Tag Archives: roasted garlic

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Spelt Flour Braid Loaf

20 Apr

So here it is, as promised, the recipe for the Garlic & Rosemary Braid that I made to go with the Baked Camembert with Honey Glazed Pear & Almonds in my last post.

The delicious flavour of this bread comes from roasting a whole bulb of garlic with fresh rosemary in the oven for about 35 minutes until it is soft and sweet. You then squeeze the roasted cloves out of their papery cases and mash them with a beaten egg. All of this goes into the bread mixture before kneading.

I don’t need to tell you that it smells amazing while it is cooking and that you will not be able to resist pulling a piece off to stuff in your mouth as soon as it comes out of the oven. You may want to have some olive oil ready to dunk it into.

I brushed the top with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary after 15 minutes of cooking and then put it back in the oven for another 10-15 to get golden. I also painted another layer of olive oil over the top when I took it out of the oven to give it a lovely shiny finish.

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Braided Spelt Loaf

Makes 1 loaf, vegetarian, wheat-free. Adapted from Taste of Home

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp veg stock
  • 450 gr (3 cups) spelt flour (or plain flour)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 sachet of quick action yeast (or I used 25 gr fresh yeast, finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) milk (I used oat milk)
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil or butter plus extra for brushing top
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 210 C. Remove the outer paper from the head of garlic but do not peel or separate the cloves. Cut off the top of head of garlic but leave the root end intact. Place cut side up on a baking sheet (or oven proof pan), brush/drizzle with a teaspoon of oil and sprinkle with the rosemary. Cover and roast for 30-35 minutes until soft. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then squeeze the cloves out of their cases into a small bowl with the veg stock and mash with a fork.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. In a small saucepan gently heat the milk, water, 3 tbsp butter or olive oil until just warmed through. Add this to the dry ingredients and combine well with a wooden spoon.

Beat an egg into the mashed garlic until smooth and add that to the mix as well. Add a bit more flour if the dough is too wet but you want quite a sticky dough.

Tip it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover and leave for 10 minutes.

Turn the dough out and divide into three equal balls. With your hands, roll these into approx 18 inch sausages/ropes. place the sausages on a baking sheet lined with baking paper that has been brushed with oil. (they will probably hang over one end at this point) and braid/plait them as evenly as possible. Pinch the ends to seal and tuck them under. Cover again and leave in a warm place to double in size, about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C and bake for 15 minutes. Mix some chopped rosemary and sea salt into a tablespoon of olive oil and brush this over the top of the bread. Put it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

You can also brush it with more olive oil when it has finished cooking to give it a nice shine. Leave to cool on a wire rack. If you can bear to wait, that is…

Enjoy your weekend…

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Mushroom Risotto Spring Rolls, Manchego Thyme Crisps, Roasted Garlic Watercress Mayonnaise

22 Mar

This recipe is inspired by an amazing meal we had at La Colombe in Contantia Uitsig. La Colombe has always been very special to us ever since the first time we visited about five years ago. We had such a great time that we both agreed that it was the best restaurant we had ever been to.

The thing is that it had reached such an iconic status in our memory that I was secretly worried that it wasn’t going to live up to our very high expectations this time. I was actually preparing myself for disappointment.  Silly me, this time actually exceeded my expectations by quite a long way.

The food is, well you can work it out for yourself. This was how it went….

Amuse Bouche: caramelised onion tart with goat cheese, parsnip soup (in an egg-shell), pea salsa

Starter: Beetroot Cannelloni, beetroot mousse wrapped in pickled beetroot, toasted olive brioche, roasted golden baby beets, fromage blanc, poached raisins, 12 yr old balsamic drizzle

Palate Cleanser: Granny Smith Sorbet, pimms foam, cucumber, mint

Main Course: Wild Mushroom Risotto Spring Roll, butternut puree, sous vide butternut, caramelised onion, smoked garlic veloute, thyme foam.

Desserts: Coconut & Rosewater Panna Cotta, rose meringue, rose foam, turkish delight, cashew nut streusel  

Chocolate Peanut Butter Terrine, candied cranberries, apricots, peanuts, chocolate, pistachio nut dust

And if that is not enough for you, they bring around a wooden trough filled with petits fours. Okay it’s not a trough but that’s what we called it. Bring me the trough!!!

Petits Fours: Rose Turkish Delight, mini citrus madeleines, maple meringues, cinnamon marshmallows and espresso pistachio dusted chocolate truffles filled with salted caramel.

Yes, that was espresso pistachio dusted chocolate truffles filled with salted caramel. They didn’t last very long, someone at our table may have stuffed his face with them before I could stuff mine. Not mentioning any names but you know who you are…

I don’t think I need to say that the food was outstanding do I? The beetroot cannelloni was light, elegant, sweet and exquisitely made. The mushroom spring rolls were rich with truffle butter and earthy morels, the pastry was perfectly crisp, I didn’t want it to end.

