Garlic and Herb Knots

garlic and herb knots I do like making us some interesting bread for a weekend lunch – it makes such a welcome change from the boring sliced bread we’re normally forced to buy. Little S’s sesame allergy means all bakery products are out of bounds and the ready packed varieties are also few and far between. Our bread options get rather monotonous and I so like giving her the opportunity to try all types of gorgeous, fresh baked bread as there is not much better that warm home baked loaves. I found that if I make a bigger batch and freeze half then we always have something interesting to hand. This recipe provides a double whammy of interesting flavour coupled with shape.I think shape is just as important as flavour/smell in making something basic become special. I’ve always found knot shapes particularly appealing and whilst looking complicated, they are so easy to make. You effectively roll out a sausage shape but taper the ends slightly and then tie in a loose knot – simple! The garlic and herb in this recipe adds a subtle twang, enough to get the gist but nothing too overpowering, just as I like it. However, if you’re more of a garlic fan than me, add more and then you can crank it up as much as you like! garlic herb knot rolls

Garlic Herby Knots

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

garlic and herb bread rolls

makes 12 rolls

300ml oat milk

2 tbsps dairy-free spread

1 tbsps syrup

400-450g strong white bread flour

1 tbsp dried yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp chopped chives

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 clove garlic, crushed

black pepper

oat milk, for brushing

rock salt for sprinkling

  1. Warm the oat milk, spread and syrup together until the spread has melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast and salt.
  3. Stir in the herbs and garlic, and a good grind of black pepper.
  4. Pour the milk mixture into the flour. Mix until it has come together to make a soft dough.
  5. Turn out and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy.
  6. Place back in the bowl, cover with oiled cling-film and leave to rise for about an hour (it should double in size).
  7. Once the dough has risen, knock back and knead again to form a smooth ball.
  8. Cut into 12 even sized pieces and roll each into a sausage with tapered ends. Tie in a knot and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.making a bread knotbread knots
  9. Loosely cover with oiled cling-film and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade/210 degrees fan/Gas Mark 6
  11. Remove the cling-film. Brush the tops with oat milk and sprinkle on the salt and pepper.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and sounding hollow when tapped.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.

garlicky herb rolls

English spring garden salad

 

garden salad 2

You know that phrase used in American burger restaurants ‘take a walk through the garden’? Well, this is the elegant, English equivalent re-imagined onto your plate.

What is it with me and competitions? I never ever, ever win them. Even if only a few others have entered I still don’t win. I came across a Twitter competition last week to win a copy of Rachel Koo’s new cookbook and hamper of goodies – it’s oozing great design and I’d love to have it, but despite hardly any other entrants, I of course didn’t win. I’ll put it on my lengthy cookbook wishlist.

Anyway, in the attached article was a picture of her English Garden Salad, it looked so pretty and sent my imagination flying. I’m not even sure what exactly was in Rachel’s as I only caught sight of a small picture on my phone, so I just ran with the idea and created my version of an English spring garden salad.

Combining miniature new potatoes,  pink and crunchy radish, cucumber ribbons, herbs and leaves, all bathed in a chive vinaigrette, this is my interpretation of an English garden at this time of year.

English Spring Garden Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Serves 2

  • 2 handfuls of miniature new potatoes, boiled or steamed until tender then left to cool
  • Small bunch of radish, cleaned, topped and tailed and quartered or halved
  • 1/3 rd cucumber, made into thin ribbons with a potato peeler
  • 4 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • A scattering of salad leaves

Chive vinaigrette (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp slat
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives

– First make the dressing – whisk together all the ingredients, taste
– Toss the new potatoes and radish in a little of the vinaigrette, place in the centre of a platter
– Drape the cucumber ribbons over the potatoes and place the leaves around the plate
– Scatter over the herbs
– Drizzle over a little more vinaigrette
– Eat straight away

english garden salad

 

 

 

 

 

Herby and smokey straws/breadsticks

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Breadsticks and savoury straws – such a handy savoury snack aren’t they? Particularly for children, they provide that little something to fill rumbly tummies without an extra dose of sugar or resorting to fried snacks like a bag of crisps. We, however, have great difficulty finding breadsticks which don’t have traces of sesame and most straws are laden with butter and/or cheese.

These fine crunchy sticks are the perfect vehicle for carrying dips from bowl to mouth and would fit either as a snack to accompany an elegant aperitif or a savoury addition to a children’s tea party.

Have I given enough reasons why you should make these herby straws? Well, if those reasons aren’t enough – the recipe is a doddle and you can add any flavouring you like. Lots of variations possible… more spice, different herbs, cheese if you aren’t avoiding it.

Herby and Smokey Straws (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes about 24

  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp sweet smoked paprika (depending on how much you like that smoky flavour)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 100g dairy-free spread, such as Pure
  • 80-100ml water

– Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Centigrade/ Gas Mark 3/ 325 degrees Fahrenheit 
– Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment
– Either rub the spread into the flour, baking powder and flavourings/seasonings with your fingertips, or whizz all those ingredients together in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
– Gradually add the water until you form a soft, but not sticky dough. You may not need all the water.
– Roll out to a thickness of about 3mm, they need to be fairly thin as you want really crisp and crunchy sticks
– Cut into straw shapes and place on the baking sheet
– Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and cooked through
– Cool on a wire rack
– These straws keep well for a few days.

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Provençal Fries (baked and herby)

We used to often go to a fabulous vegetarian restaurant in Brixton, South London called Peter Peppers (sadly now closed) where they served gorgeous Mediterranean vegetarian food. Their Provençal fries were always a highlight of the meal – crisp, herby and oh so addictive. This is my version….. healthy, baked fries doused with plenty of herbes de provence and a sprinkle of garlic powder. I defy anyone to not love these!

Provencal Fries (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 4

  • 3-4 medium to large red skinned potatoes, cut into chip shapes
  • 1-2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tbsps herbes de provence

– Cut the potatoes into  chip shaped sticks, leaving the skin on

– Soak in cold water until needed

– Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade/ Gas Mark 6

– Throughly dry the potatoes (this is important)

– Place the potato sticks into a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Mix well.

– Sprinkle on the seasoning and thoroughly combine.

– Turn onto a baking tray.

– Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning them every 10 minutes or so.

– Serve once cooked through and thoroughly browned.

Herby Pasta Salad

This hot weather has made me want to eat more salads than normal. A fresh salad, in my opinion, is the perfect summer’s day lunch. This pasta salad is zingy, fresh and packed full of herbs. Inspired by a recipe in The Enchanted Broccoli Forest this salad is definitely worth trying…

Herby Pasta Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

  • 200g dried pasta shapes
  • 2 tbps red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • handful of sunflower seeds, toasted (or mix of sunflower/pine nuts)
  • handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • optional, if can tolerate dairy: handful grated vegetarian parmesan
  • other optional additions: cherry tomatoes, olives, sun-blush tomatoes, diced cucumber, sweetcorn

– Cook the pasta until al dente

– Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and garlic.

– Add the pasta, along with the onion and peppers to the marinade, mix well.

– Leave to cool.

– Add the other ingredients and stir well to fully combine.

– Eat at room temperature.