Pesce con olive e pomodoro


Fish with olives and tomatoes. It’s an Italian classic or so they say in Italy, not the kind one would find on a menu but more like a proper home cooked meal and why not because fancy as it looks and sounds this a very simple dish to put together.

It’s not convoluted with flavours and is in fact minimal almost in terms of seasoning which is why it’s important to use good quality ingredients seeing how there is no cloaking device to this dish.

The ingredients are few and simple. There’s fish of course. Try and use boneless fresh fish fillets. I’ve used basa. There’s onions, tomatoes, potatoes, oregano, black olives, lots of olive oil, salt and pepper.

We want to start with a base layer. Coat the baking tray or dish with a thin layer of olive oil.

And layer with potatoes. Use thinly sliced potatoes for this dish. I used a mandolin to get the necessary thinness.

Sprinkle over some salt and pour over half the olive oil and bake at 200ºC for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and have developed some colour.

Once out of the oven layer the thinly sliced onions and chopped up tomatoes.

And sprinkle over some salt

and pepper

before finally adding the fish.

Top with olives and oregano and sprinkle some more salt. Don’t go heavy handed with the salt. Sprinkle sparingly since almost every step has a bit.

Finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil before baking at 200ºC at for 20 minutes or until the fish is just cooked.

Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

This can be eaten just as is or with a hunk of good bread.


Ingredients

Fresh fish fillets: 250g
Potatoes: 300g (thinly sliced)
Onions: 1 medium (thinly sliced)
Tomatoes: 250 gms (chopped into bite size or use cherry tomatoes)
Olive oil: 15-20mls
Black olives: 70g
Fresh Oregano: 1 large bunch or 2 tsp dry oregano
salt and pepper.

Recipe instructions

Brush the baking tray or dish with some olive oil and layer with potatoes.
Sprinkle over some salt and bake at 200ºC for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are mostly cooked and have developed some colour.
Layer the now cooked potatoes with thinly sliced onions and tomatoes and sprinkle some more salt and pepper.
Place the fish on top and cover with olives and oregano, either dried or fresh.
Finish with a generous amount of olive oil before baking at 200ºC for another 20 minutes or until the fish is just cooked.
Let rest for a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheese chilli scones


These are triangular scones made with little effort and lots of cheese which is why they hardly last as long and taste delicious if a little bit naughty and with every bite they get progressively enjoyable.

These aren’t something I’d eat everyday of my life which is why they’re special, made on days when the mood is light and gym bag out of sight or when it’s rainy, dull and the air is sullen;these cheese chilli scones are just as good as cake at uplifting spirits and go well with tea and coffee and they’re best eaten when hot but that’s not an absolute requirement because they taste just as great when cold.

The ingredients aren’t many and they’re the makings of every good scone. Flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, butter, any sharp cheese, paprika and yogurt or buttermilk.

I have already mixed in soda, salt, baking powder and sugar together in with flour.

have the butter fridge cold, cut into cubes and mix in with the flour. I find fork and fingers work best.

One the butter has been worked into the flour, its texture becomes lumpy which is the cold butter clinging on bits of flour.

Pour in the yogurt and briefly mix to form a shaggy dough.

until it looks like this and transfer on the work surface.

Don’t knead the dough because it doesn’t need to form gluten. We just need it to come together with minimal effort.

use your hands and a bench scraper to put it together. It’s not going to be uniform and it will be broken and falling apart but it’ll all come together.

Sprinkle the top with half the cheese paprika mixture and fold both the ends like a book. I forgot to take the picture of the cheese sprinkling part.

Turn it over and around. Sprinkle on some flour and roll it out with a rolling pin.

like so. Some cheese might spill out but it doesn’t matter.

Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese reserving a bit for the topping.

now fold it again like a book and turn it over and roll to the thickness you like.

If you desire tall and thick scones then roll it thickly, if however you don’t mind skinny scones then roll thinner. I rolled mine out to almost 1cm thickness and cut them into square which I further cut into triangles.

Spread on a well floured baking tray and sprinkle the remaining cheese over.

Bake at 200ºC oven for 20-25 minutes until the scones have risen slightly and the cheese has begun to melt and ooze out.

