Tag Archives: red onion

Red Onion & Rosemary Bread

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I couldn’t decide what kind of bread to make so just made up a basic bread dough while I mulled it over in my mind palace and came up with this bread bad boy. Boom.

Ingredients

400g strong white bread flour
7g instant yeast
7g salt
250ml lukewarm water
1 large red onion
1 garlic clove
small handful of rosemary sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soft brown sugar

Method

Begin by making the simple bread dough. In a large bowl, weigh out the flour, salt and yeast – remembering to keep the salt and yeast on opposite sides. Mix in half the water with your hands, add the rest in smaller amounts until you get a soft, workable consistency.

Tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until elastic and smooth. Place in a large oiled bowl then place the bowl inside a plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-3 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, slice the red onion into your preferred shape (I went for small, thin slices) and gently fry in 1 tbsp olive oil, with a crushed garlic clove and finely chopped rosemary for about 5 minutes, until softened. Throw in the balsamic vinegar and sugar and fry for a further minute.

When the bread has proved, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and gently knead in the onion mixture. You might need a little more bread flour to offset the extra moisture. When the onion is evenly distributed, roughly shape into a rectangle and place in a deep, rectangular tray. Place the tray in a plastic bag and leave to prove once again in a warm place for around an hour.

Brush with about 1 tbsp olive oil before baking at 180-200°C/360-390°F/gas mark 4-6 for around 20-25 minutes until brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.

Enjoy with cheese, chutney or dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar. Scoffscoffscoff.

Summer Chicken Tray Bake

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Inspired from a recipe in the Hairy Bikers “Hairy Dieters” book. Their recipe included chorizo (75g, thinly sliced) which would have been a fabulous addition, alas none was to be found in my house. This is a really pretty and straight-forward dish and would make a great centre-piece for people to help themselves, on its own or accompanied by a leafy salad.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

4-5 chicken breasts (approx 600-700g) deeply slashed every inch or so
2 red onions, cut into 8 wedges
500g new potatoes, cut into inch cubes if large/left whole if small
8 whole garlic cloves, in their skins
4 large tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges
10 or so sundried tomatoes, halved
handful asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano/mixed herbs
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 peppers (colour of your choosing!) cut into 1cm thick strips
salt and pepper
lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Stick onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in a large roasting tin. Season with plenty of pepper and a little salt, drizzle with a little oil (I used the oil from the sundried tomatoes) turn everything over with a spoon or similar implement. Roast for 20 minutes. Mix the paprika, turmeric and oregano and set aside.

Put the chicken breasts on a board, season all over with ground pepper. Remove the vegetables from the oven, sprinkle over half of the spice mix, shake/turn to coat. Add the sundried tomatoes (and chorizo if you’re lucky enough to have some!). Lay the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the rest of the spice mix – open up the slices and try to get some in if possible. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Remove the tin from the oven. Holding one corner (use oven gloves, obviously) tip the tray ever so slightly so the juices run down to the opposite corner. I recommend tipping it slightly away from you as if there are any spillages at least it will go toward the relative safety of the top of the oven and not all over you and the floor! Spoon the juice back over everything – concentrate more on the chicken. Add the pepper strips around the chicken.

Return the tray to the oven and turn up to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7 for ten minutes. Remove and lay the asparagus spears over the top of everything. Return to the oven one final time for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Stab a couple of the potatoes to ensure they’re cooked through and serve.

J

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Red Onion & Goat’s Cheese Tarts

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OK, I know, I cheated with the pastry. Sorry. But these are perfect for novice bakers who want to make something simple and home-made to impress. These will be a great offering to any festive buffet and they don’t take whole morning to prepare, which leaves plenty of time to concentrate on the piece-de-resistance (or enjoying a festive tipple).

Makes 25-30

Ingredients

1 x 500g pack puff pastry (or equivalent in rough-puff if you want to make your own)
4 small red onions, chopped
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp rosemary
2 tsp basil
60g goat’s cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 180*C.

Grease a cupcake tin with some butter and plain flour. Roll out your pastry to the thickness of a pound coin and cut to roughly 7cm circles. Place in the tin and prick the bottoms with a fork. Bake for around ten minutes but do not allow them to brown. Remove from the oven when cooked.

