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Recipe

Vegan Cottage Pie

It is Veganuary again so I fancied making a classic dish but doing it Vegan. I chose cottage pie as it is an all time classic comfort food. It was easy and tasty and here is what I did. This is a cross between and British classic and and Irish / Greek dishes, the addition of cabbage to mashed potato is called Colcannon in Ireland and using oil, garlic and vinegar instead of butter and milk in Greek makes it Skordalia.

Ingredients Base

  • 400g pack of Meatless Farm Mince,
  • 1 chopped onion,
  • 1 diced carrot,
  • salt and pepper,
  • vegetable stock 500ml,
  • splash Henderson’s relish
  • Tbs oil

I sautéed the vegetables for a few minutes in the oil and then added everything else and cooked until most of the liquid had cooked off. I place it into an oven proof dish.

Ingredients Topping

  • 4 baking sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • salt and pepper
  • shredded cabbage
  • squeeze of garlic puree
  • 2 Tbs white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sliced tomato

Boil the potatoes until soft and drain them. Cook the cabbage in a little water until soft and drain. Mix the potatoes and cabbage together. Add all the other ingredients except the tomato and mash really well. add more oil if its too dry.

Place the potato mixture on top of the filling and spread it all over the filling using a fork to rough up the surface. Top with slices of tomato and bake in a pre heated oven at 180c until it is bubbling and the top is browning in parts.

Baking Christmas Recipe Uncategorized

Vegan Wellington

I made this recipe as a main dish for our Vegan daughters Christmas meal. The pastry I made from scratch but most shop bought Puff Pastry is vegan so its easy to use that too.This is what I did.

Pastry

Ingredients

250g strong white bread flour

200g Vegan block (must be hard/solid, I bought mine from Sainsbury)

1 Tsp lemon Juice

1 tsp salt

150ml chilled water

(extra flour for dusting/ rolling)

Soya milk (for brushing to seal and glaze)

Method

Pre heat oven 20 210c

Place flour, salt, lemon juice into a mixing bowl. Chop the vegan block into dice and add to the flour. Stir it around to coat with flour. Add about two thirds of the water and mix to form a soft dough, add more of the water if needed. At this point we do not want to blend the vegan block into the flour. Just ball it all up with cold hands, wrap in film and place in th fridge for half an hour.

Remove from fridge onto a well floured surface and roll out to about an A4 rectangle. keep dusting the pin and surface to stop it sticking. Keep the edges neat. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up to cover the top. Wrap in film and chill for half an hour.

Repeat the above twice more. Then keep in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling

1 peeled and chopped onion

3 Portobello mushrooms sliced

1 Tbs oil

1 tsp Marmite

salt and pepper

Half a peeled and diced butternut squash

2 sweet potatoes unpeeled and diced

1 pouch cooked lentils

1 pouched cooked chestnuts (chopped roughly)

2 tsp chia seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 grated nutmeg

fresh sage and rosemary chopped

zest and juice of 1 orange

1 Tsp English mustard

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 small jar cranberry sauce

Method

Preheat oven to 180c

Soften the onions and mushrooms in a frying pan in the oil, add marmite and salt and pepper.

Roast the butternut squash and the sweet potato until tender.

Remove from the oven and place into a large mixing bowl, add the onion and mushroom mixture and all the other ingredients. Stir well and chill.

Assembly

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to a large rectangle about 5 mm thick. Using a pizza roller cut the pastry into two strips horizontally. The base bout a third of the pastry and the top about two thirds.

Place the base pastry on a greaseproof sheet on a baking sheet.

Mound the filling along the pastry leaving a cm uncovered all the way around.(a margin) Spread the cranberry sauce on top.

Brush the pastry margin with soya milk and the lay the top pastry over everything. Press down well to join the bottom pastry to the top and crimp with your fingers and a thumb using both hands. Brush the whole thing with soya milk and place back in the fridge to chill for about half an hour. Brush again with soya milk and bake for about 40 minutes until golden and puffed up. Any bits of pastry left can be place on the wellington before cooking as decorations.

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Baking Christmas Recipe

Yule Log

The Yule log or Buche de Noel is a traditional Christmas bake. Going back many centuries the Yule Log was an actual log felled at the time of the Winter Solstice when days were short and cold and at Yule time a bit of warmth from an open fire was something everyone looked forward to. This cake is decorated to resemble a log and is quite easy and fun to make.

It comprises as Genoese style cake baked on a flat sheet and rolled prior o being filled so that it remembers to be a log shape. It is then filled with either whipped double cream, buttercream or chocolate ganache. The final stage is to cover the filled cake with chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of snow (icing sugar) and a sprig of holly.

I

Recipe

Sponge

3 Eggs

75g caster sugar

70g plain flour

20g cocoa

(1 Tbs caster sugar and cocoa mixed together for dusting)

Method

Grease a 26cm x 36cm baking tray and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Preheat oven to 190c.