Let cool for only a moment before indulging.


Ingredients

Flour- 250g
Baking powder- 1 tbsp
Baking soda- 1/4 tsp
Butter- 80g
Cheese- 150g
Paprika- 2 tsp
Sugar- 2 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Buttermilk/yogurt- 120mls

Recipe instructions

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder and whisk well.

Mix together the cheese and paprika and reserve.

Add the cold cubed butter to the flour mixture and using a fork or fingers rub into the flour until the butter fuses with it to form a grainy buttery texture.

Pour in the yogurt and mix briefly with a spoon before inverting on the work surface. Bring it together without kneading into a rough rectangle. At this stage it won’t matter if the mixture isn’t cohesive.

Sprinkle some flour and roll to form a half inch thick square. Sprinkle half the cheese and fold both the ends of the dough to meet in the center like a book.

Turn it over and around and roll out the dough again.

Sprinkle over the remaining cheese reserving a small handful.

Fold over both ends again and turn it over and around and roll it out again to desired thickness.

Use a round shaped cutter to cut out round scones or simply slice into squares and then triangles with a knife.

Finally sprinkle over the last bit of cheese and bake at 200ºc for 20-25 minutes or until the scones have beautifully puffed up and the cheese has begun to melt and bubble.

Can be enjoyed as a solitary snack or with tea and coffee.

Coconut cake


It could have been the sudden onslaught of summers or the desperate need to eat something sweet or even the fact that my pantry boosted a most comprehensive collection of coconut milk that I suddenly felt this overbearing need within me to bake a coconut cake and not just any coconut cake but beautiful bundt at that and thusly here we have a gorgeously sweet, tropically kissed and easily made coconut cake.

The ingredients are eggs, flour, baking powder, butter, sugar, coconut flakes or dessicated coconut, sugar, lemon zest and coconut milk. Also vanilla extract (not pictured)

I used a food processor to mix the lemon zest in with the sugar just so it’s evenly distributed and renders a more aromatic scent. This step didn’t do much to affect the end result so it’s optional.

crack eggs in a clean mixing bowl

and add in the sugar

and beat well for a few minutes until pale

Heat coconut milk and melt in the butter ensuring it doesn’t get too hot and reserve for later.

Add vanilla extract

followed by the flour and baking powder. Add it in batches. Mixing constantly and scraping the sides of the bowl intermittently.

Once the flour is well mixed add in the coconut flakes and mix again.

and finally pour in the coconut butter mixture.

Beat well ensuring there are no dry lumps in the batter.

Pour into a well greased baking tin. I’m using a bundt pan but feel free to make it into a regular sheet cake or even cupcakes.

Bake at 170ºC for 45-50 minutes in a preheated oven or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

Dust with powdered sugar or sweetened coconut flakes before serving.


Ingredients

Flour: 240g
Sugar: 250g
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Baking powder: 1 heaped tsp
Butter: 80g
Eggs: 4 
Coconut milk: 200mls
Dessicated coconut: 150g
Vanilla: 1 tsp
Lemon zest: 2 tsps

Note: The picture shows 6 eggs but the recipe uses 4.

Recipe instructions

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and keep aside.

In a clean pan heat the coconut milk and melt in the butter. Don’t let the mixture get too hot. Reserve for later.

Crack in the eggs in a large bowl and beat in the sugar and lemon zest until the batter gets well aerated and turns pale. It will take a few minutes and add in the vanilla extract.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt mixture into the egg and sugar batter in batches until well incorporated. Keep scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure no lumps or dry bits of flour are stuck to the sides.

Once the dry ingredients are mixed in beat the coconut flakes/desiccated coconut followed by the coconut milk and butter mixture.

Mix well until you have a sunkissed pale yellow batter punctuated with grainy bits of coconut flakes.

Scrape the batter in a well greased baking pan and bake at 170ºC for 45-50 minutes or until the top of the cake is copper hued and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in its pan for at least 10 minutes before inverting on a cooling rack where it needs to cool down for another ten minutes before slicing in.

Finally dust with sugar or sweetened coconut flakes before serving.

Enjoy!

