Sunday, 16 September 2018

Banana Yeast Bread

OK ! this is the bread I am going to make in my diner when I quit my job and do something crazy!

 Makes the BEST French Toast!

This is the French Toast Guy Fieri is going to tell me is money! I am sure it will have a blob of whipped cream on it and some crushed praline nuts on it as well but that's just glamming up for the cameras!

You will need:

  • 3 over ripe bananas
  • 1/2 tsp fine zested orange peel
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp great Extra Virgin buttery mild oil
  • milk (I will explain the amount further in the recipe) -less than 1 cup
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (possibly a bit more or less depending on humidity)
  • 1/2 tsp flaked salt

Step 1: using the bread or paddle attachment- squish bananas in a stand mixer - of course you could do this recipe by hand if you want a workout.

Step 2: add eggs to a liquid measuring cup, whisk with fork. Add orange zest, 2 tbsp of melted butter, olive oil and then fill with milk of your choice until you reach 1 cup on the measure. 

Step 3: add the liquid to the bananas and change to the paddle attachment. 
Step 4: add the yeast and leave for 10 minutes.
Step 5: add flour and salt and mix on slow to incorporate and then on high for at least 3-4 minutes with the dough hook. Turn out onto the counter and hand knead for a few seconds to make sure that the dough is not sticky. This is where you feel the dough and add small sprinkles of additional flour until it no longer sticks to your hands.

Step 5: wash the bowl and butter sides, then coat the soft dough with enough butter so so that the plastic wrap that you will cover the bowl with doesn't stick to the dough if it rises to the top. Leave in a warm place for 2 -2/12 hours. this is a rich bread and you are looking for it to be doubled in size how ever long that takes.

Step 6: turn out the dough from the first proof and gently deflate and roll up to fit into a buttered bread pan. Cover with a buttered or oiled piece of plastic wrap -I just use the one I had on it for the first rise. Leave until doubled again this is only about 1 hour.

Step 7: bake at 350 degrees F 30-45 minutes. If bread appears to be browning too quickly tent with aluminium foil for the last 10-15 minutes.

brushed with a bit of butter !
Great the next day as French Toast (just mix eggs with milk or cream a bit of sugar or honey, soak bread for a minute they fry in some more butter and top with maple syrup,sliced bananas and powdered sugar!! 
Get the coffee you are gonna love this!

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Orange Cardamom Baklava

This is an orange, lemon, cardamom and honey scented baklava. I also use butter and olive oil to brush in between the filo (fee-low not fy-low!) layers.

 You can use all almonds or pistachios however, I prefer half and half.

You will need:

  • 1 box of frozen filo/phyllo dough- thawed in the fridge.
Nut filling
  • 1 lb/454 grams of nuts (pistachios and almonds)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground cardamom (I use a mortar and pestle)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter -melted
  • 1/4 cup buttery mild olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract (optional if you can't find it)
  • 1 tbsp orange finely zested
  • 1 tsp lemon finely zested
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup orange juice (or the juice from a big fat orange) 
  • glass pyrex dish wide enough to fill a sheet of phyllo/filo width -3 qt size or 9x13 -glass is easier to cut on

Step 1: in a food processor pulse almonds and pistachios until rough chop- you don't want to take it too far or it will turn to a nut paste. There can be some larger chunks. If you have a scale weigh the nuts before putting in the food processor.

Step 2: Put the nuts in a large bowl and add, sugar, cinnamon, crushed cardamom. I use the cardamom that is whole in the pod and then remove seeds and crush in the mortar and pestle. You can also buy it ground. Mix to distribute.

Step 3: some boxes have a perfect 24 sheets which can make 3 layers of 8 buttered sheets in between 2 layers of nuts. If your box has more divide into whatever works and if a few get torn no problem - no one will know! I thaw in the fridge over night.

Step 4: butter the glass dish.

Step 5: melt the butter and mix in the olive oil. Get a brush to paint on the butter and oil gently between each layer or filo/phyllo.

Step 6: with a gentle hand paint a light coating on a sheet of filo and then add the next sheet and repeat until you have 8-10 buttered sheets (depending on how many sheets come in your box some have 24 sheets some have 40)

Step 7: if you are doing 2 layers of nuts in between 3 x 8 sheets of buttered filo then divide the nut mixture in half- if you want 3 layers then divide nuts into 3 equal portions. Sprinkle on top and spread evenly.

Step 8: brush another 8 sheets buttered to form the next layer, then add your nuts  and finish with another 8-10 sheets for the top. Make sure the top has a generous coating of butter to finish.

Step 9: carefully with a sharp serrated knife cut all the way through to cut squares or diamond shapes. If your dish has rounded edges you can carefully trim your filo to make it neat in appearance.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30- 35 minutes until browned.

Step 10: while the Baklava is baking make your orange/lemon syrup in a small pan. Add the sugar (mine is Vanilla sugar- I just stick vanilla beans in sugar and leave them for months and keep adding sugar) add honey, orange extract or Fiori Sicilia, orange zest, lemon zest, orange juice and water. Heat to melt sugar and set aside.

Step 11: as soon as you remove the baklava from the oven carefully pour the syrup to cover the entire surface. It will make noise because its hot but that's ok. Make sure to drizzle the syrup all over the entire top. You will think that it is too much liquid but it is not. 
Re-cut the separations one more time while warm.

Let cool, dig in!!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Orange Chocolate Olive Oil Truffles

Dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil is associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile, according to research presented  in 2017 at the ESC Congress.

So of course I had to create a recipe! I just happened to have this really fabulous Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil from California. I have been using this Orange Olive Oil from Bondolio in my donuts and a sweet orange Panettone and now these truffles.

They are so easy to make and how great its this that they are also good for your heart as well as your chocolate SOUL!!

You will need:

  • 8 oz of best quality dark chocolate chopped
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau or other orange flavored liqueur
  • 1/3 cup Orange Olive Oil - I used Bondolio from California
  • a pinch of sea salt -I used Maldon Flaked Sea Salt
  • 1/2 room temperature Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1/3 cup good quality cocoa powder to roll in

Step 1: chop 8 oz of the best quality dark chocolate you can find. The better the quality chocolate the better the truffle. I had a few kinds in my pantry so I chopped them all up as well as a few chocolate chips.

Step 2 : add all ingredients except the Mascarpone cheese and melt in a bowl over a pot of gently boiling hot water.

Step 3: once melted and still warm add the Mascarpone cheese and whisk until smooth.

Step 4: remove from bowl and place in shallow dish. Let chocolate come to room temperature and then place in fridge for 30 minutes to harden. Scoop small balls and roll in your hands to make into neat balls. You may need another small spoon to get the chocolate mixture out of the scoop as it is sticky.

Step 5: sift good quality cocoa powder into another shallow dish and place balls in cocoa- moving bowl to roll and coat. Tap off excess cocoa and place in a pretty dish to serve or place in a candy cup - like a muffin paper cup only smaller.

They are very rich with a beautiful subtle hint of orange from the zest, the oil and the Cointreau. They make a very nice gift or are perfect served with coffee after dinner.