Rustic Bread

Bread is my favourite food and with water, I could live anywhere. I mainly bake sourdough with rye flour based starter. And never managed to get big open crumbs although I have watched many videos, I stick with the recipe I learned.

This weekend I decided to try a recipe for a loaf that looked easy to get open crumbs. I am not sure if it is really rustic but it liked the video and it was easy to follow.

Ingredients:

  • 500gr strong flour (13% protein)
  • 400gr water
  • 3gr dry yeast
  • 7gr salt

Process:

  • In a bowl with the flour, make a well in the middle and add the water.
  • Add the yeast to the water and mix. Then mix everything for a bit
  • Add the salt and keep mixing until everything is fully combined.
  • Let it rest for 1h. Cover it with a shower cap and towel.
  • Fold the dough from the corners several times. Wet your hand with water so the dough doesnt stick too much. Let it rest for another 1h.
  • Pre-heat oven at 250C
  • This is the “difficult” part. In your work surface add flour, and pour your dough over it. Spread the dough in a rectangle. From the top side, start “wrapping” the dough. Then wrap the dough from one side until you have kind of a small square.
  • Flat a bit the dough, and wrap it again starting from the top seam. Then again, fold it from one side. With your hand try to give a rounded form to the dough.
  • Move the dough to a lightly floured tray with baking paper. Rest for 15 minutes
  • Again, flour your surface, pour the dough, form a square and then fold again starting from the top seam. Pinch the sides and main seam to it looks “locked”.
  • Move to the tray again and rest for 5 minutes.
  • Score your dough with a razor
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 250C and 30 minutes at 220C (or as much brown you want)
  • Let it cool down and enjoy!

Unfortunately, the open crumb wasnt as good as in the video so a bit disappointed. So not really sure what I did wrong. At some point I will try again.

Taste wise, it is different from my sourdough loaf. I think I should have left it in the oven a bit longer.

In general it is a good bread, if one day I forgot to have my sourdough ready, I can have a fresh baked loaf in around 3h.

Tahini Choco Brownies

This is a recipe recommended by a good friend. It has been a long time since I have baked my choco brownies but I decided to try this recipe as I had my homemade tahini.

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter
  • 100g dark chocolate (85%)
  • 15g 100% cocoa powder
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 175g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 180g tahini
  • 50g plain flour

Process

  • pre-heat oven at 175C. I used a rounded cake tin (26cm diameter – a bit smaller is better). Cover the whole tin with baking paper and use a bit of butter on top of the paper.
  • In a sauce pan, at medium heat, melt the butter. Then remove from the heat, and add the chocolate and cocoa powder, whisking until smooth.
  • In a bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until properly mixed and thickens up a bit. Add the tahini, mix well. Then fold the flour.
  • Take 1/2 of the tahini mix to a different bowl. The rest, add it to the chocolate mix. Fold until fully combined.
  • Pour the chocolate mix into the cake tin, spreading evenly.
  • Then add on top the reserved tahini mix, with a stick, swirl the mix so you have bit of the tahini mix inside the chocolate mix.
  • Bake for 25m or less. Check the center is moist and sides are set. If not, bake for a couple of minutes more.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool down for 30 minutes.
  • Cut in squares and try.

To be honest, mine were a bit dry, no moist enough so it is better to check early than leave it in the oven too long.

The taste is different, the tahini gives it a nutty flavour. It is not very chocolatey neither sweet. I need to try again.

Poha

A very good friend of mine cooked Poha for me last week. It was delicious! I had ingredients left so I tried on my own:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of flake rice
  • 2 medium onion chopped
  • 2 carrots gratted
  • 1/4 cup of peanuts
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tsp of mustard grains
  • optional: 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small green chilli chopped
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 bunch coriander chopped
  • 1 bunch curry leaves
  • 1/2 lemon juice

Process:

  • Wash the rice flakes in cold water for 10 seconds. Let is rest after that.
  • In a hot pan, fry the peanuts with the coconut oil. Once a bit brown, take the peanuts out and let it rest.
  • Add the mustard grains and tumeric in the pan, let them toast a bit, dont burn it!
  • Add the chopped onion. Stir until if get a yellow color and soften up.
  • Add green chilli, stir
  • Add curry leaves, stir
  • Add grated carrot.
  • Add flake rice and peanuts. Add a bit of salt.
  • Mix all well, rice should get a yellow color.
  • Taste it, the rice shouldnt be hard. Add the lemon juice and retire the pan.
  • Add the coriander and ready to server!

