Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Cakes & Bakes: Cheese and celery pies

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

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Home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

National Pie Week is going from strength to strength here in the UK. It’s been talked about all over social media and in the traditional media too. Chris Evans and his team have been waxing lyrical about pies they’ve been sent by bakeries from all over the country.

Ingredients to make home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

Flour and cubes of butter in a food processor | H is for Home

 Last year for Pie Week I made a lovely butter pie; this year I wanted to keep with the theme of a vegetarian, rustic, humble pie. I turned to my copy of Pie by Genevieve Taylor that we reviewed last year. I found just the recipe – cheese and celery pies – but with a little twist.

Flour and cubes of butter blended in a food processor | H is for Home

Pastry crumbs poured out on to clingfilm | H is for Home

The original recipe is a single pie done in a shallow pie plate. I quite liked the idea of doing little individual hand pulled pies. I used a couple of cling film-wrapped jars in lieu of a pastry dolly.

Pastry wrapped in clingfilm | H is for Home

Veg stock | H is for Home

Pulled pies are usually made using hot water pastry, but I was being lazy and just whizzed up a quick batch of shortcrust pastry. I think it worked just fine, but I’m sure Paul Hollywood wouldn’t approve!

Cooked off onions and celery | H is for Home

Hand pulled pie cases | H is for Home

This recipe made 4 small pies but you can easily scale it up. We had one each so I put the other two in the freezer – pre-baked – so that they can be taken out and baked off the next time we fancy a pie.

Filling pulled pie cases | H is for Home

Making pie tops | H is for Home

There was a little bit of pastry left over – isn’t there always? I quite like rolling it out thinly, slicing it into long thin strips, sprinkling over with cheese and baking for 15 minutes. What do you do with yours?

Glazing pie tops | H is for Home

Sliced home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

I’ve already started thinking about what pie I’m going to make next year!

Cheese and celery pies
Yields 4
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for the pastry
  1. 360g/12½oz plain flour
  2. pinch of salt
  3. 180g/6⅓oz cold butter, cubed
  4. 6-8 tbsp cold water
for the filling
  1. 25g/1oz butter
  2. ½tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. ½ head celery, sliced
  5. 125ml/4 fl oz veg stock (or ½ veg stock cube + 125ml boiling water)
  6. 30g/1oz mature cheddar cheese, grated
  7. salt & ground black pepper to taste
  8. a little beaten egg to glaze
for the pastry
  1. Put the flour and salt into a food processor and whiz briefly together to mix
  2. Add the butter cubes and pulse briefly a dozen times or so until you have coarse crumbs
  3. Trickle in the water continuing to pulse until the mixture resembles rough lumps and looks a bit like overcooked and dry scrambled eggs. Add only as much water as you need
  4. Tip the clumped crumbs onto a sheet of cling film and gently squeeze together into a ball without pressing too hard
  5. Wrap & chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using
for the filling
  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan
  2. Add the onions and celery and cook over a medium-low heat for around 10 minutes or until they are just starting to soften
  3. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then pour in the stock
  4. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for around 30 minutes or until the celery is really soft and the stock has virtually all evaporated, stirring every now and then
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely
  6. Once the filling is cold, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
to make the pies
  1. Get the pastry out of the fridge, divide into two - ⅓ (for the pie lids) & ⅔ (for the pie cases). Put the smaller piece back into the fridge
  2. Divide the larger piece again into 4 equal pieces, rolling each into a ball
  3. Wrap four small, clean, empty, straight-sided jars with cling film (I used a couple of 90g Lidl Deluxe® french pâté selection jars.
  4. In turn, put each ball of pastry onto a lightly-floured work surface and place a jar on top of the pastry
  5. Sculpt the pastry around the jar, making sure the pastry is an even thickness all around. Make sure the bottom isn't too thick and that there are no holes in the pastry
  6. Once you've done them all, put the pie bases in the fridge for about 20 minutes
  7. Roll out the reserved ⅓ of pastry and, using a round cutter (slightly larger in circumference to the jar) cut out 4 circles. Make a hole in the centre of each and chill in the fridge.
  8. Remove the pastry cases from the fridge and carefully work the jars out of the cases. If they don't come away easily, pour hot water into each jam jar to soften the pastry slightly to release them
  9. Fill the pastry cases ⅔ of the way up with the cooked celery mixture and top each with a large pinch of grated cheese before pressing down gently and topping with a little more cheese
  10. Remove the pastry lids from the fridge, and one by one brush the outer circumference with a little water, lay on the filled case and crimp the edges to seal
  11. Brush each top with a little beaten egg to glaze
  12. Put the pies on a baking tray and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp & browned on top and sides
  13. Allow to cool on a wire rack before devouring! :-)
Adapted from Pie by Genevieve Taylor
Adapted from Pie by Genevieve Taylor
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Coconut ladoo

