#Recipe Brazilian bakes & candies

Think of Brazil and no doubt the usual plethora of images will spring to mind- sundrenched beaches, feather-bedecked soca dancers and copious churrascaria. What doesn’t come to mind is a wealth, and often unexplored world, of baking. From breads to cakes to sweet treats there’s no shortage of tasty culinary treats to try.

So you may be asking yourself how does a Irish native, now resident in Canada, come to be waxing lyrical on all bakes Brazilian? I recently made the acquaintance of a native Brazilian via the wonders of a social media. A mutual bond over adoption matters, cultural appreciation (makes a change to hear those two words together huh?) and adventures in food was formed, and here we are! Insight from someone who grew up in a culture always trumps even the best research you can do. There is something satisfying about knowing that this is how “it” actually is, in everyday life, rather than some interpretation of “it” from the vaults of some Lonely Planet-esque archives.

The recipes here are essentially in two parts- bakes and sweets. The Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheesebread) is definitely worth trying out. Served warm from the oven they are an ideal breakfast morsel, or even snack through the day. Freezer-friendly and gluten-free they are also a handy reserve should any gluten intolerant friends swing by. The Pudim de Queijo and Bolo de Fuba Cremoso share a common theme in that they are both prepared making use of a tall blender. Apparently this is a common feature in Brazilian baking as stand mixers are not that common. For the Pudim de Queijo think creme caramel and Catalan flan. To be honest though to hold it in comparison is to do the Pudim injustice. The addition of the cheese to the flan mixture rescues it from the overpowering (and somewhat cloying) sweetness to which it’s European counterparts often fall prey. Cheese also a feature in the recipe for Bolo de Fuba Cremoso. When baked the combination of cheese, cornmeal and coconut result in veritable kitchen alchemy that allows for a crispy topping, smooth interlayer and deliciously crumbly base. Believe me, once you try a slice of this alongside a strong coffee, breakfast will never be the same again!

The Dochinos de Leite Moca here are all variations on a theme of Brazilian candies. Made using boiled sweetened condensed milk they are sure to prove popular not only with the little ones in your life but all the grown-ups. The final sweets will usually keep for a week in a container in the refrigerator. These dainty mouthfuls of scrumptuous sweetness look  (and taste) like they required hours of kitchen toil instead of the mere minutes needed in reality. The longest part is the cooling time! I cannot emphasis how much these candies are worth the minimal effort.

Many thanks to Bernardo (and his Mum!) for the guidance, patience when it came to answering my numerous questions, and encouragement when things literally went belly up! Muito obrigado meu amigo.


Pao de Queijo (8)

Pao de queijo

Makes approximately 40

Ingredients

  • 500g cassava starch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 400g grated cheese (150g Gruyère; 150g mozzarella; 100g sharp red cheddar such as Red Leicester)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 2 cookie baking trays with baking parchment
  2. In a bowl mix the Gruyère and mozzarella cheeses, Set aside until needed
  3. Combine the water & oil in a pan and bring to boil over heat
  4. Place cassava starch in a bowl of a stand mixer
  5. With the mixer running, carefully pour over boiling liquid in stages and mix to combine
  6. Leave to cool, until you can touch the side of the bowl
  7. With the mixer running, add in eggs one at a time
  8. Add in the Gruyère/ mozzarella cheese mix in thirds and mix until combine.
  9. Remove the dough from the bowl and fold/lightly knead in the sharp cheddar.
  10. Roll dough into 3cm wide sausage shape
  11. Cut into smaller 1 inch pieces and roll into balls using wet hands
  12. Place the dough balls on lined baking trays, spacing about 2 inches between
  13. Bake at 400F for 20mins until puffed and lightly golden

– The baked rolls/ puffs are best eaten straight away, after cooling slightly.

