Tag Archives: Sunday

Bring Some Excitement Into Your Life! Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Seed Bread

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If you are bored of your everyday bread, if the thought of yet another white sliced loaf makes you want to scream, if you are crying out for something to break the lunchtime sandwiches tedium… Then this is the bread for you.

Why should this be the answer to your problems, you may ask? Well, not only does it look lovely, with its rich golden colour dotted with tempting pumpkin seeds, but this bread also has the advantage of partnering equally well with sweet or savoury toppings. I am pointing this out because sadly it isn’t the case with a lot of other speciality breads (onion bread with jam, anyone? ) so it is perfect for busy households where the same loaf needs to be used for toast at breakfast and to make sandwiches to take to work.

Don’t like sweet potato? Or pumpkin seeds? No problem. This works equally well with the same amount of potato, pumpkin or squash, and you can use sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.

You will also be pleased to know that this lovely bread is also rather good for you, with its vegetable goodness and healthy pumpkin seeds.

So, to sum up: this bread is good-looking, versatile, tasty, and healthy.

It will change your life.

Bake it.

You will need:

250 g sweet potato, cooked then mashed

1 x 7g sachet dried yeast

350 g strong white flour

110 g pumpkin seeds

10 g salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

250 ml warm water

Method:

In  a large bowl, mix the sweet potato, flour, yeast, salt, pumpkin seeds and olive oil. Gradually add the water to form a consistent dough (you may need a little bit more or less water), then knead for about 10 min until smooth and soft.wpid-20140209_140641.jpg

If using a mixer, knead with the dough hook for 5-10 min.

Shape the dough into a ball and leave to rest, covered, for 1 to 2 h or until well-risen.wpid-20140209_144329.jpg

Press down gently with your fingertips to deflate the dough, then either shape into a ball again on a floured baking sheet, or fill a lightly oiled 900 g loaf tin. Cover and leave to rise again for 30-45 min.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C/ fan 200C/ gas 8. Bake the bread for 25-30 min until dark golden (the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom).

Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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Filed under Bakes, Bread, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Lemon and Raspberries Layer Cake

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I made this for Mr Greedy Frog’s birthday. We gathered a few friends and relatives and had a lovely, relaxed barbecue in our garden. This cake was the perfect conclusion to the meal: it is special enough to be a Birthday cake, yet it isn’t too fussy. And it is also very easy to make, which is always a bonus when you are entertaining. I made the sponge the night before, then made the filling and assembled the cake on the day. Easy, peasy!

You will need:

For the sponge:

225 g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

200 g caster sugar

200 g butter

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp milk

Zest 1 lemon

For the filling and topping:

400 g medium-fat soft cheese

Zest and juice 1 lemon

100 g icing sugar + 1 tbsp for dusting

4 tbsp lemon curd

200 g raspberries

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4. Line a deep, well-greased 18cm round tin.

Put all the ingredients except the milk into a large bowl and whisk until well combined (or use a stand mixer). Add the milk and gently stir it through.

Pour the batter into the tin, and bake for 50 to 60 min or until a skewer comes out clean.  Cool in the tin for 10 min, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

When the cake has cooled down, make the filling. Beat the cream cheese, zest, juice and 100 g icing sugar until smooth. Reserve.

Cut the sponge into 3 layers of equal thickness. Spread the bottom layer with a third of the filling, top with the middle layer and more filling, then the top layer. Spread the remaining filling over the top of the cake, dollop the lemon curd all over, and finish with the raspberries. Dust with icing sugar.
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Filed under Bakes, Cakes

Algerian Semolina Bread (Khobz el Dar)

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My father is Algerian; his family emigrated to France when he was a toddler, along with other tens of thousands of their countrymen in search of a better life.

My grandmother’s cooking was said to be excellent, even though food was scarce and she had a lot of mouths to feed with very little money. She sadly passed away shortly before I was born so I never got to try her food, but my father has been quite successful in re-creating some of her dishes. Her recipes revolved around a few North African staples like semolina, which is cheap and nourishing. It is also surprisingly versatile: it can be used to make sweet pastry, or steamed and served as part of “couscous”, or made into bread like here.

