Askthechef recipe Boxty bread (potato bread)

Boxty is a name given to three different types of Irish potato dishes. This is a recipe for bread.

Boxty bread (potato bread)

Recipe for 1,4 kilos

Ingredients

800gfloury potatoes, peeled
50gbutter
160mlmilk
5gsalt
½tspblack pepper
1gcaraway seeds
350gflour
5gbaking powder

Preparation method

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  • Cook 500g of the potatoes in water seasoned with salt.
  • Drain the cooked potatoes and briefly return to the heat to evaporate any remaining water.
  • Mash the potatoes together with the butter until you have a smooth purée.
  • Grate the remaining 300g of potatoes using a coarse grater.
  • Place the grated potatoes in a cheese cloth and squeeze out the liquid.
  • Place the grated potatoes, milk, salt, pepper, and caraway seeds in a mixing bowl and mix in the potato purée.
  • Sieve together the flour and the baking powder over the potato mixture and blend to create a soft and smooth dough.
  • Briefly knead the dough.
  • Separate the dough into four equal pieces.
  • Shape the pieces of dough into four round, flat breads with a diameter of about 10cm.
  • Place the breads on a baking tray or silicone mat.
  • Score a cross into the top of the bread.
  • Bake the breads for 40 minutes in a preheated oven.
  • Serve immediately.

Serving suggestions

  • Serve with butter as part of a snack.
  • Serve as a side dish with soup or an oven dish.
  • Variation tip: this bread is a great way for using left-over mashed potatoes. Just ensure that the mashed potatoes do not contain a lot of moisture.
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AskTheChef Technique: gratineeing en croûte

Below you can find essential information about the gratineeing en croûte technique.

Technique: gratineeing en croûte

Equipment required:
– rolling pin
– freezer
– salamander broiler / oven
– blender
– plastic film

Gratineeing en croûte means great extra flavour! This technique is a great way to add that little extra touch to meat and fish dishes in the way of flavour and texture. In principle, this is actually not more than merely a little butter and breadcrumbs and one or more flavourings. In France it is called ‘viennoise’ and possible flavourings include green herbs, truffle, Parmesan cheese, and spices. Croûtes (crusts) are easy to prepare because they can be used straight from the freezer. 

The ingredients for a basic croûte are:

100gbutter, at room temperature
200gbreadcrumbs
100gmild herbs

Step by step:

  • Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth but firm mixture.
  • Roll out the mixture between two sheets of plastic film, cover, and place in the freezer.
  • Cut neat strips of the croûte and store in the freezer.
  • Just before serving the dish, lay the croûte on the product you wish to finish and gratinee in the salamander broiler or bake in the oven.

There are many different types of croûte recipes. For instance, the breadcrumbs can be replaced with nut crumbs or panko, and the herbs with other seasonings such as Parmesan cheese, tomato, or kale.

Can be used for:
Fish: halibut, salmon, brill, cod, sea bass etc.
Shellfish and crustaceans: langoustine, lobster, mussel, oyster, razor clam, etc.
Meat: pork loin, beef tenderloin, rack of lamb, lamb loin, etc.   
Vegetables: potato, sweet potato, courgette, aubergine, sweet pepper, etc.

AskTheChef technique how to make dough

Technique: making dough

Below you can find essential information about the making dough technique.

Technique: making dough

Equipment required:
– mixing bowl
– scales

A dough always starts with flour and water, to which a leavening agent, salt, fat, sugar, eggs, or milk are added. The difference between a dough and a batter is that a dough contains more flour than water, making it solid enough to work with your hands. Mixing these two main ingredients yields a solid mass whose texture changes during the kneading process: it becomes more elastic, for example. The texture comprises basic elements: water, protein (glutens), and starch granules. The texture of dough is always temporary: heat, for example, transforms it instantly.

Every culture has its own traditional breads and pastas, all of which start with a dough. We distinguish between laminated dough, leavened dough, and yeast-leavened laminated dough.

Step-by step laminated dough:

  • Briefly mix the flour, water, egg yolk, salt, and 185g butter into a pre-dough.
  • Roll into a ball and then roll out into a square, working from the centre outwards.
  • Fold the remaining butter (230g) into the dough, as if it were an envelope.
  • Roll the dough out lengthwise and fold into three equal parts, turn by 45 degrees and roll out once again lengthwise. Fold into three equal parts again.
  • Set to cool in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  • Roll out lengthwise once more and fold into three equal parts again.
  • Turn by 45 degrees, roll out lengthwise, and fold into three equal parts again.
  • Set to cool in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  • Once again, roll the dough out lengthwise and fold into three equal parts, turn by 45 degrees, and roll out once again lengthwise. Fold into three equal parts again.
  • Set to cool in the refrigerator for a night or store in the freezer in an air-tight plastic bag. Slowly thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Roll out and use as desired. Every recipe will require a baking temperature of its own, ranging from 180 to 220°C. 

