Spicy Masala Buns

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3 28/04/2018

Can you tell I have a lot of potatoes to use up at the moment? If I see another jacket potato any time soon, I might scream so this recipe jazzes up the humble spud with a bit of spice. Wrapped in a flavoured wholewheat dough, these tasty warming buns  deliver on flavour and comfort.

Ingredients:
For the dough:

  • 1 cup Plain Flour
  • ½ cup Whole Wheat Flour or Atta
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 7g packet instant dried Yeast
  • ¼ cup Hot Water
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • 2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • ½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp Oil, plus extra for preparing the dough
  • a few pickled Jalapenos

For Potato Filling:

  • 4 Boiled Potatoes, crushed
  • 1-2 Red Onions
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 inch Ginger, grated
  • 1 Green Chilli, chopped
  • ¼ tsp Asasoetida
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh coriander, chopped

4 2 1

Method:

  1. For preparing wet ingredients add salt, sugar and hot water in a bowl and mix for the salt and sugar to dissolve. Add milk to bring the liquid to room temperature and then add yeast and allow to sit until it foams. Then add oil.
  2. For dry ingredients add the flours, chilli powder and coriander and mix them well. Add the liquid and mix to form a dough. Make a ball and then apply 1 tsp of oil to coat the dough and allow it to rest anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. The dough has to double in size.
  3. For the filling heat the oil in a wok. Add asafoetida, green chillies, garlic, onion and salt and cook until the onions are well done. Then add turmeric, potato and cilantro and mix well and cook it for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before making the buns.
  4. Set the oven to 200 degrees C and when the dough is ready, take a little over a golf ball size dough and pat it. Place a heaped tablespoon of the prepared stuffing in the centre and cover up the filling with the dough. Place it on a baking tray and add jalapenos on top and bake for 14 -15 minutes.
  5. When the buns are done brush them a little with melted ghee or butter for a lovely gloss and serve them hot with any chutney.
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Baked Aloo Chaat

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4 27/04/2018

Aloo chaat is an Indian street food made by frying potatoes with spices and chutney. It is a versatile dish that has many regional variations. This particular recipe uses it as a filling for a baked snack that is comforting and delivers on fresh and vibrant flavours.

To make 4 Pockets

Ingredients:

Stuffing:

  • 2 Boiled Potatoes, roughly broken by hand
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • ½ tsp Chaat Masala Powder
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 inch root Ginger, grated
  • 1 Onion – 1 finely chopped
  • 1 Green Chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds if you do not want extra spice)
  • ¼ cup fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
  • Sweet Tamarind Chutney
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • A squeeze of Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Oil plus extra for coating the pockets

Dough for Pockets:

  • 1 cup Bread Flour
  • ½ tsp Ajwan Seeds
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee
  • A pinch of Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp Water 

1 2 3

Method:

  1. Heat a frying pan with oil. Add turmeric, cumin seeds and chilli powder. When the cumin starts to toast add garlic, onion and ginger and give it a toss and allow for the onions to cook.
  2. Add salt and chickpeas, mix well. Add 1/3 cup sweet tamarind chutney. Then add the mint, chillies, coriander and mix before adding the potatoes. Add the chaat masala powder and mix well. Allow for the mix to cook for a few minutes. Add some lemon juice. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Set the oven to 200 degrees C. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda and ajwan seeds in a bowl.
  4. Add oil and ghee, rub to blend them well with the flour. Then add the water and make a very hard dough. Divide the dough into 4 portions.
  5. Roll each portion out into a round shape. Add a sufficient portion of the aloo stuffing to one half of the round.
  6. Cover the stuffing with the other half. Tightly pinch the corners to seal the pocket. Pat them and try to shape into rectangular log.
  7. Spread some oil all over the pocket and place in a foil lined baking tray.  Bake the pockets for 20 – 25 minutes until the pockets look golden brown. Serve them hot with sweet tamarind chutney.

