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

fata

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.
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Cinnamon Buns

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cinn 15/10/2017

The house smells incredible as these bake and there’s not much that comes close to enjoying them warm out of the oven. The buns keep for 3-4 days and if they last that long, you can microwave them for a few seconds to warm them through and it’s as if you’ve cooked a fresh batch all over again. Win!

Makes 12

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 7g active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk warm
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups (500g) plain flour

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup soft brown or demerara sugar, packed
  • 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter

Cream cheese icing:

  • 6 tbsp margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. The yeast should start to froth up slightly.
  2. Add sugar, butter, salt, egg, baking powder and flour to a mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Pour the milk/yeast mixture in the bowl and mix well until well incorporated.
  4. Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 16 inches long by 12 inches wide. It should be approx 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking tin with butter.
  7. To make filling, combine the butter or margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  8. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough. Alternatively you can spread the butter first on the dough and then the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  9. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge. The roll should be about 18 inches in length. Cut the roll into 1 ½ inch slices.
  10. Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover them with a damp towel. Let them rise again for another 30 minutes until they double in size.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cooking time can vary greatly! If the tops brown too quickly before the dough is cooked, cover loosely with foil to prevent burning.
  12. While the rolls are baking make the icing by mixing all ingredients and beat well until fluffy.
  13. When the rolls are done, spread generously with icing.

cinna

You could leave them plain at this point as the icing is very sweet and I’m not normally a fan of overly sweet thing but this icing is amazing and melts beautifully into the warm buns giving them a sweet, sticky glaze that works perfectly with the pillowy soft dough and cinnamon.

Tarte au Maroilles

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Capturei 28/08/2017

I have just arrived home from a holiday in the Picardy region of Northern France. I have to confess I have lost my enthusiasm for blogging recently due to my poor student bank account taking a battering and my house-”mates” whose kitchen cleanliness leaves little to be desired.  After a trip to this beautiful part of France however, I have returned with a new passion for cooking and all things cheese!

In case you’re not familiar with Maroilles, it’s a soft cow’s milk cheese with an orange rind that’s made in Northern France. Those simple facts sound harmless enough but there’s a little more to it than that. The aroma of Maroilles can be scary. If you don’t eat it quickly, it could start to set off fire alarms and endanger low-flying aircraft. On the other hand, it tastes great.

One of the most common dishes using Mariolles is the Tarte au Maroilles. You can find different versions of this tarte around Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy but the most traditional form has a yeasted dough base rather than a layer of pastry. You can of course use a shortcrust or even puff pastry if you want a result similar to a quiche. Indeed, I personally prefer a crisper base that puff pastry achieves but I have provided the recipe for the authentic yeasted base here.

If you can’t get hold of any Maroilles, then you could substitute another cheese that isn’t too soft and ripe but does have a powerful flavour: Chaumes, Reblochon or Pont-l’Évêque come to mind.

Serves 6-8

Captureii Capture

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • ½ tsp easy bake fast action dried yeast
  • 300 g strong white flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 15 g softened butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100 ml milk
  • 20 ml water

For the topping:

  • 300 g Maroilles
  • 200 ml crème fraîche
  • 1 egg
  • Plenty of pepper and a little salt
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to taste, optional

Method:

  1. Add all of the base ingredients to the large mixing bowl and combine then on a lightly floured work surface, knead the mix for 10-15 minutes. You should have a light, slightly sticky dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour.
  2. Butter a 25 cm or 26 cm diameter pie dish. (The tarte topping tends to bubble up more than you might expect and so a deeper dish is useful.) Knock the dough back and roll it out until it covers the base of the pie dish. Some recipes suggest that you should fully line the dish by spreading the dough up the sides, but I was told in Picardy that it should remain flat.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Slice the Maroilles quite thinly and cover the dough base with the cheese. You don’t have to remove the rind of the cheese, but unless the cheese is very fresh then it can be quite strong. I personally love the flavour and leave it on. Beat the egg and stir it into the crème fraîche. Season this mixture with the pepper and salt. Pour the mixture onto the tarte and spread it out to cover the whole of the surface (you don’t need to be too fussy or precise about this). Grate nutmeg over if using. Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until the top is golden and puffed up.
  4. Serve warm with a fresh green salad and a cold beer.

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

Palestinian Cheese Buns

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Palestinian cheese buns 15/05/2017

An authentic Palestinian bread from Jaffa that is served as a main meal along with a bowl of soup or a salad, this “Yafawi Sfeeha”, also known as “Milwayeh” which means twisted, is crispy yet fluffy and full of flavour.

The dough is a sort of un-yeasted bread dough that needs to be stretched out really thin, to the point where you can see through it, before adding the filling and rolling it up. The shaping technique takes a bit of practice to get right but you get the hang of it after you have done a couple.

The filling is traditionally meat based but I have chosen to make a cheese version using halloumi as that is what I had available. Feta would be great too.

