Category Archives: Fellow Bloggers

The sourdough files…

I haven’t talked about my bread making on my blog for a while, although I share loaves regularly on Instagram, so I thought I’d post an update. I now make 3 loaves of sourdough bread every week for my son, Ben, plus 2 regular loaves for my husband, who doesn’t like sourdough. I now have my method for producing sourdough loaves pretty fixed, and as Ben raves about the bread on a regular basis, I can only assume that I’m getting it right – for his tastes anyway! 

I’ve also been playing with scoring the loaves, as you might notice! 

It’s great fun! Let’s be honest, Ben doesn’t care about how it looks, that bits just for me 🙂

The basis of my standard loaf is formed from the overnight loaf recipes created and shared by Celia and Selma, with tweaks for my requirements. I’ve played around with various methods and flours and recipes in the past couple of years, but I always come back to this method, this is my failsafe, and when you need to produce bread regularly for breakfasts and school lunches, you need to know it works!

A key element for me is that I need a closer crumb than typical sourdough. Artisan holes are great, but not for making sandwiches for school dinners. To achieve this, I have found that replacing some of the water with olive oil creates a softer tighter crumb and softer bread. 


I keep my starter, Star, in the fridge, and every couple of days, I bring her up to room temperature, feed her equal amounts of flour and water, and once she’s bubbly and happy, I make up two lots of dough. 

I follow the quantities in Selma’s recipe, linked above, but I replace 30g of the water with olive oil.

In two bowls I squidge two lots all of the ingredients together to a rough mix, so that the flour is completely mixed, cover the bowl with a plastic bag, and leave it for an hour.

After the hour, I fold and knead the dough in the bowl for a minute or so until it comes together and forms a smooth ball. 

I then place the dough in bannetons sprinkled with rice flour to prevent sticking. 

I cover the bannetons with plastic bags, and place them both in the fridge. 

Sometimes they’re in the fridge for a night, sometimes for 4 days – the longer proving develops more flavour. 

When I’m ready to bake one, I remove it from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature and prove for another couple of hours. 

I heat the oven to 220c fan, and only when I’m ready to bake, I turn the dough out onto an baking tray, lined with parchment paper. If you turn the dough out too soon, it can spread. 

I quickly slash the dough then bake. 

I put the loaf in the oven, turn the temperature down to 200C fan, and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C fan for another 25 minutes.

Then remove the loaf and cool completely on a rack before slicing. I usually bake my loaves the day before I need them to ensure that they are completely and utterly cooled.

Each of my loaves covers Ben’s breakfast and lunch for two days. He loves it so much, I even made him a special loaf for his birthday earlier this month 🙂 

And that’s my sourdough conveyor belt! I hope it’s useful. 

I hope you’ve had a great week, enjoy your Friday and a visit to Fiesta Friday with Sarah and Liz

How to feed a vegetarian this holiday season: ask! (And new tips for roasting veg) 

And I don’t necessarily mean ask me, although of course you can, and I’m only too happy to help, but mainly I mean: ask them!

I’ve said it before, probably around this same time last year, but I’ll keep saying it: ask your vegetarian, or vegan, or food intolerant, guest what they’d like to eat. Don’t guess, don’t give yourself the stress of trying to figure it out if you’re not sure. Call them, email them, ask them what kind of dish they’d like. If they’re anything like me, they’ll be grateful that you asked, and relieved that they know they’ll be catered for. Please. Make your life simple 🙂

And once you know what they’d like, I of course offer you my entire collection of recipes, I hope something may be of use.

In the meantime, I’d like to offer a couple of new ideas (to me anyway) for roasting vegetables, in particular carrots…

 Roasted carrots are so tasty, but sometimes it takes so long to get them cooked through, that they can get almost overcooked in your attempts to roast them. When I read this tip on Sally’s lovely blog, I immediately tried it and it works very well. I HIGHLY recommend that you try it out, with carrots and other dense vegetables, particularly root vegetables. 

Once you’ve tried that, try this…this is a tip from Jamie Oliver, so it must be good mustn’t it?!

When you come to toss your carrots in olive oil, add some cumin seeds and an acid element…in this case I used apple cider vinegar, and it really, really brings out their flavour..

Mr Oliver offers up various ideas for various vegetables including different oils, vinegars, herbs and spices, its definitely worth looking up for your Christmas table. 

Two tips I highly recommend, and great for me to learn new ideas for roasting vegetables – and I thought I knew them all!

