Courgette boregi with yoghurt pastry

 Bread & baking, Dairy, Recipes, Seasons, Vegetable  Comments Off on Courgette boregi with yoghurt pastry
Jul 272017
 

Courgette boregi with yoghurt pastry

These are delightful warm, or at room temperature. They freeze well and are ideal for a snack, main meal, picnic or lunch. After I posted the picture on Instagram, I had lots of requests for the recipe. So I thought I’d pop it on the blog.

The recipe is from Arto der Haroutunian’s classic book: Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East which I highly recommend.

If you click on the picture below, you’ll be able to download a pdf version of the recipe.

Click link to download pdf version

My thoughts and variations

I recommend that you wrap the pastry in cling film or baking parchment and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. The pastry is quite sticky and difficult to deal with at room temperature.

You can re roll the cutting scraps of the pastry to make sure you don’t waste any.

We had some pastry left over when all the filling was used. So we rolled it out more thickly (say 3mm or so), cut them into biscuit shapes, pricked them with a fork, glazed with egg and baked for 20/25 minutes. They make excellent cheese biscuits. You could sprinkle the top with some salt flakes or seeds after you glaze them.

I lightly salt the courgettes after grating to help bring out the water so you don’t end up with a soggy filling.

As you can see, I’ve varied the filling ingredients with fresh herbs and added the courgette flowers. Dill, lemon thyme and pine nuts would go well too I think. Have a play with the ingredients while keeping to the ratio of courgette to cheese.

I’ve just remembered I’ve blogged about these before with a sunflower seeds and coriander filling #memoryfail

 Posted by at 10:55
Apr 092017
 

I made these loaves yesterday using kefir as a leaven. I received quite a few questions on Instagram about how I use the grains, so I thought I’d put up this post with some ideas. I’ll also include below the recipe for these particular loaves.

What is kefir?

Kefir is very interesting stuff and very useful.
Milk kefir grains
Here’s a picture of the grains. They feel sort of rubbery – a bit like Copydex when you make it into balls (you -did- do that didn’t you?). They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some big flat discs, some little bobbles.

It’s a very special sort of organism called a ‘SCOBY’: a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts. The bacteria are mostly lactic acid bacteria and these coexist and work together with the yeasts.

The lactic acid bacteria convert sugars into lactic acid and carbon dioxide. The yeasts do the same, producing carbon dioxide and very small amounts of ethanol.

The acidification of the milk means that the curds and whey separate out. As you can see starting below.
Kefir milk drinkHere’s our breakfast drink production. This is about 500ml of milk with the grains. Here the milk has been on the grains for about 5 hours. We strain off the grains in the morning and top up the milk and leave at room temperature. In the winter, we often flavour the milk drink with home-made rose hip or blackberry syrup. The drink is slightly tart and sometimes a little fizzy. The kefir is also great used to make smoothies.

The grains readily multiply. So we either give excess grains to friends or pop them on the compost heap.

It’s the actions of the lactic acid bacteria and the yeasts that mean you can use the kefir to leaven bread. Instead of feeding on the sugars in the milk, they feed on the flour.

Kefir bread recipe

I’ve previously posted about this here. But for these loaves I changed the process slightly. I made plain white bread using Shipton Mill No 4 flour as I wanted to make bacon sandwiches the next morning. White bread is always best for bacon 😉

This makes enough for 2 loaves of approximately 750g each.

Ingredients

Poolish

Live strained kefir 285g
Strong white flour 215g
Date syrup (or honey) 50g

Dough

Poolish from above 550g
Strong white flour 650g
Fine sea salt 15g
Warm water 280g

Method

Start the poolish the afternoon before you want to bake.

Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl you’ll mix the dough in (saves on washing up). Cover with plastic or a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place until the next morning. The date syrup or honey gives the kefir a quick sugar rush to get the leaven started. By the morning, you should see the poolish slightly bubbly.

Then add the other ingredients and knead in your Kenwood Chef or similar for 6 minutes or do it by hand.

Cover again and allow to rest for 2 hours or so. Then fold as I show you in this post for pain de campagne.

