Slow-Fried Potatoes with Thyme and Brie

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This recipe is from one of the first cookery books I had growing up – ‘Real Food’ by Nigel Slater and is packed with delicious, comfort food recipes.

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It isn’t due to excessive scanning for recipes that the book looks a little worse for wear. We rescued a border collie called Tom who was an amazing dog, but had a few special tendencies. Sometimes when we went out and he was left alone he took his anxiety out on the post, the cookery books in the kitchen or once when I left my bedroom door open; my school books. My parent’s had to write a letter to my Business Studies teacher, who was also the Headmistress, explaining that our dog had actually eaten my homework!

Somehow Tom managed to leave the recipes in tact so I have still been able to use it. I was in Tesco the other day and I saw a new revamped version of the book. Obviously it didn’t look like my book at all! I won’t replace my book though, it always makes me think of Tom who only left us last year.

Back to the recipe! I haven’t made this recipe for a while – definitely not in the two and a half years Rien and I have lived together. It was only after Christmas when I was looking at what was in the fridge and saw some brie that I remembered this recipe. Nigel’s original recipe says to use taleggio cheese but the first time I went to make this they didn’t have any in the supermarket so I used brie instead. It was delicious so since then I have always stuck to brie. Please feel free to use talleggio and tell me if I’ve been missing out all these years!

500g waxy new potatoes
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
50g butter
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp fresh thyme
100g brie (or taleggio)

  1. Cut the potatoes into slices approximately the width of a £1 coin
  2. In a large, shallow pan melt the butter and the oil. Once melted add the onions and fry very slowly until they are pale and golden

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  1. Next add the potatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Stir to make sure everything is properly mixed and the potatoes are coated in the butter and oil. Cover the pan and leave on the lowest heat to cook slowly for 40-50 minutes. Stir them every so often to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan

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  1. Test to see if the potatoes are cooked by sticking the point of a knife into them. If the knife goes in easily, they’re done if not give them a few more minutes before testing again
  2. When the potatoes are cooked, lay slices of cheese onto the potatoes and cover with the lid for a couple of minutes to allow the cheese to melt

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This recipe makes enough for four people to have as a side dish for a main meal. It is guaranteed to be very popular so you could always do a few more potatoes encase people ask for seconds (which the will!). This is s delicious and slightly different way of having potatoes instead of normal boiled new potatoes. It does take a little bit of time, but once you’ve prepared all of the ingredients you can leave it to slowly cook away and only come back to give it a stir once in a while.

I absolutely love this recipe so I’d love to know if you try it!

 

Raspberry & Mascarpone Sponge Pudding

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This is a delicious pudding my family has been making for years. My sister first got the recipe from one of her friend’s Mum’s. Since then, we have all made it on numerous occsions. We refer to it as the raspberry pudding so I don’t know what the original name was or whether Mrs Betts found the recipe somewhere or made it up herself. But this recipe is all down to Mrs Betts so a big thank you to her for sharing this recipe.

My sister, Ally made this for pudding on Boxing Day. It was a welcome change instead of something like Christmas pudding that none of us are really that fond of. We’d had a lovely roast dinner cooked by my Mum (she cooks the best roasts) and a few hours had passed when the raspberry pudding was calling my name from the fridge. Initially it was just my brother-in-law and myself who wanted some, but after I brought his into him, Ally and my Mum soon decided they could find some room. Then when Rien remembered what we meant by raspberry pudding, he had some too. My brother-in-law then went back for another ‘small piece’ and came back with a bigger bowl than his first!

This is definitely one of my family’s favourite puddings. This time Ally used low fat mascarpone which I don’t think was intentional, but it tasted as good as it always does so is a good way to slightly lower the calories. Having said that, this isn’t a healthy pudding, but is great for special occasions as a treat.

500g mascarpone
397g condensed milk
400g sponge fingers
600g tinned raspberries in light syrup
2 tbsp Marsala or Kirsch (optional)
150g fresh raspberries
small grating of dark chocolate

  1. Mix the mascarpone and condensed milk together in a bowl or jug

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  1. Drain the tinned raspberries making sure you keep the syrup they were in and add the Marsala or Kirsch to the syrup if you’ve decided to use it
  2. Dunk the sponge fingers a couple at a time in the reserved raspberry syrup. Make sure the fingers are completely covered in the syrup. You want to give them a couple of seconds so they can absorb some of the syrup but don’t leave them in there for longer than that or else they will soak up too much and you’ll run out of syrup!

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  1. When you have a few of the sponge fingers that have absorbed some of the syrup, line them next to each other vertically in a dish roughly 23x23x5cm. Once you have covered the bottom of the dish completely with sponge fingers, scatter with half of the tinned raspberries

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  1. Pour 1/3 of the mascarpone mix on top of the sponge fingers making sure the fingers are completely covered
  2. Repeat again with another layer of soaked sponge fingers, tinned raspberries and mascarpone mix but lay the fingers horizontally

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  1. Add a third layer of soaked sponge fingers vertically in the dish. Add the final third of the mascarpone mix and spread evenly
  2. Place the fresh raspberries on the top and grate the dark chocolate using a fine grater

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  1. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to chill and then serve

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This pudding is incredibly easy – it requires no cooking or fancy equipment, just mixing, dunking and layering! This is a perfect pudding for people that aren’t very confident or don’t like recipies that are too complicated or take a while. Unfortunately as you can see, it isn’t the most beautiful of puddings when served!

