Thursday, 27 August 2015

Mega Chicken Salad Sandwich with Homemade Marble Rye, Aioli, Pickled Cucumbers, Schmaltz and Gribenes











Obviously you can buy rye bread, aioli, pickles and even a ready-cooked chicken from a store and make a decent enough sandwich.  But there's a reason this sandwich is mega and it's not just about the size (though it is... generous).  Making your own fillings makes this sandwich a blockbuster. And I don't know about you, but I can't buy a chicken salad sandwich complete with blockbuster essentials like schmaltz and gribenes for love nor money where I live.  So if I want a megastar sandwich, I have to make it myself.


NOTE: Chicken grease = schmaltz.  Golden, crispy, crunchy roasted chicken skin = gribenes. (for the uninitiated)




Mega Chicken Salad Sandwich with Homemade Marble Rye, Aioli, Pickled Cucumbers, Schmaltz and Gribenes

slightly adapted from here
Makes 2 sandwiches

For the Sandwiches:
4 slices of marble rye
2 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
Sea salt flakes
2 spring onions, finely sliced
A squeeze of lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

For the Aioli:
2 egg yolks
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
125ml grape seed oil
Sea salt flakes

For the Marble Rye:
Recipe here (or use a good bakery rye)

For the Pickled Cucumbers:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
100ml water
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced into very thin strips using a vegetable peeler or mandolin

For the Schmaltz and Gribenes:
Skin from the chicken thighs (above)
Sea salt flakes

Make the Aioli:
Put all the ingredients into a blender (or use a stick blender) and blitz until you have silky, smooth, galicky mayonnaise. If it's a little thick, add a little water to thin it. Check seasoning. Set aside.

Cook the Chicken:
Pull the skin off the thighs and set it aside to make the schmaltz and gribenes (below). Put the skinless thighs into a saucepan, cover with water, add a generous sprinkling of salt and bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Keep on a gentle simmer for 40 minutes, until the chicken to cooked. Drain and set aside to cool.

Once cool, discard the bones and shred the meat. Add the spring onion, lemon juice, parsley and enough aioli to lightly coat the chicken. Season to taste. Set aside.

Make the Pickled Cucumbers:
Mix all the pickle ingredients and set aside to marinate.

Make the Schmaltz and Gribenes:
Preheat your oven to 180C.

Cut the chicken skin (that you pulled from the thighs earlier) into 2cm pieces with a pair of scissors. Lay them on a baking paper lined baking tray, sprinkle with salt and roast in the oven for about 20 -25 minutes, until golden and crisp. Take the tray out of the oven, remove the crispy skin (gribenes) to a plate and pour the grease (schmaltz) into a small bowl.  Set aside.

Make the Sandwiches:
Spread the schmaltz evenly on all four slices of the bread and lightly grill (broil).  Lay 2 slices of the bread on a board. Spoon the chicken mixture evenly on them.  Top with drained pickled cucumbers, and gribenes. Place the remaining slices of bread on top and serve warm... with napkins.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Mega Marble Rye











You are going to need a humongous loaf pan for this monster loaf.  Mine is a 3 litre capacity pan that I bought from a specialist baking store years ago and it was only just big enough. If you don't have a loaf pan that looks like it belongs in the land of the giants, you can shape your loaf and bake it straight on a baking sheet. Either way, you'll feel like you're in an episode of The Flintstones when you put it on the table and start slicing.



Mega Marble Rye
slightly adapted from here

For the Light Layers:
75g (1/2 cup) rye flour
560g (4 1/2 cups) baker's flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons (1 sachet) instant dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
300ml (1 1/4 cups) lukewarm water, plus a little extra if needed
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing


For the Dark Layers:
75g (1/2 cup) rye flour
560g (4 1/2 cups) baker's flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons (1 sachet) instant dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
300ml (1 1/4 cups) lukewarm water, plus a little extra if needed
1 tablespoon black treacle
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
A few drops of brown food colouring (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted for glazing

Make the Light Dough:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the rye flour, baker's flour, salt, yeast and caraway seeds.  Add the water, golden syrup and oil and mix on low speed for about 8 minutes.  Add a little more water if needed.  This should be a smooth, soft dough.  Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to double in size, about 2 hours.

Make the Dark Dough:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the rye flour, baker's flour, salt, yeast, caraway seeds and cocoa powder.  Add the water, treacle, oil and food colouring of using, and mix on low speed for about 8 minutes.  Add a little more water if needed. This should be a smooth, soft dough.  Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to double in size, about 2 hours.

Shape the Loaf: 
Grease a large loaf pan with olive oil or line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Cut each portion of dough into two even pieces. You should have two light dough balls and two dark dough balls. Shape the portions into balls and put them on two baking paper lined baking sheets. Cover with clean cloths and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Take one of the light dough balls and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface until it is about 1cm thick, shaping it into a rough rectangle as you go. Take one of the dark dough balls and roll it out until it is also a 1cm thick rough rectangle. Lay it on top of the light dough rectangle. Continue rolling and layering the dough until you have four layers of alternate colours.

Roll the dough lengthways until it is a log shape.  Put the log, seam-side down into the prepared pan or baking sheet and cover loosely with a clean cloth. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).  Make three deep slashes in the top of the loaf and bake for 45 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a wire rack to cool completely before brushing the top with melted butter.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Strawberry, Ginger and Honey Pie with Golden Spelt Crust










The end of the working week deserves a slice of pie... or at least I do. Have a delicious weekend guys. x


Strawberry, Ginger and Honey Pie with Golden Spelt Crust
slightly adapted from here

For the Crust:
375g white spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
55g caster sugar
250g cold unsalted butter, diced
60ml apple cider vinegar

For the Filling:
500g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
175g honey (I used Italian orange blossom honey)
110g caster sugar
35g cornflour
2 knobs of stem ginger in syrup, drained and finely chopped
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash
1 tablespoon demerara sugar, for sprinkling
Creme fraiche to serve

Make the Crust:
Put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor and blitz until it resembles course breadcrumbs. Add the vinegar and 165ml of chilled water and blitz briefly until it comes together into a ball, adding a little more water if necessary. Cut the dough into two even portions and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for an hour.

Roll one portion of dough out to 3mm thick. Line a 22cm shallow pie dish with the dough and chill for 30 minutes. Roll the remaining dough to 3mm thick and use a pizza cutter to cut it into 4cm-wide strips. Place the strips on a baking paper lined tray and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Slip a baking tray in the oven to heat up.

Make the Filling:
Put the strawberries, honey, sugar, cornflour and ginger in a bowl and stir to mix. Spoon the filling into the pastry case. Arrange pastry strips in a lattice pattern on top of the filling, pressing the sides and strips together to seal. Trim excess pastry. Brush pastry strips and edges with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Put the pie dish on the hot baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180C and bake for a further 30 minutes until the crust is dark golden and the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 30 minutes before serving with genereous dollops of creme fraiche.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Lahoh Wraps with Bisbas and Zhoug

















Run 10ks, come home and eat my weight in Lahoh wraps... Story of my life.


Lahoh is a Yemeni sourdough flat bread.  It's like a sourdough pancake-crumpet hybrid. You need to start the starter 3 days prior to cooking.

NOTE: It's a long list of ingredients and takes some time, but most of the time is spent watching the starter ferment and most of the ingredients are blitzed in a grinder/blender/food processor.


Lahoh Wraps with Bisbas and Zhoug
adapted from here
Makes 6

For the Lahoh:
For the Starter:
1 cup water
1/3 cup wholemeal flour (I used Atta flour)
1/3 cup baker's flour
1 teaspoon dry yeast

For the Dough:
1 cup cornmeal (polenta)
1 cup baker's flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the Paste:
1/4 cup baker's flour
1 cup water, plus an extra cup water for the batter

Make the Starter:
Put all the starter ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth.  Cover with a lid and leave the lid slightly ajar to let some air in.  Leave the starter to ferment for three days.  On the first day, it will be bubbly.  After the second day, a brownish liquid will form on the surface.  By the third day, the mixture will smell slightly beer-y.

Make the Dough:
Put the starter, cornmeal, flour and salt into a bowl and mix with your hands until it comes together.  Add more water if needed.  Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and smooth.  Put it into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Leave to rise for 40 minutes.

Make the Paste:
Put the flour into a small saucepan.  Gradually whisk in the water.  Put the pan on medium heat and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and forms a thick paste.  Remove from the heat.

Make the Batter:
Put the dough into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the paste and 1 cup of warm water and mix on low speed until combined. The batter should be thin, like crepe batter. Add more water if needed to get it to the right consistency. Pour the batter into a large jug and cover with plastic wrap and leave for 30 minutes, until bubbles appear on the surface,

Cook the Lahoh:
Put a pizza stone in a cast iron pan (or use a heavy based frying pan) and heat over high heat.  Lightly oil the stone or pan with cooking oil spray and pour the batter to form a 22cm circle, using a swirling action and starting from the outside.  Cook the lahoh for about 5 minutes, until the underside is golden and the top is dry and covered in tiny bubbles.  This bread is only cooked on one side. Remove from the heat and lay on a clean kitchen towel to cool.  Continue with the remaining batter.


For the Bisbas:
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
6 dried small red chillies
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 1/2 teaspoons ground tumeric

Make the Bisbas:
Preheat the oven to 150C.  Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside.

