Friday, 28 October 2011

Indonesian Satay Bread – A Random Recipe

For this month’s Random Recipe challenge Dom of  Belleau Kitchen paired off last month’s entrants so that we could pick each other’s recipes. I was paired with Lucy of the excellent Vanilla Frost. Sadly for poor Lucy I spend a fair amount of time off line and away from technology but we eventually managed make a suitable selection following some exotic numerology. I got Sonia Allison’s ‘Complete Bread Machine Cookbook’, first published in 2001.

More years ago than I care to remember we bought a bread machine. They were very new at the time and, compared to today’s models, pretty basic. We used it off and on but it didn’t produce great bread. Years later I was given Ms Allison’s book and quickly came to the conclusion that the worst thing about our bread machine was the book of recipes that came with it. Thanks to Ms Allison I learnt a new respect for bread machines. OK I know that as a food blogger I should be making my own sourdough loaves in an oven fired by driftwood gathered off the coast of Sarawak and using a starter found in one of the pyramids but, on a busy weekend, machines will do fine for me.

The particular recipe that Lucy randomly selected is called ‘Indonesian Satay Bread’, although, to be honest, it doesn’t have much to do with satay or Indonesia. I admit that this may not be the most exciting or original recipe in the world but it’s a quick and very easy way to make a tasty and slightly unusual loaf. Great for wrapping up kebabs or some sort of spicy sandwich. In the original recipe Ms Allison suggested the use of a commercial stir-fry sauce that seems to be no longer available. So I used a Blue Dragon wasabi and plum sauce that took my fancy in the supermarket.
Indonesian Satay Bread
Our old bread machine gave up the ghost several years ago and we bought one of the excellent Panasonic machines. The newer bread machines do work more efficiently and I’ve had to tweak the original recipe for the more modern machine – in particular I’ve cut the amount of yeast. I’ve also given the ingredients in the order suitable for a Panasonic, which adds dry ingredients first. Many bread machines add wet ingredients first, so reverse the order if yours works that way.

Sadly Sonia Allison died suddenly the year after the Bread Machine Cookbook was published. I remain eternally grateful to her for persuading me that the machines were really worth the trouble.

1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
450 g strong white bread flour
2 tsp light soft brown sugar
1¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp skimmed milk powder
1 tbsp oil
4 tbsp wasabi and plum stir-fry sauce (or whatever sauce appeals)
275 ml water

Add the ingredients to the bucket in the order given (see above if you’re not using a Panasonic machine). Set the machine to Basic Bread and the size to large. That’s all there is to it – just press ‘start’, sit back and wait.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Turkey In A Chilli, Nut and Chocolate Sauce

For this month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog has issued the challenge of using chilli with chocolate. I have a slightly childish fascination for the way that chocolate can enhance and balance the flavours of savoury dishes and so this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

I’d like to tell you that this is an authentic Mexican dish but I don’t really do authentic. In fact, this started out as a Pat Chapman version of a Mexican recipe some time ago, but it’s wandered a fair way from the original now and seems to have picked up some hints of korma on the way.

It might seem like a long list of ingredients, but it’s actually a pretty simple dish to put together. You can use more chillies if you like, but personally I think this dish should be fragrant rather than seriously hot. The amount given here should serve 2 – 3.
Turkey Chilli Nuts and Chocolate
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 – 2 tbsp fresh chillies, finely chopped
2 tsp sesame seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp aniseed (or use fennel seeds if you don’t have aniseed)
25 g hazelnuts
25 g cashew nuts
A small handful of sultanas
1 tbsp light brown soft sugar
500 g skinless turkey thigh, cut into chunks (or you could use chicken)
250 ml passata (or sieved tomatoes)
10 – 20 g dark chocolate
1 tbsp chopped parsley (or coriander)

In a generously sized pan, start to soften the onion in a little oil for 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic and chillies and continue frying gently for another 5 minutes. Put the contents of the pan into a blender or processor.

Lightly toast the sesame, cumin, coriander and aniseed in a dry frying pan for a minute or so (don’t overdo it), then add them to the blender. Lightly toast the hazelnuts and cashew nuts in the same way, being careful not to scorch them. Put the toasted nuts into the blender.

Add the sultanas and sugar to the blender together with a generous grinding of black pepper and a little salt. Process the contents of the blender adding enough water to make a loose paste.

Pour a little more oil into the pan and fry the paste for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring all the time. If the paste seems to be drying out, add a little more water. Stir the turkey into the paste and continue cooking for another 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in the passata, bring to a simmer and cover the pan. Continue simmering gently until the turkey is thoroughly cooked. (The simmering time will vary with the size of the chunks and how gently you simmer but somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes should do it).

Finely grate and stir the chocolate into the sauce a little at a time, tasting as you go. The chocolate should add a bitter note to balance the sweetness, but don’t overdo it or the sauce will either become too bitter or taste too strongly of chocolate.

Sprinkle over a little parsley and serve with plain rice or flat breads or both.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Le Pommé

My apologies for the lack of posts and responses to email and comments for the last week or two. I was wandering around Normandy and out of touch with technology. I was very much in touch with apples, cider, pommeau and calvados, of course, and so I think an apple recipe is in order. In fact, this recipe is from the Sarthe region rather than Normandy but let's not worry about geography. Pommé is a kind of apple jam without added sugar – well, actually it’s more of a cross between a jam and an intense compote. The only ingredients are dessert apples, cider and a lot of time. The result is an amber-coloured, soft jam with an extraordinary depth of apple flavour.

The flavour of  pommé will vary a lot with the type of apple chosen and I think the best option is to use a mix of sharp and sweet apples, if you have them. I used a mix of British dessert apples with Worcester Pearmain the main variety. The recipe doesn’t take a lot of effort once the preparation’s done but you do need a day when you don’t really want to stray too far from the kitchen. (I have a fair number of those).

To make this properly you really should have a cooking pot suspended over an open fire in a Sarthe farmhouse, but, since I don’t have either the farmhouse or the fire, this method has been tested in an ordinary kitchen. You should end up filling about 4 standard jam jars.
Pommé
2 kg dessert apples
2 litres sweet or semi-sweet cider

Peel, core and quarter the apples. Put them in a decent-sized preserving pan and pour over a third of the cider. Put the pan on the heat and cover. Cook gently for 3 hours, stirring every so often to make sure that the apples don’t stick.

After 3 hours you should have a very loose compote. Add another third of the cider and continue cooking the mixture with the lid off for another 3 hours. Don’t forget to keep stirring every so often.

Six hours after you started you should have an intensely fragrant mix which has an unfortunate resemblance to wallpaper paste. (Try to ignore this fact - I’m sorry I even mentioned it). Add the final third of the cider and continue cooking and stirring for another 2 – 3 hours. The colour should now be a pleasing amber and the mixture will have thickened somewhat. (It will never become a solid jam – it’s really not meant to be).

Allow the pommé to cool slightly, pour into sterilised jars and, once cooled, store in the fridge. It’s good with breakfast, can be used with savoury dishes (notably pork, of course) and is great in desserts.

Of course if you do have an open fire in a Sarthe farmhouse then can I come round some day? We could make pommé  and eat sablés all day long.