Archive for November, 2008

I’ll have lunch at the company tomorrow, so this is a small bento before the evening painting class.
Homebaked sourdough rolls with lettuce, fried Halloumi, cherry tomato slices and onion, Falafel, bear container with walnut-pepper sauce and some croquettes on a pick in the lower layer.
Couscous with parsley, a stuffed pepper, more croquettes, olives, salad and a fishy with balsam vinegar for the salad in the upper layer.

BF gets the same and a candy in the bigger Curver box.

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This is how I roll!

(Get it? Roll. Hur hur. I kill myself)

I somehow don’t think I’ll ever really understand baking.

You may have noticed that I’ve been trying to teach myself to bake recently. :) Although I haven’t been blogging everything yet (I’ve also been a bit too stressed to blog) I think I can say that I’ve made progress.
But then you might call it stubborn of me that, even though I’m an inexperienced baker, I keep trying to throw myself at two of the harder incarnations of bread – sourdough and ciabatta. And sometimes both. And it takes a lot of time, and it’s hard, and I’m reminded every time of how little I know.

But then today I gave up and just threw caution to the wind. “Can you make a bread after the flatbread recipe, but with a sourdough starter and in less than one day?”
Turns out that I could! And it was much easier and much quicker than the ciabattas.

I made my starter with one spoon of culture, one cup of flour and one cup of water at lunchtime (when I got up – it’s Sunday after all!) and left it to rise during the afternoon. Some time later, I mixed it with three more cups, half a cup of lukewarm water, olive oil and salt to form a springy, not too sticky dough.
I had learned from my flatbread experiments that it rises best in an oiled bowl that you set into another bowl of lukewarm water. So that’s where it went. It didn’t quite do much for a long while though – until I remembered that being sourdough, it probably wanted to be folded! And indeed – after a single folding it began to rise beautifully!
At that time I ran out of time and patience and time, so I didn’t let it rise as much as it probably could have. But when I poured it out of the bowl, it was indeed a bubbly and smooth dough. I gently cut it into six buns and let them rise a bit more before baking (with steam in the oven) at 230 deg C for five minutes.

When I looked into the oven again, I had – sourdough zeppelins! :D

Crusty outside, with a moist crumb and big bubbles inside – they were simply fantastic with fried Halloumi, lettuce, tomatoes and red onions and a little reduced balsam vinegar dressing.

So, today’s lesson – I seem to bake better when I don’t worry so much about what the grownups are doing :)

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I love the internet

Because when Dad randomly sent me a Google doc with Jamie Oliver’s Pumpkin á la Hamilton recipe, it took me about five seconds to realize “Hey! I have all the ingredients for that!”

And then half an hour to prepare and snap photos before it went into the oven!

And 75 minutes later, there was a delicious sweet stuffed butternut squash dinner on my plate.


(not posting the recipe because it’s Jamie’s – but if you want to know I might mail it over to you.
Some of my comments if you do own the recipe: The raw pumpkin seeds don’t add anything much – I wouldn’t bother with putting them in. The stuffing needs a lot of salt so the rice and flesh can soak it up while cooking, so oversalt it a little before putting it into the squash. And definitely use Arborio, not Basmati rice :) )

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Pide on a Thursday!

To all my readers from the USA, happy Thanksgiving! We don’t celebrate it here, but my thoughts are with you. Mmm… a holiday dedicated to having delicious food… what’s not to love?

From my side, I’ll be sharing some baking love:
I love Turkish flatbread (Pide) and I couldn’t resist making it myself. I’ve been wanting to do it all week, but I couldn’t find the flour I wanted (Saltå Kvarn wheat flour, biodynamic and all that) until today.
I took a very basic recipe from RecipeZaar but halved it and added some of my own decorations.

Two comments to the recipe in advance:
1. The dough gets less sticky if you add as little water at one time as possible and stop as soon as the dough is not crumbly anymore. It still rose beautifully for me.
2. DON’T roll it out, toss the circles gently by hand.

