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Spiced macaroni soup

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I never thought this recipe would get the reception that it did when I put it up on my newspaper's website, but it did so I thought I would put it up in this space too.

Spiced Macaroni Soup
Serves 3

3/4 cup elbow macaroni
1/2 cup broccoli, cut into small florets (optional)
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1cm fresh ginger, peeled and bruised
1 stalk lemon grass (white part only), bruised
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1-2 bird's eye chillies (cili padi)
750ml water
salt or soya sauce, to taste

Spice powder*
1/2 tsp white peppercorns
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
2 whole cloves

To garnish
fried shallots (store-bought)
torn coriander leaves
Cooked the macaroni in boiling salted water until firm to the bite (al dente). Rinse in cold water, drain and set aside.

Pound or grind all the ingredients for the spice powder with a little salt into a powder.

* If you do not want to grind the whole spices, get each one in powdered form and mix them together. 

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium pot. Add diced celery, carrot and onion and fry over medium heat until the onion turns translucent (do not let the vegetables brown), 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, lemon grass, cinnamon stick, star anise, bird's eye chilli and half the spice powder. Cook for 1 minute, then add the water, cover and bring to the boil.

Taste and add salt or soya sauce and more of the spice powder, if desired. When you're happy with the seasoning, add broccoli florets and cook for 30 seconds. Turn off heat.

Divide the cooked macaroni between three bowls and pour in the soup. Garnish with fried onion and coriander leaves.

Sourdough Surprises: Rolls (Garlic Knots)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Does this look like fried chicken to you? I took this to the office for a colleague's farewell tea and more than one person said they thought it was fried chicken. Huh?

They're garlic knots. I admit they're a lit-t-tle big for a snack but they make good-sized rolls for dinner. They're for this month's Sourdough Surprises.

Anyway, they're made with the 1:2:3 sourdough formula ~ one part leaven to two parts water to three parts flour by weight. It's easy to remember and always produces a good loaf. For these knots, the amounts were: 92g refreshed and very active leaven (at 80% hydration), 184g water, 276g all-purpose flour and a teaspoon of salt (which should be weighed so that it is around 4%, but I winged it this time).

Lately, I've been making cooking videos for work and made this one which I can probably use when I write about bread in the future ~ although before I put it up on YouTube, I will have to edit in new bread knots that don't look like fried chicken!

The dough is bulked proofed in a square container so that when it is transferred to the work surface, I don't have to fiddle around with the shape too much (I learnt this from Paul Hollywood's recipe for ciabatta and watching the latest series/season of The Great British Bakeoff). Using a pizza cutter, I divide the dough into 11 strips (the last one was runty!), tie them in knots and bake them for around 25 minutes. I didn't let them get crusty or too brown on top or they wouldn't soak up the garlic-parsley dressing.

The Wayward Oven meets Work

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I have neglected this blog. That doesn't mean I haven't been cooking though. My job as a journalist involves writing about food and cooking for print and our website and since I have been doing a lot of that for work, the blog has been dormant.

But I've decided that to keep this blog current and when I don't have any blog-specific things to post about, I should just put up some of the things I've done for work.

Yesterday, I put up web-exclusive recipes for a cured broccoli dish (that's the picture at the top of the page) and last week, it was for chilli tuna fish cakes, which came with my own stop-motion video:

Stop-motion films ~ that's what I've been interested in for a while now and I plan to make more. It's time consuming ~ so many pictures to take! ~ but it keeps me amused.

Last week, my colleagues and I made four types of cake for our monthly column, Don't Call Me Chef. I made a video of the photo shoot:

I used Windows Movie Maker but I also love YouTube's royalty-free music/sound effects and editing help.

So that's the blog updated. On to working on more articles...