Cheese & Bacon Twists

 

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Is it just me or does it not get much better than cheese and bacon wrapped in crisp pastry? These really are as good as they sound!

I saw this recipe on one of Lorraine Pascale’s TV shows and instantly knew it was something I would be making. I love cooking shows because I like to see the way in which people create dishes. I try to show how a dish is made the best I can when I write posts by taking photographs along the way so people can see if theirs looks as it should do. One thing I really don’t like is when cookery books don’t show you a photograph of the finished dish. For me the photograph is what I look at first to see whether I want to make a recipe and helps me picture the dish.

I made these between Christmas and New Year. As I was so busy seeing family, I used shop bought puff pastry and cut corners even more by using pre-rolled pastry! I know this is a bit lazy, but when you don’t have a lot of time and if you’re like me and haven’t yet mastered rolling pastry out into a perfect rectangle; pre-rolled pastry is a godsend!

As with all recipes I think you should adapt them to your personal tastes. Lorraine’s original recipe used English mustard, but I much prefer wholegrain mustard so this is what I used. If you don’t like mustard at all, just leave it out. If you are trying to be a bit healthier you can buy lower fat pastry. I have used this when making sausage rolls before and I didn’t notice a difference in taste, but I did find it harder to seal the edges with egg. The pastry seemed to not want to stick together at all but the end result was still as good.

375g puff pastry
plain flour, for dusting
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
100g mature cheddar, grated
14 slices streaky bacon
1 egg

  1. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and grate your cheese
  2. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle of ½ cm n thickness
  3. Turn the pastry so that the longest side is facing you, spread over the mustard and sprinkle with the cheese

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  1. Place the pieces of bacon onto the pastry, leaving a small gap between each piece

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  1. Cut the pastry between each slice of bacon and then twist each piece of pastry 4-5 times. Put on the baking tray

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  1. Chill in the oven for 15-20 minutes
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Remove the twists from the fridge and brush with beaten egg

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  1. Reduce the oven to 200°C and bake the twists for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is well risen and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool

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I don’t think the pre-rolled pastry was as thin as it would have been if I had rolled it out myself which is why it only made 7 straws instead of 14. Next time I make these I will roll the pastry out myself and see how many I can make.

These were delicious and would make a perfect lunch or if you cut them up would be good for a picnic or a buffet. The original recipe can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/bacon_and_mature_cheddar_58920.

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Mixed Berry and Cinnamon Muffins

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Photo by Greedy Betty

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year celebrating with your family and friends and eating lots of delicious food. Like a lot of people, I don’t set New Year’s resolutions but have things I would like to achieve. This year, like last year, my aim is to become healthier. For the first six months I did really well last year and was pleased with my progress, but after a lovely holiday to Mexico, I really struggled to get back into the right frame of mind. So after realising I can do it, my aim this year is to go further and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I do believe in treating yourself every so often though so there will still be recipes for when only naughty food will do!

This is a great first recipe for 2015. It is another in my search for a tasty but healthy muffin. I came across this recipe in Lorraine Pascale’s ‘A Lighter Way to Bake’. My Mum bought me the book for my birthday and up until then I hadn’t heard of Lorraine. In the book she takes popular recipes that she has tweaked and made healthier. One thing I really like is that is not only shows you how many calories are in a serving, but it also states how many calories you would typically find in the usual recipe. I find this interesting because if I’m being good, I like to know just how good I’m being!

This recipe has a fantastically low 155 calories per muffin but you can tell it is a healthy muffin. Due to the lack of sugar and the only sweetness coming from the maple syrup, the muffins weren’t as sweet as I would usually want a muffin to be.  Not only are they low in calories, they also use wholemeal flour which is a plus! I did enjoy them and I will make them again – especially as they are so healthy.

The very talented Greedy Betty took the photos of the finished muffins which she also made. As a food blogger, how good the photographs are really affects how appealing your recipe is. Having a talented photographer to take great photos is a great help and is a service Greedy Betty provides (more details at the bottom).

For the muffins
300g wholewheat plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
2 egg whites
200ml semi skimmed milk
100g low fat natural yogurt
50ml sunflower oil
4 tbsp maple syrup
200g frozen summer berry mix

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, 180ºC fan and line a 12 hole muffin tin with liners
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon in a bowl and mix
  3. Beat the egg and egg whites together and then add the milk, yogurt, oil and maple syrup and beat again until combined and smooth
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix, it will be quite sloppy
  5. Gently fold in two thirds of the frozen berry mix

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  1. Divide the mix between the liners and scatter the remaining berries over the top of the muffin mix and gently press them in

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  1. Bake for 20 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin briefly before allowing to cool completely on a wire rack

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Photo by Greedy Betty.  Discounted rates for food bloggers available. Details on  http://greedybetty.com/about/