Olive rosemary focaccia


It’s been a while since everything and among other things that I love and crave, bread is definitely the frontrunner and not finding any upon opening the refrigerator can be a bit surprising, agitating and often tends to send me on a downward spiral of domestic crisis which is why and when I ended up with this coppery slab of carb heaven.

The thing about focaccia apart from creating your very own custom flavour is the straightforwardness of the whole process because there isn’t any particular shape that we need fret over and it’s all too easy to begin tearing into one the moment it’s out of the oven, moreover I like slicing stale focaccia into slivers and toasting it in the oven to make crispy crouton like sticks.

As all breads go, focaccia also begins life with flour and yeast and so here we have bread flour, tepid water, olive oil, yeast, salt, rosemary and olives.

Begin by adding yeast into the water which is just warm to the touch and let it sit until it foams. You need good, fresh yeast for that or else the dough won’t rise.

Once the yeast has nicely bubbled up, add it to the flour

along with half the olive oil, reserving the rest for later

add salt and mix it with a spoon until it forms a shaggy dough

Transfer to the countertop and knead until smooth and pliable adding more water a little at a time without making it sticky.

Let it rest in a warm place for a couple of hours until doubled in size. You can even leave it in the fridge overnight.

Once risen it is ready to be formed into bread.

Punch it to deflate. Not only because it’s important but also because it’s fun.

Prepare the baking pan by oiling it generously

Sprinkle some semolina. This is an optional step but helps in the crisping of the bottom.

Scrape the dough into the tray

and brush the top with reserved olive oil. Be generous with the oil here. It’s crucial to this bread making process.

Push the dough with fingertips until evenly distributed in the baking tray, also giving it the typical focaccia dimpled look.

Stuff the dimpled surface with rosemary and olives and push them right into the dough.

Cover and let rise for another hour before baking at 200ºC for 25-30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the bottom is slightly crisped up

Brush the just baked bread with olive oil and let it rest at least ten minutes before serving.

Here’s a cross section of this delicious focaccia. It’s soft, spongy and moist and deliciously satisfying.


Ingredients

  • Flour: 700g
  • Yeast: 2 tsp
  • Warm water: 300mls + more for kneading
  • Salt: 2 tsp
  • Olive oil: 50mls
  • Olives: 100g
  • Fresh rosemary: 10g
  • Semolina: 2 tsp

Recipe instructions

Add the yeast to warm water and let it bloom. Make sure the yeast is fresh and not expired or it will inhibit the rising of the dough.

Add the water to the dough along with olive oil and salt and mix with spoon until just combined to form a shaggy dough.

Transfer to countertop and knead to a smooth pliable dough. Add more water if need be but a little at a time to keep the dough from getting sticky.

Let the kneaded dough rest in a warm place for a couple hours or until doubled in size. You can even let it rest in the fridge overnight.

Once the dough had doubled in size, deflate by punching and scrape into a well oiled baking tray sprinkled with semolina.

Push the dough to fit into the tray with fingertips giving it the typical dimpled look and stuff the surface with rosemary and olives.

Cover and let rest for an hour before finally baking in a preheated oven at 200ºc for 25-30 minutes or until the top has bronzed and the bottom lightly crisped.

Brush with olive oil and let rest for at least ten minutes before serving.

Wholewheat bagels


Do you ever wake up and suddenly remember something delicious you had months ago and feel the sudden need to recreate that moment or eat something similar? I’d ordered a bagel sandwich while out for brunch and though the sandwich was pretty lacklustre, the bagel in question was extraordinary and so it stuck and one day I woke up craving a bagel.

Bagels aren’t as easily available where I live and so it’s better and more entertaining to make some yourself which is exactly what I did and these came out pretty good, though I do intend on tinkering and tweaking a bit more with the recipe.

Whole wheat bagels with absolutely everything on top, fluffy on the inside and chewy on the out!

The premises are the same as any leavened bread. Start with some risen whole wheat dough. Recipe here. You also need some sugar, baking soda, and a mixture of whatever seeds or toppings you’d like on the bagel. It could be as simple as salt and sugar or a mixture of poppy, sunflower, black and white sesame seeds as I have here.