Baking, however, is not among my father’s skills set, so he never attempted to make this bread himself. Instead, he would buy it, along with delicious pastries, from the Algerian butcher’s (the butcher’s wife and mother would bake a load of bread and pastries to sell in the shop, usually during religious festivals).

When my aunt offered to show me how to make this bread,  I jumped at the chance. I was surprised at how easy it was, and was mesmerised by the transformation of semolina into a smooth dough. This is my aunt’s recipe; every family will have a slightly different version of this bread (some recipes call for part-wheat flour, part-semolina, some omit the seeds) so feel free to experiment and add your own touch!

This bread is at its best on the day it is made, but will keep rather well for 2-3 days if you wrap it tightly in foil. Don’t worry if it seems a bit drier on the second day, because it will then be delicious lightly toasted and served with either cold meats or cheese. It is absolutely sensational with butter and jam, too! Any slightly stale leftovers can be turned into breadcrumbs, to make the crispiest chicken nuggets!

You will need:

750 g semolina flour
1 tsp salt
7 tbsp sunflower oil
250 to 300 ml water
20 g fresh yeast (or 10 g dried yeast)
2 tsp warm milk
2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp nigella seeds (aka black onion seeds)
1 egg, beaten, for glazing

Method:

In a large bowl, combine the semolina and salt, then add the oil and mix with your hands so the oil is evenly distributed.

Gradually add the water, mixing with your hands, until you have a slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a large wooden board and knead for a few minutes until the dough starts to feel smoother.

In a small bowl or cup, mix the yeast and milk to a paste.

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Add the sesame and nigella seeds to your dough and knead to distribute. With your fingers, create a small hollow in the dough then pour in the yeast and milk mix, and knead for about 10 min, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a disc 2 to 3 cm thick, then cover with a thick cloth and leave to prove somewhere warm for 1 to 2 h.

Preheat your oven to 220º C/ 200º C fan/ Gas 7. Sprinkle a non-stick baking sheet with semolina.

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Gently transfer the risen dough to the baking sheet, and with your thumb create a hole in the centre of the disc, going all the way through. Brush the top with the beaten egg, and bake for about 35 min, or until golden brown on top, and you get a hollow sound when tapping the bottom.
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Filed under Bakes, Bread, Breakfast

Cold Weather: 0, Greedy Frog: 1! Slow-cooked Beef and Dumplings

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I came back from visiting my family in France with, among other goodies, a new, huge, heavy cast-iron pan. I had been coveting one such pan for a very long time, but the price tag meant that I couldn’t afford one; not unless I defaulted on my mortgage payments, that is. My amazing parents, however, decided to buy one for me as an early Christmas present (have I mentioned they are amazing?), and it is fair to say that I have rarely been as excited as I was when I opened the box.

I know some of you might think that I am pretty pathetic, getting all excited over a pan like this, but I don’t care what you think, because I’VE GOT A NEW PAN!!!!

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Well, that’s the gloating neatly out of the way now, so let’s talk a bit about the recipe…

This dish is delicious, a mixture of meltingly tender beef, tasty veg and gravy, and light, fluffy dumplings… It is the ultimate antidote to cold, dark evenings. I like to make a big batch of this on a Sunday, and keep some back for the Monday night; I find it incredibly comforting when it starts getting dark on a Monday afternoon, and with the whole working week still ahead of me, to know that there is a lovely warming meal waiting for me at home that just needs re-heating…

This stew will freeze beautifully (without the dumplings), and any leftover sauce works really well with pasta, especially if you cook the pasta in it. Oh, and it is also very cheap to make!

The dumplings recipe is Jane Grigson’s, from “English Food” (one of the first cookbooks I bought after moving to England, I was very intrigued by the notion of a whole book about English food…).

You will need:

For the stew:

1 kg beef shin, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
2 onions
3 carrots
2 celery sticks
1 leek
4 cloves garlic
250g chestnut mushrooms
10g dried wild mushrooms (I used chanterelles)
1 handful plain flour
salt
pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
25cl red wine
1 tbsp tomato puree
500 ml beef stock
200 ml hot water

For the dumplings:

125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
60g shredded suet (vegetable suet is fine)
Water
1 tbsp chopped herbs of your choice (I used thyme)

Method:

Rehydrate the dried mushrooms in a bowl of hot, freshly boiled water.

