Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Samosa's, Gluten free and regular.

First off, I don't eat Gluten Free, nor am I vegan, or vegetarian.    However, I do like healthy foods.


And since I do have some friends who are either vegetarian, pescatarian or gluten free, I try to find recipes that they can eat as well.

My assigned blog a few months ago for Secret Recipe Club was Judee Gluten Free.     I had fun going through her recipes.   And if you read this blog at all, you know I love my appetizers. 

Really, I do.  

And I had a heck of a time deciding what to make for SRC that time, there were too many recipes I wanted to try.   I ended up making the Green Goddess Hummus,  and it was very good, but I didn't stop there, I wanted to try to make these Samosa's which I decided were perfect for one of our gatherings.     So I made these up.

Eggless Buttermilk Crust:
2 1/2 cups of gluten free all purpose flour ( or if you are not gluten free regular flour)
1 cup buttermilk, plain yogurt or (coconut or rice milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice added)
1/2 tsp salt

Mix flour, buttermilk, and salt and work with a fork until dough can form into a ball. Dough will be soft. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes if too soft to work with. Divide dough into quarters and roll out thinly.   Use a 4 inch cookie cutter to make circles.
This dough is hard to work with, so I took a tip I got from another website and used sheets of wax paper to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin as well as the pastry sheet.  

Sweet Potato Filling

2 large sweet potatoes, steamed and cubed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup onion , chopped small
3/4 cup tomatoes, chopped small ( or chopped tomatoes with some juice from a can)
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated  ( I used the ginger root I keep in the freezer, and used my Microplane to get the tablespoon of ginger needed)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp cumin
cayenne pepper ( optional)
1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons raisins, soaked for about 20 minutes
2 tsp olive oil and olive oil spray
Directions Mix chopped onion, garlic, fresh ginger, cilantro, tomatoes, curry powder and turmeric and 2 tsp of olive oil together .

Steam sweet potatoes whole with skin until soft.  Peel and chop up a little before adding to the other ingredients.

  I put the peas, onion, garlic and tomato in a bowl, then added the warm sweet potatoes.  

   Saute cumin seeds or mustard seeds in olive oil spray in a frying pan for about 1 minute. Pour chopped vegetable mixture over cumin seeds and cook on low heat until onion and garlic are soft.
Stop for a minute and inhale, it smells so goo.
Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for another minute or so.  (Next time I make this, and I will make the filling again, I will add a little more moisture in the form of another tomato cause it did need it.  But this was my fault for not getting a juice tomato to begin with.)
Spoon 1 tsp. of mixture into each crust. Fold dough around filling and seal edges with fingers. Press edges together with fork for decoration.

  Bake for about 20-25 minutes until browned.  Although, they really don't brown, but you can put them under the broiler for just a quick second or so if you like.

Dip into Raita,

Directions below
Raita Ingredients
1 small cucumber, grated
1 cup plain yogurt 
1 tsp dried mint, crushed - if you have access to fresh mint, use it.
salt, pepper, garlic to taste

Grate your vegetables; add to yogurt  and mix well by hand

To be honest here, I did not like these at all, the filling was wonderful but the samosa shells, not so much.  They baked up kind of weird, and tasted funny to me.   I did serve them anyway, and some people tried them.   However, I think I need to work with gluten free flour some more and try to get something more edible out of it.   
I had so much filling left over, I hurried up and made some not-gluten free dough.

Samosa Dough
2 cups flour
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-3 tbsp. water

I was in a hurry so did not 'rub' the butter into the flour, I just threw the butter, yoghurt, flour and baking powder into the Kitchenaid and turned it on.  As the butter and yoghurt mixed into the flour, I dribbled in a little water to help the dough come together.   Just a couple of tablespoons.  As soon as it formed a nice ball, I changed to the dough hook and let it knead together for a couple of minutes.  I knew I wanted a soft, silky dough.  I then let it rest for ten minutes before rolling it out.
Cut circles with my cookie cutter, and filled them with the remaining filling.
Don't they look pretty?   I then placed some plastic wrap over them, and put them into the fridge for a couple of hours. 
This dough was wonderful to work with, it stretched beautifully, and is one I will make again and again. 

Just before our guests arrived, I heated some oil in the pan and fried them until they were golden brown, on each side.    And let me tell you, they were so good, fresh out of the pan.   I did serve them with the dip, but really, you didn't need it.

I made some Sausage Rolls as well that night.  Just cause I wanted to.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Sausage Rolls

As you know, if you read this blog even on a semi-regular fashion, that we do a Tapas Night every month.   And I love to make something new each time.   Really, it's not that hard to do.    I will either read blogs or something someone says triggers an idea, or I see something in the store and think AHA!!!