PD: This can be used as inspiration.

3xGnochi

A couple of weeks ago I fancied gnochi. I have already done it before but this time I went free style and I did something from this video. Fry the gnochi for a bit to give them a crunchy texture.

As I didnt calculate properly, I made a massive potato dough so I tried three different methods with ingredients I had at hand.

Ingredients:

  • 4 potatoes (that’s a lot)
  • 1 egg
  • plain flour
  • salt + pepper
  • olive oil for frying

version 1

  • sun dried tomatoes
  • broccoli
  • fresh baby tomatoes

version 2

  • sesame seeds
  • just a bit of soy sauce

version 3

  • broccoli
  • courgette
  • capers

I was quite happy with the result so I will try similar version or will experiment with anything I have around.

Paella

After dealing with too much meat lately, I fancied some vegetables and specially a paella. So I decided to do a paella with only veggies last weekend. I found this video that I liked but at the end I went a bit wild as I stopped paying attention and I didnt have fresh artichokes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 big leek (instead of artichokes) sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves (with skin)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 onions
  • 1 glass of white wine ( I used red)
  • 3 tomates grated
  • paprika
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 red pepper + 1 green pepper
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1/4 glass of soy (dark) sauce
  • 1 stock veg cube + 1 .5l boiling water
  • 1 cup of paella rice

Process:

  • Heat up the paella dish, pour a gulp of olive oil once it is hot.
  • Fried the garlic gloves a bit. Then add the asparagus.
  • Once they are fried a bit, retire to a dish.
  • Put the paella at low heat now.
  • Fried the leek with the same oil in the paella dish. Till taking color.
  • Then add the diced onions. Add salt and pepper. Stir all of them until taking some color.
  • Add wine. Stir until it evaporates mostly.
  • Add the tomate, mix well. Add paprika. Taste it!
  • Add the carrot, peppers, courgette and cauliflower. Fry for a bit.
  • Add the soy sauce. This will add quite a salty taste.
  • Add the stock veg cube with the boiling water. Stirr all well.
  • Add the fried garlic.
  • After 3-5 minutes, add the rice. Spread the rice all around the dish.
  • Dont stirr anymore. Increase the heat.
  • Wait until the rice starts to come up on top.
  • Try to move the paella dish so the water evaporates evenly.
  • At the end you want a bit of a crust on the bottom (socarrat!!!)
  • Once it is ready, put the asparagus on top.

In my case, as I used leeks, they can burn very easily but I was luck and it was just a bit.

It looked nice from outside. I had a bit of socarrat. And tasted good! Maybe the dark soy sauce was too much dark 🙂

Chorizo

I have two very good memories from my childhood regarding to food: baking at my mother’s hometown and making chorizos.

Last winter I managed to go back to the bakery and refresh those memories. I am super happy I did it.

Now it was the turn for the chorizos. But I was cautious about this so I join a course for making sausages from a well-know company so I could get some intro and refresh.

The process that my mother followed was very simple. Ground a ham (by my parents best friends who were butchers), salt, (sweet) paprika and I think some garlic. Mix all together very well. Fry a portion of the mix to taste the spices. Then using pig’s intestines with a sausage filler/stuffer, make the crorizos. Then using a cord, make the portions. Finally, hang them and let then dry for around two weeks.

So in this course we made only sausages with different spices but the process is the same as chorizo, only the spices change.

I enjoyed the course, I brought some flashbacks from my childhood about mixing the meat, stuffing, tasting the mix (that was super delicious!!!!) and then the patience to let them dry. These were the only chorizos I liked. Anything else, was tasteless or had too much fat.

So I brought home several kilos from the course. I some some for cooking my week lunch and frozen others for another occasion. But most of them, I decided to dry them like my mother used to do. I felt so humble when I saw the result. It was like back home.

So I kept the sausages hanging from a sweeping stick wrapped with newspapers. Out of direct day light and using a heater at night while I was at home. For two weeks.

And they came out fine!

Although, they have too much fat. They are not chorizos, it is more like small salchichon.

As they are too manhy for me. I am keeping them in glass jars. They will not last many months though. But use to eat them quickly and cry when some chorizos went off. I was thinking in put them in oil but I wanted the dryness.

This reminds me biltong. Very similar idea, but I havent tried in a couple of years.