Chop the onions, carrots, celery and leek. Quarter the mushrooms. Crush and peel the garlic.
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Season the flour generously with salt, pepper and the oregano. Toss the meat in the flour until evenly covered.

Heat up the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-based lidded pan. Shake any excess flour off the meat, and add to the pan; turn regularly until brown all over.

Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and leek, and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the tomato puree and cook it out, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure all the tasty bits are incorporated in the gravy. Bring to the boil, then add the stock, the rehydrated mushrooms with their water, and top up with hot water if needed (the liquid needs to cover the meat almost completely.

Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to the minimum setting, put the lid on, and leave to simmer gently for about 4 hrs, stirring every so often.

30 min before you are ready to serve, make the dumplings. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and suet in a bowl. Mix with enough water to form a slightly sticky dough. Flour your hands and form into dumplings; I usually make 6 large ones but you could make up to 12 smaller ones.

Check the seasoning of the beef gravy, and add your dumplings to the pan, making sure there is plently of liquid there as they need to be poached. Put the lid back on and cook for another 10 to 20 min, depending on the size of the dumplings. Serve with hot, buttery mash.

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Filed under Mains, Meat dishes

Lime and Sage Roast Chicken

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If I have been a bit quiet lately, it is mostly because I have been spending some time at my parents’ in France, and I have been rather too busy eating what other people had cooked, to be doing any cooking myself…

But I have brought back a few new cake and tart tins, a brand new cast iron pan (it is huge!) and some Valrhona chocolate. And I can’t wait to start experimenting with my new toys!

In the meantime, here is a nice, easy but delicious Sunday recipe.

Have a great day everyone!

You will need:

1 chicken (preferably free-range)
1 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt
Pepper
About 2 tbsp dried sage

Method:

Weigh your chicken, and calculate the cooking time: it should take 20 min per 450 g, plus 10 to 20 min overall. Preheat your oven to 190C/ fan 180/ gas 5.

With strong kitchen scissors, trim off the end of the legs through the joint, and the pointy tip of the wings.

Cut the lime in half, prick the cut side a few times, and put both halves in the chicken cavity. Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper, and add about half the sage.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the rest of the sage.

Roast for the required time. Always check at the end of the cooking time that the chicken is thoroughly cooked: prick the thigh and check that the juices are clear; if there is any hint of pink, put it back in the oven for a few minutes.

Rest the cooked chicken on a large plate under a double sheet of foil, then carve and enjoy!

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Filed under Mains, Meat dishes

Your Sunday Night Hug: Fried Eggs With Potatoes and Peppers

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Do you ever get this Sunday night feeling? You know, at the end of a great, sunny weekend, full of your child’s smiles, and laughter, and walks around the park, good food and good company, and a host of simple, little joys. When you realise this is over, and in the morning, once again, you will don your corporate smile, and matching suit, and make your way to work.

When you get this feeling, you want and need something that will help you make the most out of the small slice of weekend you have left. Something comforting and safe.

This is what this dish is. A little piece of sunny Sunday, a bit of a smile on your plate, an edible hug to help you through the week ahead.

You will need (for 2):

4 eggs
1 green pepper
3 medium potatoes
1/2 onion, finely chopped
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Method:

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. In a non-stick frying pan, heat up enough olive oil to come up to about 5 mm deep. Gently fry the potatoes on a medium heat until cooked, but not crisp.

Meanwhile, de-seed the pepper and dice it. Add it to the pan about 10 min after the potatoes. When cooked, drain the vegetables onto kitchen paper and pour the oil out of the pan, reserving just 1 tbsp.
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Return the pan to the heat with the reserved oil, and gently fry the onion. Add the potatoes and pepper. Spread in an even layer at the bottom of the pan.

Break the eggs over the vegetables, taking care not to break the yolks, and cook to your liking. Season, then serve with crusty bread.image

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Filed under Eggs, Mains, Vegetarian