Tag Archives: Baking

Tomato and red onion tarte tatin

1 Aug

I promise we have made this prettier than these pictures, but I’ve not uploaded the pics to the computer and it’s been ages since posting, so just look at the above pictures, imagine a 30-40 per cent visual improvement and you’re there.

French cuisine is really not often very amenable to the absence of meat, over-fed livers and the like, but we’re determined to defy French conservatism. Like vegetarian Jacobins or something equally historically significant.

As you’ll see from the pictures, we’ve made this both with shallots and red onions. It really, really doesn’t matter. Roma/plum tomatoes, normal vine tomatoes – whatever. Choose what looks best in the fresh veg aisle.

Pastry

  • 60g white flour
  • 30g mature cheddar cheese or parmesan
  • 30g butter
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 15g self-raising flour

Filling

  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 -1 TBSP sugar
  • 5 shallots or 2 red onions, sliced into thick rings
  • 2 sliced garlic cloves
  • 5 or so tomatoes halved (whatever fills your pan)
  • 1 – 2 tomatoes cut into thick slices (to sit on top of other fillings)

If you’re good you can make the pastry while the filing is cooking, but you will need some pretty impressive powers of multi-tasking to do so very effectively.

So, melt butter and sugar in a pan of around 20cm diameter. Then add balsamic vinegar, garlic and place the cut tomatoes and onions/shallots face down. Squeeze in as many as possible and keep the plate on low heat. Maybe even chuck a few extra wedges in here and there. Throw another tablespoon of balsamic (or more) over the stuff and sprinkle with salt.

While this is going, mix together pastry ingredients. Then wrap in plastic and keep in the fridge for about an hour. (You could do this before the cooking, actually)

Move the pan into an oven in low heat. I like to cover the tomato/onion mix with a lid or foil because it’s really best not to let it dry out. Cook for about 20mins – half an hour.

When the onions are softened and tomatoes cooked through and similarly soft, you can take the pan out of the oven and hopefully by this time the pastry has rested in the fridge.

Carefully place the pastry over the tomato mix, checking first that it’s still quite liquidy. It should be a sticky kind of liquid – not as thick as honey, but on its way. Try to tuck the pastry into the pan, but it might just end up ‘rustic’.

Put back in the oven at around 180C for about 20 minutes. Take out when pastry is hard.

Let cool for a couple of mintues then tip over, placing a plate inside or over the pan and quickly flipping.

Best served with a green or rocket salad.

Estimated cost: £6

Musical accompaniment: Anna Calvi

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Pulla (Finnish cinnamon scroll bread)

12 Jun

Apparently Nordic cuisine is totally a big thing now. How uncool and mean does Woman now feel for her past, unreceptive attitude to some of the Finnish fare that Man has previously touted as delicious.  Bring on the pickled herring and shrimp paste in a tube! It’s all cool now.

One thing that has always been wholeheartedly loved (and feared – despite the fact that this is less sugary and buttery than other versions, this is NOT healthy food) is pulla – pron. bull-la. The pillowy soft bread and lemony cardamon swirled up in a frenzy of cinnamon sugar – it’s just very good.

This recipe is a combination of Man’s mum’s traditional recipe and a cookbook one. We’ve added egg in this incarnation, but you can make it without and happily substitute vegan dairy alternatives – although I wouldn’t tell Finland you did that.

Pulla/korvapuusti/sweet Finnish cinnamon bread (makes 18 small scrolls and one plaited loaf)

  • 30g fresh yeast (or 15g dried active yeast)
  • AT LEAST 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 80g sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 500g flour
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • Touch of salt
  • Cinnamon for sprinkling
  • Sugar for sprinkling
  • Melted butter for the above sprinkling

If using dried yeast, slightly warm the milk and then add to yeast. Let sit for a couple of minutes until a little frothy. Melt the butter over low heat.

Mix all the dried ingredients (except the salt), then add butter, milk and egg and knead. Once combined, add a pinch of salt, then knead for a further 5 minutes.

Put the dough in a greased bowl or tray, cover with a clean cloth and set aside – wait for it to double in size.

Once doubled, knock the dough back. This is now when you get to shaping. You can do mino-scrolls, large scrolls, a plaited log or just a bread loaf. We decided to do those first three.

