Bread Obsessed

I'm going through a major bread phase, so this will mostly be about breads. Sorry about that.
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ellecom-deactivated20120804 asked: Do you have a snail-cinnamon recipe, y tried it already but I would like to know another one. Thx

oh gosh I am terrible at answering things on this because I don’t know how to see them! I am hoping by cinnamon snails you mean scrolls/rolls/pinwheels/etc I use this one http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/05/overnight-cinnamon-rolls/

However if you’re competent at making bread and the above recipe doesn’t seem like your kinda thing last time I made them I had to do them vegan and they turned out the best ever! I kinda did it without a recipe, a basic white bread dough about 600g flour 300g water 2 tsp yeast, 2tsp salt and then to get it a bit thicker like scrolls should be about 3T margarine, left it to rise overnight, knocked it back in the morning and rolled out and spread with margarine, soft brown sugar and cinnamon before rolling up and proving. However thats just a guess at the recipe, I may have been experimenting with other things and the water flour amount is by no means exact but they turned out amazing.

On the bagel buzz… this guy is incredible

Bagel for lunch

Bagel for lunch

I just made bagels, it was worth the day and a half of rising, kneading, rising, proving boiling, baking, flipping over and baking some more. My kitchen is a mess but I have delicious bagels in my tummy. I used this recipe (I didn’t have malt so skipped it and no malt syrup so just went with salty water as suggested elsewhere) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrJ1zpJGrfA
NOTE: When finding videos on how to make bagels, pretty girls in brightly coloured kitchens just don’t know how to make a bagel. TRUST ME.

I just made bagels, it was worth the day and a half of rising, kneading, rising, proving boiling, baking, flipping over and baking some more. My kitchen is a mess but I have delicious bagels in my tummy. I used this recipe (I didn’t have malt so skipped it and no malt syrup so just went with salty water as suggested elsewhere) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrJ1zpJGrfA

NOTE: When finding videos on how to make bagels, pretty girls in brightly coloured kitchens just don’t know how to make a bagel. TRUST ME.

Talitas Kitchen

My dear friend Talita is an excellent chef, so excellent that she is currently studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

She has a blog here you should check out if you like food.

Soft Pretzels

Somewhat inspired by the previous video submission, (but also inspired by a sudden craving for pretzels like I had when I visited LA a few years back) I’ve been playing around with a few soft pretzel recipes. I tried a New York recipe and although they definitely came out very ‘pretzely’ and soft and kinda yum they were too rich for me and not quite the right style of pretzel I was craving. After some research in to LA’s soft pretzel companies they are still mostly making traditional German style pretzels. Having tried a couple of different ones out I think this one worked the best for me;

http://www.cookography.com/2007/german-style-soft-pretzels

I halved the amount of milk though and made up the difference with water so they’re not as heavy.

I made some for my friend’s beer tasting and they went down a treat! She has an excellent blog about beer

A friends video. :)

THANKS FOR THE SUBMISSION http://poorfilmstudent.tumblr.com/ !!!! This is so great, am planning to post about pretzels soon, I’ve tried one recipe but was not 100% happy with them… maybe next week.

Midwinter Christmas Gingerbread House.

Wow I haven’t posted anything on here in a long time but I just signed in to find that 61 people follow this blog now? I feel like maybe I have let you all down. To make up for it here is a post!

I love my friends and I love to cook for them. I also love Christmas, but having moved to New Zealand from England Christmas just isn’t the same in the summer. Which is why I decided to have an annual Midwinter Christmas party. This was my 3rd year of doing it, I cooked Roast Chicken, Pigs in blankets, Roasted mix of vegetables (potatoes, parsnip, carrots, beetroot, onions) Roast pumpkin in a garlic parsley dressing, stuffed capsicums, stuffing balls, peas, runner beans and of course brussel sprouts. Then for desert we had mince pies, Christmas pudding, a baked fruit roll and last but not least a gingerbread house.

