Saturday 21 October 2017

Gather in Joy

Feast your eyes on Flora Shedden's bounteous banquet of hearty, wholesome dishes - guaranteed to get the whole family around the table

Gatherings: recipes for feasts great and small by Flora Shedden, published by Mitchell Beazley, £25, octopusbooks.co.uk
Gatherings: recipes for feasts great and small by Flora Shedden, published by Mitchell Beazley, £25, octopusbooks.co.uk
Sumac roast chicken with carrots and chickpeas
Greens, quinoa and black onion seed salad

This is a delicious loaf with a good crust and a soft interior. The beer adds a certain earthiness to the flavour, which develops beautifully when the bread is refrigerated overnight. The whipped butter is optional, but I find it terribly moreish and like to slather it on top of a hearty slice of the bread. Enjoy the bread with a good ale, some cheese, tasty cold meats and a nice dollop of chutney - you will be lucky if you have any bread left for toast in the morning.

Seed and grain beer bread with whipped butter

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

100g (3½ oz) strong wholemeal bread flour

325g (11½ oz) strong white bread

flour, plus extra for dusting

50g (1&3Qtr oz) mixed grains (oats and cracked wheat work well)

50g (1&3Qtroz) mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sesame, sunflower or anything else you have to hand

7g sachet (2 tsp) salt

7g sachet (2 tsp) fast-action dried yeast

330ml (11½ fl oz) pale ale oil, for greasing

For the whipped butter:

250g (9oz) very soft unsalted butter, cubed

Large pinch of sea salt flakes, lightly ground

Method

The evening before baking, place all the bread ingredients in a bowl. Mix them together, then tip the dough onto a work surface. Knead for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Resist the temptation to add more flour as you work - lightly oil the work surface if you find that the dough is sticking to it.

If you would rather use a stand mixer, knead the dough with the dough hook attachment for 5-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave at room temperature to rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

Tip the dough back onto the work surface and shape it into a ball by gently pulling dough from the sides down towards one side of the ball and pulling this gently together to form a seam (this less attractive side will form the base of the bread). Try not to lose too much of the air formed in the dough while doing this, although you don't need to worry massively if you do.

If you have a proving basket, dust this generously with flour and place the dough into it, with the gathered seam facing upwards.

If not, simply place the dough onto a floured baking tray with the gathered seam facing downwards. Cover loosely with cling film and leave to prove in the refrigerator overnight. Ensure it is not cramped by surrounding items in the refrigerator, as the dough will grow in size.

If you are making the whipped butter, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the salt. It is important that the butter is really soft for this process.

Use a whisk attachment and whip for 5-7 minutes or until ice white. Spoon the whipped butter into a bowl and keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Slather generously on top of the bread for one of the simplest pleasures.

Sumac Roast Chicken With Carrots And Chickpeas

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Sumac roast chicken with carrots and chickpeas
 

Serves 4

Ingredients

400g (14oz) baby carrots left whole (or regular carrots, chopped into quarters)

1 x 400g (14oz) can chickpeas, drained

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp clear honey

Olive oil

1 large chicken, about 1.5-2kg/3lb 5oz- 4lb 8oz

1 garlic bulb, quartered

½ lemon, quartered

Reserved rind of ½ juiced lemon (see below)

White wine, as necessary

100g (3½oz) whole blanched hazelnuts

For the sumac paste:

2 tbsp sumac

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp dried chilli flakes

Juice of ½ large lemon (reserve the rind for roasting the chicken - see above)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 200˚C (400˚F), Gas Mark 6.

Begin by making the sumac paste. Using a pestle and mortar, mix all the ingredients except the garlic, including a little salt and pepper until fully combined. Add the chopped garlic and pound it into the paste to break it down further.

In a deep roasting tray (ideally one that can be placed on the table to serve), toss the carrots and chickpeas with the cumin and honey. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Place the chicken, breast side facing upwards, on top of the veg. Add the pieces of garlic bulb to the tray. Place the lemon quarters inside the chicken along with the rind of the juiced lemon half you used to make the sumac paste. Now rub the chicken with the sumac paste, covering the entire surface evenly. At this point, you can cover the chicken with kitchen foil and leave it in the fridge for a few hours to marinate, or you can cook it straight away.

Roast the chicken and veg for 1ƒ-2 hours or until the juices from the chicken run clear. Check the chicken after 1 hour, and if it is colouring too quickly, cover it with kitchen foil. At this point, turn the carrots over as well to ensure they become evenly coloured. You can add a little white wine to the tray if things look dry and you feel some extra juice is required.

Once the chicken and veg are cooked through, cover the bird with kitchen foil, then lay a tea towel on top to help keep it warm. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, roast the hazelnuts quickly in a small frying pan. Once fragrant and slightly golden, chop roughly.

Serve the chicken with the hazelnuts sprinkled over the carrots, and allow people to spoon a little of the cooking juices over their meat.

Greens, Quinoa and Black Onion Seed Salad

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Greens, quinoa and black onion seed salad
 

This might be the dish in this book that I crave the most. A big plate of greens instantly makes me feel brighter. The quinoa adds nuttiness and some bulk to the dish, and I would urge you to use the black onion seeds if you can source them. Slightly bitter and almost salty in taste, they help to season the salad and provide a lovely visual pop against the green. Perfect for a Monday night dinner served with leftover roast chicken.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

150g (5½ oz) quinoa

100g (3½ oz) green beans, trimmed and roughly chopped

100g (3½ oz) fine asparagus, woody ends snapped off, roughly chopped

100g (3½ oz) Tenderstem broccoli, trimmed, cut into florets

100g (3½ oz) podded broad beans

2 avocados

4 spring onions

Olive oil, for drizzling

Freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 lemon

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3 tbsp black onion seeds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Cook the quinoa following the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, half-fill a separate saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Cook the green beans, asparagus, broccoli and broad beans in

batches, letting them cook in the water for no longer than 1-1ƒ minutes.

Drain and allow to cool. Skin your broad beans.

To make the dressing, whisk the lemon juice, oil, vinegar and mustard together. Once the mixture is smooth, stir in the black onion seeds.

Season to taste and pour into a serving dish.

Halve, stone and finely slice the avocado and finely slice the spring onions. Toss through the dressing. Add the skinned broad beans and now-cooled greens and mix again.

Drain the quinoa when it is cooked and add a little drizzle of oil and some pepper. Mix well, then stir into the salad.

Serve immediately.

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