Breadmaking the Italian Way



On Saturday I went to Edinburgh with Cakeyboi aka Stuart to review lunch at A Room in the West End (scroll down for the review) and to attend a breadmaking course at Bellini Cookery School in Edinburgh.

The course was kindly set up for us by lovemycourse, a website that offers over 62 thousand courses across the UK.




We picked a breadmaking course, but there are all sorts of courses. Photography, art & crafts, beauty, computer software, creative writing and web design, to name but a few. You can also set up your own courses and add them to the site. A good idea if you are thinking about setting up your own business.

We got there in plenty of time, people who know me may question this, but we did. We had a browse at the other independent shops on the street and a lady approached us to ask if we were there for her pumpkin carving course as we were looking in her shop window. It sounded fun, but we had other plans so we declined.

Bellini Cookery School is part of Gino's Italian Kitchen, a small cafe that sells homemade Italian food. It is owned by Gina Giubarelli and Chef Angelo Cimini. Chef Angelo is up early every morning cooking and baking for the cafe.

Gina introduced us to the cookery school and told us a bit about Chef Angelo's background before we got started. Chef Angelo was quiet to begin with, but as soon as he started baking his Italian passion for food came to the fore. 

We all started off the the same basic recipe, but each of us decided if we wanted to make a white or brown bread, then we decided if we would flavour our dough. 

On a recommendation from Chef Angelo, I made a brown bread filled with walnuts, raisins and lemon peel, which is a great pairing with blue cheese.

Chef Angelo only uses extra virgin olive oil, his family grew their own olives and the extra virgin olive oil was plentiful, so they used it for everything and he has carried on the tradition.


First we (Cakeyboi demonstrates) rubbed the olive oil into the 00 flour.

  
Next we added our extra ingredients and salt and tossed through the flour.

Then we made a well in the centre of our flour and poured in our fresh yeast dissolved in some warm water. Next we pulled it altogether into a dough, then we kneaded the dough until it was elastic. It was then popped back into our bowls, covered with clingfilm and left to prove in a warm spot above the oven. Once it had proved we shaped the dough and baked it until it was crisp and golden.

Here is a couple of wee videos of Chef Angelo kneading the dough and then finishing of some focaccia. I always think it is interesting to watch how it is done. There are so many techniques.





.....  and a few photos from our class.



Cinnamon was a popular addition in the class. I made small cinnamon rolls too, however Chef Angelo hated the cinnamon, it made him sneeze dreadfully, although he kindly left the room for that.

Cakeyboi

Some of the bread we made.




Tapping the base & listening for that hollow sound, which indicates it's ready.



We really enjoyed our class. There was only 6 of us in the group, so we really got individual help and in between baking we learned some knife skills and made the most amazingly tasty bruschetta.

Highly recommended!


 


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The course was arranged and paid for by lovemycourse. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed were my own.
12

A Room in the West End


Yesterday I had a trip to Edinburgh.

I love Edinburgh and don't visit often enough, but I was on a mission.

Stuart (Cakeyboi) and myself headed to the capital to visit A Room in the West End and to attend a breadmaking course at Bellini Cookery School. Lunch and then baking. I think you will agree that this is a great foodie day out.

While we were baking, Cooper and daddy went to have fun at the National Museum of Scotland.

They had a great time, but Cooper reported back to me that the hippos had gone to another museum so other children could see them and that the bug clock, which was our favourite, wasn't there anymore, so he thought it was probably being fixed.



Stuart and myself made our first stop at Teuchters Bar. The upstairs as you walk in is a traditional bar with pub grub on offer. A rather nice menu actually and well priced too, but it wasn't the pub we were visiting. We were heading down the stairs to the restaurant.

Photo from www.aroomin.co.uk

A Room in the West End is one of two popular city bistros that offers modern Scottish dining in a relaxed atmosphere. The other is A Room in Leith.


Downstairs is a cosy restaurant, with low lighting, simple wooden tables and chairs and a mural along one wall. On entering you instantly feel welcome and relaxed.

The restaurant filled up while we were there, but it was still cosy and you were far enough away far the other tables for a quiet chat.

The lunch menu offered Starters and Puddings for £4.95, Mains for £9.95 or you could go for 2 courses for £13.95 or 3 courses for £16.95. We went for the three courses. Just so we could properly sample the menu. Honestly!



We were brought some lovely fresh bread and butter to tuck into while we waited for our meal. For our starter, Stuart and I both went for Pan-fried Halloumi on Crisp Rocket with Artichoke Tapenade and Balsamic. I love Halloumi, so this was a great starter for me. The halloumi was well cooked and the tapenade was particularly good.


