Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Lazy bread in the campervan

Before we left England on our European jaunt I mixed up some flours, seeds and yeast (and some Solanic potato protein which helps stop slumping) and made up 400g bags and heat sealed them.  Monday evening I added water to make a thick slurry and left the dough to sit overnight.  
I had no idea if the yeast I had used could cope with being treated this way, but next morning, even in the van which we hadn’t heated, the batter was bubbly so I put it in a bread tin and put it in the oven.  
I have found in the past that this bread copes with being baked from a start in a cold oven, so I just did that here, cooking at full heat for an hour and 15 minutes at a slightly reduced temperature.  I haven’t got a thermometer so I have no idea what temperature the bread was cooked at.  However, the bread came out well cooked and delicious, so I can very definitely say that it works well as a lazy, no idea what the temperature is, campervan bread.

This bread is made with urid lentil, tapioca, and cornmeal flours plus potato protein, pumpkin, sunflower and linseeds, yeast and water.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

testing prehydrolysed tapioca starch - PREJEL from AVEBE FOOD as an addition to gf flour

The wonders of LinkedIn mean that I can try using a dry powder form of my tapioca gloop.  I take 100ml of water 10gm of tapioca flour, stir together while cold, then cook, stirring constantly, to a clear gel.  I use this to add flexibility and ease of handling when making pasta and flatbreads.  It is a bit of an effort doing this each time, and I wondered if a dry version could be added to the flour, which would mean a pre-mixed flour could be made available.

I got sent a tub of this powder some time ago, but with moving house it has sat unused.  Last night I amused myself running a first test.  I made two small batches of flatbread, using 100g of my standard flour mix (40% urid, 40% tapioca, 20% cornmeal).   To one I added 10g of the PREJEL. I used this amount as I wanted to be sure to spot the effect if there was one.  I added cold water to get a firm dough (100ml for the batch with PREJEL, 70ml for the plain).  I let them rest for ten minutes and then rolled out four flatbreads.

The dough with the PREJEL felt plump and soft, and rolled without any tearing.  The plain dough took a little more care to produce a flat disc.

I cooked both on a non-stick frying pan.  It is the first time I have tried cooking flatbreads on my new induction hob, so I was not too sure of the right heat settings, but both batches were treated the same.

Both batches of flatbreads were flexible when they were first cooked. I rolled and rerolled them several times, and both retained their shape.  The plain flatbreads had a slightly leathery texture between the teeth, the PRJEL flatbreads had a slightly more adhesive feel.

As both batches were flexible I reheated one of each, to mimic a possible normal use if buying flatbread readymade.  The PREJEL flatbreads were more flexible after this, but both still retained their shape and could be rolled.  In a more extreme test I left the flatbreads out on the worktop overnight, not wrapped or covered in any way.  The next morning the plain flatbreads were stiff and could not e rolled without cracking.  The PREJEL batch could still be rolled and were soft enough to eat without difficulty.  The slit visible in the PREJEL flatbreads on the top were not cracking but the way I marked the flatbreads to be able to tell which batch had the PREJEL in.
top - PREJEL, lower - plain.  10hrs uncovered

I should have run a test comparing my tapioca gloop to this powder as well as the plain flour.  However, it is clear that the addition of some of this PREJEL gives a dough that is easier to work and a flatbread that remains flexible and easy to chew.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Gallette - traditional Breton pancakes made with buckwheat

It is a while since I had buckwheat pancakes so I checked the recipes available.  Most suggest wheat flour with a quarter or so buckwheat.  I presume people do this to moderate the distinctive flavour of buckwheat.   I made these pancakes with plain buckwheat flour, which despite its name has nothing to do with the wheat family and is naturally gluten free.  I also skipped the large amount of melted butter some recipes called for, using a little vegetable oil, and substituted dairy milk for rice milk, making these dairy/lactose free as well.

I ate mine with homemade apple sauce and grape jelly.  Rod ate his with grated Gruyere and pepperoni, folded and left on the pan to melt the cheese.

These were delicious and simple to make.  We used the traditional wooden tools bought decades ago on holiday in Brittany, but you can spread the batter with the back of a spoon, and turn using a spatula.  Our flat crepe pan, used for nearly thirty years, is made of aluminium so won't work on the induction hob in the new flat.  We used our old cast iron griddle, which worked a little less well as edges are a bit roughened by use for many different forms of bread and pancakes over the years.  An ordinary frying pan would be fine.