Uzbek Samsa/Sambusa

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samsaa 06/04/2018

These Uzbek/Central Asian flaky shells are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The meat filling is nicely textured, juicy and flavorful. Make sure to make the full batch – these puppies have a tendency to magically vanish in the blink of an eye.

The dough in this sambusa recipe is very traditional: one part flour, half-part water and salt. The dough will be stiff and hard to knead, and that’s exactly how you want it to be. Modern recipes add an egg or two to make kneading easier. The resulting dough is more supple and easier to work with, but the sambusa lose their crispness and this is one of the best things about them.

Traditionally Uzbek meat sambusa is made with lamb meat and tail fat. A lot of tail fat. And a lot of onions. This fat and onions, which release water during baking, is what makes sambusa juicy and moist. While it tastes amazingly delicious, it’s very greasy. My sambusa recipe is a leaner variant made with lamb leg or shoulder. Shoulder works the best as it has the right lamb to fat ratio and is a very flavourful cut. Removing the fat does not make it taste any worse.

Meat for sambusa must be finely diced with a knife. It takes some effort, but this is very important. If you grind the meat you will get a dumpling, you don’t want that. Diced meat gives sambusa its peculiar texture and juiciness as diced meat retains water better than ground meat. Add finely chopped onions, salt and spice to the meat and the filling is ready. Cumin is one of the traditional spices added to sambusa, as well as black pepper. I am not a big fan of cumin, so I use black pepper and coriander instead for flavour. If you prefer, you can substitute coriander for cumin.

Makes 16

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 400g plain flour
  • 200g water
  • 1 1/2tsp salt
  • 3Tbsp vegetable or olive oil

For the meat filling:

  • 2lbs beef chuck diced into about 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2large onions finely chopped
  • 1tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 2tsp salt

For the egg wash:

  • 2egg yolks
  • 2tsp milk

sam samm

sams samsa

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the dough by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl and let the flour hydrate for 5 minutes or longer, then knead for 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic and let sit at room temperature for at least half an hour.
  2. Prepare the meat filling by combining the meat, the onions and the seasonings.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to a rectangle about 1/16 inch thick. Pour 3 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil and spread out evenly across the entire surface. Roll the dough into a tight log, making sure there are no air pockets. Slice the log into about 16 1 ¼ inch cylinders. Flatten each cylinder with the palm of your hand then roll out to a 5 inch circle.
  4. Put about 3 – 3 ½ ounces of meat filling in the centre of each circle. Seal and place on a large baking sheet seam side down.
  5. Whisk egg yolks and milk until well mixed. Using a pastry brush paint the sambusas with a light, even coat of egg wash.
  6. Bake on the top rack of the oven preheated to 220C for 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet around once after 15 minutes. For softer crust, bake at 210C for 30 minutes.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.
  8. Refrigerated leftover sambusa can be re-heated for 10-15 minutes in the oven at 200C.

Camembert Snowflake

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camembert 19/01/2018

I’m a tiny bit obsessed with cheese at the moment. That’s a lie, I’m always obsessed but here is a particularly gooey, overloaded offering containing caramelised onions, bacon, herbs and buttery pastry dunked into melting luxurious cheese.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 baking camembert
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 3 tbsp caramelised onion chutney
  • 75g crispy smoked bacon bits
  • 1 egg whisked
  • Honey
  • Rosemary leaves

Instructions:                                               

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface. Place a large mixing bowl on top of the pastry sheet. Cut around the bowl to form a circle (around 9-10 inch diameter).
  3. Repeat step 2 with the second sheet of pastry.
  4. Place one circle of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Spread caramelised onion chutney over the pastry, leaving the middle centre clear. Sprinkle bacon bits over the chutney and then cover with the second circle of pastry.
  5. Place the camembert cheese in the centre of the circle of pastry and then cut around to form a circle. Discard the cut pastry and lay the cheese in the open centre.
  6. Cut the circle of pastry into 16 equal segments. You can do this by cutting the circle first into 4 equal segments. Then, cut each segment in half and then in half once more, ending with 16 segments in total.
  7. Lift one segment, twist once to the right and place it down. Then lift the segment next to it and twist once to the left and place it down. Keep going around, alternating the direction of the twist. Finally, bring up edges of two segments with opposite twist and press together.
  8. Brush the pastry with egg wash. Make 3-4 slits on top of the cheese and then drizzle cheese with a little honey. Sprinkle rosemary leaves over the cheese and pastry. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
  9. Rip off the pastry branches and dunk them in the gooey cheese. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Chocolate Hot Cross Bread and Butter Pudding

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hotc 18/01/2018

What’s not to like about chocolate, custard and bread? I’ll tell you. Nothing.

