Almondines

Almondines

Almondines

I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon assisting Nina Oortman, with one of her basic bread making classes, which 3 terrific women had signed up for. One, a PA in the City wants to get into private catering, another, a new mum,  wants to open a cafe and the third wanted to improve her skills. All three ladies went home with a huge amount of information,  newly acquired bread making skills and lots of freshly baked bread and rolls.

Almondines

Nina, the bread and her students

Nina runs really small, relaxed classes and I can’t recommend them highly enough. She has had people come from as far as Oxford and Brighton proving that the classes are not limited to people who live locally! Take a look at her site to see what she offers and when – http://breadangels.com/profile/nina-oortman – the Party Breads class looks fantastic! After all the dough has been kneaded, proved and shaped, Nina breaks for a light lunch/tea offering cheese, some just made soda bread, jams and home made cakes. This time she also brought in a stack of her Rye Crackers (Party Breads) which are amazing. She suggested that I make something and bring it along to showcase my blog. As you can imagine, she did not have to ask twice!

Almondines

I have had this recipe for Almondines for some time – it probably came from a magazine in a waiting room where I often scrawl down recipes, and yes, I do know that people rip out the recipe pages but I find that intensely irritating and rude, so I don’t. This recipe is for a lovely short biscuit base topped with honeyed sliced almonds and citrus zest. If any of you know the provenance of this recipe, please do leave me a comment.

Almondines are incredibly quick and easy to make, especially if you are using a food processor. I have also given instructions for making it without.

Almondines

1. Pulse butter and dry ingredients until it looks like damp sand.
2. Add wet ingredients and process until t clumps together
3. Spread dough out in pan
4. Tamp down gently using your fingers or a glass

Almondines

1. Dough spread out
2. After first bake
3. Heating and mixing the topping

Almondines

1. Topping spread out
2. After baking
3. Making 4 long equal slices
4. Making 4 more long equal  slices

Almondines

Almondines

  • Servings: 16 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the base:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 3 Tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 90g cold, cubed butter
  • 1 egg yolk (large)
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp water
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste or extract

For the topping:

  • 60g butter
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Zest of one lemon or orange
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g flaked almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F. Line an 8 inch square tin with with non-stick foil or grease proof paper. See No 18 on my tip and tricks page for an easy way to do this.

Food Processor:  

  1. Place the the flour, almond meal,  sugar and salt in the processor bowl and pulse a few time to mix.
  2. Add the cubed butter and process until mixture resembles damp sand.
  3. Tip the yolk, 2 Tbsp of water and the vanilla down the chute and pulse until the dough come together when pinched. You may have to scrape the sides down once. Add a little extra water if necessary.

By Hand:

  1. Place the the flour, almond meal,  sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk well to mix.
  2. Cut in the butter until the mix resembles damp sand.
  3. Whisk the egg yolk , vanilla and 2 Tbsp of water together and add to flour mix.
  4. Using your hand, mix until dough holds together when pinched. Add a little extra water if necessary

Then:

  1. Press the crumbly dough into your prepared pan. I wet the bottom of a flat bottomed glass and tamped down gently until the base was covered.
  2. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until lightly coloured.
  3. In the meantime, place the butter in a small pan to melt over medium-low heat.
  4. Add the zest, honey, salt and vanilla and stir until the honey has melted and everything is thoroughly mixed.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond flakes.
  6. Tip out the topping onto the warm base, spreading out as evenly as possible. There will be a bit of liquid but don’t worry – just spread it as evenly as you can.
  7. Bake for another 10-12 minutes until the  almonds are golden and before the edges catch  (ahem)!
  8. Let cool in the pan for 10 or 15 minutes, then using the foil/baking parchment as handles, remove from pan and lay on a wire rack to finish cooling.

I find that the best way to slice these sort of bakes is as follows:

  1. Using a long sharp knife slice the bake in half.
  2. Then  slice each half into two equal slices so you now have 4 long equal slices.
  3. Spin the paper a quarter turn and do the same again – slice in half and each half in two.  You should have 16 fairly equal squares.

Store in an air-tight tin and eat within two or three days if they last that long!

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Nutella Espresso Sticky Buns

nutella_espresso_sticky_bunsIt’s Fiesta Friday over at Angie’s blog The Novice Gardener and we are all invited! I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to bring to the party. A bright and cheeky salad with blood oranges and halloumi? A bold as you dare Thai curry? Perhaps a steady and comforting fish pie…. Nope, I’ve decided to take something tall, dark and handsome to prop me up and look and smell gorgeous while I mix and mingle with all the other party goers.

