Breadella

20140331-151332.jpg

20140331-151734.jpg

Breadella was an accidental creation. A loaf of bread gone wrong, reborn as an Italian indulgence.
Mr Kochanie was due home late one evening post orchestra rehearsal. I figured he may be a little peckish or “glodny” as we say in his native tongue.
(I’m currently attempting to learn a little Polish.)
In line with the Bread Diaries, I decided to try to bake a loaf of Parmesan and Sundried tomato bread. Despite slavishly following the instructions, the bread maker turned the loaf turned out undercooked.
It was a choice of slinging it in:
a. the bin or
b. the oven for extra baking.
The oven it was.
Inspired, I scooped out the dough and filled the hole with a mix of tomato sauce, Italian ham, mozarella basil and Italian herbs.
A happy accident, one might say- bella bread.

20140331-151920.jpg

20140331-151936.jpg

Breadella

A medium sized load of soft Italian bread
1 carton of chopped tomatoes with basil
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of runny honey
100g Italian ham
80g mozarella, chopped into chunks
Bunch of fresh basil
8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped

Cut a lid off the bread- about 2cm thick.
Scoop out the inside of the bread- taking out the majority of the dough.
Throw in half the tomatoes, half the garlic, half the basil and half the ham.
Pour over half the chopped tomatoes and use your hands to mix everything gently.
Add the remaining tomatoes, garlic, basil, Mozarella and ham.
Pour in the oil, balsamic vinegar and honey, season with a little salt and lots of black pepper. Stir with a spoon.
Replace the lid on the bread and wrap the loaf in tinfoil.
Place in a hot oven – about 180 degrees- for 20 minutes.
Unwrap and serve with salad;

20140331-152330.jpg

20140331-152450.jpg

20140331-152456.jpg

Homemade pizza beats Dominos any day…

20140309-225836.jpg

I have a confession. Despite the fact that I can make countless fancy recipes, pizza remains one of my favourite foods.
And yet until a few weeks ago I didn’t know how to make it.
Regular readers will know that I was gifted a bread maker for Christmas.
The bread results themselves have been variable.
I largely follow the recipe booklet that came with the machine- a Panasonic SD 2501. I do exactly as the recipe tells me – it seems ironic that I hate slavishly following recipes- and yet they sometimes turn out wrong. Too wet, uncooked, too soft. *Screams silently*.
Anyway, one thing the machine makes excellently is pizza dough. You sling the ingredients in the machine then move on to the oven stage.
Mr Kochannie did, upon one occasion, pronounce my pizza better than any he had in Italy. That dear reader, may well be an exaggeration. But it beats a chemical tasting Dominos any day…

This is the dough recipe that comes with the bread maker. I’m guessing you could knead it by hand too.

20140309-230003.jpg

Once you’ve made the dough and let it rise, you want to top it with some pizza sauce.

20140309-230144.jpg

Pizza sauce

1 red onion
1 small red chilli
2 gloves of garlic
1 carton of chopped tomatoes with basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh basil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Finely chop the chilli, garlic and onion.
Sweat them -in a large heavy based pan-in the olive oil for 15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and finely chopped basil.
Season and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add a ladle of the sauce to the pizza, smear it evenly across the pizza base.

Toppings
Add whatever toppings you want to the pizza. I like to go for a selection of Italian ham, Mozarella, red pepper, olives.

Bacon and egg pizza

If you want to do the bacon and egg pizza, use 2 rashers of chopped bacon and one egg- cracked in the middle.

Put your pizza in the oven at 220 degrees for 20-30 minutes to finish cooking.

20140309-230319.jpg

20140309-230326.jpg

20140309-230332.jpg

20140309-230340.jpg

20140309-230349.jpg

20140309-230358.jpg

20140309-230520.jpg

20140309-230529.jpg

20140309-230536.jpg

20140309-230631.jpg

Spanish Omelette from a Spanish girl

20140302-000533.jpg

Mr Kochannie tells me that one day he wants to buy a house in Spain and live by the sea.
I tell him that in the interim he can content himself with my Spanish Omelette.
For years, I’ve been making various versions of Spanish omelette. They’ve all been pretty good, but not quite authentic, not quite bueno.
And then my Spanish student came along.
Her name’s “Penelope, you know like the actress Penelope Cruz.”
As a thank you for my English lessons, Penelope gifted me the perfect Spanish omelette.
This was both a good and bad thing. Good because it was so delicious; bad because Mr Kochannie wants me to make it all the time. And it takes two hours.
Recipe caveat- lengthy time. Recipe win- a taste of Spanish sunshine.

