Archive for the ‘s n a c k s’ Category

s a u s a g e r o l l s

April 12, 2011

Sausage rolls are up there with my favourite nostalgic childhood treats. A big bowl of them with heaps of ketchup. There’s nothing better! I was a vegetarian for 14 years (I recently started eating meat again) and OH how I have missed these delightful pastry morsels! I used good quality pork sausage meat from a local organic butchers and they turned out really well. Add your favourite herbs or use different vegetables in the mix; it’s completely up to you.

 

 

S A U S A G E R O L L S

1 tbsp olive oil

600g pork sausage meat

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

2 packs ready-rolled fresh puff pastry, halved lengthways

1 large fennel bulb, finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

small handful each of fresh sage and parsley, chopped

pinch nutmeg

1 egg, lightly beaten

fennel seeds

salt & pepper

 

Preheat oven to 200°C.

L I N E enough baking trays with greaseproof paper.

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and  then S W E A T the fennel and onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes until the fennel is soft and the onion translucent. Set aside to C O O L .

In a large B O W L combine the sausage meat, fennel mixture, breadcrumbs, fresh herbs and nutmeg. Season lightly with salt and pepper and get your hands into the bowl and S Q U E L C H it up well.

Spoon the mixture into a P I P I N G bag without a nozzle, and pipe the filling down the centre of each length of pastry. Use your own judgment regarding how thick you want the sausage rolls to be, but make sure there is enough pastry on either side of the filling to fold over and seal the edge. A 10 pence piece in diameter for the filling should be about right. Brush a little egg along one edge, roll it up and gently press to secure.

Using a S H A R P knife, slice each roll into smaller sausage rolls, about 4cm wide. Place them on the baking tray with space between each, and brush with the beaten egg. Make sure the rolls are seam side down to hide the ugly bits and prevent them splitting open when baked. Sprinkle with a few fennel seeds.

C H I L L the trays of rolls in the fridge for about 15 minutes then pop into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.

Makes about 25, but we ate them so quick I couldn’t keep count!

 

 

 

S h O P b a k i n g e x t r a v a g a n z a

February 22, 2010

A couple of weekends ago I took part in a wonderful Valentine’s Day event at ShOp on the Christmas Steps in Bristol. I brought down a selection of cupcakes to sell in ShOp, and Jayne who runs ShOp, had her mum Linda in to kindly spend the afternoon doing baking demonstrations and encouraging everyone to muck in and make some treats to take home! We made peppermint creams, shortbread, and scones. It was a huge success and by the end of the day we managed to get icing sugar and flour in almost everyone’s hair. The mark of a good baking session i’d say!

 

p e p p e r m i n t c r e a m s

 

I sold three varieties of cupcake including vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, red velvet cake with vanilla frosting, and vanilla cake with zesty lemon frosting! All individually iced and decorated, and boxed and tied up with a ribbon for those unsuspecting significant others on V Day! I’ll include the new recipes in my next blog update. For now I’ll just share a few pictures from the day.

 

v a n i l l a f r o s t e d c a k e

 

Jayne and Emma making peppermint creams.

 

p e p p e r m i n t c r e a m s

 

t h e c u p c a k e s t a l l

 

b a k i n g t o o l s

 

p e p p e r m i n t h e a r t s

p e p p e r m i n t h e a r t s

 

Emma and Linda making peppermint creams

 

It was a fantastic day and we hope to do something similar in ShOp again soon! So watch this space, as you’ll be the first to know about any future cooking events there! Don’t forget to check out their website at http://www.shoptheshop.co.uk/

p e c a n p r a l i n e c o o k i e s

January 7, 2010

So I told you there would be another post coming soon! These cookies make use of the pecan praline I made yesterday (see previous entry), and they were a bit of an experiment, but one that paid off!

 

 

P E C A N P R A L I N E C O O K I E S

125g butter

1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1  1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 good pinch maldon sea salt

75g dark belgium cooking chocolate

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecan praline

 

Firstly P R E H E A T the oven to 180°C. To make the cookie batter, cream the butter and sugars in a bowl until smooth. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract and mix well. Sift in the flour and baking powder, and add the salt. Beat mixture thoroughly. Chop the slab of chocolate into smallish 1cm pieces with a knife. Fold into the mix along with the chopped praline.

 

 

For L A R G E cookies, drop generous tablespoons of mixture onto a baking tray covered in wax paper. Leave plenty of room between each cookie! For smaller cookies, drop decent teaspoons of mixture onto the tray. Put them in the oven on the middle shelf, and bake til lightly browned. Large cookies will take about 12 minutes to cook, the smaller ones will take about 9 minutes. Take them out and leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

These cookies are S O F T inside with nuggets of praline and chunks of chocolate. Andrew gobbled a few down before they had a chance to even cool down, so they have the thumbs up from him!

