Top

SAVOURY

Flat Dogs

 

Yield: depends on how many dogs you have and size.
Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
 

Ingredients

12 fl oz Water
4 ½ Cups Unbleached White Bread Flour
1 ½ tsp Salt
2 tsp Sugar
30g Butter
2 tbsp Skimmed Milk Powder
1 1/2 tsp or 7g of Easy Bake Yeast 
Filling
1 Can of HotDogs
Glaze
1 Egg beaten

Method

Pour in water into the bread machine.
Sprinkle over the flour, ensuring to cover the water.
Add salt, sugar, skimmed milk powder and butter in separate corners of the bread pan.
Make a small indent in the centre of the flour (but not down to the liquid) and add the yeast.
Set bread machine to dough setting and let the bread machine do all the work.
Once dough setting has finished turn out onto a floured surface and portion into medium egg-size pieces.  Roll out each dough ball into a square/rectangle (depending on the size of your hot dogs).
Roll each hotdog so it is neatly covered with the rolled out dough, seal the dough around the hotdog.
With some sharp scissors cut the rolled hotdog lengthways at a slight diagonal through the hotdog but not all the way through, leave a 1cm gap at the bottom of the dough.
Now separate and lay each cut section in opposite directions so the alternate, left-right. left right until all the cut sections are now flat.
Place on a baking sheet, then cover and allow to rise for another 30-60mins.
Glaze with the egg wash and bake at 180°C for 25mins or until golden brown.

Suggestions

The dough mix can be plain or add a complementary flavour, I like to have a herb or sun-dried tomato dough.
Ideal for lunch boxes, snacks on the go, movie nights.
I find them best served warm with a dip on the side.

Bao

 

Yield: 10 to 12 medium Bao
Steam for 12 minutes
 
Ingredients
1 cup Warm Water
2 tsp (6g) Active Dry Yeast
2 1/2 cups (381) Bread Flour
1/2 cup (78g) Corn Starch
5 tbsp (70g) Sugar
2 tsp (12g) fine Sea Salt
2 tbsp (28g) Pork Fat or Butter
Method
Mix the yeast with the warm water, cover and leave for 10-15mins or until you see it has bubbled.
In a bowl or stand mixer mix all your dry ingredients and combine.  Now on a low mixing setting with a dough hook or gentle stir technique slowly add the yeast mixture and stir until you get a shaggy dough and if the dough seems to dry then you can add a tbsp of water at a time until it forms. Mix for approx 2mins.
Now slowly whilst still mixing add the butter or pork fat a bit at a time and let it mix until the fat or butter is incorporated. This might take some time and your dough might fall apart, do not worry just keep on mixing until all the fat or butter is combined and it will reform to a single dough ball.
Now on a medium setting mix the dough for about 8 to 10mins until the dough is completely smooth.  Your dough is now ready to put onto the work surface and you may want to kneed for a few mins more, the dough should my slightly tacky but ultimately smooth and now you need to gently shape the dough into a ball.
Now put the dough in a warm place, covered with a damp cloth and leave to rise for about 1 to 2hrs or until 2 ½ times in size.
Once risen beat the air out of the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface and shape into a thick even log shape.
Cut the log-shaped dough into about 10 to 12 pieces, remembering the smaller the dough balls the smaller the Bao buns will be and you really want them to be a medium to large size.
Now pat them into a rounded flat circle and with the rolling pin roll start to roll from the centre outwards, turn about ⅛ and repeat the rolling technique, do this until you have turned the dough to its starting point, you are aiming for about 4 to 5 inches in diameter.
You should see a small mountain-like bump in the middle of the dough, this is what you want as this will be where you place your filling.
Now hold the dough flat in one hand and put a little more filling than you would into the centre and now here comes the seal and pleating method.
This is going to take some practice and do not expect to get it right the first time.
With the dough in the palm of one hand and your thumb holding down the filling, with your other hand lift one side of the dough up and pleat and twist, pleat and twist whilst pushing the filling down with the thumb on the other hand (told you it was not easy and your need some practice) and continue to do this until you have closed the bun.
Pinch and twist the last remaining piece of the dough and check for any open pleats, if you find any simply pinch them shut and repeat this process with the rest of the dough balls.
Now get your steamer ready and either place some cabbage leaves under each Bao bun or a square of parchment paper (this is so they do not stick to the bottom of the steamer when cooking).
You want to either add hot water to the bottom fo the steamer or boil from cold until you are getting a rolling boil then add the Bao in your steamer basket (your need to do them in batches as your only get about 4 Bao in the basket as they need room to puff up, cover and steam for 12mins.
DO NOT REMOVE THE LID, yes it is tempting to do so but if you do they will go flat.