Cover and rest for an hour: fold again. And finally cover and rest for another hour and then fold. Cover and rest for an hour.

Divide the dough in two. Shape to your fancy – there’s some shaping tips in a video in the pain de campagne recipe above.

Allow to prove for about a couple of hours. And while this is happening, preheat your oven to 230°C.

Slash the bread artily. Bake the bread for 15 minutes at 230°C with some boiling water in a tray at the bottom. Then take out the tray, turn down the oven to 190°C and bake for a further 30 minutes.

Other uses for kefir

I use the kefir to culture cream to make cultured butter. My recipe for this is here. You can also use the cultured cream like crème fraiche.

If you culture milk/cream until it splits into curds and whey you can make cheese.

Strain the curds through muslin until you achieve your desired consistency. This is like a ricotta/labneh. It’s very good made with goat’s milk.

You can add salt and herbs, chilli or other spices to taste.

If you press the cheese in a strainer or cheese basket (use a cheese press or some heavy weights like a bagged brick or tins) you can make a hard cheese which you can age.

The kefir grains will also ferment other ‘milks’ such as coconut and almond.

If you want to delve deeper into the mysteries of kefir, visit Dom in Australia who is a mine of useful information and bad puns. Here’s his page on Dom’s kefir cheese pages to get you started, but do explore further.

 Posted by at 13:13
Feb 032016
 
Sourdough pain de campagneOver on Instagram, my friend Carla has created something of a stir with her bread. As you can see below, Carla has made beautiful pain de campagne to a recipe I developed using some of the great bakers’ ideas as my inspiration.

 

The smell..the feel..the loud crackling..this is my BFF bread.. thanks @carl_legge 😙

A photo posted by carla (@carla_tomasi) on

Carla & I have both emailed out a few copies of the recipe. But Carla and Samantha @pastafrolla were insistent that I should publish something about it and for me to break my blog hiatus. So here goes…
Continue reading »

 Posted by at 17:07
Mar 312015
 

Carrot top pestoOnce you know how to make carrot top pesto, you’ll never want to waste your carrot ‘greens’ ever again.

My recipe appeared online and then in my book The Permaculture Kitchen. Since then, I’ve seen carrot top pesto used by loads of people in all sorts of creative and scrumptious ways. I thought it’d be good to collect some of those ideas together as a source of inspiration. The recipe for the carrot top pesto aka ‘CTP’ is at the bottom of this post.

How to use carrot top pesto

Bread

Carla Tomasi made these delicious bread sticks with black pepper and CTP spread over the dough before she twisted and baked it. Ideal with drinks and antipasta.
Carla's bread sticksAlso good is the CTP spread on bruschetta or toast with one or more of cheese, olives, veg, anchovies or shellfish.

Pasta

Thane Prince used the CTP to dress penne in this scrummy pasta bake with cherry tomatoes.
Thane's pasta bakeYou can just as easily just mix it through cooked pasta: just leave some of the cooking water in the pasta to help make the ‘sauce’. Or use it with ricotta or mascarpone filled ravioli or other filled pasta. Peas go well in the stuffing.

Vegetable Tart

Francoise Murat spread the CTP over the base of a puff pastry case and filled with tomatoes and delicious vegetables. Just bake till tender.

Easy- spread on puff pastry, add roasted tomatoes (vinegar+sugar+oil), peas +vegies, mozzarella bake 20 mins  = trop trop bon!

Rice and grains

CTP is ideal mixed into risotto or with farro/bulgur and other grains.

Roasted and baked veg

I love CTP spread on all sorts of veg including potatoes, oca, mashua, aubergine, courgettes, carrots (!), parsnips, onions which are then roasted. Use as a filling for that warming baked potato.

Meat, chicken, fish & seafood

CTP is delightful spread on all these to roast, grill or pan fry. Stuff it under the breast skin of a chicken before roasting. Slather on salmon before you grill it. Pop a blob on a juicy steak as you serve it.

Carrots a large bunch

Carrot top pesto recipe

Ingredients

Feel free to scale the recipe to suit what you have available.