I’ll be taking these along to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by Judi and Sandhya, why not check it out and get some other new ideas for your celebration meals? 

Happy weekend! 

Meet Hanady…and her fabulous food…


Today I am very happy to bring you a guest post from a lovely lady and great cook: Hanady and I met via Instagram and on our blogs; we live in such different parts of the world, but we are virtual food twins. We have literally coincidentally made the same meals, we share a love of the same flavours, we use the same ingredients, even though we reside thousands of miles apart. This is what I love about having my blog, meeting lovely people like Hanady and sharing our food loves, and so I asked her to share some recipes here on my blog, this is the first one, using my favourite grain, freekeh, I hope you like it too…have a great week x

Hello everyone! First of all, I would like to thank my friend, Elaine, for asking me to create a guest post for her blog. It is always so wonderful connecting with other culinary explorers through this platform. For many of you who are new to my blog, my name is Hanady and I’m the author behind the hanadykitchen.com site. I’m also an international affairs researcher and a human rights advocate. My relationship with food, however, has been a lifelong pursuit. As a child of Palestinian and Spanish parents, my experimentation in the kitchen often involved combining different culinary traditions. I learned that combining flavors of different worlds produced creations that were both unique and full of character. Having relocated from the United States to Palestine last year, I realized that my curiosity in the kitchen was just beginning to develop. My past year has consisted of exploring new foods and cooking styles through wonderful people, learning to cook straight from scratch, and developing recipes with a combination of unconventional ingredients. 

One such recipe is this okra freekeh, which is a combination of two different Palestinian dishes, okrah tomato stew and freekeh soup. While I love both dishes on their own, I find that their fusion makes for a blast of flavors. The smokiness of the freekeh, zesty sweetness of the tomatoes, and the freshness of the okra combined with aromatic spices and herbs, results in a most satisfying dish. The heartiness that the freekeh grains provide also make this recipe quite wholesome and fulfilling for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. I hope you will be pleased. And again, many thanks to Elaine and you all for sharing this lovely blog space. Sahtain and bon appétit! 

With love, 

Hanady Xx

Okrah and Tomato Freekeh


INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 3

1 large onion, finely chopped 

7 tablespoons olive oil, divided

generous pinch dried chili flakes, to taste

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds 

5 cloves garlic, minced, divided

5 medium/ about 460 gr. tomatoes, very finely chopped in a food processor 

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup/ 118 ml. water or vegetable stock

loose handful fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon smoky paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 

salt, to taste

good grinding black pepper

1 cup/ 150 gr. whole freekeh kernels, well rinsed 

1 bag/ 400 gr./ 14 oz. frozen okra, slightly thawed

METHOD

Sauté the onion, chili flakes, and cumin seeds in a large saucepan with 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until the onion is soft and transparent. Add 3 minced garlic cloves and stir for another 2-3 minutes. 

Pour in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water or vegetable stock, and stir in fresh coriander, paprika, turmeric, bay leaf, at least 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, set the heat to low, and leave to cook for 15 minutes. 

In the meantime, pour the freekeh into a medium pot with 2 cups / 470 ml. boiling water. Stir in at least a half teaspoon salt, bring to a simmer, cover, and leave to cook for about 15 minutes over low heat or until al dente. 

In another hot saucepan, sauté the the okra over high heat with 4 tablespoons of olive oil , salt, and 2 minced garlic cloves until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. 

Stir the okra into the tomato sauce and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stir in the cooked freekeh, and serve. Top with yogurt for some coolness and balance. 

A Cajun sauce & marinade…

And now for something a bit different…a little break from the salads and the greenery of my usual posts…

How exactly does on take a photo of a sauce???? There’s probably much better ways of showing it off than this, but I keep forgetting to shoot it in use, hence the pic above…so apologies for the uninspiring photos, I can promise that the flavour makes up for it!

It came about as I was recently inspired by Julie’s recipe for a chipotle marinade which I made and used on chicken for my boys; I then made up the marinade again as a sauce, which then lead on to this creation…it works very well as spicy ketchup 🙂

Ingredients

2 parts rapeseed oil

2 parts honey

3 parts ketchup

1 part apple cider vinegar

1/2 – 1 tbsp Cajun spice mix (I use this recipe from the Frugal Hausfrau’s blog)

1 tsp hot paprika

Optional: add chilli/chipotle powder

Method

Mix everything together in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat, stirring regularly, until the sauce thickens, then remove from the heat

Once cooled, pour into a jar to store it – you’ll find the oil separates, I poured this off and used it in a salad dressing; you could mix it back into the sauce if you choose

Marinade your chosen meat or vegetables in sauce and cook under a grill, or add the sauce to any dish

Enjoy!

