Ravioles and ratatouille and Paul Hollywood’s Bread!

Quite a lot of baking and cooking has been occurring in my household lately but I haven’t had time to post about it so you shall get an influx of baking goodness now! Ever since going to Paris in November, I have been obsessed with the notion of ravioles…not ravioli but ravioles. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know what they are, but for the benefit of those who haven’t, I shall briefly explain. Ravioles and much like Italian ravioli but are much smaller and are French. I had the simple cheese and herb versions in a pumpkin cream soup and they were heaven. Thin, buttery pasta encasing melted cheese in a soup so silky that it would be perfection by itself. Sufficed to say, I needed to have them again. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find ready made ravioles anywhere other than ordering them online from ocado, which unfortunately I cannot do. My only option it seemed was to try making them myself…without a pasta maker or a ravioles mould – that was interesting. The recipe and some interesting information about ravioles can be found here. I managed to get the pasta fairly thin with a rolling pin but due to the lack of a proper mould, my ravioles turned out fairly large. I paired them with a nice ratatouille stew (another obsession of mine since the Pixar film and again, Paris) and they were such a good combination! Although large, the recipe was good so I will be trying these again but hopefully, I’ll be able to find a ravioles mould and make them the proper size! I think I would also add more gruyere to the filling as I love the taste of cheese and don’t think you can have enough of it!

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Paul Hollywood has recently started a new series on the BBC called ‘Bread’ and I found this week’s episode really interesting! He made a classic bloomer, which he then layered Mediterranean vegetables and mozzarella in, which sounded delicious! He also made malt loaf and an ale bread. The program didn’t just include recipes either; Paul looked into the history  of breads and the manufacture of flours as well but in a really interesting way. The recipe that caught my eye the most was the rye and ale bread so I attempted it. The recipe can be found here. It was really simple to make and was the perfect accompaniment to a chicken casserole on a cold night as the blizzard continued outside my window. I couldn’t taste the ale as much as I wanted to so the predominant flavour was rye but having not had a rye bread before, it was a new flavour and I really enjoyed it. To me, it was like a more dense and richer version of brown bread. Just as Paul suggests, I think it would be perfect with cheese in a ploughman’s lunch with an accompanying ale. The whole program was incredibly enticing and I’d quite like to make all of the recipes included.

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For a taster of what’s to come… I’ve been making lots of puddings lately…

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A twist on Bread and Butter Pudding and the Family Favourite Brownies

It has become somewhat of a tradition for me to bake brownies for my brother’s birthday every year. I’ve been using this particular recipe for so many years that I can’t remember how many adaptations I’ve made to it. It’s so popular in my house that I have to make a double batch every time and my brother eats them five at a time! As I was in Paris on his birthday, I travelled to see him on Saturday armed with a batch of his favourite brownies and boy, did they go down well! They are not the fudgy, gooey type of brownie but the silky, smooth, decadent type. They are made using melted chocolate, rather than cocoa powder, which I always find makes for a better brownie. The top is flaky and the outside slightly crumbly but as soon as you bite into it, the chocolate melts with the sugar in your mouth and really gets the juices going. Sufficed to say, this is a tried, tested and failsafe recipe. The original called for 125g of chopped walnuts but I much prefer using chopped hazelnuts and tend to use 100g because not only do the packs generally come in 100g so it’s more convenient but I prefer the ratio this way as the chocolate has more room to take precedence. I’ll pop the recipe at the end of this post so that you can all have a go!

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Two bakes in one post? I know, I spoil you but this recipe really couldn’t wait. For those of you who live in sunny ol’ England, you’ll be only too aware that there has been a fair amount of rain over the past week and Sunday was yet another miserable rainy day. As I sat home alone, I craved a warm winter pudding and immediately thought of bread and butter pudding. I’ve never been a huge fan of this pudding because I don’t really like hot raisins or sultanas but I worked in a hotel restaurant for a few months and that gave me the idea for this recipe; waffle and chocolate chip bread and butter pudding. Essentially, it’s waffles instead of bread and chocolate chips in place of the raisins – I know, why haven’t we thought of this sooner? The waffles were light and fluffy on the inside, crispy on top and soft and flavoursome on the bottom where the custard had soaked in to them. To add to all of this, the chocolate chips melt slightly so when you bite into this dish, you get a hot ooze of chocolate sauce on top of the fluffy waffles. It’s not the most elegant dish to serve but if you like waffles and chocolate, try this recipe! Image

Chocolate and Hazelnut Brownies

Ingredients: 

200g butter
200g dark chocolate
3 medium eggs
250g caster sugar
112g plain flour
100g chopped hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/170C/350F. Line a deep baking tin with greaseproof paper. 
  • Melt the butter and chocolate together by placing them in a bowl over simmering water until melted. 
  • Using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar until pale (this usually takes me about a minute but this will depend on your mixer).
  • Add the melted chocolate to the eggs and sugar and mix well until blended.
  • Add the flour, salt, chopped hazelnuts and vanilla extract to the mixture and stir well until all of the ingredients are combined and there are no lumps. 
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 25-35 minutes. The top will look cracked and flaky.
  • Leave to cool, then lift out from the tin and cut into squares. 

 

Waffle and Chocolate Chip Bread and Butter Pudding

Ingredients:

For the waffles:
3 free range eggs
170ml semi-skimmed milk
230g self-raising flour
30g sugar
100g butter

For the pudding:
5 or 6 waffles (the number of waffles depends on the size of your dish and your appetite and the waffles can be shop bought or homemade).
100g milk chocolate chips
25g butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
350ml milk
50ml double cream
2 free range eggs
25g granulated sugar

For the waffles:

  • Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly. 
  • Whisk 3 eggs in a mixing bowl.
  • Add the melted better, sugar and milk. Mix thoroughly and stir, carefully folding in the flour.
  • Cook the waffles in your waffle maker as per the instructions on your waffle maker.

 

For the pudding:

  • Butter one side of each waffle and cut them into triangles. Arrange a layer of the waffles in the dish, sprinkle over a layer of chocolate chips and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Repeat the layers until the waffles are used up.
  • Gently warm the milk and cream together in a pan but don’t let it boil. 
  • Crack the eggs into a bowl along with three quarters of the sugar. Whisk until pale. 
  • Add the warm milk and cream mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Pour the custard over the waffle layers, sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top and leave to stand for 30 minutes. 
  • Place the dish in a preheated oven at 180C/355F/Gas 4 and bake for 30-40 minutes.