Thursday, September 27, 2018

Spicy Olive Bread

America's Test Kitchen cookbook, Bread Illustrated is one of my favourite baking book on breads. I have made some really nice breads from it and this Spicy Olive Bread is one of them.

There's lots of flavours going on in this bread ; there's red pepper flakes, minced garlic, black and green olives. The dough is mixed using the stand mixer. After the first rising, the dough is knocked back and shaped into a round, the second final rising is done in the Dutch oven.  

Once the dough has risen, the top is slashed with two 1/2 inch deep slashes to form a cross. Cover the Dutch oven and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove the cover and continue to bake until the top is deep golden brown, about 25 minutes more.

Cool thoroughly before slicing.

I love the soft crumbs, with all the flavours ; a little spicy kick from the red pepper flakes, a little garlicky taste from the minced garlic, perfect combo with the salty olives. A good thing that I have reduced the salt by half, as I thought that it was perfect with just 1 teaspoon. Lovely bread!

Spicy Olive Bread
(Bread Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen)
3/4 cup pitted olives, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups (16-1/2 ounces) bread flour
2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons salt (I use 1 tsp)
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1-1/3 cups (10-2/3 ounces) water, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Combine olives and garlic in bowl. Whisk flour, yeast, salt, and pepper flakes together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk water, sugar and oil in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved. Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add water mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
  2. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, about 8 minutes. Reduce speed to low, slowly add olive mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, and mix until mostly incorporated, about 1 minute.
  3. Transfer dough and any loose olives to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  4. Press down on dough to deflate. Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter (side of dough that was against bowl should now be facing up). Press and stretch the dough into 10-inch round.
  5. Working around circumference of dough, fold edges toward centre until ball forms.
  6. Flip dough ball seam side down and, using your cupped hands, drag in small circles on counter until dough feels taut and round and all seams are secured on underside of loaf.
  7. Lay 16 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper on counter and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray. Transfer loaf seam side down to centre of prepared parchment Using parchment as sling, gently lower dough into Dutch oven. Cover tightly with plastic and let 5rise until loaf increases in sizer by about half and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Using sharp paring knife or single-edge razor blade, make two 5-inch long, 1/2-inch-deep slashes with swift, fluid motion along top of loaf to form cross.
  9. Cover pot, place in oven, and bake loaf for 30 minutes. Remove lid, reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, and continue to bake until deep golden brown and loaf registers 205 to 210 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Using parchment sling, remove loaf from pot and transfer to wire rack; discard parchment. Let cool completely, about 3 hours, before serving.
***ATK do not recommend mixing this dough by hand.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #33 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Roasted Cajun Chicken with Spicy Tomato Salsa

Made this delicious Roasted Cajun Chicken with Spicy Tomato Sauce, with some short-cuts thrown in! Firstly, the recipe uses small whole chickens, butterflied, rub with the marinating spices and barbecued over low heat until cooked through. I have used whole chicken legs, marinated them for an hour and then roast in a preheated oven for an hour until done.

For the Spicy Tomato Salsa, instead of cooking fresh tomatoes over the grill plate, which are then to be chopped coarsely, I have used canned chopped tomatoes with chillies in tomato juice. Omitted the red wine vinegar as the canned tomatoes are already sour, so I have added about a tablespoon of sugar and some salt to taste.

Both the chicken and the tomato salsa are delicious. I've made some potato salad (not pictured) and with some fresh salad greens served alongside, this is one yummy meal! Happy faces at the dinner table! 

Barbecued (Roasted) Cajun Chicken with Spicy Tomato Salsa
(Perfect Roasts, The Australian Women's Weekly)
6 small chickens (3kg) (I use 6 chicken legs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small brown onion (80gm), grated coarsely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon and fennel
2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt to taste

Spicy Tomato Salsa :
6 large plum tomatoes (540gm), halved (I use canned chopped tomatoes with chillies in tomato juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion (150gm), chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (omitted)
1 fresh long red chilli, chopped finely
  1. Discard neck from chickens. Rinse chicken cavities and pat dry with absorbent paper. Using kitchen scissors, cut along each side of backbones; discard backbones. Turn chicken skin-side up; press down on breastbone to flatten (I use 6 chicken legs)
  2. Combine remaining ingredients ; rub all over chickens. (Marinate for an hour, keep refrigerated. Arrange on baking tray and drizzle some olive oil over chicken pieces).
  3. Cook chicken on heated oiled covered barbecue, over low heat, 35 minutes or until chickens are cooked through. (Roast in a preheated oven, at 200C for an hour, basting the chicken with the juices accumulated in the roasting pan, a couple of times).
  4. Meanwhile, make spicy tomato salsa.
  5. Serve chicken with salsa.
Spicy Tomato Salsa :
Cook tomato on heated oiled grill plate, turning, until softened ; chop tomato coarsely. Heat oil in a medium saucepan; cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion softens. Add spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in tomato, vinegar and chilli; cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or until salsa thickens. 
(I've used 2 cans of chopped tomatoes with chillies in tomato juice, omitted the vinegar as canned tomatoes are usually a little sour. I've added about 1 tbsp of sugar to balance out the sourness)

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #33 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Char Siu Pork with Snake Beans

A delicious stir-fry veggie dish with char siu. To make it a quick and easy stir-fry, I bought the char siu from the market, complete with the sweet sauce. If you are up to making your own, it is given in the recipe, how to make a simple char siu for this dish.

