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Week 5: Kreplach

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /

I found these recipes while looking for something to do with the meat from a roast chicken. Kreplach appear to be a Jewish ravioli but folded into a triangle instead of made from two squares of pasta pressed together. I prepared the dough and filling yesterday to save time.

The dough was made by mixing together two cups of flour, a pinch of salt, two eggs, a quarter of a cup of oil and a couple of tablespoons of water (just enough water to bring everything together without making the dough too wet).

To make the filling, I minced two small onions and a clove of garlic and fried them in some oil before leaving them to cool. I shredded the chicken and mixed in the onion and garlic.

Assembling the kreplach

When I got home from work I started to assemble the Kreplach. I cut off a quarter of the dough and rolled it as thinly as possible. I cut out squares and put a spoonful of the meat in the middle of each. I folded one corner over to make a small pasty-shaped dumpling.

Kreplach in red pepper sauce

In the meantime I made a sauce out of red peppers, leeks and passata, with a small amount of chilli and parsley added for extra flavour. I simmered the kreplach for around 15-20 minutes.

Serving Suggestion

Giant Custard Cream

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I saw these giant custard cream biscuits in the Costa near work and had to buy one. I photographed it next to a few normal sized ones for scale.

giant custard cream

Sourdough Bread and Cake Day in work.

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My second attempt at making a loaf from the sourdough baking booklet was a Molasses and Rye loaf. I used treacle instead of molasses (which is a fair enough swap). I didn't have enough rye flour so I used a mixture of that and wholewheat.


The end result was a good loaf which smelled slightly of treacle but didn't taste sweet or treacly.

The cookies were made because it was my turn on the Cake Day rota in work. The recipe was called Thumbprint Cookies. I filled them with either jam, lemon curd or marmalade. They seemed to go down well and there weren't any left for me to bring home.


Week 4: Saag Aloo with Prawn and Butternut Squash Curry

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The recipes this week came about because we had an assortment of vegetables which needed using up: a bag of potatoes we bought which were at their sell-by date, a butternut squash we bought last week but hadn't used yet, some frozen spinach from last year which we keep forgetting to use.

The Saag Aloo contained onion, potatoes, and spinach and was spiced with garlic, ginger, chilli, mustard, cumin and turmeric.

The Prawn and Squash curry was spiced with cumin, chilli, turmeric, ground coriander and curry powder. We had a pot of plain yoghurt open in the fridge so I used that instead of the double cream in the original recipe.

Saag Aloo and Butternut squash curry

I served the curry with a mixture of plain and wild rice.

Week 2 revisited: Cod with cheesy breadcrumb topping

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I cooked a variation on the fish with breadcrumb topping from week 2. This time the topping was grated pecorino cheese and breadcrumbs. It was cooked for 20 minutes at gas mark 6 again, but this time I served it with home made potato wedges and samphire (which was boiled then tossed in melted butter and a sprinkle of black pepper).

Week 3 revisited: Cheese and onion dip

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I had another go at making a tofu based dip, this time cheese and onion flavoured. The first thing I did was put some cheese in the food processor and blitz until it was broken down breadcrumb sized pieces. I used a mixture of pecorino and strong mature cheddar.

Next I cooked a couple of small onions and 2 garlic cloves and added them to the food processor, along with a block of tofu. I blitzed it until everything mixed together to a smooth paste. I added a couple of grinds of black pepper and a dash of vinegar, since the original River Cottage recipe had vinegar in it too.

The dip needed more cheese and onion adding than I expected but the end result was ok.

Week 3: Two Dips

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I made two different dips for lunch, based on recipes from the River Cottage book. The first was a tofu dip. I followed the recipe in the River Cottage book but decided to only make half the quantities (since I've yet to come across a tofu recipe which I really like).

I put half a block of tofu in the food processor and added generous pinch of powdered ginger, a dash of soy, a larger dash of rice wine vinegar and half a garlic clove. I blitzed it all together and tasted it for seasoning. It was a little bland so I added more ginger and a few shakes of cayenne pepper. The original recipe claims that the dip will have a texture similar to mayonnaise and they weren't wrong. It would probably make a good mayo substitute for sandwiches.

