Sunday, 31 August 2008

Savoury pullapart bread

I have been having a bit of a bread baking frenzy. It started after the fete de Geneve, when a friend gave me a big bag of rehydrated dried mushrooms. I couldn't use them all so I froze it in bags. I also made a batch of bread dough for a dinner, which completely failed to rise. I am a persistent sort of girl though, so I put the bread dough in the fridge, and the next morning, when I looked in the fridge there was risen dough! Hmmm... what to do with it? I took it to work and at morning tea time, used some of the mushroom mix to make a loaf of cheese and mushroom pull apart bread. My colleagues devoured it and that just got me started...

Next thing I know, I am making cinnamon scrolls, fruit bread, and today, bacon onion and cheese pull apart bread.

Pull apart bread is great fun both to make and eat. Kneading bread is always satisfying, as is seeing the wonderful dough double, and then the pleasure of forming the lovely savoury bites. The scent of baking bread fills my apartment and I am only surprised that my neighbours haven't been knocking on the door demanding a bite!

This recipe is pretty flexible and you can put whatever filling inspires you into the centre, sweet or savoury.

Pull apart bread

1 package instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
500g flour
1 cup warm milk
1 large egg
8 tablespoons melted butter or oil

1 onion finely chopped
150g bacon, finely chopped
200g cheese grated

Method 1
Combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl put all the liquid ingredients, egg, milk & oil. Add a cup of the dry ingredients and stir well. Gradually add the other dry ingredients until you get a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured work surface for about 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch.

Method 2
Place dry ingredients in bowl of electric mixer (not food processor). Use the mixing blade and add the wet ingredients. Once combined, change to dough hooks and knead for 4-6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch.

Oil a large bowl. Put the dough into the bowl and then turn it over so that the surface is oiled. Cover with plastic wrap. Place somewhere warmish (funnily enough, beside my laptop seems to work well for me, so that the warm air from the fan circulates around it) for about an hour and a half until the dough doubles in size.

Fry the onion gently it starts going transparent, then add the bacon. Fry just for a minute. Allow to cool while you grate the cheese.

Once the dough has risen, deflate and then grab pinches of dough (about the size of a walnut. Form into a ball, then flatten it out into a disk. Put a little of the onion and bacon and grated cheese onto the centre of the disk and then pinch it closed to make a little ball. Layer into a lightly oiled loaf tin.

Allow to rise about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Once the bread has risen, bake for about 30 minutes until the bread is a dark golden brown and when turned out of the tin the bottom of the loaf sound hollow when tapped.

Eat, ideally while still warm!

Friday, 29 August 2008

Finland food adventures

As part of my adventures in Finland, the evening after the wedding (my reason for being in Finland) in Tampere we headed up to the tower "Nasinneula" for dinner. We had been told that this was supposed to be one of the best restaurants in Finland, but knew nothing more so arrived with an open mind.

The entry to the tower was very cool, with a projected fishpond on the floor that rippled when you walked through it. Sadly I forgot my camera and consquently have no photos, which is a huge pity, as both the view from the tower and the food were more than a little decorative. On the whole, revolving restaurants are not the best places to eat because the food usually suffers from laziness as the owners rely on the view to earn the bucks, but Nasinneula is a pleasant exception.

I started with an aperitif which used a seabuckthorn berry liqueur and ginger ale.

Entree was Reindeer pastrami with asparagus topped with a poached quail egg and tomato salsa. I thought all the separate ingredients were lovely but the tomato salsa overpowered the pastrami a bit.

Then we were served with a small morel soup, which was delicate, creamy and scrumptious (although not as good as my perfected mushroom soup).

This was followed by a trio of fish dishes: A tartare of baltic salmon (good but unexciting), a ballantyne of perch - this was beautifully presented, topped with a tiny tuile and exquisitely fine onion and caviar. The third fish was grilled white fish, which I think was the most "fishy" fish I have ever eaten; neither I nor my partner were very taken with the white fish.

The main course was Reindeer fillet with a dark lingonberry sauce, celeriac & vanilla mash and served with a jerusalem artichoke and potato cake. The reindeer was really very good (reminded me very much of kangaroo) and the combination of celeriac and vanilla in a savoury dish was fascinating and delicious.

We then had two cheeses: Heelmar and Valdemar cheeses served with lingonberry honey.

Dessert was Seabuckthorn & white chocolate cake with seabuckthorn sorbet. I was a big fan of this dessert, but my partner was less enthusiastic about the astringent taste but I really enjoyed the contrast between that astringency and the creamy white chocolate.

Altogether a very good meal at a restaurant I would recommend. 62 euro per head. If you would like to see someone elses photos and read their thoughts on this restaurant, you can find a review at "Only slightly bent".

