An onset with Christmas saw me baking the Christmas Chocolate fruit cake, followed by the New year partying and a few birthday treats, which had us dining out steadily in the past few days, to an extent that we've resolved that we've had enough of it! I had shelved my cooking on and off during the New year stretch, throbbing the luxury of cooking full fledged meals in my kitchen. It was indeed a well deserved break. However, the commencement of the new year saw us dining out on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of this month with guests and birthday treats, I sincerely hope this trend does not continue through the year long!
Festivities indeed bring a lot of glamor and color to our lives. During Christmas, we had a Secret Santa game organized at our workplace. It's interesting to get sneaky, wondering what each one of us would gift the other person to be a secret Santa and what we would get in return from our secret Santa, transporting our excitement back to becoming and behaving like kids. On the D-day, the puzzling game of exchanging gifts, then the hush-hush of unwrapping them, the excitement it brought was boundless and visibly noticed on all of us in an animated fashion reflecting the cloak-and-dagger mystery.
My secret Santa gifted me a very pretty coffee mug from Cafe Coffee Day. While I find it too massive for it's intended purpose and the fact that I am not a coffee lover, that does not stop me from using this mug. The coffee mug definitely makes an interesting prop for my photo-shoot and I love it. It also adorns well on my crockery cabinet along side our photo frames. Just fits the theme so perfectly there!
Over the weekend as the guests left, I had time all by myself to bake something for the evening supper and make time for photographing them. Weather was conducive too. Ample time for proofing was done overnight for the yeast to rise and the next afternoon it was ready to go into the oven. Interestingly, I did not follow any recipe per se and just went by my instincts and approximations.
Chilli Garlic Bread
25 g active dry yeast
50 ml warm water
1 tsp sugar
200 g plain flour
50 ml warm water, approximately
Salt to taste
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Dissolve dry yeast in warm water with sugar. Leave for 5-10 mins to dissolve and become frothy. Mix the flour and salt to taste. Add in the yeast mixture and warm water little by little till a soft pliable dough is formed. Cover with a warm towel or cling film and leave it to rest overnight in a warm place like a pre-heated oven.
Next morning, the dough should have risen and doubled in size. Punch it down gently. Knead the dough gently with some flour and oil till it springs back up when pressed. Grease and dust the baking tray with some oil and dust flour. Shape the dough to your desired style and transfer the dough gently to the baking dish. Allow to rest there for about an hour or two for the dough to rise again.
Meanwhile, prepare the chilli garlic topping. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Turn off the flame when the butter is hot, but not smoking. Add the finely chopped garlic and chilli flakes to this and mix well so that the butter absorbs all the flavors well. Brush the top of the bread with this seasoning. Leave the bread in a warm place to rise again. Once risen, bake in a pre-heated oven at 220 deg C for 1 hour or till done. Remove from oven, allow to cool on a cooling rack and slice as desired.
I brushed the garlic chilli seasoning on the bread to bake. However once baked the chilli and garlic fell apart. I suggest you press the garlic and chilli into the bread before baking instead of brushing them on top. Or just brush the warm oil to render the flavors. The bread baked warm and beautifully risen. It had an amber glow on it like that of a sun peeking out on a foggy dawn. Prominent flavor was ofcourse garlic with a hint of spice from chili flakes. I also toasted a few slices of bread under grill and these spicy golden brown sticks were fantastic with our tea.
While it will take some time to come out of the holiday lethargy, juggle back to business and get going into the mold of mundane routine, this break has helped rejuvenate our spirits and spring us back alive in action. At the moment however, we are resting in the cozy comfort of warm spiced tea with some of these homemade chili garlic toasts.
I am sending these to Blog Anniversary Event hosted by Suma Rowjee of Cakes and More.