A Spanish girl’s Spanish Omelette

20140302-000911.jpg

20140302-001031.jpg

Important tip: don’t use extra virgin oil, use something heavier.

20140302-001359.jpg

20140302-001703.jpg

20140302-001825.jpg

20140302-001833.jpg

The Italian sandwich: Garlic and rosemary focaccia with baked red sauce, ham and egg

20140223-233019.jpg

Even before a big fat Italian man toured me round his kitchen, the country’s cuisine has always been one of my favourites.
What I like about it is the sling-it-all together approach: using leftover ingredients and whatever is to hand.
This brunch style sandwich, for one, uses leftover pizza sauce to upgrade some stale bread.
I asked Mr Kochannie what he thought of the sandwich.
Sadly a profound cold had rendered his tastebuds useless. (I may aswell have fed him Greggs’ greasy pasties.)
But it looked good to me…

2 thick slices of Focaccia
50g leftover pizza sauce
1 egg
2 slices of Italian ham
1 tablespoon olive oil

Toast the focaccia then smear over the sauce.
Crumble the ham over the top.
Gently break the egg so it rests on the top of the sandwich.
Drizzle with oil and put in a hot oven for seven minutes.
Serve with rocket.

20140223-234748.jpg

20140223-234757.jpg

20140223-234804.jpg

20140223-234810.jpg

20140223-234818.jpg

P.S. Bread adventures update:
I made my focaccia in the bread maker using a mix. Still searching for the perfect flour for brown bread so all suggestions welcome.

Birthday brownies

20140210-220449.jpg

Instead of baking Mr Kochannie a birthday cake, I made him a stack of chocolate brownies with a candle on top. That counts, right?
And I even sang him Happy Birthday for the second time as I presented them. (The first rendition was in the swimming pool.)
Usually, all the recipes on here are my own. This one, I will admit, is stolen from the BBC Good Food website. However, the addition of chocolate decoration was purely my own- a girl can’t have too much cocoa.
As a footnote, my bread adventures continue. I baked blueberry and banana bread today. Can’t decide if it is a success or not. I will feed some to Mr Kochannie and try not to sing.

20140210-221426.jpg

20140210-221526.jpg

20140210-221534.jpg

20140210-221554.jpg

20140210-221714.jpg

20140210-221726.jpg

The Bread Diaries

20140123-182046.jpg

You know those carb-free girls who run a mile at the thought of a slice of bread?
I’m the exact opposite: I consume about half a loaf of the crusty stuff on a daily basis.

20140123-183035.jpg

Aware of this, my Mum gifted me a Lakeland compact bread maker for Christmas.
I began turning out homely looking loaves on a daily basis to much success.
But after about a week, the little Lakeland packed in. The paddle kept getting stuck in the loaf- meaning that the bread wasn’t properly kneaded and completely inedible.
As accident prone as I am – Mr Kochanie calls me ‘Kasia the basher’ – it seemed to be due to a machine defect rather than my fair handiwork.
I duly returned it and upgraded to the holy grail of bread makers- the Panasonic.

20140123-182906.jpg
I’m still getting to grips with the bread making process, but I have produced some pretty tasty results.
Brown with raisins, sunflower and pumpkins, Rye bread, Rye and Spelt bread and the recipe below.
As I have learnt to my cost, the flour you use is super important. Some of the best seems to be Canadian if you can get it.
Here’s my recipe for Spelt, sunflower and raisins- it makes a large loaf in my Panasonic. Cooking times will vary according to your machine. For example, this recipe would work in the Lakeland machine- but you would need to reduce the ingredient quantities by 20% and it would only take around 3 hours to cook.
My hearty Panasonic takes a hefty five hours!
Luckily, I find the bread making process strangely calming… I have somehow morphed into a bread geek.

Spelt, pumpkin seed and raisin bread

1 and a quarter teaspoons of yeast
250g strong wholemeal flour
250g brown spelt flour
1 and a half teaspoons of sea salt
1 tablespoon of milk powder
20g sunflower seeds
20g raisins
1 teaspoon of olive oil
20g butter
2 teaspoons of honey
1 large beaten egg
360 ml tepid water

It is important to put the ingredients in the bread pan in the order specified above.
Set it according to your machine time and that’s it!

If you are doing dairy free, you can leave out the milk powder and substitute the butter for soya butter.

20140123-182837.jpg

20140123-215041.jpg

20140123-215126.jpg
Just in case you got bored of seeing the bread on its own, it’s partnered with the bacon.

