Category Archives: Breakfast, brunch and tea time

Time to bake Mince Pies!

DSC083152015 has been quite a hectic year and with 2016 fast approaching, I decided to drag at least one recipe from oblivion and re-post it here, this is more as a way to feel that I did, indeed, do something about the blog before the year’s end, that because I’m desperate to write today.

I think the best thing about these mince pies is the pastry, you can use the same mix to make really, really delicious apple pies (I highly recommend them). 
DSC08318I love to keep things traditional during Christmas, at home we eat Pan Dulce (an Argentine cousin of Italian Pannetone), and even though everyone seems to be falling for it, I refuse to buy those chocolate chips pan dulces that are popping everywhere. Chocolate chip? On my  pannetone? I don’t think so! So, yes, I understand the importance of keeping the flavours we grew up with during the holiday season.

But I’m not against a teeny-weeny tweak here and there, you can call this coconut oil pastry a teeny-weeny tweak.

 So, without further ado, Christmas is almost on top of us after all, here is the recipe.

Ingredients (makes 12 pies approx.):

100g coconut oil

300g plain flour

2 egg yolks

50ml cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 jar of mincemeat.

How to:

1.- In a bowl place the flour and the salt. Mix together and then add the coconut oil.

DSC082382.- With your fingers rub the coconut oil into the flour mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.

DSC08240Coconut oil isn’t as pliable as butter, so it is harder to rub it into the flour. The little lumps of oil are tougher than their butter equivalents; but be patient, it can be done.

I haven’t tried using a blender. You can try it though, and if it works, then making these pies will be a breeze.

3.- Make a well in the centre, add the egg yolks, vanilla essence and the water.

DSC082414.- Mix everything by hand until you have a dough that comes off the sides of the bowl. Don’t overwork the dough or it will make a tough pastry. Just mix enough for the wet ingredients to permeate the dry ones and then press everything together to form a ball.

DSC082535.-Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 1 hour, ideally for 2.

6.- After 1-2 hours, take the dough out of the fridge. You can then lightly flour a surface  and roll out your dough; or you can spread a rectangle of cling film on your working top, place the dough on it, and then cover loosely with another cling film sheet and roll out the pastry through the cling film; that way, the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling-pin and you avoid using too much flour, which will also make your pastry tough. Roll out to a 3mm thickness.

DSC082677.- Cut circles of 4-5 cm diameter, depending on the size you want your mince pies to be. Try not to make them too big that they are difficult to eat, or too small, because they won’t take enough filling.

8.- Spread 1 -2 teaspoons of filling into one of the circles, then paint around the edges with a bit of water or egg white so that the top of the pie will stick to the bottom. Take a second circle,  prick it with a fork and place on top of the filling.

DSC082699.- Use a fork to press the edges together and seal the tarts….
DSC0827110.- Continue with the rest of the pastry.

DSC0827711.- Place in the fridge for 30 mins and then bake or freeze them wrapped in cling film.

12.- To bake them: Preheated your oven at 200 C. Place the pies on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

DSC0830513.- You can prepare a simple glaze with 1/2 cup of icing sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice to cover them once they are cold. If you want your icing to be super white, like in the photos, the add 1 teaspoon of egg whites to your icing sugar/lemon mix and whisk everything together until soft and fluffy.

DSC08316Merry Christmas!!

Paula

Chorizo, spinach and red pepper bread.

2015-06-07 15.48.41I’m trying to pretend is Summer here, even though the wind and the dark clouds seem to say otherwise. I wish Summer will hurry and just arrive, but I guess seasons, as everything else in nature, only arrive when they are meant to.

So, in the meantime, I’ve been eating and baking with Spanish chorizo and olives, pretending the time for picnics and holidays in the sun are here 🙂

This bread could be a meal in itself, and works great toasted, as a side to a salad. There is almost no kneading involved, and it smells so good once it is in the oven, you won’t believe it!

Ingredients (for half a kilo loaf):

250 g spelt flour

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

150 ml water + 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water to activate the yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt (or up to 1 teaspoon, I use very little salt)

1 tablespoon and a half of olive oil (can be replaced by any other oil)

30 g chorizo, chopped. It has to be a cooked chorizo, not one that requires for you to cook it first, other than that, you can choose almost any one. I used one that was a bit soft but very flavoursome, with some smokiness to it.

A bunch of fresh spinach

1/2 of a red Ramiro pepper, chopped and sautéed for a few minutes. Let it cool down before using.

 How to:

1.- Mix the yeast with  the lukewarm water and let it rest until it froths.

2.- In a large bowl mix together the flour and the salt. Then add the chopped peppers, chorizo and the spinach leaves. If your spinach leaves are very big, simply chop them roughly. Then make a well in the middle. Your mix will look like this:

2015-06-07 11.41.023.- Once the yeast is frothy, add into the centre of the well, together with the oil and the remaining water. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more water. You will find, in general, that spelt doughs require less water and proofing time than regular doughs. They are also quite sticky and never as silky as white flour mixtures.

Spelt flour is a little lower in gluten than wheat flour, and its gluten strands are shorter, therefore kneading too much can break the delicate gluten structure which will result in a tough or flat bread.

So, just use your hands or a wooden spoon to shape the ingredients into a dough and then  knead for a minute, just so that there is no flour visible on the surface of the dough. And that’s it! 🙂

2015-06-07 11.44.59-1

4.- Leave the dough in a bowl covered with film or a plastic bag to double in size.

5.- When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured surface. Degas and flatten. Then shape into a log and place in a loaf tin.

Keep in mind that spelt breads tend to spread to the sides rather than rise, so a bread tin will help it keep its shape more than a baking tray will, but you can still make this bread if you don’t have a baking tin.

6.- Leave to rise for just 30 minutes, after which it should look nice and plump:

2015-06-07 13.12.39

7.- Place in a preheated oven at 180 C (fan oven) for 45-55 minutes. It will come out golden and with a lovely crust.

2015-06-07 14.46.428.- To make sure it’s fully baked tap the bottom of the bread, if it sounds hollow, it’s ready 🙂

Enjoy!

Paula