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Bread is for more than just toast and sandwiches – here’s six recipes to prove it

·12-min read
These ‘summer in a bowl’ panzanella tarts are fresh and light, but still filling, and can easily be adapted (Allinson’s)
These ‘summer in a bowl’ panzanella tarts are fresh and light, but still filling, and can easily be adapted (Allinson’s)

Bread is usually one of the first things that gets wasted in the kitchen. The biggest offenders are obviously the anti-crust brigade, closely followed by those that chuck it out the second it turns stale. There’s some who might discard the remains of a poorly-buttered slice in a fit of rage (you know the type). I even used to know someone who would stick his head all the way in the bag, give it a big sniff and if it smelled remotely “funny” the whole lot would go in the bin.

I shouldn’t need to wax lyrical about the state of food waste in this country by now, but there are definitely countless ways those odds and ends could have been saved from the bin. My mum used to make a delightfully moist bread and butter pudding. Stale bread can be chopped up and transformed into herby, delicious croutons for soups and salads, or blended into breadcrumbs. I’ve come across recipes that repurpose crusts as “healthy” chips or even churros. At the very least you could give it to the birds in your garden.

But perhaps the craftiest transformations of leftover bread I’ve come across recently are these recipes from Allinson’s. The bakery has been around for over 100 years, but that doesn’t mean they’re a stickler for tradition. In fact, they know bread is destined for greater things than just sandwiches and toast (though mighty in their own right).

Off the back of research that found Britons were turning their backs on “boring lunches” in favour of more bouji options like open sandwiches and bruschetta, the bakery has teamed up with TV chef Valentine Warner to think outside the box when it comes to our lunches.

The recipes are all super quick (under 30 minutes) and easy so they’re perfect for a lunch break or a last-minute picnic. I was lucky enough to try out a couple on a sunny afternoon a few weeks ago: the tangy, spicy Mexican sausage rolls – featuring secret ingredient cocoa powder, a revelation – made me wonder why I’d never thought of making something like that before, though they would have benefited from some kind of dip such as salsa or guacamole, perhaps.

My favourite by far was the panzanella bread tarts. These mini bowls of summer flavours were fresh and light, but still filling – and worth the aching wrist you’ll get from chopping everything up for the red and green sauces. My tip is to invest in a good olive oil for soaking the bread – it’ll make all the difference – and the flatter you squish it, the better.

The best thing about all the recipes is it’s obvious how easy it would be to mix and match the fillings and flavours to your tastes. Put a British spin on the sausage rolls with mustard or a flavoured sausage like apple and fennel, or forgo the meat entirely and make it vegetarian. For the tarts, you could try a Greek salad with olive and feta, or add some Middle Eastern flavour with harissa and tahini.

It would be only right to experiment as after all that’s what the bakery’s founder and “rebel baker” Thomas Allinson was known for. In the 1800s, his passion for bringing back wholemeal bread, once a staple of the British diet, was revolutionary. He even wrote a book about it. OK, so that might not seem so dramatic given today’s many wholemeal options, but that progressive attitude is still the driving force behind Allinson’s today.

So whether you’re a bread lover looking for inspiration or you’re simply bored of the same old WFH lunches (aren’t we all), then give these recipes a whirl – you probably already have most of the ingredients, too.

Mexican sausage roll with bread pastry

 (Allinson’s)
(Allinson’s)

Makes: 6 rolls

Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients

6 slices of Allinson’s Champion Wholemeal

200g pork sausage meat, removed from skins

1 tsp of cider vinegar or lime juice

Large fistful of very finely chopped fresh coriander

1½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp 70 per cent cocoa powder

½ tsp of ground black pepper

1 tsp of green chilli sauce (optional)

Lime wedges

Soft butter

Method

1. Turn the oven onto 200C (180C fan).

2. Put the sausage meat in a bowl and add all the other ingredients, except the bread and butter.

3. Mix together well and put to one side.

4. Take six pieces of the bread without their crusts and butter each slice on both sides.

5. Divide the sausage mix into six equal parts and form into a small sausage shape once again.

6. Laying the sausage meat along the shorter side of the end of the slice, roll it over until the two sides meet. They do not need to be pinched together or overlap, but simply need to meet.

