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Featured Recipe: 35 Recipes to make the most of Asparagus Season

Nutella Spelt Cookies with Pistachios

Thursday, April 26, 2012 | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

If you are a fan of Nutella or chocolate, those rich, crispy, chocolatey and nutty cookies are sure a real treat. If you can't find spelt, just use plain wheat flour instead.

  • 270 g Spelt pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 100 g Butter, softened
  • 150 g Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, at room temperature
  • 320 g Nutella
  • 1 tbsp Coffee liquor
  • 50 g Pistachios, chopped
  1. Whisk together the spelt flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Cream the softened butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until completely incorporated. Add in nutella and coffee liquor.
  3. Sift the flour mixture into the nutella mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Cover with a plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Shape the cookie dough into balls and roll in the chopped pistachios. Place them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1-inch between cookies. Bake for 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

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Asparagus Baton Bread with Sesame Seeds

Sunday, April 22, 2012 | © 2011 | | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

Crisp crust with a moist and soft interior, this is an interesting and a perfect spring bread recipe, especially with asparagus season in full swing. This Baton is based on a bread recipe from daheim und unterwegs.

  • 175 g Bread flour
  • 3 g Salt
  • 3 g Fresh yeast
  • 115 ml Water, at room temperature
  • 200 g Green asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 188 ml Water, at room temperature
  • 325 g Bread flour
  • 50 g Sesame seeds, lightly roasted
  • 10 g Sugar
  • 7 g Salt
  • 12 g Fresh yeast
  1. In a mixing bowl, stir all the starter ingredients until you get a rough dough ball. Cover with a plastic film and leave it at the room temperature for an hour. Transfer the starter, still covered, to the fridge and leave it for 15-24 hours.
  2. Trim, rinse and dry the green asparagus. Cut them into 2cm pieces. Dissolve the starter with water in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. Add in bread flour, sesame seeds, sugar, salt and yeast. Stir at low speed for 3 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable. Turn the dough on a lightly floured work surface, gently knead green asparagus pieces into the dough until evenly distributed.
  3. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into two portions. Shape each into a round. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
  4. Shape each dough into a baton on a floured work surface and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and allow them to rise for 45 minutes.
  5. Place a roasting pan at the bottom shelf and preheat the oven to 230C450F. Just before putting the bread into the hot oven, slash the tops in an asterisk with a sharp knife or with a floured scissor snip 1/2-inch-deep V into top of each roll.
  6. Place the bread in the oven and throw a handful of ice cubes into the roasting pan. Close the oven door and bake for 35-40 minutes until nicely golden brown and crusty. Remove the bread and allow them to cool on a wire rack to room temperature before cutting. | © 2011 | | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

I am sending this to the "Bake Your Own Bread-April" at Girlichef.

Read On 122 comments

Soya Spelt Scones with Cranberry and White Chocolate

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

Scones, similar to American biscuits, are a type of pastry, which is often served at breakfast or tea, especially in Britain. The dough is usually made in the shape of a round which is cut into triangles, although scones can also be cut into squares or made using a cookie cutter. These soya spelt scones are so tasty when eaten warm. They can be also served at room temperature with clotted cream, jam or honey.

  • 110 g Toasted soya flour
  • 150 g Wholegrain spelt flour
  • 30 g Light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 110 g Cold butter
  • 40 g Dried cranberries
  • 40 g White chocolate chips
  • 150 ml Whole milk
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with your finger tips. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. Add in milk and egg. Stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly. Gently pat the dough to form a 2cm-thick round. Use a 3.5cm fluted cutter to cut out 16 discs. Dip the cutter into flour between cutting to prevent dough sticking to it.
  4. Place them to the prepared lined tray and then brush the top of the scones with milk or cream. Bake in the middle of the hot oven for about 15 minutes or until beautifully browned and puff. | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

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Red Lentil and Green Pea Salad

Sunday, April 15, 2012 | © 2011 | | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

Fast-cooking red lentils teamed up with frozen green peas to make this hearty fiber-rich salad. It makes for a healthy and satisfying lunch with its bright colours and chewy yet tender texture. It turned out that I didn’t touch any chicken breast leftover, so just leave it out if you haven’t got any leftover.

  • 200 g Dried red lentils
  • 80 g Frozen green peas
  • 1 Small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 400 ml Vegetable stock
  • 1 Baby carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 Cherry radishes, cut into wedges
  • 2 Strawberries, cut into wedges
  • A handful of salad leaves
  • Pan-seared thyme chicken breast leftover, optional
  • 5 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 3 tsp Honey
  • 5 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Spread the red lentils out on a work surface and pick out any pebbles, debris, or damaged lentils. Rinse lentils until the water runs clear. Finely chop the onion.
  2. Place vegetable stock in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add in rinsed lentils and onions. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Stir in frozen green peas 5 minutes before lentils are tender. Drain well, refresh under cold water and drain again.
  3. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a medium bowl. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Add the lentils mixture, sliced carrot, radish, strawberry wedges to the bowl of dressing and toss to mix.
  4. Arrange the salad leaves on a serving plate. Spoon the lentil salad in the middle, top with sliced chicken breast if used and drizzle a bit of balsamic cream over. | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

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Panmarino aka Italian Rosemary Bread

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

This sourdough bread, generous with the fresh rosemary, has a light tender crumb and golden crisp crust topped with a sprinkling of coarse salt.
The revival of this beautiful recipe is connected with the name Luciano Pancaldo, a baker from the town in the north of Italy, Ferrara. Reading the biographical materials about D'Este family, the rulers of Ferrara at that time, Luciano Pancaldo came across the description of the bread, which was baked for the Dukes. The bread, which was full of rosemary aroma, had a light crumb and golden crust decorated with salt crystals shimmering like diamonds. Being very inspired by the description he decided to create the recipe for Panmarino.

