A few of my favourite things: Bagels and homegrown tomatoes

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The tomato plants in my mini garden are dripping with ripe tomatoes. At this stage in the season, when I haven’t yet had my full of the beautiful taste of homegrown tomatoes, I think it’s sacrilege to be using them in sauces. The best way to eat these tomatoes is fresh off the vine, sliced and dressed with a simple vinaigrette. But I can’t just eat tomatoes as a meal… that’s just silly. I need some fat and some carbs to make it a proper meal! And so I introduce one of my other favourite things – bagels with cream cheese.

DSC_1698I was always a bit weary of making bagels, the whole boiling the dough step just seemed like far too much effort. But given that I am now on this new bread baking kick, I thought I should give it a try. And really the boiling step is not a big deal. The most difficult part is getting the bagels in the right shape. And if you can’t be bothered doing this – then don’t – just keep them as round rolls. But whatever you do – give this recipe a try. It’s well worth it and the result is a bagel with a nice golden crust and chewy salty centre. Om nom nom.

Cream cheese bagels with a tomato salad

For the bagels (once again I have used a recipe from New York Cult Recipes by Marc Grossman):

Dry ingredients:

– 750g strong flour

– 1.5 tsps dried yeast

– 3 tsps salt

Wet ingredients:

– 375ml lukewarm water

– 2 tbsps sugar syrup

– 1.5 tbsps olive oil

Poaching ingredients:

– 3 teaspoons potato starch

– 3 litres water

– 3 tsps sugar syrup

– 1.5 tsps salt

Topping:

– sesame seeds/ poppy seeds/ parmesan cheese – up to you!

The Dough

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1. Combine the dry ingredients and beat together the wet ingredients. Combine the two mixtures and knead vigorously for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions and form into small balls.

DSC_1662Shaping the Dough

Using the palm of your hands flatten and stretch the dough to make sausages 20- 25 cm long. Shape one end into a hook shape, flatten the other end and wrap it around the hook. Pinch to seal. Put the bagels on baking paper, scatter flour over them, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for an hour at room temperature.

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Baking

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees celsius. If you have an electric oven place a bowl of water in the oven 15 minutes before baking.

Dissolve the potato starch in one cup of water and then dissolve it with the rest of the poaching ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring the water to a rolling boil, then reduce to a simmer. Drop the bagels into the water (I did mine in batches of 3). After about 1 minute turn the bagels over and leave to cook for a further 30 seconds.

Take the bagels out using a slotted spoon and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle your chosen topping on the bagels. Place the tray of bagels in the oven, lower the temperature to 210 degrees celsius and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the bagels start to brown.

Once cool, cut in half and smear (thickly!) with cream cheese.

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Tomato Salad

I like to keep this simple. You will need:

– 2 cups of tomatoes (it’s really nice to use a variety)

– olive oil

– cider vinegar

– sugar

– fresh oregano or basil

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1. Roughly chop the tomatoes and put them aside in a bowl.

2. Roughly chop the oregano or basil.

3. To make the vinaigrette I use the ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts olive oil. For this salad I would only use one tablespoon of vinegar. Add half a teaspoon of sugar and whisk together. Add the chopped oregano or basil to the dressing.

4. Toss the tomatoes with the dressing. Season to taste. Serve with your cream cheese bagel.