Showing posts with label butter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label butter. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Buns #BreadBakers

Loads of garlic, tons of butter and a heaping helping of salty grated Parmesan cheese make these soft yeast buns the perfect addition to any family dinner table.

Garlic bread has always been a standard addition when I consider the meal “Italian,” serving, for instance, spaghetti with meatballs or fettuccine Alfredo. But when we lived in Brazil, I discovered that garlic bread was served there with pretty much every party meal, including the famous Brazilian churrasco, a grilled meat extravaganza. It made me reconsider how we limit ourselves by our narrow experience of what goes with what and I’ve since made garlic bread the Brazilian way* to serve along with many meals. To carry that attitude one step farther, I served these cheesy garlic rolls along with some Parma-wrapped pan-fried cod and crunchy, spicy green beans. They were perfect for sopping up the buttery, lemony fish juices on our plates.
*Bonus recipe: Brazilian garlic bread
Stir together equal parts softened butter and mayonnaise (Sounds weird, but trust me. It adds just the right amount of salt.) with lots of crushed garlic and spread inside a French loaf opened down the middle. Turn the loaf on its uncut side and slice it into pieces, but don't cut quite all the way through so they are still hooked together. Wrap the whole thing tightly with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes in a moderate oven till the bread is a little crunchy outside and the garlic spread has melted into the bread on the inside. Open the foil and serve, allowing folks to pull the almost-cut-through slices off themselves.
Back to our regularly scheduled buns
This month’s Bread Bakers theme is Family Feast Breads where we are sharing breads perfect for a celebration table. This particular bun recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Foods.* (<Amazon affiliate link) Along with some modifications in ingredient amounts, I added Parmesan cheese because, according to my husband who is only allowed to help himself to grated Parmesan after everyone at the table has had a fair turn, Parmesan makes everything better. I wholeheartedly concur.

For the bread:
3 1/4 cups or 410g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (5g)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
9 1/4 oz or 275ml tepid water (That works out to be 1 1/6 cups, rather an awkward cup measure, but there you go.)
1/3 cup or 50g stale breadcrumbs

For the compound butter:
1/2 bulb garlic*
1 cup or 225gunsalted butter (at room temperature)
3 oz or 85g finely grated Parmesan (heaping 3/4 cup) plus extra for sprinkling
Zest 1/2 lemon
1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (15g)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

*Garlic bulbs vary as do the size of garlic cloves so use your judgment on the amount, depending on your love of garlic. But to give you an idea, my cloves weighed 30g after peeling.

Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Measure your yeast, sugar and sea salt into the well.

Pour in the tepid water and stir from the middle to combine the flour with the water, until you have a rough dough.

Knead the dough on a clean floured surface for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Sprinkle on a little more flour if necessary but try not to add very much.

Place the dough back in the bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Leave to prove in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

Now you can get on with the butter. I cut back on Jamie’s recipe but this still makes twice as much as you need for these garlic buns, especially once I added the cheese. But trust me that having this compound butter in your refrigerator or freezer is a good thing. It’s beautiful spread on bread to make a more traditional garlic bread out of a French loaf as well as melted on top of a grilled steak or pan-fried fish. It makes a mean slice of garlic Texas toast as well.

The Compound Butter
Put the softened butter in a medium-sized bowl and add in the cayenne. Use a garlic press to crush the garlic into the butter bowl. Finely mince your parsley, stems and all.

Add the minced parsley, then finely grate the zest of the half lemon into the bowl and stir well to combine. My bowl was a little snug for stirring. Choose a bigger bowl than I did!

Add in the Parmesan and mix well.

Divide the garlic butter into two equal portions and roll one half up in the bottom of a baggie and refrigerate. If you are keeping it for a while, it can even be frozen and sliced as needed.

Use one third of the other half of the garlic butter to grease your baking pan.

Sprinkle it with the breadcrumbs, making sure to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Put the rest of the garlic butter in a plastic baggie but do not refrigerate. We want it soft enough to squeeze out.

When the dough has finished its first rise, divide it first into six smaller pieces and then divide each smaller piece into three, creating 18 pieces of dough in all.

Roll each of the 18 pieces of dough into balls and then place them in the prepared baking pan.

Cut the very corner off of your baggie of soft garlic butter and squeeze about half out onto and around the buns.

Cover loosely with cling film and leave to rise for the second time in a warm place for about one and a half hours or until doubled in size.

One half hour before the rising time is up, start preheating your oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Remove the cling film and sprinkle the buns with some extra grated Parmesan.

Bake them in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until they are golden and springy.

