Roosterkoek

Roosterkoek is a quintessentially South African dish, literally a grilled bread roll that may or may not be stuffed, and the traditional bread accompaniment to a braai or bbq. (The braai itself is a tradition going back to one of the first peoples of South Africa, the Khoikhoi.) We didn’t actually get to partake of a braai while in South Africa recently, but we did have a breakfast version of roosterkoek while in Kruger National Park. I decided to try making these once we returned home, and they’re remarkably easy and versatile. Recipes abound on the internet, and they’re all pretty similar; I started with the one at Foodies of South Africa. (Be sure to check out that website, plenty of wonderful recipes there.)

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Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread

For almost two years now, I’ve been working my way through a wonderful bread cookbook, Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread, by Zachary Golper. My intent was to work through it completely … and I haven’t quite made it through … because frankly I’ve had enough time to figure out what my favorites are, and I keep returning to those. So someday I’ll finish the book, but in the meantime, here’s my review.

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Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Puffs)

Brazil has a few signature dishes – feijoada and caipirinhas come to mind – but few are as addictive as pão de queijo. Dry and slightly crispy outside, soft and cheesy inside, they are yummy little breads made with tapioca flour. Tapioca flour is made from cassava root, also known as manioc and yuca (yes, one c). We enjoyed these on a recent trip to the Brazilian Amazon, but (despite finding many recipes on the internet) I thought it would be unlikely I’d be able to make these at home; who sells tapioca flour, after all?

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Pain Perdu (French Toast)

The Tour de France started yesterday, not to mention my friends Mark and Joanne posted food photos for a week or so while on a cycling trip in France, so I am in a French frame of mind. Accordingly I’ll be doing some French (real or imagined) cooking for the next few weeks. Today’s brunch: pain perdu, “lost bread”, aka French toast.

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Kürbiskernbrötchen – Pumpkin & Sunflower Seed Rolls

In Germany recently, I was reminded how much I love the variety of fresh breads available at breakfast, and dismayed yet again at how we don’t seem to have those choices at home. We do have a fine German bakery nearby, but they don’t make the heavily-seeded rolls known as Kürbiskernbrot or Kürbiskernbrötchen. I found a number of recipes on the web (quite a lot of variety out there, actually – google it and see), and worked up a version that I could make in my bread machine (on the dough cycle, then shape and bake in the oven).They turned out well enough that I can see having lovely weekend breakfasts with these little delights. Continue reading

Herbed Potato-Cheese Bread

We were in the Bhutan countryside, enjoying another “camp” meal – how our support crew prepared so many marvelous meals with limited equipment is astounding – and one of the group, Beverly, started telling me about an herbed potato-cheese bread that she makes. My first reaction was “eek! too much cheese! too much butter!”. The more I thought about it, the better it sounded, so by the time we were heading home, I asked her to please send me the recipe. She did, and I put aside my cheese and butter concerns and made it. (My theory: always make a recipe as written the first time, before starting to fool around with it. Maybe I will lighten it up next time; maybe I won’t!) Continue reading

Croatian Easter Bread

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Liza and sister Luci

Spring means Easter, and Easter in my mom Alpha’s kitchen (and now mine) means Easter Bread.  For some reason we can only make this buttery, sweet bread laced with orange and lemon peel at Easter.  Maybe because the original recipe made four huge loaves and we would all eat too much of it right out of the oven.  Did I mention too this is virtually the one time of year we gleefully eat real butter? 

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