Crustless Bacon, Mushroom & Pepper Quiche

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quiche 08/07/2018

What do you do when you you’re going to stay with the folks for a few weeks and you need to use up all your odds and ends from the fridge? Chop it all up and bung it in an eggy, cheesy mix of course.

This is a very simple dish that can be served hot or cold, as a snack or a meal. Use whatever combination of fillings you have. I bought quark by accident having never tried or heard of it before. I was actually after a garlic and herb cream cheese and, as usual, was paying more attention to lining up songs on my Spotify playlist than what was going in the basket but it actually gives a lovely texture and flavour to the quiche even though it is fat free.

Ingredients:

  • 100g bacon, visible fat removed, chopped
  • ½ red and ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 50g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g garlic and herb quark
  • 50g Extra-mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Place a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry for a few minutes then add the peppers, mushrooms and garlic and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the peppers and mushrooms have softened. Set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 190°C/fan 170°C. Spoon the bacon mixture into an ovenproof baking dish.
  3. Mix together the eggs, quark and seasoning then spoon over the bacon mixture.
  4. Top with the grated cheddar and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until just set.
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Cheese Souffle Omelette

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souf 05/05/2018

Making a soufflé omelette is a doddle and is a perfect meal for a Sunday brunch. It takes no more than five minutes and tastes amazing. This one has three cheeses, but you can make it with just one, or even four if you happen to have them hanging around. I always have a selection of cheeses to rival a small deli in my fridge.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 oz (25 g) mature Cheddar, finely grated
  • 1 oz (25 g) Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), finely grated
  • 1 oz (25 g) Gruyère, finely grated
  • 1 heaped tablespoon finely snipped chives
  • ½ oz (10 g) butter
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper

Method:

  1. First separate the eggs – yolks into a small bowl and whites into a squeaky-clean large bowl; it helps if you separate the whites singly into a cup first before adding them to the bowl, then if one breaks, it won’t ruin the rest.
  2. Now beat the egg yolks with a fork, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Next put the pan on to a low heat to warm through. While that’s happening, whisk the egg whites with either an electric hand whisk or a balloon whisk, until they form soft peaks.  Next add the butter to the pan and turn the heat up.
  3. Then, using a large metal spoon, quickly fold the egg yolks into the egg whites, adding the Cheddar, half the Parmesan and the chives at the same time. Then, when the butter is foaming, pile the whole lot into the pan and give it a good hefty shake to even it out. Now let the omelette cook for 1 minute exactly. Then slide a palette knife round the edges to loosen it, sprinkle the grated Gruyère all over the surface and whack the omelette under the grill, about 4 inches (10 cm) from the heat. Let it cook for 1 more minute, until the cheese is melted and tinged golden.
  4. Next, remove the pan from the heat, then slide the palette knife round the edge again. Take the pan to the warmed plate, then ease one half of the omelette over the other and tilt the whole lot out on to the plate.
  5. Scatter the rest of the Parmesan all over and serve immediately.

Camembert Snowflake

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camembert 19/01/2018

I’m a tiny bit obsessed with cheese at the moment. That’s a lie, I’m always obsessed but here is a particularly gooey, overloaded offering containing caramelised onions, bacon, herbs and buttery pastry dunked into melting luxurious cheese.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 baking camembert
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 3 tbsp caramelised onion chutney
  • 75g crispy smoked bacon bits
  • 1 egg whisked
  • Honey
  • Rosemary leaves

Instructions:                                               

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface. Place a large mixing bowl on top of the pastry sheet. Cut around the bowl to form a circle (around 9-10 inch diameter).
  3. Repeat step 2 with the second sheet of pastry.
  4. Place one circle of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Spread caramelised onion chutney over the pastry, leaving the middle centre clear. Sprinkle bacon bits over the chutney and then cover with the second circle of pastry.
  5. Place the camembert cheese in the centre of the circle of pastry and then cut around to form a circle. Discard the cut pastry and lay the cheese in the open centre.
  6. Cut the circle of pastry into 16 equal segments. You can do this by cutting the circle first into 4 equal segments. Then, cut each segment in half and then in half once more, ending with 16 segments in total.
  7. Lift one segment, twist once to the right and place it down. Then lift the segment next to it and twist once to the left and place it down. Keep going around, alternating the direction of the twist. Finally, bring up edges of two segments with opposite twist and press together.
  8. Brush the pastry with egg wash. Make 3-4 slits on top of the cheese and then drizzle cheese with a little honey. Sprinkle rosemary leaves over the cheese and pastry. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
  9. Rip off the pastry branches and dunk them in the gooey cheese. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Bolognese Fondue with Garlic Butter Toasts

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bol 21/11/2017

OMG! This is amazing. It’s like the easiest lasagne ever but no need to stand there layering stuff up. Instead you dunk garlicky buttery crisp bread into oozy cheese sauce and rich bolognese. A word of caution though, let it stand for 10-15 minutes once removed from the oven or prepare for a scalded mouth for the next 2 days. I learned the hard way.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the garlic butter toasts:

  • 4 slices white bread
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • Parsley or oregano, chopped
    For the fondue:
  • 100g gruyere, grated
  • 3 tsp corn flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • A splash of milk
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 25g parmesan, grated
    For the Bolognese:
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1tsp each oregano, thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chopped parsley