So I am happy with the experience and I am decided to make properly chorizos next winter. Try to call the butcher where I did the course, tell them I want to buy a minced ham (with very few fat, I dont care what people say) and the intestines, then do it at home like the old times.

Galletas

This is another typical sweet from my hometown I like a lot and it was in my to-cook list. After several failed attempts with magdalenas, I decided finally to give it a go. I had good memories from last December in the bakery so I followed a recipe from my aunt and see.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 200gr sugar
  • 170ml olive oil
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 4gr bicarbonate sodic + 4gr tartaric acid
  • 400gr-500gr+ plain flour

Process:

  • Whisk eggs and sugar very well. Until the mix is foaming
  • Add olive oil and lemon zest. Keep whisking
  • Add bicarbonate and tartaric acid, keep whisking
  • Add flour, shifting it, bit a bit into the mix.
  • Pre-heat oven at 200C
  • At one point, you will have to use a wooden spoon to keep mixing. This is a critical point. I added the 400gr of flour, and the mix was still too wet so I keep adding bit a bit more flour until I had a dough no too sticky. Keep in mind you need to be able to use a roller and a cookie cutter. So at one point, I pour the dough into the table and tried to knead it adding bits of flour. I was lucky because I had some flashbacks from I was a kid doing the same thing so It helped me to carry on until I had that kind of playful dough but still a bit sticky. If you add too much flour, the biscuits will be hard as stone.
  • So once you have the dough ready, use a roller to spread the dough around 1cm thick and use the cookie cutter. In my case it was a round one, in my hometown use a rectangular one with round corners. I may try to “build” something.
  • So always putting flour in the surface before spreading the dough with the roller. Use the cutter, and transfer the biscuit to a baking tray with a bit of flour to avoid sticking. When you use the cutter, the biscuit can’t be too sticky, if so, you need to add a bit of flour.
  • Once you can’t cut more cookies, form a ball again, and a bit of flour in the surface and roll it. Cut and repeat until you use up all dough.
  • Bake the cookies until golden on top. 20 minutes or so.
  • Let them cool down, it is very important!

This is before getting to the oven.

This is after the oven.

And these are the real ones I try to match!

They dont look very similar but still I was quite happy with result. For being the first time, it was tasty! I could add more sugar?, maybe a bit less time in the oven?

It is a simple recipe, basic ingredients, and brought me good memories. What else?

And this is a snapshot of how it is really done by the real bakers!

AlbĂłndigas de espinaca con arroz

This is a recipe that a very good friend recommend me but using smoky tofu instead of bacon. So I decided to give it a go:

Ingredients:

  • 1kg of fresh spinach
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 250g of smoky firm tofu
  • 150g of cheese (of your taste)
  • 1 cup of rice (paella or risotto style)
  • 1 can of tomate sauce
  • 200ml of cream
  • 1 cup of chicken/veggy stock.
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 3-4 eggs

Process:

  • In big sauce pan, add boiling water and cook all spinach. They will reduce a lot. Once they are soft, drain the spinach and chopped them very thinly.
  • In another sauce pan, add some olive oil and fry for a bit the chopped garlic cloves. Then add the rice. Fry everything for a bit, then add two cups of boiling water to the rice and let it cook at low-medium heat. Try to get it as much dry as possible to hep making the balls later.
  • In a frying pan, add a bit of oil, at medium-heat. Add chopped onions, and fry until golden, then add chopped tofu. Fry everything, try to get a golden color from the tofu.
  • In another frying pan, add the tomate sauce, stock and cream. Mix well, and let it cook at low-medium heat.
  • In a big bowl, put the chopped spinach, rice, tofu and cheese. Mix everything very well.
  • In one plate/bowl add the flour and in another the whisked eggs.
  • In the small frying pan, some a bit of oil and heat up. You dont need to deep fry.
  • From the spinach mix, start making some balls, then pass them through the flour, cover properly, remove any excess and the pass through the eggs.
  • Then in the small frying pan, put 3-4 balls and fry them until golden in all sides. Them add to the tomate sauce mix.
  • I filled the tomate sauce pan with spinach balls, so I used the left over and did some other balls and “omellete”.
  • Keep the spinach balls in the tomate sauce until it thickens up a bit.
  • Then you can remove from the heat, and ready to eat!
This is the day after. I put the pan in the fridge overnight.