Suggestions 

Traditionally the Bao is filled with pork but you can put any filling you like in them.
Make sure your filling is at room temperature and not hot. Your filling mix should be wet but not soggy if you make the filling to wet it will soak through the dough.
When making the filling ideally you want to make your juice turn into more of a paste and to do this add some flour to the juices and stir in until it comes together.
DO NOT add a thickening agents to the mix as it will continue to thicken when steaming and potentially make your filling a congealed mass that will not be edible (well I would not want to eat it).

Lentil Pâté

 

Ingredients

1 cup Dried Brown or Green Lentils
3 cups Water
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and left whole
½ to ¾ tsp Salt, plus more to taste
4 tbsp Butter
1 cup peeled and thinly sliced Shallots (about 4 bulbs)
¼ cup Bourbon or Cognac (booze-free option: Apple Cider)
2 tsp chopped fresh Rosemary (from at least 2 sprigs)
½ tsp grated Nutmeg
1 pinch freshly ground Black Pepper

Method 

Place the lentils, water, and garlic in a medium saucepan. (The water should be about 2 inches above the lentils; add more as needed.)
Over a medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook at a simmer until tender to the bite, 30-40mins.
Season with ½ tsp of the salt.
While the lentils cook, in a separate saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat.
Add the shallots, stir to coat with the butter, and cook until thick, jam-like and caramelised, this normally takes about 20-25mins and lower the heat if the shallots begin to char.
Now add the booze (or apple cider), and increase the heat to allow it to evaporate for about 2-3mins.
Now add the rosemary, nutmeg and then remove the garlic cloves that are in with the lentil and add them to the mix, add the remaining salt and turn off the heat.
Drain the lentils and transfer to a baking sheet too cool in a single layer for 10mins.
If you have a hand blender you can now blend the shallot mixture or if you have a food processor now is the time to transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor or stand blender and blend, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the lentils and blend until you have a creamy mixture with as few lumps as possible.
Season with the black pepper to taste, add more salt if needed.
Scoop into ramekins and place in the refrigerator for at least 45mins.
Enjoy.

Suggestions 

Serve with toast or a baguette, or with carrot and celery sticks.

Gyoza

 

Yield: approx 20 (depending upon size)
Steam for 7-10 minutes  
Ingredients 
Dough
3 cups All Purpose Flour or Self Raising Flour
¾ cup Boiling Water* (see suggestions)
1 tsp (7g) fine sea salt
Filling
1 pound (450g) Pork Mince - 20% fat or higher* (see suggestions)
3 Cloves Garlic* (see Suggestions)
¼ head White Cabbage
1 bunch Green Onion - Green end of Spring Onions
2 inch piece Ginger* (see suggestions)
1 tbsp (15g) Soy Sauce
1.5 tsp (8g) Salt
Additionals
1-2 tbsp Corn Starch
¼ cup Cold Water