In a large bowl mix the eggs and the sugar with an electric mixer until very light, frothy and doubled in size. Combine the flour and cocoa and sift over the egg mixture. Using a large metal spoon carefully fold in the flour and cocoa making sure not to deflate the mixture, so be gentle. Por the batter into the tray and bake for about 8 minutes and remove from the oven.

Sprinkle the cocoa and sugar onto a sheet of clean greaseproof paper and invert the sponge on to it. peel off the paper it has been cooked on and discard it.

with a blunt knife run a line (do not cut right through the sponge) 2 cm in from one of the short ends. and roll it up with the fresh paper rolled inside it. Leave it to cool completely.

Ganache

250ml double cream

250 g dark chocolate

In a medium pan warm the cream a tiny bit with the chocolate, just enough to melt the chocolate and then stir it all together. Leave to cool and set to the consistency of soft butter.

Assembly

Unroll the sponge and fill with a smooth layer of a filling of your choice. Roll the sponge back up and cover with the ganache. use a fork or the back of a knife to give a log like appearance. Dust with a little icing sugar.

Christmas Recipe

Frangipane Mince Pies

Everyone in my family loves a mince pie including me. I am also very partial to anything involving marzipan so I like to top my pies with frangipane instead of pastry.

The mincemeat recipe is already on this site under its own post so check that out if you want to make mincemeat or you can buy a juicy jar most places around Christmas.

Pastry

200g Plain Flour

115g g cold cubed butter

50g caster sugar

1 beaten egg

1 tsp almond essence

Method

Place the flour and butter into a mixing bowl and rub the butter in using fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Add the beaten egg and essence and using a flat bladed knife mix around until it starts to clump together, Use hands to bring it together into a ball and wrap in kitchen film. Chill in the fridge for thirty minutes.

Frangipane

100g softened butter

100g caster sugar

2 beaten eggs

100g ground almonds

1 Tbs plain Flour

1 tsp almond essence

Flaked almonds for decoration

Method

Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric whisk. Add all the other ingredients and mix well.

Assembly and Baking

Pre Heat Oven to 180c

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface until the pastry is about the thickness of a pound coin. Using a 3,5inch round cutter stamp out twelve discs. Ease the discs into the greased holes of a deep cupcake tin. Place a tablespoon of mincemeat into the bottom and top with frangipane. Smooth the surface. scatter a few flaked almonds onto the top and bake for about 20 minutes until the frangipane has set and is golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and the carefully ease them out and leave to cool or eat warm with a dollop of cream! Don’t forget to leave one out for Father Christmas!

Recipe

Sausage Cobbler

At this time of year, when the days get shorter and the trees are starting to drop their Autumn leaves, we often look forward to making and enjoying comfort food. Most people consider comfort food to be hearty casseroles, stews and pies. This recipe is a cross between a casserole and a pie, it is easy to make and will appeal to people of all ages. It can easily be made vegetarian and with a few specialist ingredients, vegan too. The gravy is an interesting combination of sweet and sour using cider and balsamic vinegar as its base. Apple juice can easily be substituted if you don’t want to use alcohol.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tablespoon oil

8 thick pork sausages

1 large onion sliced thinly

3 carrots sliced or diced

2 sticks celery chopped

1 parsnip chopped

1 small leek sliced into rings

1 eating apple cored and chopped

500ml cider

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard

1 heaped teaspoon honey

1 stock cube

200ml water

Salt and pepper

1 Tbs cornflour mixed with water

Cobbler

200g SR Flour

50g soft butter or margarine

Salt, pepper, mustard mixture (tsp each)

1 egg beaten with 50ml milk

Method

Pre heat oven to Fan 180 or regular 200, gas mark 6

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the sausages. Cook for a few minutes until well browned, do not prick the skins as this will keep the sausages juicy inside. When the sausages are a good colour remove to an ovenproof casserole dish. In the same frying pan add the onions (a little more oil if required) and cook until starting to look translucent then add all the other vegetables and the apple and cook stirring frequently for a few minutes. This will start to soften the vegetables. Add the salt and pepper to taste and the mustard and the honey. Add the contents of the pan to the casserole dish. To deglaze the frying pan, add the cider and bring to the boil, add the vinegar and the water, sprinkle on the stock cube. Pour this liquid into the casserole dish. Stir the contents of the casserole dish and cover with a lid or tin foil and place into the oven. Bake for about 45minutes until the vegetables are tender.

During this time make the cobbler. Add the butter to the self-rising flour and rub in with fingers tips, Add the seasoning and mustard. Add the egg milk mixture bit by bit until you can form a dough that will roll out. Reserve a little egg mixture for glazing. Pat or roll the dough until it is about 2 cm thick and cut out rounds using a small cutter.