Roasted cauliflower leaves…

A little while ago I was intrigued by a post on Laura’s blog about roasting the outer leaves of a cauliflower; I’d read about it before but not yet given it a go myself, so of course, I got straight onto it!

The leaves roast very quickly, especially the outer, thinner, leafy bit, and they get really crispy. The challenge is not to eat them straight out of the oven because, firstly (and obviously if I’d stopped to think about it!) they get really hot, and secondly, if you just wait a few minutes, the leaves crisp up even more (as I discovered after exercising some patience…having burnt my tongue on the really hot one!).

The method is pretty straight forward:

Preheat the oven to 200C fan

Remove and wash the outer leaves – really wash them as this is where little bugs can live

Cut off any browning tips from where the grocer may have previously trimmed the leaves 

Lay the leaves in a single layer on your oven tray and spray with your chosen oil, I used olive oil 

Turn the leaves over and spray both sides

Roast for 5-10 minutes until you see the leaves starting the brown, remove the pan, turn the leaves over and roast a little longer until both sides of the leaves are slightly browned

At this mid point I have experimented with sprinkling the leaves with spices, the ones in the photos below are sprinkled with za’atar 

Once the leaves look browned and crunchy, remove the pan from the oven and allow the leaves to cool for a few minutes, as per the comment above 

These can then be eaten on this own as a snack or side dish, or incorporated into another dish

A note: the spines on the larger outer leaves can be quite thick, and can remain quite chewy to eat; I would still roast these leaves and then cut away the crispy edges once roasted; the inner, smaller leaves will be absolutely fine all the way through 

Yesterday I made the dish below using a mixture of the cauliflower leaves as well as roasting some of the florets and chunks of the main stalk (this part is also very tasty, usually having more flavour than the actual florets, in my opinion)..

I topped my cauliflower with chopped persevered lemon, chopped cashew nuts that I’d roasted and sprinkled with Aleppo chilli flakes, and a herby harissa concoction I created from mixing my rose harissa with chopped coriander, parsley and mixed seeds..

And very nice it was too! Another lovely lunch creation, if I do say so myself 😉 

It all began with Dhanya’s curry recipe…and ended up with my own creation…

I loved the look of Dhanya’s recipe as soon as I read it, her amazing photos helped of course! They showed a wonderful looking chickpea and mustard leaves curry, full of colour and flavour…and when I read the recipe, I knew I would make it.

As you will see from the recipe, it is packed full of ingredients, lots and lots of wonderful spices, absolutely my kind of thing – some people are wary of Indian recipes and their often long list of ingredients, whereas for me, it warms my heart; I know that those spices have been carefully put together to create greatness and it makes me want to know the outcome ASAP!! There’s a reason Dhanya’s blog is called The Spice Adventuress 🙂 

A key to the dish is the ‘East Indian Bottle Masala’ which is a spice mix that you make to start the process. That is what these two photos so far represent, the making of the masala mix as I collected the ingredients in a pan, then toasted them before grinding them all to a powder. 

When toasting the spices, I have found that the key is to keep the heat under the pan low and watch it like a hawk. After a while you start to get an amazing aroma as the spices heat and you need to keep the spices moving so that none of them burn, but so that all of them toast. Once you feel that they done, turn off the heat and continue to move the spices around the pan as there will still be residual heat coming from it and you don’t want to undo all your work so far. Then leave them all to cool before going in into your powder. 

I followed Dhanya’s recipe to make the dish, replacing the mustard leaves with kale; I couldn’t source the mustard leaves and some research suggested kale was a good alternative. The outcome was very very tasty, I loved it and happily ate it three days running! 

But of course , I didn’t leave it there..

The recipe for the masala spice mix makes a large jar of it so I wanted to use it again and as often as possible, so this week I threw together this sweet potato and spinach curry for my lunch…

I have to tell you, it was so good! This is what I did..

I heated a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan and added 2 red onions, roughly chopped and cooked them for 5 minutes until nice and soft; I then added 2 heaped tablespoons of my homemade curry paste (puréed ginger, garlic & green chillies with ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli) and cooked it for a few more minutes, adding a splash of water to stop the paste from catching. 

