Everyone should make bread.

A bread recipe. Really forgiving one!

1kg of bread flour (hard flour, or Italian ‘oo’ flour)
10g of dried yeast (use fresh if you can’t get dried, double the weight of dried)
25g of salt
650 ml of warm water (if using fresh yeast chuck it in the water and leave it somewhere warm for ten mins)

Optional extras

25ml olive oil or butter oh and if you fancy it get some nuts and roast em a bit, chop em a bit and chuck them in too, you could also add herbs or roasted squash or any cool stuff you can find, just make sure if it needs some cooking you do that first. The thing is dont add to many different things and only add about 200g.

 

Right get all the ingredients and chuck em in a bowl or big pan then mix away, if its to wet add more flour, it should all stick together without being sticky, when it’s all come together then get it out and start kneading do this till your arms really hurt, or it looks really smooth, which ever comes first, about ten mins.

Then put it somewhere warm for 1 hour, covered with a tea towel, then knead ( knock back ) for 1 min  #  prove again 30 mins  then knock back and put on the greased tray for cooking making it the shape you want it and leave for another 30 mins (make sure it will fit in the oven at double the size it is now) you could divide into rolls at this point aswell.

Sprinkle flour on top or brush with egg and add nuts seeds or magic fairy dust.

Bake at 200c for about 30 mins, when it’s ready you can tap the bottom and it sounds hollow.

Leave to rest on a wire rack, this bit is very important do this for 30 mins, this will finish the cooking process and make the house smell like mother hubberds cupboard.

I’ve just realised mother hubberd had a really bad cupboard. So, it might well smell like that bakery down the road.

# at this stage you can take little balls of the dough and roll em out and cook in em in a dry medium heat pan ( turn em over after about a minute ) and you’ll get lovely flat breads.

When you do this a couple of times you’ll find it well easy and also find some cool things to add.

To make life more fun you can freeze the dough after the first prove then when you defrost it will be ready to bake straight away, great for fresh bread in the morning with no work, just get it out the night before and defrost on the tray you want to bake on.

Bread is good!

 

When you fancy a challenge and something different, try this. (As you may of guessed, this isn’t me!)

Cooking Techniques.. And a little quote.

Technique can be learned, skill acquired, but heart, heart is up to you.

That’s the quote out of the way..

Right this isn’t recipes, I hope it’s a bit better.

This is more about some technics that you can adjust to fit what you can buy, to fit both your pocket and whats in season.
This stuff requires a bit of work but once done a few times can give endless options to add to what you do already.
This all looks like loads to remember but you just have to do it a few times and the various stages will just sink in. The important thing to remember is a few techniques can mean a world of possibilities.

Braising- slow cooking.

Slow food is good, you can do this with all the really cheap cuts of meat, getting the right bits requires some market skills!

A good butcher will tell you the best cuts.

Whole rabbits, lamb neck fillet, beef shin, the thing is, it takes hours but, you can do it in stages and it’s really impressive and really cheap.

Ok take your meat, you need to fry it, so, make sure you have a pan or oven tray that it fits in, if you’ve got a rabbit say, whop it in half, or chop slash and bash away, just get involved, without injuring yourself.  Watch a couple of the video links below for some tips, but please don’t avoid bones, they are great!

You need to fry hard so, get your heavy bottomed pan or thick tray then make it very hot, then add veg oil and get that hot (everything needs to be very hot, so lots of care needed) put the meat straight in and season.
You need to get good colour on the meat, that’s where the good flavour is. Don’t put too much in the pan, it will start to steam not fry, do it in batches if you need to.

When the meat is all fried and set aside turn the heat right down, if the fat in the pan/tray is really dark and burnt pour it out then add fresh oil and turn the heat back up.
Then you start adding veg, the hard stuff, coz it’s gunna cook for a while, this is when you can go crazy again, any combination you like. When it’s cooked on a high heat for a few mins and all the bits from the bottom of the pan have come loose, cover it all with water and replace the meat to the pan. Cook on the very lowest heat for some hours, four is good. Two not quite enough, six a bit too much, but as you can tell, the time can be quite loose.

At the end you put in things that don’t need much cooking soft herbs or veg then stir in some butter or cream, or don’t.

I would.

What you should have in front of you is a little pot of goodness that has lots of possibilities:

1/  You could just tuck right in ;) with maybe some roast potatoes.