The other starters on offer were:
  • Tomato and Basil Soup (v)
  • Smoked Ham Hock and Harissa Broth
  • North Atlantic Prawn, Smoked Salmon and Dill Frittata with Beetroot Salsa
For main course, Stuart went for the Pan-Seared Calves Liver with Skirlie Mash, Roasted Cherry Vine Tomatoes, Drambuie and Thyme Jus. It was the skirlie mash that made the decision for Stuart as he loves it. I had heard of it before, but wasn't sure what it was. Apparently it is like the stuffing inside a white pudding. It's mashed potatoes with cooked onions and oats. I really must make that sometime!



I had the Sweet Potato, Scallion and Pecan Couscous Cake with Sunblushed Tomato Coulis. It was really good. The cake was crisp on the outside and creamy within. It went well with the coulis, but I was glad of the side vegetables we were given to share. It did need the extra texture.

The other main courses on offer were:
  • Chargrilled Chicken Breast with Chorizo and Chickpea Cassoulet and a Sweetcorn and Cider Cream Sauce
  • Grilled Fillet of Cod, with a Smoked Paprika Rosti, toasted Stornoway Black Pudding and Green Olive Crème Fraiche
For dessert, Stuart had Coffee, Frangelico and Pecan Tart with Raspberry Coulis, which he really enjoyed. I had a taste, but I'm not keen on coffee, so this wasn't one for me. 

I had the Dark Chocolate Tart with Dark Cherry Compote. It was good, but I think it could have benefited from some creme fraiche or cream to cut through the bitter chocolate.


The other dessert option was:
  • Clava Brie and Applewood Smoked Cheddar with Quince Jelly and Crieff Oatcakes
I would definitely return to A Room in the West End. It would be a great place to take friends or family. Good quality, locally sourced food, comfortable surroundings, friendly but unobtrusive staff and it was all reasonably priced. I think a return visit to the bar upstairs for lunch is also on the cards. If they allow children of course, as many of the bars in Edinburgh don't have a family licence.

A Room in the West End 
and Teuchters Bar

26 William Street
EDINBURGH
EH3 7NH

0131 226 1036  (a room in the west end)

0131 225 2973  (teuchters)

Peter Knight/John Tindal owners
Stephen Hill  general manager
Scott Morrow head chef 

Disclosure: I was invited to A Room at the West End to sample the menu and did not pay for the meal. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
19

Carrot and Black Bean Sausages



You probably know by now that I love making my own burgers, but I've never tried making sausages.

Last month we stayed at the gorgeous Woodland Bay Hotel, outside Girvan on the West coast of Scotland.

We had a few days in log cabins in Comrie first, then moved to the Woodland Bay for 4 days bed and breakfast, as well as lots of splashing about and sandcastle building on the beach.

There were plenty of breakfast options on offer, but Graham and I couldn't resist the cooked breakfast.


For breakfast I had:
  • a poached egg
  • a tattie scone
  • a hash brown
  • a veggie sausage
  • tomatoes 
  • mushrooms
  • baked beans
  • toast
Yes, it was a mammoth breakfast and it really set us up for the day.

I couldn't eat this every day, in fact I rarely have breakfast, but it was a great treat on holiday. Graham had the same as me, but without the egg and Cooper enjoyed a big bowl of porridge followed by toast and honey.

The only thing I didn't enjoy about the breakfast was the sausage, which was swiftly passed to Graham's plate. I knew then the time had come to make my own.

I went for carrots and black beans as the base for my sausages and spiced them up using piri piri and cumin. My favourite spice for burgers is Schwartz Cajun Spice, but a friend at work recommended the Piri Piri Spice, so I decided to try that and it worked well.

Like homemade burgers, homemade sausages have to be heavily spiced as a lot of the flavour is lost, so don't be alarmed by how much I use.




I served my veggie sausages with a poached egg, homemade tattie scones, toast and beans.

It was a gorgeous late Sunday morning breakfast.

The sausages were also suitable for Graham's vegan diet and they passed the Cooper test.

He didn't say "what is that?" or "I don't want that!", he just tucked in.

Not sure he wanted his photo taken though!

