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Posts Tagged ‘olive oil dough’

This stuffed bread makes wonderful picnic food as the filling holds itself in place allowing you to eat it with just hands – and a napkin for the fastidious. We took it for a packed lunch while decorating our new apartment and it was much more sustaining than the bag of Doritos (T’s choice, not mine) we’d munched on the day before: it didn’t stain everything orange either, which is a bit of a bonus when you’re trying to paint everything in shades of white.

butternut squash and stilton sandwich roulade

It’s a handy vegetarian addition to my picnic / packed lunch recipe repertoire.

slices of sage, squash and stilton calzoneButternut squash and blue cheese bread

  • 100g crumbled Stilton*
  • 100g diced cooked butternut squash
  • a sprig of fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 TBS chopped pecans (optional)
  • a handful of olive oil dough
  • olive oil
  • *Any creamy blue cheese such as dolcelatte, gorgonzola etc. will do just as well; here I happened to have some Stilton left over from Christmas haunting the freezer.

    Gently stretch out the ball of dough on an oiled swiss roll tin – or toaster oven tray – coaxing it towards the edges.  It will relax and stretch further so don’t be anxious about this.

    Strew the cheese and squash over the surface of the dough, padding the filling towards the edges.  Scatter with the shredded sage, then make a papoose by bringing the long edges of the dough to meet over the top and press them together to seal so the cheese doesn’t leak out when it melts in the oven. At this point it will not look at all promising, but have no fear.  Sprinkle chopped nuts, if using, across the seam and press them lightly into the dough so they stick.

    Bake in a hot oven (450F, 200C, Gas 7) for about 30 minutes, basting halfway through with a little olive (or hazelnut/walnut if you have it) oil for a delicately crunchy crust: cover the nuts with a strip of foil if they’re browning too fast (or blackening in my case, one hazard of using a toaster oven).

    Cool, loosen the bottom with a palette knife, then cut into slices or wrap the whole in foil to slice later.

    The sage makes a delicous ménage à trois with the blue cheese and squash, which the richly nutty pecans turn into a veritable orgy of flavours, or for an enjoyable alternative you could try swinging with rosemary and walnuts instead: a bit of gustatory promiscuity can produce some pretty interesting offspring.

    For a punchy packed lunch just add a handful of rocket leaves and for a picnic add whatever you like, but the way this British summer’s been shaping up you’ll be needing a blanket, windbreak, hot water bottle – and your head examined: it’s blowing a gale as I type this.

    A note to British readers: some branches of Waitrose sell frozen butternut squash, which is pretty darn handy for this recipe as it’ll cook in the microwave in 4 minutes – and there’s no skin to deal with!

    This post is my first-ever entry for the WTSIM… summer picnic blogging event.

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    I mean this most sincerely, it’s not some cheap trick to lure porn-surfers to my food blog; why would I want to do that?  It’s wordplay on Pigs in Blankets but to satisfy those at the back, here’s an uncut image (for illustration purposes only, please) from the mind-boggling immeatchu blog.

    Not sorry to disappoint, I’m referring to the sexiest pasta sauce of all, Puttanesca; a store-cupboard classic from Naples.   Puttana being Italian for whore, puttanesca means whore-style: naturally there is some debate about how it acquired this intriguingly salty name.  It’s all true no doubt, but as importantly it’s a delicious dish to give hunger a good seeing-to and a pushover to pull a few ingredients from fridge and cupboard for the laziest gal – or guy – in town.
    raw puttanesca on olive oil dough

    Or on a languorous afternoon, do as I did: put a bit of lead in the pencil of some elderly olive oil dough and wrap it around puttanesca’s uncooked ingredients for a putta nuda al forno: salaciously delicious – or deliciously salacious…just try twisting your tongue around that.

    Putta Nuda al fornoputtanesca calzone

    • 2 salt-cured anchovies, filleted
    • 4 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, sliced
    • 10 Niçoise olives, stoned
    • 1 TBS capers, drained
    • dried oregano
    • a fistful of olive oil dough

    Shape, strew and scatter as in first pic, stretch the long edges of dough over the filling to meet in the middle and press to seal.  Bake in a hot oven about ½ an hour, basting beforehand and after 15 minutes with oil from the tomatoes.  Cool slightly, slice and serve.

