When thinking about street food you have to think of a few key principles. It has to be fast, it has to be big on flavour, it has to be cheap but most of all it has to be easy to eat. Wraps, sandwiches, tacos, falafel, Kofta, every major street food is wrapped in some kind of bread. And most of these are quick to make, quick to grill and quick to eat flatbreads.
Here I am going to give you a basic flatbread recipe that you can pimp in pretty much any direction you want. If you want Indian, swap the water for yoghurt and add turmeric. If you want Moroccan, use cumin and cinnamon. If Middle Eastern is your style, sumac and cardamom are your man.
Really as long as you have flour, raising agent and a liquid then you can take it to whatever cuisine you like. Or simply add in whatever odds and ends you have left in the press.
500g Flour (Plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1lt cold water
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Cumin Seed
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
1 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
-Place the flour in a large mixing bowl.
-Add in the oregano, chilli, cumin and salt.
-Sift in the Baking powder.
-Mix the dry ingredients together well with your hand and make a well in the centre of the bowl.
-Make a claw shape with your hand; this is going to be your beater for bringing together the dough.
-Place the bowl on a flat surface with a dish cloth underneath to stop it moving too much.
-Gently start to add the water into the well little by little while also bringing in the flour in from the sides with your claw hand (that’s what it’s called, you are now a Bond villain, Henchman Claw Hands)
-Keep adding water bit by bit until it all starts to come together.
-As soon as it does turn it out onto a large, flat work surface and with the flour set aside for dusting, start to knead the bread together.
-The best way to do this is with the ball of dough in front of you, press and push it away from you with the base of your hand, fold it back on itself, give it a quarter turn and repeat.
-Do this a few times and you should be left with dough that is smooth and not sticky. If it’s sticky, add a little more flour and knead it again.
-Get your grill/griddle pan on a high heat.
-Take out balls of the dough about the size of golf balls for taco sized breads or a little bigger for tortilla sized ones.
-With the dusting flour and a rolling pin/wine bottle roll them out to a little thiner than a €2 coin.
-Place each one on the grill for about two to three minutes each side. Your grill should be searing hot but without any flame ups.
-Flip them as soon as they start to bubble and colour.
Once they have cooled they can last for a few days wrapped up in the fridge and brought back with a few seconds on the grill or even in a microwave. But for me they are best straight off the flames and into your waiting gob.
Fire is an incredible thing. A hypnotic dance of colour, grace and power. It brings us light, heat community and propelled us from cave dwelling primates living around the equator to becoming the dominant species on the planet. Forging, steam power and the internal combustion engine, none of these would have been possible without first mastering fire. But I would argue that all of these inventions, crafts and leaps in human engineering pale in comparison to the pinnacle of Mans use for flame. The S’more.
This American campfire tradition is a hideous, Frankenstein’s Monster of delectability. Nothing reduces grown adults to children faster than the satanic combination of playing with fire and licking oozy marshmallow and melting chocolate off their fingers. Why any civilized person would voluntarily eat one I will never know. That’s exactly why we don’t invite them to our campfires.
Thin Chocolate Bars
-This is more an ideology than a recipe. First start with a long metal skewer with two marshmallows on the end.
-Set up the other half of your s’more by placing two digestive biscuits down with a few squares of chocolate on one of them.
-Start to toast the marshmallows over the fire, I usually make these just over the dying embers of a BBQ after an afternoons grilling.
-When they start to go golden and crispy on the outside lay them down onto the biscuit with the chocolate.
-Place the other biscuit on tap and gripping the marshmallow with the two biscuits pull the skewer out.
-The chocolate will start to melt and combine with the marshmallows and soak into the biscuits and become incredibly delicious.
-Get it into your face. In whatever fashion you see fit and whatever part of your face is more preferable to you.
You will never look at fire the same way again.
I have a confession to make. I have recently been having a bit of a fling with South American cuisine. My usual staples don’t know. At least I don’t think they know. Like, they know that I haven’t been as faithful lately but I think this is the first time I have stopped really loving them.
But who could resist the crumbly pasty. The searing chillies. The enigmatic scents. The warming spices. All of these exemplified in the simple envelope of exploration that is the empanada. The staple dish of busy Artentines. Using store bought shortcrust you can make these up on the double and have them to hand for any glutinous outdoor adventures.
500g Pork Mince
1 Bunch of Mint
1 Bunch of Spring Onions
1 Red Chilli
1 Tsp Jerk Seasoning
1 Roll Shortcrust Pastry
-In a hot frying pan with a tablespoon of sunflower oil, start to fry off your pork mince until it takes on a little colour. Make sure to keep breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
-Finely chop up the spring onions, mint leaves and chilli, remove the seeds if you like.
-Add the chilli and the Jerk Seasoning into the pan and cook them off for about a minute. Turn off the heat but keep the pan on the ring.
-Quickly add in the spring onion and mint leaves and stir together well. The residual heat will be enough to cook them through.
-Juice in the lime.
-This is going to be your filling for the empanadas. Set this aside for a few hours or overnight to cool down enough to be rolled into the pastry.
