Bierocks

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bierockss 23/06/2017

Bierocks are made with a yeasted dough to form a pastry casing for a savoury filling of meat and cabbage and originating from Eastern Europe.

Ever in search of new ways with mince, this recipe also provides an interesting, tasty and cheap combination of ingredients that also provide a hand held snack that pairs perfectly with a cold beer. Winner!

Makes 12

Ingredients:

Bread Dough:

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 1 7g sachet fast action yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 100ml hot water

Filling:

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Method:

Make the bread dough:

  1. Put the flour, yeast, egg, salt and sugar into a bowl.
  2. Add the hot water to the milk and add gradually to the mixture until it comes together into a soft dough. You may need more liquid, depending on the moisture in the flour and egg.
  3. Knead the mixture for ten minutes, cover and set aside to rise for an hour.

Make the filling:

  1. Heat a non-stick saucepan over a medium high heat and crumble in the meat. No need to have any oil, even lean mince has a certain amount of fat in it which will come out as the meat cooks.
  2. Stir the meat around until it is browned and shiny.
  3. Add the onion and continue stirring while the onion softens.
  4. Finally add in the cabbage and cook until the cabbage has softened – probably no more than 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the salt and pepper, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  6. When the dough has risen, tip out and pat down.
  7. Divide dough into pieces weighing 75-80g.
  8. Roll dough out into a 15cm square.
  9. Put a large tablespoon of the cooled filling into the middle of the dough.
  10. Add 1 teaspoon of the grated cheese, if using.
  11. Bring the corners of the dough together and pinch along the edges to seal in the filling. What you will end up with looks like the back of an envelope.
  12. Turn the buns over and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  13. Dust the buns with flour and set aside to rise for 15-20 minutes.
  14. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan.
  15. Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.
  16. Remove the buns from the oven and immediately cover the baking sheet with some tea-towels. This will trap the heat and create steam, which will soften the crust of the buns.
  17. Eat warm.

bierocks

Miso Baked Cod

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miso 19/06/2017

The rich, umami flavour of miso in this sticky Japanese-style marinade is a perfect pairing for fish.

The fish is wrapped in a foil parcel and baked in the savoury juices resulting in meltingly tender flesh with a satisfying flavour that is so easy and quick to create.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp shiro miso
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 30g fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 sustainable cod fillets (around 150g each)
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced, plus extra to garnish
  • Handful fresh coriander, plus extra to garnish

To serve:

  • Steamed rice and griddled pak choi
  • Lime wedges

misoo

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Mix together the miso, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger in a small bowl.
  2. Lay each piece of cod on a piece of foil large enough to enclose it, then spoon half the miso mix on top of each. Add the spring onions and coriander, then tightly seal to make parcels.
  3. Put the 2 parcels into a baking dish, transfer to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Divide the rice and pak choi between 2 plates. Unwrap the parcels, lift out the contents and serve the fish on top of the rice, with extra coriander and spring onions on the side. Add lime wedges for squeezing.

Meatball Giovetsi

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giovetsi 17/06/2017

Originally made with chicken, lamb or beef, giovetsi is a one pan Greek dish where everything is baked together to bubbling perfection to create an aromatic and delicious meal.

The orzo is toasted in the pan before adding the liquid to give a wonderfully nutty flavour. I have used halloumi to top and sausage meat to create meatballs purely because that is what I had but as with all my recipes, feel free to substitute for whatever you prefer. You will still end up with a gorgeous dinner!

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • Sausage meat from 2 sausages, casing removed
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch of rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • pinch of ground cinnamon and oregano
  • ½ cup of orzo
  • 1 ½ cups of chicken stock
  • Halloumi Cheese

Method:

  1. Add the sausagemeat, breadbrumbs, seasoning, rosemary and half the onion in a bowl and mix well. Shape the mix into small meatballs. (I made 8).
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  3. In a frying pan, over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp oil and gently fry the sausage balls on all sides until browned all over. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add your onions and peppers to the pan and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until softened.
  5. Add the Orzo and stir for a few minutes to toast the kernels.
  6. Add the hot stock, tomato puree, cinnamon and oregano and bring to a boil while stirring. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer to an oven-proof baking dish and add your meatballs.
  8. Fry a few strips of halloumi in the same pan until lightly browned and top the orzo with these then bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until most of the juices have been absorbed and the top is golden brown.
  9. Serve hot with green salad.

Cheesy Lentil Bake

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lentil 13/06/2017

You could try using different veggies and cheeses for this. I just used what I had in at the time but this could be great with leeks, spring onions, parsnips, green beans, peppers… anything. Just remember that since you want this cheesy lentil slice to set nice and firm, you’ll need to thoroughly cook any particularly wet vegetables beforehand, and cut them nice and small.

