Wednesday, 31 August 2011

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF - WEEK THREE



It was bread this week and we were all very nervous about what Paul would have to say about our efforts.  I do like to make bread, of all the things to bake it gives me the most sense of achievement when I produce something nice - For me, It's easy to get wrong and hard to get right.

In the past I have shied away from loaves and made less temperamental breads like stromboli and fougasse.  Bread does scare me a little so I had to really get to grips with my reservations and work hard on coming up with original recipes that I could guarantee would work, have lots of flavour and offer something different. 

We started with our signature free form loaf. I have issues with adding ingredients to my bread, I just don't seem to get good results once I add any extras so I new I had to find something that would add lots of flavour but not affect the structure of the dough




Dukkah is a middle eastern spice mix traditionally used as a side dish eaten with olive oil and bread.  The name Dukkah is derived from the Arabic for 'to pound' as the mixture of spices and nuts are pounded together after being dry roasted.  I also use it on roasted meats , in stews and on pizzas and now in bread.


   50g Blanched Almonds or Hazelnuts
50g Sesame Seeds
25g Coriander Seeds
5g Cumin Seeds
1/2tsp Salt Flakes
1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Dried Thyme
  











Put the corriander seeds, cumin seeds, hazelnuts and sesame seeds in a pan and dry roast them till they start to brown and pop.  The aroma is fantastic.  Remove them from the pan immediately as they will continue to toast and they may burn.  Add the remaining ingredients and either use a pestle and mortar to grind them together or whizz them in a mini chopper.  I like it a little chunky and to have texture but you can make it as fine as you like.


              
          Dough
                            500g Strong White Bread Flour
                                              15g Yeast
                                               10g Salt
                                             40g Butter
                                            300g Water
                                            50g Dukkah
                                         A little Olive Oil

                                                                                                                                         

Rub the butter into the flour, add the yeast, salt and dukkah and combine.  Add the water and mix till it all comes together, I find it easier to use a knife for this.  You want to start with quite a wet dough.  Put a little olive oil on the surface, this will help it to not stick when kneading.  Knead for 10 minutes - if you can manage it,  till smooth.  If it does start to stick, add a little more oil to the surface or dust yout hands lightly with flour.  Try not to add too much flour to your dough though as it will become tough and you will achieve hard bread.

Form the dough into a ball, return it to the bowl and cover with a tea towel.  Rest for 1 hour to double in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and 'knock it back' to it's original size.  Now shape it into a ball and rest for a further hour on a baking stone covered with a tea towel.  After the hour the dough will have doubled again, cut marks into the loaf and bake at 200C for 40 minutes.





PESTO BREAD

Because I'd used a normal bread dough for the signature loaf I wanted something different for the first of my two rolls.  This pesto bread is made with an olive oil dough but rather than use just olive oil, I have used the oil to make the pesto and added that.

Olive oil dough has a lovely soft stretchy texture, I actually prefer to use it for most of my bread, it's good for pizza bases too.

Pesto
50g Basil               30g Pinenuts
30g Pecorino        1 clove Garlic
85ml Olive Oil       Salt & Pepper to Season

Whizz all the ingredients together in a mini chopper or processor till you have a lovely sloppy green paste.



   Dough
500g Strong White Bread Flour
15g Yeast
10g Salt
320g Water
3 Tblsp Pesto






Mix the flour, yeast and salt. Combine the water with the pesto and mix into the flour with a knife  to form a dough.  Knead it on a lightly oiled surface for 10 minutes till smooth. Now return the dough to the bowl and cover with a tea towel.  Rest for 1 hour till doubled in size.


Remove the dough from the bowl and 'knock back' to original size.  Divide it into 12 pieces, they should weigh about 80g each.  Roll each one into a sausage then tie them into knots.  Rest them on the baking sheet or stone and cover with a tea towel.  Rest for a further hour to double again.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200C





SWEET COCONUT ROLLS

So, I've used a regular dough and an olive oil dough, now for a sweet dough.  This was the bread that made Mary like coconut.  It reminds me of my mum's chelsea buns, she replaced the usual sultanas with a mixture of toasted coconut, butter and sugar, every time I taste it I'm transported back to my childhood.

You can eat this bread as it is, still warm from the oven is best but it also goes great with a really hot curry, the sweetness helps combat the heat from the chilli, a bit like peshwari naan.






