bread, food blogging, food photography, recipes, soup, thefoodygrail.com

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Savoury Croissants.

Vegetable soup.
Squash, sweet potato and roasted pepper soup served with savoury croissants. Finished with a warming chilli and garlic oil.

As the rustic shades of Autumn invade the last green remnants of summer, it’s time for a hearty and warming soup. Butternut squash, sweet potato and roasted red pepper make for a wonderful creamy soup. Served with a chilli- garlic oil and accompanied with  savoury croissants flavoured with anchovies and sun dried tomato.

Ingredients:

Soup:
1 butternut squash – peeled, halved, seeds removed and chopped into large chunks.
Note: Use other varieties of squash if you so wish – equivalent to one butternut variety.
1 sweet potato – peeled and cut into wedges.
1 large red onion – peeled, halved and cut into wedges.
2 roasted red peppers – skins removed.
2 sticks of celery.
1 dessert spoon of dried marjoram.
3 cloves of garlic
1 tabls red wine vinegar.
40g butter.
1.2 litres chicken stock or veg stock if you prefer.
10 sprigs or 3g of fresh parsley.
Drizzle of olive oil.
Seasoning – salt and pepper.

Garnish:
100ml chilli oil infused with 1 crushed clove of garlic.
5g chopped fresh basil.
Optional: 50g of grated Parmesan cheese.

Savoury Croissants:
227g strong bread flour.
23g unsalted butter.
1/4 tsp of salt.
10g or 3 tsps of easy bake yeast.
125ml warm milk.
1/2 a beaten egg – approx’ 27g
20g chopped anchovies.
30g sun dried tomatoes – chopped.
90g chilled butter – cut into small dice.

Method/cook:

Soup:
Set oven to gas 6 or 200°C / 400°F
Place your chopped squash in a roasting tray – drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and marjoram. (see image)
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Now place your sweet potato wedges and onion wedges into a roasting tray – drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and marjoram.
Roast your squash, sweet potato and onion for 45 mins’ until lightly charred and soft.
In a large pan melt the butter. Add the chopped celery, roasted pepper and garlic – sweat until celery is softened. (see image)
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When celery is soft add the vinegar and reduce. Set aside.
Once the roasted veg’ are cooked add them to the softened celery and pepper. With the pan on a medium heat, further brown the veg’ by cooking for 10 mins’. (see image)
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Add the stock and parsley to the veg’ and simmer for 20 mins.
Once simmered, blend all the veg’ to a creamy soup. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Savoury Croissants:
Rub the 23g of butter into the flour. Mix in the easy bake yeast and salt.
Add the warm milk and form into a dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for ten minutes.
Once kneaded, place in a floured bowl and cover with cling film or a damp cloth. Leave to proof until doubled in size.
Note: The dough can be chilled in the refrigerator after first proof then rolled and formed the next day.
Once proofed, knock back the dough and knead for 10 mins’.
Combine the chopped anchovies with the chopped sun dried tomato – set aside.
Now for the rolling and layering of the dough.
Roll the dough into a 36cm x 21cm oblong. (see image)
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Place half the 90g of butter and half of the anchovy and tomato onto the middle third of the pastry. (see image)
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Fold the top third of pastry over the butter. (see image)
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Place rest of butter and the rest of the anchovy and tomato mix onto the top third of the pastry. (see image)
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Fold up the bottom third of the pastry. (see image)
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Turn the pastry clockwise one turn. (see image)
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Roll out the pastry to a 46cm x 14cm oblong. (see image)
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Fold the top third of pastry over the middle third. (see image)
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Fold the bottom third up over the top third. (see image)
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Chill the pastry for 30 mins’ to firm up the butter.
Once chilled, turn the pastry clockwise one turn. (see image)
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Roll out the pastry again to a 46cm x 14cm oblong. (see image)
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Fold as previously explained and chill again for 30 mins’
For the final roll, turn the pastry one turn clockwise.
Roll out to a 56cm x 17cm oblong. (see image)
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Once rolled, cut 8 – 10 triangles with a sharp knife. (see image)
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Roll each triangle up from the widest end. (see image)
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Place the rolled dough triangles on baking trays lined with parchment paper. Egg wash and leave to proof until doubled in size. (see image)
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Note: Make sure the points of the dough triangles are tucked underneath so that the croissants don’t unravel.
Set oven to gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F
Once proofed bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Cool on baking racks once baked.

