Fougasse + Beef & Wine Soup

During my holiday staying close to the town of Fougasse, I took it upon myself to try all of the fougasse that I could find. I normally don’t allow myself too much bread at home due to a mild gluten intolerance and a complete incapacity to stop myself eating the whole lot in two days. I was intrigued as to how homemade fougasse (from Rachel Khoo’s ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ would come out compared to the real-thing. The answer was pretty good though I think they put more oil on the outside of the bread that I tried to give it a nice crispy toasted flavour. Fougasse originates from focaccia but is spread out further for the crispiness. As for the beef and wine soup, I’ve just always had an eye on it from the cookbook ‘Two Greedy Italians’ but wasn’t sure how it would work as a vegetarian option. The soup itself was pretty salty using stock and parmesan but it paired very nicely to dip the bread into. As a recommended serving, I would serve a small portion of the soup with the bread as a starter.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 10g dried yeast
  • 250ml tepid water
  • 400g strong white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus extra to brush)
  • 500ml ‘beef’ stock – I used Massel beef flavoured stock which I find has a very convincing beef flavour
  • 250ml white wine
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 50ml double cream
  • 50ml parmesan

Method

1.) Measure out the tepid water into a measuring jug and add the yeast. Leave it to brew for about 10 minutes.

2.) Measure out the flour with the salt, stir the salt into the flour so that when you pour the water on, it doesn’t instantly hit the salt which will kill the yeast.

3.) Mix the yeasty water with the flour. Knead by hand on a floured surface until the dough is soft and smells of yeast or as I did in a stand mixer with a dough hook (5 minutes). The dough will be very soft.

4.) Cover with cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour, then place in the fridge overnight.

5.) Knead the dough for 5 minutes, place back in the bowl, put a damp tea towel on top then leave to rise for 30 minutes.

6.) Split the dough into two and form an oval with each. Cut slashes into the dough like the veins of a leaf.

7.) Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the dough on top. Leave to rise for an hour.

8.) About 15 minutes before the hour is up, preheat the oven to 240 degrees C.

9.) Brush the doughs with olive oil. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 210 degrees C and bake for a further 12 – 15 minutes.

10.) For the soup, measure out the stock and grate the parmesan.

11.) Add the stock and wine to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for 1 minute then turn down the heat.

12.) Measure out the cream and add to the soup with a pinch of cinnamon.

13.) Tip in the parmesan and stir to melt. Serve with pieces of bread.

Galettes

Having just spent a week in Provence, I usually like to try to make some dishes of the local cuisine after I arrive home. I think it’s an attempt to convince myself that I’m still on holiday. Towards the end of the trip, we visited a hilltop village which catered very well to English tourists by selling all sorts of crêpes and this put the idea into my head. The word galette more refers to the shape of the dish so a galette can be savoury – a crêpe made with buckwheat flour (as above) or sweet. The sweet version is kind of like a pie with the ends folded over, usually filled with some sort of fruit. These savoury ones are featured in Rachel Khoo’s ‘Little Paris Kitchen’. The recipe in Rachel Khoo’s book does call to leave the batter overnight but I must admit I wasn’t well prepared enough to do this and it was still very tasty. As a filling you can have whatever you like but I used spinach (in an attempt to reach my 5 a day fruit and veg recommendation), eggs, quorn ham and a selection of french cheese (Reblochon, Brie and my personal favourite Brie de Meaux).

Serves 4 for lunch, 2 for dinner

Ingredients

  • 200g buckwheat flour
  • salt
  • 600ml water
  • butter
  • 1 pack quorn ham
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g cheese (I used a mix of Brie de Meaux and Reblochon)

Method

1.) Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.

2.) Gradually add the water and whisk after each addition until you have a smooth batter (but don’t overwhisk).

3.) Let the mixture refrigerate for an hour minimum or preferably overnight.

