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What you need:

25g butter
1 onion, sliced
½ tsp salt
150ml double cream
1 bay leaf
6 cloves , whole
75g white breadcrumbs
300ml milk
1 pinch black pepper , freshly ground
1 pinch nutmeg , grated

What you do:

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the onion. Cook over a low heat for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the salt, cream, bay leaf, and cloves, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow to stand for 20 minutes, so the flavours have time to infuse. (This can be prepared ahead and left to infuse, or the complete sauce can be made in advance. Cover the surface of the sauce with cling film to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to use, remove cling film and gently reheat).

Discard the bay leaf and cloves, then pour the onion mixture into a food processor, and blend to a smooth purée. If you do not have a food processor, very finely chop the onion instead of slicing.

Place the breadcrumbs and milk in a pan, and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to make a smooth, thickened sauce. (If you feel the sauce is too thick, then add a little more milk.)

Stir in the onion purée, season to taste with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with nutmeg.

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What you need:

4oz /100g butter, softened
2oz /50g  castor sugar
5oz / 150g sifted plain flour
½ tsp / 2.5ml ground mixed spice

What you do:

Preheat oven to 180°C  /350°F / gas mark 4

Place the softened butter in a bowl with the castor sugar and beat until pale and creamy. Stir in the sifted plain flour and ground mixed spice and mix to a stiff dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and stamp out about  8 pumpkins & 10 bats, re-rolling the dough as necessary. Place on a large lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 12-14 mins until pale golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Decorate the cold cookies with thinly rolled-out coloured fondant and attach with a little glacé icing. Pipe faces and eyes with icing or cut out faces with the tip of a small knife.

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what you need:

85g watercress, coarse stems removed
115g cream cheese
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper, freshly ground
600g salmon fillet, skinless
400g puff pastry
100g flour, for dusting
1 egg, beaten, to glaze

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 200C  / 400F /Gas mark 6.

Chop the watercress very finely, place in a bowl, add the cream cheese, season generously with salt and pepper, and mix well.

Cut the salmon fillet into 2 pieces. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 3mm (1/8in). It should be roughly 7.5cm (3in) longer than the salmon pieces and just over twice as wide. Trim the edges straight. Transfer to a lightly greased baking tray.

Place 1 piece of salmon in the middle of the pastry. Spread the top with the watercress cream and place the other piece of salmon on top. Lightly brush the pastry edges with water, then fold the 2 ends over the salmon. Fold in the sides so they overlap slightly and press together to seal. Re-roll the trimmings and use to decorate the top of the pastry, if liked. Brush with beaten egg, and make 2 or 3 holes with a skewer to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is well risen and golden brown. Test if the salmon is cooked by pushing a skewer halfway through the thickest part and leaving for 4–5 seconds; when removed, it should feel hot.

Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes, then slice and serve.

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What you need:

2 cups plain flour
1 cup boiling water
1/4 tsp salt
sesame oil
5 spring onions, sliced finely
oil for frying

What you do:

In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt and boiling water until it all comes together. Carefully use your hands to then knead the ball of dough until it’s smooth, about 5-10 minutes. If it’s still too hot, let it cool for a bit before starting to knead. Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes; keep it in the fridge if you’re leaving it for longer.

Divide the rested dough ball into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a flat, thin round, dusting with flour if the dough is sticking. Brush the surface of the round with sesame oil and then sprinkle over a sixth of the chopped spring onion. Roll the round tightly like a swiss roll, with the oil and spring onions on the inside. Curl this now tubular dough piece into a tight snail shape, tucking the end underneath.

Now roll this snail shaped piece of dough out into a round about 5 inches in diameter. Pieces of spring onion will start falling out but don’t worry – just show them who’s boss and jam them back into the dough. Repeat with the rest of the dough pieces (I start to fry at the same time as rolling them out).

Heat a frying pan (mine is nonstick) over medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil and fry each pancake on both sides until golden brown, draining on kitchen paper when cooked; repeat with all the pancakes.

Cut into wedges and serve.

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What you need:

1lb /450g  chicken breasts and thighs, skinned
1 ¾ pints /1 litre chicken  or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
2oz / 60g  long-grain rice
2 leeks, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
pinch of ground cloves
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp sea salt

What you do:

Place the chicken in a pan with the bay leaves and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Skim the surface of the soup and discard any scum that has formed. Add the vegetables, rice, cloves, and salt, bring back to the boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and discard. If you wish, you can lift out the chicken, remove the meat from the bones, then return the meat to the soup.

