Quiche with sweet potato ‘pastry’

I love it when an experiment works! I’d had an idea of trying out mashed sweet potato instead of pastry. I’ve been thinking about it for days…

Here’s how it went.

Ingredients:

4 small sweet potatoes

4 eggs

Salt and pepper

Paprika

Smoked bacon

Red onion

Peas

pine nuts

Asparagus

300ml double cream

Stilton

Hard Italian cheese

1. Wash, peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Put in a pan of water and boil until soft.

2. In a cup, mix one of the eggs with salt and pepper and some paprika.

3. When the potatoes are soft, mash together with the egg. Leave to cool.

4. Fry the bacon in pieces until crispy. Then add the onion, peas and pine nuts. Once cooked, leave to one side.

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5. Grease a loose bottomed quiche tin with butter. Tip the mash into the tin. Carefully, with the back of a spoon, spread around the tin, covering it all equally and up the sides too.

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6. Cook in a pre heated oven on gas 7 for approx 20 minutes or until hard.

7. In a bowl, add the remaining 3 eggs to the cream. Season and crumble in 2/3 of the Stilton. Mix well.

8. Pour the cream mixture in with the bacon and bits.

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9. Once the case is hard, pour in the cream mixture carefully.

10. Arrange the asparagus on top of the mixture. Sprinkle over some more pine nuts, the remaining Stilton and some grated hard Italian cheese. Bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes on gas 6 until a knife comes out clean.

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Hurrah! It worked! I was so happy (saddo) it was also mega delish served with salad and balsamic vinegar. So much so the husband wants to take leftovers to work.

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Cheese and jalapeno pretzels

I’m going to Florida in March. Since we booked it, I’ve been dreaming of having a cheese jalapeno pretzel. Even though it’s not long until we go, I couldn’t wait any longer! I had to have one!

I scoured around the web and combined recipes. Here’s what I came up with.

Ingredients:

220 g white bread flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp yeast

2 tbsp margarine

Grated extra mature cheddar cheese (just grated loads as you can never have too much cheese!)

2 jalapenos washed and diced

160 ml milk

Rock salt to sprinkle over the top

Method:

1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and yeast. 

2. Put in the margarine in small bits. 

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3. Rub the dry ingredients and marge together to make fine breadcrumbs.

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4. Add the cheese, jalapenos and milk and stir.

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5. Add more flour if too wet.

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6. Knead a few times.

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7. Divide dough in half and taking one half, roll into a 12×8 inch rectangle.

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8. Cut dough lengthways into 8 1 inch strips.

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9. Roll out a bit further with the palms of your hands. Then repeat with the other half.

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10. Twist into a pretzel shape. Wet the ends with milk to stick to the rest of the pretzel.

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11. Leave to rise slightly for 30 minutes. 

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12. Grease a couple of trays and turn the oven onto gas mark 6.

13. Fill a pan with water and bring to the boil.

14. Taking a pretzel, carefully place it on a large spoon and hold it in the boiling water for 5 seconds.

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15. Place on the greased tray and sprinkle over some rock salt.

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16. Repeat with the rest and cook for approx 20 minutes or until golden.

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Next time I think I’ll brush them with either milk or egg to give them a glossy finish. 

The mixture of cheese, jalapenos, salt and bread is amazing!! I know these are going to be a firm favourite in this household! They’ll tide me over until we’re in America 🙂

 

Hidden star cake

The snow has been here for a couple of weeks and as hubby works outside, he’s been home everyday! It’s getting quite old now 😉 So to have some time to myself (even though I wasn’t too well yesterday) I decided to get in the kitchen and test out a new idea I’ve had. I took inspiration from Pinterest, but unfortunately, I didn’t ‘pin’ it but it’s been in my head for days. The cake I saw was a cake made in a loaf tin, with a pumpkin running through out. 

I thought with Valentines day approaching, I’d try to make one with a heart running through it. So I went to the kitchen to make a start,  went to get a heart cutter and oh! I don’t appear to have one! I could have sworn I did. Oh well, I’ll just have to buy a new one 😉

Anyway, on with the cake. Now, please note, this was a trial run just to test out how to make it and I was unwell so it’s not a totally good bake but it gives me hope to get the next one right. 

Ingredients:

For the stars: 

  • 100g (3½oz)  unsalted butter, very soft
  • 100g (3½oz) golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g (3½oz) self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp red food colouring gel

For the rest of the cake:

  • 100g (3½oz) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 100g (3½oz) golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g (3½oz) self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Method:

To make the stars-

1. Preheat oven to gas 4, 180˚C, fan 160˚C. Grease a loaf tin with butter.

2. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

3. Beat in the eggs one by one and then beat in the flour, a pinch of salt and the red food colouring gel.

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4. Pour into the greased tin and level out. Cook in the oven for approx. 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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5. Leave to cool slightly in the tin. 