2/  You could resist that temptation and let it go cold, yep, cold.  When it has, separate the meat from the liquid, then break apart.  Then re-add and divide into a few separate portions to eat over a few days.  Then cook up a pot of pasta.

When its cooked drain and bung the re warmed goodness over the top. BOOM! Pasta.

3/ Re-warm goodness, add bread. BOOM! Soup.

4/  Make spice paste. Garlic, ginger , chilli, lime zest, coriander seed and cumin seed, experiment again. Crush and bash, fry in dry pan for two mins, add to goodness. Cook rice. I say again, BOOM! Curry.

5/  Make something up, go on, off you go!

This is all great for when you maybe cook for loads of people on saturday then can’t be bothered to cook for two days after. you just need a nice big pot!

Quick note on herbs: the harder more pungent herbs, rosemary or thyme, can be cooked longer the softer ones, basil/parsley, should be cooked less or not at all ( they just lose all their flavour when cooked )

Quick note on spices: seeds need to be crushed and toasted in a dry pan then added to the dish. Powder needs to be added when frying the onions or spice paste of your dish. Toasted cooked spices taste good.

En papillote

Ok, this one is great too, lots of possibilities for making it up.
Its all about cooking in a bag or more precisely, tin foil. Take about a meter of tin foil and fold it in half.

Then we need some herbs and/or veg, enough for one person. the veg needs to either be soft like cabbage or pak choi or cut small if it’s carrots say. Put half the veg in the middle of the tin foil then, on top of that, again lots of choices, whole fish or fillet, depending on size. Salmon steak, sea bream, monkfish is wicked, whole prawns, mussels and clams.

All these things are in the markets and supermarkets and those small town shops we should all be using more.

This is for one portion so just upscale as needed. You just need to do one pasty thing per person, oh and you could make them in advance for a party then put em in half an hour before you want it. Oh and that was the rough cooking time too, your fish just wants to be breaking apart then it’s ready, not to long mind!
If you’ve got a whole fish put some veg/herbs in the belly cavity then the rest on top. Fold the tin foil up and scrunch it up to start making a pasty shape, making sure to leave a little gap.
Then pour in a glug of wine, couple of knobs of butter, squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper.. Careful not to pierce the bag eh!….Erm BOOM!

You could also use chick breast ( take the skin off, coz it won’t go crispy ), or leg, again no skin, also cheaper if you buy a whole chicken and do more than one meal.

How to joint a chicken video http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/techniques/jointing_chicken

Meals for a week.

What you need to do is adjust slightly the way you cook. Do everything in stages, so, if you’ve got a chicken chop it up, see videos again, put the legs in fridge, cook the breasts, make stock,

Breasts one meal, legs another meal then carcus made into stock for soup. All this means the overall meal prices are low, BOOM! BOOM!

Great stock making video http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/lightchickenstock_9022

So what you need to do is eat the breasts, meal one, lets say ‘en papillote’ turn off stock before going to bed. In the morning put the stock in the fridge. When you get home drain stock heat up add veg and any chicken you pick off the carcus, there should be enough, add lots of salt and pepper and any other fun stuff you can think of, then get bread and enjoy your soup, meal two.

Day three for dinner you’ve got those legs in the fridge, eat them en papillote or maybe when you made that stock the night before you could have put them in there (braise them) like the stock three hours low heat, then separate them when you make the soup and put back in the fridge. They will be cooked through and very tender so a gentle reheat makes a quick meal, have with salad or veg or even make sandwiches.

Cuts of meat to go for: lamb neck fillet, lamb shoulder, lamb shank, beef skirt, beef shin there are lots of cheap beef cuts that are very tough and full of flavour. Look out for mutton, goat and rabbits.
just go for it at the Market, I reckon if it costs more than 10 quid a kilo then avoid to start with other than that just go for it! A kilo feeds roughly four hungary people by the way. That price is rough but in the ball park, or skate park.

All of this cooking can be done in stages so it’s not lots of work all at once it’s more like a bit extra every time when your around the kitchen.
This stuff can all be shared with house mates, team mates and family.  I think its things like this that all around the world make the house a home.
These cooking technics are also some of the most widely used around the world which is why they offer so many possibilitys with ingredients.

 

Here’s a slightly more tech use of rabbit