Squeeze the remaining soft garlic butter over the buns and, as it melts, quickly spread it around with a pastry brush.

The outsides are crunchy from the toasted garlicky buttery cheesy breadcrumbs and your guests will be fighting over the corners. Or you could eat them in the kitchen before you put the tray out. Not that I would do such a thing.


Many thanks to our host this month, Pavani from Cook’s Hideout. Have a look at all the beautiful Family Feast breads our bakers are sharing today!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send me an email with your blog URL to

*Items purchased through an Amazon affiliate link cost no extra to the buyer but earn me a few pennies to buy more bacon. Thanks for the support.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Jersey Royals with Mint #FoodieExtravaganza

Freshly dug Jersey Royal potatoes, boiled to tender perfection with mint and lavished with butter, are the perfect side dish to accompany any meal. Or just eat them alone, out of the bowl, with a spoon. 

When our Foodie Extravaganza theme of potatoes was chosen for August, I knew exactly what I was going to share: how to cook and best enjoy Jersey Royal potatoes. Now, if you can't get these where you live, you can substitute another thin-skinned new potato. But if you ever have the chance at some real Jersey Royals, don't let it get away! The official website says you can only buy them in the United Kingdom or in the Channel Islands, but my local grocery store in Dubai imported a number of kilos earlier this year.

A little history
Jersey, a small island in the English Channel, is well known, at least on the European side of the Atlantic, for growing wonderful potatoes, and they've been doing it for centuries. By 1879 many varieties of potatoes were grown on the island but that particular spring, up sprouted a plant that produced a unique kidney shaped tuber and it was duly dubbed the Jersey Royal Fluke. Ever since, Jersey Royals – the only potato with an official EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status - have been planted by hand on Jersey and fertilized with the nutrient rich seaweed, called vraic, which the tides deposit with regularity on the gleaming shores. Many attribute the fresh taste of Jersey Royals to this organic fertilizer.

A little personal history
My husband Simon’s grandparents moved to the island from England back in the 1960s, choosing to retire there, I’m sure, for myriad reasons, not the least of which was its tax-free status, proximity to the UK and its incredible natural beauty and abundant fresh produce. The first time I visited, summer of 1992 it was, we were living in Paris so we sped to Rennes on the snazzy TGV bullet train, hopped a regional train to St. Malo on the Brittany coast and then rode the waves on the ferry over to Jersey, hauling luggage, a travel cot and our 18-month-old toddler. But that fraught journey is a story for another day. Arriving on the island made it all worthwhile.

One sneak peek of the beauty. This is the view from the headland two minutes walk from our home.
I can't get enough of the gorgeous purple heather and the deep blue sea.

Simon’s delightfully eccentric Uncle John met us at the port and we sped home through the tight lanes, salty wind gusting through the open windows, his rattling old Volvo narrowly missing the ancient stone walls at almost every turn. We passed St. Helier, the main city on our right, bustling with shoppers and business folks. Farther along, beautiful St. Aubin’s Bay reflected the brilliant blue sky on our left, the summer sun highlighting Elizabeth Castle and brave swimmers paddling in the chilly water while families built sandcastles on the golden beach. We took a sharp right turn up a hill then nipped in to the left into a tiny gap in the great walls I would barely have noticed if we hadn’t turned. It was the Lucas Brothers farm shop where Uncle John bought all his vegetables – crisp cabbage, just dug carrots, beets and onions, fresh picked leafy greens and French beans among other things and, of course, Jersey Royal potatoes, the protective dirt still clinging to their paper thin skins.

Last week I was in Jersey, as I have been many times over the last 23 years, turning sharply in to Lucas Brothers farm shop two times in only three days, to buy Jersey Royals, and more Jersey Royals. Because when you are on the island during Royal season – April through July generally, depending on weather – that is what you want to eat. And, as far as tradition is concerned, there is only one way to cook them that lets the gorgeous natural taste of the Royals shine through. Many thanks to our next-door neighbor and Jersey cook extraordinaire, Mary, who taught me this so many years ago.

Jersey Royal potatoes, at room temperature
Few sprigs fresh mint
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Proper Jersey Royals still have all the dirt attached because it protects the tender skin and keeps the potatoes from getting bruised.

Rub the Royals by hand under some cool water to remove the dirt and any papery skins that are loose.

Put them in a large pot and cover with fresh water. Add in the sprigs of mint and some salt. I’ve since read on the internet that some folks advocate using seawater but I’ve never gone that far.

Bring the pot to a boil and then cook over a medium flame until a sharp knife poked in the Royals goes in easily, about 20 minutes.

