Bread Horns | Baking

So I’ve been working on my sourdough bread which turned out to be disaster, last week. Yes the sourdough starter is live and kicking but the bread was another story. Will elaborate on that in another post soon. So when your bread has failed, you are miserable, and you feel like you suddenly don’t know how to cook / bake etc…. it’s time to go back to the basics (for moral boosting) with a twist….well literally eh !!



Over the weekend I baked Bread Horns. They are such a delight to look at !! Perfect for parties and a sure shot crowd pleaser. I used the basic dinner roll recipe for these cuties and filled them with chicken mince. You can obviously let your imagination run wild and will with whatever you like. Though a nice prawn salad or a refreshing corn and cucumber salad will be good ideas 🙂



Bread horns come with an added advantage of being guilt-free, unlike their Cream Horn look alikes (well almost), which are made of puff pastry so full of butter and lard and cream….ummm yummm !!!

Bread Horns

Ingredients

250g All Purpose Flour
2 tsps Dry Active Yeast / Instant Yeast
1 tsp Sugar
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
Luke warm water as required

For The Filling

500 g chicken mince
2 spring onions
1/2 a red bell pepper
1/2 capsicum
1 tbsp oil
White sauce / cheese sauce.
salt to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper powder



Directions

1. Prove the yeast with a teaspoon of sugar and lukewarm water.

2. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and add salt and olive oil. Mix well with your hands

3. Now add the cultured yeast and the warm milk. Rub well, till the yeast and milk are completely incorporated in the flour.

4. Now start kneading the dough and use the push-n-fold method. You’ll need to knead this till the dough is elastic enough and absolutely smooth, about 10-12 minutes.

5. To check if the dough is well kneaded, roll it into a ball and press it gently, if the springs back, the dough is ready. If not, knead it a little more.

6. Rest the dough in a big bowl and cover with cling wrap. Keep it to prove for 1-1.5 hours, till it doubles in size.

7. Once the dough has doubled itself, punch it down and divide into 12 equal portions. 

8. Now roll each ball into a long strip (the way we used to play with our playdough and make snakes) and wrap it onto the horn moulds. Make sure you pinch them at the bottom to seal them.

9. Place them on a baking tray covered with parchment.

10. Brush with the milk and sugar glaze or the egg wash and let it rest for another 20 minutes.

11. In the mean time preheat your oven to 220 degrees C and bake the bread horns for about 20 minutes.

12. Remove from the oven, transfer on the cooling rack and let them cool down completely.

The filling

1. While the horns and baking and cooling make the filling.

2. Saute` onions in a pan, add the chicken mince and cook through. Now add the bell peppers and capsicum and saute` for another minute. Finish off with salt and pepper.

3. Mix in the white sauce / cheese sauce, adjust the seasoning and let it cool down completely.



Once both the horns and the filling is cooled completely, fill the horns with the chicken mince and serve.
you can either warm them slightly or serve them as it is. This depends on your preference as well as the kind of filling !

Happy Baking !!

Condiment Series | Caramelized Onion & Hung Curd Dip | Dips

The perfect sweet and sour balance – The sweetness of the caramelized onions and the tangy hung curd !!
I’m a big fan of onion dip and more so the caramelized onions. It usually is very difficult for me to resist the temptations to just polish off the onions before I add them to the dip. You can make an entire batch and store in the refrigerator. This way the onion dip takes only a few minutes to put together. It’s well matched with chips, diet chips, nachos or chicken nuggets. (These are my favourites, you can of course serve the way you like)

Caramelised onions also are amazing when added to meat sauces.
Coming back to the dip, it is a party favourite with friends literally digging their fingers in 🙂

Hung Curd Caramelized Onion Dip

Ingredients

200g Hung Curd
3 Red Onions
1 tbsp Cider Vinegar
2 tsp Cooking Oil
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Salt to Taste



Directions

1. Finely chop the onions.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onions and cook till they start browning. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Keep the flame medium, you don’t want those onions to become very dark at this stage.