7. Give all a gentle stabilising press and lay the roll seam side down on a tray.

8. When all six are in, sprinkle the tops with a little extra smoked paprika

9. Roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until crisp all over and serve with little lime wedges and more chilli sauce.

Tip: Never throw away your crusts! Chop leftover crusts up into 1cm squares and bake, before storing as croutons or leave to dry out to make breadcrumbs.

Panzanella bread tarts

 (Allinson's)
(Allinson's)

Makes: 4 tarts

Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients

For the tart crusts:

6 slices of Allinson’s Scandalous Seeds Bread

4 tbsp olive oil

You will also need 4 small to medium size ramekins to cook your tarts in

For the red sauce:

200g good ripe cherry or vine tomatoes, roughly but finely diced

Quarter of a small red onion, finely diced

1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped

10 pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp lemon juice

1 big pinch of dried chilli flakes

Pinch of flaked sea salt (optional)

For the green sauce:

1 tbsp baby capers, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

2 tbsp basil, finely chopped

1 tbsp mint, finely chopped

Quarter and medium cucumber, peeled and very finely diced

2 tbsp olive oil

Half tsp flaked sea salt

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

2. Cut the crusts from 4 slices as close to the edge as possible and cut each in half lengthways.

3. Take your small ramekin and heavily indent two circles into each of the other two slices.

4. Cut out the discs a little smaller than the imprint. You should get two discs per slice

5. Press flat the rectangular pieces.

6. Pour the olive oil on a side plate and dip the bread on both sides to soak up the oil.

7. Lay two rectangular pieces around the interior of the ramekin first and make sure they overlap slightly to avoid having any gaps.

8. Press the bottom disc down between the edge and using your fingers squash the corner all the way around. Note: Do not put base in first as the crispy tarts will not hold together.

9. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until golden and almost totally crisp.

10.Tip them carefully out of the ramekins and return them to the oven upside down for five minutes.

11.While the bread cases crisp, combine all the ingredients for both the green and red sauces in two separate bowls.

12.After the last five minutes, take the ramekins out of the oven and allow to cool.

13.When cooled put each of the cases onto a small plate and then spoon in the tomato mix with lots of juice.

14.Artfully add a green spoonful of the herb and cucumber mix on top of each.

Prawn toast

 (Allinson's)
(Allinson's)

Makes: 2-3 servings

Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

For the sweet chilli pickle:

1 medium carrot peeled and very finely chopped

1 tbsp of finely chopped green part of the spring onion

3 inches of a cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and very finely chopped

1 finger length, medium-hot, red chilli, very finely diced

75ml rice or white wine vinegar

2 tbsp of white sugar

Pinch of salt (optional)

For the toast:

3 slices of Allinson’s Scandalous Seeds Bread

225g of sustainable raw king prawns (drain well if from frozen)

1 small fresh egg white

2 tsp Japanese soya sauce

2 tbsp white part of a spring onion, roughly chopped

1 small thumb of ginger, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely sliced

1 tsp rice or cornflour

1 tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp sesame oil

30g sesame seeds

Splash of hot chilli sauce (optional)

Method

1. For the sweet chilli pickle, chop the vegetables and drop them into the vinegar with the sugar and salt. Stir together well until the sugar is dissolved. Leave to one side.

2. For the toast topping, in a food processor combine all the ingredients, except the bread, chilli sauce and sesame seeds.

3. Blitz until totally smooth.

4. If using, spread some chilli sauce over of the 3 slices of bread right to the edges.

5. Divide the prawn mix over each slice and spread to the edges leaving the prawn mix thicker in the middle.

6. Tip the sesame seeds onto a tray then lay each slice, prawn side down, into them. Make sure the prawn mix is totally covered in sesame seeds.

7. Heat half an inch of oil in a shallow frying pan or otherwise turn your deep fat fryer onto 160C.

8. Fry the sesame toast, bread side first for 3 minutes or so or until golden brown and crispy.

9. Carefully flip it over and cook the same for the prawn side.

10.Drain on kitchen paper.

11.Slice on the diagonal in four.

12.Take a teaspoon of the sweet chilli pickle and place over the sesame side of the toast and enjoy.