Divide the dough into equal sized dough balls. I made a total of eight from a kilo of dough for medium sized bagels. Each dough ball is 125g. You can make larger fewer bagels or smaller.

Make even sized balls

and let rest covered for 25-30 minutes.

Once they’ve slightly risen poke a hole in the centre and stretch the dough around to create a doughnut shape which is essentially also the bagel shape.

Like so.

Bring some water to the boil and add in sugar and baking soda.

Once the water comes back to a boil slowly drop in the bagels

and let boil for a couple of minutes on each side

use a long spoon or chopstick to flip them over.

Fish them out of the boiling water once you see them floating, cover generously with the toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes at 200ºC until crisped and browned at the top.

Enjoy!


Ingredients and recipe instructions for whole wheat dough.
Ingredients for bagel

Wholewheat bread dough: 1 kilo
Sugar: 1tbsp
Baking soda: 2tsp
Poppy seeds: 1tsp
Black sesame seeds: 1tsp
White sesame seeds: 1 tsp
Sunflower seeds: 1tbsp


Recipe Instructions

Make the whole wheat dough a day before and let rise overnight in the fridge. Let rest at room temperature for an hour before dividing the dough into eight equal sized portions.

Roll each portion into a ball and let rest once again, covered, for 25-30 minutes.

Poke a hole in the middle of each dough ball and stretch around the hole to create a doughnut like shape.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in the sugar and baking soda.

Once the water comes back to a boil slowly drop in the bagels carefully, not spilling any water. Let boil for a couple minutes on one side before carefully flipping using a chopstick or a long spoon and boiling on the other for the same time.

Fish out onto a baking tray and sprinkle over the toppings.

Bake at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes until the top has browned.

Let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. The outside should be chewy and the inside fluffy, and since these are whole wheat bagels the texture within will be a bit denser than the usual refined flour ones, but they will be just as delicious.

Taiwanese pineapple cakes


It was a new dimension of desserts for me the first time I ever ate these little cakelets which somehow blur the thin line between shortbread cookies and cakes and in fact these are stuffed in the middle with a sweet pineapple filling, one bite is all it takes get transported into a sweet dreamy land of flaky crust and delicious jam.

These are irresistible if anything and my dear Taiwanese friends who were kind enough to share these treats informed me of their importance in their culture as a staple during coffee, tea or snack time and even shared the recipe which I used to make a version of my own which though not nearly as beautiful as the ones they shared comes decently close in taste. 

The pineapple cakes have a particular mould which one can easily buy but I tried improvising and came to the conclusion that making them in their particular moulds would be a far better option, however, if you want to try them just as then, by all means, use a muffin tin as I did as I’m about to show you.

Ingredients for the pineapple jam filling

 Cook the crushed pineapples on medium hot flame 

until they begin releasing water and add lemon juice

once most of the water is cooked off add cinnamon

and sugar

the pineapple mixture will become wet once again after the addition of sugar so keep cooking and stirring until it’s thickened to a paste. Chill the jam for an hour before forming cakes so that it slightly firms up.

ingredients for shortcrust pastry case

I made this using a processor but you can use these just as easily with a wooden spoon. Mix together the butter and sugar

until evenly combined

add egg yolk and mix

and tip in flour, baking powder, cheese and milk powder mixture and evenly combine

until it comes together and begins to clump

form into a dough without kneading it much and shape into a log

and slice into equal portions. You don’t have to be precise because you can always add or remove some dough during the cake forming process.

Roll each part into a rough circle about 1.5-2 inches in diameter.

and now for the fun part that’s filling each casing with the now cooled pineapple jam. Add about 2 tsp worth in the middle of the pastry.

and fold so that opposite ends meet in the middle. Squeeze them together with thumb and index finger smoothing the seam and form into a ball.

Place into muffin tins if you do not have a mould and press gently before baking at 170º for 10 minutes

and then flipping them over to brown on both sides. Bake again for another 10-15 minutes

until they’re lightly golden. Some of them broke in the process but that didn’t keep them from tasting remarkable. Let them cool for at least 10-15 minutes before eating because they’re hot and extremely soft. Their shortcrust casing gets firmer with time and somehow I like them better when they’re firm so I let mine be for a couple hours.

