Spring Cooking with our Bakers

Shakshuka

We think this breakfast makes the perfect start to a weekend. It’s simple to make and the shared nature of this dippy dish gets the whole household involved.

shakshuka

Feeds 4

50ml olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp smoked, hot or sweet paprika to taste
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp caraway seeds
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
8 eggs
50g feta, crumbled
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 whole loaf of good white sourdough

Step one

Start by preheating your oven to 200C then grab a large, oven-proof frying pan and warm it up over a medium heat. Toast the caraway seeds until they’re all lovely and fragrant then add the olive oil and let it warm through, frying the toasted seeds for another minute or two.

Step two

Next up, add the onion and pepper. When it’s all soft and jammy – 10 to 15 minutes – stir in your chilli flakes, cumin and paprika and cook for another couple of minutes. Tip in the chopped fresh tomatoes, give it a good stir and cook for five more minutes before adding the tinned ones. Bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper, then cook for two minutes more.

Step three

It’s best to turn down the heat at this point and let it simmer for around 15-20 minutes for the sauce to thicken. When it’s a rich, dark red, turn off the heat let it cool down a bit.

Step four

Next, take a wooden spoon and hollow out eight little wells in the surface of your sauce to crack the eggs into. Taking care not to break the yolk, use a fork to gently bury the egg whites under the sauce but leave the yolks on show.

Step five

Crumble the feta everywhere but the egg yolks, drizzle with olive oil then place in the oven. After five minutes, the yolks should be just set. If you like them completely hard, give it another five minutes before sprinkling with coriander and drizzling with a touch more olive oil.

And that’s it. All that’s left is to rally the troops and tuck in with a fresh loaf of crusty white sourdough. Enjoy.

Easter’s come early

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Move over, wind and rain – we’re longing for the first signs of spring. But while Mother Nature isn’t on our side, the return of our iconic sweet and spicy hot cross buns means it’s already Easter in our bakeries.

Made fresh throughout the day and packed with currants, sultanas and cranberries, each bun is glazed with spiced syrup to give them a delicious, sticky top. Slathered in butter or toasted straight-up, we hope they’ll brighten even the greyest of days.

COOKIES AND CUPCAKES AND TRUFFLES, OH MY!

valentines_news

For the last few months, our head chef Roy has been playing cupid in the kitchen, creating scrumptious sweets for our very favourite customers (that’s you).

From rose-topped vanilla cupcakes and red-lipped cookies to our gingerbread man “in love”, each one is ready for romance in its own special way.

And just like the rest of our bread and cakes, each one has been made without artificial additives or preservatives. So that lovely pink colour you see is totally natural and straight from the berry.

Valentine’s treats can be found in our bakeries from 30th January.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Loaf, us x

Roy’s spelt & seed loaf recipe

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This gorgeous South African recipe sits somewhere in between a bread and a savoury cake – which isn’t a bad place to be. The spelt flour (an ancient variety of wheat) and the seeds (full of good fats) make it particularly nutritious, and together they create a complex, nutty flavour that’s underpinned by treacle’s natural and savoury note.

You’ll find this makes more of a batter than a dough: that’s how it’s meant to be, so don’t panic if your mixture looks runny.

Dry ingredients:
55g white spelt flour
55g stoneground wholemeal spelt flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp fine sea salt
40g rolled oats
4 tsp poppy seeds
4 tsp sesame seeds
4 tsp linseeds
1 tbs pumpkin seeds
1 tbs sunflower seeds
2 tsp nigella seeds

Wet ingredients
180ml butter milk
20ml rapeseed oil
4tsp poppy 50 g treacle

For the topping:
A handful of mixed seeds
A pinch of flaked sea salt

 

Preheat your oven to 155C. Grease a 1lb loaf tin and line with baking paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until completely combined. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and gently combine the two with a wooden spoon until no dry patches of flour remain. Don’t over-mix.

Pour the batter into the tin (it will level out as it cooks, so don’t worry about smoothing the top). Sprinkle over the topping of salt and seeds and bake for an hour, or until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean.

 

 

We’re hiring in Barnes…

Joe 020

We’re looking for new people to join the GAIL’s family in our bakery in Barnes (SW13). If you’re a passionate foodie with a love of bread, working in a team and the odd brownie, we’d love to meet you!

Have a look at the positions we have available here and pop us an email with a bit about yourself and your CV.

Chocolate and Marmalade Tart

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Use your favourite marmalade here – one with a decent, grown-up bitterness. If it’s very thick-cut, chop the pieces of peel roughly so that it spreads easily.

The pastry recipe makes enough for two 24cm tarts, but is difficult to make in a smaller quantity. You can chill or freeze the second half of the pastry to use another time. Use a tin with a loose base so you can remove the tart easily before serving.

For the tart shell:
150g butter, at room temperature
65g plain flour
95g icing sugar
35g ground almonds
1 egg
½ tsp fine sea salt
190g plain flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and creamy. Scrape down the bowl, then add 65g of the flour, the icing sugar, the almonds, the egg and the salt. Mix at medium speed until a soft paste forms, then scrape down the bowl. Add the rest of the flour and mix until just combined. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least an hour before using, or for up to three days.

To form the tart shell, lightly flour your work surface and roll the pastry out to a 3mm disc, just slightly larger than the tart tin. Carefully wrap the pastry disc around the rolling pin. Sit the tin right in front of you, then lift the rolling pin over it and allow the pastry to unroll neatly in.

Press the pastry gently down into the base of the tin, making a neat, sharp angle between the sides and the base of the tin, but don’t push or stretch it too much. Gently press the pastry evenly up the sides of the tin, then use the blunt edge of a knife to trim neatly all around the top. The pastry should be exactly level or almost imperceptibly higher than the tin. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180C.

Line the pastry case with heavy aluminium foil or baking paper and fill it with baking beans.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through – peek under the foil to check that the outer edge is done. The centre won’t be quite ready yet. Take out the oven, allow to cool until you can handle it, then carefully remove the weights and foil. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more, until the pastry is an even golden colour in the centre, and cooked right through.

Allow to cool completely before filling.

For the filling:
300g dark chocolate, chopped
200g butter, at room temperature, diced
2 medium eggs
2 medium egg yolks
50g soft brown sugar
¼ tsp fine sea salt
150g marmalade

Combine the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl and sit the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring regularly until they melt smoothly together. Set side to cool slightly. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, yolks, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and use the balloon whisk attachment to whisk together until very pale and tripled in volume – this will take around 10 minutes.

With a large metal spoon, mix a third of the chocolate mixture into the whisked egg mixture – no need to be too careful about this – then fold in the remaining chocolate very gently and carefully.

Spread the marmalade evenly over the base of the tart shell and slowly pour over the chocolate filling, allowing it to settle and reach its own level.

Bake for 15 minutes, until just set. The edges of the filling will rise and then crack a little, and the centre should still have a slight wobble to it.

Leave to cool completely before serving, with a dollop of crème fraîche and a teaspoon more marmalade.

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