I know it is only January but yes, hot cross buns line the bakery isles already and these chocolate and salted caramel versions from Tesco are no exception. Ever a sucker for the end of isle specials, I found that a few packs had made their way into my shopping bags. And what better way to enjoy them than baked up in a wonderfully gooey, fluffy and light chocolate studded custard? Again, nothing.

Ridiculously easy and ridiculously tasty. Give it a go.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 chocolate and salted caramel hot cross buns
  • 25g butter
  • 75g dark chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 170°C, 150°C Fan.
  2. Cut the hot cross buns in half and butter the cut sides, sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips, sandwich together again and place in a baking dish.
  3. Beat the egg milk, sugar, salt and vanilla together and pour over the buns. Scatter with the remaining chocolate chips and bake for 30 minutes or until just set.
  4. Serve with custard or ice cream.

Chocolate Irish Cream Roulade

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roulade 01/01/2018

Happy New Year! Have I got a treat for you?

Yes.

This gorgeous chocolate roulade is made without flour so it’s light as a feather. The cake is rich and chocolatey yet light and almost mousse-like from the pillowy egg whites.

I am not usually a huge fan of cream but the Baileys filling is light and subtle. I cannot describe what a joy this cake is to make and to eat so you’re just going to have to try it yourself.

I have included some tips for the assembly but don’t worry if the cake cracks as this is part of its charm.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • butter, for greasing
  • 175g (6oz) plain dark chocolate (about 70 per cent cocoa solids)
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 300ml (10fl oz) double cream
  • 4 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
  • icing sugar, sifted, for dusting

You will need a Swiss roll tin, 30cm x 23cm (12in x 9in) and 2cm (¾ in) deep.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350°F/gas 4). Lightly grease the Swiss roll tin with butter and line with baking parchment. It helps to make a small diagonal snip at each corner of the baking parchment, about 3cm (1¼ in) long, so the paper fits snugly into the corners of the tin.
  2. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. The base of the bowl must not touch the water. Leave until just melted, then remove from the heat, stir and leave the chocolate to cool slightly. (See below, Make a light cake, step 1.)
  3. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk using an electric hand whisk on high speed until fluffy and stiff, but not dry.
  4. Tip the caster sugar and egg yolks into another large bowl and whisk on high speed until light, thick and creamy, for about 1½ minutes. Pour in the cooled chocolate and stir until blended. Add two large spoonfuls of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and mix gently, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Sift the cocoa and fold it into the mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. (See below, Make a light cake, step 2.)
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is well risen and firm on top. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside, leaving it in its tin until cold (expect it to dip and crack a little).
  6. Place the cream in a bowl with the Baileys Irish Cream liqueur and whip until thick enough to just hold its shape. If insufficiently whipped it will be too runny to spread; if over-whipped it will become too thick to spread evenly.
  7. Lightly dust a large piece of baking parchment with icing sugar. Turn the cake out on to the parchment and carefully peel off the lining paper. Spread the surface of the cake with the whipped cream, leaving a bare rim of about 2cm (¾ in) all the way around the edges. With one of the short ends near you, make a score mark 2cm (¾ in) in from this edge, being careful not to cut right through. Starting at this point, tightly roll up the roulade. Transfer the roulade to a serving platter or board. (See below, Roll a neat roulade.)

