Monday, 28 June 2010

Yummy Sourdough Buns with Oats, Sunflower and Flax Seeds

I wonder how many have made the sourdough starter I published about a month ago. Well, I thought not, so you are already hopelessly behind and will miss out on these babies. Ok, you can substitute the sourdough with regular yeast, but, come on, it's not really the same experience. My starter is still alive and healthy and I feed it regularly whenever I'm baking bread (about once a week). And if you haven't got a sourdough culture going, you can't really call yourself a food nerd yet, can you? Furthermore, you might want to check out my recipe for strawberry jam as well. Read on to find out why.
350 ml lukewarm water
3-4 tbsp sourdough starter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
100g whole wheat flour
150g + 250g white flour
25g flax seeds
75 g sunflower seeds
100g oat flakes
50 ml olive oil

Dissolve the sourdough starter in the fingerwarm water. Add the salt and sugar.

Add the wholewheat flour and 150g of white flour. Set it aside somewhere warm and wait for this "sponge" to come alive. It's active when it is quite bubbly and frothy. It took about 1 hour in my case but might depend on your sourdough starter and room temperature.

Add the seeds and oats. Mix them in.
Stir in the oil. Add the rest of the flour.

Knead the bread for about 10 minutes. No, not 3 or 5 or 15 minutes... 10 minutes!

Form the dough to a ball. Rub it lightly with olive oil and set it aside covered until it has doubled in size. Again, this depends on so many things, so just keep an eye on it. When it's doubled in size, it's ready.
Punch down the dough and divide it into 10-12 balls, which you shape in the palm of your hands. Cover them and let them rise one last time. It took me about 45 minutes. Sourdough is quite slower than industrial yeast.

Bake in a very hot, preheated oven at 220ยบ for about 16 minutes. It's always a good trick to add a tray with water in the oven and/or spray water into the oven with a vaporiser. This raises the humidity in the oven and makes the buns puff up more. Transfer to a cooling rack once they are done. Don't cut into them right away, but way at least 20 minutes.
And then you will be rewarded with these goodies which are actually really healthy and good for you. That is until you spread them with butter and add a dollop of homemade strawberry jam.

My favourite Pizza Sauce

This is not the first time I publish a pizza recipe. But I'd like to elaborate a bit on the key topping; the tomato sauce. I've been further experimenting and have now reached what I personally think is the perfect pizza sauce. I've borrowed ideas from left and right and will now pass on my idea to you. It's always dangerous to talk about the perfect recipe because taste is so individual and tied up with experience and memories. But give it a try and let me know how it turned out.
2-3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, smashed, not crushed
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 a cayenne pepper, whole
2 tomato vines
1 can of quality tomatoes, chopped
1/2-1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

Start by warming up the oil and throw in the dry herbs, the garlic and the cayenne. Stir constantly for 1 minute. You want to heat up the spices, not burn them.

Add the tomato and the vine. I usually freeze the stalks whenever I buy tomatoes on the vine. There is so much flavour in the vine, but apparently they contain a very small amount of a poisonous alkaloid called tomatine. However, the amount should be so small that it is virtually harmless. But just in case you are pregnant, best to avoid this step. I then cook it in a preasure cooker for 10 minutes. I guess you can also slow cook it at a low heat for longer.

Then, remove the vines and blend the sauce.

Add sherry vinegar to taste (depends on how sour the tomatoes are). Add the sugar and taste for salt.

Let it cool off before spreading it onto your pizza.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Quick Butter/Flour Dumplings

This is just more like a quick idea than an actual recipe. I was making a simple stew yesterday and was kind of short on veggies to add to the dish, so I remembered these flour dumplings people used to make as a filler. I don't know if it was during war time, recession or whatever, but I thought 'why no give them a try'. It's really simple, cheap and not at all as floury as I expected. You need 2 parts flour (I mixed half corn flour/half wheat flour) to one part butter, some salt and pepper, a splash of water and that's it.

Mix the flour with salt and pepper and the butter until it has a sand-like texture. I wizzed it quickly in my foodprocessor.

Add a bit of water until it starts binding together. I used perhaps 1/2 dl. Put it on the table.

Roll it into a sausage, cut it into small lumps and shape them into balls. I'm sure that if you have children, they will love to help you with this.

Make sure there is plenty of liquid in the stew as the dumplings do absorb quite a bit. Boil them for about half an hour. Make sure they are fully submerged.

Final result...

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Coconut and Lime Ice Cream

It's summer and the temperatures are finally on the rise after a long and wet spring. And with the sun comes the craving for ice cream. I've bought a motorised ice cream churner and is thus set for whatever may come my way. Last year I posted various recipes for home made ice cream (banana, strawberry, vanilla, cheese cake and a fail attempt at mint flavour) and now I'm back with a more exotic flavour: Lime and coconut. It's really simple and sooo refreshing. You should give it a try.
1 can of coconut milk
1 cup of sugar
Juice of 2 limes + the zest of one of them
Pinch of salt

Slowly heat up the can of coconut milk, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the lime juice and the grated zest of one of them. Let it cool down and then place it in the freezer for 1 hour.
When the mixture is really cold (almost freezing) add it to your ice cream maker. If it's not cold enough it will take a long time to make. Churn until it has the consistency of a sorbet and transfer it to a container. Freeze further to harden the ice cream.

Here's the final result. It get's quite hard in my freezer, so I needed to take it out 10-20 minutes before serving. Hope you enjoy it.