Walnut sourdough loaf

image
Another beautiful sunny day here in Rome, so my visiting mother-in-law and I ambled round Garbatella, my neighbourhood. She had seen a cardigan at one of the bancarelle, the street stalls that carry clothes, shoes, kitchenware, underwear, sheets: most stalls change neighborhoods almost every day, so we never found her cardigan. On our walk today, we met this Italian tour group twice. Professional guide, remote headsets, discussing Fascist architecture; I did not want to disappoint their experience of a genuine Roman quartiere by speaking English, so we quietly passed them. Here they are in our piazza, photographing the “La Garbatella” relief on the wall.

No cardigan, but I did get sewing needles, and met neighbours at the regular neighborhood market. Such a sign of respectability, to introduce your suocera (mother-in-law). I realized this after a neighbour in Testaccio (another Rome neighbourhood) told me they thought I must have a dark and terrible past, since my parents never came to visit. Years later, I do appreciate that my respectability ranking has edged up this week, having in-laws here. They are so nice, and are enjoying themselves immensely.
Walnut sourdough
This is a sourdough loaf I baked for their arrival.

Walnut sourdough loaf

100 grammes mature sourdough starter, 100% hydration
400 grammes lukewarm water
375 grammes plain white wheat flour (I used 00)
125 grammes wholewheat flour
40 grammes of shelled walnuts
8 grammes salt

Stir the sourdough starter with the water. Add the flours and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. After this initial rest, add the salt. Fold dough with a spatula. Add more flour or water if you think the dough needs it.

image

Cover the bowl and let rise for about a couple hours at room temperature. Fold the dough a few times (just in the bowl, using a spoon or spatula). You will feel the dough becoming more elastic and responsive, and it will increase nicely in size. Fold in the walnuts during the last fold. I had bought these nuts at the farmers market, fresh walnuts. Just crack them and tiss the shelled nuts in, no need to chop them.

For baking same day: move the dough to a floured banneton and cover it with plastic (a hotel shower cap works well), and let it rise 5-6 hours at room temperature.  I cheat, and line the banneton with baking paper, less pretty markings but easier to lift over to the pot. OR: If you are in Rome, it is October and your kitchen is still 27C, leaving the dough to rise overnight in the fridge might work better. Depends when you want to eat and have time to bake.
Walnut sourdough

When ready to bake: heat your oven to 250C, with a cast iron pot. When it is properly hot (or after at least 20 minutes), take the pot out carefully. Invert the dough onto a piece of baking paper, slash the dough, and put the bread in the pot. Bake at 250C for thirty minutes with the lid on, then 10-15 minutes more with the lid off, until the bread looks done and the base of the bread sounds hollow if you tap it. About 45 minutes in all, depending on your oven. Cool before slicing.
image
This is my contribution to Fiesta Friday: a fragrant walnut-speckled loaf. A little late, but with visitors here, time is tight. Happy FF 37 to all! Special thanks to our gracious hosts Angie at The Novice Gardener, Julianna at Foodie on Board, and Hilda at Along the Grapevine. I am going to browse and admire the wonderful FF contributions now, I am always delighted and inspired by what you all bring! Thanks for sharing.

Fiesta Friday

Aubergine-zucchini fritters

imageOttolenghi  can generally do no wrong, so when The Guardian had his recipes from Puglia, that certainly had to be tried. However,  I tweaked his recipe. Blasphemy, I know! However, a) I had an aubergine shortage and b) no breadcrumbs, but was c) too hungry to go shopping, and d) am not fond of deepfrying food. Hence the tweaks. These were SO good though! Definitely something for fans of roasted vegetables to try!

Aubergine-zucchini fritters

Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Aubergine fritters at
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/20/puglian-recipes-yotam-ottolenghi-olive-oil

1 small aubergine, diced
2 zucchini, diced
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
Salt and black pepper
1 egg
75 g grated cheese (I used pecorino, use what you have)
50g wholewheat flour
5-6 basil leaves, chopped
1 scallion, chopped (white and green parts)

To fry: 2 tsp olive oil
To serve: sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce

Heat the oven to 230C. Put the diced aubergine and zucchini on a baking parchment-covered baking tray. Drizzle over 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until starting to brown, then take out. It will smell delicious, but don’t eat too much of this yet.

image

Now, dig out your food processor, if you have one. (Or chop and mix at this step.) Set half the roasted zucchini and aubergine aside, and scoop the rest into the food processor. Add the egg, flour, grated cheese, basil leaves and scallion and blitz it until it is roughly mixed. It will not look pretty. Spoon into a bowl, then add the remaining roasted zucchini and aubergine that you had set aside. Again, do not eat this just yet (though I think this might be really good with pita bread, if you skipped the egg).

image

Heat the last 2 tsp of olive oil in a frying pan, and spoon in a heaping tablespoon of the vegetable batter. Fry until golden and firm enough to turn, maybe 3-4 minutes on medium high heat. When done on both sides, park the cooked fritters on some kitchen roll (optional, these should not be very oily) while you fry the rest.

image

Serve the fritters warm with sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce. A cold tzatziki on the side might be nice instead too. This served two for dinner, with a couple leftover for lunch.

image

The English in-laws arrive tomorrow for a week, which will be lovely, I may just make these fritters one day for them. I probably overshopped today: shiny dark aubergines, fragrant cherry tomatoes, some crisp pears, and some broccoli romano (looks like a pointy green cauliflower). It all looked so good. The veg drawer is already stuffed, including some declining zucchini, but I feel more prepared this way. It all gets used somehow!