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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Let the barbecues begin...

This past week the weather finally caught up with the calendar and everywhere you went the sweet smell of barbecues was hanging in the air. As a vegetarian barbecues are always a time when you and your food are being scrutinised by carnivores. Obviously you don’t want them to pity you for your choice so you need to step it up. Therefore, my favourite thing to bring to a barbecue are bread and spreads because who isn’t going to have bread. Most of my friends don’t bake their own bread and they seem to appreciate home-baked breads. I have yet to take leftover bread home.

This recipe for Naan is one of my go-to recipes for days when I don’t want a lot of fuss. A lot of people are afraid of using yeast but nothing is so rewarding than seeing your dough perfectly raised. I only use fresh yeast which you can get in any supermarket in Germany but I know that it is harder to get in Britain for example. I don’t know whether it is hard to get in the US, do you? My tip for Britain is to ask in the local bakery. The usually sell it very cheap and fresh and buying it feels a little bit like guerrilla baking.

The herb butter is one of my family’s all time favourite and we make it for every possible occasion. The hummus is new in my repertoire and is excellent for many reasons, one of them being that it is vegan.

Naan recipe: (makes 8-12 Naans)
42g fresh yeast
325ml/11 fl oz warm water
250g/2cups flour
250g/2cups strong flour (I use spelt flour for both and it gives it more taste and a rustic look)
1tbsp. rapeseed or olive oil
1tsp. salt

-       -put warm water and yeast in a bowl and cover it with a towel for up to 15 min (I have this special yeast dough bowl which is perfect for this and the dough requires a lot less time rising in it)
-       if it is too cold or drafty in your kitchen  preheat your oven on a very low temperature, turn it off and put the bowl in there
-       once it foams up (or doesn’t ...don’t panic fresh yeast has never let me down so far) add the flour, oil and salt and knead it until everything is incorporated and the dough is smooth
-       put it back in the bowl with the towel on and let rise for an hour until the dough has doubled in size (with my bowl you just have to wait until the lid pops off and it usually takes half an hour)
-       divide the dough into 8-12 even balls and using a rolling pin roll them out until 0,5cm thick (1/4 of an inch)
-       let them rise again for 10min (no need to cover) while heating up your heavy bottom frying pan
-       bake the Naans in the frying pan without using oil, turn them over once big bubbles have formed
-       2-3 min each
-       let them cool down in a towel or eat them hot (they can easily be frozen or kept in the fridge)

Roasted Pepper and Garlic Hummus
1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained (480ml or 14oz)
3 garlic cloves roasted (I roast them while baking the Naan in the same pan)
3-4 roasted peppers (I bought a jar of pickled roasted peppers from a Russian supermarket)
2tbsp tahini
Juice of half a lemon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp black pepper

-       put all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor
-       pulse until smooth
-       remove to a bowl and refrigerate for at least ½ hour
-       serve and enjoy

Herb butter

250g/2sticks of soft butter (or half the butter and same amount of low fat cream cheese for a lighter option)
2 garlic cloves, minced (roasted or not)
½ tsp salt

-       chop the herbs finely
-       add everything to a bowl and beat with a mixer until very smooth and airy
-       serve

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