I think I’ll start back where I left off, Gingerbread.

When it came time to pull out the trusty gingerbread recipe I couldn’t find the book anywhere (should’ve looked on here!) so used this recipe http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_a_gingerbread_house/ which worked out amazingly well! It was so delicious. I used my own plans though, I think my house was slightly bigger than the layout on the recipe. Also when I was mixing the dough it felt far too sticky so I added alot more flour maybe even another cup! So don’t be afraid if you think your dough is too sticky! I’m really quite pleased with my rustic little house, I don’t think I did too bad a job on the icing and it stuck together really well! When you’re stuck inside on a rainy day this winter maybe a Gingerbread house will keep you occupied, I had a lot of fun making mine.

note to self.

never ever decide to make gingerbread on a hot humid day.

I’ve been kinda neglecting the fact that I have a food blog due to working like crazy on making this christmas album

Its available as a free download from my website, theres christmas songs from 18 different bands on it. I like to think they’re relevant all year round so don’t let it not being Christmas anymore stop you. 

To celebrate the release of it we had a show at the Wine Cellar+Whammy Bar here in Auckland. We decorated the rooms with christmas trees, fairly lights and I made a pair of giant candy canes. A good friend was making mince pies for the occasion and I thought it would be a great idea to make some gingerbread. 

It was a great idea, I just opted to make it on the hottest and most humid day we’ve had all year, the dough was impossible to roll out and cleanly cut out and then the icing was misbehaving. Took me hours. Stars are really hard to pipe fyi. Anyway here’s a picture of the outcome. 

Needless to say they disappeared very quickly. Plus they tasted so good I think I will brave making them again another (less humid) day… with the following recipe from a trusty Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook.

125g buttter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg yolk

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

3 teaspoons ground ginger

2 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup

cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add egg yolk and beat well. Gradually add sifted dry ingredients and syrup, mix well and kneed lightly. From here you can divide the mixture in to portions and roll out to be about 5mm-1cm thick (I like my gingerbread slightly thick and chewy rather than crunchy, if you want crunchy make it more like 3mm) cook at 180 for about 10 mins or until just slightly browned. (I like to cook them in a couple of batches so when you burn the first tray the next will be done just right)

That left over egg white can be put to good use, beat it in a bowl untill just foamy looking and then add 1 1/2 cups icing sugar and 4 drops of icing sugar and you have royal icing to pipe (I use a plastic bag with a tiny amount of a corner cut off) the cooked gingerbread with.

Happy baking!

-Dave

Strawberries+Balsamic Vinegar

Is there anything Mario Batali doesn’t know? His encyclopedic knowledge of everything… (umm well of just everything really) continually astounds me. Sometime in the middle of winter he was putting Balsamic vinegar with strawberries which I thought sounded a bit umm crazy…

Well its summer and strawberries are growing in the garden and I was reminded of this when my little sister was watching Nigella Lawson using Strawberries with Balsamic vinegar as a topping for some pancakes this morning.

For this to work you should use quite a mild Balsamic. In about 2 cups of Stawberries sprinkle a teaspoon of Caster Sugar, 2 teaspoons of Balsamic Vinegar and then over that a fairly generous few grinds of fresh Black Pepper.

Good enough to eat alone or maybe would go great with a salad, or on a platter with some good cheeses.

Calzone!

Pizza is one of my favourite things in the world, ever. I crave it. I want to eat it all day every day. You can’t beat a really great pizza. Sometimes I feel guilty that I eat it too much and make it too much. Well I was feeling like that the other weekend when I got invited to a friends for dinner. But I was still craving pizza.

The Solution; Calzone!

(I’m not really sure what I’m doing in the background)

Calzone is essentially just a pizza with a top, after that theres no rules! Usually they wont have a tomato sauce and theres more fillings. 

