Tag Archives: Fresh

Ciabatta Wannabe

Using this Fresh Bread recipe, I made a bunch of wannabe ciabattas by adding bits of minced chilli and pulverised arugula. Then of course, I proceeded to overbake it.

Nope, we don’t have a panini press at home, so I sliced it in half and toasted it. Then filled it with butter, pan-seared pork shoulder, arugula, cheddar and pepper, and smashed it flat with the palm of my hand.

There it is, a ciabatta wannabe, nothing more.

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Fresh Bread

“Was your dad a baker? ‘Cos you’ve got hot buns!”

Well, baking bread is not only about them hot buns (even though it really is). It’s actually pretty fun and extremely rewarding. When that batch of freshly baked bread rolls come out of your oven, you’d be smiling from ear to ear.

I made some bread with Sarah that day and we got our recipe from Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef.

  • 30g/1oz fresh yeast or 3 x 7g sachets dried yeast
  • 30g/1oz honey (or sugar)
  • 625ml/just over 1 pint tepid water
  • 1kg/just over 2lb strong bread flour
  • 30g/1oz salt
  • some extra flour for dusting
  1. Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in half the tepid water
  2. On a clean surface, make a mountain of the flour. Then make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Use a fork to introduce and mix the flour into the mixture, until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the remaining tepid water in and mix everything together gradually in the same way. You want to do this until you have a moist dough. (Some flours may require more water than others, so don’t be a afraid to adjust the quantities.)
  3. Knead away! Whack, smack, punch and work at the dough to activate the gluten. Do this for about  5 minutes. Great way to relieve any pent up frustrations. Hah. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, rub them together with a little extra flour.
  4. When you’re done kneading, make the dough into a roundish shape and flour the top of it. Deeply score the dough with a knife, allowing it to relax and rise with ease (and with yeast). Then, flour a deep mixing bowl as well and place the dough in. Cover with clingflim and let it rise till it doubles in size. Jamie says, “Ideally you want a warm, moist, draught-free place for the quickest prove.” This should take about 40 minutes.
  5. When the dough has grown twice its size, get it out and bash it about for about a minute or so before shaping it to whatever form you want. Then let it sit and rise again for other 40 minutes or so. This second proving is extremely crucial as it’s the time your bread becomes delicately soft and lovely.
  6. Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  7. Cooking the bread now requires tender handling and patience. No more hard bashes and violent grabbing. You want the air in the bread to stay inside, so gently place the bread into the preheated oven, without slamming the door.
  8. Monitor the baking, take it out when the bread’s beautifully bronzed and hollow-sounding when tapped. Leave them on a rack to cool.

Here’s what we made with this batch of dough:

Bread Rolls

Ham Rolls

Chocolate Buns

Cinnamon Rolls

Get your hands into some flour and yeast, and knead away today.


Fresh Homemade Pasta

I didn’t sleep well last night because my thoughts couldn’t stop running – thoughts of making my own pasta. So today, I made some tagliatelle from scratch. I need more practice for sure. But for a first-timer, without a food processor nor pasta machine, I think this deserves some attention.

Fresh Homemade Pasta

Combining a single egg and 100g of flour per person is all that was required. Kneading till smooth, rolling till flat, all before folding and cutting. Finally, I understood how tremendously beautiful it is to hold a handful of pasta, freshly made with my own hands.

It’s dangerously addictive too. Try it today! Because even if you fail, that one egg and bit of flour is definitely worth the experience. (:

Important Tip: Be sure to flour the counter top and rolling pin just a little when you’re working. Don’t want all that hard work sticking itself away. Good luck!


Rosemary’s Chicken

I was at the market a couple of days back and came home with a pot of my favourite herb – rosemary.

Isn’t she lovely? (:

I had to test her powers quick. So, wielding a tiny pair of scissors, I snipped off two sprigs. Immediately, there was a whiff of a beautiful virgin blue fragrance. I smiled, before hurrying to the kitchen to whip up some good old roast.

Tray-Roasted Chicken

Chop up some potatoes, and boil them for a while, with a slice of lemon.

Stick a tray into the oven and preheat it to 180°C. While that’s in there, slice a tomato (or use a stalk of cherry tomatoes), and smash a couple of cloves of garlic, leaving the skin on. Then, run the sprigs of rosemary under hot water for a few seconds. Apparently, doing this helps herbs work their magic better.

Prepare your chicken portions and take a deep breath. By now, the aroma of sweet citric goodness should have filled your kitchen.

Smile.

Once the oven’s almost ready, drain your potatoes and let them steam dry. This way, you’ll have crispier roasted potatoes.

Get the tray out of the oven. Stick the chicken parts in, together with the garlic, tomatoes and rosemary. Toss the potatoes in, and squeeze whatever juice is left of that lemon into the tray as well. Then, the lemon goes into the tray too, not the bin.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle olive oil and give it all a splash of white wine. Chuck it back in to the oven; the middle tray for about an hour or so. At the halfway mark, take the dish out and splash in a little more wine. Then, using a spoon or ladle, douse everything in the tray with its own juices, before sending it back into the heat.

When the timer goes off, your dish should look something like this.

It was so good, I wound up finishing everything myself. :D