Category Archives: Lunch/ Savoury Snacks

Pasilla Pork Tacos

Who doesn’t love tacos? My Pasilla Pork Tacos are simple to make but are packed with delicious authentic Mexican flavours. 

 
My love of Mexican food is no secret, neither is my love of pork. So a recipe that combines the both had to be delicious.

My go-to Mexican recipe book is by Margarita Carrillo Arronte called Mexico: The Cookbook. It has hundreds of authentic Mexican recipes from all over Mexico. As they are authentic recipes, they tend to use ingredients that are more readily available in Mexico and America. They can also be quite lengthy recipes that although I don’t mind spending hours in the kitchen, others may not!

I have adapted a recipe called ‘Pork in chile marinade’ to make it easier and also to make it a tasty taco filling.  A lot of Mexican recipes say to toast the whole dried chiles, then soak them in boiling water. Then to blitz them up in a liquidiser before passing them through a sieve. Ignoring the fact that this can be a little time consuming, it also requires you to have the whole chiles which aren’t readily available here in the UK. I’m sure if you live in Mexico or parts of America you can get hole of these without any problems at all, but that isn’t the case here! 

With that in mind, I decided to use pasilla chile powder instead. You can buy this online from Mexican suppliers such as Cool Chile Co, or even Amazon if you can’t get it in your supermarket. I have noticed that supermarkets are expanding their Mexican products which is fantastic news! 

Pasilla chiles are really great for this recipe because the flavour goes particularly well with red meat, oregano and garlic. If you really didn’t want to buy pasilla chile powder, you could whatever chile powder you do have, but I really would recommend using pasilla chile powder. You can also use it in other recipes of mine such as Mexican Eggs and Chile Con Carne. 

I love oregano in general, but Mexican oregano is especially tasty as it has a citrus note to it. Again, you can use normal oregano for this recipe and you probably wouldn’t notice too much of a difference. 

You really do need to use corn tortillas in my opinion. They add a delicious subtle corn flavour to the dish which goes so well with the pork. If you don’t want to use pork, you could make these with beef. Corn tortillas are now readily available in most large supermarkets – and not even just in the Mexican foods section! Only a few years ago I remember the only place you could get these being in the Mexican section of the ethnic food aisle. They were only made by one brand and came in one size. Now you can find them with the rest of the tortilla wraps in the bread aisle and come in a variety of sizes!

For these tacos I would recommend the medium or small sized tortillas because if you get much bigger than that you may as well call these a fajita! Always use the soft corn tortillas and not those crisp shells which are Tex Mex and not Mexican. I think if you showed those to a Mexican person they may laugh in your face if you said they were a taco. 

These Pasilla Pork Tacos are great as a tasty lunch, dinner or even a starter. If you use the medium sized tortillas, you will be able to make 10 generous filled tacos. For a starter, I would recommend using small tortillas which would make a lot more. 

I like to serve these with my Mexican Sweetcorn Salad and a scattering of spring onions. 

Makes 10 tacos 

700g pork shoulder steaks
½ tbsp pasilla chile powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Mexican oregano
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp sunflower oil 
1 tsp water
10 corn tortillas

  1. Mix together the chile powder, garlic powder, salt, oregano, cider vinegar, 1 tsp oil and water to form a paste

  1. Coat the pork in the spice paste and leave to marinate for at 1 – 3 hours

 

  1. Heat the other tsp of sunflower oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Cook the pork for 10-15 minutes on each side until browned and crisp in places and cooked through

  1. Remove the pork from the pan and slice thinly
  2. Serve in corn tacos with my Mexican Sweetcorn Salad and spring onions 

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Turkey & Cranberry Sausage Rolls

Crispy puff pastry filled with the flavours of Christmas. Delicious as a light lunch or as a nibble to serve to guests at a party, these Turkey & Cranberry Sausage Rolls are really easy which is good because after you’ve made them once, you’ll be asked to make them again and again.  

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without sausage rolls in my opinion. My Mum made them for as long as I can remember at Christmas and they have always been very popular in my family. This meant that when I moved out, I carried on the tradition much to Mr Curly’s delight as he is a very big fan. 

I love traditional sausage rolls made with pork sausage meat, but I also like the idea of making slight tweaks to make them more exciting. One variation that my Mum makes uses pork sausage meat with a fresh slice of mango. This might not sound like it would be delicious, but believe me it is. 

