Sukaina Rajabali tells us, "If there is one food that I love and wouldn’t be able to live without, it would have to be bread. When I was a little girl, it was a staple around the house and my mum was an expert at creating different flavours and fillings to entice us. Sometimes she would stuff it with chicken and vegetables. Other times it would be smoked shredded beef. Often she would delight us with a Nutella filling.
I loved the anticipation that came with taking my first bite, waiting for the flavours to explode and discovering a new filling. Now that I have a little girl, the similarities between us are striking. It seems she has a love of bread just like her Mummy. ‘With butter?’ she’ll ask? Yes, bread always has to be slathered with copious amounts of butter. And of course, the butter has to be soft and room temperature!
Currently, I really enjoy experimenting with yeasted goods. Waiting for the dough to bloom, scenting the house with that wholesome bakery scent. And then sharing the fluffy ball of goodness with my family. One of our current favourites is this soft pillowy bread roll. It’s certainly a roll with character - scented with fresh rosemary and garlic. I chose to fill it with an Arabic cheese called Kiri cheese (a type of cream cheese) and added some chilli paste for the adults.
And some dessert? Always. These Nutella filled doughnuts are a family favorite. You won’t be able to resist popping one in your mouth. Then another. Then one more until they’re all gone."
Rosemary bread rolls stuffed with cheese and chilli paste
1 1/2 cups flour
2tbsp freshly chopped rosemary (you can substitute any herb of choice or even dried herbs)
1tsp garlic powder
Warm water (enough to make a soft dough)
Kiri cream cheese
Chilli paste (optional)
Extra flour for rolling
1 egg yolk
1tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
1. Mix the first six ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the margarine and mix the dough until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough warm water to form a soft and pliable dough. Knead for 10-15 minutes. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until double in size.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal balls (if you want larger rolls than mine, you can divide it into 3 balls). Roll the ball into a disc that is a 1/4 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into half horizontally and vertically so that you have 4 triangles. Cut each triangle into half again so you are left with 8 triangles all together.
3. Take a triangle with the widest side close to you. Put about 1 tsp of the cheese (mine were pre cut into small rectangles) and a few drops of chilli paste. Roll the triangle up towards the tip (the narrowest side) and tuck the tip under your crescent shape. The ends can be twisted inwards to give the same shape as above. Place on a baking tray. Repeat with the other 3 dough balls.
4. Cover the baking tray with a clean cloth and let the bread rise again for 30 minutes. Once risen, brush with egg yolk and sprinkle the remaining rosemary. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately. You can vary the herbs and filling to your liking or just make the rolls plain without a filling.
3- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk, room temperature
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6tbsp butter, room temperature
Oil for deep frying
1 1/2 tsp cinammon
1/2 cup sugar
1. Add all the dry ingredients together in a bowl (start with 3 cups of flour). Add the butter and mix with your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the milk and eggs. Start kneading the dough and if you feel it is sticky or wet, then add a little more flour. Knead for 10 minutes or so. Then cover the bowl and place in a warm area to rise for an hour to an hour and a half or until double in size.
2. Lightly flour a surface and roll the dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut the dough into 3 inch rounds. Reroll and repeat until all the dough scraps have been used.
3. You can add the Nutella in two ways. The first way is to put half a teaspoon into each 3 inch circle and then carefully close to form a ball. Pinch the ends before smoothing the surface as you don’t want the ball to open up whilst frying. Otherwise, you can add the Nutella after deep frying using a piping tip. I find it easier to add before frying. However, the texture of the Nutella wasn’t as shiny. If you are not adding the nutella before frying, make a ball out of each 3 inch circle. Place balls on a lightly floured tray and cover loosely with cling film. Let the balls rise for 30-45 minutes.
4. Heat oil on medium heat. Place the balls into the oil 4-5 at a time. Fry until golden brown on medium heat. When done, remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel. If you haven’t added the nutella, do so now using a piping bag and tip. Coat in sugar and cinnamon mix whilst still warm.
INFO: Sukaina Rajabali is a food photographer and writer, authoring the blog Sips and Spoonfuls (www.sipsandspoonfuls.com).