USING THE OVEN
Here at the cortijo, we generally don’t often use the wood-fired bread oven unless we are planning to cook a number of different dishes on the same day. These might include a typical roast dinner or pizzas, bread and possibly cake, then it makes it worthwhile heating up the wood-fired bread oven for several hours. I’ve recently been experimenting with baking cakes and cooking things in the breadmaker. I normally make sourdough if it is sunny and it means we can cook it using purely solar energy. I use the BAKE program which is No. 12 on our Princess breadmaker and it takes 60 minutes.
COOKING JACKET POTATOES
My first experiment was jacket potatoes. I chose 2 medium-sized potatoes, pricked them with a fork and wrapped them in foil. I took the paddle out of the bread tin and placed the potatoes on either side of the spindle. At the end of the cooking time, I opened up the parcels and cut each potato in half. I pricked the surface with a fork and smeared over some butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. I put a couple of slices of cheddar cheese on one side of each potato and then wrapper them up again and put them back in the breadmaker. There was still a lot of residual heat left from cooking the potatoes and so by leaving them for another 30-40 minutes, they could finish cooking and the cheese could melt.
BAKING A CAKE
My second experiment was to bake some brownies and this is the recipe I used. I didn’t want to use the pan that came with the breadmaker so bought an additional one. I measured the machine and reckoned that if I bought one for a maximum width of 18cm I would be OK and chose a 7″ or 17.8cm round PME cake tin. As it turned out, although that was the size of the base and sides sloped gradually outwards and the final edge diameter was 19.6cm. Luckily it was possible to squeeze and force the tin slightly to get it in.
I didn’t want it to sit too near the base and the heating element, so put an upturned ramekin on the turning spindle.
Here are some links to recipes that I have tried in the breadmaker.
RECIPE 1: Brownies
We’ve been fairly self-sufficient recently in terms of green vegetables and the broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel spouts have kept us going through the winter months. The other day, I spotted some perpetual spinach and so thought I would do something different with it. Here is a recipe for pasta with spinach and ricotta. I used wholewheat macaroni but you could use anything.
SPINACH AND RICOTTA PASTA
- 200g pasta
- 200g ricotta
- fresh spinach
- salt and pepper
- cheddar or parmesan cheese, grated
- extra virgin olive oil
- Heat some salted water for the pasta.
- Wilt the spinach in a frying pan with a splash of water.
- Roughly chop the spinach.
- Cook the pasta.
- Heat some oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan and gently fry the garlic.
- Add the spinach, the ricotta and season with salt and pepper.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the frying pan and mix well.
- Add some more of the pasta cooking liquid if necessary.
- Serve and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Reconstituting Sun Dried Tomatoes
Method 2 Sun dried tomatoes in a salad. (the jar method)
OK so you have lots of sun dried tomatoes but they are useless unless you know what to do with them. The obvious thing to do is to add them to stews and anything you are cooking. In this post I want to tell you how to reconstitute them so that they can be used in salads etc as a substitute for fresh tomatoes in the months that fresh tomatoes are not available.
Put some tomatoes on a deep plate. Cover them with boiling water. Cover with an upturned plate. Leave for 15 minutes or until they are soft. Pour off the water. Sprinkle on some salt and drizzle some olive oil over them. They can be served as a tomato salad just on their own. As you can see some of the sun dried tomatoes can go a bit black but they taste the same so I don’t care.
Method 1 Sun Dried Tomatoes in a salad
Cram some dried tomatoes into a glass jar. Add a small teaspoonful of sugar to the jar. Fill the jar up with a mixture of water and vinegar. The ratio is according to taste and how strong the vinegar is. Leave for 24 hours. Use within 3 days because they will start to ferment. I tend to use these tomatoes as a substitute for fresh tomatoes in winter salads.
The tomatoes on this page were dried in my solar drier. Click here to see it