Cheese, Bacon & Spring Onion Scones

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scones 04/06/2017

Okay, so I’ve posted a few scone recipes before but I think I’ve topped myself with this one. It all came about like most of my recipes, because I had particular ingredients to use up. This time it was bacon and spring onions. These scones are rough and ready but delicious and full f bacon and cheese goodness. Crunchy and knobbly on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside with savoury onion and bacon bits running throughout, these scones are sensational eaten warm from the oven with butter and ground pepper… and lots of coffee. Treat yourself!

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 8 rashers streaky bacon, diced
  • 5 spring onions
  • 150g mature cheddar, grated
  • 340g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 85g butter, diced and chilled
  • 135ml whole milk
  • 1 large egg (plus extra for glazing)
  • 2 tbsp dukkah

Method:

  1. To make the scones preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Place the bacon into a non-stick frying pan and cook until beginning to crisp. Tip out onto a plate and allow to cool before mixing together with the spring onions and the cheese.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and mix together to combine. Add the diced butter and using a pastry blender or two knives cut in the fat until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs – some pieces should be about pea sized. Add the bacon, spring onions and cheese and mix together. In a jug whisk together the milk and the egg.
  4. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the liquid. Using a knife bring the mixture together. Once a shaggy dough has been formed tip out on a lightly floured work surface and bring together into a uniform dough – don’t work too much or your scones will be tough.
  5. Pat the dough into a flat round a couple centimetres thick then use a knife to cut into 8 equal sized pieces. Place onto the prepared baking tray and brush the tops of the scones with a little egg or milk and sprinkle with the dukkah. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Best served warm on the day baked.
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Bacon Roly Polies

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bacon (2) 22/04/2017

Yes, you read that correctly – wheels of cheesy bacon! Simple to make, yet deliciously moreish to eat, these bacon rolls make a great savoury snack, picnic staple, or side for soups and stews. A tasty filling of bacon, cheddar and cream cheese is rolled in an easy pastry, and then these little rolls only take 15 minutes to bake.

Ingredients:

Bacon filling:

  • 8 bacon rashers
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 100g of soft cheese
  • 100g of cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

Pastry:

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 75g of unsalted butter, diced and cold
  • 225ml of milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20g of butter, melted

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Crumb the butter into the flour using your thumbs and forefingers. Mix in the milk until just combined.
  3. Place onto a floured work surface and roll into a 1cm thick rectangle, trimming the edges of the dough if desired.
  4. Brush the dough with some of the melted butter then layer the bacon on top to cover the pastry, making sure to leave a 2cm edge free on one of the long sides of the dough,
  5. Mix the onion, cheeses, parsley and garlic together and spread over the bacon.
  6. Brush the gap at the edge of the dough with water then roll into a spiral, sealing the edge brushed with water to the body of the roll.
  7. Wrap the roll in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes
  8. Slice the roll into 1.5cm slices and place, spiral side up, onto the baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm.

Banana Pancakes with Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup

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Screenshot_2016-08-30-09-36-03-1[1] 31/08/2016

When life (your friend who buys way more bananas than she can possibly consume so gives you loads) gives you bananas, make a tasty breakfast! I’m pretty sure that’s how the saying goes, right? This recipe is super easy, super quick and super tasty. You might say, bananas! Fluffy pancakes are delicately flavoured with a hint of cinnamon and mashed bananas as well as slices of sweet banana for good measure. With salty, smokey bacon on the side, this is a winning breakfast.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon (or pancetta strips)
  • 2-3 heaped Tbsps plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 ripe, small bananas, 1 mashed, 1 thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg
  • 10g butter, melted
  • 50ml milk
  • maple syrup

Screenshot_2016-08-30-10-18-17-1[1] Screenshot_2016-08-31-07-44-46-1[1]

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Method:

  1. Heat the grill to high. Arrange the bacon on a baking tray lined with foil. Cook for 5-7 mins until crisp, then turn off the grill but leave the tray inside to keep warm. In a bowl, mix the flour and baking powder with a pinch of salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the centre and add the mashed banana, egg and milk. Whisk to a smooth batter without any flour lumps.
  2. Heat a little butter in a large frying pan. Once sizzling, ladle in small dollops of the pancake batter, leaving a little space between each, as they will spread out. Put a few slices of banana onto the surface of each pancake and cook for 2 mins over a medium heat. When you see bubbles appear between the banana slices, flip the pancakes over and cook for 1 min more, until puffed up and golden. Transfer to a plate and keep warm with the bacon while you cook the rest. Serve the pancakes with the crispy bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Eggy Crumpets & Bacon

