Last year my life was quite different. This year I live in a little house by the beach with one boy. We spend a little too much time with our sofa. I cook a lot, he re-heats my frozen meals beautifully. It’s lovely. Last year I lived in a flat in TST, a crazy busy part of Hong Kong. I lived with three boys. The type of boys that thought a working light-bulb in the bathroom was a luxury we just didn’t need. This, in a funny sort of way, was lovely too. (The boys and busy bit, I never got used to the bathroom light situation). I spent a lot less time in the kitchen, and we ate a lot more takeaway.
A few weeks ago we went back to our favourite pizza place for one of my old favourites; cheesey garlic dough balls. They used to be these amazing balls of molten, garlicy, doughy cheese. This time though, they were bad. Dry, disappointing little tasteless balls. I started working on a recipe at home to try and bring back the amazing taste I remember.
These have been through a few attempts. It’s been garlic rolls with everything this week. It started off fairly reasonably, lasagne and cheesy garlic rolls. Makes sense. Fish pie and cheesy garlic rolls? Curry and cheesy garlic rolls? Maybe not such classics.
For this final attempt added spinach which works really well with the strong cheese and garlic.
Spinach, Cheddar and Garlic Rolls
330g strong white bread flour
200ml warm water
1 packet 7g dried yeast
1 bunch spinach
2 cloves garlic
1/2 a medium white onion
100g strong, mature cheddar (the stronger the better!)
50g parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Pile the flour up on a work surface and make a deep, wide well in the middle. Add in your yeast, sugar and salt. Add a little of the water and stir it up. Gently pull in flour from the sides and mix until you have a lumpy porridge consistency. Widen the well, add more water and repeat the process. Keep repeating until you have a dough. You might need to adjust the amount of water. Knead for about ten minutes until it’s smooth. Put in a floured bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in size.
Meanwhile prepare the filling. Chop the onion and garlic and fry in a little oil until it is soft. Chop spinach and add to the pan. Cook for about a minute until the spinach has started to cook down. Add the garlic powder and a generous amount of black pepper.
Knock the dough back down and roll it out to a rectangle about 5mm thick. Spread the spinach and garlic over the dough, then cover with the grated Cheddar and Parmesan. Roll one edge of the dough in towards the middle until you have a thick sausage shape. Using a sharp knife, cut into sections of about 2cm thick. Place each slice into the hole of a greased muffin tin and leave to rise again for about an hour.
Bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes, until cooked through and golden.