Cheese-Stuffed Spicy Bean Burgers

Back again with another recipe for March’s MiniMoFo – this time a savoury recipe!

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Burgers! While technically I guess a burger is a patty stuffed into a bun, this isn’t actually what the “stuffed” element of this post refers to. These burgers are cheese stuffed!

Vegan cheese, of course. I use Sainsbury’s Caramelised Onion Cheese – also known as Gary – which I like because it’s kinda like having caramelised onions inside your burger and how cool is that? But you could use any vegan cheese you like, that comes in block form, since you’ll need to cut it into little blocks to stuff your burgers with.

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The burgers are fairly simple bean burgers, based off my Spicy Bean Burgers from years ago, and can be adapted to suit your own spice level (just add more or less chilli!). In the burgers in the photos, I used black beans, but kidney beans also work really well in this recipe too.

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To make the burgers, simply split the mixture into eight pieces (in half, then half again, then half again!). Take one piece and make it into a round disc in your hand (see picture above). Place a piece of cheese in the middle of the disc.

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With another piece of mixture, create another disc, just like the first one, and put it on top of the first one with the cheese. Push down the edges to seal it all in. Then you’re done – you can fry the burgers now!

 

Cheese-Stuffed Spicy Bean Burgers


Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large chilli, chopped (use more or less, to your taste)
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 can black or kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 40g oats
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • Vegan cheese, cut into four 2cm x 1cm rectangles
  • Oil for frying
  • Fixings for your burger – cobs, salad, mayo…

Directions

  1. Begin by heating oil in a large frying pan, and frying the onion, chilli, and garlic for 5 minutes, until translucent.
  2. Add in the grated carrot, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper for seasoning, and fry five more minutes, until the carrot is soft.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mash the beans until no whole beans are left.
  4. Stir in the tomato puree, soy sauce, and oats.
  5. Once the onion and carrot mixture is done, add it to the bowl with the beans, and mix.
  6. Stir through the breadcrumbs to form a mixture that should hold together when you press it.
  7. Split the mixture into 8 pieces. (For photos, see above)
  8. Take a piece of the mixture, and form it into a round disc. Place a piece of cheese in the middle of the disc.
  9. Take another piece of the mixture, also form it into a disc. Place it on top of the first piece, and press down the edges to seal the cheese inside.
  10. Repeat until you have 4 patties stuffed with cheese.
  11. Heat oil in your frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the burgers.
  12. Fry for roughly 5 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden.
  13. Serve in cobs with salad!


 

Bourbon Biscuit Brownies

These brownies are both biscuit and brownie. Not in the way that my brookies were a cross between a brownie and a cookie, but in the way that they’re brownies, stuffed full of biscuits! This recipe fits right in with March’s MiniMoFo challenge of “stuffed and filled foods” (indeed, bourbons are a filled biscuit, which in this case are then stuffed inside brownies!), and also has some cool alliteration in the recipe title.

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Have you ever had a Bourbon Biscuit? If you’re not British, then maybe not. Bourbon biscuits are a rectangular cocoa biscuit with a chocolatey filling. If you’re American, the closest you can get would be a chocolate cream filled oreo, they’re different, but they’d work the same in this recipe. Bourbons do not actually have anything to do with the drink, bourbon, and are quite non-alcoholic, being a favourite to dunk into a cup of tea. Many supermarket versions are vegan, just check the packet before you buy!

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These brownies use bourbon biscuits much like other brownies use chocolate chips. The biscuits get chopped up (surprisingly easy to do) and stirred into the batter, with a few placed on top before baking. They’re super chocolatey and great for fans of the popular biscuit!

Bourbon Biscuit Brownies

  • Servings: 20 brownies
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Ingredients

  • 200g bourbon biscuits, chopped into roughly 1cm pieces (with a few reserved to top the brownies)
  • 100g vegan butter
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 225g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 50g cocoa
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175ml milk of choice (I used oat milk)
  • 300g flour

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 170C/340F and line a baking dish
  1. In a large bowl, melt together the butter and chocolate.
  2. Add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa, salt, and bicarbonate of soda, and mix well.
  3. Stir in the milk until well combined.
  4. Add the flour and mix through.
  5. Fold in the chopped bourbon biscuits until evenly distributed.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared tin, and top with the remaining biscuits.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the tin, then slice and eat!

