21 Jul 2014

Tomato, olive and mozzarella pizza buns (savoury Chelsea buns)

Ask French expats what they miss the most about France and you'll probably hear in length about camembert, baguette and saucisson (cured sausage). 

I do share their sorrow (I go on a smelly cheese-baguette therapy every time I go back to France), but what makes me miss France even more in my London life is the lack of proper blinds on windows.

After all these years, I still don't understand how British people can sleep without blinds to block the light, even more when you take into account that it's day light at 4.30am these days.
Why, oh why don't your houses have blinds?

"Light makes you strong" tells me The Man.
Yeah yeah, call me a tree fern.

Until I can buy a place of my own and build proper blinds to my windows, I'll go back to bed with my mask on. Good night!

Tomato, olive and mozzarella pizza buns

Like most breads, these buns take a bit of time to make (because of the two rising stages), but there are very easy to make, and are well worth the time.
Adapted from their famous sweet equivalent, the Chelsea Buns (which recipe you'll find on my blog here), they are as delicious as they look impressive (and you can change the filling with pretty much whatever you like), and will make the perfect accompaniment to a very simple soup for dessert, or an impressive addition to a picnic or a dinner party.


500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting 
50g/2oz caster sugar 
10g/¼oz salt 
40g/1½oz unsalted butter cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing the tin 
2 free-range eggs 
2 x 7g sachets fast-acting dried yeast 
150ml/5fl oz lukewarm milk 
90ml/6 tbsp lukewarm water
3/4 of a pot olive and sundried tomato pesto (or any other pesto) 
1 ball of mozzarella, very finely sliced
a handful of lovely black olives in water, sliced
some parmesan, grated (optional)

Method to make the pizza buns: 

1/ Place the flour, caster sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the butter, eggs, yeast, milk and warm water.

2/ Mix the ingredients with your hands until a rough dough is formed. 

3/ Tip the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead well for ten minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. 

4/ Place the dough into a clean, oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for one hour in a warm place (or in front of an heating over)

5/ Tip the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 50x28cm. Turn the dough so that the longer edge is closest to you and “tack” the dough to the work surface by pressing it down firmly with your finger.

6/ Spread the pesto onto the surface of the dough with the back of a spoon. Spread the mozzarella slices and olive slices on top of the pesto (it doesn't matter if the whole surface is not covered). Grate a little parmesan on top, if desired. 

7/ Roll the long side of the dough towards you quite tightly, forming a spiral inside. When rolled up, release the tacked edge and place it onto a floured part of the surface. With a sharp knife cut the sausage shape into 5cm rounds.

8/ Place all spiral rounds, swirly side up, into a large, deep roasting tin or baking tray (I used a round cake tin with removable botton) greased thoroughly with butter, leaving a 1cm space between each one. You want them to be close enough so that they will bake with their sides touching.

9/ Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for an hour. They should have expanded and be touching each other.

10/ Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. When the buns are ready, put them in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. 

11/ After removing the buns from the oven, let them cool slightly before removing them from the tin and placing on a cooling rack, before pulling them apart.

Recipe inspired by Paul Hollywood's savoury chelsea buns
The olives I used in the recipe are Spanish olives kindly offered by Olive it!

15 Jul 2014

Cornwall #1: A little guide to Cornish food specialities

Most people prepare their holidays by setting up a list of the places they want to see and the things they want to do for their holidays. 
The main list that I prepare before any holidays is my "To Eat List".
When the average Jane would be upset to have visited NYC and missed the Empire State Building, Ze Pauline would be devastated to have not tried a culinary speciality the places she visits
Yes, I am that obsessed with food. 

My holidays in Cornwall being no exception, I had done my research and I had a plan
I am proud to declare that I ticked most of the items on my Cornish To Eat List, and God, what a satisfying experience that was.

Cornish food is amazing
Full stop.

If you share my obsession (or if you're just interested in knowing a bit more about Cornish food specialities) here are a few things you should try and eat if you ever visit Cornwall: 

- Saffron buns
You'll find them in most bakeries. 
Whereas good artisan bakeries are getting scarce in London these days, you'll find a bakery for every 2 inhabitants throughout Cornwall (call it Pauline Wonderland).
I'll try and make saffron buns myself soon. I'll share the recipe!

- Cornish Pasties
Traditionally made with beef, swede and potato, I've tried several vegetarian alternatives (vegetables and cheese, onions chive and cheese) to the traditional Cornish pasty during our trip and all were absolutely succulent.
I love Cornish pasties, and you can find the recipe on my blog here
In St Ives, the best are at Pengenna Pasties.
In every town, you'll find at least one bakery making Cornish Pasties. I would advise you stick to artisan pasties rather than chain-made pasties, and I doubt you will ever be disappointed.

Vegetable and Cheese Pasty
Traditional beef Cornish pasty from Pengenna Pasties in St Ives

- Cornish Clotted Cream
Savour clotted cream on a scone for a traditional Cornish Cream Tea, or in the shape of a Cornish ice-cream. 
One of the most famous local brands of clotted cream is Roddas, which also makes a lovely Cornish butter (although a bit too salty to my taste).
For absolutely fabulous scones and a delicious, yet very affordable cream tea, head for The Tea Room in St Ives
For delicious ice-creams, go to any shop that sells homemade clotted-cream ice-creams, like Jessie's Dairy in Mousehole.

Blueberry and clotted cream ice-Cream from Jessie's Dairy in Mousehole

The Cream Tea from The Tea Room in St Ives

- Cornish Yarg 
A lovely slightly crumbly semi-hard cheese wrapped in nettle leaves. 
And of course Cornish Blue, and Cornish brie. Available in all good supermarkets and cheese shops.

- Cornish crab, fish, lobster, mussels 
And all seafood for that matter. Extra fresh, seafood is on all good pub and restaurant menus and locals certainly know how to cook it to perfection in traditional as well as unsual ways. 
For the best crab cakes in the universe and delicious mussels and fish pies, don't miss The Ship Inn in Portheleven.
For a delicious Fish and Chips in Falmouth, go to The Harbour Lights and for yummy fish and crab soup, try the Seafood Bar.

- Stargazy pie
A pastry crusted fish pie. (That's the one thing I didn't get to try though, for lack of time)

- Local fruits and vegetables.

- Cornish cider: in all good pubs!

+ the little bonus: if you are in Falmouth at tea time, take a break in the beautiful old styled  De Wynns Tea and Coffee Shop and savour a slice of their sublime bread and butter pudding, which recipe is said to be more than 100 years old!