When thinking about flavours I associate with Christmas, turkey and cranberry sauce obviously came to mind. Turkey isn’t usually my favourite choice of meat to have as a roast because it can be a little bland. I do like using turkey mince in dishes that I can add lots of flavour to as it is a healthy meat option because it is low in fat. In large supermarkets I have noticed that you can now buy turkey breast or thigh mince.

My preference would always be the thigh mince because it has a little bit more fat than the breast which I think adds flavour and helps keep it moist. However I ran out of time and did a home delivery for these ingredients and they only had turkey breast mince. I thought that was an advantage though because if it was tasty with the breast mince, it would be even more tasty with the thigh mince!

As I mentioned previously, turkey can be a bit bland which means it really welcomes flavours to be added to it. Don’t be afraid to add lots of herbs and seasoning to your mince because it will make the end result tastier. 

I made these when Mr Curly’s friend came round with his DSLR. Mr Curly and Andy snacked on these during us taking the photos and I sent Andy away with a goodie bag of the things I had made that we had photographed; apart from these sausage rolls. We met up with Andy and other friends that evening and there was outrage that they hadn’t got to try these sausage rolls Andy had mentioned were so tasty. I made up for their disappointment by dropping some round to their house the next day. 

Obviously feel free to make your own pastry, or use ready bought pastry and roll it yourself if you prefer. You can also make the cranberry sauce yourself too, but I was trying to make these as quick and easy as possible. 

These are delicious served warm or cold and can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. 

Makes roughly 16

400g turkey mince
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1 x 375g pack ready rolled puff pastry
130g cranberry sauce

1 egg, beaten or 1 tbsp milk 
Spray oil 

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (for fan assisted or 210ºC) 
  2. Empty the turkey mince into a large bowl and add the thyme, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix thoroughly to distribute the seasonings, I find it easiest to do this with your hands 

  1. Unroll the pastry and cut the pastry in half length ways. Spread half of the cranberry sauce down the middle of each strip of pastry
  2. Form the turkey into two long sausage shapes and place on top of the cranberry sauce

  1. Brush one of the long edges of each piece of pastry with the beaten egg or milk 
  2. Roll the pastry closest to you tightly under the turkey mince and then roll over so the sealed edge is on the bottom

  1. Cut each long roll of pastry into individual sausage rolls
  2. Spray two baking trays with oil and place the sausage rolls on the tray. Brush each sausage roll with the beaten egg or milk
  3. Using scissors, make roughly three cuts into the top of each sausage roll

  1. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once out of the oven, transfer the sausage rolls onto a wire rack as soon as possible and allow to cool 

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Honey & Mustard Cocktail Sausages

Sticky and sweet sausages with a very slight bite from wholegrain mustard. These Honey & Mustard Cocktail Sausages are very addictive and will disappear very quickly!

I love sausages, and I especially love all of the different flavours and varieties you can buy these days. My all time favourite sausages have to be pork and apple though, there is definitely something about them – what’s yours? I really love the sticky sweetness the apple brings to the sausages which helped inspire this recipe. 

Honey and mustard are one of my favourite flavour combinations. Other types of mustard aren’t really for me, but wholegrain mustard in recipes is definitely my cup of tea. It also works really well with the sweetness of the honey which helps it stick to the sausages better. 

This recipe is ideal for gatherings anytime of year, but especially at Christmas. The days between Christmas and New Year always blend into one and no one really knows which day it is. I love these days because they are typically days when you graze on food without necessarily having a full meal. 

One of the reasons there is a lot of grazing is because these days are typically spent with friends and family and people are already in a bit of a food coma from their Christmas meal days before. These Honey & Mustard Cocktail Sausages are great to whip up if people want a tasty snack (that isn’t a leftover turkey sandwich). They would also be great to serve as part of a buffet for a New Year’s Eve gathering. 

They’re particularly great for gatherings because they can easily be eaten with a cocktail stick – no cutlery needed and also only require one hand which is good because there may be a festive tipple in the other;and also because they are bite size (or two if you’re dainty). 

Be warned though – if you make these for a group of people, make plenty. They are so delicious people will keep coming back for more and they will be gone before you know it! 

I like my sausages dark and crisp, but if you would prefer them slightly less crisp, cook them for 25 minutes. I would recommend soaking your baking tray as soon as you have taken the sausages off though because as you can see some of the sugar burns and will be much easier to was off after a soak!

