Sunday, 28 December 2014

Baked Ham & Cheese Bread (no yeast)

I have eaten so much meat over Christmas and in the last few days, dinner tonight is a-la-simple-and-almost-meat-free.  I didn't say it was healthy - I just cannot face another big chunk of meat ... read, white or any other colour in between right now.

Thought I would whip up a ham & cheese bread (with no yeast of course - as I really have no patience in kneading bread or waiting for the yeast to activate and make it rise).  The result ... yes a much heavier bread than normal, but what the hell, when you are enjoying it with melted White Wine & Garlic Camembert Cheese for dinner!

So I have used cheddar cheese and some smokey ham, but you could use a great Serrano Ham or even a salami diced small - anything with a punch of flavour!  Chives and thyme also work really well in this recipe - so open the fridge and see what is desperately needing to be 'removed' after the Festive Season.

Baked Ham & Cheese Bread

Serves 4 - 6

425g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
150g + 10g mature cheddar cheese, grated
6 - 8 slices smoked ham
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt
Few grinds of black pepper
200ml cold water

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon.  Roll all ham slices into a single tube and cut thin strips.  Add ham to the bowl.  Snip spring onions finely and add as well. Season with paprika, mustard powder, salt and pepper and mix through.

Add water and stir with a wooden spoon until all is mixed well. Smooge a little with your hands and then make a big round ball with the dough.  Flatten the ball a little to allow for even cooking and place on a greased baking tray.  Cut 3 slits into the top of the bread to allow it to breath whilst baking. Sprinkle with remaining 10g of cheese.

Bake for 35 - 38 minutes at 200'C or until a skewer removes clean.  Wrap warm bread in a clean kitchen towel and wait to serve.

~ Michelle ~


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Slow Roasted Tuscan 'Spoon' Lamb

So this year for the Christmas I am preparing something that is not a turkey or gammon effort, instead, Lamb is my key focus point for the festive table.  'Others' will be donning the table with traditional bird and pork offerings, but I so need a change, and I have found it in a wonderful leg of lamb.  

Cooking a block of meat for 4-hours might seem a little excessive, but the results are nothing less than spectacular.  This lamb is so tender you can literally pull it off the bone with 2 spoons ... hence it's name.  

Serve it with some season or festive veg, you will not be disappointed ... I promise.  

Slow Roasted Tuscan Spoon Lamb

Serves 4 - 6

1,2 kg leg of Lamb on the bone
Olive oil
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cracked pepper
500 ml white wine (If its not good enough to drink, it's not good enough to cook with!)
1 cup water
2 whole heads of garlic, unpeeled, cup in half
15 stems fresh Thyme
15 stems fresh Rosemary
6 Anchovy fillets (optional)

Generously rub oil into the lamb on all sides.  Add salt and pepper and lightly rub.  Add oil in a pot with a tight fighting lid (Dutch Oven), brown lamb very well (almost burnt) on all sides. Remove meat and set aside.

Add wine, water and scrape grizzle off the bottom of the pot.  Add garlic, herbs, anchovies and place the Lamb on top. Cover with lid and cook for 4-hours exactly at 150'C.  Remove meat from pot and wrap in aluminium foil and stand for 15 min.

Strain liquid and squash garlic through a sieve. Reduce sauce to thicken ... or add a little flour or Mazina to help do so - pending how thick you like your sauce.  Place meat on a plate with season vegetables and drizzle with sauce.

To serve, you only need 2 spoons on the table to pull the meat ever so gently off the bone family style.

~ Michelle ~

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Peanut Butter, Coffee, Chocolate Brownies

Just in case you have not eaten enough sweet morsels over this holiday season, here is another that is just delish and something you have to try.  This recipe came about from sheer desperation. It was one of those moments when I was craving something sweetish and the pantry shelves just stared back at me with nothing ready-made on option.

It was time to get back to basics and raid the shelves for two of my favourites ... peanut butter and Nutella.  Pull a few staples from the fridge and presto ... a delish dessert baked in the oven in less than 10 minutes.

What I really like about these brownies is they are not too sweet as the peanut butter and coffee cuts through the hazelnut chocolate spread, so a really good balance.

To serve, I spread a little extra Nutella on the top of the cooled brownie and for the saucy base, I whipped up one of those instant pudding mixes - caramel to be exact.  For a little festive snow, dust some icing sugar and serve.

Peanut Butter, Coffee & Chocolate Brownies

Serves 4

60ml Nutella chocolate spread
60ml smooth peanut butter
1 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1.2 tsp instant coffee
5 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat to 170'C (350'F).  Add Nutella, peanut butter and egg to a bowl and mix by hand with a spatula to combine all well.

Add vanilla essence and coffee to a small ramkin and stir until the coffee has dissolved.  Add coffee liquid, flour and baking powder to the chocolate mix and stir thoroughly by hand until all is mixed well.

Add mixture to a small square oven dish, lined with baking paper.   Spread mix smooth over the top with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 11 minutes, or until a skewer removes clean and allow to cool before slicing.

Enjoy ...
~ Michelle ~