Leftovers

The recipe is very tasty. I didnt manage to get a good ball form, I think my rice was a bit too wet? In the video the balls look super rounded. But anyway, I had a good lunch the whole week!

Almendras Fritas

It was normal to have a small snack or tapa in most bars in Spain, from a small plate of crisps, salty peanuts or fried almonds to some seafood. Even buying a 1kg sack of almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts wasnt that expensive.

Now, when I go to Portugal or Spain, I try to buy some small bag of fried almonds. But now I wanted to do it myself because I had the gut feeling that it couldnt be that difficult. I found this video and I used it as reference.

Ingredients:

  • 200gr almonds (with skin)
  • pinch of salt
  • olive oil for frying

Process:

  • Put the almonds in a sauce pan with boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the almonds from the water, let it cool down for 1 minute and then remove the skin. It should be quite easy. Recommended to push with your fingers from the side of the almond, not the tips.
  • Dry them in kitchen paper.
  • Put a frying pan at medium heat with the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the almonds and kit stirring.
  • Once the almonds get golden, remove the pan from the heat and take the almonds for the oil, trying to drain as much oil as you can. Then put again in kitchen paper to soak up more oil.
  • While warm, add salt to the taste of the almonds.
  • Once they are cool down you can store them in a glass jar.

Really tasty!

Tortas de Mosto

“Tortas de Mosto” is a typical sweet from “La Mancha” region in Spain. And it is one of my favourite sweets from my hometown. When I was there last December, taking a look at the process of baking “tortas” was one of my (many) goals. I didnt get the recipe but noticed ingredients that I wasnt aware like using bread starter.

Another thing, in my hometown, didnt use Mosto, I think they do it only in Summer. So they used good orange juice instead.

Although I could remember nearly all ingredients, I wasn’t very confident, so I searched for some video without many expectations but lucky me I found this! Thanks to Cristina!

To be honest, I have tried twice. The first attempt wasnt really good. I over fermented the dough…. and I forgot to add sugar!!!! Somehow I didnt notice that “step”. It makes sense, mosto is very sweet and orange juice is not that sweet.

Ingredients Bread Starter

  • 100ml water
  • 150g plain flour
  • 7gr dry yeast
  • (need to try to add 1 tsp of sugar next time)

Process Bread Starter

  • In a small bowl, mix the yeast with water, then add the flour.
  • Be sure everything is well incorporated, make a ball with the dough. You dont have to knead it.
  • If you are going to make “tortas” next day, cover it and put it in the fridge. If using during the day, let it rest for 2h or until it doubles up in volume

Tortas Ingredients

  • Bread Starter
  • 250ml good orange juice
  • 250ml good virgin olive oil
  • 14gr dry yeat
  • 50gr sugar (maybe 75or or 100g next time)
  • 1 egg (maybe two next time)
  • 600gr plain flour (maybe strong flour next time) – You dont have to use all flour.
  • Finish touch: 1 mixed egg + sugar

Tortas Process:

  • In a bowl, mix the orange juice, olive oil and sugar. Then add the yeast. Combine everything well.
  • Add half of the flour or so, mix a bit. Add the egg. Mix and keep adding more flour. Try not to use all flour.
  • Pour the dough into the table and knead for 10 minutes or so until the dough is smooth and doesnt break when trying to make a window. Add a bit of flour if need but it should stick much as the dough has olive oil.
  • Leave the dough to rest for 1 hour or so until it doubles up in size.
  • Knock off the air of the dough, make a ball again.
  • Prepare to baking trays. You can spread a bit of flour or use baking paper on them.
  • Pre-heat oven at 180C
  • Now make small balls of 170g each (using an scale) from the main dough. So you have similar size tortas. I managed to put four balls per tray. Leave as much space as possible between them.
  • Once you have all balls in the tray, you need to flat them using your fingers going by the sides of the ball. Until you have a kind of big disc.
  • Cover the trays and leave them to rest again around 30-40 minutes. They should raise again.
  • Whisk one egg, wash the top of the tortas that are going to go to the oven now (just one try). Then add plenty of sugar on top of each torta.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or so. They need to be dark golden! Let it cool down and repeat the process with the second tray.

Before baking

After baking

To be honest, they were great compared with my first attempt and they are not like the one from my hometown but they are really good enough. I enjoyed a warm torta for dinner last night, heaven!

I think I can improve it like adding a bit more sugar or another egg, etc.

Let’s see for the next attempt!