Monday, April 23, 2018

White Bread

Sometimes all I crave for breakfast is just a simple white bread, spread with salty butter, a favourite jam and a mug of hot coffee. So that's what I made, from The Australian Women's Weekly gorgeous book, Simply Bread.

This is a very straight forward loaf to make. I have used the stand mixer to knead the dough, and reduced the yeast to only 2 teaspoons instead of 3, and also reduce on the salt slightly. The dough is a little sticky, so I've added about 1/4 cup more flour. I did not dust the final dough with flour before rising, preferring my white bread to be "clean" ! 

Bread is nice and soft. 

Good with a spread of salty butter. 

Basic White Bread
(Simply Bread, The Australian Women's Weekly)
3 teaspoons (10gm) dried yeast (2 teaspoons)
2/3 cup (160ml) warm water
2 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar
2-1/2 cups (375gm) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon table salt (3/4 teaspoon)
30gm (1 oz) butter, melted
1/2 cup (125ml) warm milk

  1. Combine yeast, the water and sugar in a small bowl until yeast dissolves. Cover; stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until mixture is frothing.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl; stir in butter, milk and yeast mixture. Knead dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in an oiled large bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until dough has doubled in size,
  3. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Oil a 10cm(4in) deep, 9cmx22cm (3-3/4in x 9in) bread tin.
  4. Knead dough on a floured surface for 1 minute or until smooth. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a ball; place side-by-side in bread tin. Dust with a little extra flour, cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 20 minutes or until risen.
  5. Bake bread for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped. Turn bread onto a wire rack to cool.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #28 hosted by 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Arroz con Pollo

An easy one pot meal. Recipe uses saffron threads, I have omitted that, and replace with 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder for the lovely yellow. Chicken thigh is first browned in a little oil. Onions and garlic are sauteed until the onions are translucent, then chopped tomatoes are added in, stir for a few minutes until softened, stir in wine-saffron mixture (or turmeric powder), bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cook until wine is nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add in rice, broth and olives. Place chicken onto rice, bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven, baked for about 30 minutes. 

A delicious one pot meal. Yum!

Arroz con Pollo
(One Pot, Martha Stewart Living)
1/2 cup dry white wine
pinch of saffron threads (I use 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder)
6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 6 ounces each)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 large tomato, chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1-1/2 cups short grain rice, preferably Valencia
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, drained

Preheat oven to 375F. In a bowl, combine wine and saffron.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or braiser, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken, skin-side down; cook until browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook a minute more; transfer to a plate.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons fat. Add onion and garlic, cook, stirring often, until translucent, 4 minutes. Add tomato and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in wine-saffron mixture, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until wine is nearly evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in rice, broth, and olives. Nestle chicken into rice, skin-side up. Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #28 hosted by 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Apple-Coconut Family Cake

I like the combination of flavours in this cake ; apples, coconut, rum and vanilla. A simple, easy cake to make, it doesn't require a stand mixer to mix the batter. A bowl with a hand whisk is all you need, well, OK, a couple of bowls! 

I made half a recipe and use a 7" baking pan to bake the cake, a smaller pan (maybe 6") would result in a taller cake.

Cake is moist with tender crumbs, and the flavours of the coconut with the apples and rum, is a winning combination. Love it! Yummy with a mug of tea!

Apple-Coconut Family Cake
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 apples, peeled and cored
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
6 tablespoons flavorless oil, such as canola or grapeseed
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened
about 1/2 cup apple jelly, for glaze

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
Cut 2 of the apples into a small dice, cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Cut the third apple from blossom to stem into slices about 1/4 inch thick; cover.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and 1/2 cup of the sugar together for a minute, Whisk in the yoghurt, oil, rum and vanilla and whisk for about a minute, until smooth. Still using a whisk, or switching to a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture, followed by the coconut and the diced apple.
Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter. Arrange the sliced apples in an attractive pattern over the top of the cake - I like to make a sunburst pattern - and sprinkle the apples with the remaining 2 teaspoon sugar.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the apples and cake are golden and a thin knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer the springform pan to a rack, and cool the cake for 20 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, make the glaze, Warm the apple jelly with a splash of water just until it liquefies.
Once the cake has cooled for 20 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the cake and release the sides of the pan. Using a pastry brush, give the top of the cake a generous gloss of glaze.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #28 hosted by 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Spicy Thai Fried Rice With Sausage and Greens

Even though this is called Spicy Thai Fried Rice, it is not at all spicy. But it is delicious and makes a satisfying lunch for a hungry tummy.

The recipe uses chorizo sausages, but I've substitute with some Chinese sausages instead. And because the Chinese sausages are not spicy, I've added a tablespoon of chilli flakes. The greens that I've used are baby spinach and napa cabbage. Instead of using the eggs to add to the rice stir-fry, I have fried the eggs separately to serve with the rice on top, with a dash of soy sauce. There's a half cup of black raisins in there, and I love it. It reminds me of some pilaf rice I ate before. This plate of fried rice makes such a delicious lunch, especially topped with the fried egg. 