 

Keys to perfection:

Make a light cake:

  • As soon as the chocolate has melted, take the pan off the heat so the chocolate doesn’t overheat or it will become too stiff; it needs to be a pourable consistency. Stir, lift the bowl off the pan and leave the chocolate to cool until it feels tepid. If the chocolate is too hot when stirred into the egg yolks it will start to cook them.
  • Pour the cake mixture into the buttered and lined Swiss roll tin. The mixture should be light and airy now that the egg whites have been added. Ease it into the corners and smooth the surface level using a spatula. Do this very gently, so that you don’t squash out the air that you have just whisked in.

Roll a neat roulade:

  • Leave the roulade cake to cool completely before you tip it out of the tin. Run a small palette knife around the inside of the baking parchment in the tin to loosen the cake, so you can turn it out easily without it breaking.
  • Gently turn the cake out on to a large sheet of baking parchment that has been lightly dusted with icing sugar. Carefully loosen the parchment that surrounds the cake and peel it off, making sure you don’t take the cake with it.
  • Using a palette knife, spread the cream evenly over the roulade, so you will get a uniform spiral of cream in each slice. Rather than spread the cream right up to the edges, leave a gap of about 2cm (¾ in) all round, or the cream will start to ooze out as you start rolling.
  • Use a sharp knife to make a score mark 2cm (¾ in) in from a short edge, and cut about halfway through the cake on the score line. This will be a useful starting point when you start rolling and will give you a tighter, neater roulade.
  • Roll the cut edge over tightly to start with, using the baking parchment to help keep it all tight by gently pulling it up and over the roll. Don’t worry if the cake cracks – that is quite normal and will be part of the roulade’s charm.
  • Keep rolling, again using the parchment to help by pulling it up and over as you roll. After rolling, ensure the join is underneath, as this will keep the roll secure, then transfer the roulade to a platter using a large, wide spatula or two fish slices.

Salmon en Croute

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salm 21/12/2017

Oh the joys of being back at home for Christmas and having a kitchen again! This is a lovely comforting dinner but isn’t too heavy as light flaky salmon and fresh greens are used. It takes a bit of time to put together but the steps are easy then you just bung it in the oven when you’re ready and you’re left with a a dish that delivers on flavour and wow factor.

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 250g ready-made puff pastry

For the filling:

  • 450g piece of salmon fillet, skinned and any bones remove, cut into 3 even sized steaks (or 3 skinless and boneless salmon fillets weighing approximately 150g each)
  • 10g butter (a heaped teaspoon)
  • 150g spinach
  • 1 rounded tablespoon crème fraîche
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 dessertspoon lemon juice
  • Whole nutmeg, freshly grated
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten

sal

Method:

  1. Place the frying pan on a high heat then add the butter followed by the spinach leaves and wilt it for about 1 minute, stirring it around until it has collapsed then tip it into a sieve over a bowl and leave it to cool.
  2. Then use the back of a wooden spoon to press the wilted greens against the sieve and extract any juices. Now place it on a chopping board and press with several sheets of kitchen paper to extract any wetness that remains. Spoon it into a small bowl then stir in the crème fraîche, lemon juice, some freshly grated nutmeg and some seasoning.
  3. Sweat off the onion and garlic in a small saucepan then remove from the heat, add the spinach mix and stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. Divide the rested pastry into 3 even pieces then roll the first piece very thinly into a rectangle the same shape as the salmon fillet, roughly 21cm by 15cm (you will need to adjust the size of the pastry to according to the shape of the salmon fillet).
  5. Then place a piece of salmon on one half of each piece of pastry and spread a third of the spinach mix on top of each fillet.
  6. Using a pastry brush dampen the corners of the pastry with beaten egg then fold the pastry over the salmon to encase it and crimp the corners with a fork to seal.
  7. Put each parcel onto a parchment lined tray. Pop them in the fridge until you need them.
  8. If you are preparing them in advance cover them with a piece of cling film.
  9. When you are ready to bake them, pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
  10. Place the parcels on the baking sheet, with a liner, then make a few diagonal slashes in each one and brush each one with beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes on a high shelf until crisp and golden.
  11. Serve with seasonal greens, new potatoes and parsley sauce.