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

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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.

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.

Baked Pea Kachori

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kachori1 12/05/2017

Kachoris are a traditional Gujarati snack, often filled with spiced dhal. I find that using green peas, instead of pulses, gives them a fresher, sweeter flavour that combines wonderfully with the warmth of the spices. I’ve used peanuts for a little added crunch too.

This version of kachori are filled with spicy pea filling and served with a cooling coriander and coconut chutney. Yummy! They will make a delicious starter to a curry night. Like most Indian snacks, traditional kachori get a deep-frying treatment but these beauties have been baked in the oven with excellent results.

Adding citric acid to the dough helps to keep the chapatti case crisp and adds a little citrus zing to balance the flavour but it is completely optional. You can omit it if you don’t have any.

Makes 20-25

Ingredients:
Dough:

  • 150 g plain flour, sifted
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp / 15 ml of oil (I used olive oil)
  • about 75 ml / 5 tbsp of boiling water
  • ½ tsp citric acid (if using)

Filling:

  • 300g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 25g unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp of grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil, for sauteéing
  • about 1-2 tbsp / 15-30 ml of lemon juice
  • small bunch of mint, chopped

Chutney:

  • 1 cup of fresh coriander
  • about ½ cup / 120 ml full fat coconut milk
  • lime juice to taste (I used ½ lime)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

kachori3

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, citric acid and salt. Add oil and rub it into the flour with your hands. Now add 60 ml of hot water and start bringing the dough together. If it is too dry add another 1-2 tablespoons but do it gradually so that the dough doesn’t end up too wet. Knead for 5 minutes. Brush the surface of the dough with a tiny bit of oil and cover with a damp tea towel to prevent drying up.
  2. Whiz defrosted peas in a food processor with the mint until coarse chunks remain.
  3. Warm up a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat in a pan. Add mustard seeds and wait until they start popping. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry them briefly until the garlic has softened. Mix all the spices in a small bowl with a bit of water to make a paste. When you add them to the pan, this will prevent burning. Now add the spice paste, peas, peanuts and salt to the pan. Stir-fry for a few minutes but do not let the mixture dry up completely. Let the filling cool down.
  4. Pinch a small amount of the dough and roll it into an 8 cm / 3” circle. Place a heaped teaspoon of dough in the middle and gather the dough around the filling so it looks like a little money bag and tear away/cut off excess dough. Roll the kachori in your hands to make it more circular in shape. Keep kachori ready under a damp kitchen towel.
  5. Heat up the oven to 200° C. Place kachori on a baking tray and brush them with a bit of oil. Bake for about 40 minutes, until browned.
  6. To make the chutney, blitz all the chutney ingredients (apart from lime, salt and pepper) in a blender. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.

kachori2

Bacon Roly Polies

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bacon (2) 22/04/2017

Yes, you read that correctly – wheels of cheesy bacon! Simple to make, yet deliciously moreish to eat, these bacon rolls make a great savoury snack, picnic staple, or side for soups and stews. A tasty filling of bacon, cheddar and cream cheese is rolled in an easy pastry, and then these little rolls only take 15 minutes to bake.

Ingredients:

Bacon filling:

  • 8 bacon rashers
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 100g of soft cheese
  • 100g of cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

Pastry:

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 75g of unsalted butter, diced and cold
  • 225ml of milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20g of butter, melted

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Crumb the butter into the flour using your thumbs and forefingers. Mix in the milk until just combined.
  3. Place onto a floured work surface and roll into a 1cm thick rectangle, trimming the edges of the dough if desired.
  4. Brush the dough with some of the melted butter then layer the bacon on top to cover the pastry, making sure to leave a 2cm edge free on one of the long sides of the dough,
  5. Mix the onion, cheeses, parsley and garlic together and spread over the bacon.
  6. Brush the gap at the edge of the dough with water then roll into a spiral, sealing the edge brushed with water to the body of the roll.
  7. Wrap the roll in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes
  8. Slice the roll into 1.5cm slices and place, spiral side up, onto the baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm.

