Friday, 27 March 2009

Oven Baked Pitta

I decided that more greek-texmex fusion dishes were what this world needs. Try it and see how nice it is.


  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 small chili, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp thyme

  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes

  • 300g strong cheese, cut into 12 slices (I chose cheddar with chili in it, but any strong cheese should do)

  • 6 pitta, cut in half and opened up

  • a jar of olives, sundried tomatoes and/or peppers



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

  2. Put the onion, chili and olive oil in a pan and heat on a low heat with the lid on for 5 minutes. Stir every minute or so to stop it burning.

  3. When the onion starts to go soft add the chopped tomatoes and leave to simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.

  4. Prepare the cheese and pitta if you've not done it already and grease a large ovenproof dish.

  5. Put one slice of cheese and some olives/tomatoes/peppers into each pitta half and place into the ovenproof dish, open end upwards.

  6. Repeat until all the pitta halves are used up.

  7. By now the tomato sauce should be nicely simmered. Taste it to see if it needs any salt or pepper and season as needed.

  8. Pour the tomato sauce over the top of all the pitta, making sure you get an even coat all over. This should keep the pitta nice and moist, but it's ok if a few bits are uncovered as they add a nice crunch to the dish.

  9. Bake for 20 minutes and serve while still hot.

Serves 2 to 3.
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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Kakra Pitha

One night I decided to try to use up some of the semolina we had with some desiccated coconut. A quick google after turned up Kakra Pitha as the closest thing, so I shall call these Kakra Pitha.


  • 40g sugar

  • 40g desiccated coconut

  • a pinch of ground nutmeg

  • 300ml water

  • 275g semolina

  • 20g sunflower oil


  1. Place the water, sugar, coconut and nutmeg in a pan and bring to the boil.

  2. When boiling add the semolina and stir well.

  3. Continue to heat, stirring all the time until it starts to dry out.

  4. Remove the semolina dough from the pan and add the sunflower oil and start to heat it.

  5. Roll the semolina dough into balls a couple of cm wide and then use the palm of your hands to press them into flat circles.

  6. Put into the oil and fry for a few minutes until each side is crisp and golden.

  7. Serve immediately.

Makes about 15.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Drop scones

I think drop scones are great and a lovely snack food instead of the usual crisps, cakes or popcorn.


  • 200g self-raising flour

  • a pinch of salt

  • 50g caster sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 250ml milk

  • 75g dried fruit, such as sultanas or mixed dried fruit

  • 10g butter


  1. Mix the flour, salt, sugar, eggs and milk together in a bowl and whisk well to get rid of any lumps. Lumps can be avoided if you add half the milk, mix into a paste and then mix in the rest of the milk.

  2. Add the dried fruit to the mixture.

  3. Heat up a frying pan to a medium-hot heat.

  4. When ready to start cooking cut off a thin slice of butter and swish it around the frying pan.

  5. Drop the batter onto the frying pan using a tablespoon. Depending on the size of your frying pan you'll be able to do 4 to 9 drop scones at a time.

  6. When you start to see bubbles rising to the top of the scones they're just about ready to turn, so flip them over.

  7. After a minute or so on the other side remove them from the pan onto a plate and cover with a clean tea towel to keep the heat in.

  8. Repeat until all the batter is used up. You might find the later drop scones cook quicker if your pan wasn't quite at it's hottest when you started, this is fine, just be careful not to burn them.

  9. Serve on their own or with a bit of butter or jam spread on them.

Serves 4 as a snack.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Goat's Cheese Pfannebrot

I heard about shallow frying dough and thought I'd give it a go. It turned out really well, although it cooks far quicker than I expected so I burnt the edges of my pfannebrot slightly. Also this recipe is nothing to do with Germany, but I thought pfannebrot sounded better than pan bread or fried bread.


  • 1 1/4 tsp fast action yeast

  • 550g strong brown flour

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 320 ml warm water

  • 3 red onions, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

  • 150g goats cheese

  • 20g sunflower oil


  1. Mix the first six ingredients (flour, sugar, yeast, olive oil, salt and water) by hand or in a bread maker on 'dough' setting. If doing by hand then kneed it for 5 minutes and then place in a warm place for an hour, kneed it again for 5 minutes and then leave in a warm place for another hour. If using a bread maker just follow it's instructions.

  2. Fry the onions gently in a pan with the vinegar, olive oil and sugar until it's nice and soft.

  3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each one out to be the size of your frying pan.

  4. On two of the rolled out dough circles crumble the goat's cheese in the middle and put the onion mixture on top, leaving about half an inch of dough around the edge.

  5. Using fingers wetted from water in a cup make half an inch around the edge of the dough wet. Place the 2 remaining dough circles on top and squeeze around the edge to get a good seal.

  6. Divide the sunflower oil between two frying pans (or if you only have one, put half of it in) and heat on a medium-hot heat.