It’s important that you use the young, tender carrot tops. The leaves & stalks from larger ones tend to be a bit tough.

100g of young carrot tops (a large bunch)
1 clove of garlic, peeled (you can use more)
50g whole almonds (it doesn’t matter whether they are blanched or not) Hazelnuts would work well too.
50g parmesan, roughly diced
150ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

If you need to, wash the leaves to get rid of any mud and grit. Pop them in a big saucepan over a high heat and pour over a large splash of boiling water. Cover the saucepan and boil for 2-3 minutes until the leaves are just wilted. Strain in a colander and refresh with cold water to stop them cooking. Drain completely and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. If you don’t need to do this, then you’ll get a fresher result.

Dry roast the whole almonds in a heavy based pan or in the microwave until they are nicely browned.

Cut the garlic cloves into slightly smaller pieces which will help them blend evenly.

Put the almonds, garlic and a small amount of the carrot leaves into a food processor. The carrot leaves help the other ingredients process well. Process until the almonds and garlic are finely chopped.

Add the rest of the carrot leaves and process until they are puréed. You’ll probably need to scrape down the sides of the processor a few times to ensure even processing. Add the parmesan cheese and process until well mixed, scraping down if needed.

What you’re going to do next is to add the olive oil to make a fluid paste. Add it gradually, stopping to test consistency and scraping down the sides. The consistency I was after I call ‘falling over’ consistency so that the pesto just falls into the blades of the processor as it turns. So, with the food processor running, gradually add the olive oil until you get your desired consistency.

Then check for seasoning. I added a good grind of black pepper and a couple of pinches of sea salt and processed that in.

Keep in the fridge covered in oil.

 Posted by at 17:09
Apr 092014
 

Ottoman Lamb with Sultan's DelightOne of the easiest ways you can make your meal planning easier, cook more frugally and seasonally is to make a major ingredient go further. Here I show you how I used a £20 joint of local Welsh lamb leg to make three different meals for the three of us.

I’ve cooked a lot of Diana Henry lately. Well, not literally. But I’ve used her new book A Change of Appetite and her 2002 book Crazy Water Pickled Lemons as inspirations. I’m going to review A Change of Appetite in detail soon. Suffice to say, it’s bold, imaginative and may change your views about what to cook and eat.

Roast Ottoman Lamb with Sultan’s Pleasure

Diana has a fab recipe for Ottoman Lamb with Sultan’s Pleasure. This appears here in The Telegraph.

I cooked the dish as per the recipe except I used dry sherry for the red wine (it’s what I had to hand). Also, I didn’t drain off the marinade which was delightfully thick as I made it with full fat Greek yoghurt. I couldn’t bear to throw it with all those lovely flavours in.

I served the dish with wholemeal roti (like chapatis or tortilla wraps – I  made a dozen from my recipe in The Permaculture Kitchen) and fresh Nine Star perennial cauliflower with kale shoots from the garden dressed in a thick anchovy vinaigrette. It was scrummy and felt very decadent. As you can see from the pic above, I served the lamb  slightly pink.

Pulled lamb wraps with sauteed veg

The next day, I had the lamb, six roti, some of the Sultan’s Delight and half the cauliflower (uncooked) left over. I popped the lamb in the oven for another three hours on a low heat, covered with some water in the pan. It cooked so it was falling apart. I sautéed the cauliflower florets with some purple sprouting broccoli and red onion strips.

Nine Star perennial cauliflowerI shredded the lamb and mixed it with some of the roasting juices, and gently reheated the Sultan’s Delight. I blitzed the roti in the microwave for a couple of minutes. We then made up wraps with the shredded lamb on a bed of ‘Delight‘ with the veg on the side. So, so good. We all wanted more, but had no more room. I’d not wasted any ingredients and the meal was ready in a trice.

So now I just had some of the shredded lamb in its juices left.

Lamb with pak choy, flowers and brown rice

I picked some pak choy that was going to flower from the garden along with some turnip tops in the same condition. So I had flowers and some big leaves. I cut the ribs from the pak choy leaves and cut these into chunks. I shredded a couple of carrots and put these with the ribs. I roughly shredded the leaves and put these to one side with the flower tops.