Makes: 8

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 210g (1 + ¾ cups) plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 1½ tbsp powdered milk
  • 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 130ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) water
  • olive oil or ghee for shaping

Filling:

  • 250g (9 oz) halloumi cheese, grated (or feta, crumbled)
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • fresh ground black pepper

Palestinian cheese buns2

Method:

  1. Place the flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and vegetable oil in a bowl and gradually add the water until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 even pieces and shape into balls, place on a greased tray and cover with oiled clingfilm, leave to rest for at least a couple of hours and up to overnight.
  3. Once the dough has rested make the filling, simply mix together the grated cheese, beaten egg and chopped parsley in a bowl with some freshly ground black pepper. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  4. Grease a work surface and your hands well with olive oil or ghee; take one ball of dough and use your hands to gently spread it out on the oiled surface into a large, thin circle. You should be able to spread it out to about 25cm (10in) wide and it should be thin enough to see through.
  5. Fold one side of the circle over the middle, then the other, so that the dough is almost folded into thirds.
  6. Spread some of the filling along one edge of the dough, fold the closest side over the top of the filling then roll it up into a tight sausage; coil the sausage up in a spiral shape, place the bun on a baking tray.
  7. Re-grease the work surface and your hands and repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

Khachapuri

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kachapori 14/05/2017

The recipe is very loosely adapted from traditional Georgian versions but makes use of what I had in at the time. First, for a lack of Georgian cheese supplies, I used a more generic assortment of cheeses including parmesan and mozzarella, which yielded a satisfactory gooey-ness and savoury flavour.  Instead of mixing them with egg before baking, as is traditional, I used a thick bechamel sauce because I thought it would be a nice change and provide a creamier filling. You can substitute the sauce for egg if you like or even crack one on top when baking! The added tapenade really gave the bread another depth of savouriness and flavour. Rip off the crust and dunk it into the gooey centre for ultimate yum!

Makes 4 large breads.

Ingredients:

Dough:

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

Filling:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • ¾ cup milk, cold
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus more to top
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 320g of equal parts of grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese
  • 4-6 tbsp black olive tapenade (recipe in instructions)

 

Method:

  1. For the dough: Place salt 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: While the dough is proofing, cook/stir butter and flour in a pan over medium heat for 1 min. Add the cold milk and whisk the mixture continuously until it starts to simmer and thicken. The consistency should be like mayonnaise. Add the grated nutmeg then season with a bit of salt and black pepper. Let the sauce COOL COMPLETELY then evenly mix in the grated cheese (the cheese should not melt). Set aside.
  6. If you’re making your own tapenade: In a food-processor, combine 155g pitted black olives, 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 3 anchovy fillets, 3/4 tsp white wine vinegar and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Puree the mixture as smoothly as you can. Set aside.
  7. To bake the bread:Preheat the oven on 250C, with a pizza-stone or large inverted cast-iron pan in the middle.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large oval with pointy tips then transfer to a piece of parchment paper. Rub 1-2 tbsp of tapenade over the dough, then pile ¼ of the cheese-mixture across the middle. Fold the dough over to partially cover the cheese, then bring the 2 ends together and tuck the tips underneath itself, then pinch at the bottom so it sticks. Repeat with the others.
  9. Slide the parchment with the bread on top, onto the pizza-stone or inverted cast-iron pan. Bake for 10 min until golden browned on all sides.

Cheesy Stuffed Garlic Dough Balls

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Screenshot_2016-08-25-14-56-09-1[1] 28/08/2016

I only made these because I had a bit of pizza dough that needed using up in the fridge but this is how most of my tasty creations begin and this is no exception. Warm fresh dough encases a gooey cheese centre topped with rich garlic butter. They are fantastic served with a fresh tomato and basil sauce to dunk into. Far superior to anything you can buy, these go down an absolute storm when served in the middle of the table for everyone to dive into.

Ingredients:

  • 300g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Instant dried yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Garlic granules
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 30g Butter, softened
  • 160ml luke warm Water
  • 50g-60g block of Mozzarella Cheese
  • Boursin, optional

For the garlic butter:

  • 20g Butter, melted.
  • 2 Garlic cloves, grated

Screenshot_2016-08-25-14-59-23-1[1] Screenshot_2016-08-25-14-58-33-1[1]

Screenshot_2016-08-25-14-57-50-1[1] Screenshot_2016-08-25-14-54-12-1[1]

Directions:

  1. Measure the flour into a bowl.
  2. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt, sugar and garlic to the other side.
  3. Add the oil and butter and begin to mix, slowly add the water until the dough comes together. Once it has all come together, don’t add any more.
  4. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough begins to look glossy and becomes stretchy.
  5. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave the dough somewhere warm to rise for an hour or so until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220C/200Cfan.
  7. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knock back to remove the air bubbles.
  8. Weigh the dough out into balls weighing approximately 30g
  9. Add roughly 3g of the cubed mozzarella to each piece of dough. At this point you can also sneak a mini scoop of garlic and herb boursin into the centre to intensify the oozy cheesy goodness. I only did it because I had a bit to use up but am so glad I did. Fold the dough around the cheese and roll into a ball.
  10. Arrange the doughballs (you should have about 15-20) onto a greaseproof lined baking sheet in a circle, leaving a little gap in between each one.
  11. Mix the melted butter and garlic together and brush half over the top of each dough ball.
  12. Place the dough balls in the oven for 15 minutes until golden. Brush the remaining garlic butter over the balls once baked for an extra garlicky flavour.