  7. Use a knife to put two small holes in the dough to let any excess air escape.

  8. Place dough circles in the frying pans and fry for 5 minutes or until the bottom is a nice golden colour.

  9. Turn and cook the other side for a few minutes, again until golden in colour.

  10. Serve immediately, probably with a tomato sauce or ketchup.

Serves 2 hungry people or 4 not so hungry people.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Chicken in Barbeque Sauce


  • 150ml dry cider or wine

  • 150ml soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp tomato puree

  • 15g of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 2 tsp mustard powder

  • 4 onions, finely chopped

  • 8 chicken thighs, small breasts or drumsticks, boned and skinless or 8 quorn fillets


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

  2. Mix everything except the onions and chicken together in a mixing jug.

  3. Place the chicken and onions in a greased baking dish and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

  4. After 30 minutes pour in the sauce, making sure to cover the chicken with it.

  5. Cover the baking dish with foil and make sure it's well sealed at the edges.

  6. Bake for another 30 minutes.

  7. Serve with potatoes and green beans.

Serves 3 to 4.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Goat's Cheese Popovers and Polenta

Popovers are usually a sweet dish (such as Apricot popovers) but I decided that they could work really well as a savoury dish. The goat's cheese in this melts nicely and adds a lovely flavour and texture to the popover's batter. This is quite an experimental dish, but really worth trying.


  • 75g plain flour

  • 1 large egg

  • 80ml milk

  • 50ml water

  • salt and pepper

  • 6 tsp sunflower oil

  • 250g corn meal

  • 500ml vegetable stock

  • 20g butter

  • 150g goats cheese, divided into 12 balls

  • 50g sunflower seeds

  • 25g pumpkin seeds

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tsp sesame oil


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees.

  2. Mix the flour, salt, egg, milk and water to form a batter.

  3. Put half a teaspoon of oil in each section of a cup-cake tin and place it in the oven.

  4. Put the cornmeal, stock and the butter in a pan and start to heat on a gentle heat, stiring all the time.

  5. Simmer it for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

  6. Take the cup-cake tin out of the oven and place a goat's cheese ball in each section. Place the tin back in the oven.

  7. Heat the seed, soy sauce and sesame oil in a frying pan and stir constantly until they are nicely toasted. Put them in a serving bowl with a spoon.

  8. Remove the cup-cake tin out of the oven and pour the batter into each section.

  9. Return the tin to the oven for 40 minutes, or until they pop-overs are a nice golden brown.

  10. Serve immediately with the polenta (corn meal) and the toasted seeds.

Serves 4.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Non-Chicken Basque


  • 6 small chicken breasts or quorn fillets

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 red peppers, sliced

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 50g sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 150g chorizo sausage or vegetarian frankfurters

  • 225ml brown basmati rice (measure it in a measuring jug)

  • 275ml chicken or vegetable stock

  • 170ml dry white wine

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1 tsp dried basil

  • 50g black olives, chopped in half

  • 1 large orange, cut into wedges


  1. Fry the chicken/quorn in the olive oil until it's brown on all sides using a medium heat. Use a big deep pan as everything will end up in the pan.

  2. Remove the chicken/quorn from the pan and add a bit more oil.

  3. Add the onions, peppers, tomatoes and garlic. Fry for 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften.

  4. Add the rice and stir it around to get it well coated with the oil and flavours.

  5. Add the stock, wine, tomato puree and paprika and stir well.

  6. Place the chicken/quorn back in the pan and push it down slightly into the rice and liquid mixture.

  7. Sprinkle the basil, olives and orange wedges over the top of the chicken.

  8. Place a lid on the pan and cook on a low heat for an hour.

  9. Halfway through the cooking check that there is still some liquid left. If not then add a bit more wine.

Serves 3 to 4.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Non-Goat's Cheese and Non-Red Onion Tartlets

The story behind these is that I wanted to make goat's cheese and red onion tartlets, but the local shop didn't have red onions or goat's cheese. I improvised with what they did have, having a thought about the flavours, and the result was very nice. Nice enough to reproduce deliberately.


  • 100g Wensleydale cheese, finely crumbled

  • 150g cream cheese

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

  • 1 tsp red food dye

  • 1 sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry


  1. Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees

  2. Mix the two cheese, oregano and thyme in a bowl and season liberally with black pepper. Make sure the Wenselydale is really well broken up and mixed with the cream cheese so that it looks very much like soft goat's cheese.

  3. Grease 6 ramekins if you have them, if you don't then you can just make open tartlets, so don't worry.

  4. Put the onion, vinegar, sugar and food dye in a pan and fry gently for 10 minutes. The mixture should have almost no liquid and be starting to caramelise (go crispy/burnt), but don't go too far and burn it!

  5. Roll out the puff pastry and cut out 6 large circles, a cm or two larger than the ramekins and 6 smaller circles which just fit the ramekins tops. If you're not using ramekins then just divide the pastry into 6 circles (or squares, or whatever shape you want) and use thin strips of pastry to add a raised edge to the pastry shapes.

  6. Divide the onion mixture between the ramekins/pastry shapes

  7. Divide the "goat's cheese" mixture between the ramekins/pastry shapes.

  8. If using ramekins then place the smaller circles on the top and press the pasty together to get a seal between the lid and the pastry already in the ramekin.

  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry is a nice golden brown.

Serves 3 to 4.