Tag Archives: rosemary

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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Rosemary and Garlic Baked Camembert with Honey Glazed Pear and Almonds

17 Apr

This dish was inspired by a picnic lunch we enjoyed at the Bramon Wine Estate just outside Plettenberg Bay. Bramon Wine Estate is a boutique vineyard and it is the first and only Estate that far East of the Western Cape.

Their flagship Sauvignon Blanc wine is called The Crags which is the name of the “town” where the Wine Estate is situated. You couldn’t really call it a town though. It consists of a petrol station and a shop. Which is why it is such a pleasant surprise to find this beautiful place just off the main road. They also have two sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Cap Classiques. I went for the 2008 sparkling ” a  refreshingly clean palate with vibrant mousse and an exciting, limey, zesty lingering finish”. It was one of the best sparkling wines I have tried in a long time.

So I had another glass. As you do.

In the summer they offer a picnic lunch amongst the vines. It is a really special feeling to be drinking the wine that is growing all around you. It is a relaxed, informal dining experience (in a really good way). You order your drinks and then get a list of the foods available. You trick the boxes next to what you would like to order and then give it back to the very capable waiting staff. Sit back relax, enjoy your drink and the beautiful surroundings while your picnic is freshly prepared for you.

We chose the mini baked camembert with honey figs and nuts, a beautiful plaited bread with rosemary and sea salt, green fig preserve, avocado and parmesan crisp salad, fresh pesto with mixed herbs and almonds, sundried tomatoes and a creamy hummus.

There is a monkey park and a bird sanctuary very near to the Wine Estate, so in a very organised fashion we went to Bramon in the morning to book a nice table in the vines for lunch at 1pm and then went off to Monkeyland for the rest of the morning. You get a guided walking tour around the forest that is very informative for kids and adults. More than 450 primates live and free-roam around the forest. It is an amazing feeling to be that close to so many different types of monkeys and lemurs that are living in a natural habitat. 

After lunch we went to Birds of Eden which is the largest free flight bird aviary in the world. It is a great way to spend a a couple of hours, there are 3500 birds out in the open. You walk up wooden walkways that snake their way through ruins and waterfalls up into the canopy of the trees. It is a stunning place.

And again you get so close to them.

Monkeyland and Birds of Eden are next to each other so you can buy combination tickets for both, which is what we did. With an excellent lunch at Bramon in between of course. Which brings me back to the food.

I contacted Bramon to get the recipes for the baked camembert and the rosemary plaited bread. The gave me the camembert but then told me that the bread recipe was a secret! I can understand it of course, it was very good.

So I made my own version of the bread using spelt flour which I flavoured with roasted garlic and rosemary. It was lovely, especially dipped into the oozing  baked camembert.

I will give you the bread recipe in my next post but for now here’s the baked camembert. I used pears rather than figs because figs aren’t in season here yet and I had some in my fruit bowl.

 I also studded the cheese with sliced garlic and rosemary sprigs before baking it because we used to serve it like that when it was on the menu at the restaurant. It’s something I saw Jamie Oliver do somewhere that makes such a difference to the flavour.

Rosemary & Garlic Baked Camembert with Honey Glazed Pear & Almonds

serves 2, vegetarian, gluten-free

Prep time: 5 mins Cooking time: 30-35 mins

  • 1 boxed camembert (250 gr) wooden box is best but card is fine
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • a few tops of fresh rosemary
  • olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180C, remove the paper wrapping from around the cheese and put it back in the box. Make little slits all over the top of the cheese with a sharp knife and push in the slices of garlic and rosemary tops.

Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 30-35 minutes until soft and melting inside. Meanwhile make the honeyed pear and almonds.

Honey Glazed Pear & Almonds

serves 2, vegetarian, gluten-free

  • 1 pear, cored and sliced into 12 wedges
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • a handful of whole toasted almonds (I used salted)
  • salt & black pepper
  • about 1 tbsp honey (rosemary honey if possible)

Toss all the ingredients apart from the honey together in a small bowl until evenly coated. Heat up a small frying pan over a medium high heat and throw in the pear & almond mix. Brown/caramelise slightly on both sides before adding the honey and stir to coat the pears.

