Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mushroom and cheese pasty - recipe

This is a lovely versatile recipe that you could serve hot with veggies as a main dish, its great cold and would be just the thing for picnics, small min versions could be made as a starter or for buffets, or even make a large version for a whole family feast.

You might remember I was recently asked, along with some other food writers/bloggers to try to come up with some recipes using Applewood spreadable. Applewood is a range of British cheddar cheese famed for its smoky flavour and added paprika. You can see my chunky vegetable soup recipe with Applewood spreadable cheese here. The 'spreadable' has a distinctive smoky flavour to it, perfect for autumn recipes, and you don't need too much to get that smoky background flavour.

Applewood spreadable is perfect for this pasty recipe as its melts into the pasty mushroom filling, alongside the mushrooms, the brandy cream and mustard the cheese adds to a lovely flavour combination. I used those big breakfast type mushrooms but any mushroom combination would work well.
Ingredients:
this made 3 big pasties
1 packet puff pastry
3 or 4 large mushrooms sliced (or you can use small ones)
30g of butter
1 shallot copped finely
1 clove garlic chopped finely
dash of brandy
2 or 3 tbsp single cream
half tub Applewood spreadable (a smoked cheese spread)
1 tsp grain mustard
sea salt
black pepper
water
beaten egg to glaze
Method:
1. Prepare the filling by melting the butter in a frying pan and adding the shallot and garlic, sweat these over a low heat until they are cooked through but are still pale in colour.
2. Add the mushrooms and cook these through still on a low heat. Gently does it.
3. When the mushrooms are cooked add the brandy, burn off the alcohol then add the single cream, you want the mix to be loose but not too runny. Mix together, take the pan off the heat then add half a tub of Applewood spreadable, fold in gently add the mustard and season to taste. Leave to cool.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Joanne Wheatley's (white and dark) chocolate cookies - recipe


Looking for the ideal Christmas gift for a baker or lover of good food? Then I have found the answer...just imagine unwrapping a lovely parcel and contained within is...

a gorgeous tin full of gorgeous homemade biscuits/cookies along with the recipe book that goes with them...and the recipe book is cleverly marked on the cookie recipe page with a little book mark ribbon...taaa...daaa...dear readers I give you Joanne Wheatley's chocolate cookies recipe, from her latest book 'Home Baking'. Yes I am a Christmas present thinking up genius...I thank you!

These scrummy chocolate cookies are simply delightful and the recipe from Joanne Wheatley's second book 'Home Baking'...published earlier this year is easy as pie...Jo won the GBBO a couple of seasons back...and has written two books to date, 'A Passion for Baking' was her first. I have had both of these books to review for some time now, and fair to say have given them quite a good going over...there was the apple and sultana cake, you can see the unbaked cake behind that white loaf below (never made it to proper photograph as was demolished in minutes by colleagues). 

Then there was the raspberry torte...and then my variation of this the blackberry torte...then the cookies, then bread...all were easy recipes and all delicious. 

'A Passion for Baking' is more about the baked side of things while 'Home Baking' covers main meal recipes, alongside baked goodies, like biscuits, cakes, Granola, pancakes, bars and tarts. 

I think the key to Joanne's successful recipes is that she bakes the type of recipes that are straightforward, easy and that would feed a family, tried and tested things made in her own kitchen that taste great, proper homely stuff. 

The recipe for the cookies you can see above is on the next page...you can often find Joanne's books on offer at a well known supermarket...keep your eyes peeled they are a great addition to any bakers collection. Joanne Wheatley has her own blog with some great ideas and recipes and details of what she is up to now, you can follow Jo here.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Sticky gingerbread cake with frosting - recipe

This is a lovely cake for autumn it's moist, sticky and will wrap you in a warming, ginger, spicy hug when you bake it Your house will smell of warming sugary, gingery, golden syrup baking and I guarantee this will give you a winter warming lift. 

My husband loves sticky ginger cakes and when I suggested I make him one he was more than keen to sample the wares. Being a bit of a traditionalist myself (aka middle aged) I had a bit of a brain wave and decided to try out a really old recipe book I have in my collection. It's a Good Housekeeping book from the 1950's, the same one my mum used for years. This is not my mums original recipe book that my sister and I remember from our childhood, but it is the same copy of a book she bought as a young mum some years ago from a travelling salesman. At the time she paid for the book weekly, in shillings until it was all paid for. It's a great book and many of the pages are still familiar to me many years later.