    Although there are acceptable variations to the cooked sauce, never have I encountered as total a travesty as at a certain trattoria in Vieux Nice, to which I not-entirely-ironically refer as Casa della Disasta: according to our waitress, their pasta puttanesca contained no olive, neither anchovy nor caper!  Incidentally, on top of that surprise, the line at the till was not for takeaways but disgruntled diners queuing to question the errors on their bills – all in the management’s favour, natch.  Make of that what you will.

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    A spicy, meaty, totally convenient-y version of my stuffed olive oil bread.  Make a batch of pulled pork, freeze it on trays then bag for use later.  Pulled pork is a Southern U.S. barbecue classic, yet amenable to countless variations and interpretations by those unfettered by the shackles of tradition (did I say bigotry?).  Here’s the basic recipe:

    Pulled Pork

    Get hold of a 1 or 2 kg boneless pork shoulder joint and make a dry spice rub, for example:olive oil dough stuffed with pulled pork

    • 4 TBS cumin seeds
    • 2 TBS muscovado
    • 6 TBS pimentón
    • 1 TBS dried thyme
    • 2 TBS sea salt
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed

    Grind the cumin and mix it together with the other ingredients.  If your pork is tied up, untie it to expose maximum surface area and roll the meat around in the spice mix, rubbing in well so that the whole lot sticks.

    If you have a slow cooker it will really come into its own now: pack the pork within – no need to tie up again as you’ll be shredding not slicing – and cook at low for several hours or even overnight.  Sufficient moisture should emerge from the pork itself to make adding extra unnecessary.

    If you lack a slow cooker put the pork in an ovenproof dish and place in a hot oven (200C plus).  Turn the oven down immediately to 120C and cook for 3 or 4 hours or more, placing a lid on the dish after 2 hours if it looks like it might dry out.  If it dried out before you got to it, pour over a very little wine, stock or water just to keep everything moist – but not wet – and replace the lid.  Do make sure you’re cooking it long and slow or the meat fibres will toughen and make shredding impossible.

    Remove from oven, reserving and refrigerating any excess liquid in case you need it later (skim off fat before using); let rest and cool slightly for around 15 minutes.  Separate the joint into manageable pieces and shred the meat with two forks along its muscle fibres, discarding any large hunks of fat, although most will have melted away.

    If freezing, spread the shredded pork out on baking trays – covered with greaseproof or silicon paper so it doesn’t stick and place in the freezer overnight or until solid, then working quickly, break into chunks and throw them into a large resealable bag to dip into for use later.  It works brilliantly baked from frozen inside the olive oil dough; just make sure you freeze it in small enough clumps.

    If eating straight away, the traditional manner is to add a slurp of barbecue sauce and stuff it in a burger bun to eat with coleslaw but it also goes fantastically well over rice (loosened with any leftover liquid), on a baked potato or in a burrito, and, of course, baked inside olive oil dough to make a perfect picnic or packed lunch – in slices, even party food.

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    Now here’s one thing over which Canadians and Americans do see eye to eye: a mini toaster oven.  It’s the tops.  And now, in the UK, it’s here at long last.  As with the best things in life, it’s a study in brilliant simplicity: just look at those nuclear-bunker knobs. Gasp at the no-nonsense controls: 2 elements with 3 cooking combinations plus a clockwork 15-minute timer  – ping!  – I use it all the time, she cooed.Hinari table top oven

    Brother didn’t want so it’s my mini-oven now: and sure, it can crisp up a croissant,  toast a teacake, gratinate a – well, gratin, but it has huge potential, limited only by the rather less than huge capacity.  So no, I will not be roasting the turkey within its cute confines, but it did cook a hunk of topside to rare perfection – dark & crusted without, juicy red within – a feat achieved never by that cavernous and fatuously fan-assisted Neff.table top toaster oven
    Popular with North American students for its portable economy, if not snappy retro styling, it’s surprising this darling device hasn’t caught on before in Britain but, with the cost of fuel spiralling to the heavens and the ever-dwindling dimensions of a modern household, it’s about time it did.

