Category Archives: Snacks & Sides

Snacks & Sides are some of the best recipes to have in your repertoire. Sides can turn any meal from great to good and who doesn’t love a snack?!

Side dishes are so versatile and can be used to elevate a number of dishes. The same side can also be used for so many dishes which means a good recipe is invalid. 

Snacks can be sweet or savoury, but always delicious. I think of them as tasty in-between meal treats!

Popular Snacks & Sides are:
Easy Sausage Meat Stuffing 
Roasted Parmesan Tenderstem Broccoli 
Cheese, Bacon & Mustard Twists
Chicken Balti Pies 

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

Thyme & Brie Slow-Fried Potatoes

Soft potatoes slow cooked with garlic and thyme and covered in melted brie. These Thyme & Brie Slow-Fried Potatoes really are something special. 

I have adapted this recipe from one in ‘Real Food’ by Nigel Slater. It was one of my first cook books that my Mum bought me and is packed with delicious, comfort food recipes.

Although this was one of the first cookbooks I was given, it isn’t due to excessive scanning for recipes that the book is now 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!

One day, Tom took his anxiety out on my beloved cookery book. Somehow he managed to leave the recipes intact 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. I won’t replace my book though, it always makes me think of Tom who only left us last year.

Although this recipe is incredibly delicious, it isn’t one I make all the time. This is partly due to the fact that I don’t buy brie very often, but also because this recipe is more of a treat rather than an every-day recipe (although I wish I could eat it every-day!). There are times to be health conscious and then there are times to treat yourself. This recipe is definitely the latter. 

This is the time of year when quite a few people may have some brie lurking in their fridge is after Christmas. People seem to stock up on enough cheese to last them the whole year to eat over the festive season. Inevitably there is always some cheese left that you didn’t manage to eat your way through, so this recipe is a great way to use up that leftover cheese. And once you have made these Thyme & Brie Slow-Fried Potatoes, you will be finding any excuse to make them!

These Thyme & Brie Slow-Fried Potatoes lend themselves to being cooked at the weekend because as the name suggests they are cooked slowly. 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.

This recipe technically is enough to serve four people as a side, but if you’re going to spend the time making these, I would personally serve this recipe between two people. It is guaranteed to be very popular so i would always recommend you do a few more potatoes encase people ask for seconds (which they will!). This is s delicious and slightly different way of having potatoes instead of normal boiled or mash potatoes. 

Updated 2018.

Serves 2 – 4 people

500g waxy new potatoes
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 ½ tsp sea salt
pinch of black pepper
2 tbsp fresh thyme
100g brie 

  1. Cut the potatoes into slices approximately 5mm in width
  2. In a large, shallow pan melt the butter and the oil. Once melted add the onions and fry very slowly for a couple of minutes until they are pale and golden

  1. Next add the potatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Make sure you stir the potatoes so they are completely covered 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

  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. Once the potatoes are cooked, lay slices of brie onto the potatoes and cover with the lid for a couple of minutes. Once the brie has melted, serve. 

Cheese, Bacon & Mustard Twists

Crisp pastry wrapped around streaky bacon with cheese and wholegrain mustard. These Cheese, Bacon & Mustard Twists are the perfect party snack!

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!

Tweaking a recipe I saw on TV

When I was watching one of Lorraine Pascale’s TV shows,  I saw this recipe and instantly knew it was something I wanted to re-create with a few tweaks. I love cooking shows because I like to see recipes at every stage. This is something I try to show in my recipes 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.

Cheese, Bacon & Mustard Twists are the perfect snack for between Christmas and New Year when you are destined to graze all day everyday. This time of year is so busy for everyone that any time saving tricks are a godsend in my opinion. This is why I have used ready rolled puff pastry! I am never ashamed to admit I love ready rolled pastry. It is so convenient and also because I am terrible at rolling out pastry into a rectangle (or any other shape!). 