-Now this is the fun pastry bit. Roll out the full sheet on a large, lightly floured surface.
-Cut it into pieces about three or four inches across. I got eight out of my sheet.
-Set them aside. One at a time, using a lightly floured rolling pin and board, roll each sheet out a little. You don’t need too much extra surface area, just a bit of thinning out of the pastry.
-Place a large tablespoon of the chilled filling into the centre of each piece of pastry.
-Fold each piece over and squeeze down two edges, leaving one open. Using your baby finger, press all of the air out of your parcels and seal the final side by pressing down firmly.
-Using a bit of flair and general messing around, fold up the edges of your empanada to create a tight seal. There are loads of ways of doing this and they all work just as well.
-Repeat this for all of your pastry sheets and place them all on a dusted baking tray. (If you have a spare egg in the fridge, whip it up in a small bowl with a drop of milk and brush it lightly over the pastries to give them a great shine when they cook.)
-Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees and cook your pastries for 25/30 minutes. Use your own instincts here as each oven is different. The pastry should be flaky and golden as it comes out.
These are perfect as they are but seriously benefit from a little dipping sauce. Chimichurri is traditional but anything from BBQ sauce to ketchup to English mustard works a treat.
On a recent Ikea trip, I really do love Ikea, I picked up a cheap little baking book called Fika. It’s produced by Ikea and is a seriously good purchase at just seven quid. The photography is amazing, each recipe has in ingredients laid out in cool shapes and patterns.
Fika is a Swedish word for a quick coffee break, but it’s as much a state of mind as it is an excuse to get away from work for a bit. Coffee is usually accompanied by little biscuits or pastries and this book is chock full of sound recipes for making up your own selection.
This is one my sister has tried a few times and I have eaten way more than my fair share of. They are delightful little morsels of chocolate biscuit rolled with Meringue. Devilishly addictive.
225ml Plain Flour
50ml Cocoa Powder
50ml Caster Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1 Egg White
100ml Caster Sugar
-Sift the flour and cocoa powder together.
-Beat together the butter, 50ml castor sugar and the egg yolk. You want to get a light, creamy consistency.
-Beat in the flour/cocoa mix.
-Bring together into a dough then wrap in cling film and put it into the fridge for an hour or so.
-When the dough has set, roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper until it is less than a centimeter thick and about 15cm x 30cm in area.
-In a large bowl, beat the egg white into a foam that keeps a stiff peak.
-Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water.
-Slowly beat in the 100ml castor sugar, this will firm up your meringue.
-Spread the meringue mix over the dough in an even layer, then roll it up like a swiss roll.
-Refrigerate the roll, whole, for about an hour.
-Preheat your oven to 175 degrees.
-Using a very sharp knife, run the roll into 1cm biscuits.
-Bake these on a lined sheet tray for about 12/15 minutes.
Jerk paste is something that once you learn to make once, you will be forever indebted to that ethereal balance of smoky and spice, zest and fragrance of all things Caribbean. I know when the sauce comes together it might not look like much, it is when it starts to get a bit of heat and real charcoal smoke that the flavours really come alive.
You can pick up a jerk seasoning in most big supermarkets or I have a recipe for one here.
1 Pork Tenderloin
1 Bunch of coriander
3 Cloves of Garlic
2” Piece of Ginger
1 tbsp Jerk Seasoning
-First you want to make up the jerk paste that will marinade the pork kebabs. Start by finely dicing the chillies.
-Crush the garlic.
-Finely chop the coriander stalks and keep the leaves to one side.
-Chop up the Ginger.
-Zest the lime.
-Add the chillies, garlic, coriander stalk, ginger and lime zest into a blender.
-To this add the juice from the lime, about two or three tablespoons of sunflower oil, the jerk seasoning and a drop of hot water to help emulsify everything together.
-Blend baby, blend.
-When everything is well blitzed, roughly chop up the coriander leaves and add them to your jerk paste.
-You are now ready to marinade, slice the tenderloin in half lengthways down the middle, then again, making four long fillets of loin.
-Weave these fillets onto wooden skewers (soak them in water for about twenty minutes to avoid them burning like mine) or the longer metal ones if you have them.
-Set them on a large sheet of double layered, heavy duty tin foil. I used the container the fillet came in to help keep hold of the marinade.
-Pour all of the marinade over the skewers and make sure they are well covered.
-Wrap up the kebabs well in the foil and marinade for about 2 hours, turning after one hour to make sure there is an even covering.
-When they are done marinating grill them for about three to four minutes each side in whatever fashion you see fit. For me, nothing beats charcoal and good old wood smoke.
This is a fantastic take on the slow pimiento smoked pork of the Caribbean. The paste here could easily be smothered over chicken or fish aswel and makes a great addition to a BBQ sauce.
So this is pretty cool. This is the result of a nifty little collaberation between myself and the two fine people behind DoodleMoose Design, who have been running their Monday Munchies blog for the last few months.
It is a great blog and they have a very intriguing style running through all of their designs. I recommend checking them out and keep a close eye on this series. I’m sure there are going to be some seriously incredible stuff coming through here in the next while.