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Baking

- Savoury -

They say that if you want to sell your house, bake some bread just before any prospective buyers come through the door and the wonderful smell will convince them to part with large amounts of cash.

If only it were that easy, but the truth is that the evocative aroma of a freshly baked loaf is like no other. It's one of the greats, like bacon or roast lamb, yummy.

Making pastry or baking bread doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds, the quick flaky pastry recipe here is so easy you'll be wondering why you haven't tried it before, and baking a loaf of bread in the morning will make the whole house a happy place, at least until lunchtime, when you might have to bake another one.

 QUICK AND EASY PASTRY

Ingredients;

8oz flour

6oz butter

pinch of salt

water

I’m blatantly stealing this recipe from Her most Royal Highness Delia Smith, one of the greatest chefs to come out of the UK for many years and beloved chairwoman of the one and only Norwich City Football Club. Delia’s ‘Complete Cookery Course’ is pretty much the only cookbook you’ll ever need. She also made the cake that adorns the cover of the 1969 rolling stones album 'let it bleed', beat that nigella!

Anyway, begin by leaving the butter in the freezer until its good and frozen. Put the flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt and grate the frozen butter into the flour, this way its so much easier to handle and you get a nice even mixture. Make a well in the middle and pour in a little water, using one hand to mix the dough and the other to turn the bowl and add water, you’ll soon have a ball of pastry dough that will sit in the fridge for a couple of days till you’re ready to make sausage rolls, cornish pasties and other yummy treats...

Skillet Bread

Ingredients;

1 packet of instant yeast

2 cups of lukewarm water

4 1/2 cups of flour

2 tsp salt

Olive Oil

2 tbls+ Fresh Rosemary, chopped

2 oz Parmesan cheese for grating

I found this recipe online and blatantly borrowed it from Tessa Arias so thank you Tessa, very much. If you've never made bread you need to start right away and this recipe is a great one to try, it's not at all complicated and is quite delicious. 

In a large bowl mix the water and the yeast. Add the flour, salt and rosemary and mix with a fork or wooden spoon until you've got a dough, add a little water if it's too dry, or a little flour if it's too wet. Cover with a tea towel or cling-film and leave in a warm place to rise for about an hour.

brush a little olive oil around your cast iron skillet and dust your hands and the dough with a little flour. Get the dough into the skillet and shape it roughly into a ball, try and tuck the sides underneath a bit but don't go crazy, it doesn't have to be perfect, just get it in there. Cover with the tea-towel for another 30 mins while you heat the oven to 400f/205c.

After 30 mins slice the top of the dough with the back of a knife to make an X and drizzle some olive oil over the whole thing. Sprinkle some sea salt and more rosemary on top and get it in the oven for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes take it out sprinkle liberally with the grated parmesan cheese and then pop it back into the oven for another 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Now eat it with butter, cheese, bacon etc. It makes really good toast.

Yeah baby.

 

Wholemeal Bread

Ingredients;

4-5 cups Wholemeal Flour

2 tsp Salt

1 packet (2 tsp) Dried Yeast

1 1/2 cups Milk

1/2 cup Water

1/4 cup Veg Oil

1 tbs Honey

Good Wholemeal Bread is a very tasty and healthy alternative to White Bread, and it's especially good with plenty of butter and some bacon and cheese and that sort of thing.

Start by putting 3 cups of flour, salt and the yeast in a large bowl, preferably one that attaches to a food mixer like this one. Mix together and heat the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan to 120-130F (49-54c) and while the mixer is on a medium speed slowly add the wet ingredients. The dough will be quite wet so add more flour, making sure to stop and scrape down the side of the bowl occasionally,

until a dough ball forms and the bowl is clean, this will take a couple of minutes.

Once you have a nice dough, tip it out onto a floured worktop and give it a bloody good kneading for a few minutes until you feel the texture change a bit, when the gluten starts to work it will become smoother and easier to work, once that happens put it in a bowl and cover it with a towel and leave it alone for an hour or so until its roughly doubled in size.

Get your oven on at 375f (190c) and put the dough in a greased loaf tin and pop it in the oven for about 45 minutes.

Great for all kinds of sandwiches or toasted with a nice bowl of soup, glorious.

Chicken & Ham Pie

 

Ingredients;

 

1 lb chicken.

½ lb ham

1 medium onion, sliced

2 leeks, chopped into 1” slices

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 cup frozen peas

2 carrots, sliced

Butter & oil for frying

¼ cup flour

2 cups milk

Salt & Pepper

2 tsp grainy mustard

Quick flaky pastry (see recipe)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great recipe for using up left-over roast chicken or any other kind of chicken. Some breast meat is okay but thigh, leg and wing is tastier, a combo of all four is best. Use your hands and pull it apart into roughly even size pieces.