 

 

l o u i s i a n a p e c a n p r a l i n e

January 6, 2010

I woke up today to find that bristol is under a blanket of snow. It’s beautiful! But instead of braving the cold, I thought I would stay in today and make something with what I can find in my cupboards (not a lot). This is a simple recipe that is more akin to the traditional praline recipes of the 19th century. There’s no cream or condensed milk, just a small amount of butter. The rest is sugar, water, pecans, and a dash of vanilla! YAY I have ALL these things!

 

 

P E C A N P R A L I N E

1 cup white sugar

1/3 cup dark muscovado sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup pecan halves

2 tsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

 

To make the P R A L I N E , put  the sugars and water in a heavy based medium saucepan. Bring to the boil on a medium heat stirring occasionally until all the sugar crystals dissolve. This will only take a few minutes. Then with your hands, crush the pecan halves gently into the saucepan, so you have a variety of pecan pieces. Stir these into the sugar syrup, and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally. Cook for anywhere between 15-30 minutes, until the syrup begins to thicken and reaches setting point. You can test this by dropping a small amount on a saucer and putting it into the freezer for a minute. It should start to set pretty quickly if it’s ready and the mixture will look much more opaque at this point. If it just spills out on the saucer it needs longer.

 

 

When it’s ready, remove from the heat, add the butter and the vanilla, and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon unil it starts to stiffen slightly. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking tray lined with wax paper and leave it to set. If it goes too stiff to spoon onto the tray, just add a few drops of hot water and beat well to loosen the mixture.

You can either eat the morsels of candy goodness as they are, or crush and sprinkle over icecream etc… I am going to A T T E M P T to make some cookies with the praline later on today. So there may be another post on the way soon!

 

 

 

 

s t i l t o n a n d w a l n u t b i s c u i t s

December 18, 2009

 

These are becoming a December staple, and are a great alternative to the seasonal mince pie if your taste buds are more inclined towards nibbles of the savoury nature. They’re also a great addition to your festive cheese board; no need to get the cheese knife out, it’s already in the biscuit! They’re based on a pastry recipe so they’re light, flaky…. and packed full of flavour!

 

 

B I S C U I T P A S T R Y

2 cups plain flour

120g butter

130g stilton cheese

50g walnuts

2 egg yolks

 

T O P P I N G

1 egg, beaten

40g stilton cheese

50g walnuts

maldon sea salt


Preheat the oven to 175°C. To make the B I S C U I T P A S T R Y put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter in small dice. With your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour to form very fine crumbs. This takes a little patience! Chop the walnuts finely and add to the bowl along with the stilton, crumbled. Mix them into the crumbs with your fingertips. Add the two egg yolks and combine well to form a slightly crumbly dough mixture. It will fall apart easily, but should hold together enough for the purposes of rolling it out!

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry (this can be done in small batches) to approx 5mm thick. Using a round cutter or a glass which is about 5cm in diameter, press into the pastry to stamp out small rounds. Pop these onto a baking tray that’s lined with greaseproof paper.

For the T O P P I N G , firstly prick each biscuit gently twice with a fork. Brush them with the beaten egg. Chop the remaining 50g of walnuts, but not quite as fine as before. With your fingers, just crumble a small amount of stilton and walnuts over each biscuit, and then give a light sprinkling of maldon salt on top. Don’t bother crushing the sea salt too much between your fingers, it’s nice to see the larger crystals sitting on top of the biscuits.

To B A K E them, put them in the oven for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Place on a wire rack to cool, then store in airtight containers. They should last a few days, but that’s only if they’re not eaten first! Makes ~ 30.

 

 

d o l m a d e s

November 25, 2009

 

I had a couple of friends over on the weekend so I planned a mediterranean ‘tapas’ evening. Handy because you can prepare most of it in advance so you can enjoy the company rather than spending the whole evening in the kitchen! On the menu I had spanish tortilla, tzatziki, chorizo & garlic prawns, crusty bread, cheeses, olives, and dolmades. And I thought i’d put the recipe for the dolmades up, as they were my first attempt, and they proved to be a popular nibble! I didn’t have a chance to take any proper photos, but I took a few briskly in a badly lit kitchen.

 

 

D O L M A D E S

1 packet vine leaves in brine

extra virgin olive oil

1 cup long grain rice

2 red onions, chopped fine

2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 lemon sliced

the juice of 1 lemon

3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted lightly

2 tbsp sultanas

handful of dill, chopped

handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

maldon salt & black pepper

 

To prepare the V I N E  L E A V E S remove them from the packaging, and blanch them in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Drain, and run under cold water to prevent them from cooking further. Try not to tear them when doing this, you want the leaves in tact as much a possible, so the dolmades hold their shape and don’t lose their stuffing!

To make the S T U F F I N G heat a few tbsp of olive oil in a 20cm diameter heavy based pan (about 7-8cm deep). Gently fry the onions for about 7 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and stir through over low heat for 1 minute. Then add the rice, and turn through well, coating in the oil. We only want to partially cook the  rice during this stage. The rice will finish cooking once wrapped inside the vine leaves. So now gradually add about 1 cup of warm water to the pan and stir it into the rice mixture, allowing it to be absorbed fully, this should take no more than 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and remove the pan from the heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for 5 or so minutes. Then add the pine-nuts, sultanas, parsley, dill, a dash of olive oil, and a bit more seasoning if needed.