18 pork cocktail sausages
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 ½ tbsp runny honey 
¼ tsp sea salt 

  1. Preheat the oven to 210ºC (190ºC fan assisted) 
  2. Put the sausages in a bowl and add the mustard, honey and salt 

  1. Stir to make sure the sausages are evenly coated in all of the honey and mustard
  2. Lay the sausages onto a baking tray in one layer and spoon all of the mustard and honey mix on top 

  1. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, turning the sausages half way through. Coat the sausages in the juices from the tray when you turn them 

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Couscous Salad

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Fresh, colourful and versatile. This cous cous dish is delicious as well as being healthy.

Growing up I didn’t like cous cous. Well I told myself I didn’t as the only time I had come across it was when my Mum made her version of Tabbouleh. This was never going to be the best cous cous dish for me to try as it is packed with herbs such as parsley, mint and coriander – all of which I can’t stand. After years of thinking I didn’t like it, my Mum made a version with no herbs and very similar to what I make today and I realised I did actually like cous cous!

Along with my Mum, my sister and I have been making this recipe for years but with different variations. This recipe is great for adding things you like and leaving out anything you don’t. My Mum and sister make theirs using tomatoes and spring onions as well as the ingredients I use. I like tomatoes but I don’t seem to have them in my fridge every week whereas I always have the other ingredients. So please feel free to add anything else you fancy. I decided to call is Cous Cous Salad because I tend to use basic ingredients that I’d put in a salad – imaginative I know!

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The versatility doesn’t end with the ingredients in the cous cous, you can also add a whole range of ‘toppings’. We usually have this cous cous with marinated chicken, but we have had it with chorizo, grilled halloumi and my new favourite; chicken sausages.

This is now my boyfriend’s favourite recipe to make for his lunches during the week. If he can make it, then you can too!

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Serves 4
350g cous cous
750g boiled water
1 tbsp chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 peppers
1 x 340g tin of sweetcorn, drained
¾ of a cucumber, diced
20g butter (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. De-seed and slice the peppers. Put them on a baking tray and roast in the oven for around 30 minutes, turning half way. You want them to get slightly blackened
  2. Put the cous cous in a large bowl. Add the chicken stock, olive oil and water to the cous cous. The water should just cover the cous cous by around 1cm. Stir with a fork and then cover with cling film
  3. While the cous cous is cooking, dice the cucumber and drain the sweetcorn
  4. After around 15 minutes the cous cous should have plumped and cooked. Test it is ready by trying it, if it is still a little hard recover for a few more minutes

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  1. Once the cous cous is cooked, add the butter if you are using it and fork through to fluff up the cous cous2016-07-12 19.12.52
  2. Remove the peppers from the oven and slice up. Add to the cous cous along with the sweetcorn and cucumber and fork through to mix

 

Chorizo & Potato Quesadillas

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This recipe is one my sister, Ally,  constructed after a trip to Wahaca in London where she had a similar dish. She then used the flavours to make her own version which is delicious!

For Mother’s Day, my sister Ally and I decided to make a Mexican Feast as a more personal touch than taking her out for a meal. When I say we made a feast, I wasn’t exaggerating!  We made these Quesadillas, Nachos, Chilli, Carnitas, Chicken Tinga as well as Quacamole, Salsa and Mexican Sweetcorn Salad. We had enough leftovers for everyone to take goodies home.

Ally and I spent the majority of the day at my house making all of these delicious dishes. It was quite a tiring day and we definitely earned our beer; but we also had a great time in the kitchen together.

The quesadillas have become a favourite dish in my house. Although I don’t add the onions, I do add peppers and sweetcorn. My sister usually adds these when she makes them at home, but we didn’t for the Mexican Feast to keep them simple. One of the great things about this recipe is you can adapt it to what you like.

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The first time I made them without Ally, I ended up making enough quesadillas to feed a family of six or more! This is because as my sister made up the recipe, her method was ‘a bit of this and a bit of that’ so I had to work out quantities of ingredients. However  benefit of making too many is I found out they are absolutely delicious cold the next day. I chose to not re-heat them because I was at work and using the microwave would have made them sort of soggy I thought. Although when cold they obviously didn’t have the crisp tortilla like when they were freshly cooked, the filling’s flavours seemed to intensify and become even more delicious.

The quantities below make enough quesadillas for 3-4 people (depending on how hungry they are!) 

