Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Kachapuri-style Bread

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kachapuri2 03/04/2019

This Georgian khachapuri-inspired spinach and cheese stuffed bread tastes amazing. This is not an authentic Georgian version but it definitely delivers flavour and comfort. You can make one large bread or two medium ones from the amount of dough.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 330g flour (2 2/3 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 egg, whisked

For the filling:

  • 50g spinach, chopped (1/4 cup packed)
  • 200g firm mozzarella, grated (1.5 cups)
  • 100g feta, crumbled (2/3 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 70g butter (1/3 cup)

Instructions:

To make the dough:

  1. First we’ll begin by adding the yeast to the warm water in a small bowl. Let it sit until creamy, about 7-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, salt and sugar. Make a well in the middle and add the wet ingredients: oil, yeast-water, milk and egg. The original recipe made double the amount, so here we only need half of the egg, so make sure not to add the entire egg in there.
  3. Starting from the middle of the bowl, first mix the wet ingredients and gradually mix in the flour, continuing until all the flour is mixed and you have a nice dough. It shouldn’t be too wet or too dry. After it is all incorporated, cover with cling film and let it rest until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
  4. Halfway through the rise, turn on the oven to the highest temperature. The oven needs to be hot, hot, hot. You can use a pizza stone or turn a baking sheet upside down in the lower half of your oven (but not at the bottom).
  5. When it has risen, separate the dough from the side of the bowl and add a handful of flour and knead the dough inside the bowl. It should be soft and pillowy. If the dough is too wet, continue adding flour.
  6. Form into a ball, remove from the bowl and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

To make the filling:

  1. While the dough is resting, combine the shredded mozzarella and crumbled feta. Remove 1/4 of the mixture and place it in a separate bowl and set aside. This will go on top of the bread.
  2. In the larger bowl (with 3/4 of the cheese mixture), add one egg, 50 grams (1/4 cup) of butter, chopped spinach, and garlic and mix.

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Putting it all together:

  1. Separate the remaining egg, saving only the egg yolk (you can use the egg white for meringues or a healthier omelette). Whisk it briefly in a small bowl and set it aside. It will be used to glaze the dough.
  2. Place a large piece of baking paper on your counter and add some flour on top.
  3. Now that the dough has rested, stretch the dough in a nice round shape and place it on top of the baking paper. Add the spinach and cheese filling in the center of the dough.
  4. Fold up the edges around the filling and seal the dough. It should look like a ball. Now carefully flatten it by pushing down on the stuffed dough with your palms and finger tips. Make sure to create a lip or “ridge” around the edge of the dough, with a large “valley” in the middle where the cheese will sit.
  5. Add the cheese in this “valley” and then glaze the “ridge” with the egg yolk. This will give the cheese stuffed bread a nice golden color.
  6. The stuffed dough will be heavy. What I do is I slide the dough and baking paper on a sturdy cutting board, and then slide the baking paper and dough onto the pizza stone or upside-down baking sheet.
  7. After about 5-7 minutes in the oven, the dough will puff up beautifully. Bake until the bread has a deep golden brown color and the cheese is brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes in total.
  8. Remove carefully from oven by sliding the bread and baking paper on a cutting board. Take the remaining butter and slather it on the outside of the bread. You can slice immediately for the gooey cheese effect, or probably wait a few minutes so that you don’t burn yourself. Bon appetit!

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Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crunch Topping

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ba 22/08/2018

Another ripe banana recipe to add to the repertoire. This one comes in the form of banana bread with a sweet and crunchy cinnamon streusel topping.

Unlike my traditional go-to banana bread recipe, this loaf has Greek yogurt and sunflower oil incorporated as the moist-makers and wholewheat flour and cornflour for texture.

Ingredients:

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups wholewheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cornflour or more wholewheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the crumb topping:

  • 1/2 cup flour plain or whole wheat
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf tin.
  2. Whisk together all wet ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle flour, cornflour (or extra flour), cinnamon, baking powder and salt on top. Gently fold in, do not overmix!
  3. For the crumb topping, place the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until crumbs form.
  4. Place the batter in the prepared loaf tin and evenly sprinkle with the crumb topping.
  5. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

 

Pull-Apart Bagel Bread

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bbbb 19/08/2018

This pull-apart bread hits the spot. It’s buttery, salty, bagel-y, flaky, cheesy, garlicky, soft in the centre, crisp on the edges and addictive! You’ve been warned.

Unlike a traditional loaf, the dough is rolled out and a cheesy filling is spread on top. The dough is then cut into disks and slotted into a loaf tin to create textured layers of cheesy, doughy goodness.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and 1/3 cups (290g) plain flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1-2 teaspoons mixed herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup (70g) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Bagel Topping:

  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried onion powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried garlic flakes
  • 1 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted

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Directions:

  1. Make the dough: Place the yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave until warm to touch. Pour warm milk on top of yeast/sugar. Whisk gently to combine, then loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will be frothy after 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, egg, flour, and salt. Mix lightly for 3 minutes. Dough will be soft. Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Using lightly floured hands, knead it for 1 minute. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add 1-3 more Tablespoons of flour but you want a very soft dough. Shape into a ball.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with cling film. Place in a slightly warm environment to rise until doubled in size, around 60-90 minutes.
  4.  As the dough rises, prepare the filling and topping in the next steps and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  5. Make the cream cheese filling: In a large bowl, beat all of the filling ingredients together until combined. Cover tightly and set aside until ready to use.
  6. Make the topping: Combine the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried minced onion, dried garlic flakes, and coarse salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  7. Assemble the bread: Punch down the dough to release the air. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll out until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. The dough can be any shape, just as long as it’s around 1/4 inch thick. Spread cream cheese filling on top. Using a 3.5 – 4 inch circle cookie cutter, cut into circles. I get about 12 circles. Fold circles in half and line in prepared baking pan, round side up.
  8. Cover cling film and allow to rise once again in a slightly warm environment until puffy, about 45 minutes.
  9. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position then preheat oven to 170°C.
  10. Brush dough with the 2 Tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle bagel seasoning on top.
  11. Bake until golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. If you find the top of the loaf is browning too quickly, tent with aluminium foil. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and serve warm.