Coconut Filling
100g Dessicated Coconut 
50g Demerara Sugar  
50g Butter 




500g Strong White Bread Flour
15g Yeast
60g Butter
40g Sugar
10g Salt
 2 Eggs
 200g Milk
25g Dessicated Coconut
1 tsp Icing Sugar








Make the coconut filling. Toast all the coconut in a dry pan till it browns.  Remove it from the pan as it will continue to toast and burn. Remove 25g and set aside for the dough.  Now put the butter and sugar in the pan and heat till the butter has melted.  Once they have both melted add the remaining coconut and stir to combine.

Now make the dough.  Stir the icing sugar into the 25g of coconut and set aside.  Warm the milk slightly in a pan.  Rub the butter into the flour.  Add the yeast, sugar, salt and coconut with icing sugar and stir to combine.  Mix in the eggs and milk with a knife and knead for 10 minutes on a slightly oiled surface till smooth. Return the dough to the bowl and cover.  Leave to prove for an hour till doubled in size.

The Faffy Bit




Remove from bowl and 'knock back' to original size.  Divide the dough into 12 neat balls, they should weigh about 80g each. This is where it gets tricky but only slightly,  To form each one, roll each into a disc about 5mm thick and cover with a spoon of coconut filling.  Cut from the centre to the edge of the disc then roll it up from the cut edge to form a cone shape.  Tuck the dough at the larger end in on itself to make a base, sit the base in the surface and use your thumb to push the point of the cone into the centre and form a dimple.  Rest for a further hour on a baking sheet lined with parchment.   Cover with a tea towel. 

Because it is a sweet dough it can burn if the temperature is too high so bake it at 160C for 20-30 minutes.






BREAD BASKET



If that wasn't enough we had to make a display basket for our rolls.  15 years in child care teaches you something about play dough along with cutting and sticking so that's just what I did!

My friend Ann always buys the most perfect presents and she gave me these fantastic leaf cutters.  The whole thing was simple and effective but it was the cutters that made it - with a little help from me!

  



 Salt Dough
2 Cups Plain Flour and Extra for Rolling
1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Warm Water
1 tsp Oil
1 Egg White to glaze and stick extra leaves on













I baked mine for 30 minutes at 140C on the outside then removed the bowl and did it for a further 30 minutes.

Once it's baked glaze the whole thing with egg white and glue on the extra baked leaves also with egg white.  Bake for a further 10 minutes.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

CHRYSANTHEMUM CUP CAKES



Oh my goodness, how excited was I to discover how to make these.  I think the effect is so stunning yet it's really easy to do.  You'll want to try it to see for yourself I'm sure.

I've made cup cakes using a basic victoria sponge.  Actually they were chocolate & banana swirled together.

Next top with butter cream ready for the petals.

To make each petal you'll need coloured sugar and mini marshmallows, you know the kind they pile on top of your hot chocolate in cafes.  I coloured my own sugar by mixing it with colour paste.  Use colour paste rather than liquid as it would make it too wet.  I mix it in a sieve and it gets any lumps out.  Keep any left over in a jar ready for next time, and there will be a next time.  Already I can't wait to do them again.


Now for the clever bit.  Use scissors to snip each marshmallow in half diagonally.  This gives you a sticky edge on the cut, dip this edge into the sugar and voila, you have a petal.  You will see that it already has a flat edge, use this side to stick it onto the cake.  Start with the outside edge and complete 3 rings.  Finish with one in the centre.  You will need about 16 marshmallows for each cake.

How easy is that, I told you!




Wednesday, 24 August 2011

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF - WEEK TWO



Tarts were on the menu this week and it was all about not having a soggy bottom, sloppy middle or a burnt top.  My quiche came very close to all three due to having my oven set for me at the wrong function.  It was on bottom heat only which meant that when I put my filling in all that liquid was sitting on my pastry for a good 30 minutes not cooking and possible making it wetter and wetter.

Quelle horreur!  All was not lost though.  Once I realised, I adjusted the setting and whacked up the temperature then hoped for the best.  It worked! hoorah! and they liked it, not a soggy bottom in sight but due to the lack of time it was slightly unset in the very centre.  Still, it past muster and was gobbled up by the crew.

I have to say I do like quiche.  I think they have a bit of a bad reputation and can be seen as a little retro but not in a good way.  However, depending on your filling it can be bang on.  I recently made quiches with samphire & bacon and halloumi & sweet potato (see older posts).

For the show I didn't want to go too off the chart so chose a classic with a slight twist, Smoked Haddock & Watercress with a Pecorino pastry.  I used dyed haddock because the yellow and green together are so beautiful and make me think of sitting outside on a sunny day.  It's a good idea to use watercress sprigs and pick off the larger stalky bits so you're not chewing through woody bits.