Pizza Sausages

Ah, February. Christmas is over, the new year is over, and it’s absolutely freezing cold. Spring is not yet on the radar, so the best thing to do is to sit tight in the warm and try not to shiver ourselves away.

The VeganMoFo challenge for the month is “Red” – to make and eat food all with the theme of red. This meal did not come out quite as red as I had planned, but it is still a bit red and certainly delicious.

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These sausages are adapted from my tomato & basil sausage recipe, but these are flavoured to taste like pizza. Aptly, today is apparently National Pizza Day, which I didn’t actually plan for, but it works! Stuffed full with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, and nutritional yeast, these sausages have a definite pizza flavour to them and smell and taste wonderful!

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As with the other sausages on my blog, these are made with vital wheat gluten (you can buy it from health-food or vegan shops) and first steamed, then fried to get a lovely crust. Sausages made with gluten hold their shape very well, making them also ideal if you fancy barbecuing them!

Pizza Sausages

  • Servings: 8 sausages
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Ingredients

  • 60g sundried tomatoes (the kind that come in oil), finely chopped
  • 50g black olives, finely chopped
  • 30g fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 can white kidney beans/cannelini beans
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 225g vital wheat gluten
  • 225ml cold water

Directions

  1. Begin by mashing the white beans in a large bowl until thoroughly mashed.
  2. Stir through the remaining ingredients to make a dough.
  3. Knead the dough for just a minute until it all comes together and forms a cohesive mixture.
  4. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and roll each one into a rough sausage shape. Don’t worry too much about the shape – they’ll expand as they steam.
  5. Wrap each sausage in tin-foil, like a Christmas cracker shape.
  6. Place the sausages in your steamer (you may have to do two batches if your steamer is not large enough).
  7. Steam for 40 minutes.
  8. Once the sausages are steamed, remove them from the steamer, allow to cool slightly, then unwrap the foil.
  9. To fry, pour a little oil into a hot pan and fry the sausages for a minute or two on each side, until golden in colour.
  10. The sausages freeze well if you have too many!

Quick and Simple: Vegan Kit-Kats!

Hello! Today’s post is just going to be a quick one because it’s not really a recipe – just a simple step-by-step guide I made on my phone today!

Something vegans can often miss is chocolate bars. Whilst you can buy imitations of popular non-vegan treats (Go-Max-Go bars are great!) they tend to be a lot more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts and that’s just no fun. So, I’ve come up with a quick little tutorial for making a cheap and easy vegan counterpart to an old favourite – the Kit Kat! This also ties in as a (second) post for VeganMoFo’s January “Something New” prompt.

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The hardest part of this recipe probably will be finding the wafers to go in the middle. Unfortunately I can only speak for my UK vegans, but in Home Bargains stores around the country, they have had vegan chocolate wafer packs for sale for the last couple of months – at a bargain price of 39p a pack!

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Please excuse my chocolatey fingers in the above photo. These are the wafers you want to buy. I’m not sure where else you can get them, but if you are near a Home Bargains pick up several packets because they’re lovely!

Now, let’s start to make our chocolate bars!

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Step 1: Break the wafers into individual bars. Do this over a plate because they can crumble a little.

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Step 2: Melt some chocolate. I use Lidl Dark Chocolate – it’s only 30p for a 100g bar and is vegan and tasty! Use 3 bars for 1 pack of wafers. Break them up and put them in a bowl, then put that in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring afterwards, and repeating till it’s all melted. Drop in a wafer biscuit.

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Step 3: Turn the wafer around gently in the chocolate with a fork until all the sides are covered. Lift it out of the bowl on the fork, and hold for a few seconds to allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper.

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Step 4: Place in the fridge until fully set! Leave it a couple of hours, then check to see if they’re set. Store in the fridge until you want to eat them.

I hope you enjoyed this small post! I apologise for the phone photos, but since this is such a quick and simple thing to make, the photos match!

 

Curried Chickpea Flour Scramble

Happy New Year, everyone! Christmas is over, holidays are over, and we’re left with…January. Here, January is wet and grey and cold. Social media is full of people talking about diets, cleanses, and all that stuff – eating lots of salads and fresh produce. Now…if you’re into that, it’s fine. But it’s cold, it’s miserable, who wants to eat a salad? You need good warming food!

