Fatayer are Middle-Eastern savoury pies that can be stuffed with all sorts of fillings. Fatayer is usually triangular or boat-shaped. These pies are the perfect appetizer, mezze and finger food.


There is a thin film of fog lurking in the air. The air is cold and vaporous.  A group of white-throated Laughing Thrush is all over the walnut tree. Some hopping from branch to branch while some preening each other.  The Himalayas melt into clouds and disappear as evening approaches.


On a pear tree, a Verditor Flycatcher swoops down and returns to its perch with an insect. 



The temperature drops further and the stones get wet and slippery due to dew that makes everything around watery, cold and clammy. Our dog is curled up upon a mound of dry leaves that gives it some relief from the cold ground below.

We are all bunched up in our dining room. The fire crackles in the room and makes it warm and cosy. Our dinner is tomato soup and double cheese fatayers. Fatayers were baked in the day. Such light and sumptuous dinner is loved by all.




Fatayer are Middle-Eastern savoury pies that can be stuffed with all sorts of fillings. Savoury fillings like spinach, meat or cheese are the most popular. Fatayer is usually triangular or boat-shaped. These pies are the perfect appetizer, mezze and finger food.



We made Fatayers with all that could be found in the pantry. A block of cottage cheese, two onions, a bowl of fresh seasonal peas and four tablespoons of cheese spread.




We added some pepper and homemade herb seasoning.  Feel free to use prepare a
stuffing of choice.




 Double Cheese Fatayers

Ingredients

Stuffing

  • 200 grams cottage cheese
  • 2 onions
  • 1 bowl fresh peas
  • 4 tablespoons cheese spread or grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour/ whole wheat flour / or, 50% all-purpose flour 50% whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk

Other ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 egg for egg wash (optional)

Instructions

For the Stuffing

  1. Heat oil in a thick bottom wok. Add onions. Fry until translucent.
  2. Add peas and salt. Cover and cook till peas are tender and cooked.
  3. Add grated cottage cheese to the wok. Add salt to taste. Add pepper.
  4. Add cheese spread/grated cheddar cheese.

For the Dough

  1. In a large bowl,  stir milk and sugar. Add yeast. Cover and keep for 10 minutes. It will turn frothy.
  2. Take flour in a large bowl. Take flour, salt, oil and add yeast milk mix.
  3. Knead for 8-10 minutes. From a shaggy mass, it will become a smooth and stretchy dough.
  4. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and keep in a warm place for 45 minutes or until almost double.
  5. Now form 2 inch round balls from the dough. You should get at least two dozen balls. Cover and keep to rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
  7. Roll out the dough to a 5-inch circle. Place about two tablespoons of the stuffing in the centre. Bring two sides together and pinch to close. Bring the third side up so that it looks like a triangle and pinch to close well. Arrange on the baking tray. 
  8. To make egg wash, beat an egg in a bowl.
  9. Brush the top with egg wash or milk wash. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
  10. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden all over.
  11. Serve warm 

Linking to #BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Bread Bakers logo

 This month, our theme is Stuffed Baked Breads and our host is Renu of Cook with Renu.

 

Sourdough discard crackers are very crisp and flavourful. The crackers make a helathy snacking option. The recipe is very versatile. One can add seeds or herbs of choice.


Baking  a sourdough bread is such an involving activity and such a pleasure.  In the hills, we have a very limited period for baking bread as it is getting colder and days are really short. Last week, we baked a 100%Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich  Bread that turned out really well.




This was followed by another baking adventure and a 50% whole wheat loaf was baked.




Every time while feeding the starter, discard keeps collecting and a lot of starter in the box called for using it. And one of our most  favourite sourdough discard recipes is Crackers.




 And, by the way, did you know that you could bake a Sourdough Discard Sandwich Bread with discard? You can get a stunning light as air sandwich loaf. 




Sourdough crackers come out very crisp and delicious. This is such a versatile recipe. One can experiment with different flavours. We used homemade herb mix. One may add seeds of choice, use different herbs, add grated cheese and also add some chilli flakes or pepper. The crackers are a big hit and such a healthy snack with tea or to take along on a  journey or to satiate the in-between hunger pangs.




If you are using Italian spice mix, for pizza seasoning, then adjust the salt in the dough as  these herb mixes have salt.