You could use Parmesan instead of Pecorino if you like.  Pecorino is made from ewes milk instead of cows milk and has a milder but more salty taste.  Because of this and the haddock being quite salty I have not added any more salt but lots of white pepper.

The pastry has half marg and half white vegetable fat, this gives it a more short and crisp bake.  I have no qualms about using machinery to help with making pastry and use my beloved launderette yellow freestanding mixer for this, I have very hot hands which are not good for pastry so it helps not having to handle it too much, I know Paul is disapproving of this but I'm still making my own pastry and if he wants to challenge me to a 'Pastry Off' I'm sure our school fair could accommodate him.

SMOKED HADDOCK & WATERCRESS QUICHE


Pastry
200g Plain Flour
40g Sunflower Margarine
40g Cookeen
20g Pecorino

Filling
1 Onion chopped
1 Stick of Celery finely chopped
1 tbsp Olive Oil
375g Dyed Skinless Boneless Smoked Haddock Fillet
2 Bay Leaves
3/4 Pint Full Fat Milk
75g Watercress
3 Eggs
White Pepper
Pecorino to finish

Preheat the oven to 160c fan. (Not Bottom Cook)

Make your pastry.  Rub all the ingredients together till they resemble fine bread crumbs.  Grating the white fat helps as it can be quite hard.  Add a little cold water to form it into a soft dough.  Knead it slightly on a lightly floured surface till it becomes smooth.

Roll out the pastry and line a deep flan tin.  I use a 24cm / 9.5" tin.  Line it with parchment and baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes.  Remove the parchment and beans then bake for a further 8-10 minutes to finish off.

While the pastry is cooking, poach the fish in the milk and bay leaves till it's just starting to come apart, about 10 minutes.  Break the bay leaves in half to help it release the flavour.  Once the haddock is poached, discard the bay leaves, separate the fish and milk and allow them to cool.

Use the olive oil to fry the onion and celery then line your cooked pastry shell with them.  Add 2/3 of the watercress then gently flake the fish in.  Top with the remaining watercress.

Mix the eggs and white pepper into the milk and pour over the filling.  Finish with grated Pecorino. Cook for 30-35 minutes turning half way to get an even browning.



The 'Show Stopper Challenge' was 2 different miniature tarts, 12 of each.  I was very pleased with the results of mine but unfortunately they did not get the television debut they so rightly deserved.  Paul thought they were absolutely delicious and the pastry was the thinnest there! So, here is what you missed.







CHOCOLATE & ORANGE 
WITH
 CINNAMON & ORANGE PASTRY







BLUEBERRY & HAZELNUT
WITH
HAZELNUT PASTRY



It's a bit like a Bakewell tart but not.

For the programme I made a blueberry compote by covering bluberries with sugar in a pan then heating till you get a thick syrupy mush but St Dalfour and Bonne Maman both do lovely blueberry jams if you can't be doing with that.

Ground hazelnuts are not readily available in the supermarket so I get whole ones and grind them myself in my mini chopper.  The pastry is enough for 24 but you could freeze half if you like or, as I did for these photos, make a large pastry shell and freeze that ready for another bake.

The tart tin I used is from , Lakeland.  I love it and Mary was very taken with it too saying it was very different and clever.  It's non stick and each square has a loose bottom so the tarts just slide out.  I use a round cutter and miraculously they fit in the square hole, is it magic? I don't know but it works.  That's my top tip done!

Pastry
125g Sunflower Margarine
100g Plain Flour
100g Ground Hazelnuts
25g Icing Sugar
1 Egg

Filling
65g Sunflower Margarine
65g Sugar
1 Egg
75g Ground Hazelnuts
15g Plain Flour
2 tbsp of Blueberry Jam
1 Punnet of Blueberries
Icing Sugar to dust



Pre-heat the oven to 160c

Make the pastry, Rub all the ingredients together then add the egg to form the dough.  Knead a little on a lightly floured surface.  You may have to add a little more flour, the oil from the nuts makes it very soft and difficult to use.  Fill each tart case and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes.  This helps to prevent shrinkage when it's baking.

Now mix together the Marg, sugar, egg, hazelnuts and flour.  Give it a good beating till it's all combined.

You now need 1/2 tsp of the blueberry jam in each case.  If you put too much in it will bubble out at the sides.  Top the jam with a good tsp of the hazelnut mixture then pop 3 blueberries on top.