This cheesy lentil slice is super high in protein and fibre and it’s still absolutely delish. The slice can be… well, sliced. This means that as well as making a great dinner alongside some homemade chips, garlic bread, salad or whatever else tickles your fancy, it can also be packed into lunch boxes to be served cold. Gotta love a versatile recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 190g red lentils
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, diced fairly small
  • 60g frozen peas
  • 75g rolled oats
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each oregano and thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 70 g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 large tomato, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Add the red lentils, chicken stock and tomato puree to a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium heat until the red lentils are tender and any excess liquid has cooked off – around 15 minutes. You’ll need to stir regularly, especially in the last few minutes, to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the chopped onion and carrot. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, until softened then add the peas for a couple more minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. When the lentils are cooked, transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and add the cooked vegetables, rolled oats, smoked paprika, herbs and a generous pinch of black pepper. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes then add about half of the grated cheese (hold some back for topping). Mix thoroughly.
  4. Spread the lentil mixture out into a greased baking tin (mine was 9 inches squared), and smooth out the top. Add the remaining grated cheese and a few slices of tomato. Bake at 180°C for around 45 minutes, or until the lentil slice is firm and the cheese on top is golden (cover with foil if you feel the cheese is browning too quickly). Either serve immediately, or allow to cool and cut into slices.

 

Carrot Cake Cheesecake… Cake

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cx 11/06/2017

My friends and I have wanted to make this cake for ages. It is really several cakes piled into one glorious creation. The cheesecake centre is smooth and creamy against the spiced, nut studded carrot cake that is topped with a luxurious icing and even more nuts for beautiful texture and flavour. A real celebration cake!

The frosting makes enough to cover the entire cake generously however, I only covered the top of the cake and this was more than enough as the frosting is very sweet. I used the remaining frosting for a coffee and banana pecan cake which was really nice or you could just half the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup muscovado sugar
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • ½-1 cup chopped pecans

FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:

  • 16oz full fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz full fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:

  1. Prepare the cheesecake layer first. This can be done early in the day, or the night before. If freezing the cheesecake, can be stored 1-2 weeks in the freezer.
  2. Preheat oven to 160C. Using a large roasting pan, add 1 inch of hot water to the pan. Place it on the lower shelf of the oven. Allow it to preheat in the oven.
  3. Prepare an 8-inch spring-form pan by wrapping the bottom of the pan (outside) with a double layer of foil. Line the bottom (inside) with a circle of parchment paper.
  4. Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add in salt and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Beat in sour cream and whipping cream, until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Pour into prepared 8-inch spring-form pan. Place pan in centre of preheated roasting pan in the oven, making sure to be careful not to spill water.
  6. Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes. There should still be a slight wobble in the centre. Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely on counter.
  7. When cooled, remove outside portion of the spring-form pan and place into the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight. If using within 24 hours, feel free to just refrigerate cheesecake (this is what I did).

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FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs until blended. Add in flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Beat for about 2 minutes. Stir in the grated carrots and pecans. Pour into prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for ten minutes then remove from pans and cool completely.

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FOR THE FROSTING:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat with whisk attachment for 3 minutes. Add in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and heavy cream. Beat for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Fold in chopped pecans.
  2. To assemble the cake, layer one layer of carrot cake. Add the cheesecake then top with second layer of carrot cake. Spread on the frosting on top and on the sides if you feel particularly decadent.
  3. Store in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. ENJOY!

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Cheese, Bacon & Spring Onion Scones

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scones 04/06/2017

Okay, so I’ve posted a few scone recipes before but I think I’ve topped myself with this one. It all came about like most of my recipes, because I had particular ingredients to use up. This time it was bacon and spring onions. These scones are rough and ready but delicious and full f bacon and cheese goodness. Crunchy and knobbly on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside with savoury onion and bacon bits running throughout, these scones are sensational eaten warm from the oven with butter and ground pepper… and lots of coffee. Treat yourself!

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 8 rashers streaky bacon, diced
  • 5 spring onions
  • 150g mature cheddar, grated
  • 340g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 85g butter, diced and chilled
  • 135ml whole milk
  • 1 large egg (plus extra for glazing)
  • 2 tbsp dukkah

Method:

  1. To make the scones preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Place the bacon into a non-stick frying pan and cook until beginning to crisp. Tip out onto a plate and allow to cool before mixing together with the spring onions and the cheese.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and mix together to combine. Add the diced butter and using a pastry blender or two knives cut in the fat until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs – some pieces should be about pea sized. Add the bacon, spring onions and cheese and mix together. In a jug whisk together the milk and the egg.
  4. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the liquid. Using a knife bring the mixture together. Once a shaggy dough has been formed tip out on a lightly floured work surface and bring together into a uniform dough – don’t work too much or your scones will be tough.
  5. Pat the dough into a flat round a couple centimetres thick then use a knife to cut into 8 equal sized pieces. Place onto the prepared baking tray and brush the tops of the scones with a little egg or milk and sprinkle with the dukkah. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Best served warm on the day baked.

