Sunday, July 21, 2013

Basic Bread recipe

Basic Bread recipe

400g Strong White Bread Flour
100g Wholemeal Flour
15g Dried Active Yeast
Sugar or Honey
10g Salt
350ml Tepid Water
Olive Oil

1] Put the Yeast in a small bowl, add some Sugar or Honey and a dash of tepid water. Let it sit in a warm place until it froths up nicely.
2] Measure out your Flour and add the Salt, mixing it in.
3] Add the Yeast and mix through, and quickly add the Water. The Salt will kill the Yeast, so move fast.
4] Stir with a fork. You can use your hands, but it gets a bit messy.
5] When it starts coming together, turn it out onto the work surface. Add a glug of Olive Oil into the mixing bowl.
6] Using your hands, start working it into a ball, adding more Flour or Water as needed.
7] When the dough has lost it stickiness start kneading and stretching the dough for about 5 minutes.
8] Form the dough into a ball.
9] Roll the dough ball around in the Olive Oil and cover it with Cling Film.
10] Let it rest in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
11] Pull the dough out and gently knead it again for a minute or so.
12] Oil or Flour whatever loaf tin/tray/saucepan you are going to cook it in, dust the top with Flour and cover it with a tea towel. Place the pan/pot/loaf tin in the oven. This is important, as when you take the tea towel off the colder air hitting the yeast warmed dough will make it collapse, so it's best to not move the raised dough around from place to place.
13] When the dough has risen under the tea towel, put the oven on a low heat for a few minutes, then gently remove the tea towel. Shut the oven door gently and turn the heat up to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and set the timer to 15 minutes.
14] After 15, revolve the pan/pot/loaf tin 180 degrees.
15] Cook for another 10-15 minutes until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it with your fingers. Let the loaf rest on a wire rack for about half an hour.

If you have the time, do a second prove in the bowl before you do the final proving in the pan/pot/loaf tin.

Play around with the ratio of White and Wholemeal Flour.

Add in some finely chopped herbs to the dry flour mix.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Clementine & Almond Torte - (with versions)

Gluten Free (no flour)

1lb Clementine (about 6 fruit)
1x 250g pack of Ground Almonds
50g Sugar
6 Eggs (Chicken or Duck, see versions below)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1] In a pot big enough to fit all the Clementine in a single layer. Cover with water and bring to the boil.

2] Reduce the heat so it simmers gently for 2 hours. Give the fruit a gentle stir every now and then, try not to break the fruit, and check the water level. Top it up with a little boiling water if you want to. You really don't want this pot to burn… It's horrible to clean (from personal experience…)

3] After 2 hours strain the fruit, keeping the liquid, and let them cool.

4] Once the fruit have cooled, slice them in half over the bowl you have strained the cooking juice into as they will drip lots of goodness. Remove and discard any pips. Some have none, some have one, some have two. Drop the cut fruit into a food processor as you de-pip them.

5] Get the oven on, set it to 375°F / 190°C / Gas Mark 5.

6] Whiz up the fruit in the food processor until smooth. Keep whizzing and add in an Egg one at a time, I suggest 5 as we have to judge the consistency. Add in half of the juicy cooking water.

7] Add in the Almonds, Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt and the splash of Vanilla Extract.

8] Judgement time. You will probably want to add more of the cooking water, and possibly another Egg.

9] Grease a 6 inch spring-side-loaded baking pan with a generous amount of butter, or line it with baking paper, greased.

10] Pour the lovely gloop into your baking pan and put in the oven.

11] Check on after 20 mins and turn the pan through 180 degrees. Overall you are looking at a cook time of 45-50 minutes until it gets a nice soft brown colour on the top. You can check this by poking a skewer/toothpick in the middle - when it comes out clean, it's done. If the top crust is burning too soon, slip some foil over the top.

12] When cooked, or even 5 minutes before, turn the oven off and leave the door open for a good ten minutes. I have found that the Torte can collapse with the sudden change in air temperature if you rush it out of the oven.

13] When you are happy with the Torte, remove it from the pan and let it rest on a wire rack.

14] It seems to set/taste better a couple of days after you cook this, so plan ahead.

Version 2 - No Nuts
For an Almond free recipe, add another Duck Egg or two and double the amount of Baking Powder.
The Duck Eggs definitely make for a richer 'custard'.

Version 3 - Added Lime Zing
Throw in a whole Lime to the starting boil off situation - This will obviously need careful handling with de-pipping before you throw it in to be whizzed up with the Clementines.

Version 4 - I bought too many Clementines - Added Zing
The veg guys at the market were doing big bowls of Clementines for £2 - So I boiled off the first lot as above, then mashed/sieved this batch and used it as the cooking water for the second batch - Nicely intense.

Untested - Add into the first boil off:
Cinnamon Stick
Star Enisse
Fresh Ginger
Whole Red Chilli