600g potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced

130g chorizo, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 x 198g tin of sweetcorn, drained
1 pepper, diced

150g cheese, grated
½ tsp chili powder (I use a combination of different chili powders)
salt & pepper to taste

1-2 tsp sunflower oil 
6 large tortillas 

  1. Peel and dice the potatoes and boil them until cooked through in salted water
  2. Add the chorizo to a frying pan over a medium heat. Keep stirring to allow the oils from the chorizo to be released and then add the onions

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  1. Allow the onions to soften for a couple of minutes and then add the potatoes and pepper. Cook for a few minutes adding the oil if it begins to stick

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  1. After a couple of minutes, add the sweetcorn, chili powder, salt and pepper and stir through. Leave to cook stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes before turning out into a bowl

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  1. Place one large tortilla in a clean frying pan over a medium heat. Scatter the tortilla with some of the grated cheese before topping with a thin layer of the potato filling. Spread the filling to the edges of the tortilla before scattering with more grated cheese

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  1. Place another tortilla on top and press down to squidge the filling right to the edges. By now the bottom tortilla should be browned and slightly crispy. Carefully flip the tortilla over so the bottom becomes the top. How you choose to do this is up to you! I get a large spatula and flip but you can always tip it out onto a plate and then flip it and slip it back into the pan
  2. Once flipped, allow the tortilla to cook for 1-2 minutes until browned and crispy and you can see the cheese has melted inside
  3. Turn out onto a board and cut into eighths. Serve with lots of soured cream

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Skinny Chicken Tikka

My Skinny Chicken Tikka takes one of the most loved Indian dishes which I have tweaked to make it a lighter without compromising on taste.

I’m not very adventurous when it comes to Indian food as I don’t like coconut, coriander or too spicy. This means that whenever we go to an Indian restaurant I always and I mean always order a chicken tikka masala. 

Quite a few years ago, my brother in law Dom, found a delicious recipe online for Chicken Tikka Masala which tasted just like you would get in a restaurant. Unfortunately the website the recipe was from no longer exists so I can’t share that with you. The original recipe came in two parts – the first half for the chicken and the second for the sauce. When Dom made it for us, he made the sauce too which was amazing. Since Dom made it, I haven’t made the sauce again but this is just due to it being quite time consuming (soaking almonds was involved) and also it not being very healthy. 

I have made changes to make this Chicken Tikka healthier without compromising on the taste – win! There wouldn’t have been much point in my opinion to change the recipe if the outcome wasn’t as tasty. I think healthy food shouldn’t mean less flavour. This is why I was so pleased that the healthier swaps in this recipe still make a delicious Skinny Chicken Tikka. 

Most Chicken Tikka recipes use cream and butter and quite a lot of it at that! I have substituted these high calorie ingredients with non-fat yogurt and spray oil. I have made this with chicken breasts and thighs. I love using thighs because I think they have more flavour and the extra little bit of fat they have helps keep the chicken moist. If you really are health conscious I would recommend using breast however as this is less than 240 calories per portion. If you wanted to use thighs, this is still only around 260 calories per portion.  

A warning should come with this recipe however. The longer you leave the chicken to marinate, the more delicious your Skinny Chicken Tikka will be. You may curse my name though because every time you open the fridge you will be met by a delicious waft of spices. Trust me though – resist temptation and leave it for up to sixty hours to get the best flavour. 

My favourite way of eating this Skinny Chicken Tikka is with lettuce, cucumber and some mango chutney. You could crumble some poppadoms on top of your salad for some extra crunch. Just don’t get too carried away with the mango chutney because unfortunately this isn’t skinny! 

If you would like something a bit more substantial, I would recommend eating this in a wrap or pitta with salad. 

Serves 4

700g skinned chicken, diced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
175g non-fat natural yogurt
1 tbsp ginger puree
1 tbsp garlic puree
2 tbsp Tandoori Masala powder
½ tsp tumeric
½ garam masala
½ chilli powder
3 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
Spray oil

  1. Put the diced chicken into a large bowl. Add all of the ingredients, except the oil and mix until combined. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2-60 hours – the longer the better!

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  1. Preheat the grill to high and line the grill pan with foil and spray with oil
  2. Spray metal skewers with oil and thread the chicken pieces on

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  1. Place the skewers on the grill pan and spray with oil.  Cook quite close to the element for 3-4 minutes

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  1. Turn the skewers over, spray with more oil and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Keep turning and spraying with oil until the chicken is cooked through. This should take between 20-25 minutes. You’re looking to get charred areas of the chicken
  2. Carefully ease the chicken from the skewers and enjoy hot or cold 

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Bacon Jam

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Bacon. Jam. A sweet delicious bacon-y jam. Yes it is as amazing as it sounds. I’m sure everyone will agree that bacon makes everything better… well apart from vegetarians but even they can appreciate the glory of bacon.