4.) When ready to make the galettes, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

5.) On a baking tray, spread out the spinach, places slices of the ham around, tear up the cheese and add blobs everywhere. Move the spinach around so there’s some wells then crack the eggs into there.

6.) Bake in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes.

7.) In the meantime, start making the galettes.

8.) Put a frying pan on a medium heat and add enough butter to melt and cover the pan.

9.) Add enough batter that with a bit of tipping the pan, it is covered with the batter. (The recipe is supposed to make 10 – 12 galettes though I found it made a bit less)

10.) After a minute or so, use a spatula to loosen the edges of the galette. start lifting the galette to check if it’s done, then when it looks done on one side, use the spatula to turn over the galette and brown on the other side.

11.) Repeat with butter and buckwheat flour mixture until all is used up.

12.) Serve up the galettes and top with the quorn spinach mixture (or whatever you fancy)

Saag Paneer

You may have noticed a bit of a gap on the blog, I was a little behind on posting but with this recipe I will be caught up to at least before I came back from holiday (4 days ago) – woo! I took this saag paneer recipe from Bosh – ‘Healthy Vegan’ and brutalised it into being vegetarian again. The vegan version uses tofu with nutritional yeast and miso which does sound interesting and probably would have been better than the paneer I bought from Sainsburys which turned out to be the feta textured kind which doesn’t fry properly (the halloumi textured kind that M&S sell is much better).

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 250 paneer
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 onion
  • 5cm ginger
  • 2 tomatoes (actually I forgot to buy these or Sainsburys forgot to deliver so I switched with some asparagus – very Indian I know!)
  • 500g spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 rotis

Method

1.) Chop the paneer into cubes

2.) Prepare a plate with 2 pieces of kitchen roll on it

3.) Melt 1tbsp of the ghee in a frying pan, add the paneer and fry until golden brown, turning around to catch all the sides.

4.) Remove the paneer from the pan and place on top of the kitchen roll. Press down with another piece of kitchen roll to remove the excess oil.

5.) Peel and dice the onion, ginger and garlic. Dice the tomatoes.

6.) Melt the other tbsp ghee in the pan, add the cumin seeds and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the garam masala, turmeric and chilli and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook down for 4 minutes.

7.) Add the spinach and leave it to wilt for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and add the cream. Season with salt and pepper.

8.) Stir through the paneer and serve with a roti.

Yemeni Pancakes

Searching for jobs at the moment and noticed an old company that I worked for offering an Accountant role. I wonder if they’re still paying 10p an hour (ok slight exaggeration) but certainly being reminded of your old company gives you a happiness boost. Thinking about how the grass is greener now was mentioned as one of the strategies of being happy on the course ‘The Science of Wellbeing’ from Yale which is free on the Coursera website. If you have some free time, I really recommend it. Speaking of things that make me happy, these Yemeni pancakes were a revelation. Excluding the recipes containing ants and larvae in my complete Thai cookbook, it’s rare to come across a unique recipe to all my cookbooks (from Jamie Oliver ‘Veg’). A yeasted dough is made then fried as a pancake, eggs are cracked over the top, then the pancake is folded over. I’m not sure how authentic the eggs part is – Jamie has named the recipe ‘Yemeni-style’ pancakes but this could just be after the chorizo in paella debacle (which I’m completely on his side about). On the side is served aubergine dip and a salsa.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300g strong bread flour
  • 7g fast active yeast
  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 4 sprigs coriander
  • 30g parsley
  • 2 green chillis
  • oil
  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 8 eggs ( I doubled the eggs as I was hungry after the gym)

Method

1.) Measure out 500ml of tepid water i.e. doesn’t feel hot or cold and add the yeast. Leave to sit for 10 minutes

2.) Add the flour, whisk and set aside for another 20 minutes

3.) While this is going, heat the aubergines in turn directly over a flame, blackening the skin all over, leave to be cool enough to handle

4.) Peel and finely chop the garlic, chop the lemons in half and remove the seeds, dice up the chillis, finely chop the parsley and coriander.

