Burger Buns

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IMG_20150126_185254[1] 29/01/2014

These bread rolls are enriched with a small amount of butter and sugar which fills the room with a gorgeous homely aroma as they bake.

Makes 10

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 200ml tepid milk
  • 100ml tepid water
  • 15g caster sugar
  • 25g melted butter
  • 10g salt
  • 7g dried yeast
  • milk
  • sesame seeds (optional)

Method:

  1. Weigh the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a measuring jug then add the tepid water and milk to this. Add the yeast to the liquid then pour into the flour mix and combine thoroughly to form a dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until your dough is soft and elastic. Leave to rise for 1 hour in a covered bowl left in a warm place.
  2. Divide the dough into 10 pieces and on a lightly floured surface roll into balls with your hands. Then using a rolling pin flatten into 10cm baps on a floured surface. Place on baking trays lined with baking paper and brush milk over each bap. Cover loosely with cling film and leave them in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  3. Brush with a second coat of milk and sprinkle a pinch of sesame seeds onto each bap. Cover loosely with cling film and leave for a final 30 minutes to rise.
  4. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 180°C fan. Bake the baps until they are perfectly golden, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

These rolls can be stored in an airtight container for a few days. The recipe makes quite large rolls so if you need them smaller, I suggest cutting the dough into 12-14 pieces at stage 2. The pieces of dough you have will look small but will prove and rise to large and light, fluffy buns. And who doesn’t like fluffy buns?

Feel free to experiment with the dough too. I have used half whole wheat and half strong white flour before for a coarser, more hearty bun. Why not try adding herbs to the dough or different toppings too?

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Toad in the Hole

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IMG_20150126_084613[1] 26/01/2015

Yes you heard right. But have no fear – no toads were harmed in this recipe. I actually have no idea where the name comes from. This is just a classic British dish of sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter. Warming, satisfying comfort food!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4oz plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 4 sausages

Method:

  1. To make the batter, add the flour to a mixing bowl with the egg and a splash of milk. Beat together to form a stiff dough. Gradually incorporate a couple of tablespoons of milk at a time to the mix until it starts to loosen to a thick batter. Beat well in between each addition of milk to achieve a smooth, lump-free batter. This is far easier to do while the batter is thick so don’t add too much milk to begin with. When the lumps have gone, add enough milk to make a loose but not runny batter and leave it to stand for about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C and add the oil to a small baking tray (7×11”). Place the tray in the oven to heat up.
  3. Choose your favourite sausages (I used herby garlic sausages) and when the oven has reached temperature, add the sausages to the hot oil in the tray and cook for 10 minutes turning occasionally to brown.
  4. Working quickly, remove the tray from the oven, pour the batter around the sausages and return it to the oven to bake for 30 minutes or so. The trick here is to keep the rapeseed oil and sausage fat hot as this helps to create a puffy, airy batter.
  5. Remove from the oven when the batter is dark golden and set with a slight wobble. Serve with plenty of vegetables and lashings of thick onion gravy.

Homemade Pizza

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IMG_20150114_202826[1] 14/01/2015

Homemade pizza is so much tastier than shop bought any day of the week. You can tailor make it exactly to your liking, you know exactly what has gone into it, it is so much cheaper and tastes so fresh.

I have even flavoured this particular dough with garlic and thyme.

This recipe yields two pizzas. If you don’t need both bases, roll both out but don’t top one then you can freeze it on a tray and wrap it in clingfilm once frozen. You then have a tasty, homemade pizza base ready to pull out of the freezer for another time.

Ingredients:

For the pizza dough:

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
  • 300ml warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons good olive oil

For the toppings:

  • 1 small jar of pizza topping or your favourite marinara sauce
  • 75g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 25g parmesan, grated
  • Your favourite toppings. I used mushrooms and garlic salami

Directions:

For the pizza dough:

  1. Place salt, garlic powder, dried thyme and flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast but do not let the yeast directly contact the salt.
  2. Pour in the water and olive oil. Mix together with your fingers.
  3. Work the dough into a soft warm ball then slap it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl and lightly oil the dough itself so a crust does not form. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

IMG_20150114_202956[1]

To assemble the pizza:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place two baking trays in the oven while it is heating.
  2. Knock back the dough and divide it into two. Roll the first half out to fit the tray you will bake it on. Do this on a very well floured surface. Spread half of the pizza topping sauce onto the dough then add half of the cheese. Top with whatever toppings you desire.                                           IMG_20150114_202910[1]
  3. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  4. Transfer the pizzas onto the hot trays and bake for 12-14 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and melted and the crust has lightly browned. Allow the pizzas to cool for a few minute before cutting into slices.

Easy Paella

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IMG_20150107_201548[1] 08/01/2015

This recipe is not for a traditional Spanish Paella but more of a store cupboard version. It uses chicken and chorizo which are usually fridge staples and tomato purée instead of saffron. The great thing is, you can add whatever vegetables or meat you have to this. It is great with prawns, green beans, whatever you have to hand.

This recipe serves 2 people.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 small carrot
  • Generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 70 g chorizo
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ red pepper and ½ green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1 cube chicken stock
  • 100 g paella rice
  • 50 g frozen peas
  • ½ lemon

Method:

  1. Peel and finely slice the garlic, peel and roughly chop the onion and carrot. Finely chop the parsley stalks then roughly chop the chorizo and chicken thighs. Put a little oil into a large lidded shallow casserole or paella pan on a medium heat, add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery parsley stalks, chorizo, chicken and paprika, and fry for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Deseed and chop the pepper, then add to the pan for a further 5 minutes.
  2. Stir through the tomato purée and crumble in the stock cube, then add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes so it starts to suck up all that lovely flavour. Pour in 300mls of boiling water and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Pop the lid on and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly from the outside in and from the inside out, and adding a splash of water if needed. Stir in the peas, replace the lid, and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until piping hot. Season to perfection, then chop the parsley leaves, scatter them over the paella, and serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.