Sunday, 14 April 2013

Ultimate Onion Gravy

Well, it seems that Spring has finally arrived. Today I spent a couple of hours walking around Portsmouth in the sun. (Yes, the sun was actually shining). Perhaps this dish would've been more appropriate last week, when it's comforting tastes would've been more necessary. But, anyway, it's still a tasty one.

Serves 2

2tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
1tbsp plain flour
1tsp tomato puree
150ml stock, beef or vegetable
2tsp Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to season

Add the olive oil to a frying pan and set over a low heat. Add the onions, garlic and rosemary and gently cook for 15-20 minutes, until the onions of really soft. Add the flour and give it a good stir to cook as much of the onions as possible.

Add the puree and stock, bring to a light simmer and cook for another 15-20 minutes, adding the vinegar for the last few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a thick slice of toasted, homemade bread and a few sausages.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Chorizo and Black Olive Bread

Over the past few years, Britain has been inspired by shows like The Great British Bake Off and Paul Hollywood's current series Bread to take up baking. I find that baking bread, in particular, can be a satisfying enterprise and you can really begin to experiment. And, there's a limitless amount of variation available to you. 

This recipe uses a stand mixer, but it can also by done my hand.

Also, I use a pizza stone because it helps to give a good, crisp base. But it isn't essential.

100g chorizo, roughly chopped
100g black olives, pitted and halved
500g strong white bread flour
20g semolina
15g dried yeast, type that needs reconstituting
5g table salt
50g extra virgin olive oil
320g water, (320g of water is the same as 320ml but it's more accurate to weigh)

Add the flour, semolina, yeast, salt and olive oil into the stand mixer bowl, adding the yeast and salt on opposite sides, and attach the dough hook. Mix on a low speed to combine the ingredients, then gradually add the water - increasing the speed, if the mixer starts to labour. Continue to knead for about 4 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Leave the dough in the bowl and cover with a tea towel and allow to double in size for about an hour at room temperature or in the kitchen with the oven on. 

Meanwhile, add the chorizo to a cold frying pan and put on a high heat. Once the chorizo starts to release its oil, add the olives and cook for another minute. Set aside and allow to cool before continuing.

Add the chorizo and olives to the dough and, using the dough hook, mix until it is evenly distributed.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured and roll into a ball. Return it to the bowl and leave again for 30 minutes. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 220C.

Once again, turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and cut into three equal portions (use scales to ensure they are equal). Place the portions on to the pizza stone and bake for about 30 minutes, until cooked. When cooked, the bread will sound hollow when tapped on the underside.

Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool.