Tag Archives: pesto

Savoury Swirls, Two Ways

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So it was my last day at work on Wednesday and as is customary whenever something moderately eventful takes place (birthday, being late, being early, being alive…) it is expected you bring in something edible. Almost always the food tends towards the sweet and absolutely always, unless I’ve had anything to do with it, is shop-bought. But not today, ohhh no!

The recipe for the dough for these delightful savoury snacks is stolen completely from Brendan of The Great British Bake-Off Fame. The fillings, however are entirely my own creation.

I doubled Brendan’s quantity and made a lot (we’re talking tipping the scales at over 100 here) roughly 2 inch diameter by 1 inch high swirls. So I’m going to halve his recipe which should give you approximately 20-24 swirls.

Ingredients

Dough

400g plain flour
10g dried yeast, reactivated
6g salt
50ml olive oil
250ml warm water

Balsamic Red Onion, Cheese & Ham

2 red onions, diced
90g gruyére
30g gouda
30g cheddar
2 slices ham, diced
splash balsamic vinegar
pinch of sugar
salt/pepper/’erbs/spices to taste

Pesto, Feta & Sundried Tomato

100g feta, crumbled
50g pesto
8 sundried tomato, chopped
handful fresh basil, ripped
2 tomatoes, grilled & skinned
1 red pepper, grilled & skinned

Method

Dough

In a bowl mix the flour and salt and the oil a few glugs at a time, stirring between each glug to incorporate it. Do the same with the reactivated yeast, stirring in a little at a time and then finally with the water.

**Note: if you are reactivating yeast in water, remember to take away that quantity of water from the 250ml you need to add. It’s 250ml total, not 250ml + reactivated yeast water!**

Drizzle a little oil in the bowl, place the dough in, rolling it around in the oil so as it grows it doesn’t stick to the sides. Put in a warm place – airing cupboards are great – and leave to double in size (approx. 40-60 minutes). Meanwhile make your filling/s.

Balsamic Red Onion, Cheese & Ham

Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the diced onions and sweat for a couple of minutes, before adding a good glug balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of sugar/golden syrup, salt, pepper and whichever herbs and spices you fancy (I went for W’s recommendation of rosemary and basil). Continue to sweat for 6-7 more minutes, adding a little water if your pan goes dry. Remember the onions will continue to cook in the oven so leaving them with a little bite left in them is probably a wise move!

Grate all your cheese into a bowl, add the chopped ham, a good few twists of pepper and hey presto your filling is ready

Pesto, Feta & Sundried Tomato

Optional: Removing Pepper & Tomato skins

Cut the pepper and tomatoes into quarters, removing all the pips/liquidy innards. Place under a hot grill, skin side up for a few minutes, until the skin is blackened over the majority of the surface – you may need to manoeuvre them around to achieve this. Once the skin is blackened add them to a sandwich bag, seal and leave to steam for a further few minutes. The skin should start to peel away and you can finish the job with your fingers. It can be a bit tricky and in all honesty I’m not sure whether it’s worth it but I’ve put it up here for you to make your own decisions! Finally chop/rip them up into small chunks.

Crumble the feta into a bowl and add the chopped sundried tomatoes and basil leaves.

Roly-Poly Time

When the dough has doubled in size, remove and place on a floured surface. Flour your rolling pin (it will stick due to the oily nature of the dough) and roll out into a rectangle approx 4mm thick, where the long side is approximately twice that of the short side. Then either:

1. Sprinkle the entire thing with the balsamic red onions, then cheese and ham – aim for a roughly even coverage.

Or

2. Spread a thin layer of pesto over the surface before adding the crumbled feta, sundried tomatoes, basil, and grilled peppers/tomato chunks

Roll up (roll up!) from one long side to the other, slice into rounds 1 inch thick and place on baking paper on an oven tray. Here you can “re-prove” your dough for half an hour back in the warm, or you can just whack them straight in the oven, preheated to 190oC/375oF/gas mark 5 for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. After half an hour take one out, cut it in half and see whether it’s still doughy inside – if so stick back in for a few minutes then check again.