*Once the dough had been shaped into balls, they can be frozen in a bag or under cling wrap and baked from frozen. Bake in a 400F preheated oven for 30 mins until puffed and lightly golden

Pao de Queijo (1)


Pudim de Queijo (3)

Pudim de queijo

Makes 1, serves 12

Ingredients

Caramel

  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Pudding

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can whole  milk (use the same can as sweetened condensed milk to measure)
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a pan over a medium heat combine the water and fine sugar.
  3. Increase heat and bring to the boil, without stirring, for about 10mins. The liquid should thicken and turn a deep amber color
  4. When the liquid has turned deep amber, remove from heat and pour into an 8inch circular baking pan
  5. In a blender mix the condescended milk and milk for 2 mins
  6. Add in eggs and mix to blend again for 2 mins
  7. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix for a further 2 mins
  8. Pour into prepared caramel pan and place the filled baking pan in deep roasting tray large enough to take the pan
  9. Cover the filled pan with aluminium foil, and fill the roasting tray with water to at least 3/4 level with the pan
  10. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 50 mins
  11. After the aluminium foil from the pan and continue to bake for a further 10 mins
  12. Remove the baked pudding from the oven and the roasting tray. Leave to completely
  13. Turn the cooked pudding out by placing a large plate on top of the pudding and quickly inverting. It may requirement a gentle shake for it to come out
  14. Keep the turned out pudding refrigerated until serving

Pudim de Queijo (6)


Bolo de Fuma Cremoso (3)

Bolo de fubá cremoso

Makes 1 , serves 12

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups fine sugar
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a large bowl add the fine sugar, cornmeal, flour, shredded coconut and mix to combine
  3. In a large blender combine the eggs, milk, melted butter, and baking powder, Parmesan cheese and mix until well combined
  4. Pour the liquid mixture in to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir/whisk gently to combine well
  5. Pour to cake batter (which will be quite running into a 9inch spring-form cake pan
  6. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 mins until the top of the cake is golden brown and the sides pull away from the pan
  7. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely in the pan before removing the pan collar
  8. This cake goes particularly well with a strong, early morning coffee

Bolo de Fuma Cremoso (1)


Dochinos (2)

Dochinos de Leite Moca

Each recipe makes between 15-20

This little sweet bites were traditionally served at children’s parties, are astoundingly easy to make and even better to eat!

Brigadeiro

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg yolk

To finish

  • A selection of chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles to finish

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a round ball shape in your hands
  4. Roll the ball of mixture in sprinkles of your choice to coat and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. When all the brigadeiro have been rolled transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

 

Beijinho

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 1egg yolk

To finish

  • 100g unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Whole cloves (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the milk and egg yolk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a round ball shape in your hands
  4. Roll the ball of mixture in the shredded coconut to coat and place on a lined baking sheet. Stud each beijinho with a whole clove
  5. When all the beijinho have been rolled, transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

 

Cajuzinho

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 30g unsweetened shredded coconut

To finish

  • Fine sugar
  • Roasted peanut halves

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a “horn” shape in your hands
  4. Roll the cajuzinho in fine sugar  to coat, stud the larger end with a peanut half and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. When all the cajuzinho have been rolled,  transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

Dochinos (5)

 

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#Recipe #Pumpkin Three-ways

Let’s get one thing outta the way. I kinda love October…in a BIG way! New food becomes seasonal, leaves turn amazing colours and  the temperatures become a little bit more bearable. Oh and there’s Halloween! If you’re a Halloween-hater or nay-sayer then I’m afraid we can’t be friends. It just ain’t gonna happen. It’s become my family’s steadfast tradition at this point – December belongs to reindeer, candy canes and Father Christmas; October is ghosts, vampires and all things nocturnally unspeakable! The Season of The Witch reduces me to giddy school-kid levels of excitement and anticipation. The opening staccato of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme giving me bats in my tummy (you see what I did there?) In the space of a couple of days I’ll transform our house from a 2.4 family dwelling in to a suburban Gothic haven.