 

Tell your butcher you want some good quality ham to put in a pie. If you spend a little extra and get really good tasty ham you won’t need as much, ½lb should do it. Cut into chunks roughly the same size as the chicken, a little smaller if anything.

 

In your favourite cast iron skillet start frying off the onion and carrot in some oil and butter and when it’s got a good sweat on throw in the leeks, garlic and peas. Give it a good stir around, turn the heat down to medium and add the chicken and the ham. Let it all meld and get friendly and delicious and turn off the heat and just let it sit while you get ready for a roux making experience.

 

In a saucepan melt about a tablespoon of butter, add to that about the same amount of flour and stir well. As soon as the flour has soaked up all the butter start to add the milk while stirring with a small whisk. Keep stirring and adding milk until you have a nice smooth roux. It needs to cook long enough to get rid of the flour taste, about 10 mins or so. You’ll probably have to add more milk but that’s fine, just keep going until the consistency is nice and thick and yummy. Turn off the heat and add a very healthy amount of salt & pepper. I like to go heavy on the pepper at this point as it really gives some great flavour and depth to the sauce. You’ll probably need a cold beer or a gin & tonic at this point as its quite warm work leaning over a hot pan doing all that stirring and whathaveyou.

 

Once you’re happy, pour the sauce into the skillet with the chicken & veg and get ready for the pastry.

The pastry you made earlier, has been wrapped in clingfilm chilling in the fridge. Unwrap it and start rolling it out on a floured surface about the thickness of two quarters and big enough to cover the skillet. Place over the pan, tuck in the sides and pierce the middle to let the steam out and brush with milk or an egg wash. I generally prefer the egg wash but whatever blows your skirt up, your choice. If you like you can make little cut out designs with the left-over pastry to try and pretty it up a bit but to be honest you’d be better off using that extra pastry to make yourself a cheeky little empanada or something tasty like that.

 

Put the pan in a pre-heated 375F oven and let the magic happen, in about 40 mins or so when the pastry is golden and scrumptious get it out of there and serve with some boiled new potatoes and broccoli or whatever you like. Its good cold too…

Naan Bread

Ingredients;

1 packet dry yeast

¾ cup lukewarm water

1 tsp sugar or honey

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp plain yoghurt

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 clove garlic, minced

sea salt

 

Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug and while you’re waiting for it to get frothy, mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.

 Once the yeast has done its thing and looks like a cappuccino add the olive oil and the yoghurt, give it a good whisk and add to the bowl of flour.

Using your hands give it a good mix until a nice sticky dough forms, add a good splash of olive oil and cover until roughly doubled in size. This could take an hour, possibly two, it depends on the temperature and humidity and all that science stuff, no matter, when it gets big it’s ready to cook.

In a small pan melt the butter with the garlic and set aside.

 Tip the dough onto a floured surface and divide it into six portions. Roll them out into teardrop shapes and get a cast iron skillet onto a high heat. When it is smoking hot place the naans, (2 at a time if possible), into the skillet and cook until bubbles form on the top, flip them over and put a lid on the pan. Cook for 30 secs and transfer to a plate, brush with the garlic butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Keep them in a warm oven while you cook the rest and enjoy.  

SAUSAGE ROLLS

Ingredients;

1 ball of pastry dough

½ lb pork sausage meat

1 large shallot

Flour

1 egg

salt/pepper/herbs

 

I always make a pile of these every xmas when I have a party and annoyingly there has never been any left over for me to finish off the next day.

Begin by rolling out the dough on a flat work surface, sprinkle a little flour around so you don’t get a sticky mess, and rub a little flour onto your rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it is just thick enough to work with, you don’t want it too thin or it will fall apart.

Finely chop the shallot and about a tablespoon of Sage, add to a bowl with the sausage meat.  Add some Thyme, Salt and White Pepper and mix it all up with your hands.

Once its rolled out take a handful of your sausage mixture and roll it in your hands to make a sausage-like thing about an inch thick and lay it along the dough leaving enough space to fold the dough over, say two inches. Keep doing this all along the dough until you’ve run out of space or meat!

Fold the dough around the meat and gently press down the edge with a fork to seal it. To cut the little darlings to size I use a pizza cutter, but a sharp knife will work just as well. Lay the rolls out on a baking tray and wash with the egg mixture before popping into a pre-heated oven (425f) for about twenty minutes or until golden brown.

 

Let them cool a little bit and then devour with some Bacon Marmalade, good mustard and/or brown sauce.

I’ve also made these with minced lamb and harissa sauce, yummy.

For a tasty and slightly decadent touch, crumble a some blue cheese into the meat before you roll them up. Mmmm.