I cooked some wholemeal basmati rice.

I stir fried the carrot shreds with the pak choy ribs, then added the lamb & juices and brought this to a simmer. Then I added the leaves and flowers and covered the pan. I covered this to simmer & steam the leaves and flowers.

I then served the lamb and veg mix on top of the wholemeal rice. Another very quick and frugal meal which was healthy and seasonal.

While you may not have precisely the ingredients I have to hand, I hope this shows how you can use a major ingredient with a little imagination to make the best use of it. Also how you can prepare these follow-on meals quickly to save time in a busy week. And finally, how seasonal veg make a key contribution to your diet.

Would you like to see more of my multi-day meals? Do you have favourites of your own? Please let me know in the comments.

 Posted by at 10:55
Mar 112014
 

Kombucha sourdough bread finished loaves & crumbThis successful experiment could revolutionise my baking. It means that I can bake sourdough bread in 24 hours without the need to keep an active leaven refreshed.

The bread is gloriously moist and chewy as sourdough should be. This has a big malty wholemeal taste with a rich, crisp crust. It’s not at all sharp or tangy, I know I can make a more ‘sour’ loaf if I use an overnight fridge retard to extend the fermentation time.

If you’d like to find out what I did and how to make this bread, please read on.
Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:25
Jan 202014
 

Wine barm bread sliced
It’s funny how things spread.

My twitter pal Jessica read the earlier post on how to use a cider barm to make sourdough bread. Serendipity is a wonderful thing as Jessica was racking wine that day. So Jessica contacted me on Twitter…

Jessica Bread Tweet

And so Jessica did. I’m very grateful to Jessica who sent the pictures she took and the recipe notes for her bread so I may share it more widely. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 17:22
Jan 012014
 

image_2

When I saw on twitter that my Twitter chum Julia Moore had:

Decided adding culture to some of our freshly pressed apples would be one experiment too far

I was intrigued and showed her my Bouza bread beer experiment post. Despite my references to ‘vomit’, Julia changed her mind and took up the challenge.

I’m so pleased Julia did this and her guest post below charts her progress. A second post will show how she used the remains from the cider fermentation to make a cider barm bread.

Julia says:

I hope this little experiment encourages someone else to have an idea and then just have a go 🙂

Precisely the attitude I promote on this blog! To find out more, please read on… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:19
Aug 182013
 

Home made vanilla essence
This is so simple to do, you’ll wonder why you ever spent the money on the shop stuff.

The picture shows my 500ml bottle of vanilla extract. Here’s how I make it…

Method

Take 6 to 8 vanilla pods and split them with a sharp knife, leaving them just attached at one end. Pop them in your cleaned bottle.

Top up the bottle with standard vodka.

Shake when you remember for 6-8 weeks.

When you’ve used about a third to a half, top up with more vodka, shake the bottle.

Uses

  • Use as directed in the recipe (like this courgette cake)
  • In cake, muffins, ice cream, custards and other sweet goods
  • It goes well with chocolate, coconut and coffee
  • It likes spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg
  • It complements chestnuts, hazelnuts and walnuts
  • All kind of soft fruit are improved with it
  • A bottle makes a great present for the foodie/baker in your life

I’ve bought my vanilla pods from Vanilla Mart.

 Posted by at 13:55
Aug 142013
 

Courgette cake

What to do with all those courgettes now that we’re having a summer at last?

Here at Legge Towers, the courgette harvest is ‘extensive’. Not surprising as we have eight plants for the fruit and six for the flowers… And the flower producing plants also produce some fruit too.  So I had a good trawl of the Internet courtesy of our favourite search engine and tweaked things to put together this recipe.

Courgettes help produce a moist, light and gently green-flecked cake. Some spice & orange zest makes the cake warm, zingy & cosy.

The method is an absolute doddle. You can have the ingredients put together in 20 minutes.

Fancy a go? Read on for the recipe…

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 13:40
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