21 July 2012

Dan Lepard's Loaf in a Box makes basque zopako bread


Dan Lepard is in San Sebastián bringing his bread baking knowledge to this Basque region of Spain, along with cake making.

The collaborative project: Loaf in a box, is a pop-up bakery housed in specially converted shipping containers placed on the Paseo de Francia for the duration of the summer. 

On 14 July 2012, the Loaf in a Box brought us a video feed for zopako, a well fired, cooked to hard, bread to be used with and within soups: specifically sopa de ajo.

Sopa de ajo is a garlic and bread soup, literally a meal in itself.  Bread, crackers and almonds are often used as a thickening agent or picada in Spain, that also adds richness and, surprisingly, creaminess without the dairy.

Back to the zopako (pronounced tho-pack-o), Dan's video shows exactly how to make the bread, his using 1/4 teasp of yeast, mine using 20g sourdough starter.

I bottled the deep, dark bake, as I don't really like flour too much on top of a loaf.  So without the protection, I baked the loaf simply a little longer and dryer.
It really should be a blackened sourdough.



Inside, the sourdough zopako has a pleasing, familiar, acid taste, with firmness of bite you would find with stale bread - yet this one is fresh out of the oven.
A mixture somewhere between a cracker and a bread.

A lovely one to add to the sourdough repertoire.

Written recipe on Dan Lepard's column at the Guardian newspaper: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jul/13/basque-soup-bread-recipe-garlic

17 July 2012

The voluptuous vegan paella with tofu-roasted aïoli - I forgot the peas

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I've realized recently that I have lost my need for any & all things expensive.  It abandoned me some time ago in fact.  I never experience fancy restaurant envy.  Nor do I desire smart, sleek fashionable clothes - my old City clothes still seem to do the job well enough.
A natural progression to the downshifting process we undertook 10 years ago.

In the same vein of thought, it's not often these days that I have a burning want for a new cookery book,
save The Voluptuous Vegan, by Myra Kornfeld

Liz at Cooking the Vegan Books often gives me a nudge towards vegan items of interest and recipes that should appeal.
On her recommendation, I've just made The Voluptuous Vegan Paella Fideuà; using snapped pastas where it calls for rice, as I sometimes have to sub ingredients further for my husband.

Delicious, different, involved & keeping me engrossed in the kitchen.


A winner dish.


roasted and prepared ingredients

very garlicky tofu aïoli

lightly sautéed the pastas

added the liquid - then the vegetables

- then the tempeh etc

steamed for final 10 mins to absorb

and served with the tofu-roasted aïoli