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When I first made this recipe I remember thinking what an inspired combination the flavours were – coffee and Nutella in a sticky bun! But when I made it, I felt that the dough wasn’t rich enough and well, I just had to tweak it here and there.

I have attached my C.V. and hope that you find that my experience is relevant for this role.  In my current role, I manage operations, oversee projects, run the office and support the Managing Director in both a private and business capacity. I have also worked in a private family office, supporting the Principal and his family. The majority of my experience has been in small offices. I have excellent interpersonal skills and am able to communicate with people at any level. As an experienced administrator, I am able to prioritise and manage my workload effectively and to deadline. I am organised and detail oriented; a team player, willing to support and pitch in as necessary to get a job done.  Please don't hesitate to contact me should you have any questions about my experience and suitability for this role. I would also be grateful if you would keep me in mind for any other roles that you think I may be suitable for. I am available for interview at short notice and would relish the opportunity to discuss my experience with you. Sincerely Selma Jeevanjee Since then, I have taken a bread making class with Nina Oortman where she introduced me to fresh yeast. It doesn’t last more than a couple of weeks but it has no chemicals in it and is super easy to work with. In the UK, you can ask for it from the in-store bakeries or buy it in little blocks from the dairy section in Eastern European grocery shops. It’s called “Drozdze” in Polish.  Store opened packs of fresh yeast in an airtight container in the fridge as otherwise, the smell of yeast will permeate everything.

nutella_espresso_rolls

Fresh Yeast – 100g packet

To convert recipes which call for active dry yeast, multiply the number of grams by 3 to arrive at how much fresh yeast you will need.  There are 3.5g in a teaspoon. You need 20% more instant yeast than active dry.  (This site explains it in more detail – http://makebread.com.au/fresh-yeast-conversion/) I’ve given measurements and instructions for all three types of yeast in the recipe below.

Please don’t be afraid to work with yeast – it’s so easy that once you try it, you will wonder why you didn’t do so sooner. Kneading dough is actually quite easy – it’s more like stretching the dough. Keep one hand at the base of the dough, use the other to pull it away from you. Then bring it back over on itself, give it a quarter spin and keep going,  There are lots of videos on YouTube if you want a demonstration – as my son told me the other day, “YouTube is your friend, Mum…you should pay it a visit!”

nutella_espresso_sticky_buns

Cocoa Nibs

I’ve used cocao nibs to take the sweet edge off the sugar and the Nutella – and it’s good for you too. They have quite a bitter flavour and I think they would be wonderful in smoothies, shakes, granola, hot chocolate, biscuits and mole type sauces.

My recipe for Nutella Espresso Sticky Buns can be made in one go – I prefer to make the dough, fill and slice it and then prove it in the fridge overnight. A long, slow prove makes for a tastier dough. Then in the morning, pop them in the oven and hey presto, you have delicious, warm, gooey buns for a decadent mid-morning pick-me-up.

As I prepared the dough  in the evening, the lighting is not the best but the photos below give you an idea as to how easy it is.

nutella_espresso_sticky_buns

1. Yeast mixed into water and milk
2. Butter, egg, sugar and espresso mix
3. Pour into yeast mix
4. Stir to blend together

nutella_espresso_sticky_buns

1. Add wet ingredients to the dry
2. Mix in the bowl
3. Scrape onto floured board
4. Kneaded and ready for first proving.

nutella_espresso_sticky_buns

1. Proved dough doubled in size   2. Without the cling film
3. Scraped out on the lightly floured board   4. Flouring the top

nutella_espresso_sticky_buns

1. Dough rolled out
2. Covered in Nutella
3. Sprinkled with sugar espresso mix
4. Sprinkled with cocoa nibs

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Rolling up the filled dough

nutella_espresso_sticky_buns

Before and after the second proving

nutella_espresso_sticky_buns

1. After overnight proving in the fridge
2. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts
3.Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar mixture

nutella_espresso_sticky_bunsnutella_espresso_sticky_buns

Click on the link to be taken to Angie’s blog The Novice Gardener and join the party! Mix and mingle with the the guests – who knows who you might meet! http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/fiesta-friday-5/

If you blog and would like to join the party, here are the guidelines http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/

nutella_espresso_sticky_buns

Nutella Espresso Sticky Buns

  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

adapted from The Pastry Affair and Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:

  • 100ml luke warm milk
  • 50ml luke warm water
  • 15 g fresh yeast (or 5 g active dry yeast or 6 g instant yeast)
  • 60 g melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 45 g/3 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 30 g/ 2tsp espresso powder
  • 250 g plain flour plus extra for dusting

