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Food, general thoughts, food…

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Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Bread

I wanted something tasty and warming for lunch with my sister. Both of us normally avoid bread but I felt like something a bit different and if you can’t treat yourself when you have guests, when can you? Aside from that I always feel like treats shared are not as bad for you as treats horded, amazing how your brain can justify anything…

Anyway as it was lunch and not a side I used a large rye loaf instead of a French loaf. Frankly I think a French loaf would be easier to deal with, it is smaller to would be easier to both cut and eat, the rye loaf tasted amazing though and I think the messiness kind of added to the charm. I like finger foods.
Also I wasn’t very confident that I could slice a French loaf into 3 layers successfully as I am a bit of a klutz.
The cumin really added something special here and as always I substituted the cilantro/coriander as I just cannot like it no matter how often I try.

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Bread

1 loaf  of French bread (I used a much larger and more robust rye loaf)
1 cup  shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup  mayonnaise or salad dressing (I used mayo)
1/4 cup  roasted red bell peppers well drained, finely chopped
1 tablespoon  chopped fresh cilantro (I dislike coriander and so used parsley)
1/2 teaspoon  ground cumin
1 small  onion

Heat oven to 200C.
Cut bread loaf horizontally into 3 layers. Mix remaining ingredients.
Spread half of the cheese mixture over bottom layer. Top with second layer;
spread with remaining cheese mixture.
Top with third layer; press firmly.
Wrap loaf securely in heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until hot. Serve warm.



Lunch Scrolls

The kids are with us again this weekend and, as typical kids will, they would be happiest subsisting entirely on junk food. This being somewhat of an affront to my sensibilities, I am kept on my toes thinking of things that I think they will enjoy eating that are not purchased at exorbitant costs from deeply uninterested conglomerates and are of universally poor quality.

Today, for lunch, I whipped up a batch of bacon rolls, the recipe for which was adapted from a salami roll recipe, I didn’t have any salami. They went down well, and the entire batch was gone before the trays cooled down.

This recipe could be dressed up with almost anything you have on hand. Like I say, I substituted bacon for the salami, I also cooked the capsicum along with the bacon. You could use ham or chicken, BBQ sauce or satay. Anything that tickles your fancy really.

Salami Scrolls
Makes 12

2 cups self-raising flour
30 g butter, chilled
¾ cup milk
¼ cup tomato paste
1 sprig basil, chopped
1 sprig parsley, chopped
100 g salami, diced (I used cooked bacon)
1 medium red capsicum, diced (I cooked this up also)
150 g cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
Place flour and butter in a bowl, once blended add the milk gradually
and use fingers to combine together to make a soft, sticky dough.
Knead lightly on a floured surface.
Roll dough into a 30 cm x 40 cm rectangle. Spread the tomato paste over the dough,
sprinkle the chopped herbs on top. Top with salami, capsicum and cheese.
Roll up from the long side of the dough. Using a serrated knife, cut into 12 pieces.
Place cut side up on oven tray and bake for 25 minutes until brown.

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Naan Bread…garlic without a doubt.

Pretty sure I have posted a Naan bread before but its so good it deserves another go around. (it turns out I haven’t, I’ve just talked about it)
I served this with a simple butter chicken prepared using a mild jar from the supermarket. Sometimes those are a good way to get a tasty meal on the table quickly and easily, yes, I have more than one butter chicken recipe on file but on the odd occasion you want a flavourful meal that doesn’t take 20 different ingredients or much preparation time. That said I always feel the need to make a little something to add to the meal and make it mine.
I particularly like Naan, especially with lots of garlic (don’t visit me the day after a curry) it is easy to make but does need some preparation time so best to think of it earlier in the day.

Indian Naan Bread
Serves: 4

2 cups plain flour
¾ cup water, warm
2 tablespoons oil
2½ tablespoons Greek or natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch baking powder

Mix yeast with water in a bowl and set aside.
Sift flour and add salt, sugar and baking powder and mix together.
Add yoghurt and mix together, then add water with yeast and mix.
Form into a dough, by kneading on a floured surface.
Place dough back into bowl and proof in a warm place, covered with a cloth, for 4 hours or until dough rises well.
Preheat oven to 230-240°C. Place 4 greased trays in oven to heat as well.
Divide dough into 4 equal parts and roll into rectangles 6 mm thick.
Carefully lay the dough into the hot pans.
Before placing the dough into the oven wet fingertips with water and pat very lightly on the dough.
Bake until golden spots appear and the dough is cooked.
Spread hot bread with garlic butter or serve plain.


Bloomer Bread

I tried this recipe thanks to Home Made With Mess (click the link to go straight to original)

I read this recipe and just had to try it, of course with all the twists and changes that occur when you are rummaging through your refrigerator and need to make something ‘right now’ without all the proper ingredients.

Here is the original recipe with my notes alongside.

