling one dish meal.
I’ve taken this recipe out of Allegra McEvedy and Paul Merrits’ Economy Gastronomy but up the herb and flavouring quantities here to give it a little more pizzazz…
It really is a delicious, hardly takes any time at all and is nice and cheap
- Boil and mash one very large potato (or a couple of smaller ones…)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- In a large bowl toss through the following – all roughly chopped
- A couple of fat cloves of garlic
- 100 g of spinach
- A large handful of coriander and parsley
- A couple of sprigs worth of mint
- Half an onion – finely diced
- The juice of half a lemon
- Salt pepper
- The seeds of 4 cardamom pods – crushed
- The mashed potato
- 6 eggs
Grease an oven proof dish generously with butter and pour the mixture in and bake for 15-30.
Let it sit once it’s out of the oven for at least 10 mins.
Serve with some crusty bread (this one is homemade rye bread), some feta or plain yoghurt.
June 3, 2013 § 3 Comments
The fantastically fiddly but satisfying plait – from Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ series on BBC.
This recipe is very similar to the wholemeal bloomer but uses only strong white flour as it has more stretch than the wholemeal. Put 500g strong white flour a large bowl, on one side of the bowl add 10g salt and on the other 7g fast action yeast (normally the green tub as opposed to the yellow one). Add 240ml water (cool rather than warm – this gives the bread longer to rise and mature) and a glug of olive oil. Make a claw shape with your fingers and mix this together.
Bring everything together into a shaggy mess and knead it until it leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Pour a little oil onto your work surface and hands and knead the dough for 10mins. The dough should become smooth and silky. Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough, cover and leave for a couple of hour or until tripled in size. Knock it back and shape into a ball.
Now for fiddly and faffy part (isn’t that why you’re here?!):
- Divide the dough into 8 equal sized pieces
- Lay the strands out like an octopus with them joined at the top and fanning out in an arch bellow
- In your head number the strands 1-8 from left to right – this is the number of the place not the strand, so when a strand is moved they are renamed according to their new position
- It is important to keep the strands relatively tight and heading away from the top knot as you plait:
- Place 8 under 7 and over 1
- Place 8 over 5
- Place 2 under 3 and over 8
- Place 1 over 4
- Place 7 under 6 and over 1
- Repeat steps 2-5 until the plait is finished
- Tuck in the ends to neaten it up
- Place on a floured baking tray
Phew. Now that the hard bit is over, leave the loaf to prove (rise) for an hour or so. Gently brush the loaf with a beaten egg this will give it a lovely sheen when it comes out and bake for 20-25mins at 200°C.
Cool on a rack and wow your friends for tea!
June 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I really like this one with lunches, we had a smorgasbord style lunch when my friend Coral came to stay. It was a lovely weekend so we went to the nursery to get some flowers for the window boxes, and we came back starving so the flowers we bought didn’t even make it off the kitchen table before lunch as you’ll see in the photos. Pictured right is the wholemeal bloomer and left is a rye bread from a snazzy bakery in Chorlton – Barbakan.
This loaf is pretty beginner friendly, with an everything together, mix and rest method. Put 300g strong white flour and 200g wholemeal flour into a large bowl, on one side of the bowl add 10g salt and on the other 7g fast action yeast (normally the green tub as opposed to the yellow one). Add 240ml water (cool rather than warm – this gives the bread longer to rise and mature) and a glug of olive oil. Make a claw shape with your fingers and mix this together.
Bring everything together into a shaggy mess and knead it until it leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Pour a little oil onto your work surface and hands and knead the dough on here for 10mins. The dough should become smooth and silky. Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough, cover and leave for a couple of hour or until tripled in size.
Knock the dough back and flatten it out gently into a rectangle, roll this up tightly and leave seam side down on a lined baking tray for a couple of hours.
