Sun Dried Tomato and Olive Bread

Sun Dried Tomato and Olive Bread
Sun Dried Tomato and Olive Bread
image: A Little Thought for Food

This is a variant of the Roast Fennel and Olive bread, I wanted to try and get some more Mediterranean flavours in, the recipe was a trial run and didn’t come out too badly. I’m going to try adding some sundried tomato puree to the water next time and maybe some roasted garlic. The basic recipe is listed

Makes 1 large loaf or 2 smaller ones

Ingredients

  • 700 g strong white bread flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 7 g sachet dried active yeast
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 2 tsp olive oil from the sun dried tomatoes
  • 75 g Sun Dried tomatoes (in oil), drained,  roughly chopped and dried in kitchen towel,  dusting them in a little flour will also help them to be mixed into the dough
  • 150g quartered Kalamata Olives, drained and dried in kitchen towel, as with the tomatoes, dusting them in a little flour will also help them to be mixed into the dough
  • 1 tsp Zatar (optional)

Method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and stir in the sugar and yeast with the herbs and 1 tbsp of the oil and 425ml of lukewarm water.
  2. Mix to a soft dough, then transfer to a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  3. Knead in the olives and tomatoes until evenly distributed.
  4. Place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  5. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead again briefly.
  6. Shape into a sausage shape about 32cm long, slash the top a few times with a sharp knife and transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  7. Drizzle over the rest of the oil. Cover with a tea towel again and leave to rise for 20 minutes.
  8. Scatter the Zatar and a little flaked sea salt over the top.
  9. Preheat the oven to 230°C, gas mark 8. Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes or a bit longer if your mixture is a tad dense It should have risen and be golden and also sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

Cool on a wire rack before slicing, serve with a bowl of hearty and warming soup like  my Bacon and Lentil or North African Chickpea

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Roasted Fennel and Olive Bread

Roasted Fennel & Olive Bread
Roasted Fennel & Olive Bread
image: A Little Thought For Food

I am currently really excited by the thought of making my own bread, by hand not with a bread machine. I regularly make Irish Soda Bread and a variant using cheese but wanted to try something completely different. I found a recipe for a roasted fennel seed bread online which just seemed a bit plain, so I jazzed it up with some olives.

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 700 g strong white bread flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 7 g sachet dried active yeast
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 7 tbsp quartered Kalamata Olives, drained and dried in kitchen towel, dusting them in a little flour will also help them to be mixed into the dough

Method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and stir in the sugar and yeast with half the fennel seeds, 1 tbsp of the oil and 425ml of lukewarm water.
  2. Mix to a soft dough, then transfer to a floured work surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  3. Knead in the olives until evenly distributed.
  4. Place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  5. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead again briefly.
  6. Shape into a sausage shape about 32cm long, slash the top a few times with a sharp knife and transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Scatter the rest of the fennel seeds and a little flaked sea salt over the top.
  7. Drizzle over the rest of the oil. Cover with a tea towel again and leave to rise for 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 230°C, gas mark 8. Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes or a bit longer if your mixture is a tad dense It should have risen and be golden and also sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

Cool on a wire rack before slicing and buttering, Serve with a hearty soup like my Bacon and Lentil soup

Bacon and Lentil Soup

Lentil Bacon Soup with Roasted Fennel & Olive Bread
Lentil Bacon Soup with Roasted Fennel & Olive Bread
image: A Little Thought For Food

As January passes into  February and the weather stays we and wild down in the south east of England, my soon to be wife (Kim) and I started a bit of a health kick.  We both trying to eat less fat, more pulses and vegetables,  and soup seems the obvious choice for lunch, homemade of course! I quick check through the cupboards  and fridge, last weekend, led me to this recipe. It’s worth finely dicing the vegetables in this recipe as it gives the finished soup a better finished result.

