3.30.2010

Forging Brousse

Cake of potato and goat's cheese


forgingfromageA new month, a new cheese to make at home. This time it was brousse, a fresh cheese from goat's or sheep's milk from France.
I made brousse with sheep's milk, because I could only find UHT goat's milk. The finished cheese tasted good, but I found it a bit more bland than the paneer. It is similar in texture to mozarella.
To drain the cheese overnight, I used some plastic molds, which were part of a cheese-making Beginner's Set I got from an online source. (Käsereibedarf Leidinger; Their website is in German only, but they seem to ship to all EU countries.) As with the paneer, the cheese didn't render much fluid after the initial draining. I placed the mold on an up-turned mug to prevent the cheese from sitting in a puddle of it's own liquid. That was apparently not necessary.

I used the brousse in some potato cakes, which were like chunky rösti with a polenta crust and oozy cheese inside. Very yummy.

Brousse




A cake of potato and goat's cheese

Source: Tender Vol.I by Nigel Slater

Ingredients:

400 g cooked potato
150 g goat's cheese
4 Tbsp herbs (thyme, tarragon,parsley) chopped
1 Tbsp flour
6 Tbsp cornmeal (polenta)
olive or groundnut oil

Method:

Mash the potatoes with a masher or a fork till they are a mixture of sizes from gravel to pebbles. Cut the goat's cheese up into small pieces and fold it into the mash with the chopped herbs. Season generously with salt and black pepper, then stir in the flour. Divide the mixture into four and pat each one into a rugged patty roughly the diameter of a digestive biscuit. Empty the cornmeal on a plate, then turn the patties in it.
Get a thin layer of oil hot in a shallow, non-stick pan. Lower the patties into the oil and, without moving them, cook for about four minutes, till golden and lightly crisp underneath. Turn them quickly and carefully with a palette knife and cook the other side. Drain briefly on kitchen paper before serving.


Brousse

Source: forging frommage
Original Source: 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes

Tools
Cloth-lined colander
4 Brousse moulds

Ingredients
1 quart goat's milk (sheep is fine too)
1/4 cup white vinegar

1. Sterilize all equipment. In a stainless steel pot over medium heat, bring milk just to the boiling point, stirring gently to prevent scotching. Remove from heat.

2. Dilute vinegar in 3/4 cups cool water and add to milk, stirring quickly with skimmer. Continue to stir milk vigorously with skimmer or a whisk until it curdles and small flakes of cheese rise to the top of the pot.

3. Using skimmer, ladle curds into a cloth-lined colander. Let drain over a bowl for 2-3 minutes. Using your hands or a spoon, fill Brousse moulds, packing curd down. Pour remaining milk through a cloth to starin out any remaining solids and add these to the moulds. Tap moulds slightly to ensure they are completely filled to the bottom.

4. Place moulds in a basket or bowl so they stand upright. Let drain for about 6 hours. Place in the refirgerator and unmould cheese as you use them. Brousse must be eaten fresh, preferably within 24 hours. (Other sources say 3-4 days is fine.)

3.28.2010

Braised Endive with Onion

Braised Endive with Onion

When life, in the form of your local green market, refuses to give you sweet potatoes, make braised endives instead. This is a nice preparation for winter vegetables, with a more pleasant level of bitterness than the radicchio from three posts downward. It seems that the bitterness is concentrated in the outermost leaves, so you can adjust the taste by the number of layers you strip off after washing, if any.
Fortunately, at my next visit one week later (I'm a bit behind with posting dishes, I know.) , the green market had seen the error of his ways and sweet potatoes were available.

Braised Escarole with Onion

Source: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Ingredients:

2 heads escarole, about 2 pounds in all *
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 plump garlic clove, minced
salt and freshly milled pepper
chopped parsley

* Used 2 heads endive/chicory, maybe 1 1/2 pounds total weight.

Method:

Separate the escarole leaves and wash well, taking special care to go over the base of the inner leaves with your fingers where dirt often clings. Drain and coarsely chop. Heat the oil in a wide skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until limp. Add the garlic and cook until it begins to colour, but don't let it brown. Add the escarole with any water clinging to the leaves, salt lightly, and cook, covered, until the greens are wilted and tender,12 to 15 minutes. Season with pepper and toss with the parsley.

3.24.2010

Sourdough Bread & Starter

Sourdough Bread

Finally, I've done it. I made a sourdough starter using just flour and water and five days time. With hindsight, I'd say it's fun, it's very easy to do and at the end of it you might wonder wtf took you so long to try it. I chose one of the simplest approaches to making a starter I could find from The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard, leaving out the yoghurt and the raisins from the recipe to make it even simpler. The main point here seems to be using a mix of rye and wheat flour, which gets the starter going more easily. The rest is all in the wrist ( ;) ) as you just need to spoon flour into a jar, mix it in (I used a disposable wooden skewer) and spoon out some of the excess mixture.

As the inaugural bread for using my starter I chose a rustic, sponge-based recipe, which had a nice sour taste, even though it was a tad under-baked. It would probably have tasted even better if I hadn't forgotten to add the salt to the final d'oh dough. But the smell of the freshly sliced bread alone is worth making your own sourdough. Seriously.

I guess making sourdough bread from scratch qualifies for the High Five award from Cookie baker lynn.

I'm sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.


Sourdough Bread

Source: Bread by Daniel Stevens
(it seems like there will be a new edition of this book, coming out in June)

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

500 g strong wholemeal wheat flour
600 ml warm water
a ladleful of very active sourdough starter

For the dough:

all of the sponge
600 g strong wholemeal wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
25 g salt

Method:

Before you go to bed, make the sponge: mix all the ingredients together by hand in a large bowl. Beat for a while, squeezing the lumps of flour out as you come across them. Put the container in a plastic bag and leave it somewhere fairly warm until the next morning.

The next day, mix in the flour and salt, and squash it all together, adding more flour or water as necessary, to make a soft, easily kneadable, sticky dough. Turn it out on to a clean work surface and knead it for about 10 minutes, until smooth and springy.

Form the dough into a tight round, flour it all over and place in a clean bowl. Cover with a plastic bag and leave to rise. After an hour, tip it out on your work surface (it may not have risen much at this point). Form it into a tight round again, return to the bowl, cover and leave to rise for another hour. Repeat this process once, or even twice more - you will notice the dough becoming increasingly airy.

After the final rising period, tip the dough out on to the work surface and deflate it by pressing all over with your hands. Divide into two or three, and shape into loaves. Coat with flour, then transfer the loaves to well-floured wooden boards, linen cloths, tea towels or proving baskets. Lay a plastic bag over the whole batch, to stop it drying out, and leave to prove until almost doubled in size; this could be anywhere from 1 to 4 hours, depending on the temperature of the dough and the vigour of your sourdough starter.

When the loaves are almost ready, switch the oven to 250°C/Gas Mark 10 or its highest setting, put a baking stone or a heavy baking tray inside, and place a roasting tin on the bottom shelf. Put the kettle on.

When the loaves are ready, either transfer them to the hot tray (removed from the oven), or one at a time to a peel. Slash the tops with a serrated knife and spread the bread all over with water. Put the tray into the oven,or slide each loaf on to the baking stone, pour some boiling water into the roasting tin and close the door as quickly as possible.

Turn the heat down after about 10 minutes to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 if the bread is still very pale; 180°C/Gas Mark 4 if the crust is noticeably browning; or 170°C/Gas Mark 3 if the crust seems to be browning quickly. Bake until the loaves are well browned and crusty, and feel hollow when you tap them: in total allow 30 to 40 minutes for small loaves; 40 to 50 minutes for large loaves.
If in doubt, bake for a few minutes longer. Leave to cool on a wire rack.


Sourdough Starter (Leaven)

Source: The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard
slightly abbreviated

Day 1

50 g water at 20°C
2 rounded tsp rye flour
2 rounded tsp strong white flour
2 rounded tsp currants or raisins *
2 rounded tsp live low-fat yoghurt *

Mix all the ingredients in a 500 ml Kilner** jar.
Cover and leave at room temperature (approx. 20°C) for 24 hours.

* Omitted.
** Mason and Weck jars should work, too. :)

Day 2

50 g water at 20°C
2 rounded tsp rye flour
2 rounded tsp strong white flour

Stir in the ingredients, beginning with the water.
Cover and leave at room temperature (approx. 20°C) for 24 hours.

Day 3

100 g water at 20°C
4 rounded tsp rye flour
4 rounded tsp strong white flour

Stir in the ingredients, beginning with the water.
Cover and leave at room temperature (approx. 20°C) for 24 hours.