For the filling

  • 30g/ 2 tsp muscovado or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 150g  Nutella
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa nibs
  • chopped roasted hazelnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

YEAST

  • Fresh yeast – place luke warm milk and water in a cereal sized bowl and crumble in the yeast. Stir until yeast has dissolved. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  • For active dry yeast – place milk and water in a bowl and sprinkle over the yeast. Set aside for 5 – 10 minutes until frothy
  • For instant yeast – add straight into dry ingredients

THEN

  1. Melt the butter in a cereal sized  bowl and allow to cool a little; crack the egg into the butter, add the sugar and espresso powder and whisk well to blend. Scrape into the milk/water/yeast bowl and mix.
  2. Measure flour into a large bowl and make a well in it.
  3. Pour in the yeast mixture and using the fingers of your dominant hand, stir in the flour, spinning the bowl round as you go. It is going to be a wet and sticky dough to begin with.
  4. Once the flour is incorporated, start stretching it in the bowl (to develop the gluten) by picking up a bit, stretching it out and then laying it on top. Spin the bowl a quarter turn and keep repeating this until the dough starts to feel like it’s coming together – this should take 4 or 5 minutes – keep going – it will come together!
  5. Scrape it out onto a well floured surface. Scrape all the bits off your fingers onto it. Start to gently knead the dough – it will be sticky and you may have to keep dusting it with small amounts of flour. Try to use as little as possible.  I used an additional 30g (2 Tbsp) of flour. Knead for another 5 minutes or so.
  6. When it feels nice and elastic, form it into a  tight ball,  pop it back into the bowl and cover with cling film. Set aside for  1- 2 hours (depending on how warm your kitchen is) to double in size. Mine took 2 hrs.
  7. Mix sugar and espresso powder for the filling and set aside
  8. Butter a 26cm/10″ cm round baking tin and set aside
  9. Lightly flour your work surface and  measure out 12″ x 16″ on it.
  10. Scrape out the dough onto it using a rubber spatula ad lightly flour the top.
  11. Roll it out gently and evenly, adding a little more flour if it gets stuck or is sticky – but it really won’t be. The dough is  soft and lovely to work with. I sort of  pat it out into a rectangle and then roll it out.
  12. Warm up the Nutella – 30 seconds or so in the microwave should do it. It should be soft enough to spread easily onto the soft dough.
  13. Spread it over the dough, leaving a 1/2″ border around the edge.
  14. Sprinkle over ⅔ of the sugar and espresso mixture
  15. Sprinkle over the cocoa nibs
  16. Start rolling up, as tightly as you can, from the long side of the dough.
  17. Cut into 1 ½” slices – I got 11 because I didn’t trim off the ends – all that lovely dough!!.
  18. Arrange in the baking tin, cover with cling film and pop in the fridge to prove overnight. Or you can leave the tin in  warm place for 45 – 60 mins to rise.
  19. Pre heat oven to 190C 375F
  20. Remove the tin from the fridge and sprinkle the top with some chopped hazelnuts and the remaining sugar mix.
  21. Bake for 15-20 minutes and enjoy them warm.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fruited Soda Bread with Sunflower Seeds and Rosemary

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

I have been intending to make a soda bread ever since baking one on Nina Oortman‘s brilliant bread making class.  (You can read the post I wrote about that class – Bread Angel –  Nina Oortman  by clicking on the link.)  I’ve mulled over different flavour combinations and wondered if my temperamental oven would render the bread inedible. I finally took the bull by the horns and made one, lightly perfumed with rosemary and scattered through with mixed peel, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. It was very nice indeed. Lovely with a piece of cheddar as an after school snack.

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

Soda breads are so quick and easy to make – they are made without yeast and don’t require any kneading either. In fact, the less the dough is handled, the better. One has to work quickly as the baking soda starts to react pretty much straight away with the buttermilk so I wasn’t able to stop and take photos of the process this time. It will work with all sorts of different combinations of ingredients, sun dried tomato and feta cheese; cheddar and spring onion; raisin and cinnamon, chopped olives and mozzarella…

Buttermilk – The name conjures up bucolic images of  metal canisters of rich creamy milk at the barn door full of fat globules of yellow butter floating in it. Buttermilk is nothing of the sort. Originally it was used to describe the whey that was left behind after butter had been churned from cream. Today it is made from pasteurised skimmed milk to which a culture of lactic acid bacteria added. The lactic acid works on fermenting the lactose, ( the main sugar in milk) decreasing the PH which causes the milk to clabber or get thicker and taste sour. 100ml contains 59 kcals, 0.1 g of fat, 7.8g sugar, 8.8g carbohydrate and 5.5g protein which is quite respectable. Buttermilk is often used with baking soda as a raising agent as the acid activates the bicarbonate to produce carbon dioxide, thus producing pockets of air in baked goods like scones, pancakes and soda bread. It is wonderful for tenderising chicken in a marinade and making salad dressings too.

