Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spinach Cheese Swirls | Baking Partners August 2014

I rarely try making puff pastry at home. The ingredients are just flour, salt and butter but the work involved over a span of 2-3 days is enough to put me off. But still it was a well enjoyed challenge this month for Baking Partners when puffpastry from BBC was chosen by Sangeetha and Swathi

All Purpose Flour:  2 cups
Salt: 3/4-1 tsp
Ice cold water: 100-150 ml

Butter: 250 gms


Sift flour and salt into a deep bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add in water 2/3rds at a time.Knead into a firm rough dough adding more water as needed.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter and knead into a smooth dough rolling it out to form a rectangle.Cover with a plastic wrap and let the rectangle rest in the fridge for atleast 20 minutes or even overnight.

Meanwhile chunk the butter and place within two parchment sheets. Roll it out into a smooth rectangle  smaller than the size of the dough and then refrigerate.

When the dough is ready, place the butter in the centre and seal it properly. Roll out the dough in one direction only to three times its width. Keep the edges straight and even.

Dont try overworking the dough. The dough  needs to be cold all the times else butter might melt and leak out . In any step of the process, feel free to chill the dough for atleast 20-30 minutes before continuing rolling out. 

Once the dough reaches the needed dimensions, fold the top portion of the dough onto the centre. Then bring the bottom third up and over that. Then give the dough a quarter turn to the left or right and roll it out again into three times width. Chill if needed before rolling out again. 

Continue this process for another 4 times and then let dough chill in the fridge before being used. The next day you can repeat the process for two more time before freezing the dough if not using.

Spinach cheese Swirls:

The recipe is adapted from here. Its pretty simple and you can go with the estimates you have in mind. 

Mozzarella : 5 tbsp shredded
Parmesan chese: 3-4 tbsp shredded.
Garlic powder: 1/4 -1/2 tsp. 
Onion: around 3-4 tbsp finely chopped.

Spinach: one small bunch, washed, drained and finely chopped.

Mix together mozzarella, shredded parmesan, garlic powder and finely chopped onion. Dry and finely chop spinach. 

Roll out the dough onto a floured surface into a rectangle. Brush with melted butter on the surface and spread the cheese mix. Sprinkle the spinach on top of this. 

Roll it up from the longer side and using a sharpe scissors, cut the dough into  smaller rounds. Place the rounds onto a lined baking sheet and brush with melted butter.

Bake the swirls for 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven at 400F till the top turns golden brown. Take out serve warm. 

Tasty rolls with the perfect filling. I felt they were a bit too buttery, but butter adds to the taste doesn't it? You can use the puff pastry to make a dish of your choice but I definitely prefer the excellent swirls.

Lets hop over to Swathi's to check out the variety of puff pastry dishes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cashew Mayonnaise | Healthy Mayo, Vegan too

Mayo or Mayonnaise is a thick creamy sauce made by emulsifying egg yolks with olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice. It can be given a makeover or enhanced by adding seasonings or spices. I familiarised with the word mayo when I heard of coleslaw. Being made with eggs it was offlimits for my conservative family. From then on,I associated with Russian cuisine, though it originated from Spain or places in Europe where eggs and olive oil were in abundance.Even Italian aioli is another version of mayo. 

History apart, these days we are flooded with eggless mayos. So its available to all the people though ofcourse original is original. I prefer an eggless mayo and have tasted few of these and most of them are based on nuts or  olive oil. On googling I even saw a weird recipe for eggless mayo made using condensed milk, though I steered clear of it. Few days back the Russian apple salad posted here used vegan cashew mayo  and me being me made the vegan mayo at home by adapting this recipe from savvyvegetarian and it turned out perfecto. 

Cashews : 1/2 cup
Water: 2 tbsp
Lemon Juice: 2 tbsp
Seedless soft Dates: 1 chopped
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Onion Powder: 1/2 tsp (homemade or store bought)
Garlic Powder: 1/2 tsp (homemade or store bought)
Fresh ground pepper : as per taste
Extra Virgin Olive oil: 2 tbsp

Soak cashews in water for 2 hours, drain and add to the blender bowl. Combine all other ingredients except oil and blend till smooth.

Add  in the oil while the blender is running and let it emulsify.

Add more water if too thick.

Refrigerate and use within a week. 

You can make coleslaw or pasta salad or healthy apple salad. Or use it as a healthy dip for crackers and veggies of your choice.

Healthy and vegan mayo. If you have a problem with fatty cashews you can go for other low fat nuts like almonds, soy mixed nuts etc. or even go for a tofu version. Each version might be tasting slightly different due the nuts used.

The cashew one I made tasted similar to the eggless mayos I have been using though ofcourse without the preservatives. May be those who love the original eggy sauce might have a different opinion. 

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