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Screenshot_2016-08-29-08-54-50-1[1] 29/08/2016

If you fancy something a bit special for your breakfast, why not try these eggy crumpets? They’re simple to make but taste delicious and the whole family will love tucking in to them. Top with crispy bacon and maple syrup and you’re set up for the day ahead. I’ve given a recipe for 4 people but you can easily halve, quarter or even double the quantities easily depending on how many you’re feeding… or how many more everyone will want after they’ve got a taste for them. If you can plan ahead and leave your crumpets to soak in the eggy mix for an hour then they’ll be even juicier but they do work well with just a quick dip. If you don’t fancy bacon, how about blueberries warmed in a pan and then poured over the top with maple syrup or a light dusting of icing sugar?

Ingredients:

  • 8 crumpets
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • Splash of milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • A small knob of butter
  • Maple syrup to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the grill. Beat together the eggs, milk and spices in a large baking dish. Add the crumpets, letting the egg mixture soak in on one side and then turning over. Set aside.
  2. Grill your bacon until nice and crispy on both sides.
  3. Heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the crumpets, four at a time. Sprinkle a touch of salt over the crumpets. Cook for a few minutes on one side until golden and then flip over and repeat.
  4. Serve two crumpets and a piece of bacon per person with drizzle with maple syrup.

Steak & Ale Pie

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Screenshot_2016-04-25-21-32-15-1[1] 26/04/2016

An unadulterated British classic! Pie and mash! The beef shin used in this recipe goes meltingly tender during it’s long stint in the oven and the ale and beef stock create a rich, deep flavoured gravy that clings to the smoky bacon and onions to deliver a huge flavour punch. Topped with buttery, crisp pastry, this is a pie to get you back on track in life and assure you everything will be alright – seriously.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 900g stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 3cm cubes
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 long shallots, quartered
  • 125g smoked streaky bacon rashers, cut into 1cm strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped thyme leaves
  • 330ml stout
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 2 tbsp cornflour, blended with 2 tbsp water to make a smooth paste
  • ½ puff pastry block

METHOD:

  1.  Season the beef cubes with salt and black pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and fry the meat over a high heat. Do this in several batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, transferring each batch of meat to a plate as it is browned. Set aside.
  2.  Add another tablespoon of oil to the casserole dish and cook the shallots for four to five minutes, then add the bacon and fry until slightly browned. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds, then tip the meat into the casserole dish and add the herbs. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C.
  3. Pour the stout into the pan and bring it to the boil, stirring to lift any sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock. Put a lid on the casserole dish and place it in the oven for two hours, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has reduced.
  4.  Remove the casserole dish from the oven and skim off any surface fat. Taste the sauce and add seasoning if necessary, then stir in the cornflour paste.
  5.  Put the casserole dish on the hob and simmer the mixture for one to two minutes, stirring, until thickened. Transfer to a pie dish and leave to cool.
  6. Roll out the puff pastry to the size of your pie dish and lay it over the filling. Make a small hole in the centre for the steam to escape while cooking. Brush the pastry with a little milk.
  7. When ready, bake the pie in the oven for 30 minutes at 200C/fan 180C until the pastry is golden brown and the pie is bubbling hot.

Bacon, feta & leek filo pie

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IMG_20160216_000625[1] 19/02/2016

This Balkan classic makes an impressive centrepiece for any table – a golden spiral of crisp filo pastry, holding a rich filling of vegetables, feta and bacon. This pie recipe includes a guide on how to make filo pastry from scratch, but if short on time you can also use ready-made, rather than homemade filo pastry. One thing I would say is USE REAL BUTTER! It provides a rich crisp pastry with a beautiful taste.

All pie is good in my book, but this pie is extra special. Not only is it the shape of a Cumberland sausage, but it also boasts numerous layers of homemade filo pastry. Yes, that’s right, HOMEMADE filo pastry.