Tahchin – Persian Rice & Chicken Cake

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t 31/05/2017

Tahchin is a Persian baked rice dish layered with buttery soft chicken and a gorgreous golden covering of saffron infused, spice scented rice. The long bake in the oven produces beautifully steamed fluffy rice with a crispy casing (Tahdig) that you will be fighting over.

Don’t be put off by the multiple steps. It is a really simple dish to create and the result is truly worth it.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 ½ cups cold water

FOR THE RICE:

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked basmati rice (I substituted ½ cup with Jasmine rice for added aroma)
  • 3 TBSP plain low-fat yoghurt
  • 1 large egg
  • Small pinch of saffron strands infused in a little hot water
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 tsp Persian Rice Spice (see recipe below)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. To cook the chicken: Add the skinless chicken pieces to a stockpot with a good lid that will not allow too much moisture loss. Add salt, pepper, the cut onion and 1 ½ cups water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken falls apart with a fork.
  2. Remove the chicken from the stockpot and set aside to cool.
  3. If there is more than 1 cup of broth in the stockpot, bring it to a boil and let it boil for 3-5 minutes, or until it is reduced to 1 cup. Turn off the heat, smash the cooked onions with a fork, pour the reduced broth into a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into large chunks. Mix the meat with broth until it is well coated. Chill the meat and broth mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30-40 minutes, or until the broth solidifies. This step may be done up to 3-4 hours in advance.
  5. To make the rice: A lot of recipes require you to wash the rice several times but I just place it straight into boiling salted water, stir to separate the grains and par-cook for about 5-7 minutes. Check one of the grains; it should be soft around the edges while still firm (not crunchy) in the centre. Drain and set aside.
  6. To make the Tahchin: Preheat oven to 200C.
  7. In a medium bowl whisk together 1 egg, yoghurt, 1 tsp Persian Rice Spice and the saffron. Stir in ½ of the par cooked rice and mix until all the rice is coated. Set aside
  8. Add the oil and butter to a medium glass baking dish. Place the dish in the preheated oven 3-5 minutes, or until all the butter melts and starts sizzling. Watch very closely so the oil does not get too hot and smoky then transfer the baking dish to a heat proof surface. Swirl the butter all around the base and sides of the dish.
  9. First layer:Add the rice and yoghurt mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly to cover the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the rice layer with 1 tsp Persian Rice Spice.
  10. Second layer:Stir the chilled chicken and broth well and arrange evenly on top to cover all of the rice layer.
  11. Final layer:Add the rest of the rice on top of the chicken, press gently with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle with 1 tsp Persian Rice Spice.
  12. Cover the baking dish with a sheet of heavy duty aluminium foil and seal the sides by pressing the aluminium foil to the dish. Use a sharp knife to cut one slit on each corner and then a few in the centre of the dish.
  13. Bake on the lowest rack of the preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the lowest portion of the sides of Tahchin are golden brown. Do not overbake; the bottom will bake darker than the sides. If the lower sides are not golden brown, return the Tahchin back to the oven and bake for another 7-10 minutes, or until it is golden brown.
  14. Remove the baking dish from the oven, remove the aluminium foil. Run a knife along the sides of the baking dish to release the Tahchin. Place a large shallow baking sheet on top of the dish. Use oven gloves and hold both baking sheet and the glass dish and invert the Tahchin. Let the Tahchin sit on the counter for 10 minutes.
  15. Use a serrated knife to cut the Tahchin into 4 equal pieces and serve with Sabzi Khordan (fresh herbs), Torshi Sir (pickled garlic), cooling yoghurt and/or Salad Shirazi.

ta tah

The Persian rice spice is a blend of 5 spices with the main ingredient being the dried rose petal powder. You may find dried rose petals “gole sorkh” in most Middle Eastern supermarkets. It is the dried blossoms of a special species of wild rose that grows in Iran and is used for culinary purpose. However if you have a hard time finding it, no worries, the spice blend still tastes wonderful without this ingredient. I have cooked rice with a spice blend combining cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg and cardamom and it turns out really delicious and fragrant.

Ingredients:

  • 4 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 6 TBSP powdered rose petals (optional) (I didn’t include these)

Instructions:

  1. Toast the cumin and cardamom seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until fragrant. Blend in a pestle and mortar until well ground. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and rose petals if using. Mix all the spices well. Place in a small airtight jar.