I also tried making some free-form ones and concluded that these are better off aesthetically in their respective moulds but they taste just as divine even in their unorthodox shapes.

They aren’t as difficult as one would think, just a little time consuming if you are new to their realm which I was and to eat one of these is to know how different these cookie cakes can be and the pure pleasure that something so tiny is capable of imparting in each bite.


Ingredients for the jam filling 

  • Pineapple- 500g (use fresh or tinned)
  • White sugar- 50g (1/4 cup)
  • Brown sugar- 50g (1/4 cup)
  • Lemon juice: 1 Tsp
  • Cinnamon powder- 1/4 tsp (optional)

Ingredients for shortbread dough

  • Butter- 100g
  • Sugar – 45g
  • Parmesan cheese- 10g
  • Milk powder- 10g
  • Egg yolk – 1
  • Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Flour- 130g

Recipe instructions

Make the jam filling by crushing the pineapples in a food processor and cooking over medium heat until the water begins evaporating. Add lemon juice, cinnamon powder if using and brown and white sugar and cook until the jam is thickened.

Chill until further use.

Mix together the flour, parmesan cheese, baking powder and milk powder in a bowl and set aside.

Make the pastry by mixing butter and sugar using a processor or wooden spoon. The butter shouldn’t be cold. Add the egg yolk to the mix and evenly combine before adding the flour mixture. Mix them but do not knead and form a shortcrust pastry until the mixture begins to clump.

Lightly form into a log shape and cut into even pieces.

Roll each piece into a 1.5-2 inch circle and fill the middle of each with 1-2 tsp of the now chilled pineapple jam.

Form into a smooth ball by squeezing together the opposite ends and smoothening the seams.

Press into moulds or muffin tray putting gentle pressure to flatten each cake.

bake at 170ºc for 10 minutes and flip over the cakes to bake on the other side for another 10-15 minutes until evenly browned.

Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Can be eaten fridge cold or warm.

Enjoy!

Earl Grey tea cookies


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There isn’t any particular fondness for Earl Grey tea that I nurse in my heart, in fact, I never much thought about it but that was before I had an Earl Grey cookie at a speciality speculoos shop and one bite had me converted. The subtlety in its aroma bonded so luxuriously with the flavours of butter and a very slight hint of cinnamon that there was only so much I could do to not go through them like a savage.

I had tried unsuccessfully after that to recreate the magic of those crunchy bites but almost every time they came out too dense for my liking, until a few weeks ago when finally I found myself biting into one of these and finding them admirably crunchy and deliciously fragrant. Easy to make and all too easy to devour.

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The ingredients are few. Just flour, butter, sugar, salt, earl grey tea, cinnamon and vanilla extract.

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To get the tea to impart maximum flavour it’s best to lightly toast it first on a very low flame. Toss it on a dried pan until fragrant, for a minute or so and then let cool.

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mix it with sugar and pulse it a few times to disperse equally,  this enables the sugar to absorb the tea scent.

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Like so

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In a separate clean bowl cream the butter

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and add in the tea and sugar mixture

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beating it thoroughly

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add in the flour

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vanilla extract

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cinnamon (it’s better mixed in with flour)

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and salt

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and mix the ingredients. It should begin to clump once everything is well incorporated. This mixture here was still a little crumbly and so I remedied it by adding a spoonful of full-fat milk.

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and thoroughly mixing

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to get a cohesive mixture

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which clumps if you press it together.

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for this mixture to form cookies we need to shape it into a log. Place plastic wraps over the work surface and scrape the cookie dough on it.

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Cover the dough with the wrap and roll it like it were a rolling pin to form a longish log shape which is not too thin because we should be able to slice fat coin shaped cookies out of it.

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Once you’re satisfied with the shape and dimensions of the log, refrigerate for an hour until it firms up, making it easier to slice.

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Unwrap and place on chopping board once firm.

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and slice into cookies, ensuring they’re neither too thick nor too thin because the former won’t be that crunchy and the latter might catch too quick.

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something like this. these are about quarter of an inch thick.

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place on baking mat and bake at 180ºC for 12-15 minutes or until the edges turn light gold.

