Caramalized Onion and Chorizo Quick Bread

As promised in my previous post, here is the recipe for one of the quick breads I made for the February Daring Bakers challenge.  The bread was a bit of a throw in whats in the fridge recipe, luckily there was chorizo in the fridge, which i think is almost impossible to go wrong with.  The bread turned out a little dry due to an unreliable oven that refuses to rise above 150 degrees, therefore I had to cook it for much longer than I should have!

 

The quick bread was loosely based on a recipe for Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Olive oil quick bread from Cookin’ Canuck, but ended up quite different, as I had to substitute a lot of ingredients!

 

Caramelized Onion and Chorizo Quick Bread

3 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp  salt
1 jar roasted red peppers, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp herbs de provence.

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

1.  Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.

2.  Add the onion to the pan, with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the onions are golden brown, about 10 additional minutes.

3.Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the onions, then stir in garlic and peppers.  Cook about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

4.  Whisk together flour, herbs baking powder, and salt.

5.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, lightly beaten, milk, and extra-virgin olive oil. Whisk well until combined.

6.  Pour the flour mixture into the eggs mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix or the bread will become tough. Add onion, pepper mix and stir until just combined.

7.  Grease a loaf pan and line with grease proof paper.  Add batter to tin.

8.  Bake until the top is for about 25 minutes then remove from oven and quickly grate Parmesan over the loaf, return to oven for another 10-15 minutes.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan, and cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve with butter or cheddar cheese.

Makes 1 loaf of bread.

Dulce De Leche Ice Cream with Turron

As I was fortunate enough to receive an ice cream maker for Christmas I have been eagerly trying it out- with some pretty good results.  This recipe for Dulce de Leche Ice Cream with Turron is based loosely on a basic ice cream recipe from the Ice Cream Ireland website, as these have given me very good results in the past with a smooth, creamy ice cream.

Turron is a Spanish confectionery that come in various forms, most traditionally a crunchy sugar, egg white and almond sweet or a soft crumbly almond mix.  However, now at Christmas it is possible to find turron in a huge variety of flavours- mostly with little resemblance to the original product and a lot featuring chocolate.   The turron I used in this case was  a less traditional type.  Basically it was a thick block of milk chocolate with a slightly truffley texture with small pieces of biscuit throughout.  It was on sale after Christmas, so I thought I’d whack it in.  It could be replaced with any type of chocolate bar, perhaps one with nuts or biscuit pieces for a little more crunch. I am a big fan of chunks in ice cream, the more the better, so if you prefer a smoother ice cream experience you may want to reduce the quantity of chunks!

Dulce De Leche is a product made from the heating and caramelisation of sweetened milk to for a caramel flavoured spread.  It is super sweet, but delicious as a spread on toast, in cakes and cooking and by itself on a spoon.  It is readily available in all Spanish supermarkets, and probably in good supermarkets or specialty stores else where.  If you can’t find it however, there are countless recipes on the internet for making it at home.

I did intend to have swirls of dulce de leche throughout the ice cream, but this didn’t really go to plan as the dulce de leche combined with the custard and flavoured the whole ice cream (not really a big problem!).  Perhaps the ice cream needed to be more frozen when I added the swirl!

The ice cream maker is a simple canister that is placed in the freezer until you need to use it (at least 24 hours works best).  The custard is then added to the machine as it churns.  It is very important to start the churning before you add the custard as if you add the custard first and then start the machine up, the padel may have difficulty moving due to frozen ice cream on the sides of the canister.  Even with this simple machine the results as far superior to making the ice cream by hand, not to mention a lot less labor intensive.  The ice cream is far creamier and there are less crystals.  It also seems to maintain a scoopable texture in the freezer, rather than freezing solid.

The turron, (or any other mix in you desire), is best added after the churning process is completed, before finally putting the ice cream in the freezer.  This prevents it from sinking to the bottom, as the ice cream it thick enough to support it. 

Dulce De Leche Ice Cream with Chocolate Turron (method based on basic recipe from Ice Cream Ireland)

5 egg yolks

125g sugar

200ml milk

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

230ml whipping cream

1/2 cup or more dulce de leche

100g (or more if you like lots of chunks) chocolate turron or chocolate bar of your choice cut into large chunks.