And that's just what happened a couple of weeks ago.   I saw a package of puff pastry and picked it up.  I like to have a package in the freezer, just in case.   But then I started thinking that it's been a long time since I'd had a Sausage Roll.    I realized that I haven't made them in years.

 So, I decided that this month is 'The Month of the Sausage Roll'.

  I made lots of Sausage Rolls, cause I have a hard time to keep from eating them, and I thought they would be a great Tapas Night dish.  As it is I made 54 of them.  And most of them made it to the table.  I will admit to sampling a couple, well, alright, more than a couple, I had to make sure they tasted alright.   If you notice, there is a suspiciously open spot on that pan.

Sausage Rolls
For years I made Sausage Rolls the labor intensive way.  I would cook the sausage links first, then I would unroll the Puff Pastry and cut each strip to fit a piece of sausage and roll them up and bake them.   Which took time, and while good, they just weren't quite right.  I know whereof I speak.  I bought them in London, and I used to buy Sausage Rolls for lunch when I worked at a cable company, many years ago.  They were a lot bigger than the ones I made yesterday, but by jove, I think I finally have the right way to do it.
Just for fun I looked up Sausage Rolls, and read a few recipes, and then did my thing and took a little bit from this recipe, and a little bit from that one, and Voila! I got it.

One recipe I read said to add some lemon zest, another added sage and thyme and a third added mushrooms.

So I compromised, and added some lemon zest, a little thyme from my plant that currently resides on the windowsill and some sauteed mushrooms.  I figured it was a win-win situation.   I was right.  By the way, the lemon zest adds a little note of brightness. 

So here goes.

Preheat oven to 425 deg.  Lightly grease a rimmed backing pan. 

1 1/2 packages frozen puff pastry, thawed.  I like thawing them in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Makes it a lot easier to work with. 

8 sausage patties, thawed (I always have sausage patties in the freezer, my DH likes Swaggerty brand. )
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped, sauteed and cooled.
zest from half a lemon

 Mush the the filling ingredients all together, either with your hands or a serving spoon, doesn't really matter, you want this mixed up well. 

Unfold the pastry, and cut along the lines.  Each piece will yield three strips.

Either make a long sausage like strip of the meat filling or do as I did, just kind make a long piece of the sausage filling the length of one of the pastry strips.   Moisten along one edge, and roll up.
Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls
Pinching it closed a little, just to keep it from popping open as it cooks. 
Now, use your imagination, cause I got into the flow, and forgot to take a picture of the next bit.
Cut each strip in half, and then each half into thirds, this will yield six rolls per strip of pastry. Place each piece seam side down on the pan.
Place on greased pan.  And proceed with the next strip. 
Sausage Rolls
Until you fill the pan, then start on the next one.  You don't want these guys to touch, cause they do puff up a little.   I managed to get 36 little Sausage rolls out of each package of puff pastry.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and the sausage is cooked.   Serve as is, or with a little HP Sauce on the side.
Sausage Rolls
I consider these a success as there were only a few left for me to eat and there was so much good food at Tapas this month.     

And I will be posting about my adventures with Samosas and making a gluten free version.   

Please feel free to leave me a comment or note or just say Hi. I love to hear from you and am so glad you're reading my blog.   

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tapas for November

Note to self:   When laying in bed after another Tapas night, write down the brilliant words you think of to start off a post.  
Failing that, wake up the next morning and try to recreate the brilliant words you thought of the night before.

Aw, heck with that.    We had way too much great food again, and such a wonderful variety as well.   I didn't get to taste a lot of it this time, and I'm so sorry. 

But I tried.  

As usual, I had some wonderful conversations with people, got to sit down and talk with a lot of people, and basically just enjoyed the fellowship. 

Here's the rundown, of the foods that is.  

 Bread and Butter Pickles.  
 PASTA!!  You know I get excited when I see pasta in any form.   And look what was brought last night.  
 And more, a Lasagna type bake
 Pasta Salad, no need for more words. 
 Green Beans with Bacon.   So good.  I managed to get a shot before they all disappeared.
 Smoked Salmon, (and notice the good shot I got of these).  The Dane in me came out, and I scarfed up a couple.   Well, we Danes do love our smoked and preserved fish.
 Awesome!  Only word for this Cheese ball.   Pimento's, Pecans, Bacon.  Really do you need more of a description, or is your mouth watering?   I'm so going to get the recipe for this.
 Bacon and Jalapeno's together?  Oh so very good.  I did manage to snag the last one too.  Well, I am the hostess, it's acceptable for me to take the last one, especially when there was only one left after I put the camera away and got back to the table.
 Ravioli  ( I did say it was a good Pasta night, didn't I?)   I'm just sorry, this picture did not do it justice.  My camera was misbehaving.   Doesn't like pinks and reds together.