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

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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.

Harcha – Moroccan Pan-Fried Semolina Bread

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harcha2 18/03/2018

Harcha is one of the most delicious Moroccan snacks that I came across thanks to my beautiful Moroccan friend, Sarah, who never turns up to a get-together empty handed. So when she arrived for a coffee with a giant harcha fresh from the pan, we wasted no time devouring it with multiple toppings and/or fillings. Harcha is a semolina bread that you can make in any size and fill with savoury fillings such as cheese or sweet such as honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) semolina
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 ml) milk (or as needed)

Directions:

Preparing the Dough:

  1. Place the semolina in a bowl, add the sugar, baking powder and the salt. Mix well. You need semolina for this recipe so do not try to substitute it.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave or a saucepan then add the butter to the semolina and mix with a spoon. When it gets hard with the spoon, mix with your hands, Moroccan style!
  3. Add the milk and mix until you get a smooth dough. Then let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Shaping the Harcha:

  1. Turn on the heat to medium and heat up a heavy cast iron pan!
  2. Back to the dough… you will notice that it is drier as the semolina has absorbed the milk. If it’s too dry, add a little more milk.
  3. To get perfect shapes, use a cookie cutter to make medium sized Harcha. You can make a large one, or mini-ones – whatever you like. The discs should be ¼” thick or a bit thicker. When shaping the disks use parchment paper, so it’s easy to transfer them to the pan.

Cooking the Harcha:

  1. Reduce the heat to low – very important otherwise the harcha will burn from outside and not cook from inside – transfer the harcha to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes on each side. You will see that the surface gets a beautiful golden brown colour and that the discs start to dry. If you try to push on them, they will feel dry. Flip and cook the other side.
  2. Let the harcha cool a bit and cut it in half with a sharp knife. If the harcha is still too hot and the knife not sharp, it will crumble.
  3. Fill with cheese, jam, honey, or anything you like!

Fatayer

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fatayer 15/11/2017

Fatayer is a pizza-like dough stuffed with a herby cheese filling in this case. They are found throughout North Africa and the Balkans in differing variations and are traditionally served during breakfast or as a snack with a hot drink.

The combination of the salty cheese, fresh parsley, fresh mint, and nigella seeds makes these fatayer irresistible. I used feta cheese since it is more readily available but if you wish to make the fatayer more authentic, use akkawi cheese.

I have also tried a combination of ricotta and mozzarella cheese, using half of each, which was equally tasty but more subtle and creamy. Experiment with different cheeses and see what you like best. I prefer the tart tanginess of feta.

Tip: Shape the fatayer as soon as the dough finishes resting. To keep the fatayer from puffing up too much and losing their shape, it is important to bake them right away. I made the cheese fatayer into boat-like shapes, which is the way they are traditionally made, but you can use any shape you prefer, including making them into mini pizzas.

Makes 6-8

Ingredients:

Dough:

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

Filling:

  • 200g crumbled/grated cheese of choice (I used 100g feta, 50g parmesan, 50g boursin)
  • ½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ bunch of mint, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg

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Method:

  1. For the dough: Place salt, caraway, nigella seeds 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.
  5. For the filling and constructing: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until combined.
  6. Divide the dough into 6-8 equal pieces.
  7. Roll out into an oval shape.
  8. Put 1½ teaspoons of the filling in the middle and spread.
  9. Lift one edge and press the ends. Do the same with other edge making a boat-like shape.
  10. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

Camembert Garlic Bread

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Capturel 06/10/2017

Sometimes you just want something quick and simple for dinner but that shouldn’t mean boring. This camembert garlic bread is quick, easy flippin’ amazing too. I mean it’s cheese and bread and garlic so it’s hard to go wrong really.

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You could try experimenting with this bread by stuffing different ingredients in the bread such as tomato sauce, chorizo, mozzarella, basil, pesto, bacon, whatever you want really.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole camembert
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 loaf of crusty bread
  • Sea salt to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Remove all the packaging from the camembert and use the outer box as a stencil to cut a circular hole in the centre of the crusty loaf. Do not cut all the way through. Remove just enough bread so the camembert can sit snuggly in the centre of the bread.
  3. Remove the top rind of the camembert and place the cheese in the hole you just cut into the bread, cut side up.
  4. With a serrated knife, score the bread several times lengthways and then widthways to achieve a checkerboard effect.
  5. Add the garlic, butter, rosemary and a pinch of salt to a bowl and microwave for a few seconds to melt the butter. Spread this mixture between the scored lines you just made in the bread.
  6. Sprinkle the whole thing with a little salt and set on a baking tray. Bake in the lower part of the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is oozing, the bread is crusty and the garlic is fragrant.
  7. Rip squares of the buttery garlic bread and dunk them into the gooey cheese. Shake your head in amazement.