Yeast free garlic and coriander Naan Bread

8 06 2011

 I love bread…it really is one of my biggest weaknesses as a semi- healthy human although now that I think about it drinking and smoking are probably bigger weaknesses but anyway back to the bread.

 Regular readers will possibly have spotted that as well as having a love of bread I also have a little bit of a thing for Indian food in general and curry in particular.  For me no Indian meal is truly complete without some bread to go with it; be it a chapati or a puri or naan.

 As with most things I have over the years given up completely on finding any shop bought Naan bread that tastes even remotely like food and have just started making my own, not only do these Naan taste better than the shop bought variety they are healthier as well.

If you just want to have a plain naan then you can omit the topping before you bake.

Ingredients:

250g/9oz plain flour

2 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

110-130ml/3½-4½fl oz milk

2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing

For the topping

chopped garlic and fresh coriander

1 tbsp butter, melted, to serve

Method:

For the dough, sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl, mix together the milk and oil.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Slowly mix together the dough by working from the centre and incorporating the flour from the edges of the ‘well’, to make a smooth, soft dough. Knead well for 8-10 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and leave in a warm place for 10-15 minutes. Form the dough into five balls.

Preheat the grill to medium and place a heavy baking sheet on the upper shelf of the grill to heat.

Roll the dough balls out quite thinly, ideally in a teardrop shape, but really this is just aesthetic.

Scatter your coriander and garlic (or anything else you fancy) over the top of your naan and press into the surface of the dough.

Place the naans onto the hot baking sheet and grill for just 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Brush with butter and serve hot.

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Homemade Shortcrust Pastry

12 01 2011

Shop bought pastry is a little bit of a Godsend, especially for the really time-consuming pastries such as filo or puff pastry.

There are some times though when shop bought pastry just wont cut it, shortcrust pastry is one of these exceptions. Not only is shortcrust pastry quick and easy to make but the difference in cost and quality is really quite noticeable.

I prefer to make my pastry well in advance, often the day before, and leave it in the fridge to set. It just ends up being so much better both in terms of taste and texture.

The trick to making great shortcrust pastry is to keep it cold and to try to handle it as little as possible. A marble board is great for working with pastry, you can help keep it cooler for longer and there is less chance of the dough sticking to the board.

Ingredients:

200g Plain flour

100g unsalted butter – cubed

1/2 tsp salt

1 mid-sized egg

 

Method:

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl and rub the butter in with your fingertips until you have a crumb-like consistency.

Slowly add in half of the beaten egg and continue to mix by hand until it comes together, you can add more egg if need be.

Once the pastry has come together flatten it out into disc about an inch thick, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

 





Best Steak and Mushroom Pie

7 11 2010

It has come to my attention recently that pies are now trendy… don’t really know what to say about that as where I come from they have never really gone out of fashion but that is by the by.

The weather is drawing in and it is the time of year for something warming and that is exactly what this steak and mushroom pie is.

To make a pie that will feed 4-6 people you will need the following:

500g diced steak (round steak works well)

500g mushrooms (any old mushrooms will do)

2 large white onions

2 carrots

2 tomatoes

a good handful of parsley

1 clove of garlic

1 pint stout or porter

1/2 pint beef stock

500g shortcrust pastry

salt and pepper

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp tabasco sauce

flour

make sure that the steak is diced into smallish cubes, if any seem too large then cut them until they seem about right, pop the cubes of steak into a bowl of seasoned flour and ensure that all of the chunks are well coated.

Heat some butter or lard in a large pan until it is just about smoking, now add the cubes of steak in batches until all of the meat is browned off.

Place the steak to one side until later, now add the diced carrots and onions to the same pan and cook until they are starting to soften.

Once the carrots and onions have softened add the diced tomatoes, chopped mushrooms and the chopped parsely to the pan along with the remainder of the flour from the bowl and all of the wet ingredients, stir together well and return the steak to the pan.

Cover the pan and leave to cook over a low heat for at least 1 1/2 hours.

Ensuring that your pastry is nice and chilled roll out enough to make the base of your pie and line your pie dish/an enamel plate with it. You will want to leave soem over hang so that you can make a good seal with the lid later on.

Place your pie dish/enamel plate into the fridge to keep the pastry cool and to prevent shrinking until you need it.

Once the filling has been cooking for 1 1/2 hours take it off of the heat and leave to one side for it to cool as you do not want to be putting the filling onto the pastry whilst it is still hot.

Brush the inside of the pie crust with beaten egg to stop it from going too soggy, now add your cooled pie filling into the pastry and make sure it is well spread and evenly filled, there is nothing worse then a big gap in your pie.

Brush some beaten egg around the top lip of the pie crust so as to form a seal and place the lid of your pie on top.

Make sure that you cut a hole for the steam to escape from during cooking, now brush the remainder of the beaten egg over the top of the pastry to give it a lovely golden colour.

Cook the pie for approximately 30 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to around 180 degrees. Once the pastry is golden brown on top the pie is ready.








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