Sourdough Discard Whole Wheat Crackers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sourdough starter/discard
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons mixed dried herbs of choice/sesame seeds/ any seed or dried herb of choice
  • Some oil for brushing
  • Some salt for sprinkling on top (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix together flour, salt, discard, butter and herbs. Knead to get a very smooth dough.
  2. Divide the dough in half. Cover and keep in the refrigerator for an hour,  or until the dough is firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  4. Take a piece of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to even thickness. The dough should not be very thin as the crackers will turn brown too soon and burn.
  5. Brush the surface with oil. Sprinkle some salt all over (optional)
  6. Cut the dough into 1 ¼ inch squares with a pizza cutter.
  7. Prick the crackers with a fork or a toothpick.
  8. Transfer the sheet to a baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Midway through, rotate the sheet once for even browning.
  9. When all the crackers turn a light brown, remove the baking tray from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

Whole Wheat Sourdough  Sandwich Bread has a tender crumb. It is a mildly sweet bread that toasts well and makes great sandwiches.


Autumn mornings in the hills are misty. There is a thin film of mist covering the Himalayas early in the morning.



 In the distance, there are coils of white smoke rising from a hut. The fire must be burning bright and the tea must be boiling we presume. 



The smoke from the chimney rises and merges with the fog above.

As the day progresses, it becomes brighter and warmer. Bunches of flowers bloom. 



There is an audible hum of the bees that visit the flowers. 

Wild Marigolds,  Dahlias and Chrysanthemums add a touch of gold to the garden.



Warm weather in the hills is a luxury and calls for baking bread.

Baking a Sourdough Sandwich bread had been on my mind since long. We have locally milled flour which is coarse. And after a lot of experiments, I have discovered that overnight cold autolyse works best with coarse flour.




Every baker has his/her own rituals of sourdough baking. It takes experience, expertise and sometimes failure to learn some aspects of baking. Every session leaves you wiser. There is no one formula that works for all. You have to experiment and discover the formula that works best with your schedule, ecosystem and taste.



Make sure that you have fed your starter twice at least two days before baking. 

The levain should double up in 6-8 hours and should be bubbly and stringy with small bubbles breaking on the surface.




Our family prefers a soft crust and a sweeter crumb. And this is our favourite Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread. There is no sourness in the bread. The crumb is soft and sweet.

 


Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread (with extended cold autolyse)

Ingredients

Levain

15 g active starter

35 g whole wheat flour

50 g water

Dough

525 g whole wheat flour

460 g water

9 g salt

20 g unrefined sugar/brown sugar/jaggery

35 g oil

Instructions

Autolyse

  1. Start  the autolyse at night. Mix whole wheat flour and 430 g water. Mix and keep in the refrigerator. Remove two to three hours before mixing so that the autolysed dough is at the room temperature.
  2. Alternately, you may autolyse dough for 3-4 hours at room temperature.
  3. Mix all the ingredients for levain. Mark and keep in a warm spot. It will double in 6-8 hours (keep an eye on the levain as the whole wheat peaks faster).
  4. To prepare the dough, take a deep bowl. Add Levain, oil, sugar and 20 g water. Mix well. To this, add autolysed dough and mix everything well, kneading for 6-7 minutes or until you get a very smooth and tacky dough. At this point, if your dough can take in more water, add remaining 10 g water. If you cannot handle more hydration, avoid.
  5. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle salt on the surface of the dough and pinch with fingers to incorporate salt evenly. Stretch and fold a couple of times till you feel the salt has mixed well. Cover and keep in a warm spot.
  7. Stretch and fold the dough 5 times every hour.
  8. The dough should have become cohesive, smooth, puffy and increased in volume by the end of the last stretch and fold.
  9. With the help of a bench scraper, transfer the dough onto the floured counter.
  10. Spread out the dough and then roll it tightly. Shape into a loaf and transfer to an oiled loaf pan ( 9x5 inches)
  11. Cover your pan with plastic and then retard in the refrigerator and keep in the refrigerator for 12 to 14 hours. Even at the cool temperature, the dough can overproof. So keep an eye on it.
  12. Next morning, remove the risen loaf from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Slash the loaf from the top ( a simple straight slash will do).
  13. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden from the top.
  14. Remove from the oven and remove from the pan after 10 minutes. Cool on the wire rack for a few hours.
  15. Slice the bread after a few hours or the next day and the interior may not be wholly set. Give it some time to relax.