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Let cool before serving. These keep well in an airtight jar for up to a week.


Ingredients 

Earl Grey tea: 6g

Sugar: 120g

Flour: 160g

Butter: 100g

Vanilla extract: 1tsp

Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp

salt: 1/2 tsp

Milk: 1-2 tbsp (optional)



Recipe instructions:

Lightly toast the tea on a low flame for a minute until lightly fragrant and let cool. Pulse it with sugar until evenly dispersed.

In a clean bowl cream together the butter and sugar and add flour, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and mix to form a dough. The dough should begin to clump together and if it doesn’t then add a spoonful of full-fat milk and mix again.

Form the dough into a log by placing it on a cling wrap sheet and rolling it to an even log shape.

Refrigerate for an hour until firm and slice into even sized cookies.

Bake at 180º for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden on the sides.

Enjoy.

Wholewheat hamburger Buns


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There’s no reason why you can’t just run to the nearest food store and buy a packet of perfectly decent soft burger buns but here is the difference between the store bought ones and the homemade ones, and that is you know exactly what goes in here and I’m not even talking about the bread softening chemicals; it’s the quality of the ingredients that you have the power to control, not to mention that these have whole wheat in them which does set them apart from the absolutely refined floured buns, and really it’s worth the effort, not least because it’s hardly an arduous task. Just a question of mixing and placing and baking. Talking of which..

 

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The ingredients are few and pretty straightforward. We have strong bread flour, wholewheat flour, melted butter, salt, sugar, yeast and some lukewarm water. It could be argued that these wholewheat flour buns do have bread flour in them, but it’s not all refined flour, moreover, when made entirely of wholewheat the buns tend to get a bit too dense.

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Mix the flours and make a well in the centre.

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Add yeast, salt and sugar

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followed by water

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and the butter

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Give it a cursory mix with a spatula or spoon just so that everything is dispersed evenly before we begin to get our hands dirty.

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Form into a shaggy dough to feel if you need some more water and I did.

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Add water little by little, or teaspoon by teaspoon lest the dough gets too wet and sticky

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form a rough clump before you begin kneading when the moisture to flour ratio feels just right.

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Slap the dough on a large surface such as kitchen platform and get kneading. I use a simple technique wherein I flatten the dough then stretch and pull at one end

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before bringing it back to meet the opposite end, and repeat

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until the dough starts feelings soft and pliable under the fingers and palm. You really have to get a feel of this to understand because it’s a transformation and takes anywhere between 5-7 minutes.

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Once you’re happy with the dough, form into a ball

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transfer to a greased bowl. Oil the dough as well to prevent sticking

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cover with cling film and let rest for an hour or until doubled in size.

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like so..

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scrape out of the bowl on a well-floured surface

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and divide into two equal portions

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dividing each portion into four equals.

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before forming into rounds and placing on a well-oiled baking sheet

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to transform these dough balls into decently sized hamburger buns, gently press each until a bit flat, about 7-8 cms wide and roughly 2 cm’s thick; ensuring you don’t make them too flat or they’ll be something of a pita bread.

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Cover with a damp kitchen cloth and let rise for another hour until doubled in size.

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Once they’re nicely fluffed, brush the top with some water/milk/egg white. I brushed mine with water because it ensures that sesame seeds stick and do not budge

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Speaking of which, sprinkle the top liberally with some and bake at 200ºC for anywhere between 15-20 minutes, or until the top gets deliciously browned and the buns have cooked evenly.

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Like so..



Ingredients

Bread flour: 300g

Wholewheat flour: 200g

Water: 250 mls + more if needed

Yeast: 2tsp

Salt: 1 tsp

Sugar: 2 tbsps

Butter (melted): 80g


Recipe instructions: 

Mix the flours in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add yeast, salt, sugar, water and melted butter to the well and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it forms a shaggy dough.

If the mixture is too dry and not coming together add water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture forms a dough. Scrape onto a large surface or platform and knead until the dough becomes soft and pliable for about five to ten minutes and form into a ball.

Transfer to a large bowl and ensure it’s well greased to keep it from sticking.