However enough about that- you’d didn’t come here to read of my penchant for ghouls, ghosts and creatures of the night. It’s impossible for me to think of October and Halloween without thinking of pumpkin. Image can be a powerful thing and as soon as the calendar turns to October 1st, scenes of those orange orbs of rustic goodness flood my brain- pumpkin patches; Jack O’Lanterns; pumpkin pies. So it only seems fitting to present to you some recipes as an homage to the humble Cucurbita Pepo. As always I try to give you something a little different not so much in the Pumpkin Pie variety of recipes! All of these recipes use canned pumpkin. I have enough labour what with all the carving and excavating of pumpkins for Jack O’Lanterns  so I try to avoid it in other areas. When using canned pumpkin be sure to use those which are 100% pure pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Madeleines (2)

Brown Butter & Tonka Bean Pumpkin Madeleines with

Chai Caramel Dipping Sauce

Madeleines
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mixed spice
  • 1 Tonka bean, grated
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 cups cooking cream (35%)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chai spice mixture

Pumpkin Madeleines (1)

To make the madeleines

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 12-shell madeleine pans with baking spray or cake release. (Or brush with melted butter and coat with flour, tapping out the excess flour)
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is a brown color, It will now start to have a “nutty” smell. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool (You’ll notice small brown/black particles. Don’t worry these are all part of brown butter!)
  3. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, mixed spice and tonka bean. Mix to combine and set aside until needed.
  4. In a stand mixer bowl add the eggs and sugar and with the whisk attachment mix on medium-high until the mixture is light in color, thick, and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until combined.
  5. After removing the bowl from the mixer, fold in the flour mixture gently by hand. Once the flour is completely added, gently pour in the cooled melted butter and fold it into the mixture until completely incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure no pockets of unmixed ingredients
  6. Pour the madeleine batter into a large piping bag (fitted with plain circular nozzle, or snip the end of the bag off)
  7. Fill the prepared trays with batter in each mould to 3/4 depth
  8. Bake the madeleines for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and golden
  9. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack

*Keep in an airtight container for up to for 2-3 days. The madeleines can also be frozen for up to 2 months and then reheated in the microwave or in a 350F oven before serving.

To make the dipping caramel

  1. In a heavy-based saucepan combine the brown sugar and water. Heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase the heat and allow the sugar mixture to deepen in color, approximately 240F (Soft Crack on sugar thermometer)

*excercise care in these next few steps!

  1. Remove the saucepan with the melted sugar from the heat and add in the salted butter. Whisk briskly and carefully so that it melts and becomes incorporated into the sugar mixture. It may hiss and spit so please take care!
  2. Next add the cream in a steady stream and stir to fully incorporate. Again take care at this point.
  3. Stir in the chai spice mixture
  4. Pour into the small ramekins or mini-milk bottles to serve with the pumpkin madeleines

*The final caramel sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator. I find it’s best if removed from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving to allow it the return to full “saucy goodness”. If you prefer it warmed, heat in a microwavable container in 10-15 second bursts until it at desired temperature

IMG_0035


Pumpkin Bread (1)

Cinnamon Cheesecake stuffed Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf

Pumpkin Loaf
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground gloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups (caster) sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Cinnamon Cheesecake Filling
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup (caster) sugar
  • 4oz Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Pumpkin Bread (2)

To make the cheesecake filling

  1. In a bowl beat together the filling ingredients until fully combined and smooth
  2. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside until needed

To make the pumpkin loaf

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F.
  2. Prepare two 1lb loaf tines with cake release or grease with butter
  3. In a bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices
  4. In a stand mixer combine the sugar, butter and eggs and mix for at least 10 mins
  5. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until just combined
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour mixture by heaped tablespoon at a time. Keep  the mixer going until just combined – make sure there are no white flour pockets. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at regular intervals
  7. Remove the bowl and fold in the chocolate chips
  8. Pour the mixture equally between the two prepared tins to 1/2 level
  9. Pipe a stripe of cheesecake mixture from the piping bag into each tine. Ensure that the cheesecake mixture doesn’t touch the sides of the loaf tin
  10. Once all the cheesecake mixture has been used, use the remaining pumpkin batter to fill up the loaf tins. Level the tops of the mixture
  11. Bake in the oven for 60-70mins until a skewer comes out clean
  12. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tins until fully cooled. When cool wrap in clingfilm until needed

*These loaves get better over time- after a couple of days wrapped they develop a fudgy, sticky texture.

