Mediterranean Bread Parcels

Mediterranean Bread Parcels

Rejoice! The days are finally warmer and longer, which makes weekends more enjoyable, too! A light breeze playing with your hair, a twinkle of sunlight dancing on your nose, and the smell of green grass and flowers hanging in the air – yes, you have guessed correctly, it’s finally summer again (at least in some parts of the UK)! This means grabbing a blanket, packing up the picnic basket and taking friends and family in tow to trot off to the closest green space there is to find. To beat the hunger pangs on a long afternoon lazing about, these tasty cheesy bread parcels are the perfect picnic snack to bring along – easy to carry around, no cutlery necessary and best eaten cold! A combination of salty goodness from the “King of Cheeses”, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Parma ham, milky mozzarella, aromatic fresh basil, sweet sundried tomatoes and the sharpness of sweated onions make these little pizza pockets the King of your picnic basket. Hail to the Summer Season!

Bread_Parcels_4

 

Ingredients:

For 8 Parcels

For the dough:

500g mixed, plain flours (white and wholemeal)

320ml tepid water

2 tbsps. dry yeast

1 tsp. sea salt

1 pinch sugar

 

For the filling:

8 slices Parma ham

1 mozzarella ball

100g Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

1 mid-sized onion

8 pieces sundried tomatoes

A handful of fresh basil leaves

Olive oil

Black pepper to taste

Extra flour for dusting

 

What you’ll need:

Mixing bowl

Measuring jug

Kitchen scales

Fork

Rolling pin

Grater

Chopping board

Large Kitchen knife

Frying pan

Flat baking tray

Tablespoon

Teaspoon

Wooden spoon or spatula for stirring

Cling film

Non-stick baking paper

 

Method:

  1. For the dough, take a mixing bowl and combine the flours forming a little well in the middle of the bowl. Add dried yeast, sea salt and sugar.
  2. Slowly add tepid water into the well and start stirring more and more flour into the water using a large fork until the clumps are getting bigger and start combining into an even mixture.
  3. Wash your hands thoroughly, then cover them and the dough with extra flour and start to knead. It tends to be easier to knead on a hard, flat surface instead of the mixing bowl. For this, make first sure that the worktop is clean and dry before dusting it with flour.
  4. Knead the dough thoroughly for at least 5 minutes, slapping it, folding, pulling and pushing it from every angle until it feels elastic and smooth.
  5. Put the dough back in the bowl, sprinkle some flour on top and cover the mixing bowl with cling film. Allow the dough to prove for about 30 minutes in a warm environment.
  6. In the meantime, chop the onion into strips. Sauté the onion strips by slowly heating up a frying pan with olive oil and spreading them out evenly over the pan and letting them cook, on low heat, until they turn transparent. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to avoid browning.
  7. Grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano, cut up the mozzarella and sundried tomatoes.
  8. Dust the worktop with flour. Take your dough and knead it for a few minutes, then take half and roll it out to a large square, approx. 3mm thick. Then take a knife and separate the dough into four pieces.
  9. Drizzle olive oil on each square and rub it in the dough.
  10. Distribute all ingredients equally: One slice of Parma ham per square, 1-2 tomato pieces, 1-2 slices of mozzarella, a tablespoonful of sautéed onions, a handful of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a few fresh basil leaves. Add black pepper to taste. As the ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano are fairly salty already, I would not recommend adding any extra salt for taste.
  11. Take one side of the dough square and wrap it over the filling. Use your fingertips or the back of a spoon or fork to press the dough edges together so the filling won’t fall out. Glaze the parcels with olive oil using a pastry brush.
  12. Repeat the process for the other half of the dough with the remainder of the ingredients to make 8 parcels altogether.
  13. Place the bread parcels on a flat baking tray with non-stick baking paper and put them in the hot oven (middle-rack) for approx. 25 minutes or until golden-brown at 180°C (fan).
  14. After about 15 minutes into the baking process, take the pastry brush and glaze the bread parcels with water. This will make a crustier crust.
  15. After the baking process, let them cool and pack them up for a nice picnic.

