“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.”
Thomas Keller

Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadIt’s the season to be jolly, and in many ways jolly hungry! Fresh off the success of the sweet apple olive oil popovers and pull apart bread, I was keen to do a savoury version. The dough which came together beautifully for the Apple Cranberry Almond Olive Oil Pop-overs and Pull-Apart Bread delivered its promise in this wonderful Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Olive Oil Pull-Apart Bread.

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Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadEggless, butterless yet light and scrumptious had won me over. The Pioneer Womans Cinnamon Roll Dough which I got from an adaptation from Ginny @ Cooking With Chopin, Living With Elmo for The Secret Recipe Club this month seems to have been one of the best discoveries of the year. It took to the apple stuffing so well, I decided to try my luck with savoury. I sneaked in some butter this time though!Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadSavoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadI might bake and blog a load of sweet on PAB, but my heart is totally savoury. Nothings delights my palette more than savoury bakes, the success of which are always very rewarding. I enjoyed making this bread, adding some red and green chili peppers that I had preserved in vinegar a few days ago. Tangy, chili, salty … loads of flavour in them. I think preserved olives or maybe roasted bell peppers would compliment this bread too. Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadServed my bread with some fresh homemade tomato soup, chargrilled broccoli with chili & garlic and chicken paillards in compound lime cumin butter. Wonderful! I find that working flavours into a basic dough prior to the rising makes the bread burst with flavour, and just the way the family loves it. I reached out for ingredients I found on my counter, in my pantry, in my fridge… flecks of red and green for the holiday season keeping me inspired!Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadInto the dough went dried herbs {fresh would be wonderful too}, garlic {we are a family that loves our garlic}, finely chopped almonds {just because I think nuts add great texture and taste to savoury breads; walnuts would be great too}. As a departure from the earlier recipe, I kneaded the dough for a minute or two before the final rise as it worked some elasticity into the dough, making it more pliable. {I made the dough in my Thermomix. You could use dough hooks or your processor as the dough is quite soft/doughy/sticky}Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart BreadIn other completely unrelated news, my Thai chili plant from Down Under is finally in bloom and I cant wait to ‘harvest’ the first crop. The chilies look purplish at the moment, though I thought they were going to be red! Hmmm…Chili plantOh and our little Coco turned all of 6 months old, naughty as can be. She got thoroughly spoilt and completely untrained in the 4 days I was away … uber naughty again but C.U.T.E.!! Sigh!

Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart Bread


Prep Time: 3 hours

Bake Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

A full of flavour, light savoury pull apart bread. Olive oil, red & green preserved chili peppers, garlic and sharp cheddar make this a wonderful light choice for the festive season. {Eggless/vegetarian}


Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

1 portion dough {recipe follows}

200gm sharp cheddar {or mozzarella}

Preserved chili peppers {or olives, roasted bell peppers etc}

50-75gm unsalted butter, melted, cooled

Dough {from The Pioneer Womans cinnamon rolls; can be made a day ahead}

2 cups whole milk, warm

1/2 cup light olive oil

1 tsp sugar

1 heaping spoon salt

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 tbsp dried Italian herbs {or fresh}

1tsp red chili flakes

1 package active dry yeast

4 cups {plus 1/2 cup extra, separated} all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon {heaping} baking powder

1/2 teaspoon {scant} baking soda

1/2 to 3/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped fine


  1. Mix the milk, olive/vegetable oil and sugar in a pan (LARGE POT).
  2. Sprinkle in the Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute {5-10minutes}.
  3. Then add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
  4. After rising for at least an hour, add 1/2 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Knead the dough for a minute or two before the final rise as it seems to work some elasticity into the dough, making it more pliable. {I made the dough in my Thermomix. You could use dough hooks or your processor as the dough is quite soft/doughy/sticky}
  5. {At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down}
  6. Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart Bread
  7. Grease the sides of an 8" Victoria sandwich tin, and line the base.
  8. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 1/4" thick, and pour over half the melted butter, spreading evenly with an offset spatula.
  9. Grate cheddar all over, and sprinkle over with chopped pickled chili peppers.
  10. Roll the larger end like a swiss roll. With a sharp knife {or floss} cut into12 portions, and place cut side up in the prepared tin all around the edges. There will be gaps in the dough, don't worry. All the gaps get filled in as the bread rises before and during baking. {You could also use a muffin tray. I lined the bottoms with circles of parchment and greased the sides.}
  11. Place a dessert ring/mould in the centre so that the dough doesn't spread inward. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until double, about an hour.
  12. Bake at 180°C 40-45 minutes. Cover with foil last 10 minutes of baking to prevent over browning. Brush with the remaining melted butter as soon as it comes out.
  13. Leave in pan for 15-20 minutes, then loosen the sides with a butter knife and turn out.
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature. {The bread tastes good the next day too, sliced and reheated on a non stick pan with a few drops of EVOO}


I made half the above portion.


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“Without garlic I simply would not care to live.”
Louis Diat

Garlic Herb Crackers with Creamy Bell Pepper DipIt continues to be a busy month, where blogging seems to get to the back burner even though it rules my mind 24 X 7. In the midst of this, it’s time for the SRC, an event that I am committed to; a deadline that cannot be missed! So here on fast track is a beautiful and delicious Creamy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip from my assigned secret blog – Sweet Beginnings a blog about sweet, sugary treats, and home cooked meals.

The Secret Recipe Club, the brainchild of Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin’. The idea behind the club – Each month you are “assigned” a participating food blogger to make a recipe from. It’s a secret, so don’t tell them you are making something from their blog! Click on the link if you want to join the fun!!

Garlic Herb Crackers with Creamy Bell Pepper DipOf late, the festival season has piled loads of sweet stuff upon our delighted palettes. So I explored Jaidas blog for savoury stuff, and happily, I found plenty! Loads of wonderful seafood, fish, chicken; posts tagged with inspiration of all sorts – Asian, vegetarian, What’s Baking, appetizers and then this wonderful creamy bell pepper dip which she served with a grilled chicken ‘sammich’.Garlic Herb Crackers with Creamy Bell Pepper DipThe grilled chicken sammich sounded just wonderful and I think what made it really stand out was this creamy red pepper sauce the talented girl created for a recipe swap. Of the sauce she says, ” The sauce is super-delish and also goes great with burgers…you should try it ASAP!” I did and it was yum!Garlic Herb Crackers with Creamy Bell Pepper DipFestival season, school holiday on every other day for one reason or another, a wedding in the family, the hub BUSY at work … and me dog tired like never before.  Yet I snatched a moment yesterday to make crackers as the kids were feeling deprived that their Mama doesn’t seem to bake that much any more. Garlic Herb Crackers with Creamy Bell Pepper DipThese are crisp easy breezy crackers from a Mark Bittman recipe that I adapted to include some whole wheat flour. It’s a wonderful basic recipe that is takes well to any flavour you might like. I used garlic and dried herbs, and next time might do sesame, or sea salt with black pepper, poppy seeds … or maybe the bagel spice I used on these Same Day New York Bagels. Roasted bell peppersGarlic Herb Crackers with Creamy Bell Pepper DipThe creamy roasted red bell pepper dip {sauce} is just what I wanted as a pairing for these crackers. Vibrant and delicious, I loved the way Jaida added cream cheese to it! I used a local substitute {cheese spread} and skipped the mayo as the dieting diva was dancing on my head!Garlic Herb Crackers with Creamy Bell Pepper DipIt still was every bit delicious as it looks. Simple and addictive, its a great sauce/dip for burgers, sandwiches, crackers, fresh veggies, crudites and possibly even wraps! I adapted the recipe a  bit, and I’m glad I got inspired  to follow Jaida’s basic creation.Garlic Herb Crackers with Creamy Bell Pepper DipAdd some balsamic or go with the mayonnaise, and do make sure you add the cream cheese … then sit back and enjoy! My kids loved these to bits. Crisp whole wheat crackers and finger licking good creamy roasted red bell pepper dip … healthy and addictive!

Garlic & Herb Whole Wheat Crackers with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Serves 4

Garlic & Herb Whole Wheat Crackers with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip

Crisp whole wheat crackers and finger licking good creamy roasted red bell pepper dip … healthy and addictive! Crackers from Mark Bittman Dip from Sweet Beginnings


Garlic & Herb Whole Wheat Crackers

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 cloves garlic {+/- depending on your love for garlic}

1 tbsp dried Italian herbs

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

About 1/4 cup water, plus more as need

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

3 roasted red bell peppers

4 tbsp cheese spread {or cream cheese}

1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp red chili flakes

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Dash white wine vinegar

Salt & pepper to taste


    Garlic & Herb Whole Wheat Crackers
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Place the flours, salt, garlic, herbs and butter together in a large bowl or in the container of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Blend with a fork or pulse, until the flour and butter are combined. Add about 1/4 cup of water and blend, then continue to add water until the mixture holds together but is not sticky.
  3. Thermomix:Place all ingredients except water and run at Speed 6 for 7-8 seconds until breadcrumb like texture. Add water, run for another 5 seconds to combine. Then add 1/4 cup water and knead for 2 minutes. {Check by pinching dough between fingertips to see if it holds together; add a little more water if required}.
  4. Roll out on a lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch thick, or even less. Don't worry about overhandling-add flour as needed, and keep rolling.
  5. Cut into strips with a pastry cutter {or pizza wheel}, and transfer to baking sheet with the help of a flat spatula. {You can even cut them after transferring the rolled out dough to the baking sheet, or roll out the dough on parchment and transfer the sheet to the baking tray.}
  6. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack; serve warm or at room temperature , or store in a tin.
  7. Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip
  8. Mix all ingredients together in food processor until well-blended. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.