  1. Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until thick and pale yellow.
  2. Bring the milk to a low simmer.
  3. Beat the milk into the eggs and sugar in a slow  steady stream.
  4. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over low heat.
  5. Stir continuously until the custard thickens slightly (around 65-70C) and just coats the back of a spoon. Don’t over-heat, though, because at around 76C you will scramble the eggs!
  6. Immediately remove from the heat.
  7. Allow to cool completely.
  8. Whip the cream until it has doubled in volume (you should have soft peaks – don’t over-whip).
  9. Fold the cream (gently stir) into the custard.
  10. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, adding the dulce de leche when the ice cream is already quite solid.
  11. Otherwise, cover and place in the freezer, again adding the toffee when it has become semi-solid.
  12. If you’re using a domestic ice cream machine, transfer to a freezer-proof covered container when the ice cream has achieved a semi-solid consistency (around 15 minutes).
  13. Fold in chunks of turron at this stage.
  14.  Place it in the freezer, and continue to freeze until it is solid.

Chocolate con Churros…delicious but deadly

The British do fairly well on the unhealthy breaky front.  Think of a Full English, laden with bacon, sausages, eggs, toast with butter, beans, hash browns and all generously coated with a layer of tasty grease.  There is however, the odd chance of a vegetable sneaking in, be it a juicy tomato, a few fried mushrooms and hey, baked beans are veggies after all.

The Spanish have gone one up with the creation of churros, usually served with a side of chocolate for dunking, and possibly containing no nutritional benefit whatsoever aside from an excessive calorie injection.  According to some, churros  originated in the mountains of Spain, where shepherds cooked these doughnut like treats using only a pan and oil.  They were then eaten plain or dipped in sugar.  All very well if you are spending your day climbing mountains after reckless sheep and nights literally freezing off your fat!

Another theory as to their origin is that they were brought to Portugal from China when the Portuguese returned from the Ming Dynasty.  Although as they had not learned to ‘pull’ the dough, as the Chinese did, they started to pipe the dough, giving a star shaped product. Whichever theory is correct, they are now widely available all over Spain and South America.

Over time, churros con chocolate have morphed into the ultimate post party snack/breakfast.  Now everything happens just a little bit later in Spain, so generally young people are leaving the nightclubs after a night on the town at about 7am, obviously the perfect time for a quick breaky before heading home to sleep off the hangover for the entire day.

The churros themselves resemble long thin piped deep fried doughnuts and the chocolate, well, that’s what it is, literally a cup of melted chocolate, in which to dip your churros.  It is full on.  Definitely not a breakfast for the faint hearted, health conscious, or those at high risk of heart attack.  It does hit the spot after a night out on the town and a few drinks still in the belly to cloud the judgment though.

Portions are generally big, and in my experience the half way point is the limit, as this seems to be when I start to almost feel my arteries clogging as I continue to eat.  Despite this, if you get good ones, they are pretty amazing. The soft centered, crispy dough with a rich, creamy coating of thick molten chocolate is a pretty intense experience.  I have not tried making them as yet, they are pretty cheap and not the sort of thing you want to eat on a regular basis.  Best left for nights out that turn into mornings, where half the experience is hanging around the door of the Churreria at 5am to wait for it to open.

The whole thing is not particularly sweet.  I have never had Churros coated with sugar in Spain, although apparently they do exist.  I have found in general that they have a slightly salty almost savory flavour and the dipping chocolate is thick and rich, but not really sweet either.  The flavour, however, can vary from region to region in Spain, as can the shape.  In the South, churros are thicker and fatter (known as Purros elsewhere), whilst in the North they are thinner and with a harder outer coating.  They can also be found stuffed with chocolate cream, dulce de leche or vanilla, although these are more popular in Brazil and Mexico.  There is even a savory cheese stuffed version popular in Uruguay!

Well, love them or hate them, unlike so many foods these days, churros are never portrayed to be a health food.  You know what you are getting yourself into when you bite into that crispy fried shell, so enjoy.  Just not too often!

Churros con chocolate at Valour- perfect hangover fix?