(Credit to: Castelli/Parmigiano for these beautiful recipes)

http://www.castelli-uk.com

 

Parmigiano-Reggiano and Spinach Muffins with Pine Nuts

Parmigiano-Reggiano and Spinach Muffins with Pine Nuts

A day out in the countryside or in an inner-city park is best spent with plenty of yummy provisions, I find, such as muffins. To me, of course, they are usually of the sugary kind and coupled with a cup of milky coffee as a firm part of my afternoon routine, but muffins can be a real savoury treat, too!

These chewy, aromatic little cakes receive their wonderful aroma from nutmeg, the buttery crunch from roasted pine nuts and the strong, uncanny umami taste and saltiness from the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese – a true feast for the senses! As an extra treat for the eyes, garnish the Parmigiano-Reggiano and spinach muffins with a dollop of nutmeg-spiced cream cheese and a crispy Parmigiano-Reggiano round made from grated cheese. These muffins are the perfect finger food for filling up your picnic basket as well as making wonderful party nibbles and stunning brunch displays.Spinach_Muffins_1

Ingredients:

For 10 muffins

 

For the batter:

280g mixed, plain flours (white and wholemeal)

1 tbsp. baking powder

2 large eggs

225ml milk

75ml vegetable oil (extra oil for greasing the muffin moulds)

60g Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

100g baby leaf spinach

50g pine nuts

1 tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

1 pinch sugar

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp. butter

 

For the decoration (optional):

280g cream cheese

10 tbsps. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

 

What you’ll need:

Mixing bowl

Whisk

Kitchen scales

Grater

Tablespoon

Teaspoon

Small bowl

Strainer or colander

Measuring jug

Frying pan

Chopping board

Kitchen knife

Wooden spoon or spatula for stirring

Muffin baking tray (with 12 moulds)

Flat baking tray with non-stick baking paper

A glass with a small diameter, e.g. a Champagne glass

Pastry brush

 

Method:

  1. Thoroughly wash the spinach leaves. Melt butter in a pan and add the spinach. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Cook the spinach for approx. 5 minutes. Let it cool off.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flours with baking powder. Add eggs, milk, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and vegetable oil. Season the batter with sea salt, black pepper, ground nutmeg and sugar. Stir well until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
  3. In a dry frying pan, roast the pine nuts until they brown. Let them cool of briefly before adding them to the batter as well. Add the cooked spinach to the batter along with the chopped garlic. Use a tablespoon to fold in the spinach, garlic and pine nuts and stir until the mixture is uniform.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C (fan).
  5. Take a large muffin tray (12 moulds) or two small trays and use a pastry brush to grease the moulds with vegetable oil.
  6. Use a tablespoon to evenly divide the batter among the moulds. It should suffice for at least 10 muffins. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, middle rack, at 170°C.
  7. For the Parmigiano-Reggiano rounds (decoration) take a Champagne glass or similar (ø3cm), fill it with a tablespoonful of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and turn it over on a flat baking tray covered with non-stick baking paper. Repeat the process until you have produced then evenly round mounds of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Make sure that there is enough space between the cheese mounds so they won’t fuse together. Bake them in the oven for approx. 10 minutes, and then leave them to cool off.
  8. In the meantime, use a small bowl to mix the cream cheese with the ground nutmeg. Stir well. Once the muffins are done and have cooled off, decorate them with a heaped teaspoonful of nutmeg cream cheese whip each and top off with a Parmigiano-Reggiano round.

 

(Credit to: Castelli/Parmigiano for these beautiful recipes)

http://www.castelli-uk.com

Recipe: Parmesan Scotch Eggs with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Recipe: Parmesan Scotch Eggs with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Now we can get out more and enjoy the fine weather, how about a picnic? These Scotch Eggs make a great addition to a picnic with friends and family, Think how impressed they will be with your home made Picnic food.

Scotch eggs are the ideal snack food and much easier to make than one would assume! Using sausages instead of regular minced meat gives the advantage of already having perfectly seasoned meat. But this British classic comes with a twist: sharp, nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano added to the meat and the breadcrumb coating! Enjoy these flavour-filled goodies at parties or picnics or serve as a main meal with some green salad.

With thanks to http://www.castelli-uk.com/

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