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

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Coconut ladoo in a vintage tin

Justin cooked a curry for visitors between Christmas & New Year. We figured it would be the ideal flavour contrast to all the other seasonal fayre – and judging by the crowds we’ve noticed in our local curry house this week, we weren’t alone!! I usually make some type of cake for dessert, but following a hearty curry that option would likely prove too filling.

Coconut ladoo ingredients

Dainty Indian sweets would be the perfect end to the meal. I chose to make coconut ladoo (or laddu) because we already had all 3 ingredients in our store cupboard. 

Cardamom pods with a wooden mortar and pestle

It’s the flavour of the pungent ground cardamom which gives this sweet its Indian taste.

Coconut ladoo cooked mixture

There are other kinds made with chickpea flour or semolina instead of coconut and fried in ghee. They are also be made with the addition of dried fruit and/or nuts such as pistachios or cashews.

Rolling coconut ladoo balls

They’re make a great little alternative present to the more usual box of chocolates.

Coconut ladoo
Yields 30
A treat often served at celebratory events such as the Hindu festival of Diwali
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tin (397g) condensed milk
  2. 250g dessicated coconut
  3. 5 cardamom pods
Instructions
  1. Remove the cardamom seeds from their papery outer shell and grind finely using a pestle & mortar
  2. In a large saucepan add 220g of the dessicated coconut, condensed milk and powdered cardamom
  3. Heat over a medium flame stirring constantly until just before the mixture begins to colour (about 5 minutes) and most of the liquid has evaporated
  4. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before forming into balls the size of marbles using the palms of your hands
  5. Roll the balls in the reserved 30g of dessicated coconut
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Quick panna cotta

Friday, December 19th, 2014

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Quick panna cotta with blackcurrant preserve | @hisforhome

This panna cotta recipe has a very good effort versus reward ratio – it’s quick, easy and utterly delicious.

Pouring hot liquid mixture into glass bowls

We once read a great quote “panna cotta is just blancmange with a fancy accent”. That’s kind of true, but panna cotta does sound better doesn’t it? It’s the perfect dessert, particularly if you have to make something at short notice – or if you’re super busy with other jobs – Christmas week for example!!

blackcurrant preserve

You can eat it plain – but a quick fruit coulis, caramel sauce or chocolate shavings add a delicious extra dimension. For this batch we made a lovely topping from blackcurrants that we’d preserved in the summer. Honey can also be added to the cream mix which is a classic method in Italy.

Quick panna cotta
Yields 6
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Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 600ml double cream
  2. 1tsp Vege-gel (or any other agar agar powder)
  3. 50g caster sugar
  4. panna cotta ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pour the double cream into a medium-sized saucepan
  2. Before heating, add the Vege-gel/agar agar powder and combine well with a whisk
  3. Add the sugar and heat on a medium flame stirring until the sugar has dissolved
  4. Bring to simmering and pour into heat proof glass coups or bowls
  5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before covering with cling film/Saran wrap and putting into the fridge for at least 2 hours
  6. Serve cold with fruit compote, preserve or coulis
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Lime marmalade

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

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Lime marmalade on a teaspoon | @hisforhome

We often have tea & toast when we return home after our morning dog walk.

Lime marmalade ingredients

Over the past few months, we’ve been eating delicious home-made lime marmalade made by Justin’s sister-in-law (hello Flora if you’re reading this!).

juiced limes

We ran out 3 weeks ago – and Justin has been suffering from withdrawal symptoms ever since.

cooked limes

We’ve made lots of jams, jellies and preserves in the past, but this is the first batch of marmalade.

sliced limes

The basic method is quite similar, of course…

boiling marmalade

…an intense boil of fruit with sugar with an added ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to get rid of any bitterness.

jars of home-made lime marmalade

 Five limes makes three standard jam jars full – so that should keep us going for a while.

home-made lime marmalade on toast

Bring on the toast!!