Once the dough has risen and doubled in size gently spray some water onto the loaf, sprinkle with flour and with a really sharp knife slash down the middle of the bread four times (bakers use a razor blade attached to a stick to get a really sharp cut without tearing the dough – a lame or grignette). Heat the oven to 220°C, fill a deep pan with water at the bottom to steam the oven. Bake for 25 mins, reduce the oven to 200°C and bake for a further 10mins.
Leave on a cooling rack to cool, and enjoy with everything.
May 31, 2013 § 2 Comments
I’ve changed this recipe of Dan Lepard’s a bit to make it a little more approachable, but this loaf still retains its heavy texture and rich flavours, not for the faint hearted but a true star of any meal.
Whisk 225ml of cold water with 50g wholemeal or rye flour together in a saucepan, bring to the boil and then spoon into a bowl, and leave until cool. Then add 1tsp muscovado sugar and 2 tsp fast action yeast, cover and leave for 45 mins.
In a little saucepan melt 50g butter with 100ml cold water, 2 tbsp cocoa, 2tbsp instant coffee, 50g black treacle, 25g golden syrup and either 3tsp cumin, 2tsp fennel or 1 ½ tsp caraway (they are all different strength flavours so the quantities vary). Leave this to cool until lukewarm and then stir it into the yeast and flour mixture with 150g grated carrot.
In a bowl weigh out 100g rye or wholemeal flour, 425g strong white flour and 2 tsp salt. Pour in the syrup, yeast and carrot mixture and stir to s sticky mess.
Turn the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead eight to ten times, leave to rest for 10mins and repeat the kneading and resting twice more.
Shape the dough into a ball, prinkle thickly with sesame seeds (I used black as that’s what I had in, but white ones would look better with the contrast) and leave to rise until it has increased in size by half.
Cut a criss-cross in the top and bake at 220°C for 20mins and then turn the oven down to 180°C for another 15-20mins.
Turn out to cool and eat with a strong cheese, cured meats, chutney, sun dried tomatoes.
May 30, 2013 § 7 Comments
Now that I am at home a fair bit I’ve been busy with job applications and those jobs I’ve been putting off as well as catching up with people I haven’t seen for a while. I’ve really have had time to get into bread making a little more. I’ve given you my basic white loaf, which we make every 3 or 4 days and some others I have tried for fun and really enjoyed:
The farmhouse white is the most versatile, basically a slow-rise sandwich loaf and good for breakfasts, the wholemeal is your standard bloomer for lunches and snacks. My eight-stranded plait is really not as hard as it looks, though does require concentration and has a moist crumb due to the olive oil so would be better as a richer afternoon tea time bread. Finally the Black treacle loaf. Wow. This is quite some bread. Luckily it keeps for a while as it is not an all-purpose bread, with coffee, cocoa, treacle and caraway its flavours are pretty intense. It tastes far too strong by itself, but with the sweetness of a good chutney and the tang of some mature cheese it really comes into its element!
As you will see when you have a look at the bread recipes I use, they are with Dan Leopard’s (from his amazing book ‘Short and Sweet’ which is an encyclopaedia of baking, a few basics, but mainly more interesting things to do with bread, cakes, pastry etc. and Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ series on BBC which was a great intro to bread making).
Part 1. White Farmhouse tin loaf - Dan Leopard
Mix together 225ml warm water with 1 tsp fast action yeast and 174g of strong white flour – stir together until smooth and leave for 4 hours (or overnight) – this is called a sponge.
In a separate bowl mix together another 175g strong white flour and 1 tsp of salt and rub in 25g of lard (or butter). Pour in the yeast sponge and mix this all together. Cover and leave for 10 minutes, briefly knead the dough and leave again for 15 mins, knead and leave 15mins knead and then leave for 30mins.
Grease a 2lb loaf tin. Lightly knock your dough back and shape into a rectangle and roll up tightly to it the length of your tin. Leave to rise in the tin for about an hour and half.
Heat the oven to 220°C, fill a deep pan with water at the bottom to steam the oven. Dust the top of the bread with flour and with a really sharp knife slash down the middle. Bake for 20 mins, reduce the oven to 180°C and bake for a further 20mins.
Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.