Bake for 20 minutes then leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin.  Once they have cooled dust with icing sugar.

Next week it's bread and the most stressful technical challenge!

Chocolate & Pistachio Battenburg





It's now been well documented that I don't like marzipan.  This could be the reason I'm not keen on fruit cake either as it quite often comes encased in the stuff.  

So, is Battenburg worth the effort when you consider the marzipan factor.  I've tried too alternatives, Coffee & Walnut with Walnut Marzipan and Chocolate & Pistachio with Chocolate Fondant.  I have to say the walnut marzipan was a good alternative but although they were both enjoyed greatly by all who ate them, I've come to the conclusion that no, they're not.  I'd much rather use the time and effort on a cake that looks just as nice but not necessarily like a chess board....sorry Dot!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF - WEEK ONE





The Great Brisitsh Bake Off has to have been one of the most exhausting and emotional experiences of my life.  Seven years ago I gave birth to my second son, moved house 250 miles and had Christmas all within 2 weeks, it was a walk in the park compared to 'The Bake Off'.

That said, I would not change a thing, actually, I might alter a few recipes, lose some weight and maybe try not to cry so much, but apart from that, Oh yes perhaps sleep more and stress less.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

The whole experience has definitely made me a better baker and given me the confidence to have a go at anything but better still, create my own recipes.  I used to say I could cook because I could follow a recipe but I didn’t have the expertise to devise my own, I can’t stop myself now and I LOVE IT.

When you watch the programme I really hope it comes across how much fun we all had and how well we all got along, I’ve made some great friends from my fellow bakers, we all clicked from day one, infact on the first day of filming someone asked us if we’d all been away together on a team building exercise when in fact we all met in the pub the night before. 

We are all from different walks of life but like minded when it comes to baking.  It was so weird for me to be talking to a 19 years old student about puff pastry and meringue with the same enthusiasm

Week one began with our signature cup cakes. We had 2 hours to produce 24 cup cakes using two different flavours.  I love cardamom and was determinded to get it in somewhere so my first was a Shrikhand Cup Cake.  Shrikhand is an Indian dessert made from strained yoghurt and flavoured with cardamom.  My version used cream cheese and fresh tropical fruit which makes it light and refreshing.



















My second was a lemon meringue cupcake.  On the show I pushed the boat out and made lemon curd from scratch, something I’d never done before.  You could of course use a jar from the supermarket instead, sometimes being a good cook is just a matter of knowing when to cheat.


50g Sunflower Margarine
2 tblsp Lemon Curd
1 Egg
125ml Milk
175g Plain Flour
1 1/2tsp Baking Powder
70g Sugar
Zest of 2 Unwaxed Lemons  
MERINGUE
2 Egg Whites
300g Sugar
4 tblsp Water
LEMON SYRUP
75g Sugar
Juice of 2 Lemons
LEMON CURD
Zest & Juice of 4 un-waxed Lemons
200g Sugar
100g Butter
 3 Eggs
 1 Egg Yolk

If you’re making the lemon curd, start with that to allow it time to cool. Put the zest, juice, sugar and cubed butter in a double boiler and whisk till the butter melts.
In a jug mix the eggs with a fork then stir them into the lemon.  Allow to cook for about 10 minutes stirring till thick and heavy, remove it from double boiler and leave to cool.

Make the cakes.  Melt the butter in a pan and allow to cool

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. In a jug measure the milk and add the eggs, butter and lemon curd.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. You can use an electric mixer for this.  Divide between 12 cupcake cases and cook for 20-25 mins at 160C.  Once cakes are cooked increase oven to 200C.

Make a lemon syrup by heating the lemon juice and sugar together till just beginning to boil.

When the cakes are cooked, pierce each one with a toothpick a few times and pour over a dessert spoon of lemon syrup.  Top each with a tsp of lemon curd.

Make the meringue topping.  I’ve used a method similar to Italian meringue which uses sugar syrup but with this you put all the ingredients into a heat proof bowl and whisk over boiling water with electric hand whisk for 8 minutes till thick.
Pipe the meringue onto each cake and return to the hot oven till browned. This can take just a minute so keep an eye on them.




The Show Stopper Challenge.

We were asked to create a tiered celebration cake in 4 ½ hours.  It was to be an impressive and elaborate creation that showed our talent and skill as a baker and cake decorator.

Making fiddly fussy pretty little things is really not me so I decided to go with something that 15 years in child care has taught me - cutting and sticking.