A quick calculation of the caloric values of the ingredients suggests that it should be around 500kcals per portion

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 x 70g packs pancetta
  • 1 medium carrot (about 120g), finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli, sliced
  • 1.25 litres of fresh Chicken or Vegetable stock or 2 good  gluten free stock cubes in 1.25 litres of boiling water
  • 250g red lentils, rinsed

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add 1 pack of pancetta and cook until the fat starts to run,
  2. Add the onion, celery and the carrot. Cook on a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the onions are soft.
  3. Add the cumin, turmeric, garlic and chilli and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes until the aromas are released.
  4. Pour in the stock and add the lentils.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 mins, stirring occasionally to ensure the lentils aren’t sticking.
  6. Meanwhile, fry the remaining pack of pancetta in a small frying pan for about 10 minutes until golden and crispy. You don’t need to add any oil as plenty will run from the pancetta.
  7. Sprinkle of crispy lardons on top of the soup after serving.

Sit back and enjoy with a few slices of fresh crusty Roasted Fennel and Olive Bread or Irish Soda Bread

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

MacDaddy Cocktail

Mac Daddy Cocktail
image: www.bbc.co.uk/food

This is a variation on the classic whisky mac by Wayne Collins. It’s a Whisky based cocktail that’s great for kicking off your Burns night dinner of Haggis with Whisky Cream Sauce and Orkney Clapshot!

Serves; 1 – Gluten free*

Ingredients

  • Dash whisky bitters
  • 1 strip orange zest
  • 25ml/1fl oz Scotch whisky
  • 25ml/1fl oz ginger liqueur
  • A piece of thinly sliced lemon zest, to garnish

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice and stir to mix.
  2. Strain into a whiskey tumbler over ice, garnish with lemon zest and serve.

Enjoy responsibly….

 

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Gypsy Tart

Gypsy Tart
Gypsy Tart
Image © a little thought for food

 

Was flicking through the latest olive magazine and I found a recipe for a tart I used to make at school. The Gypsy Tart is one of those retro classics that has disappeared into obscurity, hopefully it’s inclusion in the magazine will propel it back into popularity.

Serves: 10

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 90g caster sugar

Filling:

  • 200ml evaporated milk
  • 165g dark muscovado sugar

Method

  1. Put the sugar and butter into a food processor and mix until the they are combined and pale.
  2. Add the egg and mix for 30 seconds
  3. Pour in the flour and mix for a further 30seconds or until it starts to make a ball.
  4. Kneed gently on a floured surface, and shape into a rough disc. Cover in cling film and rest in a fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160°c (fan). Roll out 300g of the pastry  (the rest of the pastry can be frozen for later use) and line a 21cm loose bottom tart tin
  6. Line with some greaseproof paper and pour in some baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the beans and brown in the oven for a further 10 minutes or the pastry is pale golden brown and allow to cool.
  8. Wisk the evaporated milk and sugar together with an electric Wisk for 15 minutes (do not scrimp on this or the filling won’t have the correct consistency when cooked).
  9. Pour into the tart base and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the filling is risen  and just set.

When fully cool, slice and serve with some lemon or vanilla cream.

Espresso Infused Vodka

Coffee Beans
Coffee Infused

I’ve been making Espresso Martinis for a while now and wondered how I could make it a more intense flavour without watering down the amount of alcohol or making too bitter. I hit upon the idea of creating a espresso vodka infusion to use as the base.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of whole Espresso Coffee Beans (or Other Dark Roast Beans)
  • 1 litre of Vodka

Method

  1. Roughly crush the coffee beans using a pestle and mortar.
  2. Add to a sterilised 1.5 ltr KIlner jar, and pour over the Vodka.
  3. Seal and allow the beans to steep in a cool dark place for 7 days (or at least a minimum of 2 days if you can’t wait)
  4. Strain through muslin to remove the solids, and again through a coffee filter if you want a clear liquid.
  5. Decant to a bottle and enjoy responsibly….. I’ll be using it in a ‘Coffee Ciapiroskwa’ (recipe to follow)

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as manufacturers change the base ingredients of their products frequently.

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