Brie, Bacon and Red Onion Bloomer Bread (mine ended up as provolone cheese, sun dried tomato and roasted capsicum bread)

500ml strong white bread flour
10g salt
7g fast action yeast
40ml olive oil
320ml cold water
2 red onions – sliced (couple of Tbls sun dried tomatoes)
4 rashes bacon – chopped (2 roasted capsicums/peppers diced)
1 tbsp olive oil
200g brie – skin removed and chopped (I used provolone cheese)

Place the flour in a bowl and put the salt in one side and the yeast in the other
Pour the oil into the centre of the flour, along with 240ml of the water
Bring the dough together with your fingertips – you may need to add more water as you go along.
You want to bring the dough together so that it is sticky but not really wet.
Once your have brought all the dough together and cleaned the sides of flour then tip the dough onto
an oiled worktop and start to knead.
Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic
Lightly oil a clean bowl, put the dough in it, cover and leave somewhere warm to rise. You want it to
triple in size so will take at least an hour and a half
While the dough is rising you can make your filling

Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions for 5 minutes to soften
Add the bacon and fry off until cooked and slightly crispy
Grease and line a 20cm taken tin or high sided roasting tin
Ones the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and knock back to get the air out of it.
Knead again for a few minutes to get it back to the smooth elastic consistency you had initially
Divide the dough into three and stretch out so that it will fit the bottom of your prepared tin
Place one of the dough sheets on the bottom and top with half the bacon and half the cheese chunks
Lay another sheet of dough on top and then top with the remaining bacon mix and the brie
Top with the final layer of bread and tuck the sides in
Dust with flour and then place in a large clean plastic bag and leave to rise for an hour
Preheat the oven to 220’C and bake the bread for half an hour
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and setting to cool
completely on a wire rack.
Slice up and enjoy with a thick spread of butter or cream cheese

We ate this hot with no spread straight from the oven. What was left over I had cold slathered in cream cheese over the next few days.
I will certainly do this again and change up the stuffing’s time and time again I am sure.

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Bread & Butter recipes

I have been hitting the books hard these past few weeks and while the rest of my life piles up around me like dirty washing I am getting some serious study time in. I hope to be finished my Diploma by the end of January. Then I might have time to cook again.

Meantime I have been living off of my freezer. There is definitely something to be said for my ‘cook too much and freeze the rest’ theory. It has enabled me to eat for weeks now without cooking anything, except for weekends when I try to take some time off.

Today I found 3 old bread rolls in the freezer and thought that it was time to cook something both fast and comforting. It is supposed to be coming into summer over here but the weather is all over the place and it is still raining on and off.

This is my go to recipe for old bread; I could eat this stuff all day, and frequently have.

Bread & Butter Pudding
Serves: 12 (bulldust, maybe 6)

6 slices old bread with crusts cut off (I used 3 hotdog rolls crusts on, sliced thick)
butter (enough to butter bread slices)
5 eggs
1 litre milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
sprinkle of nutmeg
1/3 cup sultanas (I used a handful of currants but I have left them out entirely before, still good)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C .
Lightly grease a large baking dish.
Cut the crustless slices of buttered bread into triangles and lay in dish for the best fit.
In a large mixing bowl beat 5 eggs on a medium speed and add milk gradually.
Add vanilla essence and sugar and continue to mix for 1-2 minutes or until thoroughly mixed.
Pour mixture over the bread.
Sprinkle nutmeg on top.
Place in oven and cook for 60 minutes (check every now and again).

Eat hot, cold, with ice-cream, without, my husband likes it with a spoonful of apricot jam…however you like

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Breakfast is Important

With one thing and another it has been a good day.
Particularly because of the infinity of English muffins you see here!
I love to cook anything but for some reason I really get a kick out of cooking things I eat daily that I would normally buy from the shop.
Today I made 28 home cooked English muffins. They freeze well and should get me through the next 2 weeks for what many people call lunch but I call breakfast.
As we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, just because I cannot face food until 11am is no reason to suppose I am missing out on the important stuff. I mostly skip lunch 🙂

Anyway, if you have nothing better to do for half a day, these little beauties are very easy to make although they are very time consuming. They taste better than any English muffins from the shop but doesn’t homemade normally beat shop bought? They don’t split easily like the store bought ones but a steak knife or bread knife will sort that for you.

Have a beautiful weekend everyone!

English Muffins

Serves: 18

1 cup (250ml) milk
2 tablespoons white sugar
7g active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup melted copha (solid vegetable fat)
6 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
Polenta for dusting

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles then remove
from heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let cool until
lukewarm. In a small bowl dissolve yeast in warm water.
Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl combine the milk, yeast mixture, copha and 3
cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add salt and rest of flour or enough
to make a soft dough. Knead. Place in greased bowl, cover and
let rise.
Punch down. Roll out to about 1cm thick. Cut rounds with biscuit
cutter, drinking glass or empty tuna can. Sprinkle waxed paper
with polenta and set the rounds on this to rise. Dust tops of
muffins with polenta also. Cover and let rise 1/2 hour.
Heat greased griddle. Cook muffins on griddle about 10 minutes
on each side on medium heat. Keep baked muffins in a warm
oven until all have been cooked. Allow to cool and place in plastic
bags for storage. To use, split and toast.

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Rosemary Bread

I have been dying to make this (for reasons unknown, sometimes I am just like that) so I took time out yesterday and just did it. It turned out really well. The egg wash gives it a glazed appearance and the hardest crust ever, but I like the crunchy chewiness of it. The rosemary makes it wonderfully aromatic and tasty. Hot from the oven with lashings of olive oil margarine (I am trying to be at least a little good) it was just great, the perfect afternoon snack food on a cold rainy day.

Rosemary Bread

3 tsps dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I used dried, worked fine)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
Olive oil
1 beaten egg

In a large bowl, add the yeast to the warm water, add sugar. Let stand
until foamy. This should take 5-10 minutes. Add the rosemary, salt,
and flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until it’s mixed and forms a loose, sticky ball.
Add the remaining more warm water if needed, then turn it out onto a floured surface
and knead about 8 minutes.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise
for an hour or until it’s doubled in volume. Punch down and knead it
briefly to remove air. Shape into a slightly flattened ball. Place it on
a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush the loaf with oil. Let rise for 45
minutes or so, until it’s about doubled. Brush it with the egg. Bake at
180C until the top is browned, about 45 minutes, or until it
sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a rack.