Serving:
Serve your hot soup topped with chopped basil and a drizzle of chilli and garlic oil.
Optional: Grate over the soup with Parmesan cheese.
Accompany the soup with warm savoury croissants.
Enjoy!

bread, broth, food blogging, food photography, oxtail, pickles, quenelles, recipes, restaurant food, savoury, soup, thefoodygrail.com

Glazed Oxtail with Prawn Quenelles, Oxtail Broth and Pickled Radish. Accompanied by Mini Miso buns.

Glazed oxtail in an oxtail broth.
A rich glazed oxtail dish with prawn quenelles, pickled radish and mini miso buns.

“Oxtail and Prawns!!” I hear you exclaim. The same indignation, to my choice of ingredients, was forthcoming from two family members. Not one to take umbrage, I set out to offer them the ‘proof in the pudding’ as it were.
Later that day, the soothsayers of culinary fusion were not only eating ‘oxtail and prawns’ but their negative words also.

Ingredients:

Oxtail: makes approx’ 1.5 litres of broth.
600g oxtail or 4-6 cuts of oxtail.
270g celery or 4-5 sticks – chopped.
150g red onion or 2 small red onions – chopped.
150g carrot or 1 large carrot – peeled and sliced.
50g unsalted butter.
1.2 litre of rich beef stock. One Knorr rich beef stock pot is fine.
1/2 litre of water.
3 tsps tomato puree.
2 bay leaves.
2 sprigs of fresh thyme.
2 tsps chopped parsley.
2 garlic cloves – sliced.

Glaze:
300ml rich beef stock. Half a Knorr rich beef stock pot is fine.
3 dessert spoons of honey.
2 dessert spoons white wine vinegar.
1 dessert spoon of light soy sauce.
Black pepper to season.

Prawn Quenelles: makes approx’ twelve if using teaspoons.
200g cooked prawns.
20ml double cream.
1 egg white.
1/2 tsp wasabi paste.
Seasoning – salt and pepper.

Pickled Radish:
4-5 radish sliced.
1 level dessert spoon of sea salt.
50ml white wine vinegar.
1 1/2 dessert spoons of sugar.

Mini Miso Buns: makes approx’ 12 buns.
200g strong bread flour.
125ml warm water.
1 tsp sugar.
7g fresh yeast or 1 dessert spoon of dried yeast or 1 tsp of easy yeast.
2 tsps ground coriander.
2 heaped tsps miso paste.
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tabls of water for egg wash.
1 tsp of caraway or sesame seeds.
Extra flour for kneading.

Garnish:
1 spring onion cut in to fine strips.

Method/cook:

Oxtail:
Set oven to gas 7 or 220°C/425°F.
Place cuts of oxtail in a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and roast in the oven until well browned. Aprox’ 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
While the oxtails roast start to prepare the broth.
Melt the butter in a large pan.
Add the celery, onion and carrot to the butter and sweat until soft.
Next, add the tomato puree and cook out for several minutes.
Add the stock, water, herbs and garlic and bring to a simmer.
Once simmering remove from the heat.
When the oxtails have roasted, add them to the broth and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the oxtail meat is tender.
When the oxtails are cooked turn off the heat and skim off any fat. Leave the broth and oxtails to cool in the pan. Once cooled remove the oxtails and set aside.
Season the broth with salt and pepper. Blend the broth with a hand blender and pass through a sieve. Set aside.

Mini Miso Buns: (Don’t add salt as the miso paste is salty.)
Firstly mix the flour with the coriander – set aside.
If using fresh yeast or active dried yeast, dissolve yeast with the warm water and the sugar.
After yeast has fermented, and frothed up, add to the flour and coriander. Form a dough and kneed for 5 minutes.
Place dough in a floured bowl. Cover the dough and leave to prove, in a warm place, until doubled in size.
Next, on a floured surface, roll out the dough to approx’ 13cm x 11cm. Spread with miso paste (see image)
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Fold the dough over a 1/3 (see image)
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Fold the dough over another 1/3 to create an oblong (see image)
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Spread more miso paste over the top half. (see image)
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Fold the bottom half of the dough up over the top half. (see image)
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Roll out the pastry to approx’ 20cm x 30cm. (see image)
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Roll up the pastry in to a sausage shape. (see image)
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Once rolled, cut in to 10-12 slices. (see image)
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Lightly dust each slice with flour and press down with the palm of your hand. (see image)
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Place your dough portions on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with caraway or sesame seeds. Leave to prove and double in size. (See image)
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Once proved, bake at gas 7 or 220°C/425°F for 20 minutes.
Once baked place on a cooling rack. (See image)

Once cooled, store the buns in an airtight container.

