Things to do When You're Home Alone



So The Mr. is away for about a week. He got offered a new job which means a new visa and it also means I am left "all aloney on my owny" (cit Louise Rennison). Apart from the fact that I miss him terribly, it does mean that I get to eat what I want.


Don't get me wrong, The Mr. is not a fussy eater. He just prefers not to eat certain foods that I really enjoy. Like tacos. Tacos. Who doesn't like tacos?! I mean, this has been a discussion many times previously and I won't bore you with the details. But in our relationship, there is a messy eater (me) and a clean eater (him) - so no tacos. Ribs and wings are a fine, fine line.


But I haven't had tacos yet. I almost feel like I can't eat them on my own. Unless I'm binge watching Gilmore Girls. Hmmm... there's an idea. I have indulged in eggs for breakfast already on my day off, which was wonderful and a rarity. Tonight, I think I'll make a mushroom heavy stir fry. Not that he is completely against mushrooms but I'm sure he would appreciate me eating them without him.


Another thing I like to do when I'm in the house on my own is bake bread. It's not very often I bake bread. Remember my yeast fear? Yea I don't like to bake bread because it goes too wrong too often for me. But, seeing as it's bread week in GBBO (yes this will be a real reference for the next few weeks) I bit the bullet and faced the yeast.


The Bellesini Community are hosting GBBO viewings while it's on and each week, some one else takes turns in baking something to the theme. Obviously so far it's been sweet things and so they were good for dessert. There are types of bread that are sweet: Malt loaf, cinnamon rolls... they're both bread dough. But I wanted to take something I had a connection to - weird, I know. So I'm making manakeesh (silent 'k'). It's a traditional Arabic bread, filled with either za'atar or cheese. They are normally eaten at breakfast or as a light lunch. The point is they are yummy. So I made 2 kinds: traditional za'atar ones and sweet cinnamon ones.


Manakeesh

  • 500g plain flour

  • 1tbsp caster sugar

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp (or sachet) active dry yeast

  • 250ml water, room temperature

  • Pinch of summaq

  • za'atar

  • 3/4 cups light brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  • 50g butter

In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, caster sugar and yeast. Make a well in the bottom and pour the cold water in. With your hand, mix it all together bringing in the dry mixture from the sides. Once you have a rough dough, tip it on to a lightly floured surface and knead until you have a soft dough.


Divide the dough into 4 or 8 balls and leave on a floured surface under a damp tea towel to prove for 30 minutes. Then, again on a lightly floured surface, roll out the balls into flat circles about half a cm thick. Let them prove under a damp tea towel for 15 minutes or until they've risen to 1cm thick.

In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and brown sugar for one of your toppings and melt the butter. Preheat an oven to 220 degrees C. Flour a baking tray or two if you have two and place the dough on top. For the za'atar ones, drizzle the dough generously with olive oil and sprinkle half a tablespoon of za'atar over each and a pinch of summaq over that. Use your fingers to mix the oil and za’atar together and spread it out on the dough. For the cinnamon ones, brush the butter over and sprinkle as much of the cinnamon sugar as you want over the top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until slightly brown and crisp. Expect to see bubbles in places. That’s how you know it’s a good one!


Fold over in half and serve. If you're not serving them immediately, fold them and wrap them in foil so that they don't dry out as they cool. To reheat, put them (still foiled) in the oven at 180 for 5 minutes. They don’t really keep overnight so if you want to do any prep the day before, you can do the first prove in the fridge overnight.

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