  Note: Every flour acts differently and absorbs water accordingly. Start with a lower percentage of water when mixing levain with autolysed dough. And add water till the dough is wet looking, extensible but not soupy. The dough should hold shape.

Linking to #Breadbakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

 Garlicky, buttery garlic rolls make a great addition to the dinner table. Enjoy them plain or dunk them into soup or have them with hot tea, either way, the rolls are delicious.


Saturday morning was bright, warm and pleasant. A walk to the forest was the best way to enjoy a beautiful Autumn morning. We embarked on the narrow trail that took us downhill through Oak and Rhododendron trees really thick and dark. Our dog kept sniffing and scratching the ground and inspected the wet earth dug by the wild boars.




We passed by a transparent mountain stream born out of the monsoon, and it made the most calming music as it babbled on the round pebbles and danced down the hill.

The air was crisp, fresh and invigorating suffused with the scent of the moss and wildflowers.




Massive Turkey Tails on the trees had lovely hues.




Lichens on the tree trunks and stones grew in peculiar patterns.

We returned with sore feet, sweaty body but a happy heart.


Back home hot tea with Garlicky and buttery garlic knots was such a treat.

We baked garlic knots with lots of fresh minced garlic and with lots of homemade seasoning.

Garlic knots pair well with the soup. We love them as snacks.




Whichever way you eat, you’ll love them.

The dough has to be rolled into a 16-inch rope. Cut dough into 16 one inch pieces. 

Roll out each section into a rope and tie a knot. Tuck in the loose ends.




If you wish to see the video on shaping these, kindly visit my Instagram page @ambrosiasoulfulcooking



Garlic Knots 

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
  • 1 1 /3 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Topping (Garlic Butter)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon herb seasoning
  • 1 pinch salt (1 teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter)

Instructions

  1. Whisk warm water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Cover and allow to rest for 5-6 minutes. The yeast will turn frothy. Start with 1 cup water and add the remaining water while kneading as needed.
  2. Add flour, salt, butter, garlic and knead for 6-8 minutes or until you get a very smooth and soft dough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours or until double.
  4. Punch the risen dough.
  5. Lightly dust the counter with flour.
  6. Transfer the punched dough to the counter, shape the dough into one 16 inch log. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper slice into 16 pieces (one inch each). Roll out each piece into one 7 inch rope. Tie each into a knot. Tuck the two ends of the knot underneath the knot.
  7. Arrange the knots on a parchment-lined baking tray.
  8. Cover and leave in a warm corner to rise for 30-45 minutes or until double.
  9. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  10. Mix all the ingredients for topping. Brush on the knots.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown in colour. Remove from the oven and brush warm knots with the remaining garlic butter. Sprinkle some more seasoning.
  12. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 


 


Our Pears are ripening and everyone is feasting on the gritty, juicy and sweet pears. A few days back, we decided on collecting the ripe pears fallen on the dew-laden grass early morning. From a distance, we could see some movement in the grass. We spotted Yellow-throated Martens prancing under the pear tree and eating the fallen fruit. 



We let them eat pears to their heart’s content. After some time, the  Martens galloped away and disappeared into the forest.



Everyone has a share in nature’s bounty. All our fruits are for the  birds and beasts and for everyone to enjoy.




After the Martens went away, we collected the pears and baked an Eggless Wholegrain Pear Cake. Chocolate and Pears make a great combination. The pears become tender and succulent while baking. Every slice has juicy soft pear pieces. It is a delicious and filling cake.



Apples can also be used instead of pears.

 

Eggless Wholegrain Chocolate Pear Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unrefined sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 flax eggs (whisk 2 tablespoons flax meal in 6 tablespoons of water. Keep for 10 minutes. Use)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium ripe pears, peeled and cored.
  • Juice of a half lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line and grease one 8 x 8 inches square pan.
  2. Cut the first pear into long and thin slices. Chop the second pear into small pieces. Toss pear in lemon juice. Keep aside.
  3. Whisk together first six ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. In the second bowl, add butter and hot water. Wait till the butter melts and water becomes warm.
  5. Add vinegar, flax eggs, vanilla extract and mix well.
  6. Add dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.
  7. Fold in diced pears.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level the top with a spoon. Arrange the long pears slices into the batter. Press the slices gently into the batter.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the pan after 5-6 minutes. Cool in the rack. Slice when cold or slice the next day.

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