Day 4

100 g water at 20°C
125 g strong white flour

Remove and discard three quarters of the mixture.
Stir in the water. Pour through a strainer to remove the raisins, then pour back into the jar. Add the flour and stir well. Cover and leave at room temperature (approx. 20°C) for 24 hours.

Day 5

100 g water at 20°C
125 g strong white flour

Remove and discard three quarters of the mixture.
Stir in the ingredients, beginning with the water.
Cover and leave at room temperature (approx. 20°C) for 24 hours.

Day 6 onwards

Replace each volume of leaven, which you remove for baking, with an equal amount of water and flour.

3.21.2010

Stir-fried Potato Slivers with Chiles and Sichuan Pepper

Stir-fried Potato Slivers with Chiles and Sichuan Pepper

I'm not very fond of eating whole potatoes, as they can be rather bland. But dice them up (like in this Indian cauliflower dish) and it's a totally different matter. These stir-fried potato slivers with chiles and Sichuan pepper (the title of the recipe says it all, really) are very quick to make and should make a nice side dish to a steak. Maybe one could also turn this into a potato salad for a bbq.

Stir-fried Potato Slivers with Chiles and Sichuan Pepper

Source: Land of Plenty by Fuchsia Dunlop

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds potatoes
peanut oil
6 dried chiles, preferably Sichuanese
1 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
salt
sugar
1-2 tsp sesame oil

Method:

- Peel the potatoes and cut them as evenly as possible into very thin slices. Then lay these slices flat and cut them into very fine matchstick slivers. Soak for a few minutes in plenty of cold, slightly salted water to remove excess starch. You can also use a mandoline or the coarse grater in a food processor to slice the potatoes.

- Just before cooking, drain the potatoes in a colander, shaking out as much water as possible.

- Season the wok, then add 2 Tbsp of oil and swirl it around over a medium flame until hot but not smoking. Add the chiles and Sichuan pepper and stir-fry briefly until the oil is fragrant and spicy. Add the potatoes, turn the heat up, and stir-fry vigorously for 4-5 minutes, seasoning with salt and maybe a pinch of sugar to taste (about 1/2 tsp will do). When the potatoes are hot and cooked but still al dente, remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and serve.

3.17.2010

radicchio and chile pasta sauce

radicchio and chile pasta sauce

On the same page as the celery root gratin from some time ago, I found this intriguing recipe for a pasta sauce. The radicchio goes well with the bacon and the chiles add some background heat. However, the bitter taste from the radicchio is rather pronounced. Next time I'd use only one radicchio and add about half a head of kale. (Also, the red wine will stain the white parts of the radicchio. Should you make this for guests, maybe use white wine instead.)

radicchio and chile pasta sauce

Source: The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall

serves 4

Ingredients:

2 radicchio heads
about 3 ounces (2 thick slices) smoked pancetta or bacon
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 to 1 fresh red chili (depending on strength), finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 wineglass of red wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Wash and coarsly shred the radicchio, as you would a cabbage. Trim the rind off the pancetta and then cut the pancetta into thick matchsticks. Fry it in the oil in a large frying pan for a few minutes, until lightly browned, then throw in the chili and garlic. Cook for just 1 minute, then pile in the radicchio, stirring so that it cooks and wilts but does not burn. The pan will seem overloaded at first, but the radicchio quickly reduces in volume. Add the wine and let it bubble for a few minutes until it has almost disappeared, then pour in the cream and simmer to reduce a little further, until the sauce is thick and glossy.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cooked, drained pasta (or add the sauce to the pasta dish, if your frying pan is too full) mix well, and heat through for 1 minute before serving.

3.15.2010

Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

With Paddy's Day right in front of us, a wave of Guinness-flavoured recipes is washing over food blogs everywhere. To keep in the spirit of seasonal cooking, I made a Guinness milk chocolate ice cream. The ice cream is, well, chocolaty and there's just a hint of Guinness-flavour, but it's a great treat on a Sunday afternoon even when it's cold outside. (note to self: must make pure chocolate ice cream for reference)

Lots of Guinness will be happily a-flowing at the round-up of Regional Recipes from Ireland, hosted by Joanne from Eats Well With Others.

Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

7 ounces (205 g) milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
3/4 cup (180 ml) Guinness Stout
1 tsp vanila extract

Method:

Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture inot the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir,until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer over the milk chocolate, then stir until the chocolate is melted.* Once the mixture is smooth, whisk in the cream, then the Guinness and vanila. Stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

*I wasn't sure if the residual heat from the custard would suffice to melt the chocolate, but it did. ;)

3.10.2010

Spelt Bread

Spelt Bread

The use of a poolish makes this an airy bread, but it still has enough substance to fill you up. I use it for making lunch sandwiches to take to the office. When browsing my bread books before choosing this recipe, I noticed that I'm running low on recipes which don't require a sourdough. Easy to see where this will lead to, isn't it. ;)

I'm sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.

Spelt Bread

Source: Crust by Richard Bertinet

Ingredients Poolish:

500 g spelt flour
500 g water
10 g fresh yeast

Method Poolish:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, cover with a towel or cling film, and leave in a warm place for 3-5 hours or overnight in the fridge. *

* Did the latter.

Ingredients Spelt Bread:

all of the poolish
500 g spelt flour
10 g fresh yeast
20 g salt
150 g water
100 g whole spelt grains, soaked overnight in warm water; optional *
spelt flour for dusting

* Omitted.

Method Spelt Bread:

Preheat the oven to 250°C. If not using loaf tins, put two baking stones or sheet pans into the oven. Either slightly butter two loaf tins suitable for 800 g each, or use two rising molds lined with bread towels. If not using loaf tins, keep a pizza paddle ready.

Mix the flour, yeast, salt and water (and spelt grains, if using) into the poolish. Transfer dough onto (unfloured) work surface and knead until smooth.

Slightly dust the work surface with flour and form the dough into a ball. Transfer the ball into a (slightly floured) bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour. Transfer the dough onto the slightly floured work surface and divide into two balls. * Cover with a towel and let rise for 15 minutes.

* I didn't divide the dough, but baked the whole batch in a 35 cm loaf tin.

Either form the two balls into loafs and transfer into the loaf tins, or put the two balls into the rising molds. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour. Transfer the loafs to the paddle.

Sprinkle the inside of the oven with water, put in the breads and quickly close the oven. After 2 minutes reduce temperature to 220°C and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the loaves sound hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

3.07.2010

Carrots with Hijiki

Carrots with Hijiki

Today, just a quick and easy dish. The taste is dominated by the ginger, while the carrots and the hijiki blend together in a earthy-hearty kinda way. It's difficult to desribe, best to try it out yourself.

Carrots with Hijiki

Source: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Ingredients:

2 cups dried hijiki (or arame)
soy sauce or tamari to taste
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
2 Tbsp slivered ginger *
3 carrots, julienned
salt
toasted sesame seeds

* I ground the ginger on a Microplane.

Method:

Cover the hijiki with water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain, then put in an saucepan with fresh water to cover and 2 Tbsp soy sauce. Bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes, then drain again. If using arame, soak for 3 minutes, then drain without parboiling.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet over high heat. Add the ginger and carrots and stir-fry until the carrots begin to colour around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the seaweed and cook 5 minutes more, tossing frequently. Add 1 Tbsp soy sauce and let it cook off. Taste and season with salt and/or soy sauce. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

3.03.2010

celery root and chili gratin

celery root and chili gratin

A winter vegetable with garlic, chili and cream sounds like a pretty fail-safe combination, don't you think? And it was.
The top of the gratin was a bit chewy (next time I will put it under the broiler as suggested in the recipe; maybe with some grated cheddar on top), but underneath it's smooth and creamy (similar in texture to kohlrabi) with some nice chili heat. The amount of liquid given in the recipe seems like it would not be enough, but don't worry the celery will render some liquid and lose some volume.

celery root and chili gratin

Source: The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall

Ingredients:

2 pounds celery root
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 to 1 fresh red chili (depending on strength), finely chopped
(or 1 tsp red pepper flakes - Not powder)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup half-and-half
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Peel the celery root and slice as thinly as possible, about the thickness of a dime is ideal. In a large mixing bowl, toss the slices with 2 Tbsp of the oil and all the other ingredients until the slices are evenly coated and the garlic and chile well distributed. Transfer to a lightly oiled gratin dish, spreading out the slices with your fingertips: you do not have to layer the gratin piece by piece, but try to ensure that the slices are mostly lying flat. Pour over any cream left in the bowl and trickle the remaining oil over the top.
Bake in a preheated 375°F oven, for 40 to 50 minutes, until the celery root is completely tender and the top is browned and crisp. For extra crispness, you could finish it under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.