Drain the Royals and add in a large chunk of fresh butter. Don't be shy here. It's Royal season, a time for generosity of spirit and extra butter.

Sprinkle with additional salt, a few good grinds of fresh black pepper and stir gently.

Garnish with more mint, if desired. Put the butter on the table for anyone who wants to add more to their Royals. If it’s fresh Jersey butter, I’m guaranteeing they will.


Are you a potato fan? Check out all the lovely potato dishes my Foodie Extravaganza friends are sharing today.

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. Many thanks to this month's host, Kathleen from Fearlessly Creative Mammas who honored her Idaho heritage by inviting us to share our favorite potato recipes.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

If you're a reader looking for delicious recipes check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Garlicky Lobster Crab Scampi #NationalGarlicDay

Lots of garlic, butter and olive oil make this rich Garlicky Lobster Crab Scampi perfect for serving on a special occasion. Or when you just want to treat yourself. No lobster? Substitute shrimp or prawns!

Food Lust People Love: Lots of garlic, butter and olive oil make this rich Garlicky Lobster Crab Scampi perfect for serving on a special occasion. Or when you just want to treat yourself. No lobster? Substitute shrimp or prawns!

The summer I was eight years old, we moved from Trinidad to Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, a distance not far as the crow flies, the commercial flight taking only one hour and 20 minutes, but it was a dizzying transfer from a cozy oil field camp on a relatively provincial island to a quick paced city of high rise buildings and busy downtown streets where folks spoke a foreign tongue. And you had to know that language to read the signs, packaging in stores and to order safely from a menu. 

While our house was being readied for move-in, we stayed first in a high-rise hotel and then in a serviced apartment just a few blocks from an Italian restaurant called Da Pippo’s. We ate there several times a week. Funny how memories can be elusive, but I don’t really remember what I used to order. Perhaps it was something normal like pizza or spaghetti, so unremarkable that it escaped recording in my long-term brain cells, but my older sister was consistent.

She got the shrimp scampi every single time. It was loaded with garlic and butter and oil, shelled pink shrimp drowning in that nectar of delight. I don’t recall if she ever shared a shrimp, but sometimes she’d let me dip a piece of the complimentary bread in there. Heaven. 

Now you are probably asking yourself why I didn’t just order my own shrimp scampi and I wish I had a good answer for you. I do wonder that myself. But the good memories made sure that I have recreated that dish more than a few times over the intervening years. 

A little research corrected my misheld assumption that scampi was merely the Italian word for shrimp. It can also mean a dish prepared with garlic butter so occasionally, I vary the seafood, using lobster or crab alone or in combination with the shrimp. But there’s always plenty of garlic and butter and olive oil.

You might remember that last year about this time, I was celebrating National Garlic Day with my friend, Heather from girlichef, and 13 more garlic loving food bloggers. I made a slow roasted lamb shoulder with 40 cloves of garlic that just fell off the bones, it was so tender! Well, we are at it again! 

And I couldn’t think of a better recipe to share than one I created with Da Pippo's shrimp scampi in mind. Feel free to substitute shrimp for the lobster and/or the crab. And make sure you scroll down to see all the great garlicky recipes my friends have made for you today.

Ingredients for two very generous servings
1/4 cup or 60g butter
1/4 cup or 60ml olive oil
15 cloves or 60g garlic
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup or 120ml dry white wine
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne (depending on your taste)
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
12 1/3 oz or 350g lobster tail meat
1/2 cup or 110g fresh crabmeat
Sea salt to taste.

To serve: spinach fettuccine pasta, cooked to manufacturer’s instructions or some crusty bread, sliced, heaping your scampi on.

To garnish: Few sprigs cilantro or flat leaf parsley

Melt the butter along with the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Mince your garlic and add it to the pan or push it through a garlic press directly into the melted butter and olive oil. Cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Be very careful not to let the garlic burn or it will turn bitter.

Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, whole grain mustard and white wine. Simmer for about five minutes.

Slice your lobster tail.

And add it to the sauce. Cook it just long enough for the meat to turn white, mere minutes.

Add in the crabmeat and cook until it is just warmed through.

Squeeze in the lemon juice and give everything a gentle stir.

Add salt to taste then serve over spinach pasta for extra color. Or alongside some fresh crusty bread.

Garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro or flat leaf parsley.

Food Lust People Love: Lots of garlic, butter and olive oil make this rich Garlicky Lobster Crab Scampi perfect for serving on a special occasion. Or when you just want to treat yourself. No lobster? Substitute shrimp or prawns!


