PITTAS TO DIE FOR!

Baking, Bread, Healthy, Sandwich, Side Dishes, Snack, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian, Vini's Sandwiches

pitta bread main

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour 30 mins (includes proving time)
Makes: 4 large or 6 regular pitta breads

If, like me, you love a good old sandwich and you especially love having a stuffed pitta bread, then look no further! This recipe is so awesome! It is easy to make and it tastes so, so good. Making homemade bread is so enjoyable and it really will make your sandwiches and meals taste so much better (and it is also a good way to show off to friends and family a little!). Pitta breads may sound difficult to make, but it is quite the opposite; once you have the dough made and proved, cooking them only takes 5 minutes. You cook the breads on a really high heat which gives them the amazing hollow effect as they puff up! You can flavour the dough with anything you want; in the recipe below I have used chia seeds in them which gives a lovely crunch, but putting toasted spices into the dough is a great way of getting extra flavour into your pittas.

Ingredients:

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 160ml water
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g chia seeds (or any seed or spice of your choice)

Pitta CollageIn the picture above, I filled the pittas with stir fried vegetables, baba ganoush and a generous serving of coriander. It was AMAZING!

Method:

1.   In a large bowl put all of the dry ingredients. Put the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other side of the bowl. You need to make sure the salt and yeast aren’t combined as the salt will kill the yeast. Add 120ml of the water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil to the bowl and mix together using your fingers. Whilst mixing, slowly add the rest of the water (you may not need it all) and the olive oil until you have a soft dough and all of the flour has come off of the side of the bowl.

2.   Pour a little oil onto a clean work surface and place your dough on top of the oil. Knead the bread for 5-10 minutes. The dough may seem a little wet to start with but keep working at it and you will get a lovely smooth dough. Once you have a smooth dough, place it in a clean, oiled bowl and cover it with cling film. Put the bowl in a nice warm place; this will help the help the dough to rise. Leave the dough to prove for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

3.   Preheat the oven to 250 C and place a clean baking tray on the middle shelf to get nice and hot.

4.   Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a flour dusted surface. Knock the dough back (all this means is to push all of the air out of the dough) by folding the dough in on itself and pushing the dough down over and over again until you have knocked all of the air out. This won’t take long to do, maybe a minute or so.

5.   Split the dough into 4 or 6 equal balls and roll out each ball, with a dusted rolling pin, until they are 5mm thick. Dust each pitta with a little flour just to make sure that they do not stick to the baking tray. Take the baking tray out of the oven and place as many pitta breads as you can on the tray (you may have to cook them in batches). Put the tray in the oven and cook the pittas for 5 – 8 minutes or until they start to get some colour. Don’t be tempted to leave them in the oven to go completely brown as you will end up with a brittle pitta bread that will break up as soon as you try to cut into it. Once the pitta breads are cooked, place them onto a chopping board and cover them with a clean cloth until they have cooled down. Once they have cooled the pitta breads should be soft and easy to open and ready to be filled with amazing ingredients!

I made these last weekend for my girlfriends family and they went down amazingly. I served them with a potato curry and a nice salad. The thing I love about these breads is that you can have them with so many different fillings!

I hope you like the recipe. Let me know if you try them out 🙂 

 

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TEMPURA VEGETABLES WITH AN ASIAN DIPPING SAUCE!

Sauces, Side Dishes, Snack, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

TempuraVeg Main

Preparation & cooking time: 30 mins
Makes: As much as you want

This is awesome! Plain and simple! Well, it is simple but definitely not plain. This recipe makes you feel a bit naughty but the crunchy veggies make it an excellent alternative for chips! 🙂 It is the perfect movie snack, the perfect side dish……. it’s just perfect to be honest! The dipping sauce really makes this dish, it is tangy, sweet, spicy… mmm…. I also used it on a noodle salad and it worked amazingly! Give it a try and be creative with its use 🙂

Ingredients:

For the Batter:

  • 110g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 200ml ice cold sparkling water
  • A few ice cubes

For the asian dipping sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon hot chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • Juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 80ml soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Plus:

  • An assortment of your favourite firm veggies (my favourites are broccoli and cauliflower)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

asian dip

Method:

1.   Sift the plain flour, cornflour and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in the sparkling water and add in the ice cubes. Don’t over beat the mixture though as you want to keep as much air in the batter as possible to make it amazingly crispy!