I thought the flavour of the dip could do with a bit more work. Tofu might be a good addition to a home made hummus. It might help mix the chick peas and sesame to a smooth paste, to save having to add too much oil.

The next recipe was a courgette and goat's cheese dip. I took 1½ courgettes and sliced them thinly and fried them, along with a couple of cloves of garlic, in a little oil and butter. I put everything in the food processor, added a pinch of salt and 50g of goat's cheese, then blitzed everything to a paste. This dip was by far the better of the two and definitely needs making again in the future.

Week 2: Cod with panch phoran topping

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This meal was a combination of two different fish recipes. The original inspiration came from a booklet from the British Heart Foundation which I found myself reading at lunchtime on Friday. This recipe was for sea bass with panch phoran (which is an Indian spice mix - the name literally means '5 spices' but the mix is very different to the more common chinese 5-spice).

I didn't have any panch phoran but was fortunate to have all the individual spices in the kitchen. I started by putting equal amounts of Cumin,Fennel,Black Onion, Fenugreek and Yellow Mustard seeds into a pestle and mortar and started to crush them. I added a pinch of coarse sea salt to help crush the seeds.

The breadcrumb topping was based on a recipe from the BBC website. Their original recipe used herbs and garlic as seasoning but I simply used the spice mix instead.

Cod with breadcrumb topping

To make the breadcrumb topping, I took 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, added ½ a teaspoon of each of:

  • the spice mix,
  • chilli flakes
  • turmeric

along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mixed everything together before spreading it over the fish. I baked it in the oven at gas mark 6 for around 15-20 minutes.

Cod with spicy breadcrumb topping

Now I think this is the first time I've ever made a breadcrumb topping for fish and it surprised me by how quick it was to make. The spice mix went well with the fish.

Week 1: Sourdough white loaf

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This is the start of my second go at cooking something new every week for a year. A lot of the recipes this year will come from the various books I received for Christmas and this first one is no exception. This was the first recipe in a booklet on Sourdough baking and I selected it because it looked reasonably straightforward.

Sourdough loaf

The only slight issue was that the booklet was published in the USA and all measurements were in cups and tea- or tablespoons. I neglected to calculate how much 6 cups of flour would be and ended up with nearly 2kg of dough which was a bit difficult to knead. I ended up splitting the dough in two and made a large loaf with one half and a smaller loaf and some breadsticks with the other half.

Sourdough loaf

The main difference between this loaf and others I've made is that the dough is mixed then left to stand for around 20 minutes before kneading, and that halfway through the rising I actually remembered to knock it back and let it rise again.

The texture of this loaf is the closest to a bought loaf of any of my sourdough attempts. I think the booklet has proved its worth already but I'll be trying more recipes from it in the near future. Although I will be checking the quantities to make sure I don't end up with ridiculous amounts of bread.

Ha-Pie New Year

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Back in 2010, I attempted to cook a new recipe every week. I am going to try to do the same this year. I received a total of 5 recipe books for Christmas so I will have plenty of scope for finding ideas and inspiration.

My final recipe of 2012 was a turkey pie, made in the style of a pork pie. I first came across the idea a while ago but it was only last week when I finally got around to having a go at making them.

Pork-style Turkey Pie

The filling was made using turkey mince, turkey bacon, a finely sliced leek, a pinch of salt and a pinch of mixed spice. I tried to cook the pies in the traditional pork pie fashion, based on the method in a recipe from the Great British Bake-Off. I used well oiled glass tumblers as the 'pie dollies'. Although the pastry didn't stick to the glass, it didn't slide off easily because it formed a vacuum at the base. Even after half an hour in the fridge, the pastry was very soft and it collapsed slightly while I was filling it.

The resulting cooked pies tasted very good. The pastry was a bit thick but had a good 'pastry' taste to it. The filling worked very well too. I'll try again sometime but might use a pie dish so the pies hold their shape a bit better.

24 hours later, the pastry crust had gone crispy on the outside and the pie tasted even better. Apart from their saggy appearance and the soft base, I would have to describe them as a very successful first attempt.