Pumpkin Bread (6)


Pumpkin Cookies (3)

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons ice-wine syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Pumpkin Cookies (4)

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside until needed
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 10 mins)
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, ice-wine syrup, pumpkin puree and continue to mix until well combined
  4. Add the flour mixture a heaped tablespoon at a time until well combined, with your mixer set to low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Remove the fully mixed cookie dough from the bowl, divide into two and wrap in cling-wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours or preferably overnight
  6. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F, line two cookie trays with baking parchment, and dust a work surface with confectioners (icing) sugar)
  7. Remove one of the batches of dough from the fridge and on the dusted work surface, roll to a thickness of 4-6mm. Cut out shapes using dusted cutter cutters. Lift the cookies with a spatula or palette knife and place on the lined cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking. I find it works best baking them a tray at a time, so that whilst one tray is in the oven you can cut and place the cookies for the second tray
  9. When baked remove the tray from the oven and let cool for 1 or 2 minutes before again using a spatula or palette knife transfer the baked cookies to racks to cool. Be aware that the baked cookies will be soft but they will firm up upon cooling

*The cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.

Pumpkin Cookies (2)

There you have it- three wonderfully, tasty ways to use the season’s stalwart staple…and not a pumpkin spice latte in sight. Enjoy!

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thankgiving and a sookily fun and safe Halloween from here in The Kitchen.

#Recipe Baking with kids…not literally!

Montage

We’ve now been resident here in Toronto for 5 months and things have pretty much settled. My husband has found his pace with his job, our kids have made a smooth transition to a new school, heck we even seemed to have navigated the whole “Daylight saving hours” thing without too much trouble. The only fly in the ointment is me trying to start Mr. Mom’s from scratch again. Whilst a brand new audience awaits from my take on baked goods, it also means a whole bunch of people who no NOTHING about you. And that’s an uphill climb! (If you do happen to work in the foodie sector and would like a food writer, or baker to work with  please do check out my Collaborations page here.)

Anyhoo I digress! As I mentioned above, our kids have (surprisingly) takenthe move to a new country in their stride with little or no tears and tantrums. This week had them on their “March Break” from school- seems to be the equivalent to a UK mid-term break. As well as taking them to the obligatory art galleries and museums (I don’t know who enjoyed it more!) I decided to introduce them to the world of baking. Now I’m not talking anything major- they’re not quiet ready for the cook’s torch or bain maire yet! However you’d be amazed how some simple stirring, cutting, and participation can ignite eagerness.

Here are some of the recipes that took place in Mr. Mom’s kitchen this week. Whilst they range from the sweet to the savory, they are all big on fun, flavour and involvement from little flour-caked hands. I’ve  also included some tips on getting kids involved in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not including this because I consider myself some kind of childcare expert and these are rules by which you should abide. They’re simply meant from the point of my being a dad who wanted to get his children involved in baking and these ways worked for me. I’ve left where to get your kids involved to your discretion as you know them best after all.

Some tips/tricks:

  • Put on some music. Not loud enough that you have to shout over it but loud enough for background. It helps to have something to pass lengthy tasks like kneading or blending. Also think sing-along or random exclamations of “Knead to the beat!”
  • Get the children to find and fetch the ingredients. Framed as a “Baking Treasure Hunt” I’ve seen it help reading skills and memory.
  • Weighing is a surprisingly enticing activity which always draws willing volunteers.  If they overshoot the mark when pouring, it’s no biggie (despite their possible panic!)

So now on to the fun stuff- the recipes! These are a selection of what ended up on the cooling rack…

No Bake Chocolate Cookies

Pumpkin Bread

Sugar Cookies

Simple White Loaf ( and how this can be used to make Pizza)

 

Mud Puddles (aka No Bake Chocolate Cookies)

pic 4

 

Ingredients

200g caster sugar

125ml semi-skimmed milk

115g salted butter

4 tablespoons cocoa, unsweetened

1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

120g gram crunchy peanut butter

225g Jumbo Oats

225g Quick Oats

Method
  • Line baking sheets with baking parchment
  • Bring the sugar, milk, butter and cocoa to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then keep on a rolling boil for 1 minute
  • Remove from the heat. Add the oats, peanut butter, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine
  • Drop spaced tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet
  • Leave to cool at room temperature for min 1 hour. After this they’ve set enough tp pick up and eat. I find they usually taste better and are easier to handle the next day
  • These can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days