The easiest way to make mini scrolls is to roll out a long sausage of dough. With a rolling pin, flatten it ’til it’s about 1cm thick. Brush this with melted butter and dust with cinnamon and sugar. Dust generously. Really. Then roll into a firm scroll and cut cross sections about 3cm thick.

To make bigger rolls, do the same but with a narrower, thicker piece of dough.

To make the plaited loaf you need 3 thick ‘sausages’ of dough. Begin at one end by squeezing the ends together. Then plait. It’s easier just to do trial and error. You don’t have to really brush this with sugar and cinnamon, but go for it if you want to.

Now leave whatever you’ve rolled or plaited again to rise until doubled.

Pre-heat the oven to about 220C. Once the bread has doubled, perhaps brush with an egg wash or just milk or butter. Bake for about 30 minutes. This’ll vary according to what you’ve made/your oven/etc so do check on it. You want a golden crush, but no browning.

Eat as soon as possible. These also freeze rather well – this recipe makes a ridiculous amount.

Estimated cost: £2.50

Musical accompaniment: Tune-Yards

Tomatoes three ways pizza

3 Mar

When next you think about what a pain in the arse making your own pizza might conceivably be when wandering the ready-meal aisle of your local supermarket, just think about this recipe.

Not only is it cheaper than ready-made – cheaper, even, than your Tesco brands – but it is a gazillion times tastier than ready-made – gazillion, yes, times better than even supposed “posh” supermarket brands. Woman would know. In a moment of what must have been other-worldy possession she bought a ready-made pizza from her local, and realised that what she might have tolerated drunk and hungry at 2am, could not be tolerated while sobre – or in posession of self respect.

This is serious business.

  • Pizza dough base (as here, but with an extra 1/2 tsp of yeast)
  • 1/4 C nicoise olives
  • 2 roma tomatoes, cut into 1cm thick slices
  • 1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes
  • 100g white cheese

Tomato sauce

  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 50ml water
  • sun-dried tomatoes

Make pizza dough as in the linked recipe. You can just let it prove for about an hour, but this time Man Woman had made up the dough the night before we ate the pizza, putting it in the fridge overnight and then taking it out before going to work in the morning. This made for a really tasty and more thick & chewy pizza base.

Make sauce by basically chucking all ingredients in, and cook down the sauce for about 20 minutes.

Assemble pizza and throw in the oven at 200C for about 12 minutes.

Estimated cost: £3.50

Musical accompaniment: BBC World News

Sweet potato & tofu pie with rye shortcrust

18 Feb

There’s no hiding the fact that this crust is crumbly as all hell. So crumbly that it was transported to work for lunches in the mini terracotta dish in which it was baked. So crumbly that it nigh-on shatters at the sight of a knife. But is this a really bad thing? Is it?

Not sure about that. This was a good pie. A good pie. It would have been vegan too, if it weren’t for those pesky kids …. or Woman’s 10pm panic at the failure of the pastry dough to bind, thus placing her in an egg vs oil conundrum. O, the choices of Solomon! The yolk won out, but should you prefer to go for a vegan pastry, I’m sure more oil would do the trick.

This is obviously a savoury sweet potato pie (pumpkin would also do nicely). Tofu here manages to lighten the pie which would, without it, simple be encased mashed sweet potato.

Sweet potato & tofu filling

  • 2 C chopped sweet potato
  • 170g silken tofu
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dash of lemon juice

Rye shortcrust pastry (enough dough for 2x10cm round pie trays or one large one)

  • 2 C wholemeal rye flour
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • 2 TBSP cold water
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp (+) salt

Heat oven to 200c. Chop sweet potato, lightly drizzle in oil and cook for about 30 minutes or until the sweet potato becomes mashable.

Meanwhile, mix the pastry ingredients. Roll into a ball and cover in cling film. Leave in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Cut in dough and roll to about 3mm in thickness (No need to actually measure it. Just roll it thin, but not crazy thin). Line oiled pastry dishes with the pastry and blind bake for about 15 minutes or until entirely cooked through.

Meanwhile… mash (or blitz) sweet potato and tofu. We used a dash of lemon for additional flavour, but you could try chili or fresh herbs, chopped olives or whatever floats your proverbial.

Pack filling into cooled pastry shells. No need to actually cook the tofu, you can eat as is, cold or re-heat the whole pie.

Estimated cost: £2.10

Musical accompaniment: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

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