Prawn Quenelles:
Place prawns, egg white, wusabi and seasoning in a food processor.
Blitz to a smooth paste.
Add the cream and blitz until thoroughly combined.
Using two teaspoons, form quenelles with the prawn mix.
Steam the quenelles in a bamboo steamer over a pan of simmering water for 4 minutes. (see image)
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Note: If you don’t have a steamer, poach the quenelles
in simmering water.
When the quenelles are cooked, remove from the steamer, and set aside.

Pickled Radish:
In a dish, sprinkle the slices of radish with the salt.
Leave for 2 hours and drain off any liquid.
Rinse the radish in cold water and then dry.
Heat the vinegar and sugar in a pan. Once boiling pour over the radish.
Leave the radish for 1-2 hours to pickle. Set aside.

Glaze:
Set oven to gas 7 or 220°C/425°F
Place all the glaze ingredients in to a saute pan and bring to a simmer.
Add the previously cooked oxtails.
Spoon over the glaze and place in the oven to re-heat.
Cook the oxtails in the glaze for 35-40 mins. Baste at 10 minute intervals.
When the oxtails are heated, remove the pan from the oven, place on the hob, and continue to reduce the glaze for several minutes while basting the oxtails.
Set aside and keep warm.

Now that all the prep is done it’s time to put the dish together.

Re-heat the broth and the quenelles.
Place a ladle full of broth into each of your warm serving bowls.
Place a glazed oxtail into each bowl, followed by portions of quenelles and pickled radish.
Garnish with spring onion and drizzle with extra glaze.

Enjoy.

bread, celebration, chocolate, Easter, food blogging, thefoodygrail.com

Chocolate and Orange Easter Bread

Easter Bread. Chocolate and Orange.
Chocolate and orange Easter Bread.

A sweet treat for Easter – or any occasion really.
This recipe is my own and, with a method similar to baking a Stollen, is very easy to make. It uses a simple fortified dough (containing eggs and butter) and takes little kneading. Give it a go.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
10″ or 25.5cm non-stick baking tin – greased and lined with parchment paper.
600g Strong Flour – plus some for kneading.
150ml warm milk – blood temperature.
200g unsalted butter – must be unsalted.
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk.
2 tsps salt.
2 tabls caster sugar.
25g dried active yeast or 50g fresh yeast.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Butter for greasing.

Filling:
180g Chocolate spread.
55g crushed Pistachio nuts.
Zest from 3 large oranges.

Glaze:
1/4 jar of Apricot jam.

Decoration:
1 packet of mini eggs.

Method:
In a large bowl stir 50g of butter into the warm milk.
When the butter has melted into the milk add the yeast, sugar and 2 heaped tablespoons of flour – taken from the 600g of flour that you have already weighed.
Tip: To remove any lumps of flour from the ferment – lightly whisk with a hand whisk.
Leave the milk and yeast mixture to ferment for 30-40 minutes. The mixture will bubble and quadruple in size.
In a second large bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt and rub in the remaining 150g of butter, until all the butter has dispersed into the flour. Make a well in the centre.
In a separate bowl lightly whisk, with a fork, the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
When the ferment is ready add, with the eggs and vanilla, to the flour and butter mix.
Combine all the ingredients into a dough. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes.
Once kneaded, put the dough into a floured bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size.
Note: The first prove can take 2 hours.
Note: Unsalted butter is essential for the ferment, as salt will prevent yeast from activating.
Note: If you think that the dough is a little dry, add a touch more warm milk. If it’s to wet/sticky add a touch more flour.

