Monday 28 June 2010

Pide – June’s Fresh from the Oven challenge!

This month’s challenge was hosted by Pei Lin, a.k.a Mrs Ergül who can be found here! And the challenge: Pide, a Turkish bread. In fact, Iffet from My Turkish Kitchen explains it well:

Pide is the special Turkish bread for Ramadan. During the holy month of Ramadan, you could see long lines in front of bakeries. Those people wait to have one of these breads to break their fast with it. The smell of pide 'force' you to get one even you don't think about buying it.

I basically stuck to Iffet’s recipe, using a mixer and dough hooks, because, as mentioned, the dough was sticky, but the tip to set your hands really did the trick and stops this! The original recipe used American cups and after looking up several conversion sites, no-one seemed to agree, so I sort of made it up! Below are the original measurements with mine in brackets.


4 cups (to 5 cups) All Purpose Flour (450g-500g plain flour)
1 and 3/4 cups Warm Water (400ml-450ml)
1/2 stick Butter ( melted ) (65g)
1/2 tablespoon Instant Yeast
1 tablespoon Sugar (I’d reduce this to half if I made it again!)
1/2 tablespoon Salt
Black and White Sesame Seeds

In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.
Add the melted butter and warm water into this mixture. I then used a hand mixer with dough hooks to combine for several minutes, until the mixture becomes springy. The dough should be sticky. 

Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and keep it in a warm place to rise to double its size.
Knead the dough again until it is bubble free.
Place parchment paper on a 13" by 10.5" baking tray then cover with the dough. Try to flatten it to cover the surface, and, if your fingers stick, wet them first: A great trick!
With a knife, draw around the edge of the dough, cutting deeply. Then cut into squares, again, ensuring the knife goes nearly all the way through.

Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
Preheat the oven to 350F
Let rise the dough for half an hour in the tin
Bake it for 30 minutes or until it turns light brown
Take the pide out of the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes; cover it with a clean kitchen towel to keep it soft.


This is the first bread I’ve made that actually stays nice and soft and has lots of good air bubbles inside it! I was really impressed with how simple it was, but wouldn't use so much sugar next time. You could even turn it into a focaccia type bread easily by adding chopped sun-dried tomatoes and olives to the mix before you pop it in the tine, and making little dimples by poking your fingers in! Then covering with a drizzle of olive oil before baking.


I served it alongside a bowl of Chorizo, Red Pepper and Tomato pasta, rich and tomatoey with a kick – a perfect summer recipe -  and the bread was beautiful alongside it.


Thanks for finding this one Pei Lin, I’ll definitely be making it again as it was so easy and worked brilliantly. Don’t forget to look at the round-up of all our trials and tribulations with this one at Fresh from the Oven!     

Thursday 24 June 2010

Aubergine Wraps with Mushroom and Tomato stuffing!

This was another Something for the Weekend recipe stolen from Simon Rimmer and is absolutely delicious. It, basically, does what it says!

You’ll need:

2 aubergines, cut into long strips the thickness of a pound coin

2 tbsp vegetable oil

100ml/3½fl oz extra virgin olive oil

250g/9oz button mushrooms, or chestnut mushrooms, halved

1 onion finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tbsp tomato puree

100ml/3½fl oz red wine

100ml/3½fl oz vegetable stock

4 tomatoes chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

200g/7oz buffalo mozzarella torn into pieces

green salad, to serve

To make:

  1. Griddle or grill the slices of aubergine after having brushed with oil. Set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a little of the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through.

  3. Heat a little more of the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.

  4. Add the tomato purée and cook for a further 5-6 minutes, then add the remaining olive oil. Add the wine and stock, bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer for 5-8 minutes.

  5. Stir in the cooked mushrooms, tomatoes and thyme.

  6. Now to make the rolls! Lay out the aubergine and top with a little of the stuffing mixture. Roll nad secure with cocktail sticks.

  7. Preheat the grill to the highest setting.

  8. Lay the aubergine rolls in a baking dish, top with the mozzarella and grill for 1-2 minutes, or until golden-brown. I prepared mine earlier in the day and popped into a hot oven to heat through.


Serve with a green salad.


