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!
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
To make the scones preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been wanting to try wild garlic for ages but have never been able to find it… until now. I came across some at a local market and in my excitement, bought way more than one person could possibly eat. I have now stocked up the freezer with a variety of garlicky infused meals and baked goods. It’s going to be a good week.
These scones are wonderfully fluffy, and cheesy. The wild garlic is quite different to using garlic cloves. It has a more subtle onion flavour, very similar to chives but more… well, garlicky.
Makes about 6 whoppers
220g self-raising flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 egg beaten
120g grated cheddar cheese
a generous handful of wild garlic, finely chopped (if you haven’t got any wild garlic snipped chives work well instead)
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a good pinch of English mustard powder
Preheat the oven to 200°C
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl
Rub the butter in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
Stir in the grated cheese and finely chopped wild garlic or chives
Add the pepper and mustard and mix
Add enough milk to the beaten egg to make it up to 150ml of liquid
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg/milk mixture
Mix to a soft dough with a metal knife
Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently and lightly until it is just smooth
Press out to about 2½cm deep and cut out rounds with a 7cm pastry cutter gathering the scraps together each time, re-rolling and stamping until you have 6 or 7 scones
Pop the scones onto a lightly oiled baking sheet, brush the tops with a little milk and bake them for 15 – 20 minutes until well risen and golden brown and your kitchen smells divine
Leave to cool on a wire rack or scoff straight from the oven!
Pasties! As the weather begins to turn, nothing hits the spot more than a comforting pasty with crisp, golden pastry with an oozing cheesy filling. Mmmmm
Different fats produce different characteristics in baked or fried foods and hard fat will produce a crisper texture than any other. I have tried using beef dripping with this pastry and lard. Both have given extremely crisp results with their own savoury character.
The use of some strong flour in the pastry also makes the dough a little more resilient to make shaping easier without sacrificing tenderness.
The mix of different mustards is purely my preference so if you have any favourites then feel free to experiment.
Either way, the mix of fresh spring onions with hearty potato, autumnal swede and melting strong cheddar is an absolute winner encased in a crisp, buttery house of loveliness.
For the rough puff dripping crust:
300g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
100g strong white flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
50g unsalted butter, softened
150g beef dripping or lard, at room temperature
150ml lukewarm water
For the filling:
150g Extra mature cheddar (I used Barber’s Cruncher)
100g peeled and diced swede
100g peeled and diced potato
3-4 large spring onions, chopped
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon each of wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard and English mustard powder
A few sprigs of thyme – optional
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
For the rough puff dripping crust:
Place the flours and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into little pieces and rub into the flour then cut the dripping or lard into 1cm pieces and toss it through. Do not rub it in. Stir the water in without kneading until the dough just combines then leave for 10 minutes.
Generously flour the work surface to stop the dough sticking then roll out the dough to 50cm x 20cm. Fold the dough in by thirds then roll out again towards the unfolded ends and fold in by thirds once more. Cover the dough or place in a bag and let it rest somewhere cool (but not as cold as the fridge) for 30 minutes.
Repeat the rolling, folding and resting twice more. The pastry is then ready to be used. You can also freeze it at this point in a sealed ziplock bag then just allow to thaw completely before using.
For the filling:
Place the grated cheese and spring onions in a bowl with the swede and potato, add the salt, pepper, flour and thyme, if using, and toss this together and chill.
Roll the pastry out to about ½cm thick and cut out circles using a side plate as a guide.
Mix the mustards and mustard powder together in a small bowl. Lightly coat the centre of each pastry circle with the mustard and brush the edges with water. Place a generous spoonful of filling on one half of the pastry leaving a clean ½cm border.
Fold the pastry over the filling and press the edges together gently to seal. Crimp as you like. Repeat with the remaining pasties then place on a greaseproof lined baking tray.
Chill the pasties in the fridge while you heat the oven to 200C then brush them with egg wash and bake them for 45 minutes until the pastry is rich and golden and the filling is piping hot.
I almost feel patronising to be blogging a recipe for pasta bake because it is so simple but as with most recipes that require little effort and let ingredients speak for themselves, this dish is packed full of flavour! Pasta bake can be whatever you want it to be from whatever you have but always leaves you satisfied. It is cheap, healthy, comforting, tasty and great as leftovers too.
One rule I always follow for a good pasta bake is – TOP WITH LOADS OF CHEESE! And I mean loads, to the point where you think ‘I’ve put too much cheese on that pasta bake’ then maybe a bit more. Baked in the oven until melting, bubbly and golden brown, it gives a wonderful luxurious, melting finish to the vegetable pasta mix. Not to mention the bits that go crunchy round the edge – ooo yeah!
What you put in is really up to you. You can make a bolognaise style sauce, white sauce, spinach and ricotta, squash puree, spicy bean, bacon, meatballs, go wild! Add vegetables, pasta of your choice, CHEESE, bake, enjoy.