Do you ever have a cooked Sunday breakfast?






print recipe

Carrot and Black Bean Sausages

An easy recipe for homemade veggie sausages spiced with piri piri and cumin.
Ingredients
  • 150g carrots
  • 400g tin of black beans
  • 200g potato
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 3 tsp flax seeds (linseeds), optional
  • 3 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 3 tsp piri piri spice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • a good grinding of black pepper
Instructions
1. Boil or steam the potatoes until soft and mash.2. Grate the carrots. 3. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix until well combined.4. Roll mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball or a little larger, then roll out into a sausage shapes.5. Chill in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. 6. To cook, either heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook until brown and crispy or pop in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.7. These can be frozen.8. Enjoy!
Details
Total time:
Yield: Makes 8 sausages


Disclosure: I recommended the Woodland Bay Hotel from my own experience and am not affiliated with them. I developed my recipe for Schwartz and received payment, but I am happy to recommend them anyway as I use their spice mixes regularly in my burgers. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
29

Saag Aloo (spinach and potato side dish)


Spinach, Spinach, Spinach.

I do have a bit of a love affair with it. I love it on a tart with caramelised onions and cheddar, on messicani pasta with a cheese sauce, in a quiche with mushrooms and feta and in a smoothie.

This week I shared my favourite use of spinach, spinach and coconut dal. This is one of our real family favourites. We enjoy it midweek with toasted pitta, but as I mentioned in my last post, I had guests for dinner, so I decided to make more of a meal of it.

We dined on spinach and coconut dal, chana masala (chickpea curry), saag aloo, rice, cucumber & mint raita and pickled red onions. Mmmmmmm, it was good.





I had an added incentive to make my saag aloo this week. Total kindly sent me out some Greek Yoghurt to try as part of their #trytotal challenge.

I could have used one of their recipes, but as I had a large bag of GreenVale Farm Fresh Potatoes to use, saag aloo seemed like a good idea and we did enjoy it.

Potatoes are another weakness of mine, I always love a potato dish and these are tasty potatoes. I might make it spicier next time, as I kept it quite mild to suit Cooper, but in the end he turned his nose up at it, preferring to tuck into his dal.

You can't win them all!

This dish isn't suitable for vegans, but it could easily be. Just substitute the yoghurt for dairy free yoghurt or unsweetened soya mik.


print recipe

Saag Aloo
A tasty Indian side dish made from spinach and potatoes, flavoured with spices.
Ingredients
  • 6 medium potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 240g baby spinach
  • a good handful of fresh coriander
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt (or dairy free yoghurt)
  • a good grinding of salt and pepper
Instructions
1. Parboil the potatoes until tender.2. Wilt the spinach by adding it to a colander and pouring a kettleful of boiling water over it. Refresh with cold water, then squeeze most of the water out. Whizz in a food processor with the coriander until smooth.3. In a large pan, heat the oil and add the spices. Let them sizzle for a minute or two before adding the onion, garlic and chilli. Saute the onions until soft.4. Add the potatoes to the pan and coat in the spices, then add the spinach and allow to cook for 10 minutes until all the flavours have developed.5. Add the yoghurt and lemon juice, then season.6. Enjoy!
Details
Total time:
Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side dish


Here are a few more veggie and vegan spinach recipes for you to try:






Disclosure: Total and GreenVale Farm sent me products out to try. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed were my own.

10

Easy Spinach and Coconut Dal

This spinach and coconut dal is a delicious, but frugal family meal, that can be thrown together in under half an hour. Made with red lentils, spinach, coconut milk, a few simple spices and vegetable stock.

Easy Spinach and Coconut Dal

Easy Spinach and Coconut Dal



Spinach and Coconut Dal. 

I cal it dal, but maybe you call it dahl, dhal, daal or even dail. 

There doesn't seem to be just one way to spell it, but which ever way you spell it, it is utterly delicious and a real comfort food.

What is Dal?



Small bowl of Easy Spinach and Coconut Dal


Dal is an Indian term for spit peas, beans or lentils. It is also the name of the finished dish, which can either be served thick like a curry or thinner as a soup. 

In Western India it is serve with naan bread or roti. 

In Eastern India it is served with rice. It seems to be made with a variety of split pulses and served differently from region to region.

It can be made with chana dal (made from black chickpeas), rajma dal (made from kidney beans), mung dal (split mung beans), yellow split peas, masoor dal (red lentils) and urad dal (also known as black gram). I am sure it is made with many other pulses too.


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Related - Aloo Gobhi(potato & cauliflower dry style curry) 

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Basic Dal


The basic dal is made simply by cooking lentils with water, turmeric and salt. 

There are usually other spices added too, which also vary from region to region and sometimes tomatoes or mango is also added. Then it is topped with onion, garlic and ginger cooked with spices, which is poured over the top before it is served.

How do I make dal?


