Basil Pesto Damper Rolls

Bread making doesn’t come naturally to me and I need to be really inspired to be able to make my own bread. Yesterday, when I came across Lauzan’s (from The Veggy Side of Me) “exotic pesto dressing” I couldn’t get it out of my head. I knew that it would haunt me in my dreams if I didn’t try it soon enough! Lo and behold, I got out my blender to make it just in time for dinner. This has to be the most delicious pesto I’ve ever eaten without having to use any cheese!

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My hubby is not a big fan of cheese (Yea i know, what’s wrong with him, doesn’t like cheese, chocolate !!) and this basil pesto would be just perfect for him I thought. To accompany this gorgeous pesto, I decided to make bread.  I wanted to make a bread that is easy and quick without having to use yeast. A few weeks back, a friend of mine had shown me how to make damper bread. Not only is it super easy to make, it tastes quite delightful. Damper is a traditional Australian soda bread. I learnt from her that this bread was originally made by stockmen who traveled from one place to another for work. They would cook this bread in the ashes of camp fire. I reckon very much similar to “Baati” as in Baati Chowkha. Quite intriguing!

I made these into pesto rolls and they were delicious to say the least! My hubby asked me today morning if there were any leftovers… 😉

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The bread recipe has been inspired from http://www.taste.com.au

To find out the magic PESTO recipe hop on over to Lauzan’s space!.

Ingredients :
35 g sesame seeds
150 g wholemeal flour
150 g all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
120 ml milk
60 g plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon extra milk or water

Instructions :

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly flour a baking tray with some flour.

Roast the sesame seeds and keep aside.

Sift the flours and salt into a large mixing bowl, returning the bran to the bowl. Stir in the toasted sesame seeds.

Make a well in the centre and add milk and yoghurt. Mix quickly and lightly with a fork until combined. Bring dough together with your fingertips and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently with floured hands and form into a ball.

Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 30 x 40cm rectangle, about 1cm-thick. Spread the basil pesto evenly over the dough. Starting from a long side, roll up firmly to form a log. Cut log crossways into equal portions, about 2cm thick. Place the scrolls on prepared tray. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and just cooked through. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
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Serve warm or at room temperature.

I made small buns out of the leftover dough.. 🙂

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

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Lemon-Basil Macarons

Macarons au Citron Jaune et Basilic as the French would call it. 🙂

I have found myself cooking with lemon a lot last few weeks. I think the famous proverb, modified, would suit me best “A lemon a day keeps the doctor away”. 😉 So when I had some lemon basil cream leftover from my Lemon Basil Cheesecake I thought they would be ideal to fill up some macarons.

Lemon Basil Macarons

Lemon Basil Macarons

The lemon basil cream is so versatile and can be used in different desserts, for example, to fill eclairs or profiteroles, to fill up tarts, as a filling for a layered cake. Sky is the limit I’d say. 🙂

I enjoyed making these and friends enjoyed eating these even more. 🙂
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Makes 24-30 depending on the size

Ingredients :

For the pâté à macaron :
93 g icing sugar, sifted
93 g ground almonds
1 medium free-range egg white

For the Italian meringue :
1 medium free-range egg white
1 drop lemon juice or 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
93 g caster sugar
1.5 tbsp water
Yellow Food coloring (optional)

Lemon Basil Cream :
1/2 gelatin sheet (1g)
88 g butter, softened
1 egg
68 g sugar
65 ml lemon juice
5 medium basil leaves
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Instructions :

Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Pâté à macaron:
In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites to form a paste.

Italian meringue :
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar(or lemon juice) in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.

Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 1 minute.
Now add the food colouring, I have used golden yellow and brown (4:2) and whisk again until the meringue is coloured uniformly.

Fold the Italian meringue mixture into the pâté à macaron until it reaches the ribbon stage – this is when a spoonful of the mixture poured back into the bowl sits like a ribbon on the surface. Do not over-mix or the macaroon will crack when cooked.

Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 8mm/¼in nozzle.

Pipe on 3cm/1in discs on the baking trays, at least 2cm/¾in apart. Tap the tray on a work surface to release any air bubbles. Let the macarons rest for 20-30 minutes before baking.

Bake in the oven for eight minutes.As soon as the macaroons form feet open and shut the oven door to release some steam.
After eight minutes remove from the oven and then leave on a cooling rack until completely cold.

Lemon Basil Cream :

Soak the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the egg into a heavy saucepan and add the sugar. Whisk the eggs with the sugar.

Whisk in the lemon juice. Continue to whisk over medium heat.
Tear the basil leaves into the pan and cook just until the cream comes to a boil and thickens.

Whisk in the softened gelatin.

Strain the cream over the softened butter. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream and butter for one minute until smooth.

Chill for at least an hour.
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Assembling the macarons :

Spoon about one teaspoon of the lemon basil cream onto the flat side of a cooled macaroon and top with another macaroon to make a sandwich.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!