Unlike pizza Calzones are slightly more difficult to get right. The thickness of dough is important, too thick and you might as well be eating bread on its own, too thin and it breaks and goes crackery and falls apart when you eat it. This is probably the first Calzone I have been happy with. I used a pizza dough recipe from a “The Food Of Italy” book but tried bread flour instead of plain and it worked much better than last time I tried it. (I should also note that I got sick of doing things in seperate bowls with bread making, my way is a bit more rustic but works fine)

1 T Caster Sugar

2 t Dried Yeast

215ml Warm Water

450g Bread Flour

1 t salt

3 T Olive Oil

In a large bowl put the flour then yeast and sugar, add the water on top of the yeast and sugar, leave it for a couple of mins and it should make a couple of bubbles.

Add the salt and Olive Oil then combine the dough. Once the dough has come together tip it out on to a lightly floured surface and kneed for 10mins until dough is soft but not sticky to the touch.

place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp teatowl or glad wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour.

once risen punch down, divide the dough in 2 and roll out in to a circle about 30cm in diameter. 

top one with your filling and then put the other peice of dough on top of that. Fold the edges over and bake in a preheated oven about 220degrees C for 20mins untill the crust is golden.

In mine I had some Onion, Tomatoes, Olives, Feta, Spinach, Parmesan and Mozzarella. It was goood! 

-Dave

I just watched Julie and Julia. It made me feel very sad about neglecting this blog, it also made me realise how busy I have been recently. I work for myself and don’t have work all the time and recently have been working on my own project that will never make me any money as well as everyone elses. Hooray! Deadlines are approaching but this is no excuse for my lack of posts.

I have a post that I’ve been sitting on, maybe tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I’ll make myself something delicious too. I think that this is probably a good idea. 

-Dave

Dinner Review: Hutong Dumpling Bar

A few friends and I at work have a fortnightly outing on pay day where we all go out for a meal.  With 4 of the 5 of us being immigrants to Melbourne, we thought it would be a great way to find new places in the city, while also getting to know each other a bit more.  We try to go to some of the highly recommended restaurants in the city and Hutong seems to be adored by The Age newspaper.  On Hutong’s XLB’s (Shao Long Bao on the menu) they say “First came the food writers, then the bloggers and, in between, visiting international chefs, all lusting to try HuTong’s famed XLBs (that’s xiao long bao dumplings), for which Melbourne has gone a bit mad. They’re like a shot glass of savoury bliss, subtle pork and prawn with a burst of jellied stock”  

(picture below from The Age)

We arrived at 5:20pm on Thursday to a queue outside as the restaurant doesn’t open until 5:30pm.  We were lucky to get a table without a reservation and even then, we were told that we could only have it for an hour as another party had a reservation at 6:30pm - as the review says, book ahead.  An hour did give us enough time for dinner though as the dishes were brought out promptly.  We tried the XLBs, the scallop dumplings and steamed pork dumplings to start.  The XLBs were something special, but not as amazing as I thought they would be.  They have special instructions at each table on how to eat them, which involves you picking it up in the middle (ensuring you don’t break the skin), putting it on a spoon, biting a small hole on the skin and then sucking out the soup.  The scallop and prawn dumplings were good, but came in a gelatinous looking skin which was rather off putting.  In spite of that, they actually tasted good, and were perhaps my favourite dumplings of the night.  One of my friends didn’t like it at all as it was “too fishy” for him, however he does like prawns and scallops.  The pork dumplings were just like any pork dumplings you could have eaten at any decent dumpling restaurant.  Admittedly for me, I may be more accustomed to dumplings than other people, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t wowed.  A few years ago, a family friend put us on to one of her friends who used to make dumplings, freeze them, and then sell them on to friends.  For the next 18 months or so, I used to have dumplings once a fortnight during winter.  Straight from the freezer, you would fry them in a pan until their bottoms turned slightly brown, then pour water over them and boil them.  Perhaps in Melbourne, dumplings are the new cupcakes, and I’m just a few years ahead of the trend.  

