Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's a Wrap

Today am covering the alternative snack, using a flour tortilla (or it could be a chapati or even a pancake) instead of sliced bread. I first ate a tortilla wrap when out for a pub lunch, and am quite hooked on them. Since then I have used the soft tortillas as a base for making a quick pizza or calzone, even a quesidilla - the Mexican style 'toasted cheese sarnie'. Anyone who needs a gluten free diet could use tortillas made with cornmeal. By the way, no tortillas to be had? Then just serve the fillings on lightly toasted bread, preferably granary.

As with pizzas and the ordinary sandwich, up to a point a tortilla filling can be what you wish, with or without cooked meat, so the given recipes are just a guide. As you can see I am having fun with choosing the recipe names (would you rather I didn't) and, as I write, am seeking an Italian (Roman) based filling just because (well you will later see). How sad can I get? But determined nevertheless. Even sadder it seems as the next recipe name has just popped into my head:

The Grecian 'Turn': makes two large wraps
1 large tomato, chopped
half a large cucumber, sliced into thin sticks
6 green olives, sliced
2 oz (50g) feta cheese, crumbled
2 - 3 tblsp hummous
2 very large soft tortilla wraps
First prepare the filling ingredients, keeping them separate, then heat the tortillas (two ways of doing this). Either hold the tortillas between tongs and lay over a lit gas ring for 10 seconds, immediately turning to char the other side for 8 seconds - the slight charring gives added flavour, OR just lay one tortilla at a time on a dry, pre-heated frying pan and heat through for the same length of time.
Put the warm tortillas on a plate and spread with the hummous. Pile the remaining filling down the centre of each and fold in the side to hold everything in place, then roll up tightly. Cut in half using a diagonal cut, and eat with your fingers. To be eaten for a packed lunch, slice when ready to eat.

2 soft tortillas
grated cheese
Place a tortilla on a dry, pre-heated frying pan. Cover with the cheese, place another tortilla on top. Press down. When the bottom tortilla is beginning to char, turn and cook the - what was the top - tortilla. By the time this is done, the cheese will be melting. Slide onto a plate and cut into wedges.
Other fillings could be added, or make a triple layer of tortillas with cheese, first heating through the tortilla that will be the one in the middle.

Mexican Rarebit: serves one or two
Made in the same way as the above quesidilla but with this variation-on-a-rarebit filling.
3 oz (75g) mature cheddar, grated
half a small red onion, finely chopped or grated
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced or chopped
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 or 2 soft flour tortillas depending upon size
Combine all the ingredients, seasoning to taste. Either cover the tortillas with this mixture and top with another, heating through in a pan as in the above recipe, or leave as an open tortilla, spreading the filling right to the edges, then grill until the cheese is bubbling, pizza style. Good served in wedges with a dollop of guacamole.

Hot Russian 'Rap: serves 2
250g pack of mushrooms, sliced
1 oz (25g) garlic butter
2 large soft flour tortillas
1 tsp mustard
5 tblsp sour cream or creme fraiche
salt and pepper
2 flour tortillas
Into a large frying pan melt the garlic butter. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until tender and juicy. Stir in the sour cream/creme fraiche. Season to taste. Put to one side and keep warm. Using a large clean and dry frying pan, heat the tortillas on both sides for a few seconds until lightly charred then remove these to serving plates, pile the mushroom filling into the centre, wrap sides to middle and then roll up. Best served hot, diagonally sliced. Indoors, to save mess, eat with a knife and fork, but at a pinch, outdoors, tucking a napkin into your kneck, they could be eaten in the hand.

Oh, Bless, I've found a Caesar Salad based filling, just what I was looking for, so feel free to cringe. My excuse is that a toga was a Roman wrap-around garment, which Caesar presumably wore. So what better name could there be?
The Toga Tortilla: serves 2
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, fried and chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced
4 tbslp Caesar Salad Dressing
1 Little Gem lettuce or 8 cos lettuce leaves
2 soft flour tortillas
Heat the tortillas on both sides in a pre-heated dry frying pan, they need to be just warmed through. Place each on a plate and spread first with some of the salad dressing, top this with shredded lettuce, avocado, and the bacon. Drizzle over remaining dressing. Fold over the tortilla to make a roll, and eat with a knife and fork, or fold sides to midde, wrap like a parcel, cut in half diagonally, and eat in the hand.
(The feminine in Italian ends in 'a', so presumably a tortilla is of that gender. With my sense of humour I will make one for Beloved just so I can say to myself "glad-e-ate-'er" once he'd eaten and enjoyed it). Yes, I know - you are all shuddering. And I don't blame you. Must be the pills.

The final recipe for today is a cake made using no flour, and special enough to be served to guests (although all food we provide should be good enough for that - but you know what I mean). It will look even more impressive when baked in a ring mould. I bought mine for 20p at a jumble sale.
Orange and Semolina Syrup Cake: makes 8 slices (F)
4 oz (100g) hazlenuts (skinned and finely ground)
2 oz (50g) semolina
6 oz (175g (caster sugar)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
zest and juice from 2 large oranges
4 eggs
7 fl.oz (200ml) light olive oil, or sunflower oil
pinch saffron (optional)*
3 oz (75g) icing sugar
Put the ground hazlenuts into a frying pan, place over medium heat and toast/toss until lightly and evenly browned (they could also be toasted in the oven or under a low grill, but take care they don't burn). When cooled, mix with the semolina, baking powder and caster sugar.
Using finely grated zest from one of the oranges, mix this into the eggs and oil. Using a wooden spoon beat the eggs well then stir into the semolina mixture. Pour into a lightly oiled and lined 9" (23cm) ring mould (or use an 8" (2o cm) round, or 7" (18 cm) square cake tin). Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 30-40 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
Whilst waiting for the cake to cook, prepare the syrup by removing the zest from the second orange (this time the zest needs to be coarser, either by using a zester or cutting the peel of very thinly and then shredding finely). Put this into a pan together with the juice from both the oranges, adding the saffron* and icing sugar.
Once the cake is cooked, leave in the tin for fifteen minutes to cool, then turn out on to a plate. Remove the paper, stick a skewer into the cake (the more holes the better) and spoon the syrup over (I have found this works better if the cake is put back into its tin which has now been lined with clingfilm, skewer and pour over 2/3rds of the sieved syrup. When this has been absorbed, turn out the cake onto a serving dish and pour over remaining syrup which holds the orange shreds.
Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or creme fraiche. The cake will keep well in the fridge for several days in an airtight container, or can be frozen.
Note:* saffron is included to give colour to the syrup, plus it has a subtle flavour of its own. Instead of expensive saffron, use dried pot marigold petals which is the old fashioned way (but still often used) to adding natural colour. Infuse the petals in some hot orange juice, then drain and discard the petals, adding the juice to the rest and continue making the syrup. For adults only, stir a couple or so teaspoons of an orange liqueur into the syrup before pouring over the cake.