Buttermilk Bread

Didn’t mean to stay away for so long…  Not sure how that happened…

Here’s a lovely loaf for a Saturday morning.  It rises like a dream and tastes a little like sourdough which is nice – I keep killing my cultures so have just given up on the real thing.  :)

Buttermilk Bread

200 ml warm water

1 tspn dry active yeast

150 ml buttermilk

500g strong bread flour

1 tspn sugar

1 tspn salt

Olive oil

A little extra flour

  • Add the yeast to the warm water and set aside until the yeast foams a little (around 10 mins).
  • In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, and sugar.  Add the yeasty water and buttermilk then stir to create a wet dough.  Leave for 5 mins.
  • Smear a little olive oil onto your work surface and plop the dough out onto it.  Knead for a couple of minutes. L:eave for five minutes.  Knead again.  Leave for five minutes.  Knead again.  (If dough is sticky, put a little flour on  your hands)
  • Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a teatowel.  Leave in a warm (not too hot!) place for 30 mins until doubled in sized.
  • Knead the dough for a couple of minutes again and place back in the bowl for another 30mins.
  • Final stage.  Line a baking tray with baking paper and dust with cornmeal (or more flour if you don’t have cornmeal).  Place dough onto work surface and pull into a flattish rectangular shape.  Roll dough up lengthways and tuck the ends underneath.   Place seam side down and cover with the tea towel again.  Leave to double in size in the same warm place.
  • Meanwhile, heat your oven to 200 oC.   When oven reaches the right temperature place a cake tin of hot water in the bottom of the oven.  Leave for 10 mins to let the oven get steamy.
  • Dust the risen dough with cornmeal and use a serrated knife to make 3 slits across the top of the loaf.  Place in the oven and bake for 40 mins until golden.
  • Leave to cool on a rack before eating.

Leftover Roast Chicken & Squash Salad

One of David & I’s favourite dinners at the moment. Perfect for using up those leftovers.

Leftover Roast Chicken & Squash Salad

(Serves 2)

1 squash, cut into 2cm chunks

1 tspn smoked paprika

Salt & pepper

400g tin chickpeas

300g (ish) leftover roast chicken – dark or light – shredded

Big handful of rocket

Yogurt

Coriander

  • Preheat the oven to 200 oC.  Toss the squash with salt, pepper, olive oil and the smoked paprika.  Roast for 30 mins or so until slightly caramelised.
  • Drain the chickpeas and tip onto a baking tray.  Roast for 10 mins in same oven as squash.
  • Toss the chicken, roasted squash and chickpeas with the rocket and a little balsalmic vinegar.
  • Serve with yogurt with coriander stirred through.

My Scotland

I sometimes get emails from readers who are coming to Scotland  looking for advice on where to visit, what to do, where to eat, etc, etc.  My responses are always enthusiastic but tend to be rather brief (sorry) and afterwards I always, always kick myself for not having mentioned blah blah or bleh bleh.   So, I’ve decided to add a new page up there (↑) above my banner which contains an ever-expaning list of my favourite places in my country.  Well, not my whole country…  Just the northern half (Highland and Aberdeenshire mostly).  Despite being born there, I’m as much of a tourist in the central belt as anyone.

It’s by no means a comprehensive list.  It’s a work in progress and it always will be.  Hope it’s of use to someone though.  :)

Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

I’m not generally a creature of habit but in the past few months I’ve been roasting a chicken every single Sunday night.   Don’t suppose I need another reason than “roast chicken tastes frickin’ amazing” but there is another reason:  leftovers.

Free time is not something I have an abundance of right now. Having a big bowl of leftover chicken in the fridge means a mid-week salad (recipe coming soon) or a rice dish or  a noodle soup can be quickly and easily prepared.  When David doesn’t feed it all to the dog that is…

I’ve posted other roast chicken recipes before - this one, this one and this one.  The below recipe is currently my favourite way to roast a chicken though.  I like how everything is ready using one dish and the vegetables taste really, really good having roasted in the chicken’s juices for a couple of hours.

Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

(serves  2 with enough leftovers for two more meals for you both – just increase the amount of veg if you want this to serve more)

2kg whole chicken

2 big carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks

2 fat parsnips, peeled and cut into big chunks

1 big red onion, cut into sixths

4-6 small potatoes, cut in half

1 lemon

4 garlic clove, bashed in a bit with a rolling pin

Olive oil

Thyme

Salt & pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 190 oC
  • Rub the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.  Squeeze over the juice of the lemon then insert the lemon halves, thyme and garlic into the cavity.  Place the chicken on a large baking tray.
  • Toss all of the vegetables with a good pinch of salt and pepper and a little olive oil.  Scatter the vegetables around the chicken.
  • Roast for 1hr 50mins, occasionally turning the vegetables.
  • Remove tray from oven & check that the chicken is cooked through by either using a meat thermometre or checking the juices run clear..  Use a slotted spoon to remover the roasted vegetables and keep warm in the (now turned off) oven.  Let the chicken rest on a plate while you use the juices to make a gravy – like this.
  • Slice the chicken and serve with the roasted vegetables and gravy.

P.S. While we are talking about mid-week eating, you might be interested in this post or this series of posts by the lovely Kathryn.