When the vegetables are tender take the casserole out of the oven. Remove the lid or foil and pour in the cornflour water, stirring it all around. This will thicken the gravy. Place the cobbler rounds around the circumference of the dish. Brush the tops with a little egg mixture. Put back into the oven and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until the cobblers are risen and golden brown.

Baking Recipe

Stilton, Pear,Walnut Tart

Its that time of year when Summer is drifting away and Autumn comes calling. Orchard fruits are everywhere and here I use pears as a crown on a bed of stilton custard and walnut pastry. its another alternative to a cheese board or a great starter to a fancy meal. It is a quiche but dressed up to impress!

Walnut Pastry

175g plain flour. 90g butter. 2 Tbs cold water. 50g walnuts (blitz in food processor) Pinch salt.

Using fingertips rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add salt and walnuts. Add the water a little at a time and mix until it makes a firm dough. Wrap in film and chill in the fridge for half an hour. Heat the oven to 190 degrees. Grease a 20cm loose bottomed tin. remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin. Lift the pastry and line the tin with it, easing in with thumbs and fingers. Run the rolling pin over the top to trim the excess. Put the tin into the freezer for ten minutes to chill down. Place a sheet of greaeproof paper over the chilled pastry and fill with baking beans (or dried pasta/rice) this is to partially blind bake the pastry to prevent a soggy bottom. Pop this in the oven and bake for ten minutes, then remove paper and beans and bake for a further five minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 160 degrees. remove the pastry from the oven.

Savoury custard

Beat 2 eggs and add 150ml double cream, mix well. Add 100g crumbled stilton cheese and a handfull of crushed walnuts.

Poached Pears

Peel four small pears and place in a pan containing 100g sugar,100ml white wine and 100ml red wine and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Bring to boil and then simmer until the pears are tender. Remove from syrup and cool. Slice the bottoms off to so they will stand upright.

Place the custard into the pastry shell and then stand the pears in the custard. Bake in the oven until the custard is just set. Serve hot or Cold. The image shows apricots set into the custard too, which is another option!

Recipe

French Strawberry Tart

My favourite treat when I am in France are the little strawberry tarts that are in all the superbarkets and bakeries. Here is my version, this is a sharing tart using a fluted 20cm loose bottomed tin.

Pre Heat Oven to 190 degrees

Pate Sucre (sweet pastry)

200g Plain flour

115g cold cubed butter

50g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

1 beaten egg

Place the flour and butter into a bowl and using finger tips rub the butter in until it all resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and stir through. Add the egg and vanilla and mix in with a flat bladed knife until a dough is formed. Wrap in film and chill in the fridge for about half an hour.

Remove from the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin. Place in the greased tin and press firmly to the bottom and sides. Run a rolling pin over the top to trim off the excess. Place in freezer to chill for about ten minutes.

Remove from freezer, lay a sheet of greaseproof onto the pastry and fill with baking beans. Cook for 15 minutes then remove paper and beans and cook for a furthur five minutes. Remove from the oven to cool.

Custard (Creme pattisserie)

30g caster sugar

30g cornflour

4 egg yolks

1tsp vanilla paste

350ml milk

100g white chocolate

Whisk together the sugar, cornflour,egg yolk and vanilla in a heatproof bowl. warm the milk to almost boiling. Pour the milk on to the egg mixture whisking all the time. Return the custard to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring all the time until the custard is very thick. Add the chocolate and stir in. Leave to cool.

Chantilly Cream

300ml Double Cream

1 Tbs icing sugar

Whip the cream with electric mixer until soft peaks are formed, add the icing sugar and whisk a few seconds more.

Assembly

Fill the pastry shell with the cooled custard. Using about 400g strawberries sliced in half vertically cover the top of the custard leaving a margin of about two cenimetres around the edge. Using a piping bag and nozzle or just a spoon fill the margin with the cream. Using a little apricot jam mixed with hot water, brush the strawberries, this will make them shiny and special. scatter flaked toasted almonds on the cream.

Christmas Recipe

Indulgent Parsnip Soup

I made this soup in an attempt to get my husband to eat parsnips, he hates them apparently! Not any more, I tricked him with this delicate soup, based on a German theme but rich and creamy with a hint of apples and spice! The wine can be omitted and replaced with extra stock.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 50g butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 400g parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large potato peeled and chopped
  • 250ml dry white wine (Riesling)
  • 150ml apple juice
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 200ml single cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • handful smoked lardons

Method

in a large pan soften the onions in the butter then add the parsnips and potatoes, cook for a few minutes stirring all the time. Then add the wine and bring to a boil this will remove the alcohol content but leave the taste.Add the stock, mustard, apple juice and all the seasonings. Simmer about twenty minutes until the vegetables are soft. Using a hand blender stick blitz the soup until very smooth, add more stock if its a bit thick . Add the cream and let it heat gently.