3. After about 10 minutes,  add in salt, sugar and vinegar. Make sure at any point in time the onions do not catch at the bottom of the pa. If you see that to start to happen you can give it a light splash of water and lower the flame, then increase it again. You need to cook the onions till the onions reduce in volume and are completely cooked through and have a glaze.

4. Once onions are done. Remove from heat and let it cool down to room temperature. You can always make a stock of caramelized onions and store in the refrigerator for upto a month.

5. Once the onions have completely cooled down, whisk the hung curd, add the salt, black pepper and the caramelized onions. Mix it well.

6. Serve.

Hummus with Pita Bread

When it comes to Hummus and Pita Bread it is hard to decide who is the star !!!
They both deliciously compliment each other and are a perfect company for any party.

Recently at a family get together the host had served Hummus with Pita bread amongst some other unstoppably mouth watering snacks; and since then, I’ve not been able to get this Middle Eastern dip and flat bread out of my mind. I knew my restlessness will only rest once I’ve made my own.

Another first for me….. The pangs of imperfection were at their best till the Pita Bread was safely out of my oven. Breads always do this to me….. we have a love-hate relationship. I’m always so so anxious till my breads come out of the oven.
The recipe is a complete winner, I must say !! We now say good buy to store bought Pita….

This duo was an instant hit with the family with bottles of homemade Hummus and batches of Pita Bread being rotated around. It also makes a lovely gift from your kitchen…

Hummus

Ingredients

300 g Chickpeas

2 tbsp Tahini

4 cloves of Garlic

Salt to taste

4 tbsp Olive Oil

Juice of 1 lemon (you could increase it or decrease it as per preference)

More Olive for garnishing

Paprika

Directions

1. Soak Chickpeas over night. Boil and drain, saving a little water to add for blending.

2. In a food processor, add the boiled chickpeas, tahini, garlic, salt and olive oil. Blend till all ingredients are well incorporated with each other and the result is a smooth paste.

3. Transfer in the serving dish, dribble with olive oil and garnish with paprika. Serve.

Humus though is commonly considered a Lebanese dish today, its origin is considered to be from Egypt. You can play around with the flavour….make it more lemony or garlicy or may be a more over powering flavour of tahini ….as your palette likes.

Pita Bread

Recipe adapted from Chef in Disguise

Ingredients

1 package (about  2  ½ teaspoons)  Dry Yeast
½ cup Warm Water
1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
1 tablespoon Honey
4 to 4 ½  cups All-purpose Flour
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoon Dry Milk 
1 ½ cup Lukewarm Water

Directions

Preparing Pita bread dough
1. Proof the yeast by mixing it with the ½ cup of lukewarm water and sugar. Wait for the yeast to foam and bubble.
2. In a bowl add the flour, salt and powdered milk then drizzle the olive oil and honey.
Using your fingertips rub the oil and honey into the flour, mixing all the other ingredients in the process. Keep rubbing the flour until the oil and honey is completely taken up by the flour.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast water mix and gradually 1 cup of warm water.
4. Using a wooden spoon (if you are doing this by hand) or the  hook attachment if doing this in a stand mixer, stir to form a dough.
5. Take the dough out of the bowl or mixer and place on a floured surface.
6. Add the rest of the water slowly and knead with your hands to get a better feeling of the dough.
7. Continue kneading until the dough becomes soft, smooth and elastic ( this takes about 5-7 min.)
A tip that will get you smoother dough is to left the dough and slam it on the table 7-10 times as you knead it.
8. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in it, lightly coat it with oil and cover the bowl with a damp clean towel.
9. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size – usually an hour and a half (the time required depends on how hot it is where you are). 

