Easter brioche 2

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This is my third year in a roll to make my traditional Easter brioche or Kozunak in Bulgarian. At home they say only the one with master chef skills can make it, so I am very proud with myself. This is a recipe from my mum and she has it from her mum, so it`s a big deal for me to keep it going. I am not gonna lie, this brioche takes a lot of time and kneading, but if you follow the steps and have enough time, prepare yourself for a treat.

Ingredients (makes two big brioches)

250 ml warm full fat milk

2 tbsp. dry yeast

250 g white crystal sugar

5 eggs (plus one egg yolk for glazing)

200 g melted butter

1 kg white flour (sifted) and extra 2 cups for kneading

Zest of two limes

 

3 tbsp sugar for topping

Preparation:

  1. Warm the milk and add the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes or until bubbles start showing on the top.
  2. Whisk the eggs with sugar, butter and lime zest until smooth. Add the active milk yeast mixture.
  3. In a big bowl make a well in the middle and pour the egg mix. Start work it slowly by incorporating the flour in it. Once you have a soft dough move it to a dusted working surface.
  4. Knead the dough for at least 15 minutes, for best results keep doing it for 30 minutes.
  5. Place the dough into a bowl and cover with cotton towel and allow to rise for an hour, or until it double in size
  6. Knead again for 5 minutes and cut in two. Cut in three each ball and knead it like shown on the pictures below. Make a plait and tuck the edges under.
  7. Place each bread in a separate tray or if you don`t have, just use a baking paper to divide one big tray.
  8. Let it rise again for 2 hours.
  9. Brush with egg wash and top with sugar.
  10. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 180 degrees. Allow to cool before serving.

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Blueberry hot cross buns

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I hope you all had an amazing Easter with your families and loved ones. To me Easter is like small Christmas and I love everything traditional on this day. This year I tried for the first time to make Hot cross buns, and I was very happy with the result, so was my daughter 🙂 The buns are rather easy to make and if you love baking, try them next time you fancy something traditional- I promise you they are much better than the store bought ones.

Ingredients:

For the dough

500 g bread flour

11 g dry yeast

50 g icing sugar

50 g melted butter

200 ml full fat milk

2 eggs plus 1 for glazing

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp mixed spice

100 g dried blueberries

For the cross:

100 g flour

1 tbsp icing sugar

water enough to make a paste

For the sugar syrup

50 g sugar

20 ml water

Preparation:

  1. Start with the sugar syrup to have enough time to cool down. Mix the sugar and water and boil until the sugar dissolve. Set aside.
  2. Warm the milk and add the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes until bubbles start showing on the top.
  3. Sift the flour and add the blueberries, spices, the yeast mix, two eggs, butter and sugar. Whisk well until it turns into an elastic dough.
  4. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, cover with clean foil or cotton towel and leave it to rise for 1 and a half hours.
  5. Once the dough double in size, knead for another minute and then cut into 10-12 small buns. Place each one in a baking tray, cover with cloth towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
  6. Make the cross by mixing the flour, sugar and little water until you get a thick paste. Put the mix into a a piping bag and cut the edge.
  7.  Brush the buns with egg yolk, draw a cross on each bun and bake at 170 for 40 minutes.
  8. Glaze the buns with sugar syrup immediately after taking them out of the oven.

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Breadsticks with zaatar and cheese

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Quick and tasty, inspired by my previous recipe. I had leftovers zaatar and cheese and turned them into this snack. My 10 months old daughter loved them too.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups white flour

1/2 cup yogurt

50g butter

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

handful chopped zaatar

100 g Emmental grated

Preparation:

Mix well all the ingredients. Roll the dough and cut into thin strips. Twist each strip and place in baking tray at 180 C for 20 minutes.

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Quiche with Emmental and fresh zaatar

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Zaatar is well known Arabic herb. It is sort of thyme, very fragrant and versatile. It is widely used in Bulgaria as well, there it is called “chubrica” and we use it dried as a condiment to almost everything we cook.

I saw this recipe from my Instagram friend Petites Choses . I have to tell you I started looking for fresh zaatar in every shop I go. Well I finally found it and the result is delicious.

Ingredients:

1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
4 eggs
200 ml single cream
100-150 gr Emmental, grated
250 gr white cheese feta type. I used Bulgarian cows milk mature cheese
1 small bunch fresh thyme (zaatar)
salt and pepper

Preparation:

Preheat the oven at 180 C.
Beat the eggs until they become fluffy. Add the cream. Crumble the white cheese  with a fork and add it to the mix. Add the thyme and Emmental. Season with salt and pepper. Mix everything.
Line a pie plate with the dough, let the extra pieces over hang the plate.
Place the mixture on the dough, fold any excess dough onto the center of the plate on top of the egg mixture.
Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top becomes golden/ brown

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Cornish pasty with leftover Christmas turkey

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Happy Christmas to all! I hope you had an amazing time with your love ones.

