Category Archives: Pastry

Parmesan Whorls

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In the world of quick nibbles, antipasti and finger food, they don’t come much quicker or as fulfilling as these, and like a lot of good recipes it is possible to chop and change the ingredients to suit the occasion. Leave out the paprika and add curry powder and they would make a good intro to an Indian meal. Not strictly traditional but then again, being British, I have grown up in a culture where anything worth having, from any other culture,  was used, hence the existence of Chinese, Indian and kebab restaurants in every British city, town and village. A nice strong cheddar cheese would go well here as a substitute.

DSCN5808Preparation 10 Minutes. Cooking 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 packet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg beaten

150 gm/ 5 oz parmesan cheese, coarsely grated

a little flour for rolling

paprika

salt and pepper

Method

On a floured surface, unroll the puff pastry

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Brush generously with the beaten egg

Sprinkle on the grated parmesan

Roll the cheese into the pastry

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Generously sprinkle with the paprika

Give a good grind with the salt and pepper

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Starting from a short end, roll up the pastry

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Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool it down and firm up

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Using a very sharp knife, slice of rounds at 10 mm/ 3/8 ths inch thick

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Transfer onto a baking sheet

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Bake in a pre set oven at 200 C/400 F/ Gas 6/Moderate Hot for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown

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Cool on a wire rack and then eat . They won’t last too long so get ready to make some more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under All Year, Antipasti, Cheese, Pastry, Spicy

Leek and Stilton Quiche

 

DSCN5667Hot or cold, I just love quiches and flans, and the way you can tinker around the edges to make them a little different every time you make one. It was the end of the month, and I was pulling the last of any food out of the fridge to see what I could make. A leek, some Stilton, left over from Christmas and a few eggs – OK, a quiche it is.

The key to a successful quiche is the pastry. Get that sorted and the rest just drops into place. I have until recently had variable success with my quiche pastry. Sometimes good and occasionally not so. So I decided to go back to basics and turned to The Hairy Bikers Perfect Pies to see how to make a mean quiche pastry. Time was when I could make a perfect pastry what ever the requirement but I think that I have lost my ‘cold’ hands. Such are the ravages of time. This pastry really does benefit from eggs kept in the fridge. This pastry really is soft yet firm and a perfect compliment to any filling.

Serves 4-6. Preparation 30 minutes. Cooking time 1 1/4 hours

Ingredients for Pastry (This is for a 23 cm/12 inch diam. loose based tart tin. However I used a ceramic dish and it was just fine)

250 gm/ 8 oz/ 2 cups plain flour

150 gm/ 5 oz/ 1 cup unsalted butter

1 large egg or 2 small eggs  beaten

Ingredients for the Filling

40 g/ 1/1/2 oz/1/4 cup  butter

2 leeks (about 350 gm/12 oz/3 cups trimmed weight)

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

3 large eggs

100 ml/4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup creme fraiche or double cream mixed with 100 ml/4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup milk or just 200 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup of milk

3-4 tbsp grated parmesan (depending on strength)

200 g/ 7 oz/1 cup  Stilton or other medium-strong blue cheese, crumbled

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put the flour and butter into a food processor and run at a slow-ish speed until it resembles bread crumbs. With the motor running add the beaten egg until the mixture starts to come together. If you are making by hand rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs. Knife in the beaten egg until it starts to come together. By hand shape the dough into a homogeneous ball. You might need to add a little milk to get it to come together.

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Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is big enough and about 3 mm/ 1/8 inch thick. Using your rolling pin lift the dough and transfer it to the tin or dish. Press the dough into the corners, trim any excess dough and prick the base with a fork.

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Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, slice the leeks into a saucepan with the butter and gently fry until the leeks have softened.  In a separate basin stir in the creme fraiche, milk, parmesan and thyme. Add the eggs and stir well. Season to taste.

