A little ray of sunshine

We usually save this for sunny weekend barbecues in the summer but I have a hankering for it today because I really need some sunshine to blow away the snow! Inspired by the yummy Turkish Pide that we munched every day on holiday one year. It makes for a cracking light bite to wash down with a cold beer in front of the telly, as a side dish or serve with a big salad for a great dinner (one bread will feed two).

 

For the base:

500g Strong white flour
1 x 7g Sachet dried fast action yeast
1/2 tbsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Olive oil
175ml Warm water
150ml Milk

Mix all of the ingredients together and knead well. Put into a warm and cozy place to prove for 1 hour. Divide the dough into quarters, you only need two of these quarters so you might want to shape the spare two into one loaf and allow to rise before baking later. With the two dough portions you are keeping roll them out into ovals, as thin as you can. (3mm is good, just a bit thinner than a pizza base is the aim.) Put onto floured baking trays and bake at Gas 5/190’c for 8-10 minutes. The bread should be bubbling and starting to turn golden. Take it out of the oven and allow to rest for ten minutes. Turn the oven up to Gas 8/230’c.

For the topping:

2 Green chillies
2 Red chillies
8 Spring onions
2-3 Sprigs of thyme
200g Halloumi cheese
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 Lemon
A handful of fresh coriander

Deseed and finely chop the chillies, finely chop the spring onions and Halloumi too. pick the leaves off the thyme sprigs and roughly chop the coriander. In a wok or frying pan heat the oil. Lightly fry the chillies for 1-2 minutes, add in the spring onions and soften. Throw in the Halloumi and the thyme and cook for a further 2 minutes. Cut the lemon into wedges and squeeze in the juice of half. Remove from the pan and spread a thin layer on to each of your part baked breads. Put the breads back into the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until crisp and brown around the edges. Sprinkle with the fresh coriander and serve cut into pieces with lemon wedges.

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Orange squash

Cute little tasty tarts make great party food or instead of individual tarts make one large one and serve with fresh salad for a delicious lunch.

 

Spicy squash tarts

1 Butternut squash, diced
1 Large onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Smoked paprika
1/2 tsp Chilli flakes
Black pepper
1 Pack of shortcrust pastry
300ml Sour cream

Put the squash, onion and spices into a roasting tin and cook in a medium oven – gas 5/180’c for 30 minutes or until the squash has softened.

Once the mixture has cooled use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a mixing bowl and stir in the sour cream.

Cut the pastry to size using a pastry cutter, place in muffin tins and then bake blind for 15 minutes at gas 5/180’c. Set aside to on a wire rack cool down.

When you are ready spoon the squash mix into the pastry cases then pop back into the oven and bake for another 25 minutes.

Serve hot or cold.

Je suis un poisson rouge*

Image: Daniel's Bistro

A mid week trip to Daniel’s Bistro in leith proved the perfect way to brighten up a miserable winters evening. Although Daniel’s was based in our stomping ground, on St Stephen street, we had never ventured to his larger premises at Commercial Quay in Leith.

On arrival we were greeted and seated in the main section of the restaurant by very friendly staff. The decor is your standard bistro fayre of timber and bright walls which is perfectly pleasant, but the overly bright lights let it down a little. A wee twiddle of the dimmer switch would add a little more atmosphere and intimacy.

The menu is extensive with the usual French favourites you might expect – cassoulet, crepes, cheese etc. – and also a regularly changing specials menu with interesting treats. We ordered from a mix of the two menus and selected a particularly lovely bottle of Gewürztraminer, a wine that could definitely do with being on more wine lists! Our starters arrived swiftly, mine a french parma style ham and with alpine cheese and cornichons. Simple and delightful. The lady enjoyed grilled stuffed moules (sans frites!) which were a definite hit. A much stronger (and garlicky) flavour punch than mine but great with the complimentary crusty baguette. Starters a firm success.

The wait for our main courses was just long enough to sit back and digest the starters. As mentioned there are plenty of old favourites on the menu and following the recommendation of Daniel himself I happily tucked into Beouf Bourgignon. It had been a tough choice between this, confit duck or cassoulet. The beef was simply served in a casserole dish piled over boiled new potatoes. The taste was rich and unctuous and the beef literally melting in the mouth – delightful! In a wild departure from the norm my dining partner had ordered polenta with grilled goats cheese – an odd choice given our shared love for meat here at Stovies! The polenta was studded with a selection of veg and topped with gloriously gooey melting goat cheese. Rich yet very, very moreish the dish was particularly hearty for a veggie option. Perhaps one to recreate in the Stovies kitchen…

Having stuffed ourselves quite successfully mulled over another couple of glasses of wine to digest. One of the excellent traits of Daniels was that the staff were more than happy to let us do this, a refreshing change in our over-rushed world. We (eventually) got round to choosing pudding, a gateaux opera with two spoons. It was delicious, just not quite as decadent as we expected, but pleasant nonetheless. A lovely strong coffee helped wash everything down and rounded up a nice evening out. Daniels Bistro – great french fare, as relaxed as any Burgandy bistro and very helpful staff who make everyone feel like a regular.

* This is all I remember of secondary school french. Next time I’ll leave the languages to Mrs Stovies, people look at me a little strangely when I say that to them.

Dinner à deux with wine: £60.00

Daniel’s Bistro, Commercial Quay, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 553 5933

http://www.daniels-bistro.co.uk

I feel like making whoopie!

