I took these foods to a gathering recently and they were very popular with people! The soup and bread do take a bit of advanced planning and time, but I think it's worth the effort.
Tuscan Chickpea Soup
2 Tbs olive oil
3 red onions, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped
at least 4 cups water, or enough to make it look like soup
1 chicken oxo cube, or equivalent chicken stock when combined with the water above
1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cans chickpeas, or equivalent dried chickpeas soaked overnight and boiled for 30 minutes
1 can tomato passatta
3 chopped fresh tomatoes
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1. If needed, soak the dried chickpeas the night before and boil them while preparing other ingredients.
2. Fry chopped onion and garlic in olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
3. In a large pot, combine the onion and garlic with the cooked, drained chickpeas, water, oxo cube, herbs, salt and pepper, passatta and chopped tomatoes.
4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Using a hand blender, blitz the soup for a minute or two. This should thicken the soup a bit without losing the chunky texture.
6. Stir in the vinegar, boil for another minute or two, and remove from heat.
I'll be totally honest here, to say that I just winged it with the chickpea amounts. I poured a bunch of dried chickpeas into my quart jar, added water, and by morning they swelled up to the very brim of the jar. It seemed like a good enough amount.
This is a great recipe from the back of a box of dried yeast, with a few adaptions I've made along the way.
1.5 lbs flour - I usually use 2/3 wheat flour and finish it off with white flour
2 tsp salt
2 Tbs butter
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
2 cups warm water, made from 1 cup boiling and 1 cup cold
1. Mix the water and yeast together, whisking to ensure it is completely dissolved. Leave in a warm place for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. It should look frothy.
2. Add the butter, salt and flour, mixing into a soft dough.
3. Turn onto a floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes. Longer if you have children helping you and they need to take turns.
4. Put a glug of the oil of your choice into your bowl, place the rounded dough inside, and flip so the oil is on all sides of the dough.
5. Dampen a tea towel, place over the top of the dough, tucking it in around the edges. Place in a warm place to double in size, for about an hour.
6. When the dough has risen, pinch the dough into required size of your bread rolls. If they are for my family, I make them small (the kids tend to eat a small bread roll more readily than a large one), but if feeding others I make them much bigger.
7. Place onto your tray, in whatever formation you want. I like my rolls to rise close together, so they are sort of a pull-apart variety.
8. Cover with that same damp tea towel to rise again, this time only for about 15 minutes.
9. Bake in preheated oven, at 180C/350F, for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of your rolls and the doneness you require.
10. If you are feeling extra decadent, spread a little butter over the top of the rolls as soon as they get out of the oven. Mmmm!
My oven has a large range of heating; the lowest setting is 30C/85F. When I'm activating the yeast and rising the dough, I set it to 45C/110F. For the second rise, I leave the rolls on top of the oven and turn the heat up to 180C. When the oven is hot enough, I just pop the rolls in. I don't really let them rise for very long, or in a very warm place.
I am very happy with this bread recipe, because there is no sugar needed and I haven't managed to mess up yet!
I tend to double the recipe, use half for rolls and the other half for a loaf (I only have one loaf pan). The first day we eat the rolls fresh, and the second day we slice into the loaf.