 

Pumpkin Bread

pic 3

Ingredients

250g all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

400g caster sugar

170g unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

1 can (425g)  pumpkin (make sure it’s 100% pumpkin puree)

pic 2

Method
  • Preheat your oven to 160c or 325F.
  • Prepare two 1lb loaf tines with cake release or grease with butter
  • In a bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices
  • In a stand mixer combine the sugar, butter and eggs and mix for at least 10 mins
  • Add in the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until just combined
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour mixture by heaped tablespoon at a time. Keep  the mixer going until just combined – make sure there are no white flour pockets
  • Remove the bowl, pour the mixture equally between the prepared tins and level the top
  • Bake in the oven for 60-70mins until a skewer comes out clean
  • Remove from the oven, remove from tins and leave to cool on a wire rack. When cool wrap in clingfilm until needed.
  • These loaves get better over time. After a couple of days wrapped they develop a fudgy, sticky texture which goes really with the warming spicy flavor (similar to McVities Jamaican Ginger Cake for those of you who know it?)

 

Sugar Cookies

pic 5

Ingredients

350g unsalted butter, softened

400g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

620g all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Icing sugar for dusting and rolling

 

 

Method
  • Preheat oven to 200C or 400F
  • Line cookie sheets with baking parchment
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl
  • In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth (mix for at least 10 mins)
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time,and vanilla
  • With the mixer on a slow speed, stir in the flour mixture one heaped tablespoon at a time until well combined and a dough formed
  • Tip the dough onto clingfilm and wrap tightly
  • Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight)
  • Dust a surface with icing sugar, sprinkle the dough with icing sugar and roll out the dough to a thickness of apx 5mm (*use icing sugar to prevent sticking to surface and rolling-pin)
  • Cut out shapes using cookie cutters and transfer to prepared baking sheets
  • Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 mins
  • Remove and use a wide spatula or palette knife to transfer the soft cookies to wire rack to cool. They’ll firm up upon further cooling.

* I made 50/50 blend of vanilla and chocolate sugar cookie by removing half the dough when refrigerating it and leaving half in the bowl. To this I added 50g unsweetened cocoa powder and 100g unsweetened chocolate chips. Mix until well combined then refrigerate and make as per the rest of the recipe.

 

Simple White Loaf

pic 12

Ingredients

500g Bread flour

12g fast action yeast

10g salt

40ml light olive oil

320ml warm water

pic 10

Method
  • In a bowl combine the flour, yeast (to one side) and salt (to opposite side)
  • In bowl combine olive oil and water
  • Pour the water/oil mixture into the flour bowl in a steady stream
  • With your hand in a “Claw” shape mix from outside of the bowl towards to centre. Continue until all the mixture comes together into a dough ball and the bowl sides are clean
  • Lightly oil a surface with olive oil and tip out the dough onto it
  • Knead the dough for 10 mins until it becomes smooth and elastic
  • Transfer the kneaded dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with some lightly oiled cling film. Leave to rise until doubled in size
  • Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and dust with bread flour
  • Again lightly oil a surface and tip out the risen dough
  • Punch and knead the dough, for about 5 mins, until all the air has been expelled from it (called “Knocking Back”)
  • Shape with your hands into a long oval shape and transfer to the prepared baking sheet
  • Cover loosely with some damp kitchen paper or oiled cling film and leave for 40-60 mins until risen
  • Preheat your oven to 225c or 435F
  • Once the dough has risen, lightly spray with water, slash the top of the loaf, dust with all-purpose flour and place it in the preheated oven. After doing this place a dish filled with 1 pint of water in the bottom of the oven (this creates a crust)
  • Bake for 25mins, at which point reduce the temperature to 200c or 390F and continue to bake for a further 15-20mins
  • Remove the loaf from the oven (careful of the steam!) and leave to cool

Pizza adaptation

I’ve also used this recipe to make pizzas which the kids absolutely go crazy for. I’m not sure that it’s as much for the taste of it as it is for the whole “I’ve made this!” boost to their confidence. To use this for pizza making follow the steps until the “Knocking Back” stage.