You would be forgiven for thinking life’s too short for such painstaking tasks, but bear with me. I’ll admit, it would probably be fair to say you have too much time on your hands if you can afford to make homemade filo a weekly staple, but it’s sometimes nice to spend longer than 20 minutes knocking up something quickly in the kitchen. It can be therapeutic to take your time. In fact, it’s the perfect activity to take on while indulging in guilty pleasures like watching telly or singing along to your favourite LP in the daytime. And the flavour really is worth the effort. Homemade filo is never going to be quite as thin as shop bought, but the difference in texture from a more rustic roll feels right for this roly-poly pie.

You can, of course, buy ready-made filo, if you must, but I think you ought to try making it yourself at least once first. As for the filling, you can sing your own tune. It’s delicious with a simple concoction of sautéed onion, garlic and spinach with a few lumps of feta crumbled in for good measure. Minced lamb or pork with cabbage makes for a filling and robust pie and you can even add potatoes or rice for extra and economical bulk. As far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with bacon and leeks as a base and I love to serve it with a simple salad. It’s best to leave the pie for 15–20 minutes after it’s come out of the oven, as the flavours are best when it’s not piping hot.

Filo pastry:

  • 1kg flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400ml of water
  • 200ml of butter, melted

Pie filling:

  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 bacon rashers, smoked, chopped
  • 200g of feta, crumbled
  • 1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 small handful of mint, finely chopped
  • 1 dash of oil, for frying
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper

Method:

  1. To begin, sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the vinegar, salt, oil and half of the water and mix together with a fork until it starts to come together. Add as much of the remaining water as you need to make a dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface
  2. Knead for a few minutes until you have a soft, but not sticky dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, make the filling. In a pan over a medium heat, sweat the onion, leeks, garlic and bacon in a little oil (or butter) until soft and slightly golden. Stir in the feta and parsley and season generously with pepper. There is already plenty of salt from the feta and bacon. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.
  4. Use your hands to roll the dough into a sausage and cut into 10 pieces. Take a piece of dough and cover the remaining 9 pieces with cling film to prevent them from drying out.
  5. Roll the dough as thinly as you possibly can into a large rectangular shape, then gently stretch it further using your hands. Ideally the dough should be thin enough to be able to see your hand through it.
  6. Once the dough is as thin as you can make it, brush the filo sheet with melted butter/oil and cover with cling film. Roll out the next piece in the same way, remove the cling film from the first sheet and place the second over the top.
  7. Brush liberally with more melted butter and place the sheet of cling film back on. Continue until all the dough has been rolled and brushed with melted butter, giving you 10 layers.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  9. Place the layered filo in front of you, horizontally, and trim off the edges of the pastry to make a neat rectangle. Spoon the filling into a line a few inches in from the edge of the filo closest to you. Now for the fun bit!
  10. Roll the whole thing up tightly into a long sausage and, with the seam underneath, coil the sausage into a tight ring. Butter a round ovenproof dish, big enough for the pie to snugly fit into the dish. Use a couple of fish slices, or any other long flat implement to hand, to carefully transfer the pie to the dish.
  11. Brush the top of the pie with more melted butter and sprinkle over a little salt and pepper. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and continue to bake for another 20 minutes. Leave to cool for 15–20 minutes before carefully transferring the pie to a serving plate. Slice into wedges to serve.

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Sunday Roast

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IMG_20150302_203624[1] 08/03/2015

This is not a traditional Sunday roast as my oven is not big enough to fit a whole chicken and all the trimmings in but it is certainly a good hearty British meal that incorporates all the sides we know and love with a bit of a twist.

Opinions are strongly divided when it comes to the perfect British roast.

Beef and horseradish? Pork and apple sauce? Chicken and cranberry? Lamb and mint sauce?

Mashed potatoes? Roast potatoes? Boiled potatoes?

What’s the perfect Yorkshire pudding?

Which vegetables should be served?

What makes the perfect gravy?

Everyone has their favourites and it’s usually their mum’s!

This take on a roast incorporates some of the old favourite sides such as pigs in blankets, stuffing balls and thick beefy gravy with crisp, golden roast potatoes, fresh, steamy greens and perfect homemade Yorkshire puddings. All of this is served with garlic and herb chicken wrapped in bacon and as I’m sure you know, everything is better wrapped in bacon!

What’s even better is that this roast dinner can come together in about 1 hour. No need to spend all day in the kitchen and plenty of time to collapse in a food coma in front of a cheesy afternoon movie after all those trimmings!