Christmas in our house was truly great. On 24th we celebrated with traditional Bulgarian dinner, and on 25th we had traditional British food. I do this for second year now and it works great for our family and guests.

For the traditional British dinner I cooked bacon wrapped turkey, sausage and cranberries stuffing, loads of roasted veggies and of course Christmas pudding. Since the bird was almost 6 kg we end up with great amount of turkey meat on the next morning. Tom came up with the idea of using it for traditional Cornwall pastry-know as Cornish pasty. The dish itself was born in the 15-16 century, but its popularity grows in 18th century when the miners and farmers wives would prepare this easy to carry and store meal stuffed with Sunday roast dinner leftovers. The shape and size was perfect to keep them full through the entire day at work.

The Cornish pasty dough is flaky and buttery puff pastry, but for mine I quickly made this simple dough as I needed a simple solution on a boxing day. For the filling I used finally chopped leftovers, cranberry sauce and bread sauce.

Ingredients (for three big pasties)

For the dough:

  • 500g white self raising flour
  • 200ml warm water
  • 2 tbs dry yeast
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp oil

For the filling I used the leftovers of:

  • roasted turkey
  • swedes
  • parsnips
  • potatoes
  • stuffing
  • cranberry sauce
  • bread sauce
  • milk for brushing the pasty

Preparation:

  1. Mix the water with yeas and sugar and set aside for 10 minutes
  2. Add to the flour
  3. Add salt and oil and form a nice soft dough
  4. Let it rest for 30-40 minutes or until double its size
  5. Chop the leftovers into tiny bits
  6. Divide the dough into three parts
  7. Roll each part into thin circle
  8. In one of the sides add the leftovers with some cranberry and bread sauce
  9. Close the dough in a crescent  shape and brush with milk
  10. Bake for 30 mins on 220 degrees.

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Easy peasy mince pies

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Did you decorate your Christmas tree already? December is by far the most festive month of all. And for food bloggers this means a lot of hearty, traditional recipes.

I will be honest and admit that I have never heard of mince pies before I moved to Dubai. There is no such thing in Bulgaria. Our traditional treats are very heavy and time consuming, something that I have recently start to avoid considering my big bump and constant baby kicks. I learned my lesson from our baby announcement party- there I cooked for more than 20 guests. I started cooking at 10 am and finished somewhere around 4pm! Deviled eggs, hummus, numerous salads and dips, skewers, and nibbles- all home made. It was a good exercise and the guests loved the food, but I paid the price on the next day, when I couldn`t make out of bed until noon.

Working full time and being pregnant is bigger challenge than expected, so please forgive me if the upcoming recipes are too easy for you. Today`s mince pies will be ready before you can say “December”.

Ingredients:

  • a jar of Robertson`s mincemeat
  • 500 g shortbread dough (see the recipe here)
  • icing sugar for dusting

Preparation:

  1. Roll your chilled, but not frozen dough as thick as a coin.
  2. Cut the dough into circles using a glass with suitable shape
  3. Cut stars/hearts shaped dough to cover the pies
  4. Place the circles carefully into your muffin or mini pies tray
  5. Add one tbsp of mincemeat to each pie and top with the star/heart
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes
  7. Serve dusted with icing sugar

 

 

Posh banana bread with walnuts and dates

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If you follow my blog (which I hope you do :)) you know how much I like baking. Preferably easy baking! With the years in the kitchen I found that the biggest challenge is not always the recipe, but the oven. I have been using almost any kind of oven- from simple electricity oven, gas oven, super posh one to very simple one. How to get it right- watch your bake at all times.

To have this banana bread baked with golden crust I moved it around the oven at least three times, just to make sure that it is baked all the way. It end up perfect!

About the recipe you will find it easy. Try to get organic and ripe bananas if possible so their sweetness will melt in your mouth later. I added walnuts and dates for extra crunch and stickiness. We skipped the dinner and had the banana bread only…and again for breakfast this morning. One advice- don`t count calories and indulge this delicious bread today.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 ripe bananas plus 2 more for decoration
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 10 deseeded dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Beat the eggs with the sugar until double its size
  • Add the soften butter and mix well
  • Using a fork mash the bananas and add them to the egg mix
  • Add the walnuts, dates, salt, baking powder and vanilla
  • Add the flour and mix well to incorporate
  • Pour the mix into buttered baking tray and decorate with the two bananas you have left
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.