Insalata Caprese Loaf

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Baking for the letter ‘I’ left me pretty confused. The almost obvious choice was the Irish Soda Bread which has also been on my to-bake list for quite a while. But at the same time, I had decided on the bread theme for this month and the soda bread is technically not bread since it uses baking soda and not yeast. Further research on Google also told me that it is treated as cake in Ireland even though it is called bread and treated as such in the rest of the world.

Like always, the solution presented itself when I was trying to solve another problem. I have been eating more salads now to compensate for all this bread baking and eating. When I was figuring out a tomato salad, I came across this one called Insalata Caprese which means ‘Salad of Capri’. I figured I could put this delicious salad into a loaf and ta da! So, that is what I did. The significance of Insalata Caprese is that it depicts the colours of the Italian flag which is white, red and green. It is a simple salad with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil leaves sprinkled with salt and pepper. I had seen fresh mozzarella at the newly opened gourmet store near home and promptly bought it.

I was a little apprehensive about the cheese melting and flowing out of the bread but that did not happen. Only a small amount of cheese oozed out but not much fell on the pan and all was well. So when you braid this bread, ensure you do not leave gaps between the strips because that can lead to the cheese oozing out.

Country – Italy

Makes a 10″ loaf

Recipe for the dough from ‘Easy Sourdough Recipes’

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                        1 1/2 cup

Sourdough, unfed                       1/2 cup

Warm water                                 6 tbsp

Instant yeast                                 1 tsp

Salt                                                  1 tsp

Olive oil                                         1 tbsp

Fresh mozzarella cheese           120 gms

Tomato, large                               1

Basil leaves                                   3-4

Salt & Pepper

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the flour, sourdough starter, yeast, salt and olive oil with the water
  • Knead to form a smooth dough, around 7-8 minutes by hand
  • Keep covered in a greased bowl till it doubles in size, about an hour
  • Punch it down and keep covered again to rise again for an hour
  • Cut the tomato and mozzarella into 3-4 slices each
  • Roll out the dough into a rectangle of around 8*6″
  • Leave a gap of an inch and place the mozzarella and tomato slices alternatingly in the centre of the rectangle
  • Tuck in the basil leaves between the mozzarella and tomato and sprinkle the salt and pepper
  • With a knife or dough scrapper, cut finger wide strip on either side of the fillings
  • Fold in the top of the dough and then fold in the strips alternating between the two sides
  • Tuck in the dough at the bottom of the loaf
  • Set aside for 15-20 minutes

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  • Preheat the dough at 220C
  • Reduce the temperature to 200C and bake for 20-25 minutes till the top is nicely brown
  • Remove from the oven and let cool
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter ‘I’.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

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Herbed Fantails

 
Yeast is beautiful. Yeast is magical. It looks so simple and nice. Add some sugar and water, it transforms into a frothy delight spreading its fragrance around. All it needs is some flour to carry along in its awesome journey to becoming an airy, delicious loaf of bread. 

Every time I pull out my packet of yeast, I get all excited and amazed and start waxing eloquent about it. But try this recipe (adapted from here) and you will know what I am talking about.

It’s easy, yummy and attains a good flaky crust and a soft interior. So here goes –

 WHAT WE NEED

1 tsp instant yeast

6 tbsp warm water

1/2 tbsp sugar

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp plain yogurt

2 tsp dried herbs 

1/4 cup olive oil
WHAT TO DO

  • Whisk together the yeast, warm water, and sugar and keep aside until the mixture looks foamy and bubbled up on top — about 5 minutes.
  • Stir the flour, salt, yogurt and olive oil into the yeast mixture just until it all comes together.
  • Knead the dough for another ten minutes (if doing by hand) till a smooth dough forms. 
  • Form dough into a ball and coat lightly with olive oil 

  • Place it in a well greased bowl and cover the bowl with a wet towel. Let rise until doubled – around 1 hour

      

  • Oil the muffin tins lightly with olive oil.
  • Divide the dough into 2 parts. 
  • Roll out each part of the flour into a long, thin rectangle.
  • Brush the dough lightly with olive oil. Cut the dough into 6 equal strips. Stack the strips, oiled side up.

  

  • Turn each piece on its side, so the cut layers face up, and place in a prepared muffin cup. 

  

  • Separate the layers slightly so they fan outward. Repeat with the rest of the dough

  

  • Cover the muffin tins with a damp towel and let the rolls rise until doubled and dough fills cups – around 45 minutes.

