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.
1 baking camembert
2 sheets of puff pastry
3 tbsp caramelised onion chutney
75g crispy smoked bacon bits
1 egg whisked
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
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).
Repeat step 2 with the second sheet of pastry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rip off the pastry branches and dunk them in the gooey cheese. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Bierocks are made with a yeasted dough to form a pastry casing for a savoury filling of meat and cabbage and originating from Eastern Europe.
Ever in search of new ways with mince, this recipe also provides an interesting, tasty and cheap combination of ingredients that also provide a hand held snack that pairs perfectly with a cold beer. Winner!
500g strong white flour
1 7g sachet fast action yeast
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
100ml whole milk
100ml hot water
500g lean beef mince
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Make the bread dough:
Put the flour, yeast, egg, salt and sugar into a bowl.
Add the hot water to the milk and add gradually to the mixture until it comes together into a soft dough. You may need more liquid, depending on the moisture in the flour and egg.
Knead the mixture for ten minutes, cover and set aside to rise for an hour.
Make the filling:
Heat a non-stick saucepan over a medium high heat and crumble in the meat. No need to have any oil, even lean mince has a certain amount of fat in it which will come out as the meat cooks.
Stir the meat around until it is browned and shiny.
Add the onion and continue stirring while the onion softens.
Finally add in the cabbage and cook until the cabbage has softened – probably no more than 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the salt and pepper, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
When the dough has risen, tip out and pat down.
Divide dough into pieces weighing 75-80g.
Roll dough out into a 15cm square.
Put a large tablespoon of the cooled filling into the middle of the dough.
Add 1 teaspoon of the grated cheese, if using.
Bring the corners of the dough together and pinch along the edges to seal in the filling. What you will end up with looks like the back of an envelope.
Turn the buns over and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Dust the buns with flour and set aside to rise for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan.
Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove the buns from the oven and immediately cover the baking sheet with some tea-towels. This will trap the heat and create steam, which will soften the crust of the buns.
A really simple recipe that uses store cupboard ingredients with a zingy tang from lightly pickled onions.
I have found that some vegan recipes are made up of a lot of specialist ingredients that I have never heard of, cost a fortune and would have to buy a huge quantity of to use one teaspoon of before placing at the back of the cupboard for the rest of eternity. However, I urge you to try these vegan offerings. They are made from simple ingredients, real food and taste delicious. This soup is a case in point.
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
½ tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tbsp ground cumin
½ tbsp smoked paprika
½ tbsp chipotle paste, or to taste
400g can black bean, drained and rinsed
400ml vegetable stock
soured cream, to serve (omit if vegan)
coriander leaves, to serve
tortilla crisps, to serve
To make the lime-pickled onions, combine ½ the lime juice and ½ the onions in a small bowl, and season. Leave to pickle for 30 mins.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and remaining onions, and season. Cook for 8 mins or until the onions are translucent. Add the spices and chipotle purée, cook for 1 min, then add the beans, stock and remaining lime juice. Simmer for 15 mins, then purée in a blender.
Pour the soup into a clean pan to reheat. Serve with a little of the drained pickled onions, topped with a small drizzle of soured cream and some coriander, and the tortillas on the side.
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!
Pierogi are a Polish dumpling that can be filled with a variety of things from mushroom and saurkraut, ground meat or potato and cheese to sweet versions such as cream cheese and cherries or prunes.
They are very simple to make but are quite time consuming. They are quite therapeutic to make though so set aside an afternoon, drag a friend in to help and knock up a batch of fluffy, delicious dumplings to enjoy.
I don’t claim that these are the most authentic version out there but they sure are tasty.
Makes approx 50
For the Dough:
3 cups plain flour, plus more for rolling and dusting
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 cup room temperature water
For the Potato Filling:
1 large baking potato, diced into 2 inch pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
½ tsp salt and a few grinds freshly ground black pepper
Small handful chopped fresh parsley
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp sour cream
To Make the Dough:
On a clean work surface, place all of the flour into a pile. Stir in salt then make a well in the centre of the flour. Crack the egg into the centre along with the sour cream. With a fork, start stirring the eggs and sour cream into the flour pulling the edges toward the centre. Then gradually add the water a little at a time as you continue to stir with a fork. You may not use all of the water so check texture and slowly incorporate another half cup of water. The texture should be soft and only just sticky to the touch.
Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough ball and surrounding counter and with a scraper or a palette knife, scrape the dough from the counter over onto floured surface and continue this process adding flour as needed until you have a soft, pliable easy-to-handle dough that does not stick to the rolling pin.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough mass out to 1/16th inch thin.
As you roll, keep flouring the counter under the dough so when it is completely rolled out, none of the dough mass sticks to your counter.
Using a 3 inch round pastry cutter, dip the cutter in flour if needed then cut out the circles as close to each other as possible. After filling this batch, gather up the scraps and roll back out and cut more circles. Finally roll up the last of the scraps and cut one last time. The dough is soft enough to get rolled out three times but no more. Also try to keep the dough covered with a slightly damp cloth to keep the dough from drying out.
The final count should be approximately 50 circles.
To Make the Potato Filling:
Boil potatoes in salted water for 10-15 minutes until tender, then drain and place back into the pan. Mash the potato then remove to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, melt butter over medium heat and add onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook 3-5 minutes until tender. Remove from heat and add to the mashed potatoes along with the parsley, spring onions and sour cream. If not filling right away, refrigerate until needed.
To Fill, Prepare and Cook the Pierogi:
Place 1 tsp of the filling in the centre of a circle of dough that you have cut with the cutter spreading it out into the shape of an oval. Have a small cup of water close by and with a pastry brush, lightly wet the outside of the circle half way around. Then lift the dough circle in your hand and pull the edge of the dry side to the edge of the wet side together in the centre and pinch tight. Then work from the centre out and pinch the rest closed, poking any filling back in as you go. Set the finished pierogi on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
Place a medium to large pot of water on to boil as you finish the remaining pierogi. Have a large sauté pan on a burner with the melted butter on medium low.
Once you have made as many as you plan on making, place about ten at a time into the boiling water (checking to make sure that they haven’t stuck to the bottom of the pot) and boil until they float (about 2-3 minutes). Then cook for an additional minute and remove with a strainer. Immediately add to pan with melted butter. All you are doing with this step is coating them in butter so they don’t stick to each other. Toss in the pan of butter for about 30 seconds and remove to a platter. Repeat for all of the pierogi you intend to cook.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter and add onions and cook for about 4-5 minutes until slightly browned. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Using the same pan over medium heat, melt butter and add cooked pierogi. Cook flipping occasionally until browned on both sides, about 5-8 minutes.
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.
This isn’t really a recipe but is really lovely served as a fresh and vibrant side for any curry. It’s great slathered on poppadoms as a starter or a snack and provides a welcome break from the rich heaviness of many curries.
1 tomato, diced
½ red onion, diced
3 thick slices of cucumber, diced
Small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
A few mint leaves, chopped
A pinch of cumin and chilli powder
A squeeze of lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste.
Tip: Season with salt when ready to serve as the salt will draw the moisture from the chopped veggies.