pic 9

  • After knocking back the dough divide into equal pieces (I usually get 4-5 good size pizzas from this quantity of dough).
  • Preheat your oven to 250C or 475F (with baking sheets or pizza stones in)
  • Sprinkle a surface with a 50/50 combination of all-purpose flour and semolina
  • Dust the dough with some of the flour/semolina mixture. Flatten and stretch the dough until thin into which ever shape works best for you- circle, oval or rectangular. It just depends on what fits with your oven
  • Dress to your (and your kids!) taste with toppings. All of the following are good- tomato passata (as sauce); cheese shreds; bacon; tuna; pepperoni; chicken; fresh herbs; fresh mozzarella; thinly sliced figs…thre list can go on!
  • Carefully remove and dust your baking sheets or pizza stone with flour/ semolina mixture
  • Transfer your pizza(s) to baking sheets or pizza stone and bake for 10-12 mins until ready
  • Remove from oven, brush the exposed sides with extra virgin olive oil and servepic 8

So there’s a brief selection of some o the tasty goods from my kitchen. I hope you enjoy baking them, getting your kids to pitch in and tasting them as much as we have.

 

 

 

 

 

#Recipe- Egyptian Flatbreads

Egyptian Flatbreads 4

This started life as yet another “Popcorn” recipe which was consigned to the “Not Right Now” folder on my desktop. With the weather taking a turn for the better I’ve decided to dust it off and let it see the light of day. The flatbreads are really easy and they’re fantastic for picnic or BBQ weather. The popcorn feature ingredient can easily be omitted and the breads will be just as good- maybe not as much of a talking point though?

I love these with smeared with fresh, homemade hummus and sprinkled with some pomegranate seeds. They’re also ideal halved and stacked with slivers of BBQ’d meat, fresh juicy tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil. A definite taste for the summer!

Makes 4

Flatbreads

500g strong, white bread flour

10g salt

10g fast (easy) yeast

375ml warm water

40ml olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

 

Dukkah paste

100g chopped hazelnuts

50g sesame seeds

50g coriander seed

10g cumin seed

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

50g nigella seeds

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

14g Lemon & Fennel popcorn, crushed

Olive oil

Egyptian Flatbreads 1

  • Place the flour in a bowl, add the yeast to one side, and the salt to the other.
  • Create a well in the middle and add 275ml water, the olive oil and the honey and mix with your fingers until combined. Continue to add the rest of the water a little at a time until all the flour in the bowl has been incorporated. You may not need all the water- you want a dough that is well combined and soft, but not sticky or soggy. By the end your dough should be smooth and elastic.
  • Lightly oil a clean bowl and transfer the dough. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size.
  • Whilst the dough is rising, prepare the dukkah.
  • In a pan add the chopped hazelnuts; sesame seeds; coriander seeds; cumin seed; nigella seeds; and paprika. Toast over a medium heat until fragrant.
  • Add the salt and pepper and grind until rough.
  • Add in the crushed popcorn and mix to combine.
  • Drizzle in enough olive oil to create a rough paste.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and knock back to remove the air (knead for about 5 minutes).
  • Cut the dough into 4 (roughly) equal pieces, and flatten with your fingers in a rough circle shape. With a lightly oiled rolling pin, roll into a larger circular shape, approximately 10-12cms diameter.
  • Transfer to 2 baking trays lined with baking parchment (2 dough discs on each).
  • Smear each of the dough circles liberally with the dukkah paste, covering the entire surface. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Whilst the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 225 degrees.
  • When the dough is rested, place the baking sheets in the oven- one on top third of oven, one in lower third of oven. After 6 mins, swap the positions of the trays, also turning them 180 degrees (front to back). Continue to bake for another 6 mins.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on their baking trays for a further 5 minutes. After this time transfer from the baking trays to wire racks.
  • The flatbreads can be served warm, or cool.

#Recipe Caramelised Walnut & Blue Cheese Soda bread

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Soda bread was one of the first things I remember watching my mother make/bake in the kitchen. From my seat on the kitchen drainer I would watch how she’d mix and shape the dough into the thick, dense cakes and I’d hanker for a warm slice, the melted butter dripping down my greedy knuckles. Beats crumpets any day! With the minimum of ingredients it was her “go to” recipe when cupboards were getting bare- maximum flavour from minimum input. So often  was it made in my childhood house that there was no need for her to weigh or measure quantities. It was an instinctual process, hands tracing what seemed like arcane patterns and motions, guided by numerous loaves that came before.