Spicy Thai Fried Rice with Sausage and Greens
(Dinner Changing The Game, by Melissa Clark)
3 tablespoons peanut oil or grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced
2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced, plus more for serving
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 cup diced cured chorizo or spicy salami (6 ounces)
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
1/2 cup black raisins
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
6 cups chopped mixed greens, such as mizuna, baby spinach, or baby greens
1 cup chopped napa cabbage
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus lime wedges for garnish
Kosher salt to taste

  1. Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet or wok over high heat until it is very hot. Pour in the oil and swirl it around the pan (it will probably smoke, and that's okay).
  2. Add the onions, scallions, and garlic, give them a quick stir, and cook until they have softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chorizo and jalapeno; saute until they start to caramelize, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the raisins and the rice, mix well, and spread the mixture out to cover as much of the surface area of the pan as possible; press down on it with a spatula. Cook without moving the mixture until the rice gets a chance to dry out and take on a little colour, 1 to 3 minutes, then stir it around a little and toss until it is golden in spots.
  3. Add the greens and cabbage, and toss until they are beginning to wilt, 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the soy sauce and fish sauce, coating the contents of the pan. Then push the contents away from the centre of the pan and pour the eggs into the centre. Cook until the eggs are custardly, 1 to 2 minutes. Then mix everything in the pan, breaking up the eggs. Add the lime juice and season with salt to taste. Serve garnished with sliced scallions and with lime wedges alongside.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #28 hosted by 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Spanish Chicken & Peppers

This is a simple "one pot", or rather sheet pan meal. Great for busy weeknights. Made this when I did not have much time to spend in the kitchen one evening. Bought some really beautiful sweet peppers the day before, and the next evening, simply arrange the chicken parts and the peppers, in a baking tray, seasoned with just salt and pepper, with a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until the chicken is cooked and the skin crispy, about 50-60 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken parts.

Love the sweet red peppers, very sweet and fragrant. There's really no need of any other ingredient for the chicken, a simple seasoning of salt and lots of black pepper is all it takes to make a really tasty baked chicken. A simple, delicious and satisfying meal. I have omitted the garlic-mayo as suggested in the recipe, preferring to serve with some greens instead, which I've used broccoli.

Spanish Chicken & Peppers
(Sheet Pan Cooking, Good Housekeeping)
2-1/2 pounds assorted small chicken parts (cut breasts into halves)
1 pound mini sweet peppers
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
baguette, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. In a large bowl, toss chicken and peppers with oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Arrange chicken and vegetables on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (165F).
  2. While the chicken and peppers cook, stir together mayonnaise, garlic and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Serve chicken and peppers on a baguette with garlic mayo.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #28 hosted by 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Creamy Leek Tart

This is another keeper recipe from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss. It is called Süddeutsche Lauchtorte in German (I cannot even pronounce those words!). This tart is very similar to a quiche.

The dough for the crust can be made a day earlier, wrap with cling wrap and keep refrigerated,  the next day, roll the dough to line the tart pan, then bake blind for 15 minutes. 

For the filling, I have replaced bacon with chicken meat. I've used a small piece of chicken breast meat, pan fry lightly in a little oil in the saucepan, seasoned with salt and black pepper, cook until the chicken is done. Let cool and chop to small dices, about 1 cup. And have used homemade chicken stock instead of white wine. The leeks are sauteed with butter until softened, season with salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Mix in a large bowl, eggs, sour cream and cornstarch and stir in the leek, chicken and cheese. I have used Cheddar cheese instead of Emmentaler cheese. Pour this mixture over the prebaked crust, smooth the top and bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Delicious and very tasty filling, with buttery tender crisp crust. I made this tart in the morning, and enjoyed two slices for my lunch, warm from the pan, with a cup of tea. Yum!

The recipe can also be found here.

Creamy Leek Tart
(Classic German Baking, Luisa Weiss)
2 cups, scooped and leveled/250gm all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon/130gm unsalted high-fat, European-style butter, softened, cubed
1 egg

3-1/2 tablespoons/50gm unsalted butter
3 to 4 leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved and sliced into 1/4-inch/6mm thick pieces
1/4 cup (60ml) white wine (chicken stock)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup (250gm) sour cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup (125gm) diced Speck or bacon (chicken meat)
4-1/2 ounces (130gm) grated Emmentaler (Swiss) cheese (about 1-1/2 cups) (1 cup Cheddar)

  1. First, make the crust : Place the flour, salt, butter, and egg in a bowl and knead together until well combined. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Make the filling : Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened. Stir in the wine and cook for about 2 minutes. Season with the salt, plenty of black pepper, and the nutmeg. Remove from the heat. Let cool slightly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  4. Unwrap the dough leaving the plastic wrap on the top side of the disk and placing the unwrapped side on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4-inch/6mm thickness. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch(23cm) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom with the dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Place a piece of aluminium foil over the dough, pushing it gently out to the edges, and fill the pan with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using the foil as a sling, remove the pie weights or beans. Maintain the oven temperature.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream and cornstarch. Fold in the cooked leeks, and then stir in the Speck and cheese. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 30 minutes before removing the tart ring. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges. Refrigerated, the tart will keep for 1 day. It can be reheated in a 325F/160C oven.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #28 hosted by