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6. Once cooled, take out of the tin and turn it upside down. 

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7. With a bread knife, cut the cake sideways into 3 slices.

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8. With a star cookie cutter, cut out as many stars as you can with the 3 slices of cake. Leave to one side.

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For the rest of the cake-

1. Clean and grease the tin again.

2. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

3. Beat in the eggs one by one and then beat in the flour, a pinch of salt and the vanilla extract. Leave to one side.

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To assemble- 

1. In the tin, stand the stars up in a line, one after another, running down the middle of the tin. 

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2. Gently spoon the cake mixture over the stars and level out.

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3. Cook in the oven for approx. 25 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.

4. Leave to cool slightly in the tin, then once cool take it out of the tin.

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5. Carefully slice into the cake and see if it has worked!

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I know it looks rubbish but I have learnt what I need to do next time to make it better. Next time, I will make more of the vanilla cake mixture so it covers the stars totally. I’ll have to figure out how much to increase the mixture by first though. I’ll also cover the cake in either icing or chocolate buttercream or something else scrummy. I really wasn’t feeling too well so I just left it as it was. It also appears to be slightly under cooked and one side of the star isn’t sharp and pointy like it should be. But this was just a learning curve. 

I’d like to try it out with other shaped cutters, different colours, flavours and shapes of tins. I’d also like to do it in a round tin. 

Until next time,

x

 

My favourite breakfast

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At approximately 580 calories, I have this as an occasional treat (hey, it’s better than McDonalds, right?! Which used to be my number 1) 

I love that it has a kind of buffet or a pick and mix feel to it. I sometimes have some egg on a piece of bagel with either cheese, or spring onion, or ham etc or go totally wild and mix it up! I love to eat bits of cheese with a grape or apple. I love that it’s a ‘fun’ breakfast. 

Here’s the stats from http://www.myfitnesspal.com (I added salad cream to the eggs after the photo):

Breakfast Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sugar Potass
Aldi – Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese, 30 g 125 0 11 0 0 0 Ico_delete
Weightwatchers – Bagel, 64 g 154 29 1 6 3 0 Ico_delete
Tesco – Spring Onion (Salad Onion), 75 gms 18 2 0 2 2 0 Ico_delete
Generic – Apple Braeburn 100 g, 100 g 47 12 0 0 12 0 Ico_delete
Morrisons – Red Seedless Grapes, 50 g 30 8 0 0 8 0 Ico_delete
Boiled – Eggs, 2 Medium (44g) 136 1 9 11 1 118 Ico_delete
Morrisons – Unsalted English Butter, 5 g 37 0 4 0 0 0 Ico_delete
Bramwells-Aldi- – Light Salad Cream, 15 g 31 2 3 0 1 0 Ico_delete
Add Food 

578 54 28 19 27 118

 

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Christmas gifts

Last year, I decided to make hampers for family. I went WAY overboard and was really stressed on Christmas eve making a whole heap of stuff. Everyone loved them though, so it was worth it and it made me happy. But this year, with me already being really busy decorating etc, I want to make things in advance. Things that can be stored in a cupboard or in the freezer. I’ve made a list of the things I’d like to make, and have just made a couple of the things on it. Summer fruit jam and mincemeat. Some of the mincemeat will be used to make mince pies and the rest will be given in hampers. 

I used this recipe for the jam: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/711653/summer-berry-jam 

Here the jars are in all their glory-

I used this recipe for the mincemeat: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4829/sandham-family-mincemeat

I used brandy instead of whiskey as that’s what I had in.

More to come…

Make your own pizza!

Pizza is a favourite take out meal of mine. I love the massive carb and cheese fest. What’s great about making your own though, is that you can have it exactly as you want. Triple cheese? No problem. Different meats? Great. Chocolate spread? Whatever floats your boat. 

I’ve found a great recipe for a simple dough base- http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4683/pizza-margherita-in-4-easy-steps

You can put things into the dough too, for example; I put some garlic granules. You could use cheese or herbs etc.

Then I simply put it together how I want. 

Firstly though, as I want a deep pan base, I let the dough rise for a good couple of hours. Then I let it to rise again after the toppings are on. For a thin and crispy base, you don’t have to let it rise. So it makes a great quick and easy meal. 

After letting my dough rise, and kneading it again, I pushed it into my pizza pan. Then I choose my sauce to be a mix of tomato puree and BBQ sauce (remember to not spread all the way to the edges, you want a crust)

Grated Mozzarella was liberally spread over the sauce, then on goes:

Sliced tomatoes

Pepperoni

Onions 

Sweetcorn

And a sprinkling of basil

Then ‘cos I want more cheese in my life, more Mozzarella and finally mature cheddar. 