Fried breadcrumb migas with Spanish vegetables and crumbled chorizo

 (Allinson's)
(Allinson's)

Makes: 2 servings

Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients

2 slices of Allinson’s Scandalous Seeds Wholemeal

2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for egg

1 medium onion, diced

1 bay leaf

1 apple, peeled and cut into small cubes

100g soft chorizo, crumbled (remove skin if necessary)

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 tsp sherry vinegar (optional)

Zest of half a lemon

Half tsp oregano

2 tbsp very finely chopped parsley

2 eggs

Black pepper

Method

1. Blitz the fresh or stale bread into a semi-fine crumb and leave to one side.

2. In a frying pan, gently sautee the onion in the olive oil with the apple, chorizo, bay leaf, minced garlic and oregano.

3. If using, splash in the sherry vinegar now, stir it in and leave to evaporate. The onion should be totally soft by the time it’s ready.

4. Add the breadcrumb mixture and stir fairly continuously.

5. Cook them until semi crisp and a light golden brown in colour.

6. Grate in the lemon zest and then season with pepper.

7. In a separate small frying pan fry the eggs.

8. Finally stir the parsley into the breadcrumb mixture, serve onto two plates and crown each pile of crispy, golden crumbs with an egg.

9. Season the yolk.

Rustic cannellini bean broth with wholemeal bread dumplings

 (Allinson’s)
(Allinson’s)

Makes: 2 servings

Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients

For the bread dumplings:

2 slices of Allinson’s The Champion

50g grated parmesan cheese

2 eggs

Black pepper

A little grated nutmeg

For the soup:

1 tsp ground coriander

Good grind of black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely diced

1 celery stick, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tin of white cannellini beans, drained

1 pint/586ml of good chicken or vegetable stock

To garnish:

Handful of ripe cherry tomatoes

Juice of half a small lemon

1 tbsp of olive oil

Pinch of flaked sea salt (optional)

Large fistful of roughly chopped fresh basil

Method

1. In a small food processor blitz the bread slices to fine crumbs before adding the egg, parmesan and pinch of grated nutmeg.

2. Blitz until a light paste is formed, and place in the fridge until needed.

3. Chop the onion and in a medium saucepan and sautee it in the olive oil with the celery, carrot, ground coriander, and bay leaf.

4. After 12 minutes or when tender, add the garlic and black pepper and continue to cook for a further minute.

5. Add the stock and the drained beans to the vegetables and simmer. Season and leave to simmer slowly.

6. Chop the tomato fairly finely and put in a bowl with the salt (optional), lemon juice and the chopped basil and stir this in too.

7. Take the bread mix out of the fridge. Roll the bread mix into 12 balls just a little larger than marbles.

8. Gently lower them into the soup, simmer for 3-4 minutes.

9. Carefully spoon the dumplings into a bowl with the vegetables and stock.

10.Finish with a little spoon of the tomatoes and basil into the middle.

Caramel, black pepper crunch with lime cream and raspberries

 (Allinson's)
(Allinson's)

Makes: 2-3 servings

Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients

1 slice of Allinson’s Scandalous Seeds Bread

20g butter

4 tbsp caster sugar

Water

300g of raspberries

Good grind of black pepper

150ml double cream

2 limes

1½ tbsp runny honey

Method

1. Put one slice of the Scandalous Seeds bread into a small food processor and whizz until semi-fine crumbs are formed.

2. Pour the crumbs into a frying pan, adding 20g butter over a low heat.

3. Stir the crumbs around until dry and crisp but not burnt (5 to 8 minutes).

4. While cooking the crumbs, in a small non-stick frying pan heat 4 tbsp of caster sugar with just enough water to wet it.

5. When the sugar starts to turn a caramel colour swirl it so that the caramelisation is even.

6. When you’ve achieved a hazelnut brown, stir the crumbs into the caramel to cover them before tipping onto some grease proof paper.

7. When crisp blitz again to break up any nuggets.

8. In a bowl, add a big grind of black pepper into the raspberries and mix.

9. Finely grate the lime zest into the loose cream, beating until holding its own but not split and fold in the juice of half a lime.

10.Squeeze two halves of the lime into the raspberries adding one and a half tablespoons of runny honey.

11.Stir and leave for 10 minutes.

12.Spoon the fruit over two or three plates.

13.Make a large quenelle (or spoon a dollop of the citrus cream) and place onto the raspberries and then cover with a good scattering of the crumbs.

For more maverick recipes from Valentine Warner, visit Allinson’s website, here

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