I always use red lentils as the base for my dal and make it more like a curry than soup, although I have been known to add more stock to leftover dal to make a soup for the next day.

I use stock instead of water in my dal and add coconut cream for a luxurious finish.

The spices I add are fresh or dried ginger, ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli powder or chilli flakes. I also like to add spinach which adds extra flavour and extra nutrients.

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Related - Aubergine and Onion Masala (slow cooker recipe) 

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Spinach and Coconut Dal with rice and mango chutney


How to serve dal?


On weeknights I completely ignore tradition and serve my dal with toasted wholemeal pitta bread to scoop it up, but if I have more time I will serve it with rice, mango chutney and some poppadoms.


A trio of Indian curry - saag aloo, chickpea curry and spinach and coconut dal


If I have guests arriving for dinner I will also make some of my favourite chickpea curry, some saag aloo (spinach and potato side dish) and some homemade chapatis (which are actually rather simple to make).


Homemade Chapatis

Chapatis


I mentioned I sometimes make chapatis to serve with my curries. 

They are a simple Indian flatbread, which are also called rotis.

They are an unleavened (made without yeast) bread. They are super simple and quick to make from chapati (or wholemeal flour), a little oil and water. 

The ingredients are all kneaded together to form a dough, left to rest for 10 minutes, then rolled out and cooked in a pan for a few minutes. 

Too puff it up you pop it over a flame. Luckily I have a gas hob so I can use that, but you can just leave them as flatbreads too. 

I have to say they are pretty spectacular when they are puffed up.

I make chapatis using a cup to measure out the ingredients, but I also link to the metric measurements. Honestly you don't have to be that precise.


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Related - Mushroom, Potato and Aubergine Curry (shortcut curry)

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A bowl of creamy Spinach and Coconut Dal


Dal with toasted pitta bread is one of our favourite weeknight meals. It takes less than half an hour to make and basically you just throw all the ingredients into a pot and let it bubble away.

It tastes glorious, which is probably why we have it nearly every week and
Cooper loves it too which is an added bonus as it's filled with lentil and spinach goodness. Its also high in protein and rich with B vitamins, thiamine and folic acid, as well as iron and zinc

One pot of dal feeds three of us for two nights. It's a very frugal meal and as I said before it can also be turned into a lovely soup with the addition of some extra stock.

You are going to love this dal!


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Related - Roast Vegetable Vindaloo (a Jamie Oliver recipe) 

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Nutrition and calories for Spinach and Coconut Dal - 411 calories per portion



dal, dahl, daal. dhal. easy dal recipe, indian curry, vegetarian curry, vegetarian dahl, Indian recipe, vegetarian recipe, red lentil dal, spinach, quick vegetarian recipe
dinner
Indian, vegetarian, vegan
Yield: 4-6
Easy Spinach and Coconut Dal

Spinach and Coconut Dal

A delicious, but frugal family meal, that can be thrown together in under half an hour. Great for during the week, when you get in from work late and need to put a meal on the table.
prep time: 5 minscook time: 25 minstotal time: 30 mins

ingredients


  • 400g red lentils
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 600ml vegetable stock (3 stock cubes)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 200g fresh spinach (chop if you prefer smaller pieces of spinach in the dal)
  • a handful of fresh coriander
  • a good grinding of black pepper

instructions


  1. Rinse the lentils really well under cold running water, then add
    to a large heavy based pot with all the ingredients bar the fresh spinach, fresh
    coriander and black pepper.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce to a gently simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the spinach and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  4. Add the coriander and stir through. You may add a little more stock or water, if you feel it needs it.
  5. Season with black pepper and serve.
  6. Enjoy!

NOTES:

Nutrition and calories are for 6 servings.

You can also use frozen spinach and coriander in this recipe. If I use frozen, I tend to throw in about 2 or 3 little bundles of spinach and 2 or 3 cubes of coriander.
calories
411
fat (grams)
17.5
sat. fat (grams)
14.5
carbs (grams)
46.7
protein (grams)
20.2
sugar (grams)
3.8
Created using The Recipes Generator


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Related - Hot Mango Chutney (serve with your curry) 

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Pin it for later


Spinach and coconut dal is a delicious, but frugal family meal, that can be thrown together in less than 30 minutes. The perfect midweek meal. #vegan #dal #curry #quickdinner #vegandinner #lentils #dahl #veganrecipe



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Three-Tin Tomato Turmeric and Coconut Dahl

Three-Tin Tomato Turmeric and Coconut Dahl

A fabulous weeknight dinner that won't break the bank, made with store cupboard ingredients. This dahl, is simple to make, healthy and delicious.



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