Tag Archives: plain flour

Recipe – Homemade [Vegan] Spinach Pasta and Dipping Sauce

The Offspring and I are omnivores through and through, but there are some vegan recipes that are so good, even committed meat-eaters like us fall in love with them. Spinach Pasta with Dipping Sauce is one such recipe. The Offspring discovered it on Youtube, and it’s become a family favourite. No pics, sorry.

As with many of my recipes, there’s an official version, and then there’s my version. You’ll find both below. Enjoy. 🙂

Official Version

  1. Prepare one large bunch of English Spinach by washing thoroughly to make sure there are no grains of sand or grit hidden amongst the leaves.
  2. In a large soup pot, bring just enough water to the boil to cover the bottom 1/2 inch of the pot.
  3. When the water is boiling, drop the spinach leaves into the pot and quickly toss them in the boiling water. This should not take more than a minute as the spinach wilts very quickly.
  4. Take the spinach out of the water but reserve the liquid.
  5. Allow the spinach to cool before chopping.
  6. Once chopped, add 3 cups of all purpose flour [plain flour for Aussies] and 2gm of salt to the spinach and mix together by hand until it forms a dough. If it’s too dry, add some of the reserved cooking water.
  7. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the fridge until ready to roll out.
  10. Fill a large soup pot with cold water and bring to the boil.
  11. While the water is coming to the boil, divide the dough into 4 -6 lumps and roll each lump out individually on a lightly floured board.
  12. Cut the rolled dough into strips.
  13. Lay the strips on baking/parchment paper until they’re all cut out.
  14. Once the water is boiling, drop the pasta into the water and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.
  15. Remove the strips from the boiling water and rinse in icy water.
  16. Set aside until all of the strips are cooked.

My Version

  1. Thaw a packet of frozen spinach… [During the pandemic we grew our own spinach, but once it went to seed I wasn’t happy about substituting supermarket spinach because it didn’t look great after ‘decontaminating’ for 3 days. Enter the frozen spinach. It made everything easier. 😀 ]
  2. Place the thawed spinach in the blender with just enough cold water to blend until smooth. At this point, the spinach looks like a beautiful green soup.
  3. Pour the blended spinach into a large bowl and add all purpose [plain] flour – a BIT AT A TIME – mixing as you go until the dough starts to hold together.
  4. Continue mixing and kneading lightly until the dough is soft but no longer super sticky.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. [From here on the process is the same as for the official version.]
  6. Fill a large soup pot with cold water and bring to the boil.
  7. While the water is coming to the boil, divide the dough into 4 -6 lumps and roll each lump out individually on a lightly floured board. The thinner you can get the dough the better.
  8. Cut the rolled dough into strips – we make them quite wide, say 2 inches or so.
  9. Lay the strips on baking/parchment paper until they’re all cut out.
  10. Once the water is boiling, drop the pasta into the water and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. I let them float to the surface and then give them an extra 30 seconds.
  11. Remove the strips from the boiling water and rinse in icy water. set aside until all of the strips are cooked.

NOTE: if you make too much of the dough to cook for one meal, put the uncooked portion in a freezer bag and freeze until you want to use it again. To thaw, simply take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge overnight. It should be ready to use by the time you are ready to roll it into strips. This is the only pic in the entire post:

A ball of frozen spinach dough straight from the freezer

Dipping Sauce [quite spicy]

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 spring onions [they’re the long, skinny ones that look like leafy cigarettes]
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 of a teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 a teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 a teaspoon sugar
  • 30 mls of peanut oil
  • 60 mls of Chinese dark vinegar
  • 30 mls of soy sauce
  • 3 mls of sesame oil
  • 125 mls of water

Method

  1. Clean the spring onions and cut the whites and greens separately
  2. Peel and crush the garlic
  3. Gently cook the white part of the spring onions in the peanut oil [to infuse the flavour].
  4. Strain the infused oil and discard the whites.
  5. Pour the hot, infused oil over the dry ingredients [and garlic] and mix.
  6. Finally, add the vinegar, soy saunce, sesame oil and water.
  7. Mix and set aside until ready to serve. Can store in the fridge for 2 – 3 days.

To serve, simply place some of the spinach pasta in individual bowls and spoon over as much of the dipping sauce as you like. Chopsticks can be used but I find the pasta is a bit slippery so stabbing it with a fork is easier. 😉

cheers,
Meeks


Coffee & peanut shortbread

As always, apologies in advance for the poor quality of the photos.

I made the peanut shortbread in celebration of the Offspring getting the first jab of Pfizer! [Recipe at the end of the post].

The cup, saucer, and side plate I chose this time share colour tonings but are not ‘a set’. Very few of my pretties match because I collected them one by one, over about thirty years. So, first the side plate. There are no marks of any sort on the back, so either it’s quite old, or…it wasn’t considered worth marking? No idea, sorry.

The cup and saucer do have a mark. It says ‘Foreign’, which leads me to wonder whether the design was made in Japan for the Western market :

Awful photo, I know. Couldn’t hold the damn phone still. 😦

What I can say is that the cup and saucer are what’s called ‘Lustreware’. The pieces I have are all made from a porcelain so fine, you can see through it when you hold it up to the light. They also have a kind of translucent irridescence that I love. You can get a sense of that in the pic of the cup below:

And now for that recipe! I can’t take much credit for it as it’s basically the same one you can find on the back of the packet of McKenzie’s rice flour, but here goes:

Shortbread with peanuts

Ingredients

  • 225 grams plain flour [all purpose flour], sifted [I didn’t]
  • 115 grams McKenzie’s rice flour, sifted [I didn’t]
  • 115 grams caster sugar, sifted [I didn’t]
  • 1 pinch of salt [as I was going to use salted peanuts, I did NOT add the salt]
  • 225 grams of butter, at room temperature [I forgot to take the unsalted butter out so had to use it cold]
  • 1/3 cup of salted peanuts

Method

Preheat oven to 150C [302 F]. If using the fan forced or fan bake setting, make it a few degrees cooler.

