Cheddar & Caramelised Red Onion Tear & Share Bread

First time making this and I absolutely love it! The dough is made with 1/3 white flour, 2/3 wholemeal flour and seasoned with rosemary and thyme. Perfect to take on a lunchtime picnic which I intend to do tomorrow. Recipe below!

Ingredients:

500g strong bread flour (use any combination of wholemeal and white but don’t use 100% wholemeal as it makes too dense a loaf! 50:50 is usually pretty good)
7g sachet fast acting yeast
1 tsp salt
325ml lukewarm water
2 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
2 large red onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp sugar
Fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped
100g cheddar, grated

Method:

In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil and the knob of butter, add the sliced onions, chopped fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar and sugar then stir around until all the onions are coated, turn the heat down and let them gently cook for at least 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid the onions sticking.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the flours, yeast and salt with the lukewarm water and remaining tbsp of oil. Turn out onto an oiled surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until soft and smooth. If using wholemeal flour it will need a bit more kneading.

Grease a large bowl with oil, place the dough in it, cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and set aside to prove for at least 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Take a roasting tin or large ovenproof casserole dish and oil it very generously, line with greaseproof paper and set aside.

After your dough has had its first prove, oil a large work surface and turn the dough out onto this. Using your hands, spread the dough out to form a thin, rough rectangle.

Take your caramelised onion and tip it onto the dough rectangle and evenly spread it out covering the entire surface, then sprinkle on the grated cheese, followed by some salt and pepper.

Carefully roll the dough up from the long edge like a Swiss roll, creating a long roll of dough and onions, then cut this into sections, each one roughly 3inches wide and place these cut side up into your oiled roasting tin or dish.

Cover with oiled cling film and set aside to prove for 30 minutes and turn your oven on and set to 200C.

After 30 mins, once the dough balls have proved and increased in size, remove the cling film and place the bread into the oven for 10 minutes on 200C and then a further 20 minutes on 180C.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool until just warm before taking out of the tin / dish, tearing and eating!

Sunny salads

Sunny warm weather always makes me crave big cold colourful salads like this one.

Salmon Niçoise: baked salmon fillet and a hard boiled egg served on a bed of baby spinach with tomatoes, cucumber, green beans, olives, red pepper, fresh parsley, a lemon and olive oil dressing and a sprinkling of seeds. Deliciously fresh and just what my body needed!

Savoury Pudding

First blog post on the site for a while!

Used up a pack of slightly stale wholemeal rolls tonight in a savoury bread and butter pudding, flavoured with sundried tomatoes, basil, pine nuts and parmesan. Really nice on its own with some salad for a simple veggie meal. Here are a few images of the steps, and the recipe instructions!

Ingredients:
4 wholemeal rolls, sliced and buttered then cut in half
1/2 jar sundried tomatoes
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 bunch fresh basil (15g)
300ml double cream
200ml milk
75g parmesan
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper
3 eggs
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Olive oil
2 tbsp breadcrumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 180C fan. Grease a baking dish then line up the buttered roll halves into the dish.
  2. Make the custard by bringing the milk and cream to the boil in a medium saucepan. Set to one side to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a bowl with the mustard and paprika, then mix into the milk and cream. Season then grate in most of the parmesan.
  4. Put the sundried tomatoes, basil leaves, capers and pine nuts in between the bread roll slices.
  5. Pour over the custard until all of the bread is fully covered. Push down slightly then leave it to soak for 15 minutes.
  6. Scatter over the breadcrumbs, parsley and rest of the parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes until set and golden on top.
  7. Leave for about 10 minutes before serving with a fresh green salad.

Savoury treats

Brought these beauties in for my colleagues today – Feta, Spinach & Pine Nut Parcels. Recipe below 👇🏻

4 sheets filo pastry
2 tbsp butter, melted
75g feta, crumbled
150g baby spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 red chilli, de-seeded & finely chopped
25g parmesan, grated
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp fresh parsley
25g toasted pine nuts

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease a large baking tray with butter.
  2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion, garlic and chilli until really soft.
  3. Add the paprika, oregano and cinnamon and cook out for a couple of minutes, then add the spinach and cook until wilted.
  4. Strain over a sieve to get rid of any excess moisture. Set aside to cool.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the lemon zest with the pine nuts, parsley, parmesan and feta. Tip in the spinach and onion mixture and combine everything thoroughly.
  6. One at a time, take a sheet of filo pastry and cut into two long strips. Keep the rest of the filo covered to avoid it drying out.
  7. Brush each with melted butter. Put 1 tbsp of filling at one end then fold over to form a neat parcel, tucking in the edges. Brush with more butter to seal everything in.
  8. Repeat with all of the filo until you have used all of the filling. Place the parcels on the baking tray and cook in the oven for around 20 minutes until golden and crisp. They will be a little soft due to the moist filling but will firm up once cooled. Cut each parcel in half to serve. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Private dinner party

Last night’s supper club for a local customer in Chester was a great success. I arrived at my lady’s house mid afternoon to finish cooking and set up, then served the guests their starters and mains before leaving them to it with the desserts available for them to help themselves to! I had very nice feedback when I was there, and it was a pleasure for me to provide dinner for such lovely people.