Tag Archives: Dan Lepard

Semolina Bun Bread with Wild Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes

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23rd April 2013

The Dan Lepard fan club knows that in his repertoire of awesome buns are some absolute treasures to which one returns time and time again. My favourite three are the legendary soft white bap, the top teacake and our eternal favourite, the BBQ semolina bun. Known in this house variously as the duvet bread or the pillow bread because of the scoring to the top, I make this bread over and over again. The recipe for the Semolina BBQ buns is still available on the Guardian website and I don’t change anything at all when I make it.

Today I made a double batch and made a duvet with one portion. With the second batch of dough I thought I would try something a bit different for me. When the dough had finished its first prove, I patted and gently rolled it out into a largish rectangle and spread it lightly with some wild garlic, grated pecorino cheese, ground almonds and olive oil made into a pesto-like sauce and a few sundried tomatoes. I rolled it up gently into a sausage shape and curved it into a ring. I set it on a sheet of baking parchment on a tray and put it inside a clean bin bag to prove. Before baking, I slashed small slashes in the top and brushed it with water and sprinkled fine semolina over it.

I baked it at 240º C (220º C Fan) for 15 minutes and then reduced the temperature to 200º C (180º C Fan) for another 15 minutes and then took it out of the oven and left it to cool and stop sizzling on a rack. The bottom was very crusty. If you don’t like crusty then bake it a bit cooler.

The trick with doing this is not to squash all the air out of the dough when patting it out to the rectangle, use the flat of your fingers to start the process off. When you use the pin, roll as gently as you can from the centre of the dough towards the corners to get a rectangular shape, and take your time. If the dough is pinging back a lot, walk away for five minutes and let it relax before you try again; try not to compress the dough too much, you are sort of stretching and fluffing it, rather than rolling and squashing. I am thinking about the way I pat out pizza dough rather than use a pin, though that is of course a different dough and more delicate than this.

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My dearest old neighbour from where I used to live came round for lunch and we ate in the garden, yes really it was warm enough to eat outside!! We were accompanied by the sound of building work from two doors down, visits from some very large bumble bees, and the grumbles of small poodles, but you know what, it was glorious!

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Brian had bought an entire box of aubergines for the sum of £2.75 at the weekend and even though he gave two-thirds of them away we still had lots left to cook, so it was more swooning and more olive oil and more Imam Bayildi for lunch today. I changed the spices slightly this time and left the onions chunkier, using allspice and a very new hot smoked paprika. We are still swooning… and I promise not to mention it again, but it is really very good indeed.

Peanut Butter Cookies from Short & Sweet

Dan Lepard Peanut Cookie Short & Sweet

Yesterday I had E’s help playing along  with me in the Short & Sweet baking challenge which you can join in with any time. Read more about shortandtweet here on Evidence Matters’s tumblr blog.

She is a good sport, not only did she do the washing up, but she made these fantastic peanut butter cookies !  She even watched benignly while I tweeted away as we baked. Continue reading

Mrs Kirkhams Farmhouse Lancashire Cheese & Onion Pie

Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire Cheese and Onion Pie with Quark Pastry

In the freezer I had three pieces of pastry flattened into neat circles and packed away in the freezer from making Dan Lepard’s cheese pastry from Short & Sweet the other week; you can see the pie I made with it here on the ShortandTweet roundup at the very bottom of the post. I used Quark and Felin Ganol’s flour in this pastry.

EM (Evidence Matters) has told me how wonderful a good piece of Lancashire cheese could be, and took the trouble to recommend me a particular sort made by Mrs Kirkhams, which we have found at Waitrose (pre-packed version)  The label says ‘rich ivory cheese, buttery, tangy and complex, made with raw cows milk’.  I am not brilliant at describing tastes but this was delectable and lived up to what it says on the label.

EM also suggested following Simon Hopkinson’s mother’s cheese and onion pie filling recipe from the BBC food site which uses this cheese and putting Dan’s pastry on the top as a single crust pie so I had a go last night. 

I had a small issue about the quantity of onion to use and how to chop it up. This is the trouble with trying to follow a recipe, you stare at the words, hoping for clues, you look at the picture, you read the words. You think. You mutter to yourself,  “Oh I don’t know..”  and, if you are me, your common sense – the little you have – flies out of the window and wanders off to water the primulas. 

Of course I should have cut the onions a little shorter, and grated the cheese cold and I would probably have done that if I hadn’t been following a recipe, strange the effect they have on me, do they do that to you?

We won’t talk about the flapping around trying to find an appropriate pan, I don’t have a pie dish as such, apart from the anodised Mermaid one I used here. I need a fancy pie dish! Support me on this please.

Hanging up in the garage, my French onions were somewhat depleted and one was sprouting huge shoots and had nothing left to give.  I had two small pinky ones and one large Spanish onion, so that is what I used. Today, belatedly, I thought to tweet EM and ask her about quantities of onions and she recommends 500 grams of uncooked onion for the quantities in this recipe. I have no idea what mine weighed, I just used what I had which is all any sensible person cooking at home does.

I also made the mistake of leaving my cheese out to warm up. You see I wanted to taste the cheese before I made the pie (there’s always a reason!). This made it harder to grate and it clumped together a bit which meant I had to eat more as I went along, so maybe there should have been more in the pie; cook’s perks!

The onions took a long time to reduce down on a low temperature, as I was trying not to let them go brown. Having made this once, I realise that I should have left them even longer to get really quite dry with no visible moisture at all. I decorated the top of the pastry with little tears to symbolise all that chopping of onions.

This method of cooking onions though, results in a wonderfully sweet and rich flavour and combined with Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire cheese and topped with a piece of light pastry made a naughty supper accompanied by purple sprouting broccoli.  Here it is chilled down for lunch the next day with half a tomato and a few sacrificial salad leaves from the micro green tub on the windowsill.

EM has also suggested putting slices of boiled potato in the bottom of the dish next time, so I might try that. I’ll tell you one thing though,  if they eat like this in Lancashire farmhouses they are eating well! Thank you EM for introducing me to this lovely cheese and a new pie and all the fantastic advice you give. You are a treasure!