  

  • Preheat oven to 175°C. 
  • Bake the rolls until barely golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. 
  • Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

      

NOTES

1. The original recipe calls for a mix of bread flour and all purpose flour. I used only all purpose flour for entire quantity

2. This recipe can make 12 rolls. But I was in a hurry and I have a 9 piece muffin tray. So I adjusted to have only 9 fantails.

3. Dried herbs are optional but definitely recommended. I used a mix of thyme and chives.  

Do check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked today for BM#55

Cabbage nu Muthia

 My internet connection is driving me nuts. It went on a fifty day vacation which is beyond its annual leave quota it’s finally back but is still in vacation mode and is willing to work only with innumerable additional perks. So since I can’t disconnect it, I decided to reduce my dependence on it. I dug out my ancient cookbooks and decided to derive inspiration from them rather than google – “have lots of cabbage. What to do?”

 
This recipe is from a Gujarati cuisine book I bought almost a decade ago. I never used it before but kept it safe for future reference – which is now! This is a simple recipe and hence I couldn’t help make some modifications based on my fridge and pantry inventory. So here goes –

WHAT WE NEED
250 gms cabbage
50 gms sweet corn
100 gms besan / chickpea flour
1/2 tsp ajwain
1 tsp asafoetida
2-3 green / red chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tbsp sugar
Juice of 1 small lemon
Salt
1-2 tbsp Oil
Water

WHAT TO DO
Shred or cut the cabbage finely. Mix it with salt and forget about it for 20 minutes


Cook the corn in water for 7-10 minutes till soft
After 20 minutes, preheat the oven at 165C
Squeeze the water out of the cabbage and drink it. At least use it for making dal or rasam.
Add corn, finely chopped chillies, chilly powder, lemon juice, sugar, asafoetida, ajwain and salt( if required). Mix well.


Add the chickpea flour little by little till it forms a stiff dough.
Shape 7-8 patties from the dough.
Grease a baking pan or baking sheet and place the patties on it. Brush the top side of the patties with oil


Bake for 8-10 minutes. Then flip it over and bake for another 7-9 minutes till the patties are golden brown.
Enjoy it with ketchup or green chutney!

NOTES

  1. As per the original recipe the dough had to be shaped in rolls and steamed for 15-20 minutes. That did not work for me and so I baked them.
  2. The corn and ajwain are my addition and can be omitted


This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

Oats and vegetable tikka

Did you know Radio City is organizing a cookery contest across the country in various apartment complexes. It held one in my apartment last Sunday. The process was that they would select three best dishes and those cooks needed to participate in the second round where they had to cook within 45 minutes and ingredients available and that one had to be a rice dish.

I had decided on my favorite banana bread. But as luck and the Bangalore Electricity Department would have it, the power went out as soon as I put the bread in the oven to bake. So I pulled it out and finished it off in the pressure cooker. But the end result, though tasty, did not seem fit for a contest. So, I decided on this simple and very nutritious recipe that I had come up with few days ago. And I did make it to the Top 3. Yay!

INGREDIENTS

Vegetables               1 Cup

(any combination of peas, cabbabge, cauliflower, carrot, baby corn, corn, broccoli)

Oats                          1/2 Cup

Oil                              2 tbsp

Garlic                         2 pods

Ajwain                       1/2 tsp

Garam Masala           1 tsp

Green Chilly               1

Red chilly powder      1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves        8-10

Salt                              to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Cut all the vegetables, boil them till soft and set aside to cool

2. Fry chopped onions, garlic and green chilly in 2 tsp oil

3. Add the onions to the vegetables and grind them into a coarse paste adding minimal water.

3. Take oats in a bowl and add ajwain, garam masala, red chilly powder, coriander leaves and salt

4. Add the vegetables and mix well to form a dough

5. Make lemon sized balls and flatten it

6. Heat a tava and add oil

7. Fry the tikkas on the tava till golden brown on both sides.

Oats Veg roll cook

8. Serve with ketchup or coriander chutney

Oats Veg Roll

NOTES

1. You can add potatoes also to the vegetables. I like to keep them as healthy as possible and so do not add them

2. If you have added too much water while grinding the vegetables and the mix does not reach a dough like consistency despite the oats then add 1 or 2 spoons of chickpea flour / besan. Again, this is not very healthy and so try to limit the water while grinding

3. If you are adding besan, then add it in small quantities till you reach the required consistency. Too much besan suppresses the taste of the vegetables and masala