Lime marmalade
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Ingredients
  1. 5 limes
  2. 500g granulated sugar
  3. ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
Instructions
  1. Wash the limes under a hot tap with a clean, plastic scourer to remove any wax coating
  2. Slice the limes in half and squeeze well reserving the juice
  3. In a tall, stainless steel saucepan (aluminium can cause discolouration), simmer the limes in 1 litre of water for an hour
  4. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the limes from the saucepan and allow to cool for 5 minutes
  5. Using a spoon, scrape out the lime pith putting it into a jam strainer or square of muslin. Knot or tie it tightly with string before putting it back into the saucepan of lime liquor
  6. Slice the cooled, cooked peels very finely, add them back to the pan and top up with extra water until well covered
  7. Reboil for another hour until the peel becomes very soft
  8. Using the tongs or slotted spoon, scoop the peel out of the saucepan into a bowl or measuring jug
  9. Boil the cooked lime liquor, reserved lime juice and pith bag over a high heat until you have about 1 litre of liquid left.
  10. Squeeze the pith-filled bag with the tongs or back of the slotted spoon spoon as it boils
  11. Remove the bag, add the sugar and bicarbonate of soda, stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring back up to a rolling boil
  12. If you're using a jam thermometer allow the liquid to reach 105ºC/220ºF (this is the setting point for jam)
  13. If you're not using a thermometer, put a saucer in the fridge
  14. After the mixture has boiled for 10-15 minutes, put a teaspoonful of the boiling liquid onto the cold saucer, return it to the fridge and after 5 minutes do the jelly set test with your finger
  15. In the meantime, sterilise two 500ml jars & lids (or a number of smaller jars, enough to hold a kilo of marmalade)
  16. Once the mixture has reached the setting stage, allow to cool for 15 minutes before decanting into the jars, screwing the lids on securely straight away
Adapted from Dan Lepard's lime marmalade recipe on the Guardian website
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Saffron loaf

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

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saffron loaf cake with a large mug of tea | @hisforhome

I’ve somehow managed to get to the wrong side of mid-40 without ever having tasted saffron, although Justin’s used it in some of the kitchens he’s worked in (he’s so windswept & interesting!).

saffron in a saucepan of milk | @hisforhome

It’s often added to rice dishes and sauces, but I obviously decided to give it my first outing in a cake!

cubes of butter on flour | @hisforhome

Saffron loaf is a traditional Cornish recipe. It’s a very straightforward bake; mix the dry ingredients, crumb in the butter, add the saffron-infused milk, form a soft dough, a short prove then pop it in the oven for about an hour.

flour and dried fruit mixture | @hisforhome

This isn’t a dainty cake. You can cut it into small, delicate pieces for a touch of refinement, of course… but we didn’t go down the Ritz afternoon tea route and had a large slice (with a scraping of butter!).

pouring saffron milk and yeast mixture on to dry mixture | @hisforhome

 A rustic pottery mug full of strong tea was the ideal accompaniment.

saffron loaf dough | @hisforhome

 It’s sweet & fruity with the subtle, yet distinctive, saffron flavour coming through nicely.

saffron loaf dough in baking tin | @hisforhome

A delicious late afternoon pick-me-up – a perfect way to satisfy that peckish stage between lunch & dinner.

Saffron loaf
Yields 1
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Ingredients
  1. 0.1g saffron threads
  2. 125ml/4½fl oz milk
  3. 500g/18oz plain flour
  4. 10g/⅓oz dried, fast-action yeast
  5. pinch salt
  6. ¼tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  7. 250g/9oz cold butter, cubed
  8. 250g/9oz golden caster sugar
  9. 350g/12oz mixed dried fruit (I used raisins, currants and sultanas)
  10. saffron loaf cake ingredients
Instructions
  1. Grease a 1kg/2.2lb loaf tin
  2. Heat the saffron and milk in a pan over a medium heat until the mixture has turned yellow and is almost simmering
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and nutmeg
  4. Add the butter and sugar and rub in using your fingertips or pastry blender until it forms the consistency of breadcrumbs
  5. Stir in the dried fruit until well combined
  6. Add the yeast to the saffron milk mixture, stir well before adding it to the dry mixture
  7. Mix until the mixture comes combines to form a soft dough
  8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly until smooth
  9. Put the dough into the greased loaf tin, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for an hour to rise
  10. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  11. Bake for an hour, or until the loaf is beginning to brown
  12. Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing it from the tin on to a wire rack and allowing it to cool further
Notes
  1. Great spread with butter and/or thin slices of cheddar cheese. Have it toasted when it's a few days old.
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
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