50g whole wheat pasta (I used fusilli)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 small courgette, chopped
50g button chestnut mushrooms
1 red pepper, diced
1 can cherry tomatoes
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1-2 tsp dried herbs (I used basil and oregano)
Extra mature cheddar cheese, grated
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Cook the pasta for a minute less than the pack instructs. Reserve some of the pasta water to use in the sauce. Drain and set aside.
For the sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the onions and garlic and fry for 5-6 minutes until softened and golden.
Add the courgette, peppers and mushrooms and continue to fry for 5 minutes until slightly softened.
Add the dried herbs, can of tomatoes and stir in the mascarpone. Reduce the heat to low and combine everything well. Season to taste and let the sauce simmer gently for a few minutes. Mix the pasta into the vegetable sauce and a dash of pasta water if the sauce is really thick. It should be slightly loose as it will thicken a bit in the oven.
Transfer the pasta and sauce to an oven-proof baking dish and top very generously with cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden and the dish is piping hot.
Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes then serve with salad and garlic bread.
Nduja (pronounced en-du-ya) is a spicy spreadable Italian salami. It’s available from delicatessens and specialty grocers. Some supermarkets stock it too. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with finely chopped spicy salami. It has a lovely chilli kick and the oozy mozzarella adds a creamy respite to create a variety of flavours in your mouth.
Gozleme is a Turkish flatbread that is cooked on the griddle. Traditional fillings include minced meat, spinach and white cheese such as feta but I am slightly obsessed with nduja at the moment. Feel free to add what you like.
This is a really simple and tasty recipe that is fairly quick to put together. Making your own dough to encase a warm, spicy, gooey filling is definitely worth the little extra effort.
This recipe makes 6 breads but can easily be divided for fewer.
600g plain flour
80ml extra virgin olive oil
95g Natural Greek-style yoghurt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
240g Grated vintage cheddar
300g Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, for sprinkling
Lemon wedges, to serve
Place the flour, oil, yoghurt, water, oregano and salt in a large mixing bowl and knead to combine for 3–4 minutes or until smooth. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2–3 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place in a large lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Preheat a lightly greased char-grill pan or barbecue to high heat. Divide the dough into 6 portions. Place each portion on a lightly floured surface and roll into 20cm x 28cm ovals.
With the shorter ends facing towards you, spread the bottom half of the ovals with the nduja and sprinkle with the cheddar and mozzarella, leaving a 2cm border. Fold the top half of the dough over and press the edges to seal.
Brush the gozleme with the oil and cook, in batches, for 2–3 minutes or until charred. Turn over and cook for a further 1–2 minutes or until charred and cooked through. Sprinkle with pepper and serve with lemon wedges.
There are many variations for this classic dish. Some recipes call for cayenne or paprika, others for ale. This version uses a cheesy bechamel as a base for a beautifully smooth and warming, tangy mustard sauce. A perfect treat for an indulgent brunch.
A knob of butter
2 tsp plain flour
Approx 100ml milk
40g Mature cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp English mustard
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
1 spring onion, finely sliced
2 slices of your favourite bread
1 clove of garlic
Make a roux by gently heating the butter in a small milk pan then adding the flour. Stir to combine and cook the flour.
Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly so lumps don’t form. Add enough milk to make a smooth sauce that is not too runny.
Add the grated cheese and stir in until melted. Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and spring onions then check for seasoning. Remove from the heat.
Toast the bread then cut the clove of garlic in half and rub one half of raw garlic on each slice of toasted bread. Spoon the cheese mix evenly onto each slice of toast then place under a preheated grill until browning and bubbly .
This recipe makes 8 huge scones but I can’t get enough of them at the moment so only huge will do. I love cheese scones anyway but the Marmite in them makes for an extra tasty, flavourful bake. The Marmite is not too over-powering but blends with the cheese to create a gorgeous savoury scone.
The use of cream cheese in the spread means the scone stays moist and creamy throughout. No extra butter needed here, just a big appetite and a cuppa!
I think the key with this recipe is not to overwork the dough. Mix it until it has only just come together and lightly press and roll it to shape.
450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
3 tsp Marmite
1 large egg
about 250ml milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil
140g mature cheddar, grated, plus optional extra for topping
100g full-fat cream cheese
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan and dust a baking tray with a little flour. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Put 1 tsp Marmite in a jug, add the egg and make up to 300ml with the milk. Stir in the oil then beat really well to dissolve the Marmite.
Tip 85g of the cheddar into a bowl and mix with the cream cheese and remaining Marmite to make a spread. Toss the rest of the cheese through the flour mixture, then pour in the milk mixture and stir with the blade of a knife until it comes together. (You need to work quickly once you’ve added the liquid as it activates the baking powder.) Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead the mix, taking care not to overwork it, as it will make the scones heavy.
Lightly roll the dough into an oblong about 20 x 25cm. Spread with the Marmite mixture and roll up from the longest side to create a tight, fat cylinder. Pat the ends of the cylinder to straighten them then slice into 8 pinwheels and put on the baking tray, patting them to make flattish rounds. Top with more cheese if desired. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and cooked.
Leave for a few moments on the tray to allow the cheese centre to harden a little then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Eat warm or cold. These are best eaten on the day they are made but freeze very well and are just as good defrosted and warmed through in the oven.