On to our mains and we decided on the salt and pepper prawns which came in a rather thick batter, but were cooked perfectly.  Our other main was a beef brisket clay pot with dumplings.  I had a small piece of beef (I’m not a huge fan) and whilst it melted in my mouth, I was a little put off by the neon yellow-green colour of the soup that it came in.  

Overall, I enjoyed Hutong, but it wouldn’t be a restaurant I feel I need to rush back to anytime soon.  I feel like I’ve ticked that box and am happy to say that I’ve been there, but I wasn’t as blown away as I thought I’d be. 

-Hannah

Stuffed Capsicums/Glamorgan Balls

A few people have mentioned that they’d like this recipe so I thought I’d post it here. 

Essentially its an improvisation on a great recipe for vegetarian sausages or meatballs thats been a favourite in our family for years, I thought it’d taste great as a stuffed capsicum filling and it does! 

This is a slightly large amount but the mix is perfect for freezing

3 Large Onions, finely chopped

260g Grated Cheddar (or Tasty as its called in NZ) Cheese 

170g Fresh breadcrumbs (we usually use brown bread)

3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

1 Tablespoon thyme chopped

1 Teaspoon black pepper

1 Teaspoon mustard powder

1 or 2 Eggs (dependant on squishiness of the mix)

Combine the onion, cheese, fresh breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, pepper, mustard and egg in a bowl. The mix should be moist but not too squishy if its mouldable enough with one egg then don’t add a second, if its too squishy add some more breadcrumbs. When its a nice consistency form in to about 4 or 5cm balls or sausages and from here you can freeze them or bake them immediately in an oven at 180C for 8-10mins or till brown.

Or stuff that delicious mix in to a capsicum cut in half, top with cheese and bake in the oven at about 180C for about 25-30mins (you can add the cheese on top half way if you like it more melty!)

-Dave

Stuff that is easy to make that I made that you should make too

Hello!

Here is Raspypear loaf and Raspberry/Blueberry/Mascarpone Cheesecake/Tart thing. They are really easy to make, I promise you. I cannot make bread in a bread maker, nor my family’s never fail chocolate cake in the oven, but I can make these fooooods and you can ask David Parker if they are tasty or not. (You better say yes DP).

Here are some ingredients that you will need thatchoo might not have seen before.

Mascarpone is the best. The end. Find it either in the high roller cheese section with the likes of camembert etc, or somewhere amongst the yoghurt. Most supermarkets are a little confused about where it belongs. Lurpak is expensive butter but is delicious. Billingtons is the only sugar you should ever buy. Normal brown sugar is white sugar that is recoated in molasses. HOW STUPID IS THAT. Billingtons muscovado is delicious and uses less processes in manufacturing, saving money AND the environment. DO IT.

Raspypear loaf.

Pretty much you should only ever make this vegan. Tastes way better and doesn’t use Fonterra products. Google up a basic vegan banana loaf, (something like this is fine… as long as it has soy milk and vinegar it will work) but leave out most of the bananas, it is okay to use one as it is a good binder and helps the mix stay together. Then you just add rasps and chopped up pear, bake in a loaf tin until it doesn’t wobble, then eat! You can either eat straight away when it is still soft, or leave a couple of days and then toast it. Also you can chuck a few spoons of muscovado on top of the loaf before oven time, it goes crispy and caramelly in the oven.

Cheesecake/Tart thing of Doom

I had this for pudding tonight. It was good! The base takes the longest as it has to be made then chilled, then rolled then chilled, then baked blind with weight, then baked some more, then cooled before the filling can go in. This is the recipe I use..scroll down a bit til you find Jen’s recipe, but if you want you can double the filling amounts as it doesn’t make much! After this photo I mooshed all the raspberries and blueberries together to make a mixed in sort of look. It kind of looked like tasty brains.

Hope you try these for reals they are good.

xx from joh.