Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Day 17

Last night I made lasagne. I ran out of leeks, so I needed to use some of the lasagne sheets that I had, but I didn't know how many I would need, so I cooked what I had. Around half of a box. Turns out I only needed 3 sheets to finish the lasagne. So, what to do with the leftover sheets? I blotted them dry on a clean tea towel, placed a small spoonful of some chicken that I had cooked in nacho cheese dip and salsa in the slow cooker the other day on one end and rolled them up! I then lightly greased a baking dish and laid the rolls in them. Then I made a mock cheese/spice sauce to pour over them with a bit of milk, cornstarch, home made fajita seasoning, crushed red chillies, Italian seasoning, paprika and black pepper. I cooked the sauce on the stovetop until it was just starting to thicken, then I poured it over the rolls and finely shredded some cheese over the top of the dish. As I pulled out the lasagne, I put the dish of lasagne sheet roll ups into the oven and let them cook for about 20 minutes. We haven't tried them yet, but this means that most of dinner tonight is already finished!

I also soaked the rest of the black beans that I had in water last night and cooked them in the slow cooker today. I have drained them and have them out cooling at the moment so that I can put them into the blender with a bit of garlic and some shallot and make "refried" beans to go with dinner tonight.

I'm baking bread at the moment as well (and the entire flat smells like a bakery!). I used a really simple recipe (that can be found here) and ended up using around 400 g of flour because it was a bit dry here today. The amount of flour that you use in bread making recipes will vary due to the weather in your area and especially the humidity.

I like to keep the windows open in the flat, otherwise the air gets stale and sometimes stifling. Since bread needs a warm moist environment to rise (yeast breads anyway, quick breads are for another day), I've figured out that I can place the bowl or pan into my oven, place a baking dish on the bottom (or on a lower rack if you have a heating element on the floor of your oven) and add boiling water to the baking dish. Then close up the oven (do NOT turn the oven on!!!) and let it rise for the allotted time in the recipe. Most recipes call for a first rise of 45 minutes to an hour, then after shaping and placing in the pan, a second rise of another 30 - 45 minutes.

*Update on the bread: I'm still not accustomed to baking bread here! Back in the States I had a stand mixer with a dough hook. Here in the UK I do not. Therefore I'm having to learn how to feel how much flour needs to go in for making dough. I don't think I used enough flour today. The bread still tastes wonderful though, so no harm done. :)

Since I didn't really follow any recipes this time I don't have any recipes to type up. I do however have photos!

Chicken and lasagne sheet roll ups

Black beans soaking in water

Bread dough

Bread dough, first rise

Separating the dough

Starting the second rise

Finished bread. The results of not using enough flour!

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