5.) Chop up the tomatoes and place in a bowl, add in a tbsp olive oil, squeeze in the juice of 1 of the lemons. Season with salt and pepper.

6.) Peel the skin from the aubergine, place onto a plate, squeeze over some lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and coriander. Spoon over the yoghurt and tahini.

7.) Now, time to make the pancakes. heat some oil in a frying pan and add a ladle of batter, tilt the pan so it’s covered. Once the edges start to come away from the pan, crack two eggs into the centre then break up with a fork to spread over the surface of the pancake. Sprinkle with some parsley. Fold over the pancake. Flip over until each side is golden. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

8.) Serve with the salsa and aubergine dip.

Sticky Onion Tart

This sticky onion tart is a kind of savoury tarte tatin but isn’t so tricky to make. I used pre-made puff pastry, I wouldn’t really make the effort to make puff pastry unless it’s for baking. Find the most buttery puff pastry you can for the maximum flavour. I felt that the tart was burning in the oven so I just covered the tart with some foil. The recipe was from Jamie Oliver’s ‘Veg’ which I’ve already waxed lyrical about enough on this blog.

Serves 6 (as a starter)

Ingredients

  • 6 medium onions
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 320g sheet puff pastry

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

2.) Peel and finely chop the garlic and measure out 100ml water

3.) Peel and halve the onions

4.) Add the butter to an ovenproof frying pan and melt

5.) Strip the leaves from the thyme sprigs into the pan and add the bay leaves

6.) Add the sugar, vinegar and 100ml water

7.) Add the onions, flat half down, arrange the garlic between the onions

8.) Season with salt and pepper and turn the heat down to low

9.) Steam for 10 minutes then turn up the heat until the sauce starts to caramelise

10.) Cut the pastry into a square that will cover the majority of the pan. Slice the remaining pastry into two halves.

11.) Place the pastry over the onions and push into the sides with a wooden spoon. Place the other strips at both sides.

12.) Bake in the oven for 35 minutes (you might want to place a piece of foil over it)

13.) Take out the oven and carefully flip out the tart.

Avgolemono soup

I first came across this avgolemono soup on the beautiful food blog ‘Adventures in Cooking’. It’s often seen as a Greek recipe (though may have Jewish roots) and the author of this blog has Greek heritage. I first tried that recipe a number of years ago when I still ate meat. It had shredded roasted chicken and chicken stock so it was a bit of an ask to convert it into a vegetarian recipe but I had to try as I really love it and fortunately the result was a success. Whisking the egg white up then slowly incorporating it back into the hot soup is a genius idea which really makes a lovely creamy textured soup. The recipe works pretty well with orzo or rice noodles that I have used. With the kick of lemon, it’s a perfect dinner for when you have a cold.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • Plant pioneers chicken style pieces (300g)
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 courgette
  • 3 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 rice noodle nests
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp Massel ‘chicken flavoured’ stock

Method

1.) Strip the thyme leaves from the thyme sprigs

2.) Pan fry the chicken pieces until cooked with the oregano.

3.) Slice thinly and set to one side

4.) Peel and dice the onion, chop up the courgette

5.) Pan fry the onion and courgette until soft then set to one side

6.) Make up the stock with 8 cups of boiling water

7.) Add the stock to a large pan and add the rice noodles

8.) Let this simmer for 5 minutes and take off the heat.

9.) Separate the eggs into two separate bowls

10.) Juice the lemons into another bowl

11.) Whisk up the egg whites until beginning to froth. Add in the egg yolks and lemons and whisk together.

12.) Add ladlefuls of the stock to the egg, whisking between each spoon.

13.) Carry on until half the stock is whisked into the egg.

14.) Then, add ladlefuls of the egg mixture back into the soup and whisk between each until it’s all incorporated.

15.) Put back onto the heat and simmer until the noodles are cooked

16.) Add the chicken pieces, courgette and onion back into the soup, season, stir and serve.