Serve piping hot – they taste pretty good cold but nowhere near as good as straight from the oven. Share amongst friends and work colleagues…or, y’know, scoff the lot y’self.

J(&W a bit)

Balsamic Red Onion, Cheese & Ham

Feta, Pesto, Sundried Tomato & Red Pepper

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Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Tortelloni

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Today, I decided I had nothing better to do with myself than to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I won’t say exactly how long it took me, because let’s face it, I took my time, made lots of mess, drank lots of tea and had a few snacks along the way. Having just returned from a lovely trip to Sardinia, I was inspired to try cooking some pasta from scratch. Coupled with the excessive amount of vegetables we had to use up, this recipe was born! To make this recipe, you need a decent pasta maker, or a good rolling pin and a bit of an expert eye.

I was unsure whether to call these tortelloni or tortellini (the difference being tortellini are smaller – 2g instead of 5g, but both are the same shape) as I think they are somewhere in between. I went with tortelloni as I think these would be best without a sauce, as tortelloni are traditionally served, in contrast to their little brothers. I’ll leave it to the Italians to decide.

Ingredients

pasta dough
300g extra fine (“00”) pasta flour plus extra for dusting
4 eggs in total – 3 for the dough itself and 1 for the construction

filling
3 small sweet potatoes
1/3 of a cauliflower (not too much in the way of stalk)
75g Grana Padano cheese (Pecorino Romano, parmesan or “Parmigiano Reggiano” to give it its proper name would also do just fine)
2 tsp pesto
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Begin by mixing the three eggs into the pasta flour in a large bowl to make a rough dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently (as you would pastry) to make a smooth, consistent dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for around 30 minutes or longer.

Meanwhile, finely chop the sweet potatoes and the cauliflower into roughly 5mm cubes. Add to a moderately hot pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Crush or finely chop the garlic and add it to the pan. Stir the vegetables regularly to prevent them from burning or cooking too quickly – the aim is to soften them ready to re-heat later. Add the herbs, pesto and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. If you feel the pan is getting too dry, add small amounts of water to steam the vegetables. They should be cooked for around 10-15 minutes to taste, but some of the sweet potato should be just crumbling – this helps the filling bind and stick together. I wanted to give my filling some bite to it, so mine were cooked for around 12 minutes. Some of the sharp corners of the vegetables did however make folding quite tricky later on – I suppose it’s a personal preference.

When cooked, remove the vegetables from the heat and leave to cool before mixing in the finely grated cheese. Mix well.

To make the pasta, remove the dough from the fridge and take a workable piece (I suggest an eighth). Roughly roll it out using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to around 1 cm thick. Run it through the pasta mill on its thickest setting and repeat a few times until it is on one of the thinnest. I found the last-but-one setting worked best to make a more durable dough, but if you’re opting for a more pureed filling, then you would probably get away with the thinnest pasta.

Lightly whisk up an egg in a mug and find a pastry brush. You will need this in a minute!

Cut 8 cm rounds from the pasta sheet and make sure they are lightly floured so as not to stick to the work surface. Place a small teaspoon of filling in the centre of each circle and brush a good 1 cm around the edges with egg. Fold in half to make a semi-circle. Bring the two corners together and stick with a little bit of egg-wash to make the traditional tortelloni shape (see: http://goo.gl/Kb61Z). Neaten up the shape a little before leaving to rest and semi-dry out on a lightly floured tray before doing the rest. The first will inevitably be the worst (and take the longest) but you will get the hang of it.

Cook immediately, or store it in the fridge for a day or so – but be sure to flour the tray well, as the pasta tends to stick to it the longer it is left.

To cook: add to a large pan of boiling, slightly salted water with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Simmer for around 3-5 minutes for al-dente pasta. Served best with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated Grana Padano (or equivalent). We had ours with some grilled Mediterranean veg (courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes) and home-made (if not slightly well-done) rosemary foccacia. Enjoy!

W