2.  Pour plenty of oil into a deep pot and put over a high heat. You are going to be deep frying the vegetables so be careful and make sure you have enough oil to cover the vegetables.

3.   Prepare your vegetables into nice big chunks and put them into the batter and make sure that they are all nice and coated.

4.   Once the oil is nice and hot, gently place the vegetables one at a time into the pot. Don’t over fill the pot as they will all stick together – cook them in batches. You want to cook them until they are golden and crisp.

5.   For the asian dipping sauce, simply throw the ingredients into a bowl and mix it together until the sugar has dissolved. 

That’s it! The vegetables are best eaten immediately, and trust me they are so scrumptious that they won’t last long around friends and family anyway!

Tweet me or post a picture on Instagram if you try it 🙂

In other news, what do you think of the new look?

Blackberry, Orange & Hazelnut Brownies!

Baking, coffee, Desserts, Fruits, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

DSC_0028Makes: 9 (generous) portions
Preparation & cooking time: 35 minutes (including cooling time)

One of the most underwhelming and anti-climatic feelings in the whole world is when you buy (or make) a chocolate cake that looks so moist and chocolatey but when you bite into it, it delivers a dry and bland regular sponge flavour that just disappoints on every level! In my opinion, when you have a chocolate cake or brownie, you want it to have the most chocolatey flavour possible! If you share this feeling then this is the perfect recipe for you, as it really is so rich and chocolatey you do really need something to cut through the sheer chocolatey-ness (such as the blackberries in this recipe). I added in the orange zest and hazelnuts to this recipe as these are just classic flavour combinations that you just go so well with chocolate, but I wanted another element to it, a sharper more exciting element that will give you a slap around your face when you are eating it, and this is when I thought of adding blackberries. It may not be the most well known of fruits to be paired with chocolate, but for me they go together so well as the tartness of the blackberries really cuts through the chocolate and knocks your tastebuds for six when you have them in these brownies. There are two rules that I follow when I work with chocolate; 1) I always add a pinch of salt to the recipe when there is chocolate involved as the flavours really do intensify and makes the recipe even more chocolatey and 2) For the same reasoning, I will always use a shot of really good espresso to the chocolate mixture. Coffee and chocolate share a lot of qualities and when they are paired together the flavours are just taken to another level! As you can see from the picture, half of my brownies are coated in hazelnuts and the other half is not. I have only done this as my girlfriend does not like hazelnuts in brownies! If you like the combination then you can coat the entire mixture with hazelnuts or leave them off completely 🙂

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DSC_0043

Ingredients:

  • 75ml vegetable oil (plus a little extra for greasing)
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 80g light brown sugar
  • 170g self raising flour
  • 3 really heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 180ml almond milk
  • 50ml espresso
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • The zest of 2 oranges
  • 100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • A handful of blackberries, roughly chopped

Method:

1.   Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a square baking tin (roughly 24cm) with a little vegetable oil and then line it with greaseproof paper to make sure that brownies have no chance of sticking.

2.   Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) and break in the 200g of chocolate. Once melted, leave to the side to cool a little.

3.   Sieve the flour and the cocoa powder into a large bowl, then stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds and add these to the bowl along with the grated zest of one orange, 50g of hazelnuts and half of the blackberries. Mix in the oil, almond milk, espresso and melted chocolate until you have a silky smooth batter.

4.   Pour the batter into the prepared tin and then sprinkle over the remaining hazelnuts, orange zest and blackberries. Put the tin into the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until you have a lovely crust on the outside of the brownie whilst the middle is still deliciously gooey! Once the brownies are ready, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve them warm with some ice cream or a milkshake!!

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I hope you like this recipe and trust me if you have a craving for chocolate then look no further, I guarantee that this recipe will satisfy your craving instantly!