To make the D O L M A D E S firstly prepare the pan. Using the same heavy based pan (but cleaned!), pour about 1-2 tbsp olive oil in the base. Then line the base with about 5 vine leaves, overlapping them so the base is completely covered. I try and use the torn/poorly shaped leaves for this bit, and save the good leaves for the dolmades! Now on a clean surface, lay out several vine leaves with the veiny side facing up, stem side closest to you, leaf tip furthest away. You then put about 1-2 heaped tsp of the filling into the centre of each leaf. Now imagine the leaf is a compass. To roll them up, fold the East and West sides over the filling, bring the base (South) of the leaf up over the filling, and roll away from you, tapering the section of the leaf that you are rolling towards so that each dolmade has a neat, tapered seam (when i make these again, i’ll take some more photos!). It’s important not to roll them TOO tightly. The rice will expand a bit when it cooks completely, so you don’t want them to burst! Put them into the pan as you go, fitting them in snugly, seam side down, until you’ve filled the base of the pan with them.

To C O O K the dolmades, place about 7 lemon slices over them in the pan, and then pour the juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp lemon juice) over them. Then pour enough water over them until it reaches about 2/3 of the way up the dolmades. I find this usually requires about 1 cup of water. Pour a dash of olive oil over them. Finally, place a circle of greaseproof paper over the dolmades, and then sit a small plate upside down, on-top of the paper. This will keep them snugly in place! Put the lid on, and place on the hob on a low heat, for about 35 minutes. Turn off the heat, and leave them in the pan with the lid on for another 30 minutes, to continue soaking up all the juices.

You can S E R V E  them warm, straight out of the pan… or alternatively leave them to cool or chill them in the fridge until you need to serve them. I prefer them cold with a bit of tzatziki to dip them in!

 

g r r r r . . . a r g h ! c u p c a k e s

November 4, 2009

I spent a large part of last weekend fashioning faces for cupcakes. I LOVE decorating cupcakes. And everybody seems to enjoy devouring them, so they’re a regular on my baking agenda. Oh also, I normally double this recipe because I like to make heaps!

 

C U P C A K E S

125g softened butter (i prefer salted variety)

125g self raising flour

125g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp milk

 

F R O S T I N G

100g soft butter

100g icing sugar, sifted

vanilla extract

food colouring of your choice!

lots of candy!!

 

 

To make the C U P C A K E S, you need to firstly beat the softened butter with the sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy. I use a wooden spoon, but if you’re lucky enough to have an electric mixer, go with that! Gradually beat in the eggs, whisking as you go. Beat in the vanilla. Sift in half the flour, mixing well to incorporate. Then add the milk, and the remaining flour. Continue to fold this in until the mixture is smooth. In a muffin tray lined with paper cases, pour the mixture in to fill each case about 2/3 of the way up. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 12-15 minutes until golden. (n.b. If you’re unsure, stick a wooden kebab stick into the centre of one cake to check it’s done. If it comes out clean, they’re ready! If it’s all globby with bits of cake, keep ’em baking!) Cool on a wire rack. Makes 8-10 large-ish cupcakes.

To make the F R O S T I N G, beat the butter in a bowl until it’s as white and smooth as you can possibly get it. Again, this is a good time to be the proud owner of an electric mixer. Woe is me! Then sift in the icing sugar, a bit at a time, beating to incorporate it. Add a tsp of vanilla (or lemon juice, or other flavouring) at this point, and if you want to colour it, add a few drops of your colouring. Beat it in until you reach a smooth spreadable consistency. If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar; if it’s too stiff, add a splash of milk.

To D E C O R A T E the cupcakes, spread or pipe the icing on. I cut up bits of licorice all sorts, strawberry laces, and so on, to make parts of the faces. I also decorated with hundreds and thousands, and used specialty black icing to pipe the letters and make the cobwebs.

r o a s t e d p u m p k i n s e e d s

October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween everyone! Getting ready for the halloween festivities… As you can see i’ve carved my jack’o’lantern. And after sifting through its guts I decided to have a go at roasting the pumpkin seeds.

 

R O A S T E D  P U M P K I N  S E E D S

1 pumpkin’s worth of seeds

maldon sea salt

olive oil

Take the pumpkin seeds and spread them out thinly on a baking tray. Don’t wash or rinse them, they’ll lose their flavour! just make sure the seeds are free of all the stringy pumpkin guts. A good sprinkling of maldon salt and a very light drizzle of olive oil, and in they go at about 230°C. I left mine in for about 25 minutes. Or until they turn a deep golden colour. Leave to cool on the tray, and give them a little shake. Store in an airtight container for up to a week! An excellent autumnal alternative to boring old nuts and nibbles.