25 Oct 2013

Boozy Bread and Butter Pudding

I'm back from my annual holiday - I've missed National Baking Week and National Chocolate Week. No worries, I'm here to support National Bread and Butter Pudding Week......

My husband loves bread and butter pudding - there must be at least five other recipes on my blog!

Bread and Butter Pudding is one of our Great British puddings and there are many, many variations. This pudding has a thin layer of brandy soaked sultanas scattered over the base of the dish.  Unlike the majority of bread and butter puddings there is only a small amount of bread and lots of custard.

You will need: 50g sultanas soaked in a tablespoon of Brandy, 2 slices of white farmhouse bread, softened butter, 3 eggs, 50g caster sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract or a vanilla pod, 0.5 litres milk.

Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Grease an ovenproof dish.

1. Soak the sultanas in the brandy. Butter the bread, remove the crusts and cut into triangles. Scatter the sultanas over the base of the dish. Arrange the bread in overlapping slices in the dish.
2. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract together. In a small pan warm the milk and pour onto the eggs whilst whisking.
3. Pour the egg mixture through a fine sieve onto the bread.
4. Take a roasting tray and fill half way with hot water, place the dish onto the tray and cook for 45 minutes or until cooked.
5. Dust with icing sugar and carefully caramelise with a blow torch.

9 Oct 2013

Mince Beef and Stilton Mini Pies - Recipe

I'm originally from Stilton Cheese country and these mini pies are a reminder of the shires.

When I made my cottage pie I used just half the meat mixture and with the remainder I made these mini pies. Bought shortcrust was used to make the pies on this occasion - and why not! I made one cottage pie and eight mini pies from just 500g of 10% fat Aberdeen Angus mince beef.

Packed full of flavour

To make 8 mini pies all you need is a 12 cup muffin tin - I used a loose base 12 cup individual mini sandwich tin from Lakeland - removing the pies is much easier than using a normal muffin tin.

1. 500g pack of shortcrust pastry.
2. Spray the tray with oil.
3. Roll out the pastry and with the plain side of a 11cm cutter stamp out 8 circles to line the tins. Fill the pastry cases to the top with the cooked mince beef mixture and press down with a spoon.  Top with a cube of Stilton cheese.
4. Roll out the remaining pastry and with the plain side of a 8cm cutter stamp out 8 lids. Beat an egg and brush the underside of the pastry lid with egg and press down on to the edges of the pastry bases. Pinch the edges of the pastry together. Brush the lids with beaten egg and make a large hole in the lids for the steam to escape. Place the tray in the fridge and leave to chill for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cook for 40 minutes until golden.

4 Oct 2013

Baked Apples - Recipe

Baked Apples
Bramley apples are perfect for baking and if you take them out of the oven at exactly the right time the apple within will be lovely and fluffy. They are filled with layers of butter, brown sugar and dried fruits, it's as simple as that.  Cinnamon mixed in with the layers would be good too.

My hubby insists on having his baked apples floating in Birds custard and why not!  I'm not sure they would go with posh custard, creme fraiche or cream.  Ice cream would be good though for that hot and cold pudding combination.

We never hear the words ‘let’s have Baked Apple and custard tonight’. This retro recipe appears to have been written out of the majority of recipe books, although Nigel Slater has written a recipe for this in his books.…..it's delicious.

You will need:

For each Bramley cooking apple:

Butter, mixed dried fruit, dark brown sugar.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the apple core with an apple corer. Score each cooking apple round the middle, going quite deep into the apple.
2. Put the apples into a baking dish, using the handle of a teaspoon fill the centres with butter, dried fruit, and sugar – repeat the layers until the apple cavity is filled to the top. Top each apple with a cube of butter as the last layer.
3. Add a few tablespoons of water to the dish and place in the oven to bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

2 Oct 2013

Cottage Pie with Roasted Vine Cherry Tomatoes - Recipe

Comfort food
Easy midweek family meals, made from a few quality ingredients, inexpensive and cooked from scratch - that's why we love cottage pie.

I'm a bit of a cheat when it comes to chopping vegetables into small pieces and use my trusted kitchen gadget. I like the way it effortlessly cuts the vegetables into precise cubes - it doesn't take much to please me. I thought it would be one of those gadgets which remained at the back of the cupboard collecting dust but it does get used on a fairly regular basis. My knife skills aren't the best and when I went on a course at the local college the lecturer always said I cut vegetables like a housewife which used to make me laugh, although he did have a point!

You will need:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
750g lean mince beef
2 tsp plain flour
300ml beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

For the potato topping:

750g potatoes
30g butter
Vine cherry tomatoes

1. Finely chop the onion, celery and carrot. To a large pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the vegetables until the onion becomes translucent and the vegetables begin to soften. Add the mince beef and cook for 5 minutes, add the tomato puree and cook for a couple more minutes, stirring to break up the mince.
2. Stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, add the stock, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 45 minutes. Pour into a large casserole dish and cool.
3. Cook the potatoes, drain, add the butter to the pan and mash until smooth. Season.
4. Place dollops of potato onto the mince mixture and spread out to the edges. Place the vine cherry tomatoes on top.
5. Preheat the oven to 180oC and cook for 30 minutes until bubbling and brown.