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

Polish Buttermilk

If you come across any shops with Polish groceries, then look for Maslanka in the dairy section, which is the Polish name for buttermilk.

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fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

Fruited Soda Bread with Sunflower Seeds and Rosemary

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Nina Oortman’s Bread Angel Baking Class

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g strong white or plain flour (not self raising)
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (or baking soda)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50 g mixed peel
  • 50 g dried cranberries
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary needles
  • 300 g buttermilk (or full fat milk with lemon juice)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line a good solid baking tray with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt until it is well mixed and aerated.
  3. Gently stir in the dried fruit, seeds and rosemary.
  4. Make a well in the middle of flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk.
  5. Using a dinner knife, cut in as quickly and gently as you can until all the buttermilk has been absorbed and you have a scraggy dough. Do not over mix or your loaf will be tough.
  6. Scrape the dough onto the prepared tray and shape into an oval or a round. Using a serrated knife, slash a deep cross through it. This helps with heat distribution but tradition has it that it was to let the devil out! Sprinkle a little flour over the top.
  7. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes depending on how hot your oven is. The loaf should sound hollow when you tap the base.
  8. Delicious warm and best enjoyed on the day it is made.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If you are in or around Malvern and want to learn how to make this and yeasted breads, Nina has added another bread making class to the roster  – click on the link for more information or if you would like to book yourself in – http://www.ninasbakery.co.uk/classes.html

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

Bread Angel – Nina Oortman

One of the lovely things about getting involved with the local food community is becoming acquainted with the many talented people who are on my doorstep. I finally met the wonderful baker, Nina Oortman  when she was trialling a stand  at our local Sunday Artisan Food Market. Shortly after, I received an email inviting me, Pauline Milligan who is the director of the Streatham Food Festival and Anna Nolan; both huge champions of Streatham;  to a trial run of Nina’s bread making class. And last week, we spent a very enjoyable and productive 4 hours learning how to REALLY make bread, under Nina’s expert guidance. Over the course of the session, I found out that Nina worked as an architect before leaving the practice to pursue her passion for baking.

Bread Angel Nina Oortman

Armed  with our pinnies, we watched Nina demonstrating before following suit, using silky organic flours from Shipton Mill and fresh yeast. I picked up lots of tips along the way, my favourite being that liquid is more accurate when it is weighed so 100ml of water is the same as 100g. I have included that little gem on my Tips and Tricks page. We stopped for a delicious lunch of nibbles, homemade soup, bread and cheese before popping in the last of our proved dough into the ovens to bake. By the end of the session we had learned how to knead, shape and prove yeasted dough and had produced a white loaf, bread rolls, a soda bread and a rye bread. And we got to take it all home together with the recipes and instructions.  Nina will be teaching 4 classes in January and February, two on  Friday mornings and two on Saturday afternoons. If you have never made bread before or just dabbled in it, this is an excellent class to really learn what the dough should feel and look like. I have made bread and rolls before but I learned so much from Nina. May I suggest that a voucher for one of her classes would make a marvellous Christmas gift? And you would be supporting a small local business.

Nina Oortman - Bread Angel

Click the link to be taken to  Nina’s  Bread Angel profile and site  where you can find out more about Nina, book classes y and also purchase gift vouchers. The excerpt below is from her site:

“In this 4-hour class you will learn how to bake a basic yeasted loaf, shape and bake bread rolls, learn about 100% rye bread and bake a quick soda bread. This is a hands-on class suitable for the bread baking novice. I will explain about bread ingredients, how easily you can fit bread baking into your life and why your own homemade bread is so good for you. You will get to take all the bread you bake home with you, including recipes and notes so you can easily replicate them in your own home kitchen. A light lunch or afternoon tea and some home baked sweet treats along with tea and coffee are included. Classes are small in order for you to get maximum individual attention. Be prepared to get sticky and floury – please wear appropriate clothing and bring along an apron if you have one.

November 2014

Nina has moved to Malvern, Worcestershire (which is very sad for me but lovely for her!) where she is working in a bakery but also teaching bread making. Her gorgeous new web site is http://www.ninasbakery.co.uk where you can find information on her, book her classes, find out what to bring and how to find her.