Showing posts with label cravings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cravings. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Obsession - Pretzel Rolls

Pretzel Rolls. If you are like me and love nothing more than sitting down to freshly baked bread, still warm from the oven , smeared with butter - then these two words are going to change your life. One of the sponsors of the Sweet Escape retreat was LaBriola bakery, and they gave Alejandra (and hence us) a whole bunch of pretzel rolls. And they were good. Addictively good. Can't eat just one good. When I got home, I immediately googled recipes for pretzel rolls, needing them in my life. I've made these twice now and love them. They're not quite as good as the La Briola ones, but they are definitely an adequate at-home substitute! Both batches were gobbled up by my guests pretty quickly, so that's a fairly good indication of yumminess.

The first time I made them, I made the dough in a stand mixer that is woefully poor at actually mixing more than the small centre of the bowl where the blade sits and had to knead the rest in by hand. I can't wait til I finally get around to saving enough for a KitchenAid! The second time I made them, I used a breadmaker to mix the dough. This method worked well, but the dough ended up a bit sticky, so I needed hand-knead in some extra flour. Until I get my KitchenAid, I will be sticking with the breadmaker method, and checking earlier on to see if the dough is sticky. If you have a good stand mixer, then that will work.

As I said, these are perfect with just some butter, but also great as slider buns. Let's face it - any time you need a bun these are perfect. I realised I forgot to take a photo of them sliced up with said butter or fillings - but I was too busy eating them. Maybe next time, I'll pop it on instagram

Pretzel Rolls
adapted from here

1 1/2 cups warm water (as hot as your tap gets)
1 tbsp dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
4 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp melted butter
1 beaten egg for glazing

8 cups water
1/4 cup bicarb soda

Start by melting the butter, and setting aside to cool slightly.

Pour the warm water, sugar and yeast into the bowl of the breadmaker, stirring together. Leave it to sit for about 10 minutes until it's foamy.

Add the flour, salt and butter, then set the breadmaker on the dough setting. Watch as it comes together, and once it's all combined (about 10 minutes into kneading for mine), gently and safely touch the dough to see if it's 'sticky' to the touch. If it is, add a tbsp of flour at a time until it's not sticky. I added an extra 4 tbsp to mine.

Once the dough is a good consistency, leave the dough setting to finish and it will do it's first rise in the bowl of the machine.

For standmixer, follow the breadmaker instructions as above up until the rise - it'll need around 5-10 minutes of kneading time. Then cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm position for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.

Lightly flour your work surface and drop the ball of rised dough out onto it. Knead lightly into a flatter disc and cut into 16 equal pieces for slider sized buns. Take each piece and roll around in both hands, so you have a smooth ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Repear with all the pieces of dough, leaving room on the tray for them to rise again. Place in a warm spot 30mins to an hour. They won't quite double again, but will look puffier.

Now it's time to prepare for baking! Preheat oven to 225C. Place the water and bicarb soda into a large pot and bring to a simmer. Beat the egg for the glaze.

Carefully slide each roll "flat" side down into the poaching water, let it sit for 30 seconds, flip it over and let it sit "round" side in the water for another 30 seconds. Flip it back over and fish it out with a slotted spoon and pop it back on the baking sheet, flat side down.

Brush each poached roll with the egg wash and slash a deepish line across the middle with a knife (if desired, you can sprinkle salt on top, too).

Bake the rolls in the oven for 15-20 minutes, rotating trays half-way through, so the rolls are an even golden brown and sound hollow when you tap the base. Allow to cool slightly before eating. Best served warm!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Food Inspiration - Once Upon a Time with Beef Pibil

Food inspiration can come from absolutely anywhere. Have you seen "Once Upon a Time in Mexico"? It's got Johnny Depp in it, of course you have! In it, his character says that he orders Puerco Pibil in every dive he goes to in Mexico, ordering it with tequila and lime. There's a sort of pivotal point he makes in relation to the dish, which I won't go into on the off-chance that you haven't seen it. But consequently, the dish is deemed significant enough for the recipe to be included on the DVD. Awesome, right?

Knowing my husband's love of food & tequila matching, I surprised him one day around 5 years ago by making this slow-roasted pork dish. Well, as close as I could (I couldn't find annatto seeds or banana leaves). It was pretty darn good. It's a pretty specific hot/citrussy flavour that both of us end up craving from time to time. You know something I realised just not - a lot of my food cravings are things that are either slow-cooked or have ingredients that I don't ordinarily have on hand - convenient :/). My husband has to work on public holidays, so consequently I often end up making slow-cooked or complicated dishes on these days. So I have time to make them and he gets to come home to something awesome. Win-win!

Last public holiday, I decided two things. I was *finally* going to make my own tortillas. This was something I was putting off until weekends because the idea seemed time consuming - but then our weekends were so full that it still never happened. I am absolutely addicted to tacos at the moment, so it just makes sense for me to make my own tortillas. And two, I wanted to make Puerco Pibil to go in those tacos. With tequila and lime on the side. I didn't have any pork in the house, but i did have a big lump of beef. I thought that beef would stand up to the flavours just as well. So, Beef Pibil? I chucked it all in the slow cooker, made some fresh guacamole, a fresh tomato and nectarine salsa to kick in some sweetness, a few crispy veges in my own homemade corn tortillas. Now, who wouldn't want to come home from a hard day's work to eat that?

