Total Pageviews

Monday, 19 September 2011

Fresh Tomato & Basil Bread

This is a gorgeous loaf, well worth the faffing & very moorish Great for eating with or dipping in Bolognaise, Lasagna & tomato soupa. I am sure you can find other great accompanying dishes for it.
Here is two ways to make it, by hand or half machine half hand
Enjoy x


500g strong white flour , plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
7g sachet fast-action yeast
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300ml water
2 tsp granulated sugar
7 oz juicy tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic crushed & chopped
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
Crush & chop garlic. Chop tomatoes. Fry garlic in a little oil or fry light, when ready add tomatoes & cook for a couple of minutes till slightly softened & juices are running nicely. Drain mix through a sieve over a measuring jug & press out all the juices. Put mix to one side & top up the juice to 300 ml with water.In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in  sugar, oil, salt & enough flour to form a stiff dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead, push, fold & slap that dough until smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes. Place in a greased pan, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.  Punch dough down, knock out the air for 30 seconds  to 1 minute, by bashing & squashing it. Add tomato & basil mix & fold into the dough until incorporated. Shape into a round loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Bake at 225c for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Machine & hand
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500gr white bread flour (Sofia flour in Bulgaria)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
7 oz juicy tomatoes chopped
3 -4 cloves garlic crushed & chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
Crush & chop garlic, chop tomatoes. Fry the garlic in a little oil or frylight, when ready add tomatoes & fry for a couple of minutes till slightly soft & juices are running. Sieve out the juice into a measuring jug by pressing out with the back of a spoon. Put tomato mix aside & make juice up to 280 ml ( 10 fl oz) with water.
Pour into bread pan, sprinkle over flour, add black pepper & place the salt & sugar into separate corners of the pan. Make an indent in the center & add yeast. Set bread machine to basic dough or dough only setting.
When the machine has finished place dough on a lightly floured surface, knock it out gently. flatten it a bit & add the tomato mix & chopped basil on top. Fold dough over & knead fold push till it is incorporated. Be as basic as you like for a nice rustic loaf. Place in an oiled pan & cover it with oiled cling film, leave in a warm place for 30 - 60 mins till it has risen nicely.
Bake in a pre heated oven 200c.

Check bread is cooked by knocking on bottom, it will sound hollow :-)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Easy Ratatouille

Easy peasy lemon squeezy, well easy peasy ratatouille.
We have all the eggplants & peppers coming in now along with the last of the tomatoes. I had to but zucchini from the market, as mine turned out to be just marrow! So what better to make for the winter. Ratatouille is a winter warmer & goes just as well as a pasta sauce, added to meat or as a vegetable side dish. This is an easy tasty recipe you can make it as a batch to freeze or as a single meal. I have given different measurements here.  Also add to your taste, so check for flavours as you go. For instance I do not add salt, I use liquid sweetener & sweetness is different for us all. I also can't eat onion so I use more garlic instead. This is a great recipe which can be melded to your own taste not mine.

Onion x 1 up to 3 peeled & sliced
Garlic x 2 cloves up to 2 heads peeled crushed & chopped
Eggplant x 1 up to 4
Zucchini x 3 med up to 8 sliced & cut into 1/4's
Peppers x 2 up to 8 deseeded & chopped large
Tomatoes large x 4 up to 7lb skinned & deseeded chopped or you can use cans/jars
Bunch fresh Basil or dried to taste
Oregano x 1/2 tsp up to 2 tsp
Thyme x 1/4 tsp up to 1 tsp
Parsley x 1/2 tsp up to 2 tsp
Blk Pepper
Salt to taste
Chop ends off eggplant, chop or slice put in a colander stand in bowl & sprinkle with salt. Make sure all the eggplant is covered & leave to stand for an hour or so. tip away the bitter liquid & rinse out the salt with cold water.
In a large fry pan heat either a spray oil like frylight or a little olive oil fry garlic, onion & pepper until softened. Add the tomatoes & stir through. Cook for a few mins then add liquid sweetener or sugar to taste. If you are batch cooking you can always add more later when you reheat it. Check for sweetness. Turn cooker to a low heat cover & simmer. Meanwhile in another pan heat spray or olive oil & fry Zucchini till softened & browned then add this to the tomato mixture, stir through. Fry eggplant in a little olive oil 1 to 2 tablespoons The less you use the healthier it will be, don't overpower the taste with oil!
Stir the eggplant so all sides are browned nicely & when it is cooked turn this into the tomato mixture & combine. Season to taste add herbs & lastly the basil. Cover & cook on low for 10 - 15 mins.
Freezes well.
Serve on its own with pasta, add to meat or serve as a vegetable side dish.

Plum Upside Down Pudding/Cake 2

If there is one pudding I love its an upside down cake/pudding. It ticks all the boxes as far as I am concerned & you will probably find a few on this blog, as time goes by ;-)
A lovely pudding served warm or cold with cream or custard. Great for entertaining, family meal or just you. Its easy to prepare & make, tastes great & if you leave some for the next day makes a lovely cake to eat alone or with cream. Mmmmmmmm
This really is the queen of all puddings, & with winter coming perfect comfort food
Plums cut in half & stones removed
2oz butter or margarine
4 oz sugar
1tsp Ginger optional
175gr Sugar
175gr Margarine
175gr  SR Flour
3 Eggs
1 tsp Cinnamon
3 tbsp Milk
Topping....Beat the sugar & margarine together & spread over the bottom of a 8" sponge tin. If you are using the ginger sprinkle this over the top, evenly. Place the plums cut side down then put aside.
Heat the oven 160c (fan) or 180c.
Cake....Beat the sugar & margarine together till fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating in gently. Add flour & cinnamon & fold in. Add milk & mix well. Pour mix over the plums & bake in the center of the oven for 45 mins, till firm to the touch & starting to come away from the side.
Run a knife round the edge of pan & turn out onto a plate.
Serve warm with cream, ice cream or Custard. Can be eaten cold as a cake but this would be best the following day when the flavour has developed & cake will be moist but not wet.