Rolling the dough:

Once the dough has proved, roll out, on a lightly floured surface, into an oblong shape, approx’ 18″ x 13″ or 46cm x 33cm (see image 1 – below) and 1/4″ or 6mm in thickness.
Once rolled out to the required size, cover with chocolate spread and sprinkle with crushed pistachio nuts and the zest of the oranges. (see image 2 – below)
Roll up the dough into a sausage shape. Once rolled continue to roll the dough back and forth lightly stretching the length to approx’ 21″ or 53cm.  (See image 3 below.)
Once rolled to the desired length, trim 1/2″ or 1cm off each end.
Now, with a sharp knife, cut the dough into even pieces – approx’ 1 and a 1/4″ or 3.5cm in length.
Arrange the cut pieces of dough in a greased and lined baking tin. (see image 4 – below)
Cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours.
Once proved bake in a preheated oven on Gas 6 or 190°C / 375°F for 30-35 minutes.

Note: Don’t cram the baking tin with cut dough pieces – leave room for the dough to expand while proving. Any pieces that won’t fit in the tin just bake as separate buns and have with a cuppa’.

Glazing:

When Easter Bread is baked, remove from the oven.
Gently heat 4 tablespoons of Apricot jam in a pan until melted and liquid.
Remove the, warm, baked Easter Bread from the baking tin place on a wire rack.
Spoon the melted apricot jam over the warm bread, and using a pastry brush, make sure that the top and sides are covered with the apricot glaze.
Leave to cool, then store in an airtight container.

Decorate with mini eggs, if you so wish. Enjoy.

Image 1.                                                                   Image 2.
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Image 3.                                                                                          Image 4.
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bread, food blogging, soup

Celery, Leek and Potato Soup with Walnut Bread.

Soup and bread.
Two for one – a tasty soup accompanied with a crusty walnut bread.

Whatever the time of year, I do like a warm comforting soup.  I got to share a bowl with my elderly neighbour today, while he put the world to rights.
Soup, bread and brexit. If only politicians could speak so lucidly with hot soup dribbling down their chins. Anyway, one free lunch later – politicians again – my neighbour thanked me then hobbled off for his afternoon nap.
I always get a warm feeling  when I share home cooked food – even more so with a well seasoned soup. That warm feeling is always reciprocated  and I can only put it down to the simple act of sharing or kindness. I know that acts of kindness can alter brain chemistry in a positive way with increased levels of dopamine and serotonin. But what I have found, when sharing food, is that it creates a bond between myself and the recipient. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone so my conclusion is that sharing soup is a great way to improve well being and personal mood, on every level.

‘Share a Soup Day’ sounds like a good idea.

Ingredients:

Soup: (makes approx’ 2 litres.)
2 1/2 pints or 1.420 litres of chicken stock.
50g butter.
1/2 leek.
1 onion.
5 sticks of celery.
5g fresh parsley.
sprig of fresh thyme.
4 medium sized or 800g of potatoes. Peeled and cut into quarters.
Salt and white pepper for seasoning.
Small pot of Crème Friâche.
Fresh parsley for garnish.

Walnut Bread: (makes a 10″ x 5.5″ loaf)
300g strong flour.
1/2 tsp salt
150ml warm water.
2 tsps. dried active yeast or 5g of fresh yeast.
55g crushed walnuts.
1 egg for glazing.
3g grated parmesan (optional)
Veg’ Oil for greasing tray.

Method/cook:

Soup:
In a large pan melt the butter.
Sweat off the celery, leek and onion until soft.
Add the potatoes, parsley, thyme and chicken stock.
Bring the contents of the pan to a simmer.
Once simmering, place a lid on the pan, and cook for 20 minutes – or until the potatoes are cooked.
When the potatoes are cooked blend the contents of the pan with a hand blender until smooth.
Once blended, season with salt and pepper.

Serve:
Serve with Crème Friâche and a sprig of parsley.

Walnut Bread:
Set oven to gas 8 or 230°C /450°F
Mix active yeast with 150ml warm water – leave to ferment for 15 minutes.
Combine flour and walnuts into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
Add salt to the edge of the flour – not in the centre.
Once active yeast has begun to froth add to the flour and mix to a dough.
On a lightly floured work surface, need the dough for 10 minutes or until you have a smooth dough.
Once needed, place dough into a floured bowl.
Cover with a damp cloth or cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Once dough has doubled in size – need again for a further 2 minutes.
Shape dough into a slipper/sausage shape approx’ 8″ long.
Place shaped dough onto a greased and floured baking tray.
Brush with beaten egg, cover with a damp cloth or cling film, and leave to prove again until doubled in size.
Once doubled in size bake in the middle of the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Tip: Before baking, grate parmesan cheese over the top of the risen dough.

Note: If using ‘easy cook yeast’ follow instructions on the packet.