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Roll slices of bread flat with a rolling pin. Add the crushed garlic and herbs to the butter and melt in the microwave for 10 seconds. Brush the bread with garlic butter on both sides.  Cut into four triangles, corner to corner.
  3. Place flat on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes flipping half way through until golden brown and crisp.
  4. To make the Bolognese, add the oil to a pan over a high heat and brown the beef mince. Add the onion, carrot and peppers, reduce the heat to medium and continue to brown gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Add the herbs, seasoning and tomato puree. Stir to combine.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and a little water then let the Bolognese simmer over a low heat for 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
  7. Mix together the cheese and toss in the cornflour.
  8. Heat the wine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cheese mixture a handful at a time until you have a thick smooth sauce.
  9. Pour in some milk and allow the mixture to bubble and thicken.
  10. Spread Bolognese on the bottom of a dish.  Pour fondue mixture over top and grate parmesan to cover.  Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling.
  11. Top with chopped parsley.
  12. Dip toasts in and enjoy!

Stromboli

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strom 16/11/2017

Italian Stromboli loaf loaded with artichokes, olives, sausage, gooey mozzarella and rich tomato sauce. I seem to be making a lot of stuff under the guise of baked bread stuffed with cheese recently but it’s not something I plan to change any time soon. This is a really satisfying, comfort food. It takes a while to put together but is surprisingly simple and totally worth the effort. You can put whatever you want in the middle. Jalapeño and chorizo is another winning combo. My little brother even likes ham and pineapple in his.

str

Ingredients:

  • 1 quantity pizza dough (see my recipe for pizza dough on ‘pizza’ post)
  • 1 jar pizza topping sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup artichoke heart pieces, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives
  • 1/2 pound cooked Italian sausage, crumbled
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Cracked black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pizza dough on a piece of parchment paper, into an 11 X 15 inch rectangle.
  2. Spread 1/2 cup pizza sauce over the dough, leaving a 2 inch border around all sides.
  3. Top the tomato sauce with fresh basil leaves. Layer the sausage, olives, artichokes and cheese over the basil leaves.
  4. Then lifting the parchment paper, gently roll one short end toward the other short end, creating a log with the seam facing down.
  5. Brush the loaf with melted butter then sprinkle with pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the Stromboli to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve the remaining pizza sauce in a bowl to dip the Stromboli slices into.

Fatayer

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fatayer 15/11/2017

Fatayer is a pizza-like dough stuffed with a herby cheese filling in this case. They are found throughout North Africa and the Balkans in differing variations and are traditionally served during breakfast or as a snack with a hot drink.

The combination of the salty cheese, fresh parsley, fresh mint, and nigella seeds makes these fatayer irresistible. I used feta cheese since it is more readily available but if you wish to make the fatayer more authentic, use akkawi cheese.

I have also tried a combination of ricotta and mozzarella cheese, using half of each, which was equally tasty but more subtle and creamy. Experiment with different cheeses and see what you like best. I prefer the tart tanginess of feta.

Tip: Shape the fatayer as soon as the dough finishes resting. To keep the fatayer from puffing up too much and losing their shape, it is important to bake them right away. I made the cheese fatayer into boat-like shapes, which is the way they are traditionally made, but you can use any shape you prefer, including making them into mini pizzas.

Makes 6-8

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
  • 300ml warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons good olive oil

Filling:

  • 200g crumbled/grated cheese of choice (I used 100g feta, 50g parmesan, 50g boursin)
  • ½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ bunch of mint, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg

fata

Method:

  1. For the dough: Place salt, caraway, nigella seeds and flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast but do not let the yeast directly contact the salt.
  2. Pour in the water and olive oil. Mix together with your fingers.
  3. Work the dough into a soft warm ball then slap it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl and lightly oil the dough itself so a crust does not form. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. For the filling and constructing: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until combined.
  6. Divide the dough into 6-8 equal pieces.
  7. Roll out into an oval shape.
  8. Put 1½ teaspoons of the filling in the middle and spread.
  9. Lift one edge and press the ends. Do the same with other edge making a boat-like shape.
  10. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

Camembert Garlic Bread

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Capturel 06/10/2017

Sometimes you just want something quick and simple for dinner but that shouldn’t mean boring. This camembert garlic bread is quick, easy flippin’ amazing too. I mean it’s cheese and bread and garlic so it’s hard to go wrong really.

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You could try experimenting with this bread by stuffing different ingredients in the bread such as tomato sauce, chorizo, mozzarella, basil, pesto, bacon, whatever you want really.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole camembert
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 loaf of crusty bread
  • Sea salt to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Remove all the packaging from the camembert and use the outer box as a stencil to cut a circular hole in the centre of the crusty loaf. Do not cut all the way through. Remove just enough bread so the camembert can sit snuggly in the centre of the bread.
  3. Remove the top rind of the camembert and place the cheese in the hole you just cut into the bread, cut side up.
  4. With a serrated knife, score the bread several times lengthways and then widthways to achieve a checkerboard effect.
  5. Add the garlic, butter, rosemary and a pinch of salt to a bowl and microwave for a few seconds to melt the butter. Spread this mixture between the scored lines you just made in the bread.
  6. Sprinkle the whole thing with a little salt and set on a baking tray. Bake in the lower part of the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is oozing, the bread is crusty and the garlic is fragrant.
  7. Rip squares of the buttery garlic bread and dunk them into the gooey cheese. Shake your head in amazement.