A fantastic creation of the USA, the whoopee pie, involves two cakes or cookies with creamy goo sandwiched in the middle. This recipe will make twelve delightfully messy morsels.

For the cookie cakes:

150g Plain chocolate
220g Plain flour
110g Soft butter
110g Caster sugar
2 Eggs
1 tbsp Amaretto

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of water or in the microwave, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, add one egg and mix thoroughly before adding the second. Sieve the flour and add to the wet mix. When the flour is completely mixed in add the Amaretto and gradually pour in the melted chocolate whilst stirring. When you have a lovely gooey mix stop mixing and put into the fridge for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to gas 5/190’c. Grease two baking trays. Take the cookie dough out of the fridge and roll into 24 small balls with your hands, each ball will need about 1 heaped tsp of mix. Place onto the baking trays with plenty of space in-between. Bake for 10 minutes, allow to rest and set on the tray for five minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool.

For the filling:

100g Plain chocolate
100ml Whipping cream
25g Soft butter
25g Icing sugar

Melt the chocolate and allow to cool a little. Softly whip the cream – you want it to be thick but not stiff. Keep stirring whilst gradually adding the chocolate. Add the butter and icing sugar and whip until the mis is smooth and glossy.

Spoon one teaspoon of fling onto a cookie and sandwich another on top. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. Enjoy with a cup of tea and remember to lick your fingers!

A triple threat

We eat a lot of houmous. A lot. We do buy some but we also make our own which is much, much better. Here are the secret recipes to our top three.

The method is the same for all three, put the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Green Chilli Houmous

1 Can of chickpeas
The juice of 1 whole lemon
2tbsp Olive oil
1tsp Tahini
2-3 Garlic cloves
3 Pickled green chillies

For a fantastic kick blend 2tbsp olive oil and two small Piri-piri chillies then drizzle over the top.

Coriander and Lime Houmous

1 Can of chickpeas
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
The juice of 1/2 a lime
1-2 Garlic cloves
2tbsp Olive oil
1tsp Tahini
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Salt & pepper

Frijolemole

1 Can of pinto beans, 220g
1/2 Can of chickpeas
The juice of 1/2 a lime
1tbsp Soured Cream
1tbsp Olive oil
1 Garlic clove
Salt and pepper

Feed me Seymore!

Sometimes a fry up just isn’t what you’re after on a Saturday morning but a bowl of cereal seems plain wrong. Here’s a great inbetweener that will fill you up without the grease. Breakfast Bread: it does what it says on the tin.

 

For the dough (makes 2 Breakfast Breads)

500g strong flour
1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 x 7g sachet of dried fast action yeast
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
325ml lukewarm water

For the filling

good homemade tomato sauce (for example 1 can chopped tomatoes, 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tbs balsamic, 1tbs sugar, salt and lots of pepper, simmer for 1h)
200g pancetta (slices or dices – you decide)
small handful of grated good quality cheese (we used some left over Smoked Scamorza from Belhaven)
3 or 4 hard boiled eggs

Mix all your dough ingredients together and set aside in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.

While your dough is proving boil your eggs, you want them just past the soft boiled stage so that they don’t turn into rubber bullets during their second cooking inside the bread. When the eggs are cooled peel them. A nice tip to stop the yolks turning that foosty green colour that haunts scotch eggs up and down this island is to plunge the eggs directly into cold water after boiling as this stops the cooking process.

Fry off your pancetta until it is crispy. If you haven’t got your tomato sauce prepared now would be a good time to make it.

Flour your work surface, turn out your dough and take your hangover out on it. This is known as ‘knocking back’ and is quite therapeutic. Kneed your dough then divide into two.

Roll out one of the halves into a rectangle about 1 cm thick and place onto a floured baking tray, it is important to do this before filling as they can be a pain to move afterwards.

Now the fun part! Spread 3-4 tbsp of your tomato sauce onto the centre of your dough, top with the crispy pancetta, place the eggs evenly along and top with the cheese. Now close up the bread. Take the long sides and wrap them over each other, fold in the ends to enclose the filling. Drizzle with oil and bake in a hot oven (gas 6) for around 20-25 mins but keep an eye on it.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before eating. There you go, a lighter version of bacon and eggs all contained within a sandwich. Goes particularly well with Guinness or Bloody Mary!

YUM.

Chilli very con Carne

The second of our recipes this week to include the Chilli Mix. Enjoy!

The longer you cook this for the better it gets. The chilli powder mix that we posted up a few days ago is complex flavour sensation which grows in heat the more you add in. Adjusting the amount of the spice mix means you can make this as hot or as mild as you like. The recipe here will make a medium to hot chilli to serve four hungry cowboys.

1lb Steak mince
1lb Chuck steak or stewing steak, chopped
1 Small beef bone
1 Pint of beef stock
1 Can pinto beans
1/2 cup Stovies’ chilli mix (click here)
2tsp Habanero or Tabasco sauce
80g Tomato puree
1tbsp Cider vinegar
1tbsp Olive oil
1 Garlic clove, chopped
4 Fresh tomatoes, chopped

Fry off the garlic in the olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients except the tomatoes and beans. Cover and cook over a low heat for 2-3 hours, longer if you can. Half an hour before you are ready to eat add the tomatoes and beans.

Serve with boiled rice and toasted pitta bread. Yeeha!