Cover with cling film and let rest for an hour until doubled in size, after which scrape the risen dough on a well-floured surface and divide into two portions, further dividing each portion into four equal parts and form into balls.

Place formed balls on a greased baking sheet and gently press until they’re larger in size, ensuring that they’re at least 2 cms’ thick

Cover with damp cloth and let them rest for another hour until doubled in size.

Once they have nicely fluffed up, brush the tops with some water and sprinkle sesame seeds.

Bake at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes or until the buns are deliciously golden.


 

Cardamom coffee cake


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It’s been sometime since I posted a cake recipe on this blog and what better to break the monotony than a coffee cake. The thing about coffee cakes is that apart from pairing ‘oh so beautifully’ with a strong cup of caffeine they are scrumptious just on their own for moments when you want to eat something sweet but not overwhelmingly so.

Cardamom is such a rich exotic spice with an almost romantic ring to it with curious undertones of mystery and an enticing allure of the East so rare in cakes and with a crispy crumb on top this cake is two layers of delicious, resonating with cardamom in each bite, hefty with flavours and yet symbiotically submitting when paired with a cup of coffee or even tea, because cardamom does go well with tea.

 

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these ingredients might seem like a lot but that’s only because there are two parts to this cake. A crispy nutty crumb and a base cake.

 

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first with the crumb topping. Into a bowl add flour (please excuse the lighting)

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walnuts

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brown sugar

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cardamom

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and mix with a fork until ingredients are equally dispersed.

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finally add room temperature butter to form the crumbs

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mix thoroughly

 

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until nice fat crumbs or rather buttery nutty lumps are formed. Set aside.

 

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for the dry ingredients in a separate bowl mix sugar, flour

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baking powder, baking soda

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and cardamom

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mix well and keep aside

 

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Now we get mixing to wet ingredients and also learn how exactly galaxies came to be formed. In a clean bowl add coconut oil

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vanilla extract and coffee

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milk and eggs

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check out your handywork at creating the universe

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now for some orange liquor

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and a quick whisk to disperse everything

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into a murky reality

 

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now it’s just a question of adding the wet to the dry, much like life.

 

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and stirring it all together to form a lovely terracotta mixture of cardamom flavoured dreams.

 

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pour into a well greased baking tin

 

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top with buttery crumbs

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take a moment to gaze at the beauty that is this cardamom crumb cake before plunging it into the depths of a furnace that is your oven to bake at 200º for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean

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after 45 minutes this is what you’ll be rewarded with.  beautifully bronzed looking slab of spiced haven.

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let it rest for at least ten minutes before taking it out of the tin. It’ll be a moist flavourful cake with a rather delicious, even crispy topping. It’s the crumb topping that offsets flavours of this cake, giving it texture that comes in with a surprising cardamom punch.

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serve warm with a strong cup of love.



Ingredients 

For the crumb topping:

Flour: 60g (1/2cup)

Walnuts: 60g (1/3cup)

Butter: 80g  (1/3cup)

Brown sugar: 80g (1/3cup)

Cardamom: 3/4 tsp

Note: I used regular cardamom pods and crushed the seeds to make a rough powdered texture

For the cake:

Flour: 150g (2cups)

Sugar: 145g (3/4cup)

Baking soda: 1/2 tsp

Baking powder: 1 heaped tsp

Eggs: 2

Cardamom: 1 tsp

Vanilla extract: 1tsp

Coconut oil: 120mls (1/2cup)

Coffee: 60mls (double shot)

Milk: 65mls (1/3cup)

Orange liqueur (optional): 30 mls (single shot)


Recipe instructions:

making crumbs: mix together walnuts, flour, brown sugar and cardamom. Add the butter and using either fingers or a fork mix everything together until it forms crumbs.

making cake: Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and cardamom and keep aside.