Here are the rolls covered in olive oil, ready to go into the oven.
I love the taste of Nigella seeds – but until last week I didn’t know the name of the spice! Now that I do, I plan to use it a LOT. I know it’s used on bread a lot, so that was my first test.

This photo is taken literally seconds after the first breads went into the oven. See how poofy they became immediately?

And done. They bake quite quickly! Super stress free, cooking with half an hour intervals where you can get other work done and then you just pop them into the oven and WHOOSH! Delicious bread in 5 minutes!

Look at the pretty, pretty crust and bubbles!

And yes – delicious! Happy Thanksgiving!

PS: It also works great as Focaccia with coarse salt and rosemary on top:

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The vegan stew is making an appearance again – this time with sihmeji and enoki mushrooms. Then there’s tomatoes, carrots, a dumpling and a mini muffin, and rice in the top layer.
I somehow really like the look of the lower layer, I can’t really explain why but the colours and the look of the little muffin in there make me happy :)

The main dish is vegan, but not the bento. Muffins are kind of hard to make without egg.

The recipe is not mine, but immaeatchu‘s I Can’t Believe I Ate Vegan Dobu Jorim. Sadly the page the recipe is on does not contain any photos any more, as the blog has moved to WordPress since. But lots of people ask me for the recipe, so I thought I should link it.

BF gets the same in a square box.

And here’s a gratuituous image of how it looked like for dinner :D

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Grilled halloumi, eggplant and zucchini with a spicy roasted bell pepper and walnut sauce for dipping. Some cherry tomatoes and parsley for decoration, and couscous with cinnamon and cardamom in the top layer.

BF’s box. Exactly the same in a different arrangement.

If anybody knows the arab name of the sauce which I must have forgotten for the third or fourth time now, could you please tell me in a comment? Thanks!
Bell pepper and walnut sauce
1 food processor (important!)
1/2-1 cup walnuts
2 slices toast with the crust cut off
2-3 roasted bell peppers
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
salt, pepper

I used pickled red bell peppers from a jar, but I suppose if you roast and peel them yourself they would be even better! To roast bell peppers, put them skin side up under the grill and peel them when the skin has become black and bubbly. If you’re not using pickled peppers, add a spoon of vinegar to the sauce.
Chop the walnuts and toast finely in a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Done!

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I made vegetarian (ricotta&mangold) lasagna tonight and since I always make 2, one went into our bentos!
There are also cherry tomatoes (the yellow ones are homegrown, the red ones are bought), garlic bread, asparagus, a piece of marzipan and some dressing for the veggies. I bought plenty of veggies yesterday but somehow neglected to buy anything green except for the mangold so I had to dress this up with parsley!

The recipe for the lasagna is here. This time I added a mix of sundried tomatoes in oil, pine nuts and walnuts to some tomato sauce on top of the ricotta. Yum!

The BF will get the same, but here’s my box again – I had it lined up already :)

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Bento #182 – Bibimbap

Bibimbap with various veggies, egg and pink-dyed tofu, left over from dinner.

Hmm, my picture quality has been better.

Clockwise: Pink tofu, egg, spinach, carrot kinpira, sweet cabbage, mushroom and leek, corn, mungbean sprouts. BF gets the same but no cabbage as he didn’t like it. :P

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Bento #181

Big box (top): Millet and chili sin carne decorated with parsley. Millet is actually rather tasty, but not very different from couscous texture and flavour-wise. Mmm.
Small box (bottom): Tiny croquettes on picks decorated with oregano; mini chocolate chip muffin (made in a condiment cup with a tiny amount of muffin dough), star-shaped carrots and a cup of tsatsiki.

BF’s bento is a bit more playful – he has a starfish of chili on a beach of couscous (ran out of millet), croquette pebbles and tiny carrot starfish :)

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Bento #180

Upper layer: Inarizushi, beansprout kimchi, carrot kinpira, lettuce, vinegar fishy, a yellow tomato and fudge.
Lower layer: Salmon teriyaki, sushi rice onigiri, cherry tomato on lettuce.

BF gets something similar, but mixed wild and roundgrain rice instead of the onigiri.

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