I microwaved the long beans for 3 minutes on high, and stir-fry them for a few minutes with the rest of the ingredients in step 3, it makes for shorter cooking time.

We love this dish, great with white fluffy rice. Will definitely be cooking this dish again. Would be great with French Beans as well. Yum!

Char Siu Pork with Snake Beans
(Wok Simple, by The Australian Women's Weekly)
200gm pork strips
2 tablespoons char siu sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 shallot (25gm), sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, crushed
100gm snake beans, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon mirin (I use Hsiao Shing wine)
1/4 cup (50gm) rinsed, drained sliced bamboo shoots (omitted, not a fan of bamboo shoots)
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Combine pork, sauces and five-spice in small bowl.
  2. Heat half the oil in wok; stir-fry pork mixture until browned and sticky. Remove from wok.
  3. Heat remaining oil in wok, stir-fry shallot, garlic and beans until beans are tender. Return pork to wok with mirin and bamboo shoots; stir-fry until hot, season to taste. Serve topped with sesame seeds.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #33 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Rum and Raisin Braid

A soft, moist and rum-fragrant bread. Raisins are soaked with half cup of dark rum, then mixed with the rest of the ingredients to form a dough. Let rise until doubled in size, then punch down and divide the dough into three. Roll each piece into a long rope, then braid them together, let rise again until doubled in bulk. Brush the top with egg wash, bake for 35 minutes until golden. 

Some of the raisins got mashed up during the kneading process in the stand mixer. But I thought that is a bonus, as the crumbs are deliciously flavoured with the raisins. I have omitted the glaze drizzled over the cooled braid.

The braid is soft, moist, lightly sweetened from the mashed raisins, and fragrant from the rum. Lovely eaten as it is and makes a wonderful toast, spread with salted butter with a cup of hot coffee for breakfast.

Rum & Raisin Braid
(Simply Bread, by The Australian Women's Weekly)
3/4 cup (110gm) raisins
1/2 cup (125ml) dark rum
3/4 cup (180ml) warm milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons (7gm) dried yeast
40gm (1-1/2oz) butter, melted, cooled
3 cups (450gm) plain (all-purpose) flour (I use bread flour)
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 egg, beaten slightly
1/2 cup (80gm) icing (confectioners' sugar)
3 teaspoon milk, extra
  1. Place raisins and rum in a small bowl, stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine milk, brown sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until mixture is frothy. Stir in butter.
  3. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add yeast mixture, raisin mixture and two-thirds of the egg (reserve remaining egg in the fridge). mix to a sticky dough. Continue mixing dough with mixer for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  4. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
  5. Grease an oven tray. Punch down dough with your fist; turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into three portions. Roll each portion into a 35cm (14 in) long rope. Place dough lengths on oven tray, pressing the tops together to join; cross lengths over and under each other to form a plait. Press ends to join; tucking ends under. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. 
  6. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  7. Brush braid with reserved egg. Bake for 35 minutes (I baked for 42 minutes), or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  8. Sift icing sugar into a small bowl; stir in extra milk. Drizzle glaze over braid.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #33 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Hazelnut Pinwheels

These pinwheels makes a nice snack with a cup of hot coffee, tea or even milk. The filling for the swirls is simply chocolate hazelnut spread with some hazelnut meal. The dough is mixed in the food processor, knead briefly by hand then chill for 1 hour. The chilled dough is then rolled out and spread with chocolate hazelnut spread (I've used nutella), and sprinkle with some hazelnut meal. Roll the dough, refrigerate for 30 minutes, then cut into 1cm slices. Bake for 20 minutes.

These are super easy to make. I did however, reduce the sugar to just 50grams and thought that it was perfect, without being overly sweet. Delightful little treats, great for snacking!

Hazelnut Pinwheels
(Cakes Biscuits & Slices, The Australian Women's Weekly)
1-1/4 cups (185gm) plain flour
100gm butter, chopped
1/2 cup (110gm) caster sugar (I use 50gm)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk, approximately
1/3 cup (110gm) chocolate hazelnut spread
2 tablespoons hazelnut meal

  1. Preheat oven to moderate (180C/160C fan-forced). Grease oven trays; line with baking paper.
  2. Process flour, butter and sugar until crumbly. Add egg yolk; process with enough milk until mixture forms a ball. Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth; cover, refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. Roll dough between sheets of baking paper to form 20cmx30cm rectangle, remove top sheet of paper. Spread dough evenly with hazelnut spread; sprinkle with hazelnut meal. Using paper as a guide, roll dough tightly from long side to enclose filling. Enclose roll in plastic wrap, refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. Remove plastic; cut roll into 1cm slices. Place slices on trays 2cm apart. Bake about 20 minutes. Stand pinwheels on trays 5 minutes; transfer to wire rack to cool.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #33