At this time of day I tend to get a bit peckish…
Lunch is a distant memory and in this house we tend to eat late, so dinner/supper is a few hours away still.
And so, often I turn to my tub of Munchy Seeds Chilli Mix
Conveniently located on my desk within easy reach.
There’s a problem though.
They are really nice.
AND REALLY HOT.
So after a few dips in the tub my mouth is on fire.
Yet I never learn. I make the same mistake everytime.
I bet they’d be a great bar snack to get people to buy another drink, or two.
I’ve been a bit remiss on contributing to the Fresh from the Oven challenges of late, I missed out on doing croissants and pizza, both things I really fancied trying. Well i did do the pizza but I forgot to blog in in time, oops!
So this month I got well ahead of myself and made the challenge almost week for the deadline instead of on the day!
The bread we baked was Turkish Pide and the challenge was hosted by Mrs Ergul.
I had a bit of fun with the US measurements getting muddled and almost using a whole stick of butter instead of half. But I got there in the end. The bread was really easy to make and very tasty. Mrs Ergul says the dough might be very wet but mine actually started off quite dry so I had to add more water to get it fairly sticky. I used my usual kneading technique of short gentle kneads spaced out through the rising.
To go with the bread I made some Turkish inspired kebabs (minced beef, chilli, cumin and coriander), some minty yoghurt and some tomato and onion salad. It was very yummy and I think they bread’s soft texture would be great with burgers. We used up the rest of the bread with dips the next day.
Here’s the method as given to us my Mrs Ergul (with some UK annotations by me):
4 cups (to 5 cups) All Purpose Flour (ie plain flour, I only needed 4 cups and I used a cup measure as I have a set. 1 cup is approx 130g of flour)
1 and 3/4 cups Warm Water (1 cup = 236ml)
1/2 stick Butter ( melted ) (1 stick = 113g)
1/2 tablespoon Instant Yeast
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 tablespoon Salt
Black and White Sesame Seeds (I used cumin seeds as I didn’t have sesame seeds)
In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients
Add melted Butter and Warm Water into this mixture and knead
The dough should be sticky
Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and keep it in a warm place for rising
Let the dough rise to double its size
Knead the dough again until it is bubble free
Place a parchment paper on a 13″ by 10.5″ baking tray
Take the dough to the tray and make it flat with your hands until it cover all of the surface of the tray
Dampen your hands with Water if the dough stick to your hands on this step
Then take a knife and give the dough square shapes going deep down
Sprinkle some Sesame Seeds on top
Preheat the oven to 350F (R4/180C)
Let rise the dough for half an hour
Bake it for 30 minutes or until the color of pide turns light brown
Take the pide out of the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes and cover it with a clean kitchen towel to keep it soft
Last week I took part in Dan of Food Urchin’s dinner blogging challenge (called ‘Where’s my pork chop?’). Basically I cooked him some dinner and in return I got, well these:
There’s loads of potatoes, beans and courgettes hiding under the kale
I’m going to be blogging what I cooked for Dan in a separate post so check back for that in the next few days. Here I want to tell you some of what I’ve done with the veg so far.
Dan had been down to his allotment bright and early on the day of the swap and picked me a selection of goodies in their prime. In the bag were charlotte potatoes, curly kale, green (French) beans, courgettes and COURGETTE FLOWERS ?. I’d been hoping for some of the latter as I’ve only tried them once before and they aren’t that easy to buy. We’ve tried to grow our own courgettes this year but we aren’t having much success so far (the first lot of seeds didn’t germinate) so I was particularly delighted with the flowers.
Of course as everything had been picked only a few hours before I took the picture above the veg were absolutely bouncing with freshness. I was pretty pleased with my haul and it really demonstrated how lovely and fresh veg can be when their distance from the ground to the kitchen is short. I now have allotment envy.
So what I have I done with the veg so far?
Well as recommended by Dan I did some of the kale with oil and chilli. I actually steamed it first then gave it a quick sauté in rapeseed oil and chilli flakes. It was really good, the kale still had a little bit of crunch to it and the chilli complemented the slight bitterness that is inherent in brassicas like kale. I’ll definitely try it like this again and venture out into varying the spice choice as well.
The potatoes are just brilliant. One of my gripes about potatoes is that its not that easy to get ones that taste of anything much but when you do WOW instead of thinking potatoes taste kind of bland and nothingy you realise they have an earthy sweetness all of their own. Dan’s potatoes hit the mark on this – I assume its because they were straight from the ground. So far we’ve had them simply boiled and also crushed and cooked with some onion. Yum.
The beans and the courgettes we’ve steamed and tossed in a little oil or butter – again when things are this fresh they can shine on their own. And the flowers?
Well searching in cookbooks, on the internet and tweeting all seemed to point to stuffing the flowers, dipping in a tempura batter and deep-frying. Hmmmmm. I’ve never deep-fried anything; I don’t own a deep fat fryer, I too vividly recall close calls with chips pans in the 1970s (and that safety advert they used to run) to suddenly think that deep-frying them is the way to go. I also don’t want to experiment with a new technique on my precious courgette flowers – imagine if it goes wrong…..after a bit more thinking and searching I decide to just have them fresh and perky as they are in a salad but I do go with the flavours that many of the deep fried recipes suggest i.e. fresh soft cheese and herbs.
I simply tore the flowers and tossed them with the rest of the salad (rocket, basil, lollo rosso, tomato, cucumber) before adding some of my favourite Buxlow Wonmil cheese and drizzling with a little oil. The flowers aren’t particularly strong in flavour but they add a both a different colour and texture to the salad. They are curiously soft yet slightly crunchy at the same time and a good addition. I guess if I get more flowers I might dare to experiment with deep-frying but for now I’m happy I stuck to adding my flowers to a salad. (Dan – more flowers please….)!
Some of you might have noticed that lately I’ve joined up on Twitter and I’ve been having fun seeing what its all about and chatting to like minded foodies, finding their blogs, seeing what people have to say. There’s certainly plenty of food talk going on in the Twitter-sphere.
Yesterday there emerged a series of tweets about making chilli. Now I love chilli but I haven’t made any for a good few months and as it was damp, drizzly day I decided maybe chilli was what was needed. We tweeted a bit about whether beans are authentic or not, which chilli peppers were good and on. Beans apparently aren’t ‘authentic’ although surely its hard to determine what is ‘authentic’ in a dish as mixed up as chilli is – do you want Mexican style, American style, Tex-mex, Heston Blumenthal style?!
Last time I cooked chilli I used Hugh F-W’s recipe form his Meat Book. Its good. Very good. It’s a little different to your usual recipe calling for beef, pork and chorizo sausage (and beans) but I liked it. Never one to stick with something tried and tested I decided it was time for someone else’s recipe with, inevitably, a few of my own additions and subtractions; a recipe is a starting point not a checklist, discuss.
You need (adapted from Jamie Oliver – Happy days with the Naked Chef) – n.b. I did double this quantity but I like making a mountain of the stuff to freeze some:
2 onions, chopped
1 fat clove of garlic, chopped
rapeseed oil (or olive – I used rapeseed)
2 tsp chilli powder – your favourite type and strength
1 fresh chilli chopped – I didn’t have this so used chipotle paste
1 heaped tsp crushed cumin seeds (or ground cumin if you don’t have seeds)
1lb chuck steak (chopped small or minced) or best (organic if you can) minced beef (please not the ‘extra lean’ stuff though – you’ll lose out taste wise)
2 x 400g tins of plum or chopped tomatoes
½ stick cinnamon
2 x 400g tins red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or of course use dried ones that you have soaked and pre cooked – about a million times cheaper probably)
about 300ml Mexican beer (in my case it was Peruvian – I didn’t want a whole case of Corona on my hands and there were no single bottles at the supermarket)
I had wanted to add smoked scotch bonnet peppers (not in Jamie) but as this was a late plan the local supermarket didn’t extend to that. Also Jamie adds 200g of ‘blitzed’ sun dried tomatoes – I didn’t do this, husband not a fan of sundried tomatoes. Also the beer is not in the Jamie recipe, but as I said a recipe is starting point in my view.
What to do:
- Sauté the chopped onion and garlic in the oil until soft and translucent (about 5-10 mins).
- Add chilli powder, fresh chilli (or chipotle paste in my case), cumin, salt, pepper and cook for about 1 minute (mmmm the spice aromas smell good).
- Add the meat and cook until browned (about 10 minutes). Its at this point Jamie adds the sun dried toms – I didn’t.
- Add the tinned toms, cinnamon and the beer (Jamie adds a wine glass of water).
- Bring to boil, turn down so it’s just simmering, cover and cook for 1 ½ hours. Add the beans 30 minutes before the end. I had to uncover it for the last half hour, as it seemed too liquidy – do as you think best.
Serve with rice, guacamole, sour cream with fresh coriander and lime, cornbread or whatever your favourite trimmings are. Plus of course cold beer or a chewy red wine.
It was very different from the Hugh recipe but just as tasty – the chipotle added a nice smokiness, I think I went a bit light on the overall heat factor so would add more chilli powder or chilli’s next time or stronger ones. Eating it the same day is never the best thing with chilli, it seems to mature nicely if it’s left for at least a day – but its still good the day its cooked just not as good. And it always freezes well.