Adjusting a recipe to your taste

As with all recipes I think you should adapt them to your personal tastes. Lorraine’s original recipe uses English mustard. I much prefer wholegrain mustard so I wanted to use this instead. If you don’t like mustard at all, just leave it out. 

Using light puff pastry

I made these using light puff pastry which worked really well. The only downside is that it is slightly harder to work with before it is cooked because I think it is softer. If you would like to use light pastry but find you are struggling to separate the pastry from the paper, just put it back in the fridge for ten minutes or so for it to firm up slightly. 

Updated December 2018
5 from 6 votes
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Cheese, Bacon & Mustard Twists

Crisp pastry wrapped around streaky bacon with cheese and wholegrain mustard. These Cheese, Bacon & Mustard Twists are the perfect party snack!

Course Snack
Cuisine British
Keyword Bacon, Mustard, Cheese, Pastry Twists
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 184 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 375 g puff pastry (ready rolled)
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard (heaped)
  • 100 g mature cheddar grated
  • 8 slices streaky bacon
  • 2 tbsp semi skimmed milk

Instructions

  1. Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside

  2. Unroll the pastry keeping it on the paper so that the longest side is facing you and spread with the wholegrain mustard 

  3. Scatter the grated cheese evenly over the pastry 

  4. Line the streaky bacon slices across the pastry leaving a small space between each slice 

  5. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry between each slice of bacon. Then cut each strip you have just made in half so you have 16 mini strips

  6. Slide the pastry, still on the paper onto a baking and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. 

  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C (200°C non fan) 

  8. Take the pastry out of the oven and twist each strip of pastry 2-3 times. Line the twists on the baking trays and bake for 20 minutes until golden and crisp

Recipe Notes

Read the pastry package before starting each pack will vary how long it recommends getting the pastry out of the fridge before using it. Don't worry too much if you forget, just be extra careful when you unroll it to not rip it. 

Tasty eaten hot or cold. Keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. 

Nutritional information is given as a guide only. Based on normal pastry (not light). 

Nutrition Facts
Cheese, Bacon & Mustard Twists
Amount Per Serving
Calories 184 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 69mg3%
Potassium 16mg0%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Protein 1g2%
Calcium 5mg1%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Quick Sausage Rolls

These Quick Sausage Rolls are as the name suggests; quick. They’re so quick and easy that you could have a freshly baked sausage roll ready in no time!

There are few things tastier than a freshly baked sausage roll. The fantastic thing about them is you can make them very quickly and easily. 

If you were to make sausage rolls from scratch, they would be anything but quick. Most people don’t have the time to season sausage meat themselves let alone make their own puff pastry! My aim was to make my Quick Sausage Rolls as easy and fast as possible because you should still be able to eat tasty food even if you don’t have a lot of time. 

Puff pastry is something I have heard a lot of chefs admitting they buy. There are some ingredients which aren’t always necessary to make and puff pastry is one of them in my opinion. With this recipe I go a step further than just buying the pastry, I buy ready rolled puff pastry. Yes this may seem a little lazy, but it is also a time saver which is what this recipe is all about. It is also good for me because for some reason I haven’t mastered the art of rolling pastry into a rectangle yet!

Another shortcut to make these Quick Sausage Rolls is to use sausages and remove the casings from them. This has the advantage of the sausage meat being already seasoned and in the right shape for the sausage rolls. It is also an easy way to change the flavour of sausage rolls by using different flavoured sausages. 

Makes approx. 16 

400g 6 sausages, casing removed
375g ready rolled puff pastry
2tbsp milk
spray oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and spray a baking tray with oil
  2. Cut the pastry in half lengthways so you have two long thin strips
  3. Remove the casings and line three sausages along the centre of each strip of pastry
  4. Brush one of the long edges of pastry with milk and roll the long side of pastry closest to you tightly under the sausage and then keep rolling so the sealed edge is on the bottom
  5. Cut the sausage rolls into lengths as big or small as you like and put them on the baking tray

  1. Brush the sausage rolls with some milk and make a few cuts with scissors across the top
  2. Put them in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown

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