Cook until the pears are soft but not mushy and remove from the heat.

Serve the warm honey glazed pear and almonds with the baked camembert and a nice bread for dipping. Or wait for my Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Braided Spelt Loaf in my next post…

For more information about the Bramon Wine Estate visit their webste here.

Enjoy!!

Rustic Leek and White Bean Soup with Rosemary

25 Jan

They are busy harvesting leeks at the moment where we walk the dog in the morning. I like leeks, they have a milder flavour than onions and they don’t make you cry when you chop them.

Leeks are one of those vegetables that have a strong supporting role in many dishes but hardly ever get to play the lead. Seeing fields full of row after row of them made me think about making them shine.

Leeks and white beans have an affinity. They have a history of working together in such classics as Cassoulet and Tuscan White Bean Soup. Rosemary is often found hanging around in the background with these two, completing the love triangle and it is flowering beautifully at the moment. Shall I stop with the film metaphors now and get on with the recipe?

Rustic Leek & White Bean Soup with Rosemary

Serves 4, Vegan, gluten free

  • Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time 20 mins
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 sticks celery, finely sliced
    • 3 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthways, rinsed and sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
    • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 tin/jar (400 gr) cooked white beans, drained & rinsed
    • about 500 ml veg stock
    • salt & black pepper
    • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped

    Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Cook the leeks, celery, rosemary and thyme with a pinch of salt for about 4 minutes until softened but not browned. Then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

    Blend half of the drained beans with splash of stock or water to a smooth puree. Add the pureed beans to the pan and stir to combine.  Pour in the veg stock and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the beans.

    Add in the whole beans, lower the heat to a simmer, season with salt & black pepper and cook  for about 10 minutes. Stir in the fresh parsley and taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

    Buen Provecho!!

    As promised here are some more pictures of our visit to the beautiful Alcazaba in Malaga. This is the view from the outside with the amphitheatre in the foreground.

    Inside is a study in  exquisite Moorish archways…..

    Leading through to hidden doorways and secluded patios………….

    Elaborately tiled ceilings…

    And floors….

    There are more pictures to follow on my next post…..

     

Local Goat’s Cheese and Pear Salad with toasted almonds and rosemary honey dressing

31 Jan

 

Today while walking the dog I walked past lettuces, Romaine, Lollo Rosso and Cos …

Almond trees with their beautiful barely pink blossom….

A bee on wild rosemary flowers…..

Some unexpected pears amongst the ever present mandarins……..

And some goats which reminded of my visit to the local Goat’s Cheese producer “El Pastor del Valle”….

 This just shows how my mind works and proves that I am thinking about food all the time. While I am walking the inspiration and ideas come from all around me and somehow work themselves out into a finished dish….

This salad can be served for lunch or as a starter. It would also work as a dessert/cheese course after a meal or with drinks. Just arrange the pears, cheese, almonds and honey on a board with some biscuits and let everyone help themselves. The flavour combination of sour sharp goat’s cheese, sweet honey, juicy pears and crunchy almonds is a lovely alternative to the Stilton, Pear & Walnut classic….

Goat’s Cheese & Pear Salad with Toasted Almonds and Rosemary Honey Dressing

serves 2 vegetarian

  • 2 pears, peeled, cored, sliced
  • about 150gr goat’s cheese (I used a hard goat’ cheese but you can use a soft rind) sliced
  • a handful of toasted almonds, plus extra for garnish
  • some mixed lettuce leaves (a big handful each)
  •  about 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 tbsp sherry (Jerez) vinegar (or balsamic)
  • 2 tbsp rosemary honey (just use normal honey and add about 1/4 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary if you don’t have any)
  • salt & pepper
  • rosemary flowers to garnish (if you can find some) but not too many they are very strong

Wash & pick your salad leaves and put them in a large bowl with the sliced pears, cheese and toasted almonds. Pour the olive oil, vinegar and rosemary honey into a small bowl and whisk together well. Season with salt & pepper and taste, you can add more oil/vinegar/honey to your taste. Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and toss together with your hands. Pile onto your serving plate(s), add a few rosemary flowers onto the cheese & pears and top with some more toasted almonds…

 It really is that simple, enjoy!!