Ok, it’s a bit phaffy having to griddle the aubergines, then use another pan for the mushrooms, then yet another for the rest, and the OH wasn’t too keen on cleaning all these after! You could remove the mushrooms and use the same pan for the rest, and grill the aubergine slices if you wanted, but some of that delicious burnt griddleness would be lost. It’s up to you, but if you can be bothered with the phaff, and actually remembering to buy aubergines, it’s well worth it!


Monday 21 June 2010

Chorizo, Red Pepper and Tomato Pasta

With sausages too if you’ve got any!


This is definitely one of my every-day, easy, tasty summer dishes as I usually have all the ingredients in the fridge. And if you let it take its time cooking, rather than hurry it along, the flavour improves no end!

You’ll need:

chopped onions

chopped garlic

chopped red pepper

cubed chorizo

sausages, cut into chunks

dried herbs

tomato puree

can of chopped tomatoes , or fresh tomatoes roughly chopped

red wine


salt, pepper and a little sugar


First, fry off the onion in a little oil.

Add the chorizo and chopped sausage and brown until getting crispy.

Add the chopped pepper and soften in the chorizo and sausage fat!

Once the meat is browned and the vegetables softened, add a large splash of red wine whilst on a high heat. Let it bubble quickly, then stir in a spoon of tomato puree. Let this cook out for a couple of minutes so its not bitter, then add the herbs, chopped tomatoes and half a can of water. This way, its the water that evaporates, not the tomatoey sauce, well, that’s what I was told after a cookery course in Italy anyway!

I always sprinkle in a little sugar, just to take the edge of the tomatoes, then salt and pepper. Now’s the time to be patient. You have to let it bubble away gently on a low to medium heat until the sauce starts to thickens and becomes stickier. This should take about 40 minutes, if you can wait that long!

Serve over hot pasta, preferably one with ridges that the sauce can stick to, and top with a mound of grated cheese! You could even go the extra mile and bake some fresh bread to go along side. Look out for this month’s Fresh from the Oven challenge to find a perfect recipe!

Monday 14 June 2010

Jamie’s Tomato and Chorizo Salad

I’ve been desperate to try this recipe for ages and despite the ingredients list being pretty short and everyday items, I still hadn’t got round to it. So, with several spring lamb cutlets from Allen's, and the requisite items, I finally began the making! Easy and quick, with beautiful, fresh ingredients; you really couldn't ask for a more summery accompaniment!


You need:

chorizo sausage (raw)

ripe tomatoes – roughly chopped

cherry tomatoes, halved

spring onions or shallots

salt and pepper

olive oil

sherry vinegar (though I used red wine)

fresh flat-leaved parsley


I haven’t included quantities as I feel it really is a ‘throw it all in’ type salad so use the quantities you fancy! It’s basically a combination of ingredients with a vinaigrette dressing, but the flavours combine so well, you can’t go wrong!

Fry the slice chorizo with olive oil. Stir and   leave to crisp while you prepare your tomatoes and spring onions.

Put them into a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper, olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley, toss together, and leave to the side. I actually left this overnight and the flavours infused lovelyly!

If the chorizo is getting crispy and fatty (in a good way!), add you sliced garlic. As soon as you can smell it, and before it burns, (a fine line, I can tell you) remove the pan from the heat and add a splash of vinegar to stop the cooking process. Spoon the sausage and its oil over the tomatoes.


Toss and serve immediately. while the chorizo is still hot. Jamie suggests you serve with some nuggets of goats’ cheese and a few slices of pata negra ham, or do what I did and use as a summery salad to accompany cooked or barbequed meat! Perfect for a summer’s day!

Sunday 13 June 2010

World Cup Cooking Disaster!


The thing is, Heston made it look so easy. He uses fructose and dry ice (neither of which were freely available chez moi) to create a delicious looking raspberry sorbet and devised white chocolate tubes, coating them easily without sticky, chocolaty fingers that burn when the heated cocoa butter drips down the wrong side of the tube. I can’t find a cropped version of him just making the tubes, but you can find the episode it’s from here: Baked Alaska



I began by asking my Twitter friends if anyone had a good recipe for raspberry sorbet. Having left my brain in bed that morning, it soon became obvious that a sugar syrup and raspberries were all I would really need. Thanks go to goodshoeday and jorsodoni for that! I don’t have an ice-cream maker so after mixing fairly equal quantities of frozen ‘from the garden’ raspberries and sugar syrup, (I used 500g raspberries, 200g caster sugar, 150ml water and a good splosh of raspberry liqueur) I strained it though a sieve, pushing the pulpy bits through too, and popped into the freezer, mixing it every half an hour or so. It came out beautifully, if a little squidgy – perhaps I over mixed and didn’t give it enough standing time to actually chill properly – but it did taste delicious!