To practice making this for the show I made one for a Royal Wedding street party.  I was scared that the original colours might be too bold for Mary and Paul so went for pastels on the day.

Another cheat tip – buy the roll out icing, it’s really not necessary to make it unless you have a camera crew lurking over your shoulder.  This recipe makes 1x4", 1x6" and 2x8" cakes



PASSION CAKE
375ml Sunflower Oil
210g Sugar
375g Plain Flour
150g Coconut
3 tsp Mixed Spice
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Bicarb
75g Pecans Chopped
6 eggs
3 tsp Vanilla Paste
375g Carrots grated
1 1/2 x 432g Tins Crushed Pineapple drained

FROSTING
600g Icing Sugar
100g Sunflower Margarine
250g Cream Cheese

ICING
4 Ibs Icing Sugar
4 Egg Whites
200g Liquid Glucose
Colour Pastes
Coloured Balls to decorate
Corn Flour for rolling out

Heat Oven to 160c.

Drain the pineapple in a sieve and discard the juice or drink it with lots of ice (and some Malibu!)

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, coconut, mixed spice, baking powder, bicarb and pecans.
In a jug whisk together the oil, eggs and vanilla paste,
Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Add the grated carrot, pineapple and lime zest and give it a thorough mix till everything is combined.

Divide between lined tins and bake till cooked through.  Times will depend on the sizes of cake tins you use.  On average a 10” tin will take about 30-40 minutes.

Next make the frosting.  In an electric mixer combine the margarine with the sugar then add the cream cheese and vanilla and mix.  Keep in fridge till ready to use.

If you’re making the icing, combine the icing sugar with egg white and liquid glucose in an electric mixer.  Once it comes together remove it to a surface dusted with corn flour and knead by hand to finish. You can keep this in the fridge to firm up a little till you’re ready to use.

Once the cakes are cooled use the frosting to sandwich them together and to stick the icing to them.  I used cutters to make fondant flowers to finish mine but you could just use the frosting, how you decorate it is up to you. 



Saturday, 13 August 2011

SMOKED SALMON FISH CAKES



Fish cakes can be as fancy or simple as you want them, don't be afraid of swapping flavours like Wasabi or Thai Green Curry Paste.  You can leave things out too, I tend not to use the horseradish for children as this can make them "a bit spicy".

I've used 2 packets of smoked salmon trimmings that most supermarkets have now.  They're great for something like this, already chopped and cheap as chips at 98p per packet you can't go wrong and no-one will ever know you've used the cheap stuff.  I use it mixed with cream cheese for sandwiches and in sushi for people too scared to eat raw fish, you'd be surprised how many people don't realise that technically smoked salmon is raw.

Assembling them can be easy or a phaff depending on how much time you have.  I used a round pastry cutter to shape them.  Fill it with the mixture then press them out.  You could just roll them in a ball and flatten them but wait till the potato has cooled to do this.  Cold mash is easier to handle and doesn't burn.

You can use fresh or dried breadcrumbs.  I keep breadcrumbs in the freezer made from the end crusts which no-one in our house favours unless it's straight out of the oven.

I've served them here with Hollandaise and Samphire, my ingredient of the month - sorry Sean, I'll lay off it for a bit now.  Alternatively spinach tossed in a little butter for 3 minutes over a low heat, fine green beans and of course good old peas go well.

It's worth making a big batch of these and freeze them once they are assembled before you cook them and you've got a meal ready and waiting .

600g Mashing Spuds (You want King Edwards or Maris Pipers ideally)
240g Smoked Salmon Trimmings
5 Spring Onions Chopped
3 Good Tbsp Creme Fraiche
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Creamed Horseradish
Salt & White Pepper
Flour for coating
1 Egg Beaten
Fresh or Dried Breadcrumbs for coating.
2 tsp Dried Dill
Oil for frying

Boil the spuds till soft and beginning to fall apart.  Drain and leave them to dry out for 5 minutes, you don't want any excess water.  Once they have dried mash them and stir in the smoked salmon, onions, creme fraiche, lemon juice and horseradish and season.  Mix it all thoroughly together.

Add the dill to the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and put the egg in another ready for assembling.  Sprinkle some flour onto the surface and fill a 3" pastry cutter with your mixture.  Sprinkle the top with flour then push it out with a fork.  Dip the fishcake into the egg then the breadcrumbs.

I fry them briefly in a little oil now to get them nice and golden and finish them off in the oven at 180c for 15 minutes.  You could spray them with a little oil and cook them in the oven completely if you like, it's probably slightly healthier, only slightly though but every little bit helps.

