Monday, January 12, 2009

One Thing Leads To Another

Some time back mentioned that grated apple added to bread helped to keep it moist, and flicking through Have a Goode Year noticed the recipe that led to me mentioning it. The recipe itself started off as a batter to make pancakes, of the drop scone variety, and it was having leftover batter that inspired me to experiment and turn it into a loaf. As the procedure makes interesting reading, I include the 'chat' with the recipe.

Apple Fritters and Spiced Bread:
"This bread was an inspiration. I had originally made a batch of batter to try out Spicy Apple Fritters which is a local Yorkshire dish eaten on Ash Wednesday.
Having made too much batter and not wanting to throw it away, I then added more flour and ended up with a loaf that my husband raved over. With its crunchy crust and moist crumb that stays fresh for days, it's a winner.
basic (fritter) batter:
2 large apples, peeled and grated
1 sachet 'instant' dried yeast
1 1/2 lb (750g) plain flour
15 fl oz (450ml) each - milk and water
2 oz (50g) butter, melted
4 oz (100g) raisins or sultanas
2 tblsp sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
Blend the yeast into the flour. Heat the milk with the water until hand-hot then stir in the melted butter. Pour this mixture into the flour. Beat until it has formed a thick batter, then fold in the grated apple, dried fruit, sugar and spice. Cover and leave for an hour in a warm place to rise.

to make fritters:
Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan and when hot fry tablespoons of batter until golden brown, turning once. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.

spiced bread:
Work enough STRONG plain flour into left-over batter to make a soft bread dough. Knead lightly for a few minutes until smooth. Place in a greased and floured loaf tin (size depends upon the amount of dough you have made), cover and leave to stand in a warm place for half an hour or until doubled in bulk. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 200C, 400F, gas 6 or until the bread sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped. Cool on a wire rack. When cold, wrap in foil."

Recently the mention of using Yorkshire puddings for other purposes than just serving with roast beef, has led me to thinking about onion gravy, the perfect complement to the Yorkies, but equally good served with sausage and mash. Or just with mashed potatoes. The gravy would also taste good served in a split jacket potato for lunch. One idea leads to another and am sure you can think of more ways to use this tasty gravy.
Onion gravy: makes 4 servings
4 medium onions, halved and sliced
1 oz (25g) butter
2 tsp sunflower oil
salt and pepper
1 tblsp flour
half a glass red wine (opt)
half a pint (300ml) meat stock
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp English mustard
half tsp Worcestershire sauce
Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and stir in the onions. Allow them to brown slightly, then stir so the lighter parts also get a chance to brown, this takes about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, season to taste, cover and simmer for half an hour. Remove lid, raise the heat to medium and cook until the juices have evaporated. Sift the flour over the onions, toss to coat, then - using a wooden spoon - stir in the wine (if using). Add the stock and continue stirring, until the liquid begins to simmer, then stir in the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, and cook for a couple more minutes. Serve hot with what you will. If wishing to make in advance, make sure it is thoroughly reheated as it is made with meat stock.

Some of us have mincemeat left over at this time of the year, and taking the idea from the recipe below, a 'mincemeat scone ring' could be baked, using an ordinary scone recipe, and mincemeat instead of the savoury filling. By the same token, other 'interesting' fillings could be used. The recipe uses a blue cheese 'Hellman's' type dressing but some 1 tblsp soft blue cheese could be mashed into ordinary mayonnaise as a substitute.
Blue Cheese Ring: serves 6 - 8
4 oz (100g) rindless streaky bacon, chopped
4 oz (100g) onion, chopped
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
8 oz (225g) self-raising flour
half level tsp baking powder
5 tblsp Blue cheese mayo dressing
1 egg, well beaten
bowl of raita (yogurt and cucumber)
Fry the bacon in a small pan until just crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Cook the onion in the remaining bacon fat until softened, but not brown. Then mix in the herbs, adding seasoning to taste, and add the onions. Stir well, remove from heat and set aside.
Put the flour, baking powder and a little salt in a bowl, add the mayonnaise, the egg and the milk. Knead together lightly, turn onto a lightly floured surface, roll out into an oblong 17" x 8" (43 x 20cm) and spread the bacon mixture over the dough and roll up, starting at the long edge.
Seal edges with a little milk and place the dough onto a baking sheet, forming it into a circle by bringing the ends together and sealing together with a little milk.
Working from the outside of the ring, and using a sharp knife, cut the dough not quite through to the inner side, at intervals of 1" (2.5cm), and open slightly so the ring can be gently pushed round and the slices lie overlapping each other just enough to allow the filling to be seen.
Brush with a little milk and bake at 220C, 425F, gas 7 for 15 - 18 minutes until well risen. Transfer to a cooling rack* and when cold can be served with a bowl of Raita placed in the middle of the ring, and garnish with watercress.
Note:* When wishing to remove anything fragile from a baking sheet, use a sheet that has no upturned rims so that the baking can be more easily be slid onto a cake airer or wire rack. If you have only shallow baking tins (Swiss roll type), just turn the tin over and put whatever needs to be cooked on the flat underside of the base. It often helps to slide one to the other if a fish slice is tucked under.

The mention of the above has now led me on to the possibilities of giving the basic bottle mayonnaise a different flavour. Why buy a bottle of each when we only need a little? Just get one jar of quality mayo - and then spoon some out into a dish adding as much as you want of the following, always according to taste (start with a small amount and you can always add more):
Yogurt and diced cucumber = a Raita
Tomato Ketchup and a little Worcestershire = Marie Rose sauce
A tsp curry paste and a little mango chutney = a Curry mayo
Creme fraiche, chopped chives = Sour cream and chive

and, as one thing leads to another...
Add a can of flaked tuna to the raita, with plenty of black pepper to make a tuna Dip.
Spoon the curry mayo over halved hardboiled eggs to make a change to the ordinary 'eggs mayonnaise'.
Make cheese balls by mixing together 4 oz (100g) grated hard cheese with 2 oz (50g) breadcrumbs, 8 tblp Curry mayo and 2 oz (50g) desiccated coconut. Form into small balls, chill then spear onto cocktail sticks. Makes around 32.