Step-by step leavened dough:

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  • Gently mix together all the ingredients except for the oil to create a smooth dough. Mix in the olive oil at the end of the kneading process.
  • Set the dough to rise under a cloth for 30 minutes at 25°C.
  • Weigh off 450g of the dough and roll into a ball.
  • Set the ball of dough to rise under a cloth for another 30 minutes.
  • Reshape the ball and decorate the dough if desired.
  • Place the dough on a baking sheet or proofing basket and leave to rise for another two hours.
  • Score the dough at the top with a cross and bake for 40 minutes in an oven at 220°C. 

Step-by step yeast-leavened laminated dough:

  • Briefly mix the flour, yeast, water, and egg.
  • Add 50g butter and the salt and knead into a smooth dough.
  • Roll into a neat ball and, working from the centre, roll out into a square.
  • Place a slice of butter weighing 275g onto this square and fold the dough around this.
  • Roll the dough out lengthwise to about 8mm thick and fold into three equal parts.
  • Allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
  • Turn the dough by 45 degrees and roll out once again to 8mm. Fold into three equal parts again.
  • Allow to rest in the refrigerator for another two hours
  • Turn the dough by 45 degrees and roll out once again to 8mm. Fold into three equal parts again.
  • Roll out until 3mm thick and cut into triangles.
  • Brush them with a little water and roll them up from the broad side to the point into the typical croissant shape.
  • Place the croissants onto a baking sheet with baking paper and allow to rise for about 90 minutes.
  • Bake at 220°C. The time depends on the size of the croissants.

Can be used for:

  • Enriched doughs: crumbles, shortbread, shortcrust
  • Puff pastries: French method, Dutch method
  • Proofed doughs: bread, sourdough, doughnuts
  • Pasta dough: with egg yolk, without egg yolk
  • Brik pastry
  • Filo pastry

AskTheChef techniques hot smoking

Technique: hot smoking

Below you can find essential information about the hot smoking technique.

Technique: hot smoking


Equipment required:
– Smoker
– Barbecue


Hot smoking
 was initially a technique used to make products last longer by brining, cooking, and smoking them. These days, it is no longer the preserving of foods that hot smoking is mainly used for. In the modern kitchen, this cooking technique cooks the products and enhances the flavour and colour. Hot smoking smokes products at a temperature between 40 and 85 °C. The smoking time depends on the desired doneness and thickness of the product you wish to smoke. You can create your own smoking combinations by using different types of wood and flavours.

Step-by-step instructions for hot smoking in the smoker:

  • Brine the product as indicated in the recipe.
  • Pat the product dry, so that the smoke can penetrate the product.
  • Portion the product.
  • Place a piece of aluminium foil of about 30 centimetres on the work surface. Place a few woodchips on the side. Fold the aluminium foil into a pocket and fold the edges closed. Place this pocket at the bottom of the smoker.
  • Preheat the smoker to the required temperature (between 40 and 85°C). When the smoker starts to smoke quite heavily, you can open it a little. 
  • Smoke the product according to the recipe.
  • Monitor the cooking progress of the products, and continue cooking in the oven if needed.

Step-by-step instructions for hot smoking on the barbecue:

  • Brine the product as indicated in the recipe.
  • Light the barbecue and place some woodchips in a container with water.
  • Pat the product dry, so that the smoke can penetrate the product, and portion into the desired sizes.
  • Ensure that the barbecue has already passed its hottest point. The aim is to slowly cook the product in the smoke and not to sear it.
  • Place the soaked woodchips between the hot coals.
  • Place the product on the barbecue and close the lid.
  • Smoke the product according to the recipe.
  • Monitor the cooking progress of the products, and continue cooking in the oven if needed.

PLEASE NOTE: It is not the smoke that makes the product last longer. It is the combination of salts and cooking that give the product a longer shelf life.

Can be used for:

  • Vegetables: Green asparagus, corn on the cob, cauliflower, broccoli stalks, sweet peppers, aubergine, courgette, tomato, sweet potato, fennel, pak choy, radicchio.
  • Mushrooms: Portobello, large mushrooms.
  • Onions: Onions, red onions, leeks, spring onion.
  • Meat: Entrecote, pork fillet, lamb chops, bavette, pork chops, lamb fillet, tournedos.
  • Poultry: Chicken, guineafowl, turkey, duck.
  • Fish: Brill, halibut, salmon, sea bass, pike perch, gurnard, tuna, dab.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, pine nuts, pecans.

AskThechef technique filleting

Technique: filleting

Below you can find essential information about the technique of filleting.

Technique: filleting

Equipment required:
– chopping board
– fillet knife
– fish scale scraper
– fish bone tweezers

Filleting fish is the process of removing the fish fillets from the bone. We do this if we cannot or do not want to work with a whole fish. In preparation methods such as poaching and steaming, the skin becomes soft and unpleasant to eat, which is why we remove the skin from the flesh. When filleting fish, we categorise them into flatfish and roundfish. There are similarities between these fish, but the method of filleting is quite different in some respects. 