January is also the month of all things new. A new year – yes, 2017 already! Veganuary is pretty big, with over fifty thousand people pledging to go vegan this month. And VeganMoFo has a new MiniMoFo challenge for this month!  They’ll be releasing monthly themed challenges throughout the year, with this month’s theme being to Try something New.

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If you’re a regular of my blog (if not, hi and welcome!) you’ll know that chickpea flour isn’t really new to me. I’ve made pancakes and fritters with it for past VeganMoFos, but this is the first time I’ve ever scrambled it! The idea came a week or two ago, when we wanted a fry-up (complete with vegan bacon, hash browns, roasted tomatoes…) but had no tofu to make tofu scramble. I’d vaguely seen chickpea flour being used as a scramble before – and I knew it set up nicely when making pancakes and fritters – so…why not? And it worked.

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For this version though, I wanted to add flavour to it and make it stand on its own. To brighten up the January coldness, I made it into a curried scramble. Complete with vegetables and spices, this makes a lovely meal on its own, or served (as I did) with vegan sausages, or even split into more portions as part of a cooked breakfast.

Vegetable wise, I used peas, cauliflower, and tomatoes, which lend themselves well to curry flavours, but you could use whatever vegetables you fancy, just make sure they’re cooked or at least blanched before you add them to the pan.

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The first step is to fry off onion and garlic until cooked in a pan, then add the vegetables. This cooks for about five minutes, while you make the batter – which is just chickpea flour, spices, and cold water, whisked together until smooth. Then, you pour this batter over the vegetables in the pan, and leave it till it starts to set around the edges.

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The next part is the fun part, scrambling! I use a spatula for this as it’s easiest, and just mix and mix. Break the batter up, let it cook a bit, and break it up again.

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Keep scrambling for 5-10 minutes, until the scramble is not liquidy anymore and has broken into nice little bits of chickpea scramble! Taste it for seasoning, and finally, serve.

Curried Chickpea Flour Scramble

  • Servings: 2 as a main, more as a side
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Ingredients

  • 100g chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp garam masalaa
  • 200ml cold water
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • approx 700g cooked mixed vegetables (peas, cauliflower, tomatoes…), in bitesize chunks
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  1. Begin by frying the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetables into the onion and garlic, along with salt and pepper, stir, and cook for 5 more minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make your batter. Mix together the chickpea flour and spices, and slowly stir in the cold water, until a smooth batter forms.
  4. Once the vegetables are cooked, pour over the chickpea batter.
  5. Leave the pan alone until the batter starts to set at the edges – you should be able to see this happen.
  6. Next, using a spatula, scramble the mixture! Stir, break the mix up, let cook for a few seconds, then stir again.
  7. Keep scrambling for 5-10 minutes, until it has the consistency of a scramble, and is not liquid any more.
  8. Serve immediately.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Topping

Do you remember MiniMoFo from the run up to the VeganMoFo? It was a series of challenges that took place before the main month, and I posted Apple Crumble Bars and Red Pepper & Thyme Rolls (plus an extra post on my Instagram!). Well, it’s back! There’s a new MiniMoFo challenge for December, and the prompt is ‘Hot Cocoa‘, which is lovely and wintery.

It’s no secret that I do love hot chocolate. Curling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate is a perfect way to relax, and I love finding different ways to spruce up my hot chocolate – adding cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne gives it some lovely heat, adding a spoonful of Biscoff spread makes it gooey and spiced, a drop of orange esscence for an orange hot chocolate…and so on. If you can get hold of vegan marshmallows, even better!

However, for this prompt I wanted to go further, and not make just hot chocolate, but baked hot chocolate. In the form of cupcakes.

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I present to you, Hot Chocolate Cupcakes…with Toasted Marshmallow Topping. Please excuse the slight messiness in the photos – I managed to get marshmallow topping everywhere!

And yes, that is all-vegan toasted marshmallow fluff on top. How amazing is that?

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The cupcakes themselves have three layers of chocolate – they’re made with cocoa, chocolate milk, and melted dark chocolate. This makes them super rich and chocolatey – perfect to emulate a hot chocolate drink!