Panmarino aka Italian Rosemary Bread

adapted from Sourdough
1st Preferment Build2nd Preferment BuildDough
  • 12 g 100% Hydration sourdough rye starter
  • 24 g Bread flour
  • 14 g Water
  • 50 g Starter 1st build
  • 94 g Bread flour
  • 56 g Water
  • 200 g Preferment from 2nd build
  • 150 g Water
  • 150 g Milk
  • 1 tsp Malt extract
  • 500 g Bread flour
  • 10 g Salt
  • 40 g Olive oil
  • 30 g Fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • Coarse sea salt
  • A handful of ice cubes to create the steam
  1. To prepare the first preferment, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and leave it at room temperature for 10-12 hours.
  2. To prepare the second preferment, add flour and water to the starter of first build. Mix well. Cover and leave it at room temperature for 10-12 hours.
  3. Dissolve the preferment with water, milk and malt extract in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. Set aside for 10 minutes while preparing other ingredients.
  4. Add the flour to the liquid mixture. Mix all to form a dough. Allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes. Stir in the salt, olive oil and chopped rosemary into the dough and knead until the gluten develops. Turn out the dough and shape into a ball. Grease the mixing bowl with a bit of olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Put it inside a plastic bag and leave it in the fridge overnight.
  5. In the morning (about 6am) of day 3, take out the dough and fold it once and return it to the fridge.
  6. In the late afternoon (about 5pm) of day 3, take out the dough and let it warm to room temperature over the next 4-5 hours as you gently stretch and fold it. I just folded it once every hour for five hours and kept it from drying out by putting it inside the plastic bag in-between folds. The dough should be velvety smooth, moist and blistered by the time it is ready for shaping.
  7. Divide the dough into two portions and shape. I shaped one portion into a boule and one into a baton. Place the boule in a round bread basket dusted with semolina and the baton in a tray dusted with homemade soya meal. You can use the flour or semolina instead. Place each inside a plastic bag and let rise for an hour or so before putting them in the fridge for baking in the morning. Be sure to cover the dough in the fridge so it does not dry out too much.
  8. In the morning (about 8am) of day 4, heat the oven to 250C/500F. Invert the boule onto a baking paper-lined baking tray together with baton. Just before putting the bread into the hot oven, slash the tops in an asterisk with a sharp knife or a razor blade. Sprinkle some sea salt into the cuts.
  9. Place the baking tray with bread in the oven and throw a handful of ice cubes into the bottom of the oven. Close the oven door and bake for 10 minutes at 250C/500F. If you are using a fan-forced oven, then turn the oven off for 10 minutes or the fan would blow all the stem away.
  10. Now set the oven temperature at 210C/410F and bake for 30 minutes longer until nicely golden brown and crusty. Remove the bread and allow them to cool on a wire rack to room temperature before cutting. | © 2011 | | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

I am sending this to the "Bake Your Own Bread-April" at Girlichef.

Read On 125 comments

Provençal Tomato Tartelettes

Friday, April 06, 2012 | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

For a refreshing Easter lunch appetizer, fill small vine tomatoes with your favourite fillings. I've chosen aromatic provencal flavoured breadcrumbs with herbs and garlic. There is no good cuisine without good oil and there is no Provençal cuisine without garlic. Rest each filled tomatoes on a bed of puff pastry disc and baked them until puffed and golden.
This is a super easy appetizer recipe that I found in Ricardo’s Entrees and Appetizers archives, but tweaked mine a bit by using small vine tomatoes. You can try to improvise yours with different kinds of tomatoes and fillings or just based on what you have at home.

  • 200 g Store-bought fresh puff pastry dough
  • 9 Small vine tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Butter, softened
  • 2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp Fresh thyme, chopped
  • Olive oil
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the fresh puff pastry dough and cut out 9 dough discs with a 5cm/2inch fluted cookie cutter. Save the trimmings for other use and arrange the discs on the baking sheet, leaving 5-cm/2-inch between each discs. Cover and chill while preparing others.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Using a knife, make a small cross-shaped cut in the bottom of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Peel the tomatoes. Slice a small slice off the bottom and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, place breadcrumbs, softened butter, finely chopped garlic, and herbs. Stir until well combined. Spoon the filling into the tomato cups. Place a tomato cup on the centre of each puff disc. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the filling into the tomatoes. Bake for about 25 minutes.
  4. Drizzle each serving with olive oil. Season with pepper. Serve as an appetizer or as a side dish with Provençal-style roast chicken or leg of lamb. | © 2011 | | © 2011 | | © 2011 |
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Tri-coloured Castella Layer Cake

Wednesday, April 04, 2012 | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

A tri-coloured cake, light and luscious, with castella leftover frosted with vanilla-flavoured whipped cream and garnished with toasted almond slices. It’s a perfect dessert to welcome Easter. If you plan to serve this at your garden party, I would recommend buttercream to frost the cake, so it remains stable throughout the celebration.

  • 1x18x8 cm Orange castella
  • 1x18x8 cm Matcha castella
  • 1x18x8 cm Chocolate castella
  • 250 ml Heavy cream, chilled
  • 15 g Vanilla sugar
  • 80 g Almond slices, toasted
  1. Cut each castella into three 18x2.5cm strips. Place your mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Then place chilled heavy cream and the vanilla sugar in the cold bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.
  2. Stack 9 cake strips into 3 layers, applying whipped cream between strips and layers to ensure they stick together and alternating with colour cake strips.
  3. Spread the top and sides with the remaining whipped cream. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours until set. Remove and coat the cake with almond slices. Slice and serve. | © 2011 | | © 2011 | | © 2011 |

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