Serves 2 generously

Ingredients:

For the chicken: 

  • 2 rashers smoked bacon
  • 2 chicken breast fillets
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 20g butter

For the potatoes:

  • 4 small potatoes
  • Rapeseed oil

For the Yorkshire puddings:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 heaped Tbsp plain flour
  • Milk

For the stuffing balls:

  • 1 sausage
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 30g dried breadcrumbs
  • Milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful fresh parsley, thyme and rosemary, chopped

For the pigs in blankets:

  • 1 sausage
  • 1 rasher smoked bacon

For the cheat’s gravy:

  • 1 heaped Tbsp beef gravy granules (I used Bisto)
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
  • Boiling water from the vegetable pot

For the greens:

  • A big handful of curly kale
  • ½ mug of frozen peas

Method:

For the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 200C. Add enough rapeseed oil to a baking pan to just coat the bottom and place it in the oven to heat up. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut in half. Place in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 5-10 minutes until slightly softened but not completely cooked. Drain the potatoes then shake them in the pan so you roughen up the edges slightly. Allow them to steam dry for a couple of minutes. Do not cover with a lid.

Place the potatoes in the tray with the hot oil and shake to coat. Return to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken and Yorkshire pudding batter.

For the chicken: Butterfly the chicken. Put your chicken breast on a chopping board and, with your hand flat on top of it, use a sharp knife to slice into one side of the breast, starting at the thicker end and ending at the thin point. Be careful not to cut all the way through to the other side. Open out the breast so that it resembles a butterfly. Cover with cling film and pummel with a rolling pin to create an even thickness.

Soften the butter in a small heatproof bowl in the microwave for a few seconds. Add the garlic, parsley and salt and stir to combine. Spread half of the butter mixture on the sliced side of the chicken breast. Roll the chicken breast up and wrap it in a rasher of bacon to secure. Repeat with the remaining chicken breast and place on a foil lined tray. Season and set aside.

Check on the potatoes and give them a turn. Place a 4 whole giant Yorkshire tin in the oven with a little rapeseed oil in each section.

For the stuffing balls and pigs in blankets: Remove the sausage meat from the casing of 1 sausage and mix it together in a bowl with the onion, herbs, breadcrumbs and seasoning. Add a splash of milk to bring the mixture together then shape into four balls and place on a foil lined baking tray.

With the remaining sausage, twist it in half and cut to form two tiny sausages. Cut a rasher of bacon in half and wrap one half around each mini sausage. Place on the same tray as the stuffing balls and place in the oven to cook for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.

For the Yorkshire puddings: Crack the egg into a mixing bowl, add the flour and a splash of milk then stir with a tablespoon until a really thick ‘gloop’ is formed. Add a little milk at a time and beat well between each addition to remove any lumps of flour. Once the lumps have gone, add enough milk to create a loose, pourable batter that is not too runny. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.

After about 30 minutes of the potatoes being in the oven, add the chicken to the oven too. The potatoes will need about 1 hour in total and the chicken will need 30 minutes.

Remove the Yorkshire tray from the oven and pour the batter evenly between the four sections. Return to the oven to bake for approximately 25 minutes until golden brown.

Baste the chicken and turn the potatoes again. Note: It is important not to open the oven door straight after the Yorkshire puddings are in there or they will not rise.

For the greens: Add a little water to a pan and bring to the boil. Add the kale for 2 minutes then add the peas for a further 2 minutes.

For the gravy: Unfortunately there are no pan juices from cooking chicken in this way to make a traditional gravy hence the cheat gravy but it is still pretty yummy. Add the granules, cornflour and thyme to a jug. Once the greens are cooked, drain the water into the jug. You just need enough to make a nice thick gravy (approx 300mls). Make sure the vegetables are completely drained even if you don’t need all the water for the gravy. Stir really well.

Divide everything out between two plates with your gravy on the side.

This meal is quite dependent on timing so get ahead by preparing elements such as the Yorkshire pudding batter, chicken and stuffing balls in advance if it helps.

Just to clarify, the timings needed to cook each element are as follows:

Roast potatoes: 50-60 minutes

Chicken: 30-35 minutes

Yorkshire puddings: 25-30 minutes

Pigs in blankets: 25 minutes

Stuffing balls: 25 minutes

Greens: 4 minutes

Gravy: Just add water 😉