Meanwhile, chop the onion and fry in the oil it on a low heat for 2 minutes. When slightly softened, throw in the balsamic vinegar, sugar and herbs. Allow the sauce to reduce down and the onions should cook a little. Add in about 20mls of water and reduce again. The aim is to soften the onions but not brown them.

When cooked, add a teaspoon of onions to each pastry case. Crumble over a bit of goat’s cheese, brush the pastry with a little milk. Bake in the oven for around 8 minutes until the cheese is soft and a little golden brown.

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

Berry Purple Chutney

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Ooooh, see what I did there? Clever. ‘Cause it’s got berries in and it’s purple. See?

Makes about 1lb

Ingredients

600g blackberries
2 red onions, chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
100g caster sugar
4 thumb-sized pieces ginger, finely chopped
3 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lemon, halved (for pectin)
3-4 pieces cooked beetroot
100ml red wine vinegar
50ml balsamic vinegar

Method

Combine all the ingredients apart from the vinegars and beetroot in a deep casserole dish. Stir over a medium heat until most of the blackberries have smushed down (approx. 20 minutes). Add the vinegars and beetroot and simmer until thick (approx. another 20-30 mins) stirring as and when. Leave to cool before transferring to sterilised jars.

The way I tell whether it’s a good consistency is drawing a spoon through the mixture – if liquid immediately fills the gap then keep it simmering, if liquid oozes in slowly then your pretty much done! It’s not very scientific but it works well enough for me.

J

Caramelised Red Onion Chutney

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That’s right folks, we’re back on the chutney bandwagon. This one is sweet, tangy and comes with a bit of a kick.

Makes 1½ lbs

Ingredients

7 red onions, chopped
2 white onions, chopped
1 pepper – red, yellow, orange, green, purple, whatever! – chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2-3 chilli peppers, finely chopped
120g dark brown sugar
275 ml balsamic vinegar
50ml red wine vinegar
4 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
stick of cinnamon

Method

Again, apologies for all the chopping. It should look something like this by the end of it all:

If you’re not crying your eyes out with all those onions then you’re made of sturdier stuff than us!

Heat some oil on a low heat in a big pan and add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and cinnamon stick. Cook for 15-20 minutes until soft then add the pepper and chilli and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add all the vinegar and sugar and reduce, still on a low heat, until thick and sticky. Remove the bay leaves if they start to go too soggy. Spoon into sterilised jars or throw some straight onto a fat wedge of cheese and scoff shamelessly.

J&W

Tomato & Red Onion Chutney

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When in Bristol for the Jubilee weekend we had afternoon tea at a wonderful little café. It consisted of savoury and sweet scones, with chutney and jam respectively. They were so bloody scrumptious we thought we’d attempt to replicate them. Here is the recipe for our savoury chutney. The corresponding savoury scone recipe is here, the sweet scone here and the jam here. Magic.

Ingredients

Makes 1lb

400g ripe tomatoes
3 cooking apples
200g light muscovado sugar
2g pectin (optional)
300g red onions
200g raisins
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
150ml cider vinegar
50ml balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp rosemary

Method

Chop up all the vegetables into small chunks. Grate the garlic. Put all the ingredients (except one chopped apple – save this until later) into a large pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Keep checking on it and stir regularly, it should take around an hour for the sauce to thicken but this is just a guide. Add the remaining apple when you feel that your chutney is at a suitable consistency and reduce for a further 5 minutes. This will give your chutney a bit of extra bite and as fans of crunch in spreads (chunky pickle and whole nut peanut butter for example) this is good by us. Take it off the heat and spoon it into hot, sterilised jars. Seal the jars and allow to cool. Keep in the fridge and eat within a few months.

*Tip Alert*

Sterilising jars

There are a few ways of doing this, but we find the easiest is to wash them by hand in hot soapy water. Dry them in the oven on a very low setting (around 70°) for around ten minutes. Put the jam into the jars whilst both are still hot. Remember that if you cool glass jars very quickly (put them in cold water whilst still hot) they will probably crack, so don’t do that.

J&W