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“The time has come the walrus said to talk of other things,
of sauce and chips and sealing jars,
red chilies and their sting!”

Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping SauceIt’s the end of a cold blistery winter on the plains of North India, and now is the best part of the year. Spring is in the air, albeit for just a clutch of days, and is a celebration of flower beds bursting with colour, birds, butterflies, vibrant fresh produce, making the atmosphere ideal for all things creative. This is the time to make the most of the few good days before the searing summer heat descends on us. Spring in North IndiaThe bazaars are bursting with farm fresh vegetables and the overladen baskets of ripe red tomatoes {prices at ridiculous as Rs 4 a kilo in Hyderabad, 1$=Rs44}, bell peppers and red chilies tempt you to do something with them. For long I’ve wanted to make a Sriracha  style sauce posted on White on Rice’s beautiful blog. Have searched high and low for tiny hot Thai red chillies, but  it’s proved futile as they remain elusive here … Then one day, to my rescue came my knight in shining armour – as always, good old Twitter! Red chili peppersA tweet for ‘an alternative to Thai red chilies’ had the super talented & lovely Leela @ She Simmers suggest I could use red jalapeños. Now why did I never think of that? A quick check of the red chilies at the local vendor gave me hope, lots of it. Cross checking with a few vendors I was able to confirm that the heat element in the local red chili peppers is far greater than that in the green ones. I was soon back armed with 250gms of the prettiest red chilies priced at a ridiculous Rs 15 {30cents}.Red chili peppersThis post is written with Sana in mind, a sweet reader of my blog, who writes to me often for advice, with feedback, with appreciation and makes me believe that I have made a difference to her culinary happiness. She asked me the other day if I could post something with the local red chilies that are flooding the market, something other than red chili pickle she asked! This dipping sauce is for her, and she’s offered to send me her MILs stuffed red chili pickle recipe. Who would ever imagine that life can be so fulfilling & delicious. Who was to know that a few red chilies can make a difference!!Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping SauceIMHO, you can live with Sriracha, but you can’t live without it!! I had  longed to make this delicious dipping sauce, a sauce which works well with seafood of course, but also beautifully with other batter fried foods, Indian pakoras/fritters, batter fried onion rings {my son’s fave}, olive oil crackers {the daughters fave}, fried fish/chicken, buttermilk breaded chicken, to give mayonnaise or a marinade a chili kick, in a sandwich, with burgers, lavished in a chicken/cottage cheese roll. It offers Asian fusion at its best!! Though an Asian sauce, it works beautifully with most cuisines; after all what’s not to love about chili-garlic-sweet? Did I forget French fries with sweet chili spiked tomato sauce?Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping SauceWith thanks to Todd & Diane for the several inspired posts of Asian foods and sauces, I stopped on the recipe page of sweet chili dipping sauce in my Thermomix recipe book. With basic ingredients that can be found on shelves in every home, this is a great accompaniment to spice up your platter. Use the recipe as a guide and play around with quantities to suit your palette.

Sriracha is the name for a Thai hot sauce named after the coastal city of Si Racha, in the Chonburi Province of central Thailand, where it was first produced for dishes served at local seafood restaurants. It is a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. Sriracha is a common condiment in many Asian restaurants and increasingly found in American and European homes. Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping SauceTraditional Thai Sriracha tends to be tangier, sweeter, and thicker in texture (higher viscosity) than non-Thai. In Thailand, Sriracha is frequently used as a dipping sauce.

Keep the seeds in if you like it hot, or deseed the red chili peppers to make the sauce milder. Taste as you go seems to be the mantra as with most sauces. I’ve made this a couple of times. Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping SauceThe first time I found it to be a little runny, so I thickened it with some cornflour mixed in water, and cooked it till it got to the right consistency. Not sure if this was the right or the purists way of doing it, but it worked fine for me. The next time I just simmered it over low heat till it looked right. I do love the pretty colour it has, vibrant and exciting.

Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping Sauce




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