Wednesday 9 July 2014

Cream cheese, ham, roasted onions with cherry tomato and basil oil chelsea buns

So here it is, my first ever blog post! I decided that for my first recipe I would choose something that I could eat very happily for my lunch. These chelsea buns are a perfect picnic treat as they are simply a self-contained sandwich, and all you have to do is wrap, take-away and enjoy!

I don't often make bread (well...not as much as I would like to) but with all this spare time (because I've finished school now, wooo!) I thought that this idea for a savoury version of the classic chelsea bun makes perfect sense.

In this recipe, I used my trusty kenwood patissier with the dough hook attachment to make my life easier...basically no hard kneading for me is involved and my arms get a rest! But if unlike me - you aren't lucky enough to have someone do all the hard work for you then it's 10 minutes of hand kneading for you I'm afraid. Also, I used my blender to make the basil oil...but here's a handy tip: if you happen to have a mini food processor (like I did - until it broke. Damn!)I would definitely recommend using that instead as it's much quicker for the blades to chop up, especially with the small quantity.

This recipe is entirely adaptable to suit whatever sort of mood your if that's a "I really need to use up these leftovers lying around in the fridge"- kinda mood, then go with it! Fill these chelsea buns with whatever takes your fancy. I decided upon this filling because it was in my fridge already, and I also think this combo works really well together.

Cream Cheese, ham, roasted onion with cherry tomato and basil oil chelsea buns

Ingredients (makes 8 rolls)

500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp salt
7g fast-action dried yeast
350ml warm water
extra virgin olive oil
180g cherry tomatoes, halved
a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
1 red onion
a few fresh sprigs of thyme
1 handful of basil leaves
75g cooked sliced ham
200g cream cheese (I used one with garlic and herbs)


Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/ 400°F. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm water, mixing until you have a sticky soft dough, or alternatively place in a mixer with the dough hook attached. Knead in the mixer for 6 mins, or by hand on a floured surface for 10 mins, until smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, peel and roughly chop the onion and place into a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season and scatter thyme leaves over. Mix with your hands until they are well coated and then roast in the oven for about 15 mins. Once cooked leave to cool.

To make the basil oil, place the basil leaves and 2 tbsp olive oil in a blender and blitz until thoroughly chopped, almost to a green puree consistency. Chop the ham into 2cm pieces. 

Adjust temperature of oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/ 350°F

Once the dough has proved, transfer to a floured work surface and roll into a 1cm thick rectangle. Tack down one of the long edges to the surface, (this proves helpful when rolling up and sealing, look in the photo for guidance) spread cream cheese over the rectangle and then scatter over the roasted tomatoes and onion, trying not to pour on too much excess juice that leaked out from them. (Just discard this) Scatter on the chopped ham, drizzle all the basil oil over and then roll up into a long log shape. Making sure that the log is well sealed.

Cut the log into 8 rolls, and place them on an oiled baking tray, spaced apart. Cover and leave to rise again for 40 mins in a warm place. Bake the rolls in the oven for 25-30 mins until golden and hollow sounding to tap. Garnish with a few extra thyme leaves if you want.

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