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See that picture above? Look at the fluffy, glossy marshmallow fluff! What’s the secret? Well, it’s aquafaba. I’ve used aquafaba before – most recently in my Brookies recipe, where it’s used as an egg substitute, but I haven’t posted about it whipped like this before.

Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of beans – usually chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas through a sieve, catching the water in a large, clean, bowl. Put the chickpeas aside – use them in pasta, or soup, or however you like. You don’t need them for this. Into the liquid, add a quarter spoonful of cream of tartar – this is often used in meringues to help stabilise the mixture – and some vanilla extract. For the next step, you need to whip the liquid up. I use an electric hand mixer, but other people use a stand mixer with great results. You whip the liquid for quite a while – 10 minutes maybe – until it forms “stiff peaks”, which, if you’ve never made meringue before, is when the foam stands up on it’s own without flopping over when you lift the mixer out. Classically, this is where you can hold the bowl upside-down over your head without it falling on top of you.

Once it gets to this point, you need to slowly add the sugar. For meringues, you use granulated sugar. For this marshmallow fluff, inspired by a recipe from Seitan Is My Motor, I use part powdered sugar and part caster sugar (superfine, in America). Add the powdered sugar, a spoonful at a time, whilst the mixer is running, until the mix turns glossy and all the sugar is gone. Finally, mix the caster sugar in a bowl with 1/2 tsp xanthan gum – this is what gives it the stretchy, marshmallow-fluff texture – and slowly spoon that into the whipped mixture. It’ll quickly go sticky and start climbing up your mixer but that’s ok! It means it’s getting the right texture.

This method is pretty amazing when you first try it. The small amount of liquid from one can of beans whips up into a huge bowlful, and really tastes like marshmallow fluff.

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Once the fluff and cupcakes are both made, you just spoon the fluff on top of the cupcakes, and then put them under the grill (or “broiler” for Americans) until they’re toasty brown (you could use a torch if you have one). Finally, I finished off with a sprinkling of grated chocolate just for that extra chocolatey touch!

Though this recipe sounds complicated – it really isn’t, and it’s fascinating to see the magic of aquafaba in work, and get a toasty marshmallow topping on your cupcakes. Give it a go!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Topping

  • Servings: 15 cupcakes
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Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes
  • 400ml vegan chocolate milk (I used Alpro Dark Chocolate Almond Milk)
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 310g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 90ml sunflower oil
  • 140g sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 100g vegan chocolate, broken into squares
  • For the Marshmallow Topping

  • 150ml Aquafaba (liquid from 1 can of chickpeas)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • Chocolate for grating on top of cupcakes (optional)

Directions

    Preheat the Oven to 170C/335F
  1. Start with the cupcakes! In a bowl, combine the chocolate milk and the vinegar and set aside so the milk can curdle.
  2. In a separate, large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate, and salt.
  3. Into the milk, mix the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk with a fork to combine.
  4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix to combine thoroughly.
  5. Melt the chocolate in a bowl either in the microwave or over a double-boiler, until completely melted. Mix this into the cake batter.
  6. Set out cupcake cases in a tray, and spoon the batter evenly amongst them.
  7. Place in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cupcake turns out clean. Set aside to cool thoroughly.
  8. Now, make the marshmallow fluff! Place the aquafaba in a large, very clean bowl.
  9. To the aquafaba, add the vanilla extract and cream of tartar.
  10. Whisk the aquafaba with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks – up to ten minutes.
  11. Now, with the mixer running, add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, allowing it to combine.
  12. Once the icing sugar is all added, combine the caster sugar and xanthan gum in a small bowl. Add this a spoonful at a time to the fluff mixture.
  13. Once it’s all combined, your fluff is done! Place spoonfuls on top of each cupcake (you will have excess fluff leftover).
  14. Preheat your grill (or broiler if you’re American), and then place cupcakes underneath it, keeping a close eye on them, until the tops are browned and toasted.
  15. Finally, grate a small amount of chocolate over the cupcakes.
  16. Store in an airtight container.

Thanks to Seitan Is My Motor for recipe inspo for the marshmallow fluff!

 

Red Pepper & Thyme Rolls

In the run up to Vegan MoFo 2016, there’s a set of three fortnightly challenges being issued, called “MiniMoFo”. These are optional – but fun – prompts to complete before the big month happens in November! Anyone can take part too, even if they’re not doing Vegan MoFo itself so get over there and join in!

