Last week was actually British Pie Week so, being big pie fans chez H is for Home, we just had to get involved! We went for the vegetarian variety and decided upon a local, Lancashire favourite – butter pie.
It’s my meal of choice when we get a take away from Grandma Pollard’s, our local chippy. It’s a very humble pie – – the filling consists of few, very affordable ingredients – potatoes, onions and of course lashings of butter. There are free-to-pick herbs planted all around Todmorden courtesy of Incredible Edible, so we added a bit of fresh thyme too. I’ve not made it before but it proved a very quick & easy dish… and utterly, butterly delicious!
It’s a real celebration of simple ingredients. We served it with stir fried greens, drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar – pickled cabbage is another traditional accompaniment.
Eccles cakes. In my opinion – they’re not cakes, or even biscuits – they’re pastries!
We watched the Great Sport Relief Bake Off recently and one of the celebrities’ challenges was to make Eccles cakes. Whilst watching, Justin started going on about how much he loves them and why haven’t I made them yet.
To be honest, they’ve not really been on my baking radar. For one, they involve pastry which I’m not fond of making. For two, they’re just pastry with currants. But, to placate him, I agreed… and I always need the pastry practice!
I zig-zaged around the web and amalgamated a few recipes I found there. Most called for candied peel and/or orange juice, neither of which I like, to be added to the currants. I’m often a recipe purist but not in this case!
Remember a couple of paragraphs ago I said Eccles cakes are ‘just pastry with currants’? How wrong was I? They were flaky, fragrant, buttery & delicious… and NOTHING like the dried up old things you find to buy in the supermarket.
It’s been a while since our Cakes & Bakes series featured something savoury – it’s been very cake-heavy of late! In order to redress the balance, here’s a very easy-to-make and very tasty mushroom & broccoli quiche.
You can buy a range of quiches quite cheaply in any supermarket – but you just can’t beat a home-made, straight-out-of-the-oven version though! Pair it with a side salad for a healthy, hearty afternoon meal.
Despite having almost permanently cold hands I’ve never been very good at making pastry. I thought I’d man up, face my fears and give it another bash. We love a real coffee with fresh croissant or Danish as breakfast-in-bed on a Sunday morning, so I thought I’d give pain aux raisins a try. I used a combination of Dan Lepard’s and Paul Hollywood’s pastry recipes with a little ad libbing of my own!
For the starter, in a warm bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water, beat in the flour until smooth, cover and leave for an hour to bubble
In an electric mixer whisk the milk, eggs and sugar into the starter
Using a dough hook, work in the butter cubes, flour and salt
Scoop the dough out on to a floured worktop and quickly work it into a ball
Wrap in cling film or put into a zip-lock bag and refrigerate for a hour
Roll out to 1cm thick. Fold it in by thirds, roll it out again as before, fold it in by thirds again, then wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Repeat this rolling & chilling sequence twice more, Leave the dough in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight to rest & rise slightly
Roll a piece of dough to 30cm x 18cm x 1cm thick
Mix the raisins, Demerara sugar, ground cinnamon and soft butter
With a spatula, spread the mixture evenly over the rolled out dough
Roll up tightly towards you along the length, so you have a short, fat log shape
Cut into wheels about 1½cm wide. At this point you can wrap each piece individually in cling film and freeze
Line a baking tray with non-stick parchment paper, put the prepared pastries on top, cover loosely with cling film and leave to rise somewhere warm until almost doubled in size (1-2 hours)
Once risen, brush with beaten egg and bake at 200ºC (180ºC fan-assisted)/390ºF/gas mark 6 for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 180ºC (160ºC fan-assisted)/350ºF/gas mark 4 and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until crisp
Leave to cool on the baking tray placed on a wire rack for 20-30mins
I’ve been meaning to make some scones for a while – in fact ever since coming back from our holiday in Wells-Next-the-Sea. While we were there, I spent a sunny afternoon at Wiveton Hall Fruit Farm picking strawberries. I filled this massive punnet with sweet, fat, fragrant strawberries – specimens such as I’d never tasted before!
Those that didn’t get eaten there & then returned home with us and made into a massive pan of strawberry conserve. We gave lots away to friends & family and kept a couple of jars for ourselves. We’ve had it on toast & croissants, some was used as sponge cake filling, but you can’t beat it on warm, freshly baked scones!
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas mark 7. Flour a baking sheet. Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Gradually stir in just enough milk to make a light, spongy dough.
Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll to 2½cm/1in thick. Cut into rounds with a floured 5cm/2in cutter.
Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with milk.
Bake for 7-10 minutes until the scones are well risen and golden brown.