It was cooked on gas 6 for about 30 minutes.

Here’s the beast! 

Come to Mama!

I was forced to share shared it with the Husb’ and I’m gutted there was only 1 piece leftover 😦

Strawberry jam pie pops!

I needed another treat to take to the party I went to at the weekend. Googling ensued to find something that wouldn’t melt in the car. I already had cheese twists and cookies so wanted something different. I decided to look at a favourite website of mine http://www.bakerella.com It’s a fantastic website and I love looking at the many recipes. Eventually, after spending many minutes drooling;  I came across these: http://www.bakerella.com/easy-as-pie/ pie pops. They look so cool, right?! I had to give them a go. 

All you need is pastry, a filling of your choice (I used strawberry jam), whisked egg, lollypop stick and sugar. Easy peasy.

I used this simple shortcrust pastry recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/shortcrustpastry_1278

I rolled it out and cut out circular shapes

On a lined baking tray, place a circle of pastry and gently push in a lollypop stick

Spoon a little jam into the middle of the circle and brush the edges of the circle with the egg

Place another circle on top of the jam and press down the edges. Crimp along the sides with the edge of a lollypop stick  and brush the top with the egg

Repeat with the rest of the pastry

Cook for approx 20 minutes on gas 6 or until golden

When they are cooked, sprinkle on a little sugar. I also wrapped them in cellophane to keep them fresh

They must be good as there were none left! I think I’ll try with a savoury filling next time, as I definitely have to make more!

The best big, fat, chewy cookies ever

These are THE best cookies, I’ve ever made. People said to me when they tried them that I should sell them, they’re that good. There were resounding ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ when they were being gobbled down.

Here’s the recipe http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/4807/best-big–fat–chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies.aspx

I used milk and white chocolate chips for a hit of two lovely chocolates. They are soft, chewy, sweet and are by far, my favourite cookie, homemade or shop bought. You must try them!

If you try these (which I really think you should!) You will not be disappointed, I promise*

*Please don’t hunt me down if you don’t like them! 😉 Though I think you will…

Psychedelic biscuits!

Here’s another batch of food I took to the party. They look so vibrant and appealing that everyone will want one. Both adults and kids of all ages loved them and went back for more…and more…and more!

I used this basic recipe but divided it into two and made one half in one bowl and the other in another bowl.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3468/basic-biscuit-dough

In one of the bowls (before I added the flour) I added some red food colouring gel and in the other, blue gel (the gel is so much better than the ‘normal’ liquid food colouring, as you only need a tiny bit to make the vivid colour)

When the dough is made and has been in the fridge for a bit, divide both balls of dough into two

Taking one half of the red, roll it into a rectangle on a floured surface. Then next to it roll out the blue to the same shape and size

Put one on top of the other. Roll gently so they merge slightly

Gently roll into a sausage

Carefully cut into thin biscuits

Repeat with the other halves of the dough

Cook at gas mark 4, on a grease proofed tray for approx 12 minutes 

This picture shows how bright the are. They taste a bit like shortbread and look cool! 

Cheese twists

I went to a party at the weekend and wanted to take some food along. I was thinking and looking on Google for things to make that would be easy and would travel well, as it would take 3 hours to get to the party. Then I came across cheese straws. I’d never made them before but they looked pretty simple, and they wouldn’t melt or anything in the car, so they seemed like a good idea.

I looked at loads of different recipes and adapted them to make my own version.

Ingredients:

Ready made puff pastry 

Egg white

Parmesan- about 5/6 large tablespoons

Black pepper- to your taste

Paprika- to your taste

Cayenne pepper- to your taste

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6. Put grease proof paper on an oven tray. Roll the puff pastry on a floured surface into a rectangle about 0.5 cm thick

2. Brush all over with the egg white

3. In a bowl, mix grated Parmesan with the pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika

 

4. Sprinkle over half of the cheese mix and spread over to cover the pastry sheet and gently press down so it sticks to the pastry

5. Turn the pastry over and repeat the above. Cover with egg white and spread the cheese

6. Cut the pastry into strips about 1 cm wide

7. Taking one strip at a time and twist the strip, pressing the ends down gently so it doesn’t unravel

8. Place on the tray and cook for about 15 minutes or until golden brown

9. Cook all the remaining twists 

These are SO simple to make yet taste amazing, they went down a storm. Definitely worth a go!

(I’m sorry I forgot to take pictures of the finished product, doh! Just imagine the twists a little golden brown and delish and there you have it!)