10. When the dough doubles in size, punch it down and then pinch out 10-12 small pieces, depending on the size you like your pita.
11. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered with a damp clean towel for 10- 15 minutes.
12. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles, 3-4 mm in thickness
13. Place circles of dough on a flat board or a table, covered  with dry cloth and then place a clean damp cloth over the dough discs and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.
Baking Pita bread
1. In the meantime, Preheat oven to 270 C or to the highest temperature your oven will go.
2. Place the rack at the very bottom of oven or better yet take it out all together and place your baking sheet directly on the oven floor.
Preheating your baking sheet is an essential step to get your bread to puff up perfectly. If you have a pizza stone you can use that to make pita bread but again you need to get it good and hot before you start baking bread.
3. Gently place your dough discs on the preheated baking sheet, make sure that you place the dough flat on the baking sheet, any wrinkles will prevent the bread from puffing up and once you place the dough you will not be able to move it, it will stick to the baking sheet until the bottom is baked.
4. Bake each batch for 2-5 minutes till the bread puffs up, when they do flip the dough on the other side and bake for 1-2 more minutes.
Using a spatula remove the puffed pita bread from the baking sheet and out of the oven, serve hot or  cover with a clean dry towel till the bread cools down.
If you leave the pita bread uncovered as it cools it will become dry and crusty
5. When the bread cools place it in your storage bags.
Storing Pita bread
Fresh pita bread will keep in a bag at room temperature for 2-5 days. In the freezer it will keep in good condition for up to a month. Just take the amount you need out of the freezer and warm on your stove top or in the oven for a minute or two.
Serve it with Hummus or any other choice of dip.
Make sandwiches of the pita pockets. (The open up beautifully)
Happy Baking !!

The Mad Hatter New Year Party 2010-2011

A Happy New Year to you……
Hope this year brings good health, good food, lots of love, joy and laughter in your lives!!
So what did you do to ring in the New Year??
I had a party at home with some close friends. Some old and some new.
It’s just the right weather and the absolute right occasion to celebrate. Well for that matter isn’t winter always an occasion to celebrate?
The party was a fun crazy mad hatter party as I like to call it… where we just let our hair down!!!
A party like no other I’ve hosted….loads of fun….amazing friends……..and lots of food. Usually my parties are food oriented…….but this one had all of that and a lot more….
Every time I have a party at home my intention is to keep the main course brief while a mix of light and not so light finger foods keep flowing in till the drinks are on…
As usual the menu was brief and at the same time a complete spread.
The friends enjoyed the Shepherd’s Pie, the Chicken Stroganoff (my version), the Spinach & Tomato Lasagna and last but not the least the Chocolate Mousse’.
So Chocolate Mousse` it is to ring in the New Year:

Chocolate Mousse`

Ingredients:
4 Eggs
6 tsp. Gelatine dissolved in Âľ cups of water
600 ml Milk
14 tbsp. Sugar
6 tbsp. Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Vanilla Essence
500 g Cream

Procedure:
1. Mix gelatin in cold water in a small, heavy bottomed pan. Leave aside for 5-7 minutes. Heat on very low flame to dissolve it. Make sure the gelatin doesn’t boil. Keep aside.
2. Separate eggs.
3. Mix milk, sugar, cocoa and egg yolks in another heavy bottomed pan on medium to low heat. Keep stirring continuously so that the cocoa doesn’t burn over. Once the custard coats the back of the spoon remove from fire and let it cool down to room temperature.
4. Add gelatin and mix well. Make sure gelatin is completely blended in the custard.
5. Chill in the freezer till only thick. Make sure it doesn’t start setting.
6. Once the custard is chilled and thick add 400g of cream and beat well. (Preferably use a hand blender).
7. Chill again till thick.
8. While you set the cream-custard mix to chill again, beat the egg whites till stiff.
9. Now add these egg whites to the thick cream-custard mix.
10. Pour in the serving dish and let it set.
11. Do not put it in the freezer for setting. Always set mousse` in the fridge. The freezer can form crystals on the mousse` which will spoil the dessert.
12. When the mousse` is set, whip the remaining cream and put in an icing cone to decorate as desired.
13. Serve chilled.