July 2, 2009

Overnight Rise Casserole-Dish-Baked Bread

Makes one big loaf - or break dough into 3 sections before putting it in the dish and you'll have 3 pull-apart loaves

6 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
3 cups of tepid water
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
a sprinkle of polenta - optional

Mix the yeast with the water and sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. In a mixer with a dough hook (or a big bowl with a wooden spoon), combine the flour, salt and the yeasty water. Mix well. It will be lumpy and a bit sloppy. Sloppy is good.

Cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight to prove. Somewhere cool is good - the fridge is fine too.

In the morning - punch the dough down and flop it onto a lightly floured benchtop. Knead it as best you can for a minute or two. Grease a heavy, ovenproof casserole dish (round is best - ceramic or heavy metal is the go) The dish needs to have sides at least 5cm high (or higher!) for this to work well and for the bread to rise up (rather then spread out) Sprinkle the dish with polenta if desired. Carefully pop the dough into the greased dish. Dust the top with flour.

Cover with a clean teatowel and let rise for a couple more hours in a draught-free spot.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Then pop the risen dish full of dough into the hot oven. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until golden and hollow-sounding when you tap it. Turn out and eat it up! Yum!

Porcupine Meatballs w Tomato Sauce

2 440g tins of crushed tomatoes - nice ones
1 onion, finely diced
1 large jar of tomato sugo
250ml of stock - whichever you like (not fish though!!)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
a bunch of basil

250g pork mince
250g beef mince
1 cup of cooked rice
1 egg, beaten
1tsp of dried oregano
salt and pepper

For the Sauce
In a BIG POT. Fry the onion in the olive oil until transparent. Add the garlic and give it a quick fry before tipping in the crushed tomatoes, sugo and salt and pepper. Add half the basil - just tear the leaves and throw them in. Leave to simmer away nicely while you make the meatballs.

For the Meatballs
Mix all the ingredients up until well combined. Roll into small balls (wet your hands so they don't stick to you! and have the sink full of nice warm soapy water so you can clean up when you get to meatbally!). Drop the balls into the simmering sauce.

When you've rolled all the meatballs and they are sitting in the sauce - simmer slowly over a gentle heat for 20 minutes. Serve with hot rice, pasta, mash or in a nice soft roll! Yum!

Make Salmon Patties....


We cook some fancy stuff at our house sometimes - but usually we cook simple stuff. The kind of old fashioned food that kids will eat two helpings of. I like to see the kids gobbling their dinner down. No point serving them fancy schmancy if they won't eat it. Well. Max doesn't mind fancy schmancy if he can pick the meat and potatoes out of it. Ari = no fancy schmancy.

1 440g (or thereabouts) tin of pink salmon
1kg of nice potatoes, mashed
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard - or seeded is good too
a squeeze of lemon
2 eggs
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for frying

Mix the salmon, mashed potato, mayonnaise, mustard, egg and salt & pepper together. If it seems super moist, throw in some breadcrumbs until it's a dry enough to shape into patties. Next, tip some breadcrumbs onto a plate. Now form a heaped tablespoon into a pattie shape, using your hands, then roll in the plate o crumbs until well covered. Set aside and continue until you've pattied and crumbed all the mixture. You can store these in the fridge until you are ready to eat, if you like! To cook, heat about half an inch of oil in a big frypan over a medium-high heat and cook each side of the patties until golden. Keep warm in a lidded dish until you've fried all the patties. (Don't stop - you need to fry them all - they are super good cold too!)

You can serve them with more mash, or a salad, or in a sandwich with sauce if you're finiquey. You can also add other things to the patty mix - like fresh herbs, peas, chilli and garlic.. whatever takes your... fancy.

Soft and Sweet Dinner Rolls


6 cups of plain flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tsp dried yeast
1/2 cup soft butter
1 egg

makes 30 more-ish rolls

Dissolve yeast in 2 1/2 cups of lukewarm tap water. In your mixer using a dough hook, plonk the flour, beaten egg, sugar, salt and butter - begin to mix it up gently, pouring in the water/yeast slowly. Knead until smooth and elastic. (You can do this by hand too - it'll just take longer).

Leave to rise for a couple of hours. Then punch down and knead again until smooth and elastic. Let it recover for 15 mins and then split your dough into 3. Each third will make 10 dinner rolls - so divvy up the dough into tens. To shape the rolls - flatten each little piece of dough and then roll it into a 'roll like' shape, tucking the ends under and putting it seam/join side down on a well greased oven tray. You'll need a couple of trays - be sure to grease them.

Let your dough rise again for an hour or so - until the rolls are a bit puffed up and nearly twice as big. Bake in a HOT oven for around 15 minutes until nicely browned.