I then threw in 2 heaped teaspoons of the East Indian Bottle masala spice mix and 1 tablespoon tomato puree, and cooked for a minute or so, before adding 1 medium sweet potato, which I had already cut into into cubes & steamed. I mixed everything well, adding more water as needed, then added a 250g bag of baby spinach, put the lid on the pan and left it to wilt in the steam, then stirred it all together and cooked for a few more minutes. 

Some of the sweet potato was soft enough to join the sauce and really add to the richness of it. I served this with some thinned yoghurt over it all which only added to the loveliness of the overall dish. It tasted a lot better than it photographed!

With what was leftover in the pan, I then added some more yoghurt and a can of drained kala chana (brown chickpeas) to create another dish for dinner! 

Huge big yum!!!! 

I’ve been absent from Fiesta Friday for a couple of weeks so I am returning this week with my collection of dishes, as well as sharing them all with Corina’s Cook Once Eat Twice collection..I hope that the lovely FF co hosts, Kaila and Laurena, and all the readers of both collections, like them.

Have a great weekend from a beautiful sunshiny England xx

8am this morning 

Spiced broccoli stuffed parathas..

 Following on from my previous post, I continued to play with some more broccoli last week, and made these spiced broccoli stuffed breads..they were a huge success, and another great way to get my son to eat vegetables he other would not! 

Before I go any further, can I just make a note here: 

My esteemed Indian food blogging friends make a much better job of putting these breads together than I did, but it worked, so I’m not complaining, they’re just not as pretty as many of yours are! This is what I did as a result of reading your many wonderful recipes.. 

Check out Sonals blog for lots more stuffed flatbread recipes including tutorials on how to make them. 

But before you do that…here’s mine..

 Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole wheat/atta flour 

2 tsp oil (I used rapeseed)

Pinch of salt

Warm water as needed

For the filling:

1 tbsp oil of your choice, I used coconut oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 cup broccoli, chopped into florets

1/2 tsp ginger paste

1/2 tsp garlic paste

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala or Kitchen King masala (I used the one I made recently)  

 Method 

Boil or steam the broccoli florets as you would normally, without letting them get too soft, then leave them to drain well. I used the tops of the ‘trees’ as much as possible

Once cooled, blend or chop roughly 

Heat the oil in a pan then add the cumin seeds, and when they start to sizzle, as the broccoli and all of the ground spices and cook for a few minutes

Leave this to cool whilst making the dough..

Mix together the flour, oil and salt, and add enough water to bring together a dough. It should be soft and not sticky, knead it for a few minutes, then place it in a covered bowl for 15-20 minutes

To put the breads together, I split the dough into 6 portions, and on a floured surface, rolled them into a ball and rolled them out into as much a round as I could

I then placed a heaped tablespoon of the broccoli mixture in the middle of the dough and brought the dough together around it like a parcel, then rolled the breads out again. 

(I could probably have done with chopping the broccoli mixture up finer as it broke through the dough in lots of places) 

I floured them and placed them on a plate ready to cook

I heated my tawa, you can use a wide flat frying pan, to a medium heat, then placed the bread into the pan.

Once the surface started to bubble, I daubed the top of the bread with rapeseed oil using a pastry brush, then turned it over to cook the other side. I then daubed the new side with some more oil, and once both sides had some healthy brown spots on, I placed them on a kitchen towel and wrapped them up in a tea towel whilst I cooked the rest of the rounds and until we were ready to eat 

  See what I mean..they’re not very round and not very even, but they tasted good! 

I enjoyed these with a special friend that I made lunch for on Friday, along with with a collection of dips that I’d made, plus the leftover salad and broccoli crumb from my previous post. 

 Red pepper and sriracha homous, mutabal with Aleppo chilli flakes, roasted broccoli & garlic homous, homous with my broccoli crumb, chermoula pimped goats cheese and the rest of my toasted broccoli crumb, all sitting pretty on a beautiful olive wood board gifted to me by the lovely Linda from La Petite Paniere, who I was recently extremely lucky to meet up with in London.  

Later that evening I heated the last couple of parathas in the oven and added some cheese to the top to make a quick pizzette and took this very quick photo of it, which has turned out to be the most popular photo I’ve ever posted on Instagram!!! How curious is that?  It was very tasty though!