I got my fourth OddBox delivery last week.
I made ‘crack broccoli’ following this recipe that I found on Pinterest.
The broccoli tasted fine but, unlike crack, not that moreish. My fault for believing the hype I guess.
I also tried a couple of different salads. This is rainbow salad with halloumi. It was decent.
My favourite was this griddled peach and goats cheese salad. I didn’t even add the dressing and it was delicious.
I also watched Cowspiracy with my friend Anna. I first heard about this documentary at a talk by Bosh, two middle class guys who set up what they call ‘the vegan Tasty’ (that channel that makes birds-eye views of someone cooking recipes). Apparently everyone that watches Cowspiracy immediately goes vegan. I was genuinely a bit scared.
One thing the documentary did make me think was that I have been approaching zero waste slightly sideways. For example, dairy milk is much more resource-intensive to produce than plant-based milk alternatives. It is probably ‘better’ to consume plant-based milk in recyclable packaging than milk in a glass bottle. I’m going to try switching to barista-style Oatley rather than getting my milk delivered.
A disadvantage of trying to reduce waste is becoming hyper-aware of how wasteful society is. Here I share things that have bothered or worried me.
This week’s tilt is brought to you courtesy of Transport for London. Since I changed jobs, I needed to purchase a new annual travel card. This was an opportunity to finally sort out the six Oyster cards I had in a drawer.
I checked my TfL account. Three cards were registered and three unregistered. Annoyingly it was not possible to register the cards since I technically did not buy them- my old workplace did on my behalf. There was a total of nearly £40 on the registered cards, and getting a refund meant the cards get deactivated.
I phone TfL and it transpires that I cannot register any of the three cards I have. I have to go out and buy a seventh card, register it, and then add the annual travel card. In the end, I also couldn’t register this card because I hadn’t used it for a journey. So I had to go to a ‘travel centre’ and buy an eighth Oyster card. I understand that it’s important to protect customers’ data and money, but this this is ludicrous.
We are at a stage where we don’t actually need stupid pieces of plastic to store passes. I have a phone with near-field technology that comes with me everywhere. Why can’t I just have the pass stored on an app?
This week I baked a really lovely wholemeal loaf bursting with brie and fresh basil. Mmm, cheese. This is another recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads BUT there is no picture. This is what mine came out like, though of course I have no idea whether the great Mr Hollywood would approve of my interpretation.
What? No, that strategically placed butter definitely isn’t covering up a slightly underbaked bit in the middle of the loaf.
This bread is tasty, but if I made it again I’d probably make it with half white flour rather than all wholemeal as I find the flavour a bit strong.
- 500g strong wholemeal flour (use part strong white if you want)
- 75ml olive oil
- 10g salt
- 15g instant yeast
- 300ml water
- 100g brie, thinly sliced
- A handful of fresh basil
1. Add the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil to a bowl, with the salt and yeast on opposite sides. Combine the ingredients.
2. Slowly add the water, mixing with your hands between additions, until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is soft to the touch. You may need a little more or less water.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured countertop. Knead for 6 mins until the dough is pliable.
4. Lightly oil your bowl, then return the ball of dough to it. Cover and leave to rise for two hours.
5. Line a baking tray with parchment. Again, put the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a ‘mini baguette’. I did mine like this.
6. Sprinkle the top with wholemeal flour, then make several slashes in the dough lengthways down the middle. I think I made mine too long and deep (you’ll see the consequence later) so be careful at this stage.
I’ve hardly set foot in the kitchen for weeks, so it was nice to make these simple cheese straws for an event. I haven’t made cheese straws since I was a child, but I think it could be fun to experiment with different kinds of cheese as they’re easy and a good snack. One of the few advantages of being an adult is that you can play with your food with gay abandon and without fear of reprisals. I went with Jenga.
The recipe is adapted from ‘Everyday baking’. I got 23 two-bite straws from this recipe.
I’ve never seen cumin seeds used in this way before, but I really like it. The straws with the cumin seeds have great pops of flavour.
- 115g/4oz plain flour
- 1/2tsp salt
- 1tsp curry powder
- 55g/2oz butter
- 55g/2oz cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 egg, beaten
- Selection of seeds for sprinkling. I liked cumin best, and also used golden linseed and sesame
1. Sift the flour, salt and curry powder into a bowl and rub in the butter until you get breadcrumb consistency
2. Add the cheese and about half of the egg and form into a dough
3. Wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for half an hour.
4. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment, or lightly grease. Preheat oven to 200C/400F (175C/350F fan).
5. Either flour your work surface or line with greaseproof paper. Roll out dough to 5mm thick (use cookie slats if you have them)
6. Cut into strips, around 7.5/1cm (3×1/2in), pinch lightly along the sides and transfer to baking sheet.
More tea-time favourites from me. I bloody love this quiche. I don’t know if it keeps well, as I’ve only ever made it for company and none has ever lived to tell the tale. It’s bacony, cheesy, creamy deliciousness. With pastry. I don’t have many good pictures, unfortunately, as I was so busy baking that day that I woefully neglected my bloggerly duties. Also, the quiches look a bit more ‘caramelised’ than I would have liked. My oven continues to loathe me.
For the pastry:
- 175g plain flour
- 100g cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 egg yolk
For the delicious filling:
- 200g bacon. Get lardons if you’re feeling too lazy to cut the bacon up yourself. I prefer smoked bacon for this.
- 50g Gruyère
- 200ml crème fraîche
- 200ml double cream
- 3 eggs, beaten
- A pinch of ground nutmeg
This recipe made enough pastry for two 8cm tartlets as well as a 23cm tart. I made these veggie for a couple of my more virtuous friends by subbing some wilted spinach for the bacon. I was assured that they were still nice.
- Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan).
- Either mix the pastry in a food processor, using 4tsp water to bind. If, like me, you don’t have a processor, roughly rub in the butter, then stir in the yolk and add the water.
- Tip onto a lightly floured surface and roll as thinly as you can.
- Line a buttered, loose-bottomed 23cm tart tin with the pastry, pressing it firmly into the flutes and pricking the bottom with a fork. Trim the pastry edges with scissors (save any trimmings) so it sits slightly above the tin. I pop the tin into the freezer for a few minutes at this stage, as it allegedly stops the pastry from shrinking. I’m not convinced this works, but I do it anyway.
- Line with baking parchment or foil, shiny side down, fill with baking beans and blind bake for 15mins.
- Remove the beans and parchment/foil and bake for a further 4-5 mins, until the pastry is light gold. If you see any holes or cracks in the pastry, fill these with uncooked pastry trimmings. This can be done a day in advance.
- For the fillings, fry the lardons in a small pan for a couple of minutes. Drain off any liquid, then continue cooking until the lardons just start to colour, but aren’t crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels.
- Cut three quarters of the cheese into small dice and finely grate the rest. Scatter the diced cheese and fried lardons over the bottom of the pastry case.
- Using a spoon, beat the crème fraîche to loosen, then slowly beat in the cream. Mix in the beaten eggs. Season (you shouldn’t need too much salt) and add (or grate in) your nutmeg. Pour three-quarters of the filling into the pastry case.
- Half-pull the oven shelf out and put the tin on. It’s wise to bake it on top of an additional baking sheet. Quickly pour the rest of the filling into the case, so you can get it right to the top with less risk of spilling. Scatter the grated cheese over, then push the shelf back into the oven.
- Bake for about 25 mins, or until golden and softly set- the centre shouldn’t feel too firm. Let the quiche settle for 4-5 mins, then remove from tin. Delicious hot or cold, even if a teeny bit burnt.