Beef Pibil
1.5kg beef gerello
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole cloves
8 whole allspice berries
1 tbsp salt
2 green chillis, finely diced
2 jalapeno chillis, finely diced
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
8 garlic cloves
juice of 5 lemons
shot of tequila (I use a reposado for cooking)
half tin black beans - optional

Cut the beef up into chunky dice, or i just sliced into fat rings that would be just submerged in the braising liquid. Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle. Mix all the liquids together in a bowl, stir the spices in.

Throw the beef and braising liquid into your slow cooker, then cook on high for 4 hours, turning occasionally. When the beef is tender, use two forks to shred, then continue cooking for an extra half hour with the lid off to cook off some of the liquid. Add the black beans, if you're using them.

Tomato & Nectarine Salsa
2 large, ripe tomatos
2 small, ripe nectarines
splash of red wine liqueur vinegar
hot sauce to taste
chopped coriander
chopped basil
chopped flat leaf parsley

Everything here is basically to taste, chop it up, mix it up. Let it rest for half an hour or so for the flavours to infuse while you make the tortillas.

Corn Tortillas

As per the recipe in this book, bought for me by the lovely Jasmine  
3 cups tortilla flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups warm water

Mix the flour and salt together, add the water and mix with your hands, kneading it to become a firm dough. This is only a minute or so. The dough should be slightly sticky, and leave a light film on your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.

Take small balls of dough (around 2 tbsps) , roll out disc-like between two sheets of baking paper. Try make it as even thickness as possible.

In a frypan heated to medium, carefully place the tortilla onto the pan. Flip over after around 30 seconds, then again after 30 seconds. Both sides should be slightly coloured. Put on a plate and cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm.

Repeat with all the dough.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Vegetarian Recipes Improved By Bacon - Stuffed Pumpkin

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get really specific cravings. I'll be sitting watching tv and really want avocado and vegemite on rye toast. Or I'll be reading and want a Corona with a splash of Creole bitters. Or sitting at work imagining a jambalaya just like I had in San Francisco 5 years ago. Or that dish that I made up a few months back that would be perfect right now. In my introduction post, I sort of forgot to say why I decided to start up this blog.  I told you a bit about who I was and where I was coming from, but not why I came to be here, doing this.

Something like this is always based on lots of reasons - wanting a creative outlet, showing off my mad skills in the kitchen (ha!) and giving back to a source that has inspired me so often are all up there. But the number one reason is because I need to have a reason to write down my recipes and what I cook. I'm a bit scatty in the kitchen, I find it difficult to follow a recipe exactly. I like to consider it 'experimental', because that makes it sound like a good thing. I change the recipe bassed on what my mouth feels like it wants, what I have stocked in the house and crazy ideas of what just might work. I can be disappointing to realise that the thing I am craving, I can't replicate exactly. I'm still a little fly-by-the-seat-of-my-apron, so most of my measurements will be a little guesstimated (mainly to save on dishes), but generally close enough is good enough.

And speaking of cravings, last night I wanted roast pumpkin. And bacon. I had bought the cutest ever baby butternuts earlier in the week and it conjured up a memory of a stuffed squash recipe I'd seen in the not too distant past. Back when pinterest was full of 'Fall' recipes and I was gearing up for summer. And then that was what I wanted. But with bacon. I was so satisfied with the result that I made sure I wrote it all down. So far, so good!

Stuffed Butternut Pumpkin with Kale, Chipotle and Bacon
serves: 2-4 depending on how hungry everyone is and how big the pumpkins are. I had the cutest little ones.
2 small butternut pumpkins
2 cloves of garlic,cut in half, then lightly squished
2 chipotle chillis, cut in half

1/2 cup cooked millet
3 rashers bacon

2 shallots, minced
1 celery stalk, small dice
1 carrot, peeled and small dice
2 bay leaves
10 or so coriander seeds
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried sage
splash of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

3 leaves kale, finely shredded
3 sprigs parsley, leaves chopped fine

1/4 cup pepitas
Parmesan cheese – a few shreds on top of each half.
Pepper (I used lemon pepper – get the no added salt type)
Preheat the oven to 180C.

When I was making the millet for this, I cooked a whole big batch, because I needed some for another recipe. But generally I use a 1:2 millet:water ratio, bring to the boil, simmer for about 10 minutes, then turn off and leave the lid on for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork to separate the grains.

Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the smashed garlic cloves and chipotle peppers on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover them with the hollow of the pumpkins. Roast in the oven and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Flip the butternuts, and spoon a bit of the cooked flesh out to make a bit more of a hole for the stuffing . Leave a decent pumpkin lining still. Finely dice the chipotle and garlic from beneath the pumpkin. Set it all aside.

While the pumpkin is in the oven, dice the bacon small, and chuck in a medium heat pan with tallish sides. As it releases some of it’s fat as oil into the pan, chuck the shallots and bay leaves in and give a good stir. Once the bacon is a bit crispy and the shallots are softened, add the carrots and celery. Cook these for about 5 minutes and then add the coriander seeds, thyme and sage. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and scrape the bacon bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the parsley and kale, swirling around until the kale wilts a little. Add the millet and water and mix around to ensure it’s all fully incorporated. Cook until the water has evaporated. Add the pumpkin flesh you removed earlier. Chop the chipotles and garlic from beneath the pumpkin, mix it all in well.

Change the oven to grill. Fill the pumpkin hollows with as much stuffing as you can, pop some pepitas on top, and as much parmesan as you desire – I only put a tiny bit. Just enough to add flavor and that crispy/melty crunch that parmesan gets. Top with lemon pepper, then grill until cheese is melty and pepitas are toasted.