For the tubes, I simply melted white cooking chocolate over hot water (not boiling, and don’t let any water get in there or it’ll turn grainy very quickly!). I made some tubes from acetate plastic, then attempted to pour the chocolate inside each one…there are no photos of this stage, surprisingly, as my hands were covered in the mixture. It certainly wasn’t as easy as Heston made it look. They did, however, cool brilliantly in the fridge and look good when I unwrapped them, after filling with the raspberry sorbet: I spooned the sorbet into a freezer bag, cut the corner off and used this as a piping bag to fill each tube.


I wanted an England theme, it being the first of our matches, and all that, to them, so used a little of the raspberry sorbet mixture, unfrozen, to draw St George’s cross on the top.

We watched the match with friends and Angela kindly made a fantastic curry. All other guests obviously didn’t talk to each other as we each brought a pudding! I also made a Banoffee pie, while Alex made a scrummy pavlova and Jo opted for a chocolate, orange and chilli marble cake! Everyone’s looked and tasted good, and although my Raspberry Sorbet White Chocolate Tubes tasted good…well, you can see how they turned out! Messy, sticky and ugly! Looking like something from a vampire horror flick. So although not suitable for a posh dinner party, or indeed, after watching the match with friends, they would be perfect for Halloween!

Sunday 6 June 2010

The Hawksmoor – The best steak in town?

It had been promised so. Rumours throughout the foodie land say that this is the one place for steak in London. Well, they actually say it’s the one place for burger in London, made from said steak…nevertheless, I was a little over excited as we made our way through the fading summer evening sunshine to lose our Hawksmoor virginity: I think I must be one of the last foodies in the South-East of England to do so, but following the trend has never been my thing!

A friendly welcome greeted us, and we were taken through the ‘font room’, which was open, light and airy to the rather darker, dimmer area at the back of the restaurant. The atmosphere was not, however, any less amiable and we quickly ascertained that the choice of sizes of steaks was from the chalkboard on the wall, and ranged from 750g to 1.1kg (just how big is that, we wondered…well, a pack of mince is 500g so we compared it to that!)

It took us less than 3 minutes to decide on food and wine, and after several recommendations from other Tweeps, we chose a 750g prime rib of beef on the bone, triple cooked chips, macaroni cheese, fried eggs and a portion of bone marrow, all to share. For starters, I opted for Yorkshire potted beef while the OH went for Tamworth Belly Ribs.











It began well: the water glasses were filled, the wine (a delicious £26 Rioja) poured and the starters polished off rather quickly. Sticky and full of meat, the ribs were incredibly tasty, and my potted beef was presented in its own little pot smeared over with butter and crispy bread. If anything, it lacked a little seasoning, something which wasn’t going to be repeated in the rest of the meal.




The piece de la resistance arrived in good time and looked delicious, just cooked to rare (if a little on the side of medium) and in a hot skillet. Side orders appeared simultaneously and we eagerly dug in.



As expected, the quality of the steak was superb and the smokiness and charring from the grill really expanded the flavours. Served in a little tin, the chips were also done to perfection; crispy on the outside while soft in the middle. As for the other side dishes, well, I don’t want to say it, but we were underwhelmed. Very.


The bone marrow was, admittedly, our own fault. We’d both been wanting to try it for ages, and, now the opportunity presented itself, we took it. It tasted very nice, but I couldn’t get over the jelly fat texture of it. As for the macaroni cheese and fried eggs…(takes a deep breath)…they were both hugely over-salted. And the mac cheese was also incredibly over-cooked and stodgy. I know you come to The Hawksmoor for the steak, and quite rightly so. Perhaps we should have stuck to chips and a green salad, but seasoning and cooking pasta is so easy to get right, I felt it let the meal as a whole down. A shame after all the hype I’d heard.

Would I return? Yes: I’d love to try the burger on the brunch menu, but would definitely stick to salad and chips. No extras.


157 Commercial Street
London E1 6BJ
020 7247 7392


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