The desserts were a complete triumph. Everything a dessert should be, playful, sweet and nostalgic with a grown up twist.  The attention to detail is what makes this an unforgettable dining experience. From the amuse bouche (very amusing), the palate cleanser (I mean Pimms!!), all the way through to the petits fours (bring me the trough and leave it please).

Speaking of attention to detail I have to mention that the level of service we received was actually on another level to anything I have ever experienced before. Jennifer and her highly knowledgable team made our evening a complete joy from start to finish. The waiter actually explained each dish on the menu FROM MEMORY! All those foams, purees and veloutes without reading from a notepad. That deserves a mention by itself.  And it is not at all stuffy, that’s what makes it so enjoyable, it is proper fine dining without the squeaky chairs and pretension.

Can you tell that I loved it?

I managed to acquire the recipe for the Mushroom Risotto Spring Rolls from the very talented chef, Scot Kirton. Mine is a simplified version as you can see from the description. I don’t have  a syphon thingy to make foams but I wouldn’t mind if anyone out there wants to send me one. I made some Manchego Thyme Crisps instead.

You could use spring roll wrappers to make these, I used a double layer of filo and Scot uses a special Asian pastry that I am desperate to get hold of. Either way you roll them like this:

I couldn’t get any truffle butter or morels so I used a mix of dried mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for about 20 minutes and some fresh chestnut or cremini mushrooms. The advantage of using dried mushrooms is that you can use the mushroomy soaking liquid with the stock to give the risotto a deeper colour and flavour.

Mushroom Risotto Spring Rolls

Makes about 12 rolls, vegetarian. Adapted from the La Colombe recipe

The risotto needs to be chilled before you roll it so it is best to make it the night before and refrigerate overnight.

Prep time: 45 -60 mins (not including chilling time) Cooking time: 15-25 mins

  • 150-200 gr fresh mushrooms, chestnut/cremini/portobello/morels roughly diced
  • 25 gr dried mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 20 mins (reserve soaking liquid) then chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • salt & black pepper
  • 30 gr white truffle butter (optional)
  • a bunch sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
  • 250 gr risotto rice
  • 250 ml white wine
  • about 1 litre veg stock plus the mushroom soaking liquid
  • 50 gr parmesan/manchego, finely grated
  • 1 packet filo pastry/spring roll wrappers defrosted
  • olive oil for brushing

In a large pan, fry the chopped fresh mushrooms and thyme in a tablespoon of hot oil until nicely browned. Tip them into a bowl. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan over a medium heat and cook the onions for about 4 mins until translucent then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rice and stir to coat in the onions for a minute.

Put the stock and mushroom soaking liquid in a small pan over a medium heat and keep hot but not boiling.

Add the wine and soaked mushrooms and cook until most of the liquid has disappeared. Add a ladle full of the hot stock to the rice and swirl the pan until all the liquid is absorbed. Add another ladle full swirl until it is absorbed and continue on like this until the rice is cooked.

Stir through the cooked mushrooms and truffle butter (if using). Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir through the grated cheese, remove from the heat. Leave to cool then chill in the fridge, overnight if possible. What I did was make the risotto for dinner, reserved about half for spring rolls for lunch the next day.

Cut a double layer 20 cm square of filo pastry (or use spring roll wrappers) and lay in a diamond shape on a board in front of you. Mound 2 or 3 tbsp of risotto onto the pastry and roll up following the pictures above brushing with olive oil to make them stick.

Preheat the oven to 190 C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, place the spring rolls on the tray, brush the tops with olive oil and bake for 15 -25 minutes depending on size. You can also deep-fry them.

Roasted Garlic, Watercress Mayonnaise

Enough for 2 people, vegetarian

  • 2 tbsp good mayonnaise
  •  a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a handful of fresh watercress (or parsley)
  • 1 large garlic clove (unpeeled)
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Roast the garlic clove in its skin in a hot oven for about 15 minutes (I did it with the spring rolls). Put the peeled roasted clove with the rest of the ingredients in a measuring jug and puree with a stick (immersion) blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning/lemon.

Manchego Thyme Crisps

Makes about 6, vegetarian

  • 50 gr manchego or parmesan, finely grated
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix together the cheese & thyme. Put a heaped tablespoon of the cheese on to the baking tray and flatten & spread out slightly. Leave about 1/2 inch between each circle.

Cook for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Leave to cool if you want flat discs and remove carefully with a metal spatula.

If you want you can mould them gently around a rolling-pin while still hot to make them curved.

Enjoy!!

 For more information on La Colombe and Constantia Uitsig visit their website here.

Thanks to everyone at La Colombe who made our evening so special. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the next time…..