    Here it is taking care of tapas; no doubt it’ll knock the socks off a microwave for reheats and ready meals.  And before you ask, my entire smug-parade of stuffed olive oil flatbreads was baked in this 280C furnace (an inconceivable temperature in the iNeffectual one) on its own little oven tray.  This latest: a prosciutto, rosemary and sage fouace ready to go.

    parma ham and rosemary fougasse

    So if you’re not constantly cooking for a crowd, take a tip from American collegiate culture and get hold of a table top toaster oven.  I paid an unbelievably paltry £12 at – whisper it – Poundstretcher.  With a fortune saved on the leccy and wide new avenues of experiment opening up, not to mention the odd old-fashioned baked potato, I just need to work out how to clean it…

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    Yet another riff on my olive oil dough theme: I call it inside-out pissaladière as this one contains home-made onion confit, flaked tuna and a sprinkle of capers.  I ate it – just catching a last morsel for this snap – for lunch then made another variation for Mr T’s tomorrow but this time added a few anchovies and a scatter of Waitrose’s frozen Grilled Peppers for an antioxidant+fibre hit & run.  Made in a toaster oven it’s convenient and economical; two of my favourite things.  Oh, and very very tasty.
    Brush with olive oil halfway through (200C for 30 mins) for a deliciously friable crust .
    inside-out pissaladiere

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    sesame crusted bouleJust sharing my latest effort – a boule made with olive oil dough, cornflour wash and sprinkled with sesame seeds. 

    I’m starting to get the hang of the all-important “slash” technique.  Note those wonderful gluten strands, result of a slow rise: you won’t get this from a bread machine.

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    Mr T reminded me that it’s all very well going on about my fabulous dough discovery but there’s not much point unless I eventually share the secret, so – in good time for summer – here’s a wonderful recipe for:

    Olive Oil Dough

    (my respectful adaptation of a recipe in
     Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
    by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François)
     

  • 650 ml lukewarm water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons dried yeast (or 50g fresh – I buy mine from Carrefour in France, then freeze)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sel gris de Guérande (my favourite, but any coarse salt will do)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1600 ml unbleached all-purpose flour (I don’t know how much this weighs – will get back to you!)
    1. Pour the water into a lidded (not airtight) food container and sprinkle on the yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil.  Give it a swirl to mix.
    2. Add the flour, stir it in with a wooden spoon until it becomes a fairly homogenous mass with no dry bits.
    3. Cover (but do not seal) with the lid and leave it at room temperature approximately 2 hours (until the dough has risen and collapsed).
    4. Either: use immediately, or
    5. refrigerate in its container, leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow air circulation, and use over the next 12 days.

    When you wish to bake your bread (this dough is designed for flatbreads [eg focaccia, fougasse, pizza etc.] so don’t expect a high-rise sandwich loaf):

    • oil a medium-sized baking tray or swiss roll tin with olive oil (don’t waste pricey extra virgin here!)
    • with wet or olive-oily hands to stop the dough from sticking, scoop out a handful weighing approximately 500g (but don’t get out your scales unless you enjoy making a mess)
    • form into a ball and then, as the pizza guys do, use its own weight to gently stretch without tearing: when it is too thin to take the strain without holing place it in the centre of your oiled tray and gently ease it towards the sides and corners.  It will relax and expand over the next little while.
    • start heating oven to 200C (or as high as it will go if making pizza)

    Then what you do with it really depends on what you’re after – dimple with your fingers, strew with chopped rosemary and salt then “drizzle” (yikes – did I really say that?) with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil for classic focaccia; make it into a circle and apply pizza toppings, or for something really exciting, check out the method for a Spanish flavoured fougasse in my chorizo & olive bread post.

    Finally, bake your bread for about 20 minutes; because of the oil content you will get a crispy rather than crusty-crunchy crust, and light golden browning.  If you wait until it resembles a loaf it will be overdone, and for pizza keep the dough thin; it will need 10-15 minutes or less cooking time.  Serve warm or cool; today or tomorrow if it lasts that long.

    I was so impressed with this American pair’s basic recipe for artisan bread featured in The Mercury News that I ordered their book via Amazon.co.uk and I’m so glad I did – it’s packed with extra information and lots of recipes for a number of different doughs and their permutations.  In the short time since I acquired it I have been inspired repeatedly – this book is a keeper.

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