Put all the ingredients into a spice grinder or blender.  Grind until fine.  Spread the spice mix out onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 -20 minutes, until dry.

Put it back into the spice grinder or blender and blitz to a powder.  Spoon into a bowl. Set aside.

For the Zhoug:
slightly adapted from here
1 big bunch coriander
1 big bunch parsley
1 tablespoon preserved lemon peel
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground caraway
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
100ml olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
50ml water

Make the Zhoug:
Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Set aside

To Serve:
Greek yoghurt sprinkled with sumac
A tomato salad of halved cherry tomatoes and sliced red onions spritzed with lemon juice, lemon zest and sprinkled with sea salt flakes
200g feta, crumbled
Lemon wedges

Assemble:
Lay your lahoh on a plate. Spread a generous amount of zhoug down the centre. Top with tomato salad, crumbled feta, dollops of yoghurt and a good sprinkling of bisbas. Fold and apply to face.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Swooning Over... 18th August, 2015







Some things that tickle my fancy, float my boat and make my eyes pop out on stalks...

This No-Churn Mascarpone Soft-Serve with Balsamic Vinegar. Yes, just yes.

These Caramelized Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa. Pineapple salsa on everything.

These Strawberry, Buckwheat and Olive Oil Muffins. For breakfast, lunch and dinner.

These Grilled Peach, Hazelnut and Balsamic Crostini. Because summer can't come soon enough.

This Lavender, Lemon Shortbread. Tea dunking.

The World's Best Guacamole. You can never have too much guacamole.

These Blueberry Buttermilk Waffles with Whisky Maple Butter. On my breakfast table, pronto.

This Epic Pistachio Layer Cake. Swan dive.

This Murgh Malaiwala. I see a creamy, dreamy chicken curry in my near future.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Fudgy Chocolate Brownie Sandwich Cookies with Tahini Cream














We spent the weekend at the beach house nibbling on these, listening to the surf and watching Breaking Bad. Things could be worse.



Fudgy Chocolate Brownie Sandwich Cookies with Tahini Cream
slightly adapted from here
Makes 7

For the Cookies:
40g unsalted butter
250g dark chocolate
2 eggs, at room temperature
150g light brown sugar
20g cocoa powder
Pinch of sea salt flakes
50g dark chocolate, chopped into rough chunks

For the Filling:
40g tahini
50g cream cheese
50g thickened cream
25g icing sugar

Make the Cookies:
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.  Set aside.

Put the butter and chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Don't let the bowl touch the water.  Heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes, until doubled in volume. The batter should fall from the beaters in ribbons.  Stop the mixer and use a spatula to fold in the chocolate mixture.  Fold in the cocoa powder and chocolate chunks.

Spoon the batter into a disposable piping bag and cut a 2cm hole in the tip (you want the hole big enough so that the chocolate chunks don't get stuck).  Pipe 7 dollops of  batter onto each of the prepared baking sheets, leaving enough room between each to allow them to spread during baking.  Bake for 9 minutes.  The cookies will be really soft, but will set as they cool.  Leave them to cool completely on the baking trays.

Make the Filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat all the ingredients for the filling on low speed until it holds its shape.  Be careful not to over beat.

Match the cookies in pairs of similar size, dollop a spoonful of filling on the underside of half of the cookies and top with the remaining cookies, pressing them gently together to spread the filling to the edges.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Pumpkin, Caraway and Ricotta Pan Scones












I can always rely on my youngest son to help me out in the kitchen. He is always willing to stir a pot, crack an egg, lick a bowl or be my model. Where there's food, he is never far away. I wonder who he takes after?



Pumpkin, Caraway and Ricotta Pan Scones
slightly adapted from here

400g pumpkin, skin on
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, plus extra fro sprinkling
1 cup finely grated parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh ricotta, drained
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon buttermilk to make an egg wash
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cut the pumpkin into thin wedges and lay them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Roast for 45 minutes until soft.  When cool , scrape the flesh from the skin (discard the skin) and puree the flesh in a blender until smooth.

Increase the oven temperature to 200C and spray a 28cm pie dish or oven-proof shallow frying pan with cooking oil spray. Set aside.

Place the flour, caraway seeds, parmesan, salt and pepper into a large bowl and stir to combine.  Make a well in the centre and add the pumpkin puree and buttermilk and gently stir until just combined.  Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it forms a smooth dough.  Divide the dough into 2 even portions.  Roll each portion out to a 28cm round. Place one round into the prepared dish. Crumble the ricotta over, sprinkle with mozzarella and top with the remaining round of dough, pressing the edges together to seal. Use a sharp knife to score the scone into wedges. Brush the top with the egg wash and scatter with pumpkin seeds and extra caraway seeds, salt and pepper and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden. Serve warm.