I’m not completely sure where  I first heard about bacon jam, I think it must have been something I stumbled across when I was browsing the internet for tasty sounding recipes. But as soon as I did see it I knew it was something I wanted to make! From what I can tell, a food truck in America called Skillet came up with the genius idea of bacon jam as a condiment for their burgers. Although they haven’t shared their recipe, a few people have tried to work out what the ingredients might be. I looked at quite a few before decided on one by Leite’s Culinaria. They all featured very similar ingredients but I wasn’t keen on adding hot sauce because I didn’t want a spicy bacon jam, so settled on this one. The original recipe can be found at http://leitesculinaria.com/82690/recipes-bacon-jam.html.

As you can imagine, the house smelled amazing as I was cooking! It isn’t the quickest recipe because it needs to simmer away to reduce and become deliciously sticky. But its perfect to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you don’t want to leave the house anyway!

These quantities make enough for me to fill three 280ml jars so it doesn’t produce a huge yield. The bacon jam then needs to be kept in the fridge for up to four weeks. It can be eaten with whatever you fancy adding a bit of bacon-y goodness to but I decided to add it to one of my handmade burgers. If you’re using it from the fridge you will just need to heat it up in a pan over a low heat for five minutes or so until it has warmed through and gone slightly darker. It goes perfectly on a burger because it adds the bacon flavour but also a rich sweetness.

680g smoked bacon, cut into a large dice
2 medium onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

¾ cup strongly brewed coffee
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup

  1.  Add the bacon to a large pan over a medium heat. Stir occasionally until the fat has rendered down and the bacon has become a light brown colour. This should take roughly 20 minutes

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  1. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with kitchen towel to allow it to drain
  2. If there is any fat left in the pan, drain off all but one tablespoon. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent. This should take around 6 minutes. Make sure the heat isn’t too high or else the colours will brown instead

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  1. Add the coffee, cider vinegar, brown sugar and maple syrup and bring to the boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure you get all of the browned bits that have stuck. Add the bacon back to the pan and stir

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  1. Reduce the heat so that it is barely simmering and cook uncovered for 1 – 1½ hours or until the liquid has almost completely evaporates and turns syrupy

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  1. Let the jam cool slightly before pulsing in a food processor until it is coarsely chopped. Spoon the bacon jam into sterilised jars and keep in the fridge for up to four weeks.
  2. Rewarm the jam by gently heating it in a pan on a low heat

I didn’t take a photo of the bacon jam after it had been pulsed because to be honest it didn’t look too appealing! It went paler and almost cloudy? So if yours looks a but like that, don’t worry it hasn’t gone wrong! I also have the most ridiculously tiny food processor which isn’t even a food processor its one of those mini choppers. This meant I had to pulse mine in batches but it still worked just as well.

Bacon jam goes perfectly on my homemade burgers, the recipe is here http://www.curlyscooking.co.uk/?p=1340.

Domesticated Momster

Cheese & Bacon Twists

Tasty bacon with cheese and mustard wrapped in crisp pastry, the perfect snack or party food. 

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 adding a few tweaks. 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.

These were delicious and would make a perfect lunch or if you cut them up would be good for a picnic or a buffet. 

Makes 7 large twists

375g pre rolled puff pastry
plain flour, for dusting
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
100g mature cheddar, grated
7 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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Curly’s pasty

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Week 7 of GBBO was another pastry week where the signature bake was a savory parcel. I thought I would have a go at my version of a Cornish pasty for #greatbloggersbakeoff2014. I am not usually a fan of Cornish pasties and would never normally eat them, but I wanted to try a slightly different version. The traditional Cornish pasty has a filling of beef, potato, onion and swede. My Curly’s pasty leaves the swede out and adds some herbs.

I used Paul Hollywood’s Cornish Pasty recipe because although he isn’t my favourite person (I think he is very arrogant), there is no denying that his food looks delicious. I found the recipe here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/classic_cornish_pasty_67037 and it features a video which I found really helpful – especially when it came to the crimping. I must have watched the video 3 or 4 times and still couldn’t figure out how to crimp the edge of my pasty! In the end I had to ask Rien to help me, so the crimping is down to him (he does have this uses).