Welcome to National Garlic Day 2015, hosted by Heather from girlichef. April 19th is a day for garlic lovers far and wide to come together and celebrate the wonder of "the stinking rose." Whether it's the ability to ward off vampires (and bugs), its numerous health benefits, or the way it lends flavor to a dish, there are so many reasons for singing the praises of garlic.

To help you get in the mood, check out these garlicky good recipes from this year's National Garlic Day bloggers:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pumpkin and Apples Roasted with Brown Sugar #RandomRecipe Challenge

This wonderful recipe comes very slightly adapted from the gorgeous cookbook Bountiful – Recipes Inspired by our Garden, by Todd Porter and Diane Cu, the pair otherwise known as White on Rice Couple.  If you don’t have this one already, buy it now.  No kidding.  While it’s not a completely vegetarian cookbook, it does showcase garden vegetables enhanced by fragrant fresh herbs and warm, wonderful spices, making them the rightful main attraction on any dinner table. 

Bountiful: Recipes Inspired by Our Garden
This month’s Random Recipe Challenge from Dom at Belleau Kitchen is to choose a new cookbook, perhaps one you got for Christmas and open it randomly to a recipe, then make that.  As it happens, I got three cookbooks for Christmas, all from my mother, generous woman that she is.  In addition to Bountiful, she gave me the latest Ottolenghi book, Jerusalem and Clotilde Dusoulier’s new vegetarian cookbook, The French Market Cookbook.   I have spent the last few weeks reading and bookmarking and it’s going to take me ages to make all the dishes I want to make from all three fabulous books.  I’ve already said, “Buy Bountiful.”  But you’ll want the other two as well.

Ingredients - side dish for four or main course for two
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons, tightly packed, dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 medium apples (Mine together weighed a little more than 12 oz or 350g, whole.)
1 small pumpkin or winter squash (Mine weighed about 1 lb 13 oz or 840g, whole.) 
1/2 cup or 60 grams chopped pecans
Sea salt 
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Peel your pumpkin and remove the seeds.  

Slice into half moons about 1/2 in or 1cm wide.  Set aside.  If you want to toast the seeds later, these instructions are simple and easy to follow.  

Peel, halve and core your apples.  Slice them into thick wedges. 

Choose an ovenproof saucepan and you will save the washing up.  Otherwise, the first steps of cooking will be on the stove and then you will need to transfer the ingredients to a baking pan.   

Melt the butter in your pan over a medium heat.  It will start to pop and sizzle as the milk liquids evaporate.  When it stops sizzling, add in your brown sugar and your cinnamon and stir well until the sugar has melted into the butter. 

Add in the apples and stir well to coat them with the sugary butter.  

Sauté gently until the apples have softened slightly then add in the pumpkin.  

Stir well to coat the pumpkin with the butter and the apple juice that has cooked out the apples. 

Give the whole thing a good sprinkle of sea salt and a few good grinds of fresh black pepper.  And then top with the chopped pecans. 

Pop your saucepan in your preheated oven (or transfer everything to an ovenproof baking pan) and roast until you can pierce the pumpkin easily with a fork.  Mine took about 30-35 minutes.  


***This post includes affiliate links that will earn me some small change, for which I am much obliged, if you make a purchase after following the links.***  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash with Balsamic Vinegar Honey Butter

Lots of recipes call for butternut squash to be peeled before roasting but I have found that the peel is actually quite tender and deliciously edible so I like to leave it on.  It adds fiber as well as flavor. 

After the indulgent recipes of Cookie Week, I am delighted to tell you that I’ve got an easy, healthy dish for you.  #SundaySupper is celebrating winter squash so I made one of our family favorites.  I’ve been roasting pumpkin and butternut squash for several years now, sometimes just drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, and sometimes fancied up with spices (Cumin and/or cinnamon work beautifully!) or sprinkled with minced garlic with a pat of butter in the hole.  No matter the additions, it is always delicious.  And nutritious.  I hope you give it a try!

Ingredients to serve four
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 small butternut squash (About 15 1/2oz or 440g each)
Sprinkle of sea salt flakes
Green onion tops for garnish, if desired

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the vinegar, olive oil and honey with your two tablespoons of butter.  Melt your butter with a quick couple of zaps of perhaps 10 seconds each in the microwave and stir well to combine.

Cut the stem off of your butternut squash and then cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.

Put your four halves in a baking pan and drizzle the vinegar honey butter mixture all over the squash.  Divide the remaining mixture between the wells in the squash.

Roast in the preheated oven until a fork goes in the thickest part quite easily.  This should take between 45 and 60 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle each butternut squash half with sea salt flakes.  Garnish with green onion tops, if desired.