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Recently I have rediscovered my love for pottering in the kitchen.

This past summer was pretty much overtaken with long walks and steep climbs around all areas of Auckland – I really do mean all areas – From the Waitakeres out West, to Long Bay up North, Half Moon Bay in the East and Manukau Harbour in the South, culminating in the Oxfam 100km trailwalker which I took part in with my team the Starship Troopers on the 2nd/3rd April. This was a 100km walk to raise money for Oxfam. Our team did amazingly, finishing the walk in 25 hours and 57 minutes in absolutely horrific conditions. It was a huge physical and mental challenge – definitely the most challenging thing I have ever done, that is for sure! My knees and feet are still suffering one month later, but now that it is completed it has meant that I have actually had some spare time to spend discovering new recipes and getting a bit of writing done.

Hence in the last week I have baked bread and slice, cooked curries and delicious fish dishes, enjoyed a glass of wine (or two) with friends and spent a great day at the Hamilton Food Show last weekend followed by a walk through their beautiful botanic gardens.

I have had a few requests for the Kumara bread recipe I posted on my Facebook page the other day. I have to say I can’t take all of the credit for it as I took some inspiration from Nadia Lim for posting the original recipe.

Incidentally, Kumara has been eaten here in New Zealand since the Maori first arrived over 1000 years ago and originally came from the Pacific Islands. It is predominantly grown in Northland where the climate is just perfect for growing these amazing vegetables.

Kumara is a source of dietary fibre, niacin and potassium and a good source of vitamin C. Plus Kumara is the 7th most popular vegetable eaten by New Zealanders*, so no wonder there were a lot of requests for this recipe!

Kumara Bread

Orange kumara 300g (about 1 medium)

Active dried yeast1 Tbsp (I used fresh – 2 Tbsp)

Sugar 1 tsp

Lukewarm water 1 cup

High grade flour 1 cup + extra for kneading and dusting

Wholemeal flour 2 cups

Salt 1 ½ tsps.

Extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp

Method

Cook kumara in boiling salted water until soft and mashable. Drain and mash – add extra salt if desired.

While kumara is cooking, combine water, sugar and yeast and leave for about 10 minutes.

Combine the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil, mashed kumara and yeast mixture. Mix until combined. You may have to add some more flour if it is too wet.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes (great stress relief on a Friday night I can tell you!) Keep kneading until dough is soft and elastic.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough into it and cover. Leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes to double in size.

Cut the dough in half and shape into two loaves. Place the two loaves onto lined baking trays and cut a few 1cm thick slashes into the loaves with a knife. Leave the loaves to rise for a further 20 minutes or so.

Heat up the oven to 200degC and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a crust forms and the base sounds firm and hollow when tapped. Leave to cool for a little before slicing.

Top with your favourite toppings J

*Source www.vegetables.co.nz

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