The next bit says you should grease a baking tray and line it with baking paper. I didn’t. I cut a piece of baking paper to size and simply lay it inside the baking tray.

From here on in I’ll just tell you what I did. So, I put the plain flour, rice flour and sugar in a bowl and stirred with a fork.

Next, I cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients and kept cutting it into smaller pieces until they were small enough to rub between my fingers. Rubbing involves pressing the butter/flour mix between the tips of your fingers as if you were trying to wash just your fingertips. Keep ‘rubbing’ until the mixture becomes granular. Sometimes you’ll hear people say ‘until it’s like breadcrumbs’. You really don’t have to be too precious about it, just mix the ingredients together.

Add the peanuts and mix in to the rest of the ingredients.

This next part is easy. Squeeze the mixture into a ball and bung it down onto the middle of the baking tray. Spread it with your hands, trying to avoid having a big clump of peanuts in any one place. I patted the shortbread dough into a rough circle because it was quick, and I was lazy. The thickness of the circle was about the size of a peanut lying flat – i.e. I wanted the peanuts to be covered by shortbread without the whole thing being too ‘fat’.

Press the tip of a fork all over the dough to allow the mixture to expand sideways.

Place the shortbread in the middle of the oven and allow it to bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until it’s a pale, golden brown. If you have any doubts about the temperature of your oven, check after 30 minutes.

Take the shortbread out of the oven and immediately ‘cut’ it with a knife. The shortbread will still be quite soft. Once it cools you won’t be able to cut it.

Leave the cut shortbread on the baking tray until cool. Eat with coffee, tea or cold milk. 🙂

cheers
Meeks


Milk and Chocolate Shortbread

This is another Offspring special, a basic shortbread recipe with added chunks of Plaistowe dark cooking chocolate. My contribution was the milk. 😀

The photo is a little washed out because it was taken at night with a flash. The shortbread actually looks more like this:

For those who have never tasted shortbread before, it’s an odd combination of dry, crumbly texture that literally melts in your mouth. It’s very easy to make and we love it. If you want to try it yourself, the recipe follows:

Traditional Shortbread [with added chocolate]

Note: the recipe is on the back of the McKenzie’s rice flour packet, and you will need rice flour in addition to ordinary wheat flour.

Ingredients:
  • 225 gm of plain flour [all purpose flour], sifted,
  • 115 gm of rice flour, sifted
  • 115 gm of caster sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 225 gm of unsalted, room temperature butter [do NOT use spreadable butter as the oil and/or process used changes how the butter works in recipes].
  • about 1/4 cup good quality cooking chocolate, chopped into smallish ‘chunks’. We used Plaistowe cooking chocolate because it’s actually good enough to eat on its own so long as you don’t like your chocolate very sweet.
Method

Pre-heat oven to 150 C. This is a slow oven.

Grease your baking tray [we didn’t, we lined it with baking paper instead].

Combine both flours, sugar and salt in a bowl.

Rub in butter and knead gently until a smooth dough forms.

Add the chopped chocolate and gently mix into the dough.

The recipe says to transfer the dough to a floured surface and ‘shape as required’. That basically means you can cut pretty shapes out of it. We don’t do any of that. We place the dough directly onto the baking tray and spread it out by hand or with the back of a spoon until it’s about the right ‘depth’. Shortbread should not be thick! 1/2 an inch is more than thick enough.

Prick the dough with a fork. We also ‘score’ the surface lightly with a knife. This makes cutting the cooked shortbread easier.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until a light, golden brown. The end.

A tip from us: leave the shortbread on the tray and gently cut along the scored lines while the shortbread is still a bit soft and pliable. The shortbread will firm up as it cools. Cutting it once it’s cold and crumbly is…not very successful.

And there you have it. Another day, another treat. If you have favourite treats of your own, please link to them in comments. Oh, and if you have favourite cups or dishes to go with the treats, please link them as well.

Cheers
Meeks


Red Tea and Sweet Bread

I did no work for this post whatsoever. The Offspring made the sweet bread rolls, and I can’t even tell you where the cup-and-saucer came from as the mark is so small and smudged I couldn’t make out even a single letter. But it is pretty. 🙂

The bread rolls turned out to be delicious, and vaguely reminiscent of croissants. Not as fluffy and flaky, of course, but the kind of flavour that you could eat with either jam or something more savoury. Definitely a hit.

The Offspring found the recipe for the bread rolls on Youtube and followed the instructions on the video. There are a lot of breadmaking videos so here’s a selection of good ones:

All three videos use plain [all purpose] flour, egg, butter, yeast, salt and sugar, but the techniques are slightly different. Oh, and the buns won’t rise quite so well if you make the gap between each ball too wide – i.e. they need to be close enough to support each other as they rise.

And now for the red tea. I couldn’t get the same ‘pink’ tea as before, so this time I tried Twinings ‘Cranberry & Pomegranate’. The flavour is great but it’s the smell that blows me away. I think they add hibiscus to the tea because the aroma is strong, distinctive and fruity/flowery.

-blush- Apologies, I sound like some wine buff waffling on about the ‘bouquet’ but honestly, the smell is divine, and that’s coming from someone who loves coffee!

If you’ve had a special treat lately, I’d love to hear about it. 🙂

cheers
Meeks



%d bloggers like this: