Sourdough croutons – and what to do with leftover sourdough

CroutonsCroppedNever, never throw away the ends of your sourdough loaf! There’s always something you can do with the almost-stale bits.

Mind you, it never gets a chance to go stale in our house, especially as by using wild yeast and good quality flour, sourdough loaves will keep longer than any other loaf you make yourself (or buy from a bakery).

My other ideas on how to use up those ends of sourdough are:

  • French toast
  • Cinnamon toast
  • Bruschetta
  • Garlic bread slices
  • Made into breadcrumbs for stuffings
  • Made into breadcrumbs for gratin toppings, eg for cauliflower cheese, pasta bakes etc

If all else fails and you really think it’s past it, at least leave it out for the birds in your garden! Just don’t go near that bin with it 🙂

Equipment

  • Sharp knife
  • Slotted spoon
  • Large non-stick frying pan
  • A couple of wooden spatulas
  • Large-ish bowl lined with a sheet of kitchen paper

Ingredients

  • 2 or 3 slices (ends) of sourdough
  • Anchovy fillets – 3 or 4
  • Smoked back or streaky bacon or pancetta – two slices, cut into fine strips
  • Shallot, finely diced – 1
  • Garlic cloves, finely diced – 2
  • Sea salt, freshly ground to taste
  • Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
  • Fresh parsley, a small bunch chopped or torn finely to decorate
  • Olive oil or rapeseed oil for frying

Method

  1. Heat a little oil over a low-medium heat and gently fry the shallots and garlic until see-through (do not over cook)
  2. Remove the shallots and garlic with a slotted spoon and set to one side (the reason we cook them separately is so they do not overcook/burn)
  3. Turn up the heat and fry off the bacon until almost crispy – just before the bacon starts to crisp up, finely chop the anchovies and through them in the pan with the bacon
  4. When it’s all nicely browned and caramelised (ie when the Maillard reaction has occurred) remove with the slotted spoon and place with the shallots/garlic
  5. Slice up the sourdough into 1 cm cubes or 1 cm wide strips that are about 3 cm long (I like to do this as it looks a little different than typical croutons)
  6. You may need to now add some more oil to the pan – you need a thin coating covering the base
  7. Turn up the heat to about 3/4 of it’s full setting
  8. Test the oil temperature by chucking in a small piece of sourdough – it should start sizzling
  9. If the oil is hot enough, tip in all the sourdough pieces and keep them moving as they fry
  10. You may find it easier to use two wooden spoons, one in each hand, to sort of ‘flip’ the croutons between them to make sure they cook on all sides evenly
  11. When the croutons are nicely browned and crisp, take them off the heat and tip them into a bowl lined with a sheet of kitchen paper to catch the excess oil
  12. Remove the kitchen paper and grind the salt and pepper over the croutons.
  13. Now toss the croutons with the garlic, shallots, bacon and anchovies
  14. Sprinkle on the chopped parsley

A great accompaniment/topping to any pastas, soups or salads

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Spring onion and shallot bhajis

opnion and shallot bhajisWe eat curries a lot – usually at least once a week and my children have loved curries from quite small. My husband is great at cooking these from scratch and my contribution is usually a couple of side dishes, one of which is always these bhajis. The base recipe came from a friend (her family recipe) and I’ve just, over time, come to use my own ratio of spices and switch it from a simple onion recipe to incorporating spring onions and shallots.

Notes

Makes about 10-12 bhajis

Equipment
  • Smallish, high sided saucepan for deep fat frying or a deep fat fryer
  • Bowl
Ingredients
  • Gram flour – 80g
  • Rice flour – 40g
  • Spring onions – about 6
  • Shallots – about 6
  • Lemon juice – 1 dessert spoon
  • Melted butter (or ghee if you have this) – 25g
  • Bicarbonate of soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Garam masala – 2 teaspoons
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh chopped chilli or chilli flakes – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Garlic – 1 clove, crushed
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • optional: fresh coriander finely chopped – about a tablespoon-full’s worth
  • Water – enough to bind
  • Rapeseed oil (or your choice of oil) for deep-fat frying
Method
  1. Cut the spring onions and shallots into very fine slices, then cut these into about 1 – 2 cm shards
  2. Put both flours, the bicarb and the spices and salt into a large bowl
  3. Mix the onions and shallots into the dry mix and ensure it is covered
  4. Add the lemon juice, the butter (or ghee)  and one or two tablespoons of water to bring it together – it will be quite a sticky batter but you do not want it at all runny
  5. Leave it to rest while you warm up the oil over a medium heat
  6. Test the temperature of the oil by dropping in a tiny bit of the mix. It should start to go brown within about 20 – 30 seconds
  7. Take a dessert spoon size blob of the mix and gently and carefully drop it into the oil – repeat with a couple more (leave enough space in the oil for the bhajis to move about a bit)
  8. Turn the bhajis while they cook to ensure they are browned all over
  9. Cook for about three minutes each, and take them out when they are a nice medium brown all over
  10. You will need to fry these in batches to do them all
  11. Dry them on kitchen paper to catch the excess oil