Baked Blue Cheese & Beetroot

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picoss 02/01/2017

This recipe is a take on a dish I had at a Basque tapas bar. The dish was called Baked Picos which google translate would have you believe is baked penis. So why wouldn’t I order it? Okay, I asked the waitress what it was. And she had me at melted cheese. A little pan of oozing, bubbly blue cheese covering bright purple beetroot sprinkled with crunchy, toasted nuts and seeds was presented to me alongside a basket of fresh sourdough chunks to dip in. I was in heaven. Something so simple but so satisfying. Here is my version which is pretty close to the original.

If you don’t like blue cheese, try goats cheese or garlic and herb roule as alternatives.

Ingredients:

  • 1 beetroot
  • 100g whipped blue cheese (I used St Agur)
  • 25g hazelnuts
  • 25g mixed seeds (I used pumpkin, sunflower, linseed and sesame)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel the beetroot and cut in half if it is particularly large. Wrap in foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and cut into chunks.
  2. While the beetroot is baking, add the hazelnuts to a tray and roast for 5 minutes. If the hazelnuts have skins on, rub them between a tea towel to remove the skin.
  3. Roast the seed mix for 5 minutes or until you begin to hear them popping. Set the nuts and seeds aside.
  4. Arrange the beetroot pieces in a small ovenproof dish along with any juice that has collected in the foil. Dollop the blue cheese in, around and over the beetroot and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes so the cheese and beetroot mingle to become a vibrant pink, creamy bubbling good thing.
  5. Sprinkle the toasted nuts and seeds over the top and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve with fresh crusty bread.

picos

Sweet Potato & Pea Samosas

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Screenshot_2016-05-05-20-46-34-1[1] 05/05/2016

These vegetarian samosas are a great way to get 3 of the 5-a-day into your family as well as a huge burst of flavours. They’re also rich in fibre, folate, vitamin C, calcium and iron. They are not fried like traditional samosas but baked in the oven with minimal oil.

You can play around with whatever you like in the filling. Spinach is fantastic in these but at the time of making, I didn’t have any or I would have added it instead of peas.

They are great served hot and crispy from the oven but can also be eaten warm or cold as a snack for the next day – if they last that long.

Makes 6 large samosas.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 500g), peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp each medium curry powder, garam masala, turmeric
  • small bunch coriander or mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry paste (I used madras)
  • 1 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 270g pack filo pastry (6 sheets)

Method:

  1. Put the sweet potatoes in a large bowl, cover with cling film and microwave on full power for 5-8 minutes or until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan, add the chopped onion and cook for a few mins to soften. Stir in the ginger, garlic and coriander/mint, stirring for a couple of minutes more until fragrant. Add the curry paste, spices and the black onion seeds to the pan, stir for 30 seconds or so until fragrant then add the frozen peas. Season well and mash everything together with the back of a spoon, leaving some chunky bits of potato. Leave to cool completely.                                            Screenshot_2016-05-05-20-50-34-1[1]
  3. Unroll the pastry and pull out two sheets to work with – keep the rest covered with a tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Brush both sheets with a little oil. Put the other sheet on top. With the shortest side facing you, cut down the centre to make two long strips. Scoop a sixth of the sweet potato mixture onto the top right-hand corner of the filo in a rough triangle shape. Fold the pastry over on an angle, continuing down the length of the pastry until you reach the bottom and have a neat triangle encasing the filling. Trim off any excess pastry with a knife. Repeat to make six samosas. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan.                            Screenshot_2016-05-05-20-48-53-1[1]
  4. Put the samosas on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Brush with a little more oil and sprinkle over some extra black onion seeds or cumin seeds if desired. Bake for 20-30 mins or until deep golden brown. Cover with foil if the corners begin to burn before the base is browned.