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.

Cheese & Wild Garlic Scones

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wild-garlic-and-cheese-scones 12/02/2017

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

Ingredients:

  • 220g self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 50g butter
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Milk
  • 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

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl
  3. Rub the butter in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  4. Stir in the grated cheese and finely chopped wild garlic or chives
  5. Add the pepper and mustard and mix
  6. Add enough milk to the beaten egg to make it up to 150ml of liquid
  7. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg/milk mixture
  8. Mix to a soft dough with a metal knife
  9. Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently and lightly until it is just smooth
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Leave to cool on a wire rack or scoff straight from the oven!

Cheese & Onion Pasties

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screenshot_2016-09-23-21-24-02-11 26/09/2016

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.

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Makes 6

Ingredients:

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

Method:

  1. For the rough puff dripping crust:
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Roll the pastry out to about ½cm thick and cut out circles using a side plate as a guide.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Pancakes

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screenshot_2016-09-13-09-09-51-11 13/09/2016

Super easy, versatile and flippin’ tasty (pun intended)!

Serves 2-4 (depending on appetite and will power)

Ingredients:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2eggs
  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • pinch salt

Method:

  1. Put the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the egg into the middle then pour in about 50ml milk. Start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the egg and milk. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.
  2. Add a good splash of milk and whisk to loosen the thick batter. While still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream. Traditionally, people would say to now leave the batter for 30 mins, to allow the starch in the flour to swell, but there’s no need.
  3. Heat the pan over a moderate heat then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper. Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer then leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 60 seconds. If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 60 seconds and will be ready to turn.
  4. Hold the pan handle, ease a fish slice under the pancake then quickly lift and flip it over. Make sure the pancake is lying flat against base of the pan with no folds and cook for another 30-60 seconds before turning out onto a warm plate. Continue with the rest of the batter, serving them as you cook or stack onto a plate. You can freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrapped in cling film or make them up to a day ahead.
  5. Sprinkle, squeeze and pour your favourite toppings and fillings over and tuck in.

 

To oven reheat, stack the pancakes on a heatproof plate; cover with foil. Warm at 180C/fan 160C for 10-15 mins from cold or 5-10 mins from room temperature. To microwave, stack, cover with cling film, pierce the film. Reheat on High for 1 min.

Flavour ideas:

Classic citrus and sugar: sprinkle each cooked pancake with sugar, roll up, sprinkle a little more sugar and squeeze over fresh lemon or orange juice.

Nutella and banana: Roll pancakes, spread with Nutella and top with chopped banana and chopped, toasted hazelnuts.

Spinach and ricotta: Wilt spinach, strain well, stir through ricotta and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stuff and roll pancakes.

Creamy mushroom: Fry chopped mushrooms and stir through some garlic roule. Add some wilted spinach or kale if desired. Stuff and roll pancakes.

Onion, cheese & bacon: Fry a chopped onion, then add chopped streaky bacon and cook until golden. Tip onto pancakes, grate over cheddar, fold up and eat hot.

Tropical fruit & ginger: Fresh tropical fruits, stem ginger syrup and Greek yogurt.

Cheese & Marmite Scones

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IMG_20150625_192835[1] 26/06/2015

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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Cheddar Scones

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IMG_20150428_091745[1] 28/04/2015

These are absolutely fantastic served warm from the oven and equally tasty warmed through or toasted the next day.

I used a really tangy, mature cheddar for this recipe – the sort that makes the roof of your mouth tingle when you eat it – and this gives the scones and intense savoury, cheesy taste.

Makes 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 200g self-raising flour, plus a little more for dusting
  • 50g butter, at room temperature
  • 25g porridge oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Pinch of mustard powder
  • 75g grated cheddar, plus extra for topping (optional)
  • 150ml milk

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 200C. Place the flour and baking powder in a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Stir in the oats, cayenne, mustard powder and cheese then the milk – if it feels like it might be dry, add a touch more milk then bring together to make a soft dough.
  2. Lightly dust the surface with a little flour. Roll out the dough no thinner than 2cm. Using a 4cm plain cutter, firmly stamp out the rounds – try not to twist the cutter as this makes the scones rise unevenly. Re-roll the trimmings and stamp out more.
  3. Transfer to a non-stick baking sheet, dust with a little more flour or grated cheese then bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack before serving on their own or with your favourite toppings. I love them served slightly warm with a bit of salted butter but they are also great with toppings such as avocado, soft cheese, ham, pickle and salad leaves.

Why not try adding cooked, chopped bacon or chorizo to the scone mix for extra flavour. These scones take no time to knock up and go fantastically with a big bowl of soup for a satisfying dinner.

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Creamy Garlic Spinach & Mushroom Pancakes

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IMG_20150217_144542[1]  17/02/2014

Happy Pancake Day!

I love pancakes and have been very excited about the approach of today – perhaps more than appropriate. I have so many fond memories of pancakes as a kid. My granddad used to make damson or blackberry vinegar from his garden hedgerow and we would pour lashings over steamy fresh pancakes and sugar. My mum would scoop my hair back with elastic bands as I licked the remaining sauce right from the plate

I have always been a sweet girl when it comes to pancakes; Nutella, syrup, orange, lemon, sugar etc

My good friend Menelens a.k.a. Helen…

xmas…first mentioned that she had savoury pancakes to me a couple of years ago and I remember looking at her like a mad woman. She recommended a spinach and ricotta filling which I soon shafted the idea of for my beloved sweet toppings but I thought that, this year, I’d see what the fuss was about and she wasn’t wrong. Here is my version of a savoury filled pancake.

Savoury pancakes

(Makes 2)

Ingredients:

For the batter:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 heaped Tbsp plain flour (not those rubbish measuring spoons, a proper tablespoon)
  • Milk
  • 1 Tbsp rapeseed oil

For the filling:

  • 6 chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 100g spinach
  • 40g garlic and herb soft cheese
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • A pinch of cayenne
  • Parmesan, for topping

Method:

To make the pancake batter:

  1. 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 30 minutes.
  2. When ready to cook, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil and spread it around the pan. Pour half of the batter into the pan and turn the pan to spread the batter around the base surface.
  3. Let the batter cook for a couple of minutes until the top of the pancake appears opaque and the edges begin to curl slightly. Using a spatula, flip the pancake over to cook the other side for a couple of minutes.
  4. Remove the pancake to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining batter.

To make the filling:

  1. Roughly chop the mushrooms. Add them to the frying pan you just cooked the pancakes in and fry for a minute or two until beginning to brown and soften slightly.
  2. Add the chopped garlic and spinach to the pan and cover with a lid or baking tray so the steam can build up and wilt the spinach. Just before the spinach is completely wilted, crumble in the garlic and herb soft cheese (I used Boursin) and stir to incorporate. Season with cracked black pepper and cayenne and remove from the heat.

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To assemble:

  1. Spoon half of the mushroom mix into the centre of a pancake. Fold the pancake up as if it were a burrito and place seam side down on a plate. Repeat with the remaining pancake and filling.
  2. Grate parmesan cheese over the top of the pancakes and grill under a moderate grill for a couple of minutes or until the cheese has melted. I think brie would be a great cheese to melt over the top here but I didn’t have any. Parmesan was very tasty though. Carefully remove the plate and tuck in! Serve with a fresh side salad if you like.

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