These could just beat Sean's Smash and Savers Tuna Uni' specials....Only just mind!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Double Cheese Muffins


It's the holidays which means lots of packed lunches and picnic food.  These cheese muffins are so quick and easy to put together and the kids can help too.  They're great warm from the oven while the cheese is still melty or cold the next day if they last that long.  This recipe uses one of my favourite store cupboard ingredients - Crispy Onions! I love em. You know the ones in a tub, usually in the salad dressing section of the supermarket next to the soya bacon bits.  Both are good to have in as an emergency ingredient when you want to supe up your savoury scones or bread.  


250g Self Raising Flour
1/2 tsp Bicarb
1/2 tsp Mustard Powder
100g Strong Cheese (1/2 cubed 1/2 grated)
6 tbsp Vegetable Oil
150g Onion & Chives Cottage Cheese
125ml Milk
1 Egg
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Crispy Fried onions

Heat the oven to 180C

Combine all the dry ingredients, apart from the onions in a large bowl.  In another bowl or jug, mix all the wet ingredients.  Stir the wet into the dry but don't mix too thoroughly, you should have lumps.  It's important with muffins that the mixture isn't over worked.

Divide the mixture between your muffin cases and sprinkle on the crispy onions.  Bake for 20-25 minutes. I makes 12-15 depending on the size of your cases and how generously you fill them.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Real Men Do Eat Quiche




We love quiche in this house.  You can have it hot or cold, it's easily transportable for picnics and packed lunches and you can stick anything in it, great for using up left over bits from the bottom of the fridge.

These two were exactly that, I had some bacon, halloumi and sweet potato's in the fridge and came up with these two: Bacon & Samphire and Sweet Potato & Halloumi. 



SAMPHIRE & BACON
200g Plain Flour
100g Margarine
Iced Water to mix

250g Bacon
90g Samphire
Knob of Butter
1 Clove Garlic
3 Eggs
3/4 pt Milk
Black Pepper

Samphire is a vegetable that grows wild in marshy areas or close to the sea.  It's a bit like very fine asparagus and very salty.  I love the flavour and vibrant colour which it doesn't lose when you cook it.  If you're not lucky enough the be able to pick it fresh yourself, Asda sell it as one of their 'Extra Special' ingredients.

Make the pastry.  Rub the margarine into the flour, you can use a food processor or a free standing mixer for this.  When it looks like fine bread crumbs add enough water to form a dough.  Line your quiche tin and pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 160 C.

You need to bake the pastry shell blind so line it with some parchment and fill it with baking beans.  You can use rice or dried pulses instead if you don't have ceramic beans, they work just as well.

Bake it for 15 minutes then remove the beans and parchment and bake for a further 5-10 minutes till it's cooked and lightly browned.

While this is finishing snip your bacon into bite size pieces and cook till browned.  Remove the bacon from the pan and tip in the samphire with the butter and garlic.  Cook this for 2-3 minutes to soften it.

When your shell is baked put the bacon into the base and top with the samphire.  Add some freshly ground black pepper, I like lots especially with this, both the bacon and samphire are very salty so don't add any more salt.

Mix your eggs and milk together and pour over your filling.  Bake for 30-40 minutes till it's set and browned.


SWEET POTATO & HALLOUMI

200g Plain Flour
100g Margarine
Iced Water to mix

300g Sweet Potato
1 tblsp Oil
250g Block of Halloumi
3 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
3 Eggs
3/4 pt Milk
Black Pepper

Make your pastry shell as before.  While it's baking cook your sweet potato.  Peel and cut it into small cubes about 1cm square.  Put them in a pan, coat with the oil and add the thyme leaves.  Cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat till soft and lightly browned.  It should take about 20-25 minutes and you'll need to stir it from time to time to stop it sticking.

When the potato is cooked, remove it from the pan.  Cut the halloumi the same size as the potato and cook in the same pan.  It will only take about 5 minutes for the cheese to brown so keep your eye on it.

Add the potato and halloumi to the shell and pour over your egg and milk mixture.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.


There was even a little pastry left over to make  a couple of mini quiches with some salami and manchego I found, see what I mean about leftovers!


Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Great British Bake Off Book



How weird is this, I've only gone and got myself in a book and what a good one it is.
This is the book of the show and there are a few familiar faces and recipes too.

Meet my new baking buddies

The programme starts on 16th August at 8pm on BBC2

http://www.bakeoffbook.co.uk/