 Potato Casserole, very good.   I love carbs.
 Gingered Carrots, and look at that lovely casserole dish.  It was made by Marion (Earthsong Pottery), one of our guests, and she made the platter to the right as well.
 Here's a better shot of the platter.  Oh, and the cream cheese and crackers as well. 
 Pinwheels.  I love these things, and am so glad they were brought.

 Shrimp are always popular, as you can see from the few left on this platter.   Sorry, the shot was a little out of focus.  My camera doesn't always behave.  It had nothing to do with the operator.
Taquitos!  Sorry, I love these things.  They are too moreish.

Home made bread and butter, courtesy of Moi.   I really love this No Knead Bread.  My only issue with it is that I keep making it and eating it.   But, at least I share it as well. 

 I also made some Samosa's, some Gluten Free and then...
 There were the regular kind.   I'll be detailing the how to's on them later on.   And the dips that went with them as well. 
I also made some English style sausage and mushroom rolls and I'll share the recipe on those as well. 

And last, but not least, people always bring some great desserts...
I had a couple of individual shots here, but this one was the best of the bunch.   

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Boston Cream Pie, second try.

I made my friend Karen a Boston Cream Pie for her birthday last year and while the flavour was good, the pie, well, it was a bit of a fail.   It totally fell apart when I tried to put it together and rather than having it look great on a cake stand, it was relegated to a shallow bowl as a last minute fix. .

So this year, rather than try one of the 'fancy' websites for a recipe, I went to one of my favourite cookbooks.   The "Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery" cookbook collection, from 1966.   Nanny (my sister's MIL) gave my other sister, Tania and I, a set of the cookbooks away back when.   We divided them equally between us and I ended up with I think, almost every other one.   And then a few years ago, I ran across a few of them at a flea market and purchased a couple more.   I am now the proud owner of 7 of the 12 books.   (I just found a complete set on Ebay, and may just gift myself with the whole set).

I have made so many of the recipes from this set of cookbooks, and the majority of them have been good.   So, I decided to look up a recipe for Boston Cream Pie and was totally unsurprised when I found one, and it was in Volume 1, page 47 to be exact.

Boston Cream Pie
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, mix well, then add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk.  Pour into two greased 8 inch layer pans and bake in preheated moderate oven, (375 deg) for 20 minutes.   Turn out on cake racks to cool.

Custard Filling

I admit I cheat here, but honestly, if you can find some Bird's Custard Powder, use it.   I did make it with a pint of half and half, cause I could.   After cooking it, set it aside to cool a little. To prevent a skin from forming, place a sheet of plastic wrap right on top of the custard. 

 Basic recipe 
2 tablespoons custard powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
Make a smooth paste.
Heat the remainder of the pint of cream or milk up til almost boiling, then add that to the paste, whisk it together and then pour it back into the pot and heat to boiling again, whisking it constantly to keep it from clumping up.  

Ganache Topping.

8 oz. Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate or any good quality chocolate.   (I usually have Baker's chocolate in my cupboard, but when I get a chance to go to the 'big' city and find Guittard, or Scharfenbergers or any other quality chocolate on sale, I grab it.  )  I wrote this before the elves hid my Bakers chocolate so I used a 12 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips instead. 
1 cup heavy cream

Chop up the chocolate a little, set aside.  Heat the heavy cream to almost boiling and pour over the chopped chocolate.  Let it sit for a couple of minutes for the chocolate to get warm and then start mixing them together, by folding over and under with a spatula until it is well mixed.  You don't want to incorporate a lot of air into it. (hey, if there is any left over, you can always whip it up later on and use that to frost a cake or some cupcakes, or just eat it with a spoon).   Let sit at room temp for a couple of hours if you like.  This helps it to 'set up' a little.  However, don't let it set up too much as you want it to be pourable for this cake.

Put a dab of the custard onto a cake plate and place one of the cake layers on top of that.  This helps to 'glue' it to the plate so it doesn't move around.  
Pour or spoon the custard on top, then place the second cake layer on top of that.   And please, if you have a cake leveler or even if not, make sure that bottom cake is totally level.  I shoulda done that, but didn't.
Maybe if I had then it would not have cratered later on.
Pour the ganache over top, smoothing it out until it drips off the side of the cake.
And this is what happens if you don't make the bottom cake level.  Of course this was after we'd eaten half the cake but still.
It was not a pretty sight.  But it sure did taste good.   

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