“English baking” workshop at the Bread Ahead baking school

What we baked at the course
How do you like my “rustic” arrangement of breads and cakes? My pop up stall is coming…

We attended this afternoon workshop at their Borough Market baking school a few weeks ago. It was actually my Christmas present, but we have been so busy lately that we could only find time in March to do it!

It was really fun, the teacher was absolutely phenomenal and enthusiastic, and I am really embarrassed to admit that I did not remember her name, but thank you, Teacher!

I was a bit scared about baking because I have tried to bake breads in the past and they always ended up really flat and tough. But the workshop helped me realise what my main issues were:

  1. not enough time or the wrong environment for the yeasts to do their business,
  2. often, the capital sin: adding more flour instead of kneading more when the dough is sticky.
  3. I wasn’t really kneading!

And now I’m not terrified about baking anymore! 🙂

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Chickpea omelette

This morning, I was wondering what to have for breakfast when I remembered I had a bunch of chickpeas leftover from yesterday’s dish: rice with Swiss chard. And I had an idea: why not have a chickpea omelette?

Like that dish, this is also a very economical dish, and quite easy to make. The hardest skill required is to know how to flip the omelette without breaking it, although I gave some tips for that on the herb omelette recipe.

Ingredients (for 2-3 portions)

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Parsley
  • Half a 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • Olive oil

Preparation

Takes about 45 minutes.

  1. Mash the chickpeas using a fork or a mashing accessory
  2. Peel and thinly chop the onion
  3. And the garlic clove
  4. Place some olive oil on a pan, set on a high heat and start frying the onion and garlic
  5. Crack the eggs and pour them on a bowl, and whisk them
  6. Wash and chop the parsley, add to the bowl
  7. Add a touch of salt
  8. Add the chickpeas to the bowl and mix everything vigorously so there are no lumps of chickpea paste – this is how it’d look like:Chickpea omelette mixture
  9. When the onion and garlic are fried (onion soft, garlic golden), add a touch more oil to the pan and then add the egg, chickpea and parsley mixture to the pan, and mix everything together
  10. Set to a high heat, and cook the first half
  11. Then using the tricks on this post, flip the omelette and cook the other side
  12. Serve and enjoy!

This is a dish which is often cooked with the leftovers of a popular stew called “cocido”, instead of using tinned chickpeas or specifically cooked chickpeas. That makes the omelette even tastier, as the veggies have all the flavour from the stew! Plus also the tinned chickpeas are a bit too hard for this dish and it takes longer to mash them.

When using stew leftover, you end up with a more colourful dish as it might contain all sorts of vegetables: potato, carrot, green beans, cauliflower, cabbage… and it’s fairly common to actually make vegetable croquettes with these.

It just occurred to me that this could also work very nicely with a touch of spice on it to add some ‘heat’ – perhaps some red chilli.

The other great thing about this dish is its versatility: you can have it for breakfast, or in your lunch box (as it keeps and warms up nicely), or even for dinner – it’s a very common Monday dinner (as you might have had the stew on Sunday).

Banana porridge

Banana porridge

After a dine out experience that gave us a sort of funny tummy, we were feeling in dire need of a soothing breakfast, so I figured that a porridge would be a good answer to that need!

Ingredients

  • 40-45 grams of oats per person
  • 250 ml of liquid (milk, coconut milk, or any type of “mylk” or “m*lk” you like) per person
  • Half a ripe banana per person
  • Cinnamon

Optional toppings:

  • Coconut
  • Hazelnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Dried cranberries
  • A dash of kefir
  • Sugar or syrup or sweetener

Preparation

This will take about 30 minutes, depending on how many people are you cooking for.

  1. Place the milk and oats on a pot, and turn the heat on to a high setting
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the oats are fairly ‘swollen’. Perhaps add more liquid during cooking if they have absorbed too much of it! Stir frequently so nothing gets stuck to the pot, and the result gets creamier.
  4. In parallel, you can peel and slice the banana(s)
  5. Place on deep bowls or dishes.
  6. Add sweetener to taste – I added a dash of agave syrup on top. Since you’re using cinnamon and banana, which is naturally sweet you don’t need to add a lot of sugar to the oatmeal
  7. Add cinnamon… and any other toppings you fancy!