In a separate bowl whisk together coconut oil, vanilla, eggs, coffee and orange liqueur if using and once blended well pour into the dry ingredients and mix to form batter. Pour into a greased baking dish and top with crumb toppings. Bake at 200º for 40-45 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let it rest for an additional 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Spicy baked chicken and potatoes


DSC_0275When you can feel the carnivore inside of you bubbling with primal instincts to tear into something meaty, something delicious and spicy, this chicken recipe with potatoes is just the thing. Savagely inoculated with flavours on a loudspeaker, there is nothing remotely subtle about this dish. It’s deliciously loud with mouthwatering piquancy, tender, juicy of flesh and drool inducing. The balance of tastes rendered stupefyingly lush with succulent aromas is so heady that it’ll send your entire house warming with tempting incense of tantalizing proportions.

Cooking it with potatoes just makes it a more complete meal, and there’s nothing more you’d wish for a better lunch.

 

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It doesn’t involve much in the way of fanfare, and most ingredients are easily available. Chicken drumsticks, olive oil, honey, crushed garlic, oregano, cumin powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, lemon juice and potatoes. I’ve used two different kinds of potatoes, but feel free to use whatever potatoes you like or have on hand.

 

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for tender, juicier results we want to marinade the chicken for which you begin by slashing said chicken down to the bone. This helps with even cooking, and lets the spices penetrate in deep.

 

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The marination is easy. Mix all the spices in a bowl

 

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along with lemon juice

 

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honey

 

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and olive oil

 

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mix it all together to form a sort of paste.

 

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Coat the drumsticks in the the marinade, making sure it’s seriously coated.

 

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cover with a cling wrap and let it marinade in the fridge for a couple hours. You can do this bit of activity sometime during breakfast if you want to make it for lunch.

 

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Prep your potatoes by cutting into bite sized cubes

 

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drizzle a bit of olive oil

 

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and a bit of salt. Nothing else needs be done to the potatoes.

 

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Be sure to take the chicken out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before baking, so as to allow them to come to room temperature.

 

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give it a final quick mix in the marinade before baking

 

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place drumsticks on a bed of potatoes and bake at 200° for 30-35 minutes

 

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about half way between baking time pull out the chicken and slather all the remaining marinade on top and under using tongs to rotate these pieces to get an even marination.

You won’t believe how good it smells.

 

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This is it! they’re done. Let them rest for a few minutes before chomping in. Tender, moist, juicy, succulent. They’re so delicious you’d have to find another word for delicious, and don’t even get me started on the potatoes that have soaked in the flavours from the marinade and turned into crispy pieces of delectable spuds. YUM!

 

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Ingredients

Chicken drumsticks: 3-4 in nos.

Potatoes: 2 in nos (1 sweet and 1 regular baking potato)

olive oil: 1 tsp

salt: 1/4 tsp

For the marinade

Crushed garlic: 1 Tbsp (2-3 garlic cloves)

Dried oregano: 1 Tbsp

Cumin powder: 1 Tbsp

Paprika: 1 Tbsp

Crushed black pepper: 1/2 Tbsp

Salt: 1 tsp

Lemon juice: 2 Tbsps

Honey: 1 tsp

Olive oil: 4 Tbsps (60 mls)


Recipe instructions

Make slashes on the chicken drumsticks to the bone, especially on its thickest parts, and make sure the meat has no water sticking to it or dry it with a paper towel. This helps the marinade cling better.

For the marinade, mix all the spices, salt and crushed garlic in a bowl along with lemon juice, honey and olive oil. (the addition of honey doesn’t sweeten anything except balance the tartness and spiciness of the marinade). Give it a good mix until everything is well incorporated and toss in the chicken. Use tongs for even coverage of the mixture on the meat.

Cover and let rest in the fridge for a few hours before baking.

Pull it out of the refrigerator at least 10-15 minutes before baking time to let it come to room temperature, thus ensuring even baking.

Chop potatoes into bite sized cubes and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt. Cover baking tray with aluminium foil and place the potatoes and chicken drumsticks. Bake in a preheated oven at 200° for 30-35 minutes.

Halfway between baking time pull the chicken out of the oven and drizzle all the remaining marinade to coat or rather smother it, using tongs to flip the chicken on all sides to soak up the marinade.

Bake it for remaining time and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

NOTE: To know whether the chicken is done, insert a knife in the thickest part of the drumstick, and if the juices run clear then it’s cooked. If the juices are still red then you need to put it back into the oven.

Serve on a warm plate.

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Enjoy!!