The lack of yeast in the mix makes it a particularly quick and easy loaf to knock together. No kneading is required and the mixing is minimal (to avoid an overly heavy dough). So it really is just a case of mix, shape and bake.

Whilst I have kept to the basic recipe as taught to me (flour, bread soda (bicarbonate of soda), buttermilk and salt, I have as usual added my Mr. Mom’s twist. The additional of the caramelised walnuts and blue cheese add wonderful pockets of sweetness and Unmami to the earthy wholemeal dough. I serve mine here with Guinness infused butter to make it just that little bit more indulgent for a St. Patrick’s Day treat.

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibhe!

 

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Ingredients

Caramelised walnuts

100g walnut halves
55g caster sugar
15g unsalted butter

Soda bread

450g wholemeal flour
175g plain flour
2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoons salt
450ml buttermilk (450ml  milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice stirred in)
100 g Cashel Blue cheese, plus extra for topping
Caramelised walnuts (see above)

Guinness Butter

1 quantity of homemade butter (See the recipe here)

150ml Guinness Stout (not draught)

4 teaspoons Irish heather honey (If you can’t find this, ordinary honey will be fine)

Pinch of salt

You’ll need 2 non-stick baking trays (or standard ones lined with baking parchment)

To make the caramelised walnuts

  • Set aside a non-stick baking tray. If you don’t have non-stick variety to hand, just line a standard tray with baking parchment.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a pan over a medium heat.
  • Stir to combine and to stop the mixture from catching.
  • Continue until the butter and sugar have melted. At this point you need to stir continuously until the syrup turns a deep shade of amber.
  • Immediately remove from the heat and tip the mixture onto the (lined) baking sheet. Using two forks separate the nuts individually so that they don’t clump together.
  • Allow the nuts to cool on the baking tray before use. (As a side note these make wonderfully tasty drinks snacks as they are like this. I often make a double batch!)

To make the soda bread

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
  • In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (including the candied walnuts and cheese) and mix well.
  • Make a well in the center, and add in roughly 1/3 of the milk. Mix lightly.
  • Add in the second 1/3 of the milk and again mix until just combined.
  • Add in the final amount of milk and mix until a dough is formed and there is no dry flour remaining in the bowl.
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead.
  • Form into a round about 1 1/2 inch thick transfer to your baking sheet.
  • Stud the top of the loaf with a few chunks of blue cheese (to taste) and dust with flour. Score the top of the loaf in half with a floured, sharp knife. Turn the loaf 90 degrees and score again so that you have a cross shape dividing the top of the loaf into quarters, then prick each of the four quarters**
  • Bake the loaf in your preheated oven for about 45mins. Test by tapping the bottom of the loaf- it should sound hallow. (If the top of the loaf starts to brown too quickly, loosely drap some foil over it). Once baked remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
  • Serve with Guinness Butter (see recipe below) or for a traditional Irish after-school treat slathered in butter and jam!

To make the Guinness Butter

  • Heat the Guinness in a pan over a high heat and reduce down to 1/3 volume. You should have a denser syrup. Remove from heat and allow to cool fully.
  • Place the butter in a bowl of stand mixer, add in the cooled Guinness syrup, honey and salt.
  • Beat on medium until combined then increase the speed to high and “whip” for about 5-7 minutes until all the ingredients are fully combined and mixture is fluffy in texture.
  • Remove the butter from the mixing bowl, transfer to a dish and serve alongside the prepared soda bread.

**Although these two actions have a practical use in the making of this bread, the traditional meaning lends a much more romantic slant to them as only the Irish can. Cutting the loaf into quarters is said to be “Blessing the bread” so that it the house making it may never run out of it. Pricking each of the quarters is “to let the Sidhe (fairies) escape” in order to avoid any havoc they make reek if kept trapped in the bread. Quite how they got in there in the first place is beyond me by who am I to argue with centuries of tradition!

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