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salad with leeks and stilton

homemade sandwich bread

This is kind of a rich salad—a great side dish or meal on its own with some warm bread right out of the oven and a glass of white wine. I made it after reading a Food and Wine magazine tweet about warm spinach and bacon salad. To rival the super salty flavor of bacon I threw together several rich items such as leeks, stilton cheese and sun dried tomato and made a strong, tangy vinaigrette to complement it. Soft flavorful dark greens like spinach can take all this flavor and taste even better if they wilt a little under the warm mushrooms and leeks.

Ingredients for spinach salad
serves 2 as a side dish
1 small bunch of large spinach leaves, washed and rinsed thoroughly
1 small leek or half a large leek, sliced thickly and washed thoroughly
6-8 mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
1 sun dried tomato in olive oil
handful roasted marcona almonds, chopped
small chunk of stilton
olive oil

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1/2 tsp of dried thyme or fresh thyme, chopped
few grinds of sea salt and fresh pepper

1. Make the vinaigrette by adding all the ingredients to a jar and shaking. Set aside.
2. Chop the washed spinach and spread on a platter. Spinach and leeks can have a lot of mud and sand so make sure they are very clean.
3. Chop the sun dried tomato into small pieces and scatter over the spinach.
4. Heat up olive oil in a small frying pan and add the sliced garlic. Cook for a few seconds and then add the sliced mushrooms. Turn the heat to medium high and cook the mushrooms to a golden brown. Scatter over the salad.
5. Heat up the fying pan again and flash fry the leeks till they take on a golden or dark brown color. Don’t over cook. About 1 minute. Add the leeks to the salad.
6. Sprinkle about half the vinaigrette over the salad, or to taste. This is a rare case where I like a lot of dressing!
7. Crumble the stilton over the salad and then sprinkle the nuts. Serve straightaway.

spinach and leek salad

spinach salad with leeks and mushrooms

This is a useful bread recipe to have in your arsenal. No need to think about a poolish or levain or days of rising. It’s not artisan bread, it’s just a great creamy, slightly sweet, soft sandwich bread. But NOTHING like a sliced loaf you’d buy in the supermarket. This is legions above those breads. All in all it takes about 3-4 hours. I make this a lot to have around the house for snacking, the kids’ lunchboxes and for sandwiches. Below are pics of a loaf I shaped and cooked on its own without a loaf tin, and another occasion when I baked it in a bread tin.

Baked without a loaf tin

Baked without a loaf tin

Baked in a loaf tin

Cooked in a loaf tin

This recipe is from The Fresh Loaf ‘Putting something more in your bread’

2 cups all-purpose enriched unbleached flour
1 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup sugar
1 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 – 1/2 cup lukewarm filtered water

1) Add all the dry ingredients together—in a KitchenAid if you have one. If you are going to bake bread often I recommend buying instant yeast, rather than the little jars or packets of dried active yeast. I love my saf instant yeast! Keep it in the fridge, or keep half of it in the fridge and half in the freezer for freshness.
2) Add all the wet ingredients and mix into the dry. If using a Kitchen Aid, use the dough hook and mix on the first setting until it is a shaggy lump of bread dough. Or use a wooden spoon to mix all together.
3) Scrape it onto the counter and knead for ten minutes, adding just a little flour if necessary. As the dough is kneaded it will become less sticky. Once it is a smooth dough, put into an oiled bowl and cover tighly to rise for 90 minutes in a warm place.
4) Shape the dough into a loaf by folding the top and bottom, then folding the sides over each other. Place in a buttered loaf tin or on a baking tray. Cover and leave to rise another hour.
5) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350. The bread should be a dark brown because of the caramelized sugar and sound hollow when you tap the bottom.

homemade sandwich loaf