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The first challenge is:

What is your signature dish?

So I had to think about this a bit, because I’m not sure if I have a signature dish! Being a fairly adventurous cook, and having a food blog too, I don’t tend to cook the same meals again and again. I like to change things up, and if I make a dish lots of times I’ll tweak it to try and make it even better.

My first thought was maybe my chocolate cake. Everyone loves my chocolate cake! And I’m pretty sure I’ve not blogged about it yet. However…I don’t really have an occasion in this fortnight to make a chocolate cake. We’ve already got a few baked goods in the house and I just can’t fit any more cake in!

So onto the next idea. And something that is always popular when I make it is bread! Now, I may not be a super fancy artisanal bread maker, but I do enjoy baking bread myself. It’s fun, and you can take any frustrations out when you knead it! Plus, you can make a ton of different flavours.

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This time I decided to make roasted red pepper rolls – or cobs, or baps, or whatever you call them in your dialect! I used peppers from a jar, because it’s so much easier, but if you wanted to roast and peel your own you could. These take a while to make – I do two rises – so start them early, but you can eat them warm!

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Making bread isn’t as hard or scary as you might think. You need some time (most of it is downtime though!), some patience, and a little bit of strength. Start by mixing all the ingredients except for the water in a big bowl. Then you add the water. The water should be “hand hot” temperature – an easy way to tell if it’s right is to stick your (clean!) little finger in the water. It should feel hot, but not so hot you can’t keep your finger in the water. Like a nice steaming bath. That water goes in with the rest of the ingredients, gets mixed to form a dough, then you have to knead it.

Kneading dough is probably the hardest part of making bread. Unless you have a bread machine or a mixer with a dough hook, in which case lucky you! But most people underknead their dough because it does take some time. My top tip for kneading? Put some music on. It gives you something to do other than think “Am I seriously still kneading this bread?!” and also it provides a good timer. If your songs are average length – about 4 minutes – knead your dough for two songs. No less. You can knead a little longer if you get caught up in the music, you’re unlikely to knead too much by hand.

Then, the bread goes off to rise. Put it in a warm place – I use the airing cupboard, but you could use a sunny spot, or next to the radiator, somewhere nice and warm anyway. Leave it until it’s doubled in size – an hour to an hour and a half, depending how warm your place is. Punch it down, it’ll deflate a lot, and then form it into your bread rolls.

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This recipe makes eight rolls so it’s easy – split in half, then in half again, then once more. Roll them into, well, rolls, and put them on a baking tray. See the picture above! Then, you cover them with a piece of oiled clingfilm. Oiled is important here – just brush some olive oil over the film before you put it over the rolls. If you don’t oil it, you’ll get the film just sticking to the bread, and when you pull it off you’ll ruin your nice roll shapes.

Anyway, back to rise the rolls go. You need to leave them to rise for another hour now. But partway through the rise, preheat your oven to 210C – or 410F. If your oven is anything like mine it’ll take forever to heat to that temperature. After the hour is up, take the film off the rolls, sprinkle with a little salt, and bake in the oven – for about 15-20 minutes, until nice and golden. Turn one upside down and tap the bottom – if it sounds hollow, it’s cooked!

Leave to cool for five minutes or so before you tuck in!

Roasted Red Pepper & Thyme Rolls


Ingredients

  • 550g bread flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp yeast (I use the fast-action stuff)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for brushing)
  • 200g roasted red pepper, diced finely
  • 200ml “hand hot” water

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, yeast, salt & thyme).
  2. Stir through the olive oil and diced peppers until well mixed, and then make a well in the centre of the mix.
  3. Pour in the water gradually until you get a sticky dough.
  4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 8 minutes, until it forms a stretchy ball.
  5. Put the dough ball back in the bowl, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Once the dough has risen, punch it down again, and form into 8 rolls. Place these on a baking sheet.
  7. Cover the rolls with oiled cling film, and place again in a warm place to rise for one hour.
  8. Preheat your oven to 210C/410F.
  9. Remove the film from the rolls, sprinkle with a little salt, and place in the preheated oven.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown, and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom.
  11. Remove from the oven and leave to cool!