When my brother, sister and I were kids, we’d take sandwiches in our lunch boxes almost every day. Of course we has the usual Aussie fillings like Vegemite with cheese and ham with tomato sauce, but mum also had some more unusual ones that we loved. My personal favourites were jam and cheese, peanut butter banana and honey, peanut butter and sultanas and peanut butter and lettuce. Some slightly strange ones there, but I promise you they all taste great.
The weirdest combo I’ve ever heard of is Vegemite and peanut butter. A friend of ours in Canberra swears by this weird combo, but it might be a bit too much for me.
I’m much more of a meat and salad sandwich fan these days but I still love banana, peanut butter and honey on my toast in the mornings and my latest toast favourite is honey with a sprinkle of salt on top…yum!
This Turkish bread and beetroot dip is much more of a classic combination. The bread was amazing straight out of the oven with the dip and if you are lucky enough to have some leftover, you could toast some of it the next day and try my honey and salt combo on it.
What did you have on your sandwiches as a kid and do you know of any other strange sandwich combinations?
I’m starting to really enjoy making bread. For the longest time I was so scared of it, but with a bit of patience and some muscle power, it really is easy enough to make by hand.
I had been looking for Nigella seeds ever since we got here and I finally found some. They are marked as Kalonji, which is the Indian name for them, but I could smell their strong scent through the sealed package and I knew they were what I was after. For me, Turkish bread wouldn’t be the same without their sharp, onion like flavour.
For your yeast to activate properly, you will want the water to be around 40°C. You can use tap water at that heat or just heat it slightly in the microwave.
In Singapore, the ambient temperature is so constantly warm, our water comes out of the tap at around 30°C anyway.
The yeast will froth up and smell quite strong if it is active. If it doesn’t activate, don’t attempt to persevere as the dough will not work. Your yeast may be expired, or the water may have been too hot or cold.
I love the good old ‘before and after’ shot.
Once your dough has risen, shape it into a rough kind of log shape and then let it have a prove. The prove will just fluff it up and expand it a little more.
I made the mistake of putting the nigella seeds on after the prove so they had nothing to stick to and a lot fell off as I cut into the cooked loaf. In the recipe, I’ve said to put the seeds on at the proving point instead so that as the loaf puffs up that little more, it will catch onto the seeds and help them stay attached to the loaf.
The beetroot dip is so quick to make that I just put it together once the cooked loaf was cooling a little. You could use canned sliced beetroots or whole canned baby beetroots. If you really wanted to go to the effort you could also roast some fresh beetroot and use that.
Don’t process the dip too much, you still want some texture in it.
The dip will keep overnight if covered in the fridge, but if it has been refrigerated, let it come to room temperature before serving as the flavours are dulled when it is too cold.
Turkish Bread with Beetroot Dip
For the bread – Adapted From Taste.com.au
Ingredients – Makes 1 small loaf
- 1 tsp of instant dry yeast
- ½ tsp fine white sugar
- 2 cups of bread flour plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil plus extra for resting and proving process
- 1 tbs of Nigella seeds
- Place ¾ of a cup of water into a mug or microwave safe bowl and microwave it for around 10 seconds or until it is close to 40°C.
- Stir the yeast and sugar into it and then let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast has activated. You can tell your yeast is active if it has frothed up on top and smells quite strong.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and olive oil and once the yeast has activated, add the contents of the mug as well.
- Stir until the dough forms into a ball and then tip it out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
- The dough is ready when it feels elastic but soft.
- Wipe out any excess flour in the mixing bowl and then lightly oil it with a little bit of olive oil and a paper towel.
- Shape the kneaded dough into a ball and then place it into the oiled mixing bowl. Using your fingers, brush a small amount of olive oil over the top of it.
- Cover it and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour. It should at least double in size.
- Once the dough has risen for an hour, gently knock the air out of it using your fist and then place it onto a floured surface. Shape into a rough rectangle loaf shape.
- Move the bread onto a piece of baking paper and then using your fingers again, lightly oil the surface. Sprinkle the nigella seeds over the top of the loaf and then set aside in a warm place to prove for 15 minutes.
- While the dough is proving, preheat the oven to 220°C with a baking tray inside of it.
- Once the dough has proved, remove the hot tray from the oven and lift the loaf and the baking paper onto it using the edges of the baking paper to support the bread.
- Bake in the oven on the hot tray, for 12 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped.
- Let the loaf cool slightly on a rack before eating it warm with the beetroot dip. Also great served at room temperature. Best eaten fresh on the day made, but makes great toast the next day.
For the Beetroot Dip
Ingredients – Makes approximately 1 cup of dip
- 1 x 425g can of sliced beetroots, drained
- 1 tbs Greek or natural yogurt
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil plus extra for garnish
- 1 small clove of peeled garlic, finely grated
- A fresh leafy herb like parsley or chervil to garnish (optional)
- Add all of the ingredients to a processor with a pinch of salt and some freshly cracked black pepper.
- Process until a smooth dip like consistency is formed.
- Garnish with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a soft, mild herb like parsley or chervil and then serve with the warm Turkish loaf.
- The dip will keep overnight if covered in the fridge, but if it has been refrigerated, let it come to room temperature before serving as the flavours are dulled when it is too cold.