 

 

Mediterranean Roasted Veg with Basil Bean Puree and Toasted Pine Nuts

15 Apr

It has definitely decided to skip Spring here and go straight to Summer, at least for the moment. It always rains at Easter though, every year, without fail. Just as the re-enactment of the crucifixion gets going. Poor Jesus (a very honoured young man from the town) up on that cross in the pouring rain. It all adds to the dramatic effect, I suppose. I’ll be following the processions and documenting all that is Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Alhaurin next weekend. You’ll get to see some photos of the most important date in the town’s religious calendar and hopefully feel some of the atmosphere and theatre of it all. It really is not to be missed.

Anyway this pre- Easter heat wave has got me craving summery food and, to me, there is nothing that says Summer more than Mediterranean roasted vegetables. I love roasted veg, I don’t know why I don’t cook them more often. It is easy, packed full of flavour tastes like sunshine on a plate. You can roast them with whatever herbs and spices you like. I went for the classic garlic and rosemary because I have a rosemary plant on my terrace that is growing like mad at the moment. I added a pinch of dried chilli flakes too because I think it brings out all the other flavours but if you don’t like chilli, leave it out.

I went for the all time Top 3 (in my opinion) summer Mediterranean vegetables. Red pepper, aubergine and courgette with an onion (red would be nice) thrown in to bring it all together. I roasted them on 3 trays all at the same time. One for the pepper & onion, one for the courgette and one for the aubergine. They take about 30 – 35 minutes to get nicely browned. I put some whole unpeeled garlic cloves on the tray to roast as well for about 10 – 15 minutes. I love roasted garlic it’s sweet, mild and smoky and tastes amazing in my favourite butterbean mash.

I bought  a big bunch of beautifully scented basil too. The smell of fresh basil screams summer to me and I had an idea to make a basil pesto bean mash without the cheese, cream or butter (because of the detox).  What I ended up doing was a kind of deconstructed pesto. I blended the five roasted garlic cloves with a tin of butterbeans loads of sliced basil leaves some lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. I decided to leave the pine nuts out and use them toasted as a garnish to give an added crunch. Who knew pesto without the parmesan was so good? Because nobody told me. It’s a revelation, totally delicious and in no way lacking in flavour in the absence of cheese. If you don’t believe me try this recipe, it’s my new favourite thing. Pesto, no parmesan is my friend…

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables

serves 2, vegan, gluten-free

  • 1 large red pepper, deseeded & cut into wide strips
  • 1 red onion, peeled & cut into wedges
  • 1 large courgette, thinly sliced, lengthways
  • 1 aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or more)
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 pinches of dried chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper
  • 5 or 6 unpeeled cloves of garlic for the bean mash

Preheat oven to 200 C. Put the sliced veg on three lined baking trays. The pepper & onion on one, courgette on the second and aubergine on the third.

In a small bowl, combine the crushed cloves of garlic, chopped rosemary leaves, chilli flakes, olive oil, salt & black pepper. Brush a little of this mixture over each piece of veg, you  may need to add more oil. 

If you are making the roasted garlic for the bean mash put 5 or 6 cloves of unpeeled garlic on one of the trays and remove from the oven after about 15 minutes until softened.

Roast the veg in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until slightly charred and tender.

 Roasted Garlic & Basil Pesto Butter Bean Puree with Toasted Pine Nuts

serves 2 vegan, gluten-free

  • 5 or 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled, roasted (see above)
  • 1 tin/jar 400 gr cooked butter beans (or any white bean), drained & rinsed
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 3 or 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 – 20 large basil leaves, stacked, rolled up and finely sliced
  • salt & black pepper
  • a handful of pine nuts
  • basil leaves, stacked, rolled and finely sliced for garnish

 Put the rinsed & drained beans into a bowl or food processor. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins into the beans. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the pine nuts and blend to a smooth creamy puree.

If it is too thick add more olive oil or a splash or stock/water.  Taste for seasoning, you may need more salt, lemon juice or basil.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, shaking occasionally, until slightly browned. Keep your eye on them or they will burn. When you are ready to serve heat the bean puree in a saucepan.

If you want to make pesto, no parmesan replace the butterbeans with a handful of toasted pine nuts, blend and adjust seasoning to taste. It’s lovely on baby new potatoes…..

Serve a big spoonful of the deliciously creamy bean mash next to a twisted pile of the Mediterranean roasted veg. Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and shredded basil leaves. Eat and remember, this is good for you. It tastes so good you’d think it was bad….

Red Peppers are super-rich in vitamin C and beta carotene, both powerful antioxidants with anticancer effects. The aubergines & courgettes are rich in potassium, which helps to balance fluid levels in the body.

Moment of Gratitude or “Things that made me smile today”….

A herd of goats blocking the road…

Buen Fin de Semana!!

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