Stuffed Stick Bread with Homemade Pesto (via Justinbonello.com)
Get hold of as many long sticks as you have friends but make sure you don’t use any kind of wood that oozes resin – it’s going to taste nasty and might make you sick. So unless you want to poison your friends don’t use pine or the like.
Make basic bread dough. When the dough is ready, knock it back down before tearing off monkey fist sized pieces. Flatten the dough and then shape it into long cord-like snake shapes with your fingers. No rolling pins here! Now grease the end of your stick with sunflower oil. Next, create a spiral of dough around the piece of wood by making a loop of dough around the top of the stick and pinching the dough together, then spiral the dough around the rest of the stick and pinch the last bit together.
- 2 man-size handfuls of fresh basil leaves
- A good handful of pine nuts – these are expensive but you can substitute with chopped walnuts
- 2 or 3 fat cloves of garlic (do not under any circumstances be tempted to use that ready chopped stuff you get in supermarkets – it’s mostly turnip)
- ½ Cup of extra virgin olive oil
- ½ Cup of grated Parmesan cheese (or any other similarly strong-flavoured cheese like Gruyère. Use the best quality you can afford, it will make all the difference to the taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the basil and the nuts in your trusty mortar and pestle, then add the garlic and mix some more. Once these things have got to know each other, add the olive oil in a steady stream, and keep pounding. Unless you’re extremely dexterous, you’re going to need to enlist the help of a friend for this part. The cheese goes in second last, then the seasoning. Don’t worry too much about it being perfectly smooth; you’re not making baby food.
Use this as your basic recipe but try using other herbs instead of basil – like coriander or parsley – and rocket, spinach, roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes or olives. Once the stick bread is cooked (it will sound hollow when you tap it) cut it lengthways and stuff it with the pesto. Enjoy immediately.
Makes 1 Pot Bread or 2 Loaves
Oven: 200°C / 400°F
1 Basic dough
- For Loaves knock the dough down and divide into two equal pieces.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle slightly shorter than the width of a loaf pan.
- Roll the dough up and place into a greased loaf pan.
- For Pot Bread shape all the dough into a round ball. Place into a greased flat pot and flatten the top slightly.
- Cover the loaf pans with greased plastic, or the pot with its lid, and allow to rise in a warm place until double the size, about 20 – 30 minutes.
- Bake the loaves in a preheated oven at 200°C / 400°F for 30 – 35 minutes.
Bake the pot bread the traditional way with hot coals for 30 – 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted margarine for a shiny crust.
Goats Cheese and Roasted Butternut Tart
- Dough for 1, 9-inch butter pie crust,OR olive oil crust recipe that follows:
- Olive oil crust: Measure 1 cup flour and 1tsp. salt into a mixing bowl. Measure 1/4 cup olive oil into a measuring cup, then fill to the 1/3 mark with cold water. Stir the oil and water with a fork to emulsify, then pour into the flour and stir until all the flour is moistened. Gather the dough and press into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about 20 minutes.
- Filling: 1 medium butternut squash (only half goes into the tart)
- 2 leeks or 1 onion
- Goat cheese
- Olive oil, salt, and pepper
- Thyme (optional)
- Roast the whole squash at 425 for about an hour, until soft and easily pierced with a fork.
- In the meantime, thinly slice the white and light green parts of the leek (remove the stringy bottom first) or your onion into thin rounds and sauté in a hefty splash of olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then turn heat to low and allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes to begin to caramelize. When the squash is cooked, carefully (ie, don’t burn yourself!) cut it in half and remove the seeds. Scoop out the flesh and mix half of it (hopefully this will equal about 2 cups) with the leeks/onion and salt and pepper to taste.
- Roll out the chilled pie dough directly onto a cookie sheet into about a 12-13 inch circle, and then run a thin spatula under the outer inch or two to loosen it from the sheet. Spread the squash mixture onto the crust, leaving 1/2-1 inch around the edge. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. thyme, if desired, and cover with hunks of goat cheese. Fold the edge of the crust up over the outside edge of the filling, scrunching it together in places to make it around the circle.
- Bake in the oven at 375F for about 45 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with fresh rocket leaves.
Blueberry and Mascarpone Tartlet
- 500g mascarpone
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
- ½ cup (80g) icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
- 375g blueberries
- Icing (confectioner’s) sugar, for dusting
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 1½ cups (225g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
- 125g cold butter, chopped
- ½ cup (80g) icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon iced water
To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process in short bursts until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. While the motor is running, add the egg yolk and vanilla. Add the iced water and process until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together to form a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm thick. Line a lightly greased 33cm x 9cm loose-bottomed rectangular tart tin with the pastry. Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper, fill with baking weights or rice and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and the weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool. While the tart is baking, make the filling. Place the mascarpone, lemon and icing sugar in a bowl and mix well to combine. Spread onto the base of the cooled tart shell, top with the blueberries and dust with icing sugar to serve. Serves 8–10.