    

“Wild” Mushroom, Shallot and Goat’s Cheese Tarts

13 Jan

The inspiration for this dish came from the amazing variety of wild mushrooms we saw growing in the forest where we walk the dog.

Some of them look like leather………

There’s curly ones….

And purple ones…!

I still have absolutely no idea which ones you can eat and which ones are poisonous but I’d say the purple ones are off limits. They seem to like it on damp, dark, mulchy bark and rotting leaves. So does Rufus…

I was too scared to pick any but it got me craving earthy garlic mushrooms and melting cheese. Nigel Slater is always good for earthy, delicious comfort food and he didn’t let me down. This recipe is a mixture of a couple of his recipes. He makes a big rectangular tart from a sheet of puff pastry. I made individual ones because I had some offcuts of pastry left I had to use up, and I don’t like sharing!

 

Mushroom, Shallot & Goat’s Cheese Tarts

serves 2, vegetarian, adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted in the fridge overnight
  • about 300 gr mushrooms, try to get a mixture of different types
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 or 5 shallots, quartered & peeled 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice
  •  about 2o – 30 gr butter
  • 100 gr goat’s cheese, sliced into 1/2 cm coins you could use Brie or Tallegio
  • 1/2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary/ thyme leaves, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt & black pepper

Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium low heat and cook the shallots slowly for about 20 minutes until they are softened and caramelized. Meanwhile 1/2 or quarter the mushrooms if large and put them in a bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice,garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt & pepper and mix well.

When the onions are done remove them from the pan, add a bit more butter and throw in the mushrooms and garlic mix. Pre heat oven to 220 degrees. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes until tender and slightly browned. Meanwhile roll out your pastry to about 2 mm thick. If you are keeping it as a rectangle score a border around the edge of the pastry about 2 cm wide and prick all over the centre inside the border with a fork. If not cut two circles (I used side plates) from your pastry and score a 2cm border round the edge & prick the base with a fork.

Put the pastry circles/rectangle on a lined baking sheet and scatter over the shallots and mushrooms, don’t go into the border. Break up the goat’s cheese and stick it in amongst the mushrooms & shallots, sprinkle with a bit more rosemary. Brush the borders with some of the butter from the mushroom pan drizzle over any remaining butter.

 Cook in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed & golden.

Eat with something green, like broccoli, if you think it needs something else. If not, just eat it on it’s own, in slices with your hands like a Mushroom “Puff” Pizza….

    Enjoy!!

Cauliflower Souffle with Brie and Rosemary

8 Jan

This is all part of my cauliflower education. I used to hate it. A hideous, watery, childhood cauliflower cheese is the culprit I think. Thanks to The Washer Up, who persuaded me to reaquaint myself with it, I now love its delicate flavour, texture and versatility. With the addition of a little rosemary it takes on a very grown up and elegant disguise quite unlike any childhood packet cheese sauce memories…..

You start by making a cauliflower puree which can also be used as a base for soups, stirred into a risotto, as a sauce for pasta with spice toasted breadcrumbs or as a side dish. Scallops with bacon & cauliflower puree is a classic combination. The puree works really well with curry flavours added to it as well as the more traditional nutmeg & rosemary I am using for this recipe.

Cauliflower Souffle with Brie & Rosemary

makes 4 small individual souffles, vegetarian

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets. This makes more puree than you need for this recipe but you can use it for other things (see above)
  • 1 or 2 tbsp milk
  • salt & pepper 1/2 tsp each
  • freshly grated nutmeg ( about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • about 125 gr brie, cubed
  • 3 or 4 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • 25 gr butter
  • 40 gr plain flour
  • about 165 ml milk (I used goat’s milk)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • butter & flour for greasing dishes/ramekins

Put the cauliflower florets in a large pan of boiling, salted water and cook until very tender about 10-12 minutes. Drain, transfer to a large bowl or food processor, add 1 or 2 tbsp milk, the nutmeg, rosemary, salt & pepper and blend with a stick blender (or process) until very smooth. Leave to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Butter 4 small souffle dishes/ramekins and put in the fridge. Heat the butter, over a medium heat until melted and cook  gently until slightly brown(not burnt). Dump in all of the flour and whisk it into the butter, it will go into a sandy paste. Whisk and cook out the flour for another minute or so then gradually start adding the milk, bit by bit, whisking all the time and cook until it thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses, egg yolks & pinch of cayenne pepper. Take about 220ml (1 cup) of the cauliflower puree and put it in a large bowl then stir in the cheese/egg mixture combining everything well. Butter the souffle dishes a second time and put back in the fridge. (This ensures they don’t stick when rising).  Whisk the egg whites in a cold bowl to stiff peaks, take 1 large spoonful of the whites and mix it into the cheese mixture to loosen it. Check for seasoning, add more salt if necessary. Then, carefully & gently, fold in the rest of the egg whites with a spatula a bit at a time until just incorporated. (Don’t over mix). Take the souffle dishes out of the fridge, flour the insides and gently scrape the souffle mix into the dishes, just to the top. Run you thumb all around the inside of the rim to take the mix away from the edge. (This helps it rise evenly).

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes until well risen & golden on top. Do not open the oven before then!

Have your serving plates dressed with a green salad, ready to go, before you get the souffles out of the oven so you can serve them immediately, to a standing ovation…..!

Please don’t be scared about making souffles. If you follow this recipe it is a really simple, impressive and delicious starter or lunch dish. By double buttering and flouring the dishes they will not stick and running your thumb around the inside of the rim lets them rise evenly and beautifully. You just have to be organised, confident and ready to serve straight away.

Such an elegant dish, a million miles away from watery cauliflower cheese!

You can also serve these as a Twice Baked Souffle. I made four so we had two for lunch and the other two I cooked at the same time and left to cool. When they were cool I easily removed them from the souffle dishes wrapped them in cling film and put them in the fridge. To serve just preheat the oven to 200 degrees and cook for about 15 minutes to heat them through.

They don’t puff up as much but this may be an easier option for entertaining. You can make them beforehand and just heat them up when you need to, they are just as delicious and moist inside. I kept mine in the fridge for two days before reheating them again and they were still fantastic.

Butter Bean Puree with Stuffed Roasted Peppers

7 Jan

It’s all about the Butter Bean Puree. You can serve it with whatever you like. Think about a mix between hummus & mashed potato and you’re almost there. It is comfort food heaven for me. The beans are pureed with roasted garlic, lemon juice, olive oil & rosemary and served hot, like a beany, garlicky mash. They are the perfect accompaniment to any Italian, Spanish, Greek or Middle Eastern dish. Or just eat it on its own from the bowl with a big spoon….

Butter Bean Puree with Stuffed Roasted Peppers

serves 2 vegetarian

  • 1 jar/can butter beans, rinsed well (about 400 gr)
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • a small sprig fresh rosemary, chopped, (about 1/2 tsp)
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon, maybe more
  • about 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • 2 large red peppers
  • some leftover risotto/couscous/quinoa whatever you have
  • about 50 gr crumbled feta
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • some breadcrumbs
  • olive oil & rosemary to garnish

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Slice the tops off of the peppers, cut out the seeds and pull out any white membrane. Stuff the peppers with the risotto (or whatever you are using), top with the crumbled feta and sprinkle with oregano. Put the peppers in a foil lined baking tin with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the feta and drizzle the tops & garlic with olive oil. Bake the peppers in the preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes but take the garlic cloves out after 15 minutes. 

Put the rinsed beans, lemon juice and rosemary in a bowl then squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins into the bowl as well. Drizzle with 1 or 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and blend with a stick blender or in a food processor. Drizzle in the rest of the oil while blending until you have reached a kind of sticky mashed potato consistency. Season well with salt & black pepper, taste and add more lemon juice if you want. Add more olive oil if you want it more liquidy. Heat the bean puree in a pan and serve drizzled with olive oil & a sprig of rosemary garnish.

Or serve alongside the stuffed roasted peppers…

This Butter Bean Puree is quicker, easier and, dare I say it, more delicious than mashed potato. A really great side dish to do when entertaining, or just for yourself, you may not want to share it…!

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