Anyway...I made the traditional Parkin cake recipe from this book...what a cake it turned out to be! A complete disaster, containing no eggs whatsoever, and a lot of oats, this was brick like in texture and hard as a rock, even leaving it in a tin for several days did not help. It looked just like the picture in the recipe book after I had baked it, and all I can think is that as the recipe must have been written in the 50's frugality was still the order of the day and eggs would have been of far more value than to put in a Parkin cake. You live and learn! 
                                    

However, when the Parkin gets tough the tough turn to Nigella and that's where this gingerbread recipe comes from. I embellished it by adding frosting and slivers of stem ginger, which made it even more delicious. You can find Nigella's recipe on this website, I would recommend the recipe as a great family bake and a cake with longevity, even after few days a container it was still very moist and delicious.

Here is how I made the frosting...which comes much more highly recommended than an eggless Parkin cake!
Ingredients:
120g cream cheese
80g soft unsalted butter
About 300g sifted icing sugar
3 balls stem ginger
1 tbsp stem ginger syrup from the jar
Sprinkle of ground ginger
Sprinkle of ground nutmeg
Method:
1. Cream he butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer or use a hand mix. Add the icing sugar 2 tablespoons at a time and beat again until incorporated. 
2. Once the frosting is white and stiff add a tbsp of the syrup from the stem ginger jar.
3. Once the cake is cool, spread the frosting on the top of the cake, decorate with slices of stem ginger and a sprinkle of the nutmeg and ginger powders. 
Grab a fork and tuck in!
        

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Chunky vegetable soup - recipe

A perfect autumnal family dish is home made soup, and when its got a cheesy hit in its heart its heavenly.

I was recently asked, along with some other food writers/bloggers to try to come up with some recipes using Applewood spreadable. Applewood is a range of British cheddar cheese famed for its smoky flavour and added paprika, I have used the cheese before but not Applewood spreadable, which is a soft cheese spread which is new to the market. The 'spreadable' has a distinctive smoky flavour to it, perfect for autumn recipes and this time of year.

I adore cheese in soup but I like it best when the cheese is added to the soup at the point of serving, this means you get the full creamy, cheesy, unctuous hit right there in the middle of your soup and I just love that.

Applewood spreadable is perfect for this as its melts into the soup, no need to add cream or creme fraiche this does all the work for you. You could make this soup with any veggies you have to hand, and use vegetable stock if you prefer. Don't forget to make some cheese toasts to go with the soup, its a perfect combination.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

'Dish of the month' November - Nigel Slaters slow cooked sausages

This is such a simple recipe but something I would never had thought of myself without looking in Kitchen Diaries II for inspiration for Novembers Dish of the Month. Its a recipe for slow cooked sausages by Nigel Slater...November as a month just seems to scream out for sausages.

The ingredients for this recipe are simple and consist of onions, flour, beef stock, some good quality sausages (ours were Linconshires' - brought back from the county by my sister) and...dark ale and brown sugar...I cooked my sausages in Guinness, for the ale part of the recipe...and it turned out to be fabulous.

So perfect for a wet and windy bonfire weekend...served with buttery mash and greens, the flavour of the gravy surrounding the sausages is amazing as the touch of brown sugar sweetens the onions and the ale.

What are you waiting for? Grab a a fork and get tucking in!
Keep reading on to find out how you can join us in Dish of the Month...next month December will be our last month after a full year of cooking, baking, eating, tasting and writing al about recipes by Nigel Slater...what an achievement...You can see a pictorial version of where we are since we started in January on Pinterest here, and there have been some brilliant interpretations of Nigel's recipes since we began.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Lemon and blackcurrant steamed sponge - recipe

The clocks have gone back and its well and truly autumn with a touch of winter thrown in...ggggrrrrrr...I'm not a fan of the darker nights and mornings, to be honest I find it all quite bleak. If I had my way we wouldn't bother putting the clocks back at all, I've never got the point. My calendar is already set for the clocks going forward in Spring...bring it on.

The only positives to all this dreary winter malarky is the gorgeous autumn colours of the trees and fauna, a cosy home (if you can afford the fuel bills) and heart warming COMFORT FOODS which, lets face it, is the biggest plus...all those soups and stews and makes and bakes...AND...gorgeous homemade puddings! To be honest I can take or leave cold puddings (cake not included of course) but give me a steamed sponge and I'm there...here is my recipe for a lemon and blackcurrant steamed sponge pudding...