Method 

To make the dough, add your flour to a large bowl and whisk in your salt until evenly incorporated. Now add in ¾ cup of boiling water and mix with a wooden spoon to make a rough dough, then, with your hands complete the kneading until it comes together.
Continue kneading for 5 minutes until smooth.
Divide the dough in half and shape each piece of dough into a long sausage shape, about an inch in diameter and then wrap each in cling film. Let it rest at room temperature for 1hr.
Whilst the dough is resting we can start to make the filling.
Thinly slice the cabbage and place in a bowl and season it generously with salt. Squeeze to soften and bruise, this will release any liquid.
Drain out half of the liquid and add in the thinly sliced green onions and pork mince (or your chosen main ingredient).
To that bowl, add the grated garlic, grated ginger, 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1½ tsp of salt. Mix together until evenly incorporated.
Cover your bowl and let it sit in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
Take your dough and cut it into 4 equal pieces.
Work with one piece of dough at a time, roll dough ball out until very thin but still manageable.
Using a 3½ inch circular cutter, cut out circles of the dough. Make sure to take your scrap dough and reuse it.
Stack the discs on top of each other with a small pinch of corn starch between each of them.
To shape your Gyoza, add some of your filling to the centre of your dough circle.
With your finger, lightly brush some water around the edge of the dough to help with sealing. Fold it over like a taco but only adhere to the centre point of it; leaving two open ends. Starting from the left of the centre point, use your index fingers to fold the top portion of the dumpling dough towards the centrefold. Pinch that down and repeat this process, working away from the centre seam until you have 3 evenly spaced pleats. Repeat this process on the other side.
Tap and place the Gyoza on a sheet tray dusted generously with flour, this will give the Gyoza a nice flat bottom.
You can cook these in several ways, of which the most common and preferred method, is to steam them. To steam, place either some cabbage leaves on your steamer or some parchment paper and then place as many Gyoza as possible in your steamer basket without them touching each other.
Cover and steam for 7-10mins.
Alternatively, if you want a crispness to them, as well as the soft steaminess, then this method will do just that. Add 1tbsp of cooking oil to a large frying pan and arrange the Gyoza flat side in the pan and cook until golden brown.
This next stage will cause spitting so be very careful when you do this, get your pan lid to hand.
Add one cup of water to the pan and then cover immediately with a lid and allow to steam for about 7mins.

*Suggestions

You may need to add a bit more water to get the dough to come together. If you do, then add it 1tbsp at a time.
You do not have to make them with pork as the main ingredient, you can use any meat you like as long as it is minced, alternatively, you can use prawns or a veggie substitute.
If you do not have fresh garlic, then use any of the following in the quantities provided. These recommended amounts are equivalent to 1 garlic clove. ¼tsp garlic powder, ½tsp granulated garlic or ½tsp garlic salt.
If you do not have fresh ginger then use any of the following in the quantities provided. The recommended amount is equivalent to 1 inch of ginger - ½ tbsp dried ginger.
Crispy Pork Belly
 
One of my favourite dishes when I order takeout is Chinese crispy pork belly, it is always super crispy every time order it and I have never managed to master it quite like my local Chinese takeaway do, until now.
It is so easy to do and you get perfect results every time.
 
Yield: 20-25 cubed pieces
1st Bake at 150ºC (300ºF)
2nd Bake at 250ºC (480ºF)
 

Ingredients

1kg piece Pork Belly skin on
1tsp Chinese 5-Spice
Fine Salt (enough to cover pork belly skin)
Hoisin Sauce - to serve
Hot Mustard - to Serve

Method 

Preheat your oven to 150ºC (300ºF).
Use some paper towel to completely dry off the skin of the pork belly.
With either toothpicks or corn on the cob holders, poke as many holes into the skin of the pork belly. It is key that you take your time and completely prick all of the skin, if you do not then you will not get crispy pork belly.

Now turn over the pork belly and rub the meat side with the Chinese 5-spice and also a sprinkle of salt.

If any seasoning gets onto the skin then use some paper towel to clean it off.
Take a long piece of aluminium foil and fold it in half longways and then fold in half again, you are creating a band of foil to put around your pork belly as it cooks.
Take your fine salt and pour it over the skin of the pork belly so it is completely covered.
Now roast the pork for 2hrs.
Remove the pork from the oven and turn the oven up to  250ºC (480ºF).
Pull away the foil from the pork and crack off all of the salt, it should come away in two or three pieces.
Brush off any salt left on the skin and then using some paper towel dry the skin again.
Put back into the over and cook for another 15-20mins or until completely puffed and crispy.
Allow resting for 10mins before cutting into bit size pieces.
Serve with hot mustard and hoisin sauce.
Enjoy.

Suggestions 

I find using any sharp metal item to prick the pork belly skin rather than toothpicks as they tend to blunt very quickly. Even if you use a fork then there is no fear of any cocktail stick-breaking off inside the pork skin.