Ladle the soup  between individual serving bowls and serve while still hot.

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What you need:

1 oz / 25g  butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, finely sliced
1½lb / 750g  Pink Fir Apple potatoes, peeled, parboiled and sliced into 1cm/½in pieces
8oz /250g  handful fresh spinach, cooked and roughly chopped
10  eggs, lightly beaten
salt and freshly ground pepper

What you do:

In a large, heavy-based frying pan, heat the butter and oil. Cook the onions slowly until transparent and soft.
Add the potato slices and fry gently for two minutes.

Stir in the spinach.

Season the eggs with salt and freshly ground black pepper and pour onto the contents of the frying pan.
Cook over a low to medium heat: it may take up to ten minutes until the egg is set enough to turn the tortilla over, and if the heat is too high, the bottom will burn before the middle is set.

Once the bottom is nicely browned and the centre has set, it is time to turn it over. This is done with a double flip: place a plate (or the bottom of a tart tin) over the pan and flip it over once, so that the cooked surface of the tortilla is on the bottom. Take another plate, and flip it again so the cooked surface is on the top. Then place the frying pan back over the tortilla plate and flip one more time, so the uncooked bit is now in contact with the base of the pan.

Replace the pan over low heat until the tortilla is cooked through.
Serve hot, warm or cold, cut into slices or cubes.

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What you need:

1/2 tsp ground oregano or 1-1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 tsp ground thyme or 3/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt, optional
1/4 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 lb tuna steaks, about 3/4 inch thick, 4 pieces
Cooking spray
1 fresh lemons, cut into wedges

What you do:

In small bowl, whisk the oregano, olive oil, thyme, salt, &  pepper.

Massage mixture all over the top of  the tuna steaks.
Place tuna in an oven proof  baking dish, cover, and place in the fridge  for at least 15 minutes.
Coat grill pan with cooking spray and heat on grill over medium high.
Place tuna on prepared pan and cook until preferred degrees of doneness, about 5 minutes.

Garnish with lemon wedges.

Serve hot &  straight away.

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What you need:

8 oz /225 g self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp  mustard powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 oz /50 g softened, salted butter
2 oz /50 g cheddar, grated
1 oz /25 g parmesan cheese ( grated )
150ml whole milk, plus a little to glaze

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 230C /450F / gas mark 8

In a bowl sift the flour, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper .

Cut the butter into pieces and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.

Grate the cheeses and stir them into the flour mixture. Pour all the milk into the bowl with the flour and cheese, and using a fork  bring everything together to make a dough.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is 1cm thick, and cut into rounds with a fluted 6.5cm cutter.

Arrange on a greased baking tray and brush the top of each scone with milk.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the scones have risen and are golden.

When cooled cut in half & spread with butter or margarine.

For a change try spreading with soft cheese.

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What you need:

For the shortcake
230 g / 8oz  plain flour
60 g / 2  1/2 oz caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch salt
80 g / 3 oz  butter, cut into  cubes
160 ml/ 5  1/2 thickened cream

For the filling

1 punnet of  medium-sized strawberries, hulled and halved lengthways
250 ml / 8 oz  whipping cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
125 g /5 oz ricotta
1 tsp vanilla essence
Icing sugar for dusting.

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4
To make the shortcakes  mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add the butter and mix until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
Add the cream and beat until the mixture comes together.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a 15 cm square about 3cm thick. Refrigerate for an hour.
Using a 5 cm biscuit ring, cut out 9 cakes.
Place on a baking tray and bake for around 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Cool on a wire  rack.

Make the ricotta cream by whipping the thickened cream with the sugar.
Fold in the ricotta and vanilla.
Slice each shortcake in half and fill with the strawberries and ricotta cream.
Dust with icing sugar.

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What you need:

170g (6oz) of plain flour
6oz / 170g of unsalted butter (or salted butter)
5oz / 150ml of cold water
pinch of salt.

To make the pastry :

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the butter. Mix the butter into the flour with your fingertips.
Stir in the water and mix the ingredients together to form a soft dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead further to make a firm dough.
On a floured work surface roll the pastry into a rectangle shape.

What to do:
Preheat to the oven to 190C / 375F / gas mark 5
spread with mincemeat and roll up the pastry. Brush with milk cut into slices, place on baking sheet. Cook for around 15 mins or until lightly browned, then sprinkle with icing sugar and leave to cool.

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