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Wordle... a word image of my blog

How cool is Wordle?
Wordle generates "word clouds" giving greater prominence to words that appear more often in your site. It is only working off my latest posts, but I would be very curious to see what it would come up if it could view my whole site.

Adventurous eater food meme

  1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
  2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
  3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I will italic, as I don't have cross out ability)
  4. Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred

  1. Venison
  2. Nettle tea
  3. Huevos rancheros
  4. Steak tartare
  5. Crocodile
  6. Black pudding
  7. Cheese fondue
  8. Carp
  9. Borscht
  10. Baba ghanoush
  11. Calamari
  12. Pho
  13. PB&J sandwich
  14. Aloo gobi
  15. Hot dog from a street cart
  16. Epoisses (as in the cheese?)
  17. Black truffle
  18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
  19. Steamed pork buns
  20. Pistachio ice cream
  21. Heirloom tomatoes
  22. Fresh wild berries
  23. Foie gras (I will go to hell for it, but well.. its worth it - the person who said nothing tastes as good as thin feels" never ate foie gras on fresh paillasse read)
  24. Rice and beans
  25. Brawn, or head cheese
  26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
  27. Dulce de leche
  28. Oysters (smoked only - my seafood sensitivity forbids it any other form)
  29. Baklava
  30. Bagna cauda
  31. Wasabi peas
  32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (me and clams could get ugly)
  33. Salted lassi
  34. Sauerkraut
  35. Root beer float (lime spider yes, but root beer tastes like dettol smells to me)
  36. Cognac with a fat cigar
  37. Clotted cream tea
  38. Vodka jelly
  39. Gumbo
  40. Oxtail
  41. Curried goat
  42. Whole insects (fried, roasted and raw)
  43. Phaal
  44. Goat’s milk
  45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (still didn't like it)
  46. Fugu
  47. Chicken tikka masala
  48. Eel
  49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (SO overrated)
  50. Sea urchin
  51. Prickly pear
  52. Umeboshi
  53. Abalone
  54. Paneer
  55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
  56. Spaetzle
  57. Dirty gin martini
  58. Ber above 8% ABV
  59. Poutine
  60. Carob chips
  61. S’mores
  62. Sweetbreads
  63. Kaolin
  64. currywurst
  65. Durian
  66. Frogs’ legs
  67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
  68. Haggis
  69. Fried plantain
  70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
  71. Gazpacho
  72. Caviar and blini
  73. Loche asinthe
  74. gjetost or brunost
  75. Roadkill
  76. Baijiu
  77. Hostess Fruit Pie (what is it? Is it just a premade fruit pie?)
  78. Snail (land and sea)
  79. Lapsang souchong
  80. Bellini
  81. Tom yum
  82. Eggs Benedict
  83. Pocky
  84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant (no, but a) am working on it and b) ave managed a 1 star)
  85. Kobe beef
  86. Hare
  87. Goulash
  88. Flowers
  89. Horse
  90. Criollo chocolate
  91. Spam
  92. Soft shelled crab
  93. Rose harissa
  94. Catfish
  95. Mole poblano
  96. Bagel and lox
  97. Lobster Thermidor
  98. Polenta
  99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (dont drink coffee)
  100. Snake

Not bad. Out of 100 things I am not missing many that I can safely eat. Hmmm... now what would I have on my personal food list that everyone should try would be:

  1. Emu
  2. Kangaroo
  3. Blue cheese
  4. Parma ham
  5. Spanish ham
  6. english muffins
  7. crumpets
  8. corn on the cob (I know it isn't unusual but it IS heavenly and everyone should try it)
  9. Allens jelly snakes
  10. Basel leckerli

I am sure I could think of more, but tell me... what would you add?

Taking to the fields...

Taking food art to a new level, check out this rice field art.

Thursday, 7 August 2008


So I am sitting eating my salad at lunchtime surfing some foodblogs (as you do) when I started yelping out loud with laughter. Believe me, you just have to go and have a look at this blog: cakewrecks.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Smoked Trout Pate

While I wanted to cook lots of things for my foodie colleagues' departures, I was a bit limited in time... so I added this simple pate to the menu to provide a savoury alternative to the cakes on offer.

Smoked trout pate is wonderfully easy to make, and is a guaranteed winner at any party (or in this case work function). Best made the night before, so that the lovely smokey flavour of the trout can permeate the pate.

200g cream cheese
250g smoked trout fillets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
50g melted butter

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse till well combined - but don't over blend, as you want to keep some texture.

Put into your serving dishes and cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge overnight. Serve with a small serving knife with toasts or baguette.