Step-by-step: filleting a large roundfish

  • Use kitchen shears to cut the fins off the fish.
  • Using a fish scale scraper or the back of an old knife, scrape off the scales of the fish from tail to head. Take care not to damage the skin.
  • With the tip of a fillet knife, cut into the abdominal wall from the tail side. Don’t cut too deep or you will damage the intestines.
  • Remove the intestines from the abdominal cavity with your hand. Rinse the fish under cold running water.
  • Remove the head of the gurnard; cut it just behind the skull diagonally away from the body.
  • Start by cutting into the fish on one side with a fillet knife (not too deeply), from the end where the head was, along the backbone.
  • Closer to the tail, the fillet will become thinner. Insert the fillet knife horizontally along the backbone through the fish. Lay your other hand on top of the fillet and continue to cut the fillet off the bone until you can remove it completely.
  • Turn the fish over. This time, start from the tail end.
  • Remove the remaining bones using fish bone tweezers or kitchen tweezers.
  • Trim the edges of the fillets to neaten them.

Step-by-step: filleting a small roundfish

  • Lay the fish flat on the chopping board and cut into it behind the head as far as the backbone.
  • Turn the knife horizontally and press down gently on the fish with your other hand. Cut the fillet away from the backbone in one movement.
  • Repeat this process on the other side.
  • Trim the edges of the fillets to neaten them.

Step-by-step: filleting a large flatfish

  • Remove the head by cutting it just behind the gills.
  • Use kitchen shears to cut the tail off the fish.
  • Remove the fins on either side by cutting them close to the body.
  • Cut the fish in half along the backbone.
  • Remove any innards and rinse the fish under cold water.

Step-by-step: filleting a small flatfish

  • Use a knife to loosen the skin on the side of the head.
  • Once part of the skin is loose, hold the head with one hand, take a knife in the other hand, and push the skin against the knife with your thumb. Pull away more of the skin.
  • Once enough skin has been pulled loose, take hold of it firmly and pull it off the fish with your hand in one smooth movement.
  • Turn the fish over and repeat the procedure.
  • Cut into the fish behind the head.
  • Starting from the head, cut along the bone in the middle to the tail.
  • Turn your knife horizontally and cut along the bone towards the tail. Press the knife well against the bones to minimise the amount of flesh left on the bones. Repeat this procedure until you reach the side bones of the fish. The fillet is now detached from the backbone. Repeat the process for the other fillet.
  • Trim the fillets to neaten them.

Step by step: skinning the fillets
Filets of roundfish are easy to skin. If you want to poach or braise fish fillets, it is wise to remove the skin first.

  • Place the fillet on the chopping board with the skin side down.
  • Cut the fillet as far as the skin as closely as possible to the tail end.
  • Hold the tailpiece with your other hand and press it firmly.
  • Place the knife diagonally on the skin and make short horizontal cutting movements.
  • Carefully cut the flesh away from the skin, making sure that you hold the fish skin firmly. As long as you maintain tension in the skin, you generally won’t cut through it.

Can be used for:

  • Flatfish: sole, plaice, turbot, brill, dab, lemon sole, etc.
  • Roundfish: Sea bass fillet, sea bream, cod, haddock, coley/saithe/pollock, hake, whiting, grey mullet, gurnard, red mullet, sardine, mackerel, salmon, pike perch, etc. 

AskTheChef basic technique caramelisation

Technique: caramelisation

Below you can find essential information about the caramelisation technique.

Technique: caramelisation

Equipment required:
– pan with a thick bottom
– Réaumur thermometer or Celsius-thermometer
– brush
– bowl with iced water.

Caramelisation. The molecular characteristics of sugar change when it is heated. These changes cause the sugar to liquefy when heated and the colour to brown at 118°C. This temperature must be carefully monitored with a Réaumur thermometer, or Celsius thermometer. The temperature determines the texture of the resulting caramel. You can create caramel in two different ways: the wet preparation and the dry preparation.

Basic ingredients for caramel:

1000gsugar
350gwater
100gwhite syrup

Step-by-step instructions for the wet preparation of caramel:

  • Precisely measure the ingredients.
  • Boil the water in a pan (preferably copper).
  • Add the sugar and the white syrup and stir until everything has dissolved.
  • Gently heat the sugar solution on a low heat until it starts to boil. Please note that the temperature of boiling sugar is higher than boiling water so do not test the solution with your fingers.
  • Carefully monitor the temperature with a Réaumur thermometer or Celsius-thermometer.
  • Keep the edges of the pan clean with the brush moistened with iced water. By cleaning the edges of the pan you prevent the graining or crystallisation of the caramel.
  • Once the mixture has reached the desired temperature, cool it down by placing the pan in some ice water to prevent further caramelising.

Step-by-step instructions for the dry preparation of caramel:

  • Pour an even layer of sugar in the pan and slowly heat this on a low heat.
  • Once the sugar starts to melt, gently swirl the pan and allow the sugar to dissolve equally. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to move sugar from the edges of the pan to the centre.
  • Heat the sugar until the desired temperature and colour are reached.

Temperature table for caramel:

Thin string84°R105°C
Thick string86°R107°C
Small ball92°R115°C
Large ball97°R121°C
Breakable100°R125°C
Very breakable115°R144°C
Caramel122°R152°C

Can be used for:
Granulated sugar, cane sugar, muscovado sugar, isomalt