Paul must be a hungry man because these pasties are enormous! Next time, I think I will make them half the size. I was really pleased with how these turned out; the pastry had a lovely texture and the filling was delicious. I will definitely make these again and possibly try a slightly different filling.

For the pastry
500g strong bread flour
120g suet
½ tsp salt
25g margarine
175ml cold water
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt for the glaze

  1. Add the flour, suet, salt, margarine and water to a bowl. Use a spoon to combine the ingredients the best you can and the use your hand to crush the dough together to get a dry dough. If it isn’t coming together, add a a splash more water
  2. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface. You shouldn’t need any flour as the dough is tight rather than sticky, but if you do use a very small amount
  3. Knead the dough to combine the ingredients and break down the suet. Keep kneading for 5-6 minutes until your dough is smooth and glossy. If you watch the video in the original recipe, you can see Paul is really rough with the dough. Don’t be afraid to smack it around because this apparently gives the best results (and is quite fun)
  4. When the dough is smooth, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30-60 mins

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For the filling
400g braising steak
500g waxy potatoes
175g onions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Knob of butter
Spray oil

  1. While the dough is resting, peel and cut the potato and onion. The potato needs to be roughly 1cm² and the onion fairly finely diced. Cut the beef into similar sized chunks as the potato. Put the ingredients into a bowl along with the thyme, season generously with salt and pepper

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  1. Lightly grease a baking tray with spray oil and line with baking or silicone paper (not greaseproof). Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan assisted)
  2. After the dough has been left to relax, take it out of the fridge and divide it into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle roughly 25cm wide

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  1. Spoon a quarter of the filling into one half of each disc. Put a knob of butter on top of the filling
  2. Carefully fold the pastry over and seal the edges by pushing them together with your finger. Crimp the edges to seal the filling in. You can either do this by twisting the dough over (watch the video) or by using a fork. Once you get to the edge, fold the end corners underneath the pasty

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  1. Put the pasties on the baking try and brush the top of each with the egg and salt mixture. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the pasties are golden brown. If after 35 minutes they aren’t browning, increase the oven temperature by 10°C for the last 10 minutes or so

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GBBO

 

Please visit www.mummymishaps.co.uk for more of the #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 bakes.

Goat’s Cheese & Pepper Tart

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This post is inspired by Week 5 of GBBO which was tarts and pies. Although the tart they made in the show was sweet, I wanted to try a savoury one. I have been wanting to make a tart for a while now as my Mum bought be lots of baking bits for my birthday; including a tart tin and ceramic baking beans. I’ve only ever used shop bought pastry before because it is so convenient. I was slightly nervous about making it myself but it was very simple to make and turned out well. Goat’s cheese, peppers and thyme are a few of my favourite flavours so I knew I wanted to use them in my tart. I adapted a recipe from delicious magazine (http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/roasted-tomato-and-creamy-goats-cheese-tart) and used a BBC Food recipe for the shortcrust pastry.

For the shortcrust pastry
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
110g butter, cubed
5-6 tbsp cold water

  1. Put the flour and salt in a bowl and add the cubes of butter
  2. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Try to work quickly so it doesn’t become greasy
  3. Using a knife, stir in just enough water to bind the dough together
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 10-15 minutes before you roll out

For the tart
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 peppers

2 tbsp fresh thyme
pinch of salt 

150g creamy goat’s cheese
200g low-fat crème fraîche

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cut 2 peppers into strips and put them on a baking tray. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and scatter with thyme leaves and salt. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes

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  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a circle about 4cm wider than the tin. Carefully lift the pastry into the tin (23cm tart tin) and gently press into the base and sides, taking care not to stretch the pastry. Trim any excess pastry and prick the base with a fork. Chill for 20 minutes

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  1. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Scrunch up a sheet of baking paper then smooth out to fill the pastry case and then fill with baking beans. Make sure they completely cover the base in a single layer. Bake for 15 mins

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  1. Remove the baking beans and paper and bake for a further 15 minutes, until golden and crisp. Leave to cool slightly
  2. Beat the goat’s cheese and crème fraîche together in a bowl until creamy. Season to taste. Spoon evenly into the tart case and arrange the peppers over the top. Spoon over any cooking juices

2014-09-06 15.34.43   2014-09-06 15.41.00 For my first attempt at a tart I was very happy – I was just happy I didn’t have a soggy bottom! The flavours were delicious and went really well with onion chutney. Please visit http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/ to see other people that are joining in with The Great Bloggers Bake Off. GBBO