Seven days, seven breakfasts

If you’re bored of eating the same old Shreddies, try something new this week with one of these simple yet inspiring recipes. They range from treat style brunches that will impress guests, to a breakfast made from dinner leftovers that kids can munch on the way to school.
As the saying goes- breakfast like a king…

Monday: The virtuous breakfast

Homemade pumpkin seed granola

20140111-124139.jpg

Tuesday: The sweet tooth breakfast
French toast with raspberries and vanilla sugar

20140111-124351.jpg

Wednesday: The make the night before breakfast
Roast vegetable frittata

20140111-124612.jpg

Thursday: The foreign breakfast
The Canadian Maple breakfast

20140111-124736.jpg

Friday: The easy but impressive breakfast

Eggs florentine style teacups

20140111-124907.jpg
Saturday: The thank goodness it’s the weekend breakfast

Chocolate croissant bread and butter pudding

20140111-125027.jpg

Sunday: The good mood food breakfast

Oven eggs with chilli and tomato

20140110-223026.jpg

Being a vegetarian automatically rules out any kind of bacon brekkie.
But don’t worry, there’s still plenty choice to set you up for the day.
Eggs not only line your stomach but are a good mood food; particularly in combination with tomatoes and spinach.
The chilli just adds a little kick.

Serves two

3 large eggs
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful of basil
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 tin if chopped tomatoes
1 red chilli

Coat a medium-sized oven proof dish with the olive oil.
Finely chop the garlic, basil and chilli and add them to the dish.
Pour over the tinned tomatoes and stir.
Add in the spinach and stir some more.
Season with salt and pepper.
Gently crack the eggs so that they rest on top of the other ingredients.
Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.
Serve with lots of toast to mop up the

You might notice that there’s some tasty homemade bread lurking in the background of these shots. More on that in my next post…

20140110-223116.jpg

20140110-223126.jpg

20140110-223137.jpg

20140110-223147.jpg

It was a year of…

It was a year of…

20140105-002648.jpg
It was a year of sunsets, beaches, world records and Mr Kochanie and I’s many adventures.
It was a year of getting better, growing stronger and smiling more.
It was also a year of a lot of food. Posh Baked potatoes and cheese, Pierogis, Tomato, Spinach and Coconut milk soup were some of my top hits.
But the most popular recipe on my blog- actually dating back to 2012- remains Pink sugar glitter cocktails. So if you haven’t tried them, go pour yourself one now and take a toast with me- here’s to a full, bright, beautiful and Independent 2014.

Kate versus cake pops

20131207-165318.jpg
Disclaimer- this recipe is difficult.
Regular readers will know that the vast majority of recipes on my blog are easy. But just occasionally I throw in a more complex recipe because it’s just too tasty not to. These little bites of cake are the latest culinary fashion- usurping cupcakes.
It’s a great recipe to make with kids and get them involved in the kitchen: it’s not a great recipe if you’re in a hurry. Make life easier by preparing the cake part a couple hours ahead of time so they are cool by the time you ice them.
I borrowed my sister’s cake Sweet Treats Cake Pop machine to make these- it produces a beautiful springy sponge.

20131207-164759.jpg

The machine comes with a selection of recipes- I used the vanilla sponge recipe. Then I simply dipped them in white chocolate then garnished them with sugar flowers.

20131207-165318.jpg

20131207-165340.jpg

20131207-165403.jpg

Enjoy!

Bacon bruschetta

20131207-154952.jpg

“We’ve no eggs for brunch, just bacon.”
“Fancy Bacon bruschetta?”
And thus a new recipe was born- some crispy bacon combined with one of my most popular recipes- Italian bruschetta.
I had bruschetta leftover from a little festive party the night before, and it seemed the perfect dish to ease our overindulgence the morning after. A stalwart to see you through the festive season.

The tomatoes are best prepared the night before so that they can marinade in the oil, vinegar and basil.

2 punnets of cherry tomatoes
8 slices of ciabatta
8 teaspoons of olive oil
1 bunch of basil
4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons of garlic

Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and finely chop the garlic and basil.
Place them in a large bowl and mix throroughly. Cover with the oil and vinegar and season with salt and lots of pepper; mix well.
Cut the ciabatta into slices.
Spoon tomatoes over each slice of ciabatta.
Fry your bacon according to taste and add it onto each slice of bruschetta.
Serve straightaway.

20131207-162008.jpg

20131207-162014.jpg