Once you have the base, this is all about adding whatever you like (or have handy). For example, I added the sliced bananas, then a bunch of dried coconut, some hazelnuts, dried cranberries and chia seeds which look really cool and in theory have a lot of protein but there’s so few of them they can’t really make much of a difference 😜

I’ll admit I normally I cook porridge in the same bowl, with the microwave, but if you’re cooking for two (or more) it’s just easier to use the stove. Plus, it allows you to better control the dryness of the mixture and you can correct on the spot if it’s getting too dry 🙂

Bacon and egg muffins

Bacon and egg muffins in the oven tray

My partner surprised me this morning with this breakfast experiment!

They were very tasty and now we want to experiment with other fillings: mushroom? cheese? spring onions? spinach? perhaps something sweet? We’ll see!

Ingredients

  • Eggs (2 per person)
  • Bacon
  • Pepper
  • Milk

Preparation

Takes about 30 minutes.

  1. Turn the oven on to about 180C
  2. Slice the bacon rashers in small pieces, and fry in a pan
  3. Beat the eggs with a dash of milk so it’s a bit more liquid than an omelette
  4. Add some pepper
  5. Mix in the fried bacon
  6. Mix everything thoroughly
  7. Place in the muffin cases – we used silicon cases but I reckon it should work with any other type of case!
  8. And place in the tray
  9. Put in the oven
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes or until you see they start to get colour
  11. Take them off the oven and the cases and serve.

We had them with a slice of toasted bread and a cup of STRONG breakfast tea 💪🏼

Also, even if they look very tall in the picture, they will deflate really quickly as they cool down. Just like other egg souffles…

Funny fact: I had been meaning to bake this type of muffins for a while, and I finally got round to buy these cases this week, but I hadn’t had time to even unpack them yet. And there goes my partner this morning searching for a suitable recipient for the experiment… and voilà! I produce these cases out of my bag, as if per ✨magic✨!

How serendipitous!

Herb omelette

herb omelette
I tried to make coucou, but failed…

This morning I set out with the grand plan of making a delicious coucou, but I didn’t quite succeed. I was too cautious with the amount of herbs, added way less than I should have and so I ended up with a herby omelette, but actually that’s not a bad thing either!

Ingredients

  • Eggs (about 2-3 per person)
  • Herbs:
    • Dill
    • Chives
    • Parsley
    • Spring onions
  • Oil for frying
  • Hazelnuts

For reference, these are the herbs I used, before slicing them. Way too little!

the herbs: dill, chives, parsley, spring onions

Preparation

Takes about 30 minutes, for 2 people.

  1. Wash the herbs and remove any mushy bit if any. We want the best herbs for this!
  2. Then slice them sort of finely, with a knife or scissors, whatever is easier.
  3. I used already roasted hazelnuts, but if yours aren’t, lightly roast them now using a pan on a low heat, until they acquire some colour (I’m assuming you’re using hazelnuts without their skin on!).
  4. Crush the hazelnuts. I used a pestle and mortar.
  5. In a bowl, prepare the eggs: beat them until the yolks and whites are mixed.
  6. Add a generous amount of oil to a pan, then set on a high heat. When it’s hot, add the spring onions first as they’re the sturdiest of the set. Reduce the heat a bit. Stir to avoid burning the onions.
  7. When the onions are soft, add the chives, stir and wait until they get soft too.
  8. Add the parsley and dill, stir.
  9. Add the hazelnuts.
  10. Add the beaten eggs, mix everything nicely.
  11. Set a flat, wide dish aside. Oil it so it becomes a non-adherent dish. We’ll use it to flip the omelette!
  12. Using a spatula try to separate the omelette from the sides of the pan. When it stops breaking apart and seems pretty solid underneath, it’s time to flip it.
  13. Lift the pan from the heat, place it over the oiled dish and quickly flip it so the top bit is underneath now
  14. Lightly oil the pan again
  15. Using the spatula to kindly push, slide the omelette from the dish back to the pan. Holding the pan handle, give it a horizontal shake so the omelette stays flat and contents are nicely distributed (sometimes they can fold)
  16. You might need to flip the omelette a couple more times, just make sure it doesn’t get TOO dry
  17. And eat it!

I served it with one of the pitta breads from Thursday’s halloumi experiment, which I  toasted, sliced and infused with really great Spanish olive oil and some pepper and salt, plus also a few cute tiny tomatoes, because why not?

 

So, not exactly the kind of very green dish I thought I’d produce, but not bad either! It smelled and tasted great.