Meanwhile in a frying pan cook the lardons in their own fat, it will be released as soon as it gets warm. Crisp them up.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls then swirl a little cream into it, place a spoonful of lardons in the centre and sprinkle with smoked paprika. To make this vegetarian friendly omit the lardons and replace with a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds.

Baking Recipe

Chocolate, Praline, Hazelnut and Sea Salt Caramel Tart

This is a deliciously rich and decadent tart I created for The Taste of Kent Food Festival

Ingredients

Pastry

50g Crushed hazelnuts

115 g butter

50g caster sugar

2 egg yolks

200 g plain flour

2 Tbs cold water

Caramel

120g condensed milk

60g golden syrup

150g butter

150g light brown sugar

Large pinch smoked sea salt flakes

Ganache

 225g 70% chocolate

175ml Double Cream

30g butter

Praline

100g caster sugar

50 g hazelnuts

Decorations

100 g dark chocolate

Rub all the dry ingredients together and the add egg yolk and water and form a ball. Chill in the fridge for half an hour. Roll out the pastry and place in a 20cm loose bottomed flan tin. Blind bake the pastry in a pre heated 180 degree oven for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and lining paper and continue to cook for about another 10 minutes .

Make the caramel by heating all the ingredients together in a saucepan until it reaches a temperature of 110 degrees. Pour into the pastry case.

Make the ganache by very gently warming the ingredients together until melted and glossy. Pour onto the caramel.

To make the praline gently heat the sugar in a heavy bottomed fry pan, swirling as it melts not stirring. When it has become a golden colour pour over the hazelnuts. Once cooled grind together in a food processor until it is like coarse sand.

Sprinkle the praline around the circumference of the ganache.

Using melted chocolate in a small piping bag makes triangles to resemble sails. Cool in the fridge and the stand upright in the ganache.

sprinkle ground sea salt over the top of the ganache.

Baking Recipe

I Had a Little Nut Tree with a Golden Pear.

Blue Cheesecake

Voila

I was trying to develop a recipe for a savoury cheesecake using Stilton in particular, I love blue cheese with walnut or pecan and pears go so well with both that this evolved. In my mind this will be great on a buffet table with the cheeseboard or instead of. A hint of sweetness in the base with ginger biscuits in there too. My thesaurus of food pairings told me that a sweet praline might give some texture and a touch more sweetness, so the shards and then the dried pear flames were born. A juicy spicy poached pear on top of a sweet/sour relish is the King of Spain’s Daughters Golden pear as i liberally polished it up with gold spray, and a scattering of crushed pecan praline looks like sparkling jewels. Showstopper!

Base

120g Savoury Crackers and Ginger Biscuits

80g Melted Butter

60g Pecans

Cake

250g Full Fat Cream Cheese with Chives/Herbs/Garlic

250g Ricotta

100g Creme Fraiche

100g Crumbled Stilton

1 Peeled and Diced Pear or Dried Pear

Tsp Mustard / Tsp Dried garlic powder/chilli flakes/smoked paprika/ anything goes

4 Beaten Eggs

Pear Relish Topping

3 Pears peeled cored and diced

1 Red Onion diced

160ml White Wine Vinegar

60g Brown Sugar

50g Mixed dried Berries

Pecan Brittle

100g Castor Sugar

50g Pecans

2 Tbs water

Poached Pear

1 peeled pear, leave stalk and bottom on

100g Castor sugar

100ml water

1 Tbs cinnamon

Dried Pears

1 Pear thinly sliced with skin on

Crush the biscuits and stir in the melted butter. In a greased and lined loose bottomed 20cm tin, press the biscuit mixture firmly down and chill in the fridge for an hour or more.

Mix all the cake ingredients together and pour on top of the base. Bake in the bottom of a 160 degree oven for about fifty minutes or until the cake is set with a slight wobble in the middle.

Put all the relish ingredients into a heavy based fry pan and bubble up until it is a jam like consistency.

Poach the pear in the sugar cinnamon water for about twenty minutes until tender

Heat the sugar and water gently in a separate pan for the brittle, do not stir, melteing the sugar and heating until it becomes caramel colored, stir in the pecans then pour it out on to grease proof sheet.

To dry the pears, slice as thinly as possible and dry in an oven on the lowest possible setting for several hours to dry out the moisture. If not using immediately store in an airtight jar.

To assemble, spoon the relish on top of the cheesecake. Place the poached pear centrally on top. Break the brittle into shards and push into the cheesecake also crushing some into smaller bits and scattering on the top. Using a small knife make slits around the cheesecake and push the dried pears into them.

I then spray some gold glitter all around for a shimmering golden pear effect.