Cut a large piece of baking parchment and screw it up tight, unscrew it and then fit it into the quiche base, easing it into the corners. (screwing it up allows it to fit into the corners)

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Add plenty of baking beans.

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Bake blind in a pre heated oven set at 180 C/350 F/Gas 4/Moderate, for 25 minutes.

Take pastry from the oven and remove the paper and beans, and bake for a further 7 minutes.

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Roughly chop or crumble half the Stilton onto the pie. (if your cheese is a bit sticky and resists crumbling, put it into the freezer for a couple of hours and then it will grate quite nicely).

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Add the leeks.

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Add the rest of the crumbled Stilton and then pour most of the cream mixture into the pie.

Open the door of the oven and put the pie on the shelf. Pour the rest of the cream mixture in and carefully slide the pie in. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 180 C/350 F/Gas 4/Moderate or until the pie is puffed up and golden brown.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving.

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Filed under ALL Recipes, All Year, Cheese, Main Meal, Pastry, Vegetables

Red Onion and Cheese Galettes

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These are easy to produce, look fabulous on the plate and just melt in your mouth. They make a light meal suitable for a lunch or as a separate course at a dinner party or more formal occasion. And before anyone writes, yes I made only 3 instead of 4, using the same quantities of ingredients. It was just that I was cooking for 3 people not 4, and I did not want any leftovers.

Serves 4 Preparation Time: 10 minutes.        Cooking Time: 45 minutes.

Ingredients

10ml/1 desertspoon Olive oil

10gm/1oz/1 desertspoon Butter

330gm/11oz/2 cups Red onions, finely chopped

5ml/1 teaspoon Sugar

Salt and Pepper, freshly ground

250gm/8oz Ready-rolled Puff Pastry *( see separate recipe for easy make puff pastry)

120gm/5oz/ Strong Cheese (Cheddar)

15gm/ 1/2oz/ Fresh Thyme or equivalent dried Thyme.

Method
Heat oil and butter in a saucepan, and then add the finely chopped onion, and the sugar. Season and then with the lid on cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Lay out the pastry on a floured surface and cut into 4 equal rectangular portions. Position them on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, draw a line around the edge of each portion, forming a 1cm/1/2inch border.

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Divide the cooked onions between the portions, leaving the border clear. Sprinkle the thyme on top of the onion and then repeat with the cheese.

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Brush the borders with beaten egg or milk and then bake in a preheated oven set at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 5/moderate hot, for 15 minutes.

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Serve immediately or cold, with either some green vegetable and boiled potatoes or salad.

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Filed under ALL Recipes, All Year, Cheese, Main Meal, Pastry, Recipes, Side Dishes, Student Food, Vegetables

Easy Make Puff Pastry

I think that we have all been spoilt a little with the availability of ready made puff pastry, but what to do if you run out and the shops are shut? This is really easy to make but you do have to think ahead if you have a meal in mind because you will be using the freezer and fridge a bit to keep the butter or margarine cool.

This recipe came to me from my friend Josie Kendall, who is a fantasic baker, and I hope to be featuring some more of her recipes in the future, and also some recipes of her husband Andrew, who apart from being a very capable engineer is no mean cook either.

This makes about 500 gm/16oz pastry, with a preparation time of about 10 to 15 minutes

Ingredients

175gm/6oz/1 cup butter

225gm/8oz/2 1/2 cups plain flour

pinch of salt

4 or 5 tablespoons cold milk or water that  has been in the fridge for at least 2 hours

Method – remembering that here speed is of the essence, so have your knife and jug of water to hand before you start.

  1. Wrap the butter loosely in foil and put in the freezer for a good 2 hours.
  2. Grate the frozen butter into the flour, using a coarse grater and working quickly. If the heat of your hand starts to melt the butter, dip the butter into the flour and continue.
  3. Knife the butter into the flour.
  4. Add sufficient water and continue knifing until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  5. Put in to the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling out quickly and using.

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Filed under ALL Recipes, All Year, Pastry, Recipes, Season