14 July 2007

Walnut Bread

Feeds: Small army
Prep Time: 20 – 30 minutes plus 2 – 3 hours rising time
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Walnut Bread
15g fresh yeast; or
2 tsp dried yeast plus
1 tsp sugar; or 1 sachet
easy-blend dried yeast
500ml lukewarm water
1 Tbs honey
375g wholemeal flour
175g strong white flour
2 tsp salt
Butter for greasing
125g walnuts, chopped

1 medium egg, beaten with ½ tsp salt

1. Dissolve sugar and honey in the water [this feeds the yeast] and add yeast. Leave for 15 minutes to froth up. If using easy-blend yeast, add it straight to the flour.
2. Toss the flour and salt into a bowl, making a well in the centre for the yeasty water [or plain water if using the sachet].
3. Stir with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Try and keep the dough as moist as possible. I know it’s difficult, but resist temptation to add more flour.
4. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Flour your hands if need be. Work until smooth and stretchy.
5. Butter up a bowl, plop in the dough and cover with cling film. I then put mine under the radiator, but anywhere warm will do. Leave for 90 – 120 minutes.
6. You’ll have enough dough for two separate 18cm cake tins [but any baking dish about that size will do]. Give the dough a good punch to disperse the air inside and knead in the walnuts.
7. Divide the dough into your two buttered up tins or dishes and cover loosely with cling film. You are wanting it to almost double in size again, so put back under the radiator for about half an hour.
8. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
9. Slash the top of each loaf then brush on some glaze. This makes it all shiny.
10. Bake for a quarter of an hour, then drop the oven temperature to 190°C and bake for half an hour. Let it cool on a rack on the counter and the whole house will smell divine.

The loaf above was devoured by 2 people at work in as many hours. Lightly toasted with a bit of honey makes it taste like a cookie. The top will inevitably get slightly scorched, but if you’re like me you’ll steal all the walnuts off the top anyway.

Lemon Thyme Tuna

Feeds: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Lemon Thyme Tuna

3 Tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
4 fresh Tuna steaks
A few sprigs of Lemon Thyme
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan
2. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes
3. Add the tuna and 2 tablespoons of water
4. Season with salt and pepper and add the lemon thyme sprigs.
5. Cover and cook over a very low heat for about 20 minutes.
6. Add the vinegar and cook until it evaporates – serve.

You can try different types of vinegar [sherry, red wine, etc] depending on how punchy you like it. I used lemon thyme because I ran out of lemons [shock horror] and had just been herb shopping.

You really need fresh tuna. Frozen and vacuum packed has too much water and has no taste. These were bought from Borough Market where I was properly fleeced. They tasted great but were terribly expensive. Don’t trust the freckled red head kid at the big fish stall at Borough. He has a tendency to “round up”.