For two people - as a main meal, or four as desert

200g buckwheat flour
1 egg
1 tbsp oil
400ml rice or other milk.  This is two of the small cartons I keep in the pantry.

Mix all the ingredients together and let it rest for a while.  The recipe I was basing this on said an hour but I used my batter after ten minutes.

Heat a pan, lightly grease and pour a small amount of batter and spread it out.  You could also increase the liquid to a pouring, swirling consistency and just tip the pan to spread.

Cook on a medium heat until browned on the first side, then turn and cook on the second.  Stack and keep warm or eat as they come off the stove.  If you make too many wrap and keep in the freezer.  They can be microwaved quickly and used as wanted.


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Venison and mushroom pie

I had a bit of venison left over so made it into a pie with mushrooms.  This is a double crust pie; if you want to make life easier or the meal less calorific just put a top crust on.

Make the filling ahead of time so that it has time to cool - though you can speed this up by putting it in a metal bowl in cold water.  The pastry needs at least fifteen minutes to absorb the water, but unless you want to make it the day before don't put it in the fridge.  If you try to roll this pastry when it is chilled it is very hard to work.

125g venison (this was already cooked, but raw would be fine)
250g mushrooms
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp umami paste or other flavouring like tamari
1 tsp ketchup (I thought it needed a bit of brightening)

Finely chop the onion and cook until translucent in oil.  (If the venison is raw remove onion from pan and brown venison before continuing with other stages). Add the chopped garlic and the chopped mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown.  Add the venison, cut into bite sized pieces.  Add water and flavourings and cook until the mushrooms are soft.  Add some cornflour mixed with water to thicken the sauce, or, as I did, use a small lump of the pastry mixed into the sauce.  Don't make this as thick as you would like the gravy to be in the pie as it will reduce and thicken more in the baking.

Check flavouring and adjust as needed.  Put aside to cool.

250g flour (40% urid, 40% tapioca, 20% cornmeal)
125 g chilled butter
water to mix to dough

Cut and rub the butter into the flour until it is evenly dispersed.  You can do this in a food mixer or by hand - which is harder, getting out the machine and washing up or rubbing gently for a couple of minutes?

Add water a little at a time and mix with finger tips until you get a slightly damp dough that holds together well.  Wrap in plastic and leave to rest at room temperature for at least fifteen minutes.

Put the oven on to heat - 170C fan, before you start assembling pie.

When the pastry has rested, roll out 2/3 of the pastry on floured board or just press into place in pie dish.  Place cooled filling into pie dish and top with the rest of the pastry.  Make a hole in the middle for the steam, brush with egg wash if you want a shiny top.

Bake at 170C, for about half an hour.  If you have kept the filling in the fridge allow a little extra time for the filling to get piping hot and the lower pastry to be cooked.  You may also need a little extra time if you use a ceramic dish rather than a metal pie dish.  The filling is already cooked so it just needs to be hot and the pastry crisp.

Serves two hungry people or four with modest appetites.

Toasted quinoa, blueberry and banana muffin

Quinoa is a very nutritious food, being a complete protein, but it can have a rather acrid flavour.  This is caused by the coating the seed has to discourage insects from eating it.  If you rinse whole quinoa you can get rid of this.  I have used rinsed quinoa in these muffins, which I then toasted to a light brown before adding to the flour.  The whole quinoa gives a crunchy texture.  If you don't want this blitz the quinoa in a blender to get a smooth texture.

These muffins turned out to be quite sweet.  You may want to reduce the sugar.

Makes about 16 small muffins.  Use cupcake paper cases to line your tins to make things easier.

Heat oven to 170C (fan)

100g quinoa, rinsed and toasted
100g flour (40% urid, 40% tapioca, 20% cornmeal)
1 large banana, mashed
50g blueberries or other dried fruit
50g vegetable oil
50g brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs

Whisk the flour and baking powder together then stir in quinoa and blueberries.
Mix mashed banana, oil, sugar and eggs.
Mix the wet and dry mixtures together

Spoon into paper cases - no more than 2/3 full.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until brown on top.

Tip onto a cooling rack to avoid a soggy bottom.   Freeze as soon as cold for an easy snack.